Asshattery is Afoot

My morning began with a post from a friend of mine about a family of farmers, the Benners, who are being targeted and harassed by animal rights activists because their dairy cow is eventually intended to feed their family. A housewife, mother, and incredibly ignorant woman Kimberly Sherriton attended an educational tour of the farm, asked about their cow Minnie, and grew incensed upon finding out that Minnie was eventually destined to feed the family. In Kimberly’s world, the farmers should get their meat at Whole Foods where it doesn’t have to suffer. (Yes, this intellectual heavy weight actually said this to the family). She then proceeded to start a campaign of hatred and harassment against the Benner family, one that includes death threats–nor are the Benners the only farmers to have been threatened by bullies like this. The article provides a disturbing list. I myself have seen them in action any time the subject of sacrifice comes up (though fortunately in my case the harassment was restricted to a few nasty posts and an email from David S. implying that I was evil and mentally ill) and like anti-choice activists who clearly believe that 51 percent of the world’s population do not deserve bodily sovereignty (you know, that thing called freedom), there is no reasoning with them.

I absolutely believe that animals should be treated with care and compassion. Moreover, I think that we should avoid sentimentalizing them and should instead allow them the dignity of being animals. But I respect the cycle of predator and prey and attacking a family because they’re putting food on their table in exactly the same way that our ancestors did is just foul. Moreover, these animal rights activists are little more than hate groups and they will use any tactic including lying and aggressive threats, even violence to achieve their ends.

More importantly from my perspective, every gain for these people is an attack on our religious sovereignty. Make no mistake, people like Sherriton, and they are many, have no problem whatsoever doing anything they can to make the practice of religious sacrifice illegal. They’ve succeeded too in many places. We are fortunate in the US: there is a Supreme Court Case (the 1994 case of Ernesto Pichardo and the Church of Babaluaye vs. the City of Hialeah) that ruled in our favor. Pichardo was and is a fierce fighter on behalf of his own tradition and by extension ours. He is a trail blazer and I pray the Orisha bless him daily. That this ruling exists, however, does not mean that we cannot still be threatened. (To make the parallel again, look at the constant chipping away at Roe v. Wade). This is all the more so when our polytheism might likely be met with incredulity and disdain and dismissed as “not a real religious position” by those whose imaginations are too small to encompass the idea of more than one God as licit.

I firmly believe that these animal rights activists must be challenged and driven back. Their intentions may be good, but they are ultimately ill thought out. They are working from a place of immensely blind privilege and for the most part simply don’t care about the consequences (or worse, see those consequences to our indigenous traditions – and our farmers– as positive). Before you sign that next petition or join in support of the next bit of animal rights (not animal welfare but animal rights) legislation, consider what it will be like when we’re not permitted legally to practice our religion (this happened with the festival of Gadhimai this year, and there were legal challenges even to orthodox Jews on the topic of sacrifice, and ARM, a particularly vile animal rights group is hard at work attacking Lukumi), when our farms are closing because farmers can’t feed themselves, and when eating a burger is a felony.

As my friend Ruth said, if Kimberly Sherriton cares so much more about Minnie than she does about the welfare of the Benners, let her buy the cow.

“I think a fair price for a now celebrity cow would be… let’s see… *searches for John Lennon’s last interview for the price of Yoko’s cow sale* here we go : “LENNON: Sean and I were away for a weekend and Yoko came over to sell this cow and I was joking about it. We hadn’t seen her for days; she spent all her time on it. But then I read the paper that said she sold it for a quarter of a million dollars. Only Yoko could sell a cow for that much. [Laughter]”

Not up for that, Kimberly? No? Then how about this: shut the fuck up, you ignorant piece of shit. How about that? And leave these innocent people in peace.

For those who would like to offer their support to the Benners, there is a link in the body of the aforementioned article. I have already emailed them to offer my support and to encourage them to stay strong.

Let us all stay strong and resist the encroachment of this type of thing into our practices. Let us be vigilant and on guard because we are in fact on their list. I hope that when the time comes we can all stand together to defend the most sacred of religious practices across our many traditions and to defend our farmers too. We’ve had enough stripped away.

 

 

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Posted on April 20, 2016, in community, Interfaith, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. It is sad to see sentiments like this, sometimes even within polytheist communities themselves. In Hinduism for example there’s a tendency to condemn any kind of animal sacrifice, even though there are various forms of Hinduism where this is practiced, and despite Hinduism’s history of being tolerant and able to hold within itself various schools, sects, and practices that are sometimes of diametrically opposed viewpoints. Yet the pernicious influence of Islam and Christianity seems afoot here, or just radical interpretations of some teachings within Hinduism.

    Incidentally a lot of the traditions within Hinduism with animal sacrifice are “tribal” societies in India (and outside India), here targeted by “educated” Hindus, who say that these practices are not Hindu. It is sad to see that with it’s history of tolenace, Hinduism also is falling into the trap of seeing some starins of itself as “not Hindu enough”.

    Sorry for the little ex cursus here, but it just shows how pernicious this kind of anti-animal-sacrifice and anti-meat-eating sentiments go.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What an ignoramus.
    I’ve actually been told that I shouldn’t kill my goats but should buy meat at the store because then I won’t be killing anything. I can’t wrap my brain around the spectacular ignorance required to make such a statement.
    I remain convinced that personal interaction with an animal during its life and quick, respectful killing are the best ways to maintain not only a healthy attitude toward mortality but also a healthy diet. Opinions may differ, but this is mine after decades of living in this fashion.
    So yes… what an amazingly uninformed waste of air. DI at the academy had a punishment for recruits who said particularly stupid things. He’d make you spend the rest of the day (or week if it was really bad) carrying a potted plant with you all the time. He said that if you were going to waste oxygen on something as stupid as whatever you just said you could carry the plant and let something benefit from your stupidity instead.
    Sounds like this woman needs to carry a plant.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Oh yes, the sort of idiocy I have to look forward to once the homestead is up and running…even in rural Alabama I foresee this being an issue, despite the heavy presence of livestock raising folk. Granted…almost no one around here kills their own animals from what I’ve seen.

    Dagan: Now that is one creative punishment from a DI, I Like it and I know what it is to have a DI on your case.

    Liked by 2 people

    • FlatlinedGamer

      Here’s your forewarning from an from a fellow Alabamian that already homesteads: there are a lot of really stupid people in this state. I do mean a lot. I’ve been pretty fortunate in my dealings with other people as a poultry breeder, but outside that I’ve run into a lot of people that kinda make me wish it was legal to kill the terminally stupid. I’m not talking about those that can be educated. I’m talking about people that will argue with you insistently and refuse to be educated.

      Don’t let the stupid stop you, though. You’ll meet even more people that share your way of life and will laugh with you about the stupid.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Oh this’ll be our second attempt at getting a homestead going, the last one had landlord issues so this time we own the land (legally speaking). I’m well aware of the level of stupid there, I was on a volunteer fire department when I last lived over there and the level of the stupid you see doing that is fairly amazing…but I’m sure I’ll manage to be flabbergasted at some new height of stupidity this time too.

        Can’t wait for the “but I always hunt in these woods” stupid to show up, that’ll be fun. Ahem, apologies for derailing into a bit of a rant there.

        Liked by 4 people

      • FlatlinedGamer

        It’s all good. I know exactly the ones you’re talking about. They’re the same kind of people that say they’ve used my yard as a trail for a long time, but yet they didn’t know there was a horse back there until he tried to kick one of them.

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  4. songofscotland

    Where do these numbskulls think the meat at Whole Foods comes from?! Talk about being distanced from your food sources… Oi. Animal rights people are the absolute worst!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Sending a cow -or a working draft horse or an elephant – to spend his or her life on an animal preserve to eat hay and drop manure is not a humane act. It is simply the new abuse, sanctioned to make humans feel better about themselves. Minnie is where she belongs, and her fate is no one’s business but the Benners. You might remember this idea of minding your own business. Before Facebook, it was quite popular.
    – From the blog detailing the Benners’ plight.

    I agree with the statement. Not every animal preserve can handle a lot of animals that require a tremendous amount of care. There are stories of people who collect exotic animals and call what they do a preserve. Only problem is that safety is neglected. These are not human animals but actual animals who can harm people. Elephants can turn on people.

    There are no easy answers to animal abuse since no one can agree on what animal abuse is. What I find strange is that dairy farms are targeted for animal abuse because of their milking practises. No one ever discusses that the males often have their genitals removed at birth with a rubber band. (The rubber band stops the circulation, and the genitals eventually drop off or are taken off. At least is what my husband’s cousin does, who is a dairy farmer in PA.)

    Killing and eating an animal is not abuse, well it depends on how it is killed. (as in incompetent killing).

    Killing a dog is a crime but not killing a pet snake (which someone took a baseball bat to in the name of safety). The animal cruelty laws are for humane treatment of animals. However, sometimes that gets translated into human-centric ideas of which animals and how.

    An example of constructive human-animal work is the film Otter501, which features a sea otter pup being rehabbed to the wild. The humans were unsuccessful with returning sea otters to the wild for twenty years, until an adult female otter taught them how. In other words, do not get attached to the otter pup, do not let them think that humans are good, and let the female otters foster the pups. Toola the female fostered 13 pups (included Otter501) before she died of old age. The humans credit her with their success.

    In other words, stop being human-centric in choosing which animals are due special attention. I have yet to see anyone embrace a snake sanctuary. In fact, in Massachusetts, the wildlife agency was going to set off an island for the endangered eastern diamondback rattlesnake. People protested the actions crying safety. An freaking island for rattlers is not welcome.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. FlatlinedGamer

    I’m sure you already know where I stand on this, but I’ll comment anyway. That woman is completely nuts! I’ve said it before, animal rights groups are insane and so are the people that think they’re doing good. They aren’t. That woman probably thinks Ingrid Newkirk is a god and bows down to PeTA extremism.

    This whole thing makes me want to scream and tear my hair out! The post you’re referring to is absolutely right. This is a nightmare that is only getting worse. Small farmers are catching hell. It’s all wrong.

    The cow in question is only 2 years old. She has a long breeding and milking life ahead of her. By the time the cow is slaughtered, this woman won’t even remember it. She’s basically (unknowingly since she this stupid) an advocate for factory farms. The disconnect is real and scary as hell. I’m willing to bet she buys into the hormone free, vegetarian, free range/cage free eggs crap.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. As someone who wants to own a small farm in the near future, this type of thinking is deeply alarming to me. I probably will not offer tours simply to avoid these kinds of people as much as I can.

    Liked by 3 people

    • thetinfoilhatsociety

      My friend owns a farm. She used to own and run a CSA until the FDA wanted to get involved because it’s organic – she uses manure from the sheep, cattle, horses, goats, chickens, geese, and ducks she raises humanely and slaughters to feed her family – on her crops. Now she doesn’t run a CSA any more, the money involved in trying to comply with the FDA’s RIDICULOUS RULES (and they are, anyone who raises food organically with any basic knowledge of sanitation knows this) it was impossible for her to keep going. Sad, because she was feeding 20 families and supporting her family with the operation.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I heard that there is an Animal Rights group that either buys or steals animals they think are being held captive. Only to have them later euthanized because they can’t/won’t care for them themselves. makes you wonder what they do with all of the money they get from donations.

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    • FlatlinedGamer

      Sounds like PeTA. They’re the ones that got in trouble a while back for stealing a family’s dog off their porch and putting it down in the same day. Then had the gall to give them a freaking fruit basket to say they were sorry. Fruit doesn’t replace a beloved family pet that should never have been touched.

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