Friday, November 30, 2012

Solutions

To resolve the federal deficit:
Reverse what caused it, mainly, regressive tax cuts for the rich and the worldwide war machine.
To provide health insurance to all:
Expand Medicare to everyone, as was originally intended.
[Also see:  Tax the Rich! End the Wars!]

Sunday, November 25, 2012

For Lou, from Miriam

Miriam Jones of VINE Sanctuary writes:

[Factory “farmers”] are honest enough to own their desires, and so they don’t have to create elaborate mental mazes to contain them. They want a paycheck – they want to grill something out in their backyards and it ain’t tofu – and they don’t give a shit about the environment or global climate change or sustainability.

They want what they want, and they’re honest about it. ...

While some of us recognize this destructive phenomenon for what it is, and seek to correct it, happy meat “farmers” deny they’re human supremacists. They like to say they honor and respect all of life while they trample upon it. Because they can’t bear to give up those tasty little morsels of flesh in their mouths – or because they can’t bear to find another job – these “farmers” talk a good talk about holding to a level of environmentalism that exceeds everyone else’s. They claim to love life on the one hand while they bring it to an end on the other. They profess that there exists such a thing as humane murder.

In short, they’re liars. They lie to themselves and they lie to everyone else. ...

Factory “farmers” tend to be more honest about their motivations for doing the things they do than happy meat “farmers,” even though they all do the same thing: use and murder animals.

Because they are lying to themselves, these small producers need to include you in that same lie. They need you to believe that you’re doing something good. You are righteous, you are smart, you are helping the environment. You are better than those (poor, unethical, working class) people who eat factory farmed flesh. You are actively helping the planet by eating flesh, eggs and milk from small-scale animal “production.”

They tell you these things and they need you to believe them. But they are lies.

Click here to read the complete essay.
Click here to read “For Lou, from pattrice”


Lou, who never knew how it feels to be free
Lou, who never knew how it feels to be free

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, Vermont, anarchism, ecoanarchism

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Poultney

Continuing evidence of Green Mountain College's paranoiac lashing out, Steven Wise writes:

Thank you to the thousands who made your position known, loud and clear, that the Green Mountain College’s plan to slaughter and eat their old friends, Bill and Lou was morally unacceptable.

You may have believed no one was listening. Oh, they were. Closely. Those who would slaughter and eat their friends are capable of anything. And so Green Mountain College President Paul J. Fonteyn (a cross between Machiavelli’s Prince and a Keystone Kop) sent an ugly email in which he tried to get one of you in trouble with your boss.

Into my mailbox it pinged, dated November 1, 2012. Alas, thin-skinned President Fonteyn zipped it to a business 900 miles and four states away from the brave emailer.
From: Paul Fonteyn [mailto:fonteynp@greenmtn.edu]
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2012 11:03 AM
To: [DELETED]
Subject: Employee of your company

Dear [DELETED]

I am writing to you because I believe the individual sending these emails to Green Mountain College is an employee of your company. I have two questions: If she is, do these uncivil and hostile emails reflect well on your company? Would you embrace this level of activity by an agent if this was occurring in Cincinnati? Please note every email has been sent during the workday hours.

Please note that the Governor of VT and the Secretary of Agriculture have publically supported the position of the college that [DELETED] is so against.

Paul J. Fonteyn
I immediately warned President Fonteyn he should consult a lawyer before he sent emails to the employers of his critics. On Sunday, he finally took my advice. Well, part of it. He consulted a lawyer, who promptly warned me not to communicate with President Fonteyn again.

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, Vermont, ecoanarchism

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Request for Common Cause from Philip Ackerman-Leist, Director of Green Mountain College’s Farm & Food Project

“The challenge we are now facing is not one of a philosophical perspective that we find inappropriate but rather of an extreme activist agenda that is divisive and destructive. The end goal is the abolition of livestock agriculture, whereas our college is invested in the transformation of livestock agriculture.”

In fact, the letter below is a desperate plea for the
preservation of “livestock” agriculture without the scrutiny of “outsiders”. It expresses an apparent persecution complex driving him to seek support for his Lord of the Flies project from the entire state (remember the “Take Back Vermont” movement to “preserve” marriage?). But the pleas to retire the working oxen Bill and Lou had nothing to do with the college’s animal farming. It is perfectly normal practice to retire working animals. One offer of sanctuary was from a rancher, another from a dairy farm. Many other animal farmers expressed disgust. Green Mountain College’s refusal to act in a normal (let alone humane) manner, to ignore all offers and insist that “processing” the oxen into dog food was essential to the college’s chest-thumping sense of “sustainability”, was the only reason for worldwide outrage from vegans and carnivores alike.

Ackerman-Leist’s delusional paranoia (“under the cover of darkness and with complex security plans in place, we had to euthanize Lou and bury him in an undisclosed location”) speaks more to unresolved issues of his own conscience (as a beef farmer himself, looking forward to a lucrative contract with the college, as orchestrated by himself?) than to reality.


Source:  https://www.facebook.com/notes/carl-b-russell/request-for-common-cause-from-philip-ackerman-leist-director-of-the-green-mounta/10151360898823804

November 11, 2012

Dear Colleague in Food and Agriculture,

I am writing to request both your attention to and support in an issue that impacts farms of all sizes, the ability of livestock-based businesses and educational farms to function without the threat of harassment or harm from outside special interests, and the possibility for communities to determine the future of their regional food systems.

As you may have heard or read, the Green Mountain College community followed a decade-long tradition of discussing the fate of livestock on the college’s Cerridwen Farm before deciding to send our two longstanding oxen to slaughter. Bill and Lou have been central elements of the college farm since their arrival ten years ago, but Lou injured his leg this past summer and is no longer able to work or even to walk any significant distance without experiencing obvious pain. Therefore, in an open community forum this fall, about eighty students decided to send the much admired pair to slaughter and processing, with the meat to be used in the college dining hall, as we have done with sheep, poultry, swine, and cattle in the past.

However, an extremist animal rights organization, VINE (Veganism is the Next Evolution) Sanctuary, turned our community-based decision into an international advocacy and fundraising effort. VINE recently set up its new sanctuary and education/advocacy center in Springfield, Vermont in order to take on everything from backyard poultry to small-scale livestock production to the iconic Vermont dairy industry. They allow for no distinction between any form of livestock agriculture. As a case in point, one of the founders of VINE states the following:

“Another issue we face is that Vermont is a big ‘happy meat’ place. The happy meat people are convinced the animals are treated well. It is just a myth, and regardless, any farmed animal on a factory farm or a ‘happy meat’ farm, can’t get away from ending up dead.”

Another VINE blog makes the point even more explicit:

“Despite the blather about respecting the bedrock of one of Vermont’s primary industries, and despite the inane lies pitched in almost hysterical fashion by ‘happy meat and milk’ farmers, cows are nothing more than potential money-making machines to people. That’s what they’re there for, after all.”

The Green Mountain College oxen case seemed to have been the perfect target for VINE’s efforts, quickly supported by Farm Sanctuary and PETA. Why focus on our college farm and not a “factory farm” or some other farm with questionable livestock management practices? Perhaps we find ourselves in this situation because the college has long been transparent about our community-based discussions regarding the fate of the livestock on our college farm—it is a vital part of our educational program here. It could also be that we have been targeted because we are not only teaching and advocating for sustainable livestock farming, but some of our graduates are seeding the local landscape with these kinds of farms.

Unfortunately, this issue is not just about the fate of Bill and Lou or the intense local and international pressures faced by a small but diverse college community that opted for transparency, truth, and accountability in its own food system. If the extremist elements in this activist agenda succeed in forcing our college to choose a course not of our own making in this issue, then they will have the power and the confidence to do it again—perhaps next time to a smaller and less resourceful community or farm or even to a bigger institution or initiative. Such an outcome would be inconvenient to some and perhaps tragic to others. And it flies directly in the face of Vermont’s innovative efforts to develop community-based food systems, envisioned on a grand and courageous scale through our nationally-acclaimed Farm to Plate Initiative, a strategic ten-year plan to build the vision of interlinked local and sustainable food systems that can build thriving communities even in the most rural reaches of our state.

Imagine the pressures our college has faced in recent weeks and consider how other communities placed under such pressure might fare:
  • Numerous petition drives, with tens of thousands of signees from all over the world—people who know nothing of Bill and Lou’s conditions, much less the accountability and transparency we have built into our college food system
  • Action alerts that have generated email assaults (at least one staff person received almost 1000 emails in a single day) and switchboard and voicemail overloads of our campus phone system
  • One cyber-attack generated 3.9 million emails filtered in a period of several days—all from a single domain
  • Harassment and threats of physical violence to students, faculty, staff, and administrators
  • Constant surveillance of our college farm by stealthy intrusions, video cameras, and Facebook reports of our daily activities
  • Driving a livestock trailer to the edge of campus and barging into our administrative offices demanding that Bill and Lou be turned over
  • Dishonest and highly abusive postings on the college’s social media sites, requiring around-the-clock monitoring and editing
  • Attempts at widespread defamation of character of faculty, staff, and administrators through letters, emails, websites, and social media channels
  • Threats of continued negative publicity campaigns unless we turned Bill and Lou over to VINE Sanctuary
  • Online discussion of whether to give Bill and Lou medications that would render their meat unsafe and inedible
  • Slaughterhouses throughout Vermont and New York were threatened with protests, harassment, and potential violence if they agreed to work with the college, ultimately eliminating virtually all such possibilities for us, including our scheduled date at a local Animal Welfare Approved facility
Throughout it all, we have attempted to avoid a polarization among parties. After all, our student body is comprised of approximately 70% meat-eaters and 30% vegetarians and vegans. One of my colleagues in helping our students to think critically about these livestock decisions is Dr. Steven Fesmire, a philosopher and a vegetarian. For ten years, he and I have tried to model open and civil discourse about dietary choices and related animal issues through forums, joint classes, and guest lectures. We are unaccustomed to diatribe replacing dialogue, and our students tend to be open to a diversity of ideas and respectful of differences in opinion. Our community finds it odd that certain extremists have opted to try and make us out as villains when one of our stated goals is to become the first college or university in the United States with a major food service provider to eliminate all animal products that are not humanely raised and slaughtered.

Our college honors different dietary choices and encourages a diversity of philosophical perspectives related to agriculture and animal ethics. Were that not the case, we would not have a higher than average population of students who are vegetarians and vegans. We teach animal rights perspectives in our classes, as we believe that these philosophical ideas can help to illuminate the path toward more humane and sustainable livestock agriculture. The challenge we are now facing is not one of a philosophical perspective that we find inappropriate but rather of an extreme activist agenda that is divisive and destructive. The end goal is the abolition of livestock agriculture, whereas our college is invested in the transformation of livestock agriculture.

What happens next in this situation may have ramifications far beyond our campus community. If VINE, Farm Sanctuary, and PETA succeed in harassing and threatening not only us but also our regional livestock businesses to the point at which we succumb to their abolitionist desires, then they will march forward with their activist agenda and wreak havoc not only on the rebuilding of community-based food systems but also on the longstanding efforts in our region to create increasingly humane and ecologically appropriate livestock production and processing.

It is time for more organizations and individuals to come forward to denounce the intrusive and unethical bullying orchestrated by these organizations. Their tactics do not promote discourse, diversity, or democracy. Ultimately, they impede animal welfare reform by putting backyard poultry on the same level as a poorly managed “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation” (CAFO). You may or may not agree with our community’s decisions regarding Bill and Lou. We recognize that people can come to different conclusions in what is the best alternative for each of these animals, and these discussions can be civil and frank. Regardless of your opinion in this particular matter, it is important to recognize that the extreme bullying tactics employed by these groups need to be countered with the courage, reason, and civility of people and organizations that believe in the transformation of livestock agriculture, not its abolition.

During the early morning hours of November 11th, under the cover of darkness and with complex security plans in place, we had to euthanize Lou and bury him in an undisclosed location, as outlined in a statement to our community by President Paul Fonteyn. It was a difficult and complex decision. President Fonteyn offered these words regarding Bill: “Bill will not be sent to a sanctuary but will stay on Cerridwen Farm and will be cared for in a manner that follows sustainable, humane livestock practices, as is the case with all of our animals. We take responsibility for our animals on the farm--it is an obligation we will not ask others to bear.”

Please make your voice heard on this issue, whether it be through letters to the editor, calls and emails to your elected officials, or by appropriate direct action through your organization. Green Mountain College has decided to stand up against the bullying directed at us while also standing up for farmers, businesses, educational farms, local food systems, and burgeoning farm-to-institution programs—in Vermont and elsewhere in the country. It is our ardent hope that reason and civility will prevail and perhaps save some other farm or organization from the onslaught that our college has opted to engage, oppose, and defeat.

Sincerely,
~~~
Philip Ackerman-Leist
Director of the GMC Farm & Food Project
Director of the Masters in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS)
Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, Vermont, ecoanarchism

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lou was reportedly killed this morning

According to an e-mail reportedly sent today by Green Mountain College President Paul Fonteyn,* the ox named Lou was killed early this morning.

We love you, Lou! That’s why we had to kill you! (Alison Putnam, Meiko Lunetta, Paul Fonteyn, Bill Throop, Green Mountain College

Let us hope that Lou's partner, Bill, can be saved from such cowardly and self-serving "love".

*From that message: "Bill will not be sent to a sanctuary but will stay on [GMC's on-campus] Cerridwen Farm and will be cared for in a manner that follows sustainable, humane livestock practices, as is the case with all of our animals." In other words, as soon as they get a chance, they will sell him for dog food.

The message:
From: President Paul J. Fonteyn
To: GMC Community
Date: November 11, 2012
RE: Oxen Update


Green Mountain College and our senior team of oxen have been much in the news lately: their lives as working animals on the GMC farm, our recent community decision to slaughter them, and the national and international attention that has come our way as a result of our collaborative and rational decision.

As reported in my October 31 email to the community, our original timetable was disrupted by outside organizations seeking to appropriate the images of the oxen for their extremist agendas, including the abolition of animal agriculture. Without shame, these groups harassed and threatened local slaughterhouses, making it impossible for them to accept our animals, and therefore for us to carry out our decision expeditiously. Despite our attempts to use the most humane and local options available, one of the only Animal Welfare Approved [sic] slaughterhouses in the area was forced to cancel our appointment as a result of these hostile threats. Some individuals associated with these efforts have even discussed giving drugs to our animals, which would render the meat unacceptable for human consumption.

In the meantime, Lou's overall physical condition continued to deteriorate. Medication made him more comfortable, but even walking from pasture to pasture has now become an arduous and painful process. Close consultations with several veterinarians over the course of the summer and fall have consistently indicated that Lou's condition would not improve and that his quality of life would only continue to diminish--as has held true. The arrival of cold temperatures and icy conditions are certain to increase his suffering, and we have concurred with our veterinarians' judgment that it not humane for him to suffer further. Therefore, I authorized euthanization, which took place this morning.

Bill will not be sent to a sanctuary but will stay on Cerridwen Farm and will be cared for in a manner that follows sustainable, humane livestock practices, as is the case with all of our animals. We take responsibility for our animals on the farm--it is an obligation we will not ask others to bear.

I know at times the attention has been harsh and unfair, but it has also provided a platform to present some of the best aspects of Green Mountain College: our intellectual courage to squarely examine moral dilemmas, our values of sustainability, and our commitment to discourse over doctrine. I am proud of how GMC students have engaged with colleagues and with people outside our community in mature, thoughtful, and civil ways. Outside scrutiny can be an unwelcome distraction--I urge you not to allow online discussions, which can become volatile and unconstructive, to interfere with your wider educational endeavors at GMC. I consider your safety and your educational progress my top priorities. If you believe you are a victim of any abusive behavior, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Student Affairs.
[Top photo of Lou with students Alison Putnam and Meiko Lunetta by Caleb Kenna for the Boston Globe. Bottom photos of President Paul Fonteyn (left) and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs (also Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies) Bill Throop (right) from Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vt.]

Emily McCoy with Bill at Green Mountain College, Poultney, Vermont
“Part of being honest about your place in an ecosystem is accounting for the full cost of food production, which is what we're trying to do here.” Emily McCoy (GMC student, pictured here, Oct. 30, 2012, apparently satisfied that she has explained to Bill that he is too expensive and no longer useful alive; photo from Facebook)

Sanctuary for Lou and Bill | Compassion is sustainable
[ Signs meant for demonstration on day before Lou was killed ]
Bill and Lou want to live | Sanctuary not slaughter

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, Vermont, ecoanarchism

Friday, November 09, 2012

COMPASSION IS SUSTAINABLE

Demonstrations at the corner of Main and Depot, Poultney, Vermont
Friday (Nov. 9) 1pm and Sat (Nov. 10) 12pm

Everyone knows about our beloved Bill and Lou by now, but they don’t all see the boys as special and deserving of sanctuary after all their years of hard work — and people want to eat them [actually they would probably be used for dog food, the college receiving more edible meat in return]. We are going to change that! Invite non-students too and be there Friday and Saturday.
Our new cheer: SAVE BILL AND LOU — IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

Only 3 main points — EASY:
— It’s the right thing to do!
— Save Bill and Lou from slaughter
— Give Bill and Lou to sanctuary.

Facebook event page.

Read Bill and Lou’s story here.


View Larger Map


View Larger Map

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, Vermont, ecoanarchism

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Endorsements 2012

President (and attached VP):  Write in Jill Stein (Green Party). Stein solidly represents the social and ecological principles of the world's Green Parties.

U.S. Senator:  Pete Diamondstone (Liberty Union), especially now that he supports secession.

Representative to Congress:  Jane Newton (Liberty Union). She's completely wrong about industrial wind, but so right about (and for) everything else.

Governor:  Dave Eagle (Liberty Union)

Lieutenant Governor:  Ben Mitchell (Liberty Union)

State Treasurer:  Jessica Diamondstone (Liberty Union)

Secretary of State:  Mary Alice Herbert (Liberty Union)

Auditor of Accounts:  Jerry Levy (Liberty Union)

Attorney General:  Rosemarie Jackowski (Liberty Union)

Vermont

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Why aren't Green and Socialist Parties on Vermont Presidential ballot?

While the Republicans curtail democracy for voters, the Democrats curtail it for candidates.

The statewide ballot in Vermont includes 5 candidates for President: Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, Peta Lindsay of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Barack Obama of the Democratic Party, and Mitt Romney of the Republican Party. Notably missing are Stewart Alexander of the Socialist Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party.

It turns out that in 2009, Vermont changed its ballot access rules for third parties (but not for the Dem/Rep duopoly), requiring petitions and candidate selection 3 months earlier than the duopolist parties. Rocky Anderson's campaign successfully sued to have more time to gather signatures, but Vermont's Dem/Rep/Prog Secretary of State Jim Condos stated that although the court ruled against the new rules, the court decision only applied to the Justice Party. Condos said that each party would have to sue on its own behalf. And so the Green Party is not on the ballot. And although Liberty Union, the long-established Vermont affiliate of the Socialist Party, filed their nomination of Stewart Alexander in August along with the rest of their slate, Condos rejected their inclusion on the ballot for President. Again, he said they would have to sue to get on the ballot.

(And if all that weren't enough to keep you off the ballot, some (most? all?) states require filing as a write-in candidate to be counted as such.)

I might as well also mention here the fraudulent games of Vermont's Progressive Party, which often runs a candidate in the party primary only to prevent a candidate running against the Democrats. Most recently, party chair Martha Abbott put her name on the primary ballot because she did not want a Progressive candidate to run against Democrat Peter Shumlin. As promised, after she eked out a win against a write-in campaign, she withdrew, so there is no Progressive candidate for governor on the ballot despite the clear wish of many Progressive voters.

Some people might think it's nice that our choices are thus already made for us, but you can't call this democracy.

Also see: "Basic Steps of Election Reform"

Vermont

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Green Mountain College president is a mite paranoid

[Scroll down for updates to this post.]
From: President Paul J. Fonteyn
To: GMC Campus Community
Date: October 31, 2012
Re: Update on Bill and Lou


As you know, Green Mountain College has become the focus of widespread attention regarding our decision to slaughter our ten-year old team of oxen. I stand by the decision our community arrived at through a process that insured that all members had the opportunity to express their opinions.

I also compliment faculty, staff and students who, whether they personally agreed with the final decision or not, have demonstrated extraordinary civility in their interactions with each other, and with external individuals and organizations. Some of these external groups are attempting to use Bill and Lou as mascots for their own animal rights agendas. I am appalled by the abusive nature of some of the communications you have been receiving--if you are concerned about personal threats please notify the Office of Student Affairs.

Initially we decided to slaughter the oxen by the end of this month. However, we will not be able to meet this timetable because regional slaughterhouses have been inundated with hostile and threatening emails and phone calls from extremist groups bent on interfering with the processing. These businesses are mostly small, family-operated Vermont enterprises that provide local meat for local consumers. This is a busy time of year for them, and many have expressed fears that their operations might be shut down by protesters if they accept the oxen.

We have decided to continue to care for the oxen until a date with a reputable slaughterhouse can be obtained. In the meantime, Lou and Bill will not be sent to a sanctuary but will continue to stay with us in familiar surroundings. Eventually the animals will be processed as planned.

Green Mountain College has many allies who support the kind of sustainable agriculture in Vermont which GMC represents. Below is a statement made by Vermont Secretary of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, Chuck Ross.

As always, I'm available for discussion with any member of the GMC community who has questions or concerns.
Statements from the faculty have echoed the president's claim that the entire GMC community participated in making the decision to slaughter the oxen Bill and Lou, and that although Lou was injured months ago, the decision to kill him and his partner Bill, too, instead of retire them, was not made until students returned in the Fall. In fact, an Oct. 12 statement from the college says, "This was a decision many months in the making, with members of our community carefully weighing alternatives." It seems that the decision was already made, apparently by farm manager Kenneth Mulder and provost Bill Throop primarily, and that the only community-wide discussion was about that already made decision:
Ethics of Sending Draft Animals to Slaughter Discussion

When: Thursday, October 04, 2012
Time: 1 - 2:30 p.m.
Where: East Room


At the end of this month, Bill and Lou, the long-standing team of oxen for Green Mountain College’s Cerridwen Farm will leave the farm to be processed for meat.

Bill and Lou have worked as draft animals on the farm for over ten years. They have provided the motive power for a research and education program in draft animal farming that includes hay harvesting, vegetable production, animal driving and training, and electricity production. Last summer, Bill and Lou were featured in several workshops at the New England Organic Farmers’ Association summer conference.

This past year, Lou sustained a recurring injury to his left rear hock that has made it difficult for him to work. After attempting several remedies and giving him a prolonged rest without any improvement, it was the professional opinion of the farm staff and consulting veterinarians that he was no longer fit to work. Farm staff searched for a replacement animal to pair with Bill, but single oxen are difficult to find and it is uncertain that Bill would accept a new teammate in any case. After much deliberation, it was decided to purchase a new team and retire Bill and Lou.

“This has been a difficult decision all around,” stated farm manager Kenneth Mulder. “It is the traditional understanding with working cattle that when they reach the end of their working careers they are still productive as meat animals. But that does not make it easy.”

Bill and Lou cost approximately $300 per month to keep and will provide enough hamburger and beef to the college dining hall to last for a couple months. It is the general feeling of the farm crew and the farm management that the most ecologically and financially sustainable decision was to send them for processing.

On October 4th from 1 to 2:30 in the East Room, there will be an open class session on the ethics of sending draft animals to slaughter. Interested parties are encouraged to attend.
Update, Nov. 11:  The fact that the decision was already made was stated by student Alison Putnam in the Boston Globe: "Putnam is a member of the farm crew, consisting of students and staff, which she said made the initial decision. The administration supported the farm crew’s decision, Putnam said."

The president is paranoid (and perhaps psychopathic) in making Green Mountain College the victim, when the criticism from "outside" is about GMC's needless cruelty to its working animals — hardly the work of "extremist groups", who are "threatening" the "processing" only with publicity. It should be noted that it was GMC alumni who, when they were told of their college's plans for Bill and Lou, called animal rights groups, particularly Green Mountain Animal Defenders, who then sought a sanctuary to offer retirement. VINE Sanctuary, the only one in Vermont, was one of those that responded.

As for the "ethics of sending draft animals to slaughter discussion", that is not an exercise in ethics at all, but rather in excuse making for a decision already made.

Update, Nov. 12:  Fonteyn further illustrates his ever more evidently psychopathic paranoia in his Nov. 11 announcement that Lou had been killed early that morning:
As reported in my October 31 email to the community, our original timetable was disrupted by outside organizations seeking to appropriate the images of the oxen for their extremist agendas, including the abolition of animal agriculture. Without shame, these groups harassed and threatened local slaughterhouses, making it impossible for them to accept our animals, and therefore for us to carry out our decision expeditiously. Despite our attempts to use the most humane and local options available, one of the only Animal Welfare Approved slaughterhouses in the area was forced to cancel our appointment as a result of these hostile threats. Some individuals associated with these efforts have even discussed giving drugs to our animals, which would render the meat unacceptable for human consumption.

... Bill will not be sent to a sanctuary but will stay on Cerridwen Farm and will be cared for in a manner that follows sustainable, humane livestock practices, as is the case with all of our animals. We take responsibility for our animals on the farm--it is an obligation we will not ask others to bear.

I know at times the attention has been harsh and unfair, but it has also provided a platform to present some of the best aspects of Green Mountain College: our intellectual courage to squarely examine moral dilemmas, our values of sustainability, and our commitment to discourse over doctrine. I am proud of how GMC students have engaged with colleagues and with people outside our community in mature, thoughtful, and civil ways. ... [emphases added]
1. It was GMC alumni, not "outsiders", who raised the alarm. In any case, a college is not an ivory tower. GMC's focus, sustainability, is not normally considered in terms of "us-versus-them" survivalism, but indeed is concerned the larger community.

2. It is not extremist, but normal practice, to retire rather than slaughter work animals.

3. The only "harassment" of slaughterhouses was in the number of calls from around the world asking them to not accept these oxen. The only threats were of bad publicity. Although many of those concerned are vegan and indeed would like to see the end of animal agriculture, many are not. Moreover, vegans are not delusional that animal agriculture is going to end any time soon and therefore advocated only for Bill and Lou, not, e.g., to abolish GMC's home-grown beef project. Yet it is not "extremist" to seek the abolition of animal agriculture. Along the interest that GMC purports to pursue, the U.N. has warned that animal agriculture is a major contributor of greenhouse gases and a misappropriation of resources. It is neither sustainable nor humane.

4. The response to GMC's determination to slaughter Bill and Lou despite offers of sanctuary has been deservedly harsh and not unfair. Despite Fonteyn's closing words, he and other administrators and faculty have been exposed as intellectually lazy cowards, committed not to honest discourse but indeed to self-serving — inflexible and therefore inhumane — doctrine.

5. Many of the students have proved to be infantile, idiotic, and insulting, so Fonteyn's pride is clearly only in their firm backing of him. Because he, too, is clearly infantile, idiotic, and insulting. His language is the lashing out of an abuser found out.

Update, Jan. 16, 2013:  Apparently still hoping to kill Bill, "farm" director Philip Ackerman-Leist, assistant "farm" manager Baylee Rose Drown, and student Meiko Lunetta pled before the Vt. House Committee on Agriculture on Tuesday for "protection" from the outrage provoked by their needless (and heedless) cruelty in refusing offers of sanctuary for their hardworked and beloved oxen to instead sell them for dog food.

As comments below the story indicate, the logic is: a) GMC is trying to get away from factory farming; and b) Bill and Lou are/were not on a factory farm; so c) it is/was necessary to kill Bill and Lou. The corollary is that anyone with a different conclusion from (c) is therefore against (a). And because (a) is inarguably good, anyone asking for compassion toward Bill and Lou is inarguably bad. It's madness, really.

human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, Vermont