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