January 24, 2013

Let’s cry for the oxen, not for Green Mountain College

To the Editor, Valley News:

Lisa Rathke's Associated Press story about Green Mountain College (GMC) representatives presenting their case to the Vermont House Committee on Agriculture (“College Pleas for Vt. Aid in Ox Crisis,” Jan. 17) shows how unwilling they still are to take any responsibility for the consequences of their decision to kill the hardworked and beloved oxen Bill and Lou.

It was the cold heartlessness of that decision that outraged first some of GMC’s own students and alumni, and then as the news got out, so many people around the world, especially as the college adamantly refused offers of sanctuary and even monetary compensation to let Bill and Lou live out their lives in peaceful retirement with attentive veterinary care.

In response, the college only invited more outrage: by smearing as “extremists” all those asking them to show mercy; by responding to the offer of sanctuary for these two special oxen as a threat to all animal agriculture; and by characterizing the resulting publicity as “terrorizing” them.

This was a crisis of their own making, in both the inhumane decision itself and the paranoid and misplaced sense of victimization that this latest “plea” exemplifies. GMC’s quest for absolution and vindication only reminds the world — and perhaps themselves — of their guilt.

One hopes that someone on the Committee kindly suggested that they might stop being so childishly stubborn and show some human kindness: and let Bill, who they have not killed yet, retire to a sanctuary.

Eric Rosenbloom and Joanna Lake

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, Vermont