Happy Groundhog Day! Now get outta here, varmint!

Groundhog Day: A one day party…then business as usual. Trap shown is a #110 body gripping device (single spring); a double spring #160 or #220 is recommended for living, sentient groundhogs.

Pity Marmota monax–celebrated one day of the year in a fun but meaningless ritual for the amusement of the human species, persecuted the rest of the year as a pest, perhaps served up as a menu item at the Roadkill Grill.

Some interesting facts you might not have known about groundhogs (also known as woodchucks), who are members of the squirrel family: they are true hibernators, often constructing a separate winter burrow below the frost line for a consistent, above-freezing temperature; they hibernate three to six months, depending on their location; when hibernating, groundhogs coil themselves into tight balls with head resting on abdomen and hind legs and tail wrapped over the top of the head. They are excellent swimmers and tree-climbers. When frightened, the hairs on their tail stand up. As far as we know, they do not chuck any quantity of wood, rendering the famous question moot.

Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania, the most famous groundhog, boasts his own website. (Phil has a regional compatriot in Georgia and a Canadian counterpart, Wiarton Willie, in Ontario.) Unlike his wild brethren, Phil doesn’t get to hibernate, rather living the cushy life

according to the Punxsutawney Spirit. Nonetheless, Phil has heard The Call of the Wild in time past, attempting to escape to life as nature intended. Well, you know what they say–you can take the groundhog out of the wild, but you can’t et cetera. Thankfully, Phil’s life doesn’t depend upon his predictions; the furry faux forecaster is at 39% accuracy predicting spring’s arrival, according to the Stormfax Almanac.

The downside to life as a February 2nd icon

But it’s a one-day party (unless you wake up in a Bill Murray movie) after which human revelers go their merry way. Then it’s back to business-as-usual for ordinary Phil and Phyllis groundhogs, considered varmints and pests, targets of sport and recreation, subjects of medical research. Yes, that’s right–medical research. I was blissfully unaware of this until Wikipedia enlightened me: Woodchucks are used in medical research on hepatitis B-induced liver cancer. When infected with Woodchuck Hepatitis B virus they are at 100% risk for developing liver cancer, making them a good model for testing Hepatitis B and liver cancer therapies.

An internet search reveals that Cornell University played a major role in groundhog research in the mid ’90s. A light-hearted piece (Cornell Chronicle, 2/1/96) touts the benefits derived from Cornell’s research and notes that “the breeding stock for the Cornell colony were caught in the wilds of upstate New York, beginning in 1979.” Continuing,

Ha ha! Don’t you love research animal humor?!? But seriously, what if you can’t raise your own research colony? Go shopping! Northeastern Wildlife(“Specializing in pre-clinical research using non-traditional animal models of human disease”) offers both captive-born and wild-caught woodchucks, the latter being the more popular model because “it is usually much more cost-effective to use wild-caught animals as these are more available and less expensive than captive-born and infected animals.”

Enlightened humans with groundhog issues (garden sampling and foundation digging are biggies) are likely to live trap them, while the less compassionate use body gripping traps, foothold traps, snares, and “fumigants.” One such is the Giant Destroyer rodent-killing gas stick, which “easily penetrates deep in tunnels and burrows” with sulphur gas, but “does not harm lawns, plants and trees.”

Of course, bow hunting and shooting groundhogs not only dispatches them to Kingdom Come, but provides endless hours of sport, fun, and boasting. Check out Varmints for Fun, a website whose purpose is “to educate and let the world know the fun of varmint hunting. Groundhogs are my specialty…” This Virginia gentleman also shoots foxes, coyotes, and crows, and posts “dead varmint” pictures, including one whose entrails are blown out (titled “Gutless”) and a baby groundhog whose head was blown off (titled “Poor little headless pig”). If, after viewing, you have the urge to contact him with your, uh, concerns, first check out his hate mail link–your message has probably already been delivered in clear, concise language by someone else.

And when all else fails, you can always catch a groundhog by hand–here’s a tutorial. Happy Groundhog Day–see you at the festivities!

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This post also appears at Animal Blawg, where comments are accepted.

Of bison and betrayal | Other Nations

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Perfectly formed–just weeks from birth–a bison calf fetus still attached to the womb is discarded by treaty hunters and left with mom’s gut pile just north of Yellowstone. Buffalo Field Campaign photo; click image.

Anyone who’s ever carried a wild bison’s heart into a governor’s office belongs to a small and select club. James St. Goddard, a Blackfeet spiritual leader from Montana, is the latest inductee, and–for all I know–the only member. Mr. St. Goddard appeared at the state capitol earlier this month to protest the latest twist in the ongoing injustice that passes for wild bison management in Montana: Tribal people, hunting under treaty rights, are conducting springtime hunts that kill pregnant bison carrying fully-formed fetuses. Dead moms mean dead babies–discarded along with mom’s gut pile.

It’s a sad fact. Some tribal people have joined forces with state and federal government agencies to do the dirty work of Montana’s livestock industry: reducing the already-small population of wild bison to a politically-derived number (as low as 3000 animals) under the farcical guise of disease management. While I won’t speculate on their motives, one can’t help but observe that the tribes are also enthusiastically getting a piece of the slaughter action. Yes, not only are tribal people hunting bison into the springtime birthing season–they’ve also hauled captive animals directly from Yellowstone National Park to tribal slaughter facilities. Seems like an odd way for a sacred relationship to play out.

So how did such a stunning betrayal come about? Like everything else related to this complex and deplorable issue, easy answers don’t exist, and finding a way through the bureaucratic iron curtain sometimes requires a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. That’s where the bison defenders at Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) come in.

The road to slaughter starts at home

If there’s one word to keep in mind, it’s politics. Politics–not science–drives the management of bison in Montana via the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), an indefensible, rancher-serving plan based on control of brucellosis, a nonfatal disease that bison have never transmitted to cattle in the wild. The betrayal of America’s last pure, wild, and most genetically-diverse bison begins with the state and federal entities that signed on to the plan, including those directly charged with protecting them: employees of Yellowstone National Park. These public servants round up and herd their charges into a capture facilitywithin park boundaries near the Gardiner, MT entrance and the tribes take it from there:

Prior to this year–the first that tribes have conducted slaughter operations–IBMP partners exterminated some 4500 bison, snuffing out diverse and pure wild genes forever. BFC filed a FOIA with Yellowstone, learning that the park approached the tribes several years ago regarding a slaughter agreement–first meeting with the InterTribal Buffalo Council, a bison ranching collective of 56 tribes in 19 states. With the ITBC on board, CSKT perceived a turf war (not all tribes in the ITBC are buffalo cultures, nor did all traditionally use the Yellowstone area) and jumped onboard the slaughter train, as did the Nez Perce. When all was said and done, out of some 450 bison captured by Yellowstone, the ITBC had hauled 157 to slaughter; CSKT, 101. An unknown number was released, and others were taken hostage by USDA-APHIS to serve as research subjects for the chemical pesticide birth control GonaCon. Capture/slaughter activities ceased the day after a bison defender blockaded the road to the bison capture pen (video).

Hunted without habitat: a Montana tradition

When bison step over the invisible park boundary into Montana, they instantly become “big game animals” even though they’ve been tolerated only on a limited basis and without permanently-designated habitat by this livestock-dominated state. The state hunting season runs from Nov. 15 to Feb. 15 (read my account of monitoring the first reinstated bison hunt in 2005); this year, 31 bison were killed. Native American treaty hunts account for another 291 animals, and that number will continue to grow–and include the uncounted fetal calves who won’t live to see their world. While no one is disputing the fact that treaties must be honored,

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The little calf fetus is dwarfed by his/her mom’s gut pile. BFC photo.

The four tribes hunting bison (CSKT, Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Shoshone-Bannock) set their own hunting dates “not with biology or science or population health/dynamics in mind, but with interest from tribal members. If more people are interested, more tags are issued. If more buffalo are on the landscape, more will be killed” (from BFC correspondence). CSKT is done hunting in January, but the other tribes take advantage of the late winter/early spring migration, leaving gut piles containing the next generation of Yellowstone bison. It was this late-season hunting that prompted James St. Goddard to carry the heart of a slain, pregnant cow to Helena, the state capitol. His act prompted angry words from the Nez Perce tribal chairman, who added that “although the killing of pregnant female bison is not his tribe’s preference, the Montana Department of Livestock wants to stop the spread of brucellosis to domestic cattle” (source).

Let’s be clear: The tribes are assuredly not more responsible for this wildlife debacle than are the state and federal IBMP partners. They’ve apparently been convinced (or have chosen to believe) that there are “too many bison”–for indeed, this slaughter looks more like a population cull than anything else–and that “disease management” is something more valid than just a trumped up excuse to kill migratory wildlife.

It takes a strong heart to walk into a state capitol toting a bison heart and bearing a solemn message: Let this ancient buffalo herd regenerate itself. James St. Goddard has that heart. It takes a strong heart to block the road to slaughter with one’s body; it takes a strong heart to witness the tragedy of slaughter, document it, and tell the world. The bison defenders at BFC have that heart (please, please support this VERY grassroots organization with donations!).

Without doubt, it takes the strongest heart of all to withstand the rending of family, the death of herdmates, the indignity of capture, the terrifying ride to slaughter, and the terror of hazing–that particular hell is still to come.

It takes a bison heart.
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  • Book: “In the presence of buffalo: Working to stop the Yellowstone slaughter,” here.
  • Read James St. Goddard’s appeal to all tribes for a bison hunting moratorium, here.
  • InterTribal Buffalo Council’s rationalization for participating in the slaughter, here.

Comment on this post at animal law blogAnimal Blawg.

Harming animals to help humans: When charity isn’t charitable redux

Impala & friend – click image

Can the act of killing an animal in Africa help addicted, teen mothers in Montana? Sadly, yes. That’s just the crazy, speciesist world we live in–the one created by us, for us.

Though humans today and forever have found divisions–think race, religion, country, tribe–over which to oppress and kill each other, one thing that unites us categorically is our species, particularly in relation to other animals. It’s us against them, or us over them–the human animal lording it over all “lower” animals. Except for those who have value to us as “pets,” the idea of noblesse oblige doesn’t cross species lines. What some of us recognize as brutal, self-serving exploitation of the other animal nations is seen, by many others, as the natural, beneficial order of things. Ain’t that how it goes with the privileged class?!?

Privileged class perspective: the natural, beneficial order of things

I first examined the topic of uncharitable charity in an October 2011 post. In that piece, fly fishing was the vehicle of charitable action benefiting both breast cancer patients and war veterans. Benevolence is not truly served, I suggested, when peace and healing for one come at the cost of pain and terror for another. The “fight” at the end of the fishing line is, after all, “sport” for only one of the parties, and fish are sentient.

Ad: “A Most Extraordinary African Experience!”

The small display ad has appeared in our local paper a couple of times now, featuring a fully-maned African lion. “African safari hunt raffle…Drawing July 4…Tickets $50 each. All proceeds to benefit Teen Challenge Montana Outreach.” It was impossible to forget (given the gnashing of teeth or the giddy anticipation–depending on one’s politics) that Teen Challenge was the organization that brought Sarah Palin to Missoula for a fundraiser back in September 2010. Her wildly-successful, sold-out appearance raised $130,000 for the Christ-centered, residential shelter for young mothers with addictions to drugs or alcohol. Sarah Palin…a safari hunt…it all made perfect sense. (Watch Palin kill a caribou.)

Blesbuck; Creative Commons – click image for more photos

The lucky raffle ticket holder will win a seven-day hunt for two accompanied by a professional hunter with the guarantee of two dead animals: one blesbuck antelope and one impala. A raffle ticket pictured at the website indicates that NB Safaris of South Africa (“the trophy hunters (sic) dream”) is the means to this deadly end.

“It is possible to purchase more animals for your safari,” reads the fine print at Teen Challenge Montana Outreach. If you care to go window shopping at NB Safaris, you’ll see that you can purchase a primate–a chacma baboon–for your trophy collection (peruse all the species available here). Perhaps a giraffe or zebra is more your style: “With it’s (sic) whitish or cream coat with black stripes, the zebra certainly is a unique and spectacular trophy to have, and a must have is certainly a zebra flat skin for the trophy room.”

As I wrote in that first go-round, acts of charity are so vital and often so selfless that there’s a degree of discomfort in holding up for examination a charitable endeavor even when it relies on the exploitation of nonhuman animals. You can pretty much anticipate the umbrage rolling your way for daring to question fundraising that will benefit troubled human beings. The implications include the ideas that a) you care more about animals than people, and b) the value of animals’ lives is in how they can serve humans; taking their lives is more than a fair trade in helping people.

I have no end of gratitude for the people working to get young women and families on a healthy, productive, addiction-free path. In numerous social service and teaching jobs, I’ve seen my share of troubled and/or disadvantaged kids as well as those from families ravaged by addiction. I know how important this work is.

But in this case and all cases that exploit animals for charity–no matter how admirable and essential the goal–the end doesn’t justify the means. Not because the end isn’t worthy–but because the means aren’t necessary. Only in our crazy, speciesist world do we find ourselves asking the bizarrely incongruous question, Why must animals in Africa die so that troubled, teenaged moms in Montana can live free of addiction?
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Related: A report published this year by Economists at Large (Melbourne, AU) finds that the trophy hunting industry grossly overstates hunting’s economic benefits to people in rural, African communities:

“Non-consumptive nature tourism–like wildlife viewing and photo safaris–is a much greater contributor than trophy hunting to both conservation and the economy in Africa. If trophy hunting and other threats continue depleting Africa’s wildlife, then Africa’s wildlife tourism will disappear. That is the real economic threat to the countries of Africa” (source).

Comment on the post at animal law blog Animal Blawg.

Rabbit ranching: Pat the bunny, whack the bunny

Easter morning dawned bright and beautiful in Western Montana. I glanced out the window and there sat Sylvilagus nuttallii, the mountain cottontail. Though our mostly-wild, predominantly-native property is perfect habitat, rabbits don’t show themselves readily, and the sighting was a special treat. I mean, who doesn’t love a bunny?!? Then I recalled the day a few years back when we heard gun shots across the road and saw the neighbor throw a limp body from his then-unfenced garden. No, not everyone loves a bunny.

Later, relaxing with the Sunday paper, a feel-good Easter story about a “bunny rancher” left me feeling decidedly bad. “I only have three Easter bunnies left right now,” the breeder told the reporter. “This time of year, they go as fast as I can make them.”

Rabbitron – click

They go as fast as I can make them. Look, that’s fine when you’re talking about rabbit-shaped cakes or crocheted stuffed bunnies–but living, sentient beings?!? Does she know that rabbits require a 10- year-plus commitment and regular veterinary care? That they’re the third most surrendered animal in humane shelters? That most Easter rabbits are relinquished to shelters or abandoned within the year? That “many shelters euthanize rabbits in percentages as high as 80-90% of incoming rabbits” (source)? More importantly, do the buyers know this? And does anybody care?

We also learn from this enthusiastic member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) that “there’s a whole world out there that cares a lot about rabbits”; “they’re a lot of fun to have around”; “they are incredibly smart, you know” (she goes on to inform that rabbits can be clicker trained and can run agility courses); and that “people interested in rabbits are just like those who like horses, dogs or cats. They are really passionate about them.” Then–more ominously– “they can be used for so many different things.”

Uh-oh. Could it be that serving as an oft-discarded, living toy presented in a colorful basket is not a bunny’s only worry?

The three S’s: Slippers, supper, & survival

The rabbit breeder–who credits 4-H for everything she knows about rabbits–shows the reporter an animal with velvety fur. “People like using their fur for slippers and hats,” she tells him. “some use it for fly tying, too. It is so incredibly soft.” Then there’s meat:

But wait, it goes south from there. Bunny Rancher has sold her fun, smart, passionately-cared-about animals to the U.S. Air Force, which, according to the article, “used the rabbits in survival training for pilots in Spokane”:

C. Murdock photo-click for credit

Just last year, a commenter at an online military forum wrote, “My brother is an A-10 pilot, he said the hardest thing he had to do at SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) was skin and prepare a rabbit. I asked him how he caught the rabbit, and he said ‘they brought them to us in the field..in cages.’” A follow-up response offered, “We got our choice, rabbit or chicken. They had a single goat to demonstrate for the whole class” (source).

Absent in these accounts is the method by which these docile, defenseless, domestic animals are killed, but an update to Project Censored’s top 25 unreported stories for the year 2000 reveals,

Rabbits: Much like humans…nothing like humans

At the ARBA website’s frequently-asked-questions page, one question reads, “What breed is best for me and my children?” The answer begins by acknowledging that “rabbits…are much like humans, in that each has their own disposition, characteristics, and temperament.” A subsequent question in the commercial section asks, “How long will it take for fryers to reach 5 pounds?” You’ll find no mention of similarity to humans in that answer, but still, the disconnect is enough to knock you to your knees.

Then there are those for whom no disconnect exists because animals are strictly commodities. At the Instructables website (…a place that lets you explore, document, and share your creations), you can learn to make a rabbit fur hat from scratch (meaning you start with a live rabbit) from instructors who maintain that,

And, of course, fur–and for $80, these off-the-grid folks will even make a rabbit fur Kindle cover for you–but back to the hat tutorial. Within the 61 comments posted, one from the instructors notes, “Our rabbits are raised sustainably and butchered humanely. We strive to provide them an excellent life, as healthy and happy animals produce higher quality products.”

What does all this say about the human psyche? For people who identify as ethical vegans, animal rights proponents, or simply compassionate humans, there’s no question that the purposeful creation, exploitation, and intentional destruction of sentient life is wrong. (Line up here to pat the bunny!) The Instructables folks are unapologetically whack the bunny and make no bones about it: their rabbits are treated well because it benefits the bottom line. They’re honest, even if–from a rights perspective–they’re wrong. Still, one wonders how the growing body of science on animal consciousness and emotions fits into their scheme–if at all. Another commenter advises, “Don’t let the ‘moral high ground’ ding dongs bother you.” Maybe for some it’s really just that easy.

But it’s the bunny ranchers of the world whom I find most troubling in their easy accommodation of patting with one hand while whacking with the otherextolling the virtues of an animal about whom they’re passionate (they’re fun! so smart! all individuals!) while making fryers of those unique, little individuals and selling them off to the military as survival projects. There’s something so unsettling about the human animal there–something fraught with what looks like effortless betrayal.

And why not. Humans have, throughout history, willingly betrayed and persecuted our own species for money and for power over the ones deemed “other.” How easy (and convenient) it is to categorically see all nonhuman animals–sentience be damned–as the no-account “other” and trade their lives for pieces of silver.

Perhaps exactly this is what separates the moral high ground ding dongs from the whack the bunny crowd.
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Rabbit advocacy: Rabbitron; House Rabbit Society; and many wonderful others
Also: Regulating the Military’s Survival Skills Training Under the Animal Welfare Act, 2001, Animal Legal & Historical Center, Michigan State University

Comment on this post at animal law blog Animal Blawg.

All factory, no farm: And the CAFOs go rolling along

imagesThe human population in Montana hit the one million mark early in January. Of the 50 states, the Treasure State ranks 44th in population, fourth in area. There’s a lot of “there” out there under the Big Sky, and elbow room enough at roughly seven humans per square mile. We like it that way.

But the folks in rural Shelby, Montana (pop. 3500+) will have a million new squealing neighbors to cozy-up to if Gov. Brian Schweitzer prevails in talks with Chinese capitalist investors. Sure, a $150 million hog processing plant will bring jobs, but given what is well documented about factory farms, it will also bring tons of unwanted baggage in water pollution, air pollution, surface contamination, a host of human ailments including asthma, headaches, skin and eye irritation, and worse–much worse. Just ask the residents in south central Michigan, who now issue “stench alerts” thanks to the numerous CAFOs operating near Hudson, MI.

“Bakerlads manure stinks to high heaven in Clayton today,” reads one recent stench alert. And another: “Hartland Farms’ double-dumped manure fields stink again: they spread out the stockpiles at both field sites…sending a new flow of emissions into neighbors’ houses. Eye-watering, forced window-shutting, gag-inducing emissions.” More: “Heavy rains overnight has led to ponding in many manure fields…manure runoff is flowing down a road to a ditch in the South Branch of the River Raisin watershed.” Sound like a neighborhood you’d want to live in? Me neither.

All factory, no farm

Concentrate thousands of animals in an industrial setting–800,000 pigs annually in Shelby’s case should it come to pass (1.2 million according to industry news site SwineWeb,and possibly as many as a mind-blowing 2.4 million according to the Shelby Promoter)–and manure is the going, growing concern. Benign poop dropped here and there to fertilize daisies this is not. CAFOs produce oceans of toxic, liquified manure containing “ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, cyanide, phosphorus, nitrates and heavy metals. In addition, the waste nurses more than 100 microbial pathogens that can make humans sick, including salmonella, cryptosporidium, streptococci and giardia,” according to Jeff Tietz, author of a compelling, horrifying read, “Boss Hog” (Rolling Stone magazine, Dec. 2006; mega-CAFO Smithfield Foods’ rebuttal here).

Factory farming is really all factory and no farm, with emphasis on turning out maximum production units (otherwise known as animals) at the least cost. This translates into horrific physical and mental suffering for sentient pigs, poultry, and cattle, but there’s no money in worrying about that. Mitch Daniels, who took the helm as Indiana’s governor in 2005, earned himself a Meritorious Service Award from the Indiana Pork Producers in 2011 for his vow to double pork production. According to Hat Chat, “the official blog of Hoosier Ag Today,” “Daniels drew rousing applause when he told the group of livestock and grain producers that he was a Governor that loved pigs.” We assume he meant “love” in the economic–not the emotional–sense, since no one with an actual heart would wish the cruel suffering of a CAFO life and death on a pig–or any animal.

If Gov. Schweitzer has his way with Shelby, neighbors will not only have processing plant jobs to look forward to, but others might have opportunities to learn new job skills as public watchdogs, organizers, bloggers, stench alerters, and such. Just as the Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan organized under the banner Save Our Rural Communities – No CAFOs, Indiana CAFO Watch sprung up to “…prevent pollution and protect our valuable resources.”

And then there’s North Carolina, where more than a billion fish have died in the Neuse River since the advent of industrial hog production (scroll down at that link for pictures). Writing in the Blog for Rural America, Steph Larsen toured Duplin County, NC, home to the state’s highest concentration of hog CAFOs:

In Montana’s case, the suffering and sacrificing, should it materialize, will allow the Chinese to “be inspired” to eat more pork. Says SwineWeb: “Schweitzer said that several of the state’s approximately 50 commercial-scale producers are planning to expand if the facility is built. Currently the state’s pork producers send most of their hogs to California and Utah for processing. ‘These producers would become much larger, much more cost-competitive,’ Schweitzer said.” Ain’t that just how it goes? Let one CAFO in and there goes the neighborhood.

But CAFOs spawn more than “just” animal and human suffering and environmental devastation. They game the system to gain huge advantage over the Little People. Back home again in Indiana,

The real kicker? Rep. Friend owns a hog CAFO! (I absolutely am not making that up.) “This sends a strong message to trial judges that CAFOs are to be protected,” said Kim Ferraro, water and agricultural policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council. “It adds a whole other level of threat to taking action against a CAFO. It would have a chilling effect.” Ferraro, according to an IndyStar editorial, “…has had some success representing poor clients pro bono against CAFOs. She says she would not advise them to sue if HB 1091 became law.” And according to the StarPress, another similar bill (SB 0184) “…would make it illegal to surreptitiously take video while visiting an agricultural operation.” Ag gag rides again.

Janet and Marjorie, two unassuming Hoosier women in Claypool (pop. 340 in 2009) tell a snippet of their story in a two-minutes-plus video filmed on the porch of a rural Kosciusko County home 50 miles west of Fort Wayne. It’s impossible to miss the David and Goliath dimensions of their situation–humble taxpayers engulfed by corporate hog factories, talking of health horrors and water woes. They seem beaten down but not beaten. One reveals that “they”–state officials they’ve appealed to for help–“keep suggesting that we have our water tested and our houses appraised…people don’t have the money to do that kind of stuff.”

But according to Gov. Mitch Daniels, those who were critical of his plan to double hog production are terrorists– “eco-terrorists” (not sure if that qualifier hurts or helps). His Big Ag allies at the Animal Agriculture Alliance even found a way to insinuate an outlandish Al-Qaeda link to further tarnish the efforts of hard-working rural people fighting to protect their lives, investments, and resources. Despicable? Yes, and it reeks of hysterical desperation.

If Gov. Schweitzer’s hog heaven is built in the Treasure State, will the Janets and Marjories of Shelby one day find themselves the subjects of a video chronicling a similar desperate plight? Whether they’ll be branded eco-terrorists remains to be seen, but given that the industry they’ll be fighting wreaks suffering, death, and destruction on animals, people, and the Earth, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind who the real terrorists are.
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See also: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: What are the Potential Community Costs?

This post first appeared at animal law blog Animal Blawg, where comments are accepted. It was updated 2/19.