Raystede, described on its website as a “leading Centre for Animal Welfare”, justifies the selling of animal products in its cafe with the claim that they source “any meat and dairy from local, high welfare farming systems.” But can meat and dairy really ever be humane? Someone who should know the answer to that question is former cattle farmer, Harold Brown. The following is an excerpt from his essay on the Humane Myth website:
“I was born on an independent family cattle farm in south central Michigan, and I have spent over half of my life in agriculture. I started out as any farm kid does who has grown up around animals. There was an indoctrination involved as to how I should relate to farm animals. My indoctrination started with my parents, then family, then community, our church, 4-H, FFA, a land-grant college, and finally, the reinforcement of advertising on TV and elsewhere that portrayed meat, dairy, and eggs as essential to human wants and nutrition. With these influences, I hardly thought twice about the things I had to do on the farm: driving cattle, castrations, dehorning, and I did my fair share of butchering too. I also worked in the dairy industry for three years. All of these life experiences have been part of a journey that has taken me from thinking about farm animals in the context of animal husbandry and as commodities, to thinking about them as something more.
“I have often heard the word “humane” used in relation to meat, dairy, eggs, and other products like cosmetics. I have always found this curious, because my understanding is that humane means to act with kindness, tenderness, and mercy. I can tell you as a former animal farmer that while it may be true that you can treat a farm animal kindly and show tenderness toward them, mercy is a different matter. ….
“All my life I had observed the community that existed in a cow herd, how they grieved for a dead calf or herd mate that had been shot by a deer hunter. I had witnessed the joy a cow experiences when she is let out into a fresh new pasture or calves running and kicking up their heels with each other in the field. I now knew for certain that regardless of the rationalizations I had created, when I killed an animal and saw that light leave their eyes, by extinguishing that divine spark, I had broken a sacred trust.
“Nowadays I ask myself from both the perspective of the old me and the new me, what does humane mean in the way it is being used? The old me says, “That is an odd word to associate with meat, dairy, and eggs, but hey, if it sells more products, why not?” The new me asks, “Back in the day, I could, and did, raise animals with kindness and tenderness, but how did I show them mercy?” Mercy–a unique human trait of refraining from doing harm. I generally think of mercy as a blessing, too. Animals who are destined for an abbreviated life that ends in a violent death now called to my conscience and required me to show up, and where I could, show what little bit of mercy I can. Since I have made this conscious decision to show mercy, my life has been blessed a million, million times over and I have found a deep peace.
“If I was going to be true to myself and live to my full potential I had to reevaluate, think, and choose. I chose life. So no, in my experience, there is no such thing as humane animal products, humane transport or humane slaughter.”
Former cattle farmer and founder of farmkind.org (a resource for farmers who wish to make the transition from animal based to plant based agriculture).
Please sign and share this petition and email/write/phone Raystede to tell them that there is no such thing as humane animal products and therefore they are acting in breach of their own governing documents by serving them in their cafe and causing unnecessary suffering.
1.1 The objects of the charity are
(1) To prevent and relieve cruelty to animals and to protect them from unnecessary suffering …
To: Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare,
Telephone: (01825) 840252
Thank you so much