The Food Industry And What They Don’t Want You To Know!

superstock_1538r-7008Lets take a long look into centuries of food industry practices. Practices which began innocently enough, but, in many instances have developed into a dark and dangerous business; endangering the planet and it’s inhabitants!

The food industry continually strives to cut costs and expenses in order to increase profit; they hypnotizie the population with their glossy color ads and their promise of miracle foods’; all the while their GREED seeps in a sea of muck! This will become very clear if you are brave enough to follow the slippery trail.

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Jackey: Dog of India

In Pune India, about 160 kilometers southeast of the state capital, Mumbai, Suman, a widowed wife and a mother of three children, supports herself and her family by working as house help and also works in a bricklin (a place that bakes bricks).

About 25 years back her brother got her a little brown puppy to keep away thieves. The entry of the little puppy brought so much joy into their lives. They named him ”Jackey”.

Jackey Had Great Responsibility

Jackey was a puppy with a lot of responsibility. Every morning he used to follow Suman’s children to school; escort them to the gate and also escort them back from school. The children say he used to come and wait near the school gate at 6pm and time to go back home. They wonder how he knew the correct time; Jackey never came by the school at odd hours.

This was his regular duty inspite of being troubled by the stray dogs in that locality. Jackey also knew the time Suman left from the bricklin, he call on  her too. Everybody there including Suman’s master used to say ”Your joker has come to call on you.” After his dinner he used to go and wait for the arrival of Suman’s brother.

Home Cooking Feeds The Soul

He used to eat one big brown home-cooked bread with a bowl of milk and on days when Suman could not afford milk she used to give him water with sugar; he never complained. She says he ate only once during the day and if you try to feed him more, he would not eat.

Next he comes by around 6.30 for his fill and he needs to eat hot food always. As soon as he listens to the ice cream man ringing the bells he’ll pull Suman towards the van to eat ice-cream his favourite treat. Everytime he got hungry he use to open his mouth indicating that he was hungry. Continue reading

Wild Horses

Wild HorsesWild Horses

“My face up against the glass. I’m looking out. Is this my life I’m wondering. It happened so fast. How do I turn this thing around. Is this the bed I chose to make. Its greener pastures I’m thinking about. Wide open spaces far away. All I want is the wind in my hair to face the fear but, not feel scared. Wild horses I wanna be like you. Throwing caution to the wind. I’ll run free too. Wish I could recklessly love, like I’m longing to. I want to run with the wild horses, run with the wild horses!

I see the girl I wanna be. Riding bare back, care free along the shore If only that someone was me. Jumping head first head long without a thought. To act and damn the consequence. How I wish it could be that easy. But fear surrounds me like a fence. I wanna break free. All I want is the wind in my hair. To face the fear but, not feel scared.

Wild horses I wanna be like you. Throwing caution to the wind, I’ll run free too. Wish I could recklessly love, like I’m longing to. I wanna run with the wild horses, run with the wild horses!

I wanna run too. Breathlessly abandoning my self before you. I wanna open up my heart tell him how I feel. Wild horses I wanna be like you
Throwing caution to the wind. I’ll run free too. Wish I could recklessly love, like I’m longing to. I wanna run with the wild horses, run with the wild horses!

I wanna run with the wild horses.”

– Natasha Bedingfield Lyrics


Winter, Water and our Animal Friends

Winter Hiking

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The winter season in Colorado can be dry and brittle…thirst is always a factor. Moisture evaporates fast. I’m so grateful for indoor plumbing…turning on the faucet and having clear, clean and cool water fill a glass is wonderful! When I fill my glass, I’ve made a habit of checking my furry friend’s water dish

Animals can loose all of their fat and half of their protein and survive. However, if they loose only 10 % of body water, serious illness can occur. If you can feel a dryness in your mouth, dehydration has begun. Our animal friends get just as thirsty as we do. A dog or cat can become dehydrated in only a few hours if fresh water is not present. I keep three dishes of water in my house and two outside.

I recently learned something from my vet. If I feel the inside of my Pieper’s gums are dry, it’s a clue that she is dehydrated; if moist she is fine.

How Much Water?

Water constitutes 84% of a newborn puppy and 60% of an adult dog. Water is necessary for almost every function in an animals body. Hot temperatures and exercise or nursing will also increase the needed amount of water two or three times above normal. Don’t take water for granted, provide access to water at all times! Also, considering the huge quantity and importance of water consumed in a lifetime it is important that the quality of the water is the best possible. I have a water filter on my faucet; Peiper drinks filtered water at home.

Animals need to consume 2.5 times the amount of water, as its daily intake of food. If an animal eats 2 lbs. of dry food it should consume 5 lbs. of water. (There are 8 lbs. in a gallon.) If he eats 4 oz. of dry food, he should drink 10 ounces of water (11/4 cup). Continue reading

Education: Where Every Trail Begins

Where Every Trail Begins

Responsibility to our Community

is my ‘civic duty’; your ‘civic duty’. It is each person’s responsibility to understand the social, economic, cultural and environmental issues which face their community; and be involved at some level to meet those responsibilities. Casting a vote, is one single act of this responsibility…however, it must not end there! Government creates a foundation for our communities; people build the rest.

In the words of Anna Lord,  2008 candidate for Colorado State Representative.

“Colorado’s children need a first class higher education system. For many years, Colorado’s higher education system has been strip-mined of resources, leading to higher tuition rates and decreased financial aid. I will support the investment in our higher education system not only to protect the future of our children, but also to ensure the future prosperity of our economy.”

Unfortunately, Anna did not win the election.  I hope she will run again. She is an individual who will work towards putting Education in it’s proper priority!  And I promise to participate on some level to make sure I do my share in this enormous responsibility to our community.

Clear Direction

I like the direction Anna wants to take Colorado. Putting education at the forefront shows she understands the proper priority for our community and society as a whole.  All governments’ need to invest in the highest level of education for every individual. We need to shift our priorities; placing education at the top! Continue reading

911: Canine Leads Man to Safety

Dorado was lying under his blind master’s desk on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower when the plane hit. Glass and flying debre was everywhere. Chaos surrounded them. Omar Eduardo Rivera knew he was doomed. There is know way he could manuver through the chaos. The kindest thing he thought was to free Dorado. He released Dorado from his harness. Minutes later he felt a fuzzy brush on his leg and Dorado nudged him and lead Eduardo to the hall and stairwell.

In the stairwell Eduardo found a co-worker and together the three journeded for over an hour down the stairwell.

Faithful Dog Leads Blind Man 70 Floors Down WTC Just Before Tower Collapses!

Photo Credit:

Mr. Rivera and a little hero.
(Photo: REUTERS / Caracol Tv)

Aphrodite: Feline Extraordinare

She lived dispite a hole in her heart!When I first met Aphrodite she was up for grabs; a ‘Nine Lives Rescue’ service feline. She was scrawny and lanky; where did she get such a big name, as clearly she was not the pick of the litter. She was maybe a year or so old. As I had no specific breed of cat in mind; just that it  had to be a female and have short hair.  Not yet aware of her extraordinary nature, I took her home without having the appropriate appreciation.

My veterinarian discovered a fairly large hole in Aphrodite’s heart and proclaimed she may not live long. I accepted this news with mixed emotions and understood I would place no demands on her and take on the daunting responsibility of a life.

Given her heart diagnosis, Aphrodite’s tenacity came as a surprise: she made it immediately clear that she was queen! Who could argue! So I waited on her hand and foot; cleaned her toilet as if it were my own. Her independent nature was also a miraculous marvel; aloft on her throne (cat tree) she would observe her queendom. All but me and a few close human friends were kept at bay. Those who challenged her rule were met with swift and sometimes sharp reprimand.

During her seven years, the first six, she was the only feline in the house. Recently, sincing her time was near, I attempted to introduce two other cats; one at a time into our household. Of this, she was none too happy. My timing sucked in this regard. Aphrodite needed more, not less of my attention. I needed to be more attentive and affectionate; not less. I keep thinking Pieper needs more than my company…someone to play with…as I said, my timing was all wrong. Continue reading

Journeys With My Canine

Wilderness in Rocky Mountains

DEFINING WILDNESS AND HOWLING IN THE WILDERNESS

One evening, I went on a tiny journey with my canine Pieper: We ‘howled’ together and I watched as Pieper transformed. Her eyes got this untamed wildness in them. How exciting to see and hear the wildness in her. I felt pretty wild myself and wonder about this wildness. What does ‘wildness’ mean? Mariam Webster says to be ‘wild’ is: uncontrolled, unruly, stormy, fantastic, sensational and barbaric.

WHAT LURKS IN THE WILD?

Hmm, I do understand Webster’s perspective; however, what lurks in the ‘wild’ sometimes defies definition. I read about a cat named Oscar in a Providence, R.I. nursing home that has a sixth sense: Oscar can predict when a resident is about to pass away. Pets have extraordinary healing power. Our canines have the ability to know when someone is sick or dying, they sense our emotions. These areas of the ‘wild’ are more difficult to measure and define. I believe we have only scratched the surface of the secrets animals and nature hold.

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Plight of The Sumatran Tiger

TRAFFIC: CONSUMERS PARTNERS IN WILDLIFE CRIME

Today, the Sumatran tiger is being sold Body part by body part into extinction! The Sumatran tiger is listed as Critically Endangered on IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, the highest category of threat before extinction in the wild. “We cannot afford to lose any more of these magnificent creatures”, says Jane Smart, Head of IUCN’s Species Programme.TRAFFIC INDIA, the wildlife trade monitoring network says end consumers are as much partners in wildlife crime as those who deal in or hunt protected species of wildlife. TRAFFIC says:

Tiger body parts, including canine teeth, claws, skin pieces, whiskers and bones, were on sale in 10 percent of the 326 retail outlets surveyed during 2006 in 28 cities and towns across Sumatra. Outlets included goldsmiths, souvenir and traditional Chinese medicine shops, and shops selling antique and precious stones.

1467551-1304655-thumbnail.jpgHUMAN TIGER CONFLICTS

Dr Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF International’s Species Programme says this is an enforcement crisis.

Dr Tonny Soehartono, Director for Biodiversity Conservation, Ministry of Forestry of Republic of Indonesia. “We have been struggling with the issues of land use changes, habitat fragmentation, human-tiger conflicts and poverty in Sumatra. Land use changes and habitat fragmentation are driving the tiger closer to humans and thus creating human-tiger conflicts”.

HOW MANY LEFT?

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The latest report was launched the day after India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) announced an official estimate of 1,411 tigers currently surviving in the wild in India; more than 50 percent down from the previous census estimate of 3,642 tigers in 2001-02.

My heart aches when I look into the face of this animal. I want to scream and stomp! Stop it! My voice is so tiny; and when I think about the hundreds of environmental and animal organization, the thousands of scientists and animal advocates, all our resources and decades of time: how does the Sumatran tiger find itself at extinction’s door?

We have yet to find a balance between human social and economic development and the natural world. I do not argue that we need to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. However, I wonder about the planning we make to achieve the reduction of poverty and improve peoples lives. The Sumatran tiger is one in a long list of animals at the brink of extinction in our quest for human social and economic development.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

000_0194.jpgWhat can I do in my tiny spec of the world to save this incredible creature? What can you do? If you have an answer, please share it here, so I can spread the news to as many little bloggers as possible! Of course, dollars to any of the organizations mentioned above will help. And I’ll continue to monitor this story.

Cattle Abuse in Slaughterhouse

“LOS ANGELES – An undercover video showing crippled and sick animals being shoved with forklifts has led to the largest beef recall in the United States and a scramble to find out if any of the meat is still destined for school children’s lunches.”

Watching ‘NBC’s Today’ show about animal abuse in a slaughterhouse; I’m horrified! I’m reminded of Dr. Michael W. Fox and his work at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) where I was privileged to work along side Dr. Fox in a quest to identify humane sustainable agriculture practices for livestock and poultry.

I’d never thought much about what livestock and poultry go through before it gets to the table. But after I became acquainted with Dr. Fox; the horrific nature of ‘Factory Farming’ became very clear. The dark side of this seldom viewed industry made my mission to find sustainable practices in livestock and poultry rearing imperative and to look to a more vegetarian diet.

The live images screaming out of the television on NBC’s Today’ show were horrific, however, I’ve seen much worse. This is not one isolated case; I’ve seen more proof than anyone would care to see. People should be made to see more of where our food comes from; how it’s produced and how the animals are treated.

Wendell Berry writes:

An agriculture can not survive long at the expense of the natural systems that support it and the provide it with models. A Culture cannot survive long at the expense of either its agricultural or its natural sources. To live at the expense of the source of life is obviously suicidal. Though we have no choice but to live at the expense of other life, it is necessary to recognize the limits and dangers involved: past a certain point in a unified system, “other life” is our own.

The definitive relationships in the universe are thus not competitive but interdependent. And from a human point of view they are analogical. We can build one system only within another. We can have agriculture only within nature, and culture only within agriculture. At certain points these systems have to conform with one another or destroy one another.

Dr. Fox writes:

Currently agriculture, along with all the natural wisdom and empathy that our farmer-ancestors and earlier hunter-gatherers acquired (and, with such wisdom and empathy, were deeply religious), is being lost–to high-tech agribusiness. From culture to technocracy: from sensibility to money, power, and control. The evolution of factory farming is a natural consequence of our culture’s materialistic and objectifying attitude toward nature. Consequently, humanity no longer acts as part of a unified field of being. By not acting so, we destroy this unity, violating the ecological laws of nature and the ethical and spiritual principles of our forebears. Factory farming is a second Industrial Revolution.

Thanks to the national attention brought to us by the media and film taken by the HSUS; the images are a mere glimpse of the ‘tip of the iceberg’! This is NOT a single isolated case! The trail of farm animals on the way to our table tops is paved with misery and cruelty. I urge you to stop and think about the food choices you make. Do you really need to eat that ‘Whopper’ or ‘Mac burger’ everyday. Do you give a thought to the suffering of the animals who went into it? Pain and suffering went into the meat on your plate! Do you give a darn?! Would you dare take a close look at where they live; what they are fed; the medications they receive on a daily basis?

Stay tuned, I’m going to take you to the dark side of livestock and poultry rearing. I’ll also take you to the other side and introduce you to ranchers who rear livestock and poultry with respect. I’ll give you answers on what you can do to make change to your diet.