Caleb Hart, Contributing Writer
In “A Critical Mass for Real Food,” Anim Steel began with “The old logic of the slave plantation is still the logic of our industrial food system, 500 years in the making.”
The idea that a slave mentality is still woven into production of food showed up as well in an article referencing the KKK. It describes the similarity between grossly discriminatory laws that were used to remove black voting rights (poll taxes and literacy tests) and the current discriminatory laws that are crushing small food producers (exorbitant certification costs, and irrelevant yet intentionally impossible to achieve food safety standards), and calling the food movement the most significant civil rights (and human rights) movement in history.
Using this template of slavery allows the public to recognize the extreme and corrupt measures being taken to remove livestock producers markets, leaving them no means to sell their products other than through the big corporate meat packers, and then at a pittance, reducing independent (free) producers to contract farmers, or tenant farmers, on their own land.
The current system is without question working to break the back of free farming and ranching. But full blown slavery* already exists for industrial food animals. Recognizing that reality can help explain a great deal else.
They are trapped in concrete and metal prisons known as CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), where they are denied both normal movement and their natural diet and are fed GMOs that are linked to organ failure, diseases, and sterility.
The point here, is not to focus on those abuses which many groups are addressing now. The point is to see as fully as possible the ways in which the industrial food system is still functioning as it did during slavery, so people will recognize it and it can stop.
During slavery, harboring a slave was a felony. Today, the slaves are animals.
A digression: Today the industrial food system is connected to the biotech industry which is involved in genetically engineering animals and patenting them. That is a new and extreme form of ownership of animals. For even if a farmer were to buy such an animal, they would never actually own it or its offspring, just as those buying genetically engineered seeds do not own the seeds, and are not allowed to produce their own seeds from the crops. Patented genetically engineered animals or seeds are meant to be an infinite form of ownership. It creates a plantation system wherever the seeds or animals would be sold, because the farmer would simply be working for the owners of the patents.
Knowing two facts – that harboring slaves was a felony and that today’s animals are the slaves – allows the public to look with fresh eyes at what is happening to animals here and around the world.
In Michigan, small farmers’ hogs have been declared “wild” or feral, and any and all farmers “harboring” them are now deemed by law to be committing a felony. The hogs in question are not feral but are being raised as part of the farmers’ small livelihood. Their crime is that those hogs have “escaped” living in CAFOs. They are “off the plantation.” They do not eat industrial feed and are cheap to raise. The farmers raising them are growing in numbers because an increasing number of people are seeking just such clean and locally raised meat.
The big pork producers in Michigan got laws put on the books to declare the small farmers’ pigs a danger, acting just as the big slave owners did, who had the political power to declare any black person outside of slavery a danger and anyone protecting them a criminal. Today the slaves are animals and they need only be declared a threat, however fictional, to have them destroyed. With them all destroyed, there would remain, of course, only the slave animals owned by the agribusiness. The free hogs are the biologic diversity that the biotech industry wants eliminated just as it has to eliminate the great diversity in seed stocks, as it came forward with its own GE-seeds.
It doesn’t matter what fear is used to accomplished this. If one listens carefully, one can hear, applied to animals, a repetition of old slavery methods used to demonize blacks in order to control or kill them – savage, wild, a threat to the genetic stock of white people, filthy, etc.
The Department of Natural Resources in Michigan declared small farmers’ pigs an invasive species.
I got ahold of the director of Wildlife Management for the state, and he’s actually gone to DNR in Michigan to consult on feral pigs. Feral pigs are an issue for the environment, unquestionably. I just don’t understand how they link that to small farmers and pastured animals. It’s the fear that they will escape. Or mingle with other wildlife and pick up disease.
So I asked, do you think pigs should be on pasture at all? And he replied “Hey, the state of Texas won’t let me keep tigers. I might be a very conscientious tiger farmer, but the threat to the public is too great, so I don’t get to farm tigers.”
Wow. So pigs (no specified breed, just any farm pig) on pasture are akin to tigers. [Emphasis added. Pigs on pasture are not inside a CAFO, they are not slaves.] …. http://vbs20.com/bakers/
The law is to stop pigs being outside or on pasture, a form of freedom. These pigs are living behind fences and are livestock – they are not feral. But in being outside or on pasture, they are owned by small farmers and thus are “free” of the slave system of industrial agriculture.
“The Government of the state of Michigan has taken action against hog farmers through the unlawful use of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. By means of implementing an unconstitutional ISO (Invasive Species Order); all breeds of swine that are raised outside or on pasture are subject to be depopulated as of April 1st, 2012.
“Mark Baker, a twenty year Air Force veteran, Roger Turunen, Greg Johnson, and Matt Tingsted are the only remaining hog farmers in Michigan outside of the corporate pork industry who have revolted against this order. Roughly 2,000 farms have been affected and many farmers have been threatened with felony arrest and large fines to massacre their herds of heritage swine.” http://vbs20.com/bakers/
The means to slaughter these animals are many, beyond calling them invasive and equating them to tigers.
Invented diseases have become a major one, because, across all justifications for slaughter, fear is the common denominator.
If an agency says animals are suspected of having a disease (they do not have to be proven as such) and wants them destroyed, those “harboring” the animals to save them – and their biologic diversity – are declared felons. In a recent case in Canada, a rare breed of Shropshire sheep was slaughtered and farmers accused of felonies, provides a good example. As with plantation owners’ efforts to catch escaped slaves, fear of those who have escaped is used to influence public.
“The 31 sheep were thought [by authorities] to possibly harbor scrapie, a fatal degenerative disease that can spread among sheep and goats.
“When 28 sheep were found by Canadian authorities in late June and slaughtered and tested, they were negative for scrapie.” [Emphases added.]
And just such a false attack and slaughtering of healthy sheep has happened before. From the Organic Consumers Association: MAD SHEEP
” …. As this twisted and wicked pastoral unfolds, outrage after outrage, it will become increasingly clear that this is not just a tragic case of administrative bungling or faulty science ….
“What we are confronted with in Mad Sheep is a government conspiracy. A politically inspired ritual of fabricated charges, manipulated science, and doctored evidence. A modern witch-hunt to sacrifice the innocent in order to protect the massive profits and scandalous practices of the guilty. A diabolically orchestrated, media-scripted search and destroy operation …. designed not just to murder some innocent sheep and thereby exorcize mounting consumer fears …. but also to turn us all into sheep, to fan the flames of fear and ignorance, and to foster our continued dependence on an abusive Big Brother government that has promised to protect us from the contemporary terrors that lurk, well, nearly everywhere. …. “
One of the farmers charged is Michael Schmidt, a national leader in standing up for the rights of farmers to produce and sell fresh milk directly to customers. While the media focus has been kept on the milk, the underlying issue for industrial agriculture is that Mr. Schmidt has bypassed the slavery inherent in that system for his animals and himself. He is a free man, milking his cows and trading with those who want the milk.
In the following comment, one can recognize in Mr. Schmidt’s words, the language of thwhat is happeninge abolition movement that provided safe haven for slaves, and Mr. Schmidt’s awareness of the genetic engineering issue behind
In a June video statement in which he compared the targeting and slaughter of the rare sheep to Nazi Germany’s genetic engineering, Schmidt gently challenged Canadian authorities over their handling of the case. While denying direct involvement in the affair, he said, “I am aware that I as a consequence to my public statement might be subject to an investigation and possible charges related to the sad sheep saga. I am determined to support the brave work of those who have risked their personal safety and security to try to protect those sheep with the hope that ‘conclusive evidence’ would have been provided by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) in order to return the sheep for orderly slaughter if found infected or for further testing…Whatever will evolve I am honored to be a part of this brave action, as I have taken on the role as liaison for the Farmers Peace Corp.”
This risking of personal safety to save other living creatures is a direct replay of what people did during abolition, only it is for the lives of animals now. And they offer biodiversity which humanity and nature itself requires to live. Like the abolitionists, the farmers are demanding trials (tests of whether the animals are actually sick).
“The 1793 Fugitive Slave Act made it a federal crime for any free person to assist a fugitive slave. Slave hunters hired by masters or working in hope of rewards tracked down fugitives and returned them to the South. But many northern states passed laws that overrode or undermined the federal law. They prevented marshals from arresting slaves, and they required that any captured fugitive must have a trial before a jury to determine whether he or she was truly a slave.”
The pork industry law in Michigan is stamping out biodiversity. Schmidt says:
“This is insanity, when you look at the issue of genetic diversity,” he said of the decision to euthanize the Shropshires. “This forceful approach distracts from the issue.”
In Korea, over three million animals were slaughtered based on an alleged outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease, a disease harmless to humans and something most animals get over in a week. 70,000 military was brought out and hogs were buried alive.
What the governments do not want the public to hear is the reality which is entirely non-threatening.
“The bird and mammalian species took hold on the earth approximately 65 million years ago, i.e. the same time as the dinosaurs went extinct. So did the flu and other viruses of all the surviving species. Since then, all those viruses have been mating and mutating among themselves without the sky caving in due to any infection. Therefore, any talk of a bird or swine flu pandemic with the probability to kill millions of people is either a purposeful or hallucinogenic nonsense to make profit on the backs of the innocent following.”
Shiv Chopra, microbiologist, veterinarian, and the former food safety scientist at Health Canada who helped stop the approval of rBGH there.
“The very idea of disease-free animals and disease-free people fuels the appetite for genetic engineering. It decreases our levels of tolerance and resilience. It breeds fear, anxiety and paranoia – the kind of fear that is moving the military might of Britain to declare a war against its hoofed inhabitants. This paranoia suits the genetic engineering industry perfectly. By exterminating farm animals, the option of small organic farms is eroded. By creating a fear of disease, a new market is created for Dolly, and Polly and Tracy and all their clones. We should stop this war against farm animals. Without them we will never be able to build a sustainable farming future.”—Dr Vandana Shiva
Genetic engineering means the animals will not even be free to exist as themselves, with their own biology. Their biology – not just their every movements and everything they eat – will be taken over and controlled. This is perhaps the most intense form of slavery.
Laws in the US arranging such mass slaughter are now on the books. If an “outbreak” is declared (two in the UK were from germ lab leaks), based on international laws put in place by the multinational agribusiness, no proof is needed that an animal is sick, for it and millions of others to be exterminated. And the CDC, which would declare an outbreak is already working on scare tactics, warning people away from county fairs, the heart of life for small farming communities. Pictures of happy kids and animals is supposed to strike fear into people, just as pictures of black people around white children was supposed to during slavery. One is reminded of the CDC’s false information on the swine flu in 2009, where 98-99% of the cases they claimed were swine flu in California, were not (most were not even flu of any kind), and attempted to block a CBS investigation.
Even as the CDC is warning about danger kids enjoying being around pigs, the CDC itself is not responding to a direct court order to turn over documents involving a danger to all children in the US (in the UK, documents have been turned over) and the US government is proposing some documents be declared non-existent.
Animal disease scares such as FMD and swine flu (for example, in Haiti and Egypt) have been used to get rid of small farmers animals, a means of moving toward only slave animals (GE-animals in CAFOs). Avian flu doesn’t exist, but it has been used to wipe out the biologic diversity in poultry across Asia. Small farmers with free range chickens of many kinds, lost their animals and laws were put in place favoring the slavery conditions of the big multinational poultry plantations. The chickens living in cities now, beloved by families, and “free” of the horrific slave conditions of the giant poultry houses, are sitting ducks for the declaration of avian flu and orders to exterminate perfectly healthy animals to the benefit of industrial ag. Families harboring chickens would be declared felons for threatening the public health, for a non-existent disease. Children hiding their healthy chicks would be criminals.
Once one appreciates that the industrial food system has been based from the beginning in slavery, and that animals are the new slaves. A great deal become clear. Free animals must be gotten rid of and those trying to save them and our common heritage in biodiversity must be branded as felons. Those protecting the pigs, sheep, and other animals, and their crucial biologic diversity for everyone, are functioning just as people did during slavery, risking their own freedom to protect blacks seeking their own.
Our farmers are part of a new anti-slavery movement. Saving the animals, means saving our freedom of food, sustainable agriculture, and ultimately ourselves.
*There are also people caught in literal slave environments in other countries forced to do agricultural work.
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