Archive for October, 2009
The following item in today’s local paper (Register Guard) echoed the Bison post that appeared here the other day. Today’s item is about a proposed mobile slaughter house in Eastern Oregon with Dan Forsea, the president of Baker County’s Livestock Association, explaining the the need for a mobile slaughter house:
“Right now, the closest place for us to haul our cattle (for slaughtering) is in the Boise area,” he said.
Some of the processed meat gets hauled right back to Baker County for a “beef to schools” program.
I have no idea what “beef to schools” program means, I assume it’s selling off beef to the school districts.
There are independent slaughter people for hire who will go out and slaughter your animals; but a mobile slaughter house is a new idea:
Financial and environmental considerations have weighed against building a meat processing plant in Oregon. But Forsea said Joel Huesby, a rancher near Walla Walla, Wash., has built one of the first mobile slaughtering plants the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved.
He says that could be a model for one in Oregon. He had Huesby in Baker County recently to talk to ranchers.
According to the article, one of the goals of the mobile slaughter house is to “increase the value of his cattle and cattle raised by other ranchers around Walla Walla County and other areas.”
When writing the Bison post, (Fortean Bison: Sacrifice in South Dakota) it brought back memories of a disgusting episode experienced by friends of mine who had just bought several acres in Western Oregon, and the above news item falls into the same category. Continuing the theme of slaughter and mobility, I was reminded of a trailer left on the newly brought property friends of mine bought a few years ago. A lot of things were left behind by the previous owners, including a horse, who was sadly neglected; fortunately he now has a very happy life, thanks to my friends. One of the things they left on the property was a small trailer. I was curious about the interior of the trailer; but my friend warned me it was pretty disgusting. She said the trailer was full of Mason jars full of meat. I opened the door; the inside of the trailer was dim. There were shelves and shelves of mason jars full of greasy, white-ish gray, sometimes dark, meat type liquid stuff. Some of this stuff was oozing out around the top of the jars, there were flies buzzing around… like a scene from a horror movie. Adding to the weirdness was that the meat filled jars had been put up in the 1980s. It wasn’t that there was any smell, surprisingly, although there was a thick hint of dust and grease. It was the vibe; just a strong WHAP! of wasted life energy, of sadness and decay. And that was all just standing on the step leading to the inside of the trailer; I couldn’t bring myself to go further.
All this made me remeber a letter I found written by my grandfather, William H. Galvani (his assumed name when he left Russia and entered the U.S.) My grandfather, who died when my mother was eighteen so of course I never knew him, was an interesting man. He was a Russian Jew, having left the Ukraine in his twenties; a Buddhist, wrote a book on Theosophy and other topics, and a vegetarian. Oh, and a 32nd degree Mason. I found the following annual report on line he wrote when he president of the Oregon Vegetarian society in 1897. In this letter he mentions the Society’s success at stopping a beef killing contest (a beef killing contest!):
We prevented the two packing companies in this city and state from carrying out a most brutalizing exhibit in form of a beef killing contest for which they made all necessary arrangements, after having obtained from the constituted authorities special permission to proceed with so monstruous a show. It was a Vegetarian who first entered a protest in the columns of the local press, who interviewed the leading ministers of the principal religious denominations, obtaining a promise for a sermon on this monstrosity on the Sunday evening immediately following first protest, and who convinced the municipal authorities of the justice of his claims, so that notice was given to the packing companies. ordering them to give up the project of exhibiting butchering skill in the killing of animals more useful than themselves. Thus the hog and beef-eating heirs of immortality where given a lesson which must have set them to thinking, at least some few of them, since the vast majority, seldom, if ever, thinks. It also gave rise to a newspaper controversy on the merits of Vegetarianism, which resulted in silencing the carnivorous portion of the community, who prefer the morgue to the fields and gardens for their food supply.
The entire letter is below:
Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911
ANNUAL REPORT 1897
OREGON VEGETARIAN SOCIETY
The past year’s work of the Oregon Vegetarian Society has been a year of of marked progress. On January 18th, we shall celebrate the beginning of the seventh year of continuous activity. During all this time we managed to hold up high the banner of Vegetarianism by monthly meetings, press reports, controversies, and by every other method that was best calculated to advance the claims of a bloodless diet on every thinking mind. At present we can number among us eminent professional men and women skilled in arts and sciences, as well as mechanics and labourers, all of whom unite in bearing the best kind of testimony to the superiority of the products of the plant world as the source of Nature’s food supply for the human species.
My own experience, as well as that of many others whose opinion is fully deserving of serious consideration, is still on the side of maintaining at all times the principle of the sacredness of all life, including all animals, other than man, as the basic principle for our claims. Of this too we are reminded by the Son of David and King of Israel in his declaration: “A man hath no preeminence above a beast ” – Eccles. iii. 19. This ought ot be sufficient for all such as justify the slaughter of animals for food upon theological interpretations of man’s supposed right to claim special privileges above all other organized representatives throughout creation’s domains. As to those whose reasoning faculties do not always accept the interpretations of theology, this will also do, since they cannot upon any logical grounds reject the declaration just quoted.
Among our most successful efforts in Vegetarianism are:
(1) We prevented the two packing companies in this city and state from carrying out a most brutalizing exhibit in form of a beef killing contest for which they made all necessary arrangements, after having obtained from the constituted authorities special permission to proceed with so monstruous a show. It was a Vegetarian who first entered a protest in the columns of the local press, who interviewed the leading ministers of the principal religious denominations, obtaining a promise for a sermon on this monstrosity on the Sunday evening immediately following first protest, and who convinced the municipal authorities of the justice of his claims, so that notice was given to the packing companies. ordering them to give up the project of exhibiting butchering skill in the killing of animals more useful than themselves. Thus the hog and beef-eating heirs of immortality where given a lesson which must have set them to thinking, at least some few of them, since the vast majority, seldom, if ever, thinks. It also gave rise to a newspaper controversy on the merits of Vegetarianism, which resulted in silencing the carnivorous portion of the community, who prefer the morgue to the fields and gardens for their food supply.
(2) Another cause for congratulation is the establishment in this city of a medical mission under the management of Dr. W. F. Hubbard, where medical advice and medicines if necessary, will be furnished free to the poor, and where they will be provided with lodgings, baths night garments, etc., for, ten cents per night, and with meals at ONE CENT per per dish. This establishment is on absolutely Vegetarian principles, all animal foods being most positively excluded, and so stated in all advertising matter of the institution. All credit for this excellent enterprise is due to the Vegetarians from among the Seventh Day Adventist denomination who have taken upon themselves the establishment and maintenance of this institution.
I cannot bring this report to a close without expressing the grateful acknowledgment of the O.V.S. to Dr. D. W. Reed, formerly head physician of the Portland Sanitarium, and now of Colorado, and to Dr. W. F. Hubbard, his successor, for their active cooperation in maintaining our public meetings, and to Mrs. Lucy A. Mallory, at whose house the O.V.S. has had its home ever since its organization.
With greetings to all Vegetarians, wherever found, and especially to the Men and Women of England, whose Spirit of Justice and Love of Freedom – the source of all that is truly great and noble among humankind – have ever been their chief traits, I beg to close this report of our efforts for the year 1897.
WILLIAM H. GALVANI,
President, Oregon Vegetarian Society.
Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
January 1, 1898.
Image: Good Stuff!
A gruesome and sad story, with Fortean elements, from South Dakota. Bridge water South Dakota became overwhelmed by the stench of over 44 tons of rotting bison meat. The owner of the meat processing plant abandoned his business, leaving behind tons of frozen bison meat. Electricity was shut off for nonpayment, though the meat stayed frozen through the severe Dakota winters. When spring and summer arrived, the meat thawed. It didn’t just thaw; it literally “liquified.” The stink of decomposing bison flesh was worse than “rotten [human] bodies” commented mayor Barattini:
Some said the scent was like road kill. The mayor said he spent two tours of duty in Vietnam and could not recall smelling anything as bad.
“This is worse than rotten bodies,” Barattini said.
Going in a Fortean, slightly esoteric direction, we can say all those bison were sacrificed for nothing; the symbolism of the bison as an animal of strength, abundance and nurturing gift to indigenous peoples is contrasted with the legacy of man’s greed and disrespect for both non-human and human beings. Ilan Parente, the man responsible for leaving behind the rotting bison meat in Bridge water started another meat business in Minnesota called Noah’s Ark Processors. A strange name for a meat processing place. Another little Fortean item is the fact the bison meat was Kosher — and to be sold as pet food.
Days of clean-up, expenses, faulty meat processing plant with taxes owed, as well as a house, and lawsuits in the past for violations — with little word from the owner, who only had this to say:
“I feel bad for the people of Bridgewater who had to live with the smell. But that’s really where the extent of my feeling bad goes. It wasn’t ever a health hazard to anyone,” he told The Daily Republic of Mitchell in July.