get livestock out of enclosures/cages/staples

get livestock out of enclosures/cages/staples

Postby Anylength » Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:03 am

I was surprised that we were sent to the country side to live, yet were not told to free some of the animals trapped in staples or barns or pens and hen houses or take over an abandoned farm. Chicken farms, cow sheds, pig farms (maybe keep the hogs and bulls behind enclosures), but let the rest of them out, or take care of them. They can probably look after themselves when out, eat grass, etc., chicken scratch around for food and worms, etc. But we can get eggs, and milk and other protein from them while we wait for the food to grow in the veggie garden and in the fields. We can make cheese and put that aside for later.
But if we don't let them out, we end up with a lot of dead animals and no bacon to put away for the winter.
Also if we find sheep and look after them we can harvest the wool and make clothes and get the sheep's wool fat as well. Wool fat can be used to make moisturiser or as a base for herbal pastes to put on wounds.
Knitting or crocheting is faster than making a loom to weave cloth in the early days so a source of wool would be handy.
Also probably not an option in gun free countries, but access to a gun and ammunition would be important. In case an animal gets injured and needs to be put down in a hurry or as a means for a quick slaughtering. We might also need to protect ourselves against feral animals.
Oxen would also make ploughing the field easier, so they'd be handy. I think checking out the local livestock that is available and figuring out what to keep, what we can feed, and what to set free for breeding and later hunting or recapture for food or breeding with might be good.
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Re: get livestock out of enclosures/cages/staples

Postby germanforestgump » Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:52 pm

Dear Anylength,
feel very welcome by heart in our little forum!
It is very necessary to debate how nearly humans should exist in a future world together with domesticated and wild animals.
I am shure You have important ideas about it.

Because i´m german, my english is not so good to get the whole meaning of Your post...
Could You please explain your personal background or concrete situation, why You think it is Your duty to "free" animals?

I agree with You, that many aspects of keeping livestock are cruel and not to legitimate under ethical or social and ecological aspects.
But what will be the practical alternatives?

It is not possible in modern civilisation to "free" animals simply putting them outside the stables.
95% of them would die under awful circumstances.
Most of them exist only because of the economic benefits of the farmer to whom they belong.
It is a philosophic question whether it is ethically legitimable to "possess" living creatures.

But in fact, "freedom" is always a relative abstract concept, set up by human intellect.
No wild animals lived ever in "freedom" - they live always in a system of areas ("revier"), created by very complex relations of environmental circumstances, social interactions and intraspecific dependencies.

Special in the case of domestic animals, You have a co-evolution of at least 10.000 years between animals and "their" humans.
The evolution from hunters of wild animals up to symbiotic interdependency between humans and domesticated animals follows the necessary of rising efficiency of exploiting the natural ressources of a given territory.
What sense would it made pushing back to an ancient system?
The populations of humans and domestic animals are very much too big to go back to the hunter-system.

Of course, many today´s systems of breeding livestock to produce animal-based food and material, have many techological and ecological risks and are very unsocial, because of too much input of vegetable energy in relation to the output of food calories.
But the solution of this problems can not be the backfall to a hunting culture, but the combination of traditional farmers knowledge with new technologies, added with a reformed economic world system.

Let me show the difficulties in the practical reformations at the example of breeding milking cows:
A new law will force all farmers in the EU to change their cow-stables from a chained system to "walk-around-stables".
It is very difficult to change an old stable where the cows are chained, to one where they can walk "free" - you have to change everything, the system of feeding, milking, misting - and you can have only fewer cows in the same building.
So You have to invest many tenthousand euro into new technologies, but You have lower income.
There are two possible outways:
1. You expande and take a credit to build a big stable for more cows You had before
2. You give up milk production.

And setting the cows "free", as You suggest?
That would be not so a big problem for the cows at first - they would adapt at the winter climate.
But it will be a very big problem for the soil!
If You set a given number of cows "free" on a given territory, it will change from fertile meadows to a deep mud within some weeks.
The cows would stay in a mud reaching up to their bodies and would no longer have anything to eat.
The damaged soil would let the nitrates trickling down to the groundwater.

Natural ecosystems needed tenthousand years of repeated disasters until they came to a stabile balance between vegetation, grass-eaters and predators.
Human farmers have to learn several years how to combine the experience from tenthousand years of agriculture with new technologies to imitate natural ecosystems on a higher population level, under the forces of the given economic system.
In my thread about milk production i will try to describe how the breeding of dairy stocks evolved to the situation now and discuss possibilities how to manage coming challenges.

It is up to us as consumers, helping the farmers to evolve a more sustainable and animal-friendly system.
Maybe You can desribe the situation You see in Your area and suggest some ideas how to make it better?
Maybe we find practicable ways...?

with many kind greetings,
Your Hans
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Re: get livestock out of enclosures/cages/staples

Postby Anylength » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:20 pm

HI Hans,
My comments were meant in the context of an apocalyptic event. When say 90% of people are dead. If we go to the country side, as Lewis suggests, then 90% of farmers will also be dead and there is no one to feed the farm animals. Thus they need to be freed to fend for themselves, or we need to take over their feeding for the time being. There isn't much time and I think that taking care of the trapped animals (as inside enclosures without access to food) would be a high priority to ensure their survival. Which would greatly enhance our long term food supply. As we get milk, meat, eggs etc. from the animals.
If they die, because they starved in their enclosures they will be of no use to us. I made the exception for bulls and male pigs because they can be very dangerous wondering free. But they are needed for breeding purposes. We need to consider that the first harvest of grains will be months away and meanwhile we need to take care of the animals. Also for help with farm work. Oxen can pull a plough if we don't have farm machinery.
I am not into politics or free all animals. I am thinking purely from a practical point of view to aid survival. And thought it would have been good to be in Lewis' book.

The same in German:
Das Gleiche noch mal in Deutsch:
Meine Kommentare waren in Bezug auf eine apokalyptischen Katastrophe. Wenn z.B. 90% der Menschen tot sind. Lewis sagt, we sollen auf's Land ziehen. Aber dort werden 90% der Landwirte auch tot sein, und es gibt niemanden, der die Tiere der Bauernhoefe füttern wird. So müssen sie befreit werden, um für sich selbst sorgen, oder wir muessen ihre Fütterung vorerst übernehmen.
Es gibt nicht viel Zeit, und ich denke, dass die Befreiung der eingesperrten Tiere eine hohe Priorität sein sollte, um ihr Überleben zu sichern.
Diese Tiere würden unsere langfristige Versorgung mit Lebensmitteln erheblich verbessern . Wir bekommen Milch, Fleisch, Eier, etc. von den Tieren.
Wenn sie sterben, weil sie in ihren Gehegen verhungert sind, werden sie von keinerlei Nutzen für uns sein. Ich machte die Ausnahme für Bullen und männliche Schweine, weil sie sehr gefährlich sein koennen wenn sie frei rumrennen koennen. Da sie aber sie zu Zuchtzwecken benötigt werden muessen wir sie auch am leben erhalten. Wir müssen berücksichtigen, dass die erste Ernte von Körnern und Gemuese Monate dauern kann, und in der Zwischenzeit müssen wir was zu essen haben und die Tiere koennen uns da was geben. Deshalb muessen wir die Pflege der Tiere uebernehmen.
Auch für die Hilfe bei landwirtschaftlichen Arbeiten brauchen wir die. Rinder können einen Pflug ziehen, wenn wir die landwirtschaftlichen Maschinen nicht benuetzen koennen.
Dies ist nicht der richtige Platz um ueber die Politik der Tierhaltung zu sprechen. Meine Kommentare kamen rein von einem praktischen Standpunkt, um dem Überleben zu helfen. Und dachte, es wäre gut gewesen, wenn Lewis in seinem Buch darueber geschrieben haette, dass man nach den eingesperrten Tieren sehen muss.
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Re: get livestock out of enclosures/cages/staples

Postby germanforestgump » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:57 pm

Hello Anylength!
Many thanks for Your explanation and Your excellent translation!
Now i get the point of Your posting and i agree that there should be something like an "livestock-saving-task-force" in case of catastrophes!

But how is it possible to implement something like this?

The main difficulty i see is the unconciousness of nearly all of the human population of industrial countries from all things concerning agriculture.
Because active farmers are around 1-4% of the population, there is an effect we call "Entfremdung".

So we should support all efforts to minimise this "Entfremdung":
- a realistic school education about modern agriculture,
- all sorts of practical experience how to handle animals,
- "Open Days" on farms to informe the citizens about farm work,
- partnerships between farmers and their helping consuments like the "Solidaric Agriculture".

The "First Responders" against catastrophes are the forces of "Katastrophen-Schutz" like "Feuerwehr", "Technical Aid Service" (Technisches Hilfswerk,THW) and so on.
The members of this organisation formerly had traditional experience how to handle animals, because they had been farmers children.
But the young members nowadays have no opportunity to earn this experience in their daily life.
So they may need instructions, workshops and trainings how to rescue livestocks.

One important element of a livestock-handlig strategy would be a form of
- checking the status of ownerless livestocks
- calculating the possibilities of managing them,
- making something like a triage: which breeding animals should be rescued,
which animals can be slaughtered and conserved, which animals should get killed in order to avoid harmful starving...

This are really complex questions...

But what can we lonely persons do?

I have some experience on efforts to rescue animals:
In my childhood i often helped on the dairy farm of my aunt and decided to learn the job on dairy farms.
Today i have a side job as milk controlleur and know some dairy farms in my region.
I told the farmers, if there would be an emergency case (farmer ill or so), they could ask me for help and i sometimes did.

Then here has been a case of animal hoarding:
An old women drived around with a herd of 60-70 goats, trecking from one place to another, always seeking for a new place because of conflicts.
Several times i tried to help them finding a new place, transporting the goats in my little bus, transfer the money of the lady to the actual place or buying food for her and the animals, trying to calm conflicts with the place owners, trying to find new owners for the goats which the lady could accept and so on...
The drama lasts about some years and ended in a tragedy because the local government decided at least to confiscate the goats and slaughter them.
After this i took the lady in my house, helping her to make peace with the officials, get her welfare income and find a little old house to lend.
Some days in the month, i take her in my car to the village, getting her welfare check and go to the supermarket.

We need not to wait for the big doomsday catastrophe.
If we keep our eyes open, we will find hidden dramas in every village, maybe old farmers without children (or in conflict with their children) who are too old or ill to manage their livestock responsibly.
But it is extremely difficult for them to realise this and to ask for help...
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Actual Example of animal abuse (!explicite pictures!)

Postby germanforestgump » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:33 am

Here is a proof that it doesn´t need apocalyptic scenarios leading to situations where livestock is heavily mistreated:

On a german farm outside a village the owner is since years overloaded to care for his cattle responsibly:
His economic and social situation is so bad that he, besides owning around 400 cattles alone, goes for work elsewere.
Infectious diseases sometimes blocked every animal traffic, so this may have play a role for the overpopulation: ... eck-beuern

Because he is not able to care for his livestock, the government will take away all animals within a few days.

But how is it possible that things like this can happen in a well-organised and rich country?
What is wrong with a society who ignore situations like this for years?
Why does not anyone helps this farmer in time to avoid things getting so bad?

One reader of a newspaper wrote a comment:
We consumers of only the cheapest food are co-responsible that one single farmer has to breed more livestock he can care for and plus working elsewhere...
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Which competences are needed to deal with "Failed Farms"?

Postby germanforestgump » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:44 pm

The scenario Dr. Dartnell takes as basic for his book, seems relatively simple:
If most people are disappeared, and You and maybe Your little group are the only survivors,
which have free access to ressources without any owner,
because there is no authority to realise any law,
You only need to know, how to use things You can find.
So, if You find a "Failed Farm", You can decide to select some best animals for Yourself, to set the others free to their faith or to kill them.
You can decide to overtake the farm or move to a better place.

But this will be an extremely rare scenario.
In most scenarios You are confronted with different interests of other people.
And BEFORE You can use things, You need competences how to manage interest collisions with other people.
That means, using violence or (re)creating a law system and authorities.
That means, (re)creating a polis, a society, a state.

How to deal with a "Failed Farm" in different situations?

In a running civilisated Law State, You and the local authorities have to respect the property rights of the owner.
Only the legal authorities have the right to put him off his property right on his animals,
if he is not willing and able to take his responsibility and if this hurts the animal rights and is a danger for public health.

As a private person, You can inform the authorities, that their intervention is necessary.
But a long time before, You can try to help, but only with the owner and not against his will.
So You need his confidence and his cooperation.
To get this, You need social competences.
You have to deal with his maybe difficult character, with difficult conflicts between family members and neighbourhood.
You need very much diplomacy to manage the goal conflict between the well-beeing of the animals and the necessarity to cooperate with the owner.
Of course it is very helpful, if You know how to handle with and care for animals.
But if You will not loose the confidence of the owner, You should find a way to make suggestions to him without touching his competence and authority.
Because if he loose his confidence to You, You will not any longer be able to do anything.
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First steps helping a "failing farmer"

Postby germanforestgump » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:11 pm

(Of course, this are only suggestions depending on the situation and Your possibilities.)

- Listen to him with patience and empathy, find out, what his problems are, and try to improve a priority list.
- Handle any informations You get strict confidential (so far it is law-conform).
- Offer Your help. Maybe it is easier for him to accept Your help, if You can offer him a possibility to do something for You.
- If he allows, You can help him f.e. feeding and drenching the animals, and putting away some mess.
- Try to make a priority list, concerning the needs of the animals: fresh water, enough good food, dry and clean underground, medical care,...
- Suggest him, what could be done next without arguing with him.
- Listen to him and accept his reasons why he may have other priorities.
- Encourage him to ask for assistance by professionals (f.e. debt manager, lawyer, medical help, technical support,...).

Maybe the situation is more difficult than You can afford alone:
- Organise personal support by confidential persons for Yourself.
- If You know persons, who are confidential and will not act unreflected, You may ask them, whether they would join a supporting group.
- You can ask the farmer, whether he agrees to get support from this persons.
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