Compassionate Farming?

Living in a very rural area close to several large farms and many public footpaths through them I frequently witness some worrying things going on when out walking. At one time I supported Compassion in World Farming (, and later on just became more into general animal issues by supporting the RSPCA. Now I mostly have to be concerned more with prioritising speciesist issues personal to me, ie learning disabilities. One thing that is often said of poor treatment of humans is that they are being treated like an animal, and that is why it is so important to try to help the animals too, as by doing so we improve the attitudes and treatment of humans by making any kind of cruelty completely unacceptable in any circumstances. It also makes us realise what cruelty is. Recently there has been a dreadful court case in New Zealand about a farmer’s cruelty to his cows. This poem by Heidi Stephenson of the All Creatures Christian vegetarian group helps us to digest and remember the issues, and not to let it just slip away into the ether with hundreds of other similar stories.

THE COW BEATER by Heidi Stephenson

Three female cows,

three tired, female cows,

three bereaved, female cows

Pregnancy – birthing . . .loss

Pregnancy – birthing . . .loss

Pregnancy – birthing . . .loss

dare to RESIST

their slavemaster,

the constant kidnapper,

the killer

of their calves;

the profiteering

milk snatcher,

the “contract milker”,

their cruel oppressor.

And so he BEATS them,

BEATS them

with a steel pipe

with hard steel

. . .until they reel.

He beats these benign

bovine girls


in order to “educate”

those three grumpy bitches”

(continued here

Published by simplyme841

How I got through it I really don't know, but I did a vow of silence for learning disabilities for a year a couple of years ago. I had wanted to do it for three or four years beforehand, after finding out about an Australian who did it for the animals. But the timing was never right. It was difficult but during the silence I learnt about John Francis, the environmentalist and author, who did it for seventeen years whilst walking barefoot across America playing the banjo. I had to make sure I drank enough fluids and had plenty of exercise so that my respiratory system didn't collapse, and learnt new things and read difficult books to keep my mind alert. It is very tough again during lockdown too, but immensely difficult for those with learning disabilities. I began writing my poetry last spring in the first Covid pandemic lockdown, and it poured out of me. But as you can tell from my readings my voice is still weak.

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