Archive for January, 2008
Over the last few weeks, we have covered a lot more of Michael Vick’s conviction and likely next steps or mis-steps. We have also covered a good deal about the dogs. Its been a few months since we talked about all the kids, high school students and athletes, even the college players that are getting some really bad messages from Michael Vick.
So I wanted to take a moment to throw out the question, especially to any of you that have kids preparing to go into high school sports or that are in high school sports, What do you think Michael Vick’s Actions say to kids?
- Do you think kids feel like Michael Vick was victimized?
- Do you think that kids feel that dog fighting is cool?
- Do you think that kids feel that gambling on things not directly related to the sport they are in is acceptable?
- Do you think that Michael Vick has created a persona of himself that says its all about the money, if you earn enough it doesn’t matter how you perform or what you do in your personal life, just get the big contract and let the world do its own thing?
- or do you think something entirely different?
Promote the Kids – Promote the High Schools
I came across a great site called Takkle that seems to be sponsored in part by Sports Illustrated. Its a social network that enables high school athletes to come together and learn from each other. I wonder if this might actually be part of the solution to the problem that Michael Vick and other bad example public figures create.
Maybe kids will work through these issues just fine if they emphasis is not placed on a twenty something athlete that makes a quarter of a billion dollars, but instead places the emphasis on the kids themselves. I suspect that it should be about the kids emulating Michael Vick at all no matter how many Nike dollars push it. I think that maybe kids will start to come together to support and promote each other. I’d rather see those hundreds of millions of endorsement dollars go to high schools than to a professional athlete that uses the money to buy dogs for torturing and killing any day.
I have received a ton of emails from people asking why I do not make a statement about the recently re-exposed practices of the beef industry after it came to light that many of the cows are literally being tortured. They are not being tortured as George Bush would define torture, because the cows like some accused terrorists are being water boarded.
Do they have intelligence that is essential to protecting national security? Nope, they are just cows and they won’t give up names, places or dates regardless of how much you torture them.
First, let me say (again) I am not a member of PETA. I am not a vegetarian either (hot dogs for lunch and chicken for supper). I love a good steak, but don’t eat hamburgers very often as they give me indigestion.
After you finish this story, they may give you indigestion too.
Suggestion to feed unwanted dogs and cats in animal shelters to the poor and hungry
I read an article this evening suggesting that the United States should consider feeding cats and dogs to people that are hungry, starving or too poor to eat regularly. A number of facts about the number of homeless and hungry were cited along with some estimates of the unwanted animal population that is put to death each year.
The same goes for cats and dogs. The problem of unwanted cats and dogs isn’t going away. Why not turn those millions of unwanted pets into some tasty snacks for people who would otherwise go hungry?
The suggestion is a bit rhetorical, but it also points out the fact that many people do not realize that they are already eating euthanized cats and dogs every day!
You may have eaten someone’s unwanted pet this evening for supper. I may have unknowingly eaten a stray cat for lunch.
Sometimes when you have your pet put to sleep, you can take the pet home and bury it and sometimes you can pay a hundred dollars to have the pet incinerated. Many times however shelters and other facilities sell the dead carcasses of these animals to Rendering Plants that have the sole and legal purpose of recycling the dead animals into
- recycled meat
- yellow grease (animal fat)
- bone meal
Cows and Chickens Eat Dead Dogs and Cats too
These products are all used as animal feed. That recycled meat is sold to pet food manufacturers and to poultry and beef farms where the ground up cats and dogs and road kill and left over parts of other cows and chickens are fed to chickens and cows. When I was a kid growing up in Illinois, people used to even trap raccoons and possums. They would sell the animal whole. The pelts were worth so much and the meat was sold to a rendering plant outside of Peoria that sold the products to Purina.
That’s right, rendering plants might even sell your pet dogs carcass to be made into pet food.
The Real Problem with this Process is the Toxic Waste
Now let’s be real for a second. Human kind has included carnivores and omnivores for thousands of years. Vegetarians are a definite minority in our population and in our history. The primary issue with this process (as was exposed last year when thousands of pets died as a result of poisoned pet food) is that toxic wastes are not removed from the rendered meat.
GIGO – Garbage In Garbage Out – Toxic Deceased Pet In Toxic Recycled Meat Out
The following menu of unwanted ingredients often accompany with dead animals and other raw material:
Pesticides via poisoned livestock
Euthanasia drugs that were given to pets
Some dead animals have flea collars containing organophosphate insecticides
Fish oil laced with bootleg DDT
Insecticide Dursban in the form of cattle insecticide patch
Other chemicals leaked from antibiotics in livestock
Heavy metals from pet ID tag, surgical pins and needles
Styrofoam trays from packed unsold supermarket meats, chicken and fish
Cattle ID tags
Plastic insecticide patches
Green plastic bags containing dead pets from veterinarians
Where is the Media on This Fiasco? Covering Michael Vick too much
The reality is that they are covering this issue, and on a different site designed for the right purpose so am I. I present this here just to holistically cover it from the Michael Vick perspective, but you can see this coverage in a great USA Today articles titled Consumers may have a beef with cattle feed.
There are many more articles like that out there too.
My view on the situation
As I see it, I and many people around the world are not going to completely stop eating meat anytime soon. The industry needs to be cleaned up so that toxic wastes can be removed from the system and we can work to insure the safety of both human food as well as the safety of pet food and the food fed to the animals we eat.
Am I comfortable with the thought that when I slice into a steak, I might be eating something one meal removed from someone’s pet or a rotted deer on the road or a lame cow fed back to the herd. No, I am not. I didn’t grow up on a farm and I am not yet conditioned to just accept that. However, I do understand that we do exist within an ecosystem and a food chain and that this is not terribly unreasonable. The food, the feed, the pet food, it all has to come from somewhere. We cannot create miles of pet cemeteries. We can not burn up every animal that we put to death and pollute the air either or exhaust a bunch of fuel or electricity to do it.
This is an organic process. It needs to be cleaned up significantly but it is a real process.
I do feel that we can find someway to grow and raise all the animals involved in a way that does not torture the animals. We can eat and exist without being sadists. Even though our pet cats may play with a mouse and torment it, we humans can do a little better. When the day comes that someone invents some mush or gruel or a pill that feeds us more efficiently and tastes better and we do not have engage in this practice, I may just embrace it. However, I am not going to agonize over one of the necessities of life, like a vampire character in an Ann Rice novel fretting over having to kill to survive.
National Geographic is going to feature 4 of Vick’s victimized dogs in a reality show. The show will cover the dogs that are the toughest cases, and that could spell trouble for Michael Vick’s career ambitions if they point to the NFL.
The 22 animals now reside at Dogtown, the Best Friends animal sanctuary in Utah.
The series will focus on four of the toughest cases as the experts at Dogtown try to “resocialize these seriously aggressive pit bulls.”
“Dogtown” is in production on episodes set to premiere in the summer.
Conceivably, if America is introduced to these dogs and becomes emotionally attached the memory of Michael Vick’s cruelty to his own pets might keep sentiments high enough to prevent his return to the NFL. That sentiment could crest in a wave of unpopularity for Michael Vick if the dogs are unable to be rehabilitated.