What rescued farm animals taught a photographer about aging and animal rights | CBC Radio

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A couple of my retired critters.

Dear Sunday Edition, CBC Radio:

As I listened to your segment on old farm animals, I became more and more insulted.

You see, I *AM* a farmer. I raise animals for meat.

The implication that all farmers kill or discard their animals as soon as they stop being “useful” is deeply offensive, not to mention just plain wrong. Further the implication made by your guest that all animals in rescue have been abused somehow reveals a profound lack of understanding of what most family and small farms are.

I suppose your guest should not be faulted for being so uninformed. She appears to have spent her whole life living in a big city. How can she possibly know what farms are like? And as an “animal rights” advocate, she is predisposed to believe the worst about farms and the lives of the animals that live there.

Sammy the duckling being gently protected by Arrow the Pyrenees dog.

Yes, it is true that many of my animals are killed before

they are 6 months old. In nature, 98% of ALL animals are killed or otherwise die before they reach breeding age. I can assure you that the lives of the animals on my farm are safer, more comfortable, AND more fun than their “natural” counterparts. My animals are sheltered from the weather, have room to stretch, jump, fly, and play. They have toys, clean water, and nutritious food. They get treats on a regular basis, and when it comes time to dispatch them, it is done humanely and with respect. None of the carcass is wasted.

The insinuation that farmers are heartless operators only interested in the bottom line is so far from the truth that only someone who has never spent any time on a farm could imagine that. Every single farmer I know has, at any given time, several old, retired animals on their farm. Many get special medical treatment, extra bedding, and individual attention.

Ray the duck having his daily bath.

Pikachu, Psghetti, and Pebbles enjoying their retirement.

I raise rabbits, and a variety of poultry. My oldest duck lived to be 17 (that’s 17 YEARS). For the last few years of his life he was completely blind, and when he could no longer get into his bath on his own, I helped him – every day.

I had a hen who lost a foot to frostbite who got to live on an open platform inside the rabbitry next to a window where she was safe from the other chickens (who would have picked on her) but could still be close to them. She lived like that for 2 years even though she was no longer laying eggs.

I almost always have a number of rabbits who get to live out their entire natural lives in small retirement colonies.

The photos taken by your guest are wonderful photos, but the claims that animals like this exist ONLY in rescues is just flat out wrong. If she had taken the time to actually visit some real life farms, she would know that.

Perhaps a bit of balance is in order here – how about doing a segment on some of the special needs critters that are loved and live on almost every farm?

-Katrin Becker
Cochrane, Alberta

Source: What rescued farm animals taught a photographer about aging and animal rights | CBC Radio

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