Animal Activists to State Fair: Don't Have a Cow

Categories: Animals
calfdrop.jpg
Isn't that cute!
Bay Area animal-rights activist Eric Mills has gathered 1,500 signatures in hopes of cowing the California State Fair into ceasing its practice of displaying live animal births.

Hoping to continue with live piglet and calf birth exhibits, State Fair officials have recruited experts to criticize Mills, the famed scourge of live animal sales in San Francisco's Chinatown.

"We are proud of having the opportunity to expose our urban patrons to the reality of the world of animals and the sources of our healthy food," fair manager Norbert Bartosik wrote in a public letter.

This debate between Mills -- who haunted the July State fair in Sacramento, collecting  signatures and passing out leaflets -- reads like an eerie illumination of the carnivore's dilemma: Is there really an ethically sound way to produce and eat meat?

Society seems to have agreed that, as long as the animals' brief lives are spent in relative comfort and their deaths come unexpectedly and swiftly, it's all good.

To Mills' mind, these protocols are breached by the rough treatment brood sows and cows get at the State Fair.

According to a recent letter from Mills to his fellow animal rights activists:

This year the State Fair featured three cows and three sows, all in the last term of their pregnancy, and ready to give birth any day, all on public display before noisy crowds, under bright lights. Adding to the stress, there were nightly fireworks at 10 p.m., frightening pets miles away. One can only imagine how it affected the animals at the Fair. Did any abort as a result, one wonders?
In response, the State Fair obtained a letter from Eric Davis, a UC Davis veterinarian who oversaw animal welfare during the Fair. The Fair birthing scene was so relaxed it only lacked for a team of New Age Doulas. "It is quite clear that Mr. Mills did not spend much, if any, time actually viewing the exhibit. I was there nearly the entire three weeks, all day and all night. It is my opinion that the animals received excellent care and were strikingly relaxed," he said.

What's more, Davis wrote, Mills would be better off sticking to his knitting -- or at least knitting prescribed by California State Fair overseers.

If Mr. Mills was really interested in solving a serious animal welfare issue, he would support initiatives, such as the one taken by UC, Davis's International Animal Welfare Training Institute which teaches police, fire, and other officials in how to handle loose livestock safely and humanely.
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Jacqueline
Jacqueline

The "rosey picture" painted by the UC Davis veterinarian is not accurate, and we need to take it with a grain of salt. The fact that the majority of states have discontinued these "birthing exhibits", such as Texas, Colorado and Oregon says a lot more about how inappropriate they are, and a clumsy and even cruel disregard for animal welfare. This one picture shown here, with cow birthing her calf is carefully posed, and does NOT reflect the real trauma of Mother cows separated from their calves right after birth, or pregnant sows struggling to give birth in metal farrowing crates, barely able to move!!  How would you like your wife, daughter or sister to undergo labor and birthing in this way?!

We really don't need to have this sort of exhibit at the State Fair. Other states do perfectly fine without exploiting birthing animals for public display. I'm sure California can too.

Oak123123-free
Oak123123-free

While waking people up to the realities of farm animals is a worthwhile endeavor, I'm not sure Mr. Mills' aggressive tactics are the answer.  I imagine the fair people have decided they will never give him an inch, even if they might have otherwise compromised.  Perhaps another spokesperson is needed at this point who can work with the fair without condemning them as unethical and soulless.  Most people do not understand the true intrinsic worth of animals yet, and forcing them doesn't help.

fearnot
fearnot

I was at the fair.. The animals were treated with care and love.. each one was carefully tended by a handler and veterinarians were on site. each animal seemed content and as for your "isn't that cute" it may not be cute to you but it is nature.. and most people never get to see it.. so while you caption may be your idea of cynicism.. it s really a truth that most people should know about. Animals give birth in fields,, in barns.. at fairs..   they really don;t care.. fireworks?? please.. and "did any abort"?? hysteria at its finest from an animal rights kook who if he had his way would make all domestic animals extinct. You would think they would be happy if the animal aborted.. one less to be born.. and that is what they are all about..

Eric Mills
Eric Mills

Thank you, Mr. Smith.  I'm sure you'll be punished accordingly.

These "birthing" exhibits truly are abusive.  Most State Fairs no longer feature them, e.g., Texas, Oregon, Colorado, etc.   Even worse than the plight of the cows/calves are the pregnant sows imprisoned in metal farrowing crates, barely able to move for three weeks, and forced to give birth on a hard rubber grid, without an ounce of bedding in sight.

I hope you'll do a follow-up story on the goldfish given as prizes (most of whom will be dead within the week, or flushed down the toilet), wild hermit crabs sold as pets, or race horses forced to run in 90+ degree heat.  And maybe the gourmet treats on the midway at Jungle George's:  "raccoon on a stick," beaver on a stick" (from out-of-state fur farms), "maggot melt" sandwiches....Just where do we draw the line, pray?  Apparently at the State Fair, anything goes.

Those concerned should contact the CalEXPO Fair Board, email - calexpoboard@calexpo.com; Norbert Bartosik is the CEO & General Manager.

Better yet, contact your state legislators and demand legislation to stop these unethical and cruel practices at all state and county fairs.  ALL LEGISLATORS MAY BE WRITTEN C/O THE STATE CAPITOL, SACRAMENTO, CA  95814.

Sincerely,Eric Mills, coordinatorACTION FOR ANIMALSOakland  email - afa@mcn.org

SeanD
SeanD

Eric:

Please clarify your statement: "Thank you, Mr. Smith.  I'm sure you'll be punished accordingly."

I really am curious what you mean. Thanks.

Eric Mills
Eric Mills

Dear SeanD - That comment was tongue-in-cheek, as in "No good deed goes unpunished."

Cheers,Eric

SeanD
SeanD

Thanks Eric. I find it is very hard to distinguish sincerity vs. snark on the internet.

Best,Sean

Matt Marin
Matt Marin

It's pretty obvious that Mr. Mills IS really interested in solving serious animal welfare issues.  It's amazing how some have to push their own agendas on others to try to detract from the issue at hand--for all we know, Mr. Mills supports the initiative, but that's not the issue here.  Fair officials are trying to paint a rosey picture of horrible life on factory farms. They drag pregnant animals to the fair and talk about how well they're treated.  Is being separated from offspring good treatment?  Oh, they'll claim they have to do it for economic reasons. Well, if everyone would just stop eating all animal products, just for one day a week even, they and the environment would be a lot healthier, and animal suffering would eventually be reduced.  Stop animal cruelty and send lots of applause to Mr. Mills!

minktreegirl
minktreegirl

this blog entry is very confusingly written.one has no right to enslave or kill another.open your hearts fully, without prejudice, for all animals.

Guest
Guest

Too bad deer season just opened and I got zone A tags.

minktreegirl
minktreegirl

this blog entry is very confusingly writtenone has no right enslave or kill anotheropen you hearts fully without prejudice to all animals

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