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ACTION ALERT: ACT NOW TO SAVE BILL AND LOU!

PLEASE NOTE:

Portions of this now amended Action Alert were based on representations made to VINE by the Green Mountain College Farm Manager, who led us to believe that he was speaking for the college. We have since learned that was not true and that some of his statements did not reflect the official college position. We sincerely regret any hard feelings caused by that misunderstanding. We encourage the college community to revisit any decisions that it may have made based on inaccurate information

Specifically, we have since learned that the college asserts that (a) killing Bill and Lou would be best for them, and (b) killing Bill and Lou would be the “sustainable” thing to do, to keep them from wasting resources now that one of them is disabled. The college does intend to serve them as hamburger but does not see this as the primary motive for the slaughter.

Green Mountain College does still plan to kill Lou and Bill, and action is still needed.

Please see subsequent blog posts for details.

Green Mountain College is poised to kill two oxen named Bill and Lou who have served their college farm for ten long years. ACT NOW to prevent it!

Bill and Lou have been a working team of oxen at Green Mountain College in Poultney, VT for ten years. They were pressed into service by staff at Cerridwen Farm – the teaching farm on campus – to do everything from plowing fields to generating electricity. Over the years, they became so well loved that they’re even the profile picture for the farm’s Facebook page!

A few months ago, Lou became unable to be worked any longer. Bill won’t work with anyone else. Therefore, the college has concluded that both of them must be killed.

DEATH is their reward for 10 long years of hard work.

Yes, Green Mountain College has decided that Bill and Lou’s long lives of service should be rewarded by their slaughter – and for what? According to their own press releases, the school will get, at best, a couple of months of low-grade hamburger out of their bodies.

This is especially heartbreaking because they have an excellent home waiting for them.

VINE Sanctuary has offered to provide Bill and Lou with permanent homes. We have the ability and resources to care for them for the rest of their natural lives. Sadly, though, the college is determined to kill them instead.

Bill and Lou

Farm Manager Kenneth Mulder (with whip) working Bill and Lou

For ten years, they served the needs of those more powerful than they are.

Now it’s time to let them serve their own needs.

Please contact the folks at Green Mountain College and urge them to reconsider. It would be especially powerful for people from Vermont to contact them, and even more so for alumni to add their voices, so if you know someone from Vermont and/or Green Mountain College, please forward this notice to them as well. Feel free to use and/or modify the letter below, or write your own. Please send the letter to the following people:

Bill Throop Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: throopw@greenmtn.edu

Kenneth Mulder Farm Manager, Research Associate & Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies: mulderk@greenmtn.edu (We no longer believe that letters to Farm Manager Mulder would be helpful.)

Dear Sir:

I am writing to urge you to allow Bill and Lou to live out the remainder of their natural lives, in peace and contentment, at VINE Sanctuary, a reputable organization which has offered to care for them.

Should you choose to reverse their death sentences, the rewards garnered by Green Mountain College will far exceed whatever paltry sum their slaughter would bring to the school.

Conversely, whatever small amount of cash would be made by killing them will be far outweighed by the negative press which will follow in the wake of their deaths. (We now know that economics is not the primary motive for the slaughter.

Bill and Lou have served your college well for ten long years. Students and faculty alike have expressed how much they care about these individuals. They deserve to be given the rest of their lives to live as they choose. Just because they are not human does not mean they do not care about their existence.

We will be watching to see what decision you make.

Sincerely,

NAME

207 comments to ACTION ALERT: ACT NOW TO SAVE BILL AND LOU!

  • anitat

    Have you put this on change.org as a petition? Might be worth it!

  • Aynne Morison

    What would be the true harm of letting these two live out their lives in some comfort after years of hard labor?

  • miriam

    Folks from another AR group here put out the petition via Care2 — so far there are over 1,000 signatures — but change.org is an excellent idea — I will throw that out there to them, thanks!

  • Erin

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. They have worked and served the students at Green Mountain, and this is all they get? This isn’t right at all.

  • Erin

    Can you share the link directing us to the petition?

  • miriam

    Here’s the link to the petition — thanks for asking! But also, if you can spare a few minutes to email the provost and the farm manager directly, that would be an extremely powerful message: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/843/838/964/spare-oxen-bill-and-lou-from-slaughter/

  • MARY

    This is so cruel that it just breaks my heart…..seriously just because you can’t do labor anymore you are no longer a valuable living being????? this is what will become of us humans in a few more years. When we are no longer making money to pay the taxes to the gov. we will be put to sleep…Anyway…I think it is best since there is a place they CAN go to that it is criminal not to send them to a wonderful old age pasture….I don’t eat meat but even if I did I wouldn’t want to be that poor kid in the cafeteria munching on a former mascot….geee wizzz doesn’t anyone have a heart anymore…..

  • Hey Miriam, what has been the exact response from the college to your request? Are they just straight up saying no?

    -marji, animal place

  • miriam

    Hey Marji!

    Thus far, the only response has been from Kenneth Mulder, the farm manager, with whom I spoke on Friday. He said many things, including that the school was concerned that the resources of the world would be wasted on Bill and Lou (you know, like air and water) if the college didn’t kill them. He also tried to put it out there that everything the college did was by the consensus of the students, but when I pressed him, he said that the provost makes the final decisions for the school.

    There was a forum coming up that afternoon (or the next day) at which students would once again have a chance to voice their feelings about the matter, as it has been quite contentious (which is why we heard about it in the first place, via another AR group in VT). When we hung up the phone, the general conclusion was that we would both (both sides) wait to see what happened at that forum.

    In the meantime, GMAD (that other AR group) sent a letter to the school asking that it be read at the forum, which did not happen (most likely because of the timing of the situation).

    Supposedly, according to the school, the forum resulted in the same conclusion as before: the school needs to kill Bill and Lou.

    Now, we can take their word for it — OR we can figure that, given that so many of their students are vegan or veggie (30% by their own admission) the Wise and Sagacious faculty members convinced the students that this was the best thing to do. Hard to know.

    So, in the days since then, we have done the petition, the action alert asking folks to send letters, and several other tactics aimed at pressuring the school to do the right thing. As of now, we have yet to hear back from the provost, whom I emailed directly this morning.

    We’ll keep you posted!

    Miriam

  • pattrice

    Which students attended that forum? Were they mostly students whom Mulder had taught that it was necessary to “be mean to” Lou and Bill, as one news report quoted a student as saying? Were they students who had been taught by Mulder to suppress their empathy while whipping Lou and Bill? These are relevant questions that ought to be asked of the Provost, if he intends to base his decision on the results of that forum.

    The biggest question: Did the students know that a sanctuary had offered to provide a home for Bill and Lou, or were they told that the decision was between killing them and selling them off to an uncertain fate?

  • miriam

    Sorry — I left that out — before we hung up, I asked him to announce that a home had been offered to Bill and Lou, and he assured me he would do so. Of course, I have no proof that he did.

  • BARBBF

    HAVE SENT AN E-MAIL AS REQUESTED, WILL FORWARD A COPY TO VINE. I also sent your link to SP Vegetarian/Vegan members..and am hopeful that some of the members will respond by sending e-mails to the university.

  • bravebird

    Thank you, and to everyone else who has responded with action!

  • CQ

    Am sending this pronto to the mom of a student at Champlain College in VT; he loves animals and will surely take action, and hopefully get his friends to do the same. Good you included the link to the Care2 petition, which was easy to sign; the count is already above 3,400.

  • JAH

    As a faculty member at Green Mountain College, I can confirm that decisions such as those related to Bill and Lou are vetted at all levels across campus. Open forums for students, faculty, and administrators are common. One of the things that I believe we do very well at GMC is to consider multiple dimensions of complex issues. Finally, I’d say that it is inaccurate to contend that the “wise and sagacious faculty” somehow convinced the students of something. Many of our students themselves are wise and sagacious and bring good context and perspective to these forums.

  • Kathy

    I bet we could buy them….. Just thinking the college doesn’t want to pay for their upkeep. I bet if we offered money the board of the college would go for it, even if Moulder doesn’t want to. How much do you think it would cost to offset the “meat” they would supply?

  • miriam

    We prefer to exhaust all other options before considering purchasing them. By buying a living creature we reinforce the idea that it is acceptable to purchase living creatures. We do know that in many cases in the past (e.g. slavery), activists advocated the purchase of living creatures (in those cases, humans), and are not saying this is something horrible, or wrong, for others to do. Our stance, however, has long been to reject that solution in favor of others that do not reinforce the paradigm of animals-as-commodities.

  • miriam

    I’ll tell you what — I will leave your comment on this blog, and even respond to it, if we receive assurance, in writing, from GMC that you will stop removing the posts on your Facebook page from alumni who oppose your decision. Turn about is fair play — you remove our comments, we will remove yours. Similarly, we will give your comments their due respect and consideration if you do the same for ours.

  • ceal

    Please release Bill and Lou , so they can spend the rest of their lives in peace.

  • CQ

    This is an example of why it is wrong to keep animals as “property.” The humans who own and hold power over their “property” can wield that ownership power unjustly, uncompassionately — and often do. Let us hope it will not be so in this case, for the sakes of Bill and Lou and, really, the entire earth, which needs every evidence of goodness, fairness, moral courage and compassion we humans can muster.

  • Elaine

    FOR SHAME!! I thought you were a responsible college. NOT!!

  • Katherine

    I signed the petition, and emailed both Bill Throop, and Kenneth Mulder. This cannot be allowed to happen. These poor animals have suffered enough, as evidenced in the picture of them with the man with the whip. These animals deserve to live out the rest of their natural lives in peace, and dignity.

  • APASTOR

    Hello! I am so outraged by this heartbreaking story.

    Does anyone have an idea of how much these oxen can be purchased for? If it’s several months’ worth of meat for the college, then I would be happy to monetarily contribute to cover those costs so that these animals can be saved. If air and food and their ‘use’ of precious resources can be quantified, can we not put a price on it and pay it?

    I have written to both Provost and Farm Mgr as your site indicates.

    I wish to support you any way I can.

    The slaughter of these sentient beings by an educational institution that is educating our youths is a frightening concept. I think they should stick to teaching ethics and not be giving thumbs up or down on whether animals live or die.

    Wholly supporting your cause and thank you for stepping up to the plate.

  • Cathy

    You owe Bill and Lou let them live out there retirement! When your ready to retire should YOU be put to death??

  • SMELLS LIKE A ==LUBBOCK TO ME!!! STOP THIS MADNESS===THIS IS BLATANT DISRESPECT FOR ANIMALS ===WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN !

  • Allen Hawthorne

    It’s hard to imagine how very long it will take Green Mountain College to live down the ill will that will result from killing Bill and Lou so unnecessarily.

  • John M Maslack

    OK, LET’S NOT BE A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITICAL ASSES. YES, I AM CALLING NAMES HERE, AND THEY ARE JUSTIFIED. I GREW UP HERE AND, I CAN STILL REMEMBER THE LAST OF THE WORK HORSES, LEFT TO LIVE OUT THEIR LIVES ON THE FARMS THEY HAD WORKED. AGAIN ,DO THE RIGHT THING, AND DON’T WORY ABOUT A FEW DOLLARS FOR MEAT….JOHN

  • We sent the following:
    Bill Throop Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs,

    Please do the right thing and give the old oxen Bill and Lou a retirement. Let humane people take care of them. Let VINE Sanctuary take care of them. Those of us at the Species List Forest take care of all the plants and animals of or forest. You can certainly not kill these two oxen. This is not a judgement of good agricultural practices; it is a judgement on the ethics of agriculturalists.

    Sincerely,

    Richard Stafursky, Manager, Species List Forest
    155 Belmont Avenue
    Brattleboro, VT 05301
    Species List Forest, Conway, MA
    a 501(c)(3) conservation organization
    802 257 9158
    rhstafursky@yahoo.com

  • Cindy Mcmahon

    These two oxen Bill and Lou live in the field behind my house. It makes me sick to my stomach even to think about what the college
    is planning to do to them. They are a legend in this town. And they do not deserve to have there lives ended this way. I over the years have not like how the college has treated these ox,and the conditions they have had to stay in and work in.And many times had to bite my tounge. But this is totally sick to feed these Oxen in the dining hall. Is the college really that bad off????? They deserve to live out there lives !!!!! They earned that and so much more. And my 11 yr old daughter has been so upset about this. We deliver a letter to Ken Moulder himslf wriiten by her asking that the college rethink this decission and let them live out there lives.

  • miriam

    Cindy, thank you for your comment. To be honest, this is the first we’ve heard that the conditions for Bill and Lou were less than perfect all through their lives — it’s very disturbing, and makes this whole fight even more important, so that at least they can have some good days (if they are released, that is). We will keep everyone posted on the progress…..

  • AnimalLovingStudent

    I wonder if you all realize that Lou broke his leg over the summer and despite all efforts to help him heal, it has not improved. I can see the pain in his face as he tries to walk around the pasture. Do you think it’s right to let him live in pain for an indeterminable amount of time? Just curious.

  • JAH

    I’m not sure what “conditions they have had to stay in and work in” refers to and what the comparison conditions might be for other farm oxen elsewhere, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a more bucolic and pleasant environment than the GMC farm. When not working, they have spent their days wandering large pastures or cared for in an open-air enclosure near the barn. Insinuating that their lives on the farm have been something to bite one’s tongue about begs for some evidence.

  • I agree with Cindy, also becausse I can not so well english but animals we must love, respect and protect…this is discusting
    These two oxen Bill and Lou live in the field behind my house. It makes me sick to my stomach even to think about what the college
    is planning to do to them. They are a legend in this town. And they do not deserve to have there lives ended this way. I over the years have not like how the college has treated these ox,and the conditions they have had to stay in and work in.And many times had to bite my tounge. But this is totally sick to feed these Oxen in the dining hall. Is the college really that bad off????? They deserve to live out there lives !!!!! They earned that and so much more. And my 11 yr old daughter has been so upset about this. We deliver a letter to Ken Moulder himslf wriiten by her asking that the college rethink this decission and let them live out there lives.

  • off caorse we must SAVE BILL AND LOU!…any animal we must love, protect and resopect…it is realy discusting waht peaple can do to tha tbeautifful animals

  • miriam

    Hello “Animal Loving Student,”

    Of course we believe that living in pain is an awful way to live. But given that there exists a plethora of pain medications for cows which can alleviate such suffering — much as there exist such medications for humans — it is unconscionable NOT to medicate him and see if he can’t find some relief that way. We have a couple of steer — steer who top out over 3,000 pounds EACH — who have chronic pain and we manage it with medication. It’s sort of obvious, but then again, alleviating the discomfort of someone who has been viewed as a TOOL and a MACHINE for ten years isn’t something that occurs to people.

    Moreover, who are you to determine whether or not he wants to live or die based upon the pain he is in? I know plenty of humans — PLENTY of them — who live with chronic pain. They live with pain on a daily basis. Arthritis, back pain, migraine, whatever. It hurts, they suffer, it sucks — and yet gosh golly they don’t off themselves. I dare you to suggest to them that they would be better off with a bolt gun shot to the head.

    Not to mention Bill. Really? We must murder him even if his partner were to die somehow? I suggest you go around to all the old ladies whose husbands have died and ask them if they might not want you to kill them too.

    One more point. No one at the college has mentioned EUTHANASIA for Lou. Had this been a situation in which Lou was viewed as an individual in his own right, and he was making it clear that he was done with this life, then ending his life painlessly and without fear — as in euthanasia — might be a reasonable option. It is certainly one we have undertaken for those individuals here who have made it clear that they do not wish to live with their chronic conditions. Frankly, I personally believe that it’s criminal that humans not have this choice as well. In any case — no one from GMC has even suggested such a thing. No. He is to be shot in the head by a slaughterer in what will undoubtedly be a terrifying and painful experience. So please don’t pretend this is all coming from concern for Lou’s pain and suffering. This is a clear-cut decision made on the basis of profit and loss; namely, he can’t give us what we want anymore, so we will kill him. Again I ask you to consider how different this situation would be if Bill and Lou were human.

    In case my point is not obvious, I will spell it out for you. What should not be done to humans should not be done to non-humans. We oppose human supremacy in all its forms, including double standards for who gets to live and who does not. Shame on everyone who is presuming to act as a demi-god, deciding for Bill and Lou whether or not they “deserve” to live, whether or not they “want” to live. LET THEM DECIDE. Is that really so radical a notion for a school that prides itself upon taking radical stances to traditional problems?

  • Dear Drs. Throop and Mulder:

    I have just learned about the impending slaughter of Bill and Lou. I am writing to urge you to allow Bill and Lou to live out the remainder of their natural lives, in peace and contentment, at VINE Sanctuary, a reputable organization which has offered to care for them.

    Should you choose to reverse their death sentences, the rewards garnered by Green Mountain College will far exceed whatever paltry sum their slaughter would bring to the school.

    Conversely, whatever small amount of cash would be made by killing them will be far outweighed by the negative press which will follow in the wake of their deaths.

    Bill and Lou have served your college well for ten long years. Students and faculty alike have expressed how much they care about these individuals. They deserve to be given the rest of their lives to live as they choose. Just because they are not human does not mean they do not care about their existence.

    I will do all I can to publicize the heartless and unnecessary slaughter of these amazing animals far and wide.

    I will be watching very closely to see what decision you make.

    Sincerely,

    Marc Bekoff

    Homepage: marcbekoff.com/
    Marc Bekoff and Jane Goodall (EETA): http://www.ethologicalethics.org
    Marc Bekoff Central: http://www.yourcybercourt.info/Bekoff/marcbekoffcentral.html
    Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions
    Boulder Orthopedics Cycling Team: http://bouldermasterscycling.com/2011/12/23/marc-bekoff/
    Kids & animals, Marc Bekoff, Foreword by Jane Goodall; http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/ArchitecturePlanning/discover/centers/CYE/Publications/Pages/Books.aspx

    Dr. Marc Bekoff
    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    University of Colorado
    Boulder, Colorado 80309-0334 USA

  • Alexandria

    To:
    Bill Throop, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
    Kenneth Mulder, Farm Manager, Research Associate and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

    Your decision to kill Bill & Lou has reached the ears of sympathetic carers of animals here in Australia and astounds us. I will all I can do to publish and promote your cruel heartless actions far and wide. Cruelty cannot stand the spotlight. Your college will suffer the consequences of your decisions for a long long time. Social media is a POWERFUL to for reform.

    VINE Sanctuary has offered to take these majestic animals into their care and provide them with the life of retirement that they rightly deserve. Let this happen. These animals have been exploited and forced to work long and hard at the hands of a cruel man wielding a whip which in itself is archaic animal handling and training practice. Get with the era and learn human positive training methods !

    As an organisation you are in a position to make humane choices that will affect the well-being of defenceless and innocent creatures, non of which asked to be exploited by humanities greed and total indulgence of everything that humanity can manipulate and control for humans selfish greed.

    One day humanity will look back at this current human consciousness and its continued exploitation of the planet resources and animals and severely condemn those who were in positions of influence and decision making. Both of you will be judged by your decisions and actions.

    Alexandria

    If you care
    If you dare
    Watch EARTHLINGS
    It will change your life
    http://www.unleashed.org.au/features/earthlings/

  • Sam

    Thank you for offering to take in these sweet babies. I found out about them on the peta webpage and imeediatly acted. I really hope they will be lucky enough to spend the rest of their lives with you!

  • A few days ago we celebrated Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday. He said “A nation is judged by the way she treats her animals”. I wonder how you will be judged today? Particularly in light of the fact that a home has already been found? Or is the arbitrary decision to kill so entrenched that rational thinking is thrown aside?

    Last week we also celebrated St. Francis’ Day. The patron Saint of animals. What a hideous and vile thing it is when a life that could be saved is destroyed for no earthly purpose.

    I am sure there are millions around the world who will be appalled and disgusted to think we are even discussing such an outlandish decision.

    O tempores. O mores.

    Philip Wollen
    Australia

  • CQ

    Marc, you beat me to sharing the link to your article http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/201210/green-mountain-college-slaughter-two-oxen. Both your thoughts and the comments underneath add more texture and depth to this important conversation about the benefits that will come from preserving the vital lives of two gentle male cows.

  • JAH

    I find it curious that the same folks who object to the use of oxen to plow fields for small scale production of local produce remain silent regarding the more intensive and less sustainable methods and transportation to bring a vegan diet to their plates. Until someone figures out some magic means of no harm/cost food production, all of us will continue to have blood on our hands for our actions.

  • pattrice

    You’ve evidently never been to Vegetarian Summerfest or any of the other events at which vegans learn to avoid not only animal products but also (e.g., just remembering one talk I attended) to forgo pesticide-laden bananas shipped long-distances in favor of in-season organic local fruit.

    Most ethical vegans I know also strive to eat as locally as possible. We also avoid products made by slave labor, those that pollute the environment (or the bodies of workers), and those that are the result of unfair trade practices.

    Do some vegans eat highly processed junk food trucked from far away? Sure! And even more omnivores gobble down highly processed foods trucked from far away that are even harder on the earth.

    It’s always inherently less sustainable to cycle plant protein and other nutrients through animals before consuming them. So, just because something’s local doesn’t mean it’s sustainable.

    And it’s just wrong to say we “remain silent” about these things. I personally, in talks given on behalf of the sanctuary every year since 2000, have consistently and explicitly stated that “vegan means green” and gone on to spell out exactly what that means in terms of all sorts of consumption (not just food.)

  • Taylor

    I am a student at Green Mountain College who believes with all my heart that all animals should be honored and loved. Treated with a respect that only the most humble and wise of creatures deserve. I also believe that keeping an animal alive who is in intense physical pain due to unavoidable health issues is a cruel and unusual punishment for any living creature. I believe that keeping Lou alive through artificial means in not only unnatural but is a merciless end to his long, love filled life. It would be equally as merciless for Bill if we took away his life partner and left him to live alone, constantly missing his other half or to die alone of a broken heart. Through putting Bill and Lou in our dining hall we are not only giving the students an opportunity to honor their beloved friends but we are giving Bill and Lou an opportunity to live on, pain free, forever, through our bodies, souls and the good we do in this world with the energy that they provide to us.
    Something that is not stressed on this site or many other sites is that Lou has extreme pain to his legs and joints. He is in pain when he walks and is often found exhausted in the pasture from trying to walk on his hurting legs. These health issues were unavoidable and something needs to be done about them. I feel that processing them and putting them in the dining hall IS the best way to both help a dear friend out of pain while honoring him in a way that will live on in me forever.
    Thank you

  • pattrice

    Slaughter is different than euthanasia. The college is not planning to painlessly euthanize Lou and Bill, but rather to send them to a painful and terrifying death at a commercial slaughterhouse.

    We’ve not heard that a vet has recommended euthanasia for Lou. With proper treatment and pain management–which he cannot be getting right now, if he is scheduled for slaughter, since the USDA does not allow animals who have received certain medications in recent weeks to be killed for meat–an injury such as his ought not be a death sentence.

    We have heard that, as of today, Lou was up and walking around, only slightly favoring his back leg. If he came to VINE, he would receive immediate veterinary care, including pain management medications. Of course, if the vet recommended euthanasia, then we would comply, ensuring that his death was painless and stress-free.

    As for Bill, well, not many widows or widowers commit suicide when their spouse dies. As we age, we do lose close friends but few of us would want to be killed ourselves. Shouldn’t Bill have the opportunity to make new friends, in the context of a freedom and ease that he has never before enjoyed?

    Here at the sanctuary, animals who have suffered terrible losses come and–just like us–find solace in new relationships. We’d like to offer Bill that opportunity while also seeing how Lou does with pain medications the freedom to rest as much as he likes.

  • anitat

    I can’t help but think that Taylor’s comment was VERY similar to the logic of those who ate the hearts of their enemies to gain their courage, something very few of us would ever consider today.

    I sent out the letters and put the initial link on my facebook, I’ll add the one to the petition.

  • pattrice

    I find that I have more to say to Taylor.

    (1) It’s our understanding that, after Lou’s initial injury, he was allowed to rest but then forced to work again as soon as he showed improvement. This happened repeatedly. So, in a sense, the college repeatedly re-injured him by forcing him to work on a weakened leg. Again, we’d like to see how he does with pain management medication and as much rest as he wants.

    (2) A clarification on our position concerning euthanasia. Of course, we euthanize in the case of terminal illness, when the pain of that illness has led the animal to lose the will to live. In the case of non-terminal injuries or illnesses, then we would always get the advice of at least two vets–and, if possible, also consult an ethologist or other scholar we know to be especially expert in the psychology of this particular kind of animal–in order to ensure that we aren’t making a fatal mistake. (Animals, like people, may become depressed immediately after becoming disabled but, again like people, often can lead happy lives after learning to accommodate the disability.)

    (3) Speaking of ethologists, one of the world’s leading ethologists–Marc Bekoff, who has worked with Jane Goodall–has implored Green Mountain College to release Lou and Bill to VINE. This should give any animal-loving student at GMC pause.

    (4) Finally, please ask some elders who are widowed or have ailments like rheumatoid arthritis whether they would feel it respectful for you to kill them in order to relieve their grief or pain.

  • JAH

    I think we could go on ad infinitum with a tit for tat on sources and “evidence” on each side. I see your ethologist and raise you two ecocentric environmental philosophers. Neither arguments nor cited authorities will likely result in one side convincing the other of their error. Ultimately, the difference is rooted in moral community. Those who oppose the slaughter of Bill and Lou afford the oxen a particular standing in the moral community that those who support the slaughter do not. Those supportive of processing Bill and Lou for meat do not equate the lives of the oxen the same standing human beings. So to expect slaughter advocates to embrace the equivalency of putting their grandparents to the bolt gun once they are no longer able to work is not an argument that resonates.

    And I understand why some see little or no moral distinction between oxen and humans whether based on sentience, subject of a life, or having eyelashes or some other criterion. The fact of the matter is there is no self-evident claim that we should treat oxen and humans by the same moral standards. Animal rights and animal welfare advocates may agree on not slaughtering Bill and Lou, but they would disagree on the reasons why.

    One point that hasn’t been raised yet is the following. When Bill and Lou were acquired by GMC, their final destiny was almost certainly the dinner plate. So the complaint shouldn’t be against what the decision was this month, but what the decision was ten years earlier.

  • miriam

    Then since it could go on forever, I suggest we stop the conversation for now. We have important work to do, and listening to the self-defensive justifications of a human supremacist is not getting us anywhere.

  • Typical human reaction just like other animals like dairy cows who slave and toil till they are needed no more then murdered for hamburger meat. Human beings to be truly human must be humane beings as well. This notion that mankind rules and reigns with callous disregard and no compassion or mercy for animals has to stop or else we will continue to be the Uncivilized people worldwide. We will never,ever evolve into the planet described in Genesis where it all started in the Garden of Eve: which has been revolved into the Garden of Evil until Love,kindness,mercy,compassion,conscious,understanding,sympathy is totally restored in all aspects of human and animal interactions. Animals are not humans to eat,wear,products,by-products,sport,religion,tradition,hunting,fishing,trapping,animal sports,vivisection,animal experimentation or for any other reason.

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