Monday, 27 February 2012

Food Animal Cruelty: Dairy

     Hi everyone :) sorry I haven't written in a while; I've been relatively busy with my life, doing this or that. It's amazing how time can be swallowed up so easily without you getting much done. So today I thought I'd venture out on a completely different subject than my last posts have been about. If you've read the title I'm sure you can guess what it is. Food animal cruelty. This, in my opinion is one of the most atrocious deeds being done by the human race. I wouldn't say THE most, but quite surely one of them. Let's hold up a second. When you guys eat your meat, are you thinking "I'm eating an animal right now", or more "I'm eating meat right now"? Probably the later right? Well let me ask you this, how many of you ventured to think "If this was an animal... how was it raised?" or "I hope this cow had a nice life"? Probably not as many of you. I know I didn't really think about that very much when I was eating meat. So now let me ask you this. How do YOU think modern farm animals are raised? On pastures right? The cattle grazing in the fields, chickens squawking around pecking at the dirt, the little pigs rolling in the mud crying "oink oink! oink oink!". WRONG! Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG! If that were the reality this world would be such a better place! However, the harsh reality is that for the vast majority, it is not like that whatsoever. At least not in most countries especially North America. I've been told that England and other parts of Europe are much better at this whole humane animal treatment thing and I am so jealous that their country is so much more advanced when it comes to that. I've even read than parts of Europe refuse to trade meat with the US because their treatment is so unethical. So what is it that makes North America so undignified when it comes to food production? Read on my friends.

    There are so many different food animals I could talk about here. Pigs, cows, chickens, eggs, dairy, turkeys, goose, veal, sows, dogs, fish, shark, horse, the list goes on. But obviously I'm not going to talk about all of those so I figured I'd focus on Beef, Dairy, Chicken, Eggs, and Pork since those are most common. They may be a bit long so I'll just include one in each post for now. Here we go...

The Dairy Disaster:
I thought I'd start with dairy cows because they sort of lead to other cattle products. Dairy cows have one of the worst lives possible for a mother. The poor mothers are confined to minuscule stalls their whole lives; they are kept impregnated year round in order for them to continue producing milk. They are milked everyday by a machine which as you can imagine is quite distressing and not to mention creepy. Once their calves are born they're almost immediately torn away from their mother (usually 1-2 days after birth) in order not to "waste" her milk. The poor calves are crying for their mothers in distress; the males will eventually become either veal or normal beef meat, but the females are destined for the same fate as their poor mothers. Cows usually live for about 10-15 years but a dairy cow in a modern day factory will only live to be about 2 or 3 because by then their body is so lacking in calcium they can barely support themselves. The average cow is lame, suffers from ulcerations, laminitis, or rotten hooves from standing in their own waste all their lives. They also commonly have twisted stomachs, torn udder ligaments, pneumonia, or bacterial infection in their teats causing puss to be expelled along with the milk. Some disgusting, undignified, horrible, inhumane creatures also known as a few producers, will attempt to actually cut the teat off, in order to continue milking. Here is a picture of a cow with a teat infection taken at a livestock auction.

And here is a picture of cows being milked by machines at an american farm.

    Unfortunately that is not the extent of the horrors for a dairy cow. Let me take you to the livestock auctions. It's hard to believe that the people who handle these animals are actually human and not monsters in disguise. All sorts of animals you find at livestock auctions, the majority are in the most horrible of condition possible and yet they are still mistreated. People twist their tails to the point of fracture (dont ask me why), motivation to move comes from being electrically prodded, not to mention they're beaten a tremendous amount. I've had the misfortune to read that female cows often have a gloved hand shoved up their vaginas to check for pregnancy. How horrible is that? Can you even begin to imagine what that would be like? These cows are basically being subject to extreme mistreatment, torture, assault, and even what you would call sexual assault! I don't know about you but I am ashamed that my country, of which I am for the most part proud to be apart of, takes part in such practices on a daily basis! I was appalled when I read of how the milk I consume is produced.
Not to mention how they are normally transported for up to 3 WEEKS without provisions or weather protection. And maybe the most horrific part of all: slaughter. Here is a brief overview of how they are slaughtered:

Slaughter: (of dairy, beef, and veal)
-stunned with a stun gun which would be great... HOWEVER, this is 5-10 % of the time not effective enough to render
the cow unconscious
-throats slashed to bleed out (some are still conscious while they are being bled out)
-some cows don’t die before hock cutting, and are literally cut to death piece by piece
-”downed” cows are dragged with hooks and/or chains as they are unable to walk
-an average slaughter house kills 250 cows a day
    Horrific isn't it?

    Now I have a confession to make. I don't eat meat but, I myself do actually drink dairy milk that is produced like this, each time I do I feel really terribly guilty but I can't help it for now. The problem is this: soy milk and almond milk is so dang expensive! It's not that I'm cheap it's just that I can't afford to be buying almond or soy milk, or ethical dairy milk for that matter, when it's over $4 for 2 litres! So that's why I took it upon myself to try to raise awareness about it, so that at least I'd be doing something. Even if you guys aren't going to convert to ethically produced dairy milk or other kinds of milk; I really hope you will try to do something about it nonetheless. Even just telling your friends about it is good! Or you could even venture to send a letter to your provincial/national agricultural minister like I did. Either way, I hope I at least taught you guys something. 

If you seek more information you can visit any of these sites:

    Stay tuned for my next post which will include the story of another desolate animal commonly found on our plates. Bye for now.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Crocheted Toque/Beanie

    Good morning everyone! I'm in a right good mood today because guess what?! I got my first ever comment just a few hours ago! Thank you to Cosmo Dk! You've made my day! Haha that rhymes! Alrighty, So yesterday I posted a mini crocheted heart pattern. Today I thought I'd post another pattern, this time for a very simple and easy crocheted hat. This is just a basic toque/beanie. You can add decorations to it like the little hearts you might have made from my last post. Or you could crochet up some little flowers, or just simply add stripes by changing the colour here and there. This might be great to crochet as a gift for someone for Valentine's day, it only takes a few hours. :) After finishing the hat I decided I wanted a stripe so instead of taking some of the rows out and changing colour I just wove in a green yarn through the holes of a row twice and the effect is pretty good. Here's a picture of the end result:

It should fit an average teenager or adult's head. I will add an optional round for those of you making it for someone with a slightly larger head (this will come after R6).

-Bulky yarn, a 6 or 7 wpi. 
-10mm crochet hook
-Tapestry needle (big fat sewing needle)

Stitches and abbreviations:
ch: chain
sl st: slip stitch
sc: single crochet
st: stitch

R1: Ch 5, sl st into first chain to connect. Ch 1.
R2: Work 10 sc into the loop, join with a sl st into the first sc of round. Ch 1.
R3: Sc in same st, *2 sc in next st* repeat from * to * until end of round. Ss into first sc to join. Ch 1.
R4: Sc in same st, *1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st* repeat * till end of round. Join. Ch 1.
R5: Sc in same st, *1 sc in next 2 stitches, 2 sc in next st* repeat * till end of round. Join. Ch 1.
R6: Sc in same st, *1 sc in next 3 stitches, 2 sc in next st* repeat * till end of round. Join. Ch 1.
This is how big it should look by now, you don't actually want it to be as big as the top of your head because it will end up too big. Maybe try finding a knitted toque that fits you and see how big the top is before the decreases started. However, for a larger size, continue with the row in brackets. 

(For larger size: Sc in same st, *1 sc in next 4 stitches, 2 sc in next st* repeat * till end off round, join, ch 1. If it is still not large enough, add another row but this time do 1 sc in next 5 stitches and 2 in next. This should definitely be large enough if you are using a Bulky or Super Bulky yarn.)
R7: No single crochet in same st! Now all you're going to do is 1 sc in every st around, join, and ch 1. 
R8: Repeat round 7 until hat is desired length. Cut the yarn leaving a 3' tail and pull it tight. Weave in the ends with the tapestry needle and you're finished! Yay!

Try making one for your partner or spouse for Valentine's day! Till next time!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Crocheted Valentine Hearts

    Hey guys :) Its been a while. Sort of :P a week or so maybe? Well, I've just been busy reading this new book I got and crocheting little heart clips for my little cousins out on the East Coast. So I was going to give you guys a how-to for a simple toque/beanie pattern, but I figured since it is getting close to Valentine's day, why don't I teach you guys how to crochet little hearts instead?! They're pretty quick if you know how to crochet the simplest stitches. So here's the pattern:

-yarn: you can basically use anything, worsted weight is good if you want a sort of thick heart, but if you want a nice delicate and lacy looking one you could even use embroidery floss/friendship bracelet string.
-crochet hook: for worsted weight use no less than 4.5mm; for anything thinner, use a four, or if you're using embroidery string a 3.5 is good for a nice lacy look.
-tapestry needle (just a thick needle with a big eye)

sc= single crochet
dc= double crochet
tc= triple crochet
ss= slip stitch
ch= chain
st= stitch


Start: Tie the yarn onto your crochet hook, ch3, ss to first st.
1: Working into the loop, dc, tc, dc. 3 sc, tc. 3 sc, dc, tc, dc; next ss into the loop, pull the yarn out and tight, next cut leaving a fairly long tail (about 3' long). Weave the ends in with the tapestry needle, or if you're going to attach them to something like clips, you can use the tail to sew it on with. And you're done! This is what they sort of should look like after you're done:

Crocheted Hearts - Red - Cotton

Hope you guys enjoy that, make some for a friend or family member for Valentine's Day! :)
Until next time!
                                         -Morgan <3

Happy Valentine's day! <3