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Planting New Seeds: Livestock Farmers Switch to New Careers    Part 2   
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These are strawberries; strawberries with a very good size, and a delicious flavor. They are super sweet and are organic strawberries produced here in El Verdegal.

Compassionate viewers, welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. This episode features the first in a two-part series about a very heartening global trend. Farmers are switching away from raising livestock and are finding peaceable livelihoods.

Today we’ll visit former livestock farmers from the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Formosa (Taiwan), Âu Lạc (Vietnam) and Iran and learn some of the reasons they made the courageous, noble decision to change careers. Why did these farmers previously raise livestock? In some cases, they began simply because that was what their fathers had done before them, and they learned this form of livelihood as they grew up. Also many times the father expects his children to take over the family farm.

I came from a dairy-farming family. Since I was a little boy, I have been milking the cows. Later on, my dad gave us our own plots to cultivate when we got married, so I started to make the dairy bigger, making a kind of feedlot.

Yes, my father raised livestock. He had a ranch. Then my father passed away when I was young. So I started to be in charge of the ranch, while my mother was the owner. She did the commercial side. She sold the animals to the people to raise them or to be butchered.

My family historically have been pig farmers right here in Ohio.

As a child, I usually spent my vacations with my grandfather; he had a cattle ranch and farmed. So, from very small, I was acquainted with the environment, with nature. Subsequently, my father bought a ranch.

I spent most of my life in agriculture; I grew up on a cattle farm in Michigan (USA).

Many of these former farmers had financially successful operations, but after a while, they became deeply troubled by several aspects of their work, including the enormous cruelty involved in animal farming.

After only six months, while giving birth, one of my animals broke one of her legs and become crippled. And this incident had such a profound effect on me that gradually I started to think that such an incident would surely recur, since my cows were continually giving birth. So I asked the vet, who said that this was due to low calcium, and that when animals give birth for the second, third and fourth time, such incidents do occur. This caused me great anxiety.

I witnessed how animals suffered on the factory farms. And when we would take the animals to be sold, they would look at us as if one of the family members was going away. I couldn’t bear such scenes. These scenes were a kind a torture for me.

Raising pigs also created a lot of problems. For example, when a pig was sick, I didn’t know the reason, so I had to buy medicine for them. I worried for them. When a pig was sick, I too felt sick. Seeing them sick, I felt pity for them, because they couldn’t speak.

Each time I sold a pig, they kept going back in, not wanting to leave me, because they had already grown attached to me. I did not want the pig to be slaughtered. I thought of the pig being tied up. “My God! Tonight, the pig will be killed.” I prayed for her a lot. Each time, I sold a pig, I fell ill for a month, even longer. Then I told my husband, “Oh, honey, we should stop raising pigs!”

How did these individuals condition themselves to ignore the horrendous treatment and eventual murder of the tender farm animals under their care?

I had this immediate mental image of a light switch right over my heart and I call it my “compassion switch” and I could turn this compassion switch on and off, depending on circumstances.

Turn it on for some animals, and turn it off for the ones that I had to butcher. To turn my compassion off, to turn my love off, to turn my empathy and sympathy off was three words, a phrase. And if I had the power to take this phrase out of the English language I would. It was the phrase “I don’t care.”

Any time I had to do something that I thought was objectionable, something that I thought was not right, I would just say, “I don't care,” so that I could do whatever needed to be done, whether it was to kill them, and butcher them, or to eat them. If I had an emotional connection with that animal, but I ended up butchering and then eating them, I'd feel, "Yes, yes, but I don't care, I need to eat.”

When we return, we’ll learn more about why farmers are going away from raising livestock and instead embracing peaceful and loving careers. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

We have pets, and we love them; they’re so dear to us. And we will never think of eating a cat or a dog. But we have no problem with other animals, whether they are free living animals or domesticated animals like cows. It's this dichotomy; it's this double standard that we have that one is worthy of our regard and the other is not. One is worthy of our love and the other is not.

Welcome back to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants, as we continue our program about why livestock farmers are leaving the animal agriculture industry. Many are profoundly concerned about the devastating effects on health arising from the production and consumption of animal products. Countless studies have shown that meat consumption can result in heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity and many highly infectious diseases originate from livestock as well.

One such illness, transferred from cows to humans through unpasteurized milk, cheese or other dairy products, is brucellosis.

Those who become ill with brucellosis may experience fever, sweating, weakness, anemia, headaches, depression and muscular and bodily pain. The duration of these symptoms can last for weeks, months or even become chronic.

I had 40 cows in the feedlot. Then I was offered a whole herd from a dairy that was going to be closed down. We made a deal and we introduced the cows into our feedlot and about three years later, we realized that the bull and all the cows from that herd were infected with brucellosis. Since the bull was infected, all the cows also became infected.

Livestock can spread extremely contagious diseases like bird flu, and even cause pandemics such as swine flu. Pollution is a grave concern as well.

In 1995, a 3.25 hectare manure lagoon in North Carolina, USA burst, releasing 97.6- million liters of sewage into the New River. The event was the largest environmental spill in US history, more than twice as large as the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. Consequently millions of fish perished along with all other beings living in the river. Drinking water often becomes contaminated with nitrates and phosphorus from the manure that is generated. In addition, many suffer from respiratory illnesses from the fouled air, and some even experience psychological problems such as depression arising from living in degraded surroundings.

Why did you change your job?

The reason is that the radio continually reported about H1N1 (swine flu) transmission between humans, and then I saw that raising pigs affected the environment and the water source that people around here are using. I felt bad and decided to change my job.

Nowadays, I’ve heard television reports from around the world informing us that H1N1 (swine flu) has been very quickly affecting human health. Also, every day I see animals’ waste polluting water supplies and surrounding communities, affecting our own health first, then the communities’ health.

Before when I raised pigs, the waste from raising pigs caused pneumonia, and my wife and children’s health were not good, and we weren’t very happy.

The former farmers also felt very uneasy about the slaughter of gentle farm animals.

You can’t humanely kill a human being, so why would anybody think you can humanely kill an animal -- you can’t. It’s a word that shouldn’t be equated with anything that has to do with an animal food product. If you look at Webster’s Dictionary, it defines the word “humane” with three words. It just says, “To show kindness, compassion and mercy.” That’s humane, and I think most people would agree with that.

You can’t kill humanely, it just can’t be done.

Animals on livestock farms are kept in severely overcrowded conditions, standing 24-hours a day in their own filth and are fed antibiotics to grow faster and produce even more milk or eggs. The drugs are also given because the animals’ immune systems are extremely weak due to the constant stress they experience. They are very susceptible to the diseases that are rife in their sordid surroundings. The goal is to keep the animal alive, even if just barely, until they can be fully exploited for their milk or eggs and then finally slaughtered. A study in the US found that 70% of pigs had pneumonia by the time they reached the slaughterhouse.

This use of antibiotics also gives rise to drug-resistant bacteria. It thus makes it ever more difficult to find an effective antibiotic for treatment if people are infected by these same bacteria.

In the long term, the animals were afflicted with different diseases, so that even administering antibiotics would not cure them. We would give them various antibiotics, yet the animals still could not stand on their feet and ultimately they would die.

When I look at the factory farms, they can only be described as an abomination to me, both health-wise and from an environmental standpoint.

In addition, it's a virtual breeding ground for all diseases, the swine flu, the bird flu. All these really aren't inherent in pigs. Pigs are actually one of the cleanest animals on the planet.

Unable to bear the inhumane treatment, filthy conditions, and diseases involved in raising livestock any longer, many courageous individuals like Mr. Hsu of Formosa (Taiwan) decided they must make a change.

In 2000, I closed my pig farm and began doing work related to environmental protection.

I had to give up several million dollars of income. But we should insist on doing the right thing.

We are truly grateful to these courageous, compassionate farmers for their efforts to protect human health, help animals and heal the planet by turning away from livestock raising and adopting eco-friendly lifestyles. Tomorrow, on Part 2 of our program, we’ll learn more about why they’re making the shift, and what words of advice they have for the world.

We appreciate your kind presence today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May your life be blessed with ever greater wisdom, joy and peace.
And this is the spinach. There, you can see chili peppers. These have much more nutrients. And also, a small organic broccoli of half a kilo.

Loyal viewers, welcome to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Today we’re celebrating World Environment Day, established by the United Nations in 1972 to raise awareness of the importance of the preservation of our biosphere. Commemorated annually on June 5, World Environment Day is considered one of the largest events of its kind. This year’s theme is “Many Species, One Planet, One Future.”

Our program features the second part of a two-part series about a very heartening trend that directly concerns the future of our planetary home. Animal agriculture is the most environmentally destructive activity on Earth and very fortunately more and more farmers are switching away from livestock raising to peaceable and green livelihoods.

We will once again hear from some former livestock farmers from the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Formosa (Taiwan), Âu Lạc (Vietnam) and Iran and learn more about why they made the benevolent decision to change careers.

Many have moved on to growing organic fruits and vegetables. Others have returned to university to learn new skills or found other jobs. Two of the former livestock farmers we interviewed have become animal advocates. One farmer from Iran now works in a vegan restaurant. All of them report feeling deeply satisfied with their decision to end their participation in animal agriculture.

According to the non-profit environmental protection organization Greenpeace, between 1996 and 2006 approximately 80% of the Amazon rainforest that was cleared became cattle pasture. The cycle of the production and consumption of animal products is responsible for more than 51% of human-caused global greenhouse gas emissions. In short, livestock raising is the number one driver of climate change – the frightening phenomenon that endangers Earth’s continued survival.

Manure from animal agriculture operations along with chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are applied to fields wash into streams, rivers and lakes, causing widespread pollution. Eventually this toxic matter reaches our oceans and creates massive dead zones where marine life is absent. Many of the former farmers we spoke with stated that the severe consequences of practicing animal agriculture were highly disturbing to them.

Also, recently from 2007, 2008, we know that the planet is sick more than ever from greenhouse gases, and that the main cause of these gases is livestock farming for human consumption.

The methane gas that all the animals produce, starting with livestock, cows, is what most pollutes our planet. So we can see phenomena such as hurricanes, intense storms or freezing (rising).

Now look at the new research that 51% of greenhouse gases are produced by (animal) agriculture; they’re our number one polluter on this planet and it’s growing.

Because of the heavy rain that we had, their excrement would get washed away and would penetrate into the soil, and certainly that would pollute the underground water sources.

The daily waste from raising animals pollutes the environment and our health and our community’s health.

Looking back, we have been polluting the Earth ever since we started to raise pigs. The streams have become filthy and stinky. We used to play in the streams when we were little. Now, no one dares get close to the creeks. The water is always dirty and smelly. All the fish have died off, and the water plants have become extinct. The pollution is very serious.

I think anyone can see there's just ecological disaster, the amount of waste and pollution they're putting into the air and just to be around them, the stink is unbelievable. But it really means that more nutrients have gone into the water than they can assimilate and heats up the oxygen; the stream becomes devoid of oxygen and the fish die. Well, there's probably no greater pollution than what's coming out of these factory farms.

We need to learn that God left us the lands for us to take care of them, to protect them, not to destroy them.

Because we cannot continue on in this way, we need to stop and say: We cannot continue our poisoning ways.

Consumption of animal products can cause strokes, obesity, heart attacks, diabetes and many other dangerous health problems. Every year 17 million people die worldwide from heart disease because of eating meat. Globally the annual cost of this serious chronic health condition is US$1 trillion dollars.

My father died when I was two years old. I'm number five out of six children and he died of a heart attack and we were pig farmers and every single one of his siblings also died of a heart attack. And it made me really wonder about that connection and the more I looked into it, the connection is obvious to anyone who's willing to look at the science.

One chicken, how is it possible that it takes only two months to grow? You can see nowadays young girls are very physically developed; when they are 12 years old they are already like a woman. This is because of the hormones, because cattle are raised with hormones. A chicken, a calf, they are given hormones so they can grow fast and then it is us eating those hormones. We are eating them, so you can see that we are growing also, and so if we have a sickness, we develop it very fast too. Little girls are teenagers very fast; they are women too soon, lacking a childhood.

When we return, we’ll hear more from these wise and caring individuals who have now embraced constructive professions. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

We are doing nothing if we fill our pockets with money selling lots of products that poison people, the environment, water, animals … everything.

Welcome back to Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants, as we continue our program about why farmers are leaving the animal agriculture industry. Some of those we interviewed now share their perspectives on how we can save our planet.

If the consumer says: “I don´t want meat, I don´t want milk,” then there will not be milk farmers nor meat factories.

In fact, they themselves are the ones who have the answer in their hands. If one buys milk or meat, one is contributing to the destruction of the planet.

The more people eat meat, the more ranchers become motivated to produce it. So if we reduce our meat consumption, the ranchers will reduce their products. Because demand and supply are interrelated.

Veganism isn’t a lifestyle choice; it’s a moral and ethical way of being in the world. It is surely about what you wear, what you eat, what you buy, but that’s just an aspect of it. The core of it is the moral concern for the dignity and respect of the other, whether that’s a farm animal or a farm worker.

Children should learn to stop eating all that meat, all those sausages, because they are terrible, (and) all those fats, (and) fast foods. It is better to choose a lot of vegetables, plenty of salads, and fresh juices.

Before buying anything in any supermarket, pay attention to the certification. It is very important. It guarantees that the product is suitable for you to eat, without chemicals.

They (pigs) are our good friends, so we should not eat them.

If the consumer asks for more organic products, that is the best incentive for farmers to also try to change to organic farming. In fact, we don´t have the power; it is the consumer who does.

For the health of the community and the world, to preserve the environment, to keep the water fresh and clean, I ask that people change jobs to keep our environment pure and to avoid harming our community.

Other livestock farmers, as they learn more and become more aware about our environment, and the devastating effects of their businesses on the environment and also on people’s lives, they will then gradually change their minds and, with God’s will, will decide to change their careers.

I urge all animal farmers to end the killing. They should promote vegetarianism so that our planet will survive for years to come. I urge all people to be vegetarian, to go green, so that we can save our planet,

In the beginning, I was also very reluctant to close the pig farm. We could make several million New Taiwan dollars a year. But considering the environment and our future generations, even though we are not as wealthy, our life is very relaxed and happy.

Oh God! Now I feel so light and can fully love the animals.

Growing dragon fruit like this makes me feel so carefree and much happier than before.

My sincere advice from my heart is that people should change jobs, do not raise animals for food anymore.

I advise people to switch from raising animals for food to growing vegetables to assure good health for everyone in the society.

Then the transition into clean and healthy farming, is within reach of any producer at this moment. The only thing needed is the will to do it.

Be Veg, Go Green, Save the Planet.

So what better than to save the planet, save the animals and have better health remembering that this beautiful blue planet is the only one that we have. Therefore, I invite you to go green and be vegetarians to save the planet

Be veg, go green, save the planet.

Be Veg, go green, save the Planet.

Supreme Master Ching Hai has often said that by adopting an organic vegan diet we can save the planet. She encourages those now in the livestock industry to move to careers which benefit our world.

Nowadays, there are more and more good opportunities for the farmers, retailers, transporters. They just do the same, instead of transporting pigs, they transport organic vegetables, etc. Or the farmer retailers, they could switch from the meat business to organic vegetable farming.

It took a great amount of courage in the beginning to change their whole life career around, but all of them would guarantee that it was worth it, more than worth it. It’s worth the great freedom of their heart, their spirit and happiness of their family as well, and health.

We laud all former livestock farmers and others who have left the animal agriculture industry for taking the benevolent path in life and thus benefitting humanity, our animal friends, and our biosphere. We pray that many more livestock farmers around the globe will soon join this life-saving, planet-sustaining trend. We appreciate your kind presence today on Animal World: Our Co-Inhabitants. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment, after Noteworthy News. May God’s love always shine upon our world.

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