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Factory Farm Watch

Veal CalvesFactory farming is an abhorrent practice that creates enormous suffering and pollution on this planet. Our treatment of animals is not unlike that of the Africans through the dark era that accepted slavery as a status quo and Hitler’s treatment of the Jews. Millions of animals are kept in concentration camp-like conditions around the planet, making them and us vulnerable to e. coli, Avian Flu and other major health threats.

In my late teens and early twenties, I held the belief that animals were born for food and it didn’t really matter how we kept them. But after visiting a factory farm, researching the practice and meditating on the ethics of consuming flesh from such operations, the notion of supporting the practice through my continued purchase of meat, regardless of it’s source began to feel incongruent with my internal beliefs. The argument that “animals were born for it” began to feel like saying blacks were born to be slaves or the Jews deserved what the Nazis did. Such statements seem absolutely absurd to most people alive now but were not uncommon just 50 – 100 years ago.

It is my hope that we can evolve our collective awareness and reject this practice as we have come to reject racial and religious intolerance. John Robbin’s book, Diet For a New America was highly influential in my thinking on this issue.

To get an idea of the scale of factory farming in the US check out this site: http://www.factoryfarmmap.org/

I’m Not Dead Yet

I’m Not Dead Yet (INDY)! 10 years ago today I had a run-in with gravity on my newly built slalom racing Stumpjumper. I was chasing the dream of being a pro mountain biker and adrenalin powered extreme athelete. After echoing “fuck it, what’s the worst that could happen”; my last words as a temporarily able bodied (TAB) 21 year old, I was unforgivingly handed the opportunity to master wheelchair pose. Overshooting my intended landing zone, I came down on my chest, crushing the fifth and sixth thorasic vetebra (just below my chest) and spinal cord.

Fast forward 10 years. Vancouver, May 7th, 2007. Not so adrenalin powered anymore. Organics and yoga have replaced adrenalin as the fuel of choice. I’m still sitting down, a spiritual seeker, java web geek, sustainablity, climate change, peak oil, zero waste, urban homesteading fanatic. I’m quickly approaching my last days as a unmarried man. On June 9th I’ll to be married to Lisa.

Living without the use and cooperation of my lower extremeties continues to be a relentless and terse teacher but also a great catalyst of personal, emotional and spiritual growth. There are no days off and every day brings its struggles and frustrations but also deeper levels of truth and awareness. With this awarness I sense a responsibility to act on what I contemplate and see. It feels as if I am being prepared for role of service to humanity and a steward to the environment. My most challening personal stuggles appear to be won as I am now being guided to serve in a larger context at the dawn of the Aquarian Age.

I look forward to the changes and challenges that the next ten years of wheelchair pose will bring.

Justin