Saturday, July 10, 2004



The following was posted on another group in response to members of the group who are of the opinion that both the milk and wool industries are cruel:

I don't know what the wool industry is like outside of Israel, but
having lived on kibbutz I can tell you that it isn't inhumane in any way the way it is carried out here.

A old friend of mine is the manager of the branch of Kibbutz Chanaton that produces wool. He is a very gentle man and wouldn't hurt any living creature. The sheep are outside in a roomy pen. They are given a good deal more space and freedom of movement that most human workers are certainly. They seem to enjoy being shorn. It relieves them of the weight of the wool and of the heat of the wool in summer. It also provides relief from lice and other parasitic bugs that live in the wool.

I have also visited the alpaca farm in the south of Israel. The
alpacas are very well treated. As they are a tourist attraction, in addition to being a source of wool, there is little reason to suspect any behind the scenes cruelty. They are out in the open for all to see. If they were harmed it would be evident to many people. The wool they produce is very beautiful and is sold in skeins as well as finished garments.

Is the wool industry very different in other places in the world?

I have also lived on kibbutzim that produce milk and have worked in the cowshed. I can attest that I felt like their servant more than like their tormenter. They are not the same cows that are sent for slaughter. A cow that produces a great deal of milk is too precious to be sent for slaughter. The male calves, however, are sold for veal. It did break my heart to see the little cages they are kept in, in poorly lit areas, designed not to let them move so that their muscles are not toughened. Like the sheep and alpacas, the cows are kept outside in large sheds that provide ample room to graze, wander, lie down etc. The cowsheds are covered in order to protect the cows from the sun and rain. They are only taken inside to be milked, otherwise they are out of doors. The calves are fed a special formula that they seem to like very much. They are fed the formula, called Milkivit, in troughs. It's adorable to watch the calves lick it off one another's faces. The adult animals are fed a formulated, balanced feed. I have worked with them. They do not seem miserable - particularly not the herdsires :0).

I would venture to say for all of the animals that I have described above that their lives in the wild would be far more miserable. They would be plagued by continuous fear of predators and exposed to every kind of danger, parasite and disease, as well as the natural elements.

I live near an open field and the in the mountains. I come in
contact with a good deal of wild animals. The animals kept for
animal husbandry live lives that are immeasureably safer, healthier and more serene. Have you ever seen a lovely fox mad and convulsing in the last stages of rabies? Have you ever seen a wounded porcupine being eaten alive by maggots in the wound? Nature is not always beautiful - or kind.

While animal slaughter the way it is done in far too many slaughter houses is barbaric, it need not be quite as horrendous. The suffering can be minimized. Being ripped to shreds by a predator must be at least as awful an end to come to as anything that happens in a slaughterhouse today. We can control the conditions in our slaughterhouses. We cannot control the conditions in nature.

What lot in life and destiny in death would we bequeath to the
animals now in farms if we were to set them free in nature?

Again, I am not against vegetarianism. I am against vegetarianism based on erroneous premises and a baseless feeling of moral superiority to conscientious, caring meat eaters and wool wearers.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat