By John Di Leonardo
On Thursday September 23,2021, Barney—a steer whose valiant escape on July 20, 2021, from animal sacrifice made national headlines—was captured after 2 months on the lam on Long Island. Rescuers spent many days and nights running through the woods with tranquilizers and thermal vision goggles, but in the end, it was Barney who rescued himself, finally trusting humans enough to come into a baited pen that was set up for him. Throughout his daring escape, the support Barney received was overwhelming and almost everyone asked me and my organization Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION) what they could do to help our rescue efforts. My answer is simple: Stop eating animals and stop consuming their milk and eggs.
Cows are gentle giants. Like humans and so many other animals, they form strong bonds with their families and mourn the deaths of those whom they love. When someone is trying to kill them, they run for their lives, like Barney did and just as you or I would.
Barney is now safe at a vegan animal sanctuary where he will be loved and never eaten, but 30 million cows just like him will be killed in the US this year alone. If you eat meat, you can help stop this by making a small vow, or Anuvrat, to keep animals off your plate and if you are vegetarian, you can take the next step by going vegan.
Just like any other mammal, cows only produce milk when they are pregnant, and shortly thereafter, for their babies. The dairy industry, whether in the US or abroad, invariably tears infant cows from their mothers so we can consume milk meant for them and the egg industry invariably suffocates or grinds up alive male chicks who will never lay eggs. Even in India, where cows are considered sacred, bulls and “spent” cows are discarded to the streets where they die from ingesting garbage or forced on death marches where they have their tails broken and hot peppers rubbed into their eyes when they are too tired to move. These cattle are often slaughtered out of the public eye and exported out of the country, making the country that perhaps reveres cows the most the largest exporter of beef and leather in the entire world.
With the plant-based food industry booming, it has never been easier to go vegan, or even to do more. Jains, for example, also eschew rooted vegetables, so as not to kill the plant or the small organisms who live underground and call their root systems home. And animal activists strive to not only be kind to animals by themselves but advocate Ahimsa to the masses.
My latest contribution is a billboard to go up where Barney escaped. Set to go up within the next two weeks, it will depict a bull urging passersby to “Help Others Escape the Slaughterhouse. Go Vegan.” I hope readers will consider this message. Each vegan spares nearly 200 animals every year. There’s simply no easier way to help animals than by leaving animals off your plate.
John Di Leonardo is an anthrozoologist and the founding director of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION), Long Island’s leading animal advocacy organization and farmed animal rescue, having stopped slaughterhouses, aquariums, and wild animal circuses on Long Island. He was previously the Senior Manager of Grassroots Campaigns and Animals in Entertainment Campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights organization in the world. He has a master’s degree in Anthrozoology from Canisius College. He went to India and obtained a graduate certificate in Jain Studies from the International School of Jain Studies (ISJS) in India. John recently moved from Nassau to Suffolk County, he can be reached at [email protected].
People Also Ask … … ….
What religions did Jainism influence?
The focus of Jainism on non-violence (ahimsa), had a strong influence on both Buddhism and Hinduism. This is seen in the Hindu tradition through the gradual abandonment of animal sacrifices and increasing emphasis on symbolic and devotional forms of worship in the temple.