A Durable and Humane Future for Animal Husbandry

Animal Welfare Approved Newsletter 5 (4):10-11 (2013)
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In Fall 2012, Green Mountain College’s oxen team “Bill and Lou” became the focus of an international animal rights protest. The Guernsey team had plowed the fields of the small Vermont college farm together for a decade. Lou injured a rear leg twice over the summer and eventually became unable to support his own great weight. With administrative support, the college’s farm crew decided to slaughter the team. This was in keeping with an aim of the college’s Farm and Food Project to “close the loop” with its dining services. At that time the mission of the environmentally-themed liberal arts college was to represent a community-wide ethos of responsibility for the systemic impact of human behaviors. Accordingly, the college farm sought to build a sustainable farming and food system that lifts the veil that separates consumers from the source of meat and livestock products. The basic idea was that if students wish to be change agents in the world, they need to understand the ins-and-outs of the systems in which that change can take place. So the college strove to bring the food system into the classroom. Chefs and farmers weren’t hidden away in kitchens and fields; they were brought into the educational process. Guided by faculty, staff, and administrative oversight, along with a thick sheaf of policies, this periodically meant that students made life-and-death decisions.

Author Profiles

Steven Fesmire
Radford University
Steven Fesmire
Radford University


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