The Mountain Times

°F Fri, April 18, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Letter to the Editor: Hewes

GMC's rights to sustainably control livestock

Dear Editor,

DAPNet - Draft Animal Powered Network is an organization that promotes the use of working animals, primarily horses, mules and oxen, to create more sustainable farming, forestry, and communities. As such, we applaud the efforts of the Green Mountain College to publicly discuss the end of life decisions for working oxen that have lived and worked on their farm.

This is an opportunity for many to learn about the reality of raising and caring for livestock. It also allows the community to discuss the role of livestock in a healthy ecosystem; how healthy milk, eggs and vegetables are supported by livestock on the farm. These discussions can and should include how and when an animal is utilized for food.

In order for these discussions to take place, Green Mountain College needs to feel secure that their community supports their rights and control of their own livestock. When outside groups such as VINE (Vegan is the Next Evolution) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) bring boycotts and threats, mass emails and picket lines to this discussion; they do us all a disservice. They have attempted to end a discussion and silence those that must care for these animals and are ultimately responsible for them.  They have disrupted a civil discourse that many in the Green Mountain community and beyond would have benefited from.

Green Mountain College, DAPNet, and thousands of small farms all across this country take great responsibility for the ethical treatment of animals. We will continue to reach out to each other to strengthen our communities, build networks, and share what we learn.

Donn Hewes, Farmer and Vice President of DAPNet