About Gary Alton Russell

While occasionally engaging in the frivolous, I prefer to spend my time engaging in pursuits that enrich my life and the lives of others.

Cruel to be Kind

Eat mor chikin.

Chicken is the number one protein consumed in the United States, but the picture on the farm is often a far cry from the one on the label. For farmer and bird alike, it means an unhealthy, difficult, often painful life – even if the chicken is then marketed as “all natural” and “antibiotic-free.”

Pork: the other white meat.

If you’re buying it at Walmart, it likely came from a factory farm where mother pigs endure lives of unbearable cruelty and deprivation.

How much is that doggie in the window?

That adorable little puppy in the store probably came from a “puppy mill,” a breeding kennel that raises dogs in cramped, crude, filthy conditions. The majority of these facilities are in the Midwest (there are an estimated 1,500 unlicensed kennels in Missouri alone), but they can be found throughout the country, and some dealers even import puppies from other countries. Constant confinement and a lack of adequate veterinary care and socialization often result in unhealthy animals who are difficult to socialize. Consequently, many puppies are abandoned within weeks or months of their adoption by frustrated buyers—further exacerbating the tragic companion-animal overpopulation crisis.

What’s up, doc?

Angora rabbits are first sheared or plucked when they are just 8 weeks old, and they are subjected to the same terrifying ordeal every few months following that. After two to five years, rabbits who have survived this repeated abuse are hung upside down, their throats are slit, and their bodies are sold for meat.

Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?

[W]orkers were seen violently punching sheep in the face, stamping and standing on the animals’ heads and necks and beating and jabbing them in the face with electric clippers and a hammer. Some sheep died from the abuse. Investigators also documented that large, bloody wounds were left on the sheep’s bodies and that workers stitched gaping wounds closed using a needle and thread without administering any pain relief.

The best darn thing about Grandma’s house was the great big feather bed.

Ducks and geese often have their throats cut and are then scalded in hot water to remove large feathers. Sometimes, the birds are still conscious when they are dumped into the tanks of hot water. In addition to obtaining down from slaughtered birds, a large amount of down is torn from the bodies of birds who are still alive.