Radio Program on Local Slaughter

Here’s an interview I did today on a Vermont radio program. I come in after about 13 minutes. Not a bad show.

About James McWilliams
I'm a historian and writer based in Austin, Texas. This blog is dedicated to exploring the ethics of eating animals and animal-based products.

3 Responses to Radio Program on Local Slaughter

  1. From: CQ

    You acquitted yourself admirably on a show stacked against you, James. You had one caller on your side until …. he started talking about smashing “biting” ladybugs supposedly genetically modified by the government. Hmmm….

    I object to a point made repeatedly by Lila Bennett — namely, that animals are needed to regenerate and maintain the soil. Not true.

    Vegan organic farming, known as stockfree organic farming in the U.K., proves otherwise. See these two websites: and

    The second site has an article titled “Protecting Animals” that I’d like to quote here:

    For farmers and gardeners who are interested in animal protection, veganic growing is a perfect way to combine your ethics with your agriculture, since this system of growing food does not use any pesticides or animal products.

    Veganic agriculture allows farmers and gardeners to grow food in a way that is respectful to animal life, by using plant-based techniques for fertilization, and by encouraging soil life, animal habitats, and biodiversity on their holding.

    When growing food for human consumption, there is often an unfortunate conflict between the interests of humans and the interests of both free-living and confined animals. As meat consumption has risen in the past century, the methods of raising animals have become highly mechanized and profit-oriented, leading to extreme confinement and suffering for the animals. Free-living animals like the wolf that competed for the farmer’s herds were killed off in mass numbers. Even the production of plant foods has become intensified and dominated by agrochemicals, leading to the killing and neglect of animals. The development of farmer’s fields has taken precedence over natural habitats, and competing species are killed with insecticides, pesticides, and traps. Organic farming takes a big step by eliminating many of these practices, yet their fields are often fertilized with the waste products from factory farms and slaughterhouses, like manure, blood, feathers, and bone.

    Veganic agriculture is a great solution for farmers and gardeners who are concerned about animals. No animal inputs are used, so veganic farming does not finance the animal agriculture industries. Farmers are encouraged to preserve or develop habitats for animals on their holding, providing much-needed natural spaces for wildlife, and veganic farmers can dissuade many competing species with physical barriers and other non-violent techniques. By adding organic plant-based inputs to the soil, this creates an environment for worms and microorganisms, and these animals in turn create fertility for the crops. Farmers in Europe and North America have run successful veganic farms with techniques that help animal life and also ensure the long-term fertility of their soil.

    Lila also spoke frequently of her three young children. I don’t see how she can possibly know the long-term effects of their betrayal (that’s the only word that accurately describes what they’ve been taught to do) of the trust these animals have placed in them. To go from playing with them as friends one day to killing them the next is, to me, surreal.

    Perhaps Lila would be interested in Harold Brown’s story. Harold, who grew up on a Michigan family farm and participated routinely in the killing of steers, pigs, dairy goats and rabbits, tells how he made a painful, but ultimately freeing break from his past: and

    Then there are these links, which point to the tortured logic, obfuscations and deep denial that society practices in order to convince children of its confusing, warped messages about animals:





    The last site, an overview of a University of Colorado research paper, reminds me of teenager Misty Vina, who was forced to betray her bovine friend, Ferdinand, when she belonged to Future Farmers of America in San Jose, CA. She appear at the 37-minute mark of this video:

  2. Provoked says:

    I don’t know that this show should be called Equal Time – I listened a few times over when the gentleman who was also vegan spoke… The host hurried him along to get to the “climactic” question of killing insects. Some how accidentally (or deliberately) killing (lady)bugs is supposed to sanction coning and pithing chickens. Such narrow minded thinking…

    It remains infuriating that those who eat meat and more often those who actually kill in order to do so, confuse dying naturally as opposed to being snuffed from life. I know James that you tried to make this critical point – And I cheered as you did!

    Finally, the first woman who was interviewed Lila Bennett, made no sense to me whatsoever when she stated that everyone isn’t going to give up meat eating any time soon, therefore she and her husband started eating animals again… I’m continually confused as to why some people look to the masses as a guide to what their actions ought to be.

    Thank you so much for doing this interview – It was courageous given the UNEQUAL panel of speakers.

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