United Poultry Concerns
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16 October 2012
Protest to Green Mountain College in Vermont: Needless
Killing of Two Elderly Oxen, Bill and Lou, Planned. Urge Compassionate Retirement to VINE Sanctuary!

This alert was posted by VINE, the Vermont Sanctuary that has offered to adopt Bill and Lou. Scroll down to read the letter Green Mountain College administrators are using to justify their murderous intentions toward these two gentle creatures.


VINE Sanctuary Website: http://vine.bravebirds.org/

Green Mountain College is poised to kill two oxen named Bill and Lou who have served their college farm for ten long years. ACT NOW to prevent it!

Bill and Lou have been a working team of oxen at Green Mountain College in Poultney, VT for ten years. They were pressed into service by staff at Cerridwen Farm - the teaching farm on campus - to do everything from plowing fields to generating electricity. Over the years, they became so well loved that they're even the profile picture for the farm's Facebook page!

A few months ago, Lou became unable to be worked any longer. Bill won't work with anyone else. Therefore, the college has concluded that both of them must be killed.

DEATH is their reward for 10 long years of hard work.

Yes, Green Mountain College has decided that Bill and Lou's long lives of service should be rewarded by their slaughter - and for what? According to their own press releases, the school will get, at best, a couple of months of low-grade hamburger out of their bodies.

This is especially heartbreaking because they have an excellent home waiting for them.

VINE Sanctuary has offered to provide Bill and Lou with permanent homes. We have the ability and resources to care for them for the rest of their natural lives. Sadly, though, the college is determined to kill them instead.

For ten years, they served the needs of those more powerful than they are.

Now it's time to let them serve their own needs.

Please contact the folks at Green Mountain College and urge them to reconsider. It would be especially powerful for people from Vermont to contact them, so if you know someone from Vermont, please forward this notice to them as well. Feel free to use and/or modify the letter below, or write your own. Please send the letter to the following people:

Bill Throop Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs: throopw@greenmtn.edu

Kenneth Mulder Farm Manager, Research Associate & Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies: mulderk@greenmtn.edu

Dear Sirs:

I am writing to urge you to allow Bill and Lou to live out the remainder of their natural lives, in peace and contentment, at VINE Sanctuary, a reputable organization which has offered to care for them.

Should you choose to reverse their death sentences, the rewards garnered by Green Mountain College will far exceed whatever paltry sum their slaughter would bring to the school.

Conversely, whatever small amount of cash would be made by killing them will be far outweighed by the negative press which will follow in the wake of their deaths.

Bill and Lou have served your college well for ten long years. Students and faculty alike have expressed how much they care about these individuals. They deserve to be given the rest of their lives to live as they choose. Just because they are not human does not mean they do not care about their existence.

We will be watching to see what decision you make.




From: Kevin Coburn <coburnk@greenmtn.edu>

College Statement regarding Bill and Lou:

At Cerridwen Farm, Green Mountain College's working farm operation, we seek to teach and model small-scale farm production that is ecologically, economically and socially sustainable. We work to maintain high ethical standards for treatment of the land, people and animals. We have draft animals on the farm because they do important work which would otherwise be performed by equipment that consumes diesel fuel. We are currently engaged in many promising projects to demonstrate how small family farms, managed sustainably, can survive and thrive in an agricultural landscape dominated by industrial farms.

Bill and Lou came to us nearly ten years ago as malnourished and neglected animals. At GMC they received considerate and humane care.

This was a decision many months in the making, with members of our community carefully weighing alternatives. On complex ethical matters, thoughtful and well-informed people may reasonably disagree. Here is a bit of background on the complexities and the decision-making process:

* This past year, Lou sustained a recurring injury to his left rear hock that made it difficult for him to work. After attempting several remedies and giving him a prolonged rest without any improvement, it was the professional opinion of the farm staff and consulting veterinarians that he was no longer capable of working. Farm staff searched for a replacement animal to pair with Bill, but single oxen are difficult to find and it is uncertain that Bill would accept a new teammate.

* Our Farm Crew works with the farm managers to implement plans for overall livestock management, including sale and slaughter decisions. In particularly complex situations, College faculty experts in philosophy, policy, ethics and animal husbandry are consulted, and students from a variety of disciplines are often involved in these discussions. Many of the decisions about livestock on the college farm are rooted in classroom and campus-wide dialogue, representing a variety of perspectives.

* Our process was open and transparent. We delayed making any decision over the summer and held an open community forum on October 4 to discuss the ethics of sending draft animals to slaughter, and Bill and Lou's case specifically. Our commitment to providing these challenging discussions within the college community is all too rare in higher education.

* While many of our students are vegan or vegetarian, many also eat meat, and we strive to meet the dietary preferences of all students. Bill and Lou, when processed for meat, will yield over one ton of beef. If this meat doesn't come from our animals, it likely will come from a factory farm setting which carries with it a significant amount of ecological impact. For example, the American agricultural system uses approximately 5 million gallons of water to produce the same amount of beef (not to mention greenhouse gas production, soil erosion, and water pollution).

Those who know Lou and Bill best-our farm staff and students-are uncomfortable with the potential ramifications of sending the animals to a sanctuary. Bill and Lou are large animals, weighing over a ton. A transition to a new setting will be difficult for them, and only postpones the fact that someone else, in the not-too-distant future, will need to decide that it is kinder to kill them than to have them continue in increasing discomfort. If sent to a sanctuary, Bill and Lou would continue to consume resources at a significant rate. As a sustainable farm, we can't just consider the responsible stewardship of the resources within our boundaries, but of all the earth's resources.

Kevin Coburn
Director of Communications
Green Mountain College
Poultney, Vt.


October 12, 2012

Bill Throop, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Green Mountain College
Poultney, Vermont
Via email: throopw@greenmtn.edu

Dear Dr. Throop:

On behalf of United Poultry Concerns, I am writing to urge you please to allow VINE Sanctuary to adopt Bill and Lou, the two oxen who have lived peacefully on your campus for ten years and are now elderly and ready for retirement. You have an opportunity to do the right thing by these animals, and I respectfully urge you to do it.

You do not need to expose them to the fear and panic and betrayal of being loaded onto a transport truck and hauled to a slaughterhouse for a violent and terrifying death. You owe them a chance to be safe and happy and loved and responsibly cared for during the remaining years of their lives at one of the best and most respected sanctuaries in the country, VINE Sanctuary.

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible with good news about Bill and Lou. I look forward to sharing your good news with friends and colleagues who are eager to know that Bill and Lou will be protected and respected by your school, and not be harmed. Please arrange their adoption by VINE Sanctuary.

Thank you for your consideration of these animals.


Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
12325 Seaside Road, PO Box150
Machipongo, VA 23405
Office: 757-678-7875
Email: Karen@UPC-online.org
Website: WWW.UPC-online.org

Copy to Kenneth Mulder, Farm Manager, Research Associate and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies via email: mulderk@greenmtn.edu

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