Protest Farm Program at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio: Your Voice is Needed!
As described to United Poultry Concerns by Sociology Professor David Nibert of Wittenberg University, Antioch College was once one of the most progressive colleges in the country. The college closed around 2009, but reopened five or six years ago with a new program, Antioch Farm, pitched to students as a sustainable and ethical alternative to factory farms.
Antioch has raised lambs for slaughter and is killing chickens and ducks. The college emphasizes that these animals are “livestock, not pets” – just like a factory farm. And like a factory farm, the animals are treated impersonally by their “caregivers.” Ten to fifteen chickens and ducks are kept in a couple of crummy-looking sheds at night and let outside in a small fenced area during the day. Last year’s nine lambs were indifferently given food and water before they were sent away to be slaughtered. During most of their time at Antioch they were covered with painful burs and forced to sleep on the ground. “I never saw anyone from the college spend time with them,” Professor Nibert told UPC.
Since 2019, Professor Nibert, who lives near the Antioch campus and can see much of what goes on there, has run a strong campaign, including a Change.org petition with thousands of signatures and coverage by The Daily Beast (see links below), but without success: The college administration has behaved in an insular and callous manner, and thus far, students at Antioch have not been allies. The college recruits them for their interest in learning about “sustainable farming,” David Nibert told UPC. “During my campaign to save the lambs, not one student stepped forward to advocate for the animals.”
On January 20, 2020, UPC President Karen Davis sent a letter to the President of Antioch College and the Farm Manager and forwarded it to the Yellow Springs News, a weekly published every Thursday. It was rejected for publication by the editor, Megan Bachman, as too “speculative about aspects of production at the Antioch Farm” and “too far out of compliance with our policies to be easily edited.” Read the letter here: Letter to Yellow Springs News.
I asked Professor Nibert, who shared my letter on his Facebook page, if he felt it would help the cause if I shared my letter and his information with our supporters. In response, he said he believes “the best hope for the animals is to bring their plight to a larger audience and to generate calls and emails to the college calling for justice and sanctuary for the animals.”
In his view, “Necessary changes are not likely to come from within Antioch itself, as they see the ‘farm’ as their ‘brand’ in their efforts to attract students at a time of declining student enrollment nationwide.” At the same time, he said, “I think increasingly they are coming to realize that science is not on their side, and I believe only a couple of administrators there are resisting reevaluation of their oppressive program. So, in my opinion, posting your letter online through UPC would be good idea.”
What Can I Do?
You are encouraged to express your concerns to Antioch College administrators and to the Editor of the Yellow Springs News in a polite, caring and compelling way that focuses attention on the animals and on the fact that animal farming, regardless of scale, is not a solution to global warming and other human-caused environmental problems. You may add your voice to those of us who suggested veganic gardening as an Antioch farm project, a form of farming promoted in a recent article in The Guardian, Are vegetables vegan? The man taking aim at animal products in organic farming.
— The Antioch Lambs are Gone · Change.org
The Daily Beast:
— Vegan Professor at War With College to Save 9 Baby Lambs From Slaughter
United Poultry Concerns:
— Letter to Antioch College administrators