Mu Shu was just four pounds and four weeks old when she fell off a livestock truck in Kansas and was picked up off the highway and taken home by the owner of Hunter, a yellow Lab.
That was in April, and Hunter would go on to become best friends with the piglet who, before bouncing off the truck, was likely destined for a growing farm and a future as ham.
Stacie Tonn picked the unconscious pig up off U.S. Highway 50, and with help from her veterinarian husband, Shane, their four daughters and Hunter, nursed Mu Shu back to health.
Hunter licked and nudged the injured piglet, and helped her get around when she regained consciousness. Left blinded — only temporarily — by the accident, the piglet would sniff Hunter out and follow him around, curling up with him for naps, according to Kansas.com.
But she still gets together with Hunter, who visits her once or twice a month.
“She still knows the sound of my truck. When I pull up to her pen, she will pop out with excitement. She knows she’s going to get snacks,” Stacie Tonn said.
Walton Rural Life Center serves 167 students, from kindergarten to fourth grade, and students are responsible for feeding Mu Shu and the other animals and maintaining their pens.
“Pigs are our biggest project,” said kindergarten teacher Rhonda Roux. “If she stays healthy, we are thinking of breeding her and having a litter of piglets.”
As for Hunter, he doesn’t seem intimidated in the least by Mu Shu’s girth, or how she so quickly passed him in size since the days he was licking her motionless body.
“She had a lot of bruising and was pretty unresponsive … Neither one of us thought she would live past 48 hours,” Shane Tonn told Kansas.com in an earlier story
You can see a video of Hunter playing with Mu Shu, when she was still a piglet, here.
(Top photo, taken in April, by Mike Hutmacher / Kansas.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, children, dogs, education, farming, friends, highway, hunter, livestock, mu shu, nursed, pets, pig, piglet, road, school, shane tonn, stacie tonn, students, truck, unlikely friends, walton rural life center, yellow lab
But that’s what’s ahead in the UK, where the Food Standards Agency has approved the sale of food from the offspring of cloned animals, including meat and milk.
The policy brings the UK more in line with the U.S., where we’ve also gone from wondering where’s the beef to what’s the beef.
The agency’s decision is in line with government policy in the UK, which supports clone farming and clone food without labels, even though research shows eight in ten shoppers oppose the cloning of farm livestock, the Daily Mail reported.
A little more than a decade into the 21st Century, the day has come when you can have a clone not just in your doghouse, but in your evening meal as well.
Both have come to pass — and operate virtually unregulated in the case of the former – despite polls showing the majority of the public is opposed to cloning, be it for purposes of creating pets or farm animals.
As related in “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” pet cloning became a reality alongside the cloning of livestock — in fact, the first successful clonings of several species of farm animals came about in the pursuit to clone a dog.
After Snuppy, the first dog clone, was created in South Korea, dog cloning became a business, producing for customers copies of everything from Tibetan mastiffs to Labrador retrievers, from Pekingese to pit bulls, and loads of beagles destined for lives as laboratory dogs.
In the UK, defenders of the practice of cloning livestock argue that the offspring of clones are the same as farm animals produced through conventional breeding. They claim existing animal cruelty laws are sufficient to deal with any problems or concerns that arise. Both arguments have been made by pet cloning companies as well.
Accidentally oversized animals, while a concern to pet cloners, are not so much an issue on the agricultural side, where creating supersized animals is a goal, and would further boost profits.
The Daily Mail says supporters of the sale of food from clone offspring include Dairy UK, which represents the country’s biggest milk and cheese producers, the Food and Drink Federation, which speaks for manufacturers, and the British Meat Processors Association.
But, as in the U.S., some outlets — Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, the Co-op, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose among them — have responded to customer concerns by pledging not to use meat or milk from clone offspring in their products.
The FSA, which had argued that meat and milk from the offspring of clones would have to be studied to ensure it was safe, now concludes that there is “currently no evidence” that food from cloned farm animals and their descendants poses a safety risk.
At least 100 clone offspring cattle are being reared on farms in the UK.
As for concerns about ethics and cruelty to animals, the FSA said that’s not its department. Instead, that falls under the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which has ruled in favor of cloning.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer group Which?, described the FSA decision as “a disappointment for the eight in ten people who don’t want to eat cloned food.”
“It’s vital that the FSA and the Government respect people’s desire to know what they’re eating and control the use of cloning technology in food. As well as an approval process, we want to see a tracking system and clear labelling of these goods on the supermarket shelf.’
Emma Hockridge, head of policy at the Soil Association, which supports organic farming, animal welfare and consumer choice, also has a beef with cloning: “Not only are there insufficient long-term studies into the impacts on human health, cloning is cruel and damaging to animal welfare at all stages of the process,” she said.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has declared meat and milk from cloned animals safe to eat, admitted that it is probably already in our food supply and has taken no steps to require it to be labeled as such.
In other words, it’s entirely possible that– no matter what your stand is on the issue — you’ve dined on clone.
I’m not sure who knows best, the governments or the people. But sometimes I wonder if our beefed-up brave new world should be a little more chicken.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 3rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, animal welfare, brave new world, britain, chicken, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, dog inc., dogs, farm animals, farming, fda, food, food and drug administration, food standards agency, fsa, government, health, labels, livestock, meat, milk, pets, policy, science, uk
“Crop names in fence lines next 14 miles,” reads a sign on Interstate 90, somewhere west of Moses Lake and east of a town named George.
I like this idea. For one thing, it turns a fairly boring drive into a learning experience. For another, possibly, it makes people a little more aware of/involved in the place they’re at — as opposed to the text they’re sending, the video game they’re playing, or the cell phone on which they’re blabbing.
It’s kind of like a picture book for kids: Here is the field corn, here is the alfalfa. You don’t even have to turn the page, just your head. On your left, potatoes; on your right, peppermint. Here is a field of … wheat. Here is a field of … grapes (wrathless variety, it appeared). Here is some Timothy. Timothy? (It’s a kind of hay.)
For 14 miles, on both sides of the highway, I got a lesson in agriculture — thanks to, I’d guess, the state or some agricultural commission. I wanted to learn more about crops, including why every state seems to package its hay differently. But the lesson came to an end; and as I progressed west, instead of crop signs, the only ones I saw in the fence lines — not counting those of politicians — said “For Sale.”
It struck me as a good idea, though, all this labeling and identifying — one that, if carried to extremes, could both create jobs and lead to a more informed public.
In addition to crop identifiers, why not farm animal identifiers: Sheep, goats, cows, llamas? Tree identifiers that would help us differentiate between our birch and our aspen? Factory identifiers that tell us what’s being made inside that big building? A much needed explanation of what silos (a) hold and (b) are for? The American public would get a better understanding of the importance of farming, and everything else we take for granted.
(Label this idea satire, but only kind of.)
Of course we don’t want drivers reading signs so much that they neglect their driving, but it’s nice to see signs that inform, instead of those that merely advertise, or give harsh orders — as if we were dogs or something: “No this … No that … Stay in lane … Right lane must exit … ”
I’m tired, too, of the signs that scare us: Dangerous Crosswinds Ahead, Watch for Ice, High Accident Area, Gas: $3.15.
We tend to readily identify dangers, we profusely post rules, we slap advertising everywhere — so why not label the run of the mill good stuff, like cows and creeks, steaming bowls of oatmeal and doers of good deeds?
My label-everything-on-earth plan could help the economy. Think of all the jobs. Think of the stimulus. We would need more signmakers, more sign putter-uppers, more sign repairers, more sign changers — for when the crops are rotated, or the landscape changes.
Maybe knowing what’s what would help us appreciate our Earth a little more, teach us to better “live in the moment.” Or maybe not. In any event, here’s the one I want to see:
A sign that the economy is improving.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agriculture, alfalfa, america, animals, crop, crop identifiers, crops, dog's country, dogscountry, driving, earth, economy, farmers, farming, farmland, farms, fence line, field corn, george, grapes, jobs, labels, living in the moment, peppermint, pets, road trip, rural, signs, stimulus, tourism, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, washington, wheat
Another book has come out that makes the case for eating our dogs.
On the heels of “Time to Eat the Dog,” by New Zealand professors Brenda and Robert Vale, who admit their title is mostly a shock tactic and who don’t actually propose consuming our pets, comes Jonathan Safran Foer with “Eating Animals,” who says eating our dogs would be no more barbaric than our consumption of pigs, cattle, chickens, etc.
For Foer, interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday, the idea of consuming dogs makes even more sense, on some levels, than eating animals raised to be food.
“For the ecologically-minded,” he writes, “it’s time to admit that dog is realistic food for realistic environmentalists.” That last part sounds almost like an advertising slogan, doesn’t it?
Foer’s book was also excerpted in the Wall Street Journal last week, so it’s probably OK if we cut off and chew on a little piece of it here:
Posted by jwoestendiek November 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: books, books on dogs, brenda vale, cattle, chicken, consumption, dog, dogs, eating animals, eating dogs, environmental. ecology, factory, farming, foer, humans, jonathan safran foer, livestock, meat, pigs, robert vale, time to eat the dog, vegetarian, vegetarianism