By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

There is an underground railroad, and today I wear a
conductor's hat. I drive the train. Five whimpering puppies
are confined in crates in the rear of my car. They were
destined to die, unwanted and unloved, in a North Carolina
animal shelter.

On Thursday, I drove 12 hours to attend and speak at the
Southern Women's Conference in Raleigh. Yesterday, I drove
through the night, aided by 4 quarts of caffeine-rich
coffee, so that the four border collie siblings and the
cocoa-colored Labrador pup with blue eyes would be free to
live as companions with their new human families. They would
have been euthanised otherwise.

The collies miss the nuturing touch of their mother. I was
told that she is dead, and I have no other further details,
but that they were weaned at five weeks. During the day they
spent in my home, my daughter, Lizzy, fell in love with the
runt of the litter who she named Bella.

It makes me sad to imagine the moments of deception when
animal shelter workers look into trusting eyes, say a few
gentle words to happy balls of fur with wagging tails, and
then end their lives with injections of convenience.

I drive thinking of other conductors on this underground
railroad, which provides many different means of
transportation in the journey to freedom. There is a man by
the name of Brian Pease who attends law school. He gave up a
few hours of his time and jeopardized his future career when
he was discovered in the field near an animal research lab
after a rescue was conducted in the early morning hours.
There is a woman named Nan Taska who is meeting me a few
hours from her home in Mystic, Connecticut, and she will
drive these pups to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they each
have a new life and a new family. Nan selflessly sacrifices
a full day's pay by driving six hours so that these animals
can be free. There is a woman in Rochester, New York who
gives up full weekends during hunting season walking the
woods, hours before dawn to hours after dusk, warning the
deer away from hunters' arrows and bullets. There is a man
in Chicago, named Steve Hindi, who drives thousands of miles
each year in his $100,000 truck, which shows movie screen-
sized documentaries to fellow motorists and pedestrians
depicting the true tortures of bull fighting, animal
trapping, and farm factories. There is a couple, Lori and
Gene Bauston, who have two sanctuaries on either coast of
the United States for rescued farm animals. These two heroes
have forgotten the word "sleep" and spend 365 days a year
fulfilling their all-consuming passion of rescuing these
animals.

The crying puppies remind me of a sound I once heard. There
was a crying calf who had been separated from his mother. He
was confined in a tiny, plastic shed, and he was kept in the
dark. The animal could not move, for if he did, the flesh in
his legs would develop sinuous muscle fiber and not be
pleasing to the palates of diners who would never be aware
of the calf's own anguish and torment. The cows are made
pregnant so that they can produce the milk of human
unkindness.

If everybody in America spent a minute or an hour or a day
recognizing that all animals feel pain and experience joy
and have rights not to be hurt, could there possibly ever be
human pain and suffering? Could there ever be war?


Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
(201-871-5871)
Executive Director (notmilkman@notmilk.com)
Dairy Education Board
http://www.notmilk.com


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