7 January

Joshua Rockwood: Many Thanks, We Are So Close. Bring It To An End.

by Jon Katz
To Show The World What I am Made Of..."
To Show The World What I am Made Of…”

“Joshua, small family farms are our future. Please stand strong.” – Verne DuGas, on Joshua Rockwood’s gofundme page.

If you wish to feel good this morning, to be reminded of how good people are when given the chance, if you wish to be reminded that their news is not our news, then go read some of the comments on Joshua Rockwood’s gofundmepage.

And then, if you are so inclined, help us bring his horses back to West Wind Acres Farm, and help a conscientious young farmer keep his farm and put his life back together. Yesterday alone, Joshua’s supporters raised $6,000 to help him negotiate a good end to his legal situation and to bring his three horses back to the farm.

It is so stirring to see those contributions, most of them small amounts, from ordinary, hard-working people, come pouring in.

“I was a shepherd for many years,” wrote Suzanne Tietjen,” I can see anyone with animals being caught in your position. Thank you for showing courage and not giving in.”

Joshua has shown great courage, he could have cut a deal long ago, he refused to admit to anything he had not done. He did this out of principle, but also to take a stand that would make it difficult for anyone to do this to any other farmer. But he needs help to get to the finish line.

He needs about $5,000 more over the next few days to work out a legal arrangement that will put this behind him, and permit him to return to his life as a farmer, to rebuild his damaged business. Last February, Joshua was arrested and charged with 13 counts of animal cruelty. He was accused of having an unheated barn, of having frozen water tanks (it was – 27), of failing to provide adequate shelter for his pigs. None of his animals died during the awful cold wave, none were starving or dehydrated, none suffered any illness or injury.

I saw them all, his animals were alert, healthy, well-fed and content. It was, I saw, an outrageous injustice. It was Orwellian.

“Orwellian” is an adjective that describes a situation, idea, or societal condition that the author George Orwell believed was destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It refers to a practice or attitude that includes a brutal practice of media manipulation, control by secret surveillance and fanatical propaganda,  it uses misinformation, denial of truth, overreach by authority, and the branding of people as “unpersons,” targets and victims who are forced to live apart from the moral community of people, and whose work and property can be taken from them at any time.

The legal definition of  animal abuse is willful and criminal neglect resulting in death or injury. it is not frozen tanks in a cold wave.  It is not the opinion of secret informers driving by in the dark to spy on their neighbors. This is not Stalinist Russia. Joshua Rockwood is an ethical farmer and animal lover, I would never support someone who abused animals, neither would you. He is innocent of these charges.

This week along, more than 100,000 cows starved or froze to death in the American Southwest, taken by awful storms and cold. No farmer in Texas was charged with animal cruelty, on top of their other troubles. Nothing happened on Joshua’s farm that did not happen to countless farms all over the Northeast, including mine. And not one of his animals were harmed. This happens all over the country, every winter. Water tanks freeze, livestock does not need heated barns, they are not even healthy.

Joshua’s many supporters have raised $66,000 so far to help pay for his enormous legal fees, to improve the infrastructure of his farm, to keep his farm and business going while he goes to hearing after hearing. He needs to get to $72,000 to conclude this case in a way  that I believe will give comfort and  joy to every farmer and true animal lover in America.

“Keep up the good fight,” urged Carol Grigg’s on Joshua’s gofundme page today, “a lot of people are standing with you. Hope you get your horses back soon.”

For all of us, this is money well spent, it could change the awful dynamic that has threatened the future of animals in our world, persecuted many innocent people,  and given far too much power to the animal rights movement, a movement that knows nothing about animals and cares nothing about the people who own, live and work with them.

We live in angry times, people are prone to rage and conspiracy theories about the government, I don’t share those views. I think the police are caught in yet another impossible situation for them, and are trying to do their best, even if wrong. I’m not into hating or rage.

We need perspective, now more than ever. The truth is, we are all responsible. We are all as much to blame as the people who took Joshua’s horses from him. We have surrendered our responsibility to speak for the animals we love and turned it over to feckless politicians and extremist ideologues who have taken a necessary movement and turned it into a coalition of hate groups. Check out the definition of a hate group for yourself, it fits the people who targeted Joshua Rockwood perfectly.

Secret informers – Joshua will never know who his accusers are or get to confront them, as murderers do  – drove by his farm, called the police, who raided his farm, arrested him on magical charges of cruelty and impounded three of his horses. He will  need to pay thousands of dollars to get them back even if he is cleared of all charges  – at least $9,000, and that will clear the way for him to negotiate an end to this injustice. That figure is far lower than it once was.

Joshua very much hates asking anyone else for money – he is sometimes too proud for his own good – but he has been very nearly ruined by this experience, between legal costs, damage to his business of selling healthy food to people, improvements he must make to prepare his farm for winter, keeping his family and farm intact.

He has used every penny he has received and then some, in order to survive. He won’t ask for more help, but I know he would put it to good use. It will make him whole and send a powerful message.

With your help, he can put this behind him and return to his life, to growing his business, to repairing the damage to his life. Joshua’s case is being watched by farmers and animal lovers all over the country, his victory will be our victory, it will give hope to every farmer or animal lover or carriage horse driver or pony ride operator who finds him or herself a target of a movement with no boundaries, ethics, or mandate. For perhaps the first time, farmers and animal lovers are using social media to reach out to one another and make a powerful statement – one that police and prosecutors everywhere will hear.

“I have heaters in my stock tanks also,” wrote Dena Lee on Joshua’s gofundme page this morning. “They do sometimes freeze in the bitter cold. Anyone who makes derogatory remarks about that is an idiot!..I’d rather see this type of farming any day over cramming animals into a sterile barn where they are unhappy their entire lives.”

Everything about this case felt wrong and smelled wrong to me from the beginning. It is wrong. You can help right it by supporting Joshua through the final days of his ordeal. I so look forward to knowing that we formed a community of conscientious and good people and brought him through it. What a happy day that will be, and we are close.

You can help here.

6 January

It’s Time: Let’s Get Joshua Rockwood’s Horses And Life Back Right Now!

by Jon Katz

Get Joshua's Horses BackHunter And His Pony. Time for them to be together.


The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

We are very close. Joshua Rockwood urgently needs at least $9,000 this week to get his three horses back, try to clear his name and get on with his life. You can help here.

It was about a year ago, at the tail end of the century’s worst winter cold, that the police in Glenville, N.Y., spurred by the secret informers of the animal rights movement, raided Joshua’s farm, upended his life, threatened him with jail, traumatized his family, trashed his reputation, and charged him with 13 counts of animal cruelty. They impounded his horses, including Romeo, above, his son Hunter’s pony.

My farrier and friend Ken Norman, a lifelong rescuer of horses, called the charges “bullshit misdemeanors,” and the more I know about the case, the more generous I think Ken was.

Today, important news from West Wind Acres Farm and from the struggle of this decent young farmer to get back to his life. He has the chance to get his three horses back – Romeo, Juliette, and Sydney. But he needs help, the year has drained him emotionally and financially. In America, justice is expensive. If he can raise $9,000 this week, he can get his horses back. He might just get his life back as well.

The horses, seized and taken to a nearby horse rescue facility,  will be able to come home to Joshua and his two children, and resume their free and healthy lives on West Wind Acres, his 90-acre farm. The horse return is part of ongoing negotiations that I am not privy to, and not at liberty to write about.

If they are successful, Joshua may soon be able to put this nightmare behind him and return to his great passion for farming, for raising healthy food for people in his community to eat. I believe every true lover of farmers, animals and justice will be pleased if we can help him this one last time.

Joshua is an ethical farmer, and a passionate defender of the environment. He is the future of food, the environment, the future of animals. He also speaks for decency and integrity. He could have run from this nightmare a long time ago, he choose to stand and fight for his truth. And for ours. It is essential for Joshua’s horses to be returned. His case has generated enormous concern and support all over the country. More than 2,000 people have already aided his gofundme project, which has helped him to pay his legal fees, keep his farm, and make improvements for this winter and beyond. He needs one final burst of help, he can take it from here.

I know Joshua Rockwood well, I have spent many hours with him, talk to him often, have been to his farm a half-dozen times and attended each of his court hearings. I can speak from the heart and tell you he has never abused an animal and would not.  While billions of animals languish and are ignored living in horrific conditions on giant industrial factory farms, Joshua’s animals range freely, have fresh water, shade and shelter on a beautiful farm.

His animals are healthy, well-cared for, live free-range on pasture, feed on grass and high quality feed. Before the police raids, two veterinarians inspected his animals and found them healthy and hydrated.

Joshua was caught in the deepening conflict between some elements of the animal rights movement and many farmers and animal lovers and good people who work with animals. The increasingly extreme, angry and disconnected goals of the animal rights so-called activists threaten to radically and ignorantly redefine the very nature and definition of abuse. In recent years, the animal rights movement more closely resembles a hate group or rogue militia than a movement to promote animal welfare.
If they weren’t so wealthy, and didn’t have so much money to shower on lawmakers and politicians, they would be a joke.

If Joshua was accused of murder, he could face his accusers. In the inverted moral world of animal rights, his accusers will never be known to him, they will never have to take responsibility for the damage they have wrought on a good and innocent man.

They are not a joke. They are making it more and more fraught to get animals and keep them among us.  They operate outside of the law, of science, or any sense of truth and justice. They do not believe animals should be owned by us or work with us. If you love animals, or are a farmer,  you have a compelling reason to help Joshua. If they can do it to him, they can do it to you.

Joshua’s horses were not abused any more than the New York Carriage Horses or most of the elephants in the circus. You can help him restore some rationality and justice by donating here.

Joshua’s case is important.

Our emotionalizing of animals and ignorance about them, and our growing disconnection with the natural world has caused us to lose our understanding of the real lives of animals and their needs. We are abusing people in the name of protecting animals. People like Joshua.  In the name of protecting their rights, animals are being taken from us in awful and growing numbers – just consider Joshua’s horses. In America, stealing horses used to be a serious crime.

In standing up for himself, Joshua is standing up for all of us, for every farmer, horse or dog owner, carriage driver or animal lover who wishes to work with animals or keep them in our lives.

Joshua has stood his lonely and difficult ground all year for us as well as for himself. His wish is that what happened to him – he is accused of having frozen water tanks in – 27 temperatures and not having a heated barn  – not happen to anyone else. His horses should never have been taken from him. It is outrageous that he has to pay thousands of dollars to get them back, it could have been much more. But that is the world we live in, and if we band together, we can help him get through it.

Joshua’s family needs healing as well. His children have heard that their father is a criminal, his face splashed all over TV, his wife Stephanie is afraid to let his sons play alone outside for fear one of the photo-snapping informers who prowl by their house and farm will call the police and try to take their children away. And the family has suffered enough, they lost a young daughter to an awful chronic disease just a few years ago.

I hope you can join with me and many good farmers in helping Joshua get his horses back. He needs $9,000 soon, by the end of the week if he is to conclude his negotiations for his own farm and liberty, and for his horses to return to his farm and family, where they belong. Joshua’s case has awakened the farming community to the power of social media, because of him the next farmer to be targeted in this cruel and thoughtless way will know how to ask for help. And get some.

What happened to Joshua Rockwood was wrong, in almost every respect. He is open and ethical, a diligent farmer, a loving husband and father. Let’s help put his life back together again, we are so very close. On the gofund me page, you will see that farmers and good people from everywhere have donated more than $61,000 this year to help him in this fight. That money is gone, spent wisely and in ways that were necessary. If not for you, Joshua would have lost his farm and  much more.

Joshua hates to ask for help or money, but i know he needs more than $9,000 to ultimately be whole again, to rebuild  his business, to get his horses back, clear his name and get on with  his life. Thanks. We are very close. You can help here.

1 January

Joshua Rockwood’s Message For 2016: “To Show The World What I Am Made Of…”

by Jon Katz
To Show The World What I am Made Of..."
To Show The World What I am Made Of…”

Joshua Rockwood and I text often. As is the case with many young men his texts are short, sometimes brusque. He is a very busy man, a husband, a father of two young boys, a farmer with 90 acres to tend and scores of animals, an accused animal abuser awaiting trial on 13 counts of animal cruelty.

Our New Year’s Eve texts are typical:

Jon: Plans Tonight?

Joshua: I have a date with my pillow.

We check in with each other quite often, mostly asking if the other is okay. Joshua is up early, working late.

Potentially, it is a complex relationship, I have only known Joshua for about a year, we met after his arrest last winter, and I am a writer and blogger, which could make our friendship awkward. It isn’t awkward, I feel very close to Joshua, I appreciate his trust and friendship. He has never told me what to write or even asked me what I am writing.

I don’t have a son but would be proud to have him as my son. Joshua is quiet, intelligent,  and unusually  honorable. He is open, authentic.

Called by the secret informers of the animal world – they never appear in the light – the Glenville, N.Y.,  police raided his West Wind Acres farm in the worst cold wave in a century last winter. The police accused him of things any farmer might have been accused of, and impounded three of his horses for having overgrown hooves. A local columnist wrote that they used to jail people for stealing horses.

I talk to Joshua all of the time, he is invariably calm, measured, stoic, although even he sometimes can’t  hide the anxiety and depression he has struggled with this year. So I was somewhat surprised to get the longest text message I have ever received from him on New Year’s Eve. It is a powerful message, and although I usually write my own New Year’s message, I am honored this year to share my New Year’s message with Joshua.

It speaks to his soul, and to ours. It is, in many ways, my own message. We need to fight to keep the animals in our world, we need to treat one another with love and dignity and respect, we need to support one another in every possible way. If any one of us is not free, then none of us are free. If one of us is unfairly persecuted, then we all are.

Joshua, who never complains and has boundless perspective, wrote me that he has all in all, had a great year. “I’ve gotten to spend just about every day with my beautiful wife, and two healthy sons. (Joshua and his wife lost a daughter to illness during the holidays a few years ago.)

“I’ve watched hundreds of animals come into the world, I’ve been blessed to sit in pastures and watch cattle and sheep graze, lambs run and play. I’ve made thousands of new friends, had thousands of people stand with me, defend me, and show me how great humanity really is.”

 He has, he wrote, developed the skills  to help others. “I’ve helped people feed their families in a healthier way, gifted animals to some people who deserve a helping hand, I’ve been able to donate food to food shelters. My house is warm, my family is fed, and they know they are loved.”

 It has always seemed to me that Joshua has survived his time of great testing in part because he has always retained the gift of empathy and sense of values that  reminds him of what is really important. For all of the his pain and struggle this year, Joshua never seems to forget other people – he asks me every few days how I am. He has never stopped looking ahead to the future he deserves, to the future he is worth, to a world that needs healing.

He is the new eco-citizen that Pope Francis calls upon to help save the earth.

 “I do look forward to this case being over so that I can show the world what I am made of, continue to grow amazing food, and feed even more people. I look forward to helping many more people become involved in farming, and helping others to understand how food is grown. Most of all, I look forward to getting to spend more time with the amazing people who has supported me, and the great friends I’ve met. All in all, 2015 was good, 2016 will bring abundance in all parts of my life.”

Joshua has his truth, of course, and I have mine. I can tell you that 2015 was as difficult a year for Joshua as most human beings will face. His reputation was savaged, his healthy animals taken from him, his business devastated, his personal life and plans upended.

Through it all, he has remained strong, clear, intact. He has remained determined to treat his animals well, sell healthy food, farm with respect to the environment, stand in his truth. He has faced enormously powerful people and forces quite willing to destroy him for the most ignorant and least defensible for reasons, and never lost his footing or values.

it is sad to see in Joshua’s story and the plight of the New York Carriage Horses the lunacy and moral inversion that have infected the animal rights movement, the movement that claims falsely to speak for the rights of animals. The police could have raided any farm in the Northeast – dragging their politicized vets along – and made the same accusations against anyone with farm animals.

Before he is done, Joshua will expose the injustice and ignorance of his accusers and save countless farmers and animal lovers from the same fate. This, I believe, is his purpose for standing so strong and fighting so hard. He is showing us all what he is made of.

He is one of the amazing people I’ve met, it is a gift to be one of the many men and women who support him. At his first court hearing, more than 300 people, many of them farmers, showed up from all over the Northeast. “It could have been me,” was the motto of each one.

I look forward to getting to know Joshua even better. We will remain in one another’s lives, I am eager to chronicle his vindication and recovery.

I look forward to writing the post that says he has been cleared of these false and in some cases malicious accusations and is resuming his work to build a sustainable, eco-friendly farm with animals who range freely and live on pasture and good feed.

He is the kind of young farmer who may just save the world for us and our children. We should be helping him to do that, not ravage his life using the power of government to destroy him so unjustly. There are few few animals on factory farms or in the wild who would not be lucky to live on Joshua’s farm.

I am not privy to the legal maneuverings of his case, but I believe in truth, and I believe in justice, and I believe Joshua will prevail, even against a dysfunction legal system that is insanely expensive, complex and time consuming.

Many of you have helped Joshua get to this point – we have helped him to raise money for his legal fees and to improve the infrastructure of his farm for the coming winters. I believe we may have to help him once more to bring his horses back to West Wind Acres Farm.

He is being asked to pay thousands of dollars in boarding and veterinary fees to get his own horses back, whether he is found guilty of the charges or not. It seems the rights of animals do not come cheaply. I will let you all know, and I know Joshua thanks you all from the bottom of his heart for supporting him, I do too.

We are almost there.

14 December

Farm Rescue: Ken Norman Brings Water Tires To Joshua Rockwood

by Jon Katz
Water Tires To Joshua
Water Tires To Joshua

Ken Norman and his family – his wife Eli-Anita Norman and his daughter Nikilene – came to West Wind Acres Farm in Glenville, N.Y. today to bring five giant tires to Joshua Rockwood so he can use them as tire water tanks and be prepared for the winter we all know is on the way.

Last year, Joshua was arrested  on 13 counts of animal cruelty, hundreds of farmers and animal lovers have rallied to support Joshua, including Ken, who studied all of the charges and pronounced them “bullshit misdemeanors and not even that.” Few words but wise ones.

Ken is a good friend and a life-long farrier and rescuer and champion of horses. I could not begin to describe all of the people and animals Ken and Eli have helped, including me. No one loves animals more than he does or is more blunt and direct. His support of Joshua meant a lot to me, and to Joshua as well.

If he says the charges are bullshit, that is what they are. I saw this for myself as well.

I met the Norman family when they came and dropped off these tires, I took some photos and did a short video of Ken, and I’ll write about the trip this evening and also tomorrow. It was special, I was moved by it. Nikiilene is also well known as the Bedlam Farm Barn Fairy, she has been visiting us for most of her life, and is an enchanting and daring human being, I remember her meeting our donkeys and leaping on Fanny’s back to take ride. She is fearless around animals and a joy to photograph. At Joshua’s farm, she had a great race with the pigs.  More later, got some chores to do.

27 October

Joshua Rockwood’s Pigs, Animal Rights: Imagining What Could Be

by Jon Katz
Photo By Joshua Rockwood
Photo By Joshua Rockwood

One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to help people in ways we often can’t do as individuals. When a community fails in it’s moral responsibility to help one another, then society is broken, our ties to one another cut. From the first Joshua Rockwood’s story is one of community.

More than 30 piglets were born in the past week or so at Joshua Rockwood’s West Wind Acres Farm in Glenville, N.Y. That is happy news.

Life on the farm goes on, despite the persecution of the good man and  honest farmer who runs it.  Joshua Rockwood is straining to deal with legal bills, the distraction of waiting to see if he goes to jail, an agonizingly complex and expensive legal system, and is fighting every one of the 13 counts of animal cruelty charges lodged against him.

Joshua Rockwood is a person of principle, he will not admit to any wrongdoing that he has not committed. Hundreds, if not thousands, of farmers, animal lovers, friends and customers have rushed to his aid. Almost to a one, they say the same thing: it could have been us.

Joshua’s life is very much on hold:  three horses remain on the rescue farm that impounded them along with the police last March. Joshua is uncertain how or when or if ever he will be able to get them back or afford the mounting boarding and veterinary fees he would have to pay for their return, no matter if he is guilty or innocent. It seems that animal rights justice is different from people justice. Unlike accused murderers, Joshua has no right to confront the informers who upended his life, he must pay to get his animals back, even if it is found they were never treated cruelly or neglected.

It is a terrifying thing to be the target of a vast legal and police apparatus, it is a nightmare if you are innocent. Once Joshua’s face appeared on television, online and in all of the local newspapers, he lost some of his customers, and of course, has had to put on hold many of his ideas for improving the farm and it’s infrastructure, for distributing his meat, or selling more CDA shares in his farm. West Wind Acres was created to produce healthy meat from free-range and pasture fed animals that is sold to local people.

Joshua is part of a movement that helps people  trust the food they eat and know where it comes from. We hear more and more about the dangers of processed foods,  the waste and inhumanity of the grocery chain food system. Joshua doesn’t sell processed foods shipped thousands of miles.  In a rational time, he might get an award for helping save the earth and promote good health for people and animals.

The political and institutional community surrounding Joshua Rockwood has failed him terribly, but a new kind of community, joined by common experience and connected with new technologies has risen to help him. The need for community, it seems, is more powerful than the need to hate and persecute.

Joshua Rockwood is an open man, a transparent farmer. He tells no lies, keeps no secrets. Check it out for yourself.

It seems we are not living in a rational world, certainly not when it comes to the lives of farmers or the welfare of animals.

Unlike the nine billion animals in industrial factory farms living in sometimes horrific conditions, Joshua’s animals live on a 90 acre farm. They all range freely on pastures and hillside grass, they live in shelter, they receive  regular medical attention, they drink out of fresh streams, they are not fed chemicals or artificial foods. They are slaughtered in the most humane possible way.

And they live on a farm where the farmer cares for them, knows each one of them. Like the New York Carriage Horses, these are the lucky animals of the world.

Sometimes I imagine what might have happened to Joshua last winter (it was one of the world cold waves in the history of the Northeast)  if there was a truly humane animal rights movement and a rational understanding of farms and animals. The persecution of Joshua Rockwood is a study in the growing arrogance and cruelty of the people who claim to speak for the rights of animals,  and of government overreach. In the American experiment, government was meant to protect freedom and property. In the nightmare that has engulfed Joshua Rockwood and has farm,  government seeks to take both from him, on the flimsiest imaginable grounds.

Joshua has been accused of having frozen water tanks unheated barns and shelters, even though no animal died last winter or was found to be starving, de-hydrated or injured. His horses were taken from him because their hooves were overgrown. He was given no warning, had no chance to explain or defend himself, was given no time to correct any of the allegedly inadequate conditions on his farm. The farmers are right. It could have been you. It could have been me.

I doubt there is a horse or animal lover of any experience who would argue that the horses are better off now, languishing on their rescue farm, than they were in their own safe and  healthy environment. Like dogs, horses attach powerfully to the people they live with. It is traumatic for them to be separated so abruptly, it is a kind of abuse of it’s own.

But does it have to be this way? Are we not a people of communities, responsible for one another, connected to each other? All kinds of people who have rushed to help Joshua it it was known he needed help – farmers, animal lovers, farm organizations.

Imagine if the secret informer who called the police and nearly ruined Joshua Rockwood’s life had knocked on the door instead and asked him if he needed any help.

Imagine if there was an animal rights organization that might have helped him  rather than accuse him and take his animals away during that awful bitter winter that saw the temperatures plunged to nearly -30 degrees day after day. Joshua was not an impoverished owner who couldn’t afford to care for his horses, they were loved, healthy and very well cared for.

Imagine if a horse rescue group offered to help him care for his horses instead of seize them, offered to find a farrier who would come in such weather and help trim the hooves (the did not  pose any kind of health risk or danger to the horses, according to several farriers who saw the photographs of them posted online).

Imagine if the police chose to ask Joshua if he needed help in that awful cold and offered or arranged assistance rather than raid his farm, threaten him with jail, push  him towards financial ruin and endanger the lives of all of the animals on his farm. Imagine if the town government actually had a program to support farmers rather than simply prosecute them on the say-so of extremist ideologues  and the growing number of secret informers spying on private citizens. These informers are not held accountable in any way for the charges they make and the great trouble they can cause.

Imagine if the rights and welfare of farmers and other human beings were held to be as precious as the rights and welfare of animals. Imagine if the media and the animal rights organizations talked to farmers and sought to understand their lives and went to help some of those nine billion animals in industrial factory farms.  Criminals make us think about evil, says the moral philosopher Hannah Arendt, but hypocrites are the lowest form of life.

Two different veterinarians came to West Wind Acres in the days before Joshua was arrested and said his animals were all healthy and hydrated and well cared for.

Imagine if we lived in a rational world where that would have been enough, and the police could have driven away and tended to preventing and prosecuting actual crimes.

In a rational and humane society, this story would never have happened.

Joshua’s farm would not be struggling today, an honest and idealistic young man would not have to fight to deep his very good reputation from being destroyed, his face offered as a mug shot on every TV station and newspaper for miles around. He would not have had to spend tends of thousands of dollars in legal fees. His wife would not have to forbid her children from playing outside for fear some informer would call the police and claim they were being neglected. Imagine if Joshua were free to work his farm and raise his family and pursue his life, rather than have to fight for its survival.

There is no point, truly, in raging against reality and bitterly decrying fate. Joshua is fighting back in a civil and principled way. Many people are supporting him. They understand that the charges against him are unjust, that it could have been them, that this a perversion of the very idea of animal rights, not an affirmation.

For me, this is no longer an argument, it is a new kind of movement. Animals and the people who own them and live and work with them deserve better, if animals are to remain in our everyday lives at all. We need to get on with the work of restoring sanity and compassion to the animal world, we need a better and wiser understanding of animals than this.

I believe if we imagine the way it might be and should be, that it will one day come to pass. Animal lovers are awakening, they will fight long and hard to keep animals in our world.  In the meantime, it is happy news to see the new piglets on Joshua’s farm. He has more than 30, all but one survived and is healthy. However long they are to live in this world, they are the fortunate pigs.

Bedlam Farm