Presumably on the theory that there’s no defense like a good offense, Green Mountain College has for some weeks been engaged in a disinformation campaign intended to convince the public that animal advocates calling for compassion are terrorists.
Yes, they are actually using the T-word and have also referred to VINE — the friendly local animal sanctuary that generously offered a retirement home for two oxen beloved by students, alumni and neighbors of the college — as an “extremist organization.”
Green Mountain College students and faculty loudly proclaim their distaste for factory farming. But now, unable to bear criticism or even scrutiny of their own practices, they’ve gone to the top tactic in the industrial animal agriculture playbook: Call the animal advocates terrorists, thereby discrediting them while gaining sympathy for yourself.
Sorry, GMC, it won’t work this time, Vermonters aren’t that dumb. Vermonters can see who wants to save a life and who wants to take a life. Vermonters are also deeply devoted to democracy — which often involves vociferous disagreement — and do not equate dissent with wrongdoing.
For the record:
VINE Sanctuary is a nonviolent, nonprofit organization that has neither perpetrated nor condoned any sort of threat against Green Mountain College or any other entity.
VINE Sanctuary does promote agriculture reform — as does Green Mountain College. We can and do differ in our definitions of sustainability and in our vision for the future of farming in Vermont. In a democracy, such differences should be debated rather than denigrated as if they were evidence of destructive disloyalty to the region.
As we have so many times before, VINE reiterates our willingness to come to campus to answer student questions or to articulate and debate our ideas about how to feed the world without wrecking the planet. Such face-to-face contact might go a long way toward resolution of this community conflict.
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