The Pokey at Coe

Saturday we had the pleasure to screen for the E-club (E stands for environmental in this case) at Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

This conversation seemed to continually shift in a Libertarian direction, largely because of an old farmer named Roy who hated the government and loved Ron Paul. 

See this is how it works- each state determines what is allowable regarding slaughter. Virginia allows farms to slaughter chickens on the farm- only if it's under a certain amount annually-- but not cows or pigs. Washington state allows all animals to be slaughtered on farm. Iowa doesn't allow any to be slaughtered on farm, unless it's for personal use and not for sale. Due to Iowa's more stringent policies about farming, it's harder for small farmers to get their products sold. They often have to ship animals hundreds of miles to the nearest USDA certified slaughterhouse. Which leads to fed up farmers like the charismatic Roy, who used the old-fashioned term "pokey" when referring to "jail" about 6 times during the discussion to get mad as hell. Here's a quote typical quote from Roy: "They'll put handcuffs on a farmer for selling raw milk and put him in the pokey, when what we need to do is get the local sheriff to tell those regulators to get out or we'll put them in the pokey." Every time Roy spoke, laughter and applause generally followed. 

Until recently, Cedar Rapids residents couldn't legally own hens, but one of the women in the audience mentioned that she and a group of people had pushed through legislation to change that. 

One outgoing Coe student asked if the farmers were open to students visiting the farm, to which all replied yes, including our friends Doug Darrow and Justin Wade of Rapid Creek Ranch who stood on the front lines with us for yet another panel. There was an undeniable air of optimism at the small (about 30 folks) yet engaged screening, as people seemed focused on what was possible and empowered with the belief that change- swift and positive- would soon arrive. 

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published this page in Ruminations 2012-07-18 11:00:13 -0400