Why Plant Based Meat Substitute

Many have been asking me why all of a sudden I have started eating plant based meat substitutes. For quite a few years now I have been disturbed by the many reports of ranchers teaming up with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in our western states to kill off all kinds of wildlife, including our beloved wolves, bears and wild horses so that their precious cattle won’t have any competition on public lands. I of course am an avid user of our national forest land with all it’s beautiful mountains and trails. I think it is appalling that the ranchers get to graze their cattle on public lands, their cattle make a mess out of the land and the trails for everyone else and on top of all that the welfare ranchers as I call them get all upset when a wild animal takes one of their stock.

Free Range Cattle

Of course what the ranchers and the BLM keep hidden is the fact, according to this article by Wild Earth Guardians and many others, that less than one quarter of one percent of livestock is killed by predators, that’s 0.23%. And most western states even reimburse the ranchers for their losses, which is why they don’t even bother to try to find non-lethal methods to coexist with the wildlife. There isn’t much reporting in the lame stream media about it so it isn’t well known that the BLM regularly rounds up our wild horses with helicopters who dare live on public land, frequently causing horrific injury and even running them to death in their effort to corral them for slaughter and sale to foreign countries including Mexico, just to please the welfare ranchers and their interests. Wolves,  coyotes and mountain lions are trapped, poisoned and killed in all manner of inhumane and torturous methods that should be illegal in civilized society.

That doesn’t even begin to address the horrific way the livestock is treated, just read this article by the Washington Post… If you can bear to, I assure you that if you do you will never look at your steak the same again.

I had kind of resolved to come up with something tangible I could do to help conserve our precious wildlife when I retired from full time employment but up until now I hadn’t really found anything I could do besides write about it.  Well when the Covid-19 virus hit there were reports that with the restaurants all closed the ranchers were really struggling which of course didn’t hurt my feelings at all.

Then as the news media began warning of meat shortages, a story I had seen about plant based meat came to mind… Why should I worry about a meat shortage if I can find a suitable substitute? It wasn’t hard to find, Walmart and Safeway both carry several brands so decided to try it and went out to purchase some. When I opened the package I was surprised to find that the patties and sausages look just like real meat. Throw it on the grill for 8-10  minutes and you have yourself a decent meal! And much to my surprise they are actually pretty good! And you can even feel good that you are eating something good for your health!

Now I have a way to fight back against the meat industry, I don’t have to purchase their products. If enough of us who care follow suit we can put the meat industry out of business. No longer will there be any reason to slaughter our wildlife, no reason to subject millions of domestic animals to a dreadful life of confinement and abuse at the slaughter houses. Our national forests can once again be sanctuaries for our cherished wildlife and pristine wilderness for the enjoyment of visitors for generations to come. I urge you, please give the plant based meat a try, the furry critters are depending on you!

I of course will continue to look for other more direct ways to help conserve our wildlife, but in the meantime this is a good start that I can feel good about.

The Fawns

Mama Deer and Fawns

Today’s trek turned out to be extra special due to a rare fawn sighting 🙂 As I neared the turnaround point in the out and back part of the trail I saw movement in the mountain grass. At first I thought it was going to be a fox or maybe a coyote but as I looked through my long glass I discovered that it was a little fawn mule deer. Soon a second baby appeared followed by the mama who immediately spotted me and stopped for a long suspicious stare. The babies soon gathered  close to their mother for protection and joined the vigil. Eventually they decided that I was not threat  and continued along their way as I hid behind a tree using a branch to steady the camera. I stayed until they were out of sight, capturing this cute scene of the two little ones in tow 🙂

Mama Deer and Fawns

I love springtime in the mountains with all the new life and it is my sincere hope that through my pictures others will come to appreciate life in all it’s precious beauty and fragility and gain an understanding of the importance of preserving it for future generations to enjoy.

 

The Coyote

After a couple day’s rest I was feeling a bit better but today’s trek was still a bit of a mental struggle… I was starting to wish I had just stayed home when just then I spotted a couple of ears sticking up above a nearby ridge line. I didn’t know if the critter would go down into the ravine or come up and run along the top for a photo op but I got the camera ready anyway. Set to ISO 400 and middle focus zone I figured I’d be ready for whatever turn the scene might take.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Coyote running free

Well as luck would have it a coyote cleared the ridge, immediately spotted us and started to trot along the ridge line towards her home in the thick brush below. I just held the back button focus down and blazed away until my camera’s buffer was full. Then I shot a couple more for good measure.  Afterwards a quick check on my LCD screen looked promising. Exposure looked good and the images mostly looked sharp, even when zoomed in with the touch screen 🙂

My joy at spotting this beautiful animal is tempered by sadness from some of the information I’ve been reading lately, though. Some people are afraid of coyotes… I don’t know why, they are afraid of people, prefer to eat small rodents or rabbits, and pretty much bother no one. Of course there is the odd city person who moves to the mountains, insists on living in the countryside in wildlife habitat and is then stunned to find out he can’t leave his shih tzu out in the yard at night, and of course there are the welfare ranchers who demand to be able to graze their sheep on public national forest land in predator country while not giving a damn about the wildlife or the people who enjoy watching them… but for the most part the wildlife prefers to mind it’s own business, bothering no one and performing their God given task of keeping the rodent population down.

I have known for quite some time that there is no shortage of hunters who love nothing

Colorado Rocky Mountain Coyote

more that blasting away at our beloved wildlife, not to mention people’s pets, a lady in her driveway, other hunters and pretty much anything else that moves, but I had no idea the depth of depravity that is condoned in some states until I recently read an article in Mountain Journal called “A Death Of Ethics: Is Hunting Destroying Itself?”. Apparently in many states predators including wolves, which were protected until Obama sold them out, are considered nuisance animals and can be killed without limit and not even afforded minimum animal cruelty protections.

The article describes all the horrible methods used by sadists in these backward states to destroy these innocent creatures including but not limited to, strangling them in snares, stomach shooting them to cause the slowest and most painful death, and running them down with snowmobiles. Apparently the latter is a preferred family activity in Wyoming as parents teach their children the joy of chasing down a terrified animal and running over it multiple times until it is finally dead. Personally I think that parents that teach their children this kind of cruelty should be charged with child abuse and their children placed in foster homes. The article is long and difficult to read but is an excellent in depth scientific study complete with names and history and useful resources that I highly recommend everyone read who cares about wildlife and our wilderness heritage.

Lest we continue to devolve into a nation of barbarians I hope kinder and more sane people will vote out the politicians who allow these practices in favor of leaders who understand that these animals are valuable sentient creatures who deserve to be treated humanely just as domestic animals are. In addition to their important function of limiting rodent populations, these animals are precious to many people who just want to have the wilderness experience by viewing them. Please contact your representatives today to demand change. Please help to insure that future generations will be able to experience what I was able to witness today… A beautiful example of God’s creation, running free in the beautiful countryside of our great nation.

As always these images and more are available for purchase on my website as wall art and cool gift items including useful household items, tech gadgets, apparel and more! Give the link a click and explore over a thousand great wilderness images created by #swkrullimaging!

 

Diamonds in the Sky

It was cold  this morning, near zero I think but not cold enough to keep us from our hike on the high peaks of the Pike National Forest 🙂 Storm clouds were rolling in over the Sangre de Cristo Range but the sky was still a beautiful bright blue overhead. As Big Dog and I strode along through the high meadow I noticed that there were glittering

Diamonds in the Sky

snowflakes drifting down from the frozen sky. By this time we had gone around the summit past the amazing view of the Continental Divide and heading back east toward the rising sun. The snowflakes were glittering in the sunlight and it was like we were walking through diamond dust falling from the cold blue heavens.

We often experience that phenomenon up at this elevation. I guess this high we are actually in thin clouds sometimes and it is so cold that the moisture in the sky is literally frozen and falling out of the sky. If we were lower we would be looking up at a snow cloud but from here there is snow falling on a clear day. Well anyway, it was an amazing scene to see it in the morning light that way!

Gathering Storm on the Sangre

Also today I read a heartbreaking story called the Unnamed Foal. It was a story in my inbox about a foal that had died from shock in one of the cruel and violent BLM wild horse roundups. These beautiful creatures are literally dying from greed. Welfare ranchers in the west grazing their cattle on public land can’t stand the idea of sharing with a few of our wild horses collude with the government to have them rounded up and slaughtered. There is no excuse for it and it is just pure greed driving it. Please consider liking and giving to the American Wild Horse Campaign to try to save our wild horses. If someone doesn’t do something some day all of these magnificent creatures will be gone.

On a more positive note, our Yellowstone wolves hit the big time. High profile exposure on 60 Minutes in a segment called the Wolves of Yellowstone gives me hope that the good people of this country are finally catching on to the value of our wild animals! Doug Smith, researcher and spokesman for the park was asked if the wolves knew to stay in the park to which he explained that these wolves don’t know about hunters and they don’t know where the park boundaries are. Not a lot of people know that hunters wait just outside the park boundary for a wolf to step just a couple of feet over the line where they are then shot dead, robbing from thousands of park visitors the joy of seeing a famous and beloved animal forever. What is worse, the hunters often locate them with the very radio collar placed on them at great expense by the park researchers to study and preserve them. Please write to your congressmen to demand a buffer zone between the park and the selfish miscreants who seek to kill them.

As always, these photographs and more are for sale on my website as wall art and cool household and gift items.