Thursday, September 30, 2010

Secret Amish Abuse

Abuse within secret society is known to be common.  The Amish are by no means immune from this.  As a community, the Amish are extremely reluctant to converse with the outside world.  Abuse within Amish Culture falls under the name of discipline.  What may be most shocking is how far abuse and forgiveness can go still under the name of discipline.  Amish are told how to live most aspects of their life.  They are taught how to dress, wear their hair, even to include what color inside their homes should be.  They are taught about forgiveness, even to forgive acts of adultery, rape, or even murder.  It seems almost any sin is forgivable, except the ultimate sin: leaving Amish culture.  David and Fran Yoder committed the unforgivable sin."Once I was gone I was not allowed to step foot on my father's property. They wouldn't speak of me. They considered me dead. The entire Amish community turned their backs. I was not allowed to attend my parent's funerals and neither were my children," David Yoder explained.  In fact, Amish law even forbids reporting acts of crime to authorities.  Fran Yoder confessed "I was raped by my brother-in-law when I was just 17, but as a woman I kept quiet for a while."  Amish authorities prefer to handle crime without the federal government involvement.  
In the past, there have been few known cases of rape within amish community, because reporting crime is highly looked down upon.  In the case of Jacob Weaver, 55 year old Amish man, who was charged and pleaded guilty of raping a young child.  A family member commented about his trial.  "We would just be happy to continue on and we would like to fellowship with him and bring (him) to church and move on in spirit and grow that way. That's why we want him home,"  The family of Chris Mullet, a 28 year old man who was charged with rape of a young girl, said a similar statement about his trial.  “If you ask for forgiveness and they show us they’re sorry. We don’t think about it. If it happens today tomorrow it’s forgotten.”  Acceptance of rape in Amish community is far beyond average American culture.  It seems as though a person faces complete rejection in society if named  a sexual predator.  
As if rape wasn't bad enough, even cases of murder have been covered up within Amish Community. David Yoder claimed that his sister even confessed to the murder of his niece.  Yoder explained that authorities response to the confession was "This can never leave this room.   It has to remain this way for the betterment of community."
How ironic that the Amish are able to forgive acts such as rape and murder so easily but are unable to forgive those who wish to experience a life away from Amish community?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Amish Farmers Polluting The Chesapeake

The Chesapeake Bay is polluted from many different factors.  Alarmingly, the Amish contribute an extremely high level of fertilizer as runoff to the Chesapeake Bay.  The Amish community own 5,000 of the farms in Lancaster County, PA.  The manure and fertilizer from their farms run off into local streams, which eventually run into the Chesapeake Bay.  Such runoff can lead to Dead Zones in the bay, which can be a fishermans worst nightmare. 
"They are very resistant to government interference, and they object to government subsidies," Donald Kraybill, a professor at Elizabethtown College and studier of the Amish, said.  The Environmental Protection Agency has been trying to approach each farmer individually, suggesting different changes they could make to fix their continued damage to the Chesapeake Bay.  While some Amish decided to make improvements on thier manure and fertilzer damage, many felt insulted by the EPA's interference.  The Amish Community rejection of any kind of government influence or regulations could lead to further destruction of the Chesapeake Bay. 
Not only are the Amish polluting the bay, they are putting themselves at risk for many health issues.  The New York Times article reported on an assessment of 24 Lancaster County farms. "Twenty-three of the farms were plain sect; 17 were found to be managing their manure inadequately. The abundance of manure was also affecting water quality. Six of the 19 wells sampled contained E. coli bacteria, and 16 had nitrate levels exceeding those allowed by the E.P.A.”  While the Amish may think that they are living sustainably, they are seriously contributing the destruction of the bay and risking their health in the process.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Amish Puppy Mills

It may come as a shock to many Americans that the Amish community, known to have a good moral christian lifestyle, own 20% of puppy mills.  If you are unfamiliar with the atrocities of puppy mills, here is a brief description.   Last year, over 5 million dogs were killed in puppy mills, that’s over 11,000 dead dogs everyday.  Dogs in puppy mills are kept in horrible conditions.  The dogs used for breeding are kept in cages for their entire lives.  The cages are stacked up to 10 cages high, leaving the dogs in the bottom cages with a 90 percent chance of getting an eye or ear infection.  Their cages are made of wire, which their feet can sometimes slide through, making their feet sore and swollen.  If dogs are rescued, they are unable to walk due to being confined in such a small space so many years.  When the dogs are no longer able to reproduce or simply aren't sold as puppies, they are mass murdered by being drowned, shot, or even put into woodchippers.  Dogs in these puppy mills are routinely "debarked" by shoving a steel pipe down their throats.  The Amish consider the dogs in their puppy mills livestock, which allows them to commit these atrocities without any law imposing against them.  Nevertheless, outsiders are rarely allowed into these puppy mills.
It was once reported that in an amish-owned puppy mill in Berks County, PA a man named Elmer Zimmerman shot and killed 80 dogs after being told they needed to be checked by a veterinarian.  As if that information isn't disturbing enough, a local animal rescue stated that out of the 80 dogs killed, at least 70 of them could have been place in homes.  Although in Pennsylvania it is legal to shot ones property, its inhumane for these kinds of tragedies to take place.
You may be asking yourself how can the Amish behave so completely heartless while they are known for being such a peaceful non-harming community?  It is possible that since the Amish discipline their children so harshly, they are often abused.  This overly strict and abusive discipline results in continued abuse that is projected onto animals.  Questioning any sort of authority is not accepted in Amish society, which allows the puppy mill owners to have complete community support. 
The Amish have created a deception to Americans that they are a peaceful, loving community, living in one with nature and its surroundings, while in reality they deceive the average american routinely with their secret abuse.