Mennonites And Amish Are Distinctly Two Different Communities
Both communities find it greatly insulting to be mistaken for one another. The Mennonites, pictured on the left, are not as strict as the Amish. Mennonites may wear brighter colors, drive cars, and even live modernly.
No Education Past the Eighth Grade
Building upon that idea of it being so difficult for the younger Amish to leave or even choose another life for themselves, they are supposedly given 24 hours in which to spend in modern-day culture. During this time, they are to decide whether they want to leave the Amish community, or stay in it. For 90% of Amish youth, it is really no choice, at all; if they leave, they will never be welcomed back, nor will they ever have communication with their families again. It is very harsh, and on top of that, they lack education, knowledge of modern society, job experience, money, or familial support. But some do choose the path of leaving. Of the ones that have, a few have been interviewed and seem happy with their choice, even though it was hard. One woman, Mary, got her driver’s license and was given a car by a friend, which she paid back with her $8.00 an hour job cleaning at a hospital. Still, for her, anything would be better than the Amish life she hated.
The Puppy Mills
The Amish community own 20% of America’s puppy mills. Annually, around five million dogs are killed in puppy mills, which equates to 11,000 per day. They are kept in horrible conditions, and some kept in cages their entire lives, especially if they are used for breeding purposes. They can be stacked up to 10 cages high, so that the ones in the bottom row have a 90% chance of developing an eye or ear infection. When the puppies can no longer be bred or be sold as puppies, they are mass murdered. Sometimes they are “debarked” by having a steel pipe shoved down their throat. They do this so they can keep more dogs without anyone knowing just how many puppies they have, which can be hundreds. Since the Amish consider these puppies livestock, they are able to get away with these torturous acts without breaking any laws. And all this is just the beginning of the horrors that can take place in Amish puppy mills. The puppy mill capital of the U.S. is considered Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a place where puppy mills- and the land- is largely dominated by the Amish.
Graves Dug by Hand
When an Amish person dies, the funeral is held in the home of the deceased. Coffins are simple and plain, and are hand-made by the community. They dig the graves by hand because their belief is that modern technology is an interference, so they do not use machinery or electricity. Various community members pitch in to prepare for burial, which takes place three days after death because historically it took three days to dig the grave. Some community members prepare the body, some build the coffin, some sit with the body while the grave is being dug, some actually dig the grave by hand, and some prepare a meal for after the funeral. The body is not embalmed unless it is state law. The service focuses wholly on the concept of Christian resurrection, as the Amish believe that upon death, the spirit has left the physical body, therefore their intent is on praising God. There are no eulogies.
Beard and Hair-Cutting Attacks
Amish people may be simple farmers, but they release an alarming amount of fertilizer as runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. Collectively, they own 5,000 farms in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where the streams carry the fertilizer and manure to the bay. A professor at Elizabethtown College and a studier of the Amish, Donald Kraybill, says, “They are very resistant to government interference, and they object to government subsidies.” So they have not been very receptive to the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has suggested improvements to individual farmers. But the farmers take it as an insult. They reject anything from the EPA, therefore continuing to help create “dead zones” in the bay, which are places where the oxygen levels are too low to support life. Their farming practices are rooted in the less environmentally safe ways of the past; cows are allowed to wade into streams and defecate in the water, the placement of the farming fields works against proper drainage, and manure is utilized when holding tanks are full. And according to an article on pennlive.com, “What matters is the work. A plain-sect farmer isn’t interested in much of anything unless it works for him – and his farm.” Sadly, it certainly seems that way.
Sadly, it is not just the puppy mills that are an issue. The Amish are known for being abusive toward many other animals, as well. We’ll start with the horses, whom the Amish view as farm equipment and not living creatures. Their buggy horses are often underweight, lame, or scarred from ill-fitting saddles. They are tethered and left standing all day long, expected to then trot home in the fading light. When they grow too old or tired, they are slaughtered. Moving on to cows, they have Holsteins that have udders so swollen, they drag on the ground between their legs. And back to the dogs, they kill healthy ones instead of paying to give them medical care when needed. And the list goes on. Some people say that the measure of a man is how he treats his animals, and by that standard, these people are among the smallest of men, especially when all else is considered.