Why We’re Suing Whole Foods and Rain Crow Ranch

My husband, Andrew Kaye, wrote the following this afternoon, after reading that Rain Crow Ranch had been forced to suspend operations. I couldn’t have put my thoughts together better than this.

This is the ranch whose product infected our son, Joshua, with the E. coli that killed him after he ate it and also sickened multiple children.

This is the ranch who had a different recall a week before we bought the ground beef that made Joshua sick.

This is the ranch run by an owner who openly preaches that you can not get E. coli from grass-fed beef.

This is the ranch which Whole Foods lent money to in order to buy/convert the processing plant that was just shut down, the processing plant which has had a long “contentious relationship” with Federal Safety Inspection Services.

This is the ranch whose products Whole Foods relies upon to supply their Northeast region with grass-fed beef.

This is the ranch whose products Whole Foods has never removed from their stores.

This is the ranch whose products Whole Foods continues to tout as meeting the highest standards for quality and safety.

Sadly, this is is the ranch who will be back up and running again before you know it and sadly, Whole Foods will, in all likelihood, keep on selling their beef while touting their bogus feel-good family farm story.

Because it is about money. If it were about safety or quality or, to quote Whole Foods oft-repeated and incredibly insulting term, “an abundance of caution”, they’d cut ties.

So, for anyone that may question for a moment why my wife and I are suing Whole Foods and Rain Crow, it is to hit them in the only place that matters to them, the wallet. To make the cost of doing business the wrong way costlier than doing it the right way.

Until then, when they sicken or, God forbid, kill the next kid, may the lot of them face criminal charges.

♥️One of my photos of Andy with Joshua ♥️

♥️One of my favorite photos of Andy with Joshua ♥️

Trigger Warnings & Facebook’s Year in Review

About a year ago, I read an article about high school and college students wanting trigger warnings for material on the syllabus. I was irritated and thought it was unreasonable. I understood that if someone had PTSD or had been raped, that certain material may trigger some awful memories and emotions. At the same time, I assumed that these students participate in the real world to some degree, if they are able to sit in a classroom and do homework. If that’s the case, these students are probably watching TV and skimming Facebook timelines, where they will see movie trailers, commercials, headlines and video clips that may cause similar distress. My conclusion was that if schools agreed to label the reading list with trigger warnings, it would become a never ending list. The best literature is often packed with the hardest things in life. Reading some of the things might be hard, but working through the book may be good therapy. Or not. Student’s choice at that point.

This past week, as each Facebook friend’s Year in Review popped up, I felt a little kick to my gut every time I read the words “It’s been a great year. Thanks for being a part of it!” In fact, the first time it popped up, I felt a little hurt- how could someone close to me say that it had been a great year? My son died on July 7 after a nightmarish 13 day battle with E. coli. It was sudden and shocking. We watched our child suffer in ways no person ever should and we witnessed things that replay in our minds every day, like nightmares on a movie screen as we try to live without him.

Trigger Warning
So, when I read a Huffington Post article yesterday, saying that Facebook had apologized to a dad who lost his daughter this year, I was torn. I feel for the guy. I know how jarring it was to see the automated prompt, with my boy’s smiling face in the middle and confetti all around. I knew what the last 6 months of my year have looked like and I didn’t want a replay. But, I did not have to look! I think the app was a great idea- it’s fun for most people. It wasn’t fun for me. It wasn’t fun to see everyone’s happy year end while mine sucks. But, that is my life right now. I don’t expect a trigger warning on Facebook, or on the radio before an ad for Whole Foods, where we bought the ground beef that made Joshy sick. I don’t expect companies like Folger’s to change their emotional commercials so that they don’t highlight, for me, the fact that I will never wake up at my adult son’s home and tell his children stories of his childhood. I can’t expect to avoid seeing adorable, blonde boys playing with sisters and friends, searching for bugs, walking their dogs. I shouldn’t expect to avoid the feelings that follow the most traumatic events and the biggest loss of my life.

Sometimes, life is hard. Sometimes it sucks and is unfair. Sometimes awful, unthinkable things happen. We can not expect the world to think of every terrible possibility and walk on eggshells to avoid triggering our nightmares. We must do the best we can to work through and live on, hopefully remembering the happy times more often than the worst.

Being Josh’s Mom

My 8 year old son died on July 7, after a 13 day battle with E. coli. This post is adapted from what I read at the celebration of life event we shared with family and friends.

In my most enlightened mommy moments, I tried to remember that we do not own our children- we are entrusted with their care for as long as they are with us.

We thought we would have Joshy longer than this.

Joshy at one of his favorite places.

Joshy at one of his favorite places.

Josh was so social, he so easily made friends and related to people, but would often want to just be on his own, introspective, focused on his own thoughts and experiences.
I would often have to force him, drag him out to do things, but once he left the comfort of his cave, he embraced experiences. He lived with full force. Laughing and discovering- I couldn’t help but laugh and get lost with him, sometimes wanting to pause and put off everyone and everything else to see things through his eyes for just one more minute.

I was often in fight mode- pushing Josh to do things according to our guidelines (brushing teeth, going to bed, getting assignments done on someone else’s time line.) Pushing myself and others to see things from Josh’s perspective. Forcing myself to put down my lists and set aside my silly timelines. Finding ways for a child to do the things he loved and cared about. I don’t know how to not fight for my son now that he is gone. I don’t know how to accept it.

But I will honor him. This little boy, so wild and wise. So fearless and now free.

Joshua cared so much about fairness. He had such clear cut ideas about right and wrong and was moved to help whenever he thought he could. So, we will continue on that path for him. He loved to choose goats and ducks and sheep from the Heifer catalog for holidays and special occasions. He loved to know what IFAW was doing around the world and helped raise money for local efforts. He cared about dogs and cats who needed homes and homeless babies and children who needed comfort, clothes or food. He knew how to be a friend and never had a harsh word or judgment for anyone (save his sisters) and he loved to learn about other cultures and traditions.

We will remember and honor what our little boy stood for.

 

For more information about Joshua and the Joshua Kaye Foundation, visit https://www.facebook.com/JoshuaKayeFoundation