VT Podcast Ep 4: Our Attitude to Those Who Are Vulnerable

My latest Vegan Trove podcast (listen here) Ep 4: Our Attitude to Those Who Are Vulnerable

In this podcast I take a look at the problems with single issue campaigns by discussing Sea Shepherd and their anti-whaling campaigns and the unsurprising announcement by Japan to commence whale hunting again in 2015. I speak about the problems within the abolitionist movement and some suggestions.  I speak about our fetishing of certain animals and in this case, Tasmanian Devils and a decision in Australia to introduce them on to the mainland and how our interference might not only adversely effect Devils but other animals around them. I look at insects and our behaviour toward insects. I look our violence toward insects and how our attitudes toward insects are extended to other parts of our lives. I speak about a new social media platform Tsu and my new page I’ve started on there as an alternative to Facebook.

nonviolenceabstract idea2

Disclaimer: Although I mention various individuals or sites in my podcasts, please note I do not necessarily endorse these individuals, or opinions, links or ads.  Please view my disclaimerhttp://www.vegantrove.com/disclaimer/

Thanks for listening. I thank you for your feedback and constructive criticism.  I look forward to having the pleasure of your company next time.  :) Please note this podcasts will be available on iTunes shortly.  Till next time, be safe and please, if you are not vegan, please consider it. Here is a good vegan resource

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VT Podcast Ep 3: Do We Value Our Taste Buds Over Our Own Species’ survival?

cover VT8Welcome friends to my third podcast (listen here). I was going to focus on a number of issues in this podcast, but an essay by Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prize recipient) came to my attention titled “Save the Planet: One Meal at a Time” and I thought I would discuss some of the aspects of this essay.  :-)

Here’s an excerpt:

“Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all worldwide transportation combined—cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes.3 Livestock and their waste and flatulence account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.4 Livestock causes 65 percent of all emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide.5 Crops grown for livestock feed consume 56 percent of the water used in the United States.6 Eighty percent of the world’s soy crop is fed to animals, and most of this soy is grown on cleared lands that were once rain forests. All this is taking place as an estimated 6 million children across the planet die each year from starvation and as hunger and malnutrition affect an additional 1 billion people.7 In the United States 70 percent of the grain we grow goes to feed livestock raised for consumption.8

The natural resources used to produce even minimal amounts of animal products are staggering—1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk.9 Add to this the massive clear cutting and other destruction of forests, especially in the Amazon—where forest destruction has risen to 91 percent10—and we find ourselves lethally despoiling the lungs of the earth largely for the benefit of the animal agriculture industry. Our forests, especially our rain forests, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and exchange it for oxygen: Killing the forests is a death sentence for the planet. Land devoted exclusively to raising livestock now represents 45 percent of the earth’s land mass.11

And this does not include the assault on the oceans, where three-quarters of the world’s primary fisheries have been overexploited and vast parts of the seas are in danger of becoming dead zones.”

I speak about the so-called “Ag Gag” laws and the problem with focusing on animal agribusiness instead of addressing public demand for animal use. I speak also about the problems with promoting welfare reform and the problems associated with large animal organisations and their undercover investigations. I touch on a few other issues as well briefly.

Thanks for listening. I look forward to your company again. :)

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Filed under Abolitionist veganism, Ag gag laws, Amazon Rainforest, animal agriculture, animal exploitation, Arctic methane, Chris Hedges, corporations, domestication, ecosystem, environmental impact, extinction, global warming, methane, oceans, podcast, speciesism, vegan, veganism vegan abolition

Vegan Trove Podcast Ep 2: Speciesism and Other Forms of Discrimination

Welcome again friends. :-) I invite you to subscribe to my VeganTrove.com site to receive updates on my latest podcasts. I invite you to listen to Episode 2 here.

In this episode I briefly touch on some of the topics covered in my 1st podcast. I explore some quotes, articles and interviews and include some of the audio. I touch on the problems of large animal charities ignoring the solution to animal “cruelty” and more importantly the solution to abolishing animal use (Veganism). I expand on a topic I broached last week about the ecological disaster that is animal agriculture and its contribution to species extinction and climate change and how green groups ignore its contribution and why, and I touch on a number of diverse miscellaneous issues.

This 2nd podcast is again a tad long (approx 45 minutes) but I hope you find it interesting.  Episode 3 will (hopefully) be in the next 2 or 3 weeks if time permits (I’m very busy till February in the new year).

As well as subscribing to VeganTrove.com site for updates, please join “Vegan Trove” on Facebook for future podcast updates :)

Disclaimer: Although I mention various individuals or sites in my podcasts, please note I do not necessarily endorse these individuals, or opinions, links or ads.  Please view my disclaimer.

Please note Episode 1 is already on iTunes and Episode 2 will be available on iTunes shortly. I will post a link when it is ready.
Thanks for listening. I look forward to having the pleasure of your company next time.  :)

For more information:

Russell Brand’s “The Trews

On the Environmental Disaster of Animal Agriculture | UVE Archives

Recommended books 

My LiveVegan Page: Another Facebook Casualty?

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Filed under abolition, animal ethics, animal exploitation, commodification, corporate capitalism, corporate-dominated government

Invitation to subscribe to my “Vegan Trove” Podcast

I invite you to subscribe to my Vegan Trove podcast site (now on iTunes) and listen to the first of my Vegan Trove podcasts. I decided since my Facebook page “LiveVegan” has stalled (due to Facebook algorithm changes), that I would start afresh and start a podcast and a site to host/post these podcasts and other abolitionist vegan resources.  This first podcast is little rough and a tad long but I think you might find it interesting. Next podcast will be in the next 2 or 3 weeks if time permits, and will probably be more structured.

If you’re wondering what the chiming is in the background, they are large wind chimes and it’s a windy day :)

Please as well as subscribing to VeganTrove.com, please join “Vegan Trove” on Facebook for links to future podcasts if that is more convenient. :)

Please view my disclaimer http://www.veganismisnonviolence.com/site-disclaimer

For more background info:

Facebook Is Throttling Nonprofits and Activists

Google is not what it seems | Julian Assange

Facebook Puts Everyone On Notice About The Death Of Organic Reach

Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach

Thanks for listening :)

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Filed under Abolitionist veganism, iTunes, podcast, Vegan Trove, veganism

My LiveVegan Page: Another Facebook Casualty?

2ae I was emailed by a friend a couple of days ago. She has an abolitionist vegan education Facebook page which she started a number of years ago. She was asking for my opinion about her page, which appears to have completely stalled over the last couple of months. Her page has a healthy membership, and up until recently it had a steady increase in page “likes”, and a good organic “reach”.

Social Site Pages Stalling: Putting a bushel over the light.


Up until this email from my friend about her Facebook page stalling, I thought this problem was only affecting my own abolitionist vegan education page “LiveVegan”. I had heard that this issue was affecting other (non-vegan) pages, but I noted other vegan pages on Facebook appeared to be still gaining “likes” each day. I had heard Facebook had changed the algorithms for its ‘news feed’ and so I experimented a little, but it didn’t seem to matter if I posted an image, a link or shared someone else’s work, it didn’t matter if I changed my page settings or if I posted more human social justice content, or less, or none at all. It didn’t matter if I posted more vegan content, nothing brought my page out of its stall.

I wondered if Facebook was, for some reason, blocking my page from ‘recommended pages’ ‘suggested pages’ or from ‘news feeds’. I knew Facebook sometimes ‘adjusts’ settings and so on behind the scenes. Unsurprisingly, I contacted Facebook numerous times but they have not responded to my emails. Also unsurprisingly, there appears to be no direct way to contact anyone from Facebook. Some people have even turned up at their offices in California and the admin have refused to see them. I thought maybe some of my political and human social justice content on LiveVegan over the last 5 months might have been the issue, but the content really is not much different than it has been over the last 5 years. As well as addressing speciesism, my page has always opposed racism, sexism, Islamophobia, nationalism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of bigotry because it is a logical extension of justice to do so. All forms of discrimination are related and are faces of the same ignorance. (Of the many accusations levelled at vegans, one is that we do not care about human rights issues. As an abolitionist vegan, that’s not my experience.) I thought maybe it was a temporary lull, (which has happened in the past) but at this point I don’t think so. Up until 5 months ago LiveVegan was gaining approximately 80 or more members (“likes”) per day and there were lulls where “page likes” only increased by 15-20 per day and there were periods where “likes” increased by 250 people per day. Then suddenly it completely stalled and has been stuck around 58,800/58,840 for the last 4 or 5 months and now most of the time it is literally going backwards by one or two people daily.

Why should this disturb me? Because I’m an abolitionist vegan and being able to reach as many of the non-vegan public as possible with a clear, morally consistent, abolitionist vegan message is very important to me. So I feel somewhat (albeit temporarily) hobbled by these recent events. Abolitionist vegan education is crucial in changing our society’s deeply-held speciesist ideology that nonhuman animals are our resources, our property, and our belief that it is morally justifiable to exploit animals as long as it is done “humanely”. Face-to-face vegan education is important of course, but quite limited in its reach, particularly if it is done through a stall located in the same place month after month. On the other hand the internet reaches far more people including those who don’t want (or are unable to have) face-to-face contact and who want to investigate the issue at their leisure. As we know, the internet can be a powerful tool which can promote social change and which allows communication with tens of thousands of people. On Facebook there’s over 1 billion users. Many people who initially join vegan pages, join out of a mild curiosity and are usually not vegan, so making it as easy as possible for them to access page content is very important and a precious opportunity. Because abolitionist veganism is in its infancy, there are very few abolitionist pages around online at this time so it is very important that abolitionist vegan voices be heard. That’s why for me, the issue of my page stalling and my friend’s abolitionist page stalling is somewhat depressing and disturbing to say the least.

Facebook, the internet, search algorithms, and the profit motive

I have never made any financial gain at all from any vegan education efforts, I never will and don’t want to, not even donations. I believe goals of fund-raising will always conflict with education based on ethical principles. We only have to observe how all large animal charities are far more interested in growing their business, paying their salaries, entertaining celebrities at their functions, and bringing in donations via their non-vegan donors than promoting the issue they supposedly initially formed to address. Of course donations are beneficial in relation to vegan rescue sanctuaries where the donations go toward the care of refugees of domestication, or toward printing vegan education material. In principle, I believe pages on the internet that are not making any financial gain and that are engaged in public education should be able to exist, have equal exposure, and be heard without paying for advertising. But public education is often viewed as anti-capitalist. If you have an informed public, you do not have a public which will consume, consume, consume!.

As Professor Noam Chomsky says

All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.

On a personal level, I also cannot afford to take out page advertisements and I do not like being coerced. Despite Facebook’s regular attempts to coerce me in to taking out paid advertisements for my page LiveVegan, I will not be paying for advertising. I oppose the attempt to create a “two-tiered” internet.

Desire for profit-maximisation drives the “positioning” of Facebook. It wants to be a purveyor of commercial advertising. It also claims it wants to be a “reputable news” provider. This is one of the more obvious reasons behind the changing of its algorithms. The hidden motivations I will discuss later. The Facebook algorithms have changed the content in users ‘news feed’. User ‘news feeds’ favour “articles of interest” or what the algorithms favour, over what users have subscribed to (“friends” updates and page updates the user has “liked”). Until these changes took place, Facebook’s ‘news feed’ was reasonably unfiltered and allowed users to view page updates via their ‘news feed’ from pages they were interested in. But that changed when Facebook decided to give preference in user ‘news feeds’ to content that contained images or links. More recently, Facebook seems to give preference to “news” from mainstream media news organisations, side-lining more alternative independent news voices like Breaking the Set or Democracy Now or Truthdig. I’ve noticed that these alternative voices no longer appear in my ‘news feed’, nor does most of the content from pages I’ve “liked” (unless I select “get notifications”).

When my friend found her page had stalled, she did some research online and found that tales of Facebook pages “dying” (so to speak) are not uncommon since Facebook has made these changes to its algorithms over the last year or so. These algorithm changes do not appear to affect all Facebook pages at once, but appear to be selectively “picking them off” so to speak, probably so as not to draw too much attention to this process. They seem to be applied to different pages at random. Page stalling doesn’t seem to be related to any particular issue, but the common denominator is that it is affecting those who do not take out paid Facebook advertisements.


Facebook obviously arbitrarily changes their algorithms. This means that not only do members of *some* pages not see most of their “liked” page’s updates/content in their ‘news feed’, but the pages themselves are not appearing in “recommended pages” or “suggested pages”. This means *some* pages are not receiving any real exposure except for the small percentage of their members — who are lucky enough to see their page ‘news feed’ updates–, and then share this content with their friends. Clicking “get notifications” is a partial remedy to ensure users get all the content they’re interested in, but the system is not designed for this. Instead of content articles appearing when you open Facebook, you have to click on something, and then get a list, which might include over a hundred entries depending on your interests and how often you check in, and then you have to scroll down a list. Users can also create a favourite list. It’s a little awkward and intended to be less user friendly. Most users don’t realise they probably need to take extra steps if they wish to receive all page updates they are interested in, other than “liking” the page.

Using Social Media for Social Change


I’d like to take this opportunity to talk a little about some of the broader issues with Facebook.
From the perspective of social change, this issue of “reach” is the major problem. Facebook has stated that it wants to be a “reputable news provider” so one change they have made (without our consent) is to ‘adjust’ our ‘news feed’ to selectively favour “news” over anything else. To ensure they become a “reputable news” source, Facebook continuously conducts ‘news feed’ surveys asking users what they “want to see” and what they “do not want to see” and so forth. They do this from a limited set of choices, appearing to be “responsive”, while effectively shutting down any opinions that might contradict or challenge mainstream opinion and / or might challenge the mainstream media official narrative. Facebook even takes the opportunity during these user surveys to advertise, by asking users if they think “this post looks like an advertisement”. Three out of eight posts in a ‘news feed’ survey I looked at today were obviously ads. Did they just want us to look at them, or are they trying to tailor them to be more “sneaky”, to “not look like ads”?

Not only is the commercialisation obvious, but the favouring and focus on mainstream opinion silences or swamps other voices. This has a huge effect on those independent voices/pages that are using Facebook to communicate with a wider public, something that has become increasingly difficult as protest marches and public actions are given less and less coverage due to corporate media bias, and protests have become more difficult to organise. Social justice and social change campaigns use social media to communicate. Changes to social media that obstruct that communication obstruct social change. It is particularly odious when the obstruction is between those who have something to say, and those who clearly would like to hear it.

Prior to these ‘news feed’ manipulations, many Facebook users, after indicating their support/approval of a page or a social justice issue by “liking” that page, would then see all new content from their favourite pages each day in their ‘news feed’. Prior to these ‘news feed’ manipulations, my page LiveVegan with a membership of over 55K generally had an organic “reach” for new content of the majority of my page members. Eighty to ninety-five percent of membership numbers (45,000-50,000 people) actually saw a new post, though I can’t tell if those people were members (had “liked”) my page or not. With changes to the ‘news feed’, and to “recommended pages” and “suggested pages”, this no longer happens. At best, now every tenth LiveVegan post might be seen by 1,500 (1.5%), but the “reach” of the majority of my posts reach is only between 50 and 500. That means very few people ever get to see my content, new posters, blogs, or articles.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve also noticed I no longer ever see page updates from most of the pages I’ve subscribed to (“liked”). These pages, like LiveVegan, are mainly social-justice related pages, generally organised by small groups or individuals, rather than NGOs or non-profit companies, and don’t get donations. They have vanished from my ‘feed’, and I no longer see them unless I visit their pages (or click “get notifications”). And note, many of these have memberships of tens, or hundreds of thousands, sometimes over a million. They are/have been major sources of information and ideas for many people. I know in my own page, the number of people who see my new content has dropped from tens of thousands, to hundreds, or even tens of people with no change in my content or volume of my posts. With a membership of 58k+, one would think more than 56 individuals (0.1%) would see a new post. That is what I mean when I say I no longer get seen.

If it weren’t for other pages sharing my content, I think these stats would be much worse ;-) Frequently, the numbers that are “reached” on other pages where my page content is shared, greatly exceed the numbers that see the original content on my page. This can be somewhat disconcerting at times, when membership on pages where my work is shared is 10% of the membership of my own page. And sadly it seems the only way those page owners who share my work can actually view my LiveVegan content is if they have clicked “get notifications”, or actually visit my page on a regular basis.

Over time I have considered the possible reasons why LiveVegan has stalled, when some others, with similar content, have not, but there appears to be no discernible reason. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’ve done searches on the problem, and while seeing that others are experiencing similar issues, there is no apparent answer. It seems there is nothing a page experiencing this can do to remedy it. People point to Facebook’s algorithm changes, but can’t suggest how to avoid or use the changes to increase reach. Apocryphal stories (which I will talk about later) are told about contracts with the US military for experiments in which ‘news feed’ and reach is manipulated, to find out how Facebook users react. No-one seems to actually know, but the fact is, some pages simply don’t get communicated, even to those who indicate they support them. Unless of course, they pay for advertisements.

Manipulation and Control


The issue of paid advertisements is another problem. There is now abundant evidence that companies have been established to increase “likes” on pages, but they do so by teams of people in call centres creating false identities and “liking” pages simply to increase numbers. These are “empty” likes, and they cause significant concern to businesses, because they increase costs without generating sales. Because it concerns money, there are many references and articles about these ads, and “empty likes”, and dozens of articles can be found by searching online.

To give you an idea of what Facebook is able to do without our consent or knowledge, in early 2012 it was revealed, around 689,000 Facebook user accounts were manipulated by business researchers where user’s ‘news feeds’ were analysed for positive versus negative ‘news feed’ content. The content was then adjusted to make it go from one extreme to another. Some users received mostly positive posts in their feeds, and others received mostly negative posts. Later it was uncovered that one of the researchers conducting this Facebook mind study on unsuspecting users was Jeffrey T. Hancock of Cornell University. He was connected to the Pentagon and the Department of Defense-funded program the “Minerva Research Initiative”. He also conducted a similar study entitled ‘Modeling Discourse and Social Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes’.

Why is the Department of Defense “Minerva Research Initiative” using Facebook in its research?
Nafeez Ahmet in the Guardian wrote a piece in June 2014. Here’s an excerpt:

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

Should we be worried by this and other invasions into our private lives such as the revelations by Edward Snowden of mass surveillance by the NSA? Of course we should. Lyrics to a song “Digital” by UK band “Joy Division” come to mind: “Feel it closing in”. ;-)

But back to the Facebook ‘news feed’ manipulation experiment from 2012. Here’s a small excerpt of their conclusions :

“These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.”


Facebook
submitted its experiment to what they claim is an appropriate review board, and their proposal was approved “on the grounds that Facebook filters user news feeds all the time, per the agreement”.

As the saying goes, ‘the devil is in the detail’. In Facebook Data Use Policy, Facebook’s terms of service (to which every person agrees when they register on the social network), users’ data may be used “for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.”(RT)  Facebook claims its users have legally consented to Facebook editing our ‘news feeds’ in any way they see fit and that they have the right to manipulate our ‘news feed’ (without our knowledge) to evoke any number of emotional responses.

Closing LiveVegan Page?


Which leads me to my decision which is, that if my LiveVegan page is still floating around the 58,800 / 58,840 “likes” mark as it has been doing the last 4 or 5 months, and if the organic “reach” continues to be very limited and that only a very small percentage (around 1% ) of page content via ‘news feed’ is actually reaching page members, then mostly I am just talking to myself. And if that is the case, my time spent making content for LiveVegan could be best spent doing vegan education elsewhere. If this seems to be the case, then I will probably shut down LiveVegan in the beginning of the new year. Hopefully I will find some other, more effective, ways of reaching the public with vegan education. I read somewhere that “Ello” (a new social media platform) is receiving a lot of attention and that it is reportedly receiving thousands of new members each day, but who knows how it will pan out or if it will be suitable. It seems to be one online option for disenchanted Facebook users. Of course if it gains the popularity that Facebook enjoys, it too will probably be corrupted. The cancer of capitalism. There is also the option of Diaspora, but who knows if that will be suitable.

The purpose of my abolitionist vegan page has always been to provide clear, morally consistent abolitionist vegan education for the non-vegan public. Although I hope LiveVegan has been of some support to vegans, the original purpose of LiveVegan has always been public (abolitionist) vegan education. So if my page content is not even reaching most of its members who subscribe to it, and if LiveVegan is not getting any air time as a “recommended page” or a “suggested page” then my target audience — those who are non-vegan who might be vaguely interested in veganism- will not be reached this way.

Facebook algorithm changes have not effected all vegan pages as yet, but one has to wonder when that might change, and it doesn’t seem to have as much to do with content as with intentional coercion to get users on Facebook to take out paid advertisements. If another social media platform existed which had the reach of Facebook I would be there instead, because over time I have developed a real loathing for Facebook with it’s lack of privacy, its NSA and Department of Defense connections, it’s contempt for social education/change, its intentional censorship via “news feed”, and its overall censorship for advertising dollars.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to thank those who have been following LiveVegan over the last 5 years. I appreciate the support. I’ve received some lovely appreciative emails over the years, many of them by people who have said they decided to go vegan, and that LiveVegan assisted them in this decision. This is the BEST news I could receive and makes me very happy indeed. Influencing people to become vegan is the reason I spend so much time doing vegan education. Even if the outcome of my page meant that only one person became (abolitionist) vegan for life, then that’s success to me. I hope that people will share the many images I’ve made over the years because that’s the reason I create them each day. :) I hope over the last five years LiveVegan on Facebook has been beneficial in some small way. I’ve worked each day (since 2006 before LiveVegan) on providing content or sharing content. I’ve been – 99% of the time – the sole moderator and content provider for LiveVegan and it’s been my pleasure to do so. I’m disappointed and very concerned that it seems more and more commonplace that corporations control a lot of public information access and are doing their best to put a price on everything and keep the public uninformed while maintaining the status quo.

The irony here is that this blog post may not reach most LiveVegan Facebook members. ;-) However, for those interested, I will let you know when (or if) I make a decision to shut down LiveVegan on Facebook, and if I plan to start something, somewhere else. But whatever my decision, I personally will continue to promote veganism whenever and wherever I most effectively can, online and offline. I hope you will do the same. Until then, please click “get notifications” under the “like” button, share information, and subscribe to my blog “Veganism is Nonviolence”. Also consider contacting Facebook – and although it’s unlikely anything will change – register a complaint about their algorithm changes which are negatively impacting a number of social justice pages.

And remember that it is all about other animals and ending the last great slavery, so if you think other animals morally matter at all, then you must be vegan. If you are not vegan, please go vegan. It will be one of the best decisions you make in your life. Please educate yourself on the issues so you can share a morally consistent vegan message with others. A vegan world is possible and it’s up to all of us to educate others in as many creative, nonviolent and non-speciesist ways as we can to make it happen.

UPDATED: 8th Nov 2014: One new avenue I’ve taken is to start Vegan Trove Podcast. You can find it on iTunes as well. :-)

Thanks again.

Peace :)

Trisha Roberts

For more information:

Facebook Is Throttling Nonprofits and Activists

Google is not what it seems | Julian Assange

Facebook Puts Everyone On Notice About The Death Of Organic Reach

Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach

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Filed under abolitionist, Abolitionist veganism, Facebook, Social change, social justice

The Humane Society of the United States: The Public Relations Branch of Animal Industry

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been leading up to an event called “Hoofin it” for many years. What is  “Hoofin it” you say? This event sponsored by HSUS occurred last month in Colorado USA where they served “happy” animal products from tortured and slaughtered nonhuman sentient beings with hooves. But don’t worry, the animals lead “happy” lives! Should we be surprised? Of course not! HSUS has many farmers and industry representatives and HSUS has been promoting and profiting from “happy animal exploitation” and “happy” animal products for years.

Not unlike all large animal charities, The Humane Society of the United States regularly asks their non-vegan supporters (the very people who create demand for animal use) for donations instead of asking them to go vegan. HSUS revenue was close hoofin it FAIL HSUSto $126 million for 2012. In 2009, it had over 11 million US members and supporters and reported assets of over US$160 million. Not one cent goes to vegan education, the very solution to the problem of animal exploitation. Why? Because HSUS is a profitable business and if they ask their members to go vegan, what will happen to their six figure salaries? Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO earns over 250K annually. HSUS has stated a few times now to the public that it has no interest interfering with or ending animal use. HSUS just wants animal exploitation to be done “nicely” and as payback for its support of animal industry, HSUS get its piece of the pie.

Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO said to the Sacremento Bee in 2011:

I have been a vegan for 26 years, but the Humane Society is broad-minded when it comes to food. About 95 percent of our members are not vegetarian. But I believe eating is a moral act, and we can make choices to minimize the suffering of (food) animals. We can buy cage-free eggs, buy pork that doesn’t come from factory farms, and avoid eating veal and foie gras.

 

[... W]e don’t say you must be vegan and we must stop all hunting. We’re working to curb the worst abuses and we’re very involved in the political realm.

money spinnerThe “worst abuses”? Pray tell what could be worse than being bred into existence to be used as a resource all your short life and then murdered? And what does “broad-minded” mean? Does it mean HSUS makes business decisions that won’t get in the way of their revenue stream? Does it mean not only will HSUS promote “happy animal slavery”, but HSUS will have industry representatives and be the public relations branch of industry? Yes, that’s certainly “broad-minded”. I wonder if there are charities against child slavery that do the same: have slave owners who are representatives of their charity and the charity itself is the public relations branch for the promotion of “humane” child slavery and “humane” murder? Apparently there are a many people who claim to be vegan who support, promote and defend large animal charities that do not have veganism as their moral baseline and which promote this kind of moral confusion.

Mr. Pacelle has been a regular guest on “The Ellen Show” and has been utilising high profile celebrity Ellen Degeneres to protect HSUS reliable main source of income — undercover cruelty exposes. A year ago Pacelle requested Degeneres to ask her audience to speak out against the proposed “Ag gag” laws, laws which would make it illegal to do undercover investigations which expose factory farming “cruelty”.  (As if the normal functioning on factory farms (or any farm for that matter) is non-abusive!.) The Humane Society of the United States regularly use these undercover investigations as a way of requesting donations.

We only have to witness this letter to Whole Foods from 2005 signed by many large animal and “vegan” charities to see where the “movement” is today. All these large charities support “happy animal slavery” and “happy” animal products. As you can see, just because an organisation has “vegan” in its name, doesn’t make it so.

animal groups praising Whole Foods1
Friends, ANYONE who claims to be vegan and who supports HSUS (or any large animal or “vegan” charity) needs to question why they continue to support organisations which are so obviously speciesist, anti-vegan/anti-animal rights. If we claim to be vegan, why do we support  The “Vegan” Society, “Vegan” Outreach, Animals Australia, CIWF, Farm Sanctuary, PeTA, FARM, In Defense of Animals, Compassion Over Killing, Mercy for Animals etc? All of them promote speciesist single issue campaigns, animal welfare/”humane” animal use, and “happy” animal products. Why do we support speciesist gimmicks like “Meat Free Mondays”, “flexitarianism“, Carnism and so forth? Why do we support organisations which either ignore or water-down veganism or conflate it with vegetarianism? Why are we so feeble and so ambiguous about an important justice issue such as veganism? We need to understand what animal *rights*/ veganism is. I say this regularly and I will say it again. We need to recognise our own speciesism. One way we can do this is to question the status quo and ask ourselves if we would promote these same measures in relation to humans? Another way is to read non-speciesist animal ethics books and material.

sell out Pacelle HSUS approved goat farm

Pacelle endorsing a goat farm which raises and murders goats for their flesh.

 Let’s consider this for a minute.

If we would not support a civil rights organisation which promoted and profited from the promotion of human slavery or “humane” human slavery, then why do we think it’s morally acceptable to endorse, promote and support large animal charities which do the same to nonhuman animals?

The answer is simple. Speciesism.

The “humane use” movement is a joke. A tragic joke. That’s why it is so important that we have an alternative to this terrible confusion. And we do. We have a nonviolent, grassroots, abolitionist vegan movement which has veganism as its moral baseline.

The truth is, ONLY when there is a significant number of vegans in society will there be meaningful change for nonhuman animals. ONLY when we start being morally consistent and stop tip-toeing around the solution to ending animal exploitation — veganism — will we be taken seriously. The speciesist claim (by those who say they are vegan) that it’s morally acceptable to use animals as long as it is “humane” needs to be confronted and constructively critiqued every time it is raised if we are to shift the conversation away from treatment to use.

I came across a recent blog post, by what appears to be a HSUS supporter, criticising HSUS on their “Hoofin It” event. It reads:

“I hope that, like me, you will find that “Hoofin’ It” represents a step too far and will find yourself unwilling and indeed unable to remain silent.”.

I am surprised that it takes an event such as this for someone to say it is a “step too far”. What does it take? Does HSUS need to open their own special HSUS-designed slaughterhouse? HSUS has a long history of appalling speciesism. I am astounded those who claim to be vegan support anything HSUS does.

Please watch the following videos and witness for yourself The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in action as they clearly demonstrate their partnership with industry and enthusiastically support animal industry in selling the myth of “happy animal exploitation” / “happy” animal products to the public.

Video information: “At the 98th Annual Nebraska Farmers Union Convention December 9-10, 2011 Missouri Hog Producer & HSUS Rep Joe Maxwell explains the NeFU – HSUS agreement. NeFU President John Hansen also weighs in.”

To find out some of the extreme lengths to which HSUS sells out animals, read Bob Linden’s “Go Vegan Radio” blog post.

Here is an excerpt of an interview with Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, by Cattlenetwork.com:

Ques: Thousands of people read Cattlenetwork.com. What would you like to say to them?

Ans: There are some folks in animal agriculture who caricature HSUS, charging that we are trying to end animal agriculture. But why would we work jointly with the United Egg Producers if we were against all animal agriculture? Why would HSUS have a pig farmer serve as its VP of Outreach and Engagement who leads our Rural Affairs program? Why would we work with the Nebraska Farmers Union on marketing of humanely produced animal products? Why would I serve on the board of the Global Animal Partnership, which conducts an animal welfare rating program and certifies products from farmers who raise animals in humane and sustainable ways?

 

My request to your readers: Look at the facts, not the rhetoric from groups that don’t like HSUS’s reform-oriented campaigns. Farmers and other leaders in agriculture can help solve animal welfare problems, and we look forward to working with anyone who wants to be constructive and help in solving problems for animal welfare.”

Phew Wayne! I feel reassured!

And just in case anyone has any doubt where The Humane Society of the United States stands. Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Wayne Pacelle July 31, 2014 Yale Environment 360:

Ques: So you’re not trying to end animal agriculture.

Pacelle: Absolutely not. We are an organization that embraces humane and sustainable farmers. The vast percentage of our members eat meat, drink milk and consume eggs. But most of them want to see that done more humanely. 

The Humane Society of the United States making the public comfortable about exploiting animals. There’s only one thing more disturbing to me than those who claim to be vegan supporting and defending speciesist organisations and supporting and promoting the idea that it’s morally acceptable to use animals as long as it is “humane”. That is large animal charities claiming to “protect animals”, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars, paying themselves six figure salaries, claiming they “care” and “respect” animals while they profit from and are responsible for making the public feel comfortable about animal exploitation.

“Higher welfare” is a scam to sell animal products as we see in these tremendously appalling displays by The Humane Society of the United States. We need to understand that “humane” animal use does not exist and even if it did it would still be unjust. One only has to watch some videos from those on the front lines like Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary to  discover the truth behind “free range” eggs, “organic” dairy products and so forth. Look at what we have been lead to believe is “humane“?   Promoting welfare is worse than useless. We will never abolish animal exploitation by promoting regulation of animal exploitation and we cannot donate our way out of this mess.

The truth is ONLY when there are a significant number of vegans in society will there be any meaningful and lasting change for animals. Vegan education is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to do the hard yards and educate others, but first we MUST address our own speciesism.

Please go vegan Educate yourself and educate others.

 

For more info: “The Fallacy of the Claim That “Research” Shows That “Humane Meat” Brings People Closer to Veganism” | Sherry F. Colb | Dorf on Law | June 29, 2014

 

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Grassroots Abolitionist Vegan Movement : Strong People Do Not Need A Leader

The title includes part of a memorable phrase from the movie Viva Zapata, a portrayal of the life of the famous Mexican revolutionary, where Emiliano Zapata, played by Marlon Brando, was told he should become the new nation’s leader, because a strong leader was needed. Zapata replied, “A strong leader makes a weak people. Strong people do not need a strong leader.” I think this is quite pertinent to anyone or any group attempting grassroots change.

It is sad and makes me despair when I see the burgeoning abolitionist movement regularly torn apart, divided and sullied from within. It makes me sad when I see advocates (or anyone) sniping at each other, even if one feels it’s justified in relation to a good cause. In the last few years I have witnessed an unfortunate pattern within the abolitionist vegan movement which is so very damaging and a lot of it stems from ego. There’s really no place in a nonviolent grassroots abolitionist vegan movement (in public or in private) for inflated egos, elitism, narcissism, drama, flame wars, competition, wilful ignorance, sniping, character assassinations, distortion or watering down of the message, mocking those who do not know better or mocking those who do, envy, sabotage, slander, lies, gossip or rejoicing in the humiliation of others. There really isn’t. And if someone repeatedly needs everyone to know who they are, if they want to be “the one”, “the leader”, the person everyone looks up to, (even if they claim they are not seeking this attention yet their behaviour says otherwise) then there’s a problem. It makes us all the poorer if we engage in this negative behaviour (or are seen to be engaging in it) and it does nothing to further the rights of nonhuman animals. It IS possible (and desirable) to provide constructive criticism of groups and individuals without demeaning and humiliating others. And it should not be viewed as being unrealistic or Pollyannaish to expect civil behaviour. Some people’s idea of “civil” or “justified” behaviour needs review. I sometimes wonder if people behave in their own personal lives as they do online. If so, then that’s rather disturbing. I doubt that they do. Unfortunately being online allows some to engage and delight in cowardly behaviour like bullying which they could not get away with in their own life. That says a lot about them.

may the sun rise on a vegan planet2My advice (for what it is worth) to advocates or anyone who is in the grips of this ongoing negative behaviour, whether they be the perpetrators or the victims/survivors of it, is to let go. Let go. Life is short, and sometimes shorter than we realise. Move away from those who spend their time engaging in this negative behaviour and / or who seek it out, because nothing good can come of it. It doesn’t make us better, it doesn’t make us superior, running down and slandering others no matter how justified we feel we may be. It does nothing to assist in keeping the message clear and authentic by engaging in clever, subtle, overt or covert character assassinations. It is counter-productive –to say the least– where the need to prevail, to “win”, by some may drive targeted individuals to the point where they opt-out in disgust, or worse, “spit the dummy” (an Australian saying) where individuals –even against their own better judgement– adopt a welfarist position rather than be associated with anything abolitionist. That’s very sad and unfortunate indeed when people respond this way.

Let me be clear. I am not saying we should tip-toe around issues and be mealy-mouthed to avoid making others uncomfortable. Clarity and moral consistency are essential if we are to shift the understanding of the non-vegan public and of advocates (welfarists) who are promoting welfare and single issue campaigns out of their own speciesism. And if we are doing education well, we are bound to upset some corporate career welfarists and we are bound to (and it is desirable to) cause cognitive dissonance in non-vegans. But if some of us are just targeting advocates and others simply because it amuses us or because we are not getting enough attention, or because they are not referring to us enough or because we need to regularly establish we are the “vanguard of the abolitionist movement” or because some individuals might be stealing our limelight, then we have a problem. I think that behaviour belongs back at high school.

We are all human and we all make mistakes, but each moment we spend in negative personal attacks is time not spent engaging in vegan education. At any given moment we can change our trajectory. Let’s get back to the real reason (hopefully) we became vegan and became involved in vegan education and that is to end this terrible violence and injustice by promoting the abolition of  the property status of animals, and ending all forms of animal exploitation.

Veganism is about nonviolence and that does not mean passivity. Veganism is about ending the property status of animals and is the rejection of the idea that it’s morally acceptable to use animals as long as it is “humane”. We should not be apologetic about our position and our aims and we should be respectful, clear and morally consistent. Engaging in vegan education is all about the rights of other animals. 14907_10154417662960635_143463806595342400_nIt’s not about “winning” by dragging others through the mud. We all lose our patience at times and may say things in anger or frustration which are unhelpful or harmful and which we may regret, but if we are sincere in our claim that we want a nonviolent movement and a nonviolent world, then we should try to do our best to behave in a manner that is in keeping with this principle of nonviolence. I have failed numerous times in my own efforts but I continue to try. And equally as important, let’s educate ourselves thoroughly by reading non-speciesist animal ethics vegan material/books and obtain a good understanding of this material so we can educate others. Let’s address our own speciesism thoroughly so we don’t reinforce speciesism in others.

A study in 2011 revealed that it only takes 10% of a group committed to an idea, and it is inevitable that it will eventually become the prevailing opinion of the entire group. The key to that success — the report concludes — is “to remain committed”. So a vegan world is definitely achievable and is achievable in the not-to-distant future. But whether it happens in our lifetime or not, we should never waiver in our commitment to a clear vision.

We have an ever-growing nonviolent, grassroots, abolitionist vegan movement, and we don’t need bloated large animal charities. Let’s avoid destroying our precious movement from within. Let’s stop behaving as if we are agent provocateurs ;-) and keep it healthy and growing. Do not despair! Despite teething problems, despite egos, an authentic, nonviolent, grassroots, abolitionist vegan movement will survive and will prevail because it has truth on its side. It will prevail and prosper in spite of the prevalence of any destructive individual/s (and despite the “happy animal exploitation” movement) because the idea is greater than any one individual. And please note, anyone who thinks this is a directed at them should examine why, and what in their behaviour may warrant them to think that. ;-)

Peace :)

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