Invitation to Contribute a Photo: “Be Vegan. It’s Easier Than You Think”

Friends, I invite you to contribute a photo of yourself to LiveVegan of you holding a handwritten or printed sign (not photo-shopped, no ads or promotions of groups or organisations) stating:

“Vegan for ____ yrs or mths or weeks or days or hours. Go (or be) vegan! It’s easier than you think.”

About the photo submission: (Find gallery of photos here)
Please keep to the script, and of course it can be in languages other than English as long as the text means the same and it says “vegan” instead of vegetarian.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been vegan whether it be 3 hours or 30 years as long as we stay vegan :) Remember that veganism is more than a diet. Vegans reject using animals for food (flesh, dairy, eggs, honey etc), clothing, entertainment or other reasons to the best of our ability. The photo can be as creative as you like or in black and white but please keep to the script of the sign (with or without emoticons). The actual sign must be held by you and must not be photo-shopped into the image. Also if I could request that you please not have any promotions of anything including slogans, or promotions of any groups or organisations on your clothes or in the background etc. If you wish to include vegan children, please feel free to do so with you or in a separate photo.

Please email the photo (and you can let me know your first name if  you like so I can thank you in the post) with subject line “Being vegan is easy photo” to:
speciesismwillend (at) gmail (dot) com
and I will post it on the LiveVegan wall and in a separate photo gallery on LiveVegan as well.

Why submit a photo?
It’s important that the public realise that being vegan IS easier than they think it is. There’s so much disinformation and misinformation about veganism online and elsewhere and some of it (including telling the public that it’s “daunting” or “extreme” or “purist” or “hard” or optional) is promoted by large animal and “vegan” organisations. So it’s good that we state repeatedly the reality which is that being vegan is easy.

And if you’re not vegan, please go vegan. It really IS easier than you think and it will be one of the best decisions you make in your life :) Here’s a good vegan resource.

Please note those who are providing their photos in good faith are stating they support abolitionist vegan principles.

Thanks in advance :)

Here just a few of the contributions. To see full gallery here 

Be Vegan. It's easier than you think.

Trish: Be Vegan! It’s easier than you think.

Go Vegan. It's easier than you think.
Kelvin: Go Vegan. It’s easier than you think.
Si

Simon: Go vegan. It’s easier than you think.

Go vegan. It's easier than you think.

Amanda: Go vegan. It’s easier than you think.

Karah

Karah: Go vegan it’s easier than you think

Nancy

Nancy: Go vegan! It’s easier than you think.

Ally

Anna

Chris

Christina

Deanna

Georgina

Niusha

sanna

Shelby

Trudy

Valentina

Zara

David

Lorena

Rimma

Jenifer

Rachael

Ryan and Hart

David

Paulo

Alex

Miles

Rebecca BC Canada

Svetlana from Bulgaria

Talca from Chile

ozzy

Danielle

Ana

Andreia

Cyd

Dylan

Elijah

 

 

 

Erica northern Illinois

Francisco and India from Portugal  Liam on chemo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rita from Portugal

Tani

Tina

 

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Some Thoughts on Why Vegans Criticise Vegans for Promoting Veganism

As the title “Why Vegans Criticise Vegans for Promoting Veganism” suggests, it would appear we advocates are confused and rendering ourselves ineffectual. If I didn’t know better I would think that there were agent provocateurs amongst us, but no, it’s really a simple matter of speciesism…. and in some cases career advancement.

On various social media sites there appears to be much confusion amongst those who claim to be vegan over what veganism and being vegan entails. The most obvious confusion amongst those who claim to be vegan is the mistaken belief that veganism is a diet, and is a matter of personal choice. Conflation of vegetarianism and veganism is common. Advocates also seem to be under the impression that it’s morally acceptable to promote “humane” use and “humane” slaughter of animals and single issue campaigns (SICs) as part of vegan advocacy. It is interesting to note that amongst proponents of these ideas, there is a general intentional avoidance of the words “vegan” and “veganism”, and in the case of large animal organisations this is done so as not to challenge their predominantly non-vegan donor base. There is also increasingly an appropriation of the term “abolitionist, just as the term “animal rights” was appropriated.

These are ongoing problems so I thought I would share some thoughts. I invite you to listen to the podcast here.

Claiming We are Vegan but Continuing to Use Animals.

There are some of us who claim to be vegan, and think we can be vegan and continue to use animals in our personal lives with the excuse that we treat them “nicely”. Where have I heard before that it’s morally justifiable to use animals as long as it is “humane”? Oh yes! Large animal organisations consistently promote this notion to the public. And because large animal organisations also conflate vegetarianism and veganism, there is a common misconception among advocates who support them that veganism is a diet. This leads some to believe that being vegan means as long as they aren’t eating animal products, then they can still use animals. But veganism is much more than a diet, it’s an ethical position which rejects using non-human animals for food (dairy, eggs, flesh, honey etc), clothing (wool, leather, fur, silk etc), entertainment (zoos, animal circuses, petting zoos etc), or other reasons.

We need to be clear. If we are vegan, we cannot pick and choose and redefine veganism based on our personal choice of how we like to exploit animals.

It is confused thinking to say:

Well I like horse-riding, so that’s OK because I treat my horse “nicely”.

or

I love honey and I buy it from a small farm where the bees are treated well, therefore that makes it OK.

or

Well my uncle keeps some backyard hens, and he “allows” them to live out their natural lives. He looks after them well and he thinks of them as “pets”. He finds good homes for the male chicks, so therefore I eat their eggs.

or

I have a rescued sheep in the back paddock. She produces a lot of wool and I have to shear her anyway, so I may as well collect the wool, spin it, and use it for clothing.

No. It doesn’t work like that.

First it assumes that animals’ lives, their body parts and secretions are ours to use. Second, no matter how “nicely” we may use animals, it doesn’t make it morally justifiable. 

Claims that Single Issue Campaigns should be included in Vegan advocacy

I’m not sure why anyone thinks it is necessary or logical to focus on and promote the idea that one form of animal use as worse than another, or that one species is more important than another. Are we not vegans? Isn’t it morally consistent that if we reject animal exploitation, then we should reject it all equally? Doesn’t being vegan mean we recognise that all non-humans are equally morally important? Apparently, not according to some. So why are we doing this? First, let’s remember that 99% of our use of animals is for food (which is “unnecessary” since we can meet all our nutrition needs from plants [and non-animal sources]). That’s 180 million plus *land* non-humans who are tortured and murdered every day mostly for food and many more aquatic non-human animals suffer the same fate. Something to consider is that if we — the non-vegan public — care about what’s on our plate – something we sit down to 3 times a day – we will care about the small percentage of animals used for entertainment, clothing, animal experimentation, and other reasons.

Single Issue Campaigns: Illogical, Speciesist and Futile

Fur

Despite decades of SICs targeting those who wear fur (mostly women) and targeting business that sell fur, statistics show that fur sales have been increasing globally. According to the International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF), fur sales have been increasing year on year since 1998, reaching £10.3bn for last year alone. Unfortunately anyone who may have stopped wearing fur due to a fur campaign is most likely still eating and wearing animal products including “leather”, silk, wool etc and is still using animals in general. We need to understand that using leather, wool, silk etc are equally as bad as wearing fur and involve at least as much suffering and death. Leather is not just a by-product of the flesh industry. Cows and calves are not only killed for their flesh, they are killed specifically for their skin as well. Due to the fast pace of the “production” lines, cows and calves are often conscious at the “hide-ripping” machine.  Why do so many people who stop wearing fur continue to eat, wear and use animals? Because large animal organisations and their supporters do not promote veganism, and instead make moral distinctions between different species and different forms of animal use.

One reason fur campaigns are so popular with large animal organisations is because animals used for fur are generally popular with the non-vegan public and viewed as “cute” and “exotic”. Asking the public not to wear fur from these animals is not much of a challenge to their personal behaviour, therefore fur is an easy target and a reliable source of donations. Think of all the hundreds of millions of dollars given by non-vegan donors over the years to large animal organisations which were spent on “vegan” celebrities and fur campaigns. How many unfortunate sexist and misogynist “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” soft porn ads have we been exposed to over the decades? Yet despite this, fur sales keep increasing! Imagine if all those millions of donors had been asked to go vegan and all those donations had been used to promote veganism only?

Live Exportif I see one more SIC
Despite decades of  live export campaigns, many “cruelty” investigations, including a feature on ABC’s 7.30 Report, and despite millions of dollars in donations to large welfarist organisation, Animals Australia, by its non-vegan donor base, Australia’s live “cattle” exports to Indonesia are expected to increase by more than 70 per cent in 2014.

Lynn White, campaign director of Animals Australia was asked by ABC’s Landline (16th June, 2013)Does Animals Australia have a policy of opposing the rearing of livestock for human consumption?” Lynn White responded “No, we certainly don’t“. Why do some advocates who claim to be vegan vehemently defend Animals Australia, “Humane Society of the United States”, RSPCA and others when they have each stated publicly they have no interest in ending animal exploitation and moreover, promote and peddle animal products for industry? They clearly do not have veganism as their moral baseline.

Fox hunting
In a vegan society, there would be no legal fox hunting because nonhuman animals would be recognised as moral persons and not viewed as legal property. Hunting foxes would no longer be viewed as a form of entertainment. Fox fur (or any other nonhuman’s skin) would not be used in clothing, or any other apparel any more than a baby’s skin would be used for a purse. There would be no domesticated animals trapped in pastures, runs, or barns who need “protecting” from predators like foxes. How do we achieve a society where foxes and ALL animals are safe from being hunted and exploited? By promoting clear consistent veganism to the public.

Badger “culling”
In a non-vegan society, cows are viewed as mere economic commodities. There is evidence that cows infected badgers with bovine tuberculosis.  Badgers are now vectors of the disease and are passing BT on to cows and because they can pass on this disease on to cows, this means farmers lose profits since they “have to” kill infected cows. Therefore badgers are viewed as “pests” by farmers. In a vegan society, there would be no badger “culling” because there would be no animal agriculture and no cows to “protect” from bovine tuberculosis. In other words, if cows were not property and if there was no animal agriculture, there would be no need to murder badgers. There’s literally millions upon millions of “wild” animals tortured, murdered and displaced each year so farmers can “protect” their “livestock”. How do we achieve a society where cows and badgers, foxes, coyotes, wolves, kangaroos, wombats, mountain lions, lions – and any other non-human who might threaten farmer’s profits – are safe from being hunted and being exploited? By promoting clear consistent veganism to the public.

Shark “culling”
Recently there has been a single issue campaign on ending the Western Australian shark “cull”. If society were vegan, we would not be decimating shark’s food supply, and in turn sharks would not be in need of frequenting swimming beaches in search of fish. If society were vegan, China and other countries would not be looking to Western Australia and other countries to supply them with shark fins for their “delicacy”, shark fin soup. If society were vegan, there would be no “fisheries” that need to be protected from sharks. How do we achieve a society where sharks (and all other nonhuman animals) are safe from being hunted and exploited for their body parts and for other uses? By promoting clear consistent veganism to the public..

Single Issue Campaigns, Hunters, “Poachers” and “Wildlife”
Interfering with hunters and “poachers” is a complete waste of time and resources. There would be no hunting or “poaching” if society were vegan and there were no demand for animal body parts or skins from gorillas, elephants (“poachers” recently poisoned a water hole which killed 80 elephants ), sharks, rhinos, tigers, bears, etc. There also would be no hunting or “poaching” if society no longer viewed non-human animals as “things” and resources, and no longer viewed murdering and imprisoning non-humans as entertainment. In other words, there would be no hunting of whales, dolphins, foxes, tigers, ducks, lions, elephants, rhinos, marlin, deer, sharks, moose, tigers, bears, wolves, etc, and no need to protest hunting and “poaching” if society were vegan. The non-vegan public create demand for animal products and animal use and they are our target for change, not hunters or industry who are meeting that demand.

There would be no KFC, McDonalds, animal circuses, zoos, animal “research” laboratories, puppy mills, fur farms, whaling or dolphin industries, tiger hunts, “poaching”, factory farming, bear baiting, bear-bile farms, canned hunting, trophy hunting, aerial wolf hunting, “organic” farms, gestation crates, live export, battery egg farms, “free range” farms, fur-seal industry, etc, if the public were vegan.
Animal welfare reform never a good idea
We are exploiting more animals in more horrific ways than ever before, despite two hundered-plus years of welfare and despite thousands and thousands of single issue campaigns. What does this tell us about single issue campaigns and welfare? That they’re not working. What does it tell us about large animal / “vegan” organisations that promote them and which do not have veganism as their moral baseline? That they’re confusing the public and are worse than useless. When are those who claim to be vegan going to understand this?

Promoting Anything Remotely Pro-Animal Instead of Veganism

Why do we promote anything remotely pro-animal instead of promoting veganism? Here’s a few questions we might like to consider.

Is it that we refuse to read anything that counters what we are already committed to? Is it because we support large animal organisations and therefore cannot bear anyone criticising them? Is it because we have been told by large animal organisations that this is the way it must be done and we are so used to not thinking for ourselves, we just do as we are told? Is it because we have been told we need to be pragmatic? Is it because we refuse to budge from our belief that political systems, capitalism or religion are responsible for animal exploitation (even though speciesism existed long before any of these religions or systems)? Is it because we are always told that the “enemy” is out there, instead of us looking at ourselves and what we are participating in? Is it because most of us can’t concentrate on anything longer than a tweet and are incapable of reading animal rights theory or a vegan blog which might challenge our current beliefs? Is it simply that we do not like being told that we might be wrong?

Vegan Education is Boring?

I heard someone once say once that promoting veganism only is boring. When did veganism become all about us? Is it all about our comfort zone, our advocacy social circles and whether or not we are entertained? What would we do on Saturday if we couldn’t hang out with our friends at our local KFC protest? What would we do if we couldn’t go down to the docks with our friends and visit the “Farley Mowat” or sit round with our vegan friends and watch Whale Wars” and remember the time we met Captain Paul Watson? Do we enjoy yelling at hunters and trying to sabotage them? Is it exciting to don balaclavas and go out with fellow advocates at night and release hundreds of thousands of animals who, by the way, will probably starve to death and eventually be replaced. Do we feel like heroes entering factory farms and “exposing cruelty“? Why be bored when we can be rewarded for writing books about factory farms but neglect to mention that veganism is the way to abolish animal use. Why be bored when we can show a little skin, be sexy, get some notoriety, travel the world, create big expensive animal events for the purpose of peddling books and revitalising one’s career, or be a CEO of a large animal organisation and get a six figure salary and talk about “humane” use and puppy mills all the time? It’s exciting “going naked” for the animals. It’s exciting dressing in animal costumes and making people giggle, or throwing red paint onto women wearing fur coats and abusing them. (Interestingly we don’t see advocates hassling bikie gang members who wear leather jackets, do we? So there’s an element of misogyny in fur campaigns which usually targets women.) All of this on the backs of animals and not one mention of veganism.

If non-humans could tell us to just STOP because we are worse than useless, they would have done so quite some time ago.

Large Animal Organisations and Their Avoidance of Veganism

Large animal organisations have different (commercial) reasons for avoiding promoting veganism. One reason is because single issue campaigns are a never-ending source of donations. If they promoted veganism this would challenge their non-vegan donors and effect their organisation’s financial bottom line. It’s much better to mollycoddle non-vegan donors than to ask them to go vegan. Donors give over their money, eat “happy animal products”, and sleep easy at night knowing animals were used and murdered “humanely”. It’s consoling to know that we – the non-vegan public – are not the problem. Instead we are told “Factory farming is the problem! Industry is the problem! Slaughterhouses are the problem! Large animal experimentation labs are the problem!” They tell us “Feel good, non-vegan public! Give us your money and we will help animals. We have it all under control.”  Large animal organisation are the industry’s monitor for animal “abuse”. They make sure that “non-abusive” murder can continue in our slaughterhouses!

One of many examples of moral confusion caused by large animal organisations was the criticism of Olympic skater Johnny Weir, who wore fur during his performances. Welfarist organisations – “Friends of Animals” and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) – criticised Mr. Weir’s fur use and ignored the fact that he wore leather and wool and ate animal products. Some members of the non-vegan public pointed out this moral inconsistency to large animal organisations, a sad indictment of the speciesism and lack of internal consistency of these organisations.

Suffice to say using single issue campaigns in advocacy is like trying to stomp out thousands of burning embers, while the raging forest fire of speciesism goes unabated.

We have to ask ourselves the question: If we claim to be vegan, why aren’t we promoting veganism? Why are we promoting anything remotely pro-animal and calling it “animal rights”? Why are we promoting anything other than veganism and treating the word “vegan” as if were a dirty word?  I’ve already addressed a few reasons why large animal organisations do this, but the answer as to why those of us who claim we are vegan do not promote veganism may be quite simple.

Here’s a few thoughts.

Is it that many of us are afraid of a little social rejection because we’re being clear? Is it because many of us deep down do not believe that non-humans are our moral equals, which in turn effects our message? Is it because many of us deep down are speciesist and pessimistic and we cannot recognise it in ourselves? Is it because we want a “quick fix” because it makes us feel better? We talk about “compassion”, “mercy”, “loving animals”, “being kind”, and forget about justice and nonviolence. It fact, for many of us, we haven’t internalised the ethical position at all. In my experience some of the most vehement defenders of animal welfare “reform”/”humane” use, vegetarianism, and single issue campaigns have been those who claim to be vegan.

Veganism isn’t something we should simply *hope* people catch on to, because more often than not they don’t. The non-vegan public often default to welfare, or they fetishise certain species. Why? Because those of us who claim to be vegan do. Many advocates are promoting “humane” use and “happy animal products”, and they are fetishising certain species and making moral distinctions between different kinds of animal use. All the while those who are supposed to be our target audience are eating, wearing and using animals *every single day*. We tell them fur is bad, so they stop wearing fur or curse others for wearing fur and continue on eating, wearing and using animals. We tell them using ivory is bad so they make sure nothing contains ivory while they chew on their cheese-burger and wear their leather shoes and woollen coat to a zoo. in a vegan world

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a single issue campaign which has a strong vegan message. Single issue campaigns are inherently problematic and speciesist. Why are we highlighting one form of use? Yes it’s good if people understand what is wrong with dairy, eggs, honey, etc, because most of our use of animals is for food. Explaining what is wrong with these products on occasion is good, but veganism is the umbrella which covers all forms of animal use. Since 99% of animals used are used for food, focusing on one species like whales, even though they are used for food, is an easy target. Most people don’t eat whales. Most people don’t eat dolphins. Most people “love” whales and dolphins. Even most governments “love” whales because the “whale watching” industry pays a lot of taxes to government. That’s why the Australian government has an interest in “protecting” whales. It’s not that they think whales deserve moral consideration. No. “Protecting” whales means profit. The Australian government lets the speciesist organisation “Sea Shepherd” – do their job for them. For those who are not familiar, Sea Shepherd has stated they are an environmental organisation, not a vegan organisation and Captain Watson has stated publicly that whales suffer more than chickens. Despite this, surprisingly, vegans give millions and millions of dollars in donations to Sea Shepherd each year so crew members can play pirate on the high seas. But that’s another topic for another time.

Vegan outreach criticizes vegansIt is an unfortunate fact that many of us who claim to be vegan are speciesist. Most of us have come to advocacy by way of large speciesist animal organisations that promote “humane” use of animals. As I mentioned earlier, there were members claiming to be vegan on LiveVegan recently and defending their own private use of animals. Many of these same vegans (usually those who support large animal organisations) criticise promoting veganism as “extreme”, or criticise promoting veganism only as “absolutist” or “purist”.  On a regular basis I hear vegans criticising vegans for promoting veganism only. Included in those who criticise vegans for promoting veganism only is Jon Camp the director of “Vegan” Outreach. In fact on Twitter recently, the director of “Vegan” Outreach  criticised me for  not promoting “humane” use of animals and only promoting veganism.

When you consider it all, is it any wonder vegans are confused?

Finally, here’s a good gauge of whether an activity is speciesist and non-vegan. Consider the activity while replacing non-human with human and it will give us some indication.

If you’re vegan, please promote veganism only, and if you’re not vegan, please go vegan. It will one of the best decisions you will make in your life. It’s easier than you think. Please start here and here .

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For further information:  Here are some excellent blog posts by Gentle World a vegan intentional community

What’s wrong with wool?
Cage Free Eggs: Not free enough
What’s wrong with Leather?
Why vegans don’t use silk
Mother’s Milk
Why vegans don’t eat honey
How are down feathers collected

10 Myths of New Welfarism

And an excellent post by UVE archives “What’s wrong with vegetarianism?
Discussion on LiveVegan about the moral compartmentalisation concerning the murder of Maurius the Giraffe

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Filed under animal ethics, animal exploitation, backyard eggs, bears, breeding, commodification, dairy, deer, dolphins, eggs, elephants, Factory farming, fox hunting, fur-seal industry, Giraffes, habitat, honey, horse-riding, land clearing, lions, Live export, LiveVegan, mountain lions, non-vegans, nonviolence, People for the ethical treatment of animals, PETA, poaching, property paradigm, rational irrationality, rhinos, sharks, single issue campaigns, slaughterhouse, speciesism, veganism, Vegans, Western Australia shark "cull", whales, wildlife, Zoos

Note to a Non-Vegan Friend

Stop worrying about what other people might think of you if you become vegan. Does it really matter? Does their opinion of you mean so much that it prevents you from doing the right thing? Of course not :D Continuing to participate in violence and persecuting the vulnerable to please others is a poor reason to continue isn’t it? Be very happy you came across veganism because many haven’t……….as yet ;-) Be happy that you want to live a more nonviolent life. Yes, a few people might give you a little grief, but that happens when we take any principled stance against injustice. We need more people to walk the walk and live the principles of nonviolence in this violent world. So take a deep breath. It will be OK. :-) The sky will not fall. Be one more person who rejects the injustice of animal slavery in all its forms. Be someone who respects life – both human and nonhuman – and go vegan

Please start here and LiveVegan


If you love the planet

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Filed under Abolitionist veganism, animal ethics, non-vegans, nonviolence, social prejudice, speciesism, Vegans

Some Thoughts on the Killing of Insects

Don’t be upset when someone encourages you to avoid killing or encourages you to avoid participating in killing. Be glad that someone cares enough and tries to encourage you to be nonviolent. It’s rare today. Even our everyday language revolves around killing and harm. The media and some younger people today talk about “killing it”, “nailing it”, “destroying it” when talking about being successful and achieving their aims. Why do we use such violent language even when we are happy?

Short of living in a cave and eating nettles, we cannot avoid unintentional killing and harm but we can do our best to avoid intentional killing. We don’t have to kill. We choose to kill. We don’t have to kill an insect but we choose to, simply because we feel they are inconvenient. We take their life (an already short life that is precious to them) over often such trivial reasons. I hear people defend their actions saying they are “defending themselves”. Really? Defending oneself from an insect? It may take just a little more effort to shoo an insect away or relocate the insect using a small jar and a piece of cardboard than it would to kill the insect, but is it such a hardship? It may take a little more effort to try to create an environment so as not to attract insects and spiders, but it’s not difficult and it’s definitely worth the extra effort.

I remember a few years ago watching an interview in which US President Barack Obama killed a fly during the interview. I remember his playfulness at first telling the fly to “go away now”, which quickly turned into him focusing on the fly, pausing for a few seconds, then swatting him. He was quite pleased with himself, as was the interviewer. Later footage was shown of the dead fly laying on the carpet.  Shortly after, the footage of this incident of  Mr. Obama killing a fly was everywhere in the media. As I watched this and the subsequent excitement over this incident, I remember feeling very sad. I felt very sad for the fly because his/her death was a source of amusement and meant so little. I felt very sad for all other species on the planet. I felt very sad for our species, that we kill so easily, so thoughtlessly, so often and with much satisfaction.

Some people might say, well Mr. Obama tried to shoo the fly away, and the fly did not leave him alone so he was justified in killing the fly. Really? Did he really have to kill the fly? Was this tiny insect any kind of threat to Mr. Obama? Well unless the fly was a very tiny drone, of course not. Did Mr. Obama kill the insect because he thought it was more “presidential” to kill an insect rather than ask someone to shoo it away for him, or simply stop the interview for a moment and have someone relocate the fly outside? Possibly. But how sad that our ego, our pride is more important than a vulnerable life.

We do so, because we CAN. Isn’t this the story of our species? One could say it’s almost our species’ mantra: We do so because we can.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” Laozi

No attitude or action exists in a vacuum.

Unfortunately over time we as a species have developed an attitude that we have an absolute right to exist, and every other species is either a resource, or a “pest” or some “thing” we have not found a use for or they are something to amuse us. But in truth, we are as much a “pest” as any being we believe to be a “pest”. In fact we are more so.

The human species is in overshoot and collapse. A sustainable population for our planet was around the 400 million mark (around the time of King Henry VIII). We are now beyond 7 billion and exponentially increasing. We have overpopulated the planet, used up most finite resources, mostly destroyed our own nest as well as the home for 99.99% of the planet’s population who are nonhuman.

Now we have created an ongoing situation in the melting Arctic (widely under-reported) where massive spears of methane (some a kilometre wide) are now rising from the East Siberian Arctic shelf. The clathrate gun has been fired. The tremendous warming effects of this ongoing massive release of CH4 (plus 17 irreversible positive feedback loops) may result now in runaway global warming (a predicted 8 degrees Celcius increase by 2030/2039), an effect which has not been factored in to current predictions. (Please see an article and a report by respected climate scientist Malcolm Light).  This will probably have extremely dire effects on every single species (including plants) on the planet including our own. The sixth mass extinction which is completely anthropogenic is currently underway in the oceans.save and protect flies

The truth is, we are not nearly as smart as we think we are. We have separated ourselves from and have become the enemy of the natural world and of all other species. We ignore the reality that just like many other species who have become extinct, we most likely will join them but this time we will take most species with us. We like to tell ourselves that we are superior, that we are not an animal, but we *are* animals, a very destructive species who has evolved to use technology often in extremely short-sighted, foolish and destructive ways. We are animals who have turned on our own species, who murder and exploit for selfish and ignorant reasons and for greed. We are addicted to violence and we target those (including our own children) who are vulnerable and / or different. We have developed medicine and technology which has allowed us to continue to breed at an alarming and unsustainable rate.

After we are gone, the planet will go on without us. Even if we kill every species except bacteria due to anthropogenic global warming, in 10 to 15 million years bacteria will have evolved again and we will see a different kind of animal and plant diversity similar to levels seen prior to the last mass extinction 252 million years ago. During Permian extinction, 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species became extinct. As Dr. Chris Langdon (a University of Miami biologist who is a pioneer in ocean acidification research) noted that carbon was being injected into the atmosphere today far faster than during the Permian extinction. If mass extinction occurs, it will be highly unlikely that the planet will see the likes of our species ever again. We are not exempt from species extinction. We are not exempt – no matter how special or superior we believe we are -  from the very real possibility of our own extinction at our own hands, and it might be sooner than we think.

With that in mind, I would like us to consider that if our species has a very limited amount of time left on this planet, isn’t it possible that we just stop the violence of exploiting and killing other animals and go vegan? Every species who exists on the planet has just as much right to be here as we do, every single one, and they deserve at least one very basic right – the right not to be used as property, as a resource. Can’t we at least do that? Just leave them be? We need to do our best to change our attitude toward other species, and stop thinking of them as something to be tolerated, something to be used or eradicated and that starts with us becoming vegan. Until we significantly change our way of thinking toward other species, we will never know peace. We may think “oh it’s just an insect, or a spider, or a snail, I will just kill it”, or “oh it’s just a pig, or a chicken” but that attitude never stops there. It expands to other areas of our lives and this attitude is in great part why we as a species are in the terrible mess we are in today.

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Filed under Arctic, Arctic methane, Barack Obama, CH4, clathrate gun, Climate change, Drone President, Drones, East Siberian Arctic shelf, Flies, global warming, Ice melting, Insects, killing, Malcolm Light, Mass extinction, methane emissions, Permian extinction, Sixth Mass Extinction, speciesism, veganism, veganism vegan abolition

Mixing Islamophobia with Animal Advocacy

Recently I heard someone make a comment that Halal is a “barbaric” slaughter method. I have heard this comment before and I wanted to take the opportunity to say that ALL so-called “humane” slaughter methods are “barbaric”. Slaughter is inherently barbaric. There’s nothing “humane” about it and even if it were “humane” it would still be unjust. So let’s not single out one kind as if that is worse than others.

We like to tell ourselves there is such a thing as a non-abusive slaughterhouse. Let’s consider the reality.

According to the USDA, it’s common for chickens and turkeys by the millions to be boiled alive during the slaughterhouse process. This is deemed acceptable, as the USDA is about to approve even faster “processing” lines to lessen the likelihood of bacteria.  The “processing” line includes a stunning method which basically causes convulsions for the individual and is suppose to render them unconscious. Because of the pace of these lines, some miss the electric “stunning” bath and neck blade (from struggling upside-down in their leg shackles) and some individuals are boiled alive in the de-feathering (scalding) tank. Think about that for a moment. Boiled alive! (Just like sentient pain-sensitive lobsters are boiled alive.) In addition, when stunning does not work, many individuals still struggling in their shackles are mangled, but not killed, during the throat-slitting process.

“Free-range” hens end up at the same slaughterhouses as any other chicken, where they are often intentionally tortured – hurled against the wall and stomped upon – by frustrated workers in poor working conditions with low pay.I am sentient turkey

Whether “free range’ or factory farmed, young male chicks (“by-products” of the egg industry) are thrown into grinding machines by their millions and ground up alive or they are suffocated. In the process many chicks take up to 20 minutes to die because they have been mangled and not killed.

Just as with “free-range layer hens”, “organic dairy cows” and their calves are transported and slaughtered in the same manner as any other cow or steer. Often, they are confined to a tractor trailer for days of transport, and sometimes through extremely hot or cold weather conditions. Because they are depleted from so much milk production and from genetics designed to maximize milk output, they are often much weaker than “beef cattle” when they arrive at slaughter. Indeed, most of the “downers” – cows too sick to walk – are dairy cows, including dairy cows from “organic” dairies. When they arrive at slaughter, downers are often cruelly prodded with electric prods and/or bulldozed into slaughter, as was displayed earlier in the year on national television in undercover films provided by HSUS. Actual slaughter can be an unimaginably horrific and terrifying experience. Although the cows and steer are supposed to be “stunned” with a captive-bolt gunshot to the skull, this can be difficult for workers to achieve, especially with the rapid pace at which the animals are moved on the line. This can result in the animals being fully awake when they are shackled, hoisted upside down, and cut at the throat. Because cows and steer who are not properly stunned are sometime flailing around at the cutting section of the fast-paced line, they occasionally miss the throat cut or the cut is not sufficient to kill them. Due to production pressure to keep the line moving, these cows and steers will often end up alive at the hide-ripping machine.

Commercially-viable “organic” milk production, regardless of the label it is sold under, is extremely cruel to cows and calves and requires mass-slaughter. “Organic” dairy cows are physically and psychologically broken by the time they reach the slaughterhouse, which can be an unimaginable horror story in itself. Consuming “organic” dairy products – milk, cheese, ice cream, cream cheese, sour cream – simply makes no sense for anyone concerned about the treatment or slaughter of animals. (UVE/Unpopular Vegan Essays “What is wrong with Vegetarianism?”)

Imagine being conscious while having your skin ripped from your body or fracturing your pelvis as you are  hoisted up in shackles on production lines. This is the experience of some cows. Does this sound less barbaric than Halal (or Kosher)?

Young male calves (“by-products” of the dairy industry) some just a few days old are barely able to walk, especially after spending a day or longer without their mother on a slaughterhouse truck. They arrive at the slaughterhouse and are dragged across slaughterhouse floors, as they suck on the fingers of slaughterhouse workers, the stench of blood and horror is all around them. All the while they cry out for their mothers. The veal industry is a “by-product” of the dairy industry.

Millions of pigs are also regularly boiled alive on so-called “humane” slaughterhouse lines due to the fast pace of processing. Hanging upside down in shackles, struggling and screaming for their lives as they are lowered into boiling water. Extreme torture is the best term to describe this.

Does that sound less barbaric than Halal?

So then, why do people focus on the “evils” of Halal killing? What else is there about Halal, other than that it is a way to murder nonhuman animals? The obvious answer is that it is the Islamic religiously-sanctioned method, and in the west, Islamic people, (and those assumed because of their appearance to be Islamic) are targeted for campaigns of hatred and fear, and are subject to discrimination.

When Prof. Deepa Kumar was asked by The Real News Network about Islamophobia and the rise of Islamophobia in the West in recent years. She responded:

Islamophobia is basically the term, the name given to anti-Muslim racism. It is a form of prejudice. And it involves making generalizations about an entire group based on the actions of a few through this mythical understanding of what Islam is supposed to be.

…. [t]he U.S. government, and U.S. imperialism in particular, always needs an enemy. That is, when there is no humanitarian cause, an enemy is an extremely useful way to justify wars abroad, as well as the policing of dissent at home…..

After 9/11……the idea was to drum up this fear of this menacing terrorist enemy, which justified wars all over the world in order to gain the U.S.’s interest in [incompr.] particularly in the oil-rich region in the Middle East.

We witness thinly veiled Islamophobia by many advocates who support the welfare organisation Animals Australia, and their frequent “Ban Live Export” campaigns. In addition, we hear Animals Australia calling for animals to killed in Australia instead of Indonesia as if Australia has non-abusive slaughterhouses.

The fact that complaints about Halal are not simply complaints about killing nonhuman animals becomes very clear, with the absence of similar complaints about Kosher, particularly since Kosher killing is almost identical to Halal killing, both coming from the same religious Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. So if Halal (Islamic) is a target, and Kosher (Jewish) is not, in spite of being nearly identical, what does that say? What it should say it that killing is not the primary issue. The issue is targeting Muslims. (Please note although I mention Kosher because of it’s near identity to Halal, I am not suggesting targeting Jews. I am saying turning concern about nonhuman animals into a covert form of religious/racial discrimination is wrong.)

The exploitation and killing of nonhuman animals should be the issue. I could go on and describe in more detail the slaughterhouse horror, but suffice to say it doesn’t matter if death comes through a knife to the throat, a bolt gun, an assembly-line slasher or boiling tank. It Boiled alivewould not matter if we sang them sweet songs while gently stroking their heads before we cut their throats. It is all wrong.  There is no such thing as “humane” murder and even if there were — as I have said – it would still be unjust.

Let us not claim that one form of animal use is worse than another. Particularly, let us not make such claims as a way to disguise our racism. Let us not make moral distinctions. We are responsible for this killing and so much more violence because we are not vegan. The slaughterhouses would not exist if it were not for us. It is all wrong and must end and that’s why vegan education is so important, because it is not HOW animals are used that is the issue, but THAT they are used that is the problem.

If you are not vegan, NOW is as good a time as any to start. Let’s stop participating in this terrible violence. If we want a nonviolent world, we need to reject all forms of discrimination including speciesism. It starts with us.

If you are not vegan, it’s much easier than you think. Here’s a link to some good vegan resources

LiveVegan

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Filed under Abolitionist veganism, animal agriculture, animal ethics, animal rights, animal welfare, Animals Australia, chickens, cows, dairy, dairy industry, Deepa Kumar, domestication, eggs, ethical, execution, Factory farming, Halal, humane, humane murder, Indonesia, iraq war, Islam, Islamophobia, Kosher, Live export, Live export Australia cows sheep abolition veganism vegan welfare animals, Muslim, slaughter, slaughterhouse, social prejudice, turkeys, veganism

Melbourne Cup: “Owners” love you when you win. When you die trying, it’s “unfortunate”.

Every year the “Melbourne Cup” is celebrated by many Australians. It’s a tradition that many Australians – who normally do not gamble – make small bets on the possible Cup “winner”. Businesses stop work for the race, and many have “racing pools” for their employees. Many Australians celebrate at pubs around the country, they wear fancy hats and couture; it is generally viewed as a glamorous social event.

As a child, each November it was a family tradition that my parents would ask me to pick a horse so they could place a bet for me. Even my school would make us stop our work to watch the event on TV. Today as an abolitionist vegan, it’s an event that I do my best to ignore. It’s futile of course because this race and animal use is everywhere. This year I happened to be in a cafe the day of the Cup, forgetting what day it was, and had the misfortune of having to listen as it was blasted through the cafe. We moved and sat outside.

Australians would be surprised to know that according to known figures approximately 25,000 racehorses in Australia face slaughter for “pet” meat or for human consumption each year. (Jeff Dowsing Guardian, Oct 31). That’s approximately 68 racehorses murdered per day in Australia, every day of the year. The horse-meat industry is a by-product of the racing industry. There are two horse abattoirs in Australia (Peterborough in SA and Caboolture in QLD). Approximately 2,000 tonnes of horse meat is exported from Australia for human consumption in Japan and Europe annually (ABS figures).

Verema (Oct 31, 2013)

Dedicated to Verema (photo Oct 31, 2013) and all other nonhuman animals used as property throughout the world. One day may the sun rise on a vegan planet.

Bar the Melbourne Cup, “racehorses” do not cross the minds of most Australians.  A few weeks ago that changed for some Australians, as the biggest horse-racing industry event in Australia exposed the hypocrisy and abuse inherent in the horse-racing industry as it publicly claimed the life of yet another slave. The three race commentators who were broadcasting live from the Flemington mounting yard and their producers reached a consensus 45 minutes later on how best to reveal the fate of Verema and find the best term to sanitise the incident and not interfere with the festivities and reputation of the Melbourne cup.

The Sydney Morning Herald (Nov 5, 2013):

They decided not to use the word ‘‘shot’’ or ‘‘euthanised’’ on air partly in consideration that the news may cause distress to children watching the coverage. McAvaney announced that “Verema has tragically broken down”, words that had been chosen to convey to the adult audience she had been euthanised.

It’s interesting how we like to sanitise the murder of nonhuman animals. We use words like “processing” “culling” “eradication”  and so forth. One reason we do this is because in our hearts, we know what we are doing to nonhumans is morally wrong. Animal use industry also know that the public react to animal “cruelty” sometimes by withdrawing support and withdrawing business. The racing industry, just like any other animal use industry, does not want the public confronted with even a hint of “cruelty”. The public do not like to be confronted with it either because this would cause some cognitive dissonance. We do not want reality to creep into our consciousness at a time when we are eating and wearing animals, or celebrating events where animals are exploited. The bottom line for animal use industry is always profits. These nonhuman sentient beings are mere economic commodities. Nothing more.
Binoy Kampmark wrote in his recent piece “The Equine Sacrifice

Melbourne Cup horses are the equivalent of quadruped gladiators. Bill Finley, a New York Daily News reporter writing in June 1993, went so far as to remark that such horses are genetic mistakes, running too fast on frames that are too large “on legs that are far too small.” They must perform. If they do not, their value diminishes. They are fed a controlled diet that emphasises high concentrate grains over extended grazing, a regime that tends to produce bleeding ulcers. The racing process itself can lead to internal bleeding, notably in the lungs and windpipe. Drugs may also feature, given to horses to cope with inflammation (the use of corticosteroids) or to cope with bleeding in the lungs (Lasix).

When it reaches a certain point, there is no necessary incentive to spoil them with soft comforts and spatial idylls. Injured horses are simply destroyed, or as the euphemism goes, “put down”. A study in 2005 conducted by the University of Sydney for the First International Equitation Science Symposium found that almost 40 percent of racehorses leave the industry annually due to illness, injury, and simply not making the taxing grade. Destroyed horses tend to end up at knackeries, where they are slaughtered for pet met, or end up at horse abattoirs.

One such conspicuous example took place after this year’s race. The five-year-old Aga Khan-owned mare Verema, a particularly majestic beast, was one such animal who was not going to go into a convalescing nursing stable with the full luxuries. Dr. Brian Stewart, Racing Victoria’s head of veterinary equine and welfare (much like a quack who presides over injured gladiatorial warriors) spoke with “regret” that “Verema had to be euthanised after suffering a fracture to a right foreleg during the running of the Emirates Melbourne Cup” (Herald Sun, Nov 5). Such an accident was “unfortunate” and knowing which side his bread was buttered on, Stewart insisted that such accidents were infrequent in the world of horse racing.

Dedicated to Verema (photo Melbourne Cup day 2013) and all other nonhuman animals used as property throughout the world. One day may the sun rise on a vegan planet.

Dedicated to Verema (photo Melbourne Cup day 2013) and all other nonhuman animals used as property throughout the world. One day may the sun rise on a vegan planet.

If I may share my own personal experience of moral compartmentalisation. Before I was vegan, I was vegetarian for much of my life, which meant I was still participating in great violence because I was still eating and wearing animal products and viewing animals as resources and property. My speciesist indoctrination was so deeply entrenched that for most of my life, I mostly accepted with little question our society’s speciesist position that other animals are our property. I mostly took it all for granted that this was the way it was supposed to be. Had I not been vegan the day of this year’s Cup, my speciesism and moral compartmentalisation would have continued. I would have been upset over the fate of this particular individual Verema as I sat down to eat my animal products (products of violence), while wearing the skin of a sentient being on my feet.

My unconscious life.

The last paragraph of Mr Kampmark’s article exposes our moral compartmentalisation.

As the Australian comedian, Victor Hansen, suggested via the ever available Twitter: this is a race that not so much stops the nation, but stops the nation from looking after animals. An apt summary for the racing industry and its ardent backers.

As an abolitionist vegan, the phrase “this race….stops a nation from looking after animals” is remarkable. Firstly there’s the false notion that nonhuman animals are “ours” to “look after”, that animals need “looking after”, and that as a society we “look after animals” (whatever that means).  As a nation, and as society, we believe that nonhuman animals are our property, and that of course includes “racehorses” and nonhumans who live with us whom we view as “family members”. We have been indoctrinated to deny the moral personhood of nonhuman animals which enables us to use them as resources for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons.

Dan Cudahy’s essay Property Status and Animal Welfare : Two Deep Roots of Cruelty:

American law recognizes two types of entities: persons and things. There is no middle category. During American slavery in the 19th century, a middle category was attempted, and slaves were considered “quasi-persons” or “ things-plus” or “3/5ths of a person”, but that category utterly failed to bring any significant “legal personhood” to slaves or any relief of the cruelty they endured as property of their owners. The law protects the rights of persons to do what they want with the things they own, and if there is ever a conflict between a person with property rights and the thing they own, property rights always win, regardless of any other law whatsoever “protecting” the thing. This was true without exception during American slavery, and it is true today in all of our relations with nonhuman beings.

…..This reverence for property rights is reflected in our courts and it is no surprise that the strongest slave welfare laws in the antebellum South did nothing to protect slaves, as chattel property, from unspeakable cruelty inflicted by their property owners. When the property rights meet welfare laws, it’s like a speeding freight train meeting a light warm breeze; the effect is negligible.

As long as it is the case that nonhumans are owned as things and their owners hold property rights over them (which is one and the same thing), welfare laws will never be able to protect against the flagrant and extreme cruelty which is routine in all of animal agriculture, much less protect equal inherent value or the basic right to physical security. The first fact that anyone genuinely concerned about animal cruelty must fully understand and accept is that welfare laws are and always will be impotent to prevent cruelty. The most welfare laws will do is to protect the interests of property owners in utilizing their property to its maximum economic potential. Welfare laws will always be disastrous for sentient nonhumans, doing no more than they have in the past: making humans feel better about the exploitation and cruelty inflicted on nonhumans.

We torture and murder more nonhuman animals in 5 days (mostly for food) than all humans killed in genocides, wars, plagues, murders in human history. That’s staggering violence. If we truly believe that it is wrong to inflict “unnecessary” suffering and death on animals, then what we are doing is wrong, because 99.99% of our use of animals (food) is for unnecessary reasons since we can meet all our nutrition requirements from plants (and non-animal sources).

We like to tell ourselves — and this is reinforced by all large animal organisations — that there is such a thing as non-abusive animal exploitation, and that it is morally acceptable to use nonhumans as long as it is “humane”. All large animal organisations including an Australian animal organisation The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses repeatedly reinforce this position. All large animal organisations tend to call for the “humane” use of animals, but never ask the public to go vegan – to stop using animals for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons. There are reasons for this which I won’t go into now, but suffice to say they are financial reasons, and for these organisations to ask the public to challenge their own behaviour would probably mean a reduction in their public donations. So it’s a business decision not to promote (ethical) veganism, and to not have veganism as their organisation’s moral baseline.

The truth is there’s no such thing as “humane” use of animals and there’s no such thing as “humane” murder, and even if there were, it would still be unjust.  It is speciesism when we make moral distinctions between species and between forms of animal use. It’s speciesism to claim that using animals for “sports” is worse than using animals for food or other reasons. It’s speciesism to claim that some species are more morally important than other species. It’s speciesism that we believe that some nonhumans have no interest in continuing life, and that it’s only HOW they are used that is the issue, not THAT they are used.

It's not HOW we use animals that is the issue, it's THAT we use them that is the problem. Go vegan

It’s not HOW we use animals that is the issue, it’s THAT we use them that is the problem. Go vegan

We need to recognise our moral compartmentalisation, where we speak out against one form of animal use — horse-racing — but we ignore our own animal use. It’s moral compartmentalisation that we sit down each day to ingest violence three times a day. We wear violence, we visit zoos, circuses, and so forth. Even some animal advocates who claim to respect animals are not vegan or they promote regulation of animal exploitation instead of veganism — the abolition of animal exploitation. Until we open our eyes and start to be morally consistent and recognise that all nonhumans have equal moral value and deserve at least one basic right — the right not to be used as property (i.e., until most of society are vegan) — then terrible injustice and death will continue for “racehorses” and all other animals. Why would we expect anything else since in our society they are just economic commodities with no inherent value?

Speciesism is so powerful and pervasive. It’s in plain sight and yet it is invisible.

If you are not vegan, please go vegan. It’s easier than you think. It will be one of the best decisions you will make in your life. Here’s some good vegan resources

For further information: Legal slavery in the 21st century  &  Recommended animal ethics books.

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Filed under 2013, Abolitionist veganism, animal ethics, animal exploitation, animal rights, animal welfare, Animals Australia, Australia, horse-racing, horses, Melbourne Cup, property paradigm, property status, single issue campaigns, speciesism, veganism

“The next mass extinction of sea life is already underway, the first such mass extinction in 55 million years.”

Scientists from the “International Programme on the State of the Ocean” said “the oceans are changing faster than anticipated and increasingly are becoming inhospitable to life. The excess CO2 and heat in the atmosphere is rapidly warming and acidifying ocean seas.” This is compounded (the report noted) by increased levels of deoxygenation from nutrient runoffs from farming and climate change. The scientists call these effects a deadly trio, that when combined, are creating changes in the seas, that (in their words) are unprecedented in the planet’s history. Scientists wrote that each of the Earth’s five known mass extinctions was preceded by at least one of these deadly trios: acidification, warming and deoxygenation. They warned “the next mass extinction of sea life is already underway, the first such mass extinction in 55 million years.”

The University of Hawaii also released a new report saying that the effects of climate change are now inevitable. They cannot be stopped. At best the rate of devastation can be slowed. The report predicated over the next 50 years, temperature levels will rise to such a degree that human life in many parts of the planet will become unsustainable. Millions upon millions of people will flee as refugees. Millions of species will face extinction. Coastal cities such as New York and even inland cities such as London will become unliveable. Microbes seem set to inherit the Earth.

Please watch Chris Hedges (Pulitzer Prize recipient)  speech at Moravian College on Tuesday, October 22. Hedges is the seventh Peace and Justice Scholar in Residence at Moravian College. His talk was drawn from his most recent book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.  He speaks of the swift disintegration of the ecosystem currently underway. View the full speech here:

Please watch Chris Hedges speak about “Unfettered Capitalism”

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Filed under acidification, Chris Hedges, Climate change, corporate-dominated government, deoxygenation, ecosystem, Hope, inverted totalitarianism, Mass extinction, nuclear, oceans, Patriarchy, speciesism, violence