Category Archives: rights

Even when her shackles are very different from my own

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. It was a good occasion to consider women in positions of power and the power structures they work within. It was a good time to consider the plight of women globally. So let’s briefly look at women high in the hierarchies of power.

Women who seek power do so for many reasons. Those women who attain the upper echelons of power in our world today often do so by fitting into patriarchal society’s ideas of power. These structures — due to the cultural construction of masculinity — inevitably engage in activities detrimental to humans, non-humans, and the planet. Women who only seek personal power may do so by becoming as oppressive as any part of the patriarchal system. There are extreme examples of this on both sides of politics. Less extreme examples are those who enter politics in the hopes of making positive change but who end up supporting oppressive measures e.g. drone strikes which kill women and children. This is particularly the case if the oppressive measures they support are not directly related to the situation they are trying to change. Those who seek power as a means of being effective in creating change often find their efforts hampered by the very structures they have adopted to achieve power. The structures themselves often use, or are, a means that runs against beneficent change. To the extent her efforts look likely to succeed, attempts to create change can undermine a woman’s position of power within the hierarchy.

Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992) Caribbean-American writer and civil rights activist:

The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

The question then becomes one of means and ends, and of types of power. One does not have to fit into the dominant paradigm to have influence. Much of the power of dominant systems is what Starhawk  called “power-over”. Much of community-based power is what she called “power-with”. Power-with can be far more powerful than power-over, but it requires the ability to work with others, and is generally facilitated by non-violence.

And this is where you and I come in and what should not matter to us.

We might feel we are inadequate. I feel inadequate when I set out to write a blog. I may use too many commas, or, not enough or my sentences might run long. And I may start sentences with “but” and “and”. I have a tendency to meander, lose focus and repeat myself. Sometimes my efforts have made me a target and that’s OK if it was the result of my speaking out for a good cause. Was it Mr. Squiggle  who said, “We may wear pants that are too big for us, or we may be too big for our pants.” No that was me. 😉 Sometimes I get so frustrated I wish I had magical powers 😉 but although I feel quite inadequate when I write, or when I make images or vids, or in my efforts to do vegan education, I do it anyway.

If I may be serious for a moment about things we think are permanent obstacles.

We may think we have no ability to influence. We may not have power in government and we may not be part of the 1%. We may not have the educational background to be considered “qualified”. We might not fit into the stereotypes of the female gender and we are marginalised. Sexism and misogyny, racism, heterosexism, and speciesism may be pervasive and at times invisibly hold us back. Society’s heterosexism may make us feel we are invisible because we are not be able to marry our partner and it may make us fearful of violence. Some nights we may lay in bed pondering our ability to meet our own expectations to do the smallest of tasks. We might have a disability or body image issues which has plagued us our whole lives. Our parents may have told us over and over that we are no good, or that we are too good, or that we will never amount to anything. We might have such great expectations put upon us that we feel we have failed even before we have begun. We may not have internet access because our village is too far from a city. We may wonder where our next meal is coming from. We may be viewed as property in our own country and exploited unjustly. If we are vegan, most of our friends and family may think that being vegan and promoting veganism – the abolition of animal exploitation – is wasting our life and they may think we are crazy. Invitations to events may become fewer and further apart, until they stop altogether.

Audre Lorde, (1934 – 1992) a Carribean-American activist, feminist and writer:

“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialised to respect fear more than our own need for language.

I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.

Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.

And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realised you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realise you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you…. [a]s I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”

We need to remember that nothing is permanent and that includes our time on this planet so we need to make our thoughts and actions count. Our thoughts and actions are all we possess. Although we may feel our voice is too tiny, or that the structures of power are so big and overwhelming that there is no point in speaking out, when we start to believe our own negative programming (as women tend to do) the structures of power have won. They would like us to feel powerless and disconnected. They will pit us against each other as the media tends to do to women. When we believe we are powerless, when we become apathetic, we curl up and start to die.

There are so many kinds of obstacles. Some are huge and real and others that seem real only exist in our minds. The truth is that no one can control us while our mind is free. Even if we are quadriplegic and only able to breathe through a ventilator, we can have good thoughts for a nonviolent world. Each nonviolent thought has its effect. Because our mind is free we can do what we can to make change – a change to a nonviolent world with different values than those cherished and defended by a patriarchal culture. And even if we know we will lose the fight, we must keep on fighting, always in the name of nonviolence. We must never give up because those who cannot speak – non-human animals and anyone who is vulnerable– rely on us. And we must never forget that the most amazing social justice movements are always started by a small group of people.

And here’s the final point I have been moving toward or meandering to, depending on my attention span. If we believe in justice for all, then this is what we need to consider.

Yesterday, on International Women’s Day, did we remember the 99.99% of the planet’s population who are non-human? Did we remember all the non-human mothers in the world? Did we consider in particular the non-human mothers we use as resources? If we did not, then we need to include them in our thoughts and our actions and consider that ALL mothers and their children, no matter what species, should be free of exploitation. Because if non-human mothers are not free, none of us are free. In fact there are parallels with how patriarchal society views and treats women, and how we use, exploit and control the reproduction of non-human females. The two are not unrelated. Women are no longer considered legal property as non-human animals are, but violence against women is at epidemic proportions today and violence against nonhumans is greater still.

even when her shackles are different

So here’s the truth, a truth rare and powerful which we all need to recognise.

ALL sentient beings deserve at least one right- the RIGHT not to be used as property, the RIGHT to exist for their own purpose, free of our interference and violence. Non-human animals love life and do not want to die. They have their likes and their dislikes; they have different abilities to us; they love their young; they have their own purpose. Whether they are of a different species is irrelevant. It is not necessary for them to be “like us” or have a similar “intelligence” to us for us to avail them the respect they deserve. Respect means we need to stop using them for food, clothing, entertainment or other reasons. As we move forward, including more and more persons in the sphere of “rights”, we must include non-human animals. They are persons too. We can become part of the grassroots, nonviolent social justice movement – Veganism – by becoming vegan and incorporating justice and nonviolence in our own lives.

Martin Luther King Jr. :

One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief

in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall

then have discovered our souls and become worthier of

sharing this planet with them.”

The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long,

but It Bends Toward Justice.”

Had Martin Luther King Jr. lived long enough, I believe he would have become vegan.

Let us remember the almost countless number of non-human animals throughout time who have endured our constant oppression and exploitation, who have been tortured and murdered, mostly for our palate pleasure. Let us end our participation in the most bloody and violent, most horrendous slavery ever witnessed in the life of this planet. Our penchant for violence and exploiting the vulnerable is at the root of most of our problems. Here is what we need to take into our hearts – we will never know peace while we exploit the vulnerable – non-human animals. Let us end our participation in the violence of patriarchal paradigm by becoming vegan.

Please go vegan. If you are not vegan. Here’s a good place to start Vegan Kit and LiveVegan

Thank you 🙂

what do we do to mothers

FYI:

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Filed under animal exploitation, dairy industry, heterosexist, homophobia, International Women's Day, Martin Luther King Jr., Patriarchy, political, property paradigm, racism, Reproduction, rights, sexism, slavery, speciesism, veganism, Vegans, violence, Women

Make 2013 the year our self-deception ends

Listen to the podcast of the essay here:

Friends, As Martin Luther King Jr said,“The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice”. In my heart I believe this, but at the same time I have grave doubts in our species’ ability or inclination to act ethically toward any other species or to recognize our interconnectness. It’s not an exaggeration to say that as a species we have been at the edge of a moral precipice for some time. Let’s face it. We are a very violent, greedy and selfish species on the brink of extinction and we have only ourselves to blame.

As we head into 2013, we will hear lots of NYE resolutions. Some will be trivial, some will be thoughtful. We will hear lots of wishes for “Peace on Earth” and calls for the end of violence all over the world. But friends, if we want “Peace on Earth” (which one could seriously doubt), we seriously need to stop deceiving ourselves. And the first way to end this deception is to stop telling ourselves that the bodies and secretions of nonhuman animals we consume 3 times a day (and all forms of animal use) has nothing to do with epidemic of violence we witness each day in the world. If we think that murderous rampages against women and children and wars against the vulnerable and the “poor” have nothing to do with the torture and murder of 56 billion nonhumans each year (not including sea animals which is a far greater number) then we are living a delusion.

So how can we move forward as a species? What is an alternative to wringing our hands, or drowning in scepticism, or lying to ourselves and saying there is nothing we can do? There is something we can all do. We may not be able to stop corporate-dominated government from ignoring climate change till it’s all too late (the time for action has almost past). But we can make a decision which is most profound and will greatly help the planet. We can remove the extreme violence of animal use in all it’s forms from our lives. That means we can become vegan. Being vegan means we stop using nonhumans for food, clothing, entertainment, and other reasons. Being vegan is the most important and progressive action we can take in our lives. It’s easy, it’s doable, it’s affordable and most importantly it’s the right thing to do.

As I mentioned earlier, Martin Luther King Jr said,“The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Toward Justice”. He was just one man, but look at the impact he made on others. Let’s take our blinders off and recognize justice. Let’s be fair. We need to stop lying to ourselves right now that we can continue participating in the violence of animal use and continue to claim we are nonviolent or that we want justice. We need to stop deceiving ourselves that nonhumans are “things”; that because they are not “like us” they do not matter. We need to stop denying their sentience and deceiving ourselves their sentience does not matter. We need to stop deceiving ourselves that nonhumans only have an interest in serving us; that they are our “happy slaves”; that they have no interest in continuing life, only an interest in not suffering and that murdering them is acceptable. That’s a lie and we know it. Nonhuman animals have an interest in relationships, they protect and care for their young, they have their own purpose, their suffer, they love life and do not want to die, and they have an interest in living free of exploitation.

As individuals, we need to stop perpetuating this lie — this speciesist indoctrination — that exploiting the vulnerable and the innocent is acceptable and justifiable. We need to stop deceiving ourselves and our children that there’s such a thing as “happy slaves”; that nonhumans willingly give up their lives, their young, and their bodies for us so we can have a few moments of palate pleasure, or so we can wear that new coat, or see that new zoo exhibit and so forth. The multitude of lies we tell ourselves allow us to continue to use these wonderful individuals as property, food, clothing, entertainment, and other reasons.

Every time we tell ourselves these dangerous lies, we make our species just that bit poorer. Every one of the many trillions upon trillions of unique nonhuman individuals we have tortured and murdered over millions of years for convenience, entertainment, palate pleasure and other reasons will never be seen again on this planet. Our speciesism–our species’ delusions of supremacy– have set the path for our own destruction which at this stage is assured as we continue to blindly lurch forward on our path of violence.

The planet -which in our delusion we believe is our own- is alive and it has a way of maintaining balance. Has the planet witnessed mass extinction before? Yes, numerous times. But this time this planet will witness a human-made mass extinction. The planet now bides it’s time as our species knowingly runs towards extinction, an extinction fuelled by corporate-dominated government. We will cause the mass extinction of the majority of other species- nonhuman animals and plants. Although the planet will continue on without us, we have changed it forever. In my opinion, the good news is that one day there will be little to no trace of our devastation or our species’ existence. Mass extinctions have occurred before but the planet will replenish and continue on. Simply put, as a species, we have failed to acknowledge our interconnectedness and interdependence with others. It is our undoing. We have chosen to exploit the vulnerable and exploit the planet and now we will most likely perish.

As a species, we accept and celebrate our love of and addiction to violence and we deny our sad state of greed and selfishness. As a species we deny the very basic right of other animals to live free of exploitation and we will pay the price. We deny our disgraceful exploitation of the vulnerable — the 99.999% of the planet’s animal population who are nonhuman. We use up and destroy the community of trees and other plant life. Those who call out the insanity are shunned, ridiculed and even killed and imprisoned, anything to allow the spectacle and illusion to go unabated. Most of us live a life of violence we deny we participate in.

Let’s stop wringing our hands. Let’s take a hard honest look at our individual lives. Let’s live a truthful life. Let’s stop using non-human animals as property. Ending animal exploitation through nonviolent means is not insignificant. Nothing good can come of our murderous selfish greedy existence we all participate in because we are not vegan. Let’s bring true love and peace to the world, not just empty words, but real peace, respect, love and justice to 99.999 percent of the world’s population who are not human. It’s a win-win situation. Let’s not shake our head and say it’s too late. If we believe it’s too late, then it IS too late.

the ocean the raindrop green

The solution? Be vegan and educate others to do so. Live simply and make every action in our life beneficial and non-harmful. Being vegan is about other animals, but we will benefit greatly as will the planet. Being vegan will be the best, most profound and easiest decision you will make in your life. There’s no time like the present. Make 2013 the year our deception ends. Please start here http://www.VeganKit.com

peace on earth

Unstoppable

dan c veganism

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Filed under 2013, animals exploitation, belief system, corporate-dominated government, cultural prejudice, domestication, Education, moral choice, moral psychology, non-vegans, nonviolence, overpopulation, Patriarchy, property paradigm, property status, rational irrationality, rights, slavery, social justice, speciesism, veganism, violence

“Murder” “execution” “slaughter” “destroy”

Someone today took exception to my use of the term “murder” in relation to some comments I made about nonhuman animals and animal use in general.

I would like to share some of my comments and I have elaborated on my response in this post:

About my use of the term “murder”: I recognize animals are persons because I am an abolitionist vegan. Therefore, I use the term murder. Animals are property in our society, so they are not viewed as persons, but “things” and resources. Even the cat or dog who shares your home is viewed by society as property. If someone were to kill the dog who shares your home, the most that might happen is they get a slap on the wrist and they are told to refund the money it cost you to buy the dog or cat. For me, a nonhuman’s life is equally as important as a human’s life. That is not a popular view in our society because our society is inherently speciesist.

I received a terrible anonymous letter once a few years ago from someone when “my” beloved cat “Z” went missing. He was never to be found. We do not know what happened to him and we searched everywhere and did everything possible to recover him. We searched for months. Then two months after his disappearance I received an anonymous letter (although I knew exactly who sent it)

One line in it read:

“Stop looking for your bloody cat. It’s been summarily executed………..”.

The letter went on with some threats towards our other cats and was also disparaging of us. I do not believe “Z” was murdered after some consideration, but that this person found out that he was missing and “hated cats” and was just trying to be horrible to us. He succeeded. We were very traumatised not only that “Z” was missing, most likely dead, but by the thought that “Z” had been murdered.

Had this anonymous letter been about my human child who went missing, I could have taken it to the police and a full investigation would have taken place. But because this was about a nonhuman, there was little I could do but confront the person, which I did. It was obvious he had sent the letter.

I experienced the same levels of grief that I would have experienced had “Z” been a human child. Now that may sound completely foreign or even offensive to some people who have firmly entrenched speciesist views about nonhumans, but once one becomes an abolitionist vegan, the veil of speciesism is removed, and one’s whole attitude to nonhumans is transformed. That is what it is to be an abolitionist vegan. One’s world is enriched, and one experiences an interconnectedness that is profound. An abolitionist vegan would not think of harming a nonhuman or eating, wearing or using nonhuman animals, just as they would not think of harming or killing a child.

Because humans write dictionaries defining “murder”, and who make laws, etc and because we live in a specieisist society, we are indoctrinated to believe that other animals are our property, but just because we believe something to be so, does not make it so. We once believed that some races of humans were our property. Most of the public were convinced of this at one time, but it didn’t make it true. Speciesism is an irrelevant criterion, just as race, sex, sexual orientation are irrelevant criterion as to whether those individuals belong to the moral community.

For an abolitionist vegan, all forms of animal use are unjustifiable. Even if animal use were “humane”, it would still be unjust. We believe nonhuman animals deserve at least one right — the right not to be used as property and veganism  is the step to taking that right seriously. It is undeniable that animal use is great violence. We can all it what we want, “murder”, “killing” “slaughter” “destroying” “executing” and so on, but the simple fact is it’s great violence.

What is the difference between the dog or cat who shares our home (who is viewed as property by society), and the pig, cow, sheep (who are viewed by society as property)? The very simple difference is we have a personal relationship with the dog or cat. That’s the only difference. But ALL other animals love life just as we do and just as the dog or cat does. They are all individuals. They have an interest in continuing life. The only reason we love one species, and think other species are “things” and resources is because we have been indoctrinated to believe so. That is speciesism.

In some countries people kill and eat dogs. Some of us in the West may be horrified by this, but there is no difference between killing a dog to eat, or a whale to eat, than killing cows, pigs, sheep etc to eat. It’s just a different cultural speciesist practice. To read more about speciesism, please view this site  http://www.UVEarchives.wordpress.com

Organic”, “free range” and so on — all of these animals end up at the same slaughterhouse. Watch this video which has no blood and guts, but it just shows what it’s like for a nonhuman to be walking to his or her death. —-

Finally, for anyone who thinks there’s such a thing as “humane” use and “humane” murder and if you promote welfare “reform”, or consume “happy meat” and “happy animal products” etc, then please watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCcUV-Yg-bc

and watch this free online documentary Earthlings http://www.earthlings.com WARNING: The first vid is an everyday slaughterhouse. It contains graphic images. “Earthlings” unfortunately does not mention veganism as the answer to abolishing animal use, but it is a very confronting doc which people should watch but with the thought that we cannot “improve” this, because ALL animal use is abuse. We must end it by becoming vegan and through nonviolent vegan education. Whether “organic”, “free range”, etc, they all end up in the same slaughterhouse . There’s no such thing as a non-abusive slaughterhouse. The answer isn’t to try and make animal use more “humane”, because there’s no such thing.

I urge anyone who is reading this and is interested in finding out more to firstly please go vegan and consider joining my page LiveVegan http://www.facebook.com/livevegan

If we are not vegan, we are participating in great violence and great injustice. To find out how easy it is to be vegan, start here http://www.vegankit.com

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Filed under abolitionist, animal rights, animals exploitation, death, discrimination, dogs, execution, Execution. death penalty, exploitation, felines, humane, property, property status, racism, rights, slaughter, speciesism, vegan, veganism, welfare, whales

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals): A Corporate Tangle of Contradictions

PETA: A Corporate Tangle of Contradictions

­ions: http://bit­.ly/nLFoW3
PETA’s Undercover Investigat­ions: Another Example of the Welfarist Business Cycle: http://bit­.ly/ow0Tpo

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Filed under humane, People for the ethical treatment of animals, PETA, rights