And since you have, you already possess the capacity to understand an individual’s desire to live a peaceful life and to avoid taking advantage of others in any way whatsoever. You should know how urgent and important and good it is to care for others. And so it follows, that we all have a moral obligation to be Vegan in our lives to the greatest possible extent. It’s not just a “diet”. Being Vegan is a rejection of violence, an embrace of justice, and a representation of caring. Please, for the peace of the planet, commit to living a life of peace by becoming Vegan. And explain it to others.
Posts Tagged ‘Veganism’
Posted in Abolitionist Commentary, Animal Exploitation, Education, Veganism, tagged gary francione, health, morality, Vegan, vegan diet, vegan resource, Veganism on Friday, August 10, 2012| Leave a Comment »
On issues of “health maintenance” and Veganism, I have come to adopt the following approach:
The correlations between animal (and animal product) consumption and disease or ill health have pretty much been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. And although no one has ever suggested eating a Vegan diet is a *guarantee* of freedom from disease, there is already copious factual evidence that tells us being Vegan can certainly lessen the risks! This, in itself, is more than sufficient reason to eat Vegan.
However, there is a much more meaningful and non-diet related consideration. I suspect most people, when asked if they generally liked animals, could instantly recall images of animals they’d met or seen or known and respond, “Yes”. Like humans, all nonhuman animals are *sentient* and as such at the very least, they deserve inclusion in the moral community. *Any* animal exploitation—animals used for food, clothing, entertainment, household products, etc.—is extremely violent and, as such, participation in animal exploitation, be it direct or indirect, is a very morally conflicted state. And those who are not Vegan seriously need to confront and examine that conflict within themselves before questioning the merits of Veganism.
I refer you to http://vegankit.com/ a hugely interesting and valuable ‘why and how’ Vegan resource, and Gary Francione’s books and website the source of Abolitionist theory and why Veganism is the only path that helps animals instantly and permanently.
Posted in Abolitionist Commentary, Animal Exploitation, Education, Veganism, tagged Abolition, animal rights, Exploitation, human rights, Justice, Vegan, Veganism on Tuesday, August 7, 2012| Leave a Comment »
Just a brief note to share, this was actually my response to an email from a friend who expressed some pride at how his congeniality resulted in a positive relation with a young stranger. Just one problem. Part of what enamoured him to the other man was an innocent and jovial imitation of another race… something of a racial “joke” if you will. I attempted to convey the enormous implications of making such a thing *commonplace* in our day to day lives:
“One of the reasons your remarks resonate with young(er) people is because racism, like sexism and all other forms of discrimination, are pervasive among many young people. They get passed on as easily as from one generational slip of the tongue to the next.I hate to rain on your parade, because I absolutely know you don’t *mean* these impressions with hate, but just hear me out. For the victim, it’s always there whether overt or buried in the background. The vast majority of us are guilty of slurs, no matter how innocently they are intended. Since I awoke to Abolitionism, I’ve found myself trying to make the connection for people in comments and posts on threads on Twitter and Facebook because it relates directly to the speciesist discrimination we inflict on nonhuman animals. It’s this speciesist discrimination that enables and perpetuates their violent exploitation and consumption. And so it is with human on human violence as well.If you ever start to read up on Abolitionist animal rights (Professor Francione’s books and website I’ve referred you to) you will find the message relating to nonviolence and justice and respect. It applies to all sentient beings—nonhumans and humans alike. I have now become very aware of the many ways we are taught to discriminate and thus exploit and I’m much more conscious of it today. Even a saying like, “I killed two birds with one stone” as an example, that we use to innocently describe the efficient execution of chores, carries with it an extremely violent history. Violence is pervasive in our lives. And so I encourage others to rid themselves of the same conditioning and behaviour in their own lives.The more you think about justice and respect and nonviolence in your daily life, the more likely you will be to understand why Veganism is not just a diet. It’s a rejection of violence (including “violent speak”) and exploitation in how we think and act, in everything we do.I hope you read this in the constructive spirit in which it is meant, instead of being offended and getting needlessly defensive.”
Posted in Abolitionist Commentary, Education, Veganism, tagged Abolition, Animal Exploitation, ethical, Vegan, Vegan Education, Veganism, Vegetarian, Vegetarianism on Sunday, July 24, 2011| 2 Comments »
***** No graphic content *****
I can’t help getting irritated when I see the term Vegetarian, especially used to describe a person, business, menu item, recipe, etc. because there is always the implied suggestion that being “meatless” is all that is required to “be healthier” or to “help animals”… as if that is somehow morally acceptable.
I don’t mean to sound accusing by any means because it’s a misunderstanding most Vegetarians make and live with by what they eat, wear, and use in their lives. But sadly, these actions very negatively impact billions of innocent nonhuman animals, including fish, every year. I too, at one time, was just as ignorant of the injustice and horrific misery involved in using animals for their secretions. And I wasted ten long years in that condition. When I finally awoke to Veganism, and through Professor Gary L. Francione to Abolitionist Veganism, my entire world view changed completely and forever. I encourage you to read Professor Francione’s work, which may be found in his books, searchable essays, audio, and video content at http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/
And if by chance you’ve been of the understanding there is a “humane” way to produce food and other products from animals or their secretions, I can assure you after much research, there is not! I strongly encourage you to read the related post (and its associated links) from Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, entitled “The Faces of ‘Free Range’ Farming.” They are, so far as I am aware, the *only* farm animal sanctuary who also serves effectively as a preeminent source of Vegan education.
I dreamt a most vivid and sad dream. A light overcast sky. A vast, clear, open, green grassland and on the far side, a hill running the width of the horizon. Sitting quietly, confidently in the middle of the distant hill, a gigantic obscure figure, an animal resembling a bull or a bear possibly, I could not tell. And sitting beside this mysterious being, way down near the ground, a fraction of the size, I am zoomed in like tunnel vision on my little Michael peacefully washing his face, stopping briefly to look around his immediate space. I am filled with an overwhelming sadness for he does not see me and I cannot speak to him. And then I am zoomed away. And he is left in the far distance. And I cry.
I had this dream a few weeks after little Michael passed away last January. I have relived it numerous times in my waking hours since, including today. Coincidentally, I just realized at this writing, today is the first anniversary of his diagnosis of Lymphoma. He was a dear loving little heart and I miss him terribly.
This is the first post in my “Pets as Refugees” Category. Over time there will be others illustrating the connection between the Institution of Pets, an apt term borrowed from Professor Gary L. Francione, and animal exploitation. Briefly, due to our manipulation of animals we refer to as “Pets”, we have caused to come into existence totally unnatural, completely dependent beings that are bought and sold like slaves. Millions of these innocent creatures end up on the streets of urban centres around the world where they are subject to disease, abuse, uncontrolled reproduction and live short, difficult, incredibly sad lives. Many more millions are dumped in shelters where they are routinely killed for lack of adoptive guardians or institutional monetary means of support. A relatively small number are lucky to find loving homes to live out there lives in “peace”. Michael’s tragic demise was the culmination of almost fourteen years of relative peace after approximately two years of life as a “stray”. We humans owe all existing “companion animals” our diligent care while at the same time not encouraging any more. They do not deserve such a tenuous path.
Posted in Abolitionist Commentary, Animal Exploitation, Education, Uncategorized, Veganism, tagged Abolition, animal rights, Government, Justice, Respect, Vegan Education, Veganism on Sunday, August 22, 2010| Leave a Comment »
I read the Manifesto of The Netherlands’ Party for the Animals recently. Marianne Thieme’s election victory last year, I think, was certainly exciting. And I do think it is crucial to change Governments’ behaviour toward nonhumans. But what really changed? I am skeptical about the value and effectiveness of an Animal/Environmental political party that does not clearly and unequivocally promote the rejection of *all* use of any sentient being—human or nonhuman. Unfortunately, change will not come as long as voter thinking does not change. And I am convinced voter thinking will not change without widespread grassroots Vegan educational efforts. As an example, just look at the membership rolls of any large animal advocacy organization or those who vote for any Green Party candidate. The sad truth is, I suspect, very few are actually Vegan. Voters need to hear a clear and unequivocal message that rejects the use of sentient beings. In order to get elected, if a “Green” political party must water down the animal use plank in their platform so much as to assure animals will continue to be enslaved or without any mention whatsoever, then for what change do they stand? For as long as we continue to use and exploit other species, we will *without question* continue to use and exploit each other.
I have several particular objections to the approaches of Animal/Environment parties—even my Green Party of Canada, whose platform seems entirely devoted to human interests. It’s all well and good to appeal to the public to give more consideration to the “interests of animals.” The most glaring failure in the Netherlands manifesto is to have confused this message with distinctly Welfarist language like “if we deem their use as necessary” or to “use sustainably.” As Professor Gary L. Francione has argued so eloquently, the one “right” that urgently needs to be accorded to nonhumans is the right not to be *property*. This simple right addresses the injustice of the commodification of sentient beings and all the misery that goes with it. At the same time, a Vegan moral view eliminates their use to the greatest possible degree.
As with almost all animal advocacy and “environmental” organizations, the Party for Animals suggests that some use might be acceptable if the user gives a greater degree of acknowledgement of the nonhuman’s “interests”. This is an extremely contradictory message to the one of “respect” since to use anyone requires a rejection of their interests.
In the Welfarist – Abolitionist debate, all Welfarist precepts come down on the side of ‘use is permissible’. That’s what 200+ years of Welfare regulations have been about. Welfare laws have *only* resulted in increasing the efficiency of our use. They’ve done nothing to release nonhumans from our domination. The key to understanding Abolition is to recognize that use—any use—must be rejected. Use *can be* rejected. It’s as easy as going Vegan. The crucial detail which the vast majority of organizations fail to recognize is that Veganism is a primary moral obligation of us all. And that requires Vegan education. And only a Vegan electorate will bring change to Government.
Thank you for considering my observations.
Posted in Abolitionist Commentary, Animal Exploitation, Veganism, tagged Abolition, Animal Exploitation, animal rights, ethical, ethics, Exploitation, Vegan, Vegan Education, Veganism, Vegetarian, Vegetarianism on Wednesday, March 10, 2010| 2 Comments »
I was raised an omnivore. When I went Vegetarian I, like most other Vegetarians I observe today, thought I was “doing my part” to help animals – lots more than anyone else I knew. I figured I don’t eat meat anymore, I’m making a real statement! But without a second thought I continued to eat eggs, not too often though. They’re very high in cholesterol – not very healthy, right?. And I loved pizza with cheese. I knew it was loaded with saturated fat but hey, it tasted so good. Once in a while can’t be all that bad eh? I went happily about my life wearing leather shoes and using products made with and routinely tested on animals in horrific ways. I was raised ignorant and I continued to be blissfully ignorant. But my conscience was clear. Now, I was helping animals because I didn’t eat them. I was saving animal lives! It made me feel kinda good.
Well during that whole period I knew no other Vegetarians. I was not an animal rights activist by any stretch of the imagination. My initial motivations after all, probably had more to do with reducing saturated fat in my diet than any real awareness of the ethical issues. And without the internet, I had no familiarity with the horrors associated with eggs or dairy or the products made with them and so “understandably” I really didn’t give morality a second thought.
But then I came into contact with someone who said they were Vegan. I’d never heard the term before. A decent seeming person, though their grilling of waiters or waitresses over whether their meals had eggs or dairy in them appeared a little excessive at the time. And I remember their non-leather shoes were not particularly fashionable and though they didn’t have a problem with foot odour, I always imagined their shoes were hot and sweaty because only leather could “breathe”, right? (Of course today, there are all kinds of fashionable, breathable, non-leather products available to consumers.) But my most vivid recollection of this person’s Veganism was that to me and others, they were very subdued about it. Maybe they just didn’t want to “push too hard” or come off as “preachy”. But there was never any discussion about animal exploitation or cruelty or whether animals can feel pain, or shifting paradigms… nothing. They probably had never heard the term “Abolition”. Coincidentally, I do recall they made donations to a group called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I thought that was probably good of them to support an organization that was looking out for animals’ welfare because surely no one should be going around hurting cats or dogs, right? I mean they’re so cute! [Of course I now suspect this person was probably lulled into that false sense of security that Peta and other Welfarist orgs are so good at dishing up to their supporters in their almost endless stream of direct mailed, funding raising literature – “Send us money – for this or that cause of the month – and we’ll make sure animals aren’t abused”.]
And so went my (Vegetarian) ignorance… for another 10 years! No one helped me to understand that much like my Omnivore lifestyle, my Vegetarianism was still responsible for phenomenal pain and suffering. Or that in fact egg and dairy production involves even more prolonged suffering than that associated with the eating of meat alone! It would be another 10 long years until my light bulb moment and the flood of personal research that followed quickly, the details of which are irrelevant to my point here. That point being, if someone… anyone!… had the courage of conviction to speak to me more illustratively, more passionately about Veganism and especially about its relative Abolitionist theory I feel sure, knowing what I have learned up to today, that I would have embraced Veganism and Abolitionism much, much sooner! And the double benefit is I would probably have passed on that knowledge and influence to many others in the interim.
And so, I see it somewhat differently than some “quiet” Vegans. I don’t think flattery, forgiving, or tolerance has anything to do with a Vegan message. I do feel Vegetarians, like anyone else including nonhuman animals by the way, deserve respect! But since I have lived the life of an uninformed, disconnected Vegetarian, I feel the most urgent and important duty of a Vegan is to inform… politely, yes, but clearly and consistently inform. We do ALL animals a grave injustice when, given any reasonable opportunity, we do not at least make sure a Vegetarian is fully informed about how much more they could be doing to eliminate animal suffering… and how easy it is. We are not here to force anyone to walk in our foot steps. We should be here to beat down the path whenever and wherever we can.