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Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.

Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher, physician, and musician (Nobel 1952)

Old Goat

August 31, 2015
by
Old Goat: Indraloka Animal Sanctuary

Old Goat: Indraloka Animal Sanctuary

Source Indraloka Animal Santuary

Please don’t turn away.

I know it’s hard to look at me.  But I am someone.  I matter.  And I didn’t always look this way.  I was young and carefree and healthy once.  People thought I was cute and funny and took videos of my antics.  Please hear my story.  Please acknowledge that I matter, that my life matters, even if I am just an old goat.

I was born a 4-H project– raised by a little girl who loved me, coddled me, kept me clean and fed me well.  We used to pretend that she was a pilot, and I’d leap and jump…a passenger flying in her plane.  She told me all of her secrets.  I knew the names the kids at school called her.  I knew how her mother scolded her for being “scraggly”, and warned her she’d never find a husband if she didn’t learn to clean house.  She cried into my fur when one of her classmates had a birthday party and invited everyone but her.

I loved her so much!  I loved listening to her problems.  I loved to comfort her and make her smile.  I thought we’d be together forever, best friends.  But then one day there was a big contest.  I didn’t win, but she sold me.  She was crying the whole time, her mother admonishing her to grow up.  Her father told her, “That’s just the way things are.”

I was taken to a clean, pretty farm, and put in a pasture with other goats.  They all had horns, but mine had been cut off by the little girls’ father.  I thought of my little girl as they bullied me.  Finally, I understood what she had been through.  I learned to stay out of the way, to be quiet and unassuming.  As long as I didn’t sit somewhere they wanted to sit, or try to eat something they wanted to eat, they ignored me.

The farmer was nice.  He gave me cookies and banana peels when the others weren’t looking.  But then something happened.

I got pregnant.  Oh!  Finally I would have someone of my own, someone to love and care for!  Someone who would never leave me!

Things got really good for a while.  The farmer separated me from the bullies and fed me special food.  Then my baby was born and he was a beauty!  Long lashes, chocolate brown eyes, ears way too big for his little head!  We frolicked and played and I thought I’d never be happier.

I was right.

One day the farmer came and took him away, and then put me back in the pasture with the bullies.  I cried for my baby and did everything I could to get the farmer to give him back, but he was gone.  I never heard from him again.  At least in those days I was too naive to know where the babies went when the farmer took them from us.

Every year after that, I got pregnant.  I usually had two babies.  One year I even had four babies.   I tried not to love them, I knew they’d just be taken away and killed.  But I failed.  I loved every one of them.  And every time they were taken from me, a piece of my soul went with them.

One day, I realized I was an old woman.  My body was worn out.  My feet couldn’t hold me up anymore, my ankles were too weak.  It hurt to walk, but I had to walk to graze and browse.  I had become so skinny, there was nothing to me but my rumen and some bones.  But still I pressed on, grazing when the sun went down, staying out of the other goats’ way.  I thought of my babies and my little girl.  The memories sustained me.

I thought for sure, now that I was too old to have babies, that the farmer would send me away to the place all the others have gone.  But instead, something happened.  I think it might be something good, but I’m not entirely sure yet.

I did get sent away, and now I am at a place they call a sanctuary.  None of the other animals are frightened here, and none of them are bullies.  I made a friend, sort of.  A woman comes and sits with me.  She sings songs and strokes my fur, and keeps trying to get me to eat.  Part of me wants to melt into her and let her hold me.  I want to cry into her hair like my little girl did with me all those years ago.  I want someone to love me like I loved that little girl, and like I thought she loved me.

I don’t know, though.  Maybe she’ll send me away like the little girl did.  Maybe she’ll kill me and eat me, although she doesn’t smell like a person who would do that.  I just don’t know.  I’m an old goat now.  If they are not going to kill me, what could they want from me?

Could it be possible, after all these years?  Have I found someone to love me?  Might I even make friends here?  Maybe I am finally safe…

Maddie’s road to recovery will be long, involving a great deal of expensive veterinary care.  Please share her story and please donate towards her care.  Every dollar is matched, and every bit makes a difference.   

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/free-vegetarian-starter-kit.aspx

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Nepal Temple Bans Animal Sacrifices as Offerings

August 24, 2015
by
Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Note: While this is an important and imperative change, saving countless innocent lives from misery, suffering, torture, and murder, please remember that 60 BILLION other innocent lives are maliciously, needlessly, and cruelly stolen for food every year. Please go vegan for ALL animals. SL

Source Ecorazzi
By Natalia Lima

A Hindu temple in Nepal has banned the sacrifice of animals as offerings at the traditional Gadhimai festival.

Taking place every five years for two and a half centuries at the Gadhimai Temple in Nepal, the festival brings in thousands of pilgrims that slaughter animals in hopes it will bring them well-being and prosperity. This year, however, the temple has put a stop to the needless killing.

“For generations, pilgrims have sacrificed animals to the Goddess Gadhimai, in the hope of a better life,” said Ram Chandra Shah, chairman of the Gadhimai Temple Trust. “The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration.”

In 2009, approximately 500,000 buffalos, goats, chickens and other animals were sacrificed for the festival.

The temple stated is was “motivated” by animal rights advocates who made their disagreement with the practice very clear to them.

In 2014, animal rights activists petitioned the Supreme Court of India, where many pilgrims come from, to stop allowing the export of animals from the country into Nepal for slaughter at the festival. The court, which banned animal sacrifices within the country that year, then ordered the government to stop the export of all animals without a license and as a result, the number of animals killed at the festival was significantly lower than years before.

The goal for the next festival in 2019 is to bring that number to zero.

“This is a tremendous victory for compassion that will save the lives of countless animals,” said Gauri Maulekhi, a consultant for the Indian office of Humane Society International. “We commend the temple committee but acknowledge that a huge task lies ahead of us in educating the public so that they are fully aware.”

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/free-vegetarian-starter-kit.aspx

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Veganism without Animal Rights

August 17, 2015
by
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

By Gary L. Francione 13.07.2015
This article was co-authored with Anna Charlton.

In less than five minutes, we will show you that you are committed to veganism:

We are going to defend what may appear to be a controversial position: that our moral rejection of meat, dairy, eggs, and all other animal products as food is required according to our conventional morality concerning animals. That is, if you reject the idea that animals are things that have no moral value whatsoever, you are morally committed to adopting a vegan diet. And you don’t even need to embrace a theory of animal rights.

Let’s start with a hypothetical: You encounter Fred, who enjoys imposing pain and suffering on animals. Fred keeps a number of animals in his basement and goes down regularly and causes them to suffer physical pain, fear, and distress, and he then kills them. Fred is otherwise a lovely person; his penchant for killing animals does not affect his dealings with other humans in any way. When asked about why he does this, Fred explains that he derives pleasure and amusement from these actions.

Would anyone not regard what Fred was doing as morally objectionable and, indeed, as morally odious? Of course not. Would such a reaction assume that the objector accepted the equality of humans and nonhumans? No. Even if we think that animals have a lesser moral value than humans do, we would still object to Fred’s fetish, as long as we believe that animals have some moral value.

We kill almost 60 billion animals a year worldwide

Most people believe that animals have some moral value but that it is not objectionable per se to use and kill animals for human purposes as long as we do not impose unnecessary suffering on them. And necessity must exclude suffering imposed for the reason of pleasure, amusement, or convenience. If imposing pain for pleasure, amusement, or convenience may be considered as necessary, then there is nothing that can be considered as unnecessary. If pleasure, amusement, or convenience can be considered as “necessary,” then the conventional wisdom about animals is that we can use animals as long as we don’t impose unnecessary unnecessary suffering, or gratuitous suffering. So in Fred’s case, conventional wisdom would say that Fred should not impose more harm than is necessary for him to derive the pleasure and amusement he seeks. But no one would anyone regard that as a plausible understanding of “necessity.”

This is precisely why most people object to blood sports such as fox hunting and bull fighting: they involve imposing suffering and death on animals for the purposes of pleasure and amusement.

So the question becomes: on what basis can we justifiably kill almost 60 billion animals a year worldwide (not counting fish)? Under the best – the most “humane” of circumstances – the amount of suffering we impose on animals in the process of using them for food is staggering. If we believe that unnecessary suffering is wrong, how can we justify that level of suffering? Indeed, even if we made animal agriculture much more “humane” than it presently is, there will still be suffering, fear, distress, and death. And there is no morally coherent distinction between meat and other animal products, such as dairy and eggs. They all involve suffering, distress, and death.

Animal agriculture is an ecological disaster

Given that we have criticized Fred, what do we have to say in our defense if Fred points to his critics as hypocrites who consume animal products? Until recently, most people have believed that it was necessary to consume animal foods and that, without those foods, humans would shrivel up and die. Many people still believe that today.

This belief is not justifiable. We’ve known for centuries that humans can live without consuming any animal protein. To the extent that anyone holds that belief today, it is a testament to the combined power of advertising and a corporate-controlled media reinforcing our desire for eating what we are used to and what tastes good to us in light of our past experience.

The view that we need animal foods for human nutrition is clearly and unequivocally false. It is now acknowledged by just about every respected professional organization, including the American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic, as well as by governmental agencies all over the world, that a diet consisting only of plant foods can not only be perfectly healthy, but is almost certainly more healthy than a diet heavy in meat, dairy, and eggs. But whether a vegan diet is more healthy, it is certainly not less healthy and animal foods cannot be considered necessary for human health. There is also broad consensus that animal agriculture is an ecological disaster.

So, in the end, what’s the best justification that we have for imposing suffering and death on many billions of animals?

Animal foods taste good.
We enjoy the taste of animal flesh and animal products.
We find eating animal foods to be convenient. It’s a habit.

How, then, is our consumption of animal products any different from Fred’s situation? It’s not. Palate pleasure is no different morally from any other sort of pleasure.

You are committed to veganism

The usual response at this point is to say that there is a moral difference between Fred and someone who goes to the store and buys animal products. There may be a psychological difference but there is no moral one – any more than there is a difference between someone who commits a murder and someone who pays to have the murder committed. And there is no difference – psychological or moral – between Fred and a hunter.

So if we object to what Fred does, we are acting inconsistently if we don’t stop eating animal foods and go vegan at least in those cases where we are not starving to death on the proverbial desert island or lifeboat. In those situations, different considerations obtain. Indeed, there have been instances where humans have eaten other humans in those situations and we have regarded that conduct as immoral (and illegal) but as excusable under the circumstances.

Some argue that our consumption of animal foods is traditional and that many animal foods are culturally significant. If something is morally wrong, the fact that it is a tradition or culturally significant cannot rescue it. There is no more enduring a tradition than sexism and misogyny, aspects of which are accorded considerable social significance.

What about plants? This is the very first question that every vegan gets at a dinner party. Plants are alive; they are not sentient. They do not have the subjective experiences that the animals we consume as food do. They react to stimulation; they do not respond. They do not have interests; there is nothing that they want, desire, or prefer. And even if plants were sentient, veganism would still be a moral imperative given that it takes many pounds of plants to produce one pound of flesh.

Please note that we have showed you that, unless you embrace the idea that animals are merely things that are outside the moral community, you are committed to veganism. And we never even mentioned animal rights. That is because we don’t need that concept unless we are talking about situations in which there is a plausible claim of necessity and we need a rights analysis to understand and resolve the conflict. But 99% of our uses of animals, including our numerically most significant use of them for food, do not involve any sort of necessity or any real conflict between human and nonhuman interests. If animals matter morally at all, then, even without accepting a theory of animal rights, those uses of animals cannot be morally justified.

Read more in this debate: Alice Crary, Michael Allen Gillespie, William Egginton.

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/free-vegetarian-starter-kit.aspx

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

SENZAPAROLE (WORDLESS) by Roger Olmos

August 10, 2015
by


Published on Feb 7, 2014

SENZAPAROLE (WORDLESS) 
By Roger Olmos
Logos edizioni / http://faada.org/
Music by MOBY, Hope is gone.
The book: http://www.libri.it/senza-parole-roge…

A book for the friends of animals, with no age limits.

“All over the world there is a mounting sense of unease about the way in which we human beings have been mistreating and exploiting other living beings. In the most admirable way, Wordless encourages us to look at our fellow creatures with new eyes.” — J.M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize in Literature 2003

Logos edizioni, in collaboration with FAADA (Foundation for the Adoption, Sponsorship and Defense of Animals ) and Roger Olmos, have given birth to a book that through its images and only few words aims at sensitizing the human beings of all ages to the conditions of the other animals, their fellow creatures: in order to know them instead of exploiting them, to love them instead of abandoning them, to protect them instead of massacring them.

A book that leads us to think about our choices, sometimes simply dictated by the “ignorance” of what lies behind fashion, food, and entertainment…

“In an increasingly urbanized world, more and more alienated from nature, it is no surprise that we also distance ourselves from animals. From “other” animals. “Other” because — although we happen to do it quite often — we shouldn’t forget that we are animals too. Maybe intentionally or perhaps because that’s the way it was, animals have been historically presented to us as food, clothes, objects of experimentation, and even sources of entertainment. Do we really see all that’s behind the uses of these animals or do we just see what is shown to us? Do we really want to see it? Do we want to be consistent with the consequences of our actions? SENZAPAROLE (WORDLESS) invites you to embrace a wider perspective, to look and think beyond the bounds that have been marked for us, outside the world in which we feel comfortable. We invite you to widen the focus, to adopt a more global view of what surrounds and amuses us, of what we use and what we eat. Do we really have the right to do whatever we want to the other animals with which we share the Planet?” –J. Berengueras, FAADA

Roger Olmos : “When I was a child I was fascinated by the illustrated books my father used to keep in his studio, which I found more interesting than the ones he use to buy for me. Those pictures are engraved in my mind and always will be, in such a strong way that the personal imaginary I have been developing since then has always been shrouded in those unusual atmospheres. This is also what I’m trying to do with my works: to recreate those early stimuli that trained me ‘imagemotionally’ also on the other things.”
Roger Olmos Pastor was born in Barcelona on the 23rd December 1975. He attended the Llotja Avinyó School of Arts and Crafts, where he specialized in illustration.
In the years 1999, 2002, and 2005 he was selected for the Illustrator’s Exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
– Selected for The White Raven 2002 (Tío Lobo, kalandraka)
– Selected for The White Raven 2004 (El Libro de las Fábulas, Ediciones B)
– Special Mention, The White Raven 2006 (The Thing That Hurts Most in the World, OQO /Logos)
– Premio Llibreter de Álbum Ilustrado 2006 (The Thing That Hurts Most in the World, OQO /Logos)
– Premio Lazarillo de Álbum Ilustrado 2008 (El príncipe de los enredos, Edelvives)

FAADA, the Fundación para el Asesoramiento y Acción en Defensa de los Animales (FAADA, Foundation for the Counselling and Action in Defense of Animals) is a non-profit organisation for the protection of animals, based in Barcelona, Spain. FAADA provides information and advice with the aim of promoting respect towards animals in the social, legal and educational fields. It works to improve the living conditions and legislations concerning pets, wildlife and exotic wildlife, and animals used for consumption and entertainment.” faada.org

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/free-vegetarian-starter-kit.aspx

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Choices, Choices

August 3, 2015
by

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons



Source There’s an Elephant in the Room Blog

As this is a vegan page, I’m assuming that you have concern for animals. I also expect that you do not like to think of them suffering and that you would like to do something to alleviate any suffering they may experience. So far, I hope I’ve not lost anyone.

Imagine that you are given a number of choices.

  1. Sign petitions against the use of fur/ the killing of dolphins/ the consumption of animals that you consider to be ‘pets’, in countries other than your own;
  2. Write to national TV stations explaining why they should not air cooking shows promoting veal/ foie gras;
  3. Send emails to protest against battery farming of chickens/ factory farming/ live transport conditions;
  4. Write letters of opposition to planning applications by companies proposing to build facilities to breed animals for chemical and drug testing;
  5. Write to politicians to demand that they support bans on fox hunting/ badger/ wolf/ seal culling;
  6. Spend an hour each day signing petitions against individuals and organisations calling for punishment for ‘animal abuse’;
  7. Share numerous petitions, asking all friends and acquaintances to help out by signing and sharing;
  8. Donate to organisations that profess to have concern for ‘animal welfare’ and need your money to make more videos showing ‘cruelty’;
  9. Participate in ‘meat-free Mondays’;
  10. Eat a vegetarian diet.

I expect some readers are going through the list, mentally ticking and adding new points….

Please let me tell you a bit about me. For as long as I can remember, I have had ‘concern for animals’. No one who has ever known me would ever deny my outspoken criticism of ‘cruelty to animals’; my misery and despair at the outrages that were perpetrated without justification upon them.

So would you like to guess which one(s) I chose? Yes, you’re right, I chose them allliving it 24/7,  racking my brains to come up with eloquent and effective ways to communicate my condemnation.

Just one choice. It was on its own. There was no lengthy list of alternatives.

A wake-up call

Then, one day, I came across a site on newly-discovered ‘Facebook’ that spelled out the truth about the dairy and egg ‘industries’. This site declared that there was no moral difference between one type of unnecessary use of other sentient individuals and any other type of unnecessary use, that all caused suffering and death. This site gave me a newchoice.

So first of all, how did I know it was the truth? I think we all know the truth when we encounter it, even when it is unpleasant and not what we want to know. It was a slap in the face, a bucket of cold water and a wake up call for me. I had thought myself so ethical, so clever, so enlightened and moral. But all of that was swept away in an instant, and I felt all the more of a fool for having had such a high opinion of myself.  And what was the new choice?  It was:

  1. Be vegan and educate others about veganism.

Just one choice. It was on its own. There was no lengthy list of alternatives.

Epiphany

Laid out before me in the harsh spotlight of a new understanding were all the ‘actions’ I had taken, all the moral high ground I had thought I was occupying. As I sat there in my leather boots, wearing my woollen sweater and silk scarf, with my fridge packed with free range, welfare approved, organic, dismembered carcasses which now seemed to me to be more akin to corpses, cadavers, than the euphemisms I had been taught. That same fridge now recognised as harbouring eggs and dairy products that reeked of uncounted deaths that in my ignorance I had told myself were not part of the production process.

And I wept. And when I stopped, I became vegan and I shall always be vegan.

Aftermath

Anyone who is vegan will have their own version of this tale, but the general outline will probably be quite similar. My awakening occurred almost three years ago and not a day has passed since then, that I have not thought back to it, and resolved anew to do everything I can think of to encourage others not to make the same mistakes I made.

The general view of society is that it is:

  • necessary to use and consume the bodies of other sentient individuals;
  • our right to ‘own’ the lives of other sentient individuals, bringing them into the world solely to be used as our resources, ingredients and commodities;
  • our entitlement as some kind of ‘superior beings’ to put our own convenience first and disregard the harm done to satisfy our indulgence.

The key thing, the one that that causes me the most distress, is that although the list of actions at the start of this post is long and varied, the sum total of their lasting effect on the view of animals as property, a view shared by most of our society, was zero.

On the other hand, it was undeniably clear to me that becoming vegan instantly aligned my actions with the person that I had thought I was all along – but obviously wasn’t. Suddenly there were no more ‘necessary evils’ to be glossed over, there was only being true to myself.

Why did it take me so long?

If veganism was ever mentioned by groups seeking donations, it was at the end of the list of ‘things you can do’, or else it was in the small print as an optional extra. I didn’t notice it at the time and have since gone back to look.  Human nature being what it is – and this is not criticism, it’s simply casting my memory back – when presented with a list of options, we all tend to choose the ones that will cause us least inconvenience.  This is particularly true when the list is offered in a way that suggests that any or all of the options would be a great help, would be ‘doing something useful’.

What these other ‘actions’ that I undertook so diligently actually did, in my own case and in the case of almost everyone I have discussed the matter with, was to make me feel that I was ‘involved in activism’. In short, participating in these actions reassured me that I was being effective and ethical.  But more dangerously, by keeping me focused on howhumanity’s victims were being treated, they fed my complacency and actually prevented me from taking the necessary step back and asking  the more honest question which is why we had victims in the first place.

I still find it incredible that I actually thought that I was doing the right thing, pointing a finger of blame in so many directions while failing to recognise the trail of blood I was leaving in my own wake, but this memory is why I no longer support or promote single issue campaigns or petitions.

There is only one course of action really tackles the roots of our speciesism. Only onecourse of action challenges the myths we were taught as infants about ”needing’ to eat animals, ‘and-while-we’re-doing-that-we-may-as-well-use-their-body-parts-because-it’s-not-respectful-to-waste-them”. There is only one action that works – not to regulate the torture that we inflict on those who cannot defend themselves against our brutality – but to end their torture altogether.

That course of action is to become vegan and educate others about veganism. If you are not vegan, find out about veganism here: HowDoIGoVegan

 

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/free-vegetarian-starter-kit.aspx

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Hidden & Unexpected Identities; A Call to Reflection!

July 27, 2015
by

 

Source The Identity-Story Project
By Beth Levine (Story Teller) & Dr. Jeffrey Zacko-Smith (Editor)

One thing I’ve learned as a diversity educator (and as a researcher who has been investigating the power of our identities to affect our lives, relationships and world) is that we all carry many identities (chosen and provided for us) that are not obvious to others and/or are not identities we think of when we are discussing these issues — but that does not negate their importance!

 Please enjoy Beth’s story (our first guest authored post), and I thank her for sharing it with us; it’s a wonderful example of the importance of reflection.

 My Chosen Identity

 I am vegan and an animal rights activist.  It is a not an identity that I was born into, but one that I actively chose.  I became vegan after reading “The Inner World of Farm Animals: Their Amazing Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Capacities” by Amy Hatkoff.  There wasn’t one particular section that was pivotal for me.  But as a psychotherapist whose work is based on Attachment Theory, I probably was most affected by how powerful relationship bonds are in the lives of other animals.

 I will never forget the story about Maya, a former dairy cow.  Maya never got to raise any of her own children since calves are by-products of the dairy industry and are taken away from their mothers on the first or second day of birth.  All dairy cows end up in the slaughterhouse when they become so worn down and produce less milk: after about four to six forced pregnancies. Maya somehow became a resident at Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal rescue organization.  Maya’s longings to nurture her babies were deep-rooted and at this safe haven for farmed animals, when calves also miraculously found their way to the sanctuary instead of a slaughterhouse, Maya welcomed and nurtured the babies.  Farm Sanctuary looked for families to adopt the calves.  When they found loving homes, Gene Bauer, Farm Sanctuary’s co-founder, would lead the calves away from Maya, who became inconsolable, “rolling on her back and wailing.”  Hatkoff writes that Maya has never forgiven Gene and will not allow him to come anywhere near her, her grudge lasting 15 years.

 In reading about the intellectual, emotional and social lives of animals who had previously been invisible to my heart, it became clear to me that we animals are all the same in the ways that matter most.  We all have feelings, we are all aware of what is happening to us and around us, we all experience fear, we all care about our lives, friends and family.  An internal moral compass took shape:  if I wouldn’t do “it” to a human, I could no longer do “it” to another sentient being.

 By the time I finished the book, I no longer looked at the world only through my perspective or another human being’s perspective. I now always included the perspective of nonhuman animals.  The world was never an innocent place, but including nonhuman animals in my moral community makes the world an even darker place.  When I walk into a supermarket and have to pass by the “meat” department, I hear the sounds of squealing pigs desperate to get away from the mechanical arm that will take them to their violent death.  This is a sensation etched in my soul.  When I go to a non-vegan restaurant with friends or family who are not yet vegan and look at the menu, I see the fear in a cow’s eyes and hear her fast breath, her panic to find a way out of a metal box before she is bolted with a stun gun and hung up by one leg until her throat is slit.  Going to a conference and sitting near someone wearing a fur coat, I see the terror in a bobcat’s eyes, her paw crushed and bleeding in a metal trap.  At a zoo, filming for an animal rights organization the elephants’ repetitive movements that indicate boredom to advocate for the end of zoos, I over hear a mother say, “Seeing these elephants make me want to go to a circus.”  I see baby elephants, ripped from their homes and families, tied up and beaten with bullhooks to break their spirit and force them to perform tricks for our entertainment.

 By including the perspective of other animals, I became painfully and acutely aware that behind the civilized façade of our lives there lurks a dark and sinister system throughout the world of violence and exploitation toward nonhuman animals.  I felt, and can feel, a great shame in being human.  I was aghast at how up to this point in my life, I had been unaware of this atrocity and how I had been participating in this horror.

 A part of me, strong and resolved, knew I would never again participate in this system of exploitation.  And an equally steadfast part of me grew to be an advocate for the rights of these helpless and wordless victims to not to be used as commodities, but to have their inherent worth as subjects of their lives respected and valued.  I purposefully use the term “wordless” and not “voiceless” because these animals have voices.  They speak their sorrow, their fear, their terror, their pain, their longings.  The question is whether we humans hear and respond to their cries.

 Being vegan defines how I see the world and how I am in the world.  I have to disconnect from all that I see and know to get through a day.  My relationships have changed.  I go through mental gymnastics/mental weight lifting exercises to remember the power of cultural norms to help me stay connected to people who I love and care about and who continue to participate in this insanity of treating other sentient beings as widgets.

 Despite choosing a way of life that is outside the mainstream, I have never felt surer of something nor more grounded in who I am.  I’ve always been an anxious person, but I am less anxious since becoming vegan.  I am more integrated, making conscious choices to live a life according to my values of compassion and justice.  I’m nicer to sales people, telemarketers, my neighbors, and others.  I go out of my way to help revive a mouse who was left on the sidewalk by a startled cat.  I watch my friend commit to feeding birds and squirrels and it inspires me to do the same.  I purposefully carry a spider back outside from a corner in my basement.  I choose vegan, fair-trade chocolate so as not to support slavery in any of its forms.

 Veganism and animal rights activism has given me a purpose, a meaning that fulfills and drives me.  The lives of billions of innocent, vulnerable nonhuman animals depend on me and other animal rights activists to advocate for their lives.

 I feel a part of something bigger than myself and I feel a part of a tribe of fellow vegans and animal rights activists.  I have never been happier.  I was answering questions designed to get to know someone with a friend and fellow vegan.  Question Number Nine (out of 36):  For what in your life do you feel most grateful?  Independently of each other, we both responded that it was being vegan.  This choice says we respect the lives of other beings and we work for a world in which individuals and society do not treat others, be they human or nonhuman, as objects to be used and enslaved.  Choosing to become vegan and an activist is the part of my identity I am not only most grateful for, but also most proud.

 Beth can be contacted at: dancingbl@aol.com

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/free-vegetarian-starter-kit.aspx

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

The Species Barrier – Sandra Higgins Interview

July 20, 2015
by

Source VOLE

Sandra Higgins of Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary is back on The Species Barrier to discuss The International Respect for Chickens event.

Support her work at: http://www.edenfarmanimalsanctuary.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheSpeciesBarrier/

Welcome To The Species Barrier… where two vegan, environmentalists question how we interact with the planet and the other animals who call it home. Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged and explore that barrier in place which separates the human animal from other species.

Listen locally on Lincoln’s first community radio station 107.3 Siren FM or internationally on the website at: http://www.sirenonline.co.uk/

Subscribe on Itunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-species-barrier/id807610635

Contact us: thespeciesbarrier@gmail.com

Order a FREE vegan kit: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/free-vegetarian-starter-kit.aspx

Take PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide along with you next time you head to the store! The handy guide will help you find humane products at a glance. Order a FREE copy HERE

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click on the below for nominal, or no, fees to vegan literature that you can use to convince others that veganism is the only compassionate route to being an animal friend.

PETA: http://www.petacatalog.com/catalog/Literature-39-1.html

Action for Animals has a very low price : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

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