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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)

Are Vegans Vegetarians? Part 1

October 12, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source This is Hope, the Book
By Will Anderson


The content of this multi-part blog is based on one of my presentations at the 2015 NAVS Summerfest last week.

The debate over the meaning of vegetarianism is not new. People have deliberated whether dietary vegetarianism was entirely plant-based or included animal products like milk, eggs, and honey since the founding of the first Vegetarian Society in 1847. What I am proposing is not new, though the reasons (environmental, social justice) have grown. Here we are continuing a conversation about what the meaning of vegetarianism should be. We are part of a debate that has been going on most recently since the 1830s.

In a break with tradition, I offer that veganism is not vegetarianism except in our minds by what we inherited as artifacts from vegetarianism’s history. The word vegetarian was first used in print in 1842. Practitioners of “the vegetable diet” of that era ate a largely raw vegan diet that often was associated with self-improvement, church congregations seeking to enhance their spiritual beliefs, and improving the higher self and that of humankind. However, the first Vegetarian Society at its 1847 founding allowed egg and dairy consumption as part of the vegetarian movement to accommodate its members.

The definition and our understanding of what the term “vegetarian(-ism)” means is inconsistently applied by organizations, food manufacturers, the media, vegetarians and the public. As we will see, this causes constant confusion and makes attaining a vegan planet unnecessarily difficult. How often should we be forced by this confusion to explain the “types” of vegetarianism and tag veganism into the mix? The violence and injustice waged against other animals, ecosystems and people will be reduced when we restore clarity to our language regarding vegetarianism and veganism.

Today, interpretations of vegetarianism range from veganism as an expression of justice, nonviolence and nonexploitation of others that we apply to everything we do in our lives—all the way to it being a practice that concerns itself solely with a dietary choice that can include all foods except “meat”. I will demonstrate the misunderstandings this creates and the harm it causes to our progress as a movement. Pointedly, the confusion in our messaging about veganism and its association with vegetarianism is our responsibility. We can take cues from the Vegan Society, founded by the creators of “vegan,” but must also respond to a world that has changed since the term was first used.

Perhaps what most of us can agree on is that the term vegetarian has meant many different things to different people, eras, and cultures. The core definition of vegan has not changed. Unlike vegetarianism, there is no confusion about veganism being the clearer, more effective and comprehensive approach to end the harms in our relationships with other beings. In fact, veganism reflects the original “vegetable dietarians” as they were called before the term vegetarian took hold. I will provide you with links to the history of our movement with the last installment of the blog series.

We must own the language if we are to communicate the vegan message effectively. The more clear and concise we can make it, the more powerful it will be for our advocacy. Veganism states itself exactly; vegetarianism is all over the place as to what it means.

NEXT: History – A review of the historical circumstances when vegetarianism lost its vegan meaning, and the events that led Donald Watson and others to create the term, “vegan.”

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the schisms of isms
what we are or
are not.
if we live by kindness,
that is the
best that
we got!!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

My position on Veganism in a Nutshell

October 5, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source Veganism: A Truth Whose Time Has Come
By Butterflies Katz

I would be vegan even if animals were exploited on green pastures rather than factory farms. My position is not about horrific treatment in factory farms or on the way to being slaughtered, (of course that’s despicable), but about any animal’s birthright under any conditions not to be objectified for human use. Animals should not be made slaves to humans any more than humans should be made slaves to other humans. I am pro-rights; fundamental rights of anyone who can feel and has consciousness, not to be harmed in my name. My educational efforts and campaigns are based in RIGHTS of anyone sentient not to be enslaved, exploited, sexually-violated, and/or violently assaulted by humans; who can live vegan.

I am anti-violence to any being; human or other animal. It is my life’s stance. I have been successful for nearly 4 decades through vegan living.

I use my advocacy time to educate people about the vegan ethic. Veganism is comprehensive and inclusive of all species of animals and all ways they are harmed by humans.

I tend to focus my energies towards those who are already interested. I hold FREE public vegan educational events, admin groups where people who are interested can join, etc. I have found that there are plenty interested already, so I focus on them; with the ultimate goal of reaching a “tipping point” in human consciousness. I believe the Golden Rule and treating anyone sentient (human or other animal) with basic respect. Therefore, I like to offer welcoming, FREE public-service events with a FREE vegan meal and education. I also like the written word; because I became vegan from someone’s writing.

I don’t have to use graphic shocking imagery which is unnecessary when you are talking from an animal rights-based position; as it is not about “treatment” or poor welfare standards in certain situations, but about any being’s birthright not to be violently assaulted and used at all, by humans. I prefer to use imagery that depicts “the way it should be”; beautiful images of humans being friendly to other animals.

I don’t ask others to follow my personal form of advocacy. I realize we all come from unique perceptions and people want to campaign from what they feel is true to their beliefs. I only mind if they misappropriate the very definition of veganism – a non-hypocritical way of life that seeks to exclude all forms of cruelty and exploitation of animals for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation, labor, breeding, etc.

I look up to veganism. I don’t put other activists on a pedestal. I put the vegan ideal on a pedestal. I consider the vegan ethic and the Light from the Sun to be my leaders and what I follow.

I realize that many humans are conditioned by society where it is socially accepted to abuse animals; eat and wear them, buy products that were tested on them, etc. I try to alter the perceptions of humanity and lift them up to seeing the vegan ideal, rather than lowering the literal meaning of veganism to meet “where people are at”. I would not feel right diluting the vegan message; it’s a Great Truth and we should be cultivating the vegan in everyone. I don’t see vegan living as the “end-all-point” or that we should “take baby steps to get there” -but- “the first step” or “the least we can do”.

I never confuse the meaning of veganism with a plant-based diet or a plant-powered diet. Eating a plant-powered diet is a big part of being vegan, but only a part. One can eat a plant-based diet for many reasons other than non participation in animal exploitation. There is one reason to be vegan. It is clearly in the definition. Veganism is always about not exploiting animals for food, clothing, products, and practices, to the furthest we are capable.

Since veganism is not really about YOU – but about THEM, I don’t tend to try to get someone to go vegan for their own personal benefit. I do mention that there are personal benefits. It is freeing to our spirit that we are living our life with the knowing that we don’t harm animals. It is uplifting to our soul and enhances our life to live according to what we know is right. And if someone does not know that it’s right not to hurt animals; my role is to help them to empathize, to care, and not to infringe on animal’s inherent rights.

Since we can live vegan, I believe veganism is for everybody – a Universal Truth. It’s something everyone needs to evolve to seeing and doing. If humanity embraced vegan living; we could save the world from environmental devastation caused by farming animals, and the violence that plagues this planet. We could attain Peace on Earth quite literally, if humans evolve to the vegan way of life. Many long term vegans have proven that vegan living is a viable and preferable alternative to what is now considered the norm. I believe becoming vegan evolves us and helps us become who we are meant to be. If I try to get you to go vegan, I am not asking you something that will harm you or anyone.

Vegans are the pioneers ushering humanity into a more civilized way of living on Earth that has far reaching benefits to the planet and all its inhabitants. Helping others to become vegan and making it easier for everybody to become vegan – is the perhaps the most important work we can do.

I have made certain “vegan stands” through my nearly 37 years of vegan living. I am vegan-sexual and have been for 3.5 decades. I don’t desire to be intimate with someone who has no issue with animal abuse. I won’t eat in a non-vegan restaurant. I try to support and promote vegan-owned businesses, as they will make it easier for others to be vegan. At age 25 (3 years after I became vegan) I saw that I was still participating by being employed by restaurants, and so I made a stand to stop working for animal exploiters.

When I do live with nonvegans, at times, they are fed vegan and educated about veganism. If I rescue animals that do not want to eat vegan, I find them a more suitable home. No one is going to get me to participate in nonveganism.

I don’t believe in buying animals ever, as I don’t see animals as objects that can be bought and sold like slaves. I don’t believe in breeding other animals or anyone but yourself (and I don’t believe in that either). I see it as sexual violation to breed animals, and unethical. I only rescue animals. I feed them a balanced and supplemented vegan diet and instill in them not to kill other animals. I don’t recommend to “adopt/foster” without saying feed these rescues a vegan diet, simply because I don’t believe in rescuing animals to feed them other tortured and murdered animals. I don’t participate in feedings carnivorous animals.

I prefer certain species of animals – and humans are not the top of the list. I often prefer living with dogs (fed a plant-powered diet), deer, bunnies, ducks, birds – over humans. However, I would not ever harm or kill any species of animal (including humans) intentionally or pay someone else to do it for me (by being nonvegan). I show basic decency to anyone.

I try to rid myself of all indoctrinated speciesism, sexism, racism, ageism, nationalism or any discrimination based on irrelevant criterion. That is a part of my vegan advocacy and personal growth.

I have a strong stand against “wrongful conviction” in humans and the same for imprisoning victims of other species….capturing animals from the wild and forcing them to entertain humans and live in prison, purposely breeding animals to bring harm to them, etc. I have a strong stand against “breeding” or sexually violating individuals, of any species. I have a strong stand on using a someone like they are a something; turning the bodies of animals into a reproductive machine for human use. I have a strong anti-slavery stand; whether humans or other animals. I only would purchase fair-trade chocolate, coffee, etc. Anyone against slavery must be vegan.

When it comes to animals in the environment that are introduced or so called “pest animals” – I don’t kill or harm them. I believe in sterilization bates, not poison bates. I’m an environmentalist, but I’m vegan first. So I won’t kill or harm animals that may be bad for an environment. If I did, humans would surely be targets, as there is no species of animal that is more a pest to the planet. I am not humancentric. I see the big picture that includes humans, all other animals, and the planet we all share.

I believe in helping animals living in the wild. Even if they are not exploited, some of the most horrific torture I’ve seen on film is predator animals horrifically killing a baby animal; eating them alive. Animals in the wild need help too. And we should help anyone who needs help, if we can. Also, my dog friend Kisses was rescued from living a free life in the surrounding woods where she had been abandoned. I believe she lived a longer and better life with me than free-living in the woods without human intervention. She obviously agreed, since she was able to run away into the surrounding forest at any point, but she never did. So living free of human intervention is not always better.

I do believe in hunt-sabotage. I do believe in peaceful protests and standing outside animal exploiting businesses to voice objection to their marketing lies and violence. I do believe in nonviolent civil disobedience and protest. I do believe in public activism and educational stalls and events. I don’t believe in any violence to anyone; so no arson to animal exploiting buildings. Someones can be in that building; birds, rodents, and other small animals. Plus you are adding to air pollution for those in the neighborhood. (And they will just set up business somewhere else.) I do believe in rescuing and saving animals from animal harmers; if you can and if you have a good home for these rescues. They can’t generally be freed into the environment. It’s not stealing. Animals should not be property of humans so they can torture them. The law does not have right on its side, at all times. I follow the laws of my conscience above the laws of government. If I somehow can rescue someone from a life of misery, I will and I think that is right – even if the law considers them someone’s property. I don’t. If I could have “stolen” an African-American slave during the time of legal slavery, I would have. If I could have stolen “a Jew” from a Nazi concentration camp, I would have. Hitler was an elected official. A hunter walked through my campsite and killed a deer that I befriended; he was perfectly within his legal rights. Sometimes the legal laws are not what is REALLY RIGHT.

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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.


Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele :

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‘Cowspiracy’: Inspiration for a Fallen Vegan

September 28, 2015
Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Source Huffington Post

Admittedly, over the last year I have slowly but surely become less of a vegan and more of a vegetarian. What used to be a bite of a blueberry muffin once in a while somehow turned into cheese quesadillas every weekend, and rather than try to reestablish my desire to be and identity as a vegan, I continued to let myself travel down a path of dairy consumption.

Then one day on my way to work I got a call from my older brother, a person who has never been vegan or vegetarian, and in fact was one of the staunchest carnivores I have ever met. The first words out of his mouth on our phone call were: “Dude. I think I’m going vegan.” There have been plenty of people over the last 6 years that have told me this or something similar, like that they wanted to cut back on their meat consumption, but never would I have ever imagined I would hear these words come out of my brother’s mouth. He told me he had watched the documentary Cowspiracythe night before and it completely changed his perspective on food, specifically on meat and dairy products. Without having to even watch the film, I was inspired by my brother’s words and actions. If someone who refused to give up meat for any reason could suddenly alter their entire diet in a drastic way, why couldn’t I make a simple change and cease eating dairy again? Something deep inside of me felt strange, perhaps even a little guilty every time I ate dairy but I suppressed it, telling myself I was being too hard on myself and that I couldn’t expect to be a hero or to be perfect. However, after talking to my brother I was encouraged and energized to return to a completely animal free diet. But I still needed a little bit of a push, so I watched the film.

Cowspiracy is a documentary that follows the adventures of a man named Kip as he searches for the leading cause of climate change and the overall decrease in our environment’s health. What he found was that meat consumption was the number one factor related to global warming, deforestation, and starvation across the world. With facts on top of data on top of UN reports that all definitively show that animal agriculture is detrimental to our atmosphere, Kip shows the viewer that you cannot eat meat and think you aren’t harming the earth. A few facts from the film’s website:

  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation.
  • Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually.
  • Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.

The documentary is filled with statistics similar to the above three. It’s almost overwhelming to watch and you feel like you need to be taking notes. That said, the thing I liked most about this film was that it showed a side of veganism that I think everyone can relate to. I appreciated that this documentary was really geared towards people who care about the environment and who are concerned about climate change — and that’s just about everyone I know. Touching on the drought in my home state California to wild life and rain forests disappearing across the world, this documentary presents information that will speak to viewers from every culture, country, and continent.

Another part I liked about the film (that I understand some people may not like) is that there was a small portion dedicated to slaughter and animal cruelty. At one point, Kip explores whether or not raising meat at home is more sustainable than factory farming. He visits a man who raises and slaughters ducks in his own backyard and becomes very disturbed by watching the man chop off the ducks heads and then feather and skin them. Kip even says in an interview afterwards: “When it gets to this point it’s not even about sustainability. I don’t feel real good inside.” I went vegan because of animal cruelty and was excited to learn along the way that being vegan was also good for my health and the environment as well. For my brother, the environmental side was the sticking point for him. Though I have never pushed my views on others or ever considered myself an “evangelist vegan” I do think the population needs to be much more educated so everyone can find their sticking point.

In conjunction with my brother’s epiphany, this film has helped me to revisit the reason I went vegan, to remember why I maintained a vegan diet for so long, and to reset my eating habits to return to a 100% animal free diet. I’ve seen several videos, have read endless books, and have watched countless documentaries, but this was the first one that made me want to spread the word that going vegan is vital because not only will it stop harming animals, not only will it improve our health, but it will save the planet – and that would be a feat for all of human kind.

You can download “Cowspiracy,” order the DVD, and also watch it on Netflix.

Order a FREE vegan kit:

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.


Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele :

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The Problem: “Animal Advocates” Who Promote Animal Exploitation

September 21, 2015

Source Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach

Mercy for Animals, an animal welfare organization, claims that “The Problem” is “Animals suffering miserably on factory farms.”


The problem is identifying the problem as “factory farms” and not animal use or exploitation–wherever it occurs andhowever supposedly “humane” or “compassionate” or “merciful” it is.

Misidentifying the problem has absurd and speciesist consequences, such as declaring the McDonald’s “cage-free” egg announcement as a “victory” and identifying this:


and this


as “Progress!” and as representing “meaningful changes.”

ScreenHunter_1080 Sep. 16 05.42

McDonald’s sells the suffering and death of animals.

Groups like the Humane Society of the United States and Mercy for Animals act as partners with McDonald’s in selling that suffering and death.

McDonald’s gets “animal advocates” to promote them and their products.

In return, McDonald’s gives these “animal advocates” meaningless “victories” to use in fundraising.

HSUS declares the McDonald’s “cage-free” egg announcement as a “watershed moment.”

MFA “applaud[s] McDonald’s for its commitment to phasing out cruel cages in its North American egg supply chain” and calls McDonald’s “praiseworthy.”

That statement is breathtaking.

Here’s a screenshot (click to enlarge) of the MFA statement in case you simply cannot believe that “animal advocates” would “applaud” animal exploitation.

ScreenHunter_1082 Sep. 16 08.04

Notice that, in addition to “applaud[ing]” the McDonald’s “cage-free” egg announcement, MFA tells its supporters to ask McDonald’s to continue it’s “praiseworthy progress by adopting meaningful standards for chickens killed for Chicken McNuggets.”

And that’s the problem.

Supporting these groups is supporting animal exploitation just as much as consuming a McDonald’s animal product is.

If animals matter morally, then we are obligated morally to embrace and promote veganism as a moral imperative and we are equally obligated to oppose the speciesist idea that imposing suffering and death on animals can ever be “praiseworthy.”


If you are not vegan, please go vegan. Veganism is about nonviolence. First and foremost, it’s about nonviolence to other sentient beings. But it’s also about nonviolence to the earth and nonviolence to yourself.

If animals matter morally, veganism is not an option — it is a necessity. Anything that claims to be an animal rights movement must make clear that veganism is a moral imperative.

The World is Vegan! If you want it.

Learn more about veganism at

Gary L. Francione
Board of Governors Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University

©2015 Gary L. Francione

Order a FREE vegan kit:

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.


Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele :

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

A CALL TO FEMINISTS: Dairy and the Subjugation of Women

September 14, 2015

fem violence

Source Animal Action of Greater Reading

The thing about dairy is…

I want to talk about what a “rape rack” is again. Some of you may notice I throw the rape word around a lot when I’m talking about animal abuse. Please know that this is very intentional and not a word I take OR use lightly. Its really important to know that “rape rack” is the industry word for the device used to artificially inseminate female cows so that they become pregnant and can eventually produce milk for human consumption. GROSS. And the fact that the industry doesn’t even attempt to hide that it is in fact RAPE is beyond disgusting and disrespectful to these beautiful mamas.

When a human mother has a baby, she will continue to produce milk as long as a child is drinking from her breast. Female cows however, can only produce milk for up to one year. So the raping process happens year after year until she is about three or four years old. Once she stops producing “optimum” milk, she is sent to slaughter. Women PLEASE, imagine being born a prisoner, abused daily, raped annually, impregnated, having each of your children stolen from you year after year until you are so weak and sick that they send you to be slaughtered and your body ends up in hotdogs and hamburgers and cat food.

Nothing could be more disrespectful to a mother. She’s done nothing wrong, and then you eat her? Really? Does that sound alright with you? In my prior non vegan life i loved cheese, milk, cream…you name it. If it was dairy I really genuinely enjoyed it. Then I found out where its coming from, who its coming from and the horrors behind the dairy industry. It stopped me dead in my tracks and the more I researched the more I knew that this just wasn’t right.

People have argued that feminism and veganism do not have to go hand in hand. My response is this: They NEED to go hand in hand and that is the only point here. Things change, we evolve and grow and learn from our mistakes and we’re usually proven wrong about a lot of things and evolve to a higher, more compassionate lifestyle. The “concrete information” you all seem to stand by is being proven scientifically, medically and morally wrong. Those foundational and ignorant thoughts and ideas are crumbling more and more everyday. Laws being passed to ban wild animals from the circus, fucking sea world getting shut down, dairy sales are down, West Hollywood passed a ban against the selling of fur, the UK, Australia and Croatia have banned fur farming completely, there’s more vegan options than ever before. Stop fighting it and and open your eyes, hearts and minds. Make no mistake their blood is on your hands and maybe you don’t see it but we see it clearly. Do better, be better. Evolve.

As women we need to stand and fight for all of our female sisters. Not just humans. It is hypocritical to call yourself a feminist if you are still ingesting dairy. Whether its cheese, yogurt, milk etc., their rape, abuse and murder is what your dollar is supporting. The line between humans and non-humans is arbitrary. Rape does not apply to humans only. Know that. Get it in your head. Rape is happening on these farms and it should make you very uncomfortable.

I’ll wrap this up with a quote from muh grrrl, the Vegan Feminist. “Challenge the category of the human just like feminists challenged sex and gender. This is all constructed to keep some group in power and it’s disturbing to realize we have the power in this case and we are the ones with privilege. Openly saying rape rack when I talk about cows is one of the most vegan feminist acts I can participate in; I look across an arbitrary boundary and I refuse the suffering of my sisters. Even if they are not your sisters, know that they were violated. Refuse to let anyone think anything less.”

Order a FREE vegan kit:

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.


Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele :

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

They Are All Cecil

September 8, 2015
Courtesy of Warrior of Light Facebook page

Courtesy of Warrior of Light Facebook page

Source Free from Harm
By Lorelei Plotczyk

Cecil reveals our glaring moral inconsistencies

Few issues cause more discomfort and hostility than openly questioning the practice of breeding, feeding, watering, and slaughtering tens of billions of sentient animals annually, which we do today in the total absence of necessity.

I want to be liked as much as the next gal, so when posting on my personal social media accounts, I try not to alienate myself from friends and family, the majority of whom love animals — or at least wouldn’t intentionally hurt one — but who have not (yet!) peeled back the layers that normalize the pervasive atrocities of animal agriculture affecting animals, people, and planet. For better or worse, I mostly compartmentalize these issues for discussions with like-minded folks. I’m working on that.

But the public’s justifiably outraged reaction to a lion named Cecil being killed by a hunter who paid $50,000 to do so makes it difficult to remain silent about the glaring moral inconsistencies that recently plastered many Facebook feeds.

Animal Rights BC (Before Cecil)

Here’s the deal. A man paid someone to allow him to kill an animal for pleasure.

Most people, on the other hand, pay people to kill animals for them, also for their pleasure.

Yes, in our society today, we eat animals for pleasure, not necessity. More on that in a minute.

It’s a wonderful thing when people speak up for human rights concerning specific races, genders, or sexualities. Most likely, someone who does so is not then proceeding to intentionally exploit humans outside of the group they’re defending at that particular moment. That would just be ridiculous and incredibly hypocritical. Can you imagine, for example, someone with a rainbow profile picture enthusiastically posting a racist photo?

Yet when most people speak up for the rights of certain animals — often dogs, particularly those left in hot cars — they then turn around and proceed to intentionally exploit animals outside of the group they’re defending at that moment, particularly those species they’ve been hypnotized by society to assign little to no moral consideration. This is equally ridiculous and hypocritical as the above example.

Courtesy of Brain on Hugs

Courtesy of Brain on Hugs

See more at:

Order a FREE vegan kit:

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.


Looking for merchandise? Action for Animals has a very good sele :

Have questions? Click HERE

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Old Goat

August 31, 2015
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.   

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