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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)


August 10, 2015

Published on Feb 7, 2014

By Roger Olmos
Logos edizioni /
Music by MOBY, Hope is gone.
The book:…

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.”

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…

Choices, Choices

August 3, 2015

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.


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.


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:

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…

Hidden & Unexpected Identities; A Call to Reflection!

July 27, 2015


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:

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…

The Species Barrier – Sandra Higgins Interview

July 20, 2015

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:

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:

Subscribe on Itunes at:

Contact us:

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.


Action for Animals has a very low price :

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Save Animals With A Single Scan? Yes, you heard it right.

July 13, 2015

Source Cruelty-Cutter

Cruelty-Cutter is cruelty-free shopping made simple! Cast away any doubts when purchasing items by using Cruelty-Cutter to scan an item and have an immediate response about its animal testing status. Share your results with friends on social media and also share your concern or praise with the company itself. Companies that still choose to test on animals will get the message that Cruelty-Cutter users are against what they are doing! This will help collect data to bring to these companies in the future to show that the public is not interested in supporting companies that continue to use animals when it is not needed.

The more shares, the more Doggie Dollars you earn towards coupons for cruelty-free items!

Boycott companies that test and tell them how you feel about their testing policies with a simple click, using our Bite-Back feature. Encourage others to shop cruelty-free by sharing, and perpetuate cruelty-free shopping by supporting ethical companies!

To learn more about how the app works, please visit our FAQ page and to read more about how we determine the status of a company in the Cruelty-Cutter app, check out our Research Methods and Criteria.

Download to donate! Your app purchase helps raise funds for Beagle Freedom Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to freeing beagles and other animals from testing labs and giving them a second chance at life!


Developed by Mobile Matters


BFP Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube


Q. How does the app work?
A. The Cruelty-Cutter app allows users to simply scan a product barcode and find out instantly if that company is cruelty-free. It’s ethical shopping made easy!

Q. Will the app tell me about specific products vs. companies?
A. The Cruelty-Cutter app links product barcodes to overall company profiles and reports whether the manufacturing company tests on animals for any of their products. So while a single product may not have undergone animal testing, you’ll know if that company is profiting from other products tested on animals.

Q. What kinds of products are covered in the app?
A. We provide information on a wide variety of personal-care items, cosmetics, and household products. Please Note: We do NOT report on food, beverage, or prescription medications as they are all under the purview of the US FDA.

Q. Is animal testing required or necessary?
A. NO! The U.S. does not require animal testing for personal care items, cosmetics, and household products. Furthermore, many other countries have completely banned these types of tests, including Israel, India, Norway, and the entire European Union! To find out more about animal testing and policies, please click HERE

Q. How do you determine a company’s cruelty-free status?
A. We realize that individuals and organizations draw the line in different places regarding animal testing. Most discrepancies involve citing a parent company who tests or sells products in countries like China where testing is mandatory. For a complete description of our research methods and criteria, please click HERE.

Q. Why are there more companies listed here than on PETA or Leaping Bunny’s list?
A. While PETA and Leaping Bunny are amazing resources, use of their logos and lists often require a fee from participating companies. Many smaller cruelty-free companies have not yet joined these groups. The Cruelty-Cutter app provides the most comprehensive list available and is constantly expanding!

Q. The app says a certain product is NOT cruelty-free, yet the bottle or website says “not tested animals.” Who is right?
A. Unfortunately, many companies are misleading in their statements. There are certain countries (like China and Brazil) that mandate animal testing on all imported cosmetics and any company who chooses to sell products there is agreeing to third-party animal testing. While they may not test here in the U.S., they’re condoning and profiting off of animal testing in certain foreign markets. You can read more HERE

Q.I just found out a company TESTS on animals. What can I do?
A. There are many ways you can Take Action! You can start by using our Bite-Back feature within the app. This allows users to easily post to their own social media circles to publicly condemn those cruel companies (or to praise great compassionate ones). The methods of Biting-Back depend on which social media networks you have enabled on your phone. Whenever possible, we include actual email addresses for companies and you can send them a pre-written email to let them know you won’t be spending your money on their products. For more information on the Bite-Back feature, please click HERE

Q.What are Doggie Dollars and How do I use them?
A. Throughout the Cruelty-Cutter app there are actions you can take to earn “Doggie Dollars”, such as sharing product info on various social media via the Bite-Back and Share features. Once you’ve accumulated 100 Doggie Dollars, you will receive a coupon for 10% discounts on products from that month’s cruelty-free sponsor! To read more about Doggie Dollars, click HERE and to read more about our current and past Sponsors, click HERE

Q. Will the app tell me if a product is vegan?
A. No, not yet. The Cruelty-Cutter app currently reports only if a company engages in animal testing. But we are gathering this information and hope to eventually add a feature where users can see if a given company is fully vegan!

Q. Is there a searchable list of companies or products in the app?
A. YES! We have a searchable feature called the Cruelty-Free Directory within the app that allows users to search either by Company Name or by Category (just type the name of the company or scroll through). You can find these list here:

For iPhone: Go to > More> Cruelty-Free Directory;
For Android: Go to > Menu> Settings> Cruelty-Free Directory

Q.Does the app work in countries outside of the US?
A. YES!!! The app works worldwide and we already have many users in countries all over the map! Since we rely on universal barcodes, we can create international company profiles and link them to products.

Q.I just scanned a product and it’s not in the app database. Will this be updated?
A. YES! A screen will appear after scanning a product telling you the company’s testing status. If the product is not yet in our database OR if the status is unknown, users have the option to submit a request for data. Once you’ve clicked that button, we get an email alerting us and we get to work researching! This process can take some time depending on the company response time, but we’re definitely working on it for you!

Q. What devices are compatible with the app?
A. The Cruelty-Cutter app works with most Apple and Android products. The main requirements are an auto-focusing camera and internet connection.

Apple: [Specifically requires iOS 6.0 or later. iPhone, iPad Wi-Fi (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi (4rd generation), iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular (4rd generation), iPad mini Wi-Fi, iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular, and iPod touch (5th generation)]
Android: Check with the Google PlayStore before downloading for compatible devices.

Q. Why does the app cost money?
A. The Cruelty-Cutter app is available to download for $2.99. Proceeds from this one-time fee go directly to saving the lives of the very research animals who have suffered for our products via the non-profit organization: ARME’s Beagle Freedom Project. A small amount goes to iTunes and Google PlayStore for app distribution.

Q. I’m having trouble with the app?
A. Please visit our Troubleshooting page and you’ll find many simple fixes to common issues, as well as contact information for additional support!

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.


Action for Animals has a very low price :

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Why I’m An Animal Rights Activist When There Is So Much Human Suffering In The World

July 6, 2015
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source The Dodo
By Tracey Narayani Glover

Before I was an animal rights activist, I was a budding human rights activist. While in law school, I helped victims of domestic violence obtain personal protection orders. I studied human rights and refugee law, participated in an asylum clinic, spent all my summer legal internships working with refugee organizations and focused primarily on helping women who were victims of gender-based persecution and violence such as honor crimes, forced genital mutilation, sex-trafficking, and rape.

My first client let me touch the shrapnel that was embedded under the skin in her knee after the Taliban had bombed her village in Afghanistan and killed most of her family. I also represented men when they were in need, like the gentle Congolese man who had been tortured, and had the marks on his body to prove it, because of dubious ties to the wrong political party.

Refugees and victims of gender based violence are an incredibly vulnerable and deserving group of humans. Many of them have no family, no country. Many live their lives in fear. Without the help of international aid groups and non-governmental organizations, they are at constant risk of exploitation, abuse, persecution, homelessness, and death. And yet, I have chosen to dedicate myself and my life to the animals. 

I’m sure every animal activist has been challenged on this point: “How can you waste your time on animals when there are so many humans suffering?!” “Why don’t you start with the humans, and when all of our problems are fixed, then you can help animals?”

Of course this is the dominant mentality, based on a presumed superiority of humans, so much so that the slightest harm to a human is often seen to outweigh a tremendous harm to an animal. Given that the capacity to suffer is in no way limited to human beings, this bias in favor of humans is simple prejudice, favoring those we perceive as similar over those we perceive as different and therefore inferior, the hallmark of all discrimination and oppression.

For years I felt paralyzed as I looked out at the world with all of its suffering.

I desperately wanted to help but didn’t know how I could possibly choose between helping the people in third world countries living in extreme poverty, and the millions of children under the age of five dying every year from malnutrition, or the victims of ethnic and religious wars that so brutally claim the lives of innocents at any given time in modern history, genocides like that in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, atrocities taking place right now in Libya, Syria and Yemen. Millions of mostly women and girls are bought and sold into the world of sex trafficking every year to endure unspeakable crimes. And then there are the animals being used for painful and often cruel experimentation in laboratories, the fur-bearing animals like the playful foxes who are killed by anal electrocution so as not to damage their fur or the Chinese raccoon dogs who are routinely skinned alive in order to make knock-off UGG boots or for the cheap fur trim on our winter coats .[1]

But the number of all of these animals combined is a drop in the bucket compared to the 55 billion farmed animals we kill every year for food. Fifty five billion animals. The entire global human population is about 7 billion, and we kill 55 billion animals every year for food. Each and every one of those 55 billion was an individual with the capacity to have bonded with family and friends and to have led a joyful life like the rescued pigs seen in this video but who instead led a life of intense misery and often sadistic exploitation before enduring the terror and pain of slaughter.

All of these human and nonhuman beings suffer terribly. All of them are worthy of our compassion. I have always wanted to help them all. I still do. But the reason I choose to dedicate the majority of my time to advocating for nonhuman animals rather than all of those deserving humans is that we as a society all basically agree on human rights.

When I say we as a society, I do not mean the moral outliers of the international community like members of ISIS, or those in our own society like rapists or serial killers, but those who represent the dominant ethic in the world community, the law abiding members of our society and the international community. And according to that dominant ethic, it is wrong to abuse woman and children. It is wrong to murder innocent men. When we see humans who are starving or being exploited, raped, kidnapped, murdered or tortured, we believe it is wrong. Most governmental bodies around the world, non-government organizations (NGOs), and individuals agree that it is wrong to cause intense physical or emotional pain and suffering to human beings. We criminalize such harm, and we punish those who commit these crimes.

The same cannot be said of animals, especially not farmed animals, whose abuse is accepted by the same moral community that rejects the abuse of humans.

Even those of us who shower our dogs and cats with affection do so while sitting down to feast on a meal comprised of the body parts of equally sentient beings whose entire lives were spent in suffering. As a society, we still do not see what we’re doing to animals as wrong. While all animals in our society are still legally considered property, at least abusing dogs and cats is now a felony in all fifty states. However, what is felony cruelty if done to a dog or cat is perfectly legal if done to an animal we have designated as a food animal.[2]

We not only kill 10 billion land animals in the US every year for food, (55 billion globally) it would not be an exaggeration to say that we torture them for the duration of their short lives before we kill them. We confine them in tiny cages that drive them literally insane. [3] We take babies away from their mothers and murder them by the millions (e.g., we kill 260 million baby chicks every year because they are a “by-product” of the egg industry).[4] Dairy cows are impregnated on what the industry calls a “rape rack” in order to ensure the cow will continue to lactate and provide milk that will be denied to her baby, who will be taken away at birth. If that baby is female, she will become a dairy cow and like her mother, she too will be forcibly impregnated, and then after giving birth to four or five babies and milked so much the odds are she will suffer from a painful udder infection called mastitis, she will be slaughtered at a fraction of her natural lifespan when her body becomes too depleted to continue producing milk at the volume modern agribusiness demands. If the baby the dairy cow births is a male, he will either be killed on the spot, or turned into veal (i.e. confined all alone in a dark pen and fed an iron deficient diet to make him anemic because consumers prefer the taste and color of meat that comes from anemic babies). [5]

Nonhuman animals are conscious, intelligent, emotional beings.

If we have ever lived with a dog or cat, we probably know this from experience. If we need proof, we can ask the scientific community. In 2012, a prominent international group of cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neuroanatomists and computational and neuroscientists gathered at The University of Cambridge and declared that nonhuman animals are conscious — meaning they can think, feel, perceive, and respond to the world in much the same way as humans. [6]

It is hard to measure pain. Usually with humans we just ask them how much pain they feel and they tell us. But when they can’t tell us, we look for external signs of pain such as trying to get away from the source of pain, vocalizing (yelling, crying), grimacing or shaking to name a few. Nonhuman animals demonstrate all of these same signs. If we can bear not to look away, it is plain to see that the egg laying hens crammed into battery cages, or the sows confined to gestation creates so small that can’t turn around, or the dairy cows being dragged to slaughter because they are too lame to walk all suffer tremendously.

Just a few hundred years ago, Rene Descartes, the father of western philosophy, strapped living dogs to tables and cut them open without anesthesia believing that their howls were like the sounds made by machines, no more indicative of pain than was the screech made by the machine’s metal parts. Hard to imagine, that. And yet today even on so called humane farms, we routinely subject cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other farmed animals to mutilation without anesthesia.[7] If we think what Descartes did was wrong, how can we possibly condone what we do to farmed animals every single day? There is no reason to believe that a dog feels more pain than a pig or for that matter that a human feels more pain that a dog. Some, like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, think non humans may even feel pain more acutely than humans do. [8] In fact we are so certain that nonhuman animals do feel pain like humans do that we subject animals like mice to pain tests in labs in order to better understand human pain.[9]

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that at least one million chickens and turkeys are boiled alive every year because the production line is so fast that their throats haven’t been slit by the time they get to the tanks of scalding water into which they are dropped, only to be boiled alive.[10] More than 1 million pigs die in transport every year before they even get to the slaughterhouse.[11] They are packed in so tightly they cannot move, and can barely breathe. They die of suffocation, overheating, being trampled.

I became an animal rights advocate not because I don’t care about humanity, but because so few people care about the nonhuman animals.

The suffering of animals we use for experimentation, for fur, for our food is shocking to the conscience. Watch one undercover slaughterhouse video and we might think the vile cruelty we see is an anomaly. Watch hundreds and hundreds of these videos and we begin to realize that the disdain with which the workers treat the animals, kicking chickens like footballs,[12] kicking and stomping turkeys destined for Thanksgiving dinner,[13] slamming piglets onto the concrete floor and leaving them to die,[14] is not anomalous but is the norm.

The degree and scale of the suffering involved in animal agriculture in particular is beyond anything humanity has ever endured.

Polish-born Jewish-American author Isaac Bashevis Singer famously said “In relation to … [the animals], all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.” This refers of course to the Nazi concentration camp where close to a million Jews were exterminated in gas chambers. The first time I ever heard the comparison made between factory farming and the Holocaust was by someone who lost most of his family in the Holocaust and who himself is a survivor of it. Alex Hershaft is an animal rights pioneer who has said that his experience in the Holocaust not only contributed to his becoming a vegan and an animal rights activist, it is the cause of it. During a recent trip to Israel, he had this to say in an interview: “The Jewish Holocaust is a unique event in human history; and the best way to honor the Holocaust is to learn from it and to fight all forms of oppression. We may have been victorious in World War II, but the struggle against oppression and injustice is far from over. For me, the Holocaust isn’t a tool in the struggle, but an experience that shaped my personality and my values, made me who I am today, and drove me to fight all forms of oppression, including the oppression of the weakest creatures, the animals.” [15]

In his latest book, “The Most Good You Can Do,” one of the modern world’s pre-eminent philosophers of ethics, Peter Singer, argues that if we are interested in doing the most good we can do in the world, that is, in reducing the most suffering, there are three main areas that demand our attention. These are saving the environment, ending extreme poverty, and helping the nonhumans animals, especially farmed animals.

In addition to its importance for the nonhumans, vegan advocacy goes beyond helping nonhuman animals. Vegan advocacy seeks to raise consciousness and awareness about the ways in which we treat other beings. The animal rights movement does not just advocate for a select group of beings, it advocates for principles truly universal in their scope.

Animal rights advocates don’t just advocate for the rights of chimps or cows or fish. They advocate for a more compassionate world for all beings.

They bring awareness to structures of power that are oppressive and based on exploitation, that harm nonhuman animals, humans, and the environment. Veganism is rooted in the concept of ahimsa, a Sanskrit word meaning non-harm to all sentient beings as well as the living environment. It is a movement that above all values the reduction of suffering, and calls on us all to bring more awareness into the ways in which we relate with all beings, the nonhumans as well as humans. Fundamentally, vegans advocate for the values that all social justice movements uphold. They focus on the nonhumans, but what they are really advocating for is a society in which no sentient being is used as a means to another’s end. They are fighting for the elimination of all forms of prejudice and oppression. They work to build a world where no sentient being is discriminated against based on morally irrelevant qualities, where all beings are valued and respected, where none are enslaved or tortured, where all beings are allowed the freedom to thrive and pursue their own innate potential for happiness and joy. As long as our society is built on a foundation of brutality, oppression and exploitation of billions of sentient beings, how can we ever hope to have true justice or compassion within human society?

Being an animal rights activists is not about limiting our compassion to nonhumans, it’s about extending our circle of compassion to include all beings who can suffer.

In the world we live, there is no comparison to the enormity of the suffering endured by the nonhuman animals, especially those enslaved by the meat, dairy, and egg industries. I am an animal advocate because the screams of billions of animals remain unheard. I am an animal advocate because no being should suffer, and the suffering of nonhuman animals is so intense, so constant, so massive, and so widespread. I am an animal advocate because humanity is still in denial that it is our own daily choices that are responsible for the immense suffering of a truly unfathomable number of conscious, emotional, sentient beings. I am an animal advocate quite simply because it is the animals who need me the most.

[1] “Inside the Chinese fur farms which breed ‘raccoon dogs’ in tiny cages and skin them alive to make luxury coats sold in the West” Dan Bloom, The Daily Mail, Feb. 14 2015,






[7] “Deciphering “Humane” Labels & Loopholes”, Woodstock Animal Sanctuary,


[9] “Behavioral Measures of Pain Thresholds” Michael S. Minett, Kathryn Quick, John N. Wood, Current Protocols in Mouse Biology, Sept. 2011,

[10] “USDA plan to speed up poultry-processing lines could increase risk of bird abuse,” Washington Post, Kimberly Kindy, Oct. 29, 2013,

[11] “Research Looks at Transport Losses,” Feedstuffs Apr. 17 2006.

[12] “Chick-fil-A Suppliers Caught Torturing Animals On Hidden Camera By Mercy For Animals” Nov. 19, 2014




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Why the YULIN Dog Meat Festival ISN’T A BIG DEAL

June 29, 2015


The Yulin dog eating festival sparks enragement and controversy every year with a strong global outcry for its banishment. But, in all honesty, is it really that bad? How is it any different than what every other country is doing every single day? Why are people SO upset over the consumption of dogs over any other animal? In this video I give you my own perspectives. Find more information and resources at the blog post & below:

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[Also, PLEASE SHARE the video to Ricky Gervais @rickygervais on Twitter to help him make the connection. He’s a great advocate of pets and against animal testing but hasn’t made the full connection to all beings. Do be respectful though and NOT crazy super-blast on him :) ]
Find Out Why It’s Not A Big Deal:
Eating Meat & Signing A Petition Against Yulin:
Murder is Murder Regardless of the Location:
Species Doesn’t Dictate Ethics:
What Is On Your Plate Had A Name & Family:

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Can You Love Animals AND Eat Them:
The Truth About “Humane” “Free-Range” & “Cage-Free”:
The TRUE Number of Animals We Kill Every Year:
Speciesism: The Original Form of Discrimination:
Do Animals Grieve?:
What Your Dietary CHOICE Means:
More About Milk:
What’s Wrong With Wool? ?:
Is Vegetarian Enough?:
The Morality of Meat:
What’s the Problem With Honey?:

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