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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)

Yes, plant-based meat is better for the planet

December 6, 2021
by



Source Vox

By Matthew Hayek and Jan Dutkiewicz


Plant-based meat has gone mainstream. The Impossible Burger, which debuted at a single restaurant five years ago, is now on Burger King’s permanent menu. And McDonald’s is testing its McPlant burger, featuring a Beyond Meat patty, in select US locations. Both plant-based startups are now veterans in a product category that did $1.4 billion in sales and grew 27 percent in 2020.

Under the tagline “Eat Meat. Save the Planet,” Impossible Foods claims its soy-based burger uses 87 percent less water, takes 96 percent less land, and has 89 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than a beef burger. Beyond Meat makes similar claims about its pea-based burgers.

This matters because animal agriculture contributes around 15 percent of global greenhouse emissions, and experts agree that without a major shift away from meat in our diets, we won’t be able to meet the global community’s climate targets. The promise of plant-based faux meats is that consumers will be able to keep enjoying the foods they love, but with a far lower climate footprint.

But an increasing number of researchersfood critics, and environmental groups are casting doubt on these types of claims, warning that faux meat production still relies on industrial farming practices. They claim that we don’t know enough about these relatively new products to say for certain if they’re better for the environment than the meat they are trying to replace.

One recent whitepaper from an environmental NGO states that the above claims from faux meat companies “are unproven, and some clearly untrue.” A sustainability analyst quoted in the New York Times goes further, claiming that the companies’ secrecy about their production methods means that “We don’t feel we have sufficient information to say Beyond Meat is fundamentally different from JBS.” (JBS is the world’s largest meat producer).

But years of research on the environmental impact of food make one thing clear: Plant proteins, even if processed into imitation burgers, have smaller climate, water, and land impacts than conventional meats. Apart from environmental impact, reducing meat production would also reduce animal suffering and the risk of both animal-borne disease and antibiotic resistance. The criticisms against the new wave of meatless meat appear to be more rooted in broad opposition to food technology rather than a true environmental accounting — and they muddy the waters in the search for climate solutions at a time when clarity is sorely needed.


The climate impact of animal meat versus plant-based meat, explained


Americans eat well over 200 pounds of meat each per year, and it’s accelerating us along a collision course with climate catastrophe. While many other countries eat far less meat, global appetites are catching up quickly, spurred especially by the growing affluence of the rising middle class in Asia and Latin America.

Fossil fuels do make up a far greater proportion of emissions in the US and globally, but even if we reduced energy emissions down to zero, demand for meat and dairy alone could make us exceed critical levels of global warming. That makes shifting diets away from meat a critical tool in preventing global temperatures from rising above 1.5°C or 2°C by 2100.

There are a number of reasons for meat’s outsized ecological footprint. The first is that cows belch out methane created from fermenting grassy food in their multi-chambered stomachs. With a billion and a half cows on the planet — raised for both beef and dairy — that adds up to about 9 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions alone.

Although pigs and chickens, the two most farmed species on the planet, don’t belch methane, they still produce lots of manure — and that generates nitrous oxide, another potent greenhouse gas. They also need to eat fertilized crops, like corn and soy, which generate more emissions. And while all cattle graze on grass, most in the United States are eventually fattened for slaughter on feedlots where they too eat corn and soy.

Feeding all of these crops to animals is far less efficient than feeding them more directly to humans. For example, every 12 calories from corn and soy fed to a pig provides just one calorie of meat back. The proposition of plant-based meats is that they cut out the animal, allowing more efficient use of land and resources.

Different animal products have vastly different emissions. For instance, pigs and chickens emit far less than cows and sheep. But according to recent peer-reviewed research from the University of Oxford and Johns Hopkins University, which compiled several estimates, all of these animal foods (except some chicken) generate more emissions than plant-based meats. (Editor’s note: Jan Dutkiewicz, one of the authors of this article, was a co-author on the Johns Hopkins paper.)

This research consisted of meta-analyses of multiple life-cycle assessments, or LCAs, which measure the total environmental impact of a product. While some of the plant-based meat estimates were commissioned by the faux meat companies themselves, including Beyond and Impossible, others were not, and all used internationally agreed-upon LCA standards for accounting of every emission source throughout processing.

Even the lowest-emitting beef from dedicated beef herds (34 kg carbon dioxide equivalent, or CO2e) and lower-emitting beef from dairy cow herds (15 kg CO2e) came in far above the highest-emitting tofu (4 kg CO2e) and plant-based meat (7 kg).

Chicken and pork production emit far less CO2 equivalent than beef. And while there is some overlap (the lowest-emitting chicken [3.2 kg CO2e] and pork [6 kg CO2e] rival the emissions of the highest-emitting plant-based meat), the average emissions of tofu and plant-based meats are still lower than the average emissions of both chicken and pork.



Chart: “Plant-based meat has a lower carbon footprint than most animal products”


Of course, climate emissions aren’t the only environmental impacts from food. Producing animal-based food also requires large quantities of fresh water. For instance, one kilogram of pork requires 442 liters of water, versus 84 liters for one kilogram of plant-based meat. Similarly, producing beef, pork, and chicken requires far more land and causes much more pollution to waterways than plant-based alternatives.


How techno-skepticism muddles the environmental debate over plant-based meat


Despite the clear evidence that plant-based meats are generally better for the environment, criticism persists, and some of it is rooted in techno-skepticism — the attitude that because most plant-based meat is made using similar industrial farming and food-processing techniques as animal meat, it too is highly problematic.

It’s true that just like feed crops for farm animals, most faux meats are made with soy or wheat (or peas, in the case of Beyond Meat), and are grown as monoculture crops, meaning they’re grown in large fields that consist of just one mechanically farmed plant. Monoculture farming has long been criticized by environmental advocates for causing soil degradation and requiring a lot of pesticides, among other problems. A further extension of the criticism is that monocultured crops are usually the product of genetic modification, or GMOs.

While the safety of genetic modification itself has been well established, some of the intensive farming practices associated with growing certain GMO crops have come under fire from environmental NGOs and champions of organic farming. Plant-based meat companies take very different stances on using GMOs, with Impossible Foods embracing the technology and Beyond Meat going GMO-free.

However, the vast majority of chicken and pork requires more crops in the form of animal feed than what is contained in an equivalent serving of plant-based meat — and that’s almost always more monoculture GMO crops. Paradoxically, if you want to eat something meaty, a great way to reduce your monoculture (and GMO) intake is to eat faux meats.

To be sure, exclusively grass-fed beef doesn’t use any monocultured feed. But it’s sold at a premium price, and scaling up its production to meet current demand for beef would require multiple times more land than is already used, making this a dead-end proposition (unless we also drastically reduce consumption).

Critics of plant-based meat have also pointed out that it tends to be highly processed. No doubt, most plant-based meats are not health foods, due to their high saturated fat and salt (though beef and pork, too, are high in saturated fat). But “processed foods” is a vague and often ill-defined term that encompasses everything from high-fructose corn syrup to whole-grain pasta to yogurt, and has little bearing on foods’ environmental impact. As Vox’s Kelsey Piper has written, the term “processed food” “can obscure more than it clarifies” when it comes to the debate over plant-based meat.


What “corporate sustainability” measurements get wrong about the environmental impact of food


The final major critique of plant-based meat revolves around transparency.

This critique is raised both by some food NGOs and by a niche group of professional ESG (environmental, social, governance) corporate analysts. These analysts are paid by conscientious investors to rank companies by the riskiness of their supply chains. This is an important and growing space, but corporate ESG analysis still has major problems and limitations.

Some corporate sustainability analysts have criticized plant-based companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat for not precisely and continuously reporting climate impacts across their supply chains, like packaging, transporting, and processing. As noted earlier, when speaking to the New York Times for a recent article, one ESG analyst said that Beyond Meat and JBS are not “fundamentally different.”

One academic researcher called these products a “black box,” claiming that “much of what is in these products is undisclosed.” These kinds of statements are hyperbolic, akin to saying a gas-guzzling SUV and an electric car are similar because the companies that make them don’t reveal the emissions that come from producing the specific microchips they use.

It’s true that ingredient labels can’t tell us precisely where and under what conditions a given ingredient, like soybeans or coconut oil, was grown, and most meat and faux-meat companies don’t disclose emissions throughout their entire supply chain and manufacturing. These details aren’t trivial, and emissions across manufactured food production can likely stand to be improved.

But because corporate ESG is a niche space, its demands for transparency often revolve around details that investors want to see, including small tweaks and changes in production processes, while potentially missing the lion’s share of the real environmental impacts. When it comes to plant-based burgers, we already know most of the impacts and where they are coming from. According to FDA regulations, food companies must list all ingredients on product labels, meaning that much of the “black box” of plant-based protein can be unlocked simply by looking at the back of a package.

Labels on conventional meat also do not disclose all the inputs and processes that went into producing it. If you’re eating a Beyond Burger, you might not know exactly where its peas come from or how it was packaged, but you would know that peas were the most-used crop ingredient. If you’re eating canned pork from Hormel, the maker of Spam — which one sustainability analysis firm rated as much lower-risk than Beyond Meat when it comes to their reputational risks like harming workers or the environment — you nonetheless wouldn’t know what their pigs ate or, for that matter, how those pigs were treated.

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of the environmental impacts of our food are a result of what happens on farms, not in manufacturing or shipping. For example, a local, grass-fed burger is going to cause more emissions than, say, a pea-based burger or manufactured block of tofu trucked in from 1,000 miles away. With meat, most of the impact is from the cow belches, the feed crop production, the polluting manure, and the deforestation required to make way for ever-increasing production.



Chart: “Meat’s carbon footprint is almost entirely in land use and farming”


As seen in the chart above, packaging and transport emissions across different kinds of meats and plant foods are pretty consistent, never going above 2 kg CO2e per kg of product.

However, the emissions for land use, farming, and feed range greatly among foods, from 0.7 kg CO2e for peas to more than 57 kg CO2e for beef.

Put differently, packaging, transport, and processing make up a large percentage of tofu’s emissions only because soy’s overall production emissions are already very low. In order for plant-based meats to even approach beef’s environmental impact, they would need to have a manufacturing footprint at least 10 times higher than that of tofu.

All of these criticisms may have more to do with techno-skepticism than scientific rigor. The discourse against technological “frankenfoods” is a longstanding one that contrasts bucolic images of “real food” and “real farms” with labs, factories, and smog. The real story isn’t so simple. And while many of the harms from food production are industrial in origin, we can also thank technology for major advances in food safety like pasteurization — and for the creation of faux meats that, while imperfect, give people a more sustainable alternative to animal-based meat.

None of this is to say that makers of plant-based meat alternatives can shirk transparency. Companies that are serious about making big sustainability claims should strive to win the public’s trust through greater transparency of their entire production chains, including not simply emissions but other impacts like labor practices and manufacturing waste. Nonetheless, we currently know enough to conclude that plant-based meats’ climate impacts are smaller than those of conventional meat, even if the precision of their monitoring could be improved.


Why other ethical impacts get left out of the equation


Beyond climate and pollution, there are a host of other impacts corporate sustainability evaluators and public interest groups should consider in their assessments, including animal-borne disease and animal welfare.


A row of cattle with their heads down in a long feed trough.
Cattle eat at a Columbus, Nebraska, feedlot in June 2020.

Most meat eaten by Americans comes from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where animals have scant legal protections. This barren legal landscape has led to a race to the bottom on animal welfare, resulting in animals bred to grow so fast that their vital organs can painfully lose function, or they can barely walk without pain. Animals’ natural behaviors are restricted by confining them in cages too small to turn around or spread their wings.

It’s unsurprising, then, that footage depicting neglect and mistreatment of pigs, chickens, and cows on industrial farms has caused reputational damage to the food companies that were unaware of or unconcerned about practices on the farms from which they source. For instance, the dairy company Fairlife faced protests and lawsuits after undercover footage apparently showed abuse at a farm from which it sourced milk.

Because of this reputational risk, the meat lobby has pushed states to pass “ag-gag” laws criminalizing private investigations and whistleblowing on animal farms, which have only worsened the pressing transparency issue across North American animal farms.

Another risk in factory farming (for which there’s no equivalent in plant-based food manufacturing) is pandemic risk. The confined conditions that create animal welfare problems on intensive farms also increase the risk of animal-borne diseases. Thousands of animals are kept in quarters close to each other and their waste, allowing pathogens ample opportunity to propagate and undergo mutations that can jump to workers and communities near production facilities.

Spillover of avian flu strains from chickens to humans is an ever-present possibility, which has seen sporadic outbreaks around the world, exacerbated by the closely confined and often unsanitary conditions in which billions of chickens live on meat and egg farms.

And diseases that don’t spread to humans are also a near-constant risk to the business of industrial farming and our food supply. The ongoing African Swine Fever pandemic alone has claimed the lives of hundreds of millions of pigs, with preventative pig culling the only existing measure to control disease spread, causing tens of billions of dollars in losses in Asia alone.

Antibiotic resistance is another potentially existential threat that can emerge on industrial animal farms. Antibiotics are a basic and critical tool in modern medicine and also our last line of defense against many diseases.

However, the majority of antibiotics produced globally are used on farmed animals to prevent bacterial outbreaks and boost animal growth, and their chronic use creates new antibiotic-resistant strains of harmful and potentially deadly bacteria.

Already, 700,000 people die each year of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including 35,000 in the United States. The World Health Organization has specifically called for the phaseout of farms’ unnecessary antibiotic use to reduce this risk because we don’t have an alternative — an antibiotics 2.0 — if antibiotic resistance keeps increasing as it has.

Disease and animal mistreatment are directly relevant to sustainability and to companies’ material and reputational risks, but meat companies have generally sought to avoid addressing them as they would make their operations more costly and less efficient.

Sustainability firms and other industry watchdogs, meanwhile, have not quantified these impacts, with some exceptions. There are a few reasons for this, including that it’s difficult to put concrete numbers on risks of zoonotic disease outbreaks (which are sporadic and hard to predict), as well as animal welfare. If sustainability firms could track companies’ non-climate risks better, we may have very different conceptions regarding which have riskier production processes and which are more sustainable.

More broadly, there is a pressing need to widen the debate over food sustainability. Fish, for instance, may have lower greenhouse gas emissions, but overfishing is harming fragile ocean ecosystems. Replacing beef with chicken might reduce climate emissions, but chickens are raised in worse conditions, have more viral outbreaks, and are given more than three times the antibiotics that cattle are — and far more chickens would have to be killed to create the same amount of meat. If emissions, animal welfare, and disease risks were all considered, neither chicken nor beef looks all that good.

Narrow sustainability measurements and techno-skepticism have clouded the public conversation about plant-based meats. Claims that these products might not be much better for the environment than meat goes against extensive, peer-reviewed research.

This is not to say that Beyond and Impossible burgers are the optimal choice. Taking a broad view of sustainability that includes emissions, environmental impacts, animal welfare, and animal-borne disease risk mitigation, the clear winner is a diet based on whole plant foods — just vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes.

Such a diet, widely recommended by environmental groups like the World Wildlife Fund, is likely best for individual and planetary health. But plant-based meats are designed to fill a role that just plants often can’t: easily appealing to meat-loving taste buds and dietary habits with little culinary finessing required. The additional environmental price paid for this convenience and pleasure still leaves faux meats far better for the planet (and animals) than conventional meats. The science there is clear.


Matthew Hayek is an assistant professor of environmental science in the department of Environmental Studies at New York University and Affiliated Faculty at the NYU Center for Data Science.


Jan Dutkiewicz is a policy fellow at the Animal Law and Policy Program at Harvard Law School and a postdoctoral researcher with the Swiss National Science Foundation.






Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE





Eat with kindness
Save lives and our planet.
This is our Eden
Do not sh*tcan it

Karen Lyons Kalmenson




Traditional Thanksgiving: Where the “Sacred” and the Profane Intersect

November 29, 2021
by
Mockery

“Two turkeys — named Peanut Butter and Jelly — were pardoned by President Biden on Friday during this year’s annual turkey pardoning ceremony.”

“I want to take a moment to recognize the brave turkeys that weren’t so lucky, who didn’t get to ride the gravy train to freedom,” Obama said from the Rose Garden in November 2016. “Who met their fate with courage and sacrifice and proved that they weren’t chicken.” (1)


Reality: The Guardian


By Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns


Since the last quarter of the 20th century, ridicule has outranked sentimental piety in the prevailing rhetoric of Thanksgiving in America. If nobody really hates a bungling turkey carver as long as the food gets served, the smarmy drama played out between the carver, the carved, and the dining chorus is a ritual of dinner that could be said to reveal, as well as conceal, the “determination of each person present to be a diner, not a dish,” wrote Margaret Visser in The Rituals of Dinner. (2)

Traditional Thanksgiving has other functions, but one thing it does is to formalize a desire to kill someone we hate and make a meal out of that someone. In this role, the turkey dinner is not far distant from a cannibal feast, that “strange mixture of honor and hatred” in which not a few cultures in the history of the world have disposed of their enemies and relatives in ceremonial fashion.

Many people to whom I mention this “hatred of the turkey” idea say they never noticed it before. Such obliviousness illustrates in part the idea that the “most successful examples of manipulation are those which exploit practices which clearly meet a felt – not necessarily a clearly understood – need among particular bodies of people.” (3)

In the case of Thanksgiving, the need is not so much to eat turkey, which many people complain about, and more and more people forego, but to rationalize an activity that, despite every effort to make the turkey seem more like a turnip, has failed “on purpose” to obliterate the bird into just meat. To do so would diminish the bird’s dual role in creating the full Thanksgiving experience. In order to affect people properly, a sacrificial animal must not only be eaten by them; the animal’s death must be “witnessed by them, and not suffered out of sight as we now arrange matters.”

But since this is how we now arrange matters, attention must somehow be “deliberately drawn, by means of ritual and ceremony,” to the reality of the animal’s life and the “performance of killing.”

This is why, in order to be ritually meaningful, the turkey continues to be culturally constructed as a sacred player in our drama about ourselves as a nation, at the same time that we insist that this bird is a nobody, an anonymous and absurd “production animal.”

According to Margaret Visser, “what is meant by ‘sacrifice’ [is] literally the ‘making sacred’ of an animal consumed for dinner.” No wonder that any mention of cannibalism in connection with eating turkeys or any other animals provokes a storm of protest, given that, as Visser says, cannibalism to the Western mind is “‘massively taboo,’ more damnable than incest.” However, cannibalism, transposed to the consumption of a nonhuman animal, is a critical, if largely unconscious, component of America’s Thanksgiving ritual.

America knows that somehow it has to manage its portion of humanity’s primeval desire to have “somebody” suffer and die ritually for the “benefit” of the community or nation at a time when the consumption of nonhuman animals has become morally problematic in the West as well as industrialized to the point where the eaters can barely imagine the animals involved in their meal.

It is ironic, as Visser points out, that “people who calmly organize daily hecatombs of beasts, and who are among the most death-dealing carnivores the world has ever seen,” are shocked by the slaughtering of animals in other cultures.


REFERENCES

(1) Mariana Alfaro, Nov. 19, 2021. In Thanksgiving tradition, Biden grants presidential pardon to turkeysThe Washington Post, Nov. 19, 2021.

(2) Margaret Visser, 1991-1992. The Rituals of Dinner. New York: Penguin.

(3) Eric Hobsbawn and Terence Ranger, eds. 1983. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Turkeys being transported in freezing temperatures from Des Moines, Iowa to the Sara Lee slaughter plant

This photo shows turkeys being transported in freezing temperatures from Des Moines, Iowa, to the Sara Lee slaughter plant in Storm Lake, Iowa. Though this photo was taken in 2007, the exact same conditions prevail in 2021 for turkeys in the Midwest. After their long, hellish ride through ice and snow, the truck pulls into a gigantic steaming Inferno where the birds are slowly tortured to death.



KAREN DAVIS, PhD is the President and Founder of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl including a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. Inducted into the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Liberation, Karen is the author of numerous books, essays, articles and campaigns. Her latest book is FOR THE BIRDS: From Exploitation to Liberation: Essays on Chickens, Turkeys, and Other Domesticated Fowl (Lantern Publishing & Media).






Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



Be thankful for the kind few
With hearts aligned
Knowing what to do
Be blessed each day
For all here that dwell
Make our earth for animals
A heaven
Not a hell

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



MILKED: White Lies in DairyLand

November 23, 2021
by
YouTube


Stopping animal exploitation doesn’t require human benefit, but that it DOES and humans still radically embrace animal cruelty as their “right/choice/blahblahblah” is disturbing. You literally drink the breastmilk of a different species, beyond infancy and with teeth, that requires the suffering, pain, misery, and violent death of the other species.

Animals don’t belong to you; what comes out of their bodies doesn’t belong to you. That you can be ethical but deliberately choose to not be is a perversion. Stop defining others’ suffering in manners that brings you comfort but does nothing to ease the suffering of your victims. I recently read about how adding cameras in slaughterhouses will help to decrease cruelty. In SLAUGHTERHOUSES. A slaughterhouse is INHERENTLY CRUEL, it’s where animals die in fear, blood, and often torturous manners in some grotesquely defined “humane” ethic slander. Slaughterhouses do not attract people who care about animals, and the evidence is in: animals experience abject fear; they smell and hear the death of their death-mates; and they die in often agonizing, torturous manners.

Euphemistic morals serve only those whose intentions are the absolute antithesis of morals but do nothing to help their animal victims: HUMANS.

SL



Source MILKED


MILKED is a topical feature documentary that exposes the whitewash of New Zealand’s multi-billion-dollar dairy industry. 

Young activist Chris Huriwai travels around the country searching for the truth about how this source of national pride has become the nation’s biggest threat. It’s rapidly gone from a land with no cows to being the biggest exporter of dairy in the world, but the industry seems to be failing in every way possible. 

Featuring interviews with high-profile contributors such as Dr Jane Goodall, environmentalist and former actress Suzy Amis Cameron, and Cowspiracy co-director, Keegan Kuhn, MILKED reveals the behind-the-scenes reality of the kiwi dairy farming fairy-tale. It uncovers alarming information about the impacts of the industry on the environment and health, leading up to the discovery that we’re on the edge of the biggest global disruption of food and agriculture in history. 

An impactful global story told with a local eye, the film also points to what New Zealand and other countries can do to change their fate.



MILKED facts:




See More About What You Can Do HERE





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



The lies may be covered in verbiage

but truths always poke their ways through these fancy deceptions

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



How the ‘Eat Local’ Food Myth Led to COP26’s Menu Failure

November 15, 2021
by


Stopping animal exploitation does not require any human benefit, people don’t need profit to be opposed to human exploitation, the same is true for animals. However, given that nonvegans live on a planet hurtling towards destruction and potential extinction, you would hope people would at least embrace a plant-based diet, if not for them, then for their children.

Using plastic straws and reducing animal consumption is the same as doing nothing. it’s meaningless “baby steps” that will result in the same planetary destruction: don’t pretend to support the disingenuous nonsense that consuming animals is “environmentally friendly”, the scientific data has proven time and again that consuming NO animals is ideal for the environment despite the cherry-picking animal farmers/consumers/execs desperately manipulate to satisfy their greedy agendas: as I have asked previously, if you’re vegan, where will you get the decomposing flesh, rotten blood, bacteria, parasites, disease, necrotic organs, feces, gore, and pus to maintain an environmentally stable position? See? Ludicrous.

I’m not asking anyone to do more than I do, but even if you don’t care about justice or decency for animals – for whom veganism is a moral imperative versus a plant-based diet – at least care about the human ones. SL



Source Sentient Media

By Caroline Christen


he 2021 United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) hosted by the UK in Glasgow is drawing to a close. As the conference unfolded, environmental advocates criticized COP26 for serving animal products instead of a more climate-friendly, plant-based menu.

While the COP26 menu includes vegan haggis, mushroom risotto, and lasagna topped with plant-based cheddar, it also offers beef burgers and haggis made from sheep offal. More than half of the menu’s items contain meat, dairy, fish, and eggs, according to Levy, the company in charge of catering at COP26.

Despite the accelerating climate crisis, yet another COP conference chose to serve attendees some of the world’s most climate-damaging foods. A closer look reveals that livestock producers were selected as suppliers for a simple reason: being based within 100 miles of Glasgow. The COP26 menu failure is a direct result of the “Eat Local” myth, the misguided belief that locally sourced foods are ecologically superior to imported foods regardless of their other qualities.

COP’s history of serving meat-heavy menus

At first glance, the COP26 menu seems to be a far cry from the food available at COP25. Attendees formed long lines in front of a pink food truck—one of the few, if not the only venue offering plant-based options at the 2019 conference.

At a second glance, however, the COP26 menu proves to be a bewildering setback. After the meat- and dairy-laden menu served at COP24 drew criticism from environmental experts, the Food and Climate Alliance (FCA), a sustainability alliance comprising more than 50 organizations, partnered with the UN and the Chilean nonprofit Vegetarianos Hoy to make sure that COP25 would serve a more climate-friendly menu.

Had COP25 not been relocated from Santiago de Chile to Madrid due to the 2019–2021 Chilean protests, up to 70 percent of its menu would have been plant-based. Following the 2019 climate conference, one reporting outlet ended on a hopeful note, pointing out that COP26 would take place in Glasgow, “one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the UK.”

Two years later, not only is Glasgow still considered a very vegan-friendly city; the UK ranks as the most popular country for veganism in the world, according to foodie magazine Chef’s Pencil. Further, the country is home to The Vegan Society, one of the oldest vegan organizations in the world, a vibrant plant-based scene, and to Veganuary, an initiative that encouraged more than half a million people worldwide to try veganism in January 2021.

“The Vegan Society strongly believes that the COP26 menu should have been fully plant-based,” said Francine Jordan, Media and PR Officer at The Vegan Society, when contacted by Sentient Media for comment. “How can we have a discussion about the climate crisis while ignoring the evidence that vegan diets can reduce individual dietary carbon emissions by 50 percent?”

COP26 failed to devise a menu aligned with climate goals

How did we get from a 70 percent plant-based COP menu scheduled to be served in Chile in 2019 to a 42 percent plant-based menu served in the UK in 2021? Certainly not due to new evidence letting animal products off the hook. Over the past years, more scientific evidence has accrued, confirming the devastating climate impact of meat, dairy, and eggs.

According to new estimates, animal agriculture contributes between 16 and 57 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and experts warn that the expanding livestock sector threatens to prevent the world from reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to a study published in the journal Science, food production alone could heat the world by more than 1.5° by the 2060s.

COP26 caterer Levy acknowledges these findings in part. Releasing the conference menu at ARecipeForChange.co.uk, the company states that “the food industry has a responsibility to do more for the planet.” It also features a graph showing the emission caused by different foods per 100 grams of protein. Tofu, the only plant-based item, has lower emissions than all other options shown.

Keeping these numbers in mind, it is startling to realize that Levy chose to offer all animal-based foods featured in the chart but not a single dish containing tofu. And there is another striking discrepancy between the educational material provided by Levy and the menu it devised.

All menu boards—ranging from pizzapasta, and pastries to soupsandwiches, and burgers—note that an average meal in the UK has a carbon footprint of 1.7 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), a number that needs to come down to 0.5 kg CO2e, according to the WWF, to reach the goals set by the Paris Agreement. The WWF explains that this number applies to lunch and dinner. For breakfast and snacks, the amount needs to be reduced even further to 0.4 and 0.2 CO2e kg, respectively. 

Levy states that it analyzed the carbon footprint of all menu items in partnership with Swedish start-up Klimato to help attendees “choose the dishes with the lowest carbon footprint.” Nonetheless, 35 percent of meals served at COP26 have carbon footprints higher than 0.5 kg. Two dishes containing beef and lamb emit as much as 3.4 kg, more than six times the amount recommended. 

“The organizers opted to include the CO2 emissions alongside each item, however, all this does is highlight just how damaging the non-vegan options are,” said Jordan from The Vegan Society, who attended this year’s conference. “Almost every plant-based option is below the recommended amount of 0.5kg of CO2.”

The carbon labeling shows that COP26 failed to devise a more plant-based menu that would have enabled participants to eat meals aligned with the goals pursued by the very conference they were attending.

The reason for the mismatch between Klimato’s calculations, the WWF’s recommendations, and the COP26 menu can also be found on ARecipeForChange.co.uk. According to Levy, it assembled the menu intending to use at least 80 percent Scottish-sourced food. This objective is also a defining feature of the sustainability strategy established by the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), the venue for COP26.

Yet, as the COP26 menu illustrates, the climate impact of a meal depends less on its origin than its ingredients. The three items with the highest carbon footprints on the entire menu— traditional haggis and two types of beef burgers—are made from ingredients sourced in Scotland. The burger menu even notes that the meat content of the burgers had been cut down from its standard size; otherwise, the burgers’ CO2 emissions would have been higher than 5 kg.

“Each dish’s carbon footprint has been measured, which has been positively received,” a spokesperson from SEC responded when contacted by Sentient Media for comment. “The carbon labeling has supported people to make an informed decision about the food that they eat and the impact is [sic] has on the environment.”

‘Eat Local’: one of the most misguided pieces of advice

The idea that eating local food effectively reduces food emissions is a widespread sustainability myth. Our World in Data—an Oxford University project⁠ also quoted by Levy—regards the recommendation to eat local as “one of the most misguided pieces of advice” because transport accounts only for a fraction of food emissions. Far more important are food emissions caused by land-use change, such as deforestation, and processes at the farm stage such as fertilizer use, manure handling, and cow methane emissions.

On ARecipeForChange.co.uk, Levy ironically mentions serving grass-fed beef approved by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) in a paragraph that explains how replacing meat with plant-based ingredients can help lower food emissions. The QMS is an executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government representing the red meat sector and has a record of opposing meat reduction initiatives.

Earlier this year, the QMS criticized the BBC for encouraging children to go meat-free for at least two weeks as part of the Blue Peter TV show. In an open letter co-signed by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), the QMS referred to a carbon calculator mentioned in the show as “a simplistic tool that cites global data not representative of the UK’s red meat industry.”

Ahead of this year’s climate conference, the three organizations launched a toolkit intended to “help positively manage the reputation of red meat during COP26.” The toolkit states that eating less beef and other red meats “is not the answer to improving the UK’s environmental impact and reducing carbon emissions.” 

The toolkit lists several narratives that often feature in meat industry climate messaging, including another widespread food myth: the notion that grass-fed cattle can bind more carbon than it emits. According to an Oxford University metastudy, carbon sequestration achieved through grazing “is small, time-limited, reversible and substantially outweighed” by the emissions the animals produce. A second study by Oxford researchers showed that beef, even when farmed using low-impact methods, has a higher carbon footprint than the highest impact plant protein.

Levy does not mention this claim directly. It claims, however, to be “calling for a food revolution” in response to the climate emergency while including beef on its menu, the most climate-damaging food available. Levy did not respond to Sentient Medias’s requests to comment on this story; neither did SEC, QMS, and HCC.

When contacted for comment by Sentient Media, the AHDB said that the carbon footprints of milk and beef produced in that the UK were lower than global averages and that the UK’s livestock sector’s share of national emissions was in line with the Paris Accord at 6 percent. “This is often overlooked in media reports and means UK livestock farming is not being fairly represented in terms of the work going on to reach net zero,” said Phil Maiden, Head of Media and PR at the AHDB.

COP27 opens in Egypt on November 7, 2022. The negative impact of meat-eating has to be on the next climate conference’s agenda, not its menu. To avoid another COP menu failure, more work needs to be done until then to dispel the sustainable food myths that perpetuate the climate-damaging business model of animal agriculture. 





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The do as I say not as I doodoo gang
Private air killing jets
In hypocrisy they sang

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



The Twisted History Of Milk In America

November 8, 2021
by

PETA LAMBS



Source Plant Based News

By Switch4Good


Why do adults still drink milk? Why do we obtain it from an entirely different species, let alone a being who is not our mother? Why do we continue to guzzle down a drink that leaves us bloated and uncomfortable hours later? It simply does not make sense.


According to evolutionary history and fossil records, the modern human being has inhabited this earth for the past 200,000 years (1). 

Historians date the practice of drinking cows’ milk back to the past 8,000 to 10,000 years. (2).

What this tells us is that consuming the milk of another species isn’t instinctual, and our bodies don’t naturally ‘crave’ it. So the question is – which one of our brilliant ancestors looked at a cow’s udder, licked their lips, and started sucking? Perhaps more importantly, why did others join in? 

‘A short but riveting history’

Relative to human existence, the history of milk is considerably short – yet it is truly riveting. Power, corruption, greed, mass manipulation—all are present in the evolution of milk in our modern-day society. 

Thanks to the bizarre thinking of that early human, most of us are guzzling down a substance not meant for human consumption. It’s time to leave cow’s milk to the textbooks, and of course, to baby cows

Dairy farms organize

Fast-forward through the evolution of lactase persistence in European regions (yes, all early humans were lactose intolerant past their toddler stage), domestication of dairy cows, the invention of cheesemaking, millions of people who died from milk-borne illnesses prior to the invention of pasteurization (a fourth of all food-borne illnesses in the US were attributed to cows’ milk prior to the early 1900s), and the invention of the glass milk bottle, and we find ourselves in 1922 with the seminal passing of the Capper-Volstead Act (3). 

This bill gave agricultural industries permission to act together, form organizations, and market their product. While the industry was very much reliant on small farms back in the day, this bill paved the way for the enormous dairy conglomerates and massive milk marketing campaigns of today. Without it, the American people would have never known the phrase: “Got Milk?”.

The popularization of skim milk

Before pressing further, a note on skim milk. Prior to the 1930s, most of it was literally sent downriver. Families who drank milk had one option – whole – but skim milk still existed as a byproduct of the butter-making process. 

This ‘waste’ was commonly disposed of by dumping it into rivers throughout the 1920s until the government was forced to put a stop to it due to the horrific odor of spoiled milk that permeated the surrounding areas. 

Skim milk powder

It wasn’t until the 1950s that skim milk received some commercial attention, though this was in the form of a dry, powdered, ‘just add water!’ mix (4). As awful as instant milk powder sounds today, we can’t blame our grandparents – instant was all the rage back then. 

The industry also had plenty of skim milk to get rid of, as much of it was leftover from WWII when dry milk powder was used as a relief food. To chisel down this surplus, the industry employed skilled marketers to position skim milk as a weight-loss food. 

Milk dealers received backing from physicians to pedal this product as a health food, and by the 1950s, skim milk had transformed from a waste byproduct to a trendy weight loss beverage mostly consumed by affluent society (15).

In reality, farmers just need a way to get rid of (and profit of off) the skim milk they had made during the war effort … which tends to be a theme in milk’s history: made too much? Turn to clever marketing.

Surplus and subsidies

Let’s hop back to WWI – the global event that catapulted America’s century-long milk surplus into existence (5). The US government started sending canned and powdered milk to soldiers overseas, and dairy farmers responded by ramping up production. They invested in the latest equipment and even abandoned other forms of farming to dedicate their work to the war effort. 

While the war ended, the milk production did not – creating a surplus and dangerously low milk prices. Throughout the 1930s, dairy farmers staged several strikes and unionized to demand a fair price for their milk (2). To appease these farmers, the government created federal programs to artificially drive demand. 

The first of these programs included the 1940 Federal Milk Program for Schools and federally subsidized milk advertising under the Works Progress Administration. In 1946, President Truman passed the National School Lunch Act, which mandated each lunch include between one and a half to two pints of whole milk. 

In essence, since adults weren’t buying milk, the government solution was to force it onto their children. To this day, children who participate in the National School Lunch Program – which offers free or low-cost lunches to students of low-income families—are required to take a carton of dairy milk (6).

Billions of dollars

Despite the government-funded campaigns to convince nearly every demographic of American to drink more milk, the surplus continued throughout the decades. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter allowed $2 billion federal dollars to be funneled into the dairy industry over the course of four years(7). 

As in the past, dairy farmers ramped up production to take advantage of this government subsidy, which resulted in yet a greater surplus. This soon-to-rot milk was homogenized into ‘government cheese’, and held in vast underground storage units across 35 states. 

Not only was this a waste – it was also expensive. In 1982, a New York Times reporter stated that the federal government would spend $40 to $50 million transporting this surplus dairy, and another $40 to $50 million to store it (8). 

By this time, the government was spending $2 billion in taxpayer dollars annually to support the dairy subsidy. The solution was twofold: give the nearly moldy cheese to low-income citizens, and funnel money into heavy dairy marketing.

Modern marketing (and extra cheesy pizzas)

Introducing the Dairy Checkoff Program – an industry-funded federal program that has a profound impact on what Americans choose to consume. Prompted by the dairy industry, Congress created the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board in 1983 whose sole purpose was to promote dairy products by way of marketing and ‘nutritional education’ (9).

To fund this effort, dairy farmers agreed to pay a small fee based on the weight of the milk they sold. This program is responsible for some of America’s most craveable (and least healthy) food products including the Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust Pizza and Taco Bell’s Quesalupa and succeeding Quesarito.

The Board has worked with dozens of companies to promote dairy-heavy menu items – the result is 40 percent more cheese on Domino’s pizzas, more milky drinks at Starbucks, and larger cheese slices on Egg McMuffins (10, 11, 12).

Pro-dairy slogans

In addition to these corporate collaborations, the checkoff program is also responsible for the pro-dairy slogans we can never forget – ever heard of Got Milk? or that ‘milk does a body good?’. It’s all for promotion’s sake. 

The illusion that chocolate milk is a recovery food is also an industry-supported idea. The studies that demonstrated a positive correlation between athletic performance and chocolate milk were funded – at least in part – by the dairy industry and specifically designed to favor dairy. Scientists ensured the industry’s desired result by comparing chocolate milk to water or a nutritionally deficient sports drink (13).  

Of course, most constituents don’t read beyond the fold, let alone analyze scientific studies. People see the professional athlete sporting a milk mustache when they flip the page in a magazine, or they scroll through the headlines and see that a new study confirms the benefits of chocolate milk in teen athletes, and they’re reminded to add milk to their grocery list. 

Milk has become so ingrained in our culture that we cannot see past the smoke and mirrors to what milk really is—a century-long problem the government cannot spend enough money to get rid of, no matter how much cheese Pizza Hut stuffs into its crust.

Moving Forward

Looking back at the history, we can see that milk isn’t a health food – it’s just a very heavily funded and well-marketed product. If that ancestor had decided to suckle a dog instead of a cow, we all might be drinking dog milk; or if there was a mass surplus of soda in the early 1900s and the soda producers balked loudly enough, cola could have been today’s pre-workout beverage. 

We believe milk is healthy because that is what we have been told, and there has been little to question this – until now. 

Let’s start asking questions. Why do adults still drink milk? Why do we obtain it from an entirely different species, let alone a being that is not our mother? Why do we continue to guzzle down a drink that leaves us bloated and uncomfortable hours later? It simply does not make sense.



References:

1.Valente, Lana. “The Origins of Milk: Why Was the First Cow Milked in the First Place?” Medium, Medium, 8 May 2017, https://medium.com/@lanavalente/the-origins-of-milk-why-did-the-first-cow-milker-milk-the-cow-c41e8ef761d6.

2. “Historical Timeline – Milk.” ProCon.Org, 10 July 2013, https://milk.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000018.

3. United States, Congress, Volkin, David. “Understanding Capper-Volstead.” Understanding Capper-Volstead.

4. Green, Emma. “The Controversial Life of Skim Milk.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 Mar. 2014, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/11/the-controversial-life-of-skim-milk/281655/.

5. “How Big Government Helps Big Dairy Sell Milk.” Vox, 2 May 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=XRCj8LVTRyA.

6. “School Meals – FAQs.” USDA, 27 Feb. 2019, https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/faqs.

7. Blakemore, Erin. “How the U.S. Ended Up With Warehouses Full of ‘Government Cheese’.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 26 July 2018, https://www.history.com/news/government-cheese-dairy-farmers-reagan.

8. King, Seth S. “Warehouse Bulge With Surplus Cheese, Butter, and Dried Milk .” The New York Times, The New York Times, 6 July 1982, https://www.nytimes.com/1982/07/06/us/warehouses-bulge-with-surplus-cheese-butter-and-dried-milk.html.

9. “National Dairy Promotion & Research Board.” National Dairy Promotion & Research Board | Agricultural Marketing Service, https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/research-promotion/dairy.

10. Wallin, Scott. “Checkoff Scientists Help McDonald’s USA Create Dairy-Focused Offerings.” Dairy Management, Inc, 23 Mar. 2018, https://www.dairy.org/news/checkoff-scientists-help-mcdonalds-usa–create-dairy-focused-offerings.

11. Philpott, Tom. “The Real Reason Pizza Hut Just Rolled out the Extra-Cheesy.” Mother Jones, 8 Mar. 2018, https://www.motherjones.com/food/2018/03/dairy-glut-pizza-hut-trump-dominos-checkoff-taco-bell/.

12. Dickrell, Jim. “New Starbucks Drinks Use Dairy Protein.” AgWeb, Farm Journal, 29 Aug. 2008, https://www.agweb.com/article/New_Starbucks_Drinks_Use_Dairy_Protein__204990.

13. Flink, Tanya. “The Truth Behind Chocolate Milk Athlete Studies.” Switch4Good, 28 Jan. 2019, https://switch4good.org/the-truth-behind-chocolate-milk-athlete-studies/.

14.Smith-Howard, Kendra. “Hog Slop and Turtlenecks: Skim Milk’s Unlikely Transition From Animal Feed to Diet Product.” Slate Magazine, 3 Feb. 2014, https://slate.com/technology/2014/02/uses-for-skim-milk-before-it-was-marketed-as-a-nonfat-diet-product-hog-slop-and-wool.html.




Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



Animals are here with us, not for us

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Eating Meat is Cultural Narcissism

November 2, 2021
by
Dominion Movement


Source All-Creatures.org

By Robin Schaper


In a healthy environment, people would be thrilled to find out that we can end animal exploitation and improve our health and the environment at the same time. We would all be working together to close slaughterhouses immediately. So, why do people side with the animal abusers and gaslight anyone who doesn’t? Because eating and using animal products is a form of cultural narcissism.

We’re becoming increasingly aware of narcissism, but few of us know that it doesn’t only apply to individuals. Collective and cultural narcissism also exist. The problem is, however, that this can be hard to see when it’s part of our own culture. So, I’m going to unpack exactly how the meat industry and other animal industries engage in collective narcissism, and how society’s support for these industries is a form of cultural narcissism.

If you eat or use animal products yourself, then please read this with an open mind. My goal is not to call you a narcissist, but to arm you with information, so we can end this form of cultural narcissism together.

Objectification

Two thirds of US households have at least one cat, dog, or other companion animal. We don’t expect these animals to do anything for us. They’re valued purely for their company. Often, they’re considered part of the family, and we recognize that they each have their own unique personality and love them for it.

In the animal industries, however, the exact opposite happens. One of the core traits of narcissism, treating others like objects, is expressed to the fullest extent here. The industries don’t bring animals into this world to love them, but to kill them and sell their bodies. They literally turn living beings, who are just as sentient as cats and dogs, into products. The animals’ desire to stay alive isn’t even factored into the decision, only how much they weigh when they’re killed.

Entitlement and grandiosity

Entitlement is about taking what isn’t ours. And if there’s one thing that isn’t ours, it’s someone else’s life. Taking a life is the most extreme form of entitlement. Even if it was an “us or them” situation, the idea that animals should die for us would still be entitled, but it would be understandable. However, that’s not even remotely the case. To quote the largest organization of nutrition experts in the US:

“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.”

So, not only are all animal products unnecessary, cutting them out of our diet can actually benefit our health. And the average person has access to a wide variety of plant-based food. We even have plant-based products that look and taste like animal products. So, the industries aren’t killing trillions of animals for us out of any kind of necessity.

The fact that, even under these circumstances, they feel entitled to kill as many animals as they want so we can eat as many animals as we want can only be described as grandiosity.

The rules don’t apply to them

Because of the animals we share our homes with, we do have some animal protection laws. But even though the industries house far more animals, they consistently manage to get exemptions for these laws. Kicking a cat is illegal, but killing a chicken is legal. Standard practices like keeping animals in confined spaces their entire lives and cutting off testicles and tails without anesthesia would be illegal if done to dogs but are legal when done to pigs because they are standard practices. So, the fact that they always abuse animals in these ways is used as a justification to keep doing it.

But it’s bad for the industries’ image if people see this, and the industries also don’t like the few restrictions they do have. So, they have actually managed to get so-called ag-gag laws passed. These laws make it illegal for people, even for employees, to expose the animal abuse that goes on inside. In some states, these laws have been overturned because they’re unconstitutional and make investigative journalism illegal, but various states and countries still have them, and the industries continue to push for them.

In other words: If they abuse animals and you film them, then you are the criminal. This is nothing short of gaslighting by law.

Lack of empathy

Practically everything I’ve mentioned so far shows a lack of empathy. If they had empathy for the animals, they wouldn’t needlessly kill them, and the industries wouldn’t exist. The lack of empathy is so pronounced that even documentaries that simply show the standard practices in the industries, like Dominion, are hard to watch for most people. I still recommend you watch it, though.

It’s available to view for free via https://www.dominionmovement.com/

Or via YouTube: https://youtu.be/LQRAfJyEsko



But what I think showcases the lack of empathy even better are the pictures people in these industries take themselves and share among each other as entertainment. Here are some examples. The story continues below these pictures.



(All pictures courtesy All-Creatures.org and Robin Schaper )


ridiculing farmed Animals
ridiculing farmed Animals


Taking credit while being counterproductive

The people in the animal industries consistently refer to themselves as “farmers” and often emphasize that they’re “feeding the world.” In reality, however, we would have more food without them. This is not something most people are aware of, so allow me to explain.

Crop farmers actually produce food. They start with seeds, soil, and sunlight and end up with something we can eat. But the same can’t be said for the animal industries. Animals need to eat, just like us. And just like us, they use most of their food to maintain their bodies and only part of it to grow. So, the industries actually need to feed a pig 5 pounds of plant-based food, grown by a crop farmer, to get just 1 pound of meat. By definition, they end up with significantly fewer calories and fewer nutrients than what they started with. That’s not food production, that’s food waste.

So, the whole claim that they’re producing food for us is incorrect. Just like it’s incorrect that they’re producing protein. Animals simply recycle the protein that’s already in their plant-based food. And the same goes for calcium in dairy. Cows don’t make calcium, they get it from their plant-based food.

Worldwide, of all the land used by the food industries, 19 percent is used to grow crops for direct human consumption and 81 percent to produce animal products. However, we get 83 percent of our calories from plant-based food and only 17 percent from animal products. That’s how wasteful the animal industries are. And because of the simple fact that animals produce more poop than meat, the animal industries also produce the most pollution. They are responsible for 60 percent of the food industries’ greenhouse gases. And on top of that, they’re also major contributors to ocean dead zones, deforestation, and new antibiotic-resistant infectious diseases.

Financial entitlement

Because they take more steps to end up with less food, animal products cost more money to produce than plant-based products. So, the animal industries feel entitled to subsidies. And through persistent lobbying, they manage to get billions of dollars in subsidies every year.

Even though the USDA recognizes that we don’t need any animal products and acknowledges that most people don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, they spend 52 percent of all subsidies on animal products and animal feed crops while spending only 2 percent on fruit and vegetables. The subsidies are completely at odds with their own recommendations, just to appease the animal industries. And, of course, society also pays the bill for the environmental and healthcare costs caused by these industries.

Manipulation

The reason these industries are getting widespread support is because we’re all being manipulated and have been manipulated since we were children.

Part of this is done by the industries themselves, who spend millions of dollars on advertising every single day. They have no problem killing an animal, putting their dead body in a box with a toy and some fries, using a clown to promote it, and calling it a Happy Meal. Children cannot see through that kind of manipulation if adults don’t point it out.

And that’s the other part of the problem. Most adults not only act as enablers who actively pay the industries to kill animals for them, but those who are parents also act like flying monkeys. They manipulate their own children into supporting these industries.

Parents start feeding their children meat before they can talk. The children get used to eating animal products for years without realizing that animals are being killed for them. And all this time, their love for animals is actually encouraged. They grow up with Piglet, Peppa Pig, and petting zoos, while unknowingly eating actual pigs.

What they learn about “farm” animals is propaganda. Pictures and stories about happy animals living harmoniously on farms and “giving” us eggs, milk, and meat. The farms look nothing like the buildings and cages where animals actually live, the male chicks who get killed because they don’t lay eggs are never covered, the calves who are taken away from their mothers so we can drink their milk are never covered, and the slaughterhouses where they all get killed are never covered.

Some children do actually see through the manipulation and want to stop eating animals. But usually, that just leads to more manipulation. For example, they are told that the animals are already dead anyway, so they might as well eat them, as if that’s a reason to keep paying the industries to kill animals. Or they are told lies, like that the animals are treated well and killed painlessly after a happy life and that animal products are necessary to stay healthy. If all of that fails and a child still resists, parents often simply fall back on force.

This manipulation that starts in childhood continues in adulthood. Companies shamelessly market the bodies of animals that they abused and killed with photos, videos and drawings of happy animals. Organizations that claim to want to protect animals still condone killing them. Journalists consistently present the “hardworking farmer” narrative and never ask them basic questions like: “How can you say you love these animals when you’re killing them all?” And while anyone can post pictures on social media of the meat they eat, footage that actually shows how the animals lived and died immediately gets covered with a graphic content warning.

The animal industries also abuse the legal system to attack their competitors. For example, they’ve managed to get lawmakers to make it illegal in the entire European Union to call soy milk “soy milk.” And in various US states, a vegan burger can’t legally be called a “vegan burger” anymore. These are just two examples out of many, and the industries are continuously pushing for more of these laws to make it impossible for plant-based competitors to market their products. Of course, their official story is that they’re just trying to protect consumers from “misleading” labels so they don’t get “confused.”

Furthermore, the animal industries exploit people’s lack of knowledge. For example, they often imply that more ingredients in plant-based products means they’re automatically less healthy than animal products. Or they cherry-pick certain plant-based products with sustainability problems, like avocados and quinoa, and conveniently leave out that most of the demand for these products comes from meat eaters and that they’re not even an essential part of a plant-based diet. Or they emphasize that their products are “local,” while leaving out that one person adopting a plant-based diet does more for the environment than seven people switching to local food.

Cultural gaslighting

If, despite the manipulation, you decide to stop consuming animal products, society has a problem with that. Even though research shows that meat eaters consider people who don’t eat meat more virtuous, research also shows that they dislike them almost as much as they dislike drug addicts. And you’re disliked more if you’re doing it for the animals than if you’re doing it for your own health.

Even if you don’t set out to talk about it, you run into a lot of gaslighting. People act like you’re annoying/preachy/pushy/militant for simply talking about it, even when they brought it up. People say they love animals while paying for them to be killed. People act like you have a superiority complex when you’re the only one not feeling superior to animals. People say they respect that you don’t want to have animals killed and therefore you should also respect that they do. People claim that the animals are treated well and killed “humanely” while refusing to watch any footage. People insist there are essential nutrients that you can only get from animal products, even when shown proof that there aren’t. People are okay with seeing meat ads every day of their lives, but dismiss verifiable facts about the industries as “vegan propaganda.” People say you’re choosing animals over humans, even though your choice benefits both. Et cetera.

In a healthy environment, people would be thrilled to find out that we can end animal exploitation and improve our health and the environment at the same time. We would all be working together to close slaughterhouses immediately. So, why do people side with the animal abusers and gaslight anyone who doesn’t? Because eating and using animal products is a form of cultural narcissism.



Do you love meat and want to keep eating it? Are you skeptical of arguments against it? But are you still driven by curiosity and interested in having your ideas challenged? Then this free e-book is perfect for you! Free download at Questioning Meat





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Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

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Feasting on flesh
The right thing to do?
How can that be
When we are flesh too

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



You’re Eating Pus: Meat Industry Spends €1.7 Million To Influence EU Politicians, Leaked Docs Reveal

October 25, 2021
by

Source PlantBasedNews YouTube: Huge Pus – The Gross Reality Of The Meat Industry. Two former butchers share something they used to see on a daily basis – pus. “The people that say ‘my butchers doesn’t have this’ need to open their eyes”.


There is NO transparency in the animal agriculture industry, a system that relentlessly pursues “ag-gag” to criminalize people who expose animal cruelty, and that purposefully deceives (willfully ignorant) people with anthropomorphized advertisements depicting animals dancing in classrooms, happy to to go to birthday parties, and singing in pastoral splendor, an absolute farce compared to the abject suffering and violence animals are forced to endure continuously: animals are burned, buried, and boiled ALIVE while anag pretends they act in “humane” manners, and other people pretend that human “intellectual superiority” believing such obvious lies, makes it ok.

Like the immoral science-rejectors traumatized by wearing masks to protect people around them, anag is threatened by decency and ethics and will spin any tale to quash exposure.

Animals are bred to be dead, to pretend an industry based on profitable suffering and violence is somehow acting in the best interests of those they kill, for those they kill for, is lunacy. Trillions of unwilling animals die yearly, not a single one is given the opportunity to defend his/her life, it’s evil that people who can choose to NOT cause such rampant cruelty won’t defend them either.

Why must such a small group of people, vegans, have to convince other people that causing less harm is better than causing more? Why do you selfishly choose transient taste preference over the life of the vulnerable and defenseless? SL



Source Plant Based News

By Emily Baker


An EU meat industry lobby giant has reportedly ‘waged a campaign’ against a strategy aimed at creating a more environmentally-friendly food system.

Copa-Cogeca reportedly spent a staggering €1.7m on plans to influence MEPs, according to investigative journalism organization EU Observer.

But the group claims it fully supports the program and claims that the leak is a ‘deliberate attempt to trigger a media backlash’.

Meat industry leak

Copa-Cogeca identifies itself as the ‘strongest’ interest cooperative of European farmers.

The document leaked to the media this week includes plans to maintain the agriculture industry. And, according to EU Observer, it involves tactics to ‘influence’ political debate.

This is with regard to the Farm to Fork strategy, which is a plan to ‘redesign’ the food system and make it more sustainable as part of the European Green Deal.

Moreover, it was created to mitigate climate breakdown and ‘adapt’ to its impacts, as well as promoting fair trade.

But Copa-Cogeca calls for the vote on the strategy, penciled for October 21, to be delayed by a fortnight. It told MEPs this is to ensure a public debate can take place. And, that it’s ‘critical’ for communication strategies, based on a number of unnamed studies.

The delay will create a ‘richer debate’, says Copa-Cogeca.

Branded ‘disinformation’ campaign

But European Environmental Bureau’s Célia Nyssens told the news outlet the lobby group has ‘orchestrated a massive disinformation campaign to undermine the EU’s sustainable food goals’.

Nyssens added: “They are shamelessly picking and choosing the studies and within those studies the specific findings, which fit their agenda in order to convince MEPs to reject the EU Farm to Fork targets, which are direly needed to put agriculture on a sustainable path.”

Following the leak, Copa-Cogeca issued a statement in response.

It said there is ‘nothing’ problematic in the document, and that the process is the norm in EU affairs.

Additionally, it said it ‘fully supports’ the Farm to Fork strategy. And, is merely asking for a full assessment of its impacts.

‘We consider it normal that all opinions can and should be expressed on a subject as important as the future of our food system’, the statement reads.

It concludes: “We are well aware that this leak is a deliberate attempt to trigger a media backlash. Just as we start speaking of the potential impacts of the Farm to Fork strategy for the first time. 

“The current discussion shows the desperate need for public data on the subject.”





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no matter human self deception
and deceit
bottom line
you are what you
eat!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Why do you abuse others?

October 18, 2021
by
Source DxE YouTube


Source ABC News YouTube


The first video is age restricted due to graphic content, and it’s not just the “abuse” that’s considered inappropriate, it’s the standard treatment of animals who you eat. What about being inflicted with pain and fear and violent death is NOT inhumane and cruel and abusive?

The second video is five years old, a news story about THE SAME FOSTER FARMS, also for “abusive” practices. The video has been heavily edited and includes disingenuous validation from company execs who pander to the masses, claiming that “humane treatment” is paramount. Again, what part of being violently, fearfully killed is NOT INhumane? If treating animals humanely is important, than NOT KILLING them is more so. And, too, that they have been caught AGAIN just substantiates that all animal “agriculture” is abusive, you cannot conclude in any other rational manner.

Conversely, you can watch endless hours/days/years of plants being harvested with no negative effects and no warnings.

That should tell you something.

The Humane Slaughter Act specifically exempts billions of animals, including chickens, but since the few animals “protected” are violently killed in fear the exact way that the animals “not protected” are killed, it’s meaningless. To be fair, I did try to screenshot the “best practices” “standards” but was warned on two browsers that it wasn’t a “safe site” to visit, even insentient computers know they suck:



And by the way, factory farms were birthed by small farms, there will never be a “return” to what has been destroyed by consumer demand, greed, and entitlement, which exists regardless of population. The ONLY humane is vegan. SL



Source The Intercept

By Sara Sirota


CHICKENS SEVERELY MISTREATED AT “HUMANE” CALIFORNIA SLAUGHTERHOUSE, NEW VIDEO ALLEGES: Activists arrested while protesting Foster Farms are being held in county jail on $50,000 bonds


This article and the below video include graphic images some readers may find disturbing.


In June 2015, the animal rights organization Mercy for Animals sent two investigators to work as undercover employees at a slaughterhouse run by Foster Farms. They documented workers throwing live chickens against metal shackles, birds being scalded alive, and other treatment that the group argued amounted to animal cruelty. Mercy for Animals complained to the Federal Trade Commission that Foster Farms’ labeling of its products as certified by the American Humane Association, or AHA, deceived consumers. The agency declined to take action, though, noting that the company fired employees suspected of abuse, passed an audit, and installed its own video monitoring system.

New footage from Foster Farms, California’s largest poultry producer, shows the company continuing to engage in similar behavior that activists allege amounts to cruel treatment of live chickens. Foster Farms, which was recertified by the AHA earlier this year, has been on the receiving end of millions of dollars in state and local subsidies to expand its product lines in California.

The recent footage, obtained by an anonymous videographer and provided to The Intercept by animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, shows workers throwing live chickens on the concrete floor; discarded yet conscious birds under the weight of one another; some chickens missing electrical waterbaths designed to stun them before slaughter — all under the supervision of employees working dangerous and long shifts in the dark. The videographer, who requested anonymity to avoid repercussions for sharing the footage, entered the company’s facility in Livingston, California, to set up miniature infrared cameras and obtain hundreds of hours of footage, recorded over the past several weeks. Foster Farms did not respond to a request for comment.

DxE alleges that the documented footage amounts to a violation of California code outlawing animal cruelty, Foster Farms’ AHA certification, and the company’s own policy to raise chickens free from hunger, discomfort, pain, cages, and distress. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act also requires that all livestock be stunned before slaughter; however, much to the frustration of activists, poultry is exempt from this law. Still, the federal government does require that chicken producers abide by industry best standards, which include rendering birds unconscious prior to slaughter.

The video also appears to contradict statements made by the AHA and Foster Farms representatives at the time of its most recent certification in February. “Farmers and associates like those who work with Foster Farms are part of the growing humane movement to elevate standards for animals living on farms and ranches,” Robin Ganzert, the AHA’s president, said at the time. “Today’s consumer insists on independent third-party verification of animal welfare practices,” added Ira Brill, Foster Farms’ vice president of communications. “American Humane’s ethical and scientific based standards and requirement that welfare practices be in place 24/7 365 days a year, provide this much needed assurance.”

DxE released the video to coincide with a protest at the facility Tuesday. According to a DxE press release, demonstrators locked themselves in place to prevent trucks from entering or leaving the site. “The public is shocked to see the brutality happening behind closed doors,” DxE organizer Christina Liu told The Intercept. “We’re taking action as a last resort.”

Liu and several other protesters were arrested Tuesday on charges of trespassing and resisting a public officer. Some are being held on $50,000 bonds, which attorney Bonnie Klapper, who is representing the activists, told The Intercept amount to a “bail enhancement” in which a judge grants officer requests for a larger bail than usual.

“These outrageous bail amounts are another example of law enforcement targeting peaceful activists rather than the exploitative corporations that are illegally torturing animals, as well as destroying our environment,” Klapper said in a press release today.

First, the DxE video shows a sorting station where workers hang live chickens arriving at the facility on metal shackles. According to a training manual shared with The Intercept, Foster Farms expects each worker to hang 23.3 birds per minute. The videographer told The Intercept six or seven employees are stationed at each line, meaning that the site’s operational tempo straddles the 140 maximum rate that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service allows.

In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency began granting waivers to allow even higher speeds, which activists complained would increase health risks to workers and animals. A Foster Farms facility in Kelso, Washington, obtained one of these waivers, though it’s unknown whether the Livingston site did as well. Regardless, the Livingston location experienced what opponents to the waiver feared: a mass coronavirus outbreak. Episodes like this prompted Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., to introduce a bill last summer prohibiting higher operation speeds. “The USDA should be in the business of prioritizing worker and consumer safety over the profits of large multinational meatpacking corporations, not the other way around,” Booker said at the time.

In the video, workers throw unviable chickens — those injured or already dead — on the floor, where they lie injured and piled on top of one another, potentially suffocating or drowning, according to the videographer. One employee is shown throwing a bird against the shackles, which also occurred in the Mercy for Animals video. Some live chickens jump off the table before being shackled and join the discarded ones. The video shows an employee returning those birds to the station for shackling but not inspecting them to ensure that they’re in fact the ones already deemed fit for consumption.

“The company has specifically created this situation where you’re literally killing hundreds of thousands of animals, you’re being treated like a machine,” the videographer said, arguing that those responsible for designing this system should be the ones to face accountability, whereas employees often bear that burden.

After shackling, a conveyor belt transports the birds to electrical waterbaths that are intended to turn them unconscious, leaving them less vulnerable to pain — a value Foster Farms professes to uphold. But chickens are shown lifting their heads above the water, avoiding being stunned. Some conscious birds also manage to avoid the blade intended to slice their necks, leaving workers to cut them with a handheld knife. Similar incidents were found in the 2015 investigation that prompted the complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

“Animals are being eviscerated alive — right here, right now,” Liu said in DxE’s press release. “These practices are horrifying and illegal … but they’re also business-as-usual for the factory farming industry.”

The videographer also shared with The Intercept footage they recorded of a bin filled with maggots crawling all over “inedibles” left out in the open air. “The smell is indescribable,” the source said.


DXE-1
Direct Action Everywhere footage shows a worker slaughtering a chicken by hand at Factory Farms’ slaughterhouse in Livingston, Calif.

DxE is planning to hold another major demonstration Wednesday, with the expectation of possible arrests, in order to demand government action against factory farming. Also known as concentrated animal feeding operations, these types of modern farming facilities are notorious for using as few resources as possible to maximize profit. In addition to risking harm to animals, workers, and consumers, these operations are major drivers of pollution and deforestation. The United Nations estimates that global livestock is responsible for more than 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

DxE has already begun a broader campaign to call on California Gov. Gavin Newsom to establish a moratorium on the expansion of factory farming in the state and has received more than 52,000 signatures in support. The demand echoes legislation introduced by Booker to end large factory farms and crack down on monopolistic practices.

But the factory farming industry carries a layer of protection. Several states have passed laws to punish whistleblowers exposing conditions at factory farms, though an attempt to pass such legislation in California in 2013 failed to muster support in the state Legislature.

A search through California campaign finance records shows how embedded Foster Farms is in state politics. For example, Foster Farms received a major government grant developed in part by a local politician who has accepted campaign donations from the company. A February 2019 notice announcing that Foster Farms won a $6.5 million “economic incentive package” to expand and upgrade its Livingston facility credited California Assembly Member Adam Gray, whose district includes the site, with helping draw up the subsidy. Gray had raised $23,000 from the company in the years since his first campaign for the 2012 election, and Foster Farms donated another $4,000 after the subsidy was announced. The California Poultry Federation, an industry group of which Foster Farms is a member, gave Gray another $2,000 for the 2020 race.

The $4,000 was Foster Farms’ largest individual contribution in the 2020 California elections, but Gray certainly wasn’t alone. The company gave a total of $106,000 to various candidates running for the state Assembly and Senate. The California Poultry Federation, meanwhile, handed out more than $44,000. Separately, Foster Farms gave Newsom $12,500 in his 2018 race for governor. The industry group gave another $10,000.

At the federal level, a political action committee representing the California Poultry Federation gave its largest contribution — $4,500 — in the 2020 congressional elections to Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., who represents the county where Foster Farms’ Livingston site is based. Earlier this year, Costa called on congressional leaders crafting new tax policy to protect family-owned farms like Foster Farms. He joined Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, in leading a group of 13 House Democrats urging an exemption from changes to the stepped-up basis for capital gains. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal, D-Mass., announced earlier this month that the tax increase didn’t have enough support, protecting the loophole.




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Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

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Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

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Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



homo crapiens is the feces species

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Eating others is not humane …

October 11, 2021
by



Honestly, folks, literally TRILLIONS of animals are butchered yearly, why do people actually believe that such a incredibly large number of animals can be killed in a peaceful, ethical manner? ALL killing is unethical, but people love to pretend that the animals they consume were “produced” in caring and nurturing environments. Come on, this is what “intellectually superior” humans believe? The industry is based on DEATH, thus NOBODY cares about animals who are controlled, mutilated, violated, and violently killed. Wake up, people, you’re being taken advantage of by slick PR and deceptive advertising.

NOT harming is better than HARMING. If you harm animals, you don’t care for them, regardless of the labels on dismembered, violently killed animal body parts. SL



Source SURGE

Go into a supermarket and you’ll see labels like these plastered all over the meat, dairy and egg products that we buy.

Company names like the Happy Egg Co. A company that advertises their products with images of chickens in lush green fields, even though an investigation in 2021 into three farms that supply them eggs revealed that the hens were packed in industrial sheds, their beaks had been cut off and there were dead birds rotting on the floor. 

So just a little different to the imagery the company uses to sell their products.

In fact, even when we look at free-range as an industry-wide standard, free-range farmers can legally house 16,000 birds in a barn, which means they can house 9 birds per square metre of space, which gives each hen 11 square centimetres of space each inside the barns. Not exactly the image of being ‘free’ that you would expect.


Everyone_is_talking_about_green_washing_it_s_time_to_talk_about_humane_washing.gif

The Happy Egg Co and the term free-range are both examples of humane washing. But wait, what is humane washing? Well to understand what humane washing is, let’s first look at greenwashing.

In recent years, some of the biggest food corporations in the world, such as Starbucks and McDonald’s, have ditched plastic straws in response to growing public concern about their impact on the environment. Great news, right?

Well, not exactly. This is an example of greenwashing, a term that describes a form of marketing and PR which aims to persuade the public that an organisation is environmentally friendly, even when their wider actions show the opposite. 

In the case of the plastic straw, the strawless lid that Starbucks introduced to replace the straw actually contains more plastic than the original lid and straw combo did. And McDonald’s, well where do we even begin? Selling food that is linked to rainforest deforestation is probably a good place, not to mention the fact that they don’t recycle their new straws and the drinks still come in the same plastic-lined cups as their old plastic straws did. 

The meat, dairy and egg industries also regularly greenwash their products as well. For example, Danish Crown, the largest meat producer in Europe, have created their own sustainability certification which the farmers who are suppliers for them have then signed up to, and as a result the pork products they sell now come with a sticker that says they are ‘climate controlled’.

But what has this got to do with humane washing?

Well, humane washing is basically the same thing but instead of trying to make you think that their products are sustainable, it’s a tactic the meat, dairy and egg industries use to try and convince you that their products are ethically produced and good for the animals they raise and kill.


Everyone_is_talking_about_green_washing_it_s_time_to_talk_about_humane_washing (1).gif

Free-range, cage-free, high welfare, humanely raised, responsibly sourced, family farmed, local, traceable, and the list goes on. Yep, they’re all examples of humane washing.

And humane washing isn’t just about the labels and terms that you read on the packaging, it’s the imagery as well. Happy animals grazing in fields, chickens with lots of space, photos of smiling farmers next to their animals, or images of the animals themselves. For example, laughing cow cheese and St Helen’s goat milk, who also use the word ‘gentle’ on their packaging to describe the milk.

In the case of laughing cow cheese, a supplier for laughing cow was exposed hitting newborn calves, performing painful mutilations on them and leaving them out to die in freezing temperatures.

And with St Helen’s, a farm that supplies milk for them was exposed last year, with workers shown kicking and punching the goats, twisting their tails, hitting them with poles, holding them up by their necks, slamming them against objects, and much more. Not so very gentle.

Supermarkets have even branded their own-brand animal products with fake farm names, such as Tesco’s Woodside Farm and Lidl’s Birchwood Farm, which are used to conjure up a romanticised image in the mind of consumers about where their animal products come from and distract us from the reality, which is a far cry from the image these companies want us to picture.


Everyone_is_talking_about_green_washing_it_s_time_to_talk_about_humane_washing (2).gif

Marks & Spencer even made up their own Scottish Loch, called Lochmuir, which, even though it doesn’t exist, is displayed on their packaging of salmon products to create the impression of wholesome Scottish salmon farming. But the truth is, there’s nothing wholesome or ethical about salmon farming, and investigations on Scottish salmon farms, including ones that supply Marks & Spencer just further prove this.

And of course, there’s the soundbites and lines of dialogue that every animal farmer repeats like a mantra:

“Animal welfare is the most important thing on our farm”

“I love my animals”

“I would never let anything bad happen to one of my animals”

“We have the highest animal welfare standards in the world”

The consistent repetition of these statements and others like them plays into something called the illusory truth effect, a phrase that refers to the notion that repeated statements are perceived to be more truthful than new statements. In effect, the more times we hear farmers humane wash what they do, the easier it becomes for us as consumers to fall into the trap of believing them.

Similar to greenwashing, the fundamental purpose of humane washing is to convince you to buy their product. It is a marketing ploy to drive sales. The Director of Technical Marketing of Mountaire, one of the largest chicken producers in the US, said as much at a 2020 industry webinar: “The one thing you want a label to do is to reduce consumer concerns with buying your product.”

Now using labels to sell products isn’t a problem if the product you are trying to sell is an ethical product and if the labels being used are honest. However, this is where the animal farming industries find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Simply put, their products are not ethical. By the virtue that animals are mutilated, forcibly impregnated, caged and confined, exploited and ultimately killed needlessly, the concept of animal farming being ethical is a juxtaposition by its very nature.

Animals are sentient beings, who can feel, suffer and have subjective experiences, which makes everything that we do to them automatically unethical, regardless of how we do it, or what label we use to describe that exploitation. 


Everyone_is_talking_about_green_washing_it_s_time_to_talk_about_humane_washing (3).gif

So these industries have to use terms and labels that purposefully hide the reality behind these products and humane wash the truth, because if we were shown the objective reality of what happens to animals if the images and labels were honest depictions of what animals are forced to endure, well we wouldn’t want to buy their flesh and secretions in the first place.

These industries and companies literally hire people whose job is to find ways to make us buy these products and attempt to distract us from the truth of what is going on.

Take this guy, Richard Berman, a Washington DC lobbyist and PR strategist. Richard Berman has been given the nickname Dr Evil by his critics. Why? Well, he’s attacked the charity Mother’s Against Drink Driving for trying to introduce drink driving regulations, he’s been given millions of dollars by the tobacco industry, and he’s been paid by some of the biggest players in the animal farming world, like Tyson.

It’s perhaps unsurprising then that he has turned his attention to plant-based meat in recent years. 

Another term we hear used a lot is ‘responsibly sourced’. Take Tesco, for example, they claim on their website that, “Our approach to responsible sourcing, and our use of the terms “Responsibly Sourced” and “Sustainably Sourced” on our packaging, are governed by the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC)” 

That sounds great. What is the Sustainable Seafood Coalition?

Well, it’s an organisation founded by some of the biggest seafood companies in the world like Birds Eye and Young’s and is a partnership between many of the biggest retailers, seafood companies and supermarkets in the world. The only problem is, that doesn’t sound very objective, but what about their codes of conduct?

“The SSC Codes of Conduct are voluntary agreements on responsible sourcing and labelling, developed by SSC members,” according to the SSC website.

Voluntary codes of conduct are codes that are created by businesses and industries and are then self-enforced. As their codes of conduct state, “Ultimately, it is the responsibility of individual businesses to ensure alignment with the Codes”


Everyone_is_talking_about_green_washing_it_s_time_to_talk_about_humane_washing (4).gif

So in essence, many of the biggest sellers of seafood in the world have created their own set of voluntary codes. They have then placed themselves in charge of making sure that they themselves are abiding by the codes that they created and now because of this they claim that the seafood they sell is ‘responsibly’ or ‘sustainably’ sourced.

But what about family farms, shouldn’t we just support them. Well, 98 per cent of farms in the US are classed as family farms, which even when just viewed alongside the fact that USDA data shows that 99 per cent of farmed animals are factory farmed in the US, makes you realise that perhaps the notion of a family-run farm has nothing to do with an animal’s actual wellbeing, but is instead a marketing ploy to make you think of a romanticised ideal of farming which quite frankly doesn’t exist.

The same is true of local farms as well. Every farm is local to someone. Plus how does geographical location determine the morality of what happens on a farm? Does a farm get more ethical the closer you get to it? Yet we’re always told to support our local family farmers.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s time for us to see through the labels, marketing ploys and phrases that these industries use to hide from us the horrific reality of what is happening to animals. These industries are reliant on humane washing, which is why they relentlessly do it. But once we recognise the big lie that they perpetuate, they’ll soon be forced to realise that the blood they have on their hands is a lot harder to wash off.





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



The nonsense people promulgate to
Justify the cruelties
On their plates

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



Challenging the Government’s Censorship of Animal Advocates’ Speech on Social Media

October 4, 2021
by


In the US, it is estimated that 100,000,000 animals are used for testing/research YEARLY. Approximately 95-99% are not afforded any legal “protections” under the Animal Welfare Act and are therefore not required to be reported (thus the estimate). Of the few who do receive “protections” under AWA, they still suffer, experience pain and fear, and violently die; sadly, they are often subjected to INTENTIONAL PAIN as it is theorized that pain relief would compromise testing outcomes. These animals include dogs, cats, and primates, totaling >56,000 victims REPORTED, neglecting the vast majority who are not afforded even the illusion of existence by mandated recording of their suffering, pages 7-8:


https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/annual-reports/Annual-Report-Summaries-State-Pain-FY18.pdf


Animal exploiters DETEST social media for giving activists a platform to publicize the violence they inflict on vulnerable animals, who all experience pain, fear, and suffering as human animals do. If the law doesn’t prevent humans from violent exploitation of animals, then it cannot exempt humans for exposing these criminal, unethical acts.

And to the indignant who equate animal suffering with human health, do remember the negative consequences and fatalities of pharmaceuticals that were considered safe as the result of testing them on different species: thalidomide was a tragedy, and saccharine, which was found to cause cancer in rats, is still marketed to humans. If humans claim human superiority as a validation for condoning animal experimentation, perhaps those “intellectual giants” can determine more effective research methods that do not violently kill billions of animals, a rather contradictory “means” to an uncertain “end”.

Some states have enacted student rights to not use animals in education, determine if you have Student Choice Laws via AAVS HERE or NAVS HERE

Free dissection alternatives via Science Bank HERE

Do note that even if you do not have a Student Choice Law, still raise your concern; sometimes just a brief message is sufficient, such as, “I am ethically opposed to dissection but will perform an educationally-equivalent exercise instead.” SL



Source Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)


The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of animal advocates who’ve been prevented from posting critical comments regarding animal experimentation on the Health and Human Services (HHS) otherwise public social media pages. The HHS is primarily charged with funding and promoting research on animals. Animals Used in Research 

In September 2021, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and coalition partners filed a lawsuit against the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over their censorship of critical comments concerning testing on animals on their official Facebook and Instagram accounts.

The NIH and HHS use keyword-blocking tools to automatically hide user comments that surface the use of nonhuman primates and other animals in research. Words blocked from appearing on the NIH’s social media pages include “animal,” “primate,” “monkey,” “chimpanzee,” “cats,” “mice,” “cruel,” and “experiment,” and blocked hashtags include “#StopAnimalTesting.” The HHS’ social media accounts also block comments containing the word “monkey.”

The Animal Legal Defense Fund alleges that the government’s keyword blocking imposes a viewpoint-based burden that prevents animal advocates from meaningfully adding to or engaging with the public discourse on these government-run social media channels. Because the government’s censorship targets people who hold a particular point of view — an opposition to animal testing — the lawsuit argues that the government is violating these speakers’ First Amendment rights by hiding their speech on this topic. Not only do the government’s actions in this case violate plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights, but they also prevent the public from being able to read and engage with other users whose comments may be hidden because they contain blocked keywords — a burden on the public’s ability to hear others’ speech.

Multiple courts have held that government-run social media accounts that allow users to comment and engage with others’ comments and contributions on government accounts are considered “public forums” akin to a town hall or meeting. The lawsuit seeks to stop the NIH and HHS from blocking comments based on their anti-animal-testing views.

In addition to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the coalition that filed the lawsuit includes the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Who is being sued, why, and under what law? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), for violating the plaintiffs’ constitutionally protected right to free speech.

What court is the lawsuit filed in? The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Why is this case is important? Animals used in research have few protections under the law; indeed, most animals in U.S. laboratories effectively have no legal protections at all. Research facilities operate without sufficient oversight into their animal-care procedures, and the public is given little to no information concerning the way these animals are treated. The voices of animal advocates are a critical part of the public discourse about animal experimentation.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund works to protect animals from inhumane treatment and safeguard the rights of those who advocate on their behalf or speak out about abuse. The NIH and HHS are infringing on the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights by denying them the opportunity to engage in protected speech on a government-run public forum.





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Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

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Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

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We stand in defiance against pseudoscience

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



puppies, milled

September 27, 2021

puppies, milled
We live here in a puppy mill
It is winter now, and we are
So chilled
When summer comes the
Heat is very strong
Our fur gets matted,
It gets too long
We cannot breathe
We cannot see
we can only feel
our misery
please rescue us
please get us out
we are not human
so we cannot shout

708 Kaporos Chickens Rescued!

September 27, 2021
by


Do note, for those triggered by “Asian wet markets” as being “responsible” for Covid19 and subsequent, bigoted, targeted hatred towards Asians, Kaporos is a WET MARKET, in the USA (animal exploitation in any form fuels animal exploitation in ALL forms, if you’re not vegan, don’t complain about animal exploitation in “other places” as you directly contribute to it):

Kaporos, Largest Live Animal Wet Market in the United States, Opens Ahead of Yom Kippur



Source Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos

We’re delighted to inform our supporters that our Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos Team succeeded in rescuing 708 chickens this month from the streets of Brooklyn.

We will publish a full Report on this year’s activities and accomplishments very soon. We thank everyone who has contributed to the success of our campaign.


The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is an association of groups and individuals who seek to replace the use of chickens in Kaporos ceremonies with money or other non-animal symbols of atonement. The Alliance does not oppose Kaporos per se, only the cruel and unnecessary use of chickens in the ceremony.


For more information and background on what “Chicken” Kaporos is, please see HERE




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Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

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Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
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Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

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Good news always reminds us that out there, there is Kindness

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



J.F.C.

September 20, 2021
by

Boe’s Story – Boar Semen Collection: Animal Liberation Queensland Vimeo


Even as a vegan for many years, I had not heard of this horror until recently. That this is an accepted method of “animal husbandry” is wretched, that it is concealed as “animal husbandry” is vile.

It has been relentlessly and successfully proven that if a human can devise a form of torturous confinement, causing abject pain and maximum suffering, apathetically and indifferently, and then provide the most harrowing and terrifying death, it has been achieved on animals.

If you participate in animal exploitation in any form (consumption, products, entertainment, clothing, etc.), you contribute to this hell that humans inflict on sentient creatures – like humans, cats, and dogs – effortlessly, willingly, and without condemnation.

“Welfare” laws are 100% meaningless to the victims who suffer for them, there is no part of “welfare” that includes suffering and violence, which occurs in ALL animal exploitation; even the most “cared-for” animal is used and then killed. Using terms like “welfare” and “humane” and “husbandry” to define exploitation requiring bodily control, intrusion, violation, and violent death (yes, killing any unwilling being is inherently violent absent suffering, defense) means those human-manufactured, self-soothing terms are for HUMANS and not the victims of them. If you care, you don’t exploit. SL



Source Animal Liberation Queensland


  • Footage released in January shows filthy conditions, violent abuse by workers, untreated wounds, and one boar left to slowly die over several days.
  • Authorities have failed to prosecute and boars continue to suffer in this facility every day.
  • This is the reality for animals that live within this broken system, but thanks to you, more and more people are becoming aware and turning away from animal agriculture.

You’ve heard of sow stalls, but did you know about boar stalls?

In an unseen facet of pig farming, boars are kept in small stalls all their lives, only being released for a brief time for semen collection a couple of times a week.

Semen collection farms are a relatively unknown facet of the industry. At this facility, at least 20 boars are kept in tiny stalls – most are equivalent to sow stalls – with no room to turn around, and barely enough room to even lie down. They have no enrichment, they are left with untreated injuries, fed only the minimum food required to keep them alive and “useful”, and are routinely abused. The only time the boars leave their tiny, filthy stall is for semen collection. 

When we received the footage our immediate concern was around the strong possibility of another boar suffering a similar fate to Boe from untreated illness and dying a slow painful death. We immediately informed the authorities with a complaint to RSPCA Qld and passed on the video footage. RSPCA Qld acted quickly and arranged a team of inspectors and vets from both RSPCA Qld and Biosecurity Qld to conduct a surprise inspection. 

We understand at least one boar was euthanised that day. After that, the rest of the investigation was handed over to Biosecurity Qld. In Queensland, a Memorandum of Understanding exists in which all farmed animal issues are referred to Biosecurity Qld, which is part of the Queensland Department of Agriculture.

On receiving no further updates from Biosecurity Qld, and realising authorities were not taking this seriously, we released the footage through two videos. 

First, on 6 March, Animal Liberation Queensland & Animal Liberation (NSW) released Boe’s story. The public reacted and shared Boe’s story resulting in more than 630,000 views on Facebook. 

On 11 March we released the second video documenting further abuse and filthy conditions. Faeces and infestations were found throughout the facility. Video footage shows the worker kicking the boars, stomping and smashing metal bars against a boar’s head.

After numerous follow-ups with the Department, we learned that several “direction orders” were given to the owner to rectify issues they had found in their inspection. Biosecurity Queensland has confirmed that they have been back multiple times since the initial inspection and they are satisfied that all direction orders are being adhered to. In other words, it seems they will not be taking further action and have given this place the tick of approval. 
In practice, very little has changed for the boars that may spend the rest of their lives in these barren rusty metal cells. From the information we have, the direction orders related to the untreated wounds, and the maintenance or uncleanliness of the facility. There is nothing that will give any sense of relief to these boars and nothing that will stop others from meeting a similar fate to Boe.

Despite numerous requests for further information authorities would “not comment on the outcome of any investigations”. We can, unfortunately, conclude that no charges have been laid – despite numerous animal cruelty abuses outlined above that were documented by investigators, as well as issues during the inspection by authorities. If these boars were dogs, the owner and workers would now be facing court. 

More than 3000 people sent emails of concern to the Minister for Agriculture. A couple of weeks later his office sent out a generic reply showing very little concern:



Above: Minister’s office response to public concerns regarding lack of action taken by the Department. 

We have also raised several conflicts of interests. Firstly, the land on which the Wacol pigs are incarcerated is leased from the Department of Agriculture – the very Department that is responsible for upholding animal welfare laws – is also taking money from this facility. The Minister failed to see any conflict here.

Secondly, this issue reminds us of the conflict of interest that exists for all animal agriculture. The Department of Agriculture in each state is responsible for growth and economic sustainability of the industry, but at the same time has the responsibility to enforce the Animal Care and Protection Act – and to police the very businesses it seeks to promote and grow. Both the Premier and Minister continue to ignore this very clear conflict of interest. 

We are grateful to the investigators who took great risks to bring this cruelty to light. This is a thankless task, being confronted first hand with this cruelty. We greatly appreciate the thousands of you who complained to the Minister, made phone calls, and shared the video footage. 

Sadly, this is the reality of millions of animals used and abused around the country every day. It is no wonder we see cruelty like this when the system is set up to fail these animals. As long as we have a society that supports, embraces and even celebrates animal agriculture, scenes like this will continue to be commonplace. 

Know that this hasn’t all been for nothing. Hundreds of thousands of people have had their eyes opened to the reality of animal agriculture. For countless people, this was the final straw, and they have committed to going vegan. For others, this may be the start of their journey. 

We can all help through our daily choices. By choosing vegan alternatives and never buying meat, dairy, eggs and other animal products, we take away the demand. Speak to your friends and family. Keep sharing footage and stories on social media. Keep writing and calling the Ministers, and speak to your local MP. Volunteer with or donate to animal advocacy groups. 

Pressure on industry and government is growing every day, and every day the public is becoming more and more informed. Sadly, these industries of cruelty will not close down overnight, but with your help their days are numbered. We will keep fighting, and we will achieve animal liberation. 





Download Your FREE Vegan PDF HERE

Order a FREE vegan kit HERE

Dairy-Free Info HERE

Take the Dairy-Free Challenge HERE

Click HERE for more Dairy-Free

Fish alternatives can be found HERE

Learn about eggs HERE

Find bacon alternatives HERE and HERE

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

Searching for Cruelty-Free Cosmetics, Personal-Care Products, Vegan Products, or more?
Click HERE to search.

Free PDF of Vegan & Cruelty-Free Products/Companies HERE

Click HERE to find out How to Wear Vegan!

Want to do more than go vegan? Help others to do so! Click 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 HERE

Vegan Outreach HERE

Get your FREE Activist Kit from PETA, including stickers, leaflets, and guide HERE

Have questions? Click HERE



If only humans would use their thought processes to promote kindness, instead of utilizing their “intelligence” to create all manner of cruelties.

We as a species are an epic disaster.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



donkeys

September 13, 2021

Donkeys

Do not judge us We are not you

We do what donkeys Were born to do

We are not stubborn we do not like being used

we are not tools of man to be beaten or abused

if you want us to help you be kind with your request

we will gladly oblige if you do your best

The Unemployed Epidemiologist Who Predicted the Pandemic

September 13, 2021
by


Source The Nation

By Eamon Whalen


In early March 2020, Rob Wallace, an evolutionary biologist who had been adrift after an unceremonious exit from the University of Minnesota, flew to New Orleans and then got on a bus to Jackson, Miss., where he was scheduled to speak at an event on health and racial injustice. Wallace, who turned 50 this summer, has been studying and writing about infectious diseases and their origins for half his life. For almost as long, he’s been warning that the practices of industrial agriculture would lead to a deadly pandemic on the scale of Covid-19—or worse. “A pandemic may now be all but inevitable,” he wrote of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in 2007. ”In what would be a catastrophic failure on the part of governments and health ministries worldwide, millions may die.”

Before his trip to Jackson, Wallace had been closely monitoring the outbreak of a novel virus in Wuhan. Though he’d been spooked by a news report that showed a delivery driver in China practicing extreme social distancing, he went ahead with the trip. As an underpaid academic, he needed the money, and as an American, he didn’t expect anything to happen to him. “I too had been infused with a peculiarly American moment, wherein financial desperation meets imperial exceptionalism,” he wrote.

When Wallace returned from his trip, he threw himself back into writing and research with such fervor that he managed to ignore a pounding headache. When the shortness of breath started, his teenage son yelled at him through the computer screen to see a doctor. After he filled out an online questionnaire, Wallace was diagnosed with Covid-19 over the phone.

He’d been infected with something he’d been warning about for years, and like so many around the country and the world, all he could do was to hope to keep breathing. “No test. No antiviral. No masks and no gloves provided. No community health practitioner stopping by to check on me,” Wallace wrote.

“You can intellectually understand something but still not assimilate the oncoming damage,” he told me later, as he recalled the “sour vindication” of having his worst fears come true. “So there’s an aspect of rage, and an arrival at an understanding.”

I met Wallace for coffee on an afternoon in late June. We sat on benches under the shade on the campus of a liberal arts college near his home in St. Paul, Minn. He was dressed in a pale-red short-sleeve shirt, dark jeans, and sneakers. He wore rectangular black-rimmed glasses and a Minnesota Twins baseball hat and had a five o’clock shadow

Wallace looks more like a dad on the way to his kid’s Little League game than a lab-coat-wearing scientist who used to consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations. That could be because he hasn’t had a job in academia for more than a decade, a circumstance he attributes to his decision to take the implications of his scholarship seriously.

That’s why the book Wallace published last October came with a provocative title—Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of Covid-19. Though there are many “brilliant, bright, amazing, and hardworking” epidemiologists whose work he cites, their impact is limited, Wallace said: “They are in the business of cleaning up the mess the system brought about, and that’s the extent to which they’re willing to go.” In his first essay on Covid, “Notes on a Novel Coronavirus,” published in January 2020, Wallace wrote that an epidemiologist is like a “stable boy with a shovel following around elephants at the circus.”

“As an epidemiologist, you’re supposed to want to put yourself out of business,” Wallace said. “Everyone has bills to pay; I understand that. But the extent to which your corruption might lead to a pathogen that could kill a billion people—that’s where my line is.” While he’s not the only Cassandra whose warnings of a pandemic like Covid-19 went unheeded, there are few as clear-eyed about where to direct the blame. “Agribusiness is at war with public health,” he wrote in the March 2020 essay “Covid-19 and the Circuits of Capital,” and if no serious action is taken, the interval before the next pandemic will be “far shorter…than the hundred-year lull since 1918.”

So during that fateful spring, it’s fair to say, Wallace should have been as aware as anyone on earth of the speed with which such a virus could spread in the United States. “Perhaps that was my version of being a dead epidemiologist, who cannot assimilate what he knows about things into action or interpretation,” he admitted. Throughout Dead Epidemiologists—some of which was written while he was afflicted with Covid—Wallace mercilessly attacks the complacency and fecklessness with which establishment scientists and politicians responded to the virus; he also surveys the damage that the pandemic has wrought on the bottom rungs of society. The book is poignantly dedicated to three meatpacking workers who died from Covid-19, and Wallace describes their barbarous working conditions in detail. But the book’s chief concern is the origin of the SARS-CoV2 virus, and Wallace works backward here, from the outbreak to the bat cave.

To fully grasp why we’re living in an age of pandemics, one must first understand how industrial agriculture and deforestation work in tandem. The H5N1 bird flu and the H1N1 swine flu emerged from poultry and hog farms, whereas Ebola and Covid-19 emerged from wild animals. All are the result of zoonotic spillovers—when pathogens that originate in animals cross over to humans and then mutate in ways that allow them to spread to other humans. According to a July 2020 report from the United Nations, three out of four of all “new and emerging human infectious diseases” are zoonotic in origin, and a study in the journal Nature found that agricultural drivers were associated with half of all the zoonotic pathogens that emerged in humans in that time. In Wallace’s view, this increase is “concurrent” with the livestock revolution, the expansion and consolidation of the meat sector that began in the 1970s in the southeastern United States and then spread around the world.

When thousands of the same breed of animal are raised in crowded conditions, the lack of biodiversity creates “an ecology nigh perfect for the evolution of multiple virulent strains of influenza,” Wallace wrote. Farms built near dwindling primary forests where zoonotic pathogens reside have inadvertently “empowered the pathogens to be their very best selves,” he told me. “You strip out the complexity of forest that had been keeping these pathogens bottled up, and you let them have a nice straight shot to the major cities, which gives them opportunities to multiply themselves. This all increases transmission and increases virulence.”

The cities themselves have also become increasingly vulnerable, without investment in public space and health care. “You’ve stripped out everything from environmental sanitation, especially in the Global South, and you’ve made public health an individual intervention,” he added.

But few have made the connection between the past year and a half and the processes that Wallace highlights. “Other than reprobates like me, most Americans think of Covid-19 as a thing that emerged out of China, and doesn’t it have to do with bats or labs or something?” Wallace continued. “So a natural act, or the fault of the Chinese, or both.” That obfuscation makes sense, given what Wallace repeatedly identifies as the essential strategy of agribusiness corporations: They leave their biggest costs off their own balance sheets and let them fall instead on the environment, animals, farmers, workers, consumers, and public health agencies the world over. “Governments are prepared to subsidize agribusiness billions upon billions for damage control in the form of animal and human vaccines, tamiflu, culling operations, and body bags,” he wrote concerning the swine flu in 2009.

Unlike your average MSNBC viewer, Wallace never dismissed the “lab leak” theory of Covid’s origin as outside the realm of possibility or beyond legitimate scientific inquiry. In 2013, he warned that the proliferation over the past 20 years of biosafety labs—which handle and run experiments on some of the world’s deadliest viruses—was making an accident almost inevitable. Though he’s still a proponent of the “field” hypothesis, which holds that the virus crossed over in nature rather than in a laboratory facility, Wallace believes that the origin debate, at least as it’s being hashed out in the public sphere, largely misses the point. “Both represent efforts at avoiding addressing the economic model driving the emergence of virulent pathogens to begin with,” he argued last August on his Patreon page, where his articles often appear first. “The trope best suited for organizing our thinking here isn’t necessarily a murder mystery. It may be better conceived as an alien invasion of our own making.”

It may come as a surprise that Wallace, a scholar of agriculture, was born and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. He was an only child and a self-described “pink diaper baby”—his parents to the left of the Democratic Party, but not quite Reds. Rodrick and Deborah Wallace, a physicist and an ecologist, met on a picket line protesting a weapons research lab when they were graduate students at Columbia and Barnard. Rodrick was organizing with a group called Scientists and Engineers for Social and Political Action, an early formation of Science for the People, which would count radical scientists like Richard Levins, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Lewontin as members. When Columbia hosted an Earth Day celebration sponsored by Ford Motors, which Deborah called “the first attempt at greenwashing,” the couple helped organize the inaugural People’s Earth Day event, with speakers from the United Farm Workers and the Black Panther Party, as well as the labor leader Tony Mazzocchi.

Shortly after Robert was born, his parents became epidemiologists in their own right. Their study of the destruction of housing in the Bronx in the early 1970s and its public health fallout became the book A Plague on Your Houses: How New York Was Burned Down and National Health Crumbled. The Wallaces showed that the fires that engulfed the Bronx between 1969 and 1976 were the result of the city’s decision to reduce fire services in poor neighborhoods, based on faulty data from the Rand Corporation.

“We were running a disaster site operation out of our house. We didn’t have the time or energy to indoctrinate the child,” Rodrick said during a Zoom call with the couple from their home in the Bronx. “He could tell what was going on through the conversations he heard or through seeing the hundreds of autopsy reports laid out on our terrace from the mass, fatal toxic fires.” Today the Wallace family works collaboratively; Rodrick and Deborah are the coauthors of several chapters in Dead Epidemiologists.

While pursuing a PhD in biology at the City University of New York, where he also contributed articles and illustrations to the student newspaper The Messenger, Wallace studied the HIV crisis in the city in the 1980s and ’90s. He found that AIDS death rates by zip code corresponded to the unequal distribution of the life-saving cocktails of antiretroviral medications, which in turn corresponded to previously existing inequality. “Rob’s dissertation was essentially an extension of the family business,” Deborah said. It marked the beginning of Wallace’s fascination with the social dimensions of infectious disease and served as morbid preparation for the way Covid-19 has laid bare the United States’ and the rest of the globe’s most deeply entrenched injustices.

After graduate school, Wallace went to the University of California, Irvine, to do postdoctoral research with Dr. Walter Fitch, the father of molecular phylogeny, a method of tracing the evolutionary history of and relationships among organisms. In 2007 Wallace was the lead author of the first study that pinpointed the southern Chinese province of Guangdong as the source of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in the mid-1990s. Yet there was something the genetic sequencing he was looking at couldn’t tell him: Why did it emerge there during that time? “I made the mistake of becoming curious about something,” Wallace said. “That’s not a good career move in science.”

He began to read beyond his discipline, investigating history, sociology, and political economy. “In the course of getting these literatures to speak to each other, all of a sudden my vision of what causality is completely changed,” Wallace said. He found that as China’s post-Mao economy opened up to direct foreign investment, it shifted from subsistence agriculture to vertically integrated poultry and hog farming for commodity export. Between 1985 and 2000, skyrocketing chicken and duck production combined with a globally unprecedented migration of people from China’s rural areas to the cities to create the perfect epidemiological storm. “The social sciences are utterly critical to understand how things evolve at the molecular level,” he said.

Following the money changed Wallace’s concept of what a disease hot spot is. If we paid as much attention to the entities that fund deforestation and highly pathogenic farming methods as we do to the outbreak zone, we would have to see the international centers of finance like London, Hong Kong, and New York City as viral epicenters too. “Hong Kong had been painted as a victim in this moralistic story, but it was also the source by virtue of financing the reconstruction of agriculture in Guangdong,” Wallace said. He proposed that China advocate renaming viruses and their variants to reflect their political- economic origins, as he’s begun to do in his own writing, with the “NAFTA Flu” (for the swine flu) and “Neoliberal Ebola.” In July, Keir Starmer of the UK Labour Party proposed naming what was then known as the UK variant after Boris Johnson. Wallace had already named it the BoJo Strain in December.

Wallace’s discovery that macroeconomics could shape microbiology was both a breakthrough and the beginning of the end of his academic career. He had applied for a tenure-track position in the geography department at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, but was hired in 2008 on a contractual basis instead. He suspected this was due to a factional dispute within the department, and he felt marginalized by his colleagues when he arrived. He had also started a blog, Farming Pathogens, and when the swine flu emerged in 2009, Wallace wrote about who was to blame. “When you start speaking out at Minnesota, which is an agricultural shop, and you blame agribusiness for the emergence of a pandemic, you’re not going to get support,” Wallace said. His one-year contract was not renewed, and he was given a token visiting scholar position. “They dumped my body at the Institute for Global Studies. I had no money and no office, basically just access to the library. So I got the message.”

Wallace spent the next few years bitter and angry. He was also broke, living off food stamps and unemployment insurance. He and his wife had gotten divorced. The weeks when his son stayed with him, he’d eat OK; when he was solo, not so much. Eventually he got a job making sandwiches at a deli in St. Paul. Wallace had also written enough blog posts that he could shop around a book of essays, which became Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Influenza, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science, published in 2016 by Monthly Review Press.

“His depth of ecological understanding was just astounding, and he managed to bring it together with epidemiology and social science in amazing ways,” said John Bellamy Foster, the editor of Monthly Review, a professor of sociology at the University of Oregon, and the author of Marx’s Ecology. “One of the problems on the left, like everywhere else, was that issues of nature and science were separate from social science and history. Biology was an issue for biologists, not for social scientists. Rob’s work teaches us to put these together and make sense of what’s going on.”

While Wallace’s harrowing predictions in Big Farms Make Big Flu might have seemed alarmist in 2016, today, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, they look prophetic. As Wallace’s star has risen over the past year and a half, the book has been reprinted in Spanish and Italian, and he’s been interviewed by media outlets in India, Brazil, and Germany. “His work is irresistible,” Foster said, “because we are facing these growing epidemiological and economic crises, and Rob’s analysis is really the only realistic lens to understand the problem. His critique is now a common ground for critical intellectuals around the world. And it’s happened very fast.”

Wallace’s move from studying the genetic sequencing of viruses to analyzing their origins is a matter not just of conviction but of necessity. Once a deadly virus emerges, “the horse has left the barn,” he is fond of saying. This is where the “infamous Wuhan “wet market” enters the picture, which Wallace emphasizes must be understood as part of a web of economic, political, and ecological relations. When China’s farms industrialized, many small farmers sought to become purveyors of wild food. As big farms took up more and more land, the small farmers were forced to raise or hunt animals closer to or within the forests where the most exotic pathogens might reside. Say, in a bat cave.

Wallace’s personal theory is that Covid-19 “emerged along the increasingly industrialized wild animal commodity chain from hinterlands and border towns as far south and west as Yunnan. On the last leg of its domestic tour, the virus made its way to Wuhan by truck or plane and then the world,” he wrote in May. And while southern China has been ground zero for several outbreaks, because of the country’s unique path to development in the late 20th century, and the Chinese government is not without blame, Wallace notes that the same thing could—and often does—happen elsewhere. Pandemics are just one symptom of a broader ecological sickness: a “rift” in the planet’s social metabolism that occurs when economic abstractions are treated as more real than ecological limits, to borrow the Marxist framework pioneered by ecosocialist theorists like Foster and expanded by Wallace.

This rift between ecology and the economy runs parallel with the growing political divide between urban and rural, Wallace said. Early in the pandemic, his organization, the Agroecology and Rural Economics Research Corps, launched an international collective called Pandemic Research for the People, focusing on “the needs of everyday people most immediately affected” by Covid-19. Many of America’s farmers, for example, have been in decades-long exploitative contractual relationships with agribusiness corporations. In Minnesota, they’re in such dire straits that it has led to an epidemic of suicides.

“We’re trying to bridge gaps and signal that their plight matters,” Wallace said. “It requires a respect for people who don’t have degrees at the end of their names but have a profound understanding of the systems you’re looking at.” It’s difficult to argue with the notion that any movement or coalition capable of loosening the grip of agribusiness corporations would have to address this fracture between the city and the hinterland. Such a movement, he continued, would seek to deliver on the slogan from Charles Booker’s 2020 Democratic primary campaign for the Kentucky Senate: “From the hood to the holler.” Or, to widen the scope, “From the South Side of Chicago to South America,” as Wallace wrote in a recent Patreon dispatch, once again reminding us that the pandemic is “over” only for a tiny minority of people on the planet.

The alternative is agroecology, which is simultaneously a science, an agricultural practice, and a radical anti-capitalist movement with roots in Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement and the international peasant alliance La Via Campesina. Wallace defines an agroecological system as one that is “tied to the state of the surrounding landscape from which resources are continually drawn (and returned).” The way out, then, is not so much to create a new world, or to escape into space like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk seem to be planning, but “more along the lines of coming back to earth.”

Wallace is now at work on a book of essays called Revolution Space: Adventures Outside Capitalist Science, which will extend beyond the natural and social sciences to incorporate the humanities, most notably ancient mythology. Toward the end of our conversation, he took off his glasses and leaned over the table to show me the inscription—“Epimethean Vision”—printed in white letters on the inside of his lens. It’s become something of a life mantra for Wallace: You have to look back to see what’s coming. “Foresight is important, but you need hindsight—not to go back to some prelapsarian fantasy, but to draw the lessons that happened previously so you don’t do it again,” he explained. “We’re getting right back on track to what brought us here, except next time it could be a pathogen that emerges to kill a billion people.”

While he acknowledges that cynicism is an “occupational hazard,” Wallace’s work on Covid-19 has brought him more acolytes than detractors. “I’ve found when systems are in crisis, there is room for weirdos like me,” he said. Like the archetypal outsider scientist at the beginning of a disaster movie, Wallace has struggled to be heard. But by the third act, what once seemed like doomsday prophecy could become the basis for recovery. “If I’ve arisen in this historical moment, it’s because I was thrown aside in such a way that I landed in a realm that forced me to become a different scientist,” Wallace said. “I went through the hellfire of ostracization and marginalization. It’s true, I don’t want to go there ever again. But I also understand that one can say what’s necessary to say and still survive another day.”




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