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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)

Chris Bachman: Scientist silenced for telling the truth about wolves

July 16, 2018
by
1280px-Flickr_-_law_keven_-_It's_hot_out_there....

Wikimedia Commons, Keven Law

Source The Spokesman Review
By Chris Bachman

Most of us are familiar with the “Boy Who Cried Wolf.” This is the story of the scientist who cried “truth” and the price attached. Science is humanity’s tool for revealing the truth. Denying the truth does not change it.

Dr. Robert Wielgus is a man of honor and integrity whose voice was silenced, ironically, through an act of social predation. As director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Laboratory at Washington State University, his work with large carnivores was well respected. Dr. Wielgus’ and his students’ research found that wolves and livestock can coexist. Wolves do not naturally hunt livestock – not a single wolf predation occurred when livestock were kept a half-mile from an active wolf den site. Had this peer-reviewed science been observed, unnecessary cattle deaths and slaughter of the Profanity Peak Pack could have been avoided.

Many animals have evolved to birth their young in spring, a time of plentiful resources. In spring, wolf sociality revolves around birthing puppies. Wolves remain close to the den site during this time. Livestock also birth in the spring, however human intervention has altered this to late winter so calves are ready to graze by spring. The release of cow and young calf onto public land to graze coincides with the birthing of wolf puppies and increased energy needs for the pack.

Gray wolves hunt cooperatively in family units known as packs, a social unit composed of diverse individuals with a hierarchy and social structure that facilitates cooperative hunting. Cooperative hunting involves socially complex meat-eating animals working together, with division of labor and role specialization increasing the success of the group and the individual. Cooperative hunting offers increased access to food with decreased risk to the individual, and is linked to intelligence, social organization and the evolution of sociality. Sociality is the degree to which individuals in an animal population form cooperative societies.

Cooperative hunting is also called social predation. This behavior is not unique to gray wolves; it is a behavior ever-present in humans. It is sadly ironic that Dr. Wielgus, a predator aficionado, would fall victim to social predation. In human terms, social predators are individuals who thrive embracing the pack mentality, rarely having the courage to act alone. They prey on other humans and are widely known for the predictable traits of egocentrism and aggressive social mannerisms. Dr. Wielgus was depredated by social predators – agency professionals, legislators and community members – whose self-interests are more important than truth.

Dr. Wielgus questioned the actions of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and a public lands rancher that led to the slaughter of the Profanity Peak wolves. Livestock and salt blocks were placed within 200 yards of a wolf den on public land. Once discovered, no action was taken to remove the livestock, despite numerous warnings. Salt blocks were left in place, complicating the situation. When agency and industry refused to listen, Dr. Wielgus risked his reputation and went to the press and public. Once cattle were killed, seven wolves – adults and puppies – were slaughtered. This situation could have been avoided through adaptive husbandry practices and respect for nature. One rancher’s husbandry practices, coupled with WDFW’s lethal removal policy, is responsible for the killing of 15 of our recovering wolves.

Additionally, Dr. Wielgus’ research revealed that killing wolves does not lead to fewer predations on livestock; killing alters the sociality within the pack, impacts cooperative hunting, and can increase the number of breeding pairs and the overall number of wolves, leading to more predation on livestock. Killing a whole pack vacates habitat open to colonization by new wolves, also found to increase the number of livestock preyed upon. These findings do not align with WDFW’s lethal removal policy and do not support grazing cattle on our public lands. Industry and agency refused to recognize the scientific truth. Instead of adapting, they chose to kill the messenger.

Chris Bachman, a biologist and wolf advocate, is the wildlife program director at The Lands Council in Spokane. He also chairs the Eastern Washington Wolf Coalition.






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

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

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when truths become relative
to from whom they speak
our society and values
turn ashen
and weak.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 



Study Confirms If You Call Yourself an Environmentalist, You Need to be Vegan

July 9, 2018
by

Animal_Abuse_Battery_Cage_02

Wikimedia Commons, Ethelred



Source One Green Planet
By Estelle Rayburn

When it comes to reducing your impact on our planet, some choices make a bigger difference than others. Of course, you want to strive to do the most possible good for our Earth. So what’s the best action you can take to limit your environmental impact? According to a recent study published in the journal Science, staying away from meat and dairy products is the single most effective way to help the planet.

Scientists arrived at this conclusion after an analysis of how farming affects the Earth revealed some eye-opening statistics. According to the research, if people stopped consuming meat and dairy products, we could reduce global farmland use by over 75 percent — that’s an area that could fit all of the U.S., China, the European Union, AND Australia — while still feeding the world’s growing population successfully.

The analysis also uncovered that meat and dairy provide just 18 percent of the calories and 37 percent of the protein consumed globally, yet they take up a whopping 83 percent of the world’s total farmland and account for 60 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted in the agriculture sector. Moreover, growing any type of vegetable or cereal takes far less land and is far more sustainable than producing even the lowest impact meat and dairy, according to the study.

In fact, the research revealed that grass-fed beef, which is generally considered to have a relatively low impact as compared to other types of livestock, still takes a much higher toll on the environment than plant-based foods. As University of Oxford researcher and study leader Joseph Poore reportedly put it“Converting grass into [meat] is like converting coal to energy. It comes with an immense cost in emissions.”

Poore also described the tremendous good ditching meat and dairy can do beyond just cutting greenhouse gas emissions: “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.” He went on, “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” as these actions merely decrease greenhouse gas emissions without helping out significantly in the other areas. Not to mention that going vegan can also help reverse the current mass extinction of wildlife, which is largely driven by wild areas being taken over for livestock production.

Overall, this study largely confirms what we already knew: Livestock production is the number one cause of global climate change. However, it provides concrete evidence that swapping out meat and dairy for delicious plant-based alternatives is not just good for the planet — it’s the single best thing you could ever do!

To learn more about how you can save the Earth through your food choices, check out the Eat For The Planet book. And don’t forget to tell everyone in your network that cutting meat and dairy has been proven to be the best step you can take in the pursuit to limit your carbon footprint!





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

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

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

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

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

Have questions? Click HERE





One cannot choose nor
Discriminate
The environment begins
On our plates

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 

Why Rare or Heritage Breed Farming is Not Conservation

July 2, 2018
by
Rare_breed_sheep_(9580287815)

Wikimedia Commons

Source Free From Harm
By Robert Grillo



The following is my letter to the editor of The Globe and Mail in response to their May 7th article, This sheep could save our bacon someday: Why farmers are banking on rare breeds. Some of the content here is excerpted from my book, Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal Consuming Culture.  Letters to the editor can be sent to letters@globeandmail.com.

Dear Editors,

Overall, the article is based on the false premise that the conservation of so-called “rare breeds” are of the same status as endangered native species, conflating the role of conservation of native species with domesticated, “invasive” species that humans introduced solely for the purpose of commodification, which has resulted in an ongoing degradation of ecosystems and the decimation of wildlife, not its conservation. In addition, the article ignores all of the cruelty and killing of domestic animals in the process of centuries of selective breeding which involves “weeding out” weak or diseased animals and killing them off.

The article suggests that so-called “rare breed” or heritage breed conservation is humankind doing Mother Nature a favor by domesticating certain indigenous species and by introducing invasive species to her ecosystems, as if nothing existed (or at least nothing worth conserving) before our intervention, as if no species were harmed or hunted to extinction in the process of converting and maintaining once pristine ecosystems into farmland. In reality, farmers wreaked havoc on ecosystems and systematically killed off other animals that posed a threat or nuisance to their livestock investments. And the process continues today, particularly on so-called pasture-based or free-range farms, which require more land use and more confrontations with indigenous species.

Please read rest HERE








mother nature makes the rules
when man intervenes
he sometimes plays
the fool.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 


Recipe for Success: These Restaurants Flourish After Going Vegan

June 25, 2018
by

Source PETA
By Katherine Sullivan

Folks who have made the switch to vegan eating have found massive amounts of personal success. Some lost weight, others noticed younger-looking or clearer skin, and all were gratified by knowing that they’re helping to save animals and the planet. Restaurants are finding similar success. But instead of clear skin, eateries that switch to vegan menus notice improved popularity. Plus, in addition to saving animals and the planet, these establishments are saving on food costs—and gaining sales.

TheVeganizers@TheVeganizers

17 restaurants out of 22, confirmed with cold hard cash that their sales increased dramatically. Some as much as 1000%. Whether you’re for the animals or not, SBO’s should take this intel seriously as a hint on how to keep your business alive! http://ow.ly/wPDA30jkM0Z 

According to Forbes, out of 22 restaurants surveyed that made the switch to 100 percent vegan menus, the 17 that responded reported increased sales—and some saw sales surge by as much as 1,000 percent. The eateries also reported an increase in social media followings—some as much as 15,000 percent. Many also saw a decrease in food costs. Click here to learn more about these now-vegan restaurants, and read on to discover a few of our favorite success stories:

El Palote Panadería

When this restaurant opened in Dallas in 2015, it featured “vegan Thursdays.” But in 2016, a customer said it wasn’t an option to continue to support a business that continued to serve meat—so El Palote’s owners cut meat from the menu the following week. The Mexican restaurant is a family-owned business, and the father—who had a heart condition—went vegan for his health. The rest of the family quickly followed suit. The restaurant’s owners say that they didn’t put a “vegan” sign on the front door because they prefer to let the food speak for itself. According to Veganizer, El Palote’s gross sales increased by 371 percent, while the eatery’s social media fame jumped 7,500 percent. And it’s clear why—the food is “life changing.”

Secret Creek Cafe & Restaurant

Trevor Evans worked in the mines in Australia for 20 years, but what he really wanted to do was help save animals. In 2004, he opened Secret Creek, and in 2016, the family-run business—which also serves as a popular wedding venue and cake supplier—switched to an all-vegan menu. Since then, the eatery has reported an increase of sales by 153 percent. As if that’s not astounding enough, its food costs also decreased by 58 percent.

Bar Velo

In 2002, John McCormick and his wife, Vanessa Shanks, opened Café Moto—a chic, cycling-themed bar that featured a nonvegan menu. In 2016, when it came time to renegotiate their lease, they decided to start fresh with a new concept. “You think about how the future can be—how can you lessen your impact … and how can you create an environment where you feel good bringing your child to eat,” said Shanks. Thus, Bar Velo was born. The eatery—which now features a 100 percent plant-based menu—has seen a 15 percent increase in sales since making the compassionate switch.

Gelato Blue

Years after opening a gelatería in 2009, Gelato Blue in Newtown, Australia, opted to serve all-vegan gelato. “Because we are a family business, we treat our customers like family,” said the store’s manager, Fotini Platis. So in order to accommodate alltheir customers’ desires, the shop switched to serving only plant-based gelato as of 2016—on Easter Saturday, to be exact. Gelato Blue’s vegan menu was reportedly the third major plant-based menu to be launched on the same street within a span of six months, proving that the demand for compassionate eats is only rising.

Délice & Sarrasin

When you think “French cuisine,” you may not immediately think “vegan.” But Christopher Caron and his mother, Yvette—owner and chef of Délice & Sarrasin in New York City—are changing that. After opening a 99 percent vegan restaurant in 2015, the mother-son duo made the full switch a year later—eliminating cheese from their menu. Since doing so, sales have gone up by 350 percent, while the bistro’s social media following skyrocketed 1,200 percent, and it’s easy to see why. Everything—from the “steak” tartare to the vegan brie cheese—at the French eatery is Instagram-worthy.

The Fields Beneath

This coffee shop opened in London in 2012. In March 2017, after one employee went vegan, the eatery opted to start switching its menu. According to the establishment’s website, “We ‘ran out of ham’ for weeks before we decided to become more vocal about it. On Mother’s Day 2017 we stopped pouring cow’s milk into our espresso, signalling the end of animal products in our cafe.” Staff members also posted a notice explaining why they’d no longer be serving dairy “products.” Less than a month later, The Fields Beneath’s Instagram site jumped from 700 to 7,000 followers. According to Forbes, the eatery “also maintained a gross profit of 68% after turning vegan in March 2017.”

Greek Vegan Bakery

Australia’s first vegan Greek bakery didn’t start out vegan. But shortly after opening in 2016, the family-owned establishment decided that the best way to honor a late companion dog was to commit to baking with only plant-derived ingredients, including “[l]ove, care, consciousness and awareness.” The effort proved so successful that the family behind the plant-based vegan goods opened a second location—only two months after opening the original one!

Mother of Pearl

When restaurateur Ravi DeRossi announced that he wanted to turn all his restaurants and bars in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn vegan in 2015, he started with Mother of Pearl. It clearly worked—sales increased and food costs dropped. The eatery—which had mainly seen crowds looking to order late-evening drinks—started to get a dinner rush for the first time. Switching to a vegan menu proved to be so successful that DeRossi even closed Bourgeois Pig—a fondue restaurant—and reopened the space as Ladybird, a vegan tapas bar.

Soul Burger

Medical doctor Amit Tewari wants “to reduce the costs of vegan food and make it more accessible to the broader population.” That’s why, in December 2015, he turned his Sydney eatery—Soul Burger—completely vegan. Since doing so, sales have increased 347 percent, while food costs have decreased by 3 percent. Tewari has also opened three more locations throughout Sydney. PETA Australia even featured the eatery for its comedic “Breatharian menu.” The burger joint’s social media following also rose by 233 percent. Follow it on Instagram to see why:

The Organic Grill

Situated in New York City’s East Village, The Organic Grill was a vegetarian restaurant for 18 years. It slowly began removing eggs and dairy “products” from its menu a few months back. Then one day, it made it official—it announced on Instagram that it’s finally and officially an all-vegan restaurant. The new animal-free menu seems to be well accepted by customers, and it’s easy to see why. Offerings include the Tofu Omelet, the Cauliflower Parm Sandwich, pierogies, and some of the best vegan burgers in the city.

Pow Pow

After testing a vegan menu for only a few weeks, Washington, D.C., eatery Pow Pow never looked back. “PLANT-BASED stays!” it announced. Menu items include the Disco Stick Egg Roll, Trolley Fries, and a Natalie Porkman Bowl made with sweet-and-sour port seitan. Patrons seem to love the new all-vegan menu. “Support has been so great that we couldn’t imagine going back,” said Pow Pow cofounder Shuan Sharkey.

Holiday

When Holiday—formerly Roman Candle Baking Co.—closed for remodeling in April 2018, it actually meant menu remodeling. It reopened later that month, offering only plant-based (and gluten-free!) goodness. This was huge, considering that the eatery had been famous for its pizzas and “meaty hoagies. But after Duane Sorenson—who owns Holiday and founded Stumptown Coffee—went vegan, he decided that his Portland-based hot spot should be vegan, too. The fancy toast options are to die for (cashew, cardamom, and pear with a walnut crumble … seriously?) as are the fresh juices, smoothies, and coffee selections.

Joni

“All products are now suitable for vegans.” This is what the sign at Joni in Sheffield, England, read as of last month. Famous for its macarons, brunch, and delicious coffee, the eatery went completely vegan after requests from customers. Although the macarons are the star, you can also get savory items like a tofu stir-frymushrooms on toastfalafeljackfruit wraps, and more. But seriously, don’t leave Joni’s without a macaron.

We must admit—we’re not at all surprised by these success stories. Vegan lifestyles are on the rise. Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of not eating animals, and restaurants are responding in kind.

Have you joined the vegan revolution?

Going vegan is easier than ever before and—as these restaurants prove—a recipe for success. Click here to receive a free vegan starter kit packed full of recipes, tips on eating out, and important health information. Going vegan may be easier than ever before, but we’re here to make it even easier. If you’re a restaurant owner and want information or tips on switching to a vegan menu, click here to contact PETA today!






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

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

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

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

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

Have questions? Click HERE





food for thought
all our efforts
not for
naught!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 


The Rescue of Kukkuta and the Rooster Dilemma

June 18, 2018
by

Source United Poultry Concerns
By Hope Bohanec

On the Saturday before Easter I got a call from a friend who was worried about an injured rooster in the Walgreens parking lot about five minutes from my house. A feral population of roosters and hens have made their home in the fields of tall grass and parking lots around Peet’s Coffee and Walgreens in Cotati, California. It’s the same area where I recently rescued a mama hen and her six newborn chicks and took them to a local farmed animal sanctuary. The chickens have become a novelty around there. Peet’s puts out water for them and people come just to hang out with the colorful birds, feeding them bits of scone and taking their pictures. But the population is growing and more and more roosters are being dumped there.

Kukkuta bloodied and laying on the pavement

Source UPC, Hope Bohanec

I drove out to see what was going on and there was a police car parked outside the Walgreens. I asked the officer if she was there because of the rooster and she said yes, that Walgreens had called the Cotati police concerned about him. Apparently a larger rooster had been bullying him for hours. We found him lying on the ground in the middle of a parking space with blood splattered around him on the pavement. The triumphant rooster was pacing back and forth, hovering over him on the curb. We shooed away the tormenter and had a look at the poor guy. He was frozen in shock. His face, head, neck, and comb were covered in murky blood and his left eye was swollen shut with fresh blood dripping out of it.

I asked what she was going to do and she didn’t know. I sat next to the pitiful little guy and was able to put him in my lap and get a good look. He had a lot of blood on him, but the only injury I could find was to his eye. I couldn’t find any wound on his body or neck or comb. I told her there was a good chance he could recover, but she said they would probably “put him down” as no one would want to drive him all the way up to Animal Control on Easter weekend. He would likely be euthanized at Animal Control anyway, so I ended up with a rooster in my car. I knew he would be my responsibility. I had just tried to help someone find a home for a rooster a few weeks before and no sanctuary in the area could take a rooster, but there was no other choice. His life was in my hands.

Kukkuta resting in a carrying crate with drinking water

Source UPC, Hope Bohanec

For seven days he didn’t move. We put him on soft towels in an animal carrying crate and he just sat, frozen. The poor soul was so traumatized. He was not interested in food or water. We tried to entice him with blueberries, pasta, apples, rice, bananas; nothing worked. His eye was so swollen it was the size of a marble and the blood had dried stiff and black all over his head. I got some antibiotic cream and applied it twice a day. A few times, I took him out of the crate and set him in the sun for a while, trying to enliven him, but he would just sit, motionless and listless. Every morning I ran to the crate to check on him, so afraid that he might have died during the night. We named him Kukkuta (which means rooster in Sanskrit).


 

Being vegan for 28 years, I have long respected chickens’ lives, but I had never lived with a chicken. Kukkuta has awakened something incredibly special in me. I love him so much, and while I had a strong vegan philosophy before, now more than ever I simply can’t imagine anyone purposely killing a sentient individual like Kukkuta. It’s a different level of unimaginable now. Everything in me wants to protect him and keep him alive. This is a love I wish everyone could experience, for you can never again think of harming an animal after knowing this kind of love and compassion.


The Tragedy of Unwanted Roosters

Kukkuta needed to be rescued because people eat eggs. You don’t see the connection? Let me lay it out for you. Because of the tireless work of animal advocacy organizations like United Poultry Concerns, there’s a growing awareness that hens suffer in the egg industry. In Sonoma County, people have bought into the “farm to table” ethos and want a more natural and “humane” experience. The area is largely wealthy and people not only in rural areas, but in suburbs and neighborhoods near downtown, are buying chicks from feed stores and off Craigslist and raising their own chickens for eggs.

This may seem like a positive trend, but there is a hidden hindrance – for every hen born, so is a rooster.

Roosters are unwanted because, of course, they don’t lay eggs. They also crow so they aren’t welcome, or even legal to keep, in many neighborhoods. Most areas of Sonoma County will allow up to 12 hens, but no roosters. Because they are worthless to the egg industry, male chicks are killed just hours after emerging from their shells in the hatcheries. They are thrown away alive by the billions, dumped into huge trash bins to suffocate on the weight of their brothers and die slowly of dehydration or freezing to death. Many are ground up alive in maceration machines where sharp blades like huge blenders chop up their tiny bodies for fertilizer, pet food and other products.

Determining the sex of a chick is not an exact science, so many males are shipped to feed stores and sold as hens. A backyard “enthusiast” discovers that one of her “hens” is a male so she “gets rid” of him. It’s increasingly difficult to find homes for roosters. Overwhelmed animal shelters end up euthanizing most of them. Other roosters get dumped on the side of the road. This is what’s happening in Cotati at Peet’s Coffee. People see chickens there, so they dump their unwanted rooster thinking he will be fine, but not necessarily. Roosters are territorial, and as the numbers increase, the newcomer may have to face a bird defending his territory and be injured, stressed or even killed. My guess is that this is what happened to our sweet rooster.

Kukkuta standing on a fallen log

Source UPC, Hope Bohanec

Kukkuta’s Road to Recovery

Slowly the swelling of Kukkuta’s eye subsided and on the seventh day of being a guest in our small backyard, he stood up and walked out of the crate and started drinking some water. We were thrilled! He dunked his head under the water again and again, washing the crusted blood off his face and comb. The next morning we heard him crow for the first time and it was a joyful sound! A robust celebration of life! He is doing great now and he has been a perfect gentleman, never pecking when I reach for him or kicking when I pick him up. He is a gentle soul.

 At first he needed about a four foot radius around us, unsure of his rescuers’ intent. But now he comes right up, following us around the yard and crowing when we go inside because he misses us. He will come right up to the sliding glass door on the deck and hang out, peering in, waiting for our attention. He talks to us with sweet clucks, bocks, and coos of affection and gratitude when we give him food. He is so full of life, busy all day and loves to interact with us. We are mesmerized watching him.

A New Level of Love

Being vegan for 28 years, I have long respected chickens’ lives, but I had never lived with a chicken. Kukkuta has awakened something incredibly special in me. I love him so much, and while I had a strong vegan philosophy before, now more than ever I simply can’t imagine anyone purposely killing a sentient individual like Kukkuta. It’s a different level of unimaginable now. Everything in me wants to protect him and keep him alive. This is a love I wish everyone could experience, for you can never again think of harming an animal after knowing this kind of love and compassion.

My husband and I unfortunately can’t keep Kukkuta because we rent our small duplex. A vegan activist friend who lives out on Cobb Mountain has agreed to adopt him and we are overjoyed that he will be “staying in the family” by going to a vegan home. She has an acre of land and three rescued hens, but no rooster. When she saw my post on Facebook, she and her partner had already been talking about rescuing a rooster to be with their hens. They are setting up and securing a space for him. We are going to miss him so much and we’ve already cried a few times this week thinking about him leaving. But we’re glad he is going to a home with other chickens because he needs friends.

This whole experience has enriched my life, strengthened my understanding of veganism, deepened my commitment to protecting chickens, and most of all, I will never forget my friend Kukkuta.
– Hope Bohanec, May 1, 2018


Hope Bohanec is the Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns and the author of The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?.






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

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

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

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

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

Have questions? Click HERE

 


when will manunkind ever learn
there is no way to micromanage
what is tragic collateral damage.
what we do
who we harm
what we eat.
will ultimately lead
to our own species
defeat!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 



We’re so vain – thoughts on intelligence

June 11, 2018
by

Source There’s an Elephant in the Room blog
About HERE

Another comment that often appears amongst the arsenal of tired old excuses that humans cling to in their attempts to justify the use of members of other species, centres around presumptions of superior intelligence when compared with every other species on the planet. When asked to provide examples, reference is sometimes made to landmarks of human endeavour such as writing symphonies, great works of literature, major inventions through the ages, and travelling to the moon, amongst others.

Well yes. These are indeed breathtaking achievements, but let’s just stop for a moment and get a grip on reality. Given that we, as a species, currently number some 7.5 billion individuals, there are relatively few humans whose names ring out across the centuries as beacons of intellectual prowess. Da Vinci, Archimedes, Newton, Tesla, Hawking and several others are names that stand out. For the rest of us – the vast majority, that is – no one is ever going to wax lyrical about our towering accomplishments.

What actually is intelligence?

Most of us are simply ordinary people, even though we are surrounded by technological marvels. Our expertise extends to knowing where the ‘on’ and ‘off’ switches are. If one of us were to be left somewhere with no tools or weapons, no instructions, no raw materials and no access to Google, I suspect that no one would ever be able to invent and create a computer for themselves, or write a symphony, or travel to the moon, and rocket scientists would not need to open their ranks to any newcomers. In fact many if not most of us would be seriously challenged to create some form of shelter or find something to eat without a handy supermarket.

To quote Isaac Newton in a letter in 1676:

“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

Although this is similar to a phrase used by the 12th century John of Salisbury, it may even pre-date him as he was known to have adapted and refined the work of others.  Which really serves to illustrate the point that as humans, we are standing on the shoulders of giants, and the majority of us would never have attained the comforts and wonders that surround us, had it not been for the accumulated efforts of others. Thus, for us to claim some level of superior intelligence based on the achievements of the intellectual giants of our species could not even be called tenuous. It’s actually laughable.

So what about ordinary people like me?

So what about just general, common-or-garden intelligence then? When we look deeper into definitions of human intelligence, Wiki provides many angles and measures and it seems like the jury is still out on that one. There are theories about so many aspects; linguistic, logical, spatial, bodily, interpersonal, intrapersonal.  There is no single definition that encompasses everything and I’ve been on the planet long enough to know that few of us would shine in even one of these areas, far less all of them.

Yet it is abundantly clear that despite the limitations that the majority of us have, whatever method by which we decide to define intelligence, however nebulous, however narrow, is the yardstick by which we as a species, generally presume to measure every other. It speaks to our elitist and speciesist mindset that we find and in fact expect to find articles about intelligence  in the human animal separate from articles about intelligence in other animal species.

Looking for the sake of comparison at pages about intelligence in other animal species, I was not particularly surprised to find that the subject seemed to be broken up into a series of anecdotes, many of which are about individuals whose actions were in some way thought notable, combined with sparse paragraphs that say so little about a whole species as to be almost insulting, as well as one or two more lengthy pieces discussing wider issues such as theory of mind in animals. Our recognition of their skills is grudging even at best, frequently couched in surprised or patronising terms, determined that whatever we discover is not indicative of anything that would elevate their status to being worthy of their birthright to live their lives free from the violence and brutality of our merciless exploitation.

Shackles in a slaughterhouse for hens.  Source There’s an Elephant in the Room blog

Life in a mirror

And in just the same way as our definition of ourselves as ‘animal lovers’ astonishingly disregards the copious bloodbath for which we are each personally responsible when we refuse to be vegan, our eager definition of ourselves as ‘intelligent’ includes pinnacles of human achievement that we personally can scarcely even understand, far less ascribe to. Despite this, we claim this ‘human intelligence’ as if it were our own, and we use it as a cudgel with which we bludgeon our way through the lives, the bodies and the habitats of our fellow earthlings; arrogantly assuming that although we have never taken the time to think about how this supposed intelligence manifests itself in the creature we see in the mirror, we are safe to assume that every other species is inferior.

And in just the same way as our definition of ourselves as ‘animal lovers’ astonishingly disregards the copious bloodbath for which we are each personally responsible when we refuse to be vegan, our eager definition of ourselves as ‘intelligent’ includes pinnacles of human achievement that we personally can scarcely even understand, far less ascribe to. Despite this, we claim this ‘human intelligence’ as if it were our own, and we use it as a cudgel with which we bludgeon our way through the lives, the bodies and the habitats of our fellow earthlings; arrogantly assuming that although we have never taken the time to think about how this supposed intelligence manifests itself in the creature we see in the mirror, we are safe to assume that every other species is inferior.

And what exactly is that creature in the mirror doing with all their intelligence? Well I know what the one in my mirror does. She cares for those for whom she feels responsible, looks after the place she thinks of as home, struggles to find a way to acquire the resources she needs to keep herself and those who depend on her fed, clothed, warm, safe and sheltered from the weather. Occasionally she’ll write, she’ll talk with friends, gather information about what others are doing with their time. It’s what I do. And let’s be honest, isn’t that what most of us do?

Recently I have shared a video or two that have been greeted with much delight – I’ll link them at the end. One depicts a tiny bird carefully and with consummate skill, sewing leaves together to create a shelter where she can build her nest. Another video gave an insight into the complex and fascinating life of members of the crow species.

And do you know what they were doing?  They were looking after those for whom they were responsible, looking after the places they regarded as home, struggling to acquire the resources they needed to keep themselves and their dependants fed, safe and sheltered from the weather, gathering information about what others were doing with their time.

Common ground, shared priorities

In short, we have more that connects us with every other species than we care to admit. Each of us is simply living from day to day, caring for family, staying fed and sheltered. That is the level on which most of us function. And when we drop the assumption that we’re so superior to other species, other questions present themselves. Who the hell are we to measure all others by the standards we set – not for ourselves because we know we’re not in the same ballpark – but rather for a few individuals of our species? Who are we to decide that other species are not important enough to live unless they do so exclusively for our interests? And even – how do we actually know that we are the only species in which individuals come along every so often whose brilliance outshines us all?

We are a rather tragic species suffering from a delusion that we are apart from all others, brutalising and destroying our way through our days, rather than acknowledging our role as a part of the interwoven, interdependent network of life and living that is planet Earth. These delusions of ours are dragging the planet we share to the brink of an abyss of our making, a beckoning cataclysm caused by our arrogant assumption that our shared world and everyone who has fur or feathers, scales or wings, have no purpose other than to serve our petty whims and convenience. The end is perilously close, and time is running out for us to stop the behaviour that is causing the problem.

If we don’t wake up, and wake up very soon, it will be too late for every one of us, and being responsible for planetary disaster on an apocalyptic scale is hardly something that any intelligent species would do.

Be vegan.

Information and links:

Tailor bird
Crows
Birds and the Earth's magnetic field
Climate change links for information

 




what is true intelligence
a balanced blend of the creative
and common sense.
learning to fit into the world
not mold it around oneself
caring about the world
we live
and about its health.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 

Gun Violence: Striking at the Speciesist Root

June 4, 2018
by

Source Direct Action Everywhere
By Melissa Schachter, MSW

We are in the year of 2018, folks. If you are reading this, you likely live in a first world country and understand a set of values which separate the “no good doers” from the “good doers.”

We are taught at an early age what’s right and wrong. Society reinforces these values in almost everything we do. When we are in preschool, if we hit another child, we are put on timeout.  When we are in high school, if we get in a fight, we get suspended. As an adult, we get arrested. And so it goes on. Every action we take is either encouraged or punished by the society we live in. These sets of values and beliefs have been pushed in our brains since we were children and our tiny little minds were sponges, soaking up all the information we could sustain.

Between birth and 3 years of age the human brain increases to 80% of its adult size. As children, we learn what to do to be rewarded and what to do to be punished. So the “food” that has been fed to us since we could chew is just that, food. We were never taught to ask any questions or find out more about the chicken leg we are being fed for dinner. After all, why would we? If this chicken leg came from an abused animal, we would have been informed by our loving society who would never let any animal die unless the animal really wanted to. This chicken lived a full life and happily gave himself up willingly so that we can feast upon his flesh. Right?

When we hear of stories of someone abusing an animal, people are not only outraged, but experience a strong tug on their heart that crushes a little of their spirit. We often create a picture in our heads of a small puppy or kitten being kicked or tormented by an abuser. The thought of a defenseless animal looking up at their abuser in bewilderment and utter confusion can quite literally make us break down in tears. We demand to know who this abuser is and call for justice from our system that has taught us right from wrong all our lives. Why does picturing an animal being hurt by another human make us so angry? What is it about this picture in our heads that awakens a place in our heart?

As many of you know, on February 14, a gunman set off fire alarms at a high school in Florida, luring teenagers out of their classrooms so that he could open fire with a semi-automatic AR15 assault rifle. This teenager, whose name I refuse to mention, killed 17 people and injured 14 others. Florida and other states are banding together to beg Congress to create stricter gun laws, with the hope that nothing like this will happen to our children again.

The shooter previously talked about shooting small animals and sending his dog over to the neighbors to attack their pigs. Far from an isolated coincidence, the FBI has identified cruelty to animals as a warning sign of more violence to come, and many school shooters and serial killers have a history of abusing animals.

survey found that animals were abused in a shocking 88 percent of homes where physical abuse of human children was present. Society now recognizes animal abuse as a red flag for human violence. And abuse of “pet” animals is already against the law. People are outraged and on alert when dogs or cats are mistreated.

  A mother pig at a Smithfield pig farm languishes in her own waste.

A mother pig at a Smithfield pig farm languishes in her own waste. (Source: Direct Action Everywhere)

Yet over 56 billion farmed animals are killed each year by humans, and much of society doesn’t blink an eye. There seems to be a disconnection between farmed animals and pets. Why do the values of our society that lead us to be outraged by a dog being abused fail to carry over and pertain to a different kind of animal?

Do slaughterhouse workers have the same correlations between animal murders and violence toward humans? According to the PTSD journal, “these employees are hired to kill animals, such as pigs and cows that are largely gentle creatures. Carrying out this action requires workers to disconnect from what they are doing and from the creature standing before them. This emotional dissonance can lead to consequences such as domestic violence, social withdrawal, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and PTSD”.

So just to recap: abusing dogs and cats is statistically proven to lead to violence towards humans. Abusing or killing dogs and cats is against the law. But killing farmed animals who also live a life filled with abuse is not only socially accepted but legal. And statistics also back up slaughterhouse workers developing PTSD and going home to their families with more odds to use physical violence against them as well after a long day of killing farmed animals.

Looks like we have been fooled. We have been fooled by our parents, our families, our teachers, our friends, and they in turn have been fooled by grocery stores, advertisements, TV, magazines, just to name a few. Jokes on us. The meat and dairy industry have taken advantage of our young and sponge-like brains and used it to their benefit to put money in their pockets. And what has been the result? Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, strokes, obesity, pollution, drought, deforestation, climate change, and so many other atrocities, I’m just not able to name them all. But more than all this, we have been fooled that there is such a thing as “humane murder”. We have been taught to believe that we somehow OWN other creatures and that forcing them into a life of enslavement is our right. OUR. RIGHT.

What happened to these ethical values that connect everything else together? I’m just as confused as you are. What went wrong? “Money is the root of all evil”: heard that one before? Society has been tricked into thinking the way we have been taught to do things, is the ONLY way to do things.

The animal rights movement today is challenging societal norms. We are extending our moral values beyond their normal reach.  Living an ethical life is not defined by what is taught to you, and it is not only about living your life without hurting others, but living a life defending those who cannot defend themselves.






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