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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)

Rescued Chimps Get a Second Chance

July 31, 2017

Source Their Turn
By Donny Moss

By the time orphaned chimps arrive at Liberia Chimp Rescue & Protection’s (LCRP) new sanctuary, they have experienced more tragedy than most humans will experience in a lifetime. That’s because they watched poachers kill their mothers for bushmeat before kidnapping them and hauling them out of their forest home in an attempt to sell them as exotic pets. 

“Most of the orphans are inconsolable when they arrive,” Jenny Desmond, who, along with her husband Jim, created LCRP. “You can see the heartbreak in their eyes.”

When government authorities deliver baby chimps to LCRP after confiscating them from poachers, Jenny and Jim swing into action right away, assigning a human caregiver to be the baby’s surrogate mother. With the support and guidance from the Desmonds, who have spent their careers working at sanctuaries, the caregivers spend the next days, weeks and months helping the chimps recover by bottle feeding them, playing with them, introducing them to other orphans, sleeping next to them and ultimately integrating them into a chimp group. In time, most of the chimps recover from their trauma and find happiness at the sanctuary.

“These babies should be in the forest, but, because poachers killed their mothers and families, they have to be raised by humans,” said Jenny Desmond. “We are their surrogate mothers – day and night. At about age five, wild chimpanzees start sleeping separately from their mothers, so we use this, along with their needs and personalities, to determine when they’re ready to fully integrate into our older nursery group and spend their days and nights with other chimps.”

The Desmonds hope that they can one day return some of these chimps to their natural habitat in the Liberian forests, which have an estimated 7,000 wild chimps remaining. Re-introduction, however, is a complicated, long-term process. In the meantime, they are creating as natural a life as possible for the chimps in a sanctuary setting. 

The Desmonds arrived in Liberia in 2015 to take care of another population of chimps — the 66 who were abandoned on deserted islands by the New York Blood Center. Within weeks of their arrival, however, the FDA (Forestry Development Authority) knocked on their front door and dropped off two infants. In just over a year, that number has grown to 16.  The Desmonds have outgrown their space and plan to move to a more remote location in the forest where the babies can, along with their human caregivers and other chimps, can live in a semi-wild environment with minimal human contact.

“Chimps are wild animals, not pets,” said Desmond. “Ideally, the only people who should be interacting with them are their surrogate mothers who provide them with the parenting and TLC that they need to survive during their first several years of life.” 

The Desmonds are working with government authorities and other NGOs to protect chimpanzees, a critically endangered species, in their forest home. Combatting Liberia’s illegal bushmeat and exotic pet trades means far fewer baby chimps will be orphaned and need sanctuary. They hope that ecotourism – trekking to see habituated chimps in the forest – can eventually be a source of income for those who are now poaching chimps and selling their meat. “Chimps are a valuable renewable resource for Liberians, as mountain gorillas are for Rwandans, but that means protecting them instead of killing them,” said Desmond. 

Between protecting wild chimps in the forest and raising orphaned chimps at the sanctuary, the Desmonds have a lot of work to do – in a difficult setting. Thankfully, they have a team of dedicated caregivers at LCRP who genuinely love the chimps and their jobs.

Your Turn

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Please make a contribution to support the life saving work of LCRP.

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how precious are they,
our brothers
so close.
and yet so cruel
we are.
how can we be
a “humanity”
if we stay as
we are.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


The beef farmer rescuing his cows from the slaughterhouse

July 24, 2017

Source BBC , YouTube

When his father died in 2011, Jay Wilde took responsibility of running the family farm. For years he has been concerned about the welfare of his cows and the environmental impact of beef farming. Today he’s doing something about it.

Filmed and edited by Elise Wicker

To donate to Hillside Animal Sanctuary, please click HERE

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if we practice kindness long enough, it becomes hardwired to the inner workings of our souls.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

A Rebuttal to Matt Ball’s Vegan Bash

July 17, 2017

Source United Poultry Concerns
By Karen Davis, PhD, President, United Poultry Concerns

Vegans often blame one another for the fact that society resists going vegan at the speed of enlightenment that we seek and that billions of animals desperately need. The question of how to get people to care about chickens, cows and other farmed animals, let alone enough to quit eating them, is an ever-present source of hope and despair among those of us who advocate on behalf of these animals.

There is a spectrum of viewpoints, tactics, strategies and insights on how to create a world in which one day no animals will ever again be dragged into a slaughterhouse and made to endure the indignities and miseries we inflict on them for “food.”

Drawing of a 17th century vegan


Matt Ball, the founder of Vegan Outreach, who was formerly with Farm Sanctuary, posted a video on YouTube on May 27, 2017. Titled “Want to save animals’ lives without going veg? Eat beef, not chicken,” the video, which he narrates, makes four main points: that radical vegan activists alienate the mainstream; that the vegan movement is a failure; that pitting chickens and cows against each other avoids alienating people while helping the largest number of animals; that enlisting the support of a chef (Anthony Bourdain), who compares vegan activists to “dangerous fundamentalists like Hezbollah” (an Islamist militant political party in Lebanon), is appropriate.

Points one and two suggest that the reason most people are not vegan, or are even anti-vegan according to Matt, is that radical vegan activists have alienated society with their (our) insufferable militancy. Forget that vegan advocacy has many faces and voices, and that animal rights vegan advocacy seldom involves screaming and rudeness as a public strategy. How much accusatory yelling have you heard – or done – at the ever-growing number of increasingly popular vegan festivals in the United States and elsewhere?

Matt accepts and repeats, as if it were true, Anthony Bourdain’s claim that vegans have disturbing similarities with dangerous fundamentalist groups like Hezbollah, because of how, in Matt’s words, “many of us act.” This statement takes the actions of a small group of radical, nonviolent vegan activists and attributes their actions to many vegans although there is no evidence to support the claim that most vegans are perceived by the general population as dangerous or even antagonistic. Popular media suggests the opposite – that because of well-known vegan celebrities in sports, music and Hollywood, being vegan now has the reputation of being cool, and vegans are not seen as “fanatics,” as Matt claims.

If most people still consume animal products, there are many reasons having little or nothing to do with how our vegan message is being conveyed. Many people still don’t care enough, know or even think about farmed animals and vegan food as part of their daily routine. Put it this way: McDonald’s is everywhere on the landscape; we’re still barely visible. This is not to say that how we frame and deliver our message doesn’t count. It does. But to blame society’s moral and dietary inertia, ignorance and capriciousness on radical vegan advocates, to impugn vegan activists for “driving people away” and acting like “absolute fanatics” for our cri de Coeur on behalf of mother cows and their suffering calves, as depicted in the video, seems a stretch.

Let us please keep in mind that the animal advocacy movement is barely fifty years old and that vegan advocacy per se didn’t really get started until the 1980s. And a factor in the mix has always been our movement’s anxiety about alienating the public and fear of “going too far.” It could be argued that the desire not to offend people, a certain diffidence on our part, has contributed to society’s overall sense that our issues are not urgent.

Matt claims that “80% of those who go vegan go back to eating animals. Half go back because they can’t stand the pressure to maintain a pure diet.” Whether or not “80%” is accurate, the implication that the pressure to return to meat eating comes mainly from the annoyance or “militancy” of other vegans ignores that the more likely source comes from family, friends and coworkers who pressure vegans to eat the familiar food and fall back into the familiar patterns. If as Matt says, only a tiny portion of the population is vegan, who is the more likely source of the pressure to eat animals: vegans or meat eaters? He stresses in the video that society is saturated with meat-eating messaging.

He goes on to say that by not eating chickens, animal eaters can have a profound impact on the number of beings who suffer. The number of beings who suffer would be greatly reduced. While I agree with this statement, the only action I encourage is to stop eating all animals and eat veggies instead. Some argue that this is the more difficult path, but I believe it is the easier path with a greater chance of bringing lasting effect. The message that no cruelty is okay is easy to understand and to feel good about. Who is going to feel good when, after being convinced that eating animals is cruel, they are then told to continue being cruel, just do less of it?

As much as the “stop eating chickens” message appeals from the standpoint of eliminating the largest number of land animals from food production, I question whether this approach will ultimately benefit animals. The world thus envisioned is a world where a smaller number of different animals will likely suffer in slaughterhouses and where the majority of people will, with our blessing, switch to eating other animals – more cows, pigs, sheep and goats, more turkeys, ducks and quails, more aquatic animals, more ostriches and emus, more factory-farmed insects. To the extent that the call to “make A suffer instead of B,” kill cows, not chickens, reaches consumers, it is not likely to reduce the number of chickens being consumed.

For us to agree that the vegan message has failed and that therefore we should promote abstention from chicken consumption only – doesn’t this amount to conceding that we are no longer a movement for all animals, but have opted instead to be marketing strategists for non-chicken products? How can we help people to conceive and to care how many more small animals suffer and die for food compared to large animals – 20 or more chickens for every cow, for example – while maintaining the integrity of our message?

(Back in the 1980s, U.S. activists focused almost exclusively on “veal” ban campaigns with the result that for years, people felt they had done enough by quitting veal. Instead of a step, it became a stop that did nothing to reduce or eliminate the number of “veal” calves being born, since the root cause of the calves’ existence was and is the public’s consumption of their milk, which activists are now boldly addressing with encouraging results.)

Why give up on vegan? Why denigrate ourselves? Why abase ourselves before an animal-abusing chef sneering at “veggens”? Especially with the signs that veganism is making headway. There are signs in food stores and restaurants. An article states that in Britain, the number of vegans rose 360% in the last 10 years and another article says that the number of vegans in the United States, which in 2009 was 1 percent, rose to 2.5 percent in 2012. Top Trends in Prepared Foods in 2017 observes that 6% of U.S. consumers now claim to be vegan, up from 1% in 2014. The health insurance company Kaiser Permanente advises cardiac patients to adopt a plant-based diet, and the July-August 2017 issue of Harvard Magazine has an article about the rise of vegan culture. Very significantly, the American Medical Association has just passed a resolution calling on hospitals to serve plant-based meals and to eliminate all processed meats. See: AMA Comes Out Against Serving Processed Meats in Hospitals!

To encourage the suffering of any animal is a betrayal and surrender of my responsibility. I refuse to negotiate with cruelty. I refuse to say “eat this animal instead of that one.”

KAREN DAVIS is the founder and president of United Poultry Concerns. Join us at the Animal Rights National Conference August 3-6! We look forward to seeing you.

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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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culture vultures like to say
don’t eat this meat
but that meat is okay.
we say here
to eat any flesh is
if you want to be
in our humane chorus
come and sing
the tune is simple
words sincere.
animal cruelties of any
kind will not be

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


Moby & The Void Pacific Choir – In This Cold Place (Official Video)

July 10, 2017

Source YouTube, Moby

Moby & The Void Pacific Choir – In This Cold Place Official video by Steve Cutts.

The new album, More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse, by Moby & The void Pacific Choir is available now as a free download in partnership with wetransfer:

Get all the official gifs from the video here:

Moby says, “working on ‘In This Cold Place’ and ‘Are You Lost In the World Like Me?’ with Steve Cutts has been a creative highlight for me. He’s such a great animator and activist, and I’m so happy he agreed to make these two videos.”

Last week, Moby & The Void Pacific Choir released More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse, the follow-up to 2016’s These Systems Are Failing. The album is available now on all digital and streaming platforms as well as on WeTransfer via a name-your-own-price model with all proceeds going to a charity of the fan’s choosing. Download More Fast Songs About The Apocalypse

The album is also available to purchase in both standard CD and special pink vinyl editions. Order either format


Order a FREE vegan kit:

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

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


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for granted this world
we cannot take
lives will be lost
there is
peace to make
minds to change
changes in tune.
the world is not
but forever is

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


Red Red World

July 3, 2017

Source YouTube, Angela Lynch

This song is dedicated to those who show love to all animals irrespective of species and was written to put an end to animal suffering. The songwriter – David Finney – was in the pop music industry for 10 years, the market research industry for 20 years before later establishing The Energy of Conversation, an enterprise dedicated to learning and improvement. David was a meat eater for over 40 years before becoming vegetarian and is now Vegan and campaigner for Animal Rights.

Order a FREE vegan kit:

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

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


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

Have questions? Click HERE

Vegan Batman Light Changing Hearts and Minds Across the U.S.

June 26, 2017

Latest Vegan News

Source Latest Vegan News
By Hannah Sentenac, Editor-in-Chief

The words Vegan Batman Light may sound like something out of sci fi, but it’s 100 percent real — and 100 percent radical.

Basically, the light is a giant projector that displays powerful vegan messages on building surfaces (a la the bat signal). The idea was dreamed up by activist Connie Spence last year, and she’s been shining the light of truth in cities across the country ever since.

Spence came up with the concept after the election when an artist shone an anti-Trump message on a hotel in Atlanta. Because it was only light, it wasn’t considered vandalism, and therefore wasn’t illegal. “In that moment I knew I had to figure out what this equipment was and how to do the same all over walls in Los Angeles [where she lived at the time].”

After a lot of technical trial and error, she got the equipment together and did her first light in mid-December of 2016.

“The first time it was done on the pig slaughterhouse in L.A. and boy was that moment eventful,” says Spence. “The light could be seen over their courtyard fence inside the slaughterhouse. The police that come each night walked up and said ‘WOW, that is a game changer and lets everyone know how serious you guys are.’  I have now been doing the light three to five times a week since.”

In Los Angeles, she’s shone the light on the Staples Center, over freeways, on slaughterhouses, in Hollywood, and on the 3rd Street Promenade; she’s brought it to the Vegas Strip and Downtown Vegas (over the famous Heart Attack Grill); and she’s displayed messaging on the Diamondbacks stadium in Phoenix. She continues to travel and bring the light to new locations. She’s had countless interactions with curious people, many of which have been caught on video and are posted to Facebook. 

Currently, Spence is raising funds via Go Fund Me to start new chapters of the Vegan Batman Light. She wants as many people as possible to get involved in bringing the concept to cities across the globe. “This recipe of activism works,” she says, in part because she talks TO people not AT them. “I learn their name, shake their hand, ask them how they feel, ask them if they’ve been to a slaughterhouse, ask them why they haven’t contemplated animals being abused before this moment. I learn about them and their defenses and I pivot to any excuse or justification they have. I spend a lot of time remembering stats and practice rebuttals to make sure that I know how to handle every objection. And on top of it all, I try to stay calm, but direct and always try to maintain peace.”

She’s done it over 50 times and dealt with more than 30 police interactions, yet she’s only been shut down once.

So what does she recommend as far as effective activism? “Talk to every person and imagine they are your child. You really have to talk to people and unwire them and to do this, be as patient with their knee-jerk defense mechanisms as you would be to an 11-year-old child. This is how I prevent myself from surrendering to arguments and you will find even with the worst initial reactions, I almost always get people to come full circle and understand veganism.”

Also, she says, use simple language. “Your audience is always speciesist and you will rarely win someone over when you use language like ‘rape,’ ‘holocaust,’ ‘slavery’ or ‘enslavement.’ I do not need to have my audience turn away from my message because they think I’m downgrading an experience they went through or feel strongly about. This isn’t an ego war on words and so you will NEVER catch me using that language, ever. Also, I never push pamphlets at anyone. I’ve never seen my collateral on the ground. I only give out my cheat sheets and Go Vegan Pamphlets when the person is ‘sold’ on the philosophy and motivated to go on a Vegan Journey. I have never seen any of my cheat sheets on the ground or trash.”

For more info on the Vegan Batman Light, check out Go Fund Me, Facebook, and Instagram.

Follow Latest Vegan News on Facebook, on Instagram and Twitter (@LatestVeganNews), and sign up to receive our daily headlines in your inbox here. 

Order a FREE vegan kit:

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

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


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

Have questions? Click HERE

the heartlight,
the truth shines
beckoning all
to bask in
the beauty
of compassion

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


Are Disability Rights and Animal Rights Connected?

June 19, 2017



In her book “Beasts of Burden,” Sunaura Taylor discusses the intersectionality of disability and animality.ILLUSTRATION BY BETH HOECKEL; SOURCE PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIK McGREGOR

Source The New Yorker  By Joshua Rothman

In 2004, when she was twenty-three, Sunaura Taylor Googled “arthrogryposis,” the name of a condition she has had since birth. Its Greek roots mean “hooked joints”; the arms and legs of many people who have it are shorter than usual because their joints are permanently flexed. Taylor was curious about whether animals had it, too. In the journal of the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Centre, she found a report called “Congenital Limb Deformity in a Red Fox.” It described a young fox with arthrogryposis. He had “marked flexure of the carpal and tarsal joints of all four limbs”—that is, hooked legs. He walked on the backs of his paws, which were heavily callused. In a surprised tone, the report noted that he was muscular, even a little fat: his stomach contained “the remains of two rodents and bones from a larger mammal mixed with partially digested apple, suggesting that the limb deformity did not preclude successful hunting and foraging.” All this had been discovered after he had been shot by someone walking in the woods, who noticed that he “had an abnormal gait and appeared sick.”

Taylor was taken aback by this story. The fox, she thought, had been living a perfectly good life before someone had shot it. Perhaps that someone—the report named only “a resident of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia”—had been afraid of it; maybe he’d seen it as a weird, stumbling creature and imagined the shooting as an act of mercy. Taylor’s hands are small, and she has trouble lifting them; she uses a motorized wheelchair to get around. Once, her libertarian grandmother had told her that, were it not for the help of others, Taylor would “die in the woods.” When she read about the fox, she was coming into political consciousness as a disabled person. She had been learning about what disabilities scholars call the “better-off-dead narrative”—the idea, pervasive in movies and books, that life with a disability is inherently and irredeemably tragic. In the fox, she saw herself.

 Since the age of thirteen, Taylor has been a painter. A painting from 2009, “Arthrogryposis Animals,” is a self-portrait in which she stands, nude, next to two pigs and a calf; all four have crooked limbs. In another, “Self-Portrait Marching with Chickens,” she is walking in a field; the chickens around her, weighed down by their disproportionately large upper bodies, are disabled, too. The paintings are unsettling, absurd, and provocative. Without explaining themselves, they lay claim to a territory that disabled people usually try to avoid: the space where disability and animality meet.

Earlier this year, Taylor, who is now thirty-five, published a book called “Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation.” It makes explicit the ideas in her art. When she was small, Taylor writes, other children told her that she walked like a monkey and ate like a dog; by this, they meant that her disability made her like an animal and, therefore, less than human. In “Beasts of Burden,” she argues that they had everything backward. Human beings are already animals; age, disease, and accident mean that all able-bodiedness is a temporary state. Even able-bodied people can “die in the woods” alone—they, too, are dependent upon society. Disabled people should be proud to associate themselves with animals, Taylor argues, because the same ideology, ableism, oppresses both groups. If you’re cognitively or physically disabled, it’s ableism that tells you that you’re worth less than a more capable person; similarly, if you’re an animal, it’s ableism that makes eating you permissible, since you can’t do what humans do.

Taylor has been a vegetarian and animal-rights advocate since the age of six; earlier this month, we met for lunch at a vegetarian restaurant near N.Y.U., where she is now a graduate student in American studies. She has short brown hair, a broad smile, and a strong chin, and wore vaguely hippie clothes: a plain T-shirt, patterned trousers, rubber boots. Taylor is adept at using her mouth for everyday tasks, such as retrieving items from her handbag. (She paints by holding the brush in her mouth.) “I feel animal in my embodiment,” she writes, “and this feeling is one of connection, not shame.” She continues, “When I rummage through my purse with my face, sometimes getting spit on my cell phone or accidentally ingesting something unpleasant . . . I think of animals—pigs who root with their noses, birds who build nests with their beaks.”

“As I’ve gotten older, my understanding of disability has become very politicized,” she said, over faux-chicken salad, “but when I was a little kid, I had a simpler origin story that made sense of being disabled.” She was born in 1982, in Tucson, Arizona. Her father was a Ph.D. student in pharmacology, and they lived in a low-income neighborhood near the airport. “I came out the way I am, and other kids in the neighborhood started coming out similarly,” she said. “In the end, we traced it back to Hughes Aircraft, which had been burying toxic waste—mostly really mundane stuff, like airplane degreasers—in unlined pits in the ground since the Korean War.” (The airport is now a Superfund site.) “In my kid brain, I thought, This is my story, I should do something with it.” The family moved to Athens, Georgia, where her mother, an artist, “unschooled” Sunaura and her siblings—essentially, the children directed themselves, creating their own puppet shows, story cycles, and research projects. (Taylor’s sister Astra is a filmmaker and activist; they have another sister, Tara, and a brother, Alexander.) “I guess ‘liberation’ was a theme from the beginning,” Taylor said.

When she was twelve, Taylor’s other grandmother—“the Buddhist, Canadian one, not the atheist libertarian one”—took her to visit a New Age healer. “We were at a kind of hippie festival, and there was this woman who said she could cure people,” Taylor recalled. “There were tons of people there, and she came up to me, and—all of a sudden—I got so angry.” Remembering the scene, Taylor’s eyes widened. Her initial origin story, she explained—“that my body was bad”—suddenly felt false.

A few years later, she went on her first disability-rights march: a two-week, two-hundred-and-fifty-person trek from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., organized by the organization adapt. The marchers, most of whom were disabled, brought along a generator to recharge their wheelchairs at night. At first, Taylor said, it was “horrifying” to be around so many other disabled people at once. Then, one night, she was struggling to eat—there wasn’t a table—when a woman came up and said, “You can ask for help here. This isn’t a place where we value independence.” Taylor now tells two stories about her life. In one, sociopolitical story, she is a victim. Her disability is the work of “networks of power”—polluting corporations, lax regulators—that must be protested. In another, more personal story, her life is hers to define. She identifies as “crip”—a term used to capture the liberatory, countercultural aspects of life with disability. (It’s parallel to the word “queer.”) “Crip culture has made me comfortable both with the creative potential of disability and with the fact that there’s pain, there’s suffering,” she said.

Growing up, in Georgia, Taylor would often see “chicken trucks” on the highway: large, flatbed vehicles stacked with live chickens in cages. When one of these trucks sidled up to the Taylor family on the road, Sunaura and her siblings would hold their breaths, appalled, until it passed. “I was always an annoying, righteous vegetarian,” she said, laughing. “Even on that adapt march, I remember thinking, Ugh—these people want disability rights, but they’re eating meat.” In 2006, she convinced a worker at a poultry plant to let her take a photograph of a chicken truck; she spent a year making an eight-by-ten-foot painting of the truck, containing portraits of a hundred individual chickens. (After completing it, she became vegan.) She painted a watercolor in the style of a Greek frieze, “Sunnys in Chicken Cages,” in which she appears with the chickens behind bars.

Taylor began to read about the connections between animal rights and disability. She discovered that many factory-farmed animals are disabled in one way or another. In some cases, they’ve been injured through confinement; in others, their unusually shaped bodies make their lives harder. (She wondered if, in some sense, their man-made disabilities made killing them and eating them feel easier.) It seemed to her that there was an analogy between those factory farms and the environments in which many disabled people live. In “Beasts of Burden,” she writes that both farms and cities are built environments designed “to reward certain embodiments over others.” In a city, human-designed structures—curbs, stairs, doorknobs—make some kinds of bodies more difficult to have. In a similar way, Taylor argues, we build systems—of breeding, farming, slaughter, and thought—that diminish animals, then imagine their diminishment to be natural and inevitable.

Reading “Beasts of Burden,” I wondered if the book might be a case of intersectionality run amok: Did animal rights and disability rights really need to be linked? In fact, Taylor’s book responds to how other thinkers have already linked them. Taylor points out that, in the past, colonial subjects were often described as both disabled and animal-like: they were seen as shambling, hunched, and bestial, and, therefore, as “lower” on the chain of being. This authorized their exploitation. The book is also an extended argument with the philosopher Peter Singer, who bases his case for animal rights in part on the fact that some animals are more cognitively capable than the intellectually disabled people to whom we already extend our empathy. If we value the lives of infants or the mentally deficient, Singer asks, shouldn’t we value the lives of animals, too? Taylor objects to the utilitarian essence of Singer’s argument. She thinks that it’s not up to us to decide how much to value any life. “Philosophers try to make systems of argumentation, where they say a life is valuable because of ‘A,’ ‘B,’ or ‘C,’ ” she told me, while we gathered our things, “but we don’t have to worry about whether other organisms on this planet have dignity. I guess I’m saying life is sacred, but not in a way that has a religious implication.” Instead, she uses the academic, politicized language of intersectional critique: Judith Butler meets St. Francis of Assisi.

Outside, we made our way downtown to Taylor’s student apartment, a few blocks away from Washington Square Park. She lives there with David Wallace, her long-term partner, a video and installation artist who is about to begin his training in nursing, and their daughter, Leonora, whom they call Badger. At the door, I met Taylor’s service dog, Bailey. He’s a rescue, and Taylor’s best guess is that he’s part dachshund, part Lhasa Apso—in any case, he is small, black, and long, with lovely eyebrows. In “Beasts of Burden,” Taylor describes how, a few years ago, Bailey developed slipped-disk disease: wiener-shaped dogs, having been bred to have long backs, often develop spinal problems. For a while, she and David carried Bailey around in a sling. He’s recovered, but he’s still slower and more delicate than other dogs. At the end of her book, Taylor writes that there is “something appropriate—beautiful actually—about being a gimped-up, dependent, inefficient, incapable human supporting and being supported by my inefficient, dependent, and gimped-up dog.”

On this day, Bailey was lithe and frisky. The apartment was small, a jumble of books, art, and toys. Above the coat rack hung a portrait of Taylor, painted by Wallace: she looked contemplative, her gaze serious. Leonora was at the table, eating broccoli. She slid out of her high chair and sat down to play beneath a mobile, made by Wallace, of paper animals: a horse, an elephant, an alligator, a dolphin, a starfish—and a dancer, arms reaching out, mixed in with all the rest.

the differently abled are regarded with fear
people who say ” i don’t want this happening here”
but ability to love matters much more
than how fast one runs
or their tennis score.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


Jet Eliot

Travel and Wildlife Adventures

Organic Opinion

Finding it, aye there's the rub~

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Here and now, with all of it.

Eat No Harm

Living consciously for our planet, the animals, and ourselves.

Flawless Pandemonium

Question everything~

Veganism is Nonviolence

Being Vegan Is A First Step To A Nonviolent Life

The Biotrotter

The Globetrotting Biologists

Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

Narcissistic Abuse Support | Maintaining No Contact | Heal Grow Evolve

Steal This Meme

humans' vegan past & future. SHIRIN - Subvert Human Irrationalities, Rediscover Innate Nature

Gillian Prew // poetry

for the earth and the animals

Nepali Today

Coffee break Photo Blogs Base In Tokyo, Japan.


making the link between our food, our health, our society, our environment and our economy

Friendly Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales and Poetry Celebrating Magic and Nature for Kids of all Ages

Arcilla y fuego

Una visión sobre el complejo y apasionante mundo de la cerámica

Gotta Find a Home

Conversations with Street People