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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)

Domination Games

April 23, 2018

Source Humane Myth
By James LaVeck and Jenny Stein

Coming to terms with a culture of power abuse in the institutional animal advocacy movement 

Justice is not achieved, nor maintained, without sacrifice. Confronting troubling issues within one’s own family, or within one’s movement, is messy, scary, and often costly. But sometimes, it is necessary.

As we write these words, there are individuals in the US animal movement who are being harmed or have been harmed by abuses of power carried out by those with high levels of influence and status. Secrets, lies, and aggressive suppression of criticism have enabled personal damage and betrayal of public trust to continue.

As a community, we animal advocates need to support victims when they come forward. We also need to encourage witnesses to speak out. Board members and others in positions of oversight must dramatically up their game, or, in some cases, step down. None of this will be easy. It will take courage on the part of many.

Secrets, lies, and aggressive suppression of criticism have enabled personal damage and betrayal of public trust to continue.

A culture of power abuse

For twenty years, we have witnessed a culture of power abuse grow within the US institutional animal advocacy movement, which we define as a group of multi-million dollar organizations whose competitive mentality and hierarchical structure mirrors that of for-profit corporations. Now, allegations have surfaced in the media of inappropriate sexual conduct and power abuse by former CEO Wayne Pacelle and former Vice President Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), along with former Executive Vice President Nick Cooney of Mercy for Animals. While none of this is a surprise to many veteran activists, it should signal the beginning of a long overdue course correction for our movement.

Our own personal experience as social justice filmmakers has given us a unique perspective, because our means of working for change has connected us with people in a wide range of contexts, including activism, education, politics, philanthropy, law, and the arts. Of all the different settings in which we’ve done our work, sadly, the most predictably toxic, destructive and exploitative has been that of institutional animal advocacy.

Thankfully, our work has given us the opportunity to closely collaborate with a large number of grassroots activists at the local and regional level. These individuals are among the most genuine, compassionate, and hardworking we have ever met. To us, they are the spiritual descendants of those citizen activists in past eras who took up causes like women’s rights or the abolition of human slavery, before they were popular, when few people in society had the imagination to realize that terrible injustices were taking place, and even fewer had the courage to publicly confront them. Such everyday heroes of our own era have been our role models and teachers. Making films and other educational tools to empower their efforts has been the honor of our lives.

In stark contrast, the more experience we have had with the higher ranks of the institutional movement hierarchy, right up to the top leadership of some prominent national organizations, the more we have encountered individuals whose cynicism, arrogance, narcissism, and addiction to domination are nothing short of breathtaking.

Sexual harassment is but one of several ways that influential leadership figures have compulsively preyed on those serving the cause.

Losing a generation

Sexual harassment, now widely understood to be more about domination than sex, is but one of several ways that influential leadership figures, not all of them men, have compulsively preyed on those serving the cause.

We have seen credit for the work of brave investigators, animal rescuers and community activists stolen by large organizations that should have been supporting, not undermining, their efforts.

We have seen promising academic careers sabotaged by demagogues viciously discrediting former students and associates who dared to express ideas of their own.

We have seen talented journalists whose refusal to toe the line cost them their platform for reaching the public.

We have seen celebrity supporters and key funders of grassroots organizations wooed away by corporatized charities.

We have seen well-intended members of the public duped into believing they are “helping animals” by eating their dismembered body parts adorned with “humane” labels.

We have seen idealistic activists pressured into taking part in the killing of animals who could have been saved.

We have seen some individuals so traumatized by such violations that they were driven to acts of self-damage, or had to spend years of their lives attempting to heal.

 And yes, we have seen vibrant, beautiful young people “plucked” from the ranks of new activists who ever appear on the scene, eager to make a difference. Instead they are used as “arm candy,” for sex, or for the cultish self-aggrandizement of leadership figures. Others are recruited to be the focal points of sexist activism campaigns, or, perversely, to create a confusing cloak of open-hearted goodness around figures who are habitually dishonest and abusive.

As it dawned on us one day, “this is a movement that consumes its young.” The addictions of leadership figures and those who enable them have generated such havoc, and disillusioned so many, that they have created a lost generation.

As it dawned on us one day, “this is a movement that consumes its young.”

Rotting from the inside out

Over the time we have been involved, starting in the late 1990’s, the US movement has come to be influenced more and more by the consumerist celebrity culture that has sapped our national vitality. Making matters worse, key leadership figures have actively promoted the methods and mindset of Washington political operatives. The result has been an increasingly cynical, manipulative and intellectually dishonest approach to many aspects of advocacy work.

In this unhealthy climate, wave after wave of new activists have become fodder for the “domination games” played by “celebrity” leaders and those in their inner circles. With cool detachment, they rapidly sort out who has something useful to offer their personal and organizational agendas, be it money, fame, political connections, creative talents, dedication, loyalty, or, as recent events have demonstrated, sexual appeal in the eyes of someone in power.

Patterns of serial abuse now being exposed in other segments of society are causing an awakening about the high cost of complicity and indifference. Like many other people, we recently watched the victims’ testimony against the disgraced physician who, in the course of his career, molested over 250 young gymnasts associated with the US Olympic program. In the faces of those young women as they publicly confronted their abuser, we saw no expressions of triumph, no gleeful vengeance, no sense of final resolution or peace. What we saw were the heavy eyes of those whose innocence had been stolen from them by a deranged person whose abuses were allowed to continue despite many victims coming forward. Such a profound level of disillusionment cannot be created by just one destructive individual. It is systemic. It involves many people looking the other way, or worse.

There was one moment of testimony that especially haunts us. It was when gymnast and activist Aly Raisman, in calling for an investigation of what, and who, enabled such outrageous abuse, declared that “USA Gymnastics is an organization that is rotting from the inside.” Our assessment is similar: Major segments of the US institutional animal advocacy movement are, like USA Gymnastics, rotting from the inside out.

Please read rest HERE

power corrupts
be it
large or small
but the greatest
power is kindness
which is not
at all.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


Readers on Korean dog meat trade: If this practice outrages you, try veganism

April 16, 2018

Source USA Today
By Beth Levine

Thank you for USA TODAY’s article “Winter Olympics shine light on Korean dog meat trade”. Most of us do not have any direct impact on what happens to dogs at the Korean Peninsula, but each of us make daily choices about what happens to pigs, turkeys, cows and other animals akin to dogs and humans in their sentience.

The question isn’t how much they suffer in their lives and deaths. The question is do we continue to kill animals when we don’t need to? A well-balanced plant-based diet is healthy. Research shows this. Vegan athletes show this. And the American Dietetic Association, Kaiser Permanente and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine support a vegan diet. If you are outraged and sickened by dogs ending up on the plates of others, would you honor your values of compassion, fairness and justice for other animals by going vegan?

Beth Levine; Rockville, Md.

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

and when the spacemen finally land
they see our planet,
lush and grand
filled with humans
upon whom to dine.
eating meat then is
no good
when man
sits on the tine.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


Is dairy the new tobacco?

April 9, 2018

Source The WireBy Gene Baur
Gene Baur is the president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, a national farm animal protection organization.

As the Congress scrambled to pass a funding bill to prevent another government shutdown, a well-heeled set of operatives was hard at work behind the scenes, ensuring that our government ramps up subsidies for a cruel, wasteful and irresponsible industry: factory-farming dairy production.

This is not something you’re likely to read in the news — because, frankly, it’s nothing new. For decades, agribusiness has been pulling levers in the U.S. Capitol, and billions of our tax dollars have been wasted in propping up our antiquated dairy industry, one of the most deeply entrenched interests in Washington, D.C.

These days, its cadre of lobbyists, bolstered by campaign contributions to politicians, is seeking to appropriate and misuse government resources to keep dairy farmers in business even as the demand for dairy products has dropped. Hundreds of millions of pounds of cheese and butter sit in reserve, millions of pounds of excess milk are being spilled out onto fields, and yet our government continues to invest in a broken system. It is time for the government to stop supporting this harmful and abusive industry.

These dairy pushers aren’t just encouraging wastefulness, they’re also misleading American families, who are led to believe that cows’ milk is actually good for us. In fact, cows’ milk is for baby calves, not humans — and we can live well and obtain all the nutrients we need, including calcium, without consuming dairy or other animal products.

Exploiting animals for food is inherently inefficient, and requires that we grow vast quantities of corn, soy, and other crops to feed them. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of our planet’s most significant environmental threats, including the depletion of water and other precious resources and the destruction of rainforests and natural ecosystems. It is a primary cause of the earth’s loss of biodiversity, and is a leading contributer to climate change rivaling the entire transportation industry. More than a quarter of all greenhouse gas are a direct result of the food system.

Large-scale factory-farm operations (also known as confined animal feed operations) produce enormous quantities of manure which is stored in lagoons and spread on fields, contaminating the land, water, and air.

The health and quality of life of the people living nearby is diminished and their property values drop because of the foul odors and toxic emissions. Sullied groundwater leaches into streams, polluting drinking water and contributes to fish kills. Rather than requiring that industrial farms act as responsible stewards, federal tax dollars are used to enable and support their irresponsible practices.

Environmental and human health risks are exacerbated by the indiscriminate use of antibiotics on factory farms, which has led to the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. These present risks to consumers who eat contaminated food, and they also pose risks in the environment, where antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been found in groundwater. When people are sickened, formerly life-saving drugs can be rendered useless.

For decades, American schoolchildren have had cows’ milk foisted on them, along with artery-clogging cheese and other fat-laden animal products. Obesity and heart disease have become too common. Lawmakers are quick to speak against tobacco subsidies, and yet they overlook the fact that billions of taxpayer dollars are used to support and boost an industry that costs us billions of dollars in health problems.

Consumers are getting the message, and the marketplace is adjusting. Demand for plant-based milks is expanding, and the consumption of cows’ milk is decreasing. Federal food policy should support and encourage this trend.

Just as the tobacco industry had to make adjustments, so too should the dairy industry. With the 2018 farm bill just around the corner, the time is right to decry spilled milk.

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 truth even when written
read and/or forgot
is the truth
whether all
believe it
or not!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Raising Children Who Will Stand for Justice

April 2, 2018


In 1942 President FDR – husband to social justice hero Eleanor Roosevelt, signed an executive order that put thousands of law-abiding Japanese American citizens in prison camps. There was little outcry. In the 1970s, in collaboration with doctors, our government forced African American men to endure late stage syphilis. Few with knowledge of this objected. U.S. history begins with violently removing indigenous inhabitants from their ancestral lands. Shockingly, in the 1800s, some abolitionists opposed women voting. Today some who support civil rights for people of color oppose marriage equality for LGBTQ identifying individuals. The book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, describes a large American hospital in the 1950s injecting cancer cells into hundreds of patients without their knowledge or consent. Three Jewish doctors were the only ones to object. But their views were marginalized as being “overly sensitive because of the Holocaust.” History is full of similar examples. Perhaps that is why Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

The Holocaust is one of the most egregious examples of human’s capacity to look away and disregard injustice. After hearing about it, many wanted to know, “How did so many seemingly average people allow it to happen? The classic experiment by Stanley Milgram sought to answer this. His data showed that under certain conditions, half of us will go along with things we know harm others. Milgram stated, “Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.” Some cultures (and by implication their cultural practices) appear to be less vulnerable to this. So it’s worth asking, what practices might make us less likely to ignore injustice threatening someone else?

I raised two children to adulthood as vegans. We taught them the moral basis for this lifestyle: When we have a choice, choose non-violence and non-exploitation. I watched our vegan practice lay a foundation for each to think critically about how their personal actions may impact injustice happening to others. I have been heartened over and over to see my children risk disapproval in social situations rather than be complicit in harms to others. From speaking up to a bully who was threatening a peer, to expressing concern about planned classroom activities that would harm animals, my children did not, “look on and do nothing.”

Increasingly our main vote is how we spend our dollars. But the greatest contribution of veganism is not its boycott of intentional violence. Rather, it’s the ripple effect resulting from someone standing firmly in solidarity with justice, nonviolence and compassion. This inspires those around them to consider their own choice of where to stand. The fact that human beings have the capacity to ignore injustice happening to those we have been taught to “otherize,” is what has enabled every human-caused tragedy. One group (in terms of number of individuals impacted) has been more victimized and exploited by this phenomenon than any other: The non-human beings we’ve been, “taught” to eat, hunt, experiment on and use for entertainment. So why not “teach” something else?

To embrace a vegan ethic, is an important step if one seeks to avoid being complicit in violence and exploitation against the vulnerable. This effort encourages critical thinking and compassion – the very things we most need if we wish to see justice flourish. Modeling for the next generation a conviction to practice non-violence in our diet, what we buy, and what we endorse, may be the single most powerful action any of us can take at this time in history. Please join the peaceful revolution.

what type of legacy do you want to leave
what are the principals in which you
teach by example
live the way
show that kindness

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


“Clean Meat”? – Two Animal Rights Advocates Say No

March 26, 2018

Source United Poultry Concerns

Why “growing meat without animals” is NOT a solution: two views

On Jan. 10, we published “Slaughter-Free Flesh for Humanity” which drew fire from some animal rights advocates including Joan Harrison, whose letter, “When Even ‘Clean Meat’ Isn’t Clean Enough,” appeared in The Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2018, as follows:

Regarding Matthew Scully’s review of Paul Shapiro’s “Clean Meat” (Books, Jan. 6): I’m afraid I cannot agree with my fellow activists’ enthusiasm about so-called clean meat. The new technology may relieve animal suffering to some extent in the short term by using donor herds, which would suffer and be enslaved to provide cells out of which meat is then laboratory grown. Though this may end factory farming, which would be a blessing, it will do nothing to end the public’s identification of animals with food. Indeed, it will likely confirm this.

The object is not to end factory farming; the object is to end animal farming as such. The promoting of meat of this sort is thus a pernicious undermining of animal liberation. According to psychology professor and animal activist Bill Crain, experiments show that people eating the flesh of animals generally perceive animals in a negative light in contrast to people who don’t. Is this something we really wish to encourage? What about flesh emerging from a bioreactor? Why not promote Monsanto’s GMOs? And what about developing meat from human cells? If the latter is repulsive to you, and clean meat from cows, pigs, chickens and lambs nevertheless seems okay, you are still under the sway of speciesism, the evils of which are well known. A simpler solution is available, though it’ll take some time, one that is consistent with and would facilitate the liberating of animals both nonhuman and human: adopting a plant-based diet. It’s already happening.

Joan Harrison
New York

On Jan. 25, UPC President Karen Davis asked Philosophy Professor, John Sanbonmatsu – who (spoke) at our March 10, 2018 Conscious Eating Conference in Berkeley, CA – what he thinks of “clean meat.” He wrote back:


RE: “Clean Meat,” I think it is folly, for several reasons:

I think too many vegans are thinking of this as the Holy Grail, which may subtly be taking pressure and urgency off of other modes of action and analysis.

The framing of the discourse as “clean” vs. “unclean” meat aestheticizes meat, which is already an aestheticized commodity. The reality is, one form of “meat” is based on genocidal violence, exploitation, and injustice, and the other isn’t. So it should be framed as a choice between violence and nonviolence, not “cleanliness” in either an aesthetic or “morally virtuous” sense (as in, I have a “clean conscience”). One of the cafes here in Cambridge [MA] is called “Clear Conscience Cafe,” and naturally they serve grassfed Angus beef, etc.

I think it’s a terrible mistake to confuse the issue in consumers’ already confused minds between “good” and “bad” forms of animal products. I was in NYC over the weekend, and one of the grocery stores had organic turkey and pig sausages literally mixed in with the vegan “meat” products. So the messaging is, “This is where you get the ‘alternative’ and ‘healthy’ stuff, take your pick.” The last thing we need is to have ontological meat (i.e. flesh) being sold to consumers as more “ethical” meat.

Most higher-end consumers will continue to choose “organic” and “local” animal flesh over synthetic, lab-grown meats. Why? Because they are figured as “authentic.” Michael Pollan sneers when the topic of syn-meat comes up: like, who would want THAT? Just think about how educated Americans have been steering away from “processed” and “artificial” foods for a generation. And now we want them to eat burgers made with lab-grown cow cells? No way. The meat industry will turn right around and promote authentic meat even more heavily than they do now.

The whole synthetic meat movement is perpetuating the lie that the only reason, or main reason, we can’t have universal veganism and an end to animal agriculture is because there are no “good” alternatives. That, and the lie that the reason people “can’t” (or won’t) give up eating animals is because animals just taste TOO GOOD. Well, I don’t believe that. Yes, there are undoubtedly some people so hooked on the exact specific taste of bacon or whatever that they will cling to it until Doomsday. But I don’t think that accounts for most or even a big part of resistance to Animal Rights or to veganism specifically.

What’s going to happen with this stuff is precisely what happened to Whole Foods and the whole “humane meat” industry: synthetic meats will not be competing with cheaper meat commodities; this industry will be competing with the chi-chi market for specialized foods. So the price point is going to be set high, because that’s where the market is going to be most lucrative (because this is capitalism). Meanwhile, as I said, if the typical consumer is faced with a menu of “real” chicken and “synthetic real” chicken, he/she is going to choose the real chicken most of the time, or so I believe.

If humans think so little of the dignity or suffering of animals that they can’t or won’t countenance giving up farmed animal flesh until and unless there is an exact, one-to-one replacement, in taste, texture, availability, etc., then what are the odds that they will make any concerted effort to switch to synthetic meats at all?

Against the odds, somehow, we need to smash speciesism as an idea and a set of institutions and beliefs and interpellated identities. If we don’t challenge that, if we can’t undermine it, I think it’s going to continue to be game over for animals, and all of the synthetic meats in the world won’t amount to anything.

John Sanbonmatsu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Department of Humanities and Arts
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Worcester, MA 01609

there needs to be
and this cannot wait
an absence of ALL
animal products
on our plates!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


The Human Superiority Complex or Conflict?

March 19, 2018
2008 November Ryan's uncles ranch deer hunting

Trump Jr. with deer trophy kill, photo found as part of an interview at

Source Free From Harm
By Robert Grillo

In discussions of animals exploited for food or other human benefit, we often hear the following statements: “I’ll always put a human before an animal” and “Humans are more important than animals.” But even if we believe or could prove to be superior to other animals, in however we arbitrarily define our superiority, the fact that one feels superior to others does not justify exploiting, enslaving, killing, and eating them. A leading brain surgeon is not justified in violating someone with lower cognitive abilities or less education than himself, such as a patient who suffers from dementia.

Even in cases where we may subjectively feel superior over someone else in competitions, there are strict rules to the game, and harming our competitors solely on the basis of feeling superior to them would be considered “playing dirty” and disqualify us. That’s because we do not base morality on how well someone scores on an IQ test or how great an artist they are. The only morally relevant criteria for how we treat someone is whether they can suffer. All nonhuman animals qualify, since they visibly demonstrate fundamental interests in staying alive and avoiding pain, suffering, and death — not to mention a whole set of other complex interests that would be otherwise denied them.

But there is a deeper issue to explore in the all-too-human obsession with feeling superior over other animals. Although we control the fate of the other animals on this planet, we still find it necessary to continually exert our self-professed superiority.

Please read rest HERE

About Robert Grillo

Robert Grillo is the director of Free from Harm which he founded in 2009 to advocate on behalf of “the 99%,” animals exploited by animal agriculture. As an activist, author and speaker, Grillo draws insights from popular culture, sociology, psychology, ethics and social justice to bridge the gap between humans and other species. As a marketing communications professional for over 20 years, Grillo worked on large food industry accounts where he acquired a behind-the-scenes perspective on food branding and marketing. His new book, Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture exposes the many ways we have all been conditioned into a culture where mass animal consumption is the norm. Other published works include contributions to Caged: Top Activists Share Their Wisdom on Effective Animal Advocacy and Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice. In addition Grillo writes articles for Free from Harm and curates work from other leading authors.


to truly grasp and comprehend
the equality of all living beings,
is to reach the highest
level of consciousness

Karen Lyons Kalmenson



15,000 Scientists Urge the Adoption of a Plant-Based Diet

March 12, 2018

Source VegNews

Source v-dog, VegNews
By Anna Starostinetskaya

In their first official warning since 1992, an international assembly of scientists from 184 countries predict imminent world demise unless action to fight climate change is swiftly implemented.

A viewpoint article published by the Alliance of World Scientists (AWS) in October (2017) outlined the increasing importance of changing human behavior to avoid environmental destruction. The current article is an update to a 1992 paper published by the Union of Concerned Scientists warning the public that current human practices would soon lead to devastating conditions such as ocean acidification and dead zones, ozone depletion, decreased freshwater availability, marine-life depletion, forest loss, and biodiversity destruction. “A great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required,” the 1992 warning stated, “if vast human misery is to be avoided.” The new document builds on the previous warning, but with more urgency, by outlining how the aforementioned negative environmental trends have accelerated in the past 25 years. “It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors,” the current warning advised, “including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources.” The warning—which was signed by 15,000 scientists from 184 countries—further recommends adopting and promoting a plant-based diet to reduce environmental degradation.

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

our spinning blue orb
once a paradise,
decimated by man…
not very nice.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


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