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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)

Orlando

June 13, 2016
by
Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 

pulse orlando

a flood of tears
the rainbow cries,
for those who are
injured
and those who
have died.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


hate is but a cruel maze

hate feeds
festers
and preys
most on those
who harbor
its ugliness
on their
shores.
defeating
its own purpose
and obliterating
its reason for
existence.
there is not gratification
nor satisfaction
to be found
for bottomless hole
that hate’s hunger
is.

hate is but a cruel
maze not even
a minotaur could
imagine.

♥TRY LOVE♥

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 


Will Tuttle: Being Healthy While Saving the Planet

June 13, 2016
by

Source YouTube

Food is our most intimate and telling connection both with the living natural order and with our living cultural heritage. By eating the plants and animals of our earth, we literally incorporate them. It is also through this act of eating that we partake of our culture’s values and paradigms at the most primal levels. It is becoming increasingly obvious, however, that the choices we make about our food are leading to environmental degradation, enormous human health problems, and unimaginable cruelty toward our fellow creatures.

Incorporating systems theory, teachings from mythology and religions, and the human sciences, Dr. Tuttle presents the outlines of a more empowering understanding of our world, based on a comprehension of the far-reaching implications of our food choices and the worldview those choices reflect and mandate. He offers a set of universal principles for all people of conscience, from any religious tradition, that they can follow to reconnect with what we are eating, what was required to get it on our plate, and what happens after it leaves our plates.

Dr. Tuttle suggests how we as a species might move our consciousness forward so that we can be more free, more intelligent, more loving, and happier in the choices we make.

Dr. Will Tuttle, visionary author, educator, and inspirational speaker, has presented widely throughout North America, Europe, and the Pacific. Author of the acclaimed Amazon #1 best-seller The World Peace Diet, which has been published in over 15 languages, he is a recipient of the Courage of Conscience Award as well as the Empty Cages Prize. The creator of several wellness and advocacy training programs, he is also co-creator of VeganPalooza, the largest online vegan event. The editor of a recent book on the intersectionality of social justice issues, Circles of Compassion: Connecting Issues of Justice, he is also the co-founder of the non-profit Circle of Compassion and the Worldwide Prayer Circle for Animals. A vegan since 1980, he is a frequent radio, television, and online presenter and writer. He is featured in the acclaimed documentary film Cowspiracy as well as the documentary Animals and the Buddha. Dr. Tuttle’s Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, focused on educating intuition and altruism in adults, and he has taught college courses in creativity, humanities, mythology, religion, and philosophy. A former Zen monk and a Dharma Master in the Korean Zen tradition, he has created eight CD albums of uplifting original piano music. With his spouse Madeleine, a Swiss visionary artist, he presents over 100 lectures, workshops, and concerts annually at college campuses, spiritual centers, conferences, and peace, social justice, animal protection, health, and environmental gatherings.

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 sele : http://store.afa-online.org/home.php?cat=284

Have questions? Click HERE

Read more…

Thoughts on diluting the vegan message

June 5, 2016
by
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source There’s An Elephant in the Room Blog
About

Today, one of the topics in cyberspace is sites, groups, and individuals that call themselves ‘vegan’ when they very plainly are not. ‘So what’s the problem – aren’t they harmless?’ I hear some ask. So I found myself considering two aspects of this: the first is the fact that this hijacking and redefining of a concept such as veganism happens at all, and the second is that these phony groups always seem to manage to gather followers.

It’s extremely encouraging to see veganism – true veganism – becoming more prevalent and mainstream in the world and that can only be a good thing.

However we live in a culture of media addiction where presentation triumphs so often over substance, a culture of celebrity worship, a culture where ‘trends’ are the star by so which many steer their moral compass through the shifting seas. ‘Vegan’ is becoming a ‘trendy’ word and as a result, there are those who would like to adopt it. In this cynical world of oversized egos there are many who crave publicity, and there will always be charlatans who claim that inclusion within their group or social circle will provide you with the info you need, and will entitle you to call yourself ‘vegan’.

However, sadly, there are too many of these that are to veganism, what snake-oil salesmen are to qualified medical practitioners. There are many who appear to ‘relax the rules’, to dilute the term veganism, to put time and effort into justifying various forms of animal use that they claim are acceptable. At first sight, they may seem less ‘stuffy’ than some other groups, ‘more practical’, perhaps even a bit edgy and irreverent. However, whether through genuine ignorance or cynical manipulation I am reluctant to speculate, any such group, site, or individual that does not promote a complete end to humanity’s exploitation of members of other species, uses the term ‘vegan’ under false pretenses.

And the harm?  The harm is incalculable as they peddle misinformation, sowing confusion and misleading those whose quest for information is genuine. Because unlike those whose relatively harmless delusions lead them to firmly believe that they’re Henry VIII or a visitor from Mars, when it comes to veganism, misinformation costs lives. Billions of them every year. Humanity’s victims are depending on us for a clear and consistent message as they stand quaking in the slaughterhouses awaiting their turn for their precious and only lives to be hacked from them for our convenience.

That seems rather obvious, which can lead only to wondering why people seem to flock to groups that denigrate veganism as ‘extreme’ or ‘difficult’, and mock those who promote and it as ‘purist’, ‘stuffy’, and ‘vegan police’.

I started to try to phrase this paragraph diplomatically, but I reckon I can’t afford to be mealy-mouthed about it. The truth is that there are many people who want to be able to call themselves ‘vegan’ but who don’t want to change anything or cause themselves any inconvenience. They therefore seem to shop around for a ‘vegan’ group that will condone whatever devastating harm that they wish to continue to carry out to the helpless and innocent; where they will find like minds who will stroke their egos and join in the vocal condemnation of those who hold that veganism requires no redefining and absolutely no diluting. They want to talk the talk without walking the walk.

And why should I care – what’s it to me? Well there are billions of helpless, powerless, innocents whose mere existence is a torment; who have nothing to call their own – not their bodies, not their children, not their friends, not their lives. There are queues in the slaughterhouses trembling to the screams of their friends, frozen with terror in the certain knowledge that their own blood is about to join the stench of the rivers of gore assaulting their nostrils; goaded in sickening horror by the implacable and merciless predators with their hard hands and electric prods.

Every waking moment, I am aware of the weight of the responsibility that veganism places on the shoulders of every one of us whose eyes have been opened. It is not my place or my right to barter away and compromise the rights of even a single victim, not a single victim amongst those billions whose fundamental right to own their own selves is the first right veganism seeks to protect. And meanwhile, every single nonvegan choice causes devastating and terminal harm to one who is powerless to defend his or her self against the senseless tyranny of my species. So that’s why I care. That’s why we ALL should care.

With the huge responsibility we share as vegans, comes the additional responsibility of recognizing the sad reality of those who seek to hijack and corrupt the ethic for unfathomable reasons of their own.

All I can say is I beg you to remember who we’re in this fight for. They need us all. Stay strong, stay vegan.

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
Read more…

Boycott Zoos!

June 1, 2016
by
Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

we are harambe

we are the harambes
the ones lost amid
the confusion,
ignorance and intolerance.
the ones taken from where
we belong
and forced in boxes
that cannot contain
our spirits.
we are the ones,
the innocents who pay
for the failures and
failings of humans.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Talking to children about animals: how society sends mixed messages about respect

May 30, 2016
by
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source Ecorazzi
Guest Essay by April-Tui Buckley

One of the key responsibilities of parents is to teach their children respect. We try and raise them to be kind and considerate children who grow into respectful and compassionate adults. We have many more considerations as a parent, but this is one I prioritize myself, and I know most parents do. My own childhood was spent on a farm in New Zealand, not the most likely place to foster a vegan ideology, but believe it or not the seeds were sown there. I am also Maori and raised by a strong Maori woman. Respect for the land and its people were central to my upbringing. In our culture we are considered caretakers of the land, we govern it and care for it for future generations. By no means is the Maori culture vegan, but my culture also played its role in how I live as a vegan today.
I can’t say if I ever felt totally comfortable with what happened to the animals on our farms, but I can say my earliest memory is one of confusion. Why was I taught not to harm other people, to be gentle to the cats and dogs we referred to as pets, but then walk out the door of our home and watch as our father did unspeakable things to these animals? These animals we have spent the last few months or sometimes years, caring for. These animals that got my father up in the wee hours, walking the hills in the pouring rain just to save them. I had naively assumed he didn’t want them to suffer. That he saved these lambs out of empathy. But I was soon to learn that each and every animal on that farm, and all farms, were assets.

My father worked unbelievably long hours nurturing, caring for, and tending to the needs of all of them, wrecking his body in the process. But this was not empathy, as I had believed. By the time I was in my early teens I understood very clearly this was a job, these animals were profit and nothing more. I wondered what it took to care for and spend time with the animals, as I did, and then be physically able to end their life. It was so far from how I felt about animals myself. I wondered still, what on earth the word respect truly meant, when everything I learned living on a farm seemed to render the word meaningless. Why did they tell me to treat my cat gently or to stop hitting my sister? Why did they deserve respect, why could I not cause them harm, yet my Dad could slit the throat of any animal he wished to? Why was he allowed to take their babies? Why was he allowed to attach an electric dog collar to his supposedly much-loved working dog and electrocute him for turning the wrong direction? Why did my Maori mother teach me about racism, sexism, and oppression, and how important it is for us to fight them, yet serve me meat, fish, dairy, and eggs?

As I got older and braver, I began to question what I had been taught very openly. I was looking at photos of my father’s first kill, a pig when he was a teenager, I think around 13. I asked him that night what he felt when he killed his first animal. Literally, he did not understand the question.‘ I don’t know what you’re on about, I didn’t feel anything because it’s just a pig’. That is what he was taught and what he attempted to teach me. It is just an object. It does not have moral value and it does not have rights. It is not the same as your cat, your sister, or you. It is my job to kill it. This is the most confused, fucked-up message you can teach your children. Essentially we are teaching our children to love one and not the other, for no other reason than, I told you so. This is the way it is, I can’t explain why, but just do what I do, even if it makes no sense.

We cannot expect children to grow into respectful, compassionate adults, if what we actually teach them is this confused and selective philosophy. Most young children feel love and respect for animals, even those of us growing up in an environment full of death and commodification (otherwise known as farming). What we are teaching our children is actually quite the opposite of respect. We are teaching them to ignore their instincts. We are teaching them moral inconsistency. A mixed up philosophy that has no true value. It is based on cultural traditions, convenience and, quite honestly, one of the very worst human traits: selfishness. We are teaching our children that the only thing that matters is yourself. That respect is not something you give every sentient being. That you ignore your natural instinct and follow society’s messed up, meaningless, totally arbitrary and self serving set of rules as to who is or who is not allowed to be free, who is or is not allowed to live their life on their terms.

What do we have as a result of this immoral and inconsistent set of beliefs? We have violence. We have violence everywhere. In our homes, on our streets, in our schools, in our supermarkets, absolutely everywhere. All violence comes from the same place. Without respect, you have violence. A world without violence will only be possible when we fully understand what that word, respect, truly means and give every sentient being equal access to it.

I am now a mother myself and what we teach our daughter is very clear. We are anti racist, we are feminist, we are against any and all oppression, including speciesism. We are vegan. This is what I learned from the farm, this is what I learned from my Maori culture. That might seem a very weird thing to say given that I just explained the confusing messages I was taught. But farming meant I lived next to animals. I heard their excruciating cries for help. I saw, up close and personal, the terror in their eyes. I saw the love they had for their babies. That they were afraid for their life, just like we are when we think we are in danger. Maori culture is steeped in respect for the land, the sea, the plants, the people- alive or dead. I believe I took lessons I learnt from my people and extended it to include animals. Because it really doesn’t make sense otherwise.

– See more at: http://www.ecorazzi.com/2016/05/05/talking-to-children-about-animals-how-society-sends-mixed-messages-about-respect/#sthash.bRjz3zns.dpuf





we respect ourselves
and the world in which
we live.
we treat all with compassion
and our capacity to give.
we take not for granted
the beauty upon us
that our creator bestowed.
we bask within that light
from our inner light
that glows.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

 

The Extremism Of Veganism | Exposing The Greatest Lie

May 23, 2016
by

Source Bite Size Vegan
By Emily Moran Barwick

What would you do if you found out that everything you know, everything you believe, everything you’ve been told since you were a child was a lie?

And not just any lie, but one carefully crafted, finely tuned, expertly executed, and deliberately designed with the express purpose of assuring you that wrong was right, that bad was good, and that violence was love.

A lie powerful enough to manipulate you into taking part in horrific and barbaric acts you’d otherwise find appalling. Powerful enough to wash blood from your hands; to alter your perception so severely that murder appears mundane and compassion becomes extreme. [tweet this]

Hello, my name is Emily Moran Barwick. I’m an animal liberation activist, an artist, an educator and a vegan. I created the YouTube channel and accompanying website, Bite Size Vegan, where I educate people about veganism through a wide array of video styles – from humorous parodies, to detailed academic reports, to interviews with physicians and athletes, to videos for kids – while covering a diverse range of subjects.

In our time together today, I’m very likely going to challenge some of your life-long beliefs. I’m going to ask you to set your preconceptions aside and try to look at the ordinary with a fresh set of eyes.

I am aware that this is a great deal to ask of you, especially coming from a total stranger. I’m asking for your trust when I haven’t even earned it. But believe it or not, I am not here to force my beliefs upon you. Or to make you vegan. I won’t pretend to have that power. And no one really makes any lasting change through force anyway.

I’m simply here to show you what is really going on every second of every day all around the world behind closed doors. To present evidence—for your consideration—that things may not be as they appear.

Undoing a life-long belief is no easy task. But in order to make informed decisions, to look ourselves in the mirror and ask if we are truly living the values we purport to have, we must know the truth. We must educate ourselves about what is really going on, not rely on what we’ve been taught. We must make decisions based on facts, not fantasy.

I’ll want to preface this talk by saying that I’m going to be transparent with you and I’ll even tell you if I don’t know something. I’ll also be providing citations throughout this post for every fact I state, along with a bibliography below so that you can dig deeper as I’ll only be able to scratch the surface in this brief window of time we have together.

So let’s get started. Veganism is viewed as an extreme way of living. [tweet this] Vegans do not eat, wear, or use anything that came from someone else’s body. We don’t eat meat, drink milk or eat cheese. We don’t consume eggs or honey. We don’t wear leather, wool, silk, or down. We don’t use products that were tested on animals or contain byproducts from their slaughter. And we don’t attend circuses, zoos, aquariums, or any other event that exploits living beings for our entertainment and pleasure.

From the outside, such rigorous exclusions and avoidances can easily appear extreme. But remember today is about challenging appearances and assumptions of extremism and normality. Today is a lesson in unlearning.

And what better way to unlearn than to start our journey at the end and work our way back to the beginning? And what better way to question what’s accepted as good and normal than with something as wholesome and every day as a glass of milk?

The source of milk is no big secret: it comes from cows. But that’s about as far back as most people trace milk’s journey to our refrigerated grocery case.

Most of us grow up thinking that cows are made to be milked. We may think they have a constant supply of milk and even that they need to be milked to relieve the pressure.

Well let’s look at this critically for a moment. Cows are mammals, just like us. And mammals produce milk for one reason: to feed their babies. Cows carry their babies for 9 months, just like we do, they lactate to feed their babies, just like we do, and after weaning, they stop producing milk, just like we do.

So in order to have a constant supply of cow’s milk for human consumption, we need a constant supply of pregnant cows. In the dairy industry, cows are repeatedly inseminated, which is a nice word for raped. The restraining apparatus used to secure the cows is literally referred to within the dairy industry, at least in America, as a “rape rack,” so this isn’t a term dreamed up by vegans activists.

Once a cow gives birth, we face another roadblock to our milk’s journey. Babies, after all, drink their mother’s milk. So to make sure there’s constant supply of milk for us, the babies must be taken away soon after birth. This is precisely what occurs in the dairy industry. If the calf is a male, he is sent to a veal farm where he is tied down, unable to move, or locked in a cage where he cannot even turn around until he’s slaughtered while still only a few weeks old. Veal, an industry that even many meat-eaters oppose, wouldn’t exist without dairy. Every cup of yogurt, every scoop of ice cream and every glass of milk is directly connected to the deaths of those baby calves.

But we’re not quite done tracing milk’s path to our cereal bowls. While the slaughter of babies is certainly horrific enough, we cannot forget the mothers left behind. Cows bond intensely with their calves and will cry out for days when they are taken. When residents of Newbury, MA called the police to report disturbing noises emanating from the Sunshine Dairy farm at all hours of the day and night, the police explained that the mother cows were “lamenting the separation from their calves”—but not to worry as “the cows are not in distress and that the noises are a normal part of farming practices.”[1]

This is not anthropomorphizing. It is a mother’s grief and it’s utterly heartbreaking to watch.

The bodies of dairy cows generally give out at age 4 or 5 and they are regarded as “spent,” despite their natural lifespan of 20 years or more. They’re sent to slaughter for cheap meat and pet food, deemed unfit for human consumption. At the slaughterhouse, many of these mothers face their final and most brutal separation from yet another child. While formal statistics are difficult to obtain as most studies focus on the economic cost of “fetal wastage,” accounts range from approximately 10% to 70% of cows arrive at the slaughterhouse pregnant.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

In fact there are entire industries that rely upon the slaughter of pregnant animals. A wide array of scientific experiments use what’s called fetal serum from a range of animals, with bovine fetal serum being the most widely utilized.[12] Bovine fetal serum is obtained by cutting a living fetus out of the mother’s womb, piercing the heart and draining the blood. The process can take up to 35 minutes while the fetal calf remains alive.[13]

But this most horrific and final separation of mother and child was just the last in a cycle of pregnancy after pregnancy and loss after loss. In addition to this extreme psychological and emotional trauma, the physical demands of repeated milkings and the crowded and unsanitary living conditions lead to frequent infections and sores.

Dairy cows are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones, all of which seep into their milk.[14][15][16][17][18][19] In fact, there’s an official number of pus cells allowed in milk, euphemistically referred to as the “somatic cell count.” In the United States, around 22 million [22,177,500] pus cells are allowed per single fluid ounce of milk [750,000 cells/mL], with global allowable limits ranging from just under 12 million [11,828,000 cells/fl. oz. in Canada & the EU (400,000 cells/mL)] to 29.5 million cells/fl.oz. in Brazil [1,000,000 cells/mL].[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30]

When we push onwards through to our dairy cow’s beginning, back past the first pregnancy, before she became the broken, hollowed-out shell eventually collapsing under the insane demands of her short life, we come to her birth. The moment she emerges into the world, wide-eyed and brand new. The moment she’s taken from her own mother.

You see we talked about what happened to the male calves who are sent off for veal. Well the daughters of the dairy industry are still separated from their mothers. But they’re kept around to take their mother’s place and keep the money machine going. Keep the milk flowing. So that in every grocery story, every corner shop, every gas station, will be sure to stock this wholesome, normalized, entirely ordinary product.

The animal products we perceive as mundane, when reverse engineered, reveal a perversely complex and, to put it lightly, ethically challenging, journey from genesis through processing and production to the end product. That is to say, from the animals’ birth, through confinement, abuse, slaughter and denigration of corpses to the shiny, happy, store-ready products we literally eat up without even a single thought as to what the animals went through.

We are being sold the pus-filled ultimate outcome of rape, enslavement, kidnapping, abuse, disease, torture, infanticide, and murder—whitewashed into an image of wholesome nutrition. As vegan activist Gary Yourofsky has said, it’s the greatest magic trick ever performed. [tweet this]

And people say veganism is extreme.

Unfortunately—or perhaps you may feel fortunately—we don’t have time to take this reverse journey in such depth with all of the products we create from living beings. But let’s at least take an abridged look at another seemingly harmless item. One consumed all over the world and with which most Americans start their day. One lovingly mixed into baked goods for birthdays and other special occasions. One decorated in celebration of peace and new life. The incredible, edible egg.

Like milk, the source of eggs is clear: they come from chickens. Unlike milk, chickens do not have to be impregnated to supply them. But anytime we make a living being into a machine, a supplier of inventory, the bottom line will always be profit. And increasing profit means increasing output and increasing efficiency.

Just like the mothers of dairy, the bodies of layer hens give out prematurely from the extreme demands of production.[31] Hens lose vital nutrients every time their body forms an egg. Every aspect of their lives is regulated ensure maximum output. From controlling their laying cycles with days and days of persistent light followed by long periods of complete darkness, to starving them for weeks at a time in an effort to force yet another egg cycle from their worn out bodies, a process benignly referred to as “induced molting,” to outright manipulation of their very genetic makeup.[32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

We’ve optimized our machines, you see, and bred one kind of chicken for meat and another kind for eggs. Because of this, the egg industry produces millions if not a billion unwanted male baby chicks every year. Just like male dairy calves, who are unable to produce milk, male layer chicks can’t lay eggs. So they are of no use.

To “dispose of” – as they say – these baby chicks, they are either painfully gassed, slowly suffocated in plastic bags, or they are ground up alive, referred to as maceration within the industry. We’re talking about the cute fluffy yellow baby chicks we adore come Easter time.

This is standard practice all around the world, with the United States and European Union specifying that chicks must be less than 72 hours old when the are killed –they are not even granted three days of life.[42][43] [SHOW SCREENSHOTS AVMA doc]

The sisters of the egg industry’s discarded sons get to live out their short lives in cramped battery cages, unable to even extend their wings.[44][45][46] Of course nowadays we hear about the rise of free-range and cage-free facilities.[47][48][49] But in truth, the only comfort these labels bring is to our own conscience.[50][51][52][53][54][55][56] Cage-free birds are crammed into tiny sheds and have twice the mortality rates of battery caged hens.[57]

Layer hens are generally good for 1-3 cycles, each lasting roughly a year. In countries where induced molting (again, the industry term for starvation) is illegal, they’re simply killed around their first birthday.

I hope you are starting to see the power of this lie. Of presenting cruel confinement, starvation, abuse, the barbaric murder of day-old babies and the slaughter of one-year-olds—themselves still children—as something completely normal and kind— packaged in perfect little orbs.

And we have the audacity to decorate them in celebration of new life. To fawn over the very chicks who were ground up alive for their production. To mix them into treats for our children and loved ones. To start our day with the products of abject misery and call it “sunny side up.” We might as well start our day by throwing chicks in a blender

We could spend all week reverse-engineering the paths of the seemingly endless number of animal-derived products we encounter on a regular basis. In fact Dutch artist Christien Meindertsma spent 3 years tracing and cataloguing all of the products made from a single pig: PIG 05049.[58][59]

Which brings us to the next layer of our collective self-deception: the systematic erasure of individual identity. You see this is where the lie is most vulnerable. Because beneath the years of indoctrination, we still believe ourselves to be animal lovers. We go to the movies and route for Babe the pig, cheer for the chickens of Chicken Run, and pull for Nemo the fish to find his way back to his father. Then we go home and eat bacon and eggs and make chicken fingers and fish sticks for the kids.

The only way to maintain this most glaring dissonance, this duality of our professed values and our daily actions, is to ensure that the animals we eat and use have no names, no faces, no identities. So we give them inventory numbers.

We brand them with hot irons or freeze their skin off. We tattoo and tag them, inject electronic transponders under their skin, or strap them to their necks or ankles. We even give them barcodes.[60][61] The important thing is that they are clearly identified as property. And that they are treated as such. Because as soon as we see them as individuals, we threaten the very foundation of the lie upon which we so desperately depend. [tweet this]

If their bodies don’t conform to our desires, we alter them at will. Baby pigs have their teeth cut out, their ears notched, their tails cut off and their testicles ripped out, all without anesthetic. Chickens, turkeys and other birds in the meat and egg industries have their sensitive beaks cut or seared off. Cows have their horns cut or burned off and are also castrated without anesthetic.

And with some of our most impressive mental gymnastics, which would be admirable if it weren’t so horrific, we say this barbaric mutilation, this conversion of living beings from someONES to someTHINGS is for their own good.

Because if we don’t clip their teeth or cut their beaks or slice off their tails, they’ll attack and chew on each other. What we fail to mention, is that these behaviors are stress responses to confinement in overly-crowded, insanity-inducing conditions. That if we didn’t put them in these abusive conditions, they wouldn’t react the way they do.

But we humans love to play the role of savior in the disasters of our own creation. We swoop in to milk the cow and relieve the painful pressure of her swollen udder. Pressure that wouldn’t exist had we not taken her child away.

And to top it all off, our fragile charade, we amass mountains of paperwork, conduct thousands of studies, spend untold amounts of money, form governmental, institutional and industry panels, all to decide, define and decreethe right way to kill.

You can pour through the documents from the USDA,[62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75][76][77][78][79][80] or the European Union,[81][82] or any country for that matter, to learn the legal speak that makes taking the life of a living being acceptable. And you don’t have to look too far to start finding caveats and loopholes. Religious slaughter without any form of stunning gets a pass. Birds and fish are excluded from humane slaughter regulations, the very name of which is a perfect embodiment of our desperate attempt to simultaneously be animal lovers and animal killers. To be their protectors and tormentors.

I mean it really is absurd when we step back and think about it. Do we have manuals on how to humanely rape? Or how to compassionately kidnap? Or ethically rob? Of course not because those are oxymorons. They cannot coexist. But when it comes to killing animals, we will bend over backwards and create massive paper trails of regulations to feel good about what we are doing.

Again, I must ask, is veganism really the extreme choice here?

Look at what we have to go through to make eating animals acceptable.

[At this point in the speech I play a video of worldwide undercover footage with the following lead-in]:

Before we move into issues of the environment and health impacts of diet, I’m going to play brief video. The portions of the footage where the location is known will be labeled as such. But it doesn’t mean that the same thing isn’t happening in other parts of the world. I trimmed down hours of footage into a 4-minute clip.

It will not be pleasant, but I’d implore you to watch anyway. You can’t make an informed decision without having all the facts. If you feel you must turn away, I’d just ask you to think on the question: “If I can’t watch process, do I have a right to eat the product?”

[the footage can be seen at from 20:55-23:55 in the video at the top of this post. What follows is the continuation of my speech after the footage has concluded]

In my years of being vegan and speaking with many, many non-vegans, I have yet to ever hear one reason that even comes close to justifying putting a sentient being through what we just saw. Not one.

You cannot watch that and say that the animals we kill for our food don’t know any better. That they die peacefully and humanely. They can sense the fear. They can smell the blood. And they fight. They fight to the end.

And you can’t say that it’s happening in some far away place because it’s happening all over the world. The CO2 chambers you saw – those were the medieval devices lowering pigs to an extraordinarily painful death of burning from the inside out – that is seen as the most humane method of slaughtering pigs.

It’s employed worldwide, including here in the United States.[83]

I know I’ve focused rather exclusively thus far on the ethical truths behind the mask of normality. But the wake of our destruction is littered with far more than the trillions of beings we kill every year.[84]

The environmental, health and social impact of what we put in our mouth is astounding. There is no way I’ll be able to cover these areas today in the depth they deserve, so I encourage you to refer to the resource page I’ll be leaving with you.

But let’s try to take a bird’s eye view of our impact on this planet. When it comes to the environment, we hear about conserving water, cutting down on emissions, halting deforestation. Environmental protection agencies encourage us to take shorter showers, carpool or ride our bikes, go paperless and recycle more. Our governments hold international conferences to address climate change and seek solutions.

All the while the single most devastating force behind our planet’s environmental collapse remains not only unspoken, but actually actively denied by the very organizations charged with saving our planet.[85]

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change.[86] It’s responsible for up to 51 percent of GHG emissions compared to the 13 percent of all global transportation.[87] It uses a third of the earth’s fresh water,[88][89][90][91] up to 45 percent of the Earth’s land,[92][93] is responsible for 91 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction with 1-2 acres cleared every second.[94][95] It is also a leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, and habitat destruction.[96][97][98][99][100][101][102][103][104][105][106]

The efforts we make to recycle and take shorter showers are rather insignificant in comparison. Accounting for variation in production system, the global average water footprint for a single pound of beef is 1,847 gallons/lb, with numbers ranging all the way to 8,000 gallons/lb.[107][108][109]

We can see here that without fail those food products with the smallest water footprints based on weight are plant-based.[110][111][112]

Of course weight doesn’t necessarily mean sustenance. Still, global averages show that “when viewed from a caloric standpoint, the water footprint of animal products is larger than for crop products” with “the average water footprint per calorie for beef [being] twenty times larger than for cereals and starchy roots.”[113]

And with protein being one of the greatest nutrition concerns for people considering veganism, it’s worth noting that “the water footprint per gram of protein for milk, eggs and chicken meat is about 1.5 times larger than for pulses” [114][115][116] with beef’s being 6 times larger. Leading to the conclusion that “it is more efficient to obtain calories, protein and fat through crop products than animal products.” [117][118][119]

But we don’t really need studies to tell us that eating animals requires more energy input and creates more waste than eating plants. How can it not?

Eating animals is incredibly inefficient. We are filtering our nutrients, our water, our resources, through someone else’s body. Globally, we’re feeding close to 40% of our grain to our food animals.[120] How can that not be worse for the environment than simply eating the plants ourselves? The United States alone could feed 800 million people with the grain we feed to our livestock. That’s more than the estimated 795 million people going hungry in the world today.[121][122] 98% of the massive water footprint for animal agriculture we just covered goes to growing feed crops for the animals we eat.[123]

I’m not suggesting that a global shift to veganism will automatically result in the proper redistribution of our crops to those in need, nor address the issue of unnecessary food wastage, but it’s the only way we can have enough food to feed everyone.

This is where many people point to small, local farms, and sustainable practices. Like grass fed beef. Or free-range eggs.

The thing is, we don’t have the land. There’s simply not enough land for the number of animals we eat every year. The amount of land that it takes to produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based foods will only yield 375 pounds of meat.[124][125][126]

The land required to feed 1 vegan for 1 year is 1/6th acre. It takes 3 times as much for a vegetarian, meaning someone who consumes dairy and eggs but no meat, and 18 times as much for a meat-eater.[127][128]

You can grow 15 times more protein on any given area of land with plants versus animals. On top of all of that, studies show that pasture-raised cows emit 40-60% more greenhouse gases than grain-fed.[129]

I could talk about the environmental cost of animal agriculture all day and we would only just be scratching the surface.

I do want to speak briefly to fishing and ocean health before moving on. I produced a 17-minute video report encompassing the most recent research on the state of our oceans, which you can refer to, but I’ll try to summarize some main takeaways.

Whether you eat fish and marine life or not, this matter impacts all of us. The ocean, or rather the phytoplankton within the ocean, provides somewhere between 50 and 80% of our oxygen[130][131][132] and the oceans ecosystems store carbon in massive quantities.[133]

Since we tend to go for the biggest fish first, only 10% of predatory fish species remain,[134] which could leave the unchecked species to feed on the ocean’s vegetation releasing the stored carbon. If we lost just 1% of these blue carbon ecosystems, it would be equivalent to releasing the annual greenhouse gas emissions of Australia.[135][136]

We pull 90-100 million tonnes[137] of fish from our oceans each year[138][139] with some sources even estimating 150 million tonnes.[140] There is no way for the marine populations to replenish themselves.

Our industrial fishing methods are incredibly inefficient, with some operations throwing 98% of their catches overboard, dead,[141][142] because they aren’t the targeted species.

As I said earlier, land-based animal agriculture is the leading cause of ocean dead zones, which are areas in the ocean starved of oxygen such that marine life suffocates and dies.

So the animals we are raising for food on land are killing the animals we are ripping from the ocean. And to add a further layer of perversity, we are feeding the fish we catch to the cows, pigs, chicken, and other land animals and to the fish we farm.

And people think veganism is extreme? When humanity is decimating habitats, consuming land and resources, polluting the oceans, destroying the rainforest, driving species after species into extinction, feeding plants that we could eat to animals and feeding other animals to animals that aren’t supposed to eat animals, all so that we can eventually eat the animals ourselves.

But of course as a consumer, we don’t see the trail. We see the pretty packages and sleek advertising. We see these ordinary, innocent, every day products. And we find comfort in the fact that most people eat the way we do; that most people don’t seem to be concerned. And we continue to believe the lie that this is the way it’s supposed to be.

Ethics aside, we have environmentally reached the point beyond personal choice–beyond “you eat how you want to eat and I’ll eat how I want to eat.” This is a global crisis and it’s not about you or me anymore.

We say that children are our future but what future can they have when we are eating the planet to death? The world cannot sustain meat, dairy and egg production. It simply can’t. We have to start aligning our actions with our values.

I’m going to speak very briefly to the impact that animal consumption has on our health.

We take drugs by the truckload, undergo dangerous surgeries, spend trillions of dollars on health care every year, in our stubborn refusal to acknowledge the simple fact that diet is the number one cause of disability and premature death.[143][144] That the vast majority of deaths in the United States are entirely preventable if we would simply change the way we eat.[145][146]

The denial of this truth is so pervasive, our desire to maintain the system we’ve constructed so strong, that only one quarter of medical schools in the United States teach even a single course in nutrition.[147][148] The doctors in whose hands we place our very lives aren’t even educated in the number one cause of disease and death in our country.

Heart disease, the number one killer in the United States, is a dietary disease that can be and has been reversed with a vegan, plant-based diet.[149][150][151][152][153][154][155][156][157][158] But instead we take handfuls of medications and have doctors crack open our chests to roto-rooter our arteries rather than stop eating animals.[159][160] After all, a vegan diet is too extreme, right?

Once we look at it objectively, from the outside, our behavior is baffling.

We serve meat, dairy and eggs at climate change conferences, supporting and consuming the very source of the problem that the conference was created to address.

We train doctors to save lives with years of expensive education covering every drug on the market while never addressing the true cause of disease.

We run our resources and nutrition through someone else’s body, squandering astronomical amounts of food and water and creating an astounding amount of waste.

We genetically manipulate, breed, confine, abuse, rape, torture, denigrate, mechanize, and murder sentient individuals under our self-created codes of conduct that bring comfort to consumers.

All to avoid facing the fact that we are living the greatest lie ever told.

But here’s the good news. We have the power to open our eyes. We have the choice to break the cycle and refuse to sell this lie to the next generation.

To realize that veganism, far from being an extreme lifestyle, is the most sane and rational way to live. It’s the most powerful tool we have for saving our planet, for improving our health when we eat health-consciously, and for regaining our compassion- for becoming the people we believe ourselves to be: Good people.

And good people don’t destroy the planet, leaving our children without a future. Good people don’t throw newborn babies into grinders. Good people don’t rip day old babies away from their mothers. Good people don’t rape, torture and murder. Yet “good people” everywhere are doing all of these things with every bite of every meal.

But that’s the beauty here. You no longer have to buy into the lie. You decide what goes into your body. You decide whether you want to continue to have others kill for you. You decide whether you want to continue consuming death, terror, and heartbreak. You have the information at you feet. The responsibility now lies in your hands. You decide. And my hope is, you’ll decide to go vegan.

———–

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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

Read more…

Vegan for 37 Years … and Still Kicking!

May 16, 2016
by
Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Source Veganism: A Truth Whose Time Has Come
By Butterflies Katz

When I stopped eating animals in 1970 – every teacher, doctor, parent and peer disagreed, and said ‘where will you get your protein? – you will die!’. Even though I stood totally alone, I still somehow knew that I was right… and they were wrong. That’s a fairly incredible place to be in life….and particularly at the age of 12. When I became vegan in 1979, again, I had never met another vegan and had only heard of The American Vegan Society. Standing alone is one thing, but also knowing you are in the right – which translates to all of society is in the wrong – is a burden I’ve been bearing much of my life.

I am growing sad and impatient for humanity to wake up to the simple obvious “Great Truth” that we should not be violent to animals. We activists try to speak every which way we can. We get creative with our advocacy, trying to get nonvegans to become vegans. I hope my public story serves as living proof that we should rewrite societal norms and laws if they are unjust, and help justice be served.

I would say it made me a better person to live vegan. I read about vegan nutrition to ensure I get what I need – and according to blood tests, I am getting all the necessary nutrients. I’m no super athlete (though you can be as a vegan), and I have minor flaws and pains as all humans do. But I feel certain that I am better than I would have been if I had not been vegan all these decades. So there you have it; we can live healthy, happy, harming-less lives.

So … I’m still kicking after 37 years of non-participation in animal exploitation. I hope I can stay here on Earth long enough to see humans realizing and embracing this notion that humans do not have the right to violently assault, breed and sexually violate, kidnap newborn infants from, make slaves of, torture and murder (and in Holocaust proportions) – other animals. They are other species of the same ‘animal kingdom’ we belong to. It is time that we take our next step and ‘let go’ of the very passe ‘predator’ mentality. We now have concoctions and formulations from plants to beautifully feed, dress, and care for ourselves and our rescued animal friends. Make your best effort to only support products and practices that are not derived from using animals.

The Truth of Veganism is so easy to see that a child can grasp it…often easier than brain-dirtied adult who believe the “greatest lie ever told”. Nonveganism (abusing and using animals for human financial gain) is a lie. Violating and exploiting the reproductive system of a cow (exploited for dairy), killing her newborn calf so humans can steal the sustenance that is ~ by nature ~ meant for her own calf – a bovine not a human – is a lie. This is not living in Truth; for those who consider themselves Truth seekers. Especially since we don’t need to – we should not have the legal or religious right to torture, enslave, exploit, objectify, and be violent to animals. The Truth is – we all, in our better selves – would like to live and enjoy life without making life “hell on Earth” for other animals. Remember when you were a kid and you liked animals; they were your friends. Well…they really are. The only thing that has changed is that you bought the lie that society was selling you. Understandable, it’s a lie that has permeated every corner of the globe for a very long time…yet it is still … a lie. It is an obvious Truth if humans can live great lives without intentionally harming innocent animals, that this is the more civilized and better way. I’m living proof that we can. Living as a vegan has not harmed me – nor other sentient beings. And according to unbiased science – unbiased science – and unbiased science – a vegan’s diet is the best thing we can do to help save the planet we all share, and has many benefits to humans and society. The heart and soul of veganism is that of HARMING LESS and HELPING MORE.

In another 37 years, I will be 95….hope I will be here and able to write the sequel to this post; a blog thanking humanity for rejecting “the greatest lie ever told” and becoming a vegan humanity.

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

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