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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)

Sanctuary Gives New Beginning to Chickens Rescued from Religious Ritual

January 2, 2018


Source Care2
By Vera Lawlor About Vera

Recently as I pulled away from a toll booth on the New York State Thruway I noticed what looked like white feathers blowing across my windshield. Sure enough, when I glanced to my right there was a truck bed stacked high with flat crates each crammed full of live chickens. It was about 90 degrees outside and I couldn’t imagine the pain, fear and confusion of these poor innocent birds as they were driven to slaughter.

I thought about the suffering of chickens again when just a few days later I received an “Emergency Care for the Beloved Birds” email alert from Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. This awesome sanctuary located in High Falls, NY is in desperate need of donations to help cover the cost of emergency care for 14 chickens who survived the annual Kaporos ritual that ended last week in Brooklyn, NY.

Kaporos is a ritual celebrated by some ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities on public streets of Brooklyn prior to Yom Kippur. Practitioners symbolically transfer their sins to a young rooster or hen by swinging the bird around his or her head while reciting a passage and then killing the chicken. Many communities choose to use money instead of live birds but a number persist in this cruel practice.

The Use of Chickens in Kaporos Ritual Condemned by Rabbis

“Using chickens not only violates 15 laws and regulations including public health codes, sanitation laws, child labor laws, slaughterhouse regulations and animal cruelty laws, but also several mandates and imperatives from the Torah and Talmud,” said Rina Deych, a founding member of the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos.

According to the alliance, this use of chickens has been condemned as unethical and contrary to the spirit of Jewish tradition by dozens of Orthodox rabbis all over the world. It has been deemed a health hazard by a well-respected toxicologist for putting New York residents and visitors at risk of contracting E. coli, Salmonella and other transmittable diseases.

Despite the protests, the annual ritual continues in New York City. This year an estimated 60,000 baby chickens suffered the trauma of transportation from factory farms to Brooklyn where they spent five days crammed inside crates stacked on the side of the streets. According to the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, an estimated several thousand died of starvation, dehydration, exposure and injury, and their bodies were discarded like trash into garbage bags and dumpsters.

When the ritual finally began, the young chickens who survived and were now weak from lack of food and water were held by their fragile wings—painfully pinned together behind their backs—and swung over the heads of the practitioners. In some cases, the chicken’s bones snapped during this horrific practice.

“Animal activists who were on the streets protesting said it was heartbreaking to hear the chickens peeping in terror and pain,” said Rachel McCrystal, executive director of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. “These were all babies stacked in those crates on the streets of New York. They were confused and calling for their moms.”

Chickens Experience Compassion for First Time in Their Lives

Activists managed to rescue about 200 chickens. These precious birds are now experiencing compassion and kindness for the first time in their lives at local sanctuaries. Rehabilitation at the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary includes around-the-clock care. These birds were being raised for the meat industry so their bodies were genetically manipulated for faster growth. According to the sanctuary, at between 5 and 7 weeks of age factory farm chickens spend 76 to 86 percent of their time lying down due to lameness and deformity.

“This is the issue we are dealing with now with the rescued chickens,” McCrystal said. “Their legs can’t hold the weight of their bodies.”

Caregivers are working to strengthen the chickens’ legs with physical therapy. Specially designed rubber bands are being used to help straighten their legs. And there are other problems, too. Chickens are tossed or stuffed into crates at the factory farm before being loaded onto trucks. Many birds suffer bruising, broken bones, dislocation and hemorrhage during catching and crating. Once on the trucks, chickens are subjected to further overcrowding, trampling and suffocation; food and water deprivation for up to 28 hours; noise, vibration and motion stress; and often grueling temperature extremes.

Among the survivors now living at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary are Rebecca and Bianca. Rebecca is sick from the conditions she was raised in on the factory farm but will recover. One of Bianca’s wings was severely broken during transportation and had to be amputated. She is doing well following her surgery.

“Bianca is a sweet, spunky and loving chicken who is developing a bond with her caregivers,” McCrystal said.

Bianca had to have a wing amputated after being rescued from the Kaporos ritual in Brooklyn, NY. She is recovering in her stylish Elizabethan collar at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary.

It’s hard to imagine that after the cruel treatment these birds received that they would ever trust humans again. Just how quickly rescued animals do trust depends on the individual animal, McCrystal said. The rescued chickens are already starting to bond with sanctuary caregivers.

“Chickens are like dogs and cats—they enjoy cuddling and sitting on laps and make great animal companions,” McCrystal said. “One of the caregivers took our rooster, Clyde, home for a few nights and he sat on the couch beside her watching ‘Game of Thrones’”

To learn more about The Woodstock Farm Sanctuary or to help with the emergency care of the  Beloved Birds rescued from the Kaporos ritual in Brooklyn, NY visit their website.

 The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is an association of groups and individuals who seek to replace the use of chickens in Kaporos ceremonies with money or other non-animal symbols of atonement.

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

to atone for ones sins
while committing cruel
and hurtful things
is a contradiction
in itself,
a sin!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


New Netflix series expose corrupt nature of animal agriculture

December 26, 2017

By Katie Pevreall, Co-Founder, Senior Editor & Journalist – Bristol, UK | Contactable via:

A new Netflix series exploring the corruption and concerning practices of the food industry is set to air in early 2018.

Rotten will be available on the streaming site as of January 5th next year and will take the form of a six-part series. The trailer appears to focus heavily on animal agriculture and the fraud and corruption that takes place in the American farming system.

The trailer also alludes to the number of lies and falsehoods fed to the public concerning their food. One expert suggests that consumers have no idea where their food is coming from or how it’s been treated before it ends up on their plates suggesting that fish is frozen and defrosted multiple times before it hits supermarket shelves, all the while being pumped full of additives to keep it ‘fresh’.

At your supermarket butcher, the parts from a single chicken will run you more than seven dollars. To raise that bird, the grower was paid thirty-six cents.’ says the narrator. Not only does this show how much people are being charged for their food, but also throws into question the ways in which birds are being raised, and the conditions of workers if farmers can do it for a mere 36¢.

Earlier this year, Netflix released What the Health which has become a widely discussed documentary both from supporters of the documentary and those who seek to discredit it. Food production and food access is an issue on the mind of many today, so it’s possible that Rotten will become the 2018 food documentary that everyone’s talking about.

treat all animals as
you wish to be treated
or you are no more than
an expletive,

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms

December 18, 2017

Piles of dead and rotting piglets are piled up behind a sow, who is wedged into a crate so tightly that she cannot move away from the mess at Smithfield-owned Circle Four Farm in Utah.
 Photo: Wayne Hsiung/DxE

Source The Intercept
By Glenn Greenwald

This article includes graphic images some readers may find disturbing.

FBI AGENTS ARE devoting substantial resources to a multistate hunt for two baby piglets that the bureau believes are named Lucy and Ethel. The two piglets were removed over the summer from the Circle Four Farm in Utah by animal rights activists who had entered the Smithfield Foods-owned factory farm to film the brutal, torturous conditions in which the pigs are bred in order to be slaughtered.

While filming the conditions at the Smithfield facility, activists saw the two ailing baby piglets laying on the ground, visibly ill and near death, surrounded by the rotting corpses of dead piglets. “One was swollen and barely able to stand; the other had been trampled and was covered in blood,” said Wayne Hsiung of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which filmed the facility and performed the rescue. Due to various illnesses, he said, the piglets were unable to eat or digest food and were thus a fraction of the normal weight for piglets their age.

Rather than leave the two piglets at Circle Four Farm to wait for an imminent and painful death, the DxE activists decided to rescue them. They carried them out of the pens where they had been suffering and took them to an animal sanctuary to be treated and nursed back to health.

This single Smithfield Foods farm breeds and then slaughters more than 1 million pigs each year. One of the odd aspects of animal mistreatment in the U.S. is that species regarded as more intelligent and emotionally complex — dogs, dolphins, cats, primates — generally receive more public concern and more legal protection. Yet pigs – among the planet’s most intelligent, social, and emotionally complicated species, capable of great joy, play, love, connection, suffering and pain, at least on a par with dogs — receive almost no protections, and are subject to savage systematic abuse by U.S. factory farms.

At Smithfield, like most industrial pig farms, the abuse and torture primarily comes not from rogue employees violating company procedures. Instead, the cruelty is inherent in the procedures themselves. One of the most heinous industry-wide practices is one that DxE activists encountered in abundance at Circle Four: gestational crating.

Where that technique is used, pigs are placed in a crate made of iron bars that is the exact length and width of their bodies, so they can do nothing for their entire lives but stand on a concrete floor, never turn around, never see any outdoors, never even see their tails, never move more than an inch. That was the condition in which the activists found the rotting piglet corpses and the two ailing piglets they rescued.

Female pigs give birth in this condition. They are put in so-called farrowing crates when they give birth, and their piglets run underneath them to suckle and are often trampled to death. The sows are bred repeatedly this way until their fertility declines, at which point they are slaughtered and turned into meat.

The pigs are so desperate to get out of their crates that they often spend weeks trying to bite through the iron bars until their gums gush blood, bash their heads against the walls, and suffer a disease in which their organs end up mangled in the wrong places, from the sheer physical trauma of trying to escape from a tiny space or from acute anxiety (called “organ torsion”).

So cruel is the practice that in 2014, Canada effectively banned its usage, as the European Union had done two years earlier. Nine U.S. states, most of which host very few farms, have banned gestational crating (in 2014, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with his eye on the GOP primary in farm-friendly Iowa, vetoed a bill that would have made his state the 10th).

But in the U.S. states where factory farms actually thrive, these devices continue to be widely used, which means a vast majority of pigs in the U.S. are subjected to them. The suffering, pain, and death these crates routinely cause were in ample evidence at Smithfield Foods, as accounts, photos, and videos from DxE demonstrate.

FBI raids animal sanctuaries

Under normal circumstances, a large industrial farming company such as Smithfield Foods would never notice that two sick piglets of the millions it breeds and then slaughters were missing. Nor would they care: A sick and dying piglet has no commercial value to them.

Yet the rescue of these two particular piglets has literally become a federal case — by all appearances, a matter of great importance to the Department of Justice. On the last day of August, a six-car armada of FBI agents in bulletproof vests, armed with search warrants, descended upon two small shelters for abandoned farm animals: Ching Farm Rescue in Riverton, Utah, and Luvin Arms in Erie, Colorado.

These sanctuaries have no connection to DxE or any other rescue groups. They simply serve as a shelter for sick, abandoned, or otherwise injured animals. Run by a small staff and a team of animal-loving volunteers, they are open to the public to teach about farm animals.

The attachments to the search warrants specified that the FBI agents could take “DNA samples (blood, hair follicles or ear clippings) to be seized from swine with the following characteristics: I. Pink/white coloring; II. Docked tails; III. Approximately 5 to 9 months in age; IV. Any swine with a hole in right ear.”

Please read rest HERE

one day the spacemen
saw earth and decided
it would be grand
to perhaps get closer
and/or even land.
they looked down
at our petty, cruel and
quarrelsome populace
and thought why ever
would anyone want
to visit this place.
then closer they looked
they saw a few
who really cared.
and then then knew,
that there was hope
between the pockets
of despair,
and off they went,
back up in the air.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

If Not Now, When? If Not You, Who?

December 11, 2017

Wikimedia Commons, by Serenity

Source Gentle World, for the Vegan in Everyone
By Light, Co-Founder of Gentle World

Have you ever been driving on a highway and come alongside a cattle truck? Or perhaps you’ve had the experience of going fishing and feeling a pang of sympathy for both the worms wriggling on the hooks and the fish flapping their bodies, in a desperate struggle to return to life-giving water.

Were you saddened when you first found out how many animals in the wild face extinction? Do you remember going to the zoo and watching big cats and other wild animals pacing back and forth in their cages, resorting to insane behavior due to the unnatural limitations of their surroundings? When was the last time you were at a circus, or a rodeo? Did you realize then that the animals had been driven, through cruelty and confinement, to a state of abject terror?

Have you ever experienced the slaughter of an animal, on screen or in reality? Or maybe you’ve seen a documentary on the unbelievably horrific reality that is the life of laboratory animals, tortured by lab-coated sadists. Maybe you grew up on a farm and as a child befriended a cow, or a lamb, or a goat and then witnessed your friend being led to his or her death.

If you’ve ever come across someone abusing a dog, were you tempted to intervene on the dog’s behalf? Perhaps you have experienced the inside of a so-called ‘humane’ pound, and felt tears well up upon seeing the pitiful eyes of the condemned individuals who knew instinctively that they were on death row, awaiting execution by lethal injection.

If you’ve ever eaten lobsters after they were put in a pot of boiling water, can you recall the sound their claws made on the metal, in their frantic and vain attempt to escape? How ‘bout a pig roast? Have you ever been to one of those? If so, I’ll bet your stomach and your heart ached to see the animal recognizably whole.

From a different perspective: Have you looked into the eyes of an animal, and seen feelings like your own reflected in them? I imagine you’ve seen movies such as Bambi, Babe, or Charlotte’s Web, and felt a kinship, a siding, with the animals in the film. What have you done with the feelings of compassion elicited from these experiences? What have you done to end the abuse of both wild and domestic animals you loved when you were a child?

Have you forgotten or are you trying to ignore the irrefutable truth that cruelty should be abolished wherever it is found? Are you trying to smother that truth so as not to have to deal with the obvious ethical, morally justifiable course of action? And have you been finding out that the truth cannot be smothered? Truth lives in your conscience, and will remain there until you make the decision to live that truth.

If you’ve seen Earthlings or heard a powerful animal activist speak, or watched any one of countless documentaries that enlighten as well as horrify your conscience, there are only two ways to deal with such information: by ignoring the reality you just became aware of, or by resolving to do what you can to remove your own complicity, which means to stop eating, wearing, and using animals in your own daily life. In other words, to become vegan, and to live with a respect for all life: the animals, and your own.

If they could, every animal in the world would rise up, and with one pleading voice, say to you:

“What on earth are you waiting for?”

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
Order a FREE vegan kit:

be not by time
your heart to make
be not by time
a heart to break
be not by time,
take time in hand
a word, softly
the kindness we
all understand.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

VEGAN INTEGRITY by 12-Year-Old Vegan Journalist: Marc Bernstein

December 4, 2017

Marc Bernstein, Veganism: A Truth Whose Time Has Come

Source Veganism: A Truth Whose Time Has Come
By Marc Bernstein

(Marc can be followed on Facebook at
While being vegan is healthier for us, that’s not what I think being vegan is really about. Being vegan is about doing what’s right. A part of doing what’s right is having integrity. But some people who say they’re vegan may not really be vegan and might be lacking integrity. Maybe they’re doing it just for an image and not integrity? It’s upsetting but I suppose in a way it’s also kind of cool that some people want the image of being vegan even when they’re not.
It’s amazing that some celebrities want the image of being vegan. There are some stars who really are vegan, but some of them just seem to want the image. There have been different celebrities who say they’re vegan, and then later the truth comes out that they are not what they said they were. I don’t think we should be focusing on celebrities. Even if they’re good in one way, they can be bad role models in other ways. We should not look outside ourselves to them but look inside ourselves at who we can be and then actually just become those role models. I think we should all do what we know is right. Still, people do look at celebrities. But, people shouldn’t lie. Maybe some of them said they were vegan but didn’t even know what it really meant. How can someone know what vegan really means and go against it? I don’t understand that.
What I really don’t understand is when a restaurant says it is vegan but it’s not. Recently here in Los Angeles there’s been a scandal about some vegan restaurants owned by a certain family. This family doesn’t serve meat at their restaurants, but it was just found out that they have a farm where they are raising animals for slaughter! That is so wrong. Now, I should tell you that their restaurants were never on the listing of totally vegan restaurants in L.A. ( because they did use some honey there. Many people ignored that and still called their restaurants vegan, but finding out about the actual animals being raised for slaughter has now sent vegans raging. There have been protests at these restaurants and boycotts online. But, these restaurants were never vegan. One of them just held a massive vegan grilled cheese party to try and win back the support of vegans. But the people who run them were never really vegan and are not vegan now. When the Vegan Society contacted them about their use of dairy and honey, the restaurant owners claimed that their honey was vegan because they raised their own bees and treated them nicely and their dairy was vegan because they raised their cows and treated them nicely. Now they’re saying they treat the animals nicely that they are going to slaughter too.
There was another restaurant in L.A. that had a big sign in the window that just said “Vegan” and their menu said “Vegan” and so did their website. They sure tried to make it seem that they were vegan. One of my vegan friends and his parents were driving down the main street when he saw the big sign saying vegan and was excited. Like mine, his parents aren’t vegan, but they were willing to stop for him to get something he wanted to eat. He thought the menu looked great. He ordered a sandwich and a smoothie. Later that day, he started getting sick. He knew that he was allergic to honey and bee pollen, and those were the symptoms he was getting. His dad contacted the restaurant and found out that they did actually use those bee products in their bread, in their sauce, and in their smoothies. His dad, who’s not even vegan, was furious with this restaurant for not being honest. His dad told them that he didn’t want to sue them, but he would if they did not either change their signs to “Vegan Friendly” or “Vegan Options” or something like that or even better to just change their ingredients and really go vegan. Really sad, this restaurant got rid of the signs that said “Vegan” and even moved more away from being vegan. They added organic eggs and chicken to their menu too. But, that’s what we keep getting from places that aren’t going to be truly vegan in the first place. They’re not vegan in their hearts, they don’t really get it, and they’re not going to really commit to it.
I’m not saying I don’t eat at places sometimes that aren’t vegan. I’ll support a place for having vegan options, and I’ll try to get them to go more and more vegan. I’ve been glad to help some places with that. With Veg Kids I’ve helped restaurants add vegan options. We’ve even helped some of the big amusement parks add vegan food stands! I’m glad to help people move in the right direction, but I sure don’t want to support places that move in the wrong direction or even worse; lie! I won’t support places that lie and say they’re vegan when they’re not. I think we should have higher standards for places that say they’re vegan.
I’m too young and only got to hear about the Quarry expose years after it happened, but that’s another good example. As I understand it, a blogger took food samples from a bunch of different vegan restaurants. They had them sent to a science lab to test the food for traces of non-vegan ingredients. They found that some of the supposedly vegan meats at some of the restaurants had animal products in them. Some restaurants reacted by getting rid of those products and ordering instead from more reliable suppliers. At least one of those restaurants didn’t care and didn’t change, but they still claim to be vegan. This is the same place whose supposedly vegan cheese tested to have some casein (a dairy product) still in it. So some restaurants were lied to, but they fixed it right away because they were really vegan. Others never really were vegan and just wanted the image. That’s not integrity.
Restaurants you expect to be out to make money, but some can do it with integrity and that’s so much better. Celebrities you expect to be out for image, but some can do it with integrity and that’s so much better. But what about vegan celebrities? I don’t mean people who are famous who maybe choose to be vegan, but I mean people who are leaders in the vegan world and that makes them kind of famous in our world. Some of them bother me more than any of the above. If someone is going to be a true leader in the vegan world, then they should really be vegan. But there are some who aren’t. And then some of them might really be vegan, but they’re not truthful about other things. Why can’t people just be honest, and vegans I think should be more ethical and therefore more honest!
There’s someone who claims to be a vegan expert and says she’s been vegan for so many years. She even wrote a book, and in it she claims to be vegan for longer than she really has! I’ve met a couple of people separately who’ve known her for a lot of years, and they both have stories about how she wasn’t vegan back when she said she first was. She may really be vegan now, but she’s still lacking integrity because she wants the image of being vegan ahead of others who were really ahead of her. But, they’re not trying to be the vegan celebrities that she is. Still, it’s wrong to pretend to be what you’re not. Then, there’s the vegan leader who is trying to tell everyone how to not compromise and how important it is to just be vegan. That could be a good message, but she doesn’t follow it herself. She has her own kids who aren’t even vegan. If she can’t raise her own kids vegan, then how can she be taken seriously when she tells other people what to do? It’s just not right to not do what you know is right. If she really believes in how important it is to be vegan, then she should be raising her own kids vegan. She puts out a vegan image she wants everyone to believe and gets loads of vegan celebrity attention for it, but she doesn’t have the integrity to really live like she says!
Then there’s the Hollywood celebrity-run school that has been claiming it’s vegan. It’s even claimed to be the first ever vegan school. This school is not the first; there have been others way before it, and it’s not even a vegan school at all. They are plant-based with their foods, but they still serve honey which isn’t vegan. One of the celebrities that runs the school still wears her fur coats which aren’t vegan. They still do things like dissection, which surely isn’t vegan. They keep a pet hawk that they claim is the school’s mascot and bind it up in little leather straps and blindfold the bird, and that’s far from vegan. So they’re lying and aren’t vegan. But, they’re glad to get the attention for it. They like the image but lack integrity. All the posting about this school being the first vegan school is being done by loads of bloggers, but if the celebrities running this school had integrity then they’d correct what people are saying that’s incorrect. And even if they do go vegan, which I hope they really do, they can never say they’re the first when there are others ahead of them. Loads of vegans believe it because they read it. We need to stop looking at image and look at integrity.
The one that bothers me the most is a kid who says she’s vegan but really isn’t. So many people think she is because she and her mom are trying to create that image. She’s trying to be a celebrity. At vegan events, she tells people she’s vegan. But, my friend heard her mom once say that she wants her daughter to be a star and this is just a way to get her attention. She sees that being vegan is the future, and she’s trying to make it seem that she’s ahead and leading the way. But at a major vegan event I saw her in the parking lot and she was, get this, eating McDonald’s! I couldn’t believe it, but I know what I saw. It was the McDonald’s paper on the outside with a bun and a brown patty on the inside. I checked after that to see if McDonald’s started selling vegan burgers, but that wasn’t it. That is so wrong. It’s another case of someone wanting an image but not having integrity. When I was talking about this to someone, they said that maybe she got a bun with just lettuce and tomato in it, but I know the difference between a tomato and a burger. Even if it was something vegan from McDonald’s, why eat that when you’re about to go into a vegan event that was going to have some great vegan food? I wrote another essay recently on being prepared. That’s a really valuable lesson I’ve learned. Always be prepared! There are plenty of times when I’m in places where I’m not going to have a bunch of good vegan options. That wasn’t the case in this girl’s situation, but if it was then she could have been prepared. That’s why I always have plenty of vegan snacks in my backpack.
Some people say that being vegan is hard. I really don’t think it’s hard if you have vegan integrity. Being vegan is only hard if you let it be hard, but it can be easy if you let it be easy. It’s about integrity. It also helps to have confidence and be secure with what you know is right. The vegan celebrities and the celebrity vegans and the restaurant owners that are more concerned with image than integrity – do more harm than good. When they’re not being consistent, they set bad examples for us. I’m 12 years old. I went vegan when I was 8. While I try to get my parents to go vegan, I’m sorry that hasn’t happened yet. I can help other kids more than I can help my parents. I depend on my parents, and if I pushed it too hard on them then it could backfire and they could stop supporting what I’m doing. So I’ve learned to not push too much on them but to stand strong and do what I know is right. From 8 to 12 years old, that’s a third of my life so far that I’ve been able to have my own integrity and be vegan. If I can do it then others can too. The most important thing I hope people get from this article is that we’re better when we focus on integrity and not image. Let’s have integrity, and let’s live by it. Thank-you to all of you vegans who are really trying with integrity and not just trying to put out some fake image.

This is edited down from Marc’s full article which can be read fully here

child is father to the great man he shall become.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

A Hurricane of Distortions Surrounding Animals and Veganism

November 27, 2017

A cowboy leads “rescued” animals down a city street after hurricane Harvey hits Texas. (Free From Harm)

Source Free From Harm

As we all know, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have brought devastation upon so many. As someone with family in Florida, including my Mom, I anxiously followed Irma’s path and was immensely relieved when she only lost a couple of shingles along with power for several days. Many others, as we know, were not so lucky.

Yet even during such nail-biting times and now the tremendous destruction left behind, I couldn’t help but notice that, somehow, a perfect storm had been created for glorifying animal exploitation and ridiculing veganism (of all things).

Although I really wish we didn’t have to talk about this right now, unfortunately, letting these distortions go unchallenged would be a great injustice, both to the animals and those who truly defend them.

Are farmed animals really “rescued?”

A disturbing trend is exemplified by the viral video the above image was taken from, as well as by articles like The New York Times’ “A Flying Cowboy Arises to Rescue Cattle Stranded in Harvey’s Floods” and CNN’s “Texas Ranchers Battle to Save Cattle From Harvey’s Wrath,” all depicting the moving of cattle to dryer ground as some sort of compassionate intervention to save these animals for their own sakes.

But despite appearances and claims – unless, of course, they are being rescued by a vegan sanctuary – farmed animals in situations such as this are NOT being rescued or saved from weather events or fires; sadly, it’s just being made sure they don’t die before they can be further exploited and killed for profit.

Positioning this profit-protecting as “rescuing” or “saving” those you are going to restrain and kill at a later date is obtuse and deceptive if not downright diabolical, and the media and public’s uncritical acceptance of that framing reveals a glaring disconnect. It’s all part of the ludicrous charade required for people to support animal exploitation and slaughter in the total absence of necessity.

The farmers, of course, are all too happy to use the confusion to their advantage. In an Orwellian piece for Farm and Dairy, editor Susan Cromwell has sunk so low as to claim that the fact that so many so-called “livestock” (that word alone speaks volumes) were “rescued” by farmers from the hurricanes not only proves that commodifying and killing sentient individuals is an act of “compassion” rather than exploitation (they give them bedding and hay, tho!), but that animal activists are the true dangerous hurricane, metaphorically speaking.

I kid you not.

Not surprisingly, this spot-on comment left by Free From Harm’s founder Robert Grillo has since been deleted/censored from the article’s comments section:

Are we really to believe your assertion about farmers “rescuing” their animals from Harvey and Irma, that the real “victims” are those who artificially breed, exploit and kill baby animals for profit? Are we to hail exploiters as heroes for rescuing their “livestock” because they view them as nothing more than valuable commodities they can’t afford to lose? Are we to conflate real compassion, altruism and empathy with financial self-interest? Everyone knows that these animals have a price tag on their heads and will soon be sent off to slaughter by these same “compassionate rescuers” where they will be shot point blank in the head, have their throats slashed and then have their bodies hacked up into “edible” body parts. You are shamefully and dishonestly propping up an industry built upon violence and killing as some kind of rescue mission.

When we trust the ones doing the direct exploiting on our behalf, it’s the desensitized leading the disassociated. It’s a very convenient dynamic, allowing them to profit while consumers enjoy the results and absolve ourselves of responsibility and moral consequence. When it comes to justifying needless exploitation and killing, apparently nothing is too ridiculous and absurd for otherwise savvy people (including reputable journalists) to believe.

And where is the journalistic integrity and responsibility in accurately covering such stories? Journalists hold the power in either informing or deceiving the public about news stories. Rather than getting at the truth and the facts, they’ve conflated rescue with financial self-interest. It flies in the face of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, particularly these two principles:

  • Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.
  • Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information.

If they were truly being rescued, these animals would be destined for sanctuaries, not slaughterhouses.

Please read rest HERE

first one needs to save ones soul
to see all as equal
part of the greater whole
to no longer use, exploit
or abuse..
this would be
the greatest news!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

Reflections on Impact and Activism presentation at ARNC 2017

November 20, 2017


Source Free From Harm Blog, YouTube

A live recording from Free from Harm’s director and founder, Robert Grillo, at the Animal Rights National Conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday August 6th, 2017, as part of a panel of three other presenters. His focus is on a non-linear, non-qualitative approach to looking at our impact and drawing inspiration and lessons from other successful activism efforts.

how far we are from
where we should be
but keeping on going
is our reality.
so stand in our way
so no and such
we will rule the day
thank you
very much!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

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Animalista Untamed

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Jet Eliot

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Organic Opinion

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The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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Eat No Harm

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Flawless Pandemonium

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Veganism is Nonviolence

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The Biotrotter

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Gillian Prew // poetry

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Nepali Today

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