You don’t want to miss this absolutely unique, expertly crafted, fifteen-minute documentary that follows the lives of two piglet siblings. One, named Jackpot, is adopted by an animal sanctuary. The other, named with a number, X-15, is raised on one of Austria’s typical pig farms. The film, titled “Pig Vision: The Journey of Two Brothers,” is an unvarnished, unsentimental portrait of how each piglet is raised in dramatically different ways.
Toronto Pig Save’s vigils are held weekly near slaughterhouses in the area. At these vigils, TPS volunteers often hand out free vegan food and literature to passersby. The group always welcomes new volunteers to join them in bearing witness, in comforting the pigs, in leafleting, and in taking video footage and still photographs.
Of all the compelling reasons to be vegan, nothing could be more motivating than the story of Little Princess, a terribly sick dairy cow who no one wanted to buy at auction until Animal Place Sanctuary stepped in and purchased her for $5. They rushed her to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where veterinarians found that Little Princess had pneumonia, a condition that had gone untreated for at least three months — perhaps as long as five months. With 80% of her lungs full of pus, she was too far gone to save. Her new friends cradled Little Princess in their arms as she was euthanized.
Mastitis is a contagious infection of a milk-bearing animal’s udders. Dairy farmers consider it a huge problem, not because it is extremely painful to the cow, but because it can reduce or halt the flow of milk, turning the milk “producer” from a financial asset into a liability. In conventional dairy farming, antibiotics are used to treat mastitis. But in organic dairy farming, antibiotics are prohibited, so those farmers use a syringe-like instrument called a canula to unclog mastitis-infected udders.
Being dismissed as an extremist isn’t the worst thing in the world. But as a new animal activist, I used to unconsciously dread this accusation. I carefully worded my responses to avoid it at all costs. No more. Now liberated from fear of being labeled extreme, I whole-heartedly encourage others to abandon their fear. The notion that other species, too, are deserving of respect and justice is not far-fetched, let alone extreme. It’s simply a logical extension of the principle of equal consideration that we already accept. This principle has been expressed in texts as ancient as human civilization itself.
“Any time consumers of meat, eggs or dairy advocate for ‘humane’ treatment of farm animals, they confront an unavoidable paradox: the movement to treat farm animals better is based on the idea that it is wrong to subject them to unnecessary harm; yet, killing animals we have no need to eat constitutes the ultimate act of unnecessary harm.”
Some people doubt that farmers castrate baby animals without painkillers. Indeed they do, whether they label the “end product” organic, free-range, grass-fed, or pasture-raised. Using castrators is perfectly legal and is considered desirable by breeders who believe the sales pitch from the manufacturers—namely, that castrated animals are less aggressive and more marketable. I decided to put the doubters’ skepticism to rest by shopping online for a “livestock castrator.” In 20 seconds, Google gave me a comparison of products based on cost, value, and quality.
We know that birds have evolved separately from mammals, but what we haven’t known is how. In the absence of research and a better understanding, we have mistakenly assumed that the development of mammals somehow afforded them greater cognitive abilities, communication skills, and overall intelligence (at least when measured from the anthropomorphic human yardstick). A new documentary called Thoughtful Birds in Action shows how the bird’s evolution has advanced at least as much if not more (in some ways) than mammals.
The animated short known as MAN is a darkly comic, disturbing view of our species who wreaks havoc on other species and on nature itself. MAN is a parable of a man in conflict with the world at large, seeking power over rather than unity with it. MAN offers a biting commentary on this male character’s destructive and violent pathos. MAN shows a human being at his worst, creating vast suffering for animals at every turn. And in the end, MAN, sitting on his throne, is dealt a karmic blow. He is destroyed by beings from another planet who land on earth, squish him into a welcome mat, then shuffle off in their spaceship.
In this hugely inspiring TED-series video, Zoe Weil explains how each of us can apply our passions and skills to end a problem like factory farming. She highlights several people — from artists to business entrepreneurs — who have used their profession to bring awareness to the issue and help build empathy for animals used in modern agriculture.
I expect to garner some criticism for this post, but sometimes I think we need to face our demons and question what matters to us. To my dismay, I’m finding just too many vegan and animal advocates lately who appear to be afraid to embrace the dominant truth that embodies our cause. The core message of respect for animals is being diffused, diluted, and sometimes even sabotaged in a desperate attempt to appeal to as many other arguments for going vegan or supporting animal rights as the opposition can fling in our direction.
We recently discovered Rebecca Stucki, a California resident who has a pet-sitting and grooming business, on Free from Harm’s Facebook page, where she responded to a photo of a kid goat being dehorned without anesthesia. In her comment, she described how this image triggered her memory of being in animal agriculture classes earlier in her life. We were intrigued to learn more about what she was taught.
I would agree that, in many cases, morality is a personal matter. The choice of faith or secular belief is one’s personal business. In fact, any belief or action that does not deny others their basic freedoms is generally respected as a personal one. A personal belief does not harm others, at least directly. That’s what makes it personal. However, when it comes to eating animals, there are no neutral actions.
Seeing backyard hens frolicking in the grass looks wonderful on the surface. Yet, beyond the surface lies the source of virtually all commercially raised chickens today: the industrial scale hatcheries that breed billions of birds every year in absolutely appalling conditions and that use cruel practices such as beak amputation, killing of millions of male chicks, and genetic manipulation to optimize egg production which dooms hens to cancer, heart failure, and other serious adverse health effects early in their lives. In short, hatcheries profit on the suffering of some 280 million birds each year in the US and our demand keeps them profitable.
“Real change is about making social justice for everyone, any gender, sexual orientation, race or species. Many people I know demonstrated for social justice last summer, but weren’t vegan. This summer they are, and they call for justice for all animals. This is how the social revolution in Israel is evolving and I hope we’ll be seeing this kind of transformation in other countries.”
Precious Animals is a photo-project about the relationship between animals and humans, focusing on animals as manufactured consumer products on the one hand, with efficiency playing the leading role, and these very consumers and their habit of pampering their own pets and other cuddly two and four-legged creatures, on the other hand.
“Casein, one of the proteins in milk, crosses the blood-brain barrier and becomes something called casomorphins. Yes’m, that sounds a lot like morphine—because casomorphin is also an opiod. Nature designed it that way so young mammals would enjoy nursing, come back for more, and live to reproduce themselves.” “Human milk has only 2.7 grams of casein per liter. Cow’s milk has 26. And because it takes, on average, ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese or ice cream, you’re looking at a lot of casein and resultant casomorphin.” The result is a major opiate addiction that can cause people to have serious withdrawal symptoms.