Civil Eats claims to “promote critical thinking” about our food choices, but does this image and portrayal of Chef Bloomfield appeal to our more critical or civil side? I would argue that it is ironically an appeal to our basest instincts instead. When we fail to take the interests of animals seriously and continue to blindly objectify them as we have for ages, we are instead betraying our capacity for more evolved, critical thinking and instead further reinforcing our conventional blind spot on the subject.
I’ve been following the work of photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur for some time now, and we’ve featured her work in our photo galleries as well. Jo-Anne’s work is so subtle and profound at the same time, qualities that reflect in her personality as well. When I learned that filmmaker Liz Marshal just finished the final cut of her new film about McArthur called The Ghosts in Our Machine, I felt the excitement brew up inside of me.
After hearing an interview with director Mark Devries, we decided to inquire more about a particular theme that seems so central to his new film, Speciesism the Movie, due out this summer. The theme is that of exploring the common links between human forms of genocide and those that are widely and systematically perpetrated against animals today on factory farms.
So contrary to popular belief, we propose that the key to reversing climate change in the next five years — as needed — is actually the food industry. It is more exposed to climate change’s risks than any other industry. Yet food companies develop better foods as a matter of course. They control lots of land on which livestock and feed production can (and should) be reduced, and they can sell carbon credits from reforesting land.
The author of the message and how that person or group is perceived is sometimes more important than the message itself. Gunther in fact shows how the same message is interpreted completely differently when two different authors deliver it. The quote she uses as a case study comes from Jewish-American author Isaac Bashevis Singer.
One of the most misunderstood and frequently-asked about subjects on our site is eggs and the chickens that lay them. The industry behind the breeding, raising and slaughter of hens is largely hidden from consumers. The birds that lay these eggs are widely regarded as nothing more than “egg laying machines,” thanks to a concerted effort to obliterate their true identity by the industry that commodifies them for a single purpose.
You couldn’t dream up a worse nightmare if you tried. Imagine being fattened up as a beef cow in some filthy feed lot in Ireland for about 6 months, then crammed into containers with other cows like sardines on an ocean cargo ship. Then struggle to endure a grueling, 10-day journey where you may likely starve, dehydrate or die of some infectious disease. If you live to see your slaughterers, you’ll endure an unimaginable hell by people known to drag animals by the limbs and likely slit your throat while fully conscious.
Beyond the plight of these two lives, this controversy has ignited an important and desperately-needed dialogue about what we eat and why. It’s shed light on the “we versus it” stance that our society carelessly assumes when it comes to how animals are treated simply for our own pleasure, fashion and entertainment.
We recently interviewed Debby Rubenstein about her 11-year commitment to helping animals at Wagner Farm in Glenview, Illinois, an affluent north side suburb of Chicago. Wagner Farm is part working “historic” farm and part educational center managed by the Glenview Park District and funded largely with taxpayer dollars.
ABC News aired this brief segment the other day which contains short clips of footage from undercover investigations conducted by Mercy for Animals and The Humane Society of the United States. President of HSUS, Wayne Pacelle, is also interviewed briefly and the issue of Ag gag laws is seriously questioned in light of this systemic cruelty in agriculture that often goes unreported. No one defending the Ag Gag laws or even defending farming practices today is interviewed.
It’s easy to be outraged at these slaughterers. It’s harder to understand, however, why they do what they do. It’s not because they are bad people. One of the most difficult aspects in covering the human-animal relationship is that so often very good people do terrible things and have no idea that they are complicit in structured evil. It is thus all the more critical that advocates work to identify and communicate the psychological and rhetorical strategies that prevent a more authentic assessment of what it means to kill an animal that you do not have to kill.
The vegan option that presents the flexitarian consumer with the new decision to protect animals over continuing to exploit them unnecessarily should be a “no-brainer,” and yet it takes time and reinforcement to unravel what we’ve been taught. My long transition to a vegan diet is a case in point. What happens once the flexitarian consumer becomes more fully aware of the impact of his food choices will largely determine the future of how American eat. I believe the evidence is compelling enough to move us to a vegan tipping point.
Henry is a very young pigeon we found on the ground on a bitterly cold night a few weeks ago outside of a friend’s Chicago apartment building. He was unable to walk due to what we later discovered was a serious bite injury. Upon examination, our bird vet immediately discovered that his wound was so infected, he had become septic and could have died within hours had he not been treated.
In preparation for my workshop series called Overcoming Objections to a Vegan Diet in Chicago, I have been busy researching, writing and compiling the best information I can. It’s been an amazing learning experience, particularly from non vegans who have expressed their objections to me personally as well as the veteran vegans I have gotten to know who have shared with me the breadth of their experience on this aspect of communicating with the largely non vegan majority.
Their Future Is in Your Hands is a 10-minute documentary short that takes a big-picture look at modern society’s mainstream attitudes about animals and how those attitudes translate into widespread animal exploitation in the food, research and entertainment industries. The film makes a strong and yet simple case for animal rights, ethical consistency and the power we have to dramatically reduce animal suffering by the daily choices we make.
Danita is a gorgeous Black Rock hen with thick and luxurious plumage full of iridescent blues and greens and large, dramatic Cleopatra eyes. She is a gentle and kind alpha female who is also quite assertive, independent and courageous. On a number of occasions, she has made her way to the highest point in the yard, on top of the patio table, to warn her flock of potential predators in their midst, putting herself at great risk.