We are now fighting for our survival and for the survival of our children and grandchildren. Gandhi inspired the people of India to take that voluntary step of changing their clothes. We need to inspire people in rich societies to take that voluntary step of changing what we eat, to go vegan. The reasons are very clear. As George Weurthner points out, in the continental US alone, more than half the land, around 1 billion acres, is used for livestock production, while half the vegetables and fruits eaten in the US are grown on just 3 million acres of land. The arithmetic is very clear! A mass transition to Veganism in the rich societies would make a huge, positive impact on the environment!
Recently a Facebook fan commented on our page (after many other comments had already posted) in response to a post we published about Edith, our latest rescued chicken. I decided to publish this exchange because it was a good example of the misguided yet all too common notion that veganism is like a religion.The implication is that vegans prostletize like evangelicals and try to convert people to their beliefs.
Recently, Foster Farms announced that they were awarded the American Humane Association’s “Humane Certified” label which now appears on the package of every dead Foster Farms chicken sold in America. Thanks to AHA, American consumers will be lulled into a false sense of complacency that eating animals is consistent with being humane, that supporting a company that kills millions of animals a year is consistent with a belief in animal protection.
“The right to life should be the bedrock of any movement that claims to be rights-based, as the animal rights movement by its very name, does. Not only because each animal, like each of us, has an inalienable right to life, but because all the other things the animal protection movement claims to be seeking on behalf of animals are impossible without that first and most essential right. Without the right to life, no other “rights” can be guaranteed. How can we ensure animals the right to food, water, shelter and kind treatment, when those things can be taken away by killing?
Imagine aliens visit our planet and decide to stay. They are bigger, stronger, smarter and faster than we are in every way. If they aren’t naturally more advanced, their technology is. The aliens can live without doing harm to us, but they can choose to do great harm. There is no way for us to protect ourselves from them, let alone over-power them. All we can hope for is their mercy.
The following is a letter I wrote and sent today to the Goodman Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin after discovering a small flock of backyard chickens behind the building. The conditions under which I found these hens living is a good example of a widespread problem in our society with regard to the growing trend of keeping backyard chickens. It all starts with misconceptions about who these birds really are and too often ends in tragic consequences for the animals.
In addition to being severely underweight and anemic, suffering a severe biting mite infestation, drooping her head and keeping her eyes closed, Lucinda exhibits a disfiguring beak deformity that is a result of partial beak amputation, a standard practice on egg hen farms, including farms that sell their eggs under “free-range,” “cage-free,” and other “happy hen” labels.
Our heroine, Melissa Summer Pena, rescued Lucinda today from Chicago Animal Control and Care (a kill shelter), describing her as the sickest looking bird she’s seen. In addition to being severely underweight, emaciated, drooping her head and eyes closed, she has a terrible biting mite infection. She’s been treated with mite powder and needs to see the vet in the morning. Lucinda’s beak has also been amputated, a common practice by egg farmers.
“I do what I do simply because I cannot go back outside to the sanctuary and look them in the eye without conveying the information that I feel they would want me to convey: that using them, for any reason, harms them. Irretrievably in most cases. There is no humane use of another.” — Sandra Higgins of Eden Farm Sanctuary
As Luiz Antonio’s video shows, it is not children who are the impediments to this mass transition to veganism. It’s the adults. And at the moment, it is not the adults who are avid meat eaters, the Sarah Palin types, who have vowed to give up their steaks over their cold dead bodies. It’s actually the adults who care deeply about the environmental legacy that we are leaving our children and have already taken some steps towards veganism, but are stuck at some moderate levels of meat, dairy and other animal food consumption and are finding it difficult to go any further. It is these “Meat Moderates” who are the key to make this mass transition truly happen.
Today I learned of the barbaric practice taking place in restaurants in Japan. A practice called “Live Sushi,” a ‘delicacy’ that involves eating frogs while they are still alive and fully conscious. The lower half of their body is severed, skinned and they are served on a plate, with eyes blinking and body twitching and twisting, while they are slowly eaten alive. This barbaric, vulgar and unnecessarily cruel practice is truly a shame on the Japanese people.
Ada, the anxious new milking cow at Wagner Farm, a taxpayer-funded working farm and museum, is featured in this video, where we see Rubenstein trying to calm her to no avail. Bellowing like this is a sign of distress, and Ada’s vocalizing raised a lot of concern and consternation in the Wagner Farm visitors who witnessed it. Parents and children alike were asking why Ada was so agitated and unhappy.
When I saw this video, I cried. Apparently I’m not the only one; every other comment I’ve seen from viewers expresses the same reaction. In the video, a toddler in Brazil explains to his mother why he will not eat his octopus pasta. Originally uploaded to YouTube on May 15, 2013, within 2 weeks the video of little Luiz Antonio had over 1 million views; but it could only be understood by those who knew Portuguese. So when Raffaella Ciavatta, a Brazilian-born vegan activist and certified translator living in NY, saw the video, she knew she had seen something extraordinary, and contacted the mother to ask for permission to translate it into English.