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Melanie Joy Presentation: Speaking Truth to Power

In April of 2013, Free from Harm helped organize what would be remembered as a very special, unforgettable event, featuring social psychologist and author Melanie Joy, who spoke to a group of 75 people in Chicago on the subject of social justice activism. In this eloquent talk, Joy introduces the Quaker expression, “Speaking Truth to Power” as a metaphor for activism and social change, and she opens by explaining how the movement to end the oppression of women relates to the movement to end the oppression of animals. Continue reading

“I Like Them To Stay Standing Up”: Why Luiz Antonio Won’t Eat Animals

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. Continue reading

Damien Mander’s Journey from Sniper to Animal Rights Activist

Meat-eating is strongly associated with cultural perceptions of masculinity and power. The idea that meat-eating and killing are “manly” is constantly reinforced through advertising and other forms of cultural narrative that tell us who we are. This macho mythologizing of meat helps explain why women are more than twice as likely as men to be vegetarian. Continue reading

Francione on Bridging the Gap between Belief and Action

In this short and concise video clip, Francione astutely describes the root of our problem with animals which is also the basis for his theory of animal rights. We say we believe that animals should not be harmed unnecessarily and yet 99% of our use of animals can only be described as unnecessary and pleasure-based. “The best justification we have for inflicting pain, suffering and death on 10 billion animals a year is that they taste good. I regard that as moral schizophrenia.” Continue reading

Father Mann’s Journey to Embracing a Vegan Vision of Christianity

Father Frank Mann’s own journey has been inspired by visionaries such as Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, who have shown compassion and moral leadership in the face of injustice. He recently had a deep personal awakening to the plight of animals, and has since incorporated the values of being vegan and animal rights into his spiritual life and vision of a more just and peaceful world. Continue reading

Dr. Richard Oppenlander: Why Eating Local, Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work

In this video recorded at the March 2013 McDougall Advanced Study Weekend, leading sustainability activist Dr. Richard Oppenlander makes a compelling case for how the transition to a plant-based diet is the most practical, effective and sustainable solution to our most serious environmental problems as well as debunking the most popular misconceptions about sustainability. Continue reading

Video: Zoe Weil on Becoming a Solutionary to Combat Factory Farming

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.
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Video: Dr. Richard Oppenlander and Comfortably Unaware

Dr. Oppenlander’s video tells his own personal story about raising his three children on a plant based diet on a farm in Michigan which they converted into an animal sanctuary for abused and unwanted farmed animals. And he explains the ecological problem inherent in farming animals and relying on animal products for food. Comfortably Unaware is a strong message of how we need to become aware of the impact our food choices for ourselves and for the future of our planet. Continue reading

Zoe Weil on TEDx: The Brave New Age of Solutionaries

In this follow up to her previous TEDx talk, The World Becomes What You Teach, Zoe Weil, President of the Institute for Humane Education, focuses on how each of us can combine our passions, talents, and concerns to contribute to a better world and how this concept must be woven into our education system. Together we can solve our pressing challenges and create a humane, just, and healthy world for all people, animals, and the environment. Continue reading

Elizabeth DeCoux’s Impassioned Speech on the Importance of Fighting Ag Gag Legislation

Animal advocate and educator Elizabeth DeCoux explains how and why to oppose agriculture gag laws that seek to criminalize animal advocacy efforts in exposing the abuses of animal enterprises like farms and labs. She begins her talk with explaining the political motivation behind the emergence of ag gag bills in Florida and other states, Continue reading

The Peace Map is Drawn on the Menu: Philip Wollen Wows a Debate on Meat

“The peace map is drawn on a menu. Peace is not just the absence of war; It is the presence of justice. Justice must be blind to race, color, religion or species. If she’s not blind, she will be a weapon of terror. And tonight there is unimaginable terror in those ghastly Guantanamo’s we call factory farms.” — Phillip Wollen Continue reading

Should Animals Be Off the Menu? A Full Debate on the Ethics of Eating Meat

Intelligence Squared’s 2012 series of debates kicks off with a look at the ethics of eating meat. Six speakers are divided into two teams for lively and insightful arguments for and against the proposition, Animals Should Be Off the Menu. Out of an audience of hundreds, 73.6% agreed meat should be off the menu upon hearing all of the arguments. Find out why, then ask yourself if you are making the right choice. Speaking for the proposition are Peter Singer, Philip Wollen and Veronica Ridge; against it, Adrian Richardson, Fiona Chambers and Bruce McGregor. Their cases are followed by questions from the floor and finally, the audience vote. Continue reading

Kim Stallwood: Evolving Animal Advocacy beyond Moral Crusade to Social Justice Movement

In March animal rights scholar Kim Stallwood spoke at a conference organized by Critical Perspectives on Animals in Society at the University of Exeter. He shared the platform with Lee McConnell from Northumbria University School of Law. In this 20 minute talk, Stallwood makes an excellent case for why the animal advocacy / rights movement must move beyond what he calls a “moral crusade” to a more strategic and mobilized social justice movement. Continue reading

From the Animal’s Point of View: Photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur’s Video Presentation

In this hour-long video, photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur takes us on a journey of her work which involves travel to amazing places and truly unique experiences with individual animals that she meets along the way. Her images leave an indelible impression on her viewers, capturing the experience of the animal in an attempt to transcend the conventional human prejudice that has for so long clouded our view of the animal’s true nature. Continue reading

Video: What is Truly Sustainable in Terms of Food Choices? Richard Oppenlander PhD

This video presentation provides an overview of the key environmental impacts of our food choices and answers the question, what is truly sustainable in terms of food choices? Oppenlander debunks many of the common myths and greenwashing pitfalls of the so called sustainable animal agriculture industry. Continue reading

The Backyard Chicken Reality Check: Problems and Recommendations

The backyard chicken movement is in full swing, and shelters are filling up with unwanted and abandoned chickens all over the country. While the media continues to romanticize backyard chicken keeping, would-be chicken keepers are learning only half truths about keeping and caring for chickens. We thought it was time for a reality check. This live recording from Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, provides a very authoritative and comprehensive review of the most common problems and recommendations for the urban chicken movement. Continue reading

The Rise of Happy Meat and Compassionate Carnivores: A Talk By Vasile Stanescu

There is a new genre of texts which argue for “local” and “humane” farms in terms of helping both the environment and protecting the animals. Stanescu critically engages with these so-called “compassionate carnivores” and their new arguments for “humane” or “happy” meat and documents that the rise of small scale farms can never serve as a truly effective strategy to improve the lives of animals. Instead, He suggests those concerned with suffering of animals should join with animal rights activists to effect positive change. Continue reading