Philip Wollen, Australian Philanthropist, Former VP of Citibank, Makes Blazing Animal Rights Speech

Philip Wollen shakes the rafters of the auditorium with this 10-minute speech to the St James Ethics Centre and the Wheeler Centre debate in Australia on May 16, 2012. The larger debate consists of six speakers, three that make the case for getting animals off the menu and three that make the case against it. Wollen is a former VP of Citibank and Australian philanthropist who is known to keep out of the limelight. But he sure rose to the challenge for this debate to deliver a huge performance and a powerful message. Bravo!

Join Philip Wollen and the Kindness Trust on their Facebook page. Watch the full debate with all six speakers.

This is the transcript to the speech:

On behalf of St James Ethics Centre, the Wheeler Centre,
The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, The Age
The City of Melbourne and the ABC
All of whom have worked together to make this event possible
I would like to welcome
Philip Wollen

((Applause))

King Lear, late at night on the cliffs asks the blind Earl of Gloucester “How do you see the world?”

And the blind man Gloucester replies “I see it feelingly”.

Shouldn’t we all?

Animals must be off the menu because tonight they are screaming in terror in the slaughterhouse, in crates, and cages. Vile ignoble gulags of despair.
I heard the screams of my dying father as his body was ravaged by the cancer that killed him. And I realised I had heard these screams before.
In the slaughterhouse, eyes stabbed out and tendons slashed, on the cattle ships to the Middle East and the dying mother whale as a Japanese harpoon explodes in her brain as she calls out to her calf.
Their cries were the cries of my father.
I discovered when we suffer, we suffer as equals.
And in their capacity to suffer, a dog is a pig is a bear. . . . . . is a boy.
Meat is the new asbestos – more murderous than tobacco.

CO2, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide from the livestock industry are killing our oceans with acidic, hypoxic Dead Zones.
90% of small fish are ground into pellets to feed livestock.
Vegetarian cows are now the world’s largest ocean predator.
The oceans are dying in our time. By 2048 all our fisheries will be dead. The lungs and the arteries of the earth.
Billions of bouncy little chicks are ground up alive simply because they are male.
Only 100 billion people have ever lived. 7 billion alive today. And we torture and kill 2 billion animals every week.
10,000 entire species are wiped out every year because of the actions of one species.
We are now facing the 6th mass extinction in cosmological history.
If any other organism did this a biologist would call it a virus.
It is a crime against humanity of unimaginable proportions.
The world has changed.
10 years ago Twitter was a bird sound, www was a stuck keyboard, Cloud was in the sky, 4 g was a parking place, Google was a baby burp, Skype was a typo and Al Kider was my plumber.
Victor Hugo said “there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come”.

Animal Rights is now the greatest Social Justice issue since the abolition of slavery.
There are over 600 million vegetarians in the world.
That is bigger than the US, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia combined! If we were one nation we would be bigger than the 27 countries in the European Union!!
Despite this massive footprint, we are still drowned out by the raucous huntin’, shootin’, killin’ cartels who believe that violence is the answer – when it shouldn’t even be a question.
Meat is a killing industry – animals, us and our economies.
Medicare has already bankrupted the US. They will need $8 trillion invested in Treasury bills just to pay the interest. It has precisely zero!!
They could shut every school, army, navy, air force, and Marines, the FBI and CIA – and they still won’t be able to pay for it.
Cornell and Harvard say’s that the optimum amount of meat for a healthy diet is precisely ZERO.
Water is the new oil. Nations will soon be going to war for it.
Underground aquifers that took millions of years to fill are running dry.
It takes 50,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef.
1 billion people today are hungry. 20 million people will die from malnutrition. Cutting meat by only 10% will feed 100 million people. Eliminating meat will end starvation forever.

If everyone ate a Western diet, we would need 2 Planet Earths to feed them. We only have one. And she is dying.
Greenhouse gas from livestock is 50% more than transport . . . . . planes, trains, trucks, cars, and ships.
Poor countries sell their grain to the West while their own children starve in their arms. And we feed it to livestock. So we can eat a steak? Am I the only one who sees this as a crime? Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear-stained face of a starving child. When I look into her eyes, should I be silent?
The earth can produce enough for everyone’s need. But not enough for everyone’s greed.
We are facing the perfect storm.
If any nation had developed weapons that could wreak such havoc on the planet, we would launch a pre-emptive military strike and bomb it into the Bronze Age.
But it is not a rogue state. It is an industry.
The good news is we don’t have to bomb it. We can just stop buying it.
George Bush was wrong. The Axis of Evil doesn’t run through Iraq, or Iran or North Korea. It runs through our dining tables. Weapons of Mass Destruction are our knives and forks.

This is the Swiss Army Knife of the future – it solves our environmental, water, health problems and ends cruelty forever.
The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. This cruel industry will end because we run out of excuses.
Meat is like 1 and 2 cent coins. It costs more to make than it is worth.
And farmers are the ones with the most to gain. Farming won’t end. It would boom. Only the product line would change. Farmers would make so much money they wouldn’t even bother counting it.
Governments will love us. New industries would emerge and flourish. Health insurance premiums would plummet. Hospital waiting lists would disappear.
Hell “We’d be so healthy; we’d have to shoot someone just to start a cemetery!”
So tonight I have 2 Challenges for the opposition:
1. Meat causes a wide range of cancers and heart disease. Will they name one disease caused by a vegetarian diet?
2. I am funding the Earthlings trilogy. If the opposition is so sure of their ground, I challenge them to send the Earthlings DVD to all their colleagues and customers. Go on I DARE YOU.
Animals are not just other species. They are other nations. And we murder them at our peril.

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, colour, religion or species. If she is not blind, she will be a weapon of terror. And there is unimaginable terror in those ghastly Guantanamos.
If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we wouldn’t need this debate.
I believe another world is possible.
On a quiet night, I can hear her breathing.
Let’s get the animals off the menu and out of these torture chambers.
Please vote tonight for those who have no voice.
Thank you.

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47 comments

  1. Bravo, indeed! Finally someone has said it so perfectly! If this doesn’t open eyes, hearts and minds to bring understanding to this horrid practice done by man’s own hands and will, then I don’t know what can. How and why this ever got started by our race is beyond me. Thank you so much for sharing this video with others.

  2. Excellent speech that I hope will inspire more people to become vegetarian or at least eat a lot less meat..!

    I have passed it on to all I can. Cheers :)

  3. Australian of the Century… beyond National Treasure…. THANKYOU
    shared with all my contacts and spreading on FB
    BRAVO and I love you xxx

  4. I should have become a vegetarian a long time ago. I have been a vegetarian since Aug of 2011 and I am healthier than I have been in a long time. I was never blind to the fact that I was eating a living creature, I just was indifferent. I didn’t think I could go without meat. It took becoming an Orthodox Christian, with their long meatless fasts, to give me the boost I needed to gain the confidence to go meatless. You can’t be pro-life if you are pro-meat.

  5. So awesome to hear this message from such a strong, informed and passionate voice. One whose preconceptions might encourage one to expect more conservative orthodoxy. Brilliant and so encouraging. VeganDreaming.co.uk

  6. When I listen to this speech I feel empowered , I feel a compassionate world is possible. NOw all we have to do is convince the rest & with people like this it will be possible

  7. Said with force and clarity! Honest to the T – my eyes wept and my heart opened. A brilliant inspiration and tool to persuade others to stop eating animals! Thank you for sharing this gem.

  8. One of the main problemens is that starvation is necessary on the modern culture and economy model . Is the necessary menace in the fight against the subsistence way of life. Starvation remenber us and reinforces the postulate of scarcity on which is founded the modern consumer economy and his way of productión. “Animal food is necessary”. “Do not make me choose between animals or humans”. “The drug cure our children, let the drugs be tested on animals”. Supposedly: Health is a scarce, food is scarce, education is a scarce all are scare commoditys, everything on the planet are our natural resources (animals, plants, minerals) Development is necessary, everything is here to be exploited for the human race who otherwise would die of hunger or just subsist.
    Under these assumptions we will always find an excuse for the exploitation of animals, humans, the land… or to fight for these “resources” in markets or in the wars.

  9. What an amazing and truly inspirational speech said with intelligence, clarity and pure humanity. This speech needs to go ‘viral’ so that as many people as possible can hear this and see the gross injustice and exploitation that humans bestow upon the earth’s animals on a daily basis.

  10. This speaker hit it right on the head. Why has man for so many centuries felt that he was so special? I have never even thought that because animals were put here before man. They must be something special.

    As for tarka, I wish it were so easy. I live with a person who loves the taste of flesh. Is it hard to live with someone who does this…YES! Do I try and get him to stop eating flesh…YES!! These people won’t even listen to what you are saying, as with this person I live with. So to ask some of these people to stop eating meat would be like asking them to not take a breath! They love the taste of flesh. I have always said, we are the animals. We eat them, we wear them, entertain with them and so on, and so on.
    Just think of how nice the world would be if man had never been put on it!

    Great speech though. He said all of the right things, and hopefully I will be totally wrong.

  11. What an inspiration, I was so moved by his speech, I am so glad to be a vegetarian, even though I only started a year ago, I was watching videos from Animals Australia, and could not believe we could be so cruel to animals, Face book has opened my eyes to the cruelty animals suffer all over the world at the hands of man, and I did not want to be one of them, so now I will never touch another piece of meat, I feel healthier and my conscience is clear, I just hope more humans see it is the way to go, bravo Philip Wollen

  12. Dear Phillip,
    You are my new hero. I am in the USA and vegan. I will pass this on to many. I am deeply grateful for your words, courage and wisdom to know. I am deeply grateful that you took this stand. I have been vegetarian since 1980, vegan off and on until 2 years ago when I became vegan for life. Animals are brilliant! They never yell at you, they whisper through the heart if you listen. You are right, they are another nation. I hope humans will be revulsed to know what it really means to be a meat eater by the clear concise deliverance of the statistics and many truths you have conveyed. Thank you!

  13. A magnificant speech by a magnificant man! My hope is that this will serve as the impetus to turn the world toward a more humane way of eating. The vegan diet is a win/win proposition for all!

  14. This man was now added to my hero’s list. He managed to put all the facts in a 10 min speech. I really wish that everyone in the world would bother to listen and think about all he said.

  15. I thought this was brilliant. He manages to skillfully connect the animal welfare issues with the environment, third world misery, human health and the economy. And he did it with passion and a genuine emotion that was thoroughly compelling.

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