If you are an ethical vegetarian, and you have already decided that animals are individuals who should not be subjected to unnecessary suffering, consider using this year’s World Vegetarian Awareness Month, which is celebrated each and every October, to question whether your vegetarianism is really an appropriate reflection of the values you believe in. If your conscience is no longer satisfied with your lacto-ovo status, then I have some good news: Veganism isn’t difficult, as you might have been led to believe… There are growing numbers of happy, healthy vegans who enjoy exciting, delicious food, improved health from eliminating all animal products from their diets, and a new lease on life as a result of ending their dependence on industries that cannot exist without consumers who continue to contribute money to support the slavery and abuse of our fellow beings.
October 9, 2010
July 20, 2010
Tougher regulations – even in the rare cases that they are actually implemented and enforced – only serve to perpetuate the idea that it is possible to use animals in such a way that would be morally acceptable. If we believe that animals have an interest in the continuation of their lives and in the avoidance of suffering, then it is absurd to campaign for regulation of an industry that has been built around the idea that animals are ‘things’ – objects that we can use however we so choose.
July 6, 2010
Anyone with access to a good health food store knows it’s not difficult to find vegan baked goods. From brownies to cheesecakes, cupcakes to Twinkies (yes, it’s true), it seems as though the movement to produce vegan baked goods has taken on a life of its own… Of course, these items can be expensive and, in some areas, difficult to find. For some, it’s preferable to satisfy one’s sweet tooth with a treat made from more wholesome ingredients (such as organic oils, whole-grain flour and unrefined sweetener). As an added bonus, home-made vegan baked goods allow you to enjoy a healthy sweet treat, while not being concerned about the ecological implications of pre-packaged ‘convenience’ foods.
June 10, 2010
It would be unethical to breed animals even if there was a home for every single animal being bred. But what makes it worse is that these individuals are not even guaranteed that they will be cared for. In increasing numbers, they continue to find themselves discarded, thrown aside like so many of the other ‘playthings’ we buy for ourselves and our children. And, in increasing numbers, they end up being sent to death, for no other reason than that the vast majority of people think nothing whatsoever of walking into a store and buying a ‘new’ puppy, or a ‘new’ kitten, rather than choosing to fill the space in their homes and hearts with someone to whom the opportunity represents nothing short of a second chance at life itself.
April 19, 2010
Perhaps the rising breast cancer rates (and the subsequent findings as to the potential significance of diet in causing the disease) offer us an opportunity to look at who we are as women, and who we want to become. Do we want to continue consuming products that not only are killing us and our families, but also require the systematic exploitation of beings who, in their essence, are not that different from us?
I remain confused by the fact that more people don’t turn away from animal products in response to the sheer horror and revulsion they feel at the idea of participating in the slaughter of an animal, but we humans have a truly frightening ability to shut off our awareness of what is ‘out of sight’, and thereby continue participating in something we are morally repulsed by.
“The need to distinguish animal rights from animal welfare is clear not only because of the theoretical inconsistencies between the two positions but also because the most ardent defenders of institutionalized animal exploitation themselves endorse animal welfare. Almost everyone – including those who use animals in painful experiments or who slaughter them for food – accepts as abstract propositions that animals ought to be treated ‘humanely’ and ought not to be subjected to unnecessary suffering. Animal rights theory explicitly rejects this approach, holding that animals, like humans, have inherent value that must be respected. The rights view reflects a shift from a vague obligation to act ‘humanely’ to a theory of justice that rejects the status of animals as property [emphasis added]… The rights theorist rejects the use of animals in experiments or for human consumption, not simply because these activities cause animals to suffer, but because such use violates fundamental obligations of justice that we owe to nonhumans.”
~ Gary L. Francione Rain without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement
February 6, 2010
“There is something almost primal about it,” gushes the former vegetarian, as though the word ‘primal’ is a noble quality to be embraced by virtuous people. It seems more likely though that the directors of the puppet show are aware that ‘primal’ is simply a concept that plays to the desires of the lowest parts of our selves, to our lust for blood. Let’s not forget that the word is almost synonymous with ‘primitive’, and could just as easily be used to describe cannibalism or rape.
December 3, 2009
The scale of the entire Gadhimai festival pales in comparison to a single day of animal sacrifice here in the US. To put the numbers into perspective, in the US alone we slaughter 10 billion land animals for food every year (more than the entire human population). That’s a number so large, it’s almost too vast to fully comprehend. To put it another way, for us to kill 500,000 animals for food would take us less than thirty minutes. In the two days of Gadhimai, while Westerners denounced the cruelty of the slaughter in Nepal, we were busy ourselves slaughtering 55,000,000 animals, while no one blinked an eye, and most people, in fact, were happily partaking of the flesh of the victims.
November 30, 2009
Since the definitions for the ‘free-range’ label are deliberately vague and hundreds of millions of turkeys are considered nothing more than economic commodities to both owners and regulators, regulating the conditions for animals in any meaningful way is impossible. In order to obtain approval for the ‘free-range’ label, poultry producers must only provide the USDA with a brief description of the conditions for their birds, and their claims are very rarely verified by inspections.