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
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
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 17, 2009
Image: In Defense of Animals
Not only is extreme violence against animals sanctioned by the legal structure of society and accepted almost without question by most people, but in some kind of bizarre confusion, it is actually promoted, encouraged, and even celebrated. This is true to such a degree that, when an individual chooses to reject violence against animals, and makes a personal commitment to provide for themselves without participating in this carnage, that individual does so at the risk of being criticized, insulted, ridiculed, and perhaps even accused of committing some sort of offense against society.
October 15, 2009
No matter how strong the current opposition, it will soon have to be accepted that the vegan solution is our hope for the future, as it contains the power to address, all at once, the many different yet interconnected issues – from the environmental devastation we are causing, to the global pandemic of violence. These crises are crippling our civilization and threaten not only our survival, but the survival of the many other species that populate the planet.
The vegan ideal embodies the highest of ethical aspirations – non-violence, justice and compassion toward the innocent. Yet this deep and powerful value system continues to be marginalized by society. The example set by those who embrace these principles is too often vehemently opposed, trivialized or simply ignored. But the effects of this paradigm shift in perception are far-reaching, and the rewards beyond measure.
August 30, 2009
To be deeply saddened by the murder of a family dog is a sane reaction to a horrific occurrence. The hypocrisy begins when we shut off that sadness in reaction to the murder of other animals simply because our culture has taught us that ‘cow, pig, chicken, sheep, fish… it’s good food for us’.