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
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.
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.
November 9, 2009
Because the dietary culture of our society revolves around meat, eggs and dairy milk, and because animal food industry lobbyists have been influential over the educational resources that many rely on for information about nutrition, it’s understandable that people are uncertain about whether a vegan diet is nutritionally adequate, especially for those who have specific health concerns, food allergies or unusual dietary requirements.
October 29, 2009
In an attempt to provide some guidance for those who are genuinely attracted to the values of veganism, but are not sure of how to go about making what might appear on the surface to be a quantum leap in behavior, I would like to try and shine a light on some of the myths that contribute to the common misconception that being vegan is too difficult, or even impossible for certain individuals.