There is Nothing Extreme About Ethical Veganism

By Gary L. Francione

There is nothing extreme about ethical veganism.

What is extreme is eating decomposing flesh and animal secretions.

What is extreme is that we regard some animals as members of our family while, at the same time, we stick forks into the corpses of other animals.

What is extreme is thinking that it is morally acceptable to inflict suffering and death on other sentient creatures simply because we enjoy the taste of animal products or because we like the look of clothes made from animals.

What is extreme is that we say that we recognize that “unnecessary” suffering and death cannot be morally justified and then we proceed to engage in exploitation on a daily basis that is completely unnecessary.

What is extreme is pretending to embrace peace while we make violence, suffering, torture and death a daily part of our lives.

What is extreme is that we excoriate people like Michael Vick, Mary Bale and Sarah Palin as villains while we continue to eat, use, and consume animal products.

What is extreme is that we say that we care about animals and that we believe that they are members of the moral community, but we sponsor, support, encourage and promote “happy” meat/dairy labeling schemes.

What is extreme is not eating flesh but continuing to consume dairy when there is absolutely no rational distinction between meat and dairy (or other animal products). There is as much suffering and death in dairy, eggs, etc., as there is in meat.

What is extreme is that we are consuming a diet that is causing disease and resulting in ecological disaster.

What is extreme is that we encourage our children to love animals at the same time that we teach them those that they love can also be those whom they harm. We teach our children that love is consistent with commodification. That is truly extreme—and very sad.

What is extreme is the fantasy that we will ever find our moral compass with respect to animals as long as they are on our plates and our tables, on our backs, and on our feet.

No, ethical veganism is not extreme. But there are many other things that we do not even pay attention to that are extreme.

If you are not vegan, go vegan. It’s easy; it’s better for your health and for the planet. But, most important, it’s the morally right thing to do.

Advertisements

An Open Letter to the Men Who Told Me to Stay Out of Adult Conversations

By Emily Palermo

So, maybe we’re the 
generation of the selfie,
but we’re also the generation
that grew up in a tainted,
Photoshopped world
with every impossible beauty standard
shoved down our throat
through a tube
because eating has become
a guilty pleasure
and condemning beauty ideals
won’t go straight to our thighs.

And if, by chance,
we are able to destroy the
demons that you’ve planted 
inside of us with your
constant advertisements and rules
that play behind our eyelids and 
take root in our brains,
then let us take our fucking pictures
and capture that moment when
we felt beautiful because all this world
has taught us is that 
our beauty is the greatest
measure of our worth.

Scoff at our phones all you like,
these delicate extensions of
our fingers, but know that
through this technology
that you couldn’t even
begin to understand,
we have smudged the entire
world with our fingerprints.
We are the generation of knowledge,
and we are learning more than
any that came before us.
So, frown at my typing fingers;
I am using them to grasp power
by the throat.

Try to invalidate us,
but we’ve heard our
parents talking about
the world’s crashing and burning
since we had sprung from the womb.
We know you’ve fucked up,
and we’re angry about it-
the kind of anger that
fuels knowledge,
that I feel in my veins every time
I read the news from my phone
before school,
that sticks in my throat like honey
in a debate;
the kind of anger that simmers,
that sharpens teeth into daggers,
that makes this generation more dangerous
than you could have ever imagined.

We are the generation of change,
and goddammit, we’re coming.

Open Letter to the World

By Anonymous

We stand at a unique time in our history, the rise of the internet and computer technology have contributed to an unparalleled rate of prosperity for the First World.

We have created for ourselves and empire unlike any other, a global network of constant trade and communication, a new age of technological advancement. We have come a long way from our humble roots in the Industrial Revolution and the days of Manifest Destiny. We are now pioneers on new digital frontiers expanding our domain from the quantum world to the far reaches of space.
And yet, the empire faces a crisis, a global recession, growing poverty, rampant violence, corruption in politics, and threats to personal freedom. As it was before in other times of crisis, the old stories have begun to repeat themselves. The half truths, this time repeated nightly on cable news and echoed through a series of tubes onto the internet: the empire is strong, change is unwise, business as usual is the answer. In times of uncertainty there are those who seek to add to the confusion, to prey on our insecurities and fears. Those who would seek to keep us divided for their own gain. The pervasive strategy takes many very convincing forms: Liberals and Conservatives, Christians and Muslims, Black and White, Saved and sinner.

But something unexpected is happening. We have begun telling each other our own stories. Sharing our lives, our hopes, our dreams, our demons. Every second, day in day out, into all hours of the night the gritty details of life on this earth are streaming around the world. As we see the lives of others played out in our living rooms we are beginning to understand the consequences of our actions and the error of the old ways. We are questioning the old assumptions that we are made to consume not to create, that the world was made for our taking, that wars are inevitable, that poverty is unavoidable. As we learn more about our global community a fundamental truth has been rediscovered: We are not so different as we may seem. Every human has strengths, weaknesses, and deep emotions. We crave love, love laughter, fear being alone and dream for a better life.

You must create a better life.

You cannot sit on the couch watching television or playing video games, waiting for a revolution. You are the revolution. Every time you decide not to exercise your rights, every time you refuse to hear another view point, every time you ignore the world around you, every time you spend a dollar at a business that doesn’t pay a fair wage you are contributing to the oppression of the human body and the repression of the human mind. You have a choice, a choice to take the easy path, the familiar path, to walk willingly into your own submission. Or a choice get up, to go outside and talk to your neighbor, to come together in new forums to create lasting, meaningful change for the human race.

This is our challenge:

A peaceful revolution, a revolution of ideas, a revolution of creation. The twenty-first century enlightenment. A global movement to create a new age of tolerance and understanding, empathy and respect. An age of unfettered technological development. An age of sharing ideas and cooperation. An age of artistic and personal expression. We can choose to use new technology for radical positive change or let it be used against us. We can choose to keep the internet free, keep channels of communication open and dig new tunnels into those places where information is still guarded. Or we can let it all close in around us. As we move in to new digital worlds, we must acknowledge the need for honest information and free expression. We must fight to keep the internet open as a marketplace of ideas where all are seated as equals. We must defend our freedoms from those who would seek to control us. We must fight for those who do not yet have a voice. Keep telling your story. All must be heard.

The Vegan Birth and the Birth of the “Circles of Compassion” Vision [Excerpt]

By Will Tuttle
April 29, 2014.
The Dodo

When I went vegan 34 years ago, it was because it seemed to be the right thing to do. I was rarely shy about discussing it with people, and challenging their nonvegan eating and behavior because I felt so strongly about it. I had gone vegetarian five years earlier, as my understanding of things grew and I learned of the connections between eating meat and human hunger, deforestation, pollution, species extinction, physical disease, mental obtuseness, spiritual deadening, and most of all, the hideous violence routinely perpetrated on animals used for food.

As I learned more about the cruelty involved in dairy and egg production, as well as in wool, leather, silk, honey, and in zoos, product testing, and the myriad other culturally-approved products and activities, I went vegan and endured the excruciating awakening that this can bring. The painful realization that my home culture is actually insanely cruel and disconnected, and that I am in many ways a product of that culture in my attitudes and behavior propelled me not just to go outwardly vegan with enthusiasm and commitment. I also yearned to understand how I might be able to go vegan at the deeper levels of my being, and embody veganism in a way that would increase my effectiveness as an advocate of vegan living to others.

Going vegan is like a second birth. Like birth, it is painful and disorienting to be ejected from the warm security of the known and comfortable, and like birth, it’s also liberating to begin a whole new life adventure of greater awareness. Freeing ourselves and emerging from the cultural trance injected into us by the societal food rituals that desensitize us and reduce our capacities, the vegan birth clears the way so that we can explore the deeper dimensions of consciousness. As we open to the hidden pain and trauma we inflict on animals and each other, we also open to more fully realizing the essential beauty, benevolence, freedom, and compassion that sing and shine as the heart of being and that are reflected in our world around us in all living beings.

Vegan Mother to Child: Letter to Ciera

By Heather Leughmyer

You’ll never watch an elephant standing on her head
You will see amazing acrobats and painted clowns instead.

You’ll never color Easter eggs or eat a “Happy” Meal
Instead you’ll give pigs belly rubs – You’ll know chickens dream and feel.

The clamor from the ice cream truck won’t be music to your ears
You will know your Soy Delicious caused no suffering or tears.

You may hear a gentle gobble as you softly stroke a turkey
And give thanks that she’s alive as you’re eating your Tofurky.

While other kids buy leather shoes and eat at Chuck E. Cheese
You’ll be kissing cows and feeding goats and saying “soy please!”

Being different can be hard I know – This world is often cruel
Maybe you’ll be laughed at by the other kids at school.

But compassion is a vital gift that too few share with others
And your heart will not be filled with guilt the way it plagues your mother’s.

So don’t ever be embarrassed or ashamed because you care
You’ll be uniquely beautiful with an empathy that’s rare.

And when you see a rescued lamb and touch his thick warm fleece
You’ll feel no sadness or remorse – You can look at him in peace.

What took so long for me to learn, I’ll start teaching you from birth
And your footprint will be much tinier on this fragile earth.