Elephants mourning their dead. This must be some kind of robot-instinct acted out in a stupid, robotic, 'instincty' kind of way. Photo by Kelly Landen.
Some want to assert that because animals have “no interest in the future,” or “no concept of the future,” it is morally acceptable to enslave and kill them.
We can say killing someone steals their future. Stealing from an individual, whether or not they have a sense of the loss, is still stealing from them. Just like burning someone with congenital analgesia (insensitivity to pain) is still burning them.
It is the dream of the exploiter to find a blanket statement which permits them to continue the exploitation. The more philosophical and abstract the statement, the better, it seems.
Animals Actually Do Have an Interest in the Future
Why do we remember things? In the case of stoves, we remember they may be hot even when they look inactive because, otherwise, we might get burned. Strawberries are tart and sweet. A red light means stop.
Memory serves the purpose of decision making. The hot stove is not touched and the strawberry is eaten to extract its flavor. Our most basic interests are in avoiding pain and pursuing pleasure.
We remember things because we want to change the future.
Pleasure from anticipated strawberries and pain from anticipated shock collars exist in the future. If they exist in the present, we might salivate or twitch or jump out of reflex, and reflexes are one of the few things we do without decision-making. But reflex is done without cognition, as far as we know. It need not consult memory.
When we spy the hot stove or lay our eyes on the red of a shining, freshly washed strawberry, we are contemplating the future.
One with memories is one with an interest in the future. Even interests as simple as “eat until full” and “avoid hissing cats” concern themselves with the future. And this future always includes one thing: the entity thinking about it.
Do dogs have memories? Of course they do. Pavlov’s experiments prove dogs can be conditioned. And where are they be conditioned but in their minds? The dog who salivates at the ring of a bell because she hears it every time dinner is served is thinking about the past (or, at least, considering it) and preparing her body for the future. She expects to receive food.
The sound of the bell is as good as the smell of a fresh meal. Be the input through ears or nose, something is telling her food is near.
What chicken, as “dumb” as they are supposed to be, would forget the sweetest patch of land with the most worms in their pecking ground?
There is a long-held belief that birds are simply too stupid to remember coastlines and geographic landmarks, that they migrate by “pure instinct,” whatever that is. But even this is in question now, with evidence showing that some birds navigate by memory and reason.
If a creature, bird or bear or hare or fish, has a memory then that creature has self-interest and self-awareness. Why else remember anything? Why remember if not to alter the future?
Penguins mourning their dead children. This must be some kind of robot-instinct acted out in a stupid, robotic,'instincty' kind of way.
The Herd Has an Interest in Its Future
Is gassing a nursery full of infant morally acceptable? Of course not. How about gassing one of them? Again, no.
In the dreamworld where each animal “has no interest in his or her future,” it is easy to overlook the fact that animals do mourn. They need social structures, and dropping in Chimp 520 to replace Chimp 519 does not work. Animals are not machines; they are living beings. Even if the fanciful interest-in-future criteria was morally acceptable, which logic suggests it is not, removing the individuals has a profound impact upon their families and social circles.
It makes no difference that the individuals are black, white, Jewish, cows, chickens or salmon. The type of organism is irrelevant to the crime being committed against his or her group. Unlike the survival situations of lions chomping on gazelles, humans committing acts of violence and enslavement against animals is a crime because the act is completely unnecessary to our survival.
Potatoes, Broccoli and Creamy Red Pepper Cashew Not-Cheese
Ignore the fact that the photo is mostly potatoes. That is only because I ate the broccoli faster than the lens could capture light.
Lots of protein, B12 + other vitamins, and cancer-fighting greens in this one!
- 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy, rice, hemp, whatever you like)
- 1/2 block of silken tofu
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 medium red pepper
- 1/2 cup yeast flakes
- 1/2 cup Bragg’s Amino Acids (or soy sauce)
- 2T crushed garlic (I use from jar of minced)
- 3T oil of choice
- 1/2 T salt (less or more, to taste)
Anti-Cancer and Muscle-Building Filler
As much broccoli as you think you’ll need.
- Stick everything in a blender.
- Oh god, not the broccoli, too! Start over.
- Stick everything except the broccoli in a blender.
- Realize you forgot to heat the oven to 350. Do that now.
- Chop broccoli into decorative shapes while you wait.
- Your oven isn’t all that great, so argue with someone on the internet while you wait those last 25 seconds.
- Arrange broccoli alphabetically in a big pan thing.
- Pour blended stuff onto the broccoli.
- Shove into oven.
- Cook about 20 minutes.
It tastes even better as leftovers. Maybe this sounds weird, but I eat it straight from the fridge the next day.
Awesome as a side with vegan sloppy Joe sandwiches, or as a filling quick snack.
Broccoli Cole Slaw! Eat it with your whole family! (Also eating it - not chopped up in it)
- 2 cups (total) shredded broccoli, carrots and cabbage.
- 1/2 cup (or more of your prefer) Vegenaise or cashew-based vegan ‘mayo’
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- Put everything in a bowl.
- Stir it up and then eat it.
- Do not share any with that creep from work, but make sure you do eat it near him.
Sag Aloo! Not only does it sound funny, it also cures boredom.
This is a delicious Indian-inspired meal for lunch or dinner. I wouldn’t want it for breakfast, but I hear it has magical hangover cures. This recipe makes enough to feed about 8 people.
- 4 potatoes
- 1 pound fresh or frozen spinach
- 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 tablespoon fresh crushed garlic)
- A big pot
- A big skillet
- A cereal bowl
- In the pot, add as much water as you need to cover the potatoes by about an inch. Start boiling.
- In the skillet, sautee the onion in water (you could use oil but I’m trying to keep this recipe low fat) on about medium heat. You probably don’t want to try to caramelize them in water.
- Chop the potatoes into cubes or pterodactyls or whatever shape is your favorite.
- Add potatoes to water even if it’s not perfectly boiling yet.
- Open can of coconut milk. Pour into cereal bowl.
- Add powdered stuff to cereal bowl.
- If you don’t have a mortar-n-pestle, fold the coriander seeds and clove in a paper towel and beat them like they’re an obese relative asking you where you get your protein.
- Shake the atomized coriander and clove dust into the bowl.
- By now the onions should be softened up. Shake the spinach and peas into the skillet. Add a little more water (1/3 cup should do) and cover to steam.
- Once the skillet of green stuff has softened up a little, the potatoes should be nearly done cooking.
- Make sure you whisk the cereal bowl nicely. Tumeric is really fine and doesn’t immediately blend with the coconut milk.
- Fun part! Dump the cereal bowl into the skillet!
- Stir it around while it simmers and feel like a cook.
- Enjoy compliments from roommates/family/dogs/ghosts about the lovely smell.
- Drain potatoes when they’re soft enough.
- Add potatoes to skillet. That’s right. Add potatoes and greens in the same skillet. This craziness cannot be contained.
Vegan French Toast. Pardon the blurry picture!
You do not need eggs for French toast! This post’s recipe is based on a vegan French toast recipe at VegWeb.
- 2 cups vanilla nondairy milk (coconut seems to taste best here, but soy, hemp, rice, almond, etc., would also work)
- 3 teaspoons vegan sugar
- 4 to 5 tablespoons flour
- dash cinnamon
- Half a loaf of bread
- nonstick spray
- Spray skillet with nonstick spray. Heat up your skillet to about medium-high. Don’t let the oil smoke!
- Put everything but the bread in a bowl. Stir until it’s all mixed up.
- Dip a piece of bread in the mix, drop it in the pan. Flip when you think it needs flipped.