Number of animals killed in the world by the meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage. This does not include the billions of fish and other aquatic animals killed annually.

Based on 2007 statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Global Livestock Production and Health Atlas.

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Archive for the ‘Perspectives’ Category

The Journey to Veganism

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Professor Francione puts it best here. Also, I’m testing Facebook “Embed This Post” feature.

Why The Dalai Lama is Full of It

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

The Dalai Lama eats meat.  Why this bothers me can best be summed up by my favorite quote from Norm Phelps in his book, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism and Animal Rights“:

Thinking like a lawyer or an academic logician and claiming that it is acceptable to harm another sentient being for our own selfish benefit based on hair-splitting distinctions and nimble logic is contrary to the teaching of the Buddha.

I ate meat for 32 years. It wasn’t until then that I read enough to realize that animal flesh simple is not necessary for humans. What a relief! To know that eating meat (and obviously dairy) wasn’t necessary. I can’t tell you how good it felt to find that out.

Since we don’t need it, and there are alternatives everywhere, eating it is really only an act of preference. Okay, some people prefer it, that’s fine. They’ll come around.

The Dalai Lama eats animals. Having people kill animals for him to eat is the opposite of compassion.

Can Kids “Make Up Their Own Minds” About Veganism?

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Short Answer

We do not allow animal abuse in our house.

Longer

This question only comes up from people in meat-eating households, because only in those households is veganism seen as trivial and flippant a “lifestyle” choice as what hobby to pursue or what color of shirt to wear.

Everyone is welcome to their opinions.  The question we must each ask ourselves is: Does my opinion result in actions that harm others?

Many people will not see eating flesh as animal abuse. Somehow, killing an animal does not count as abuse, in that mind frame.  In my household, the children will not want to harm cows or chickens any more than they want to harm cats and dogs.

Children have amazingly good bullshit detectors.  They “get” fairness.  They understand justice.  The cognitive dissonance parents cause when they tell children to love one animal and eat the flesh of another is confusing and inconsistent for completely arbitrary reasons.  A vegan diet provides a consistent, clear and truly compassionate framework built on honesty, healthy eating, love and, yes, even on justice.

Of Course Pit Bulls Mourn Their Dead

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In an MSN article today – a headline article – a Pit Bull mourned his friend for fourteen hours after she was killed by a car.  Here’s the link, if you want to depress yourself for a while.  This is front-page news because people still want to believe that only humans have “higher” emotions such as grief and love, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

When people write, discuss and link articles like this, it is usually because they are saying, “Well of course the dog feels that way,” and “How sad!”  It is not until they think about what they eat that people will cite some outlandish fallacy to describe why this dog is different, and eating a pig or drinking cow milk is perfectly fine.

I disagree strongly with the idea that dogs mourn while chickens do not, and science backs up my belief.

When news articles and discussions like this come up, it’s a good time to interject some observations.  Before people get to the point of citing inherited cultural stupidity as if it were their own (“Jesus ate fish 2,000 years ago therefore yay bacon and foie gras“), this is an excellent time to bring up a few discussion points:

  • All animals mourn the losses of their loved ones.  (See also: my “bear machines” article).  These dogs are no different than pigs.  What makes us so certain that we can inflict this kind of mourning on innocent animals?
  • Killing the dog painlessly still inflicts a harm upon her friend, the survivor, even if you do not accept that removing all future experiences from killed animal is a harm.  (Try telling a grieving family member that their grief is not suffering).
  • Pigs are allegedly smarter than dogs.  (Not that it matters).  When we eat pork chops, bacon, pig lard, we create scenes like this for them.
  • The location could change but the grief would be the same.  Standing in line waiting to be slaughtered does not magically render the animals happy to smell blood and hear the screams of their friends and loved ones ahead of them in line.
  • Going vegan= eliminates, among other things, the mourning a mother cow does when her child is ripped away so humans can steal her milk.

Many of us accept that animals love, play, fear and fight.  We need not eat them to survive, therefore we cannot justify eating them for pleasure.

Open Letter to Ariel Kaminer and the New York Times

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Dear Ariel Kaminer,

I am writing in response to your contest, “Calling All Carnivores.”

Why must the NY Times encourage readers to eat meat?  Why was the contest not called, “Ethical Reasons to Stop Eating Meat?”

Those two are rhetorical questions.  The answers are because the NY Times does not want to award people for insisting eating meat is unethical.  On the contrary, this contest is strong evidence the NY Times wants to reward people for insisting eating meat is ethical.

In your article, you assert that “those who love meat have had surprisingly little to say.” How can you make this assertion and live in the United States, where every meal is pig, chicken, fish or cow, and where bookshelves are crammed with titles encouraging popular but illogical “compassionate carnivorism?”

My complaint is not that you believe meat fans are silent, or under-represented. As a meat eater, you are likely as unshaken by Turduckens and bacon as the rest of America, so your belief that meat-eaters have “had surprisingly little to say” is understandable.

My complaint is about the end goal. The result of this contest, intentional or not, is an article which causes readers to think, “Ah-hah. So that why eating meat is ethical. I knew I was right for doing it.”

The world does not need more reasons to eat meat, much less a contest recruiting the most convincing and popular logical fallacy.  The world is not better for increased demand of dead or dying animals.

The world needs people who, as you said in another article, feel crummy when unnecessarily ending the life of another, and it needs articles from those people saying why they refuse to repeat the act.

Related reading:

Do Vegans Believe That Meat is Evil?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

I overheard a friend of mine explaining to a meat-eater, “Yes, but vegans believe meat equals evil.”

This is another subtle but pervasive opinion of vegans which I take issue with.

A phrase like “vegans believe meat = evil” trivializes the belief that killing innocent beings is immoral.

“Evil,” these days, is a hard notion to take seriously. “Meat” is a faceless, tasty product that most of us in the United States grew up eating. Most importantly, I think, a phrase like this keeps the animal out of the picture and the emotionless product, meat, as the focus.

A non-vegan listening to my friend would likely construct in his head an image of a wobbly, little, pink cut of meat and a red-eyed fringe lunatic vegan screaming “evil” at it.

Many vegans think killing innocent beings is immoral. Meat is a product of killing those beings, just like a black eye might be the byproduct of getting punched in the face. No one would scream that black eyes are evil, yet nearly everyone would object to an old lady receiving one (unless she works at the DMV).

In all dealings with those who think like us and with those who disagree, we absolutely cannot forget about those who, for food and entertainment, are stabbed, bludgeoned, slit open, drown alive, electrified, gassed to death, prodded with hooks, chucked with their brothers and sisters into grinders, chainsawed and even thrown into pits of despair (for “science”). At this very moment, by the thousands, all of that and worse is occurring.

If we think anything is evil, that is it. Not “meat.”

30 Ways to Make a Girl Smile

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Inspired by the currently-trending Twitter topic, #30WaysToMakeAGirlSmile.  This is slightly tongue-in-cheek for those of you with your Serious Hats on all the time.

  1. Make her feel safe by not exploiting other females for their milk. Girls get nervous when they think you’re going to steal their breastmilk.
  2. Acknowledge that enslaving female animals and forcing them to reproduce is a human feminist issue.
  3. Cook her a truly happy meal.
  4. Don’t claw her to death with the big, scary apex predator claws which you do not have.
  5. Smile at, don’t bite her with, your stubby little “canine” teeth that are cavity-prone and need braces to keep straight.
  6. Don’t force your beliefs down her throat!  Learn to kiss properly!
  7. Adopt, do not breed!
  8. Learn to count to 30.

30. Go vegan!

Battlestar Galactica S2:E5, “The Farm”

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Spoiler alert.

Season 2, Episode 5 of Battlestar Galactica is called, “The Farm.” Kara Thrace wakes up in a ‘hospital’ which turns out to be a breeding ground run by Cylons.

She is asked by a woman prisoner to cut the power and kill her, because she “can’t live like these. We’re baby machines.”

Kara and, hopefully, the viewers are sickened and probably enraged at this disgusting mistreatment of human beings. They should be.

The same goes for our treatment of animals. The same garbage discrimination is used by humans to enslave animals in real life as was used by Cylons to enslave and breed humans in Battlestar.

Hulu offers the show if you’re willing to watch 90 minutes of commercials first. Here, I’ve embedded the scene for your viewing pleasure:

Omnis mundi creatura

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Quoted in The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, I find this inspiring and moving. There are deep connections between the state of earth’s animals and earth’s human animals.

Omnis mundi creatura
quasi liber et pictura
nobis est in speculum;
nostrae vitae, nostrae mortis,
nostri status, nostrae sortis
fidele signaculum.
All the world's creatures,
as a book and a picture,
are to us as a mirror;
our life, our death,
our present condition, our passing
are faithfully signified.

More info by A. G. Pluskowski.

Top Ten Lies I Hear

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Inspired by the currently trending #Top10Lies Twitter hashtag, here are the ones I hear most about vegan diets, motives and vegans themselves.

  1. “Veganism is expensive.” I build muscle on $4 a day. Grains, legumes, beans, veggies, etc., are incredibly affordable and nearly all the recipes can be cooked quicker than you can drive to a restaurant.
  2. “Vegans are elitist.” There is nothing more elitist than subjugating innocent beings and killing their children because you prefer the way their milk tastes.
  3. “Vegan diets just aren’t healthy.” This nearly always follows someone assuming you went vegan ‘for health reasons,’ and then trying to find some criticism when you tell them you stopped eating animals for ethical reasons. Vegan diets are incredibly healthy.
  4. “Plants feel pain, too.” You have to be out of touch with reality to utter this as a reason to eat animals. To produce a plate of animal-based food, you have to spend 20 plates of plant-based food and a tremendous amount of water. Eating animals means eating, by proxy, 20 times as many plants as a vegan does. Plants do not have any nervous systems.
  5. “Vegans cram their beliefs down other people’s throats.” No, foie gras is cramming your beliefs down throats.
  6. “Vegans are weak little waifs.” I can’t speak for Mac Danzig, Brendan Brazier and Robert Cheek, but they are not waifs. Anecdotally, I have been vegan four years and I still squat twice my body weight. Vegans are just people. If they lift weights and eat right, they get big. If they argue on the internet all day, they get pasty and skinny (or fat), just like meat eaters.
  7. “All vegans love PeTA and are domestic terrorists.” No, vegans want you to live longer, healthier, and to stop exploiting animals. Shoving 1,100 pigs down a killing line per day is a terror factory. PeTA has as much to do with vegans as the National Rifle Association has to do with eating chicken.
  8. “It’s too hard to be vegan.” Too hard to shove food in your face? Too hard to say ‘vegetable fajitas’ instead of ‘chicken fajitas’ when you are eating at a Mexican place? The ‘too hard’ excuse reminds me of all the excuses I heard when I was a personal trainer.
  9. “You can only get protein from tofu.” Tofu has protein, but you don’t need tofu to get all the protein you need. The world has gone protein crazy. People have been convinced through protein suppliers that a human needs 50g of cow-based juice every 3 hours or they will shrivel up and die. Don’t believe the hype. Do some research. You’ll be fine.
  10. “Growing plants causes field mice to be killed, therefore eating animals is okay, and vegans are hypocrites.” People forget that it takes tremendous amounts of plant material to feed 56 billion land animals every year. More field mice are killed feeding meat eaters than feeding vegans. And the idea that accidental harm justifies intentional and unnecessary harm is just stupid.

This update is a little grumpier and less polished than most of mine, so if I’ve offended you, please go vegan.