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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Do Vegans Believe That Meat is Evil?


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


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!


Comic: Pushy Vegans


Comic: Pushy Vegans

 

Even if you still eat meat, deviating even once from the social norms is going to get you reactions like this.  If you have no interest in going vegan, then at least try eating a conspicuously vegan meal a few times in mixed company.  For instance, vegetable fajitas when everyone else is having cow in theirs, or a veggie burger at a place which servers cow burgers.  Watching people’s reactions as they try to figure out why you’re not joining in on the meat eating is fun and philosophically profitable.

You may notice the jacket looks really familiar to a certain sweater worn in another webcomic.  For my first page, I wanted to pay tribute to Penny-Arcade, who have provided me with years of chuckles and a few outright guffaws.


Lying about Food Coloring Lies about Junk Food


Fresh from Obvious Pile, “Color additives are an inexpensive way to simulate absent fruit or vegetable ingredients, make white bread look more like whole wheat, or make sugary cereals more appealing to young children, according to CSPI.”

The result is that people eat garbage they might not normally eat because the garbage doesn’t look entirely like garbage.  For instance, and with emphasis added:

Betty Crocker Carrot Cake Mix has no carrots, as such. Instead, it has “carrot flavored pieces” made with corn syrup, flour, corn cereal, partially hydrogenated cottonseed and/or soybean oil, a small amount of “carrot powder,” unspecified artificial color, and Yellow 6 and Red 40. Most varieties of Mt. Olive and Vlassic pickles appear greener and fresher thanks to Yellow 5. Kraft Light Catalina Salad Dressing contains Red 40. And caramel coloring and cocoa darken Pepperidge Farm Pumpernickel Bread.

More at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

What can you do?  Eat fresh meals made from whole ingredients.


Vegan Quinoa Lentil Burgers


This recipe makes about 14 large (~10cm diameter, ~2cm thick) patties.  You need:

  • For nutrition and texture:
    • 2C lentils
    • 2C quinoa
    • A bunch of rolled oats
    • A box of wheat gluten (you won’t need the whole box, but measurements vary based on taste)
  • Flavors:
    • Garlic salt
    • More salt
    • An onion
How to Do Stuff:
  1. Assuming you’re going to eat these for dinner, put the quinoa and lentils in a big pot with lots of water in the morning.
  2. While at work, spend some quality time on YouTube arguing about pointless garbage.
  3. 8 or so hours later, you’re back home and ready to cook some lentil burgers.
  4. Heat the pot to boiling.  Let it boil a couple minutes.
  5. Reduce to simmer and leave it that way until the mixture thickens or the beans are soft.
  6. Drain as well as you can.
  7. I recommend making 1 patty first, before you go all Henry Ford Production Line on your kitchen:
    1. Scoop 1/2 cup of the quinoa/lentil mix and drain it even more.
    2. Dump it into a bowl.
    3. Add 1/4 cup oats.
    4. Add 1/2T  diced onions.
    5. Add 1T to 2T of wheat gluten.  (Tapioca starch might work – I haven’t tried yet)
    6. Add 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (or more/less, to taste).
    7. Mush together until it has a texture like wet, clumpy Play-Doh.  It should not be crumbly in your hand.  It should not be grainy like the ocean sand.  It should stick together like the E in Ella.  Unlike cow hamburger, it won’t give you salmonella.
  8.  Press into a patty and fry in light oil.  I salt each side of the patty before frying it.

Each has about 20-25g protein, very little fat, and delicious taste!

 


Battlestar Galactica S2:E5, “The Farm”


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


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


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.


They Have No Interest in the Future


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.

Robber Barons

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.


Broccoli, Potatoes and Not-Cheese


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!

Sauce Ingredients

  • 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.

Instructions

  1. Stick everything in a blender.
  2. Oh god, not the broccoli, too! Start over.
  3. Stick everything except the broccoli in a blender.
  4. Whirrrrrrrrrrrrr!
  5. Realize you forgot to heat the oven to 350. Do that now.
  6. Chop broccoli into decorative shapes while you wait.
  7. Your oven isn’t all that great, so argue with someone on the internet while you wait those last 25 seconds.
  8. Arrange broccoli alphabetically in a big pan thing.
  9. Pour blended stuff onto the broccoli.
  10. Shove into oven.
  11. 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.