Nov 13 2012

Why Animal Rights?

by Edward

MY PERSPECTIVE / INTRO

The words below are mostly not my own, but a collection of patched facts and thoughts by many great philosophers.

I am the voice of the voiceless; Through me the dumb shall speak, Till the deaf world’s ears be made to hear The wrongs of the wordless weak. And I am my brothers keeper, And I will fight his fights; And speak the words for beast and bird Till the world shall set things right.

Imagine yourself traveling to a distant land where it is customary to eat dogs, puppies in particular. You are invited to a special occasion dinner, where your closest friends are eating baby labradors. You must sit there, faking smiles on the outside while on the inside you are crying, mourning for the lives of individuals you never even met. While they enjoy what to them is merely a meal, you are sad thinking about the months of misery those puppies had to endure for that brief moment of your friend’s pleasure.

Imagine in another distant land where women are considered inferior, and do not share the same rights as men. Your male co-workers happily share their stories of raping women or beating up their wives – all perfectly legal in that place. You want to say something, you want to share your views of equality but you know that if you do you will upset them and risk losing your job for disrupting their peace.

In both those situations, would you respect those people’s opinions and views of the world when it so widely opposes your own? How can you respect people who don’t respect the kinds of people that you respect? You may be forced to co-exist with them, be their friends, work with them, but you will never respect what they do, however much legal it may be in that country.

We all know that there is something so very dreadful, so satanic in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power, who have weapons neither of offence nor defense, that none but very hardened persons can endure the thought of it.

Kindness has no limits, it doesn’t have to end at any particular group. True benevolence, or compassion, extends itself through the whole of existence and sympathizes with the distress of every creature capable of sensation.

Continue reading

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Apr 14 2012

Eat Meat & Die

by Edward

Eat Meat & Die
Created by: OnlineAssociatesDegree.com

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Dec 6 2011

Eat More Kale

by Edward

Eat More Kale

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Dec 5 2011

Earthlings Transcript (Intro)

by Edward

THE THREE STAGES OF TRUTH

1. RIDICULE
2. VIOLENT OPPOSITION
3. ACCEPTANCE
EARTHLINGS

earth’ling: n. One who inhabits of the earth.

Since we all inhabit the earth, all of us are considered earthlings. There is no sexism, no racism or speciesism in the term earthling. It encompasses each and every one of us: warm or cold blooded, mammal, vertebrate or invertebrate, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, and human alike.

Humans, therefore, being not the only species on the planet, share this world with millions of other living creatures, as we all evolve here together. However, it is the human earthling who tends to dominate the earth, often times treating other fellow earthlings and living beings as mere objects. This is what is meant by speciesism.

By analogy with racism and sexism, the term “speciesism” is a prejudice or attitude of bias in favor of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species.

If a being suffers there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that one’s suffering can be counted equally with the like suffering of any other being. Continue reading

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Oct 3 2011

Vegan FAQ #4 – Aren’t Vegans Hypocrites?

by Lindsey

Some people like to call out vegans for not being perfect, so that they can feel comfortable about continuing to use animal products and justified in not having to change their actions. This point is first of all a logical fallacy called tu quoque. Check out this video for an excellent explanation of this fallacy. Second, this claim shows a complete misunderstanding of what veganism is. In addition to explaining their fallacy, you may need to give them a mini education on veganism.

Animal products are the result of intentional torture and killing on a mass scale. Over 40 billion land animals (don’t know the numbers on the fish) are killed each year in the US alone. I don’t think that there is anything hypocritical about avoiding products of intentional torture, imprisonment, and slaughter and trying to persuade others to eliminate this from their lives in order to dismantle an utterly barbaric system, while not being able to eliminate all unintentional products of animal suffering, such as deaths of animals in farm fields or habitat destruction by the construction and operation of factories that pollute. I don’t know any vegans who feel they are perfect. In fact, most think that being vegan is the very least they can do for animals.

Being vegan is avoiding animal exploitation wherever it is unnecessary (key word being unnecessary). Unless you are truly starving and in a remote location with no alternatives, then it is always unnecessary to eat animal products. It is always unnecessary to use them for clothing. One person I encountered claimed that using any modern technology or anything plastic harms animals even more than eating animal products does. I’m not sure how using a computer harms animals, but it is something of a necessity in today’s world (I use it for my job in order to make money to feed myself, and food is kind of a necessity), and unfortunately there are no certified vegan computers…yet. Maybe there will be one day. Same can be said of a car if one is needed to drive to work. It is a necessary evil right now, but technology is moving toward developing cars and other forms of transportation that harm the environment less. Should human rights advocates stop using computers and iPhones for advocacy work because human slave labor may have been used to produce them, or should they stop advocating for human rights on the Internet entirely because otherwise they would be, in this fallacious view, hypocrites? Vegans avoid products where animal exploitation is direct and obvious and may then make it their life’s quest to continue eliminating products and practices of exploitation that are not as obvious. After becoming vegan, almost every vegan becomes very aware of his or her environmental impact, and many start making steps toward avoiding plastic or whatever other environmental disaster as much as possible, while also reducing their general consumption of unnecessary things (superfluous clothing, household items, random junk, etc.). Unfortunately in this very nonvegan world, it is impossible to avoid animal use in some way unless one goes and lives in the wild. But if more of the world does become vegan, one day it may be possible to use things that are nearly 100% free of any harms to animals, as the practices of most corporations or whatever entities provide us with resources to live will most likely be more conscientious than they are now, which is close to zero. Becoming vegan usually makes one more conscientious than ever. Veganism is a start to ridding the world of animal exploitation and not the end all, be all. It was never about intervening and ending the harm of every animal on the planet right now, so if one thinks that, then I can see why he/she would think vegans are hypocrites, but hopefully if you explain to him/her what veganism actually is, he/she will stop calling vegans hypocrites unless he/she sees a vegan engaging in obviously unnecessary animal use like eating dairy cheese (making that person not vegan anyway).

If you believe that animals have the right to not be used as commodities, then you must be vegan. Vegans never make the claim that being vegan will make you perfect and that you will avoid every single harm to animal, human or not. Being vegan is a start to eradicating violence in the world, and vegan activists are trying to get others to the starting line as well, and most are not in any way saying that this is the end of the world’s problems or problems for wild animals just because a small percentage of the population is vegan right now.

No one can know the implications of a world of people becoming more conscientious and at the same time vastly reducing resource use by worldwide adoption of veganism. Get rid of the wasteful, damaging abuses to the environment by the animal agriculture industries, and you’re going to have a world where it is much easier to always be kinder and gentler to all animals everywhere and reduce unintentional harm to them as well. To get there, we first all have to say no to all intentional, avoidable animal use.

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Jul 13 2011

Vegan FAQ #3 – How Can a Vegan Diet Be Natural/Healthy If B12 Is Only in Animal Products?

by Lindsey

Below is most of the text from an email I sent my friend today. From our email exchange over the past few days, she is becoming more and more convinced to aim toward being vegan. The following information is gleaned from various tidbits I’ve read on Vitamin B12 over the past three and a half years as a vegan as well as my own speculation and philosophizing. This is a fascinating and important question to me.

Vitamin B12 is made by bacteria and fungi; it’s not something special made by animals that our body needs. Since there are tons of microbes in the soil, it used to be present there, but the soil has been very worn out by modern agriculture – how intense it is and all the chemicals used. So it is likely that back in the day some used to get absorbed by plants. B12 wasn’t discovered until the 1950s, and modern agriculture with heavy pesticides started right after WWII, when all the chemical warfare companies needed to find something to do with their chemicals. Also, from all the heavy usage of the soil, it’s become more and more demineralized; if there is little cobalt in the soil, then only a little B12 can be made, even if the microbes are there. (B12 is a cobalamin.) So we’ll just never know for sure if plants used to contain B12! I did, however, see a fairly recent study that showed if there is B12 in the soil, then plants can absorb some of it, which offers a possible explanation for why some vegans who do not supplement do not develop deficiencies. Animal agriculture, on the scale that we practice it, does no favors for our farmland. It takes roughly 5-10 times the crops to make animal food than it does to make farm plant food to feed directly to people. So really, this soil depletion may have something to do with the fact that many nonvegans are B12 deficient too; our food supply just is not as in tune with nature as it used to be. One of the ways cows get B12 is by eating lots of soil with grass, and as for the way other farm animals who aren’t grass fed get it – I wouldn’t be surprised if B12 was added as a supplement to their factory produced feed, since I’ve heard that dairy cows are supplemented with calcium (How ironic is that?! We subject cows to horrible living conditions so that we can feed a calcium supplement to them so they can lactate the calcium out for their baby, whom we steal from her and then cruelly confine and slaughter, and so we can take her milk instead and then drink it, all in the name of calcium. We might as well get our calcium from where cows get it naturally when they’re in the wild – plants! Or just cut out the middle man already and take a supplement ourselves.) Today’s lower quality soil could also help to explain why a significant number of nonvegans who eat plenty of animal products are B12 deficient as well. Eating animal products will not insure you against B12 deficiency. Upon learning this fact, B12 ceases to be just the vegan’s issue, but a general health issue for everyone.

Another thing is that our society has become very sanitary about our food. Some soil would stick to vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, and people probably didn’t really bother to scrub their vegetables clean like we do now, and don’t forget that the soil was much healthier and richer then (so don’t think you can get away with meeting your B12 by not washing your produce). There wasn’t such a fear of dirt then either. Also, before massive water purification systems, people would have drunk water contaminated with microbes who make B12; this is why B12 deficiency might not be such a problem in third world countries because they don’t have water where almost all the microorganisms have been killed.

And WAY back in the day, we were probably eating a lot more like the primates we are, a diet of mostly fruit and greens with some insects, dirt, and feces mixed in, all of which are sources of B12. B12 is made by bacteria in your intestines, so yes, you can get B12 from eating your feces; there was actually a study published in the British Journal of Haemotology where B12 was extracted from B12 deficient vegans’ feces and fed back to them, and there was enough B12 in it to get their B12 levels back up to normal. I hope no one would want to do that! But at least it makes a little more sense when you see some animals, like rabbits and other non-ruminant herbivores who can’t make absorb B12 from their digestive tract, eating their own feces. Unfortunately, B12 is made a bit past where it gets absorbed by your body, so you can’t rely on your intestinal flora as a source that you can re-absorb. However, there was a study of Iranian villagers published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and they ate a very small amount of animal products, like a serving of dairy a week and a serving of meat a month, but they had great B12 levels, even though having one serving of animal products everyday, not just once a week/month, would not even provide the B12 RDA. The researchers speculated that their low protein diet allowed the B12 producing bacteria to travel farther up the intestine (probably due to variances in intestinal pH more friendly to the B12 producing bacteria) where it could be absorbed.

Another interesting thing is that we have a very small requirement for B12, I think the smallest of all the vitamins. It’s like 2 micrograms a day. Our bodies hoard it like crazy; your stores can last for years with no intake. It’s almost as if our body knows it’s not a super plentiful vitamin in nature, and we’re only going to come across it infrequently. I think some of it can be recycled in your body too. This is a lot different from how your body treats plentiful vitamins, like C, by just excreting the extra in the urine.

As you can see, this is a very complex issue; it’s not a black and white one that some would like to believe, where we can say we need something that we find pretty much only in the animal products in our food supply now, so that means we must/should eat animal products. Even though at first glance, the B12 question makes people think we must be carnivores, the truth is we’re much closer in physical traits to animals who are mostly herbivorous/frugivorous. To see that, we just need to look to comparative anatomy/physiology. It is so basic, but you probably never learned much about it in school, unfortunately. Please have a look at this chart – (link) And this is a pretty good write-up – (link).

The thing that is really compelling to me that shows we’re not really designed to eat much meat is our basic anatomy. If we were in the wild, naked, could we take down an animal with nothing but our bare hands, blunt teeth, and soft nails? Could we rip apart the animal and eat it? Could we make a clean kill right to the throat like a carnivore does? Could we even catch the animal and hold it in place long enough to hack away at it with our teeth and nails in the first place?! Most animals can outrun humans, obviously, and they can usually squirm away from them once they’re caught too. And would we even have the desire to work that hard to get it? Surely the taste of plain, raw meat isn’t that alluring to make us perform these feats. So a lot of people would say, well we’re meant to kill animals because we have the ability to make tools!…Really? Our rational thinking and intelligence can take us anywhere, make us do anything! Just because we can do it, doesn’t mean that it is right, natural, or healthy for us. Anything our brain can dream will most likely far outpace the human body’s ability to evolve. Fast food, cigarettes, synthetic recreational drugs, processed food, the modern conveniences that allow for sendentariness: all are products of various technologies the human brain dreamed, calculated, and created, and there is no way our body is going to evolve quickly enough to thrive on, let alone safely handle those things in large quantities. Tools used for killing animals are just a much more basic technology we created, and our body has not quite caught up with what it has provided us with. And don’t forget about atomic bombs, torture devices, and chemical/biological warfare; technology does not always take us down the enlightened and peaceful path, and I certainly don’t think that the cavemen technology of spears and rocks is the brightest and best idea so much so that we should perpetuate it with the updated technology of slaughterhouse machinery. I won’t deny that there were times in our history when it was necessary for humans to eat meat to survive, but just because we can eat and digest something (processed food, McDonald’s, cockroaches, dog and cat meat, cardboard, etc.) doesn’t mean it is optimal for us. Our species evolved in the tropics and then eventually migrated from there; we no longer had our optimal food available in the cold climates we moved to, so we had to make do with what was available in each location. If we would have stayed in the tropics, we probably never would have taken up meat eating with the abundant, appealing fruit available to us there.

Take a look at instinct vs. choice when it comes to food. Right now we eat almost exclusively by choice. If we strip away all cultural and habitual conditioning that direct our food desires and just take two things in their raw, natural state: a live rabbit and a ripe apple. Going only on our instinct and not informing our choice from what we have been taught to eat, which one would almost all people choose 100% of the time? Would the rabbit smell appetizing to us? (He would to dogs and cats, since they have such a strong sense of smell; they can probably smell the meat of the rabbit under his fur.) Would the apple smell appealing to us? Of course. What about the taste of each – do we have taste buds for plain, raw meat with no salt or seasoning added to it? Or do we have taste buds for fruit? Babies are born with a desire for sweetness. There have been experiments where babies are calmed with sugar water; I doubt anyone would try to pacify a baby with a hunk of raw meat. Also, the sight of the apple would appeal to us. Bright color attracts our attention (which is why fruit doesn’t turn a vibrant color until it is ripe and ready to be eaten); some (all?) carnivores are color blind; it’s not important for them to see bright colors and to know when fruit is ripe. So not only is our body hard-wired to tell us to eat the apple, but what would most (normal) people’s instinct make them want to do to the rabbit? Cuddle, hug, and protect him, right? So like I said, now with our food environment vastly different than what would be available in the wild, we eat by choice and not instinct. The crazy thing is even though we don’t eat by instinct anymore, we don’t even truly make much of a choice in the matter, since what we eat is really determined by the culture we were raised in, what was put in front of us as a kid, what is served at social functions, and what is available to us in grocery stores and restaurants. Eating a vegan diet is deciding to take back your choice in the matter a bit more and to maybe eat a little closer to what our instincts would have led us to hundreds of thousands of years ago.

I think it makes sense to look at our most similar genetic relative, the chimp, to see what they eat. We are more closely related to a chimp than a horse is to a donkey, and the latter are so close that they can actually mate with each other. Chimps survive mostly on fruit and greens. I’m betting they get their B12 from insects, worms, and soil on the vegetation they eat. I much rather just take a supplement than eat insects and worms :) Sometimes our technology can help us to improve on nature. I’ve also heard that since humans don’t possess any of the traits of a natural predator, we may be more like opportunistic scavengers instead, sometimes feeding on animals that have already died or ones that predators killed. Again, I much rather stick with the supplement than eat roadkill!

This MD has summed up the B12 thing in the best way I’ve ever seen – “I realize some people think there is something ‘unnatural’ and bad about taking supplements, but it is the price we must pay for eating less dirt, feces and insects than our primate ancestors.” http://veganmd.blogspot.com/2007/12/vegan-must-knows-on-vitamin-b12-d.html

Or you can take a different approach to this question entirely: just brush it off. I read part of the chapter on B12 in vegan dietitians Ginny Messina’s and Jack Norris’s new book, Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet, today, and they say, just forget about trying to argue that humans weren’t meant to eat meat and that it’s not natural. Veganism is about changing the future. It’s not about looking to the past and figuring out how to eat and act from there. It’s about showing people it’s time for our society to evolve. The point is that the evidence shows we can be completely healthy on a vegan diet supplemented with B12. If it’s not the most natural way, who cares?! Who’s eating a 100% natural diet from the wild in this day and age anyway? We live in an unnatural society that is very difficult to break away from. I will happily and proudly take my “unnatural” B12 supplement if it means sparing the life of an animal, thank you very much. It’s a win-win situation. I live; an animal lives.

Now since I’ve mentioned Ginny and Jack, I don’t feel right to end this post without reminding everyone…if you are vegan, TAKE A B12 SUPPLEMENT EVERYDAY. (And do it too, if you’re not a vegan.)

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Jun 4 2011

MyPlate

by Edward
Vegan MyPlate

Vegan MyPlate

What would USDA’s MyPlate look like if meat and dairy lobbyists weren’t involved? If the health of the country was actually more important to them than making money and keeping government subsidies as they are?

Nutritionist Dr Bernard says:

The protein portion of the USDA’s MyPlate is unnecessary, because beans, whole grains, and vegetables are loaded with it. And it is a shame that MyPlate reserves a special place for dairy products, which are packed with fat and cholesterol and may increase the risk of health problems ranging from asthma to some types of cancer. There are many more healthful sources of calcium.

But for taxpayers and members of Congress, the new plate has a special significance. There’s a stark contrast between the USDA’s plate and federal food subsidies. While the USDA’s plate encourages fruit and vegetable consumption and advises Americans to limit high-fat products like meat and cheese, federal agriculture subsidies do exactly the opposite: They spend billions of dollars promoting production of high-fat, high-calorie food products.

Despite skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates, more than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies in recent history have directly and indirectly supported meat and dairy production. In recent history, the federal government has spent about $16 billion a year on agricultural subsidies. Less than 1 percent has gone to fruits and vegetables.

These figures are especially galling when you realize that the taxpayer-funded food system is literally making us sick. More than 60 percent of the deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease, cancer, and other diet-related diseases. Approximately 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. In 2008, the direct medical costs associated with obesity added up to $147 billion.

It’s time for Congress to fix this problem and address our country’s epidemics of obesity and other health problems.

(http://pcrm.org/news/blog/index.html)

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Apr 18 2011

Questions to Ben & Jerry’s

by Edward

Ben & Jerry’s ice creams advertise that their milk comes from well treated cows in the Netherlands.

You can see what they say here: http://www.benjerry.co.uk/caringdairy

I was curious to find out some information that they didn’t really talk about on their website, so I sent them some questions.

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Apr 1 2011

Suspects arrested for killing a young pig

by Edward

Two men have been arrested by police hunting the killers of a young pig. In a chilling turn of events it appears that the men have actually eaten parts of the pig’s body.

Officer, Mike Fowler, said this has been one of the most gruesome acts he has dealt with in his 10 year career as an officer.

The pig, a bright 1 year old had been subjected to a gruesome attack as he grazed in a field with his friends and family.

Mrs Kingsbury, a school teacher, said: “This was an entirely species motivated attack.  That pig was killed and eaten purely because he’s of a different species to us – it’s not fair, he couldn’t change which species he was.”

Superintendent Terry Sherwood, of the National Police Association, told the BBC’s Today programme that the murder was “an unequivocal indication that the cancer of speciesism is still here”.

“Unfortunately, young, innocent animals are subject to it, and I think it is a sad day,” he said. “I have every confidence that the police will catch these people and put them before the courts and demonstrate that we will not tolerate these abhorrent acts of speciesism on young, innocent animals.”

Speaking last night, the chief constable, Larry Sullivan, said: “It is a disgrace that a young pig has been brutally murdered. It is even worse when you think that the only reason for this attack was the victim’s species.”

“Any murder is awful, and this one is particularly abhorrent since the men have allegedly eaten the pig’s body. I can’t emphasise enough the part that the community and members of the public have in helping us to find those responsible for this despicable murder.”

“We are determined to arrest those responsible for committing this murder”"

When witnesses Ginny Messina and Leah Fiennes saw the pig being attacked, they ran off to get help, trying to flag down passing vehicles and banging on doors.

When they returned minutes later, they found him slumped on the ground with his throat slit and his limbs cut out

The local priest, Mrs Sanders, said that these attacks are “entirely untypical of the community in which it happened”, which she described as “settled, peaceful, decent”.

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Feb 7 2011

Vegan Diets Artificial?

by Lindsey

Actually, B12 supplement­­s are not “artificia­­lly produced.” B12 is produced by bacteria and is harvested for use in supplement­­s; it’s not artificial­­ly synthesize­­d. Many bacteria that produce B12 are present in the soil. Animals ingest much more soil than humans do, and the B12 ends up in their tissues. Also, meat is basically rotting flesh, and bacteria love this, so there will be plenty of B12 made by the bacteria on the raw meat as well. In the days before we had to worry about what was in our soil, it was safe to eat vegetables or fruit with some dirt on them, and humans were able to get B12 this way. Our highly sanitized food system makes it difficult to get B12 from vegetables now. So, anyway, all that to say B12 comes from a completely vegan and natural source (bacteria)­­, and there is nothing artificial about eating a vegan diet. Millions of vegans out there are completely healthy with no animal products whatsoever­­. Even if B12 supplement­s were artificial­ly produced, the 100% natural way is not necessaril­­y always the best way to go. If it was, then we should all still be living in the wild.

In reply to this comment:

Whatever diet you choose to eat,it should provide all the nutrients you need from plants and/or animals that occur naturally. A vegan diet is deficient in B-12. It is necessary to take an artificially produced supplement­. This to me indicates that a vegan diet is not one naturally suited to humans.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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