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Archive * Must Reads | Veganise Me
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


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


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)


Sep 19 2010

Excerpts from Eating Animals

by Edward

Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else?
If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn’t motivating, what would be?
If being the number one contributor to the most serious thread facing the planet (global warming) isn’t enough, what is?
If increased rate of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other ills doesn’t scare you, then what does?
And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say, not now, then when?

And why is taste, the crudest of our senses, exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other senses? If you stop and think about it, it’s crazy. How would you judge an artist who mutilated animals in a gallery because it was visually interesting? How beautiful would the sound of a tortured animal need to be to make you want to hear it that badly? Try to imagine any end other than taste for which it would be justifiable to do what we do to animals.

It’s easy to make oneself feel better about it by buying “humane” meat. Unfortunately however there’s no legal definition of humane – it’s simply a label that you have no control over. The margins are low, they can’t afford not to mass produce these animals as through they are objects. In the end they are all killed in the same slaughterhouse as all the others. The stun guns only work 80% of the time. Every day animals get skinned alive in the factory process.

These things happen whether in humane farming or factory farming.

And many people seem to be tempted to continue supporting factory farms while also buying meat outside that system when it is available. That’s nice. But if it is as far as our moral imaginations can stretch, then it’s hard to be optimistic about the future. Any plan that involves funneling money to the factory farm won’t end factory farming. How effective would the Montgomery bus boycott have been if protesters had used the bus when it became inconvenient not to? How effective would a strike be if workers announced they would go back to work as soon as it became difficult to strike?

Before child labor laws, there were businesses that treated their ten-year-old employees well. Society didn’t ban child labor because it’s impossible to imagine children working in a good environment, but because when you give that much power to business over powerless individuals, it’s corrupting. When we talk around thinking we have a greater right to eat an animal than the animal has a right to live without suffering, it’s corrupting.

If we are at all serious about ending factory farming, then the absolute least we can do is stop sending checks to the absolute worst abusers. For some, the decision to eschew factory-farmed products is easy. For others the decision is hard. To those for whom it sounds like a hard decision, the ultimate question is whether it is worth the inconvenience. We know, at least, that this decision will prevent deforestation, curb global warming, reduce pollution, save oil reserves, lessen the burden on rural areas, decrease human rights abuses, improve public health, and help eliminate the most systematic animal abuse in world history. What we don’t know, though, may be just as important. How would making such a decision change us?

Setting aside the direct material changes initiated by opting out of the factory farm system, the decision to eat with such deliberateness would itself be a force with enormous potential. What kind of world would we create if three times a day we activated our compassion and reason as we saw down to eat, if we had the moral imagination and the pragmatic will to change our most fundamental act of consumption?

Compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use, and the regular exercise of choosing kindness over cruelty would change us.

It might sound naive to suggest that whether you order a chicken patty or a veggie burger is a profoundly important decision. Then again, it certainly would have sounded fantastic if in the 1950s you were told that where you saw in a restaurant or on a bus could begin to uproot racism. It would have sounded equally fantastic if you were told in the early 1970s, before Cesar Chavez’s workers’ rights campaigns, that refusing to eat grapes could begin to free farmworkers from slave-like conditions. It might sound fantastic, but when we bother to look, it’s hard to deny that our day-to-day choices shape the world.


Jun 3 2010

How are you better than them?

by Edward

Let me ask you some questions to help us come to a conclusion.

Were the Nazis bad because:

  1. They tortured/killed human beings en mass?
  2. They tortured/killed beings that were able to suffer?

Meaning, if they had tortured/killed brain dead humans (who were not able to feel pain/fear) would it have been just as bad or would it have been forgotten by today?

And if they had tortured/killed millions of monkeys who were able to feel the same amount of pain as the Jews, would it still be remembered today?

If humans are animals, and if human intelligence is unrelated to the ability to feel pain, which is shared equally amongst most animals, then why is it so shocking to torture a human but not an animal?

How is it that our intelligence grants us the right not to suffer? Isn’t that like saying that our sight grants us the right not to be shouted at? Are these qualities connected in any way? Can a person with high IQ suffer more than one with a low IQ? In fact, can’t children, who are unable to rationalise their pain, seemingly feel more pain than adults?

Why has the holocaust stuck in our minds for so long because of a few million tortured Jews but the hundreds of billions of animals who were since equally tortured for food are not remembered?

And would the holocaust have been any less shocking if the Nazis didn’t kill Jews because of hatred, but simply because they enjoyed the taste of Jewish meat and killed them to feed their families? Equally, would it have been just as shocking to you if the Nazis had tortured and killed millions of cows because they hated cows? If not, why not?

Is it the reason for unneeded torture (hatred, taste, convenience) that makes it horrific or is it simply the torture itself?

So why is it that we grant rights to some but not others?

Was it relevant to the Nazis that Jews were humans? How about the slave masters and the blacks, did they care about their species or was race only deciding factor to them?

You, I assume, care about all humans regardless of anything, so long as they are human. But why do you stop there? Why do you not care about all animals regardless of species?

One is black, the other white, one has fur the other not, one can write poems the other cannot. But are those attributes relevant to the right not to suffer? If so, should a severely retarded human be stripped of their rights?

And under what logic should the right not to suffer be based on color, gender, race, height, religion, sexuality or species? Would it not make more sense if the right not to suffer was based on the mere ability to suffer?

I would appreciate it if you could share your logic on the subject and explain why you believe you are better than the Nazis/slave masters and deserve not to be compared to them.


May 14 2010

Justifying the unjustifiable

by Edward

Taking the usual meat eater’s justification for continuing their practice, it’s easy to put things into perspective and see how others have justified their actions, however atrocious they seem to the ones who don’t agree with them.

Animals taste good and since I am more powerful I feel I have the right to eat them. Animals are inferior beings, they don’t have our level of intellect so I don’t see anything wrong with eating them. They were bred for this purpose so their suffering is non-important as long as I get meat on my plate. Our society has eaten animals for hundreds of years, it’s a part of our culture and I’m not the one who’ll change that.


Slaves are useful and since I am more powerful I feel I have the right to own them. Blacks are inferior beings, they don’t have our level of intellect so I don’t see anything wrong with using them. They were bred for this purpose so their suffering is non-important as long as the job gets done. Our society has enslaved other races for hundreds of years, it’s a part of our culture and I’m not the one who’ll change that.


Women bring me pleasure and since I am more powerful I feel I have the right to rape them. Women are inferior beings, they don’t have our level of intellect so I don’t see anything wrong with raping them. They were born for this purpose so their suffering is non-important as long as I get pleasure. Our society has raped women for hundreds of years, it’s a part of our culture and I’m not the one who’ll change that.


Jews are not a pure race and since I am more powerful I feel I have the right to kill them. Jews are inferior beings, they don’t have our level of intellect so I don’t see anything wrong with killing them. They are bred for this purpose so their suffering is non-important as long as Germany is free from them. Our society has killed inferior tribes for hundreds of years, it’s a part of our culture and I’m not the one who’ll change that.


If the above comparisons sound far fetched to you, it’s worth remembering that your current views would sound equally far fetched to those people. I think the time has come to extend our morals to respect all creatures capable of suffering, regardless of color, race, gender or species.


Dec 18 2009

We are largely the same

by Edward

venn


Oct 6 2009

Letter to thousands of nonhuman animals

by Leafy

Yesterday I came across a beautiful letter of apology that was written to the thousands of nonhuman animals who had suffered and died to satisfy one man’s appetite for animal foods.

Dear thousands of cows, chickens, fish, shrimp, pigs and insects,

I paid someone to hold you captive in tight quarters. To remove your genitals, your beaks, your tails and to brand you, all while wide awake and without anesthesia. To forcibly impregnate you and keep you that way all your life. I paid them to remove you from your children and from your parents at birth. And finally to kill you. I paid them to treat you as a commodity, a slave, as an object that existed only for my benefit. As if you could not suffer, or as if it didn’t matter if you could or not. All of this when it was unnecessary to do so. I did this solely for my own pleasures. A tasty meal, a full belly. You gave me comfort, you gave me a way to fit in with others and with the crowd. You gave me a center piece around which I and my family could celebrate. You were there to fill an empty space when I had a longing that I didn’t know how to fix. You made me feel safe. I know you can’t answer me directly, but I want to make this right. I feel I do not yet understand how to do this fully. Until then I will do what I can.

I love you,
Eric


Apr 23 2009

If you eat meat you’re a bad person.

by Edward

Original post by George Dvorsky on Sentient Developments http://www.sentientdevelopments.com/2007/08/meat-eaters-are-bad-people.html


That’s right — you heard me, bitch.

If you eat meat you’re a bad person.

And you’re probably deluded too, desperately clinging to quasi-sensical rationalizations that are supposed to justify your cruel and filthy habit.

Yup, you guessed it — I’m through being Mr. Nice Guy when it comes to dealing with meat eaters. I’ve passed a personal tipping point, so to speak, mostly on account of my having to suffer through far too many dinner conservations in which I’m exposed to ridiculous and unfounded arguments intended to support the practice of eating flesh.

Ultimately, when it comes right down to it there is no excuse for eating meat.

Let me repeat that.

There is no excuse for eating meat.

All justifications for doing so – including those rare arguments that actually manage to make sense – are weak to the core. There’s no possible excuse that outweighs the damage and suffering caused by consuming meat.

I would now like to take the time to debunk some of the more common fallacies I’m forced to listen to (and supposedly tolerate) on a regular basis:

Continue reading


Apr 22 2009

Human Beast

by Edward

Let’s pretend for a moment that meat was an absolute necessity for human survival. Shouldn’t we, as the superior beings that we are, uniquely capable of imagination, speech, art and ethics do our utmost to ensure that animals live a good and comfortable life and die in a nanosecond without any chance of feeling any pain?

Now, since we do not need meat to survive, and in fact are healthier without it, then shouldn’t treating animals with such disregard and killing them so callously be considered a doubly barbaric act?

Until we are collectively able to use our intelligence to care about the well-being of all others and stop thinking solely about ourselves and our superiority,  it doesn’t matter whether we’ve been to the moon, built pyramids or iPhones –  we’re still no better than beasts.