The Torture Never Stops – But It Must, For All of Us to Survive

Michael Moss/The New York Times

Michael Moss/The New York Times

Whether its animals or people, our society tortures millions of innocent lives everyday.

Two stories brought that home to me this week.

The New York Time published a story on Jan. 19 – U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit: Animal Welfare at Risk in Experiments for Meat Industry. The story exposes the experiments done on cows, pigs and sheep at a USDA research facility in rural Nebraska.

At a remote research center on the Nebraska plains, scientists are using surgery and breeding techniques to re-engineer the farm animal to fit the needs of the 21st-century meat industry. The potential benefits are huge: animals that produce more offspring, yield more meat and cost less to raise.

There are, however, some complications.

Pigs are having many more piglets — up to 14, instead of the usual eight — but hundreds of those newborns, too frail or crowded to move, are being crushed each year when their mothers roll over. Cows, which normally bear one calf at a time, have been retooled to have twins and triplets, which often emerge weakened or deformed, dying in such numbers that even meat producers have been repulsed.

Then there are the lambs. In an effort to develop “easy care” sheep that can survive without costly shelters or shepherds, ewes are giving birth, unaided, in open fields where newborns are killed by predators, harsh weather and starvation.

The picture above shows some of the unintended consequences of the “easy care” program.

Last Mother’s Day, at the height of the birthing season, two veterinarians struggled to sort through the weekend’s toll: 25 rag-doll bodies. Five, abandoned by overtaxed mothers, had empty stomachs. Six had signs of pneumonia. Five had been savaged by coyotes.

“It’s horrible,” one veterinarian said, tossing the remains into a barrel to be dumped in a vast excavation called the dead pit.

It was difficult getting through this article – reading about untrained personnel performing surgery on animals, ranchers being repulsed by the “twinning” program – but that didn’t stop the “researchers” from moving forward with the experiments, and dangerous experiments with horrible results.

Months into his new job at the center in 1989, Dr. Keen said, he got a call from a fellow worker asking him to help with a “downed cow.”

“There was a young cow, a teenager, with as many as six bulls,” he recalled. “The bulls were being studied for their sexual libido, and normally you would do that by putting a single bull in with a cow for 15 minutes. But these bulls had been in there for hours mounting her.”

The cow’s head was locked in a cagelike device to keep her immobile, he said. “Her back legs were broken. Her body was just torn up.”

Dr. Keen wanted to euthanize the animal, but the scientist in charge could not be tracked down for permission. A few hours later, the cow died.

In order to end the friction between researchers and veterinarians, who raised questions about experiments that would cause undue harm to animals, the research center has no veterinarians on full-time staff.

This is what happens when the need for larger profits and reduced costs becomes the driving force behind everything in the industrial food complex. Animals are commodities and expendable. It is disgusting.

Please take the time to read this important article and sign a petition started by Animal Place – an animal sanctuary in Northern CA – to call for the closure of this facility to put an end to this tax-funded cruelty and needless experimentation. Continue reading

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Circles of Compassion

Circles of Compassion

circles of compassion coverDr. Will Tuttle, author of the World Peace Diet, has edited a new book Circles of Compassion: Essays Connecting Issues of Justice. The foreword is written by author and activist Carole J. Adams.

This book consists of a series of essays by internationally recognized authors and activists, Edited by Dr. Will Tuttle. The essays focus on how the seemingly disparate issues of human, animal, and environmental rights are indeed connected. Authors also provide practical guidance about how to make the individual, systems, and social changes necessary to effectively create a peaceful and just world for all.

It includes essays from over 25 authors including Robert Grillo, Melanie Joy, Richard Oppenlander, lauren Ornelas, and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

It is available for 25% off the original price on the publisher’s website as a book or PDF ebook, or from Amazon. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Veganism quote

Catching Up – The Voodoo Made Me Do It

Voodoo DoughnutsWow, its been over a month since I did a post and there’s a lot of catching up to do.

About the time I did the last post, I volunteered to be the webmaster for 350Marin and that led to one of their members asking me to create a site for him for his new book.

Then our daughter, who is living with us, adopted two kittens – which did not make our 18-yr-old cat happy. But has added to the daily chores around the house.kittens

Bottom line – its been a busy month. So let’s get caught up.

The last post was about the upcoming Sonoma Veg Fest. It was great. The planners hoped for 300-400 people, they got almost 1,000. There was great energy with fabulous vegan food, cooking demonstrations, speakers and a standing room only showing of Cowspiracy.

The speakers included Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet. He gave a fantastic talk about why caring for animals and the planet will help us care for each other also.

Cowspiracy is an incredible film – it’s a look at why the large environmental groups don’t talk about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. Concerned about the drought in California? Shorter showers aren’t going to make a difference, going vegan will. Here’s a clip from the movie – find a showing near you on their website and go see it.


Sweet Pea BakeryThose of you familiar with Portland, Oregon will recognize the Voodoo Doughnuts sign above. We went there over Labor Day weekend. My wife is convinced that Portland is where vegans go when they die and go to heaven. There are so many vegan restaurants and others that cater to them – including Voodoo Doughnuts.

We visited the “Vegan Mini Mall” on SW Stark Street in Portland, where you can find a food store (Food Fight), clothing store (Herbivore), tattoo parlor (Scapegoat) and a bakery (Sweetpea). Here is a look at some of their pastries. They make a cinnamon roll that was gooey as any non-vegan roll. If you are in Portland, you need to check it out and support vegan businesses.


climate_marchFinally, get out in the street where ever you live for the People’s Climate March tomorrow September 21. If you can’t make it for the main event in New York City, then find an event near you.

Whether it’s ending the proliferation of factory farmed animals, stopping fracking or keeping the dirty coal and oil in the ground – we have to get serious about stopping climate change.

Naomi Klein’s new book – This Changes Everything – makes the case that we all know is true – the politicians will not solve this, the people – US! – have to make our voices heard and our presence seen.

See you in the streets. Watch this video – the entire film is available online – to understand why this is so important.

 

Sonoma County Veg Fest

Sonoma County Veg FestThe Sonoma County Veg Fest is this Saturday, August 16 from 10:00am-5:00pm in Santa Rosa, CA. The cost to attend is $5.00.

There is a great line-up of speakers including Dr. Will Tuttle, author of the best-seller The World Peace Diet and Veg Fest organizer Hope Bohanec, author of the book The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?.

Along with these great speakers, cooking demonstrations and fabulous vegan food, the movie Cowspiracy will be shown at 3:00pm with a talk afterwards with Keegan Kuhn, co-director of Cowspiracy.

CowspiracyIf you live in the Bay Area or Northern California, come and join me at the Veg Fest. It will be a great time.

Is Being an Ethical Vegan Affecting Our Mental Health?

Italy actiivist holding dead animal

Italian activists mourn the cruelty and abuse of animals in a street protest, holding the bodies of dead animals, 13 April, 2014.

I found this fascinating article – Should vegans be issued with a mental health warning? – written by Australian psychologist Clare Mann. She relates how she has had doctors referring patients they believe have a mental disorder to her. After talking to them, she found the common element is that they are vegan.

What if their associated symptoms were not signs of mental illness at all, but instead signs of extreme anguish, grief, betrayal and the madness of speciesism? …

Once you lift the veil on what is going on behind our speciesism, you will most likely reach the same conclusion – that it is a form of madness but not your madness.  The madness of how our society thinks speciesism – our unspoken superiority over the animal kingdom and differing treatment of different species – is ok.

So why is it so painful to be an animal advocate or adopt a vegan lifestyle? And most importantly what can you do to alleviate your pain and help animals?

I have been eating a plant-based diet for a year and a half now, but it has only been in the last nine months or so that I have had the “veil” lifted and understood the madness.

I was a vegetarian “for ethical reasons” for almost 15 years and didn’t know the ways I contributed to the exploitation of animals.

Now that I am aware, I am experiencing what Dr. Mann describes in this article – the grief, the anger at the industrialized food system and the inability to talk to non-vegans about how I feel. Are the relationships vegans have with non-vegans different from those we might have with someone who has gone through a divorce or other life-changing event, if we haven’t experienced them?

Dr. Mann believes they are.

The vegan who then talks to their (non-vegan) friend about these issues, who subsequently doesn’t also become vegan, believes that their friend either agrees with the cruelty, disbelieves what goes on or is indifferent to it.

Either way, the vegan knows that the non-vegan now has the knowledge but chooses to continue with the collusion. This is why they say that their friends or family don’t understand them.

Luckily, since moving to California, my wife and I have found vegan meetups and gotten involved in vegan book discussions where we can share these feelings.

If you are experiencing these feelings and don’t have people to discuss them with, go online and find the support you need through local vegan or animal activist groups.

How do we move forward from here?

Dr Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, offers us a solution to help us on this journey. He says that each of us are born vegan and is on the path to returning to this place.

If you are an animal activist or vegan reading this, you will most likely remember a time before your eyes were opened to the institutionalised superiority humans hold over animals i.e. speciesism.

Draw on that experience to ‘leap ahead’ for other people who have yet to have their eyes opened, holding the vision of a more compassionate world, one in which humans do not exercise superiority over non-human species and where animals live their own lives for their own sakes – not ours.

The entire article is worth reading and I hope will spark some great conversations.