In taking a quick look at the animal protection laws of the state of Virginia it immediately became clear that justice is anything but blind. This is especially true in regards to species, and it becomes abundantly clear that there is no rational foundation upon which the speciesist approach to law making exists. Dogs and cats have protections against being injured, killed, and for the most part, experimented upon. On the other hand, there are very few protections for animals like pigs, cows and chickens. Yet, few people know that these animals have almost no protection from abuse and people go to the grocery store and pay money for products that insure that these animals are not protected from being killed. How is it in a society that claims to value justice, we can hold that cats and dogs deserve special protections and the ones that humans eat do not? This is not the first time that laws were designed to discriminate. While many would argue it is wrong to compare historical events relating to humans to current issues relating to animals, I am not one of those people. I seek the truth where I find it, play it where it lies, and will look to historical examples to guide me in making sense of what I see. In the early part of the 1900s, African Americans were treated as second class citizens. They were given very different treatment based on nothing more than the color of their skin. Absurdly, white people and black people were required to drink from different water fountains. These ideas were based solely on the simple fact that people ignorantly believed skin color made a difference. We all know that when taken to court, there was an uphill battle for an African American to get treated to the same justice as a white person. Fortunately, both African American and many white people joined together to demand that justice truly be blind to something as ridiculous as skin color. Skin color was not a significant factor in justifying giving someone less rights or privileges than someone of another skin color. Today, I see this same ignorance in the laws made in regards to the treatment of cats and dogs versus the laws (or absence there of) made to protect pigs, cows and chickens. I get that in the case of the Civil Rights movement, there was not a difference of species in regards to the parties involved. But what is the difference between a dog and a pig that makes one worthy of protection and the other deserving of the death sentence that he is born with? Is there a single iota of philosophical foundation to such laws protecting one animal and not the other? In order to discriminate against a certain species, shouldn't we require some justification that shows why that species does not deserve protections? Yet, it is clear that it is nothing more than tradition and cultural practices that determine the law (just as it had been the basis of establishing slavery and later segregation). The species of an animal is not a valid reason for determining how they should be treated. There was no justification for discriminating against African Americans and so eventually social justice movements led to the overturning of the unjust laws. It is time we take a look at the laws currently segregating the non-human animals existing within our society. We must not continue to kill 53 billion animals a year (or more) simply because our laws are discriminatory in an unjust way. The lives of so many pigs, cows, chickens, and more, should not be dependent on a system of justice that is clearly found to be lacking in regards to what should be of primary importance in making laws: fairness. Can anyone claim that our laws are fair when there is absolutely no rationale given for why some species get to sit snuggled up on our couch and others get to be murdered and mutilated (and in doing so destroy our health, our planet, and the lives of so many sentient beings). Yet, there is even more injustice wrapped up in this flawed system. The vegan revolution is a fight against the greatest injustice to ever face our planet. For the victims of this crime against what is just, will be EVERY living creature. So, if you are too prejudiced against animals to demand they get fair treatment, then consider that those who eat meat are bankrupting your healthcare system and destroying the planet we all share. So, it is truly justice for all that demands we end animal agriculture now and forever! Only then, will we truly be practicing fairness and living in alignment with our morals.
There is something far worse than dying for a just cause and that is living in this world of injustice silently.
There is something far worse than dying for a just cause and that is living in this world of injustice silently.
It seems people ask me if I worry about my safety most when I share videos like the ones below where I expose people for how cruel and heartless they sound. But, the thought of living in this world silently while animals are suffering more than I can ever imagine reminds me why putting myself out there is not one of many choices, but rather the only choice. Come what may, we are defenders of justice. We will not rest until animals are free, we will not be soothed by words like 'cage free' or 'humane.' We will charge head first against all odds but in the end we know that justice will always prevail in the end. Monkish ignorance and dogmatic slumbers will ultimately always give way to reason, hope and justice.
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I Will Admit I'm a 'Hater' of Animal Abuse and Murder.
Do non-vegans realize that when a vegan points out their hypocrisy it is not 'hating'. Taking animals to slaughter, exploiting animals through forced labor, abuse and death, and buying the results of this exploitation needs to be spoken out against. I can't help but feel disgust with those who try to silence opposition by calling it 'hating'. The opinion that non-vegans want us so badly to keep to ourselves is the opinion that they should stop murdering and abusing animals for their profit and/or pleasure. Sure, I know some vegans use emotionally charged words and comments that confound the message they hope to get across. But so many of us are articulate and clear while remaining mostly kind in our delivery and yet we are lumped in as 'haters'. The comment that I left on the a farm blog that discussed taking lambs to be slaughtered (while describing it as if the action made the woman a saint) was basically, 'People, including those who love animals, do not need to exploit animals to make a living.' And I was deleted and blocked from her page. I completely understand if someone said something intentionally mean, foul or violent sounding. But my comment was simply making the point that claiming to love animals while exploiting them is hypocritical. And this was in response to her saying she wished that no animal had to be harmed. If this is 'Hatin' then I will have to continue to do just that. For I will not pat someone on the back for betraying the trust of baby animals so that she can turn a profit on their dead bodies and abuse the living ones to make products from them too (until they cease to be useful and end up meeting with the ultimate betrayal too).
This woman and people like her will be the object of scorn in the history books when we look back on the history of mankind. She will rank with the slaveholder that whined about how hard it was for him to 'care' for his slaves and complained about those damn abolitionists attacking his 'benevolent and paternal' system. The similarities between the slaveholder and the farmer of animals is so similar as to be hard to tell the difference. And they will be ranked with the Nazis in terms of their ability to mindlessly hand out death and suffering to victims that did nothing to deserve it while claiming it was for the greater good. There is no where to escape in the history books for unrepentant animal abusers. They will be shown for what they were. People unwilling to seek out the truth or hear it when told to them (or even consider the possibility that they may be wrong to cause so much harm and suffering). They cannot just say, but I didn't know. Just like ignorance of the law is not a get out of trouble free card, not bothering to question if causing death to so many animals might be wrong is not a get out of being a decent person free card. But just as true, the vegan community openly welcomes people who see the mistakes of the past and address it through change. We understand the difficulty some face in seeing and addressing the need to make changes towards how we treat animals when raised by a world filled with ignorance. We just ask that they join in our crusade to right the wrongs done to animals for too long! We owe animals so much more than this, but it is a start.
But ultimately, I far prefer being wrongly called a 'hater' by some closed-minded person than being someone who abuses and murders animals and is patted on the back for being a nice murderer who kills and abuses the 'right' way.
I know that staying cool, calm and collected when trying to respond to someone talking about how he or she love animals but is also a farmer that profits off the killing of animals can be a difficult task on the best of days. But, as a vegan community, it is key that we stay focused on spreading truth and justice, not hate and venom. Obviously, when I read about someone using live lambs to promote the sale of dead ones chopped up for people to eat, it makes me want to scream. I know that nothing would feel better than to tell them in no uncertain terms just how repugnant a bastard they are. That being said, I will only make them ignore my words and the people who blindly support them rally behind them. But if I can calmly ask something like, "How is it you can claim to love an animal and yet also be the one who profits from their untimely death?" It is much harder for them to just treat you like an idiot or a radical. A well place intelligent comment has way more power to make the hypocrite look ridiculous and make those who support them feel ashamed to be their ally.
We must use our words to promote the good of animals. Lashing out, while cathartic, only makes us look bad and likely does nothing to help animals. This does not mean we cannot point things out or use language that is harsh as long as it is not based on emotion. Calling someone a offensive name is different than calling them a hypocrite if you can describe the hypocrisy. It is always best to make sure that you can defend your comments with well reasoned arguments. People defending the eating of animals and animal products are always basing their defense of eating animals on emotion and prejudice. We must destroy their argument using reason and science. Voltaire was a master of this. He did not call people names (in most cases), instead he held up a verbal mirror to their actions and made them seem ridiculous simply by describing their actions as they appeared to a normal person. We must use this same tactic. As much as we might want to use words like 'bitch' and 'bastard' to describe people who commit crimes against animals by profiting from their deaths, we will help animals so much more effectively if instead can remain intelligent and as emotionally dethatched as possible when directly talking or commenting to that person. I'm not saying that posting comments within a vegan community or page should follow this same rule. I get we all need to blow off steam and let our anger out rather than being filled with rage. But, if you message someone or comment on their page, I strongly encourage everyone to keep their comment based on fact, well reasoned and devoid of as much emotion as possible. This will have the best effect, in my humble opinion. That being said, I completely understand wanting to be blunt in how awful you feel that person is. Vegans view the killing of animals as murder. And murder is not something we can take calmly.
Smithfield Employee Thinks Pig Slaughter is "Fantastic"
but denies being a sociopath.
You must watch this video to believe that someone could be so callous to the suffering of animals. This is a video interview I did with a Smithfield employee at the Nascar event at Smithfield Headquarters today. I wanted to ask Richard Petty what he thought about be sponsored by the slaughter of millions of pigs. But, the police were all around him.
But if you watch the facial expressions and his inability to look at the camera, you'll notice something very odd like he is having some major internal conflict. What do you think? Watch the very end closely and see what you read into his expression.
Evie the three legged goat was almost shot because of the lack of a leg and yet she is one of the sweetest and happiest seeming creatures I've met. Why is her life worth less than mine? I would argue, nothing!
I don't think people get how vegans feel about animals. In fact, I am certain they don't. At the same time, I think non-vegans do think they understand. For instance, when people try to say that we should never compare human suffering with animals suffering, it misses the point that as vegans we tend to not draw a true or as clear a distinction. Just as we don't look at a cow and a pig in such a way that we think of cow suffering or pig suffering in identifiable terms, I think vegans think of suffering as something that all animals with a brain and central nervous system do. We do not try to discriminate towards animals based on the size of their brain or the significance or meaning of their lives because to do so, we would have to weigh it in terms of what we hold important. Clearly, that is unfair, speciesist and in no way something that can be empirically shown. How can I say that the life of a pig is less valuable than the life of a human? I might value my life more than other living beings or my family more than someone else's family. But I also value the life of my vegan Yorkie dog's over many human beings. If someone tried to harm my dog, I would fight them to defend her. I would not say, 'Well, she is just a dog.'
Basically, as vegans, we aren't following the rules that society tries to repeat over and over again (i.e. Humans first). We do not view animals as lesser beings simply because they can't do math as well as humans or philosophize. It is entirely possible a rabbit might view us as lesser beings because of our slow speed and inability to jump as they do. Why are human values the dominant values? Why are human lives the most valuable? This seems no different than any other bias notion from the past where one culture viewed another culture as inferior because they did not share the same skills, intelligence regarding certain topics, or common religion. If we had not developed weapons, it is quite possible the lion might be viewed as the superior being since its strength would always over power us. So, does being the best at killing truly make us the most superior beings? What has human wisdom done that is so wonderful to earn us the privilege of being considered so valuable that all other animals pale in comparison? It seems destroying our own health, having billionares while hundreds of millions of people starve, the planet is on its death bed and we torture and abuse animals in the pursuit of causing all this... yes we sound like brilliant and superior beings.
One of the greatest problems facing us when explaining this to a non-vegan is that we live in a world where we do not value deep thought or actual meaningful foundations to what we accept as true. We will take the word of our parents, society or culture that certain practices or beliefs are true simply because we hear them repeated enough. And yet, when evidence to the contrary is present, we will do nothing to adjust. We will deny the evidence, ignore the evidence, or believe false evidence. On the other hand, vegans adjust. We challenge the falsities we see and replace them with new truths that coexist peacefully with reality as we see it.
And to us, there is no justification for the treatment that animals receive in this world. And there is no reason to think that a human life is more valuable than an animals life. Even if we conclude that we must err on the side of caution and value a human life over an animal life when the two lives come into competition, almost nothing that is done to animals (except in the rare case of self-defense) is done because a human life is at risk. Instead, the actions that we take to harm and abuse animals harms human health, destroys the planet and creates people with values that see violence as normal since it is how we treat other sentient beings.
So when someone that is not vegan asks me how I could choose to not be around people that harm animals, it is obvious to me and most vegans. People who cause harm to animals are lower in my eyes than non-human animals that do not treat other living beings in this same way. I far prefer the company of the gentle cow to the human that would kill a hundred animals a year simply because it (the human) is too lazy or cruel to care. There is no philosophical footing to stand upon when claiming that humans deserve their special status. There is only speciesism and tradition. Neither of these would I choose to associate with. I choose compassion, reason and empathy.
There is undeniably a huge mental benefit to being morally consistent. This is something that only comes with being vegan. One need only reflect on the last time you saw a non-vegan at a petting zoo with cute little baby farm animals. Not a single person there is thinking about how delicious those animals must taste. If someone were to walk out with a bolt gun, everyone present would rush to defend the animal whose life was in peril. There would be a revolt to save and a fundraiser to free that animal. It is moments like these when the true nature of mankind is revealed. The compassion and empathy springs forward unrestrained. Yet, when it comes to the dinner table, the social conditioning is what we see. It is in no way natural or normal to do what we do when eating animals. We must teach children to bury their compassion deep inside and forget that what lies upon their plate is the dead body of an animal they would pet and love were they to see it prior to slaughter. I've yet to meet a child that sees animals and wishes harm upon them so that they might be made into food.
On the other hand, being vegan comes with some serious problems in regards to ones mental health. Once one has fully adopted a vegan world perspective, it becomes so abundantly clear that things are not right in the world. We are surrounded by people who are either blissfully unaware of their action's effects on animals or they are blocked mentally and tell themselves it can be morally consistent to think of oneself as a good person while paying others to inflict unimaginable suffering upon animals. The number of people that are truly ignorant to what is happening is becoming smaller and smaller. The information is out there and easy to obtain. Fast approaching is the day when there will only be vegans, blocked vegans, and sociopaths. And as a vegan, we must exist in this world surrounded by people constantly throwing it in our face that they have little to no regard for the suffering of these sentient beings. Anyone who has spent any quality time with a pig will suffer something like PTSD when they find themselves surround by people buying the body parts of a pig in any form. Or seeing a video of the conditions of animals tortured and abused for their fur, and then encountering the heartless human wearing the coat made from their suffering. It takes an immense amount of effort to hold back the rage and frustration you feel knowing you are, for the time being, powerless to stop the suffering of these intelligent and caring animals. It is no different than if the person perpetrating the crime against these animals by supporting their slaughter and torture were to find themselves suddenly surrounded by people supporting the slaughter and abuse of children. A true vegan realizes that humans have no valid claim to the notion that somehow our lives are more important. It is only through a speciesist lens that one could hear the comparison of doing something to a pig versus the same thing to a human and decide that there is nothing to compare. (And this is not to be mistaken to mean there are no differences in how animals and human animals think or respond to stimuli - but rather that sentient beings such as pigs, chickens, cows and more have just as much right to live and be free from unnecessary harm as humans do. To deny this would be the same as claiming the skill level at certain activities or intelligence of a human would give them a great claim to life than someone less skilled or intelligent). So, being a vegan in a world filled with suffering on a scale unimaginable that is caused intentionally to the peril of all involved (human, planet and animal), how does a vegan stay sane? How does one avoid full on depression knowing they are surrounded by such evil (even if done through ignorance in part)?
The answer is: with great difficulty. It is a daily struggle to not scream out in frustration at every person you meet. It takes every bit of strength we have to not cry every time we see someone buying a gallon of milk. Where they see milk, we see the suffering of a milking cow forced into slavery for 4 years before being turned into cheap hamburger and the sorrow of male calves locked in tiny cages only to be slaughtered young for the tenderness of their flesh. It is not because we are oversensitive that we see things this way (though some of us are). It is because that is the reality behind it. It is the real cost of those products. Their is one price in terms of dollar and sense. And then there is another in terms of pain, suffering and misery that is paid by the animal.
I only hope that someday soon, there is a recognition of this reality that caring and compassionate people are being forced into a life of misery and depression from being surrounded by apathy, gluttony and worse (brutality, abuse and murder). We must turn off our minds just to make it through the day. We must hide our emotions so as not to be thought insane for embodying the values that the world gives lip-service too. We are beat down through bullying when people mock us making jokes about the amount of meat the eat, or their lack of concern for animals by saying ignorant things like 'Pigs make me think of delicious bacon.' Then we must walk through grocery stores filled with aisle after aisle and cooler after cooler of dead animals. We must hear 'educated' people proclaim that humans need dairy milk or meat because they are sponsored by animal agriculture industries. And we watch as our planet dies, while people change their light bulbs to be more efficient while they pay to have someone cut down acre after acre of the rainforest to graze more cattle for beef. Everywhere we look, there is injustice. Everywhere we turn there is suffering and sorrow. And we feel it as if it were happening to us. Even if someone were to truly believe that animal suffering did not have any value, the suffering of human vegans is so intense as to be nearly indescribable in regards to the emotions we feel in regards to the suffering animals are forced to endure. There is no escape. There is no safe haven. And yet, because of the type of people we are, we fight on. We push down our anger, our depression, and our horror and continue moving forward hoping that someday the world will finally be a place that we can see without feeling ashamed of being human. It is not even clear that once we succeed, and we will succeed for justice cannot long lay dorment without awaking with fury, that we will ever be able to fully recover. We are like war veterans that have seen and known things too terrible to believe and too horrible to forget. And yet, not one of us would do a single thing differently. We are called to action by something far greater than ourselves. We see injustice and we set ourselves against it knowing full well the true costs of doing what we do.
We are well past the point where everyone can clearly see the two sides of the issue of animal rights. On the one side we have those who would choose taste, convenience and tradition and on the other we have those who will defend compassion, empathy and justice. It is truly a war of good versus evil. What is happening to animals everywhere can be labeled nothing else. If it is not evil to give your money to corporations or even backyard or small scale farms that will allow the cruelty and abuse heaped upon these living, feeling creatures, then we truly live in the land of moral relativity where I could no more defend protecting a human life than an animals. But, if we do not, it there is such thing as right and wrong which we so clearly feel in the core of our being, make no doubt about it, doing the least amount of harm possible to all living creatures is at the very core of the true moral code that we are all aware of residing within.
Denying it is the best the opponents of justice and compassion can do. They can deny that all creatures deserve to be treated with kindness and to be made to suffer as little as possible and never when unnecessary. But, in the end, even the staunchest of fools who defends his right to eat bacon until his final heart attack knows deep down inside that justice lies with those who fight for and defend all living creatures. How could one even delusionally suggest that this is anything but the greatest social justice movement in the history of mankind. This is not about white males being equal, or women, or different races, or gender identities or really at the heart of it about different species. It is about having an equal right to share this planet with all creatures of all sexes, races, and species. It is the culmination of years of inch by inch building up to true justice for all and not just certain groups. Mankind may be destroyed by the global warming that our consumption of animals has brought on, but should we live there is no doubt that animals will one day be free from this current horror that some have the indecency to call humane treatment. And then and only then can we discuss the idea of true social justice.
So, choose wisely! Will you be on the side of those that will one day be seen as the people too stubborn or heartless to change? Or will you be one who sees injustice and cares not what species is suffering, but rushes to the aid of those who need defending? It is not too late to reveal your true colors! There is still time to unleash the goodness and compassion buried deep within. No one is a lost cause until they accept that they are too weak to change or too evil to care. But the vast majority of mankind is capable of the act of seeing life through the eyes of others. And through this empathy, we can understand that if it were us suffering, we would hope our calls would be answered and justice finally carried out.
Your plate is like a funeral
Your plate is like a funeral
Your body is a grave
Stop killing all the animals
that I would like to save
Your plate is like a funeral
Yet no sorrow can be found
Because you didn't have to see it
Nor hear the awful sound
Your plate is like a funeral
But also like a shield
It protects you from the pain you cause
By the fates that you have sealed
Your plate is like a funeral
Yet, the power's yours it's true
To make a change to do what's right
Their lives depend on you