Never imagine that your efforts speaking for animals are wasted. The smallest effort can result in huge effects. Who knows when a message you thought went unheard will result in a person talking about what you said with someone else who in turn looks deeper into the issue and ends up make a post online that leads to several others to think about something they would never have thought of resulting in a few of them making dietary changes and possibly some even going vegan and becoming activists themselves affecting the lives of hundreds and hundreds more people. Maybe it was something as simple as, "No thank you, I don't eat cheese because I know how much abuse goes into producing it." And the server seems unmoved or simply to have ignored you, yet goes on to investigate or discuss this later. You truly will never know how much of an impact you have made by simply doing your best to be a voice for animals in any way you can fit into your day. So, rather than get discourage, focus on the thousands of people making better and more compassionate choices that you've never met or talked to simply because you were a little less silent about things than the world would have liked you to have been.
So speak up, and know things are changing and you are helping to make that happen.
An Appeal to Omnivores
I'd like to make a special appeal to omnivores everywhere. While this will not absolve you from the guilt of having caused the suffering and death of animals that you eat, can you please stop pretending that it is possible to make a 'personal choice' that has a victim. Just say, "Yeah, I know I'm doing a horrible thing by choosing my desire for a taste or a texture over another living being's desire to live. I am a total jerk. But, hey, I won't stoop so low as to belittle that animal's life by calling it a personal choice." Please!? I am exhausted with arguing against ignorance that I know is feigned. No one is so ignorant as to believe you can make a personal choice that results in the death or suffering of another living creature. No one with a shred of decency and intelligence. So, can we at least agree to stop with the bullshit?
SOME SERIOUS CARNIST ANXIETY AT TRADER JOE'S
I'VE BEEN BANNED AT TRADER JOE'S WITHOUT EVER HAVING BEEN TALKED TO BY ANYONE WORKING THERE PREVIOUSLY
For telling a customer that by buying a certain meat product they are paying for the abuse of that animal (and then instantly walking away), I have been banned from ever setting foot in Trader Joe's again. And I was informed that coming in the store in the future would be viewed as trespassing. I have contacted the corporate office and they are contacting the regional manager to discuss further. I was never once talked to by management at Trader Joe's in the past. I never once lingered or harassed a customer after sharing that they were paying for the death of an animal by buying its body parts (self-evident truths). I feel like I'm in the slave holder South and I've been informed that some topics are beyond discussion. Apparently mankind has not evolved much since the caning of Charles Sumner when the whole South supported the beating of a Senator for discussing slavery and sent reinforcement canes to beat other Northerners that dare speak out for civil rights.
But honestly, it is mostly humorous that anxieties run so high that meat eaters are tattling on us for speaking the truth. They know their way of life is dying, much like the slave holder did in 1860, and are desperately clawing for dear life on the slippery slope of dogmatism. The 'Captain' of Trader Joe's informed me that I was disrupting someone making a 'personal choice'. How sad these people will appear in the history books... Murdered bodies around the store and they have the indecency to call it a 'personal choice.' Just as they once called slaves their 'property'.
And I will note just for clarity, I am in no way trying to compare the suffering of a slave with an animal. But rather focusing on the defense, justifications, and methods of abuse used by the oppressor in both instances. The similarities are too striking to ignore or leave unmentioned for fear of offending. It would do much harm to the cause of all civil rights to ignore the overwhelming amount of overlap between the two oppressors and forms of oppression. Please do not let this silence you, instead we must become louder and clearer that we will not suffer their ignorance silently. Things must change. Personal choices do not have victims.
To rephrase this all - I have been banned from Trader Joe's for defending the rights of an innocent victim in the hopes of preventing more suffering in the future. Trader Joe's has decided that if it can profit off an increased body count, it will ban paying customers to protect another customer's desire to pay for the abuse and murder of animals without having to face the reality behind this choice that is anything but personal.-
I am proud that I refused to be silent even if ultimately I am forever banned from this dealer of dead bodies.
Check out the latest episode of the Carnies: The Vegan Cartoon!
The beautiful thing about empathy is that it allows us to step outside of ourselves and feel what it might be like to be someone else. For activists, this allows people who are not being oppressed or victimized to step into the shoes of others and partially understand the suffering that another is going through. For vegans, this means understanding what it feels like to be an non-human animal. We can see a video or image of an animal and put ourselves in his or her shoes and feel the pain and suffering that animal is going through. This leads us to make better choices in regards to what we eat, wear, and watch (avoiding entertainment using animals). It helps us to be the best humans that we can be.
But, it is also a curse. While we may never truly know how badly animals suffer, I know many activists out there daily suffer the trauma and hurt that is caused through feeling empathy. Empathy often transcends the mental understanding of what another human or animal is going through and becomes actual physical pain in the body of the person empathizing. While this is useful in regards to contributing the least amount to the suffering of others, it is also potentially dangerous to the health and well-being of the activist. How can they cope with this suffering? Most people will not understand how just knowing of the suffering of another can cause an individual unconnected to the actual physical trauma to feel the pain as if they were connected to it. This seems insane to people not gifted in empathy. But, it is very real. And it can be debilitating. I know that on several occasions I have felt beyond overwhelmed with the emotional and physical pain that has been created just from empathizing with the suffering of the animals of the world. And with billions of animals suffering every year and so much ignorance in regards to this suffering, how does one that feels this empathy 'snap out of it'? Clearly, we don't. But, this is also a strength. Many people go through life without purpose, drive or meaning. Not so for those of us blessed with an abundance of empathy. Our purpose is to make this world a better place. And we struggle towards doing that everyday.
The key is finding a balance between the happiness (or at least peace) it can bring knowing that you are contributing towards making it a better world and the misery that comes from knowing why things need to change in the first place. And while I don't have an answer for how to maintain this balance, I hope that being aware that you are not alone in feeling so intensely the suffering of others. And also know that it is a very real thing. You are not going crazy, and you are not weird. You are just an empathetic and compassionate person who cares deeply about all living beings. And if caring about others is a mental illness in this world where so often little thought is given to the needs and desires of others, then I shall gladly be crazy.
Try to remember that whenever someone says something ignorant (i.e. Plants suffer too or I'll eat extra meat just for you) that it is nearly 99% likely they are saying this because they see the world is changing around them and they are soon to be lumped with the slaveholders, Nazis and other oppressors of the past. History gradually makes its way towards justice and in every instance of oppression, those who participate in this oppression cling onto it dogmatically and blindly, ignoring all signs that they are on the wrong side. So, don't let it bring you down. Focus on the fact that they know they are terrified because we represent the future and they the barbaric past...
The future is bright! Just focus on that.
It is time for change...
*Please take the time to read this if at all possible.*
There is such a full force effort to belittle the cause of animal rights. And unfortunately, it is often successful at even making those who defend animal rights question if they might not be taking things 'too far'. There is nothing more insidious than the idea that 'they are just animals' that we are fighting to defend.
Because the truth is, humans are just as much 'just animals' as any other living being. And no one can tell me that the suffering that animals go through during the torment of being farmed, abused, raped and murdered should be put on a lower position of evilness than any other suffering of humans ever to have occurred throughout human history.
And I also refuse to believe that I need to just take a break from fighting for animals to recover from the depression, anxiety, and PTSD that goes along with my life being spent facing the horrors that animals go through in an effort to make it stop. And the harm it does to our mental well being to have ignorant people tell us we are horrid beings for hurting the business of those who thrive of harming living beings. Or making people feel guilty for their choices to harm animals. 'It is just how they were raised, they need time to realize the truth. We must be patient.' I say, NO! Patience is not a virtue while the suffering is immeasurable and unfathomable. No one deserves special consideration while they pay for and support the misery that animals deal with on a daily basis.
There truly is no a difference between Hitler and the CEO of Smithfield foods or any other animal murdering company Both have choose a difference between themselves and those they murder to justify their brutality. And no one can prove that animals do not suffer just as intolerably as any human that was ever enslaved, abused or tortured. We have taken everything from these animals. EVERYTHING. Their freedom, their desire to care for their young, and every other choice that animal would make if free has been taken away from him/her. He is but a machine to humans, but a suffering, miserable machine that's capable of feeling so many parallel emotions to humans. And likely ones we do not understand or experience ourselves. So, spare me the bullshit that humans have some superior talents or intellectual capabilities that make our suffering different and somehow superior. Our only talent is lying to ourselves and giving ourselves excuses to continue being the brutal savages that we are.
And I know I will never truly feel free until animals are free. This is a world of torment and misery. And I cannot ignore that, take a vacation from that reality. Instead, I will fight. I will put myself out there to take the abuse in the hopes that eventually enough reasonable people will have heard our message and decided to stop participating in this awfulness and join in defending justice and what is right.
Sure, I wish it were otherwise. The person I am, is not the person I want to be. I want to be silently unnoticed by the world. I want to be just another human wandering through life seeking happiness and enjoying life's little joys. But, this injustice and evil done to animals is beyond anything ever seen in human history or even in the most horrid of works of fiction or cinema. I don't expect to come out the other side of this war for animal rights the same person I was before I had my eyes opened. We are scarred by what we know is happening and further from knowing people that we otherwise consider 'good' people knowingly fund this awfulness. There is no medication or therapy that erases the damage this does. Yet, not for a moment do we hesitate. Somethings are far greater than our own needs and desires. We don't want future generations to have to grow up in a world enveloped by such evil! I do not want my kids and my grand kids to suffer in a world where billions of sentient beings are screaming out in pain only to be ignored because the mental hum of human selfishness drowns it out completely.
Please, if you are intimidated by speaking out for animals or putting yourself out there for the world to see as a defender of animals everywhere, please push through that fear and let us make this the moment in history when a small population of committed compassionate people say that there will finally be justice for all! I've said it before, and I will say it again until everyone accepts it as truth, Animal rights are not a gift that we give to animals, they are a birthright we have taken from them. It is time we give them back what is rightfully theirs! 12-18-21 Animal Liberation Day is coming, together we can make the world a place we can be proud to be a part of. But, we must do it together. And we must begin now!
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Set to the tune of Blowin in the Wind, this song is a rewrite of Bob Dylan's classic. This time the words are about the greatest social injustice facing the world today. Over 50 billion sentient beings are denied the right to their lives, liberty and pursuing happiness in a fashion they see fit. Instead, the are enslaved, abused, and murdered. And the vast majority of mankind gladly funds this...
Chick-fil-a Manager Mockingly Offers Vegan a Chicken Sandwich!
-Mocking smile plastered on his face.-
The old bait and switch. People wave, honk and then have a look of 'Oh damn, I just supported not murdering animals... I feel so dirty being a decent human for a second.'
Yes, I wore the cow costume to #cowappreciationday at Chick-fil-a but had my 'Stop Murdrin Chikins' poster with me.
The manager of Chick-fil-a was apparently complained to about me and came out to mockingly offer me a chicken sandwich with a mocking grin. It was clear he was just trying to be a jerk. And then he proceeded to explain to me:
That it is okay to kill chickens because it is a big business and I should just look at all the people supporting it by coming to his store.
Lettuce has feelings - yes, he suggested that I was harming lettuce by being against killing chickens.
And then suggested he was being the bigger person by offering me a chicken sandwich. Yes, offering a vegan a chicken sandwich with a mocking smile is 'being the bigger person'.
While he was talking to me, a lady came up with two kids and said 'Can we get a picture with your cow.' To which he responded, 'This cow isn't with us.' And to which I responded, 'Yes, this cow is against murdering chicken.'
This was all before he demanded I get off his sidewalk and return to the public sidewalk. I asked that he stop believing that if you profit off animal abuse that it makes it okay.
Winter protests are going to be much more fun in this costume. 90 degrees and a cow costume are a bad combo.