On Nonhuman Slavery

"We can see quite plainly that our present civilization is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilisations were built on the exploitation of slaves."   - Donald Watson

A Fundamental Disconnect


“To meditate for world peace, to pray for a better world, and to work for social justice and environmental protection while continuing to purchase the flesh, milk, and eggs of horribly abused animals exposes a disconnect that is so fundamental that it renders our efforts absurd, hypocritical, and doomed to certain failure.” - Will Tuttle


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What Does This Have To Do With Giving Thanks?


“I love Thanksgiving. Why do I like it? Because I like celebrating with my family. And I like what we’re celebrating. I like being grateful. I like being thankful. It feels good. And the more I learned about the centerpiece that’s on the table, the less good I felt about it. It is not a symbol of gratefulness. It is not a symbol of thankfulness…What does this have to do with harvest? What does this have to do with being American? What does it have to do with being grateful? Nothing.” - Jonathan Safran Foer


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Tom Regan On Communicating With Non-Vegans

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Tom Regan published on the AR Zone.

Over the years I’ve received letters from total strangers who tell me that reading something I’ve written “changed their life.” I’ve also received a like number of messages from people who think I’m a total nut case. So my experience has been: some people respond favourably to philosophical arguments; others do not. My advice? Let other people be our guide. Listen to them, to find out where they are in their life. Maybe they think they “have to eat meat.” Maybe they think “God gave animals to us.” Maybe they think “watching performing animals is great family fun.” Go with their flow. Be patient. Be genuine.

Did I say “be patient?” Nancy recently reminded me of something that happened it now must be twenty years ago at least. We were attending a professional meeting and a student stopped us. “What about plants?” he asked, to which a third person who was with us (raising her voice) said, “That is the stupidest question I’ve ever heard in my life! What do you have, mush for brains?” Then she stormed-off, in a huff. Later that evening, when our paths crossed, she said, “Honest, Tom and Nancy, I swear, people have asked me that question a thousand times! I can’t take it anymore.” To which Nancy and I replied, “Yes, but that was the first time that young man asked us that question.”
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Ellen DeGeneres On Why She Went Vegan

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Vegans Are So Judgmental! by Bea Elliot

“Vegans are so judgmental!”

Is that so? Aren’t those of you who eat meat really the ones who “judge”? After all, don’t you decide which animals are to be born, grown and killed on your behalf? Don’t you judge that it’s okay to kill male chicks so you can “enjoy” eggs? Don’t you judge that it’s acceptable to steal babies so you can indulge in their mother’s milk? Don’t you judge that it’s ethical to pay someone to kill animals for you – not out of need, but simply for your own pleasure? Your dollars will even buy you the myth that it’s all “humane“… No muss, no fuss! And how fortunate you are that your neighbors, friends and family all share the same judgment.

You judge it acceptable to confine animals to tiny crates and warehouses for their entire lives so that you might pay a few pennies less in the checkout line. You judge it to be only a loss of property if sometimes those places burn to the ground with the animals trapped inside. You judge that the bodies of animals can be used for flesh, fur…and fun. You judge that it’s okay to dominate and willfully terminate the lives of horses, pigs, cows, chickens, mice, ducks, geese, starlings, frogs, prarie dogs, bears, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, wolves, rabbits, fishes, alligators and all other nonhuman beings. Why? Well, because you’ve judged them to be either desirable or undesirable. As a nonvegan, it is you who judges that it’s acceptable to manipulate, castrate, impregnate, and eviscerate others.

Still, we’re told over and over again: it’s the vegans who are judgmental.

But the way I see it, as a vegan, I’m not deciding who lives or dies just so I can have a leather couch or a woolen scarf or an ice cream cone. I’m not the one who “judges” that it’s okay to imprison elephants, tigers or dolphins and force them to perform tricks for my kids. I’m not the one who supports the purebred and puppy mill dog industries because I “judge” some dogs to be better than others. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Eating A “Personal Choice”? Hardly
By James McWilliams

The following article comes from James McWilliam’s website. A version of this piece ran in the Washington Post in 2009.

I gave a talk in South Texas recently on the virtues of a meatless diet. As you might imagine, the reception was chilly. In fact, the only applause came during the Q&A period when a member of the audience said that my lecture made him want to go out and eat even more meat. “Plus,” he added, “what I eat is my business — it’s personal.” I’ve been writing about food and agriculture for more than a decade. Until that evening, however, I’d never actively thought about this most basic culinary question: Is eating personal?

We know more than we’ve ever known about the innards of the global food system. We understand that food can both nourish and kill. We know that its production can both destroy and enhance our environment. We know that farming touches every aspect of our lives — the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil we need.

So it’s hard to avoid concluding that eating cannot be personal. What I eat influences you. What you eat influences me. Our diets are deeply, intimately and necessarily political.

This realization changes everything for those who choose not to eat animals. As a vegan I’ve occasionally felt the perverse need to apologize for my dietary choice. It inconveniences people. It smacks of self-righteousness. It makes us pariahs at dinner parties. But the more I learn about the negative impact of meat production, the more I feel that it’s the consumers of meat who should be making apologies. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Weapons of Mass Destruction Are Our Knives and Forks – Presentation by Philip Wollen

“Victor Hugo said, ‘Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.’ Well animal rights today is now the greatest social justice issue since the abolition of slavery. Do you know there are over 600 million vegetarians in this world? And that is bigger than the United States, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia, New Zealand – all put together…And despite this massive demographic footprint, we are still drowned out by the…huntin’, shootin’, killin’ cartels who believe that violence is the answer when it should not even be a question….

We are facing the perfect storm. If any nation had developed weapons that could wreak such havoc on the planet [as the livestock industry does], we would launch a preemptive military strike and bomb it back into the Bronze Age. But it’s not a rogue state, it’s an industry. The good news is we don’t have to bomb it, we can just just stop buying it. So George Bush was wrong. The Axis of Evil does not run through Iraq, Iran or North Korea, it runs through our dining tables. Weapons of Mass Destruction are our knives and forks.

…Animals are not just other species, they are other nations. And we murder them at our peril. The Peace Map is drawn on a menu. Peace is not just the absence of war, it is the presence of justice. Justice must be blind to race, color, religion or species. If she’s not blind, she will be a weapon of terror. And tonight there is unimaginable terror in those ghastly Guantanamos we call factory farms or slaughterhouses. Believe me, if slaughterhouses had glass walls, we wouldn’t be having this debate tonight. You see, I believe another world is possible…let’s get animals off the menu and out of these torture chambers. Please vote tonight for those who have no voice.” - Philip Wollen, former vice president of Citibank turned founder of The Kindness Trust.

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Is it Wrong Like Having A Slave is Wrong? – Jonathan Safran Foer

Author Jonathan Safran Foer has remarked that he “never wanted to impose his views of vegetarianism on others, because ‘that’s not really my business what another person eats…’But on the other hand, would you have said that about slavery — ‘Slaves aren’t for me, but if he has them, that’s okay’? Would you say that about the environment — ‘I think we should be sensitive to how we use our resources, but if he wants to chop down his forest, that’s his business’? At a certain point, you say it’s wrong for me and it’s wrong for you. And then if it’s wrong for everybody, how is it wrong — is it wrong like telling a white lie is wrong? Is it wrong like driving an SUV in a city is wrong? Is it wrong like having a slave is wrong?” - from Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

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Leo Tolstoy on the Human Heart

“I had wished to visit a slaughter-house, in order to see with my own eyes the reality of the question raised when vegetarianism is discussed. But at first I felt ashamed to do so, as one is always ashamed of going to look at suffering which one knows is about to take place, but which one cannot avert; and so I kept putting off my visit.

But a little while ago I met on the road a butcher returning to Toúla after a visit to his home. He is not yet an experienced butcher, and his duty is to stab with a knife. I asked him whether he did not feel sorry for the animals that he killed. He gave me the usual answer: ‘Why should I feel sorry? It is necessary.’ But when I told him that eating flesh is not necessary, but is only a luxury, he agreed; and then he admitted that he was sorry for the animals. ‘But what can I do? I must earn my bread,’ he said. ‘At first I was afraid to kill. My father, he never even killed a chicken in all his life.’ The majority of Russians cannot kill ; they feel pity, and express the feeling by the word ‘fear.’ This man had also been ‘afraid,’ but he was so no longer. He told me that most of the work was done on Fridays, when it continues until the evening.

Not long ago I also had a talk with a retired soldier, a butcher, and he, too, was surprised at my assertion that it was a pity to kill, and said the usual things about its being ordained ; but afterwards he agreed with me : ‘Especially when they are quiet, tame cattle. They come, poor things! trusting you. It is very pitiful.’

This is dreadful!…that man suppresses in himself, unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity—that of sympathy and pity toward living creatures like himself—and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel. And how deeply seated in the human heart is the injunction not to take life!”
- Leo Tolstoy

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I Choose Hope

“I do live daily with the knowledge that animals are suffering greatly…But that’s not what I dwell on. I’m a very solution-oriented person, so instead of immersing myself in the problem, I immerse myself in the solution, and in doing so, I’m constantly surrounded by hope. Every time we speak up for animals and act on behalf of justice and on behalf of truth, we are part of hope.

I believe the creation of the compassionate world we want starts with our thoughts. If we believe that injustice and violence will prevail…those fatalistic thoughts compete with the hopeful thoughts that justice and compassion will prevail. It is because of this hope, because of the transformations I witness every day, that I remain a joyful vegan. In any given moment, I can choose this perspective or I can choose despair or fear or compromise. But I choose hope.” – Colleen Patrick Goudreau

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