Friday, June 22, 2007

Q and A

Q: Instead of GO VEG should we be saying GO HUMANE?
The world will never be totally vegetarian so why not rally meat eaters to be more concerned with where their meat comes from and what kind of inhumane conditions the animals live in? If we can't change the meat eaters, why cant we change the animal raisers?

A: If you tell people that all they have to do is buy happy meat ("humanly" killed dead animals) that's all they will do, at most.

However I like many other people believe that non-human animals do not deserve to be the property of humans. Or if you prefer, we have the responsibility to treat sentient beings (animals capable of awareness, which is the vast majority of them by the way.) in a way that respects their interests in not being treated as property. To properly respect this interest one must be vegan. Indeed veganism must be the moral baseline of the animal rights movement if this movement is to mean anything. *key point* If animal rights means dead animals, animal rights means nothing.

No matter how "nicely" an animal is treated before he or she goes to slaughter they all go to the same slaughterhouse. All food animals, "happy meat approved", or conventionally produced end up in the same condition, dead.

Simply put, if you take animal interests seriously you become vegan and you respect those interests. Killing animals, no matter how "nicely" is not respecting their interest in continued existence. The campaigning you speak of is the business of meat eaters. Vegans such as myself will stick to reducing demand by creating more vegans.

Monday, June 4, 2007

My response to an ass-hat.

Save the planet, eat a vegan
Jeremy Clarkson

Good news. It seems that your car and your fondness for sunken light bulbs in every alcove are not warming up the planet after all.
In fact, according to new research, power stations and transport produce lots of carbon dioxide, but in addition they also produce lots of aerosols that, in the short term at least, help keep the planet as cool as a deodorant model’s armpits.
So who has come up with this new theory? Some half-crazed nitwit with a motoring show to protect? George Bush? A bloke in the pub? No. In fact it comes from an organisation called EarthSave, which is run and funded, so far as I can tell, by the usual array of free-range communists and fair trade hippies.
The facts it produces, however, are intriguing. Methane, which pours from a cow’s bottom on an industrial scale every few minutes, is 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. And as a result, farmed animals are doing more damage to the climate than all the world’s transport and power stations put together.

“well, it’s debatable that farmed animals are causing more damage then fossil fuel use, but yes methane from farmed animals is a large problem.”

What’s more, demand for beef means more and more of the world’s forests are being chopped down, and more and more pressure is being put on our water supplies.
Plainly, then, EarthSave is encouraging us to go into the countryside at the first possible opportunity and lay waste to anything with more than one stomach. Maybe it wants me to shoot my donkeys. Happily what it’s actually saying is that you can keep your car and your walk-in fridge, but you’ve got to stop eating meat.

“ I severely doubt EarthSave is encouraging you to shoot anything, way to take what they said out of context. No, I’m sure they would urge you to cut back on your fossil fuel usage and quit eating meat.”

In fact you’ve got to stop eating all forms of animal products. No more milk. No more cheese. And if it can be proven that bees fart, then no more honey either. You’ve got to become a vegan.

“Oh boo hoo, no more killing animals for the lame ass reason of stuffing your face.”

Now of course if you don’t like the taste of meat, then it’s perfectly reasonable to become a vegetablist. It’s why people who don’t like, say, John Prescott become Conservatives. But becoming a vegan? Short of being paraded on the internet while wearing a fluffy pink tutu, I can think of nothing I’d like less.

“Precisely because you have never been exposed to the wide array of vegan food. But of course you are ignorant to the fact that such a abundance of vegan food choices even exists as you make painfully obvious by regurgitating the same stupid stereotypical “rabbit food” critique of vegan food below.”

Eating a plate of food that contains no animal product of any kind marks you down as a squirrel. Eating only vegetables is like deciding to talk using only consonants. You need vowels or you make no sense.

“A squirrel, quite. Oh excuse me, It’s time to brush my fluffy squirrel tail I sprouted after going vegan.”

Of course there are certain weeds I like very much. Cauliflower and leeks particularly. But these are an accompaniment to food, useful only for filling up the plate and absorbing the gravy. The idea of eating only a cauliflower, without even so much as a cheese sauce, fills me with dread.
There are wider implications, too. Let us imagine that the world decided today to abandon its appetite for sausage rolls, joints of beef and meat-infused Mars bars. What effect would this have on the countryside?

“Uh, maybe it would get a chance to recover from an unbelievably large grazing animal population?”

Where now you find fields full of grazing cows and truffling pigs, there would be what exactly?

“The flora and fauna that naturally occur there. Oh no! Now we couldn't have that.”

Hardcore vegetablists like to imagine that the land would be returned to the indigenous species, that you could go for a walk without a farmer shooting your dog, and that you’d see all manner of pretty flowers and lots of jolly new creatures. Wolves, for instance.
In fact if animal farmers were driven away, the land would be divided up in two ways. Some would be given over to the growing of potatoes – the ugliest crop in Christendom – and the rest would be bought by rock stars. Either way, Janet Street-Porter and her ridiculous gaggle of ramblers in their noisy clothes and stupid hats would still get short shrift.

“Just like all the other national parks and public use land right? Oh wait, that’s not what happens at all.”

What’s more, there’d be no grassland because there’d be no animals to graze.

“So because there are no farm animals to overgraze the grass and compact the ground making it nearly impossible for any grass to grow, there would be no grassland? I’m pretty sure the exact opposite would happen, the grasslands would make a comeback like you would’t believe.”

And there’d be no woods either because without pheasants what’s the point? I’m sure EarthSave dreams of a land as pristine as nature intended but it’d be no such thing. Within about three weeks Britain would look like Saskatchewan.

“Oh you’re a fucktard. Because we can’t shoot pheasants we might as well clear cut the forests. That’s pretty much the worst reasoning I’ve ever heard.”

So plainly the best thing we can do if we want to save the world, preserve the English countryside and keep on eating meat, is to work out a way that animals can be made to produce less methane.


Scientists in Germany are working on a pill that helps, but apparently this has a number of side effects. These are not itemised, but I can only assume that if you trap the gas inside the cow one of the drawbacks is that it might explode. Nasty.

“yep, but eating shit infested meat is a jolly good time isn’t it. Nasty indeed.”

And unnecessary. We all know that the activity of our bowels is governed by our diet. We know, for instance, that if we have an afternoon meeting with a bunch of top sommeliers in a small windowless room it’s best not to lunch on brussel sprouts and baked beans.
Recently I spent eight days in a car with my co-host from Top Gear James May, who has a notoriously flatulent bottom. But because he was living on army rations – mashed up Greenpeace leaflets to which you add water – the interior was always pine fresh and lemon zesty.
So if we know – and we do – that diet can be used to regulate the amount of methane coming out of the body, then surely it is not beyond the wit of man to change the diet of farmyard animals.

“except the side effects of changing the natural diet of ruminates are exactly why we have the problem with e-coli that we do today.”

At the moment, largely, cows eat grass and silage,

“And corn.”

and as we’ve seen, this is melting the ice caps and killing us all. So they need a new foodstuff: something that is rich in iron, calcium and natural goodness.

“Ruminants fart, quit eating them if your worried about the environment, it’s not really that difficult of a concept.”

Plainly they can’t eat meat so here’s an idea to chew on. Why don’t we feed them vegetarians?

“I got an even better Idea, lets feed them all the stupid conservative ass-hats like yourself.”

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lets get tough on activism!

(Contains some non-PG material :D)

The importance of good, effective, vegan activism and outreach cannot be overstated. In some way, I’m sure it’s responsible for you becoming a vegan or considering becoming one now. I would like to address a specific part of effective activism, the part I would consider the most important, talking to people about veganism. Obviously, we can’t do very effective outreach if we don’t engage in a dialog about our veganism with our non-vegan acquaintances. However, many people much to my surprise, are very uncomfortable talking about their veganism to the point that they deem any day to day outreach efforts as evangelizing and imposing our collective vegan will on others.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this anti personal outreach trend is this demented live and let live attitude that comes along with it. “I don’t care what other people eat; they can do what they want.” Seriously!? If you really believe that then why the fuck are you a vegan in the first place? You might as well just keep eating animals at that point since you seem to have no problem with animal consumption. Lets face it, you alone don’t make that big of a difference to the animals as a vegan if you do nothing but try and hide your veganism every chance you get. It’s when we help other people to go vegan that we really become useful to the real animal rights movement, ourselves, others, and the animals.

Now I’m not saying we should go around punching everyone in the face that eats a turkey sandwich (although that might be effective outreach too :D). What I am saying is that it is vitally important that when the topic comes up you do engage in a conversation about veganism. You don’t necessarily have to make a compelling case for abolitionist theory the first time you talk to someone, but strive to drive home main points such as: animals should not be used by people for any reason, there is no morally relevant distinction between using animals and using humans, and if you take animal interests seriously you must be vegan.
I strongly recommend visiting Professor Gary Francione’s website to learn more about abolitionist animal rights. It’s always much easier and fun to talk to someone about something you are familiar with and veganism is no different.

In conclusion try to talk to everyone you can about veganism, make it a goal to talking to at least one person a day about it. Start slow, just make sure you don’t make concessions in your argument to makes the conversation more pleasant. Other people may not agree with you and that’s fine, but for veganism to mean anything it must be a moral baseline, it must be nonnegotiable. Now get out there and talk to people!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Vegetarians and Animal Rights

I’m sure we have all met the vegetarian that claims to support animal rights. Maybe you are that vegetarian and if so you might just be wondering where this is headed. If so, I ask that you merely wait to dismiss what I have to say until the end of this post.
(Vegetarians as I will speaking of it them here is meant to refer to people who do not eat animal bodies or slaughterhouse by-products, such as gelatin, but who do still consume eggs and dairy products and may wear wool.)

The vegetarian lifestyle as defined above is still participating in the exploitation of animals. By consuming dairy, you are still directly supporting the veal and leather industries. By consuming eggs, you are complicit in the killing of billions of “spent” hens yearly. The most important point to understand about the dairy and egg industries is that they rely on the eventual, untimely killing of the cows and chickens that are enslaved to them as much as meat producers do. it makes no difference whether the farm is organic or “free-range” or “humanely raised” with Whole Foods seal of approval, the process is the same. Therefore vegetarianism, wile still much better than eating animals, is inconsistent with basic animal rights theory as it violates the most basic right not to be treated as the property of others by requiring animals be enslaved and killed to bring said vegetarians milk and eggs.

For the rights of animals to mean anything even if just in theory at this point in time, the people who champion the cause cannot be living a lifestyle incompatible with rights theory. Would you take someone seriously who spoke of equality for men and women if you knew that person beat their wife? Why should anyone take a movement seriously that speaks of rights for animals, most importantly the right not to be treated as property, when some in the movement continue to exploit animals and are complicit in their use as property?

If you are already a vegetarian going vegan is a quite easy next step. Eliminating dairy and eggs is almost effortless if you take a week to research other food options to prepare to replace dishes you currently eat that contain eggs and dairy products.

If you take animal interests seriously, and I hope if you are reading this that you do, then I urge you to consider making the next step. Become Vegan.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Q & A

Question: I am vegetarian, but I still eat cheese. I have been trying to research the treatment of organic or biodynamic dairy animals. I want to know if they are only milked when they have had calves naturally, or if they treat them the same as intensive dairy farming where they keep impregnating them. I can't seem to find the right information.

Answer: Their is a pervasive misconception among many that organic is synonymous with "cruelty-free". This could not be further from the truth. The practices engaged in by organic dairy farmers are identical to the handling practices of conventional farmers in all important ways. All the organic label is signifying is that the milk is supposed to be hormone and antibiotic free, and that the animal was fed on organic feed. Even the so called "cruelty-free" products are hardly what they claim to be. for dairy and egg products to be produced animals must die. Unfortunately their is no way around the reality of this situation. For this reason vegetarianism is incompatible with the animal rights position, because vegetarians still engage in easily avoidable exploitation and by consuming dairy and eggs condone the killing of the animals they claim to want to accord basic rights to. It is important that we make every attempt to be ethically consistent in our positions and therefore we must become vegan and quit using animal products all together. To fight for the rights of animals wile still willingly participating in the exploitation of animals or condoning their use in any way is effectively shooting yourself and this movement in the foot.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

When fish tanks are no-no's, go SCUBA diving instead!

As a vegan, keeping a fish tank presents some fairly obvious ethical problems. That's why I have finally decided to take up SCUBA diving. I've always been fascinated with underwater life. Cliche or not, it is another world down there. So if we can't keep the fish in our home (and with all the work that entails, especially for salt water, who would want to anyways?) we'll just go to were the fishies live.

I'm still trying to save up the money to begin my training but once I do I'll be sure and keep you posted about the underwater world.

I would love to hear your stories about SCUBA diving or related pursuits. Leave me a comment with your story's.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

"They're not vegans. They're baby killers!"

Full article

ATLANTA (AP) — A Superior Court jury convicted a vegan couple of murder and cruelty to children Wednesday in the death of their 6-week-old, who was fed a diet largely consisting of soy milk and apple juice.

...prosecutor Mike Carlson told the jury Tuesday during closing arguments: "They're not vegans. They're baby killers!"

It's horrible that a baby died at the hands of these morons, but I'm thrilled that the prosecutor said, "these people aren't vegans..." and that the paper printed it. I'm so happy that in a case that could potentially carry so much negative publicity for vegans that the point was made that A. vegans can raise their baby's without killing them, and B. that killing your baby is not a vegan thing to do.