Monday, April 30, 2007

More Questions and Answers

When someone asks you for a donation to support cancer research...?
Do you point out to them that the money they are collecting is being used to torture animals? Do you inform them that there are ethical and humane charities who are funding research into cancer and other medical conditions without harming animals? Or do you just donate without thinking?

No, I just don't donate to groups that support animal testing. I've never been asked why and have never given a reason. I'm 100% opposed to animal testing so if I know the charity supports it I will not donate to them. Like it or not but prevention is still the best option we have when it comes to cancer .We must keep this in prospective, animal testing will not cure cancer. They have been testing on animals for close to 30 years now to find a cure for cancer and they are not a bit closer than they were 29 years ago in regards to their animal tests. The "improvements" in cancer treatment that have been made by western medicine have been made though human research. If you think it is wrong to eat animals how can you think it's ok to test on them? It's wrong of humans to use animals in any way just as it is wrong for humans to use other humans no matter the benefit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Quit lying to the kids!

Did you know the “store” makes eggs? I sure didn’t. Why must we lie to our children about where our food comes from? A hen had to suffer in horrible conditions to produce those eggs that you so ignorantly agreed came from the store, and no, I don’t care if they were free range or “humanely raised” whatever that means. Anyone who cares to analyze the situation objectively will easily see that by resorting to lying to our children or telling them half-truths about where their food comes from we tell the world that the truth is too horrendous for a child to take. I understand the need for keeping concepts at age appropriate levels. Depicting cow slaughter to a child under ten years old most likely would be a bad idea for example. I do think however, that an age appropriate explanation of where the slab of flesh on said child’s plate comes from is important. For that matter I think an explanation of where Nikes come from is important as well, but that’s a different topic.

The problem is (for the exploiters anyways) is that kids get this stuff. They haven’t had the years of cognitive dissonance to be able to shrug off the truth like some adults can. No, when our children are told the truth they see things such as this for what they really are, atrocities of the highest scale. That’s why we are scared to tell them because they, unlike many of us, will put two and two together and realize that the animal you just told them about, a being that they understand to be an individual with the ability to suffer, is nothing but a distant relative of the animal that was killed to feed them.

The world can’t have honesty when it comes to food production. If we told our children, what really happens many more people would grow up Vegan today. We all know the saying that goes “if slaughterhouses had glass walls more people would be Vegan.” Well I bet if more people were honest about where our food comes from at a young age, more people would be Vegan too.
-Matt Hastings

Monday, April 23, 2007

When “restrictive” actually means liberating.

Ask any Vegan and I doubt they could count how any times that someone has told them their diet is too restrictive for that person. I understand the reaction, I had it myself before I was Vegan in fact. Many of us did. As all of us Vegans soon find out though, outward appearances can be very deceiving. Lets face it, the idea of eating nothing but salads for the rest of your life makes you a bit apprehensive even if it meant you would be given a million dollars. Most people, when they think about a Vegan diet believe than we eat “twigs and berries” or salads all day. Even as an ethical Vegan, I try to steer any conversation about my Veganism or the possibility of the person I’m talking to going Vegan to questions about diet first. Wile I would personally prefer to talk about animal rights and abolitionist theory I think that it helps if wile you are talking about these important issues the person is not contemplating a life of twigs, berries, and salads.
I know many of you might see this as a minor point, “animals are getting slaughtered, we don’t have time to talk about my lunch.” But we need to see things though the eyes of our ignorant Vegan in training. Take a moment to think about some of the questions you asked as a vegetarian transitioning into Veganism, or even as a new Vegan. Now think about the discussions you have with people about Veganism. Do your main points of conversation cover the common beginner questions, or do you leave the person you are talking to with the same questions you had because you were too eager to talk about AR?

If people understand that there is a whole universe of food to explore outside of animal products that you are enthusiastic about, they will be less likely to worry about the things that turn into non-issues once you become Vegan (such as eating some really great food) and more concerned about the important stuff such as Animal Rights. Think about it.

-Matt Hastings

Were your vitums at? (Or why retail really sucks)

*We now break from our regularly scheduled PG program for a rant. You’ve been warned.*

Yep, Vitums. What the hell is a Vitum you ask? In do time my friend, in do time.
So I’m standing there straightening an isle when some lady walks around the corner and calls out from about fifteen feet away and asks... “Were you vitums at?” yep just like that. I have no motherfucking clue what the hell she is talking about. “Vitums?” I ask. Hoping she will clarify herself, but no such luck. “Yeah, vitums wher’d day at?” She asks again. I figure, fuck it, I’ll just start guessing things right? I mean if she can’t be bothered to speak clearly using normally accepted words in the English language I don’t have to be that nice to her do I? After a few guesses it dawns on me that she is asking for vitamins. You might be thinking, yeah, duh dumbass, but trust me you wouldn’t have known what she was talking about either so shut up. I hate people like that.

Retail sucks. The pay sucks, the job sucks. They expect more work done with less people getting paid less money. Guess what? They get what they want. How, I have no idea. Big Box retail is the perfect model of everything that is wrong with the capitalist system, and I have to work at one right now. I wish we could burn the fuckers down.
Anyways, I’m write something about Veganism soon since this is suppose to be a vegan blog.

Talk to you later.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How humanely raised do you feel now?

This is a little "guided meditation" on the subject of humanely raised animals. I would like to write a longer one in the future and this is the rough draft of a first attempt. I would like to know what people think, what works for you, what doesn't.

What if I was to confine you for a year? You are well treated, you have food, water and a few things to do. All in all your treated pretty well. Then one day I come in scoop you up, bring you outside and throw you into a truck with a bunch of other people. You are scared now, somehow the past year of being pampered still doesn't make up for even this little bit of torment. The truck stops and you are roughly tossed onto the ground were you are told to form a line and follow the others in front of you. As you walk into this building single file people are waiting their turn to enter a door you can see up ahead. When it's your turn you walk in and are quickly strung up by your legs upside down. To add to the immense terror you already feel at this point, a man with blood stained clothes turns around and begins approaching you with a knife in his right hand. With an emotionless expression on his face he proceeds to sever your windpipe and the arteries of your neck despite your screams of protest. It’s like he didn’t even hear you. As your drown in your own blood, gasping for breath, I think we can both agree that right now it makes no difference how you were treated before you were cut open. You will still be dead in a moment, and you will die terrified and tortured.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Q: Why are more Americans not vegetarians?

A: Because they prefer to live the last 1/3 of their life's with preventable diseases. It's an American past time. If you break this tradition your probably just a terrorist. Or intelligent. You know... Whatever.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Vegans in the news

Here's a nice news story that portrays Vegans in a positive light. Since they sometimes can be hard to find, I figured I'd mention it. Hope you all have a great day, and stay warm!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Abolition and Massage- an Animal Exploiter’s Worst Nightmare

We all know that massage therapy is great for relaxation, relieving soreness and muscle tension, and a great number of other things. But did you know it could help make you a better animal advocate?
One thing that all people who spend time focused on others, human or nonhuman, have in common is they consistently neglect themselves. It’s easy to do. With everything we have going on in our lives the idea of stopping for a little me time can even seem selfish, but taking time out for you is essential to your ability to continue to help others for many years to come.
As animal advocates and especially as abolitionist’s we suffer from a great deal of stress in our pursuit to help animals. After a wile, this stress accumulates and many people become overwhelmed. This leads to the high burnout rate that the animal rights community experiences. To combat this high burnout rate I suggest groups of activists seek out Massage therapists they feel comfortable with, or alternative stress relieving activities.

Incorporating a therapist into your activist community could be as easy as inviting them to do 10 min chair massages at your next potluck for a fee you agree upon. You could even work out a group discount that everyone receives if a certain number of people book a treatment. Look within your community first, you might just have a Vegan massage therapist in your ranks already. A few things to keep in mind when talking about prices is the same rules for tattoos pretty much apply here. Haggling is never a good idea, but trades are normally welcome by all, such as free advertising or something similar.

Combating burnout is something that urgently needs to be addressed. By implementing some of the suggestions above, I hope activists can keep “making Vegans” for many years to come.

-Matt Hastings

P.S. Since my girlfriend and I are interested in working within activist communities in the ways described above when we move to Chicago, please let me know how it’s going if anyone tries this. Thanks!

Distorted View, It's a Place for Freaks like you!

Seriously, Distorted View rocks. It's my second favorite podcast, right behind Vegan Freaks. One my favorite things Tim does on the show is when he sings his version of Blue by Eiffel 65. "I'm Blue daba debble do bobble.. dabal na na do." DV is not a show for the children, or really anyone who is unable to check their morals at the door and I mean all of them. If you like sick humor, and don't mind taking a half hour out of your day to laugh at kids being put in driers, you should really check out this podcast if you haven't already. I wonder if Tim knows he has Vegan listeners?

So tune on in, to distorted view.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Question: What's the silliest question you've been asked by an omnivore?

Answer: I think my favorite silly omnivore question would either be the "don't plants have feeling too?" question because it's so ridiculous and easy to disprove. A close second would have to be the "but agricultural farming kills millions of little animals too" question because on the surface it seems plausible but when you really think about it, it seems very unlikely that many animals at all die when a field is harvested.

Do you have a question? Leave a comment below and maybe it appear on a future blog entry!

WTF Mate?

Um. It's April 11th and there is snow on the ground. We had a thunderstorm in the middle of winter and now we have snow in spring?
Your political affiliations aside, something weird is going on here.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Why Vegans Should Embrace Complementary and Alterative Medicine

We live within a system of government that is far from perfect. Ask anyone on the street and if they are being honest with you, they will probably agree with the above statement. Now ask them how they feel about the quality of their medical care, and assuming that they are part of the fortunate that have insurance, they will most likely tell you that we have some of the best medical care in the world. But do we?

The belief in the greatness of America’s health system is a delusion on the scale of the belief that milk builds strong bones. Both have a tiny bit of truth to them, but in the end, both are false. Misdiagnosis, drugs, physician error, and hospital negligence are the third leading cause of death in the United States. The system responsible for keeping us healthy and curing us when we are sick is killing us. We are not the only casualties of this system unfortunately. Millions of animals every year are needlessly killed in experiments that more often than not do nothing to advance our knowledge of disease. If anything, our use of animals in medical research is hampering our search for the cures to our most common diseases. Every day in the United States and other western nation’s, people die from diseases that are curable and more importantly preventable with complementary and alternative medicine.

There are many advantages to CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) practices. They are generally not invasive, non-toxic, are safe to test on humans, work with the body as opposed to against it, and focus on prevention. CAM therapies can include practices such as Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Yoga, Naturopathy, and Herbal medicine. The allopathic medical community has tried it’s best to suppress CAM treatments by discrediting them, or by attempting to ban their practice as was the case with Chiropractic. With the out of control cost of medical care under the current system, and a growing dissatisfaction with the level of care provided it is becoming harder and harder to suppress these CAM therapies.
The Vegan community will benefit greatly if society chooses to embrace the CAM movement. Since most if not all CAM therapies are safe, testing them on humans would be possible, accurate, and pose minimal risk to the people involved. Best of all, no animals would have to be tested on to establish the effectiveness of CAM treatments. One of the biggest augments against the use of CAM therapies is that they are unproven. This is disingenuous considering the reluctance to test these therapies because if they are proven safe and effective companies cannot patent them which means the money invested to test them will almost certainly be lost. With over half of the public using at least one CAM therapy and that number continues to grow yearly, (the most popular being Chiropractic and Massage) the necessity to research and advance alterative methods of healthcare will become overwhelming.

The other major place that Veganism stands to benefit from CAM is preventive or Lifestyle medicine, specifically in regards to diet. It’s no secret, at least not to us, that the overwhelming majority of research about diet is showing that the closer we can get to a Vegan diet, the better. We are now learning that diet has the power to prevent and cure most of our major diseases, without surgery and without drugs. As this information becomes more mainstream, in other words the more we talk about it, the more people will embrace a healthy Vegan diet. The entire Vegan community benefits here, not just the health Vegans as would seem apparent. Ethical Vegans (and I consider myself one) will have a much easier time convincing a health Vegan to jump aboard animal rights issues than a meat eater, and I doubt many people would disagree with that.

Advocating CAM therapies is in many ways advocating for Veganism. By encouraging disease prevention though diet, lifestyle, and stress reduction, we show our commitment to ending Human oppression as well. Instead of promoting a system that is benefiting the rich and privileged wile countless millions die unnecessarily, we will support a system that does not require animals to test it’s procedures, a system that is affordable, cost effective and that can cure and prevent the most common diseases.

This is not to say that traditional medical care does not have it’s place. Medicine today as it is currently practiced is wonderful for emergency medicine. There are plenty of people alive today that would not be if it were not for the life saving abilities of modern medicine. The problems, as outlined above, begin when we try to apply too much technology and fight against our bodies instead of trying to support it. Currently the best defense we have against disease is our own immune system. Neither a drug nor surgery currently available today comes anywhere close to the power of this amazingly complex system inside all of us. I merely am suggesting that we work with the innate intelligence of our own body to cure and prevent disease. By adopting this approach, we will increase our quality of life and save more life’s, both humans and non-human.

Relevant links:

- Matt Hastings

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Lamb Kabobs

Hello Bloggyland! Welcome to the first annual Easter blog. Where I complain about something involving Easter. This year's topic, lamb kabobs.
I find it quite disturbing that people choose to eat lamb on Easter. Before I get accused of being sentimental, think of it this way. Lambs are often depicted with the Easter bunny on children's Easter products. Could you imagine if people ate rabbit on Easter? "Johnny, would you like Mr. Cottontail's leg, or a Breast?" Oh no, think of the children!

You would think that if the Christian church world choose any day to eat vegetarian this would be it. A holiday that honors the reincarnation of Jesus is celebrated with the death of countless animals. Why not eat live plants that did not have to suffer and die as you commemorate life and rebirth? The choice to eat dead flesh on this day is the height of irony. But as us Vegans know, you can't celebrate anything without something dead on the table.

So I'll leave you with a picture of a lamb to show your uncle as he takes a bite out of him lamb kabob to remind him of the sorce of his meal.

-Matt Hastings

I like the word Kellogg's because it has ello in the middle of it, like the British greeting, "ello governor!"

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Yahoo! Answers and Vegan outreach, a call to “arms”

I spend a good bit of time in the Vegetarian & Vegan section of Yahoo! Answers posting under the username MattH. The questions and answers you will see here range from well thought out and respectful, to downright nasty. Since I’ve been answering questions there for a wile my posts and views have become quite well known. When I first started posting here many people were hostile to my views. Even so, I spoke my truth and defended abolitionist animal rights.

Recently though, a small but noticeable shift has been occurring on Yahoo! Answers. Topics I use to get thumbs down for, recently have been gaining support from other users. My views have not changed, if anything they have grown stronger in favor of the abolitionist approach as set forth by Gary Francione. It seems to me people have started to open up to considering the abolitionist theory in this forum.

My purpose for posting such a mundane topic is simple. I would love to see more people advocating abolitionist animal rights and Veganism on Yahoo! Answers. Post questions to get people thinking, or answer other users questions. Currently we have two people who are unequivocally supporting abolitionist theory, another Vegan Freak listener, and myself. I could not imagine the impact it may have if that number jumped to even ten people, or twenty. Please consider posting on Yahoo! Answers no matter how infrequently as a small addition to your Vegan outreach.

-Matt Hastings