Home | About | Donate

Choose Life


Choose Life

Chris Hedges

MINISINK, N.Y.—The affable, soft-spoken dairy farmer stood outside his 70-stall milking barn on his 230-acre family farm. When his father started farming there in 1950 were about 800 dairy farms in New York state’s Orange County. Only 39 survive. Small, traditional farms have been driven out of business by rising real estate prices, genetic manipulation of cows, industrial-scale hormone use that greatly increases milk production, wildly fluctuating milk prices and competition from huge operations that have herds numbering in the thousands.

No People Have an Exclusive on Suffering (or Brutality)

The article is actually saying choose veganism, not vegetarianism. I must admit, I’ve been vegetarian for nearly30 years and find it very easy, and have tried to become vegan several times but find it difficult, unless you bend the rules a little and then there is always the question of where do you draw the line. Everytime you wash you clothes you kill several million tiny creatures such as dustmites. It’s impossible to live on this earth without generating suffering at ever turn. Trying to minimise it is the best we can do. Vegetarianism is a big step, veganism a bigger one.


Try Jainism. Jainists make Vegans look reptilian.



There is seemly no end to mankind’s cruelty. With today’s vast propaganda system in place, there is no problem in keeping the more affluent nations enthralled in this living nightmare. If you were a peaceful visitor from another world what would your reaction of this world be.


Hedges is in need of a Sancho Panza. His self marginalization is truly something to behold. The notion that these ideas will ever have mass appeal is delusional. If one chooses to be a vegetarian or vegan so be it.


Buddha taught that all living things have consciousness…


This is just what I needed; someone who understands what’s really going on with our twisted food industry and who stands up and tells it like it is.
Thank you, Mr. Hedges, for putting into words what I have thought and felt for a long time.
I hope this article goes far and that your voice is heard everywhere, for you have a lot of good things to say.
Maybe someday our society will stop exploiting animals and will all decide to become meat and dairy free- for it is the only way that we can unhook from the madness. Until then I will do my part to not touch meat products, to not buy meat infused products, or to participate in any way in the awful holocaust that is the farm animals’ lives and deaths.


Actually, prophetic voices like those of Mary Summer Rain DO envision a world–coming out of this corporate one’s collapse–that shows this level of respect for animals.


I think it’s a very good comparison. Raising animals for food is the eternal Treblinka.


I empathize with this position and wrestle with the internal struggles of guilt surrounding it; however, all kinds of life is destroyed in grain and vegetable farming. It’s also been proven that plants experience fear, which to me would indicate they would thus also experience pain. Because livestock animals are larger and express fear and pain in ways that are similar enough to our own expression, our visceral reaction to their suffering is much more tangible and less avoidable.

Living as a sentient being bears with it the burden of moral equivalency. There is no avoiding it. The closest we could come to ameliorating it in terms of sustenance would be to sustain ourselves on only wild fruit and nuts. Even then, moral equivocations would have to be made. You could even argue that those equivocations would be, in reality, even more difficult to make… and defend.

What I’ve written should not be viewed as anything more than a tangential defense of our mainstream food production systems. Our current policies and practices are a complete abrogation of moral responsibility and respect–even (especially) for ourselves. They exist solely for the purposes of financial gain/advantage and torpid convenience.


I am not so sure he is making a direct comparison between factory farms and concentration camps, but rather pointing out the ease with which humans are capable of turning a blind eye to the suffering of others, human or animal. The dairy farmer gave no thought to the suffering of “his” cows or their calves upon separation, or their value other than as units of production. Similarly, Stangl viewed the humans he was slaughtering en masse as nothing more than “garbage” or “cargo.” Indeed, the learned indifference to suffering of “others” seems to be what Hedges is really writing about here, and the impact that has had upon so many aspects of our “civilized” world.


Is the claim being made that there would be no more wars if everyone on the planet stopped eating animal protein?



Well Mr Hedges - you are pretty darn old to finally catch on that these things are bad. Please don’t tell me you did not know before. It was easily available information. I am 58 and became a vegan at 14. The info was all over the place then as it has been ever since. I really resent your self righteousness preachy attitude now that you suddenly became a ‘born again’ vegan. As if you are the first ever to discover what is done to ‘factory farm animals’. Maybe you just wanted a few more years of juicy cow flesh. I used to think a lot of you but lately you have really jumped the shark - attaching yourself to any and every bandwagon you can possibly find to raise your profile and keep yourself relevant and your name in the news . Pack it in pal - you are waay overexposed and stale. Retire. Do it now.


Seeing that I am sitting next to my father and a survior of Treblinka, I’m surprised that you think no one was murdered there. Either you feel that my father is part of a massive conspiracy that is just “pretending” that 6 million were killed, or you have simply rejected all of the eye witnesses that were there. In the one town that my father lived in, he lived amongst 900 relatives. He was the only one who survived… unless you believe that everyone else is just playing a mean game of hide-and-seek with him?
Perhaps I’m reading into your response incorrectly. Please elaborate when you make a statement like… “The end result, as expected, is that no bodies were ever unearthed and that no trace of any gas chambers were ever located, either below or above the ground, at Treblinka.” Were the Jews murdered somewhere else or do you think that the holocaust is just some incredibly well designed ploy to fool everyone for some strange and so far unexplained ulterior motive?


Our humanity is measured in the value we place on our ability to reason

Over our capacity to rationalize


The psychological processes in the 2 cases are exactly the same. The comparison makes itself. Poor attachment, splitting, projection, dissociation, objectification, domination… all the same. Neither case can exist without the other; eliminate one through healing people and the other will disappear.

Read Attachment, John Bowlby; The Bonds of Love, Jessica Benjamin; the series of 5 books that starts with King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, Moore and Gillette, (especially the appendices in any of the last 4)


There are tens of millions of such animals around the world; what would happen if they were all let go? And to where? I’d also like to know if Europe, which seems better at this sort of thing than are we, is just as bad at how they treat their livestock or whether it’s done more humanely than we treat them over here. And the person who mentioned the millions of dust mites we kill with each load of laundry is right: the best we can do is ‘lighten’ our necessary footprint on the earth. With any luck, we’ll continue to wrangle over where to draw the line till we see Christ returning in the clouds!


I don’t mean to be rude or flippant, but you know all this because of your many conversations with cows? What proof do you offer of all these things being true? …Because evidence is not enough to make the claims you make with such certainty. So much extreme behavior is based on those unsupported beliefs that proof is needed, not just some tenuous evidence, unless you want to change your statement to say “I believe that humans, because of our abilities…in a camp does”

What’s the difference between the slaughter of dolphins and the slaughter of cows?

And PS it’s not only women who are raped.


I agree with you, but I say CHOOSE VEGANISM. By being a vegetarian, you are probably consuming dairy products which you can see from Chris’ article cause tremendous suffering.


Chris Hedges thanks for an article that I have been waiting 46 years of my vegetarian/vegan (I use leather, honey and have whipped cream about once a year, usually on thanksgiving) life to read. I became a vegetarian because I just couldn’t eat meat when I took psychedelic’s in the late 60’s. I then found a book that said flesh was not good for human health and stopped eating it on this account but soon noticed my compassion, empathy, and overall consciousness for all life deepend considerably. Yes, read Will Tuttle’s “The world peace diet” where he makes a strong case that there will never be world peace unless much of the population can become vegan.

Chris Hedges has taken on the unglamorous task of speaking for the truly disenfranchised: common prisoners, prostitutes, groups that live in the various “dead zones” of our society be they Detroit, Camden, indian reservation, etc. Obviously the unspeaking animals who suffer death and torment from cunning and rationalizing humans have almost no one for their advocacy . Well, there was some dim soul above who was advising us above about how animals do not really feel pain like we humans do. He obviously meant to say that animals do not inflict pain like humans do. This crap has been floating around since history began and is a deep rationalization that is at the heart of most exploitation and racism. “You know, them darkies just don’t feel pain like the white man.”

Then there’s the old one that vegetarians are killing millions of sprouts with every salad-bar meal. Fact, every society has a moral hierarchy that values the higher beings as alined with their consciousness. In this gross world of duality everything must eat something for survival. If I steal and apple from your tree you may be annoyed; if I kill a chicken from your yard you may protest or even call the authorities; if I kill and eat your prize bull I may go to jail; and if I kill you I may be hung. Naturally this is a general view in which there may be exceptions.

The human is the crown of creation and as such has a much higher sense of responsibility and morality. If he degenerates and lords it over the lesser animals he will suffer a serious karmic debt. If he is truly conscious of his privileged status he will be a wiser and careful guardian of all that he has dominion over. This privilege is a responsibility not a license.