Eleven years ago, when I was arrested along with six other animal activists on domestic terrorism charges, I was already tired of looking for lawyers. The campaign I was working on, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), had already garnered its fair share of lawsuits and arrests.
Nature is cruel and the lion eats the lamb. By becoming vegetarians and avoiding cruelty to animals are we going against nature? Pretending to be gods?
A recent study determined that meat provides nutrients we can't get from veggies. We have omnivore's teeth and digestive systems and we've eaten meat for millions of years and worn their skins for just as long.
So if we are omnivores that wear animal skins and the problem is animal cruelty, is it a matter of killing them painlessly? Or of not killing endangered wildlife? Or that growing meat takes many more resources than are available?
Perhaps human overpopulation, resource hoarding and depletion is forcing us to change the way we have lived for millions of years.
It seems to me that Glenn Greenwald has been influenced by the Pope's Encyclical 'Laudato Si.' In it Pope Francis implores mankind to show compassion toward all animals. Their exploitation to satisfy our cravings is the actions of the morally depraved. We do not need the furs of animals to keep us warm and we don't need the flesh of animals to sustain us. Albert Einstein and Albert Schweitzer lived long, healthy lives as vegetarians proving we can do just fine on a plant based diet. Aside from that, if someone chooses to eat meat, they should at least try to abstain from meat from factory farms. Those farms which provide close to 95% of all the meat we consume are torture chambers that inflict a lifetime of horrific suffering on the animals raised there. If you must indulge, make organically raised farm animals your prefered option. To gain a better understanding of how our society treats animals, watch the documentary " Earthlings." It will give you a whole new perspective on animal rights.
Our wars, both military and economic, seem to be doing a quite adequate job of reducing human populations.
Who puts much stock in what Pope Francis says? He put quite a bit of time into speaking to Americans about our current (mis)treatment of our own poor. At most, it was liberals who politely nodded, and then quickly moved on to the next issue. Consistent with Christianity, Pope Francis values all of God's creation -- all life. Even those at the bottom of our social pecking order, the poor.
It might be an understatement to say that I support sane animal rights laws. I have lived rurally and have had animal companions all my life, and I have much love and respect for all animals.
That said, I think we should broaden this discussion to consider advocating for human rights as well. The US has taken huge steps backwards in this area. Remembering that liberals and progressives have long claimed their support for the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we should consider taking it a step further. According to the UDHR, all humans -- even the jobless poor -- have human rights to adequate food and shelter. America disagrees, but I think we should reconsider this. When we don't support fundamental human rights, what chance is there of even launching a legit public discussion about animal rights?
I am in total agreement with what you are saying regarding human rights and the plight of the poor worldwide. Our megar efforts to elliminate poverty is such a travesty. That being said, please take the time to watch the documentary " Glass Walls" narrated by Paul McCartney. It is my hope that we can extend our compassion to all living beings. Love to read your comment to either of the documentarys I've suggested.
Unfortunately, that call from the US's PETA for the execution of that US guy who killed the lion in Zimbabwe led to a big loss of credibility for the "animal rights" movement with me.
When we won't even address our poverty crisis right here in America, why would we be concerned about poverty elsewhere? I do understand that it actually is popular to note poverty in foreign countries, where there is little (if anything) we can do to change conditions (which, in fact, is possibly why we focus on poverty elsewhere). Sometimes I wonder if today's middle class is even aware of how severe US poverty has grown. We're unique among modern nations in that the life expectancy of America's poor has been on a downhill slide. Because this -- the US -- is where I am, this is where my focus is.
Unfortunately, PETA did lose credibility (defeated itself) by such extremism years ago.
Using modern science and technology instead of theocracy and oligarchy, we wouldn't need wars for that purpose.
When you share your life with animals on a daily basis like I do, you realize how close emotionally they are to us humans..... they feel joy, sadness, pain, love, anger. As Oscar Wilde said "Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends". I stopped eating animals over 30 years ago and ran marathons! Look up the long-distance runner Scott Jurek if you have any doubt. A future, more evolved society will see eating animals as cannibalism. Torturing animals is just like torturing humans, no difference.
Let's be a little less slipshod, shall we?
the field of nutrition is very ignorant. All the nutritional biochemistry work was stopped in the early 1980's with the explosion of genetics/molecular biology, and we have very little idea of the characterization of most compounds in foods. We are also very ignorant of what the body needs.
the one place we can find information on diet that tells us something about dietary effects over generations is in food anthropology. There, we find that no society has sustained themselves over long time periods on plant foods alone. When groups are asked why they eat as they do, they say something like, "To create perfect babies." There are four groups of diets by which native peoples have sustained themselves:
- Those depending on large animals
- Those depending on small animals and insects
- Those depending on sea life
- Those depending on milk from animals.
This information has been known for over a century.
So my conclusions:
- You do not need "meat"
- You do need animal products
- This information does not need "recent studies"
- It would be very foolish to depend on our extremely limited "scientific" knowledge to tell us how to eat.
This is very confused.
- I agree that we don't need the flesh of animals to sustain us
- I agree that vegetarians can live long and healthy lives
- I do not agree that it's possible over a period of generations for members of a community to live long and healthy lives on a plant based diet.
Veganism is not vegetarianism. The former is a fanatical offshoot of the London Vegetarian Society and completely unreflective of what societies have found supported their health over generations - see my post above. And, please stop eliding these two.
Yes. It's a reflection of our profound alienation that we don't recognize this.
I don't agree with this. We are in material form on this planet, and here, unfortunately, we use each other, we even eat each other. I might want to minimize it, but that's the best I can do. My personal solution is that when my time's up here, I intend to get off and not come back.
Edit: I'll add that with a little more evolution - and most native groups have known this, but we've lost it as our present path is one of degeneration - you'll find that plants also have emotions and communicate. You're not going to get out of this world we are trapped in by confining yourself to killing plants.
A diet that is plant based by definition is one consisting of vegetables, whole grains, legumes, whole fruit, with little or no animal products. I did not use the word vegan which implies NO use of any animal products. I abhor the cruelty of factory farms and stated that for those on a diet of animal products should go organic whenever and wherever possible. The focus of my post was the immense suffering the animal kingdom endures because of the actions of humanity. Once we understand this, we can minimize it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHNC78zy1SI
Well, ok. That seems to me a tendentious definition of "plant based". In that case a group that might have historically consumed a chicken a month and dairy, like the Sikh in NW South Asia, would be considered to have a "plant based" diet. That's certainly not the way I would use English.
I've seen the film, thanks. I have no argument over the nature of factory farming. I even think that domestication of animals that are then consumed - whether CAFO's are involved or not - is dehumanizing, since we are killing our dependents. This is a very different relationship to animals than when we were ourselves living in the forest.
I beleive that, yes, plants do react, scientific proof is there BUT animals have a near-human level of consciousness (see Cambirdge and Stanford studies and I am sure there are many more). Animals have a rich language and respond to emotions just like we do. As for living long years without eating animals, do some research and you will see that it is entirely possible.
Dakota, thank you for your comment. The most astute one made here regarding this topic.
We can choose in most cases not to eat animals and/or animal products and live quite healthfully. Most carnivores don't have that luxury.
And the lives that we manipulate and cut short are lives being lived by other beings that are just as deserving as we are of families, love, compassion and comfort.
But then, there are human beings at many stages of awareness evidenced by the baiting and killing of that glorious lion this week. And human beings who think that's just dandy too.
"But then, there are human beings at many stages of awareness" You "got it" Lindaann, that is the bottom line of it all.