Archive for climate change

Do You Judge Meat Eaters?

Posted in animal liberation, holocaust, speciesism, veganism with tags , , , , , , on November 8, 2010 by carmen4thepets

By Eccentric Vegan on November 6th, 2010

Q: Can you ever be OK with people who eat meat? Don’t you judge them and look down on them?

A: I can be friends with omnis. The key is to make our friendship focused on nonfood activities. We simply find shared interests in other things (hiking, dogs, shopping, whatever). It’s also helpful to refrain – in general – from discussions about eating animals between defensive omnis and ethical vegans.

That said, meat is simply unjustifiable. I will never “be OK” with the behavior of eating animals. While I can “be OK” with individual people who eat animals (just like I can “be OK” with smokers or people who do other things that I do not condone), eating animals is not OK.

Eating animals is destroying the planet, contributing to major human health threats, and perpetuating extreme cruelty to animals. It’s not OK to eat animals.


World at Gunpoint

Posted in animal liberation with tags , , on November 4, 2010 by carmen4thepets

“What if, instead of asking “How shall I live my life?” people were to ask the land where they live, the land that supports them, “What can and must I do to become your ally, to help protect you from this culture? What can we do together to stop this culture from killing you?” If you ask that question, and you listen, the land will tell you what it needs. And then the only real question is: are you willing to do it?”



by Derrick Jensen (Orion)

A FEW MONTHS AGO at a gathering of activist friends someone asked, “If our world is really looking down the barrel of environmental catastrophe, how do I live my life right now?”

The question stuck with me for a few reasons. The first is that it’s the world, not our world. The notion that the world belongs to us—instead of us belonging to the world—is a good part of the problem.

The second is that this is pretty much the only question that’s asked in mainstream media (and even among some environmentalists) about the state of the world and our response to it. The phrase “green living” brings up 7,250,000 Google hits, or more than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards combined (or, to look at it another way, more than a thousand times more than the crucial environmental philosophers John A. Livingston and Neil Evernden combined). If you click on the websites that come up, you find just what you’d expect, stuff like “The Green Guide: Shop, Save, Conserve,” “Personal Solutions for All of Us,” and “Tissue Paper Guide for Consumers.”

The third and most important reason the question stuck with me is that it’s precisely the wrong question. By looking at how it’s the wrong question, we can start looking for some of the right questions. This is terribly important, because coming up with right answers to wrong questions isn’t particularly helpful.

So, part of the problem is that “looking down the barrel of environmental catastrophe” makes it seem as though environmental catastrophe is the problem. But it’s not. It’s a symptom—an effect, not a cause. Think about global warming and attempts to “solve” or “stop” or “mitigate” it. Global warming (or global climate catastrophe, as some rightly call it), as terrifying as it is, isn’t first and foremost a threat. It’s a consequence. I’m not saying pikas aren’t going extinct, or the ice caps aren’t melting, or weather patterns aren’t changing, but to blame global warming for those disasters is like blaming the lead projectile for the death of someone who got shot. I’m also not saying we shouldn’t work to solve, stop, or mitigate global climate catastrophe; I’m merely saying we’ll have a better chance of succeeding if we recognize it as a predictable (at this point) result of burning oil and gas, of deforestation, of dam construction, of industrial agriculture, and so on. The real threat is all of these.

The same is true of worldwide ecological collapse. Extractive forestry destroys forests. What’s the surprise when extractive forestry causes forest communities—plants and animals and mushrooms and rivers and soil and so on—to collapse? We’ve seen it once or twice before. When you think of Iraq, is the first image that comes to mind cedar forests so thick the sunlight never reaches the ground? That’s how it was prior to the beginnings of this extractive culture; one of the first written myths of this culture is of Gilgamesh deforesting the plains and hillsides of Iraq to build cities. Greece was also heavily forested; Plato complained that deforestation harmed water quality (and I’m sure Athenian water quality boards said the same thing those boards say today: we need to study the question more to make sure there’s really a correlation). It’s magical thinking to believe a culture can effectively deforest and yet expect forest communities to sustain.

It’s the same with rivers. There are 2 million dams just in the United States, with 70,000 dams over six feet tall and 60,000 dams over thirteen feet tall. And we wonder at the collapse of native fish communities? We can repeat this exercise for grasslands, even more hammered by agriculture than forests are by forestry; for oceans, where plastic outweighs phytoplankton ten to one (for forests to be equivalently plasticized, they’d be covered in Styrofoam ninety feet deep); for migratory songbirds, plagued by everything from pesticides to skyscrapers; and so on.

The point is that worldwide ecological collapse is not some external and unpredictable threat—or gun barrel—down which we face. That’s not to say we aren’t staring down the barrel of a gun; it would just be nice if we identified it properly. If we means the salmon, the sturgeon, the Columbia River, the migratory songbirds, the amphibians, then the gun is industrial civilization.

A second part of the problem is that the question presumes we’re facing a future threat—that the gun has yet to go off. But the Dreadful has already begun. Ask passenger pigeons. Ask Eskimo curlews. Ask great auks. Ask traditional indigenous peoples almost anywhere. This is not a potential threat, but rather one that long-since commenced.

The larger problem with the metaphor, and the reason for this new column in Orion, is the question at the end: “how shall I live my life right now?” Let’s take this step by step. We’ve figured out what the gun is: this entire extractive culture that has been deforesting, defishing, dewatering, desoiling, despoiling, destroying since its beginnings. We know this gun has been fired before and has killed many of those we love, from chestnut ermine moths to Carolina parakeets. It’s now aimed (and firing) at even more of those we love, from Siberian tigers to Indian gavials to entire oceans to, in fact, the entire world, which includes you and me. If we make this metaphor real, we might understand why the question—asked more often than almost any other—is so wrong. If someone were rampaging through your home, killing those you love one by one (and, for that matter, en masse), would the question burning a hole in your heart be: how should I live my life right now? I can’t speak for you, but the question I’d be asking is this: how do I disarm or dispatch these psychopaths? How do I stop them using any means necessary?

Finally we get to the point. Those who come after, who inherit whatever’s left of the world once this culture has been stopped—whether through peak oil, economic collapse, ecological collapse, or the efforts of brave women and men fighting in alliance with the natural world—are not going to care how you or I lived our lives. They’re not going to care how hard we tried. They’re not going to care whether we were nice people. They’re not going to care whether we were nonviolent or violent. They’re not going to care whether we grieved the murder of the planet. They’re not going to care whether we were enlightened or not enlightened. They’re not going to care what sorts of excuses we had to not act (e.g., “I’m too stressed to think about it” or “It’s too big and scary” or “I’m too busy” or any of the thousand other excuses we’ve all heard too many times). They’re not going to care how simply we lived. They’re not going to care how pure we were in thought or action. They’re not going to care if we became the change we wished to see.

They’re not going to care whether we voted Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian, or not at all. They’re not going to care if we wrote really big books about it. They’re not going to care whether we had “compassion” for the CEOs and politicians running this deathly economy. They’re going to care whether they can breathe the air and drink the water. They’re going to care whether the land is healthy enough to support them.

We can fantasize all we want about some great turning, and if the people (including the nonhuman people) can’t breathe, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but that we stop this culture from killing the planet. It’s embarrassing even to have to say this. The land is the source of everything. If you have no planet, you have no economic system, you have no spirituality, you can’t even ask this question. If you have no planet, nobody can ask questions.

What question would I ask instead? What if, instead of asking “How shall I live my life?” people were to ask the land where they live, the land that supports them, “What can and must I do to become your ally, to help protect you from this culture? What can we do together to stop this culture from killing you?” If you ask that question, and you listen, the land will tell you what it needs. And then the only real question is: are you willing to do it?

10 Fast Facts About Farmed Animals

Posted in veganism with tags , , , , on January 18, 2010 by carmen4thepets

Get the Facts:

(1) More than 47 billion animals are killed in food production each year around the world — 10 billion of those animals are slaughtered in the United States alone. These figures do not include the countless fish who are killed for human consumption.

(2) In the U.S., more than 9½ billion chickens, turkeys, and ducks; 120 million pigs, 40 million cattle, 3 million sheep, and 600,000 goats were killed for human consumption in 2004.

(3) Approximately 400 million hens and 10 million cows are kept in confinement in appalling conditions for use in the egg and dairy industries. These animals will are slaughtered when they are considered insufficiently productive. Male chicks — byproducts of laying hen production — are killed, often by being thrown into plastic bags to slowly suffocate or being ground into animal feed while still alive. Male calves — the byproducts of the dairy industry — are usually sold to the veal or beef industries.

(4) Like all animals, farmed animals have the ability to experience pleasure and pain. Unfortunately, farm animals endure tremendous amount of pain and suffering for unnecessary human use and consumption.

(5) The vast majority of animals raised for human consumption live on factory farms, where they live in appalling, overcrowded conditions and are subjected to painful mutilations such as debeaking, toe removal, dehorning, and castration, without benefit of pain relief.

(6) Farmed animals frequently die during transport in overcrowded trucks. Once arriving at the slaughterhouse, they may have their throats cut or be boiled alive while still conscious.

(7) The federal Animal Welfare Act does not apply to animals used in agriculture and 30 states have enacted laws that specifically exempt farmed animals from portions of state anti-cruelty statues.

(8) The Humane Slaughter Act, which requires that all animals slaughtered in federally inspected meat processing plants be rendered unconscious to the process of slaughter, does not apply to does not cover chickens and turkeys nor does it cover kosher, ritual, or home slaughter.

(9) The federal law regulating the transport of farmed animals is rarely enforced — and even if it were, it provides less protection than similar initiatives elsewhere in the world. On the way to the slaughterhouse, animals may travel for hours in sweltering temperatures with no access to water.

(10) A plant-based diet has profound benefits for animals, for the planet, and for human health. Learn how easy it is to eat compassionately.


Teens turn vegetarian for health – their own and animals

Posted in veganism with tags , , , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by carmen4thepets

By Edgar Sanchez
Teens in the Newsroom

Vegetarianism seems to be a rising and popular trend among teens. More and more every year are taking the pledge to be meat-free.

Some people may argue that a vegetarian diet lacks proper nutrition, but according to the American Dietetic Association, “vegetarianism is the way to live a healthy life, by beating heart disease, avoiding obesity and providing great sources of protein, iron and calcium.”

Recent studies have shown that vegetarians live an average of six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.

Although dairy products such as milk contain high amounts of calcium, there are other sources where calcium can be found, such as orange juice, soybeans, soy milk and tofu.

It’s hard to find conclusive figures on the number of vegetarians in the United States. According to a 2007 story in USA Today, a poll by Harris Interactive in 2005 found that 3 percent of Americans ages 8 to 18 were vegetarian, up 1 percent from an earlier poll.

Many teens choose a vegetarian lifestyle for their health or because they want to save animals.

Kaydee Blickenstaff, a senior at Beyer High School, said she’s a vegetarian “because of my compassion for animals.”

“Most animals are confined in very small living quarters, are beaten, and are sometimes conscious when slaughtered,” Kaydee said. “I can’t have these images running through my mind.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals encourages teens to switch to a vegetarian diet, for the sake of the animals and for themselves. The PETA Web site —— offers testimonials, videos and facts about vegetarianism and the consumption of animal products.

“I always thought the idea of eating meat was terrible, but I didn’t see the cruel process until my sisters and I watched a video called ‘Meet Your Meat’ on the PETA Web site,” said Theresa Ramirez, a sophomore at Johansen High. “I was closing my eyes through half of it because it was so terrible!”

The video made her change her views on the slaughtering of animals for food. By going vegetarian, “I decided I would not support the meat industry and their horrid practices,” she said.

The American Meat Institute, a trade group, says that the health and welfare of animals is a key concern of the meat and poultry industry. And the California Milk Advisory Board’s Web site,, includes a brochure on how dairy farmers care for their cows.

Becoming a vegetarian is a challenge. Some teens find the transition difficult for the first couple of months, but get used to it after a while.

Luis Valdovinos, a senior at Johansen High, said, “It was hard at first, but now the idea of eating meat is actually less appealing than it was before.”

Sometimes, teens find it too difficult of a challenge, and they break their pledge intentionally or accidentally.

“The transition was extremely difficult for me,” said Kaydee. “Once, I unknowingly ate some sort of casserole that contained meat. My stomach wasn’t used to so much grease, so I got sick.”

Judy Krizmanic, author of “A Teen’s Guide to Going Vegetarian,” encourages teens to try it for a few days a week and gradually transition to being a vegetarian full time.

Sareeka Prakash, a junior at Johansen High, said, “I have been a vegetarian on and off for the past eight years. I did it for my religion, but I wasn’t forced to. Certain things were difficult when I went out to eat because I had a limited choice of food.”

Many restaurants in Modesto, such as Fresh Choice and Denny’s, offer a variety of vegan and vegetarian foods, such as salads, soups, pizza, Boca burgers and tofu.

Some notable vegetarian celebrities teens look up to are Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire.

Another vegetarian and animal rights activist, Mike D’Antonio, bassist for metalcore band Killswitch Engage, said in a recent interview with PETA, “Why should somebody have to die if I need a snack?”

Edgar Sanchez is a junior at Johansen High School and a member of The Bee’s Teens in the Newsroom journalism program

Read more:

Who Is Winning the Battle for Food Regime? Vegans or Carnivores? Dare To Know

Posted in animal liberation with tags , , , , , , , on December 28, 2009 by carmen4thepets

by Dr. Steven Best

We often hear about the any “victories” the vegan movement is piling up with new products on the shelves, new restaurants, growing coverage with celebrities and talk show hosts, and growing consciousness in general.

As this article shows, a growing awareness that meat production is environmentally devastating means that vegans have grounds for hope and optimism.[1]

But the big picture and full context brings sobering realities to light; the fact is that this is all too little, and too late and, while we win some battles, we are losing – badly – the overall war to save the planet from ecological collapse. Consider just two of many grim facts and narratives:

1) “Animal-food production in the United States alone has increased no less than four times since the 1950s, despite the more recent spread of popular knowledge concerning the harmful effects of meat consumption. At present there are an estimated 20 billion livestock on earth. In the United States more than 100,000 cows and calves are slaughtered every day, along with 14,000 chickens. The Tyson plant at Noel, Missouri kills some 300,000 chickens daily while the IBP slaughterhouse at Garden City, Kansas and the ConAgra complex at Greeley, Colorado both disassemble more than 6400 steers a day. All told 23 million animals are killed worldwide to satisfy human and food demands daily. In a McDonaldized society Americans now eat on average 30 pounds of beef yearly, with seemingly little concern for well-known health risks. Conditions of factory farming, said to be improved owing to reforms, are in fact worse by most standards — more crowded, more painful, more disease-ridden, more drug-saturated even than at the time of Upton Sinclair’s classic The Jungle (written in 1906).[2]

2) In a February 17, 2009 interview, Mia MacDonald of Brighter Green, a non-profit environmental think tank based in New York, discussed her case study of China’s runaway demand for animal-derived food products:

“Since 1980, meat consumption in China has risen four-fold. It’s now about 119 pounds per person a year, just over half the average American’s per capita annual meat consumption of 220 pounds.

In 2007, China raised and slaughtered 700 million pigs. That’s about 10 times the number in the U.S., although pork is China’s most popular meat and China’s population is more than four times as large as the U.S.’s, dairy consumption is rising even faster; the dairy industry in China has grown 20 percent a year over the past decade, and consumption of milk products in China has risen three times since 2000.”[3]

As Mark Bittman writes, “Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago.” There is a shocking spike in global flesh consumption as well: “The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) World meat consumption is expected to double again by 2050.”[4]

Opportunities are slipping through our hands like sand. Veganism is crucial, but the vegan movement could not be weaker and more marginalized in response to this planetary crisis. In the essays Jason Miller and I wrote in critical response to the visions put forth by Lee Hall and Gary Francione (“Averting the China Syndrome”)[5], we argued that the projected “vegan revolution” – to happen somehow, sometime – is a pipedream, not only because there is not enough time for this incremental change to creep glacially over the planet, but because, to reiterate, agribusiness and the carnivore paradigm are dwarfing tiny gains in veganism, and we cannot outrun a tornado or outswim a tsunami.

The answers and positive models of revolutionary change will be hard to come by.  One thing for sure is that we can never take even the first step so long as vegans live in their insular elite fantasyland.

This entire movement needs to be picked and shaken to its core. The most monumental events in human history are largely going ignored by the public in general and vegans in specific, and yet this community claims special enlightenment and a unique mission to bring truth and ethics to the world, but they’re lost in their cyber-matrix and the illusion of internet politics, and they have kept veganism restricted from everyone other than privileged whites..

As one step toward revitalizing and rethinking veganism as a social, political and environmental movement, we have proposed recasting veganism as “deep veganism.” [6] On the surface a simple thing, deep veganism rethinks practices such as gardening in radically new terms.  As we wrote earlier: “see the importance of gardening in broad terms, involving not only avoiding chemical poisoning of corporate agriculture and the high costs or inaccessibility of organic foods, but also as cultivating individuals and communities not only soil, breaking with capitalist market relations and a key link of the oppressive chains, becoming autonomous and self-reliant, and bonding with the earth and processes of growth in one of the best possible ways to nurture ecological consciousness.

So there are nutritional, individual, community, educational, political, and economic dimensions to this that are crucial for planting seeds for a new world. It is key to autonomy, health, veganism, community, and breaking with corporations and market structures”[7]

There is no time left to waste. Veganism needs to emerge as a comprehensive and relevant social movement, accessible to everyone, that holds the key to our survival.  There is no blueprint.  Grassroots community outreach and independent radical approaches are required.  Our survival depends on taking control locally instead of reinforcing the systems that threaten our planet.

[1] Kathy Freston, “10 Signs Vegetarianism is Catching On,” November 30, 2009,

[2] Carl Boggs, “Corporate Power, Ecological Crisis, and Animal Rights,”2007,  Fast Capitalism 2.2(

[3] Anna Lappe, “An interview with Mia MacDonald on China’s growing appetite for U.S.-style meat production,” February 17, 2009, grist(

[4] Mark Bittman, “Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler,” January 27, 2008, The New York Times, (

[5] Steven Best and Jason Miller, “Averting the China Syndrome: Response to Our Critics and the Devotees of Fundamentalist Pacifism,” February 24, 2009, Thomas Paine’s Corner(

[6]“ Steven Best, “Introducing “Deep Vegan Outreach”: The Time For Change Is Now,” December 19, 2009, Negotiation Is Over(

[7] Steven Best, “Planting the Seeds of Deep Veganism and Social Revolution,” December 19, 2009, Negotiation Is Over (

Dr. Steven Best is NIO’s Senior Editor of Total Liberation.  Associate professor of philosophy at UTEP, award-winning writer, noted speaker, public intellectual, and seasoned activist, Dr. Best engages the issues of the day such as animal rights, ecological crisis, biotechnology, liberation politics, terrorism, mass media, globalization, and capitalist domination. Best has published 10 booksover 100 articles and reviews, spoken in over a dozen countries, interviewed with media throughout the world, appeared in numerous documentaries, and was voted by VegNews as one of the nations “25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians.” He has come under frequent fire for his uncompromising advocacy of “total liberation” (humans, animals, and the earth) and has been banned from the UK for the power of his thoughts. From the US to Norway, from Sweden to France, from Germany to Russia to South Africa, Best shows what philosophy means in a world in crisis.

If the nonhumans could fight back, their tormentors would have expired long ago. We have an obligation to expose the abusers. It is the LEAST we can do! I welcome your emails & contributions.


Humans are Amazing…A HOLIDAY THOUGHT

Posted in animal liberation with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2009 by carmen4thepets

Aren’t humans amazing Animals? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed.

Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer.

So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions of more animals to look for cures for these diseases.

Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals.

Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”

~ Revised from Old MacDonald’s Factory Farm by C. David Coates

Undercover Investigation Reveals Cows Suffer for Land O’Lakes

Posted in holocaust, speciesism, traditions, veganism with tags , , , , , , , on November 26, 2009 by carmen4thepets

A new PETA undercover investigation inside a Land O’Lakes supplier facility in Pennsylvania has revealed routine neglect and cruelty to cows who are milked for the Fortune 250 company’s products. Over the course of several months, the investigation documented deplorable, filthy conditions for cows on the farm, such as pens that were filled with deep excrement (see video and photos), and cows who suffered from ailments and conditions so severe that they collapsed and became “downers” but were not put out of their misery or given veterinary care in a timely manner, if at all.

Land O’Lakes “inspected” the farm as recently as June 2009 and even noted that there were areas in need of cleaning (including the milking parlor walls!) but approved the facility nonetheless.

Cows on dairy factory farms are not given much more than the numbered tag that is punched through their ears to identify them. Read more about what happened to a few of the cows who lived and died miserably at one such farm.

The farm’s owner and one of his sons were caught on video electro-shocking cows who were in too much pain to stand up. One of the farmer’s sons kicked a cow and jabbed her with the blade of a pocket knife.Both the father and son have now been charged with cruelty to animals.

The dairy industry’s standard forms of cruelty also led to suffering for these cows. In order to make milking easier, cows’ tails were amputated by tightly binding them with elastic bands, causing the skin and tissue to slowly die and slough off and leaving the animals unable to swat away flies, which, in addition to tormenting the cows, also led to the spread of disease. Tail-docking is unnecessary and cruel, which is why it has been condemned by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dairy farmers don’t allow cows―whose pregnancies last for nine months, just like human pregnancies―to spend any significant time with their calves, who are taken from their mothers shortly after birth. Cows are intelligent animals who can remember things for a long time, and they have the capacity to worry about the future.

PETA’s investigation also reveals cows and calves who were kept in pens and barns whose floors were covered with deep excrement, which caused foot and hoof problems and fostered the spread of disease. Calves rescued from the farm had pneumonia, “manure scald,” ringworm, pinkeye, and parasites. Some cows suffered respiratory distress and had pus-filled nasal discharge streaming down their faces. Abscesses were common on the farm—some of them burst and oozed pus, even as cows were being milked, as can be seen in our video.

World-renowned meat and dairy industry expert Dr. Temple Grandin, after reviewing the footage, said, “The conditions are absolutely atrocious. … It was obvious that the place was seldom cleaned and … that many sick animals were not receiving veterinary treatment. … The dairy manager totally NEGLECTED his animals. … Many animals suffer greatly.”

PETA is calling on Land O’Lakes to implement and enforce a 12-point animal welfare plan to govern all cooperative members’ dairy-farming operations, which will eliminate some of the worst abuses to cows raised for their milk. Write to Land O’Lakes President Christopher Policinski now and urge him to implement the plan today. Of course, the best way for you to help prevent cows from suffering these abuses is to go vegan and stop consuming dairy products. Explore our “Vegetarian Starter Kit” for recipes and tips to get started today.