Archive for consciousness

We Are Not Lions

Posted in veganism with tags , , on February 24, 2010 by carmen4thepets

In an attempt to defend meat-eating, there are those who say it’s perfectly natural for us to kill and consume other animals, and since we’re at the top of the food chain, everything and anything (or anyone) is on the menu.

These people often cite lions, tigers and bears (oh my) to back up their beliefs that humans are supposed to eat flesh, because other animals eat flesh. I can see where they’re coming from because I thought the very same thing when I was very young.

“Bears are omnivores and so are we,” I once told my then vegetarian sister. “Get the bears to stop eating meat and I’ll stop eating meat.” I thought I was so clever!

Lions kill antelopes, wolves kill deer and bears kill fish. They’re animals and we’re animals. So what’s the big deal? What’s the difference?

The difference is we are not lions, wolves or bears. We’re human beings: a different kind of animal; a MORAL animal. Lions and other carnivores don’t have morals, nor do they have a choice. If they don’t kill other animals they’ll die. They can’t survive on fruits, grains and vegetables. It’s the same for omnivores. But we can. We have other options.

Maybe once, a long time ago, we had to eat animals to survive (humans also ate other humans NOT so long ago) but we’ve learned so much since then. Today we work with lasers, communicate instantly with people on the other side of the planet and send robots to other planets. We’re in the 21st century now, not the Stone Age. We don’t need to eat animals anymore.

Some readers might say: “Yes, but we’re omnivores too!” Are we? I’m not so sure. Our physiology seems to indicate we are not, and the health implications (not to mention the environmental consequences) of consuming animal products suggest it would be wiser for all of us if we gave up meat.

And just because we can do something, like eating someone else’s flesh, doesn’t mean we should. Our bodies can also handle cocaine, heroine and crystal meth in moderate amounts, but I don’t know anyone promoting widespread psychoactive drug use.

So meat advocates can use predators to try and make their meat-eating arguments if they like but I’m more inspired by the gorillas, elephants and rhinoceroses. These amazing animals are just as strong as lions (if not stronger) and they’re all vegans. They manage to survive without killing and eating the bodies of other animals and they do just fine.

But I don’t object to predatory animals killing other animals (even though I feel bad for the victims) because, as I wrote earlier, they have no choice; it’s either do or die. Humans on the other hand do have a choice. And that’s what it all comes down to: a moral choice.

We know that killing, unless absolutely necessary, is wrong. We also know that causing unnecessary suffering to others is cruel. That’s why we have laws. If we didn’t, society couldn’t function. So we’re taught from an early age about right and wrong, do unto others, and so on for the betterment of society and the good of its members.

We’re praised when we perform acts of kindness and punished when we commit acts of violence. We’re also encouraged to work together to strengthen our communities, protect the weak and vulnerable, and help the sick and elderly. We don’t live by the law of the jungle because we don’t live in the jungle.

We can’t be part of a moral community, and reap the benefits of that community on one hand, and then justify killing and eating animals “because other animals do it.” There are no rules in nature; it’s survival of the fittest. But WE don’t live like that. If we did, there would be no law enforcement agencies, no hospitals, no charitable organizations, no social services, no mercy and no compassion.

If you want to reject civilized society and all its rules, living “red in claw and tooth” and killing what you eat go right ahead. But leave behind all the protections and benefits that come from living in a civilized society, including all those fancy gadgets. Wild animals don’t have cars, kerosene generators or high-powered rifles and neither should you.

Either we live like human beings, and accept all the rights and responsibilities that come with that, or we live like animals. It’s one or the other. We can’t have it both ways.

source:  http://www.vegansoapbox.com/we-are-not-lions/

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If Animals Spoke our Language

Posted in animal rights, holocaust, veganism with tags , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2009 by carmen4thepets

Poem by: Vegan Poet


Animals speak to us in their own way,
but if they spoke with words, what would they say?
One thing I declare, without ANY doubt:
All creatures in cages would say ‘Let me out!’


‘Watch my eyes follow your every motion’
A dog would say, ‘my life speaks of devotion’.
A horse would say, ‘A fire burns deep within me
that yearns to run through the countryside, free!’

‘You can be soft and cuddly, like I am’
illustrates an adorable little lamb.
‘Soar with your thoughts like I soar through the sky,’
advises a wood pigeon gliding by.

Help, my mother’s been shot’ a fawn would cry,
who woefully witnessed her mother die.
She’d flee in fear to her cousins and brother,
‘The scariest beast of all killed my mother.’


‘Your blindness to bovines is an oddity,
for you see us as a mere commodity.
It’s so sad; all the exploitation we’ve seen,
We are conscious beings treated like a machine.’

‘Some scientists are really quite confused
seeking answers by primates being abused.
I, with eyes that greatly resemble yours,
see madness in some things that man explores.’


‘I can’t breathe or move; I’m living in hell!’
cries a chicken from her crowded prison cell.
‘Humans inflict such excruciating pain’,
With a hook in his mouth, a fish would explain.

One way we can improve the human race
is to respect those of a different face.
We need to listen in a whole new way
to what animals are trying to say.

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

Our Task

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

by Dr. Steven Best

The “animal rights movement,” such as it is, poses a fundamental evolutionary challenge to human beings in the midst of severe social and ecological crises. Can we recognize that the animal question is central to the human question? Can we grasp how the exploitation of nonhuman animals is implicated in every aspect of mental, social, and ecological breakdown? Can we illuminate and eliminate the corrupt constellation of overlapping oppressions that constitute the sickness and bungled experiment we call “civilization”? Can we become truly enlightened and overcome one of the last remaining prejudices, a sanctioned system of murder, a legally-validated police-protected form of enslavement, an ongoing holocaust? Can humans reorganize their economic institutions, retool their technologies, and reconstruct their cultural traditions apart from visceral violence and socially-secured  sadism? Can they construct new sensibilities, values, worldviews, and identities?

Animal liberation is an assault on human identity  alienated  from the natural world and complex with vanity and arrogance.   It demands that humans relinquish their sense of superiority over nonhumans  and smash the compasses of anthropocentrisim and speciesismAnimal liberation provokes people to realize that power demands responsibility and that might is not right.  , It places an unprecedented burden on humanity to act altruistically and no longer exploit their fellow beings.  Animal liberation calls people back to an integral consciousness and relation to their teeming natural surroundings such as their early ancestors enjoyed before symbolic thinking, technological culture, agriculture, and the emergence of hierarchical ideologies and institutions.

By expanding the definition and boundaries of moral subjects and community, animal liberationists challenge hierarchical thinking of all kinds (racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, ablism, and statism). Above all, it dismisses the speciesist mindset that humanity is apart from, rather than a part of, the natural world and evolutionary processes.  In a masterful example of question begging and circular reasoning – animals are deemed inferior to humans because they are not humans (i.e., they lack allegedly unique human qualities such as reasoning, language, and symbolic and technological cultures). Distorted conceptions of human beings as demigods who command a planet that exists solely for its interests and benefits must be replaced with the far more humble and holistic notion that humans belong to, and are dependent upon, vast networks of organic and inorganic relationships.

Let’s be clear: we are fighting for a revolution, not for reforms, for the end of slavery, not for “humane” slavemasters, for a new consciosuenss, not “enlightened humanism”. Animal rights advances the most radical idea to ever land on human ears: animals are not ours to exploit as food, clothing, resources, commodities, data, or “entertainment.” They exist for their own purposes, not ours. But animal liberation is simply unthinkable on its own terns, rather than as part and parcel of a larger revolutionary project that integrates human, animal, and Earth liberation as one inseparable struggle.

Thus, we must not only educate and agitate, we must form a social movement that combines the merely partial struggles for social justice, autonomy, animal rights, and ecology in a global, revolutionary politics of total liberation. As with all revolutions, animals will not gain “rights” (or whatever a possible future society calls inviolable and inalienable moral and legal protections against abuse and exploitation) because oppressors suddenly see the light, but rather because enough people become enlightened and learn how to rock the structures of power, to shake them until new social arrangements emerge.

Animal liberation requires that people transcend the complacent boundaries of humanism – however “radical” and “progressive” – to effect a qualitative leap in ethical consideration, one that moves the moral bar from reason and language to sentience and subjectivity. Humans must not only change their views toward one another, a massive undertaking in itself, they must  also recognize that the species boundaries separating human from nonhuman animals are as arbitrary as those of race and sex. Animal liberation is possible only as total liberation that is advanced as part and parcel of a radical social movement and realizes moral learning processes in the institutional networks of a truly democratic post-capitalist society.

Animal liberation expands on classic humanist values such as rights, democracy, equality, justice, and peace, as it broadens inclusivity, expands moral value and legal protection, and deepens community. In taking the quantum jump beyond humanism, animal liberation does not “trivialize” human rights (as bioethicist Arthur Kaplan claims), but rather  frees the universal and progressive aspects of rights from the ignorance, bias, prejudice, and discrimination of “rational” and “enlightened” human beings. Humanism is nothing but a tribalism writ large, applying to the artificially created chasm between “Us” and “Them,” between human and nonhuman animals, a conceptual dualism that underpins the vicious and violent system of species apartheid.

As difficult, bloody, and tenacious the battle to win gains in human rights and equality has been throughout modern Western history, we must recognize that every justice struggle to the present has been relatively easy. Now it gets hard.

The patterns of history cannot be changed by the vain hopes of pacifists who believe that Divine intervention or moral magic will make animal liberation – which threatens human psychological, social, and economic structures in profound ways – will be achieved peacefully, without shedding a drop of blood, through reason, compassion, and persuasion. Far more plausibly, especially as social and ecological crises heat up to fever pitch, we are headed for a profound, lengthy, and likely violent war – a war of human against nonhuman animals, of liberationists against exploiters, and of the corporate-state complex against militants and dissenters of any kind.

The struggle to end human supremacy is the most difficult liberation battle of all because speciesism is virtually primordial and universal. Speciesism was arguably the first form of hierarchical domination and a key model and blueprint for slavery, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ablism, and fascism. Speciesist cultures have grown in scale and degree throughout human history and its poisonous roots of human supremacism have spread throughout the globe.

Power, domination, violence, and extermination are not dynamics limited to Western culture or the modern world, as if there were a utopian past or radical alternative to recover. While wary  of biological reductionism, it is nevertheless evident that power pathologies are deeply embedded in the long social and biological history of humans, and our ancient Australopithecine and primate ancestors. As appalled the “monster” in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein (1818), the history of humanity is a tale of violence, warfare, genocide, destruction, such that a war of extermination was first unleashed, quite likely, on a fellow human species, Homo neanderthalensis. Then, after a 15,000 year long pogrom designed to eliminate Neanderthals, humans hunted large mammals (megafauna) into extinction on every continent they roamed.

Humans slaughtered remaining hunting and gathering tribes, waged wider warfare against one another, enslaved captive populations, and from Romans and Mayans to Christians and the US, they blanketed the Earth with invading armies whose numbers rose from thousands to millions to billions, exceeding ecological limits the entire way and paying the price with every crash and collapse.

Fueled by greed, bloodlust, cruelty, orgies of killing, and insatiable appetites for power, the Roman, Greek, Mayan empires are but variations on the global Human Empire – the tyrannical reign of Homo rapiens – such that one species on a path of runaway growth and expansion has colonized a fecund planet capable of generating tens of millions of species.

The pathologies of power and are not limited to Western societies or to the modern world, such that there is some significant utopian past or cultural alternative to recover. While social institutions such as capitalism magnify the worst aspects of human behavior, a violent dominator complex is not wholly accidental to the human species itself, which, but for rare exceptions, is a violent, destructive, and imperialist animal. Human beings have  proven incapable of learning from past disasters, and unable to relinquish their arrogance and delusions.

Animal liberation is the most difficult battle we  have ever fought because it requires widespread agreement to abandon the privileges of power and what people widely perceive to be their hard-won or  God-given rights to exploit nonhuman animals and the entire Earth for their purposes.

To change these attitudes, and the systems they inform, is to change the very nerve center of human consciousness and existence.

That is our task no more and no less.

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.

source: http://negotiationisover.com/?p=4495