Tag Archives: animal rights

Walk for Farm Animals Atlanta

This Saturday we participated in the Atlanta Walk for Farm Animals at Piedmont Park. Atlanta raised over $17,000 smackeroos and there were over 170 participants.

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Despite the sorta rainy weather, it was a lot of fun. And I’m glad we registered (at the 11th hour). I mainly have pictures of just pups and food. Did you know that my camera mainly takes pics of only pups and food?

But there was also yoga by my pal Rachel from Tough Love Yogal, music by our friends New Terminus. And I got to hang out with a couple of internet pals (Becky from Glue and GlitterSeth and Elena from VeganESP, and Holly from Traveling Pink Lips).Walk For Farm Animals Atlanta- Luminous Vegans

Miles was shocked to see a dog bigger than him.Miles and a Great Dane- Luminous Vegans

There was a lot of that big dog- small dog thing going on.Pups-Luminous Vegans Walk For Farm Animals Atlanta-Luminous Vegans

Nikko and Miles refueled after the walk.

Nikko and Miles-Luminous Vegans

So did we.

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Nikko only sorta begged for some food.Nikko-Luminous Vegans

Will you be participating in your city’s Walk For Farm Animals? 

Vegan MoFo Highlights and “Food” For Thought

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I came. I blogged. I ate. I conquered…well, ok. Maybe I didn’t conquer. But 15 out of 20 Vegan MoFo posts ain’t too shabby. Not to mention that during MoFo I discovered so many new bloggers and was constantly inspired by other’s posts. These are just a few highlights from Vegan MoFo (and I really want to stress the word–few. I could probably fill a tome with the amount of vegan amazingness that I discovered this month).

Beautifully decadent (and gluten-free) Orange Notella Mousse Tartlets by Kylie from Fellowship of the Vegetable. I could probably eat the whole plate.Fellowship-of-the-Vegetable-Orange-Chocolate-Hazelnut-Mousse-Tartlet

A heaping plate of Puffy Nachos with Spicy Black Beans with a yummy nacho nooch sauce by Cadry from Cadry’s Kitchen. I made the sauce last night and it was fan-tabulous!puffy nachos with spicy black beans from Cadry's Kitchen

Spicy mac and yease from Richa at Vegan Richa. I love a good mac and cheese recipe and this has a nice spicy twist to it. Plus, crispy breadcrumbs!

spicy mac and yease from veganricha

And a gorgeous streusel plum cake from Seitan is My Motor that I definitely plan to make soon.

streusel plum cake from seitanismymotor

So at first glance it seems that Vegan MoFo is really a month about food. But underneath it all, it’s really about the animals. The focus is on the food because usually that’s the only thing that stands between a person and a compassionate lifestyle. But we’ve shown and continue to show that good food doesn’t have to involve suffering or dominion over another being’s life.

I am vegan for the animals. If it’s possible to live my life without causing them harm or suffering, then I would be remiss not to. After all, we share the same planet. Breathe the same air and come from the same stars. We’re all just here trying to live our lives, day by day, doing our thing.praying-mantis-0329-1

How was your Vegan MoFo?

*the photos corresponding to the recipes belong to the linked bloggers.

Good Vegan Reads: Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?

What is direct action in terms of the animal rights movement? As opposed to passing out leaflets, blogging and other forms of vegan education, those involved in direct action will commit acts of civil disobedience and sabotage. These acts could include destroying fur traps, breaking and entering labs or farms to rescue animals, or something as simple as defacing a billboard that is advertising meat. A recent example of direct action was the release of customer information from Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

But does direct action hurt or help the movement? Do those that carry out direct action only reverse the hard work of vegan educators by making all vegans out to be militant extremists? Or is there a place for both vegan education and direct action in the movement? How is direct action related to other social movements in history?

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TERRORISTS or FREEDOM FIGHTERS? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals foreward by Ward Churchill, edited by Steven Best, PhD and Anthony J. Nocella II.

This book explores all of the above questions and more through an anthology of essays written by various people including Gary Yourofsky, Karen Davis, Kevin Jonas, Paul Watson, and Rod Coronado. Essays cover the history, motivation, ideology and perceptions surrounding direct action, analyses of all strategies used in the movement and interpretations of the relationship, or lack thereof, between “terrorism” and direct action.

I highly recommend this powerful and thought-provoking book. I gained a greater understanding about a part of a movement that I only knew superficially. Reading this confirmed my stance that direct action does have a place in the animal rights movement.  However, just like any form of activism, some instances of direct action are more meaningful than others. In the case of the Hudson Valley Foie Gras incident,  a chef decided to stop selling foie gras because things were “getting out of hand”. The “things” he refers to is the harassing anonymous phone calls. So, on one hand we’ve got one less buyer of foie gras, but on the other hand he doesn’t really get why the harassers are so upset about the foie gras. He just thinks they care more about animals than people.

But when I stop and think about the millions and millions of animals suffering in labs and farms every single second of every single day and then I think about the brave people who risk their freedom to go in and rescue them, I do get a little teary eyed. To me, they are freedom fighters.

What are your opinions on the role of direct action in the animal rights movement?

Good Vegan Reads

Welcome to the second installment of Good Vegan Reads. Given all the recent media surrounding ag-gag bills, I thought it would be appropriate to review Will Potter’s book, Green is the New Red.

Green is the New Red: An Insider’s Account of a Social Movement Under Siege by Will Potter

In this book, Potter provides an account of how government/corporations have used the climate of fear surrounding the events of 9/11 to advance their own political and corporate agendas. Their agendas have targeted the civil rights of activists involved in the animal rights and environmental movement, namely by labeling such activists as “eco-terrorists”. This places peaceful activists in the same category as violent terrorists, thereby subjecting activists to unfairly harsh punishments. Potter describes the underhanded tactics of the government to target and prosecute activists through accounts from Daniel McGowan (*see footnote) and individual members of SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty) as well as his own experiences with the FBI.

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Green is the New Red describes how those in government who have a vested interest in corporations that profit from animal abuse and environmental rape, have sought to increase the prosecution of activists for nearly any act, even free speech, that could potentially decrease profits. This book is an essential and compelling read on the threatening governmental role in silencing activists in the post 9/11 world.

This subject is timely given the recent introduction of ag-gag bills in at least 10 states this year, which made front page of the New York Times this past weekend. Ag-gag bills essentially prosecute activists for exposing animal cruelty and “food” safety violations on farms. Again, this is an attack on freedom of speech.

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Recently, an episode of Democracy Now  focused entirely on ag-gag bills and featured a debate between Will Potter and Emily Meredith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Will Potter basically kills this debate!! I’m impressed with his calm demeanor throughout the debate because Meredith makes some outrageous claims. CLICK HERE to be blown away by Will Potter’s awesomeness!

*Footnote: There is a great documentary on Daniel McGowan’s story, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front available on netflix right now.

Ethical Choices Program (for schools)

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*image from the Ethical Choices Program website

If you know me in real life, then you know that I teach at a public school. I don’t know of any other vegan (adults) at my school and most of the student population is not vegan. Today, however, my students and I got a chance to hear an informative presentation given by Lorena Mucke, an educator part of the Ethical Choices Program and long time vegan.

Her talk focused on three main ideas: unveiling the truth behind factory/organic farming, environmental impacts of farms and health consequences of eating an animal based diet. She not only did an excellent job of sharing information, but she also got the students involved and challenged them to think critically about things that they might not have thought about before.

I was happy to connect with a fellow vegan passionate about the things I care about. I was also super proud of my students because they were very open minded and receptive to the information she had to share. Perhaps some seeds were planted today. The Ethical Choice Program can be booked for schools online by clicking here.

Good vegan reads part I

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Tell someone you’re vegan for health reasons, and that usually requires no further explanation. But I’m not vegan for health reasons. I’m vegan for ethical reasons. Back when veganism was a relatively new thing and people found out I was an ethical vegan, instead of the “Yo, that’s cool! Mad respect for dat!” response that I felt I should have gotten, I was hit with:

“What’s wrong with eggs and milk? The chickens and cows don’t die.”

“If things weren’t tested on animals, you would be dead.”

“You know you can’t drive on roads because there are animal products in asphalt.”

“So you care more about animals than people? You know there are people that need help too, like the poor, the oppressed,etc. ”

“But meat tastes soooo good. I love bacon.”

I quickly discovered that I didn’t have logical arguments and sound information to back up my veganism other than I cared for animals, which to most people just sounds like “bunnies are cute”. I needed to read. These are some of my favorite books (new and old) related to animal rights/veganism.

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Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?  by Gary Francione

This is THE definitive read on the theory of animal rights for me. Francione, a Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark, intelligently provides a clear and logical argument as to why non-human sentient beings should be included in our moral community. This book is worth it for the “Twenty Questions and Answers” appendix alone which basically addresses common issues like the use of animal tested prescription medications and the “tradition” of eating meat. From the forward by Alan Watson, “Although he [Francione] tackles some of the more difficult philosophical problems that inform animal ethics, his presentation is extraordinarily clear and accessible to any reader interested in the topic”. My copy is all written in and I reference this book a lot.

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MAD COWBOY:  Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat  by Howard F. Lyman

I have a signed copy of this book(!) because I had the honor of seeing Howard Lyman speak at the University of Colorado in Boulder back in the early 2000’s. Lyman is the ex-Montana rancher that went on The Oprah Show and influenced her to stop eating beef which caused the livestock industry to get their panties in a bunch and sue Oprah back in 1998.  The case got dismissed. This book chronicles Lyman’s journey from hard-core animal eater and rancher to hard-core vegan. It’s autobiographical while full of factual insider information about the beef industry. The night I got this book was the first time I had vegan nachos and they were really good.

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MAKING A KILLING: The Political Economy of Animal Rights  by Bob Torres.

Bob Torres, along with his wife Jenna Torres used to be big in the vegan community hosting a podcast and publishing another book I like (which I gave to someone), Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World.  They seem to have since fallen off the face of the earth, but Bob Torres’ book is among one of my favorites. Torres provides parallelisms between other forms of oppression in our society and animal exploitation. He explains in a logical manner how animal exploitation is perpetuated in our society because of decades and decades of socialization in a hierarchical capitalist world.

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Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, And Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry by Gail A. Eisnitz.

This one was one I wished I owned, but I checked it out from the library. Shocking, disturbing and difficult to read at times, this really made me realize how horrific the meat industry is for animals and humans alike.  This book chronicles Eisnitz’s altruistic efforts to expose the inhumane treatment in slaughterhouses across the country. Her book covers 3 main aspects of slaughterhouses: (1) the inhumane treatment of animals (2) the terrible working conditions for slaughterhouse workers and (3) the corrupt role of the USDA and how this affects meat as food.

Heavy reading? An astounding YES. But I’d rather know than not know.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Never forget

I debated writing this post because I try to keep things light and palatable over here. But knowing the truth is why this blog exists in the first place. It is also what has made me a more compassionate human.

While N and I do celebrate the “stuff your face” holiday, its true origin is not lost on us.

Image from Seattle’s David Horsey, cartoons and commentary. Click pic.

I think (hope) most people celebrate this holiday, not to commemorate an oppressive time in American history, but rather to spend time with family and to give thanks.

Unfortunately, the holiday built on oppression perpetuates oppression.

Image from Dan Piraro of Bizarro Comics. Click pic.

So when I embraced veganism and Thanksgiving eventually rolled around, I felt I had two options:

1) Don’t celebrate and perhaps lose what little credibility I had left as a “normal human” to non-vegans (i.e. potential future vegans), most of which was lost when I became vegan. The result of this would be that all words coming out of my mouth or from my fingers would be interpreted as “I am crazy, I am crazy, I am crazy…”.

OR….

2) Eat, drink and be merry vegan-style and then blog about it. It’s a win-win. I won’t lose my non-vegan street cred, and therefore, potential future vegans will be more open to seeing that being compassionate does not mean completely foregoing all “traditions” or yummy food (yummy food post to follow).  Plus, I get to eat lots of gravy.

I chose option 2.

Hi friend. Happy Thanksliving!

Image from Respecting Animals. Click pic.

Click here to get a little insight into the emotional lives of these beautiful animals at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary.