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Announcements & Requests
As Jack Norris has pointed out in several articles and speeches, being a healthy
example of the vegan lifestyle is very important for those who seek to lessen
the amount of suffering in the world. During his leafletting trips across the
country over the course of two years, Jack met scores of people who told him
that they had tried to be vegetarian / vegan, but didn't feel healthy.
Jack is currently updating his "How to be a healthy vegan" handout
that he had prepared for AR2001
to ensure that it reflects all the latest research and controversies. As soon
as the edits are complete, we will post it on our website. In addition to
what is currently available in our
Health section, another great resource is VegRD.com
– a site run by Virginia Messina, R.D., a member of Vegan Outreach's
Board of Advisors.
Want to be a reviewer?
Often, Vegan Outreach receives books for review consideration. Unfortunately,
we rarely have the time to give the books the consideration they deserve. If
you are interested in reviewing some of the books we receive, please contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what kind of books you would like
to review. Thanks!
Your writings mean a lot to me – you are surely one of the most articulative,
important voices in the movement. Your recent piece on the issue of step-by-step
reforms in the treatment of animals was especially meaningful to me, as I
was just thinking a lot about it when your piece arrived in the mail. It truly
clarified the whole issue for me. Many thanks.
JC, San Rafael, CA, 7/9/01
Last week, we noted that PeTA has called off its "Murder King" campaign
after Burger King agreed
to toughen its animal welfare guidelines to meet or exceed those of McDonald's.
King has sent a letter to the USDA, criticizing the agency for not enforcing
its humane slaughter regulations.
Excerpts from How Are We To Live? by Peter Singer
This week, we share the final excerpt from Peter Singer's book How Are
We To Live (also found in his book Writings on an Ethical
Living Ethically / The Good Life
I am not defending the objectivity of ethics in the traditional sense. Ethical
truths are not written into the fabric of the universe: to that extent the
subjectivist is correct. If there were no beings with desires or preferences
of any kind, nothing would be of value, and ethics would lack all content.
On the other hand, once there are beings with desires, there are values that
are not only the subjective values of each individual being. The possibility
of being led, by reasoning, to the point of view of the universe provides
as much "objectivity"
as there can be. When my ability to reason shows me that the suffering of
another being is very similar to my own suffering and (in an appropriate
case) matters just as much to that other being as my own suffering matters
to me, then my reason is showing me something that is undeniably *true*.
In a society in which the narrow pursuit of material self-interest is the
norm, the shift to an ethical stance is more radical than many people realize.
In comparison with the needs of people starving in Somalia, the desire to
sample the wines of the leading French vineyards pales into insignificance.
Judged against the suffering of immobilized rabbits having shampoos dripped
into their eyes, a better shampoo becomes an unworthy goal. An ethical approach
to life does not forbid having fun or enjoying food and wine, but it changes
our sense of priorities. The effort and expense put into buying fashionable
clothes, the endless search for more and more refined gastronomic pleasures,
the astonishing additional expense that marks out the prestige car market
in cars from the market in cars for people who just want a reliable means
to getting from A to B –
all these become disproportionate to people who can shift perspective long
enough to take themselves, at least for a time, out of the spotlight. If
a higher ethical consciousness spreads, it will utterly change the society
in which we live.
We cannot expect that this higher ethical consciousness will become universal.
There will always be people who don't care for anyone or anything, not even
for themselves. There will be others, more numerous and more calculating, who
earn a living by taking advantage of others, especially the poor and the powerless.
We cannot afford to wait for some coming glorious day when everyone will live
in loving peace and harmony with everyone else. For a long time to come, the
world is going to remain a tough place in which to live.
Nevertheless, we are part of this world and there is a desperate need to do
something *now* about the conditions in which beings live and die. There is
no time to focus our thoughts on the possibility of a distant utopian future.
Too many humans and nonhuman animals are suffering now.
We have to take the first step. We must reinstate the idea of living an
ethical life as a realistic and viable alternative to the present dominance
of materialist self-interest. If a critical mass of people with new priorities
were to emerge, and if these people were seen to do well, in every sense
of the term – if their
cooperation with each other brings reciprocal benefits, if they find joy and
fulfillment in their lives – then the ethical attitude will spread,
and the conflict between ethics and self-interest will have been shown to
be overcome, not by abstract reasoning alone, but by adopting the ethical
life as a practical way of living and showing that it works, psychologically,
socially, and ecologically.
Anyone can become part of the critical mass that offers us a chance of improving
the world before it is too late. You can rethink your goals and question what
you are doing with your life. That might mean quitting your job, selling your
house, and going to work for a voluntary organization in India. More often,
the commitment to a more ethical way of living will be the first step of a gradual
but far-reaching evolution in your lifestyle and in your thinking about your
place in the world. One thing is certain: you will find plenty of worthwhile
things to do. You will not be bored or lack fulfillment in your life.
Most important of all, you will know that you have not lived and died for nothing,
because you will have become part of the great tradition of those who have responded
to the amount of pain and suffering in the universe by trying to make the world
a better place.
Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals by promoting informed, ethical eating.
All donations are tax-deductible.
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