Requests and News
We appreciate everyone who made a special donation
in response to our
request last week. We hope to minimize the amount of time we
don't have copies of Why Vegan available to distribute.
National Day of Leafleting
Thanks to Animal
Rights International for their sponsorship!
The sign-up form for the September 17 event is online; the
deadline is September 3.
"The rapid growth of huge animal feedlots and slaughterhouses
in the 1990's has outpaced the power of state and federal regulators
to keep them operating safely and cleanly, leading to polluted rivers
and lakes, meat recalls and workplace injuries, a Sierra
Club report says.
"In its first effort to catalog the environmental, health and
safety records of the feedlots and packing plants owned by corporations,
the Sierra Club reported these findings from a study of state and
federal records for the 1980's and 90's: The slaughterhouses produced
134 million pounds of contaminated or possibly contaminated meat....
"Worried that new regulations would impose new expenses, the
large corporations lobbied for and won eligibility for money from
the new farm bill to clean up animal wastewater.
"Ed Hopkins, author of the Sierra Club's study,
said, 'That's why we opposed the new farm bill, because it makes
the American taxpayer subsidize these huge animal factories and clean
up their mess.'"
Special to Poultry Times
"The greater risk, and perhaps the most daunting challenge
facing Ohio's egg producers today, comes not from regulatory bodies,
but from the threats of environmental and animal extremists. These
groups, with not-so-hidden agendas of advocating a vegetarian lifestyle
and shutting down large farm operations altogether, pose the most
significant threat to our industry.
"While in the past these extremists limited their activities
to letter-writing campaigns or demonstrations, today their tactics
include organizing break-ins at local farms, stealing birds and obtaining
illegal video inside egg production facilities. These acts are far
from harmless. They not only risk the well being of our flocks, but
also place egg consumers at risk by creating a biosecurity breach
where infectious disease can be spread."
"Adamson also questions why the Bellflower megadairy, expected
to be the largest livestock farm in Illinois that he estimates to
be two-thirds completed, is even needed.
"'Why do we need something so big when we've already got a
surplus of milk?' he asked."
I got a pamphlet
at the Warped Tour, and the things in it were so disturbing. I
could never eat meat again; even if I wanted to, I would feel too
guilty. The look on the pig's face will haunt me forever
there's nothing the poor things can do to get away! All they
wan to do is run, be free, be pigs! Man, [forget] those people
for doing that. They'll pay for it someday. How can anyone
live with themselves after killing innocent creatures for no reason
but greed. Please send me more booklets to share.
CB, Newport News, VA, 8/11/02
I was given one of your brochures, Why
Vegan?, by a friend of mine. After reading it and viewing the
pictures, I became sick to my stomach. I can't even look at
chicken and not think about the way they are treated. I no longer
eat meat. I am trying to stop eating other animal products as well.
RM, Lexington, SC, 8/10/02
The Earth Club here at Grossmont College
started about 5 years ago as an environmental group. Since I became
faculty advisor 3 years ago, its animal-rights component has evolved.
We have a animal-rights bulletin board with a Why Vegan
holder, a library display, and soon, a cafeteria display. So we
have plenty of demand for Why Vegans. Not all of our members
are vegan, or even vegetarian, but our club philosophy is that
it's hard to be a meat-eating environmentalist, considering that
the Union of Concerned Scientists ranks the meat industry as the
second most polluting, behind transportation.
MW, El Cajon, CA, 8/4/02
Regarding the issue of veganism
being considered a religion: Definitely NOT!
1) If veganism is considered a religion, that automatically excludes
and a number of other religious people who are only allowed to
belong to ONE religion at a time. On the other hand, if veganism
is NOT considered a religion, then anyone can be choose to be vegan,
since it does not conflict with their religious beliefs of only
having one religion; and,
2) Many people have become turned off of all religion, and if veganism
was considered a religion, those people would automatically be
turned off of veganism too, without considering what veganism was
ML, Brock University, ON, 8/13/02
Reclaiming “Vegan” for the Animals
I'm not a vegan for two reasons. One, it's
too hard, especially when one is eating out or at friends' houses.
And two, with a few exceptions, most of the vegans I've met, both
here and in England, have been awful people. Small-minded, bigoted,
myopic, and over-zealous. The only difference between them and
born-again Christians is the religion. So why would I want to belong
to a club made up of such dreadful members?
Recently received over email
—Matt Ball, with Anne Green
As part of a conversation regarding the nature
of veganism, we recently received a request to participate in a boycott
of JetBlue Airlines (because of their leather seats), saying, in
part, that "we won't sit on leather." This is our response:
We believe the issue is more complicated than simple avoidance or
ablution. Sitting on the leather seats doesn't harm an animal, but
avoiding JetBlue could cause suffering. If, for example, I
could fly somewhere on JetBlue for $50 less than on any other airline,
that is an additional $50 I can use to print
hundreds of copies of Why Vegan. Since most people in
a position to distribute large quantities of Why Vegans can't
afford to pay for them, each of us has to constantly work to make
sure these booklets can be available to the ever-increasing pool
More importantly, making an issue of the seat material indicates
to people that veganism is about personal purity – a religion, to
quote your previous email.
We disagree that having a "spectrum" of vegans, including
"extremists," is better for advocacy. It has been our experience
that people are actively looking for a reason to ignore their connection
to cruelty to animals – the underlying message of veganism. Veganism
already has far FAR more than its fair share of fanatics
(and let's be honest – nutcases). Fostering – even tolerating
– the extremist / religion view makes it easy for the vast majority
of people to dismiss veganism, thus leading to more suffering. Playing
up the extremist quotes and views of AR / vegans is certainly
what the "other side" believes is the most effective way
to undermine our efforts.
Previously, you wrote about negative reactions you get, with people
decrying your "fanaticism," and advocating "moderation." "I can't
be 'moderately' cruel," is your response.
Actually, you are moderately cruel. Everyone is. It is not
possible to exist without causing suffering and death. Instead
of denying this, or thinking that some arbitrarily chosen level of
cruelty is acceptable, we should work to do the most active good
that we can. We need to start with a fundamental understanding
of the purpose of veganism.
Sometimes, in an effort to promote "solidarity" and "tolerance"
– or just to avoid the wrath of the vengeful fringe who scream the
loudest – we don't have the fortitude to disavow those who wrap
their personal agenda in the flag of "for the animals," even if they
are undermining the spread of vegetarianism. Although we can't change
the mind of a fundamentalist, we don't have to let them define veganism
by volume alone.
We are vegan because we want to make a better world, right? We must
match our revulsion towards cruelty to animals with a focus on suffering.
We can't continue to give others a reason to ignore the main issue.
We need to reclaim "vegan" from the food fetishists, the misanthropes,
the cultists. We need to disentagle "vegan" from any specific political,
religious, or social view. We need "vegan" to mean opposing cruelty
to animals – something everyone can understand and embrace.
Being able to speak for the animals is the bottom line. Period.
That I sit on leather seats, or that my ticket payment pays the salary
of an omnivore, or that animal products are in the steel and rubber
of the plane, etc. – these aren't the issue. All that is important
is making the animals' case to everyone.
There is so
very much more that we could each be doing to speak for the animals
and lessen suffering. We can't afford to make the message of
veganism about anything other than suffering, and we can't afford
to spend our time and resources on anything other than straightforward
advocacy. The animals
deserve no less.
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.
POB 30865, Tucson, AZ 85751-0865