|Enewsletter • April 24, 2003|
The last edition of Vegan Spam noted that, while meat-consumption in the U.S. is at an all-time high, many people find it too hard to be vegan. One way to address both of these issues is if companies were to remove animal products from otherwise veg items.
To help make this happen, Vegan Outreach is joining with Compassion Over Killing, Viva, Mercy for Animals, SARA, Eco-Animal Allies, Freedom for Animals, UARC, and PETA.
Request That Chipotle Make Pinto Beans Vegetarian
With more than 200 Chipotle locations in the United States, the fast-food Mexican chain is becoming a major player in the national restaurant scene. Specializing in burritos, Chipotle’s black beans are vegetarian. Unfortunately, the pinto beans are cooked with bacon.
Few customers—if any at all—would stop buying Chipotle’s burritos if the pinto beans were vegetarian, yet taking out the lone animal ingredient in the beans would make the chain more attractive to millions of Americans who avoid pork for ethical, health, and religious reasons.
Since Chipotle sells thousands, if not tens of thousands of burritos daily, removing the bacon from its pinto beans could do just as much–if not more–good as getting some number of individuals to stop eating bacon. And the best part is that it takes virtually no effort on our part, so we have very little investment with a potentially high payoff.
Please politely let Chipotle know that vegetarians and others who avoid pork would love to have more options when they visit the hundreds of Chipotle locations across the country. Call or email Chipotle and ask them to take the bacon out of the beans! (See this sample correspondence.)
Contact Chipotle today!
On the Lighter Side: Unclear on Concept
It's friggin' Earth Day – that exciting one-day event when a few people make a futile effort to persuade others to think about the environment. I'm sure this day, since the first-recognized Earth Day 33 years ago, has changed the way some people think about their impact on our world. But from where I see it, it's not working that well. Let's use my pathetic life as an example. I'm a vegetarian and, apparently, that's amusing stuff.
The stupid insults about my manhood or intelligence don't work. I know I'm an idiot. But I'm a compassionate idiot, and no one can make me feel bad for giving a damn.
First, I'm boycotting an exploitative and sickening industry. These animals live in confined and fetid environments – anyone with the stomach for it should check out the "Why Vegan?" link at www.veganoutreach.org. Under these horrible conditions, animals are pumped with antibiotics and hormones and are handled with an utter lack of respect.
These animals have some sad lives. But what's worse is how discussions of this topic are discredited. We never question the morality of some of the crazy things humans do; we flippantly justify them with anthropocentric nonsense.
I can't avoid all animal products in this world of mass production, but I sleep a little easier knowing I don't have any tortured little souls trapped in my body. And I'll insult you with that.
Isaac Bashevis Singer fled Nazi Europe in 1935 and came to this country. He married my grandmother, who had escaped from Hitler's Germany in 1940. He went on to become a lauded author and won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1978. His family – those who stayed behind – were killed in the concentration camps.
My grandfather was also a principled vegetarian. He was one of the first to equate the wholesale slaughter of humans to what we perpetrate against animals everyday in slaughterhouses. He realized that the systems of oppression and murder that had been used in the Holocaust were the systems being used to confine, oppress and slaughter animals. He attributed to a character in one of his books something he believed in himself: "In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis. For [them], it is an eternal Treblinka."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, has come under fire from the Anti-Defamation League for a campaign highlighting my grandfather's ideas as well as writings from others – including German Jewish philosopher Theodor Adorno, who was forced into exile by the Nazis, and Edgar Kupfer-Koberwitz, who was imprisoned in Dachau – that compare the suffering of Holocaust victims with that of farmed animals.
The ADL claims that PETA is exploiting the Holocaust for publicity. The campaign has sparked debate and controversy in the Jewish community, but my grandfather would have been proud of PETA's bold campaign.
The Holocaust happened because ordinary people chose to ignore the extraordinary oppression and abuse being inflicted on innocents by the Nazis. Millions of people went about their daily lives, knowingly turning a blind eye to the suffering of those they didn't relate to, those who were deemed "unworthy of life."
My grandfather often said that this mind-set, whether it manifested itself as the oppression of animals or of people, exemplified the most hideous and dangerous of all racist principles. As Adorno said, "Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: They're only animals."
My grandfather was a gentle man who always extended a compassionate hand to those who could not speak for themselves. He had birds as pets, but he always left their cages open because he couldn't bear to see any being behind bars. They used to fly out one window and in another of his apartment. When asked why he was a vegetarian, he'd reply, "I'm a vegetarian for health reasons: the health of the chickens." Because of him, I am also now a vegetarian.
Because of my family's history and the gentle guiding force of my grandfather, I learned the sad lessons of prejudice and ignorance and the ways to fight them. I learned that to remember the horrors of the past is not enough – we must apply what we've learned and say with conviction, "Never again." But when we say it, we must mean never again shall we allow this to happen to anyone, for any reason.
Like the victims of the Holocaust, animals are rounded up, trucked hundreds of miles to the kill floor and slaughtered. Comparisons to the Holocaust are not only appropriate but inescapable because, whether we wish to admit it or not, cows, chickens, pigs and turkeys are as capable of feeling loneliness, fear, pain, joy and affection as we are. To those who defend the modern-day holocaust on animals by saying that animals are slaughtered for food and give us sustenance, I ask: If the victims of the Holocaust had been eaten, would that have justified the abuse and murder? Did the fact that lampshades, soaps and other "useful" products were made from their bodies excuse the Holocaust? No. Pain is pain.
My grandfather wrote, "[A]s long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace. There is only one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers a la Hitler.... There will be no justice as long as man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is."
We all have the power to stop suffering and misery every time we sit down to eat.