Is eating meat a personal choice?

I’m just popping in to share this short clip from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, which addresses the issue of personal choice when it comes to eating meat.

Is the decision to eat meat just a personal choice, or is there more to it than that? Is there bias in the choice to eat meat? Where do we draw the line between a personal choice and an ethical one?

Find out what Colleen thinks!

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Awake too long

I’ve seen the eyes of the widows left behind
I’ve seen a child of a fallen man
And never once did our leaders apologize
for battles they began

I can’t look away or pretend not to see
And so I stay

I’ve been awake too long
Wish there was something that could close my eyes to all that I see
Awake too long
It would be easier to fall asleep

“It’s just the way things are”

“It’s just the way things are. Take a moment to consider this statement. Really think about it. We send one species to the butcher and give our love and kindness to another apparently for no reason other than because it’s the way things are. When our attitudes and behaviors towards animals are so inconsistent, and this inconsistency is so unexamined, we can safely say we have been fed absurdities. It is absurd that we eat pigs and love dogs and don’t even know why. Many of us spend long minutes in the aisle of the drugstore mulling over what toothpaste to buy. Yet most of don’t spend any time at all thinking about what species of animal we eat and why. Our choices as consumers drive an industry that kills ten billion animals per year in the United States alone. If we choose to support this industry and the best reason we can come up with is because it’s the way things are, clearly something is amiss. What could cause an entire society of people to check their thinking caps at the door–and to not even realize they’re doing so? Though this question is quite complex, the answer is quite simple: carnism.”

– Melanie Joy in “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows”

Finnish animal advocacy history

I recently finished reading the book “Jonkun on uskallettava katsoa: Animalian puoli vuosisataa” (“Someone has to dare to look: the half century of Animalia”) by Tiia Aarnipuu (2011), which depicts the history of Finland’s biggest animal protection organization, Animalia. At the same time it also gives a picture of Finnish animal protection and animal rights history in general.

For me, who is still relatively new in the animal advocacy movement, reading the history behind it is both interesting and gives me a better understanding of the situation we are in now. I appreciate more the work that has been done for the animals long before I was even born; the struggles that the organizations and individual animal advocates have gone through during the years, and the victories that have been celebrated. As in every other movement, knowing the history is very important if you want to be able to move forward.

Some important happenings in the Finnish animal advocacy history, based on the book, include:

  • 1901 – the foundation of Uudenmaan Eläinsuojeluyhdistys, today SEY (Suomen Eläinsuojeluyhdistys)
  • 1961 – the foundation of what later became Animalia
  • 1971 – the foundation of the Juliana von Went Fund for Research Without Animal Experiments
  • 1991 – Peter Singer’s book “Animal Liberation” was first published in Finnish
  • 1995 – the foundation of Oikeutta Eläimille

Another interesting book, which depicts the rise of the new animal rights movement in Finland in the 1990’s, and the creation of the animal rights organization Oikeutta Eläimille, is “Ulos häkeistä! Kaksi näkökulmaa uuden eläinliikkeen sisältä” (“Out of the cages! Two perspectives from inside the new animal movement”) by Salla Tuomivaara and Joni Purmonen (1998).

Are there any other good books on the history of animal advocacy – especially in other countries – that you would recommend?

Food for thought podcast

One of my favorite vegan educators is definitely Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Her podcast Food for thought is one of my big inspiration sources. In it she talks about different issues concerning veganism; food, social situations, compassionate language, animals and so on. Colleen has a calm way and voice that makes it easy to listen, and I admire her way of always responding to people and situations compassionately.

I usually download the podcast to my phone and listen to it when I go for walks or while sitting in the bus on my way to work. It’s a great way to learn and get inspired while doing something else at the same time. Some of my favorite episodes are “How to talk to hunters (or anyone with whom you disagree)”, “Disagreement Not Disrespect” and “Life after cheese”.

You can find the podcast episodes for example on Colleen’s Soundcloud page, or through her official webpage (where you can find other information and resources as well). Definitely worth checking out! If you don’t feel like listening to a whole hour episode, there are also shorter soundbites that you can easily listen to and share with others.