“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”

Advertisements

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?

Compassionate reading: Vegan’s Daily Companion

As I told you before, I love reading – especially books – and there are so many books out there on veganism, compassion and animal activism. So many that I most of the time find it hard to know which one I should read next. However, I’ve read quite a few already and feel it could be a good idea to write about some of them to give you guys a tip on what to read.

Vegan's daily companion

A book on the subject that is great even for those of you who are not crazy about reading is Vegan’s daily companion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. The book consists of short essays, one for every day of the year, divided into six different categories depending on the day of the week:

  • Monday/For the love of food
    Talks about different vegan foods, their origin and use.
  • Tuesday/Compassionate communication
    Talks about techniques for speaking on behalf of veganism, such as typical questions vegans get and their answers, and alternatives to violent animal idioms.
  • Wednesday/Optimum health for body, mind and spirit
    Talks about staying healthy as a vegan and an activist, in mind, body and soul.
  • Thursday/Animals in the arts: Literature and film
    Talks about and gives excerpts from books and films that in some way tangle the issue of animals and compassion.
  • Friday/Stories of hope, rescue and transformation
    Gives stories of rescued animals and people changing into becoming vegan, both written by Colleen herself and by others.
  • Saturday & Sunday/Healthful recipes
    Provides healthful vegan recipes.

All the essays are maximum one page long, easy to read and provide information on many different subjects concerning veganism, compassion and animal activism. It is truly a companion for someone who is not a vegan but wants to know more about veganism, or for someone who is already vegan but would like to learn more and become strengthened in their beliefs.

My favorite category in the book is definitely the “Stories of hope, rescue and transformation” one, because while there is much sadness in being an animal advocate and witness of the suffering of animals, these stories give hope and happiness to me. They prove that things can change and become better.

I highly recommend this book!