I want a vegan world!

I re-listened to one of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s podcasts today. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while probably know by now that I admire Colleen greatly, she is a true inspiration for me to continue learning and writing about animals and veganism and to keep thinking compassionately.

Anyways, the podcast I listened to today is called “Turning the tables” and in the podcast she, among other things, talks about that many people believe vegans have an “agenda” to turn the whole world vegan. It reminded me of an article in the local newspaper some years ago, in 2009, in connection to a campaign by the animal activist organization Oikeutta Eläimille about ending fur farming. The article was about an own campaign the fur farming industry had started as an answer to the campaign by Oikeutta Eläimille, and it said something about that we (“the vegans” or “the activists”) start with a ban against fur and fur farming, then we want to go on to ban other types of animal farming for meat, dairy and eggs, etc.. The article was angled in a way that it seemed that this aim is something animal activists are hiding from the public, that we pretend to “only” want a ban against fur farming, but actually we want to ban all animal industry.

I was almost laughing when I read this article back then, and I still find it very ironic, because for me it has never been about any hidden agendas. I would love for the whole world to be vegan, free of animal industries, even though I don’t believe that a ban is the best way to get there. Ethical decisions like that need to come from people themselves, not from any higher authority, to be understood and have an actual point for both humans and animals. Anyway, while I was still in the local activist group we were never about hiding that we are vegans and that is what we are striving for more and more people to be. It has always been out there for people to see.

I think a vegan world would be great in so many ways, not only for the animals but also for the people and the environment. If we would show more compassion towards animals – all of the animals and not only pets, getting a more one-sided view of animals instead of the very confusing view we have now where some animals are friends and others food or products to be used – I believe it would come as a consequence that we would also be more compassionate towards one another. Veganism is not a perfect way of living or an end of something, it is one step on the way towards living as compassionately as possible, towards doing as little harm as possible.

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Do we need veganism when there are ecologically raised animals?

A few days ago I ended up reading the comments of a random blog, through checking the reviews of a book. The comments (and the post) discussed the trustworthiness of the China Study, and some comments were made about vegans and veganism.

One person commented that there is no longer a need for the term “ethical veganism” because there are ecologically raised animals today. Other comments also mentioned “humane” meat and stated that if vegans really cared about ethics they would eat this and “stop complaining”.

These people have certainly not understood what ethical veganism is about (and possibly not either what the actual difference between ecologically and non-ecologically raised animals – mainly their feed, not so much the way they are treated), because the problem with animals raised for consumption does not go away because you change their feed or “treat them well”. They are still our slaves and they still suffer, because the situation and environment we put them in is not their natural one. Even if animals are raised ecologically, they are still kept in the same kind of places, their bodies are still abused, their children are still taken away from them and they are still not seen as the living beings they are but as ways to make money.

So yes, the term “ethical veganism” is very much needed. Possibly even more because of statements like the ones these people made, because a lot of people have a very wrong idea of how an animal is “treated well”. If you treat someone well it should be on this beings terms, not on yours. If it is on yours, the being is a slave. And being a slave is not to be treated well. It doesn’t matter if you are walking on two legs or four, if you have wings, fins or arms, it’s still wrong.

“An unnatural life span”

An-Unnatural-Life-Span

On Tuesday, Colleen from Compassionate Cook posted a blog post on the paradox of “humane” meat, dairy and eggs. The post included this picture that shows the differences between farmed animal’s life span today and their natural life span. Among other things, she wrote:

“The unappetizing process of turning living animals into butchered body parts begins at birth and ends in youth – whatever they’re raised for and however they’re raised. Relative to their natural life span, most of the animals are slaughtered when they’re still babies, as illustrated in the graphic above.

[…]

What does it say about us that when given the opportunity to prevent cruelty and violence, we choose to turn away—because of tradition, culture, habit, convenience, or pleasure? We are not finding the answers we are looking for because we are asking the wrong questions.

The movement toward “humanely raised food animals” simply assuages our guilt more than it actually reduces animal suffering. If we truly want our actions to reflect the compassion for animals we say we have, then the answer is very simple. We can stop eating them. How can this possibly be considered anything but a rational and merciful response to a violent and vacuous ritual?”