Farewell To Steak: Film Review

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The fascinating 2013 documentary called « L’adieu à la viande » (Farewell to Meat) about the consumption of meat in Europe (from Franco/German channel Arte) not only approaches the issue of eating flesh from an environmental aspect but also from the idea of the masculine psychology behind it. Just like American men, European men are conditioned to think that meat makes them strong and more masculine. It is the same old patriarchal thinking that is behind capitalism (from the Latin capita = head) and animal agriculture as well documented by Dr. Will Tuttle in The World Peace Diet.

Read more on The Flaming Vegan

Committing Genocide to Celebrate Another Genocide

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I don’t think I’ve ever know a more ridiculous holiday than Thanksgiving in my life either in my country of origin or in the US and Canada (or any countries that I know off).

The American (and Canadian) people sit down at a table with their families to gives thanks for something which is more like a fantasy while stuffing the corpse of a turkey’s behind (and I am being polite). Millions of these poor animals are killed all year long but particularly on this holiday and for most clueless Americans, this symbolizes some form of sick psychosis un-related with the original Thanksgiving.

The most ridiculous part of this sick holiday is probably the « pardon of the turkey » by the president. And what exactly are turkeys guilty of? Wanting to live? I wander if Dennis Kucinich (who was the only vegan in Congress), had he become president, would have refused to participate in this grotesque insult or took it as an opportunity to deliver a message of compassion for the fate of these animals. We will never know because, unfortunately, he was not chosen to run against the Republicans.

But let’s not also forget that it is a total insult to the first people of the Americas: Native Americans & First Nations (as they are called in Canada) who were brutally slaughtered, pillaged, raped as soon as the first white people showed up on the continent they lived on. If the pilgrims were around today, they would be called Jihadists!

So, I want to be thankful for only one thing: the fact that more and more people are aware of the cruel irony of this holiday for both the animals and the people who were massacred.

But I wish one thing: either someone renames this holiday « Honor Native Americans Day (and the turkeys) » or that this ridiculous gluttony be finally abolished as something that should never have been celebrated in the first place.

If you still decide to « celebrate » this lie, please do it the Vegan way and join many vegans in North America who chose to eat WITH the turkeys and not the turkeys themselves and give thanks for being Vegans.

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Photos: Courtesy of http://www.Pixabay.com

© Copyright VeganEmpowerment/Véronique Perrot – Nov 2014 – All Rights Reserved. No republishing allowed without permission – Sharing is encouraged!

Battle For The Net

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

A View from Utopia

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Please check out my new essay published on The Flaming Vegan website.

….I look back in time and see a world I seldom imagine. I was raised to believe in goodness and kindness but what my history teacher taught me really distraught me. I opened my electronic history book and contemplated how lucky I was to be born now and not a hundred years ago. I look at how the Earth is now thriving again with awe and love and try to remember that it wasn’t always so….

http://www.theflamingvegan.com/view-post/THE-VIEW-FROM-UTOPIA

Photo courtesy of http://www.Pixabay.com

© The Flaming Vegan and VeganEmpowerment.com – March 2014 – All Rights Reserved. Printing by permission only.

CONDITIONING, HISTORY & SCIENCE: Breaking Free to better Advocate for Non-Humans and Humans

March 2nd, 2014

The Animal Advocacy Museum presents a talk by Veronique N. Perrot, World Peace Diet Facilitator, Holistic Vegan Coach and Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition, on the power of our society to condition us and how we can break free and help others get free by recognizing the signs of our own conditioning.

Part 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij0IRH0molw

Part 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TM7pB9M6980

Part 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgOGeyn-3bE

LINK BETWEEN VIOLENCE TO ANIMALS AND HUMANS: A Deeper Look

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« One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it. » Anthropologist Margaret Mead

One of the most often ignored links in our society is between the violence to animals and the violence to humans. The general tendency is to ignore the violence to animals committed by serial killers and other criminals which is really an important failure, yet not a surprising one, on the part of the shallow mainstream media. However, law enforcement agencies like the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) have learned to profile possible serial killers based on their past abuses of other animals. More and more coordinating is being done between animal protection agencies and law enforcement to recognize the signs of potential abuse to animals and humans.

As the New York Times reported in 2010: « …Many U.S. communities now cross-train social-service and animal-control agencies in how to recognize signs of animal abuse as possible indicators of other abusive behaviors. In Illinois and several other states, new laws mandate that veterinarians notify the police if their suspicions are aroused by the condition of the animals they treat. The state of California recently added Humane Society and animal-control officers to the list of professionals bound by law to report suspected child abuse and is now considering a bill in the State Legislature that would list animal abusers on the same type of online registry as sex offenders and arsonists. »

It is obviously progress. However, the abuse of the family « pet » is in itself a symptom of a greater issue, that is, it doesn’t address the real underlying problem of our violent society.

To understand the reasons behind the violence to animals and then humans, one has to look at the way our society raises children, particularly boys, to become competitive, aggressive, « strong ». They are taught to repress their natural compassion and instead cultivate domination habits. From childhood, they are fed foods of violence like animal flesh and animal secretions. In order to become men, they can’t show emotions, they can’t care for animals, they have to dominate women, etc… Is it any wonder then that the majority of the violence in the world is committed by men and boys? Will Tuttle analyzed this very well in The World Peace Diet. We are de-facto raising potential psychopaths.

Preventing kids from torturing animals is not just about telling them that it is wrong. It starts with completely changing the lifestyle they are accustomed to. If a child hurts another animal, you can almost be certain that he may have a very bad family environment (violent parents for instance) and of course lots of animal « foods » in his diet. Animal flesh is linked to masculine aggression and domination. Because these children feel a sense of oppression, they vent their frustration and their anger on those who are more vulnerable than they are: the family dog. It is recognized that they become violent themselves to the family pets in order to have some control over their own powerlessness in seeing the animal being abused, going as far as sometimes killing the animal themselves.

And as an article from the American Anti-Vivisection Society concludes: « Those caught in such a vicious abuse-reactive cycle will not only continue to expose the animals they love to suffering merely to prove that they themselves can no longer be hurt, but they are also given to testing the boundaries of their own desensitization through various acts of self-mutilation. In short, such children can only achieve a sense of safety and empowerment by inflicting pain and suffering on themselves and others. » A vicious circle is therefore established and even harder to change.

There are even kids who torture animals out of boredom. But is it any surprising when they eat the dismembered body parts of violently slaughtered animals since almost the time they were born? If they think nothing of eating slaughtered animals (as we taught them), why are we acting surprised as a society if they don’t care about dogs and cats?

Women and girls also inject the food of the cultural programming of death but they are taught to be more passive and subservient. We live in a patriarchal world which, as Carol Adams documented so well in The Sexual Politics of Meat, teaches women that they are still here to pleasure men and do what men want. The tendency of women is in fact to protect companion animals in the home and to suffer at the hands of men in order for the animal not to get hurt. A lot of them are afraid to leave an abusive husband because of the risk of retaliation to their companion animal and, by extension, their children.

As Carol Adams notes in The Sexual Politics of Meat: « Batterers, rapists, serial killers, and child sexual abusers have victimized animals. They do so for a variety of reasons: marital rapists may use a companion animal to intimidate, coerce, control, or violate a woman. Serial killers often initiate violence first against animals. The male students who killed their classmates in various communities in the 1990s often were hunters or known to have killed animals. Child sexual abusers often use threats and/or violence against companion animals to achieve compliance from their victims. Batterers harm or kill a companion animal as a warning to their partners that she could be next; as a way of further separating her from meaningful relationships; to demonstrates his power and her powerlessness. »

That is a of course a result of the patriarchal mindset which seeks to repress inner compassion and hides the link between our culture of oppression of other animals and oppression of women.

What are the solutions? This is not a easy answer as this mindset is so pervasive in our society. We must educate people to recognize the links between the violence of our food system, the psychological and spiritual injuries we create in our children and how serial killers and other criminals emerge in our society. For most people, the idea of torturing a dog is abhorrent, and rightly so. But no one really calls into question the idea that we torture billions of cows, chickens, pigs, ducks, goats, etc… every year, in the United States alone. No one seems to connect the dots of the violence in our lifestyles.

The law is starting to seriously address the links between the violence to other animals and the violence to humans and early intervention may prevent more brutality. Arresting people who commit horrible crimes on other animals and humans serves the only purpose of preventing them from doing it again. All of this is progress but it does not provide healing or may always prevent the next serial killer from appearing and make national news. By participating in what Dr. Will Tuttle calls « the daily rituals of violence », we are all in fact serial killers. Anyone of us could suddenly snap and end up on a killing rampage. Most serial killers are also using legal anti-depressants and therefore snap more easily. These legal drugs make it easier for their buried tendencies created since birth by society to just emerge and take them over.

Hitlers are not born, they are made. Violence is not our real nature, it is taught. We are not born with killer instincts, society molds us. The patriarchal mindset teaches violence and competition and therefore creates violent men (and women). Science in fact is starting to agree with this and even now shows the neurological damage in violent children. But science also shows that being compassionate to them increases their empathy. So there is essentially one tool which can restore the damage our society has done to children and that is to treat them with love. It is possible to repair the neurological damage inflicted on them instead of just punishing them or doing old fashioned psychological counseling. The power of meditation is also a tool of transformation which can help adults in rehabilitation as showed in the excellent documentary The Dhamma Brothers which followed a group of prisoners in a high security prison. We also have the example of the hunter who nurses a calf back to health in an episode of « 30 days ». It is not merely « light and love fluff » anymore as some people sometimes believe. The brain is in fact malleable and can be re-taught empathy. Science has caught up with spirituality.

Veganism is obviously the most important aspect of repairing psychological damage and prevent further violence. It allows us to bring back the qualities we were born with. They are not gone, they are just buried deep inside us. Obviously, for the Hitlers of the world, we can’t expect much changes. Some may be too far removed from their true selves that I don’t hold much hope for them. If more and more of us build a strong force for positive change, this, however, may help reduce the general violence we see currently but we need to seriously understand that showing anger and lack of empathy to others reduces the chances of them ever changing. Science now proves that.

By teaching our children (and adults) to be compassionate Vegans and in touch with their true natures, we can then prevent the next serial killers. We may not change people who are too far gone down the road of self-destruction, but we can bring about a new generation of visionaries who can help heal the world. Only then will we see a break in the link between violence to other animals and humans.

Sources:

– The Animal-Cruelty Syndrome – New York Times online http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/magazine/13dogfighting-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

– Carol J. Adams « The Sexual Politics of Meat ».

– The Animal Abuse-Human Violence Connection – PAWS People Helping Animals http://www.paws.org/human-violence-connection.html

– The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle has an extensive chapter on how children, particularly boys are raised in our society.

– The Dhamma Brothers is a wonderful documentary on High Security prisoners trying meditation for a months and talking about their own inner transformation. Highly recommended and watchable on Netflix.

© Copyright February 2014 – All Rights Reserved. Printing only by permission.

Photo courtesy http://www.Pixabay.com

DEFIANT DAUGHTERS: A (personal) review

Having always loved Carol Adam’s « The Sexual Politics of Meat », I plunged very eagerly into this book by women who have been influenced by her and this started a fascinating journey into the personal experiences of these women of varied backgrounds.

My own feminism started after being physically assaulted in the early 90s. Until that point, I was playing into the game of what women were supposed to be according to men: desirable objects. I didn’t realize that I had become this dismembered being, wanted for certain attributes. I had fooled myself into believing that seduction led to empowerment and finally realized that this was the opposite. I was just playing into a game set up for thousands of years by men. Carol Adams’ book opened my eyes to the truth.

My food disorders also started around that time. After so many years, and a lot of self-therapy and regular therapy, I mostly found peace and I, particularly, found Veganism which I used as a tool of healing and reconciliation with myself. I am far from where I want to be, but my healing is continuing and it allows me to help others, humans and non-humans as I am able to. This book is God-sent with its true stories or women searching for themselves in a male dominated society which still calls the shots on what women are supposed to be.

From the get go, I was struck by the power of the stories presented by each author in this book. So much sincerity can hardly let someone leave the book feeling nothing. But what really grabbed me was the sense of being among soul sisters, regardless of their various background or journeys.

In each woman’s story, I saw part of myself. Having grown up in France where we have a large Muslim community in which I mingled a bit, I could relate to Ruby Hamad’s story.

Having gone through my own alcohol, cigarettes and food addictions as well as body image problems, Kim Socha’s story touched me deeply.

Jennifer Grubb’s story about breastfeeding her child reminded me of what other women I have known have confronted in a society which considers breasts as sexual and not nurturing. I personally never had or wanted children but, as a woman, this was still personal.

Colleen Martell’s struggle with being a vegetarian outside of home reminded me of my own and how I isolated myself and will only go eat with Vegans in Vegan places and can’t tolerate the non-Vegan world anymore. How do we create balance when we still are a minority that is still ridiculed by the majority? How do we deal with the disconnectedness of other people even when they are presented with the truth? These issues I have struggled with since I went Vegan in 2006 and Colleen’s story rang true to me.

Sunaura Taylor’s view of animals as disabled beings is something I had never thought off but made total sense. They are bred to become disabled and then dismembered victims. She also makes a wonderful point about the use of some words and reminded me of the importance I place on words and language in general in my own advocacy. That is something so often ignored in the animal rights and Vegan movement.

Carolyn Mullin’s story of her Mexican heritage fascinated me as, having Mexican neighbors does not obviously make me knowledgeable about Mexican culture, particularly when it comes to women and the difficulty in finding women role-models who are not domestic workers or house makers. I had no idea for instance that so many women had been enslaved during the Mexican Revolution. This was a (sad) revelation. I was also fascinated by the calendar girls’ history and it’s white domination underlying. And the biggest surprise was for me to learn that Jack London had tried to get Ringling Brothers to stop using animals in the circus. Carolyn’s vast knowledge of museums put me back in touch with my love of antiquity and visiting museums as a kid. However, I never wanted to see a museum of natural history for the gruesome displays of « preserved » animal bodies. The animal advocacy movement constantly revisits old themes.

Dallas Rising’s story of her rape by a weirdo from a Star Trek convention was strangely reminiscent of my own sexual assault by a weirdo who was a Star Trek maniac and wore a lot of Star Trek uniforms (please note that I am still a Star Trek fan in spite of it). I love Dallas’ work with Midwest Vegan Radio (and miss the podcast). Her comments about the so-called « happy meat » movement and what some welfare animal organizations spoke deeply to my abolitionist liberationist position and how I relate to the movement in general. This particular paragraph resonated deeply with me: « I worried for years that it was my fault because my rape didn’t look like that. But it was still rape and it was still wrong and it still left me traumatized and wounded. Hearing people advocate for cage-free eggs or asking people to go vegetarian instead of vegan when they know the violence inherent in the dairy and egg industries is, to me, exactly like hearing that my rape doesn’t count. I wasn’t violated to the degree that they feel is sufficient to be worth speaking out against. »

Finally, Jasmin Singer’s story is one I was excited to read as I am a big fan of Our Hen House and the wonderful work she and Mariann Sullivan do to raise awareness of animal issues and feminism. Jasmin’s story talked to me on various levels. I was bullied in school by both boys and other girls. I remember one spilling a red liquid on my bed without me noticing so that my clothes would be smeared in red to look like I was menstruating and being later humiliated in public because I had failed to notice it. I remember being madly in love with this 16 year old guy until I found out he was using me for a bet with his friends and being crushed for month. A few years later, I was assaulted by a « friend » of mine in my parents’ home and he ran out the door leaving me completely lost and terrified. I hated men so much that I turned to lesbianism for a few years and even had a couple of girlfriends. The difference with Jasmin is that I was always bi-sexual and never ended up rejecting men. By the way, I am not implying that lesbianism is a result of rape but that it was to me a way of healing and finding who I was. Jasmin beautifully makes the connection between the rapes of mother cows on the « rape racks » (which is an industry term) and women’s own experience with assault. « I recalled watching the footage of factory farming, of cows screaming, and I thought of the many times I would leave rehearsal from a play that focused on rape, and get some ice cream on the way home – a « food » that was the byproduct of, in essence, rape ». I couldn’t say it better.

And I could go on and on about all the wonderful stories in this book. Whether their stories related to mine is irrelevant in the end. We are all sisters and we all face the same ugly patriarchy and all its difficulties thrown at us as women.

I am so grateful for this anthology and the beautiful stories from everyone of these women who are not only remarkable human beings but incredible animal advocates and Vegans (and near Vegans).

Carol Adams’ books shaped most of my own writing to this day. If there was ever a second book like this one, I would apply to write my own story and add it to this necessary book’s mission of educating more women and men to feminism and Veganism.

As women of the world are raped, abused, and killed in wars started by men so are our animal sisters who are also raped, abused and killed in a war against them started by men. All this is also damaging to men as it prevents them from developing empathy and respect for both women and animals. It is impossible to not make the connection once you read both The Sexual Politics of Meat and this wonderful anthology. Everyone is being consumed by patriarchy.

© copyright November 2013- All rights reserved

Defiant Daughters

WHY PROTESTS ARE FOR THE MOST PART USELESS

Protests have been part of our history and all cultures of the world for the longest. People have protested all sorts of things, from war to poverty to women’s rights and animal rights. But how useful is it to even protest? With this article, I am possibly bringing a controversial take on the effectiveness of protests but I need to make a point here.

The need to protest is something I completely understand. I did protest in the past, against wars, for immigrant rights, against fur and animal cruelty. Then I came to realize that it was a waste of my time. The reason for this is that it has little educational value.

During the Vietnam War, thousands of people were drafted against their will and even though there were a lot of protests, the war was ended because a strong minority of people were against the draft and refused to go to war.

When Bush decided on the war in Iraq, there was no draft forcing some of us to go to war. War is now a voluntary venture. If you decide to put a uniform on, you are for war, whether you think you have a valid reason or not. The decision to start the Iraq war prompted the largest peaceful protest in human history, with millions of people all over the world peacefully protesting against it. Did it stop the war? Well we know the answer to that one. But why not?

Let’s look at how society functions and for that matter it applies to animal rights as well. Most people are cogs in a machine. They don’t function consciously. There is so much going on in their daily routine that they can’t see beyond what’s going on in their lives. No one is making a case to them that there is value in changing a few things in their lives and opening their minds to a different way of thinking. There are however a lot of groups out there to tell them to change their light bulbs, change their cars and buy so-called “free range” eggs, that’s about it. Where is the profound shift? Telling someone to change light bulbs or buying “free range” doesn’t create a meaningful or profound shift in the person’s belief system; it keeps the status quo in place. However, challenging peoples’ deepest held beliefs in a peaceful and non-preaching way forces them to think (maybe for the first time in their lives).  People are made to believe in myths, whether these myths are about what’s good for their country or what’s important in their daily lives. Societies are built on conditioning and false beliefs to which people are held hostage to. All of this is controlled by a tiny elite who has all the financial power to keep the status quo going and no incentive to change in order to keep said power in place. The Iraq war happened because some of us put on a uniform and were ok going to war, therefore feeding our masters. Most people are not even aware that they are being controlled and manipulated against their own interests. Can talking to people possibly change them? Yes. Will it change a lot of people? That will depend on our effectiveness as speakers and how we make our case. But if we are ourselves still part of the general conditioning, we need to change first so we don’t become the blind leading the blind.

It is the same in the animal rights movement. We protest but we keep buying from corporations, McDonald or Wal-Mart types corporations as well as animal type corporations (read the large animal “rights” organization). The latter are telling us that protesting is good and that giving them money is good because it will make a difference to the animals just like we believe that shopping at Wal-Mart is good for us or that sending our sons and daughters to war is good for our country.

In all cases, this is delusional. We are still manipulated and brainwashed. If protests worked, they would have stopped most wars and killed the animal industries a long time ago. But they simply don’t because they do not change people from the inside and deprogram or change their habits. Protests may get others to think but there is usually little education done. Protests usually attack the institutions but they do not change the ones who feed these institutions. As long as you have soldiers, you will have wars. As long as you have people who believe that a piece of land is more important than your neighbor’s well being, you have wars. As long as you believe that your religious beliefs matter, you have wars. As long as people eat animals, you will have starvation and therefore wars. Violence feeds violence and ignorance keeps people enslaved and pawns to the elites who are the ones who keep profiting. If you believe all the above doesn’t apply to you, you are even more brainwashed than you think. As long as you have people spending money at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart you have corporate masters who buy governments. As long as you don’t create peaceful community education, you won’t change how people think and show them how to stop feeding the system which enslaves them and other beings. The only changes possible are those which address the roots of our problems and not its symptoms.

What can be done? So far the Peace Movement has not made the connection with the Vegan Movement and recognized that they are part of the same fight. The first step is for the peace movement to connect ALL the dots. You can’t have peace in the world if you have violence on your plate three times a day. How do you expect to feed the starving when you munch on a cow’s corpse for lunch and dinner? Your meat is directly linked to starvation in the world as most of the grain (which could feed people) is fed to cattles (up to 80% of the US grain currently). Your meat is also directly linked to environmental devastation as the Rainforest is currently torn down for cattle grazing and feed for bovine slaves. Animal “foods” are behind most of the soil erosion and water and air pollution of the word. Don’t believe me; check what the United Nations’ report “Livestock Long Shadow” and the WorldWatch Institute say about this. If you care about the environment and desire peace, you have to change your lifestyle completely. Your health is directly linked to what you eat. When you eat that steak today, think about what it does to your body and how this benefits big pharma and their drug industry. You directly contribute to a disease care system which keeps you drugged and docile.

Second, people who want peace (and are vegan) need to truly educate others as to the reasons why they should do everything in their power to starve the system. Once again it is a matter of individual choices. If you pretend to be for peace but you are ok with your son taking on the uniform to become cannon fodder for the rich, you are living a dream. If you are ok with feeding the system by shopping at Wal-Mart, you are feeding those who profit from it, the ones at the very top or the 1% as we call them. You are not a human being anymore, you are just a consumer. Why do you think Bush said to people to go shop after 9/11? Because he knew that people’s habit of consuming would dumb them down and the power elites could do whatever they want. If you have a dumbed down and ignorant citizenry, it is easy to dupe them and do whatever you want for profit.

The Peace movement just like the Animal Rights movement is somehow cowardly when it comes to truly educating people. The large animal “rights” organizations waste millions of dollars on managing exploitation. In the 19th century, if abolitionists had wasted their time on regulating exploitation of slaves, we would still have institutionalized slavery. Slavery, in itself, is unfortunately not gone, but no one (except maybe a few staunch racists out there and giant corporations who profit from slave labor) would agree that it is ok to enslave other humans. If instead of protesting, we had tables everywhere in the country (and possibly the world) on peaceful vegan education and how to be true citizens (as opposed to consumers), we could educate thousands of people. And better yet, educating people on how to be true earthlings would be even more empowering than the idea of nationalist citizenry which just continues to reinforce separatism among people and other beings of this planet.  

Maybe you will perceive me as fantasist and unrealistic. Possibly. However, I have never seen any real effectiveness in protests, except as a good way to vent our frustrations. Tomorrow, we can all have a town hall and decide to band together to provide solar panels to our communities to reduce the demand for fossil fuels. Tomorrow we can have a town hall and explain to people why their demand for flesh is starving others and destroying the environment, their health and the lives of non-human victims uselessly. Instead of blindly following the so-called non-profits, we can have groups of people setting up educational workshops. Why don’t we do this? Because of the constant brainwashing that our institutions and the so-called peace and animal rights organizations impose upon us because we let them. There is no profit in Vegan/Peace education. But there is a lot of money to be made in single campaign issues for either humans or non-humans.

We will never change the system by protesting the institutional abusers (of humans and non-human animals) if we don’t eliminate demand for everything which oppresses us. But we have to become conscious of our own oppression and conditioning. We will however make changes when all of us finally decide to work together and peacefully educate others on how to de-condition and deprogram each others. Then and only then can we hope for a better world. Peaceful Vegan education is the key, so go out there and talk to people.

© copyright May 2013. All rights reserved. No printing without authorization.

THE VARIOUS STAGES OF TRUE VEGANISM: From Anger to Making Peace

Before I go through these stages, I want to make sure that the definition of Veganism is clear as based on the creator of the word, Donald Watson:

 

“We can see quite plainly that our present civilization is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilizations were built on the exploitation of slaves, and we believe the spiritual destiny of man is such that in time he will view with abhorrence the idea that men once fed on the products of animals’ bodies. »

 “[Veganism is] A way of living which excludes all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, the animal kingdom, and includes a reverence for life. It applies to the practice of living on the products of the plant kingdom to the exclusion of flesh, fish, fowl, eggs, honey, animal milk and its derivatives, and encourages the use of alternatives for all commodities derived wholly or in part from animals.”

 

There is a strong distinction between adopting a plant based diet and being Vegan, as we can see from the words of Donald Watson above. I am always astonished that people who adopt a plant based diet for health reasons call themselves Vegans. The word is so watered down nowadays that I think it is time for Vegans to defend the meaning of the word.

I have nothing against people who want to improve their health. After all, that is how I help people every day through my health coaching work. However, this, to me is just a tool to get them to become Vegans. As happy as I am that President Clinton has gone on a plant based diet, I can’t tell if he has shifted to Veganism for ethical reasons at all. We have also seen examples of so-called Vegans going back to their old omnivorous ways once they thought it “didn’t work” and realized that these people adopted a plant-based diet but were never Vegans (as we understand it to be, for the animals) in the first place. Being Vegan is about others, not ourselves.

People can get to Veganism through what I call “back doors”: environmental reasons and health reasons. Or through “the front door”: Ethical. That was my case. Then I discovered the health and environmental benefits were a welcome bonus. I will focus only on those who come through the front door directly into Veganism. There are various stages of how we evolve as Vegans. Your experience may be different than most but you will likely find something to relate with.

 

Stage 1: the “omg” stage.

You were exposed to the cruelty of the meat industry and decided that you couldn’t participate in it. Therefore you decided to go Vegan on the spot or Vegetarian because you most likely don’t know about the egg and dairy industries at this point. Perhaps you have not met a Vegan who told you the whole truth and you are left in limbo trying to figure out what to do. That is a likely scenario if you became concerned about animals but knew no one else who could help. This is still common for a lot of people new to animal rights. And that is why we so need Vegan education above all else.

 

Stage 2: “I wish I could make them…”

If you have not gone Vegan yet, you have now because you finally learned about the cruelty of dairy and how babies are torn from their mothers etc… If you were already Vegan in the first stage, you probably got the information faster. You now feel a lot of anger. The first reason for your anger is that you have been part of all this cruelty and second, you have become sensitized to the cruelty around you and it is painful, as one would expect. The blinders are off, what can you do? You feel like yelling at your best friend because she/he “doesn’t get it”! Your family drives you crazy and frankly, the world is crap. You want to take a bulldozer and destroy the animal abusing industries.

I call this stage the normal anger stage. All of us, as ethical Vegans, have been through that in one way or another. If you have not, you’re made of steel or something.

 

Stage 3: the “I’d rather go naked than…” stage.

You need to do something about it. You just don’t know what. But the anger has to be channeled and transformed into action. You want to join protests hoping that people who hear you will change. So you go to all these protests where activists yell at the animal abusers and shout slogans “what do you want? Animal liberation”, “when do you want it? Now!” And so on…

You’re in that stage where you feel if you go out there and participate in this, people will actually change or at least you will feel better because you are “doing something”. There is truth in both. Some people may actually hear the message and think about it and you will likely feel better for doing this. You may even get caught up into the sexist campaigns where they tell you if you go naked for the animals, you will make a difference. You just don’t realize yet that there is no difference between commodification of animals, women or black people. You have not made the link between the issues and buy into the welfarist agenda of gratuitous shock demos.

This is also the stage where you either stay stuck in this same paradigm of protest or move on to something else which is true Vegan education.

 

Stage 4: the “Vegan Toastmasters” stage

Welcome to Stage 4; if you actually moved on from stage 3. You have tempered your anger and realized that you are not really making much of a change around you by protesting and screaming at the institutional abusers. However, you start to realize that talking calmly about Veganism by using logical arguments is in fact more effective. A friend may have heard you and thought about what you said. Your parents may start changing. You may also find ways of articulating your Veganism by using peaceful means of reaching people. It could be through writing, tableling, doing Vegan outreach education and talk to people on the street. You try to become a more effective speaker so you can clearly give the message. There are tons of ways we can get people to go Vegan which don’t involve screaming at them for things that we used to do ourselves. That is the stage where you make the essential connection between all the forms of exploitations in the world being the result of a mostly patriarchal culture of domination. You are at the age of reason. At this point, the anger is used to give you strength as effective communicator.

 

Stage 5: The “Mahatma Gandhi” stage

If you’ve come this far, you have now realized that peace on Earth starts with peace in yourselves. Unless you learn to be centered, calm and inspiring, you will never inspire others to be the same, let alone to go Vegan.

“We Must become the Change We Want to See”. Mahatma Gandhi

How do we expect to change others when we don’t change ourselves? It is easy to be angry when we see the violence we are trying to fight against but projecting that violence out there doesn’t change hearts and minds, it closes them. The chances are that you became Vegan because either someone or something triggered your inner compassion, not because someone yelled at you that you were a monster. Let’s extend the same kind regard to others.

 

Excellent interview with Donald Watson by George D Rodger, chair of the Vegan Society, here: http://www.veganmeans.com/vegan_who/Donald_Watson.htm

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