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Animals are all made of meat: Now what?

Animals are all made of meat: Now what?

I read Lindy West’s F*ck Yes, I’ll Eat Some Horse Meat. Give It to Me. I Love It. on Jezebel with amusement and… shock? I’m not used to seeing things like this in mainstream media. It’s just so conscious, calling humans on our speciesism so clearly and bluntly and irreverently: Humans know that all animals are made of meat, she writes. (She doesn’t touch on the fact that humans are also animals, and also made of meat, but okay.) So if we eat cows, what business do we have being all upset when we accidentally eat a horse? Good point.

Back when I was 17 I went to Japan on a scholarship and resolved I would try to be really open, and would try any food that came my way. I was an enthusiastic omnivore then, comfortable with myself as an animal that had evolved to eat other animals (I, um, hadn’t read enough yet), and I was ready for anything. I ate a lot of flesh from members of species I never eaten before: octopi, eels, lots of unfamiliar fishes. No turtles. I had a ban on turtles and rabbits because I had had them as pets.

I had met a horse many times, a horse who was deeply loved by someone in my family, but I hadn’t ever gotten really close with horses. So on this trip, I ate horse. Raw, actually — there was a big plate of horse sushi at the reception the Japanese government folks held for us exchange students. I didn’t want to be rude, and I kind of wanted to show off how brave and culturally open I was, to defy some stereotypes about Americans. So I ate some. It tasted a lot like all the other sushi: Soft and chewy and kind of slimy. It was fine, but I didn’t enjoy it. And now, years later, when I’ve come to the realization that horses and cows and humans are all the same, I regret that I made the choice I did then. I have to live with that regret for the rest of my life. I wish that I had seen it then: If animals are all made of meat, what do we do? Eat all of them indiscriminately? (Why not humans then?) Or stop eating all of them, because we’ve realized that all the other meat is just as autonomous as we are?

For more on humanity’s apparently willful ignorance about our food choices, watch this clip from Real Time With Bill Maher, Episode 273 (wherein he says a number of insensitive things as he is wont to do, sorry):

It’s perhaps worth noting that despite his apparent grasp of the consent issues relating to animal exploitation, Bill Maher isn’t vegan.

I’m curious if human beings will always try to hold onto the idea that we’re somehow so special we should be allowed to treat every member of every other species on this planet like they’re property.

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A human and a wombat, hanging out

A human and a wombat, hanging out

From ajakwerth on YouTube:

Douglas is an orphaned Wombat who was taken care of at a school camp (where we have been WWOOFing) near Tallangatta in Victoria, Australia. This video is 3 years old so he was just a little baby there! He was meant to be released into the wild someday but since it’s been a long while ago I lost touch with the family who runs the camp…

Richard Turere saves lions and cows

Richard Turere saves lions and cows

richard-turere-tedRichard Turere, a 13-year-old Maasai from Kenya, invented a solar-powered solution to lions killing cows, and humans killing lions: A device that mimics the look of a person walking with a flashlight, to scare lions away from cow sheds, preventing humans from lethal retaliation against the endangered predators.

Vegans may be interested in educating themselves about the Maasai, who present some very interesting questions regarding animal exploitation. They are able to live in desert and scrublands that are otherwise uninhabitable, and are extremely self-sufficient. And yet their way of life could not continue without the exploitation of cows. A debate between a fundamentalist abolitionist vegan and a Maasai person would be very interesting!

Via NPR; photo by James Duncan Davidson

How Oscar Mayer and Kraft Used Salt, Fat and Sugar to Hook Kids on Lunchables

Hear Michael Moss on Democracy Now, speaking about how Oscar Mayer and Kraft used clever marketing to get kids hooked on unhealthy products. Creepy story! If they had this playing next to every Lunchables display in every supermarket, no one would ever buy them again. That’s probably not going to happen any time soon, but we can sure share this video.

Via LiveVegan on Facebook

Love wins

Watch what happens when a subway “preacher” tries to spread his heterosexism and homophobia and hate: A gay subway passenger stands up for himself and gets the whole car cheering for him by saying, “Jesus loves me!… Jesus is love! We can hear your falsehoods! There’s love in this train!… Love wins!”

I love this video for two reasons:

  1. It really reminds me of the usefulness of speaking to people in their own language, and to respect that they may be different from ourselves. Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully is an incredible book written by one of George W. Bush’s speechwriters, a conservative republican and a conservationist, not an abolitionist intersectional vegan by any means! However, his arguments have been enormously helpful to me in speaking with people who firmly believe that humans have God-given dominion over animals. I may not agree, and I might not define god in the same way they do, but I am now able to have an intelligent conversation with a right wing Christian carnist, in which I can respectfully quote all the compassionate Bible verses needed to counter the bloodthirsty ones they might feel attached to. Imagine what a different response this gay guy would have gotten if he’d said instead, “Your religion is oppressive and your Bible is lies!” By saying “Jesus is love” he effectively showed that the “preacher” was indeed a “false prophet,” at least, in the eyes of all of the people who were watching and who also want to believe that God, if s/he exists, is good and loving, and not hateful. Who are you going to agree with – the crazy bigot screaming vitriol, or the brave young man countering hatred with a reminder of Jesus’s love? I’m agnostic and more Buddhist than anything, but I’m still voting for the young man. Amen, brother.
  2. The other reason I love this video is because once Shira and I were on the train in NYC, and an old man and woman sat down across from us with Christian-themed baseball caps on, and started hissing hateful words at us, saying we were going to hell. We didn’t know how to defend ourselves. No one said anything in our defense. It was one of the cruelest, saddest experiences of my life. I wished dearly at the time that they could have seen me as a peace and justice activist, an ethical person who practices nonviolence in my every action, a loving person in a committed and healthy relationship, a community-minded voter and taxpayer, a fellow Brooklynite. Instead they saw something disgusting they wanted to destroy. It broke my heart. So I want to thank the young man in this video for his courage, for standing up and saying what I didn’t say. Love wins.

I also want to thank my freshman year roommate, Mer, and another one of our dorm-mates, Jesse, for having the courage to stand up one night at dinner, proclaiming, “I love Jesus!” It shocked me at the time because I hadn’t seen anyone progressive, any non-bigot, say something like that before, so exuberantly and honestly and earnestly, and from such a beautiful place of open-hearted love. If it wasn’t for those two people, and the influence of Hugh and his stories of radical Catholics (thank you Hugh!), I wouldn’t have come around to where I am now. My family has been wounded in the past by unjust and oppressive interpretations of religious scripture, and it’s taken me some time to get over my prejudice against religions and to find God in my own way. (Thanks to Josh A. for help in that department!)

Via Gawker

Please stop buying plastic

The plastic bits and pieces we throw away or that escape from our recycling bins are destroying others’ lives. Let’s take responsibility for that. Let’s stop buying plastic. I am totally serious. Get used kid’s toys. Carry reusable shopping bags. Buy food in bulk and reuse containers. Don’t buy cheap souvenirs you don’t need. Sure, you might need the occasional bike helmet or toothbrush, or maybe you work in an industry that uses plastic for essential things like medical equipment, and I know it can be really hard to avoid acquiring new peanut butter jars if your local grocery doesn’t have a bulk foods section. But we humans do not need plastic water bottles. We do not need plastic jugs full of juice when local fruit is healthy and requires no wrapper. We do not need more little plastic toys, party favors, and Mardi Gras necklaces.

Maybe you’re not convinced, or maybe you think this is just idealism talking. But if you have a sense of basic human decency and responsibility for your actions, please, watch this trailer. Chris Jordan’s Midway: Tales from the Gyre is beautiful, subtle, only 4 minutes long, and it will shock you. I hope it brings you to tears as it brought me to tears. I hope it makes all of us think twice before paying money for any piece of new plastic – because plastic never goes away. We all have to stop making and selling and buying it, or it will destroy us.

A million thanks to Renee and Nell for posting this video on Facebook. If you see this post and don’t mind me linking to your Facebook profile or another personal website here as a credit, please let me know.

If only every dog were so loved

If only every dog were so loved

In Petsami’s “Dog Eat Dog”, watch the crazy true story of Zachary Quinto adopting his first dog companion at an LA animal shelter. As a bonus, the original soundtrack features some great trumpet and tuba. My big takeaway from this charming little film: If every animal were this loved, we’d be living in a beautiful new world. Adopt, don’t buy, everybody!

Via Jezebel

This is an ally

This is an ally

An ally is a person who stands up for those who are oppressed, even when that’s the unpopular thing to do. We vegans might primarily consider ourselves allies to animals, but hopefully we’re allies to oppressed human beings, too – and we can certainly learn from allies in other movements. Oppression is oppression is oppression.

Here’s an ally whose speech is close to my heart, since I’m queer and in love and wishing my country (and not just my state) would recognize Shira and I as married women. Get ready for a beautiful statement of support and love from Washington State Rep. Maureen Walsh (a Republican).

Via Via Wipe Out Homophobia

This is why I’m a vegan environmentalist

This is why I’m a vegan environmentalist

Warning: This video contains cartoonish but nonetheless gruesome depictions of violence.

MAN from Steve Cutts on Vimeo. Music: In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg.
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Copyright 2012 www.stevecutts.com

Cross-posted at Inner Whale (Tumblr)