Are GMOs Vegan?

What Are GMOs? Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs), also called Genetically-Engineered Organisms (GEOs) or Frankenfoods, are novel biological organisms created using recombinant DNA technology. These transgenic chimeras are created by inserting foreign DNA into the existing DNA structures of plants, animals, and other living organisms. GMOs are present in approximately 70% of the food available at retail markets in the U.S. The GMOs approved and offered for human consumption in the U.S. include: Corn and all corn derivatives (corn oil, HFCS, maltodextrin, etc.) Soy and all soy derivatives (soybean oil, soy protein isolate, soy lecithin, etc.) Cotton and all cotton derivatives (oil, fabric) Canola (oil) Sugar Beets (sugar) Papaya (very few) Squash (very few) Upwards of 80% of corn, soy, sugar beets, and canola grown in North America is genetically-engineered (GE). This means that if a product has corn, soy, cottonseed, canola, or beet sugar in it- and is not organic or labelled non-gmo – it’s probably GE. Potatoes, tomatoes, wheat, rice, sweet potato, cassava, salmon, pigs, goats, trees, mice and numerous other organisms have been or are being engineered.  GE salmon is awaiting approval for human consumption right now. Why Do We Engineer Organisms? There are many purported reasons for developing genetically-engineering food crops. Ending world hunger is one of them. But any semi-informed person knows we grow enough food to feed everyone on the planet and more right now, and the real reasons anyone is starving are political. Other purported reasons for creating franken-foods are to make them more nutritious, to increase crop yields, to reduce the use of pesticides, or to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs. However, none of the GMOs proffered thus far have been developed to do anything but manufacture pesticides, or resist herbicides which are sold by the same companies developing the GMOs. The real reason GMOs exist is to make multi-national corporations – corporations that have been profiting from the destruction of humans’ and other animals’ lives and the ruination of the environment for a hundred years – richer, at the expense of, well, humans and other animals, and the environment. Who Is Responsible? Most of the GMOs produced come from the same people who brought you Agent Orange and DDT: Monsanto.  Monsanto also gave us the GMO rBST, also called rBGH or by the brand name Posilac. rBST is a growth hormone given to dairy cows to raise milk production. In Monsanto’s own words, the “use of Posilac has been associated with increases in cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus…digestive disorders…enlarged hocks and lesions (lacerations, enlargements, calluses) of the knee…” But biotech is big business and there are many other players. Because of the deep-pockets and heavy-handed lobbying of these corporations, safety testing of GMOs has not been credibly carried-out. Thanks to the revolving doors in government and bribery of congress, GM foods are “generally recognized as safe” through “substantial equivalence” and are not required to be labelled as being different from non-transgenic foods. (Learn about GRAS) Monsanto carried out it’s own studies, without independent peer-approval, and submitted them as evidence of the safety of their product. Convenient. What Does GMO Corn and Soy Have To Do With Non-Human Animals? Of the little safety testing that has been done on existing GMOs, either by biotech corporations or independently, most has been done on non-human animals. This is problematic for two reasons: 1) non-human animal testing is morally unnacceptable and 2) testing on non-humans to learn about humans is bad science. It tells us nothing about humans. Even scientists advocating for safety-testing GMOs on animals admit it tells us nothing.  Just because a mouse or chimp reacts a certain way to a substance doesn’t mean this data can be extrapolated to humans. Most novel biotech products and processes are tested on non-human animals. Often the new product IS non-human animals. Remember, these biotech companies aren’t just in the food business. They develop medicines, vaccines, industrial agents, chemical agents, etc. Human DNA has been spliced with non-human animal DNA to try and develop a working non-human animal model for human vaccines, among other things. Cows, steer, sheep, pigs, and other non-human animals are (ab)used by these companies for cloning research, and now these cloned animals are entering the food supply. Goats have been engineered to produce drugs and spider-silk in their milk. Rabbits, pigs, mice and other non-human animals have been engineered to fluoresce, or glow in the dark. These companies work with a host of toxic chemicals and are required by the FDA to test novel drugs and other products on non-human animals before they are approved. Many of these tests are done by third-party labs, including Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS).  From Sourcewatch: “HLS is among the world’s largest contract research laboratories. It operates two facilities in England and one in East Millstone, NJ. At any one time there are 70,000 animals imprisoned within these 3 facilities including dogs, cats, monkeys, birds, rabbits, fish, mice and farm animals. HLS kills approximately 180,000 dogs, cats rats, rabbits, pigs, and primates (marmosets, macaques, and wild-caught baboons) every year in tests for household cleaners, pesticides, weedkillers, cosmetics, food additives and industrial chemicals. HLS kills an average 500 animals each day for tests “only reliable 5-25% of the time”, one HLS record contends.” Other tests on non-human animals are done after-the-fact – independent studies conducted using non-human animals – to expose the [human] health risks associated with eating GMOs.  While the efforts are laudable, the methods are laughable. Testing on non-human animals will only tell us about non-human animals. If we want to know if GMOs are safe for humans, we need to test on humans.  (Note: Although nothing about humans can be gleaned from testing on non-human animals, logic will tell you that if a mouse shows no ill-effect from non-GMO corn, and shows ill-effect from GMO corn, that corn is not “substantially equivalent” and should not be “generally recognized as safe”.  Hamsters born sterile and with fur in their mouths after the grandmother and mother eat GMO corn does not bode well for the safety of GMOs, or the safety of the hamsters.) Even from a pro-non-human-animal-testing welfarist perspective, these biotech companies’ practices are ethically dubious. From PubMed.gov: “The public discussion on the introduction of agro-genetic engineering focuses mainly on economical, ecological and human health aspects. The fact is neglected that laboratory animals must suffer before either humans or the environment are affected. However, numerous animal experiments are conducted for toxicity testing and authorisation of genetically modified plants in the European Union. These are ethically questionable, because death and suffering of the animals [sic] for purely commercial purposes are accepted. Therefore, recent political initiatives to further increase animal testing for GMO crops must be regarded highly critically. Based on concrete examples this article demonstrates that animal experiments, on principle, cannot provide the expected protection of users and consumers despite all efforts to standardise, optimise or extend them.” Who Else Has Addressed This? The Vegan Society, creators of the word vegan and certifiers of Vegan Society-approved non-human animal-free products bearing the Sunflower Logo, have adopted this policy concerning GMOs in light of the use of non-human animals in the production of GMOs: “In keeping with its vegan ethic, the Vegan Society is totally against the use of animal  genes or animal substances in the development and production of GMOs. The Vegan Society believes that all foods that contain, may contain, or have involved GMOs should be clearly labelled. In addition any product must also meet the Society’s Criteria for Vegan Food. Products carrying the Society’s trademark can contain GMOs, but must be clearly labelled and comply with the definition above.” Also: The development and/or manufacture of the product, and where applicable its ingredients, must not involve, or have involved, testing of any sort on animals conducted at the initiative of the manufacturer or on its behalf, or by parties over whom the manufacturer has effective control.” As far as we can tell, the Vegan Society is the only mainstream vegan organization which has stated a policy regarding GMOs publicly. What Does It All Mean? Many vegans choose to refrain from buying cosmetics or bath products that have been tested on non-human animals. Many of those same vegans regularly choose to support companies which use GMOs, which have been tested on non-human animals, and are developed by the same companies that make the same cosmetic or bath products that many vegans refrain from using. This is logically inconsistent. GMOs are NOT VEGAN! If we choose to abstain from consuming products tested on non-human animals, we must choose to abstain from consuming products containing genetically-engineered organisms. What Else? Besides the fact that GMOs are about as vegan as Spam, hand in hand with the testing carried out on animals are the resulting safety issues concerning GMOs – issues every eater, not just vegans – should be concerned about . Here is a list demonstrating both points: 1) that existing GMOs have been, and continue to be tested on animals, and 2) that evidence shows that GMOs are extremely hazardous to the animals being tested, including humans! From nongmoproject.org:

•Rats fed GM tomatoes developed stomach ulcerations

•Liver, pancreas and testes function was disturbed in mice fed GM soya

•GM peas caused allergic reactions in mice

•Rats fed GM oilseed rape developed enlarged livers, often a sign of toxicity

•GM potatoes fed to rats caused excessive growth of the lining of the gut similar to a pre-cancerous condition

•Rats fed insecticide-producing GM maize grew more slowly, suffered problems with liver and kidney function, and showed higher levels of certain fats in their blood

•Rats fed GM insecticide-producing maize over three generations suffered damage to liver and kidneys and showed alterations in blood biochemistry

•Old and young mice fed with GM insecticide-producing maize showed a marked disturbance in immune system cell populations and in biochemical activity

•Mice fed GM insecticide-producing maize over four generations showed a buildup of abnormal structural changes in various organs (liver, spleen, pancreas), major changes in the pattern of gene function in the gut, reflecting disturbances in the chemistry of this organ system (e.g. in cholesterol production, protein production and breakdown), and, most significantly, reduced fertility

•Mice fed GM soya over their entire lifetime (24 months) showed more acute signs of ageing in their liver

•Rabbits fed GM soya showed enzyme function disturbances in kidney and heart

• Sheep fed Bt insecticide-producing GM maize over three generations showed disturbances in the functioning of the digestive system of ewes and in the liver and pancreas of their lambs

• GM DNA was found to survive processing and to be detectable in the digestive tract of sheep fed GM feed. This raises the possibility that antibiotic resistance and Bt insecticide genes can move into gut bacteria, a process known as horizontal gene transfer. Horizontal gene transfer can lead to antibiotic resistant disease-causing bacteria (“superbugs”) and may lead to Bt insecticide being produced in the gut with potentially harmful consequences. For years, regulators and the biotech industry claimed that horizontal gene transfer would not occur with GM DNA, but this research challenges this claim

• GM DNA in feed is taken up by the animal’s organs. Small amounts of GM DNA appear in the milk and meat that people eat. The effects on the health of the animals and the people who eat them have not been researched.

•Human volunteers fed a single GM soya bean meal showed that GM DNA can survive processing and is detectable in the digestive tract. There was evidence of horizontal gene transfer to gut bacteria. Horizontal gene transfer of antibiotic resistance and Bt insecticide genes from GM foods into gut bacteria is an extremely serious issue. This is because the modified gut bacteria could become resistant to antibiotics or become factories for Bt insecticide. While Bt in its natural form has been safely used for years as an insecticide in farming, Bt toxin genetically engineered into plant crops has been found to have potential ill health effects on laboratory animals

•In the late 1980s, a food supplement produced using GM bacteria was toxic, initially killing 37 Americans and making more than 5,000 others seriously ill.

Several experimental GM food products (not commercialised) were found to be harmful:

•People allergic to Brazil nuts had allergic reactions to soya beans modified with a Brazil nut gene42

•The GM process itself can cause harmful effects. GM potatoes caused toxic reactions in multiple organ systems. GM peas caused a 2-fold allergic reaction  –  the GM protein was allergenic and stimulated an allergic reaction to other food components. This raises the question of whether GM foods cause an increase in allergies to other substances.

There are also environmental issues such as cross-contamination, cross-pollination or evolved-tolerance resulting in “superweeds”, increased herbicide use, decreased yield, soil contamination…the list goes on and on. For a full background on the myriad concerns of GMOs go here.

The bottom line is: there is substantial evidence that consuming GMOs supports – and relies on – non-human animal cruelty; that GMOs are hazardous to humans, other animals, and the environment; and that removal of these products from market is necessary to ensure public safety until safety can be assessed using scientifically sound methods, i.e., no non-human animal testing. If we are committed to empowering ourselves to make compassionate and healthful decisions about who and what practices we support, we will avoid GMOs whenever possible. How do we avoid GMOs?

Go Vegan – If you’re not already, go vegan. GMOs are mainly used as non-human animal feed in the U.S., so refraining from supporting the inherent cruelty involved in using animals as resources is also the best way to avoid supporting GMOs. Two carrots with one chop.

Buy Organic – Buying organic is the easiest way to avoid GMOs. Even non-GMO produce can have GM corn-based wax, such as peppers and apples. Vitamins used to enrich non-organic foods are most likely GM, also. Things we wouldn’t think of like (non-organic white) vinegar, maltodextrin, or vegetable capsules for vitamin supplements are mostly made from GM crops. And that cotton shirt, or those denim jeans? It’s GM unless it’s organic.

Look For Products Labelled “Non-GMO” – Many companies label their products “Non-GMO”. Some aren’t labeled but a quick e-mail, call, or internet search will probably be helpful.

Grow Your Own Food –  Growing your own food has numerous individually-and socially-empowering benefits, including knowing where your food comes from and how it was grown. Biotech companies own an increasing share of organic seed companies, though, so source the seeds properly.

GMOs are quite ubiquitous these days, so completely avoiding them is near impossible. But with a little due diligence, most of the GMOs available can be avoided. It’s also important to call or write the companies using GM products and tell them our concerns. If consumer pressure can get the high-fructose corn syrup out of major ketchup brands, we can pressure the companies we support to use products that aren’t tested on animals, harmful to our health, or ecologically destructive.

In a system that puts profits before people, we vote with our dollars, and we need to pay attention to what – and who – we’re voting for.

Our Mothers told us when we were kids, but we need to remember as adults: Don’t take food from strangers!

For More Info:

Watch “The World According To Monsanto”

Read “Seeds Of Deception” By Jeffrey Smith

Go To http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com and http://www.nongmoproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/GM-Crops-just-the-science.pdf

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We’re All BP

We were at the grocery store the other day, perusing the vegan section for any new developments, when a deli worker strolled up and informed us of a “special” on fried-chicken[s] the store was offering.  Now, usually when someone offers us the carcass of a tortured dead animal, we respectfully reply, “No thanks, we’re vegan.”

But as soon as she (the deli worker) mentioned the birds on offer, we thought of the article by Gary L. Francione titled “We’re all Michael Vick”. In the article, Francione talks about people’s reactions to the horrors Vick put animals through – simply for his own pleasure – and how Vick’s behavior is really not that dissimilar to much of our own behavior. He points out that our consumption of animal products subjects animals to conditions and abuses that are strikingly similar to what Vick’s animals suffered. He describes a situation in which, when asked by a stranger about the Vick fiasco, he tries to point out the discrepancy between thought and behavior as they pertain to the Vick scenario. He found a teaching moment at a gas station.

So when posed this question about the “deal” on carcass, we responded, “Do you think it odd, at all, that we are so upset about the BP disaster and all the images of oil-soaked dead birds, yet we casually dine on the carcasses of other oil-soaked dead birds?” She sort-of half-heartedly agreed and walked away, so maybe it wasn’t the best teaching moment execution. Or maybe she is mulling it over right now. Either way, as a result of this conversation we have been thinking about many other aspects of the BP spill and our general behavior before, and after, the spill. Our considerations have mushroomed into a small body of thought that will continue after this tragically hilarious graphic we made.

We’re all BP. BP has managed to cover thousands of birds in oil. When the birds are covered in oil, their feathers don’t work as they are intended. Obviously, this means the birds can’t fly, but the feathers also help regulate body temperature. So when covered in oil, the birds start to overheat. Combined with the intense tropical sun in the gulf, the birds start to literally deep-fry until they die in agony. Pretty gruesome, huh? Well, one difference between BP’s fried pelican and last night’s fried chicken is that BP’s was an accident. Every year we purposefully boil billions – billions! – of birds in oil without a second thought. Most of the birds we kill (on purpose) live their entire lives in a cage with space no bigger than a standard envelope. After having their throats slit, many are immersed in boiling water while still conscious, to remove their feathers. Then they’re eviscerated, chopped into pieces, dipped in their liquid babies, dredged in flour, and boiled in artery-clogging oil – for us to stuff our faces with. And we’re pissed at BP about a few pelicans. And don’t even get us started on foie gras or down. Compared to our insatiable appetite for winged-torture and death, BP pales in comparison to suffering caused.

But it’s not just birds dying in the gulf, right? It’s sea turtles, dolphins, crustaceans, mollusks, fish, and innumerable other species of life. Well, let’s examine our relationship to these creatures before they were tainted by BP’s Eternal Fountain of Filth (thanks, Devo!)  Fishing, shrimping, and all other forms of oceanic hunting have been affected by this disaster. We all saw the news report about the shrimper who burst into BP’s senate hearings with “oil” on her hands and demanded criminal charges be brought against BP. But what’s really happened, objectively? BP killed a bunch of animals accidentally, which made it harder for other people who make a living killing animals to kill animals. Regardless of who’s doing the killing, the animals are gonna’ get killed one way or another. The only difference is that some of the animals killed by the hydro-hunters would have been consumed by people. The other animals killed by the sea-going-serial-killers are either fed to land animals so we can fatten them up and kill and eat them, or they are casually tossed back into the gulf to die a slow, miserable death.

Shrimp aren’t the only animals killed by shrimpers. 16 pounds of by-catch – unwanted and useless animals – are killed or maimed for us to get 1 pound of shrimp. Again, sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, pelicans, jellyfish and myriad other species are killed or maimed as a result of our lust for sea-flesh and resulting by-catch. And it’s not just shrimping that results in by-catch. Every form of aquatic murder results in the deaths of unintended species. So before BP got here, we were already consciously and brutally pillaging the sea-life in the gulf, with little to no regard for non-target species. We were eating some of what we killed, but much was “collateral murder” to begin with. The slight difference between the Domestic-Dahmers (US) and the Gulf-Gacys (BP) is that the BP spill is 100% by-catch, so to speak. We claim to care about the wildlife needlessly dying because of BP’s acts, yet we commit what amounts to genocide to the same wildlife in order to please our taste buds – something equally needless.  Along with the hypocrisy involved in showing a callous disregard for animal life in action while professing to be horrified and outraged by other’s callous disregard for the same animals, there are the environmental consequences.

Like the dead zone. Yeah, the part of the gulf stretching 500 miles in all directions from the base of  the Mississippi River that contains such high levels of nitrogen and CO2 that one of the only forms of life that it can sustain is jellyfish. This was here long before the BP spill and is a result of our farming practices all along the (not so) Mighty Miss. Most of the Mississippi River is just an effluent stream from our factory farms and use of synthetic fertilizers. You see, much of the by-catch we kill goes to feeding other animals we plan on killing; animals in factory farms. We cram animals together in factory farms, spray them and their feed with pesticides, inject them with antibiotics, and then shovel their ridiculously copious amounts of nitrogen and synthetic-chemical-laden feces into our waterways – like the Mississippi. Along with runoff from farms using synthetic fertilizers used to grow corn for feed and biofuels, this fecal soup travels down towards the Gulf making the entire aquatic ecosystem virtually uninhabitable wherein it eventually makes it to the Gulf and creates what we call a dead zone. So we were already shitting where we eat long before BP decided to join us.

Our demand for animal-products (including meat, sea-meat, dairy, eggs, leather, wool, down, and all other products that result from animal exploitation) and our reliance on synthetic fertilizers for crop production (most of which gets fed to animals) are inherently unsustainable, have dire unintended consequences, and depend heavily on negating harmful externalities – just like drilling for oil (with or without relief wells or safety protocols in place).

This is not a defense of BP, or a Palin-esque rally cry to “Drill, baby drill!”.  This is an appeal to reason. We as the pot need to stop calling the kettle black. Our practices were destroying the Gulf long before BP fucked up. The difference is that BP didn’t expect – or intentionally bring about – their oil spill, while we knowingly pollute the water and ravage the ecosystem, draining it of all it’s life while simultaneously destroying it’s ability to sustain life. They failed to use proper safety measures and had no effective response protocol. So have we for the past 50+ years. Because of our combined carelessness, the mutilation of the Gulf of Mexico is likely to be a long lasting and devastating infliction, brought about by our general carelessness and lack of foresight.  Instead of pointing out problems, it might be more effective to discuss solutions. Rather than expecting BP, Obama, JP Morgan Chase or anyone else to find an effective solution, what can we, as individuals do? What can we do in our own lives to try and mitigate the effects of this disaster, one of so many our world faces? What can we do to try and prevent this from happening again?

It’s more than obvious that we need to change the source of our energy, but we as individuals have little to no options when it comes to trying to change the infrastructure of energy production without drastically reducing our quality of life. We are so dependent on oil and fossil fuels in general, if one were to try and stop consuming them, the attempt would leave one living under basically stone-age conditions. Most everything we consume is dependent on fossil fuels either to be produced or to be transported to market. From our gasoline to our cars themselves. From the shoes on our feet to the gel in our hair. From veggies to meat, books to computers, you name it and oil was involved. The current problems we face are, arguably, only solvable through the wise use of what little energy-producing goo we have left. Inefficiency cannot be tolerated when resources are so limited and obtaining more resources is so dangerous. (As demonstrated in the Gulf and every oil spill previous.)  We need to use our existing non-renewable energy wisely while developing alternative methods of energy capture in order to effectively and efficiently abrogate our use altogether with as smooth a transition as possible. This is not going to be accomplished in any way if we continue to use our limited resources in the ways we do. Driving a car with decent gas mileage is a much more efficient use of energy to achieve the goal of rapid transport than feeding cows 16 pounds of energy-intensive grain to produce 1 pound of exponentially intensive beef is to achieve the goal of feeding ourselves. Animal agriculture and the fruits of it’s inefficiency are testimony to the wasteful tendencies we have adopted as a whole. Hummers are another.

Using plastic bags instead of re-usable bags is a waste of our limited resources, even though the reusable bags are dependent on fossil fuels (and probably chinese sweatshops) for their production and transport to market.  Still, rather than giving up on re-usable bags because of the dinosaurs it took to produce them and using plastic, or foraging for food not using bags altogether and awkwardly carrying our items to our electricity-less cave – that is, rather than try and give up fossil fuels altogether in some vain quest for eco-martyrdom – we could consume in a way that uses our existing energy resources wisely and possibly mitigate the adverse effects of our current practices. Using our existing sources of energy for making reusable bags is a much more efficient and wiser use than churning out billions of throwaway bags. Using fossil fuels to grow grains and eat them directly is a much more efficient and wiser use of our current energy resources than growing grains and feeding them to animals so we can eat the animals. On the road to fossil-fuel independence is the need to use our existing energy infrastructure as efficiently as possible. Most of us don’t own giant corporations which have the ability to create a new energy infrastructure, or the means to be energy-independent, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a say in the matter. Just because we can’t remove ourselves totally from supporting fossil fuel consumption doesn’t mean we can’t make conscious decisions to improve our efficiency and reduce our impact along with creating a demand for alternative methods.

Aside from the obvious things – recycle, reduce, reuse – what we choose to buy before the need to rely on the three Rs is a major factor in determining the efficiency of our oil consumption.  We vote with our dollars, and really this is the only vote most of us have. What we purchase, and who we purchase from, dictates what is sold and how it is made. We don’t buy many cars or bikes, compared to things like food and beauty products.  We buy gasoline more frequently, but there aren’t many realistic options as alternatives available. Many of our purchases meet our goals in a way that is relatively efficiently met by our use of fossil fuels. That’s not to say their production and transportation efficiency couldn’t be improved, just that some uses of our limited energy supply are more efficient than others. Some goods do not meet these goals efficiently and are actually quite inefficient and absolutely unsustainable – even if we had unlimited renewable energy supplies. The worst and most frequently consumed of these would be animal products. This UN report points out the inherent inefficiency and un-sustainability of producing animal products in an ever increasingly populated world.

So back to the question: What simple things can we do, individually, to help prevent this from happening in the future and to try and mitigate the destruction already wreaked?

All you need is L.O.V.E.

The L.O.V.E. life is a commitment to four principles of consumption:

Local – Buying locally produced goods provides many benefits. It cuts down on the energy needed to transport products to market, it helps ensure the money stays in the local economy, and it is a good way to avoid goods made by exploiting low wages in developing nations. By supporting smaller community-based businesses, relationships between consumer and purveyor can be cultivated on a much deeper level, influencing business practices quicker and more effectively. Buying locally produced goods made from locally produced raw materials is the next step, and ensures even more security in knowing the processes and practices of production are traceable.

Organic – Buying organic helps ensure that unsustainable farming practices are not used to produce the food, clothing, bath and cosmetic products, and household cleaners, soaps, and detergents we buy. It also ensures that we are not exposed to harmful chemical residues, irradiation, genetic-engineering and a host of other toxic materials. It helps preserve the air, water, soil, and ourselves.

Vegan – The best thing we can do for ourselves, the animals, and the environment is to refrain from using any animal products, products tested on animals, or supporting any practices involving animal exploitation in any aspect of our lives where it is avoidable.  Using animals for human purposes is unnecessary, unsustainable, and it violates all animals’ inherent right to not be treated as property by humans. Eating animal products has been repeatedly demonstrated to be harmful to humans, wearing animal skins or furs is simply barbaric (it is 2010 after all, we have people living in space and we still walk around in skins and furs like neanderthals), and testing on animals to discover anything about humans is unscientific and, put simply, stupid. Rodeos, bullfights, aquariums, zoos – all testaments to the fact that we are not civilized yet. Any society that accepts putting a bird in a cage is severely disturbed. We can do better. We can avoid all of these things so easily, and make one step in the right direction towards achieving humanity.

Ethical – All of the above practices could be utilized for purely selfish reasons – buying local to make sure one gets the freshest most nutritious food, or for the highest quality hand-made goods; buying organic because one wants to avoid harmful pesticide residue or gene-altering GMOs; eating vegan for health. And this the reason for the last principle. To commit to a L.O.V.E. life, you gotta have the love for others, not just the self. Making sure what we buy doesn’t come at the expense of others is a prime requirement of such a profound – yet profoundly simple in practice – commitment. It seems like common sense, but most of us would be surprised by how little we know about the history of our purchases. This last principle simply asks us to take steps, not simply for ourselves but for others – hoping that they might do the same – to inform ourselves about what effect our day-to-day decisions might have on those whom provide us with the goods we consume, the environment, and society in general.

The L.O.V.E. life asks us to simply be aware of what impact we have on others, to bear witness to and take responsibility for the consequences of our actions, and to change our behavior to align with our beliefs.  Isn’t this what we’re demanding of BP? If we’re all BP, isn’t this what we should be demanding of ourselves?

Anthony Bourdain Beats Lung Cancer By Adopting A Vegan Diet

Anthony Bourdain, chef, cookbook writer, and host of “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel – and staunch vegetarian and vegan opponent – has revealed that he has been a closet vegan since he was diagnosed with lung cancer 2 years ago. Since then, the diet has improved his health so much so, recent tests by his doctors showed the cancer to be in remission.

At a press conference this morning, Bourdain stated, “I was hesitant to come out and admit it, I know it will let a lot of people down knowing that I have quit eating rectum, eyes, gonads, and other various animal parts, but they were just killing me. ”

When asked how he managed to keep it a secret he replied, “I just acted like I got food poisoning a lot, which is understandable considering all meat is covered in shit. Vomiting just seemed normal to everyone.”

“And eating vegan has opened me up to all the suffering I have caused by my insatiable thirst for the most torturous foods. I regret every bite of foie gras, and every veal cutlet. But also, I see the suffering in every egg  and every glass of milk,” he confessed. “I still smoke five packs a day, but just removing animal products from my diet has stopped my cancer cold. I really don’t know what else to say. I’m going to live,” Bourdain added.

To which a bloodthirsty crowd responded with loud boos and hissing, with some members of the angry mob yelling things such as “faggot”, “hippie”, “pussy”, and “elitist”, and some threatening to eat Bourdain himself. How long will the show last? Time will tell, but does anyone really want to see someone travel around the world and eat vegetables? Our guess is, as far as the general public is concerned, if it doesn’t involve ramming a tube down a goose’s throat, it’s not worth watching someone eat it.


The Liberator: Remix – Issue 9 – Anti-Slavery Progress

From The Liberator: Remix
February 26, 2010

[…]the sacred and glorious cause which [abolitionists] madly attempt to overthrow is now shaping the destiny of the nation.

So far as the U.S. is concerned, a marvellous change for the better has taken place in public sentiment in relation to the anti-slavery movement. The struggle for freedom of speech and of the press has every where been fought, and the victory won. A general enlightenment has taken place upon the subject of animal-slavery. The opinions of a vast multitude have been essentially changed, and secured to the side of freedom. The conflict between free institutions and slave institutions is seen and acknowledged to be irrepressible—not of man’s devising, but of Peace’s ordering—and it is deepening in intensity daily, in spite of every effort of political cunning and religious sorcery to effect a reconciliation. The animal rights dialogue witnesses a marked division between the political forces of the Abolitionists and the New Welfarists; and though it relates, ostensibly, solely to the question of the further extension of slavery, it really signifies a much deeper sentiment in the breasts of the New-Welfarists, which, in process of time, must ripen into more decisive action.

So far as the Industry is concerned, it has apparently waxed worse and worse—grown more and more desperate—revealed more and more of savage brutality and fiendish malignity, until it’s crimes and atrocities, not only as perpetrated upon it’s de-animalized slaves, but as inflicted upon employees and citizens within it’s limits, have become too numerous for record, and almost too horrible for belief.

But all this is the sign that the end is rapidly approaching. Peaceably, or by a bloody process, the oppressed will eventually obtain their freedom, and nothing can prevent it. Trusting that it may be achieved without the shedding of blood, We remain,

Yours, for liberty and equality for all the Earth’s inhabitants,

Peace Is Coming For You

Original By William Lloyd Garrison

Remixed By Peace Is Coming For You

The Liberator: Remix – Issue 8 – Abolition At The Ballot Box

From The Liberator: Remix

February 19, 2010

Abolition At The Ballot Box

Once more, I beg not to be misapprehended. I have always expected, I still expect, to see abolition at the ballot-box, renovating the political action of the country—dispelling the sorcery influences of party—breaking asunder the fetters of political servitude—stirring up the torpid consciences of voters—substituting anti-animal-slavery for pro-animal-slavery representatives in every legislative assembly—modifying and rescinding all laws solely by a change in the moral vision of the people—not by attempting to prove that it is the duty of every abolitionist to be a voter, but that it is the duty of every voter to be an abolitionist. By converting electors to the doctrine that animal slavery ought to be immediately abolished, a rectified political action is the natural consequence; for where this doctrine is received into the soul, the soul-carrier may be trusted any where, that he will not betray the cause of bleeding humanity. As to the height and depth, the length and breadth of MORALITY, it is not the province of abolition to decide; but only to ettle one point—to wit, that slaveholding is a crime under all circumstances, leaving those who believe in the doctrine to carry out their principles, with all fidelity, in whatever sphere they may be called upon to act, but not authoritatively determining whether they are bound to be members of the church, or voters at the polls. It has never been a difficult matter to induce men to go to the ballot-box; but the grand difficulty ever has been, and still is, to persuade them to carry a good conscience thither, and act as free moral agents, not as tools of party.

Original By William Lloyd Garrison

Remixed By Peace Is Coming For You

Is Meat Worth It?

Huntington Meat Packing Inc., (no, not Huntingdon Life Sciences – who also torture and kill animals) issued a recall of almost five million pounds of dead cow’s flesh; after an earlier recall of 864,000 pounds. That’s a total of 5.8 million pounds of muscle tissue recalled due to possible E. coli 0157:H7 containing fecal contamination.

Since the beginning of 2010, four companies have issued recalls of their tainted and dangerous offerings.

West Missouri Beef

14,000 lbs. “beef”  (E. coli)

Daniele

1,263,754 +  17,235 +  23,754 = 1,304,743 lbs “pork” (salmonella)

Adams

2,574 lbs “beef” (E. coli)

Huntington

5.8 million lbs “beef” (E. coli)

That brings the US to 7.1 million pounds of “food” sold, contaminated with infectious disease in 2010. And it’s February.

Animal exploitation is inefficient enough by itself, even more when large amounts of animals’ bodies are wasted due to disease.

7.1 million pounds is a pound of flesh for 2% of America’s population. It’s over 1/3 ounce of carcass per person in the US.

Let’s break down what that means in terms of environmental waste:

One pound of cow = 16 pounds of grain

One pound of pig = 6 pounds of grain

(source: Diet For A New America, Robbins 1987)

92.8 million pounds beef grain + 7,800,000 pig grain = 100.6 million pounds of wasted grain.

1 pound of beef = 5,214 gallons of water

1 pound pork = 1,630 gallons of water

(Source: Stockholm International Water Institute)

30.2 billion gallons of water (beef) + 2.1 billion gallons of water (pork) = 32.3b gallons wasted water.

Each cow emits 22.3 pounds CO2 eq GHG/pound flesh

(Source: appropedia,org/beef)

Each pig emits 2.47 pounds CO2 eq GHG/pound flesh

(Source: Jean-Yves Dourmad)

129,340,00 pounds CO2 eq GHG emissions (beef) + 3,211,000 pounds CO2 eq GHG (pork) = 132,551,000 pounds of CO2 eq GHG emissions emitted.

Who knows how many animals were killed to obtain the 7.1 million pounds of flesh, but their lives were wasted, too.

But that’s the thing, is the “meat” really wasted? It was all sold, and whatever hasn’t been frozen has been eaten already. Whatever has been frozen, very little will actually be recalled, considering the sourcing chain and resulting difficulty maintaining traceability. So really, most of the 7.1 million pounds of infected animal carcass was sold to and eaten by an ignorant public. This is the result of a deeply flawed system that cares little about people – even less for the animals or the environment.  The price of ignorance could be sickness, paralysis, or even death – but is at least a bad taste in your mouth. That’s the fecal matter.

So, to recap: animals are crammed together in dense populations resulting in disease. Once slaughtered, their bodies are eviscerated in such a way that covers everything in shit. These shit-covered animals’ carcasses are sold all over the country for months putting the unknowing public at risk. What’s left is recalled and sold as pet food or destroyed. Nothing significant is done to prevent this from happening in the future and year after year people get sick or die from simply eating. And 99% of the people in the U.S. continue to support this cycle. Most know their food is diseased. “That’s why you cook it, to kill the bacteria, duh!”

By the way, vegans are the irrational ones.

The Journal of Infectious Disease reported in 2005 that 69% of “pork” and “beef” samples acquired from different regional markets tested positive for fecal matter containing E. coli.  According to USDA predictions for livestock in 2010, annual meat consmption will be:

~50 lbs per capita “pork” = 15b lbs

~65 lbs per capita “beef “= 19.5b lbs

(Source: USDA Agricultural Projections 2010-2019)

If 69% of both these products are contaminated with fecoli (made up word), that means 13.5 billion pounds of “beef” and 10.4 billion pounds of “pork” should be subject to recall this year. 7.1 million doesn’t seem that big anymore, does it? Even if we are only one month in.

92% of chicken carcasses tested were contaminated, with fecoli also. With 85 pounds projected per capita consumption, that is 25.5 billion pounds total consumption for 2010. Of that 25.5 billion, 23.46 billion will be [statistically] unfit for consumption.

The largest “meat” recall in the history of the US was of 143.4 million pounds of beef (instigated by an undercover HSUS investigation) recalled in 2008 for possible BSE by Hallmark – also located in California. It also took place in February.

One might conclude, considering the enormous environmental toll animal exploitation necessitates, that a good idea would be to prevent this environmentally costly product of slavery from being covered in shit on it’s way to the consumer…then again one might not. Or four might not. This year.

Considering the danger inherent in consuming animal flesh in the US, one might conclude that abstaining from consuming these products is a good idea… then again, one might not. Or 99% of the population might not.

Considering the moral implications of exploiting animals, one might conclude that abstaining from supporting that exploitation is our moral obligation…then again one might not. Those who don’t usually eat a generous amount of poop, everyday.

Meat can taste good if seasoned properly, but is it worth eating shit to enjoy it? (“We didn’t fight our way to the top of the food chain to eat broccoli! We did it so we could eat shit! We’re #1, we’re #1…”)

Don’t eat excrement. Go vegan. For the animals, for yourself, for the environment. It’s really the least you can do.

The Liberator: Remix – Issue 6 – Address To The [Non-Human] Slaves Of The World

From The Liberator: Remix

February 5, 2010

Address To The

[Non-Human]

Slaves Of The World

Take courage! Be filled with hope and comfort! Your redemption draws nigh, for the Truth is mightily at work in your behalf. Is it not frequently the darkest before day-break? The word has gone forth that you shall be delivered from your chains, and it has not been spoken in vain.

Although you have many enemies, yet you have also many friends—warm, faithful, sympathizing, devoted friends—who will never abandon your cause; who are pledged to do all in their power to break your chains; who are laboring to effect your emancipation without delay, in a peaceable manner, without the shedding of blood; who regard you as brethren and countrymen, and fear not the frowns or threats of your masters. They call themselves abolitionists. They have already suffered much, in various parts of the country, for rebuking those who keep you in slavery—for demanding your immediate liberation—for revealing to the people the horrors of your situation—for boldly opposing a corrupt public sentiment, by which you are kept in the great farmer’s prison-house of bondage. Some of them have been defamed; others have been stripped of rights, and covered with labels of “terrorist”; others have had their property taken from them, and examined by the FEDS; others have had large rewards offered by your masters for their seizure; others have been cast into jails and penitentiaries; others have been twitter-mobbed and facebook-lynched with great threats of violence; others have lost their reputation, and been ruined in their business; others have lost their lives. All these, and many other outrages of an equally grievous kind, they have suffered for your sakes, and because they are your friends. They cannot go to the farm, to see and converse with you, face to face; for, so ferocious and bloody-minded are your taskmasters, they would be put to an ignominious incarceration as soon as discovered. Besides, it is not yet necessary that they should incur this peril; for it is solely by the aid of the consumers of the products of exploitation, that you are held in bondage, and, therefore, they find enough to do at home, to make the people here your friends, and to break up all connexion with the slave system. They have proved themselves to be truly courageous, insensible to danger, superior to adversity, strong in principle, invincible in argument, animated by the spirit of impartial benevolence, unwearied in devising ways and means for your deliverance, the best friends of the whole country, the noblest champions of the human race. Ten years ago, they were so few and feeble as only to excite universal contempt; now they number in their ranks, millions of people.—Then, they had scarcely a single anti-slavery society in operation; now they have thousands. Then, they had only one or two websites to plead your cause; now they have multitudes. They are scattering all over the land their podcasts, videos, newspapers, books, pamphlets, tracts, and other publications, to hold up to infamy the conduct of your oppressors, and to awaken sympathy in your behalf. They are continually holding anti-slavery meetings in all parts of the world, to tell the people the story of your wrongs. Wonderful has been the change effected in public feeling, under Good, through their instrumentality. Do not fear that they will grow weary in your service. They are confident of success, in the end. They know that Peace is with them—that truth, justice, right, are with them—that you are with them. They know, too, that your masters are cowardly and weak, through conscious wrong doing, and already begin to falter in their course. Lift up your heads, O ye despairing slaves! Yet a little while, and your chains shall snap asunder, and you shall be tortured and plundered no more! Then, fathers and mothers, your children shall be yours, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of Freedom. Then, husbands and wives, now torn from each other’s arms, you shall be reunited in the flesh, and man shall no longer dare to put asunder those whom Love has joined together. Then, brothers and sisters, you shall be sold to the remorseless slave speculator no more, but dwell together in unity. “Knowledge hasten that joyful day!” is now the daily prayer of millions.

The weapons with which the abolitionists seek to effect your deliverance are not bowie knives, pistols, cattle-prods, captive-bolt guns, CO2, or any other deadly implements. They consist of appeals, warnings, rebukes, arguments and facts, addressed to the understandings, consciences and hearts of the people. Many of your friends believe that those who represent the oppressed, whether their skins are furry or not, can not gain support through propagating a (non-sexist) clear abolitionist vegan message; while many others believe that it is right for those who represent the oppressed to rise and seek their liberty by violence, if they can secure it in no other manner; but they both, unlike most of your friends, fail to see that every attempt at welfare measures are, and insurrection would be, attended with confusion, disaster and defeat, on their part, because violence does absolutely nothing to change people’s minds about the ethical aspects of animal slavery and welfarism does nothing to address property status; consequently, our advice to them is, to be clear, consistent, and non-violent, —trusting that, by the blessing of the Truth on their labors, you will yet be emancipated without your friends confusing the issue, shedding a drop of your masters’ blood, or losing a drop of their own.

The abolitionists are the only true and unyielding friends on whom you can rely. They will never deceive nor betray you. They have made your cause their own, and they mean to be true to themselves and to you, whatever may be the consequence. They are continually increasing in number, in influence, in enterprise and determination; and, judging from the success which has already attended their measures, they anticipate that, in a comparatively short period, the entire World will receive you with open arms, and give you shelter and protection, as fast as you escape from the Farm. We, who now address you, are united with them in spirit and design. We glory in the name of abolitionists, for it signifies friendship for all who are pining in servitude. We advise you to seize every opportunity to escape from your masters, and, fixing your eyes on the North star, travel on until you reach a Farm Sanctuary. You are not the property of your masters. Nature never made one sentient being to be owned by another. Your right to be free, at any moment, is undeniable; and it is your duty, whenever you can, peaceably to escape from the plantations on which you are confined, and assert your personhood.

Original by William Lloyd Garrison

Remixed by Peace Is Coming For You