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?

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Why A Resource-Based Economy Must Be Vegan

Why A Resource-Based Economy Must Be Vegan

“As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.” -Leo Tolstoy

Before money as we know it, there was cattle. Around 9000 B.C., records show livestock, specifically cattle, was the universal currency. The word “capital” derived from cattle. This is also where the word chattel derived from- as in chattel slavery. Using non-human animals as currency combines two of humanity’s great failures, the monetary system and arbitrary discrimination. It is interesting that two of the most problematic ideologies of all human history share the same foundational basis.

From The Venus Project Website FAQ:

Q. “What about food? Would people eat meat?”

A. “Food and nutrition would be based upon personal preference and if studies indicate that eating living animals are detrimental to health the information would be there for all people. Through time and education and the manufacturing of synthetic proteins we could do away with killing fish and animals. We can not outlaw what [people] eat but we can outgrow the need for eating animal protein. During the transition to a better diet for those who need it we could also develop foods that taste and feel just like the ones they like eating but are hearthier (sic) for people. We are also against experimenting on animals or people.”

This statement is problematic for many reasons. It assumes erroneously that the exploitation of non-human animals for their flesh and secretions is a morally sound, if questionably unhealthy, “personal preference”. Quite the contrary. The exploitation of non-human animals as resources to be used by humans is blatant speciesism – discrimination based on the arbitrary basis of species membership constructed within an anthropocentric view of the natural world – and is morally unacceptable. The use of non-human animals for the proteins in their flesh is no more a morally sound personal choice than slavery, rape, murder, child molestation, or any other act someone can choose to “personally” do. In all aforementioned comparisons, there is a victim, making the preference that much less “personal”.

It also assumes erroneously that studies have not indicated that eating “living” (it is assumed this means “once living”) animals are a detriment to human health and the information is not available for all people. It is the responsibility of the individual to determine, based on reviewing the science available, what is healthy. Those who have not reviewed the literature, but have relied on government and industry propaganda, remain willfully ignorant.  It is agreed that “through time and education…we could do away with killing fish and animals”, but, while it might be true that consumption of flesh and secretions could decrease with the availability of non-animal synthetics, this does nothing to address the underlying cause of such prevalent and pervasive non-human animal exploitation in all aspects of human life – including food, clothing, entertainment, “pets”, and research- all examples of human exploitation of non-human animals as resources.

The statement implies that we can “outgrow the need for animal protein”. With a billion starving people in the world currently, the use of 50% of antibiotics produced on “livestock”, and an increasing amount of fossil fuels consumed to power machines to plant and harvest feed and to make and apply fertilizer and insecticide, I think we have “outgrown” our need to feed 50% of the world’s grain supply to “livestock” as much as we have “outgrown” our profit-motivated incentive to keep food surpluses from reaching the hands of starving people who need it.

We choose to exploit non-human animals, to use them as resources, at great expense to our existing morals, our current resources, non-human and human populations, the environment, the advancement of technology and medicine, and the evolution of the human species. It seems as though a large part of the ideology behind a resource-based economy would be determining what, exactly, qualifies as a resource.  Not to address further aspects of human exploitation of non-human animals, human use of non-human animals as resources, besides using them for food and testing, hardly seems a proper amount of discourse to be focused on such an important and relevant topic.  Maybe the suffering caused by humans using non-human animals for entertainment, or any other trivial purpose not mentioned in The Venus Project literature, is so clearly unnecessary, unjustified, and despicable as to not be worthy of intellectual argument. Further is an examination of how the ideology of speciesism and carnism, and our current exploitation of non-human animals as resources are as outdated and irrelevant as our monetary system.

Ethics

“Justice should not be so fragile a commodity that it cannot be extended across the species barrier of homo sapiens” – Carol J. Adams

It is widely agreed that causing unnecessary suffering to a non-human animal is wrong. It is widely agreed that killing a non-human animal unnecessarily is wrong. It is also widely agreed by the scientific community that eating non-human animals or their secretions is unnecessary for achieving optimum nutrition, and has been shown to be injurious to human health. It logically follows that if it is unnecessary to eat non-human animals or their secretions, it is wrong to kill or exploit them in order to do so, by our existing moral standards.  Further, it is obvious in modern society, considering the amount of plant-based and synthetic alternatives, that exploiting and killing non-human animals for their skins, fur, or hair is completely unnecessary. It logically follows that it is wrong to kill non-human animals for their skin.

Our confinement of non-human animals for the consumption of their flesh, and the manipulation of the reproductive cycle of female non-human animals for their secretions, along with the countless other trivial ways we benefit from the work of animals amount to nothing less than institutional animal slavery. There is no “sacrifice”  or willingness involved on the part of the subject of exploitation. The use of non-human animals for their flesh or secretions can never be accomplished in a symbiotic or reciprocative way. For the same reasons (and more) that institutional human slavery, that is, the exploitation of humans as resources, is ethically unacceptable, the exploitation of non-human animals is ethically unacceptable. Using non-human animals as resources, as property, is only different from human slavery because of an arbitrary species difference. There is no given, or identifiable implied consent on the part of the non-human animal.

Scientific testing on non-human animals to extrapolate data for humans is bad science. Not only is non-human animal testing unnecessary thanks to increasing modern technological advances, making it increasing ethically unjustified, the fact is humans will never learn anything benefiting humans by studying on non-humans. Humans will only learn about animals by testing on animals. Everything we learn about animals has to be re-tested on humans to get accurate results. Extrapolation is not good science. Non-human animal testing not only limits scientific advance where humans are concerned, it is a danger to the safety of humans and animals en masse. In the case of diabetes, non-human animal testing stifled our understanding of the disease. “…in 1875, Hansemann concluded from experiments on dogs that that diabetes had nothing to do with the pancreas. It had already been found that diabetic patients excreted sugar in their urine, so extra sugar was given to them to compensate for this loss. In 1870 Bouchardat turned against this practice and recommended changes in the diet and exercise instead and this is acknowledged today as being a useful palliative. No animal experiments had been involved, only observation of humans. The animal model proved false.” In the case of Thalidomide, the drug was “designed to alleviate ‘morning sickness’ in pregnancy but resulted in deformed limbs in the children. In 1957, as incidences of the deformities came to be increasingly reported, the drug was given to scores of animals but no adverse effect could be found, until finally the White New Zealand rabbit replicated the ill-effects found on humans, and even then at a dose 25 to 300 times the dose given to humans. Then, in 1962, the drug was withdrawn, after having been marketed for 5 years and after over 10,000 children had been born crippled. This disaster should have demonstrated the futility of relying on animal models for testing drugs, but the lesson was ignored. Too much prestige and money was at stake.” (Link)

Broadly, it is just simply unnecessary to continue our history of animal exploitation in general. There is absolutely no reason any ethical human would seek to exploit any non-human animal for the reason that it is unnecessary, and to do so unnecessarily is unjustified. It is wrong.  Humans evolved past any need to exploit non-human animals in any way a long time ago. The only reason humans can give to justify a process as inefficient and unsustainable as exploiting animals for use as resources is pleasure; because of the taste of flesh or secretions, because of the feel or look of skin or fur, because of the “entertainment” value in watching non-human animals be exploited in movies, at circuses, rodeos, bullfights, etc., or because of the “sport” of hunting.  Human pleasure is not a good reason to violate the rights of animals, or to benefit from the suffering of others. What is necessary for the transformation of society and the emergence of a resource-based economy is for humans to recognize our moral obligation to respect the rights of animals to be free from exploitation and empathize with the non-human animals we use for enduring millennia of mostly unnecessary exploitation at the hands of humans. We must recognize that our anthropocentric view of existence and morality is false and needs to be eradicated. Our moral obligation to non-human animals could then be to try to raise their quality of life in the same proportions we human animals desire. It’s really the least we could do.

Sustainability

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ” – Albert Einstein

Even the most sustainable agriculture that includes domesticated animals as a source of food is nowhere near sustainable, let alone humane, and all methods are inherently inefficient. Vegan diets require about one-sixth of an acre of land to satisfy food requirements for a person for a year. The average carnist diet requires about 20 times that.  Considering 99% of the meat, milk, and eggs is farmed in the most economically efficient way currently possible (factory farms), there is little argument to back up the “sustainable” animal farm myth.  Arguably, the current industrial non-human animal exploitation system, with its almost fully-mechanized mono-cropping and global crop distribution, “concentrated animal feeding operations” and almost fully-mechanized slaughterhouses, is a morbid glimpse into the enhanced production capabilities of machines and the immediate possibilities for the emergence of a resource-based economy. Even with most of the “production” costs externalized onto non-human animals, humans, and the environment, resulting in the most inhumane conditions, the industrial non-human animal agriculture system falls extremely short of being even remotely sustainable. The only way to create a system as close to as sustainable as plant agriculture would be to further concentrate factory farming, to the point of being 20 times more efficient! (And thus 20 times more inhumane!) This would be a biological feat, though.  Animals are reverse protein factories. It takes up to 16 pounds of grain (many more of grass), and up to 2500 gallons of water to produce one pound of flesh. From a waste disposal standpoint, exploiting non-human animals is a travesty coupled with a burden. Non-human animals exploited for food in the U.S. produce 130 times the excrement of the entire population of humans. Nature has designed it to be a bad investment for humans to raise animals for food. The same goes for clothing. The amount of chemical pollutants produced in the tanning process combined with the health hazard to the individuals involved (non-human animals included) evidence the ridiculous and superfluous nature of this practice. But general statistics don’t really matter, because there are myriad ways to exploit animals that are less inefficient, or less inhumane, etc., and future methods of exploitation using advanced technology might be invented.  The bottom line is: The amount of resources harvested from an acre of permaculture far exceeds any form of animal exploitation in producing relevant, usable material, with a plethora more uses as raw material.  The current exploitation of animals for use as resources is extremely inefficient and unsustainable no matter the method, or the end use. However, the fact remains that even if the application of advanced technology made animal exploitation the most sustainable, environmentally friendly practice in the world, it would still be unethical because it is not necessary.

In relation to the sustainability and advancement of the entire human species, individual health is a big issue. The further we remove ourselves from close contact with confined non-human animals, the less zoonotic diseases can originate in non-human animals or be transferred across species. Most of our current contractable illnesses are thought to have stemmed from our exploitation and confinement of animals. Most of our other major diseases are either; caused by our ingestion of non-human animal flesh or secretions, or; prevented by  consuming a plant-based diet.

Physical Health

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” -Hippocrates

Research into the effects of diet on health is sparse, which is odd considering western medicine is based on the teachings of Hippocrates. Doctors still swear his oath, “First, do no harm.” However, most western doctors have been indoctrinated by the Rockefeller accredited and funded propaganda that is used to maintain the zeitgeist of the health benefits of flesh and secretions. The captains of industry that financially supervise the accreditation process intentionally limit the information included on nutrition given to most M.D.s. Most M.D.s reportedly get only a few hours of nutrition education before accreditation.  What little nutrition advice doctors do get is bought and paid-for by the corporations intent on profiting from the research, meaning, not surprisingly, very few negative results are found about the companies-funding-the-research’s products or manufacturing methods.  Plain and simple, humans eating non-human animals’ flesh or secretions is a health disaster. The more a population consumes non-human animal flesh or secretions, the more preventable disease proliferates within that society. Flesh and secretions contain high levels of cholesterol, a compound not found in vegetation in any significant amount. Healthy humans produce all the cholesterol they will ever need in their liver. Dietary cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis, clogging arteries and eventually stopping blood to the heart, and a host of other preventable diseases.  Flesh and secretions contain high levels of saturated fats, compounds found in few tropical plants. Saturated fats have been linked to obesity, coronary heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and a host of other preventable diseases. Flesh and secretions contain natural hormones, proteins, and chemicals that affect the human endocrine system, and have been liked to many cancers, type 1 and 2 diabetes, MS, and a host of other preventable diseases. Pregnant mammals such as cows release opioids into their milk to reinforce bonding between mother and cow. (When humans don’t steal it.)  Most of the world is lactose intolerant, but addicted to cheese. Any educated person can look at the biology, physiology, and anatomy of humans and easily conclude we are physically constructed to sustain a completely vegetarian diet.

Food-borne illness is a major health concern. Food-borne illnesses such E. Coli, salmonella, pfisteria, campylobacter, etc., arise when confinement, exploitation, slaughter, and handling are done in unsanitary conditions. Bacteria grow in unsanitary conditions. Feces have a tendency to contaminate flesh in mechanized systems. In simple terms the problem is this; if non-human animals are confined too much, they get sick. If they are in conditions that will make them sick untreated, we have to pump them full of antibiotics, vaccines and pesticides. If not confined enough, they become unprofitable, therefor unsustainable. We cannot feed an ever-increasing population an unlimited supply of non-human animal flesh and secretions with old-fashioned “sustainable” methods. The only way to feed an ever-increasing population of humans is to further confine non-human animals to increasingly unsanitary conditions, raising the risk of bacterial outbreak. Further, the non-human animal waste that contains the bacteria is used as fertilizer and is responsible for the outbreaks of food-borne illness in vegetable crops.  There is no chance of contracting a food borne illness in a food production system that does not include animals. The only reason we have to worry about E. Coli in spinach, or salmonella tomatoes is because of our confinement of animals to unsanitary conditions. Because of the inherent unsustainability of animal exploitation, producers are always looking for new ways to cut costs. One example is feeding non-human animals back to themselves. This is responsible for BSE, or “mad cow”. Examples like this spring up all over the animal exploitation industry- of corporations putting public health at risk to try and squeeze another penny out of an inherently flawed system; from ammonia-treated “beef” trimmings to animal flesh knowingly contaminated with E. Coli sold as “cook only”, from irradiated flesh to rBST, full circle to deliberately misleading the public about the negative health aspects of merely ingesting animal flesh and secretions themselves, not the bacteria contaminating them.

Zoonotic diseases in humans, spread from non-human animals to humans, are thought to be a direct result of confining animals in the first place. The spread of these diseases results from any confinement, not just factory-farms, but even the most “sustainable”, Polyface-style, farms. Intensive confinement just raises the ante, and creates suitable conditions for new, more dangerous diseases, increasingly resistant to antibiotics and vaccination. Here is a partial list of diseases we have “acquired” from our history of non-human animal confinement and exploitation, and the corresponding non-human animal to which each disease is attributed:

Tuberculosis – Goats

Measles – Cattle

Smallpox – Cattle

Anthrax – Sheep

Whooping Cough – Pigs

Typhoid Fever – Chickens

Influenza – Ducks

Leprosy – Water Buffalo

Common Cold – Cattle/Horses

Helicobacter Pylori – Sheep

Helicobacter Pullorum – Chickens

Hepatitis E – Pigs

Tularemia – Rabbits

(Link)

Confining animals, even in the most ingenuitive of ways results in the spread of disease, and consumption of non-human animal flesh and secretion poses a risk to human health in general. Under the current system, the physical act of slaughter poses great risks to human safety. For the sake of profit, safety measures are routinely curtailed at the expense of the employees of mechanized slaughter operations that provide 99% of [American] non-human animal flesh. However, the fact remains that even if the application of advanced technology made animal exploitation the healthiest, least dangerous, most disease-free practice in the world, it would still be unethical because it is not necessary.

Nutritional science has discovered links between non-human animal flesh or secretion consumption and many neurological illnesses. Not only is there evidence that consumption of the flesh and secretions of non-human animals is detrimental to human mental health, there is psychological evidence to suggest that the practice of exploitation, especially slaughter, is detrimental to human mental health as well.

Mental Health

“Truely man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Just as the ingestion of non-human animal flesh and secretions detriment physical health and cause physical disease, natural hormones and sugars can detriment mental health. In one example, a study of schizophrenics, when cow’s milk was removed from their diet, none showed continuing symptoms of schizophrenia. When cow’s milk was reintroduced, all the previous symptoms of schizophrenia returned. What we put in or on our bodies can produce powerful unwanted effects on human neurological function. The effects of the ideology of carnism on the psyche, one example being “moral schizophrenia” or cognitive moral dissonance, are just beginning to be examined in literature and are evident in carnists’ ability to treat some non-human animals as members of the family, while simultaneously supporting the torture and murder of equally sentient beings on a constant basis through their consumption of the products, and financial support of the perpetrators, of animal exploitation. Another example of detriment to human mental health is the slaughter process. Humans have been shown to undergo physical and psychological trauma employed as slaughterhouse workers. Not only do humans “face serious physical health hazards”, but humans working in these positions witness and are party to, on a daily basis, “large-scale violence and death that most of the population will never have to encounter”.  It is hard to sympathize with mass killers and their abettors concerning trauma they have experienced in their chosen profession, when it is a voluntary act, but the fact remains that it is harmful to the psyche and to human mental health. However, even if the application of advanced technology made animal exploitation the least traumatic, most psychologically sound and safe practice in the world, it would still be unethical because it is not necessary.

In a society based on science, education, equality, justice, sustainability and peace; free from war, unnecessary violence, suffering, and exploitation; continuation of the longest holocaust – human use of non-human animals as resources – is simply not an option.  In our transition to a resource-based economy, one of the easiest things we can do on a personal level, to reduce the amount of suffering and death we contribute to, is abstain from exploiting, or supporting the exploitation of, non-human animals; hardly a “personal preference”. Veganism is a necessary and intrinsic part of the transition to a resource-based economy.  Non-human animal exploitation by humans is bad for non-human animals in multiple ways, it is bad for humans in multiple ways, it is bad for the environment in multiple ways, it is bad for science in multiple ways, it is unsustainable in multiple ways, but most importantly, it is morally wrong in multiple ways.

Jacque Fresco is not vegan, even though this philosophy can easily be adopted in the current monetary system we live in. However, were it an interest of his to research the philosophy of veganism, one can only assume he would agree with Einstein, Da Vinci, Pythagorus, Plato, Socrates, Francione, Yates,  and all the other great thinkers who recognize(d) our moral obligation to animals.

Poster Remix 3


The Reality of the Economic Crisis

(reposted from dannymendlow.wordpress.com)

The Reality of the Economic Crisis

Here’s where we’re at folks.  The end of the line.

“The end of free-market capitalism”

I’ve heard it called.

“The sub-prime mortgage crisis”

Some blame it on.

“A global economic meltdown”

Time for some major change.

So, our entire way of life is exposed as a rickety, weak, hollow, card house that collapses in a heartbeat, so what do we do?  We throw money at it!  We actually try and prop this mangled, pathetic card house back up with the exact cause of the collapse!

Kind of like tossing a bucket of water on a tsunami.

Kind of like throwing a candle at a forest fire.

Sort of the equivalent of throwing a snow ball at an avalanche.

Bail outs?  Our solution is bail-outs?!?!  And regulation?  But please, don’t get me wrong, the other side of the coin is just as, if not more retarded. Tax breaks and the same freewheeling market that got us here?  Those are the only two “solutions” on the table.  Let me give you a hint.  They are both wrong.

Here’s my solution.  It’s time to re-think where we’re at and where we need to be going and what we need to do to get there.  It’s time to realize that money got us to where we are, and it was helpful in doing so.  The market pushed us to produce, innovate and it kept us waking up in the morning. It served a purpose at a time, but that time has long passed.  And no government or bank or wall street finance expert or CEO will ever realize that.  They will fight with every fiber in their being to defend the only thing they know.  They will scratch and claw to keep themselves important.

They are all irrelevant.

It is up to regular people to figure that out and to do something about it.  Don’t hold your breath for your senator and your congressman and your boss and your bank to get it.  They won’t. Get it yourself, and then act.

The reality is this.  The housing market crashed because a house is built so that people can live in it.  Not so that real estate tycoons can buy and sell them like stocks and bonds pushing their ‘value’ into the stratosphere.  A home is a tangible structure which at one time was priced according to what working people could afford.  It was.  Until, like everything else in our society, they became merely another pawn in the profit game, and all the humanity was squeezed mercilessly out of the house.

They stopped being homes, and started being ‘the housing market.’

I work full-time and couldn’t dream of ever owning a home.  It cost me more to attend one year of school than my parents paid for a 5 acre property with a house on it merely one generation ago.  That’s not inflation, that’s sucking the right to live in a real house out of an entire generation.  My boss, a professional of ten years, can’t dream of ever owning a home.  He lives with room-mates.  Your boss shouldn’t live with room-mates.  I don’t know a single person within ten years of me who can aspire to do anything other than inherit their parents or grandparents property.  It’s like we’re all just sitting around waiting for them to die and hoping we were the good child.  The beneficiary lottery.  It’s a sad, demoralizing and completely ridiculous way to live. Why?  Because houses aren’t built for people to live in any more.  There is no correlation between real, human wages, and the price of a home.  And you’ll never see a piece of legislation introduced that keeps those two interdependent things in line with each other.  Ever.

Every year my rent increases, no questions asked.  That’s just what happens.  Well that’s just what’s been happening for too long.  Now I’m paying $1000 a month for a one bedroom apartment.  And not a very nice one either.  I know people paying close to $2000.  Two people working full-time jobs in a one bedroom apartment should not be living in poverty and barely making rent every month.  How is a single mother supposed to survive in this world?  We are all systematically being driven mercilessly into poverty where our only choice is to sign up for the credit being dangled at us.  This is not frivolous spending.  This is survival spending.  This is rent and food and getting to work every day. That’s all I do.  I don’t drink, I don’t party, I rarely leave my house.  I don’t do anything.  Not because I don’t want to.  Because I can’t.  Every single action costs money, and lots of it.  Every year the price goes up.  On everything.  And every pay-cheque we’re going backwards.  The credit card interest piles up, adding on to the already extortionist cost of simply having a place to sleep.  This is the life that almost everyone I know in all walks of life is living right now.  Engineers, doctors, barely scraping by. People who have done what they’re ’supposed to do’ – gone to good schools, gotten good jobs.  These aren’t deadbeats, so why are they forced to live like one and feel like one?  You cannot sustain a society where every single person in it is perpetually plummeting further and further into debt.  You cannot fix that issue by propping up those same credit companies with taxes on those same people who are already drowning in debt.

We cannot tax, subsidize, credit and bail-out our way out of this. We also can’t cut taxes, wage wars and let the free market run free to get out of this.  BOTH ARE EQUALLY STUPID AND OUTDATED SOLUTIONS.  They are not solutions, they are the cause of the problems.

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  – Albert Einstein

I see this quote thrown around a lot.  But I don’t see it applied very often.

The economy collapsed because the same lack of forward thinking swallowed up our jobs too.  A job is not just something you do every day to keep the stock afloat so that a handful of gamblers can buy and trade shares in your company.  A job is a contribution to your society in which you are given a fair compensation, so that you can live in a home, eat food and purchase the goods produced by others in your society.  At least it was.  The extreme of this we are now witnessing. We have highly trained, well-educated, useful people being forced to work menial, pointless positions at the fifteen mega chain stores that dominate every town and every city to pay off their ridiculously expensive education.  For what?  For who?  For Wall Street?  For a couple of CEO’s?

Humanity has become a machine.  There is no humanity left.  And there won’t be until human beings realize it, and demand more of themselves, for themselves and by themselves.

Stop defending a system that ritualistically fucks you in the ass on a daily basis, suppresses your potential and denies your ability to live a respectable and decent life.

Stop pretending all is well and all will be made well through legislation and banking.

Start taking some pride in your existence and your self worth.  Start caring.  Stop shrugging your shoulder and saying “That’s just the way it is.”

It doesn’t have to be.  And the only reason it is that way, is because you and me let it get that way, and continue to let it get worse.

Every day.

or you can leave it up to this guy to fix.

The above article was reposted from dannymendlow.wordpress.com

I had to repost this, such an amazing piece. It’s like the author can read my mind. Actually, I think most people feel like this. But there is hope. Collapse is imminent. People can only be stretched so far. A new way of doing things will emerge. We can choose what that looks like. I think the Resource-Based Global Economy is a good start.

Peace Is Coming For You.