Real California Milk

This is how the California Milk Advisory Board wants you to think dairy cows live their lives in the state:

Here, instead, is how more than 95% of the dairy cows in California are really treated. (You tell me which one is the truth.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Xoj0AivAZf4

But don’t take my word for it. Read No Happy Cows, by John Robbins.

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Three Reasons…

Three reasons why I KNOW animals have feelings, needs, and are more than just stupid animals who are soulless “things” that just spend their days eating, and sleeping. (Although they do plenty of the latter!)

In order (by age oldest to youngest), Shasta, Shalimar, and Max. All three, rescue cats.

Best Indie Author of 2011/2012

Recently voted one of the Best Indie Authors of 2011/2012, Andrew E. Kaufman writes psychological thrillers with a touch of horror and the occult guaranteed to keep you up long into the night. Do yourself a favor and check out his books and short story in the bookstore via the link in the left column of this page. Andrew E. Kaufman. Remember that name.

Earthlings

Animal Cruelty Protest - Ringling Bros Circus

Animal Cruelty Protest - Ringling Bros Circus (Photo credit: Phil Ostroff)

I sometimes really worry that I am not doing enough to promote animal rights and to protect the lives of animals. By being a vegan, they say I contribute to saving about 100 animal lives a year. When you consider the billions of animals lives wasted every year around the world, 100 lives isn’t much. So what keeps me motivated? Well, besides the obvious health benefits, I hope that I can influence even just one other person to give up the cruel lifestyle propagated by eating meat and using animals for our pleasure and profit.

Sometimes it is hard to stay motivated to remain a vegan. I mean, it is not an easy lifestyle. Animal-friendly consumer products like food, clothing, shoes, accessories, shampoo, soap, dish washing liquid, and about a billion other things we use each day are usually much costlier. And when I am not at home, it is sometimes a real challenge finding a place to eat where cruelty isn’t an everyday part of the menu. It can be done, but you have really got to remain dedicated and be able to bear the costs.

So when I begin to get depressed about it all, and when I start to doubt I am really doing any good, I need to encourage myself to keep going. This may seem odd, because one could possibly think that if I truly believed what I write about here, then there should never be any question as to whether I chose the cruelty free lifestyle or not. And there really isn’t a choice for me unless I am forced into a position where I have to make the bad choice because of no other options.

But here is my primary motivational tool when I start to get down about it. I look into the eyes of an animal. Not just a pet, but cows, or goats, or pigs, or sheep, or chickens, at a county “fair” or other place where I can find a living breathing being. Because I guarantee you, if you see beyond the physical form of the animal and see that there is more to them than a hunk of meat on a bun, or a new iPad cover, you’ll discover that there is actually something happening there. Look into the eyes of a captive cow and tell me that he/she is a soulless, non-feeling “thing.” It can’t be done. At least not honestly. And if you can’t find a farm animal to visit, find a stray cat, or a neighborhood dog. Just because they are not raised on factory farms, doesn’t mean they don’t know cruelty.

If you ever doubt that animals are treated cruelty, here is a free film that will convince you otherwise. I use this when I need reinforcing and comforting that what I believe is not only right, but also the right thing to do and fight for. I have only been able to watch this film twice even though I own it. Because I cannot watch this film without being deeply and profoundly saddened. And I cannot watch it without crying and being deeply depressed for a long, long time.

If you can view this film and not be convinced that the way we treat animals is not only inhumane but cruel, unnecessary, and likely our biggest shame, then you have no heart. You are a cold, ruthless, uncaring human being. Those are strong words, I admit. And as melodramatic as it all sounds, I truly feel that if you can support animal cruelty by continuing to eat meat and wear your leather Air Jordan’s, then you likely have no compassion for much else. Yeah, I take it that seriously.

Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. You cannot honestly watch this movie and continue to support animal cruelty. Not if you are honest with yourself. It takes courage to make it through this whole film. If you can do it without crying, I doubt your humanity. This is the film that made me transition to veganism.

Why I am a Vegan

Vegan

Vegan (Photo credit: sigurdas)

I try at all times to be a vegan, one who does not use or eat animal products of any kind which includes meat, eggs, dairy, fish, leather, animal fats, or any other use of an animal or its pieces for anything. I say try, because I will admit, that sometimes it is difficult depending on where I happen to be to find a completely vegan meal. For that reason, I am forced to be a vegetarian. Is being a vegetarian necessarily bad? Sure it is. While you may argue that eggs, cheese, or milk do not cost the life of an animal in order to produce these products, it’s the living conditions, and what happens to these animals when man has determined that they have outlived their “usefulness” that’s the problem. Raising a layer chicken in a cage the size of a normal sheet of paper, or sending a spent milk cow to a factory to be ground up and spit out as some “necessary” product all in the name of wringing every last cent possible out of the animal, is just as wrong. And raising animals for the sole purpose of killing them to provide food that isn’t even necessary for a healthy life is just as wrong. (I am talking about meat here in case any of you haven’t clued in yet.)

You don’t need animal protein to be healthy. You can get the protein elsewhere in plenty of non-animal products. Like soy. And seeds and nuts. And vegetables. You have heard of those, right? And besides not needing to consume animal protein, what you need even less is the cholesterol that is found in animal flesh. You don’t need cholesterol. Trust me.

I think that somewhere in the “christian” bible, it says that “god” gave man dominion over the animals. For those of you who believe that fairy tale story in the first place, I am sure you have probably read and likely believe this. Does that mean that man therefore has, as a “god-given” right to raise and slaughter animals any way he sees fit? Some think so. I don’t. Even if there was a god, and his “word” was true, and he meant for man to do with as he please to the animals that walk this earth, I surely don’t think he/she/it would condone factory farming. Or hunting. Or any of the other stupid, fucked up things we do to animals all in the name of fulfilling our god-given “right.” Give me a break, people.

Besides my belief in animal rights (much more on this in later postings), I am also a vegan for health reasons. I can personally attest to the benefits of a plant-based diet for diabetics. The last thing I need is to live off the flesh of fellow beings. And I mean animal beings, not human beings. It has been proven to me in many, many ways that a plant-based lifestyle is much healthier for a person, regardless of their health status, than any kind of diet that includes animal flesh, fat, and cholesterol. Many people much smarter than I will ever be, have written eloquently about the importance of veganism including Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Caldwell Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell, John Robbins, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, and Eric Marcus. If you are feeling lucky, do a Google search for “veganism.” Then be prepared to spend the next week just trying to read through all of the available resources.

Does all of this mean that I think animals have the same basic rights as humans? Maybe. We, meaning us and the animals together, all have a right to live a happy life. We all deserve the freedom of breathing clean air and having access to food and water. We all have needs and desires and the want of a healthy, happy family. No, animals can’t communicate with us the same way we do with others. No, animals probably don’t have the same emotional needs as humans do. BUT, animals DO have emotions. They DO communicate in a language we don’t fully understand. They DO deserve to live free and happy lives, as is their destiny. They DO have a right to peacefully co-exist with humans.

Truly, if it came right down to it, and I had to make a choice between feeding my child (of which I have none) and feeding my cat (of which I have three), the child would win. But does that mean, even for a second, that I think the cat doesn’t deserve to eat? Or is any less of a being? No. But I treat my pets as my friends, as children, and as my companions here on earth. And I treat them just as I would a human child. Why? Well let me turn that around and ask you. Who says they deserve any less respect and care? Who are you to decide who deserves what when it comes to food, water, compassion, and basic care? (Much more on this later.)

What’s the bottom line? Just because we are superior to animals in many ways, we DO NOT have the right to treat them as anything less than a living, breathing, deserving being. We don’t have the god-given right to mistreat them. We don’t have the right to raise them up, kill them, and then eat them and use what’s left over to clothe our bodies and fill our wallets. As a matter of fact, our only “right” is to treat animals as equal inhabitants of this planet. Deal with it.

Have I written anything here that will shatter the earth, or that is so brand new that it hasn’t ever been said or written before? No. I am just a typical (sometimes angry) American. I know and could spell out all of the scientific information available about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, about why it’s wrong to kill animals. But do I really need to do that? You know in your heart of hearts, (assuming you have one), that I am right. I am just a typical, well-educated human being and I don’t really need to know all of the scientific minutiae of veganism and animal emotions and rights. All I really need to know is what’s right. According to me not according to what some ancient fable says. And being a vegan is right for me. And it is right for you too. If you are too screwed up to see the benefits, or if you need hard. cold, scientific facts before you can believe it, that’s your prerogative.

And by the way, if you think I am passionate about all of this, you ain’t seen nothing yet. “Just you wait ‘Enry ‘Iggins, just you wait.”