A great starting point for Vegan education

From The Humane League  (I don’t have any connection to them other than I want to be able to provide any good resources available to help people make the right, compassionate choices)

The biggest thing that any individual can do to help animals and reduce the amount of cruelty in the world is to stop consuming animal products, including chicken, fish, eggs, red meat and milk.

The average American eats nearly one hundred animals per year, with most of these being chicken and fish. (It’s important to note that chickens and fish feel pain and have distinct personalities just as dogs and cats do.)

Most animals (including fish) are raised in intensive conditions where animals cannot exhibit instinctive behaviors or live any semblance of a natural life. Many are confined in cages so small they cannot or can barely turn around, and most spend their entire lives indoors in dark, filthy sheds. To learn more about animal agriculture and how you can make more compassionate food choices, please click here.
What’s the bright side of all of this? The bright side is that each person who reduces their meat consumption, eats vegetarian, or eats vegan will in the course of their lifetime spare hundreds or thousands of animals from the daily misery of animal agriculture. This provides The Humane League a tremendous opportunity to help animals through effective vegetarian advocacy work.

Each year we hand out hundreds of thousands of detailed Compassionate Choices booklets on college campuses and at concerts and festivals. These booklets give the public an eye-opening look at factory farming and provide resources and tips for going veg. Each year we hear from many people who went vegetarian as a result of getting a leaflet from us.
We also distribute tens of thousands of free Vegetarian Starter Kits through public news stand boxes (the same kind of news stand boxes you might get a free weekly newspaper or an Auto Trader guide from), located on busy city streets and by public transportation centers. Thousands of Veg Starter Kits are also mailed out each year to individuals who order them through our comprehensive veg resource site,VegStarterPack.com.

We created VegStarterPack.com to provide a concise collection of the best resources available online for anyone interested in eating vegetarian. To further help people make the transition, we’ve launched three statewide guides to veg-friendly restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, bars and more.

A very important component of our vegetarian advocacy work is online outreach, exposing key audiences to videos about factory farm cruelty and helpful resources on veg eating. We are currently drawing nearly 100,000 visitors each month to our Who’s Against Animal Cruelty website through targeted Facebook advertisements and a viral outreach campaign.

In addition, we air television programs about factory farm cruelty and vegan cooking on numerous PBS, college and public access television stations. Our programs are designed both to educate the public and to inspire people to make a difference for animals in their own lives.

The Humane League also regularly tables at festivals, fairs and other community events to educate the public about animal agriculture and provide helpful resources for vegetarian eating. Lastly, we host an annual Baltimore Veg Fest to promote veg eating in the Maryland region.

The Humane League is always seeking volunteers to work with us on these easy and highly effective veg advocacy programs, in particular our veg leafleting. To get involved, please sign up today to be a part of The Humane League!

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Update on Mali in Manila. Please sign the petition.

Mali the Elephant

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HOW Much Is That Hamburger?

This chart was shamelessly stolen from NPR.

We are (or should be) aware of the costs in lives of all sentient beings raised and slaughtered each day for food we don’t even need. But here are some other costs added on top of the cost in lives lost. And these costs are for a single hamburger patty, not tons of beef.

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Some Small Measure of Justice

From the Mercy for Animals Website

Breaking News: Illegal Slaughter Operator Pleads Guilty to Felony Animal Cruelty, Sentenced to Jail

By Nathan Runkle
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After Mercy For Animals obtained shocking hidden-camera video footage of his illegal slaughter operation in Los Angeles County, Roberto Celedon has pleaded guilty to felony cruelty to animalsand been sentenced to ninety days in jail and five years probation. Celedon was also ordered to pay nearly $4,000 in fines, penalties, and restitution, to complete 48 animal cruelty classes, not to own, possess, maintain or harbor any animals, not to operate a meat-producing facility, not to attend auctions where animals are sold, and not to sell any meat products.

The hidden-camera video footage, which led to Celedon’s arrest and conviction, shows animals being violently pinned down, having their throats crudely sawed open, and slowly bleeding to death.

During a raid of Celedon’s illegal slaughter facility, Los Angeles County Animal Control officers seized dozens of sick, injured, and emaciated animals. These animals are now being rehabilitated at The Gentle Barn, a sanctuary for farmed animals in California.

This case graphically illustrates the cruel, inhumane, and illegal abuses that farmed animals are all too often subjected to in California and across the nation. While MFA works to expose and end cruelty to farmed animals, compassionate consumers can help prevent the needless suffering of animals at the hands of the meat, egg, and dairy industries by adopting a compassionate vegetarian diet.

These People Should Never Know Freedom Again

People like this, and I use the term “people” VERY lightly, should be locked away in a solitary confinement cell somewhere in the driest and hottest place on earth, and never be allowed to live among us again. I don’t have adequate words to describe these people. I don’t understand how anyone, regardless of their intelligence level (and it isn’t very high with these assholes), can treat any living being, (whether that being is destined for slaughter or not), as cruelly as these animals are treated. And the really sad thing, is that this is only one of perhaps thousands of just such instances across the globe that happen every day. This one just happened to be caught on film. I am sure that many, many more living beings are drained of all dignity and their very existence by uncaring, unfeeling, complete and total idiotic assholes every hour of every day. What kind of sadistic perverts does it take to do these kinds of things? Regardless of what your job situation is, having to stoop to this level to stay employed is a sad state of affairs. These workers are the types (likely right wing assholes) who will literally cry when their team doesn’t win the Super Bowl, but are totally impervious to the cries of animals they are abusing.

Really, WTF?

Everyone who eats and uses and abuses animals is just as guilty as these workers. Eating just a “little fish,” makes you just as guilty. Eating a “little bit of chicken,” makes you just as guilty. Buying that leather iPad case, makes you just as guilty. Having just “a little bit of cheese,” makes you just as guilty. Not doing anything to help end these types of abuses, makes you just as guilty.

I used to think that it was okay to eat meat because the damage was already done. The animal already suffered and died, so why not? I wasn’t the one guilty of doing anything wrong. Or it was okay to have a little bit of cheese on my nachos because after all, the cow isn’t actually killed for her milk, is she? (As if you really believe she is retired to a nice green and sunny pasture to live out the rest of her years in blissful rest.) It was okay for me to buy and wear that leather belt, because after all, have you ever tried to find a man’s belt NOT made of leather? Really have you? If you failed in your search, you’re a moron.

Do I really think that my not eating meat is changing much? Do I really think that the 100+ animals lives I save each year by living a vegan lifestyle really matter when over 10 billion other animals are slaughtered each year? Do I really think that by spending a few hours a week volunteering at an animal shelter is making much of a difference? And do I really think I can be effective in changing anyone’s mind enough to make them switch to a vegan diet? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

How can you justify doing any less?

Here’s the disturbing Mercy for Animals undercover video, Auction Atrocities. Go watch it, you coward.

Why I am a Vegan

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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.”