Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ending the year...

with a few graphics and photos. These images spoke strongly to me and maybe they will to you too.
Voicing (and living) support for veganism not only offers the opportunity to awaken others, but it also serves to signal to those who live vegan that they do so as members of a community. Because...sometimes it seems to be a lonely and isolated way of being.

 I think it is important to be aware that stepping beyond the boundaries of "how it's supposed to be"...in any direction...is going to result in distance from those who've not moved. And that can be uncomfortable...and cause all kinds of turmoil and upset.

If you're living as an ethical vegan, remember...you're living a kind life. And if you're not living as an ethical vegan...you are not living a kind life. The two are mutually exclusive. And for those who are strongly concerned with spirituality...well this next graphic depicts a deep deep truth.


Remember, hearts exist in all shapes and sizes of beings. Living vegan is an expression of recognition of this truth, living vegan means recognizing and respecting many, many, many more hearts than ever possible any other way.

 All living beings are just trying to live their lives...in that respect we are all the same. My thanks to each and everyone who is living a life of respect toward others. I hope your new year is a happy and excellent one for you and for all. If you're living vegan...you have my gratitude and respect...if you aren't...well....what are you waiting for?

Finally...just a reminder...
and in truth, given the track record of humans in respect to what they've done to the beings and the environment over which we do have some degree of power and control...not being able to control everything is probably a very very good thing.

Live vegan and you'll be living well and kindly and controlling (as best you can) the harm you might do to others....please enjoy your New Year,

(P.S. My thanks to everyone who's taken the time to visit and read these posts and my special thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read and to comment. Your responses are greatly appreciated and enjoyed. PPS. All graphics were found on the internet and my gratitude goes to their creators)


Saturday, December 21, 2013

This season is eternal.


Vegan's greetings and good wishes to you all! (Living vegan is the only way to live good wishes to all.)

P.S.: Bea, you're the bestest...thank you.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"A Revolutionary Worldview...."

This time of year is a good time to reflect a little on what veganism is all about. Lee Hall as written an excellent piece that does just that.
To be a vegan is to adopt a revolutionary worldview. We have found that that egg, flesh, and dairy production and consumption can be hazardous to the planet and our bodies; and that animal husbandry, whether pasture-based or assembly-line, involves exploitive treatment of other conscious beings. We don’t want to play a role in that; nor do we wish to be at war with free-living animals.  As vegans, we strive to live harmoniously with the planet and all its inhabitants.
The above paragraph is from her writing and it is well worth reading in toto. She also makes reference to something near and dear to me, she writes:  "It’s really important that we figure out how to disagree without hurting, and to agree without competing."

That sort of reminded me of a previous post here about saying things well enough. Probably being able to say things well enough is going to require being able to disagree without hurting and to agree without competing.

Living vegan is the only way we can live with a minimal amount of hurting, and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Give Thanks!



I am thankful for each and every Vegan. Enjoy your holiday please.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9W6Myed0iio/UpJEG5Eh9eI/AAAAAAAAADg/Gr2durVOsfg/s1600/HopeFrontFBHoppy2.png



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Time to advocate.

It isn't long until the holiday that revolves around killing and calling it a celebration.  I really like the variation given by changing the first g to an l and calling it Thanksliving! Because celebrations are about life...not killing innocent beings.


Someone shared this captioned photo on facebook and I thought it was exactly on the mark.

So...I'm posting to urge you to write your local paper advocating for a non-harmful Thanksliving celebration. I did...and it was published. I'll copy it below and if you want...feel free to use it...you can save yourself the effort of coming up with your own letter (mine isn't great but it gets the message across). You could likely do much better...but if you don't want to...feel free to copy and modify this one to fit your area.

Please speak up for these feathered folks. I believe it is important to get awareness about this wrong out in front of people...and the local newspaper is one way to do it.

Wouldn't it be great if every newspaper in the country, every year, had at least one letter objecting to the harming of the innocents around this holiday?

Thanks ahead of time. And Happy Thanksliving to you and yours. And go vegan if you haven't already...and if you have...hooray for you!

Letter:

Editor, The Transcript:
 Make it Thanksliving.
The upcoming annual national holiday usually includes eating the flesh of a sensitive, intelligent and playful animal. Those birds are killed after only a few brief months of miserable living, so having a turkey dinner means eating the body of a baby that led a short and suffering filled life. Yuck, that doesn’t sound like much of a time of thanks for them or for anyone with a modest degree of compassion.
Luckily, the number and variety of plant-based food items available that allow a family to prepare a tasty, festive and abundant meal are readily available at the Earth grocery and other Norman area food merchants. In addition, readers can visit the website of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to find plant based Thanksgiving meal tips or they can browse tryveg.org for a wide range of food suggestions and recipes. Our own Oklahoma Vegetarian group also has an excellent resource page for accessing recipes that are tasty, healthy and cruelty-free.
After all, if you can live a happy and healthy life without harming anyone else, why wouldn’t you? Please consider making this holiday occasion one that doesn’t involve the death of innocent beings. Happy Thanksliving wishes to all.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Several things to consider.

First I want to bring attention to the carnage we inflict on our fellow beings with those metal monstrosities we use to get around with...automobiles. I found a couple of resources that provide some tips on reducing the chances of harming others when you're driving. You can read them here and here. Slow down, stay focused on your driving...please.

Next...we are in the month of culturally celebrated carnage...that "holiday" that centers around the murder of turkeys. For me this time has rapidly morphed into a dreaded experience because of all the killing and the juxtapositioning of happiness and togetherness and celebration with the horror of the killing. However...this year there's something a little different being injected into the cultural cacophony. While I have not seen it myself, there is a new children's animated movie out called Free Birds. One description of the story:  "The movie tells the story of two turkeys, Reggie and Jake, who travel back in time to take turkey off the first Thanksgiving menu — and save billions of lives going forward."

I'm really impressed that this movie has popped up on the scene...if it indeed does present a clear objection to killing. I hope it is as is advertised and if so it offers a glimmer of hope during a rather grim season. Apparently the Farm Sanctuary thought enough of it to partner with the movie folks for the Farm Sanctuary Adopt A Turkey campaign.  Cool beans!

And finally just a little piece of writing I ran across that presented some studies about differences in visual perception between human females and human males. Apparently "...guys required a slightly longer wavelength of a color to experience the same shade as women and the men were less able to tell the difference between hues." It made me feel a little better about being fashion and decorating challenged.

If you get a chance, please write a letter to your local newspaper urging a Thanksliving holiday...killing is no reason for a celebration. And...if you're living vegan...thank you....and if you aren't....well....there's no better time to start than now.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Things are in the saddle, And ride mankind.

You will recognize (maybe) that line from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is part of a work he wrote that was called: "Ode, Inscribed to William H. Channing."

I found myself thinking about Emerson while I was reading an essay by Chris Hedges titled "Let's get this class war started". I strongly urge you to read his essay and while you do or at least on a second reading pretend that you are not reading about oligarchical domination within humankind but rather that you are reading about humankind's domination of all other living beings. I would be greatly interested in your thoughts on it.

Back to the title of this piece. There are two words in that little line that represent oppression, that epitomize precisely what both Emerson and Hedges are rejecting. Saddle and ride. Saddles are instruments used to assist in the subjugation of living beings...mainly for the purpose of "riding" them and "riding" is the stealing of efforts of one being to benefit the "thing in the saddle".

And yet...as eloquent and as perceptive and as good intentioned and Mr. Emerson and Mr. Hedges seemed or seem to be. With all their gifts and their talent neither, as far as I know, have (or did in the past insofar as Mr. Emerson is concerned) arrived at a life-path of living vegan. For instance, this thought was written in a deconstruction of his Ode: "Tactics that rely on force can never, in Emerson's view, add anything to the sum of human virtue; they may control behavior superficially, but the sickness remains and will find other outlets when denied this one." Mr. Emerson apparently strove and strove hard to live virtuously...but he was profoundly marked by "the sickness" if he didn't live vegan.

I find it almost impossible to wrap my mind around the persistent and pervasive ability we...including me...have to believe we are trying to be good and kind and wonderful creatures while behaving as if we were monsters. It's a very frightening thing. It scares me about other humans and it scares me about myself...and it makes me fearful for mother Earth and her children. For instance, as much as I find to admire about Mr Hedges and some of his ideas and writings...as far as I can see he's only making a call in this essay to resume the old old dance. Maybe it hasn't been said well enough...I don't know. I have hope that veganism offers the opportunity and path to opt out of this old dance of destruction that plagues us...and that we plague our fellow beings with. If nothing else, veganism offers a way of reducing the number of innocent casualties...and that's a good thing.

Living vegan and thinking vegan and seeing vegan is a dismal choice as a way of being...in some ways. Dismal because of the awareness of the killing, the hurting, the slavery, the imprisonment of most of mother Earth's beings that goes on each day. All by humans. And mostly by humans who believe they are good and kind and wonderful beings who are doing their best to live good lives.

Dismal though it may be...living vegan is the best way of avoiding "the sickness" that I know of. You too can step a little further along the path of "virtue" (for want of a better term) by going vegan...if you haven't already.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Make history.


We must give to others, that which we ask for ourselves. It isn't possible to live a worthy life without following this path.

I cannot overly express the appreciation and respect I have for each individual who has had the courage and caring to begin living vegan. Thank you and thank you again. For those who continue to support harming others...please consider what you are doing and who you are harming. You, whether you want to or not, are aligning yourself with monsters and destroying innocent lives. Please go vegan.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Animal Rights Documentaries.

Here's a link to a compilation of nearly 100 animal rights documentaries all located in one handy place for you to explore. There are some excellent works out there and here's an easy way to access many of them.

And here's a link to a short video of a baby elephant sleeping on mom's lunch. I couldn't get the embed code to work so you'll have to use the link to watch. But it is worth it...give a smile to your day by watching this baby being busy sleeping. Babies of all sorts and shapes and sizes give their all to whatever they do...including sleeping. Enjoy.

And if you haven't decided to join those who wish to live without harming others...please do so by going vegan. You'll feel better about yourself and I promise those you stop harming will feel better.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dreadful and important.

I recently finished reading a book titled "My Father's Keeper" by Stephan and Norbert Lebert. It is an unusual book. One author is the father who did a series of interviews with some of the children of prominent Nazis in the 1950s, these interviews were then updated by his son in the 1990s.

I really can't recommend reading it unless you are prepared to be rather dismayed and disturbed...at least that's the principle reaction I had to the book. It is depressing and sad to read about the children who are appalled and/or horrified at their parents behavior and it is even more depressing and sad to read about the children who are not appalled and/or horrified or who deny any such behavior.

What was very saddening to me was that it seems that all the denial and/or unconcern with the murderous behaviors does not result in discernible psychological and/or emotional problems.
In the 1960s the Heiderlberg psychologists Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich made the following statement about the psychological health of the Germans:
   
“Astonishingly our experience in no way points to the kind of increase in the number of patients in a state of denial that might have encouraged us to identify a tangibly clinical illness. From the records of more than 4,000 patients it emerges that extremely few criteria could be found for a correlation between their present-day symptoms and their experiences in the Nazi era. Self-confessed Nazis virtually never appeared.”

The Freiburg psychoanalyst Tilmann Moser offered a similar conclusion at the end of the 1990s.

“It seems that we must resign ourselves to the fact that the perpetrators and their followers have uncovered no path to shame or guilt within themselves, and for this reason we remain faced with” cleavage, defiance, cognitive dysfunction, collective denial and anthropological limits to the establishment of identity and the continuity of conscience.”

After countless studies, his Munich counterpart Wolfgang Schmidbauer has come to accept the 'intensely unjust' state of affairs that for the camp murderer who has killed over and over again, or the camp employer who has profited by the deaths of thousands of helpless slave laborers, it is far easier to deny guilt, to shrug off scruples, to live a normal family life and be a respected father to his children, than it is for the victims, who are mostly visited by the severest feelings of guilt because they are the ones who survived. You have to look at it this way, Schmidbauer concludes: the perpetrators had to deal only with their fear of being caught and condemned. From a psychological viewpoint, it comes down to understanding that the perpetrator realised him or herself through his or her act, whereas the victim was hindered by the same act in everything that he wanted, and wants still, to realise. Or put it more cynically: torturing body and spirit has measurably fewer side effects than being tortured. Pp186-7
I don't want to draw some maybe obvious conclusions from these observations...I'm aware of many but am not inclined to fully ascribe to them...mainly because I suspicion they would prompt a really unpleasant state of depression.

It is all perhaps best summarized by this passage from the book.
The Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal says that it is a grave and dramatic mistake to proceed on the basis that only evil beings are capable of evil acts. One of the essential characteristics of many leading National Socialists, says Wiesenthal, was that at home they were utterly charming people. They were the same people who lovingly kissed their children goodby in the morning and then a few hours later were gassing or shooting Jews. This realisation , Wiesenthal thinks, is dreadful and at the same time hugely important, because on the person who has grasped it knows that evil lives dormant in most people and can break out at any time. Let no man say that such a ghastly dictatorship is no longer possible today. That is the true lesson from the horror of National Socialism: we must fight against it constantly, against evil, so that it does not emerge again. pp 182
Most of us who live vegan did not do so at some time. We lived ordinary lives doing extraordinary evil with no discomfort at all. Wiesenthal seems to be oblivious to the evil that is inherent in eating our fellow Earthlings...I find no references to his being vegan. We must not only fight constantly against evil, we must fight constantly to be able to even recognize evil. Living vegan is the only way I know of to mostly avoid participating in a huge huge evilness.

I've written before about history and human behaviors (here, here and here). I'll likely write more too. Having spent my professional life trying to understand and sometimes modify human behavior and personality makes me know how little I understand. I will say though, from what I can see, veganism as explained by Donald Watson and friends seems to be the best of the best of all ways to live while doing minimal harm to others.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Introducing Ice (and Hope).

Recently a kind neighbor woman (a Heartland Rabbit Rescue neighbor) decided to share her home with a baby miniature goat. We had been hearing his little voice sometimes in the morning and could occasionally see him way off in the distance. Finally the director of Heartland called and arranged a meeting at a half-way point in the fields that separate Heartland and the neighbor.
Ice
His name is Ice (his mom's name was Snow) and he's a beauty.
He apparently won't grow much larger. It was a fine thing to meet him. He's very friendly and as you can see...very handsome too. We're hoping that soon he'll get to come over to Heartland and meet the ducks and bunnies and Molly, Midnite and Judy too.

In other Heartland news, about 3 weeks ago a call came about a little bunny who had been found loose and injured in a cemetery in a small town east of OKC. When the Heartland director finally got her it was discovered that she had been attacked by a predator and had a back leg broken in 2 places as well as some gaping wounds that were infested by maggots. She was emaciated and frightened. The director, along with a long-time and experienced volunteer worked for a number of hours cleaning her wounds and stabilizing her.  She was then taken to the vet the next day.

There it was found that she would likely have to have the leg amputated but she was too debilitated for the surgery so some rest and recovery and weight gaining would have to happen first.
Hope, after much recovery.
She is very young and weighed under 3 lbs when she first arrived. She was running a high fever and her behavior suggested she was stunned and shocked. Slowly, with lots of TLC by the director, Hope started coming around. She was always willing to eat...which...with a bunny...is pivotal. If they'll eat...there's hope.

She has been miraculous in her resilience. Once the fever was managed and her wounds began to heal, then her personality began to emerge. She's bouncy, spicy and a tad sassy. She's very people oriented and loves being petted. Now, there is a possibility she won't have to lose the leg...but she needs to not put too much strain on it and that's a difficulty because as she feels better and better...she wants to run and jump and binky. She's a baby and she wants to play. You can read more about her on Heartland's facebook page.

Hay snack.

Here you can see her having a bit of a hay snack as she rests a little.

Below you can see her pensively eying the photographer...no doubt thinking about what she wants to do next.
What next?

It is beyond being able to put into words...watching these little fur people who are abandoned and neglected and abused by the human species and then seeing so many of them be able forgive and forgive absolutely all that's been done to them. And to share their delightful selves freely and openly with any human willing to be kind to them.

It doesn't make us look very good.

Caring for Hope and others like her takes lots of time and effort and money...food, shelter and medical care is expensive. Help your local animal rescue/sanctuary...or help out Heartland if you want. The number of bunnies in need is always greater than the resources to help them.

Help all life and planet Earth and yourself by living vegan. Please. And care for those who depend on you...and be kind to everyone else. Ice and Hope both think these are all good ways of living.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why History Matters...

is the name of a book I'm reading and in it I ran across something that struck me. Here the author is writing about desiring social change that is in the service of equality and justice. 

“....social change implicitly demands an end to ideologies of hierarchy, such as racism and sexism. Without the abolition of sexism, none of the other hierarchical concepts and systems can be successfully ended. No matter how changed economic and social relations may became, as long as sexism constantly re-creates the inequality in the family and in the consciousness of men and women, hierarchy will be reborn......

…...the goals of feminism cannot be achieved without a vast cultural revolution, involving every institution of society, in particular, the family. The magnitude of the social change needed presupposes the diffusion of the forces of change into every aspect of society. No other oppressed group except women is so located as to be able to effect such changes.” 
pg 109 Why History Matters, Gerda Lerner.

She goes on to point out why women aren't in the same relationship to those who dominate them as are other groups. Women are too numerous and widely distributed to be wiped out or ghettoized and because of their intimate connections with the group members of those who dominate (fathers, brothers, sons, husbands) women can't use violence to reach their emancipation. She argues they must use tactics of social pressure and persuasion that result in a new consciousness in men and women....not an overthrowing but a transformation.

Reviewing what she argues makes it readily apparent that speciesism must be included in the idea of re-creating hierarchies. If we view other living beings as unequal then the idea of hierarchy will forever persist. In fact, if you think about it, devaluing other species and/or members of other species makes inequality among our own species almost guaranteed. Because that devaluing of beings who differ from ourselves teaches us that "difference" implies unequal which then can be used to identify human animals belonging to groups ripe for oppression because they are not our equals. 

Difference is easy to identify between species...there is a major training ground for viewing different as being not equal...not equal meaning it is ok to oppress or harm because of their "differentness". Speciesism then is part and parcel of the "original sin" that leads to the notion that some living beings can be conceived of hierarchically and that such conceptualization is acceptable.

Or so it seems to me. Obviously, the only way you or I can participate in bringing about the transformation needed is by living vegan. There's where it all starts.




Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Overshoot day.

This year August 20th marks the "approximate calendar date on which humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year." (source) This date keeps moving in the wrong direction...this date shouldn't exist but since it does it should be much closer to the end of the year...like December 31st or something. For instance, in 1993 it was October 21st...now it is in August.

In other words there are either too many human animals on the planet or the human animals here are using up too much of the Earth to support their lives. In fact, there are too many of us and we "consume" way too much.

For instance, the current estimate is that it would take 1.5 Earths to support us...on a renewable basis if we averaged using the Earth the way we do now. That's for all of us, it gets really stinky if you look at in on a country by country basis. For instance, if everyone lived the way we do here in the United States, we would need 5 Earths to support us. You can explore the ecological footprint for most countries here.

Here's my thought. Advocate for our fellow Earthlings but don't forget that advocating for them also means that there needs to be fewer of us human animals. Consider incorporating the handing out of endangered species condoms in your advocacy efforts. Two things to remember, the fewer there are of us...the fewer there are to harm our fellow Earthlings...and the fewer there are of us the more of what Earth has to offer is potentially available for the other Earthlings.

Overshoot day. Scarey stuff, do your part to push back by living vegan and by avoiding adding to the number of humanoids. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hit and run survivors...

The post about the slaying (accidental?) of a mother of nine can be read here. I went out to Wildcare recently to check on how the surviving baby opposums are doing. You'll remember that there were originally nine babies, one was dead on the street and one was dead on arrival at Wildcare. Well now there are only four survivors. One died soon after arrival and then two more expired. They were very small and very vulnerable.

However, according to the staff there the four remaining seem to be doing well. I have only a few photos...and they aren't good. I took the babies there on July 12th, so they've been there around 3 weeks.

This baby was curious about the camera.
 You can see the towel hanging down behind the baby. It serves as a surrogate for the pouch they would have if their mom was alive. The other 3 were sleeping and this one was taking a stroll. They are self feeding now so the rather difficult process of hand feeding is finished. They are still very small and will not be able to be released for several more weeks. I hope to visit them again before they leave.

Moving away...always a good idea.
You can get some idea of their tininess in this photo of the baby moving away from me. I hope, for their sake, that once they are released they never see a human or anything made by a human again in their whole lives. It is almost axiomatic that nothing good for the opossum would come from that.

I gave a donation to Wildcare to help with their expenses. There's no amount of money though that can pay for the having of a place like Wildcare where our wild neighbors have a refuge from human destructiveness. Wildcare, Heartland, Mindy's Memory, Serenity Springs...these are all places where the free (wild) animals or the not-free (domestic) animals have a chance to be safe and protected and respected and cared for. These places are orphanages and hospitals and rehab-facilities and nursing homes and day-cares and families all rolled into one.

Give them every cent you can, give them as much time as you can...they truly are the best we can be...for Earthlings who aren't human.

These places, and places like them, represent one of the few positives about humans insofar as humans being desirable neighbors that I know of. Mostly, if you are an Earthling who happens to not be a human, the human Earthlings are bearers of suffering and misery and death. It is a sad commentary on ourselves that for all our fellow Earthlings we are, mostly, monsters. And not fun monsters...we're monsters of the genre of monsters like the one in the original Alien movie. Scary as hell and even more destructive.

If you want to resign from the ranks of the monsters...go vegan...that's the only way to do it. Otherwise you're the enemy...an ugly and vicious enemy...to our fellow Earthlings. Look at that baby in the picture. She (or he) has just as much right to enjoy this beautiful Earth as you or I do. We have no right to interfere in that enjoyment.

Going vegan and supporting your local sanctuaries and rescues...it's a start.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Bea and her babies.

Bea the bunny (named in honor of the incomparable Bea Elliott) came to us via the OKC animal shelter. While she was at the shelter she gave birth to 4 babies but only 3 survived. Her children's names are Sparkle, Sparky and Finn.
Bea's children.

 Sparkle, the little girl and Bea the mom got along very well and when time came to separate the kids (because conflict erupts otherwise...those with teenage human children are familiar with this...separating bunny babies from mom is similar to human children leaving home), Sparkle and Bea remained together.
Bea
Sadly though, Sparkle recently died. We're not sure of the cause. One of the horrendous things that have been inflicted on the bunnies is lots and lots of inbreeding and many of the buns, especially the white ones have physiologies that contain ticking genetic time-bombs just waiting for the right moment or circumstance to wreak havoc on their health. This may be what caused Sparkle's death...she was a very young and healthy appearing girl.

Finn is the smallest of the two remaining boys. Sparky is a bit bigger and a tad less sociable than Finn. Finn loves to get free run of the south warren and he zips all over the place, visiting the other bunnies. He recently had a bout of head tilt but luckily has seemed to manage to recover fairly well...thanks to Jeannie's efforts and with assistance and help from Christina. He's a lucky boy.

Finn playing outside.
Bea and her children are each a little shy but warm up very well once they get past their initial timidity.

Finn has one other characteristic that sets him apart from his siblings, he has fur that is very silky feeling...it is one of the first things your hands notice when you touch him. If it feels as good inside as it does on the outside...then he must feel terrific all the time.

Sparky resting after being outside.
Giving birth to children while in a homeless shelter is not a great situation. Luckily for Bea Heartland Rabbit Rescue was available as a resource for her and the kids and now they have a place to live for as long as need be. They also were lucky in that there are humans who support animal rescues and shelters by donating items for the animals and funds to help care for them. Bea the bunny, and Finn and Sparky have a special human who helps Heartland care for them by donating to the Heartland cause. That's where Bea got her name.

Bea Elliott is special also in that she supports all animals by writing blogs and engaging in activism supporting the vegan cause. You can read her work here and here. She also shares her home with a number of her fellow (formerly homeless) Earthlings in addition to being a supporting member of the Heartland Family. Thank you Bea!

Thanks also to each of you that support the work of the folks who provide shelter and care for our fellow Earthlings.

Please support your local animal rescues and sanctuaries...especially those that advocate for a vegan world. The only way we're going to begin to move to a planet where the need for animal rescues and sanctuaries is minimized is if humans adhere to a vegan approach to living. Bea the bunny does this everyday, as do all the bunnies at Heartland. Bea Elliott does this every day too....the least we all can do is to follow their examples.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bugs Bunny?

Wikipedia Bugs


He was a cartoon character who showed up in 1940 and did lots of carrot eating. You can see the image I borrowed from wikipedia and read all about this zany and resilient fantasy bunny.

Heartland Rabbit Rescue now has their own resident Bugs Bunny. He came to us because of a reported allergy to rabbits. Someone had bought him at an auction but then couldn't keep him because of the allergy.

Heartland's Bugs isn't a cartoon character yet he brings as many smiles and laughs as the entertainer because of his exuberant personality and his physical antics.

Heartland Bugs
As you can see...he's a beauty on the outside and I can assure that his personality is just as excellent. He's a youngster and appears to be still growing. He's always interested in having his head caressed and comes as close to dancing when putting on a binky show as any bunny can. He's a happy fellow and it's almost impossible to be around him without having a smile appear or a laugh. Thanks Bugs, you remind us everyday that the joy of living belongs to every being.

He's a big practitioner of the bunny stare. I've noticed that some buns have magical eyes and will focus  on the face of a human that they're interested in having them do something for them and they will send out some sort of bunny rays toward you until they get what they want. Bugs possess this magic power fully and it's almost impossible to avoid or ignore him when he turns on his magic generator.

Bugs investigating.
 Recently we took some bunnies in for medical attention and while there the vet asked if we could make room for a bunny that had been dumped outside the clinic. Yep, humans dump bunnies (which is essentially a death sentence) all the time and these humans dumped a baby bunny right at the vets...after having approached the personnel there wanting to know if anyone took unwanted bunnies and having been given information about  and contact info for Heartland. Apparently that was too much trouble so...abandoned bunny.

BB the abandoned bunny.

Here she is, and while she (we think she) has colorings that aren't quite as pronounced as those of Bugs, they're similar enough that she may end up being named BB (Baby Bugs). We're guessing she's about 3 months old and is very friendly and tolerant of humans.

This month marks my 3rd full year of retirement from doing stuff full-time to get money. Since then I've spent several hours a day for 5 or 6 days a week out at the rescue. I've pretty much focused on bunny house cleaning (including potty boxes) and getting the bunny people outside so they can enjoy their planet and play or dig or nosh on tasty plants.

On a given day usually 10 to 15 potty boxes will get emptied, hosed out, splashed with white vinegar and then scrubbed out, rinsed, air dried and then refilled with hardwood pellets and returned to a cleaned bunny enclosure. That means, conservatively (10 boxes per day times 5 days a week times 50 weeks a year times 3 years) that some 7,500 potty box cleanings have been accomplished. If you up the number per day to 15 that would mean over 11 thousand potty box cleanings. I was sort of surprised when I first ran the numbers. It's sort of cool how much gets done when you just stick to it. Like Woody Allen said, 80% of life is just showing up...that goes for getting clean areas for bunnies too. And by the way, my efforts are as nothing when compared to Jeannie and Brad (the director of HRR and her husband)...they've been at the bunny caring stuff for over 15 years. I can't even wrap my mind around all that they've done for the lagomorphs...and donkeys and little horses and ducks and Tag (resident cat) and sometimes a stray dog.

If you possibly can, please look into volunteering at a local rescue and/or sanctuary or at least donating funds to them. The amount of care (and expense) involved in looking after the refugees from human indifference or harm is simply unbelievable. And, go vegan if you haven't already. I can assure you that the rewards for helping and for living vegan far outweigh any that are available from the consumer society that surrounds us. Plus...we owe it to our fellow Earthlings...especially Bugs. :-)

(P.S. I'm really not trying to toot my own horn about the potty box numbers so please understand that...I'm wanting to show how much can get done with a little time and persistence and also to highlight the staggering amount of effort and attention and care that are involved in helping out the refugees we've created by our massive failures at being the "superior" species. Sometimes we end up doing things that are much more important and meaningful after we retire from active full-time "workforce" participation than we ever could imagine. Thanks.:-) )





Tuesday, July 16, 2013

All our fellow Earthlings...

are Trayvon Martin. It's only been a few days since the ending of the trial of the slayer of the adolescent human named Trayvon Martin and the reactions are still unfolding. For those of you unfamiliar with the incident, a man armed with a gun killed an unarmed adolescent. The man said he had a good reason to and initially that was going to be the end of the incident. Eventually the killer was arrested and tried and found not guilty of murder. Because apparently the jury agreed he had enough reason to justify murder.

This case has outraged and upset many many humans. Justifiably so to my mind, but then again I don't hold with killing or violence, period. And...I'm outraged and upset anytime I think about humans behaving violently toward other beings whether human or not. There may be some extreme cases...really extreme where some kind of serious and understandable case can be made for killing...but those are few and far between.

The furor over this instance of evidently gratuitous harm offers the opportunity to remind us that in fact every Earthling on this planet who doesn't belong to the human species is Trayvon Martin in the sense that they are at risk of (and billions are actually killed) being killed every day by any human animal they encounter for no reason except the human wanted to kill them.

Another part of the furor has to do with the victim looking different than his killer (the killer was white, the victim was not). It is quite likely that difference contributed to the motivations and behaviors of the killer. Killings often occur because someone looks and acts and sounds different...that's the way encounters often are for those beings who don't belong to the human species. And many of us, justifiably so, get really upset when it happens among human beings. Those to whom this happens who don't happen to be human animals are worthy of upset and anger too. As long as we engage in the ranking of the significance of a life because of appearance, of race, of gender, of ability, of species....such horrors (mistakes?) will continue to occur. Racism, sexism, speciesism...all are equally wrong and despicable. Period.

My last post was about a mother opossum who was killed by a hit and run driver who drove on and left her body and her living children lying in the street. That's the world our fellow Earthlings live in if they happen to encounter a human. Their life may be taken by accident, carelessness or intent and there are no sanctions or rules against it (mostly) and that's "just the way it is".  There is no justice for them beyond what might be dealt out by their friends or their family or their companions. And that rarely happens.

If you aren't a human, when you encounter a human you enter a "free-fire zone". Death, injury or imprisonment can occur at any time and there is little or no appeal, no justice, no fairness, no retribution, no nothing.

Do we want human to human interaction to be that way? Take away all the societal constraints and rules and prohibitions and let it be anything goes that you can get away with? No punishments, no consequences, no restraints. What would human society be like? I don't really want to find out but It would be like it is for all non-human animals. An almost unimaginable nightmare.

One of the things that is an ongoing and evolving process for me post-vegan is that I look at many news events from the perspective of living vegan...of minimizing my harm to all Earthlings that are sentient.

Mr. Martin, unless he was vegan, was responsible for the deaths of many Earthlings. His killer was already a killer, unless he was vegan, he already had a history of harming others.  That doesn't excuse what happened, but it does make it look rather different to me than if I didn't "think" vegan.

A life is a life and that life belongs to the being living it...and no one else has any business unnecessarily interfering with or harming or ending the life of another. Period. What happened to Mr. Martin happens all the time...to those that are not members of our species. They are at risk of unprovoked and random violence and death. And the violence inflicted on them by human animals is a tragedy and a horror, just like what was done to Mr. Martin.

We must get off this treadmill of death and destruction. Go vegan. Behave toward others like you want to be treated...give others the same consideration and respect and freedom you want for yourself...even if they don't look, or sound, or act like you. Living vegan reduces the pain in the world, reduces the harm and increases the joy...why would you not live this way?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Headline you won't see...

Mother of nine killed in hit and run crime.

Norman, Oklahoma. Sometime in the late evening or early morning hours of Thursday night or Friday morning (7/11-12/2013) a mother of nine children was hit and killed by a driver on a residential street who then left the scene. Two children were also killed and their bodies, along with the mothers and the remaining seven children lay in the street for several hours. It is presumed a number of motorists passed during that time but no one reported the crime nor did anyone stop to attempt to render assistance. The living children clung to their mothers cooling and stiffening body until about 7:30 on Friday morning when a motorist finally stopped to check on the condition of the mother. The living children were discovered at that time and the deceased mother and the children were then transported to a facility for medical treatment. The seven survivors were reported to be in fair condition when the treatment center was contacted the next day.
The mother and children happened to be opossums therefore their lives are considered to be without value by the dominant human culture. A dead body in the road is ignored or avoided if that body doesn't conform to artificially created human standards. Hitting one with a car isn't a crime, leaving the scene of injuring or killing an opossum with a car isn't a crime, even when children were with her and they are left alive and clinging to her mangled body.

I think we are all lessened by these kinds of travesties, we are related to all Earthlings, those are our relatives lying there in the road.  We are all children of the Earth, don't we care about our siblings?

I found her and the babies just a few blocks from my house when I was on my way out to Heartland Rabbit Rescue. I took them to Wildcare and they seem to be as well as could be expected now....about 24 hours after I took them out there. It was a horrible start to a day that really didn't get much better after that. A fairly serious rabbit fight at the south warren left one bunny bleeding from the mouth and then later news that a long time resident of Heartland had cancer spreading through her eye and jaw and that the most merciful thing was to not bring her out of the anesthesia from an exploratory surgery. Lots of death and pain. Friday the 12th should have been Friday the 13th.

I felt and feel so horrid for the babies, I couldn't help but imagining their terror and their hours of horror and fear. And that we humans, for the most part, treat it as nothing. No headlines, no news story, no note, no tears...no nothing. It left me bleak and dark and despairing and sad...just sad.

I plan to follow the babies and to donate to Wildcare to help them with the cost of their care. If a safe place isn't available for their release, I will find one. I feel responsible for them, I think we are all responsible for all the little ones...especially those who become orphans because of our malice or lack of caring. Aren't we all in this together? Aren't we all related? Shouldn't we look out for the innocent and the helpless ones? Isn't that the best way to live, to be? So many don't seem to think so. So many seem to think I'm weird or "strange". I truly don't get it. I just don't.

I firmly believe what I did was the absolute minimum anyone can do and continue to live with any genuine and valid sense of connection with life on this planet. Doing the minimum doesn't deserve thanks. it just should be what we do. Please live vegan, that's part of the minimum of living as if you're connected. Volunteer and support with donations your local rescue and sanctuary organizations. We have so much to make up for in terms of how much pain and loss and death we've inflicted (and continue to inflict) on our fellow Earthlings. We all owe these victims more than we can repay and our repairing or mitigating what we've done and do to them is partly the path to our redeeming ourselves from the horror we've created and the monsters we've made of ourselves. Help them in order to help yourself.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

There are none so blind as...

those that will not see.

By the way, that none so blind phrase is not biblical, as so many believe.

The phrase seemed the best way to describe this writing from a book I've been reading. The book is titled: "The Healing Wound" by Gitta Sereny and it is a series of articles and essays she's written over the years. She writes:
For me, being with this man showed me as no other could have done the very essence of the process of corruption. It was an experience I might not have given myself had I know what it would do to me......I think my reason for doing the things I do, is and always has been quite simply - or perhaps not so simply - a need, a drive to know. The price one pays (and selfishly, expects the people one loves to pay) for giving in to this inner need, in shock, in tension and in a  particular kind of fatigue, can be high.

Perhaps something that happened when I was about half-way through the conversations with Stangl, can illustrate these tensions. It happened on an evening after I had stayed late talking to the prison director and the Dusseldorf station platform was virtually empty as I waited for my train. I heard the sound of crying - of many children crying, it seemed to me - for a long time before a freight train, slowing down during its passage through the station, went past us, And as it rolled through - the cries by now, I thought, desperate - I saw parts of pale small faces pressing against the narrow openings of each car. I'm not given to fainting, but I blacked out. The railway worked who helped mu up told me the freight trained carried cattle. It was calves, calves crying just like children. I can still hear them now, as I write.

The Healing Wound, Gitta Sereny. Essay titled "Colloquy With A Conscience" p 92-93.

She is writing about interviewing Franz Stangl who was the commandant of the Sobibor extermination camp during the holocaust. She wrote a book about him based on her interviews.

I reference blindness because she apparently was afflicted with it in depth and profundity...at least I presume she was. Nowhere could I find any mention that she was vegan or went vegan or supported veganism after her experience on the train platform. She certainly did not mention such in the essay and that would have been the logical place for it. I hope I'm wrong but I don't think so.

She writes about her need to know...yet she is unable to see what is right in front of her...that our behavior toward our fellow animals is that which we condemn as horrible and monstrous and "corrupt".

And the calves weren't crying "just like children", calves are children.

For those who are vegan...thank you. Going vegan is required for those seeing clearly. Not being vegan means blindly (or maybe not so blindly) supporting and participating in the horrid, the monstrous and the corrupt...so stop...please.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Past, Present and Future.

Every year here in Norman they put on something called the "89er parade". This occurs in April and is ostensibly a celebration of the beginning of the town...or something.  Actually it celebrates another instance of taking land (by force or threat of force) away from Native Americans. So we here in Norman annually celebrate a theft but we don't call it that nor do we characterize it that way. Instead of stealing land we call it "settling"...and those who stole the land we call "pioneers" or "settlers"...and they are looked upon with admiration instead of contempt. This admiration is not shared by all...some Native American organizations protest these events.

I've attended and participated in some of these protests because I think it's disgusting and shameful to lie about what happened the way we do...and because if we weren't lying but were telling the truth then the celebration would be about thieving and the benefits of thieving and that is no occasion or event to "celebrate". It should be a time of remembrance of the victims and shame for the behavior and education about how to make sure something like that never happens again. But it isn't.

How we conceive the past colors how we see the present which in turn forms our view of the future. Inaccuracies proliferate. One of the most poignant things that happens when protesting one of these 89er "celebrations" is the shocked look you can sometimes see on the faces of the children that are brought to these events. They've never heard of the theft, they've never been told that the land that was "settled" actually was land that was occupied by or belonged to others and that it was taken from them. They are innocents who believe the distortions they are given by their parents and families and schools and society.

When we are presented with lies and distortions as if they were "true" we are rarely ever also presented with tools and methods and ways to discern truth from falsehood. This equipping for twisted comprehension begins early and persists throughout our lives. And we all end up the worst for it. The less powerful are victimized by the more powerful and the victimizations are then celebrated as triumphs...by parades and festivals and on and on and the victims are invisibled away...unseen, unheard and unconsidered. And we end up treating a delusion as if it were reality.

In a snazzy little book titled "Two Cheers For Anarchism", James C. Scott argues that power makes us unable to hear the powerless. As we garner power...we become tone deaf...unable to hear the sounds or cries of our victims. They become essentially invisible and unheard to us. His book is about human interactions but it is easily extended to all life, to the planet herself. No one knows this better than our victims, our fellow Earthlings...this includes many indigenous humans of our planet.

We paint our victims out of our picture of the world, we silence their voices or cries with our deafness. And we destroy them, because we have power and we can.

Has their been a grouping of humans as a people, as a tribe, as a state, as a nation that hasn't victimized the less powerful? Ever? Is harming those with less power one of our defining group characteristics? We must get off of this treadmill of terror and exploitation and death that we are on.

And we really need to quit lying to ourselves,

In Scott's little book he references statues in Germany that honor the "Unknown Deserter"...dedicated to honoring "...a man who refused to kill his fellow men." Hooray for those humans...of any nation. Now we need statues for the "Unknown Vegan". Honoring those women and men "who refuse to harm their sister and brother Earthlings". And we need this to become the norm...instead of what exists now. You too can be a deserter from the war of humans on all Earthlings...go vegan. If you've already deserted...thank you...you definitely deserve a statue dedicated to you.



 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Who would have thought...

that horses like to play ghost.

See the lumps and bumps?

If we go to the other side we'll see who's lurking there.

 It's the mighty Midnight, Heartland's resident pony. He decided hanging out under this cotton blanket was an enjoyable thing to do. One day he was under there and Molly and Judy (the Heartland guard donkeys) were walking by and he stuck his head out and spooked them badly...they took off running. It's fairly certain he was smiling.

The chain link enclosure was set out in the field to provide some cover/protection for a little cotten-tail mom who decided to have her babies right there, the cover was for protection from the sun, Midnight decided to use it for other purposes.

When he saw me, he had to come out to see what I was doing.

Heartland is also now the residence of a gang of ducks who were saved from a bad situation by the mighty Jeannie, the director of the bunny rescue.

They're pretty large now but came to us as babies. Queenie is short for drama queen, she has a quack that can be heard several miles away and is prone to go into a dither just for fun. Donnie is of the same "breed" as Queenie but is much mellower. Bubbles is a female mallard and a little nervous. Arnold, the wonderful Arnold is of the pekin tribe and is a real treat to behold. He is stately and dignified and seriously smart.

Shamefully, one day while I was hosing down the bedding I decided to give Arnold a spray...he was peacefully paddling in the little water container they have outside and he jumped out and ran to the end of their enclosure. He then turned and looked me right in the face and proceeded to tell me off. I was very contrite and apologized and also a little spooked. There was absolutely no doubt he knew what had happened and who had done it. I learned my lesson, no more teasing of Arnold.

It is a real joy to get to know these duck people. They are interesting and really attractive. Brad (president of Heartland) is building them their very own area and once they are settled in there they'll have their own little duck village. The bunnies were rather alarmed when they first heard/saw the ducks but now they are accustomed to the new folks. Midnight was/is fascinated by them and often hangs out around them when they are outside.

The destruction of our planet and the destruction of our fellow beings by humans is depressing beyond belief. Opt out of being a destroyer and go vegan...please. And...when you're feeling down about all the horror...go visit your local rescue/sanctuary and hang out with those who have been saved. I promise you that you will get a real lift...especially if you manage to become friends with someone new.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Opal died...

and she got less from the world than she deserved. She was a sweet and charming bunny who was beautiful and excellent. She lived at Heartland because they cared about her when no one else did. She deserved so much more than the world gave her and I was lucky to have gotten to know her.

Opal...RIP May 15, 2013
 Make no mistake...she was loved and she will be missed. Fiercely.

Maybe the hardest part of doing rescue is when the loved ones go away and you can't help but think how much more they deserved than we humans allowed them to have. She couldn't live free because we humans made it such that she couldn't have survived...we made her dependent on us and then almost all turned away from her and denied our responsibility. She had a spirit and a heart big enough to fill anyone up...and none wanted her except Heartland.

And she was one of the lucky ones. What I like best about Heartland is that all the  bunnies are cared for, they are all loved, they are all special. And they are all, always and forever, at home there.

I don't like this year 2013. I don't like it at all. Recently way too many have gone away. Zoe, Bella, Pippin, Poe, Ariel, Kiera, Benson and on and on. It hurts...it hurts a lot. Their lives are short, their needs are small and they quickly fill up your heart and then leave you devastated when they die. The work isn't the hardest part...it's the having to say goodbye to so many so often. Goodbye Opal.

Do your part to not do harm...go vegan. Do your part to give a home to those who need it...support your local rescue and/or sanctuary.

  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

One of the nice things about being vegan is knowing that you are doing more than most people do (those who aren't vegan) to minimize damage to our beautiful home.
In addition to minimizing harm to our fellow Earthlings, living vegan minimizes harm to mother Earth...and to ourselves. A triple whammy! Seriously...one of the most useful things someone can do to reduce their damage to the earth is to go vegan.

So...if you're living vegan...thank you. If you aren't and you really want to help the Earth...then get going.


Take the pledge, go vegan and be a real contributor to protecting the Earth because she is our home...and she is most excellently beautiful!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Atonement...

and forgiveness and redemption and such like. The first and last words seem to be very similar in meaning...making up for a bad behavior but forgiveness seems to be sort of the opposite. In other words if you are forgiven you are redeemed and there is no more push or ooch toward reparations or putting right the results of a wrong.

Thoughts about this sort of stuff persist with me, if we become vegan and are living in ways that don't do nearly as much harm to other Earthlings (as we used to do)...are we then forgiven for all the harm we've previously done? Or does our previous harm ask for us to not only refrain from current or future acts of damage but also for some repairing or making up for what we did. Maybe even some repairing or making up for what others do.

I wrote a little bit about this in a previous post. One of the folks that commented (Patty) was kind enough to point out that this repairing notion is expressed by Jewish culture as Tikkun Olam: "...means "repairing the world" (or "healing the world") which suggests humanity's shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world."

I can't return to life those beings I caused to die. None of us can (at least I haven't run across anyone like that). So I'm already in a position of having caused irreversible harm. Some doings can't be undone. I can not do them anymore...but I can't make it be as if it never happened. I owe. I owe those I've harmed and I can't really repay them...they are gone. They lived, they suffered and they died because of me and my actions and my ways of living.

Bea wrote about an instance of this sort of thing recently. It was a courageous post and it resonated strongly with me in several ways, partially because I've spent so much time around a number of Heartland Rabbit Rescue residents in the last few years so writings about bunny fur people always piques my interest. And partially because I don't know if I am brave enough to look too hard or too specifically at all the instances in my life where I hurt others because of my own foolishness or ignorance or callousness. I'm not certain I could bear doing that.

I'm still wallowing around with all this, so I don't really have any hard and fast place to stand or to be about it. I just feel that it is not enough for me live as vegan as I can. I have much to atone for, I even feel an obligation to atone for those who aren't vegan and who continue to harm. Which contributes to my low-level (usually) feeling of dismay when faced with a participant in the ongoing "breaking of the world" harmer....a non-vegan. And I don't mean that in any meddling or interfering way...I just wish others would quit hurting the Earthlings that aren't human. (Of course I don't want them to harm humans either...but that's a very different thing to me than the other....it's sort of like the difference between punching yourself in the nose versus punching somebody else in the nose).

I wish they would stop because hurting or harming others sucks and I wish they would stop because that's just that much more repairing that needs to be done.

There's another component to this that remains fuzzy and unclear to me and that is the damage we do to ourselves when we harm others. How much repairing does that call for? What kind of harm do we do to ourselves? I've been re-reading Black Like Me and some other works by John Howard Griffin recently and one of the things he struggled with was what we were doing to ourselves when we participated in and supported racism and the oppressions associated with it. What are we doing to ourselves when we support speciesism and the oppressions and harms associated with that?

I have lots more questions than I do answers, lots more un-understandings than I do understandings. That's obvious. I've found it useful to read Mr. Griffin's work and to read Ms. Hobson's works but so much more remains to comprehend and to ponder.

In the meantime...volunteering at Heartland, living vegan, helping out at Hands Helping Paws, sometime helping at Wildcare,  placing Vegan Outreach pamphlets at the library, donating money to different groups...these are some of my tiny efforts at repair. There's so much to try to make up for...so much. But...lots and lots of humans are trying to do some repairing and that's worth a smile and some good feelings.










Sunday, April 7, 2013

Some posts elsewhere...

I try to stay up with writings from other folks, mostly those who are ethical vegan in outlook. This recent Easter period resulted in a couple of very powerful pieces that I thought I might steer you to in case you hadn't discovered them for yourself.

The first is from "Once upon a Vegan" and, for me, is one of the sadder writings that I've ever read....it's also courageous and evocative.

The second is from "So I'm Thinking of Going Vegan" and here the author is dealing with anger...and doing so very eloquently.

Lots of other great writing and stimulating goes on all the time with other blogs but you already know that. These two posts, however, really stuck with me and I wanted to share.

If you want to share, then do so by living vegan, if you don't already. If you do....then thank you from all Earthlings...if you don't...well...it's never too late to start.




Sunday, March 31, 2013

VEGetariAN

I recently was talking with a woman who was telling me what a great person her daughter was because she just "loved animals". The daughter had recently rescued a cat who had then given birth to four babies and the woman was really impressed that her daughter was taking care of all of them. That is commendable and I'm glad for the cat and her babies. The woman gave several of the examples of her daughter "loving animals" and I couldn't resist asking if the daughter was vegan.

The blank look on her face and the extended silence finally clued me in to realizing that she had never heard the word before.

I would bet that she isn't that great of an exception...maybe she's even in the majority. Maybe one of the easier bits of consciousness raising any of us could do is to, inoffensively and unobtrusively, find out if folks we meet and/or know are aware of the word VEGAN and what it means...and once we discover ignorance then we can do some information sharing.

The title of this post presents a visual of the origin of the word. Some British vegetarians, way back in 1944, founded The Vegan Society and coined the word VEGetariAN by taking the first 3 letters and the last 2 letters from the term vegetarian. Donald Watson is the name most often associated with this founding and he is a fine human for all vegans to reference as our founder but do remember he didn't do it alone. Their first newsletter indicated there were at least 25 members who shared his concern about the exploitation of animals and who wanted to avoid any and all foods or 'products' or behaviors that contributed to this exploitation. Here's an excerpt from that initial newsletter:
Having followed a diet free from all animal food for periods varying from a few weeks in some cases, to many years in others, we believe our ideas and experiences are sufficiently mature to be recorded. The unquestionable cruelty associated with the production of dairy produce has made it clear that lacto-vegetarianism is but a half-way house between flesh-eating and a truly humane, civilised diet, and we think, therefore, that during our life on earth we should try to evolve sufficiently to make the 'full journey'.
We can see quite plainly that our present civilisation is built on the exploitation of animals, just as past civilisations were built on the exploitation of slaves, and we believe the spiritual destiny of man is such that in time he will view with abhorrence the idea that men once fed on the products of animals' bodies. Even though the scientific evidence may be lacking, we shrewdly suspect that the great impediment to man's moral development may be that he is a parasite of lower forms of animal life.
If you aren't familiar with these founders and what their original goals were, I urge you to read about them...and...if you are like me...read about them more than once. I find I discover something new or realize some facet that I previously missed each time I return to their writings. Here's a link to an interview with Mr. Watson that was conducted when he was 92 years old. He was a very admirable being and that's a heartening thing. More good information can be found in the Wikipedia article on Veganism.

Sometimes I forget that one of the goals of veganism, aside from the profoundly important one of reducing and/or eliminating the unnecessary suffering and death inflicted on living beings by us human animals is to elevate the consciousness and "moral development" of all. It really is quite a step, if you think about it, to move to a position of respecting all living beings and of opting out of the stance of "owner" or "master" of other living beings.

Not only do the other animals benefit from veganism...we human animals do too by not falling into the power-trip trap of thinking we are better than other beings. We can recognize the inherent repulsiveness and destructiveness of the superior/inferior or the "better than" position when we encounter it being played out human to human...that destructiveness also applies when we apply it across species too. That sort of interaction damages and diminishes and victimizes all who are involved in it, not just the identified victim (although they suffer the most).

So...maybe you don't need booklets and gory pictures and signs and such to do some consciousness raising...maybe all you need to do is to increase someone's vocabulary...and, of course, to live as a good member of the community of living beings...by being vegan.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

All the important things about living a life are simple.

That thought occurred to me the other day and as I turned it over in my mind I couldn't find any exceptions to it. Not that there aren't things that are complicated but as far as I can see they don't have anything to do with living life.

Having shelter and being protected from weather, having food, being safe, having those we care about near us, playing, enjoying the Earth, exploring....just living.

I was thinking this stuff while taking care of the bunnies out at Heartland Rabbit Rescue. The rabbits know what's important...they focus on those things.

I poked around on the internet to see who else had realized this...it is virtually impossible to think of something that someone else hasn't already thought and I ran across this quote:
 Life is not complex.  We are complex.  Life is simple,
and the simple thing is the right thing.
- Oscar Wilde
I checked a bit further and couldn't find anyplace else that had this quote so I'm not quite certain that it is accurately attributed to Mr. Wilde. Be that as it may...it's a good quote.

It sort of negates one of the things about ourselves (we human animals) we tend to tout often...how "intelligent" we are. Intelligence is actually sort of irrelevant unless it assists in making the living of life better...unless it assists in the simple things. Hmmm... 

Being vegan, not harming others...that's a fairly simple thing, isn't it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It hasn't been said well enough...

I recently re-watched a 1947 movie that is one of my favorites. It's called Gentleman's Agreement with Gregory Peck and Dorothy McGuire. I like to see it again every year or so because I notice and learn something new or different each time. This time was no exception. The dialogue in the movie is, on occasion, profound. For example:
Professor Fred Lieberman: Millions of people nowadays are religious only in the vaguest sense. I've often wondered why the Jews among them still go on calling themselves Jews. Do you know, Mr. Green?
Phil Green: No, but I'd like to.
Professor Fred Lieberman: Because the world still makes it an advantage not to be one. Thus it becomes a matter of pride to go on calling ourselves Jews.
When I heard this exchange this time it struck me how identical this is to the premise that human beings are not animal beings and that it is a definite advantage to not be considered an animal...therefore...to me at least...it is a matter of, not pride, but acknowledgement of injustice (and accuracy) to consider myself an animal.

This time the exchange that struck me most powerfully was:
Kathy Lacey: You think I'm an anti-Semite.
Phil Green: No, I don't. But I've come to see lots of nice people who hate it and deplore it and protest their own innocence, then help it along and wonder why it grows. People who would never beat up a Jew. People who think anti-Semitism is far away in some dark place with low-class morons. That's the biggest discovery I've made. The good people. The nice people.
It is staggering how well this exchange epitomizes much of what drives the ongoing destruction of our fellow Earthlings. It is the "good people", the "nice people" who do not see themselves as agents of cruelty, of oppression, of murderousness who support and perpetuate the enslavement and the imprisonment and the death and suffering of billions of Earthlings.

It is truly all the same....speciesism, racism, anti-semitism, sexism, and on and on. The prejudice, the oppression, the ugliness of superiority/inferiority, the murder of billions because they are "different". The viewpoint that drives each of these despicable behaviors and mindsets is the same and what allows this to flourish is, in the end, the "good people"....the "nice people".

The movie is based on a novel by Laura Z. Hobson. When I read more about her, I realized that I wished I had had a chance to sit down and have a long long conversation with her. She was apparently a remarkable human. "Through her novels, she popularized issues of
anti-Semitism, unwed motherhood and gay rights. She succeeded as a
single mother and as a professional." 
I wonder whether she would have been able to see through the cultural veils and understand the justice and necessity of ethical veganism. I bet she would have in time.

Now, not long before I re-watched Gentleman's Agreement, I had re-watched Schindler's List. That's another movie that I re-see because it helps ground me. Then, this morning I went to Bea Elliot's excellent blog Once Upon A Vegan and found a post delineating the activity of a fellow named Nicholas Winton who helped save over 600 Jewish children from the Nazi holocaust by arranging transport to England for them. Bea was making the point that living as an ethical vegan is equivalent to being a conscientious objector to cruelty. Exactly so.

She was writing about someone who not only lived as a conscientious objector to the war and to violence but who also went further and in addition to opting out of participation but also helped save hundreds of victims of human driven oppression and suffering and death. The same is true of Oscar Schindler...he did not participate in the violence and he also saved many human victims.

The struggle against speciesism is the same as the struggle against racism,  is the same as the struggle against anti-semitism, is the same as the struggle against sexism...and against each and every stance that renders one side "superior" and the other side "inferior". Against each stance that condones oppression and enslavement and violence against those adjudged to be "inferior". It is exactly the same struggle...only the characters involved may change from place to place and time to time. The victims and oppressors may change identities but the "dance" remains the same. And this struggle has plagued our species (and as a result we plague ourselves and all the other species) apparently forever. 

We seem to be so prone to fall into this horrid trap of oppressor/victim. It seems to be sadly seductive to us...since we do it again and again.

Well. I'll tell you what. Morally...if you admire folks like Mr. Winson and Mr. Schindler...you can behave just like they did. First, you opt out of the violence...the dance of death by living as an ethical vegan. That's the first step. Next...you support in each and every way you can...your local animal sanctuaries and rescues. That's exactly what they did...first they caused no harm...that's the conscientious objector, ethical vegan stance...second they facilitated the rescue of victims from harm...that's the supporting by volunteering and donating to your local animal sanctuaries and rescues.

Look around, investigate the places that save animals in your community. If they promote ethical veganism...great...if they don't...help them grow into such a stance while you assist them with their rescue activities. Otherwise they are just perpetuating the superior/inferior dance that creates the need for sanctuaries and rescue facilities. The very phenomenon that created the need for humans like Mr. Winton and Mr. Schindler.

Unless and until most of us are able to get through this struggle to see beyond superior/inferior then we'll just have to keep doing the same thing over and over and harming over and over and rescuing over and over. Spinning around and around in the same spot really is a poor way to try to get somewhere....unless you're just trying to get dizzy.

The main character in Gentleman's Agreement is a writer who is taking on an assignment to write about antisemitism and he really doesn't want to. He has this exchange with his mother:
Mrs. Green: You think there's enough anti-Semitism in life already without people reading about it?
Phil Green: No, but this story is doomed before I start. What can I say about anti-Semitism that hasn't been said before?
Mrs. Green: Maybe it hasn't been said well enough. If it had, you wouldn't have had to explain it to Tommy right now.
Maybe ethical veganism hasn't been said well enough. Maybe it will have to be said again and again until it is said well enough that no one has to explain it, that we all understand and live it.