A lot of people who visit this site are already vegan. For those who aren't, we thought we'd get together one page with the basic nuts & bolts and best links we know of. Read on, align your ethics & rebel against the status quo by choosing to live as compassionately as possible.
We Gotta Be Kind
For us, first and foremost and without needing any other reasons, it is about the non-humans. We are well past the days of yore when people actually believed non-human animals had no feelings, emotions, or social needs. Our current world was built on this antiquated thinking. The word "humane" has gone from meaning something kind, to being co-opted as a marketing term for the very industries that profit from the torture and killing. But we all should know better: There is no happy, nice way to force a living being from birth to early death to become a product of mass consumption. For billions of animals a year, the suffering is unimaginable.
But things are changing - thanks to increased access to humane education, the power of sharing info via the internet, and more people than ever learning and caring about what happens to animals. With so many incredible alternatives to animal-derived products now, and new innovations being announced daily, people are more conscious of the impact of their choices. With whole foods and veggies finally getting their time in the spotlight, and with so much undeniable, modern health information and documentation of horrifically cruel institutionalized practices in animal agriculture, the time has never been better to get the facts and get suffering and violence out of your daily life and habits.
Vegetarians, this next bit is important and was a "light bulb moment" for us. We hope it will be for you, too:
Once studied, a sad truth emerges: the animals used for dairy, eggs and wool actually suffer MORE than animals bred to become meat; they suffer for longer periods of time, kept alive in miserable, unnatural conditions, manipulated and bullied to produce those products, forced to constantly reproduce and then having their offspring taken away repeatedly - only to be discarded and slaughtered when their bodies can't sustain production expectations for humans. There is no "happy retirement" for the animals whom we have demanded provide so much for us.
So, we are ETHICAL VEGANS. We are in it to help ALL of our animal friends.
Visit a Farm Animal Sanctuary & Rescue. Nothing beats meeting the individuals themselves!
BOOKS & SITE LINKS:
Freefromharm.org (Robert Grillo)
The inner world of Farm Animals, A. Hatkoff
The Abolitionist Vegan Society (TAVS)
Second Nature, J. Balcombe
Eating Animals, J.S. Foer
Books by Gary Francione
The Vegan Society
CLEANING UP OUR ACT
Being vegan is one of the single most important things you can do - all on your own, instantly - to have the hugest impact on preserving natural resources and helping protect our environment.
For more info:
MAKE IT A LOVE FEST
Not only kind to non-human animals, being vegan should be a love-fest for humanity too. Any compassionate movement must have respect for all living beings. If you care about the persistence of so many hateful "isms" - racism, sexism, speciesism - plus misogyny, homophobia and any anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ prejudices that are deeply imbedded in our society - we should be able to see that all of the prejudices and "isms" are connected. The study of that has a name, actually: It is called Intersectionality. All the dots are being connected, but we must self-examine deeply if we want to understand the roots of oppression and create a more just society.
A privileged and powerful segment of society has worked hard to promote everyone else as a lesser "other" while upholding a very white (patriarchal) mainstream status quo. People way smarter than us are educating on these subjects, and we link to them at the bottom of this section.
If you are a feminist, then there is no way around it: the meat, dairy, egg and wool industries are all very much about exploitation of the female of the species, and ugly themes like rape, forced impregnation and separating female animals from their offspring. Controlling the female and having dominion over her body and reproduction is the very center of the animal agriculture industry. It is seriously disturbing, has everything to do with patriarchy, systemic and institutionalized violence, and is something that translates beyond species.
We are always seeking to learn, and some deep and visionary voices (shared below in links) help us make crucial connections to racism, homophobia, classism, worker's rights, indigenous rights, issues of food justice and more. Typical omnivore rhetoric works to portray veganism as pro-animal and anti-human. but let's establish: humans (Homo sapiens) are in the Kingdom Animalia. We are a member of the animal kingdom. So it follows that animal rights = human rights. Veganism can be part of a profound compassionate practice, and be very much in support of social justice for humans: Fair trade ethics, laborers rights, food justice, affordable healthcare, and ending the culture of violence that adds to human misery are actually elements which could be (are) supported by the vegan lifestyle, if we stop compartmentalizing our ethics. By choosing a diet rooted in kindness and compassion, it should lighten our psyches and hearts as well, and enable us to be kinder towards each other. We are not saying all vegans are like this (they definitely aren't, unfortunately) but YOU can be this kind of vegan.
Sistah Vegan (website)
Black Vegans Rock (website)
Pattrice Jones and VINE Sanctuary
The Sexual Politics of Meat (book)
Women and the Animal Rights Movement (book)
The Abolitionist Vegan Society (TAVS site)
Feminists for Animal Rights (website)
Food Empowerment Project (website)
A Well-fed World (website)
Circles of Compassion (book)
Interview with International Fund for Africa's founder, Dr. Anteneh Roba
Striving with Systems
MONEY DOESN'T HAVE SOUL
At the end of the day, Big Ag doesn't care about people. Doesn't care about you, your health, or the future of your children on this planet. And it doesn't care about the planet, either. When the kind of money they make is at stake, they'll tell you anything is good for you. But surprise - you have eyeballs, and can read labels. And, you have the internet and can learn what those ingredients on the labels actually are. (Hello, L-Cysteine. Yeccch. Do you really want ground up hog hair and poultry feathers in your sliced bread?)
When you do educate yourself, you will really understand that big ag doesn't have a soul.
10 Surprising Animal Ingredients (Vegnews)
Gagged by Big Ag (Mother Jones)
Green is the New Red (website)
Say No to Palm Oil (website)
Article on Effects of Working in a Slaughterhouse
Article on Inc.com about Unilever suiting Hampton Creek (vegan startup)
The best food you'll ever eat... and more of it, to feed more people!
The land-use disparity that comes into play, in feeding people animal protein vs. feeding people plant-protein, is staggering.
The best way to get a quick, clear and even profoundly moving understanding of those facts is to view the film COWSPIRACY on Netflix. Their website also has an incredible array of facts, graphics, recipes and information:
Keep the engine humming... Run Fast, Clean and Green!
* Dairy actually contributes to Osteoporosis? (yes.)
* Animal products contribute to certain cancers and virtually all heart disease? (Yup.)
* Ultimate fighters, world-class weightlifters, ultra marathoners and Football players are VEGAN? (Damn right!)
Cut right to the chase for major health info by watching the edge-of-your-seat health documentary, FORKS OVER KNIVES (on Netflix).
The following websites have incredible, clear, science-based information: