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THE VEGAN MOVEMENT
The great ethical struggles of our time——against slavery, for civil rights, for women’s rights, for LGBTQI+ rights——all initially encountered the same ridicule as the animal rights movement does now. Ridicule is a defense mechanism used by people to attack when someone tries to make them aware of an uncomfortable reality.
It’s difficult to accept that you have been causing and funding unspeakable cruelty to others. Most vegans had to face that they too were once unintentionally complicit in the horrible torture and suffering that animals endure. We have been there. We understand. Many of us also clamored disbelief and ridiculed vegans because we thought it was too terrible to be true, and we didn’t want to think about it or acknowledge that we were a part of it either.
But it is all true and very well-documented——and very well-hidden by the animal agriculture industry. But the vegan movement cannot be stopped because the truth cannot stay hidden.
Someday animal rights will become an accepted norm (if humanity survives long enough!) because of the ethical reasons, as well as the health and ecological reasons that we can’t continue to ignore.
It’s never too late to stop being a part of it. Do some research. Watch some videos. Talk to a vegan. Find out about all of the delicious and nutritious alternatives. The only regret most people have about becoming vegan is that they wish they had done it sooner.
WHAT MOTIVATES VEGANS?
Do you think that vegans are being paid off by the broccoli industry? No, most of us actually spend our own money to try to further the animal rights movement. We aren’t making a profit. The only benefit we get is the peace and knowledge that we are not contributing to the pain and suffering and slaughter of these defenseless, emotional animals, and that we are trying to stop it.
If you are against animal cruelty, then once you learn the truth about what these industries do to these animals, becoming vegan is a rational, compassionate response based on your own personal values. You probably already agree that causing harm to others for pleasure is not an acceptable “personal choice.” Basic human decency dictates that causing unnecessary harm to others is wrong. Once learning the facts, each individual either holds him/herself accountable, or he/she doesn’t.
Vegans have no reason to lie to you about the horrible cruelty that happens to these animals. We are up against very powerful and wealthy foes in the agricultural industry who will do whatever it takes to convince the public that their product is healthy, necessary, humane, and guilt-free. Think about who has something to gain: A small (and growing) group of vegans who work hard to advocate for suffering victims by exposing the truth, or multi-billion-dollar corporations whose sole purpose is to make MONEY?
Who has the most incentive to lie to you? Who has something to gain? Who is motivated to spread false information and propaganda?
And most importantly, which of these agendas aligns with your personal values: the one for peace, compassion, and non-violence, or the one for greed, exploitation, and brutality?
TWO AGENDAS: WHO’S LYING TO YOU?
It’s interesting that some people seem to be very bothered by what they call the “vegan agenda.” Does the animal agriculture industry have an agenda? Yes, of course: It’s TO MAKE MONEY! In contrast, the vegan agenda is to stop animal cruelty, exploitation, and slaughter. Which agenda does a compassionate, ethical person support?
Most vegans were duped by the incessant corporate propaganda of the meat, dairy, and egg industries...until we started questioning it. Most vegans believed all of the advertisements and what the “experts” said about needing meat for protein and “humane slaughter” and all of the other lies spewed by the meat, dairy, and egg industries.
These industries make huge campaign contributions to politicians so that they will pass laws that benefit their agenda, and these industries fund the media so that television, radio, internet, and all mainstream outlets will be saturated with the same lies and propaganda. The goal is to fool you into believing that animal flesh, organs, and bodily secretions are healthy, necessary, humane, and guilt-free.
LIVE YOUR VALUES THROUGH YOUR CHOICES
You may not be vegan, but your values probably are. Are you against animal cruelty and violence?
For example, when you hear about people eating dogs and cats, do you become upset? What about videos in which people torture animals for fun? Could you watch a video of an animal being brutalized? Could you watch such horror in person? Have you ever watched a slaughterhouse video of cats or dogs? What about slaughterhouse videos of chickens, cows, pigs, or turkeys?
How can it be wrong to harm certain animals for pleasure and profit in some cases, but not others?
To make an informed choice, you need all of the available information. We all make countless decisions every day, and we don’t even think about many of our choices because they have become ingrained as part of our daily routines. But sometimes our choices conflict with our values, and we don’t even realize it.
Are you a paying customer of meat, dairy, and eggs? Do you ever wonder what happens to those animals? Is the pain and suffering of chickens, cows, pigs, and turkeys somehow different from the pain and suffering of dogs and cats?
Could you slaughter an animal yourself? Is there an ethical or practical difference between committing an act of violence yourself and paying someone else to do it for you?
If you are against animal cruelty, then please do some research and learn the truth about what happens to the animals who are exploited and slaughtered to become and create your food.
Over 98% of humanity’s harm to animals is a result of our food choices. And every day, we have the opportunity to live our values through our food choices. If we value kindness over violence, if we value being compassionate over causing unnecessary harm, and if we have access to plant-based food, then living vegan is a consistent expression of our values.
If you are paying for it, then you are supporting it. If you think of yourself as an animal lover, then going vegan is a mindful decision to live in accordance with your values.
Simply put, vegans are encouraging you to broaden your moral perspective to include chickens, pigs, cows, turkeys, and all animals as part of your own values about animal cruelty and violence. You just have to do a little online research to discover the truth for yourself. Just take a few minutes to do internet searches of the words “slaughterhouse,” “factory farms,” “dairy industry,” and “egg industry,” and see what you find. If you are reluctant to do this, then think about why you feel that way.
Once you learn and accept the truth about what happens to the animals whose flesh, organs, and bodily secretions you consume, then becoming vegan is a rational, compassionate response based on your own personal values.
And if you need help figuring out what to eat and how to live vegan, simply ask a vegan! We’ve all been through this process. We will help you! We want to help you, not just because we care about the animals, but also because we care about YOU. We know that you don’t want to be contributing to the suffering and violence of animals. That’s not who you are because you are an animal lover! JUST REACH OUT TO A VEGAN ON SOCIAL MEDIA, even if it’s someone you don’t know personally. We will help you!
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT THAT YOU BELIEVED THE LIES
The truth has been hidden from you, quite deliberately by the meat, dairy, and egg industries, as well as the government and the media, who have billions of dollars invested in animal agriculture. The government spends billions of our tax dollars promoting and subsidizing these industries, and politicians are reimbursed with campaign contributions. Is it possible that there could be some bias involved here?
Of course when an industry is motivated solely by PROFIT, that industry will use its power and influence and money and really, ANYTHING to influence the government, the media, and anyone else who will help promote its AGENDA, regardless of any detrimental effects to anyone else (or the environment). Turn on the television right now, and you will probably see an advertisement for slaughtered animals or their bodily secretions. Isn’t that promoting an agenda?
Dear (name withheld),
What if, as part of my daily life, I killed kittens...for pleasure? What if I repeatedly killed kittens just because I liked doing it? Would you sustain a relationship with me, after you begged me for years and years to stop killing kittens, and I kept doing it anyway? Would you consider me unethical or cruel? Could you have any respect for me, someone who kills kittens for pleasure? What if I decreased the number of kittens I killed? Would you applaud me for reducing the number of kittens who suffered and died for my enjoyment?
You are doing the exact same thing with piglets, calves, chicks, or fish or whatever animals suffer and die for your violent and unnecessary dietary choices——for your taste pleasure. (And this applies to eggs and dairy, because those animals experience misery and suffering while being exploited for their bodily secretions, and are eventually slaughtered.)
You know all of this, because I’ve been telling you about it for years, but you continue to willfully cause it. I just don’t get it. And you claim to be an ethical, compassionate person. I’m sorry that it’s come to this, but I don’t want to be friends with you anymore. Please let me know when you decide to stop harming, exploiting, and killing animals, and I will be delighted to rekindle our friendship.
THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS YOUR PERCEPTION
It’s shocking when people say with clarity and conviction: “Some animals are pets and some animals are food. It’s that simple!” Really? Anyone who has ever gotten to know a chicken, pig, cow, sheep, duck, turkey, or goat knows that they are no different from a dog, cat, parrot, horse, or any so-called “traditional companion animal.”
All of these animals (and many more) are sentient and socially-complex beings, with feelings and a strong sense that they are individuals. They want to live, and to avoid suffering and death. They will fight for their lives just like a dog or cat would (and just like we would!) if someone tried to harm or kill them. Furthermore, they all have central nervous systems and can therefore experience pain and suffering. All of them are emotional beings with the ability to experience pleasure, agony, and fear.
There is no moral justification for treating what you consider a “food” animal any differently than you treat what you consider a “pet.” If you don’t want dogs or cats to suffer (and of course, you would never eat a dog or cat!), then is it ethically consistent for you to contribute to the pain and suffering and slaughter of other animals——for nothing more than taste pleasure or convenience or tradition? Is that who you really are?
The animals who are bred, raised, imprisoned, exploited, and killed for food are just as sensitive, communicative, and unique as the animals you consider pets. They all seek attention and affection, bond with other animals, care about their babies, feel emotions, can experience pain, and want to live. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE IS YOUR PERCEPTION! Being vegan means treating all animals the way most people treat their companion animals——not as objects or food sources, but with love and respect.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: WHY YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY CAN’T SEEM TO GO VEGAN
There’s a psychological phenomenon that explains why intelligent, compassionate, self-proclaimed “animal lovers” continue to consume animals and animal products, even though they are aware of the pain and suffering and violence that the animals endure. It’s COGNITIVE DISSONANCE, the uncomfortable tension that people experience when they try to maintain two contradictory core beliefs or values at the same time.
Most people grew up consuming animals and animal products, and have continued to do so for their entire lives because of family traditions, ingrained cultural habits, convenience, and sensory pleasures.
However, most people also sustain a core value that harming and killing animals for taste pleasure (or for any kind of trivial gratification) is wrong. Abundant evidence exists that the animal agriculture industry inflicts horrendous, prolonged pain and misery on these animals, but from childhood most of us have been duped by relentless propaganda from the meat, dairy, and egg industries, which has manipulated us into ignoring what happens to the sentient beings who suffer and die to create and become “food.”
Furthermore, when we were children, adults we loved and respected told us that consuming flesh, organs, and bodily secretions (dairy and eggs) was not just acceptable, but also healthy, necessary, humane, and guilt-free. We believed them, and we learned to block out the suffering of the animals, even though we maintain that we are animal lovers. At a very young age, harming, exploiting, and killing animals became a habitual part of life for most people, which is sustained because of the deceptive and devious marketing that constantly bombards us every day. And all of this happens because our brains are actually hard-wired to prevent us from focusing on what causes the paradoxical discord of cognitive dissonance.
A BUILT-IN DEFENSE MECHANISM FOR MORAL DILEMMAS
American psychologist Leon Festinger proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance in the 1950s. Research shows that when people have a core belief or value, and they are then presented with new information that conflicts with that core belief or value, they tend to reject the new information and cling to their original core belief or value—even if the new information is rational, readily available, irrefutably backed up by concrete evidence, and right in front of their eyes!
For most people, it is too problematic to make the connection between the living, emotional animals who suffered, and the objectified “food,” the neatly packaged and prepared flesh, organs, and bodily secretions of those animals who endured misery and torture before they were killed. Cognitive dissonance is a defense mechanism that prevents people from thinking about the animals at all. They subconsciously convince themselves that the “food” is an object rather than something derived from an emotional individual with a central nervous system and full self-awareness, who suffered immensely and then was slaughtered.
To avoid the moral dilemma of accepting responsibility for the suffering and slaughter of sentient beings, people will instinctively disassociate themselves from any emotional connection to the chickens, pigs, cows, turkeys, fish, sheep, ducks, and other animals, in order to reduce the intrinsic value of these animals, and to eliminate any ethical concern.
But, of course, these animals who are exploited and killed for food are fundamentally no different from the dogs, cats, horses, parrots, and other traditional companion animals we choose to value and love. All of these animals seek attention and affection, form bonds with friends, care about their babies, feel emotions, can experience pain, and want to live.
A CEREBRAL TUG-OF-WAR
Cognitive dissonance causes people to compartmentalize their ethics, as they desperately try to protect their original core belief or value (on a subconscious level). They rationalize, deny, disregard, and attack. The mental game is to convince themselves that there is actually no conflict at all, in order to remain comfortable rather than change their behavior to align with their genuine ethical beliefs.
This cerebral tug-of-war can cause a lot of internal guilt, which propels people go to extreme lengths in order to avoid facing that their food choices are not in accordance with their values.
Simply put, it’s easier for people to dismiss and avoid processing the new information rather than face their complicity and responsibility in the suffering and violence. Some people viciously attack or attempt to discredit the source who presents the new conflicting information. When people become irate and hateful toward vegans, it’s usually because they know that they are causing pain and suffering to animals, which clashes with their core value that animal cruelty is wrong—but they lash out at the vegans rather than deal with the cognitive dissonance and consider changing their behavior.
FACING THE GRUESOME REALITY VERSUS DEFLECTING WITH IRRATIONAL DEFENSES
Some people rely on bizarre justifications for their consumption of animals and animal products, such as “Plants feel pain,” “Lions kill animals,” “Humans have canine teeth,” or “I need protein,” to name a few common excuses. Despite abundant scientific evidence that plants lack central nervous systems to generate pain responses; that unlike humans, lions are wild carnivorous animals lacking the capacity to think rationally and behave morally; that human canine teeth are rounded and designed for grinding rather than tearing through raw flesh; and that the building blocks of protein (amino acids) can all be derived directly from consuming plants, which is how all animals get their protein; people will still cling to these illogical, groundless excuses rather than examine the plausibility and absurdity of what they are saying.
Acknowledging that food we consume comes from suffering and violence means accepting that we indirectly caused the suffering and violence, that we were misinformed by people we loved and respected, that we were deceived by corporate propaganda and lies, and that we fiercely defended our choices and denied anything contrary—for our entire lives. Of course, this process involves facing hardcore truths about what we have been unknowingly supporting, which will make us feel terrible about ourselves.
And this is what makes considering veganism very difficult for most people, even though overwhelming scientific evidence shows that there is no biological or nutritional requirement for humans to consume animals or animal products. Furthermore, it is very well-documented that animal agriculture has a major destructive impact on climate change, widespread air and water pollution, water wastage and water scarcity, deforestation, land degradation, topsoil erosion, species extinction, habitat destruction, desertification, ocean dead zones, worldwide human hunger and starvation, antibiotic resistance, and the development of zoonotic diseases that become deadly pandemics. But to accept all of this new information, most people must first understand and eliminate what is blocking them.
OVERCOMING THIS OBSTRUCTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL PHENOMENON
Cognitive dissonance is a major obstacle to ending a person’s support of the standard suffering and slaughter inflicted on animals by the meat, dairy, and egg industries, because it involves an emotional detoxification process that is extremely hard and uncomfortable for people who have been consuming animals and animal products for their entire lives.
Obviously, people don’t want to cope with the appalling realization of what they have been supporting since childhood: lifelong pain, misery, and terror inflicted on gentle, harmless animals, for nothing more than trivial taste pleasure. They will feel tremendous guilt and regret when they take responsibility for all of this unnecessary violence. And that is what triggers cognitive dissonance. But pretending that the pain and suffering isn’t happening doesn’t mean that they aren’t causing it. In fact, they are the reason for the pain and suffering until they make the intentional decision to stop being a part of it.
Hopefully, understanding that this psychological phenomenon exists and that it is hard-wired in our brains will help those of us who are trying to present the vegan message to our friends and family who are resistant and adamantly opposed to hearing it. When people become aware of what happens to these animals, and then are brave enough to deal with the cognitive dissonance that they experience, they will finally make compassionate, ethical choices that are consistent with who they really are.
GUNDA: A NEW VEGAN DOCUMENTARY
Get excited about another vegan documentary that will change lives! This unique and groundbreaking celebration of animal life has been called a “visionary case for veganism,” and “an intimate portrait that gives value to the lives of animals, and reflects on our own human behavior.”
Executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix, GUNDA is an American-Norwegian documentary directed, written, and edited by Russian Viktor Kossakovsky. The film stars a pig named Gunda, and features two cows and a “scene-stealing” one-legged chicken. The film is black-and-white, 93 minutes long, and completely devoid of dialogue and music. Joaquin Phoenix says he was “deeply moved by the film” and describes it as a “visceral meditation on existence,” which he hopes will change the way people perceive animals.
WATCH THE STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS TRAILER HERE.
According to the International Documentary Film Festival, “The film immerses the viewer in daily life on an idyllic farm, where, with great sensitivity, the camera follows the sow Gunda and her brood of newborn piglets at eye-level; the special 360° cameras installed in the pig barn wonderfully capture intimate and natural scenes.”
“Immersed in their lives, lived to the full in joy and pain, just like ours, it becomes inconceivable for humankind not to swiftly undertake the major changes necessary to end mass cruelty and slaughter. GUNDA is Kossakovsky’s deeply personal attempt to renew our vision of life, a meditation on the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.” - The Norwegian Film Institute
GUNDA has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and this summary: “Where his prior film, the acclaimed epic AQUARELA, was a reminder of the fragility of human tenure on earth, in GUNDA, master filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky reminds us that we share our planet with billions of other animals. Through encounters with a mother sow (the eponymous Gunda), two ingenious cows, and a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken, Kossakovsky movingly re-calibrates our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of life and the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.”
The film has garnered rave reviews:
“Though the film’s gaze will eventually take in magnificent cattle and a doughty one-legged chicken with equal awe, its focal point——or star, if you will——remains the eponymous Gunda, a majestic mother pig... The absence of any narration (or, indeed, any emotionally leading music score) allows the viewer to ponder such ironies and cruelties at their own pace. Kossakovsky isn’t out to lecture or confront his audience with moral rhetoric or shock imagery, but to encourage understanding of farm animal life as it’s being lived——not just valuable at the point of death... Its radiantly beautiful imagery and gently immersive storytelling aren’t in service of a single browbeating message, but a broader, holistic view of where we and the animals we rear, use and consume fit into a single circle of life...” ~ Variety
“[The film is] more experience than movie... GUNDA is a visionary case for veganism in black and white. Russian filmmaker Viktor Kossakovsky’s mesmerizing achievement removes humans from the picture to magnify the small moments in the lives of various farm animals, with his eponymous pig at its center... No matter how people choose to process GUNDA, the filmmaker has captured an undeniable emotional process never seen in quite such terms before. GUNDA may be a meditational slow-burn, but as it unfurls its immersive audiovisual tapestry it hovers between non-fiction observation and lyrical insight, and to that end feels like an advancement of the nature documentary form. At the same time, there is an air of activist intent lurking just outside the parameters of each scene, as it builds an argument against animal cruelty that transcends the boundaries of shrill polemics. If it doesn’t convince meat-eaters to hold the bacon with their eggs——or order eggs in the first place——it might at least compel them to taste some of the pain.” ~ Indiewire
“...GUNDA [is] a portrait of various farm animals, and in particular a mother pig and her litter. Some viewers may be skeptical of the way that Kossakovsky uses elegant, even lyrical camerawork to elevate seemingly base material... [Y]ou don’t have to be an animal lover to appreciate the craft and the genuine poetic vision of a film which, though strictly unsentimental, is intensely moving, transfixing and quite genuinely unique.” ~ Screen Daily
“...GUNDA is far more than a plea or argument; it’s a gorgeous, gripping series of encounters——and, finally, an unforgettable drama. The animals in GUNDA, filmed on farms in Norway, Spain and the U.K., might be living ‘free-range’ lives compared with their factory-farm brethren, but those lives are hardly free. Avoiding the shock and gore of some anti-meat treatises, Kossakovsky instead, like the astute storyteller he is, zeroes in on his characters, cloven-hoofed or clawed as they may be, building toward a final sequence that’s as affecting as any ever put to film... GUNDA is a soul-stirring meditation on some of our most underappreciated fellow earthlings. For many viewers, it could well be life-changing too.” ~ The Hollywood Reporter
GUNDA had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 23, 2020. It screened at the New York Film Festival on September 19, 2020.
OPPRESSION & VIOLENCE
As long as humanity continues to promote violence and oppression with our food choices, we will continue to have a violent and oppressive world. Most people don’t even think about the pain and suffering and slaughter that animals endure because...they value the taste of flesh, organs, and bodily secretions like eggs and dairy...over peace and kindness toward our fellow creatures? Animals who are exploited and killed for food are considered property, despite the fact that they are conscious individuals with full self-awareness, perception abilities, and central nervous systems, which means that they can experience pain and suffering and a wide range of emotions.
VIOLENCE IS VIOLENCE. OPPRESSION IS OPPRESSION. Those animals are needlessly subjected to prolonged misery and torture, and then they are butchered, terrified and wanting mercy...all hidden away.
Humans have the capacity to have empathy, to make ethical choices, and to think rationally. Please have compassion for these animals. Please stop paying for oppression and violence. Please decide what your morals are (what you personally believe is right and wrong), and then apply those morals to everyone. If you believe that oppression and violence are wrong, then why wouldn’t you apply that standard to all sentient beings? Not just to other humans, nor to only specific animals such as dogs and cats. EVERYONE!
Most people actively promote violence and oppression with their food choices, and then they don’t understand why we live in a world of violence and oppression. There are now delicious, affordable, and healthy plant-based alternatives to all animal products. And there is no nutritional or biological requirement for humans to consume animals or animal products. The choice to continue supporting the meat, dairy, and egg industries is a cognizant, deliberate decision to support oppression and violence.
As long as humans support animal agriculture industries, which exploit, harm, and kill sentient beings, we will continue to experience oppression and violence, simply because we haven’t learned how to treat our planet’s most defenseless and vulnerable inhabitants with compassion.
EVERYONE BELIEVED THAT CIGARETTES WERE HEALTHY!
Several decades ago, our governments and politicians and the media and even healthcare professionals told us that smoking cigarettes was totally healthy, even during pregnancy. And the tobacco industry bombarded the public with relentless propaganda encouraging everyone to smoke cigarettes. The vast majority of people smoked cigarettes, and the tobacco industry made a lot of money.
But then people started getting sick and dying. Despite numerous published studies from universities and even the tobacco industry itself, it took decades before medical professionals finally admitted that cigarettes are detrimental to human health. Then, eventually, governments and the media followed suit when the truth became so blatantly obvious that it was impossible to deny.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”
First, people ridiculed the idea that cigarettes were dangerous. Then, people became angrily opposed to the fact that cigarettes are indeed unhealthy and dangerous. Now, it is widely accepted that cigarettes are in fact detrimental to human health.
This is exactly what is happening with the meat, dairy, and egg industries. And animal agriculture causes far more damage than cigarettes. Animal agriculture has a major impact on climate change, widespread air and water pollution, water wastage and water scarcity, deforestation, land degradation, topsoil erosion, species extinction, habitat destruction, desertification, ocean dead zones, worldwide human hunger and starvation, antibiotic resistance, and of course, the development of zoonotic diseases that become deadly pandemics!
When an industry is motivated solely by PROFIT, that industry will use its power and influence and money and really, anything to dupe the government, the media, medical professionals, and anyone else who will help promote its agenda, regardless of any detrimental effects. In this regard, the animal agriculture industry is no different than the tobacco industry.
When I first became vegan, I was ridiculed relentlessly and knew very few vegans. Now I and my many vegan friends are more often viciously attacked than ridiculed, for speaking up for animals and telling the truth about the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Soon, as more and more people wake up to the abundance of mounting evidence about the animal agriculture industry, the truth that consuming animals and their bodily secretions is unhealthy, cruel, totally unnecessary, and destroying us all...will be blatantly obvious to most rational, ethical, and compassionate people.
Hang in there. The final stage of truth is right around the corner.
CORONAVIRUS WAS CAUSED BY ANIMAL AGRICULTURE!
I accepted years ago that most human beings simply don’t care about the pain and suffering that animals endure for their taste pleasure. I’ve been begging people for years to stop this violent insanity. But now, are they really too selfish and willfully ignorant to accept that the reason we are experiencing this deadly coronavirus pandemic is because of humanity’s disgusting desire to consume flesh, veins, muscles, tendons, and bodily secretions (dairy and eggs) of suffering animals who were exploited and slaughtered?
Even with the irrefutable fact that COVID-19 (and many more pandemic and endemic viral diseases that have plagued us) are of zoonotic origin, which means they started in animals and jumped to humans, this voracious desire to consume tortured and slaughtered animals...is still dominant, so much so that in the United States, the animal agriculture industry has been declared essential, and slaughterhouses and processing plants are mandated to keep operating at full capacity, endangering the lives of the humans who work in that industry.
Seriously, how dumb, deranged, and depraved are we as a species? If viruses, bacteria, and parasites could tell us about their ideal environments, they would describe the conditions of the facilities and marketplaces of the animal agriculture industry. How many more deadly pathogens caused by animal agriculture do we need before humans wake up?
There is no nutritional or biological requirement for humans to consume animals or their bodily secretions. The millions of healthy vegans around the world are proof of that, as is the abundance of peer-reviewed, evidence-based research and scientific studies about a plant-based diet. We even have many athletes and bodybuilders who tell us that a plant-based diet enhances their performance: Many report that being solely powered by plants enhances their overall health, increases their rate of recovery during and after training sessions and workouts, decreases inflammation, and makes them more powerful than ever before.
And then there's climate change. Animal agriculture is a primary cause of climate change and the leading contributor to global greenhouse gasses—more than the entire worldwide transportation sector combined.
Furthermore, every single day it gets easier to live vegan! Plant-based products and services are more widely available and more easily accessible than ever before! There are many affordable, delicious, and healthy plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs that taste exactly the same! You won’t be able to tell the difference. But you don’t care about that...
Okay...so you don’t care about the suffering animals, or your own health, or the employees who work in the animal agriculture industry, or the availability of plant-based alternatives, or what the scientists and athletes report, or climate change, or all of the other reasons to stop supporting animal agriculture, such as deforestation (clearing land and destroying forests to grow food for farmed animals, which not only lessens the amount of carbon that can be stored, but also releases carbon dioxide into the air when trees die); habitat destruction (due to deforestation); species extinction (destroying wild animals that lose their habitats because of deforestation); air pollution; water wastage and water pollution (due to animal feces runoff); topsoil erosion (the removal of the fertile top layer of soil faster than the soil forming processes can replace it, due to overgrazing, over-cultivation, forest clearing, etc.); desertification (fertile land becoming desert due to topsoil erosion and depletion of plant life); antibiotic resistance (80% of antibiotics are fed to animals, causing bacteria and other microorganisms to resist the effects of antibiotics that they were once defenseless against); ocean dead zones (areas in the world’s oceans that don’t have enough oxygen to support marine life in bottom and near-bottom water); and worldwide human hunger and starvation (grain grown in poor countries is shipped to rich countries to feed their animals rather than used to feed starving humans)...
I understand that you don’t care about any of that, but DO YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR OWN LIFE?! OR THE LIVES OF YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS?! The fleeting taste sensations of flesh and bodily secretions are more important to you than anything else? Seriously?!!
I was really hoping that people would finally get it. But apparently not. Humanity deserves this.
WET MARKETS VERSUS SLAUGHTERHOUSES
Most experts believe that COVID-19 developed in a “wet market.” What is a wet market, and how is it different from a slaughterhouse? A wet market is an open marketplace where animals are slaughtered to provide food for humans. They are called “wet” markets because of the blood and guts of tortured animals. A slaughterhouse is a closed facility where animals are slaughtered to provide food for humans. A wet market is just a public slaughterhouse. The only difference is whether or not the slaughter of the animals is public or hidden. Is there really any practical or ethical difference between a wet market and a slaughterhouse?
If you consume animal flesh, organs, and/or bodily secretions from either a wet market or a slaughterhouse, then you are actively participating in the development of the next deadly virus.
INFECTIOUS DISEASES, PANDEMICS, & ANIMALS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that more than 6 out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals, and that 3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals. *
The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Organization for Animal Health state that increased demand for animal protein is one of the main risk factors of a pandemic. **
BILL MAHER CALLS OUT FACTORY FARMING!!!
Watch the video on YouTube HERE.
“...Torturing animals is what got us into this mess. That’s the lesson we keep refusing to learn—that you can’t trash the environment, INCLUDING ANIMALS, and not have it come back and kill you. Two weeks ago, I called out China for re-opening their wet markets, and miraculously, people from both sides of the aisle reached out to say, ‘Good for you for saying that!’ Well, here’s another hot take that may not be as popular.
AMERICA’S FACTORY FARMING IS JUST AS DESPICABLE AS A WET MARKET, and just as problematic for our health. Factory farms have a lot more lobbyists, but ecological timebombs tick the same. Americans should not get too high and mighty about wet markets while we are doing this.
Most, if not all, infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning they start in animals and jump to humans. AIDS likely came from primates. Someone butchered a monkey, or f*cked one, or something they shouldn’t have been doing with a monkey. Mad cow came from cattle eating cattle, which is like feeding a chicken an omelet. Just two weeks ago, a fatal strain of bird flu was confirmed in a commercial turkey flock in South Carolina.
Now, to thwart the coronavirus, we’ve been told to create distance, avoid others who are sick, lower stress, and exercise. Are you surprised that diseases flourish among animals when they’re forced to live in conditions that are the complete opposite of all of that? They’re on top of each other, they can’t move, they’re their stressed out. I’VE SEEN AIRPORTS TREAT LUGGAGE BETTER THAN WE TREAT ANIMALS. Egg-laying hens are starved and given no water for weeks to shock their bodies into molting. Beaks of chickens are removed. I could go on... Have you ever driven by a high-density feedlot? To get relief from the stench, you have to stick your nose in an egg salad sandwich.
If you think the market in Wuhan is gross, you should visit one of our giant poultry processing factories. But, of course, you can’t because WE HAVE AG-GAG LAWS THAT MAKE IT A CRIME TO REPORT THE CRIME. AND IT IS A CRIME OF ANIMAL ABUSE THAT GOES ON IN OUR FOOD INDUSTRY.
You’re worried that the mailman has coronavirus? EIGHTY PERCENT OF PIGS HAVE PNEUMONIA WHEN THEY’RE SLAUGHTERED BECAUSE WE MAKE THEM LIVE IN CONDITIONS THAT WOULD MAKE A ZOMBIE VOMIT. And then, so they don’t die before we kill them, pump them full of antibiotics, that in turn, get passed on to humans, that in turn leads to antibiotic-resistant diseases, that in turn leads to us dying from ever-evolving contagions. It’s six degrees of tainted bacon.
We’re on the cusp of returning to a pre-antibiotic era, where strep throat was a death sentence. Let me put it as basically as I can: If we keep producing food the way we do, you’re going to get sick with something medicine cannot fix.
“YOU DON’T HAVE TO CARE FOR THE SAKE OF THE ANIMALS. I WOULDN’T WANT TO MESS WITH ANYONE’S REPUTATION AS A HEARTLESS ASSHOLE.” But do it because animal cruelty leads to human catastrophe. Do it because barbecue is why you’ve been masturbating for a month.
And get the f*ck away from me with ‘Tiger King.’ I don’t care that he sees the light at the end. So did Darth Vader. There’s no such thing as keeping a wild animal pent up, but treating them well. Just ask Siegfried and what remains of Roy. Joe Exotic is in prison partly for killing five endangered tigers, which are endangered because of people like him. I don’t get why the ‘woke left’ loves this show so much and isn’t on this guy like pink sequins.
People should take their meandering outrage and focus it on this issue. You keep animals in cages, be they tigers or turkeys, and look who winds up being the prisoner.”
HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher - April 24, 2020
WHY WAS JOAQUIN PHOENIX TALKING ABOUT COWS DURING HIS OSCAR SPEECH?
Okay...maybe you really don’t know what happens to cows in the dairy industry. It’s possible that you haven’t been made aware of the inherent cruelty and violence of the dairy industry. In his Oscar speech, you heard Joaquin Phoenix make a reference to stealing a baby from a cow, and her “unmistakable cries of anguish.” What’s that all about? Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the dairy industry...
HAVE YOU EVER MET A COW?
Cows are the gentle giants of the world. Cows are sweet and docile, and they and have no instinct to harm, which is why they are easily exploited by humans. They are very intelligent and emotional. They like to cuddle, and they can form tight bonds with each other, humans, and other animals. Cows are emotional beings, capable of love, affection, and a wide range of emotions. They are sentient individuals with central nervous systems and full subjective awareness. They seek attention and affection, bond with other animals, care about their babies, feel emotions, can experience pain and suffering, and want to live—just like you and your companion animals.
THE MISERABLE LIFE OF A DAIRY COW
The indisputable purpose of the dairy industry is stealing mammary secretions from babies and selling that milk (and the cows themselves) for profit. Yes, it’s all about MONEY. Like all mammals, cows must be pregnant to produce milk. Milk isn’t created without a baby to drink it. But on dairy farms, baby cows are prevented from drinking their mothers’ milk, so that it can be sold to humans. Try to imagine what your life would be like if you were a dairy cow being exploited for your bodily secretions, hooked up to machines, forcibly impregnated over and over again while your babies are taken away from you, imprisoned in misery until the day that you are sold to the meat industry to be slaughtered because you stop producing milk at a profitable rate. Yes, that is the dairy industry in a nutshell.
MOTHER COWS DO CRY IN ANGUISH
When a calf is taken away from his or her mother, she will scream and cry for hours or even days because she wants to bond with her baby. Calves are removed almost immediately from their mothers, which is devastating for her and her baby. The separation occurs quickly because bonding would make separation even more difficult later and could affect the mother’s milk production, which is the dairy industry’s only concern—because it’s all about money. The calves are denied their mothers’ milk and fed formula instead so that the milk product isn’t “wasted.” Cows are not milk-making machines. They are sentient beings with central nervous systems and brains—just like you and your companion animals—which means that they have full self-awareness and can experience emotions, and pain and suffering. Please think about these cows and ask yourself if stealing and consuming mammary secretions from babies who are slaughtered along with their mothers...is who you really are.
DAIRY FARMING IS A BABY-KILLING ENTERPRISE
The male calves obviously can’t produce milk, which is why the dairy farmers kill them right away, or they shackle these babies inside crates all alone, where they will spend a few months until they are slaughtered for veal. The impulse to suckle is so strong in baby calves that they will desperately try to suckle each other’s ears and faces when they are within reach, or even on the fingers of the workers on the farms and in the slaughterhouses. The female calves are destined to become tortured milking machines themselves, which usually entails about four years of misery, during which they are forcibly impregnated over again to keep the milk flowing. They give birth, lose calves over and over again, and are hooked up to machines, until eventually, their worn-out bodies collapse, and then they are ultimately sent to slaughter. These are the simple facts of the dairy industry. Go ahead: Ask a dairy farmer!
THE SPIKED NOSE RING: THE CRUELEST OF THE CRUEL
If a dairy farmer tells you that the mothers and babies are not separated, that’s because they use the spiked nose ring, a standard device used in the dairy industry (on small dairy farms too). The reason they insert these cruel devices into a calf’s nose is so that the spikes will poke the mother cow when a calf tries to suckle on her udders. The mother rejects the calf because of the spikes. But WHY does the dairy industry inflict this cruelty on babies and mothers? So that they can (truthfully) say that they don’t separate babies from mothers! They aren’t separated, but they can’t nurse or bond! The mammary secretions intended for the babies are stolen for humans to consume, so that the dairy industry can profit from animal exploitation and cruelty! Imagine the torture of babies trying to nurse from their mothers, and being unable to do so because of this device, all so that bovine mammary secretions (actual baby growth formula) can be stolen for humans to consume.
WHAT IS MILK?
Milk is maternal lactating secretion produced by the mammary glands of mammals who have given birth. Milk, quite simply, is a short-term nutrient for newborns. All mammals produce milk when they have babies. The milk is biologically designed for babies of specific species: For example, dog milk is for baby dogs, rat milk is for baby rats, elephant milk is for baby elephants, and human milk is for baby humans. Milk is baby growth formula, and contains hormones, proteins, fats, minerals, etc. for an infant of a particular species. Cow milk is perfectly designed to turn a 100-pound calf into a 2,000-pound cow. Like all mothers’ milk, it is filled with hormones, proteins, growth factors, fat, and cholesterol. Additionally, cow milk contains millions of pus cells, blood, antibiotics, steroids, bacteria, pathogens, and acidic proteins (which leech minerals and calcium from human bones). Over 80% of the protein in cow milk is casein, which is also used as an ingredient in some paints, glues, and, oh yes...cheese.
WHY DO HUMANS CONSUME COW MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS?
Because they’ve been told that they must! Dairy farmers, the animal agriculture industry, the mainstream media, the government, and even the healthcare industry have successfully used propaganda to convince most humans that stealing and consuming bovine mammary secretions is healthy, necessary, natural, and completely normal behavior—because there is MONEY to be made by exploiting and torturing cows. Yes, it’s all about money. Would you drink cat milk? Giraffe milk? Orangutan milk? That’s crazy, right?! Would you drink human breast milk if a pregnant woman squeezed you a glass? Would you eat cheese or ice cream made from human breast milk? Gross, right?! But think about that: You won’t consume the milk of your own species, but you think it’s totally normal to consume bovine bodily fluids as an adult? Drinking the mammary secretions of another species is not natural or normal. Mammary secretions are intended for the babies of specific animals. Perhaps you believe that this behavior is normal because you’ve been told that it is normal since you were a child? Why would an intelligent, rational human adult consume bovine mammary secretions, paying the dairy industry to exploit, torture, and ultimately slaughter cows?
YOU’RE BREASTFEEDING FROM A COW BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN DUPED BY CORPORATE PROPAGANDA?
Yes! Think about it. Isn’t it fundamentally gross and crazy to consume the mammary secretions of another species, especially as an adult? And from a cow rather than another human? Most of us were brainwashed by corporate propaganda. It’s really all about exploiting defenseless animals for money. The dairy industry floods our schools with propaganda, saturates the media with deceptive ads, and pays off politicians with campaign contributions (which results in taxpayer subsidies and very little oversight of what happens to these animals). Aren’t you irritated that you’ve been duped all of these years by corporate propaganda to engage in a behavior as bizarre as consuming another species’ mammary secretions—bovine growth formula stolen from baby cows? You are literally consuming bodily secretions intended for a baby, and you think that is completely normal and natural?!
PLEASE MAKE COMPASSIONATE CHOICES
Yes, of course consuming dairy is your choice. But why would you choose suffering and violence when you can choose peace and compassion? Are the fleeting taste sensations of bovine bodily secretions really that important to you, when there are so many nutritious and delicious alternatives that don’t come from the suffering and slaughter of emotional beings? Please think about your food choices and ask yourself if you are being ethical and compassionate, and if causing pain and suffering and slaughter for nothing more than momentary, trivial taste pleasure...is who you really are. There is no biological requirement for humans to consume animals or their bodily secretions. Plant-based alternatives are everywhere now, and they are healthy and delicious! It just takes a little extra time to look for non-dairy ice cream, beverages, yogurt, cheese, butter, etc.
WHO YOU REALLY ARE
Please think about what you support when you purchase anything with cow milk in it, and start making ethical and compassionate and rational choices! Why would you want to fund an industry that harms and kills animals for mammary secretions that aren’t for you and that you don’t need, especially when there is an abundance of alternative products that taste the same and are healthier for you?! The choice to continue supporting the dairy industry is a conscious decision to harm, exploit, and kill others for pleasure and self-indulgence—simply because you like the way something tastes. Is that who you really are? A measure of human morality is how we treat the innocent and helpless. All sentient beings have the right to experience the nurturing love of their mothers, and to live free from exploitation, harm, and slaughter by humans—because unlike other animals, humans can behave morally, think rationally, and live happy and healthy lives without consuming animals or their bodily secretions. Going vegan is simply about choosing peace and compassion, instead of suffering and violence.
NOW YOU KNOW
So...if you didn’t understand why Joaquin Phoenix mentioned cows in his Oscar speech...now you do. Now that you know, will you please make compassionate choices that are consistent with who you really are?
JOAQUIN PHOENIX: VEGAN HERO
The vegan revolution has been kicked into high gear, and Joaquin Phoenix (who has been vegan since the age of three) is a major part of it. He is using his fame to force the media to finally pay attention to the suffering animals.
On January 19th, after winning Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for Joker at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Joaquin skipped the swanky after-party to attend a weekly vigil with animal-rights group Los Angeles Animal Save at Farmer John Cloughtery Packing Co. Still in his tuxedo, he joined other animal activists to comfort pigs who were about to be slaughtered. LA Animal Save hosts vigils for pigs at this slaughterhouse every Sunday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., providing the terrified animals water, and drawing attention to the horror these animals experience in the animal agriculture industry. The organization also hosts vigils for chickens and cows. Attending vigils like this is something Joaquin Phoenix does regularly, because as he says, “I have to be here.”
Joaquin told animal rights activist and former CNN news anchor Jane Velez-Mitchell (Jane Unchained News), “We have moral obligations to talk about it and expose it for what it really is. We are so indoctrinated with these happy images of animals on farms, on the covers of meat containers, at restaurants, and it’s a lie. I think people need to know the truth and we have an obligation to do that. Those of us that have seen it for what it really is, we have an obligation to expose it, so I have to be here.”
He further stated, “There is a change that is happening and it’s now just becoming undeniable. Slowly but surely, we’re getting there... As heartbreaking as it is when we’re here giving water to the pigs, I have a certain optimism in our community and how committed everyone is. People come down here week after week after week so I had to come here tonight and support and it’s a little antidote to what I was just given, so I’m blessed to be here.”
The mainstream media almost never mentions the burgeoning vegan movement (unless in a derisive, dismissive, or disparaging way) because major sponsors of most media outlets are the meat, dairy, and egg industries, but Joaquin has forced the media to finally pay attention to these suffering animals. If they want to cover him, then they must cover the animals too.
Unfortunately, when Anderson Cooper interviewed Joaquin for “60 Minutes” (which aired on CBS on January 12th) Joaquin did speak about his activism and even took Anderson and the crew to a pig vigil, but CBS chose not to air any portion of that, and didn’t even mention that Joaquin is vegan.
Because of Joaquin, major award shows have gone plant-based: the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the upcoming 92nd Academy Awards (the Oscars) pre-show party and after-party. The Oscars will air on February 9th on ABC. Almost 30 million viewers watched last year’s Academy Awards show. Joaquin is expected to win an Oscar for his performance in Joker, after winning awards at these other three ceremonies and many more.
And it’s not just the award shows. On January 10th, Joaquin Phoenix was arrested at Fire Drill Fridays, actress Jane Fonda’s weekly climate change protest in Washington, DC. Even though Jane Fonda had said that Joaquin wasn’t going to speak, he did, and took the opportunity to emphasize the link between animal agriculture and climate change, and even called out Jane Fonda for not being vegan:
“Something that isn’t often talked about in the environmental movement or in the conversation about climate change is that the meat and dairy industry is the third leading cause of climate change [*see below]. I think sometimes we wonder what we can do in this fight against climate change. And there is something that you can do today, right now, and tomorrow, by making a choice about what you consume. And I think that is something that is doable... I struggle so much with what I can do. At times, there are things I can’t avoid. I flew a plane out here today, but one thing I can do is change my eating habits, and so I just want to urge all of you to join me in that, and you as well, Jane.” (She has has described herself as “not quite vegan.”)
In October 2019, Joaquin stated, “I’m vegan,” in response to talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, when he mentioned eating at a steakhouse. In June 2019, Joaquin Phoenix and his fiancé, actress and vegan Rooney Mara, marched together in West Hollywood, California, during the National Animal Rights demonstration. They wore black T-shirts and pants as they held dead birds during the demonstration. Our Planet, Theirs Too created the annual day of observance in 2011 to give the animals a voice.
Joaquin Phoenix will finally win an Oscar on February 9th, for his performance in Joker. This is his fourth Oscar nomination (he was previously nominated for 2001’s Gladiator, 2006’s Walk the Line, and 2013’s The Master). When wins, he will mention the animals in his acceptance speech, for tens of millions of people around the world to see. Thank you, Joaquin, for using your platform to speak out for the suffering animals.
[*Note: Why Joaquin doesn’t mention the egg industry, which is in many ways far crueler than the meat and dairy industries, is a mystery to me. Also a mystery to me is why he continues to say that the animal agriculture industry is the third leading cause of climate change. Presumably, he thinks that the number one cause is fossil fuels, and the second is deforestation, but because the animal agriculture industry itself uses massive amounts of fossil fuels and is the leading cause of deforestation, these categories don’t make sense. But we can figure all of this out later.]
WHO IS FORCING THEIR BELIEFS ON OTHERS?
Vegans should stop trying to force their beliefs on you? If you consume meat, dairy, and eggs, then you are literally forcing others to suffer and die for your beliefs. If that’s not forcing your beliefs on others, then what is?
When asking questions and presenting factual information, vegans are often accused of judging and forcing their beliefs on people who aren’t vegan. “Stop judging me!” “Stop attacking me!” “Stop trying to force your beliefs on me!” But vegans are merely speaking up for the animals, who are the suffering victims of unnecessary choices.
If you feel judged and attacked by a vegan, then perhaps you should ask yourself WHY you feel that way (perhaps GUILT...because you know exactly what happens to the animals who suffer and die to create and become your food?).
The irony is that YOU are the one who is actually forcing your beliefs on others because you are deliberately choosing to pay for others to be exploited, harmed, and slaughtered for your personal taste pleasure. You think that’s ridiculous? Then why don’t you eat dogs or cats? Why don’t you consume canine or feline bodily secretions?
You are making a judgment about specific species. You are deciding who should suffer and die: According to you, dogs and cats deserve to live free and happy, but chickens, cows, and pigs deserve to be exploited and killed. You are making judgments based on nothing more than your personal preferences. You are forcing your beliefs on specific species who are then forced to endure pain and suffering and slaughter...for what? Just for your pleasure, convenience, traditions, and cultural habits?
Vegans believe that we are not superior to others, which is why we do not force anyone to suffer and die for us. In fact, we KNOW that we are not superior. We have no right to cause pain and suffering to others, or to take away anything from anyone, especially peace or freedom——or life itself.
THE GAME CHANGERS DEBUNKED?
The worldwide one-day screening of The Game Changers was on September 16, 2019. Before the film’s digital release on October 1, it became the #1 bestselling movie on iTunes pre-orders (beating such high-profile mainstream films as The Lion King, Toy Story 4, It 2, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). The Game Changers is executive produced by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan, and documents the rise of plant-based eating in professional sports. The film features interviews with top scientists and physicians, who present an abundance of research and publications showing the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Joe Rogan is perhaps the most vocal and vehement anti-vegan celebrity in the world. He has repeatedly degraded vegans and veganism. His podcast is one of the world’s most popular, regularly receiving millions of views per episode. Rogan featured “ex-vegan” “health coach” Paleo-advocate Chris Kresser on his November 21 podcast, and they claimed to debunk The Game Changers. Kresser stated that the film is “full of misleading statements, half-truths, flat-out falsehoods, flawed logic, and absurdities,” and called it “propaganda for veganism, pure and simple.”
Then, on December 5, Joe Rogan invited James Wilks, the star and a producer of The Game Changers, to defend the documentary against Kresser himself, on a podcast that lasted close to four hours, during which the three of them debated a vegan diet. (Watch it HERE.) Wilks dropped a lot of truth bombs during the podcast. He brilliantly refuted Kresser’s claims with actual evidence, and in fact, Kresser conceded that he was wrong about some topics, such as B12 supplementation of livestock (Kresser had claimed that there was no evidence that B12 was fed to cows through supplementation, and Wilks proved him wrong with information from the meat industry itself), and the comparable amount of available protein in plants versus meat (Kresser had claimed that peanut butter did not provide the same protein content as ground beef, and Wilks proved him wrong with information from the meat industry itself).
Wilks also repeatedly criticized Kresser’s inability to read forest plots (which are graphical displays of the individual results and overall results of several scientific studies that address the same issue). Wilks cited a variety of scientific studies with evidence from the American Heart Association, American Sports Nutrition Association, and more. He emphasized that studies sponsored by the animal agriculture industry are “four to eight times more likely to have a conclusion in their favor for their product,” and that two-thirds of research is actually industry-funded. This is a huge conflict of interest for the studies most often cited by anti-vegans like Kresser. Wilks also cautioned that people like Kresser are not experts on such topics, and that we should rely on non-industry, peer-reviewed research that is replicable and properly published in a scientific journal. He said that we should also rely on the world’s leading scientists in the field of nutrition, many of whom are featured in The Game Changers.
After the debate, Rogan called Wilks’ defense “fantastic,” and said that Wilks completely “knocked it out of the park,” in defending the facts presented in The Game Changers. Rogan even said this in an Instagram post: “Vegans, you’re gonna LOVE this one! @lightningwilks, one of the producers of ‘the game changers’ came on to challenge some of the criticism that Chris Kresser presented about the movie, and to say he did well would be a tremendous understatement. James knocked it our [sic] of the park, and defended himself and the film quite spectacularly. So much so that I’m actually considering taking the original breakdown of the film offline...” To date, Rogan hasn’t removed the original podcast of Kresser attempting to discredit the film. But the fact that the follow-up podcast even aired is amazing!
The Game Changers is now available on digital and cable platforms worldwide, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play, Vimeo, and VUDU, and it’s subtitled in 29 languages! The film’s director won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for 2009’s The Cove. Could The Game Changers be nominated for an Oscar in 2020? Think of how awesome that would be!
DO YOU HAVE AN INFORMED OPINION?
That “meat” you ate was a conscious, emotional individual who was brought into this world to suffer and die for your taste pleasure. She was a mother who cared about her babies. She had a central nervous system and pain receptors and a brain, which means that she experienced pain and fear and misery. She wanted to live.
Are the fleeting taste sensations of flesh, organs, and bodily secretions really that important to you, when there are so many nutritious and delicious alternatives that don’t come from the suffering and slaughter of sentient beings?
There is abundant research proving that humans have no inherent biological or nutritional need to consume animals or animal products, and that a vegan diet provides significant health benefits, can prevent and treat chronic diseases, and is best for overall health.
If you are unaware of the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting a vegan diet, that may be because...well, guess who doesn’t want you to know the truth! The animal agriculture industry, as well as the media, the government, and the healthcare industry, because they all accept funding from the animal agriculture industry. That’s right: It’s all about money for all of these corporate entities—not about the animals, not about the planet, and not about your health! Please really think about that. IF YOU ARE UNAWARE OF THE SCIENCE, THEN YOU DO NOT HAVE AN INFORMED OPINION.
Please also think about your food choices and ask yourself if you are being an ethical and compassionate person, and if causing pain and suffering and slaughter for nothing more than momentary, trivial taste pleasure...is who you really are. Yes, of course what you eat is your choice. But why would you choose pain and suffering and violence when you can choose peace and love and compassion? Your opinion doesn’t make you an ethical person. Your actions do.
WHO IS JUDGING?
When presenting factual information, vegans are often accused of JUDGING non-vegans. Facts are not judgment. When you present facts to people who then say, “Stop judging me,” simply tell them that facts are not judgment, and that if they feel judged, then perhaps they should ask themselves why they feel that way.
Here are examples of some facts:
Animals have central nervous systems; plants do not.
The building blocks of protein (amino acids) are all found in plants.
There is no biological requirement for humans to consume animals or their bodily secretions.
Vegan food is grown and harvested, not born and slaughtered.
Dairy cows and egg-laying hens are sold to the meat industry when their milk or egg production declines.
And it goes on and on... They may choose to disagree with the facts that you present, but that doesn’t mean that you are JUDGING them.
When they say that a vegan is judging them, they mean that the vegan is forming a negative opinion about them based on thoughts, feelings, and observed behavior.
And ironically, JUDGING is exactly what they are doing with regard to chickens, pigs, cows, etc., as exemplified in this comic by Vegan Sidekick (below). To prove that point, simply ask them if they eat dogs and cats.
Call them out on how THEY are actually doing the JUDGING when they accuse you of judging them!
And emphasize that all you have done is given them factual information; therefore, if they feel judged by you, then there must be a reason they feel that way (perhaps GUILT...because they know exactly what happens to the animals who suffer and die to create and become their food).
“SHOOTING THE MESSENGER”
Isn’t it frustrating when people want to focus on their dislike of vegans rather than focus on the animals, who are the suffering victims of their choices? Don’t let them get away with deflecting. Keep bringing the focus back to the animals. They say that they dislike vegans, but do they agree with the message that animal cruelty is wrong? Don’t let them dismiss the message and ignore the suffering animals by focusing on their dislike of vegans. That’s called “shooting the messenger.”
Ask them, “If someone told you that cruelty to dogs is wrong, would you dismiss that message just because you didn’t like the person or the way the person was presenting the message?” No, of course they would still agree that cruelty to dogs is not ethical or compassionate, so why don’t they broaden their perspective to include chickens, pigs, cows, and other animals as part of their values that animal cruelty is wrong?
Are these “food” animals somehow different from dogs? There is no moral justification for treating them any differently than we would treat a traditional companion animal or another human. They are all sentient beings with central nervous systems, which means that they have full self-awareness and can experience emotions, and pain and suffering. All of these animals seek attention and affection, form bonds with friends, care about their babies, feel emotions, can experience pain, and want to live.
There is no biological requirement for humans to consume animals or their bodily secretions. The millions of healthy vegans around the world are proof of that, as is the abundance of peer-reviewed, evidence-based research and studies about a vegan diet. Causing pain and suffering and slaughter for nothing more than taste pleasure is not ethically defensible, but most people who participate in such behavior claim to be ethical, which is why we must keep the focus on the suffering animals.
Vegans are simply explaining that there is a healthier, smarter, and more compassionate way to live. It’s about the animals, who are the suffering victims of unnecessary choices, not about us.
WHAT IS A SOCIOPATH?
A sociopath doesn’t try to understand the feelings of others. Sociopaths make decisions without feeling guilty for the harm they cause. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), a sociopath consistently shows a lack of regard for others’ feelings or rights. Sociopaths don’t feel guilt or remorse for causing harm or mistreating or killing others. Hmmmm....
LIVE YOUR VALUES THROUGH YOUR CHOICES
You may not be vegan, but being vegan is probably an expression of who you really are. Do you believe in COMPASSION and NON-VIOLENCE? Do you believe that it is wrong to harm, exploit, and kill others for taste pleasure, or for any kind of enjoyment or gratification, especially when there are alternatives available?
Being vegan isn’t about being perfect or judgmental. It’s simply about making kind and ethical choices. Being vegan isn’t difficult. It’s simply about doing what you can to reduce pain and suffering, and these days it only takes a little effort because plant-based food and products are widely available.
Why do you think it’s wrong to abuse and slaughter dogs, cats, and horses, but not chickens, pigs, and cows? How are these animals different? Do they experience pain and suffering differently? Are they less deserving of kindness and respect? Do they taste different? From a moral standpoint, how do you decide which animals deserve to suffer and die to produce and become your food and products?
Every day, we have the opportunity to live our values through our choices. Just make the simple decision, “No, I’m not going to eat that or wear that or purchase that because I know those animals suffered, and I don’t want to be the reason for that pain and misery and violence.”
If we value compassion over violence, then making the effort to find plant-based food and products is a simple expression of who we really are. Please be ethically consistent. Please manifest the kind and ethical person you claim to be through your daily choices. Please go vegan.
HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE FREEDOM & INDEPENDENCE?
An eagle represents American freedom, but millions of Americans will celebrate their freedom today by eating birds and other animals who were imprisoned, tortured, and slaughtered. July 4th is Independence Day for the United States of America, but most Americans will celebrate by consuming the flesh, organs, and bodily secretions (dairy and eggs) of others who had no freedom or independence at all. These other sentient beings are considered property and commodities, despite the fact that they are emotional individuals with full self-awareness, perception abilities, and central nervous systems, which means that they have the capacity to experience pain and suffering.
Chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys, sheep, fish, and other animals are no different from dogs, cats, horses, elephants, and humans. We all seek attention and affection, form bonds with friends, care about our babies, feel emotions, can experience pain, cherish freedom, and want to live.
But many humans don’t want to think beyond the “food” in front of them. They ignore that the flesh, organs, eggs, and mammary secretions that they glibly consume came from suffering, slaughtered individuals.
Please think about what freedom means.
Please have empathy and compassion.
Please stop harming and killing others.
Please do a little research and educate yourself.
Please make choices that are consistent with who you really are.
Please decide what your morals are, and apply them to everyone.
The good news is that there are delicious, affordable, and healthy plant-based alternatives to animal products, and that you don’t need to consume animals or their bodily secretions in order to be happy and healthy. The bottom line is that humans can behave morally, think rationally, and live happy and healthy lives without consuming animals or their bodily secretions.
Please think about how grateful you are that you can celebrate being free and independent, and then open your heart to others.