THE VEGAN MOVEMENT
‘80S MUSIC AND VEGANISM?!
In 2016, I decided that I needed to come up with a unique and creative way to reach people with the vegan message, and I knew that somehow I would use ‘80s music to help the suffering animals. I had been very unsuccessful in my personal life reaching friends and family with the vegan message. The people I cared about the most didn’t want to hear or think about all of the pain and suffering and violence that they cause animals. I thought...if I could come up with something fun and interesting, making ‘80s music a part of it, then maybe people would be more open to the vegan message.
I’ve always loved ‘80s music. And I knew that Bryan Adams was vegan, and of course Morrissey. Then I found out that Def Leppard’s guitarist Phil Collen was vegan. These three world-famous musicians whose music I loved as a teenager were speaking publicly about the animals and being vegan! And people love rock stars! I started searching for other ‘80s artists who were vegan. Richard Marx was vegan! Poison’s drummer Rikki Rockett was vegan! Stevie Wonder was vegan! I found many vegan quotes from all of these guys. And I knew that I had something.
I started building this do-it-yourself website. I decided that I wouldn’t try to sell anything or use any advertisements because it had to be all about the animals. I came up with “80s pop animals” because it was the only succinct phrase that I could think of which incorporated the animals and ‘80s music. In my free time, I researched and wrote about every vegan topic I could think of...while gathering data to compile a list of the best songs from the ‘80s. Everyone I knew loved ‘80s music. If I could come up with a definitive list of THE TOP 500 POP SONGS OF THE 1980S, maybe people would be interested in that, and then I could create images of the ‘80s artists and their quotes, and post them on Facebook, and hope that people would come to my website to learn about the animals and veganism. I had to try something, and I had always heard “follow your passion,” so that’s what I did.
I gathered lots of data to compile THE TOP 500 POP SONGS OF THE 1980S. It was laborious and took many months, but I knew that it had to be perfect if I were to have any credibility with a list like this. I put the list on this website along with lots of images and essays. Friends with technical skills helped me with logos and other graphics. I created a Facebook page where I posted the songs, and I posted images and essays on my personal timeline and in groups, and hoped for the best.
When I started my little vegan project masquerading as an ‘80s music project, I knew of only six vegan ‘80s musicians, and now that number has doubled, as you can see in the image above. Those 12 ‘80s music artists are Bryan Adams, Richard Marx, Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Morrissey (The Smiths), Stevie Wonder, Rikki Rockett (Poison), Grace Slick (Starship), Terri Nunn (Berlin), Annabella Lwin (the Original Bow Wow Wow), Rick Allen (Def Leppard), Brian May (Queen), and Tom Bailey (Thompson Twins).
There are other ‘80s music artists featured on this website who are not vegan (or have not admitted publicly that they are vegan). They have been vocal about veganism and the suffering and violence that animals endure. Those musicians are Joan Jett, Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Paul McCartney, Belinda Carlisle, Howard Jones, Mick Jones (The Clash), Tom Scholz (Boston), and Kate Bush. Chaka Khan went plant-based for health reasons to lose weight. Olivia Newton-John is exploring veganism, primarily for health reasons. I do have all of these artists on this website because their quotes for the animals and veganism are important and influential, even if they can’t seem to stop exploiting, abusing, and killing animals. I fervently cling to the hope that they will go vegan soon.
For the record, Prince claimed to be vegan for a few years when he was married to vegan Mayte Garcia. He spoke out against eating red meat and wearing fur and wool, and he did support veganism and claimed to have compassion for animals. John Lennon spoke in defense of animals, but never actually went vegan. Both of them are featured on this website because their words have impact even though they were not vegan.
An average of 77 unique users visit this website every day. My Facebook page now has 4,600 followers. These may seem like small numbers, but for me and my “small potatoes” project, these numbers are significant. When people search for ‘80s songs and artists on Google and other search engines, they are directed to my website. I can see that visitors look at the pages about the animals in addition to the music pages. Some of my posts on Facebook get hundreds of shares, and a few have even gotten thousands of shares. I have received dozens of messages from people who have gone vegan because of what they learned on my website or in my social media posts, and those are only the people who have contacted me. This project is a success for the animals. Thank you for visiting this website and supporting this project!
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 and deflect when someone tries to make them aware of an uncomfortable reality.
It’s difficult to accept that you have been causing and funding unspeakable suffering and violence to others. Most vegans had to face that they too were once unintentionally complicit in the horrible pain and misery that animals who are exploited and killed for human food 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. Vegans will tell you that the one regret they have is not going vegan sooner.
TWO AGENDAS: WHO’S LYING TO YOU?
It’s interesting that some people are very bothered by what they call the “vegan agenda.” Do the meat, dairy, and egg industries have an agenda? Yes, of course: It’s TO MAKE MONEY!
The meat, dairy, and egg sectors of the animal agricultural industry are really just one behemoth industry because they work together supporting each other. The dairy and egg industries sell their “nonprofitable waste” to the meat industry. The male babies who are born to egg-laying hens and dairy cows are considered “nonprofitable waste” because males cannot produce milk or eggs, which makes them “worthless” to these industries. The farmers can’t make a profit by selling the bodily secretions of the males, which is why they either kill them shortly after they are born, or they sell them to the meat industry to be slaughtered.
And of course, the egg-laying hens and dairy cows themselves also become “nonprofitable waste” when their decline in milk or egg production renders them “worthless” too. They are slaughtered after enduring misery and exploitation for their entire lives. If you are a vegetarian, then you are supporting the meat industry. If you are shocked by this information, please understand that this brutality is standard procedure in all sectors of the animal agriculture industry.
The meat/dairy/egg industry’s agenda is all about making money. In contrast, the vegan agenda is all about ending animal abuse, exploitation, and slaughter. Which agenda does a compassionate, ethical person support?
Most vegans were duped by the incessant corporate propaganda and lies of the meat/dairy/egg industry...until we started questioning it. How many advertisements for slaughtered animals and their bodily secretions (dairy and eggs) do you see in a day? Do you even notice? Most vegans initially believed all of the advertisements and what the “experts” say about needing animal products for protein, and all of the other lies spewed by the animal agriculture industry, because we have been bombarded with this propaganda since we were young impressionable children, just like you.
The animal agriculture industry makes huge campaign contributions to politicians so that they will support legislation that benefits this mercenary agenda. The animal agriculture industry also funds the media so that television, radio, internet, and all media outlets are 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. This insidious agenda is so prevalent and pervasive that you don’t even realize that you are being deceived. All of these industries are getting richer by duping you and inflicting horrendous suffering and violence on animals.
The simple truth is that humans can survive and thrive on plants alone! There is no biological or nutritional requirement for humans to consume flesh, organs, or bodily secretions. The millions of healthy vegans around the world (including many prominent vegan athletes and bodybuilders) are proof of that, as is the abundance of peer-reviewed, evidence-based scientific research and studies about a vegan diet.
Please have empathy and compassion for these animals. Please stop spending money on suffering and violence. Please decide what your morals are (what you personally believe is right and wrong), and then apply those morals to everyone. For example, if you believe that abusing, exploiting, and killing others for taste pleasure and convenience is wrong, then why wouldn’t you extend your ethical philosophy to all sentient beings? Not just to other humans, nor to only specific animals such as dogs and cats. EVERYONE!
The vegan agenda is not about good people versus bad people, nor is it about judging anyone. It’s about ending this insane and unnecessary abuse and violence to animals. They are the suffering victims. The vegan agenda is simply about having empathy and compassion for the animals.
HAVE YOU BEEN DUPED BY PROPAGANDA & LIES?
Why do humans mindlessly consume flesh, organs, and bodily secretions (dairy and eggs)? The reason rational humans engage in this behavior is because they have been duped by propaganda and lies. It’s all about exploiting, abusing, and slaughtering animals for profit.
This purported “food” is not healthy for humans, the production of it is destroying the environment, and it all comes from horrendous suffering and violence. The meat, dairy, and egg industries permeate television, radio, internet, and all media outlets with propaganda and lies in order to fool you into believing that it is completely healthy, necessary, humane, natural, and normal to consume flesh, veins, blood, muscles, and tendons, as well as bovine mammary secretions, and ovulations that discharge from a bird’s poop hole.
This malevolent agenda is so pervasive that most people don’t even realize that they have been deceived since they were young impressionable children. It’s all about making money from animal abuse and slaughter——and the media, governments and politicians, the healthcare industry, and education systems are all in on this scam because they are paid off by the animal agriculture industry in order to sustain this insanely barbaric and violent deception.
Please think about what you are supporting, engage in some critical thinking, do some research on animal agriculture, and then make compassionate, rational choices. Please stop supporting animal abuse and slaughter.
SUFFERING VICTIMS OF VIOLENT CHOICES
Please have empathy and compassion for these animals. Please stop spending money on suffering and violence. Please decide what your morals are (what you personally believe is right and wrong), and then apply those morals to everyone. For example, if you believe that abusing, exploiting, and killing others for taste pleasure and convenience is wrong, then why wouldn’t you apply that to EVERYBODY? Not just to other humans, nor to only specific animals such as dogs and cats. EVERYONE!
If you choose to ignore the facts about what happens to these animals when they are forced to create and become your food, then you are supporting animal suffering and violence for nothing more than your personal taste pleasure and convenience.
Becoming vegan is not about good people versus bad people, or about judging anyone. It’s about the animals. They are the suffering victims. Veganism is simply about having empathy and COMPASSION for them.
The good news is that now there are delicious, affordable, and healthy plant-based alternatives to all 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.
Going vegan is much easier than you think. Click HERE for some of the best FREE vegan starter kits.
Don’t get angry at vegans for providing you factual information and speaking up for the suffering victims of your unnecessary, selfish choices. Please have empathy and compassion for all animals. If you were being imprisoned, mutilated, exploited, and tortured, and waiting to be slaughtered, you would want someone to speak up for you.
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. That’s not forcing your beliefs on others?
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. Is it GUILT...because you know exactly what happens to the animals who suffer and die to create and become your food?
“Stop trying to make me feel guilty!” is another common response when vegans ask people to think about the animals. Nobody can “make you” feel guilty for something that you feel totally comfortable doing. In fact, no one “makes you” feel anything. You are responsible for your feelings. If you feel guilty because of something a vegan says to you, think about why you feel that way. Is it because you know that consuming meat, dairy, and eggs causes animals to experience pain and suffering and terror...for your taste pleasure? If you feel guilty for causing that abuse and violence to defenseless animals for your trivial enjoyment, that means you have a conscience.
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 are making a judgment about specific species. You are deciding who should suffer and die. You think that’s ridiculous? Then why don’t you eat dogs or cats? Why don’t you consume canine or feline bodily secretions?
According to you, dogs and cats deserve to live free and happy, but chickens, cows, turkeys, 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.
Listen to your own conscience instead of focusing on the vegans who stir up all of the guilt and the negative emotions that you experience when you think about the animal abuse and violence that you cause when you support the meat, dairy, and egg industries. You know it's wrong. And all you have to do is stop funding these industries, and simply eat something else.
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 didn’t want to suffer. She wanted to live in peace.
Are the fleeting taste sensations of flesh, organs, and bodily secretions really that important to you, when there are many nutritious and delicious alternatives that don’t come from the suffering and slaughter of sentient beings? Or is it your opinion that consuming meat, dairy, and eggs is totally fine, healthy, humane, normal, natural, necessary, and ethical? Do you have a well-informed opinion? Or is your opinion just based on personal preferences, habit, tradition, convenience, and very little factual information?
If you are unaware of what these animals experience to create and become your “food,” well...guess who doesn’t want you to know what happens to these animals! The animal agriculture industry, as well as the media, the government and politicians, the education system, and even the healthcare industry, because they all accept funding from the meat, dairy, and egg sectors of the animal agriculture industry. It’s all about money. And abusing, exploiting, and slaughtering animals is profitable because you and billions of others are paying for it.
This mother is forced to nurse her babies inside a metal crate. The word “destroy” has been painted on her because soon she will be slaughtered. Pigs and other animals endure immense pain and suffering from very well-documented standard practices that neither the animal agriculture industry nor the government even bother to deny: castration, teeth clipping, de-beaking, de-horning, tail docking, tail clipping, burning marks in skin, hole punching in ears for tags, udder-singeing, spiked nose-ringing, and other mutilations——all carried out without any painkillers. These animals endure extreme confinement and overcrowding, filthy and toxic conditions, debilitating infections and diseases, and food and water deprivation. All of these animals endure more pain and torment than you could even imagine...for their entire lives. All of this brutality is standard procedure, hidden away by the animal agriculture industry so that you won’t think about it while you are enjoying the flesh, organs, and bodily secretions of these tortured beings. IF YOU ARE UNAWARE OF THE STANDARD, LEGAL PRACTICES IN THE MEAT, DAIRY, AND EGG INDUSTRIES (ON SMALL FARMS TOO!), THEN YOU DO NOT HAVE AN INFORMED OPINION.
Please think about your food choices and ask yourself if causing pain and misery and slaughter for nothing more than momentary, trivial taste pleasure...is who you really are. Yes, of course what you eat is your choice, and you are entitled to your opinion, but why would you choose suffering and violence when you can choose peace and compassion? Your opinion doesn’t make you an ethical person. Your actions do.
GUNDA IS ONE OF THE VERY BEST VEGAN DOCUMENTARIES!
GUNDA is the vegan documentary that everyone must watch! This film is profound, mesmerizing, and life-changing. GUNDA (pronounced “Goondah”) is suitable for all audiences and shows no violence whatsoever. Please watch it with your non-vegan friends and family members. And don’t be surprised when they finally say that they want to go vegan!
(Look for your country under distributors)
The film stars a pig named Gunda and her piglets, and also features several cows and chickens. It is black-and-white, 93 minutes long, and has no dialogue, no music, and no humans. GUNDA is suitable for all ages and has no violence whatsoever. The final minute of the film is one of the most impactful endings of any film. The film’s director said that he and the entire crew went vegan after filming the final scene.
Executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix, GUNDA is an American-Norwegian documentary directed, written, and edited by Russian Viktor Kossakovsky, whose previous films have won more than a hundred awards all over the world.
Viktor Kossakovsk told Joaquin Phoenix, “Cinema can show you something you don’t want to see, or you’re not able to see, or you decided not to see... Every day I am getting letters from people who watch it who say, ‘I cannot imagine eating meat anymore. I can’t imagine it.’ ... I’ve never been so happy in my entire life, from making [this film] because, you do feel. You feel, and you become a different person. You feel that you cannot live in the way you used to live. All my life I was vegetarian... After making it, of course I became vegan because, you SEE. They have souls.”
GUNDA has been nominated for several prestigious awards, and has won several. GUNDA was honored as Best Documentary by the Russian Guild of Film Critics (2021), the Sofia International Film Festival (2021), and the Stockholm Film Festival (2020). GUNDA won Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking at the U.S. Cinema Eye Honors Awards (2021). The American Society of Cinematographers declared GUNDA the winner of the Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Documentary Film (2021). GUNDA also won the Dublin Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography (2021). GUNDA was one of six films nominated for Best European Documentary at the 2020 European Film Awards.
GUNDA should have been nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary. And it almost was! GUNDA was one of 15 finalists (of 238 eligible films) on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ shortlist for the Best Documentary Feature category. But instead of GUNDA, the Academy chose five other documentaries, including My Octopus Teacher, which ended up winning. But GUNDA is the movie that people really need to watch! We’ve had many impactful documentaries over the years, but GUNDA might be the one that influences the most people to go vegan!
LOOK WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING ABOUT GUNDA!
GUNDA has has a 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 89 reviews. These critics are not pushing a “vegan agenda.” They are professional movie critics who see every movie, and look at what they say about GUNDA! These reviews alone prove that this movie really makes people think about the suffering victims of the meat, dairy, and egg industries——and compels them to make compassionate, ethical choices.
Here are just a few of the overwhelmingly positive reviews of GUNDA:
“GUNDA is stunning, immersive, and endlessly compelling.”
“Simply the most astonishing, moving, engrossing and beautiful film I’ve seen in months.”
“An immersive, enriching, and transformative experience.”
“It’s as staggering as it is stirring.”
“Subtly makes the case for animal rights.”
“GUNDA never feels like animal-liberation propaganda...but its message shines through.”
“Sublimely beautiful and profoundly moving.”
“Though strictly unsentimental, GUNDA is intensely moving, transfixing and quite genuinely unique.”
“A highly original, singularly beautiful film.”
“Groundbreaking and wondrous for its intimacy.”
“It’s stunning work, as quiet and powerful as a film gets.”
“It’s a must-watch but you’ll probably never eat bacon again.”
“The magic of GUNDA lies in his ability to adjust our eyes.”
“As an emotional argument, it takes the viewer on an incredibly effective journey.”
“It’s a recognition of animals’ creatureliness and a quiet argument for their dignity.”
“Sparing us a heavy-handed lecture, GUNDA shows, rather than tells, us why we should value animals for more than just their meat, and is all the more powerful for it.”
“It is hard to fully articulate how, but GUNDA is as much a damning meditation on the human condition as it is a glowing, thought-provoking portrayal of a mother’s love for her children.”
“Few, if any, films have more effectively documented an animal’s capacity for deep and complicated feeling...”
“Rather than feeling like a heartstring-pulling plea to go meatless, it’s a matter-of-fact account of the little tragedies that play out in the lives of animals who are born, live, and die for consumption by others.”
“What it does express, in the most unadorned and ultimately affecting of ways, is the sentience of these creatures.”
“For all its restraint, GUNDA oozes empathy.”
“While GUNDA exhibits tremendous empathy, it does not indulge in anthropomorphism or court sentimental responses.”
“Few films capture the intense, sticky bond between a mother and her offspring so simply and wrenchingly, without remark, or convey the knowledge that we carnivores are devouring souls with every bite of bacon.”
“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.”
“The end result is empathetic without being anthropomorphic, polemical without being hectoring.”
“The resolution is a strangely rewarding payoff due to how precisely it conveys and inspires a pure emotional response that feels earned and sincere.”
“No matter how people choose to process GUNDA, the filmmaker has captured an undeniable emotional process never seen in quite such terms before...as it builds an argument against animal cruelty that transcends the boundaries of shrill polemics.”
“Sublimely beautiful and profoundly moving... The results are spellbinding... Yet as Kossakovsky reminds us, even as he spares us the ghastliness of the slaughterhouse, we need to look at animals to honestly see what we have done.”
“Kossakovsky isn’t out to lecture or confront his audience with moral rhetoric or shock imagery... Rest assured this is G-rated material throughout——with stark, quietly wrenching impact...”
“Intensely moving, transfixing and quite genuinely unique... Anyone who never thought they could imagine the feelings of an animal will have their mind changed here, in a sequence that you might see as indirectly making Gunda a figure of the human condition on four legs...”
“GUNDA doesn’t manufacture characters, but it does, in the end, find something like an arc for its menagerie, closing as it does with an extended final shot that communicates the harsh reality of farm life in a way arguably just as upsetting——but much less expected——than a trip to the slaughterhouse. The message comes through loud and painfully clear...”
“The effect is uncannily gripping, GUNDA opting for a wordless approach to avoid anthropomorphizing these farm animals, challenging the viewer to see them for what they are.... GUNDA’s closing minutes are a moment of visceral, immediate cinema, one that immediately spikes home the exploitative nature of animal farming——applying the camera’s innate ability to humanize onto an animal we try not to think about before it hits our dinner plate.”
“As GUNDA lurches toward its close, an impending sense of doom starts to hover over it as we begin to realize just how much these animals’ lives are directed, controlled, and circumscribed by human hands... GUNDA isn’t simply an observational documentary, but one with a message about the cruelty of livestock agriculture... If GUNDA never subjects us to gruesome images of slaughter...it nevertheless closes with a prolonged single-shot sequence that’s more heartbreaking than any depiction of the goings-on in an abattoir ever captured on film. It’s the kind of viscerally upsetting moment that would make a stone cry.”
“More experience than movie, GUNDA is a visionary case for veganism in black and white...GUNDA neither aims to document animal consciousness or anthropomorphize it. Instead, Kossakovsky’s fascinating non-narrative experiment burrows into the center of his subject’s nervous system, meeting the creatures on their own terms in a remarkable plea for empathy that only implores carnivores to think twice by implication... And that’s all there is to it——until the closing minutes, a staggering turn of events that redefine everything building up to them.”
“It could very well change hearts and minds... But GUNDA is far more than a plea or argument; it’s a gorgeous, gripping series of encounters——and, finally, an unforgettable drama. [The film builds] toward a final sequence that’s as affecting as any ever put to film... The devastating final sequence is not what many viewers will expect (and fear)——not exactly. It’s both less and infinitely more, a testament to the power and cogency of Kossakovsky's storytelling... GUNDA is a soul-stirring meditation on some of our most underappreciated fellow earthlings. For many viewers, it could well be life-changing too.”
Read all of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
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 abusing and killing animals for taste pleasure (or for any kind of trivial gratification) is wrong. Abundant evidence exists that the meat, dairy, and egg industries inflict horrendous, prolonged pain and misery on these animals, but from childhood most of us have been duped by relentless propaganda from these 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 maintained that we were animal lovers. At a very young age, harming, exploiting, and killing animals became a habitual (but unconscious) 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.
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 suffer, 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 and a desire to live, 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, experience emotions, form bonds with friends, care about their babies, can endure pain and misery, and want to live.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: 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 abuse is wrong—but they lash out at the vegans rather than deal with the cognitive dissonance and consider changing their behavior.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: 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 from meat,” 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 acquire 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 animal flesh or bodily secretions (dairy and eggs). 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.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: OVERCOMING THIS OBSTRUCTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL PHENOMENON
Cognitive dissonance is a major obstacle to ending a person’s support of the abuse, 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 and convenience. 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 suffering and violence are not happening doesn’t mean that they aren’t causing it. In fact, they are the reason for the suffering and violence inflicted on these animals 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 most people become aware of what happens to these animals, and then they 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.
[Note: Of course, veganism is about more than just what we eat. Humans exploit, harm, and kill animals for many reasons and in many industries, but the “food” animals represent over 99% of these abused, suffering, emotional beings.]
BEST VEGAN MOMENT OF 2020:
JOAQUIN PHOENIX’S OSCAR SPEECH
On February 9, 2020, to a live audience of 24 million people, Joaquin Phoenix talked about the suffering cows in the dairy industry during his Oscar acceptance speech (Best Actor for Joker). And the next day, he rescued a mother cow and her calf from a slaughterhouse.
“God, I’m full of so much gratitude right now. And I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anyone in this room because we share the same love, the love of film. And this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life. I don’t know what I’d be without it. But I think the greatest gift that it’s given me, and many of us in this room, is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless.
I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the distressing issues that we are facing collectively. I think at times we feel, or we’re made to feel, that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice. We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity.
I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world, and many of us...what we’re guilty of is an egocentric world view——the belief that we’re the center of the universe. We go into the natural world, and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf, and we put it in our coffee and our cereal. And I think we fear the idea of personal change because we think that we have to sacrifice something, to give something up, but human beings, at our best, are so inventive and creative and ingenious. And I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.
Now, I have been, I have been a scoundrel in my life. I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I’m grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. And I think that’s when we’re at our best, when we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other toward redemption. That is the best of humanity.
When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said, ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.’”
~ Joaquin Phoenix
February 9, 2020
The day after winning his Oscar, Joaquin Phoenix visited a slaughterhouse run by Manning Beef in Pico Rivera, California, and had a discussion with the president and CEO of the company. He went there to help animal rights group Los Angeles Animal Save liberate a cow and her newborn calf from the slaughterhouse and bring them to Farm Sanctuary. He named the mama cow Liberty, and the calf Indigo.
He said, “I never thought I’d find friendship in a slaughterhouse, but meeting Anthony and opening my heart to his, I realize we might have more in common than we do differences. Without his act of kindness, Liberty and her baby calf Indigo, would have met a terrible demise. Although we will continue to fight for the liberation of all animals who suffer in these oppressive systems, we must take pause to acknowledge and celebrate the victories, and the people who helped achieve them. Shaun Monson, Amy Jean Davis, and the entire LA Animal Save community, have taken their pain of bearing witness and turned it into effective, diplomatic advocacy for the voiceless. As a result, Liberty and Indigo will never experience cruelty or the touch of a rough hand. My hope is, as we watch baby Indigo grow up with her mom Liberty at Farm Sanctuary, that we’ll always remember that friendships can emerge in the most unexpected places; and no matter our differences, kindness and compassion should rule everything around us.”
And it wasn’t just this rescue and the Oscars. On January 19, 2020, 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 LA 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 routinely hosts vigils for pigs at this slaughterhouse, 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 mention 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 TV news magazine 60 Minutes (which aired on CBS on January 12, 2020) Joaquin did speak about his activism and even took 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 went plant-based in 2020, in addition to the Academy Awards (the Oscars) pre-show party and after-party: the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Thank you, Joaquin, for using your platform to speak out for the suffering animals.
ANNUAL VEGAN DOCUMENTARIES
BY PLANT BASED NEWS
Since 2015, Plant Based News has been releasing documentaries that summarize the progress of the vegan movement. The films track the rise and challenges faced by the vegan movement for each year.
Plant Based News is a global, multi-platform news, media, and entertainment company, and an excellent resource for ethical consumerism, sustainability, the plant-based lifestyle, and the burgeoning vegan movement.
Click on the images below to watch the films.
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT THAT YOU BELIEVED THE LIES
The truth has been hidden from you, quite deliberately by the meat/dairy/ egg industry, 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 nefarious motivations involved here? All of these people are getting rich!
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, the education system, the healthcare industry, and anyone else who will help promote its interests, regardless of any detrimental effects to anyone else (or the environment). Isn’t that promoting an AGENDA?
WHAT MOTIVATES VEGANS?
Do you think that vegans are being paid off by the vegetable industry? No, we aren’t making a profit speaking up for the suffering animals. In fact, many of us actually spend our own money to try to further the animal rights movement. The only benefit we get is the peace knowing 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 mistreating and killing others for pleasure or convenience is not an acceptable “personal choice.” It’s basic human decency not to cause unnecessary harm and violence to others. Once you learn the truth, you either hold yourself accountable, or you don’t.
Vegans are not lying to you about the horrible brutality that happens to these animals. We’ve seen the videos and films that document the standard savagery, which most people refuse to watch, and many of us have witnessed the atrocities in person. Most of these atrocities are legal because animals who are exploited and killed for food are considered property, and the meat/dairy/egg industry tries very hard to keep the abuse and violence hidden from the public. But a plethora of these videos and films are available online for those who have the courage, curiosity, and compassion to educate themselves.
Vegans are up against very powerful and wealthy foes in the animal agricultural industry who will do whatever it takes to push their “products” on the oblivious masses. 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?
IS DAIRY THE BIGGEST SCAM OF ALL TIME?
The purpose of the dairy industry is to steal mammary secretions from babies and then sell that milk (and the cows themselves) for profit. Yes, cows in the dairy industry all end up at a slaughterhouse after lives of misery.
Like all mammals, cows must have been pregnant to produce milk. Milk isn’t created without a baby to drink it. 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.
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 pain receptors 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 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 and 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 sent to be slaughtered. These are the simple facts of the dairy industry.
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 cow milk is for... humans? Huh?!
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, 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 paint and glue. Seriously! Look it up for yourself.
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, torturing, and killing 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 lactating 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?
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 duped by corporate propaganda 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? Why are you still breastfeeding? And from a different species? Please, THINK!!
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?!
Today there are many nutritious and delicious alternatives to dairy that don’t come from suffering and slaughter. Please think about your food choices and ask yourself if you are being ethical and compassionate, and if causing pain and misery to animals... is who you really are. There is no biological or nutritional requirement for humans to consume the flesh and organs of animals, or their bodily secretions (dairy and eggs). Plant-based alternatives are everywhere now. It just takes a little extra time to look for plant-based ice cream, beverages, yogurt, cheese, butter, etc.
The choice to continue supporting the dairy industry is a conscious decision to harm, exploit, and kill animals. Going vegan is simply about choosing peace and compassion, instead of suffering and violence. Please say NO to dairy!
EATING ANIMAL FLESH & BODILY SERCETIONS CAUSES ZOONOTIC PANDEMICS LIKE COVID-19!
Vegans know that COVID-19 is just a dress rehearsal for more devastating pandemics, but everyone else seems to be willfully ignorant about this indisputable reality! Eating Animals Causes Pandemics is an organization calling for humanity to change our food system before it is too late!
“A zoonosis, such as COVID-19, is an infectious disease that originates in animals and spreads to humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in humans are zoonotic in nature. SARS, Mad Cow Disease, Avian/Bird Flu, Swine Flu, HIV/AIDS, MERS, Smallpox, Measles, and Ebola are examples.
Zoonotic diseases like coronavirus infect 2.5 billion people every year. Although they originated in wild animals, many of the worst zoonotic outbreaks have infected humans through our interactions with domestic animal intermediaries, such as pigs, ducks, and chickens. Pathogenic microbes do not distinguish between wild and domesticated animals...nor even humans. These pathogens jump the species barrier without discrimination.
Animal agriculture provides an ideal breeding ground for zoonotic diseases to flourish, mutate, and, as we’ve seen with COVID-19, infect a human host. Across the globe, we raise over 70 billion animals in factory farms for food. These animals live in filthy and cramped conditions, their immune systems stressed and vulnerable, making these facilities hotspots for illness. But all farms, whether small and family-run or large industrial operations, keep animals in confined spaces where diseases can spread easily, creating a threat of infections spreading to humans.
As an example, the Spanish Flu (H1N1 influenza A virus) pandemic originated on a farm in the USA and infected 500 million people across the planet, about one-third of the world’s population at the time, with death toll estimates ranging from 17 million to 100 million. COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, is believed to have spread from a wet market in China. Such markets exist in many countries around the world, including Canada and the US, with over 80 in New York City alone, as of 2020...
Every time we buy animal products, we directly support a system that will continue to produce pandemics, and will ultimately render ineffective our existing antibiotics...
Do not underestimate the power of what you choose to put on your plate! A surefire way to eliminate the threat of future zoonotic pandemics is to switch to a plant-based diet. Not only is it safer, but it is healthier and far more sustainable, when considering the health of our planet.”
To learn how to you can help make changes towards a safer, sustainable future, please visit Eating Animals Causes Pandemics.
COVID-19 CAME FROM ANIMAL AGRICULTURE!
I accepted years ago that most human beings simply don’t care about the horrendous pain and suffering that animals who are exploited and killed for food endure, because taste pleasure and convenience are more important to them. 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 tortured animals who are 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 that 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 during the pandemic, the animal agriculture industry has been declared essential, and slaughterhouses, factory farms, and processing plants have been mandated to keep operating at full capacity, endangering the lives of the humans who work in those facilities. Many of them have died, but a potential shortage of animal products is more important?!
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 diseases and pandemics 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.
It’s not difficult 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 better 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 (if we stopped intensively breeding animals by the billions for incredibly inefficient food sources that humans don’t need——especially in poor countries populated with starving humans——and instead used that land to grow plants for humans to eat directly, we could easily feed every human on the planet with healthy and affordable food)...
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 this pandemic would force people to wake up, finally. But apparently not. Sadly, humanity deserves this. The next pandemic is coming soon, from a wet market, factory farm, or slaughterhouse near you... sponsored by YOU! And it will be much worse.
WET MARKETS VERSUS SLAUGHTERHOUSES
The scientific consensus is 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 the 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 a wet market, a factory farm, or a slaughterhouse, then you are actively participating in the development of the next deadly virus and pandemic,
INFECTIOUS DISEASES, PANDEMICS, AND ANIMALS
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that more than six out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals, and that three out of every four 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.**
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!
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 horrendous suffering and violence. 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 slaughtered 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.
OPPRESSION AND 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.
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 or nutritional 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 or cats, or if they consume canine or feline mammary secretions. They are making judgments about specific species. In their estimation, dogs and cats deserve to live happy and free, but cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys are nothing more than “food” animals. Those animals exist for exploitation and slaughter by humans. That is a judgment.
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 it’s 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....
If people who exploit, abuse, and kill animals are sociopaths...then what are people who pay other people to exploit, abuse, and kill animals? Is there an ethical or practical difference between committing an act of violence yourself and paying someone else to do it for you?
YOUR CHOICES REVEAL WHO YOU REALLY ARE
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 AND INDEPENDENCE?
An eagle represents American freedom and independence, but hundreds of millions of Americans celebrate their freedom and independence by eating birds and other animals who were imprisoned, exploited, tortured, and slaughtered. July 4th is Independence Day for the United States of America, but most Americans celebrate that holiday by consuming the flesh, organs, and bodily secretions (dairy and eggs) of animals who had no freedom or independence at all.
These 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 can and do experience immense pain and suffering up until the day that they are slaughtered.
Chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys, ducks, sheep, deer, and fish are no different from dogs, cats, parakeets, horses, dolphins, parrots, elephants, and humans. We all seek attention and affection, form bonds with friends, care about our babies, experience emotions, can endure pain and misery, cherish freedom, and want to live.
But most 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 and gleefully consume came from suffering, slaughtered individuals.
Please think about what freedom and independence mean.
Please have empathy and compassion for all animals.
Please do some research on human health and nutrition.
Please look into the standard practices and legal treatment of animals (on small farms too!) in the meat, dairy, and egg industries.
Please stop harming, exploiting, and killing others.
Please make choices that are consistent with who you really are.
Please decide what your morals are, and apply those ethical beliefs to everyone.
The good news is that now there are delicious, affordable, and healthy plant-based alternatives to all 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.
Do you really want to be supporting this immense suffering and violence? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s most recent data, 9.76 billion land animals are slaughtered every year for human consumption. Over 95% of them are chickens (and over 98% are birds, but of course, not eagles!). Chickens are slaughtered at tremendous numbers compared to other land animals. In other countries, dogs and cats are considered “food” animals, but in the U.S., the land animals who are primarily slaughtered for food are chickens. Because of their small size, chickens account for 95.5% of land animals slaughtered for food in the U.S., followed by turkeys (2.5%), pigs (1.3%), cows (0.4%), and ducks (0.3%), according to the USDA. The number of fish and other aquatic animals is difficult to calculate because they are measured by weight, but an estimation is that nearly four trillion fish and over 43 trillion shellfish are killed annually for human food, just in the U.S. alone.
ALL OF THIS SUFFERING AND VIOLENCE IS TOTALLY UNNECESSARY. There is no nutritional or biological requirement for humans to consume the flesh, organs, or bodily secretions of animals. Causing pain and suffering and slaughter for taste pleasure or convenience is not compassionate or morally defensible. How can you celebrate being free and independent while deliberately preventing others from having any freedom and independence at all, and forcing them to experience pain and misery and violence, for nothing more than your celebratory taste pleasure?
Please think about how grateful you are that you can celebrate being free and independent, and then open your heart to others.