Other Animal Rights Issues
This page contains a collection of articles featuring reflections on animal liberation, animal rights reflected in religious scripture, and editorials by Gary, as well as quotations of authors, philosophers, and other famous people concerning animal rights.
To read these articles in your order of preference, just click on your chosen title from the list below. The "Back to List" link at the bottom of the page will return you to this list. You can also follow through each of the articles in order by clicking the "Next Article" link at the bottom of the page.
Human babies are, without a doubt, some of the stupidest and most helpless of all beings. Yet no one other than a complete psychopath would agree that babies should be enslaved, murdered, or set on fire as routinely happens to dogs and pigs in modern-day-medieval burn experiments. When pain, suffering, and emotions are taken into consideration, all animals—humans, four-leggeds, birds, snakes, fish and other aquatic creatures, amphibians and insects alike—are equal. Therefore, it should be our goal as a society to reduce and eliminate the intentional pain and suffering we inflict upon innocent beings.
It's just dumbfounding that many of those who would grant rights to human babies in an instant won't even begin to concede the rights of other beings that are, by most accounts, far more intelligent than a human infant. Fortunately, Rene Descartes' idiocy about animals operating like unthinking machines has been exposed a long time ago. All animals, including insects, are rational, aware, self-aware, intelligent beings. They experience an array of emotions, especially pain and happiness. Anyone who disagrees with this is displaying speciesistic, discriminatory, irrational thought.
If you're a social justice historian, you might recall all the idiotic discussions about the rationality and intelligence of certain humans, too (when certain humans wanted their freedom and equality). Victimizers and oppressors always deny that victims suffer, feel pain or are intelligent. This allows enslavement and murder to happen nonchalantly and guilt-free. The victimizers' mind-set goes like this: "You don't count because you're stupid. You don't matter because you're dumb. I laugh at your suffering. I'll kill you when I want to. I'll sell you and your family. You're worthless. You don't think the way I do. Prove to me why I should be kind to you. Prove to me that you deserve to be free." So even though victims always look and act differently from each other (bees, lobsters, cows, pigs, blacks, women, Christians, Muslims, Jews, witches, Gypsies, Rwandans, etc.), they've suffered equally because of the victimizers' mind-set. It's so trite that a few enlightened folks have to continually explain why the majority of people shouldn't be enslaving and murdering innocents en masse. Something else that has always bothered me: Why do oppressors think they're more important than THE OPPRESSED? Why do tormentors believe they're more important than THE TORMENTED? What kind of sociopath thinks murderers are more important than THE MURDERED?
Ants, bees and the rest of the insect world are some of the most intelligent beings on the planet. Step on an ant near the colony, and watch the whole ant community go ballistic. They know when they're under attack. They easily TRY to avoid pain and death.
Here are five examples that demonstrate the intelligence of animals. I could offer more but I don't believe in writing tomes about the obvious.
- I once saw a Discovery channel show about ants. There was a flood. A few hundred ants carefully, methodically and rationally LOCKED LEGS to form a raft. Then, a few others escorted the queen ant to the top of the raft. The ant raft eventually floated to safety, killing all the raft ants, but SAVING the queen thus preserving the survival of the colony. Not only is this rational thought, it is ALTRUISM at its finest, something few humans are capable of.
- When I was volunteering at SASHA Farm sanctuary in 2004, four of us went into the woods to throw out some old rotten hay. I accidentally stepped on a hornets' nest as they often construct their hives on the ground. The hornets carefully, methodically and rationally attacked me and NOT the three folks who were with me. I had 12 bites methodically on my body; two on my head (one on each side); six across my chest and abdomen (three on each side); two on my thighs (one on each leg); two on my shins (one on each leg). They were clearly trying to immobilize me. While my three companions frantically smashed the hornets off of me (self-defense is always a valid excuse to kill anyone), the hornets buzzed off momentarily and then re-attacked me several times. They NEVER once went after the people who were swatting and trying to kill them because they knew I stepped on their home, not my three companions.
- I am terrified of spiders. There was a huge spider in my apartment last summer. When I turned and saw him on the wall, I screamed in horror. The spider jumped in fear. His feet actually left the wall for a second. He ran around WILDLY in a circle for 30 seconds until he dove off the wall and found a hiding space in the corner. Why do you think he jumped and ran frantically? Spiders know what happens after a human screams. They get smashed to smithereens. This 8-legged critter didn't realize how lucky he was to be in a vegan household. He didn't receive the usual violent ending. I captured him in a glass and released him outside. You should do the same with ALL insects.
- When I was in El Paso, Texas, in 2008 lecturing at UTEP, I took a wrong turn and missed the I-10 Freeway. Thank goodness for small mistakes. I noticed a pigeon circling at the edge of the road. I blocked the lane for his protection and exited my vehicle. He was mourning his dead partner who had been smashed by a car. Clearly, he was heartbroken. I let him circle his dead friend for a minute to say goodbye then bent over and picked him up. He was so despondent that he didn't even try to fly away. I took him to a bird-rehabber to make sure he was okay, and the rehabber told me that pigeons usually mate for life. When one dies, the other one doesn't fare too well, often dying from a broken heart shortly after. Being able to form a relationship proves that thoughts are being processed, and emotional intellect is at play. Grieving, mourning and despair—which ALL animals are capable of—are not instinctive, thoughtless moments. Intellect includes responding properly to emotional situations. Breathing is instinctive. Grieving is not!
- When I was in Monterey, California in 2011 lecturing at Cal State University, a friend who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took me hiking near the bay. He knew I wanted to see some otters, so within 30 minutes we were at a spot with a built-in telescope viewer so I could see one in action. It was beautiful to see him floating on his back, relaxing in the wavy waters and west-coast sunshine. As I peered through the viewer, I noticed that he wasn't floating away even though there was an endless streak of powerful waves. I asked my friend how the otter was staying in one place. He explained how they take 25- to 50-foot strands of seaweed that stretch up from the ocean's floor, and twist them several times around their bodies to form an anchor. I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked closely at the otter's waist area. Sure enough, these multi-talented marine critters were not only expert divers and swimmers, they were the ocean's best tool-makers! Being able to utilize long strands of seaweed proves—once again—that animals are capable of rational, logical thought. Not only do otters have to find something to help them stay in one place, they have to figure out how to use it and also determine that one twist around their bodies isn't sufficient for the task at hand. It takes at least 3 or 4 twists. Animals undoubtedly possess the same problem-solving intellect that many humans believe is exclusive to their species.
For some other amazing acts of animal awareness, intellect and altruism, watch the following video clips on YouTube (there are many others like these online): Hippo Saves Impala from Crocodile, Dog Saves Dog Hit by Car, Penguin Jumps into Boat to Escape Killer Whales, Elk Saves Drowning Marmot, Pet Rabbit Alerts Family to House Fire, Wild Lion Reunites with Human Companions, Cow Unlocks Gate That Confines Her, Curious Harbor Seal Investigates Diver, Gorillas Dismantle Poachers' Traps, and Kruger Battle. Furthermore, as if to show that the intelligent impulses of animals to protect the youngest, most defenseless individuals among them don't just come out of nowhere, here is another set of videos to consider: Leopard Saves Baby Baboon, Lioness Saves Baby Antelope, Momma Lion Saves Her Baby, Elephant Gives Birth and Saves Non-Breathing Baby, and Many Elephants Save Drowning Baby.
Moreover, This March 2008 article in The Independent, a British news site, tells the story of a dolphin helping a beached whale and her calf find their way back to the sea. This January 2011 article in The New York Times tells the story of Chaser, a border collie who possesses a vocabulary of over 1,000 words. This December 2011 article in People Magazine online recounts the story of a dog who rescued some kittens who were stuffed in a cat-food bag and left to die on a roadside.
If you're still wavering about the intelligence of animals, re-examine the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia. Over 200,000 humans died while only two non-domesticated animal corpses were found. All the animals (carnivores and herbivores) were on higher land a few miles away from shore. I am sure they were thinking the following about humans: "With all your mathematical skills, extensive language and technology, you two-legged imbeciles didn't know there was a 100-foot wave coming? Idiots!" And the animals weren't being instinctive when they fled the scene hours before the tsunami hit. They were simply paying attention. They were aware of their surroundings, unlike the instinctive human robots who stroll this earth. When it comes to technology, humans are brilliant. When it comes to decency, humans are on par with viruses.
If animals and insects aren't aware, then what are they? If they are NOT capable of feeling pain, then what do they feel? Eating, sleeping, drinking, surviving, procreating, looking for shelter, building a home, defending themselves and saving each other aren't instinctual behaviors. They are thoughts attached to actions. It's the human animal who operates instinctively. Very few people think for themselves and come to rational conclusions. Pulling into McDonald's for a Big Mac is NOT rational thought. It happens because the media, the government, schools and parents tell people to do it. If humans were rational, we wouldn't be killing the animals, the earth and ourselves!
Here’s What’s Wrong With Zoos:
Zoos are animal prisons. No more euphemisms!
When people say, "But zoos save endangered animals," the truth is, "99 percent of all the animals at the zoo are UNENDANGERED. If zoos were only saving endangered animals, no one would complain. But zoos are a business. In fact, zoos are usually the #1 tourist attraction in every state.
No matter how "natural" they make the animals' caged-in areas, once zoos RE-CREATE an area, it is NOW artificial and UNNATURAL. No amount of architecture can RE-CREATE a NATURAL habitat of old-growth forests, fallen branches, plant species and other animal species.
When people say, "But the zoo is so educational for children, they learn so much," the truth is, "The only thing kids learn at the zoo is that giraffes have long necks, zebras are black and white and the monkeys have pink butts! PERIOD!" There is NO education taking place except the cruel education that teaches kids it is okay to dominate and enslave animals and put them on display for amusement, entertainment and follies. It is much more educational to read about animals from people like Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, who studied animals in the animals' habitats and learned about THEIR natural behaviors. Or one can learn about animals through documentaries on National Geographic. But one cannot learn about animals who are in an UNNATURAL habitat displaying UNNATURAL behaviors from the stress of confinement and lethargy of captivity, which can also lead to neurotic behaviors like pacing and self-mutilation.
Zoos are created for PEOPLE, not animals. Take the Detroit Zoo and look at all the space for picnics and the refreshment areas and the trolley/train. Meanwhile, the animals are being driven insane in their TINY enclosures.
If zoos really cared about animals, then why do they serve DEAD animals at the refreshment areas? Seems to me that if the zoo was trying to teach kindness and respect for animals, the least they could do is make sure people aren't eating dead ones in a bun. The zoo would be an ideal place for vegan food.
When people say, "But animals are being poached in the wild and they live longer lives in captivity," the truth is, "longer lives never translate into happier lives." And poaching can be solved if we crack down on poaching, make hunting illegal ― since poachers are hunters and that's where they learned the bloodsport of killing animals with guns and arrows ― protect their habitat and start sharing this planet with our four-legged companions. The solution to poaching is NOT removing animals from their land; it is removing poachers from the land. It is also done through teaching people about the vegan lifestyle. If people were vegans, there wouldn't be a need for ivory, seal penises (aphrodisiacs) and whale blubber. It always comes back to veganism. And if the land is being demolished through sprawl, the solution is to STOP destroying the land, not removing animals from free places and putting them into an enclosure.
Zoos should be transformed into sanctuaries at this point in time. And that means no more visitors. No more picnic areas. No more huge walkways. No more refreshment areas. Let these animals live out their lives by giving them EVERY INCH of space on the grounds and then build ONE virtual reality auditorium where people can come and take a virtual ride through the jungles of Tanzania or the wastelands of Asia.
Nearly every zoo sells its "surplus" animals to canned hunting farms or research labs or circuses. And most zoos have circus acts where animals perform asinine tricks in mini arenas. "Surplus" animals are the older animals that no one wants to gawk at any longer. The reason there are breeding programs at zoos is to make sure there are always baby animals in order to attract a bigger crowd. No one wants to see old elephants or old zebras but EVERYBODY wants to see baby elephants and baby zebras. In the defense of the Detroit Zoo and Ron Kagan, Ron changed these practices at the Detroit Zoo. The Detroit Zoo no longer has animal acts or sells any animals to hunting farms, labs or circuses. Kagan is without a doubt the most progressive zoo director on this planet. In May of '04 Kagan even agreed to release the elephants at the Detroit Zoo to an elephant sanctuary.
Without freedom there is no reason to exist! Zoos have taken away the animals' freedom and made them living skeletons. The pride is gone. The will to thrive has vanished. The feeling of happiness faded. The thrill of endless miles of roaming has been usurped. Every thing that is natural to an animal, has been made UNNATURAL by the state-sanctioned animal prison system that operates for one reason and one reason alone; the almighty dollar.
People love to talk about animals at the zoo having veterinary care as if that justifies their imprisonment. Prisoners have medical care, but that doesn't make people want to line up and book vacations to federal penitentiaries! Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have medical care and I don't see people planning Christmas vacations to Cuba. Of course animals at zoos have vet care. Without a "product" to put on display, one cannot make a profit. Animals are fed and watered and receive medical treatment. Still they have no freedom, and no forests.
Here’s What’s Wrong With the Circus:
The circus is an animal-slavery enterprise. The issue of an animal-oriented circus being abusive is a moot point. In his book The Circus Kings, Henry North Ringling, a founder of the The Ringling Bros., stated, "It is not usually a pretty sight to see the big cats' trained. When the trainer starts off, the animals are all chained to their pedestals, and ropes are put around their necks to choke them down and make them obey. All sorts of other brutalities are used to force animals to respect the trainer and learn their tricks. The animals work from fear."
It is impossible to use positive reinforcement with purely wild animals like elephants, lions, bears and tigers. Violence is the only way to make wild animals perform unnatural tricks. Training sessions are comprised of beatings in order to establish superiority. Blackjacks, hooks, iron bars, whips and sticks are used to beat the pride out of animals. That's why all circus trainers carry weapons around with them like elephant hooks—which are pick-axe like devices—and whips for the lions, bears and tigers. In 1998, during a Shrine Circus protest in Detroit, a police officer even pulled out his gun and threatened to shoot ADAPTT Founder Gary Yourofsky for displaying an elephant hook to passersby. The hooks and whips are weapons!
In the wilds of Africa and Asia, elephants walk 20 to 50 miles a day and take mud and dust baths as part of their natural behavior. However, elephants in the circus have their front, left legs and back, right legs chained up at all times when they are not on stage doing idiotic tricks. Not only can they not walk 20 to 50 miles a day, they can't even take one step. For image reasons, some circuses have started keeping elephants behind electrical fences. But these areas are unsuitable for two pound toy poodles let alone 5,000 pound elephants.
Lions, bears and tigers fare no better. Circuses cage them like prisoners. The result of the constant confinement is sad. Most animals in the circus develop neurosis and exhibit neurotic behaviors. Elephants sway from side to side. Lions, bears and tigers pace back and forth in their cages and sometimes engage in self-mutilation.
The transportation process is ridiculous as well. Animals are shipped year-round from city to city in semi-trucks and railway cars. The semis and rail cars are without electricity, so every trip is in complete darkness, without air conditioning if it's warm and without heat if it's cold. Furthermore, if being chained up, caged up, dominated, humiliated and enslaved isn't horrible enough, larger circuses—like The Shriners, Royal Hanneford and Ringling Bros.—deny animals sunlight when they perform in Midwestern arenas, even during the spring and summer months. These circuses perform for 3-21 days straight at The Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit and The Palace in Auburn Hills and keep animals in the warehouse area during their Michigan visits.
Vegan civil rights humanitarian Dick Gregory once said, "When I look at animals held captive by circuses, I think of slavery. Animals in circuses represent the domination and oppression we have fought against for so long. They wear the same chains and shackles." This quotation is excerpted from an editorial written by Gregory, published in the Marin Independent Journal, April 28, 1998, and which appears at the end of this section.
And an undercover investigation of the Carson & Barnes Circus shows some of the most disturbing 'training' footage ever. The audio/video shows Tim Frisco, of the Carson & Barnes Circus, teaching future elephant trainers how to dominate elephants and make them submit. Frisco is caught on tape clearly saying, "Make him scream. Don't touch him. Hurt him. If you're scared to hurt him, don't come in the barn. When I say rip his head off, rip his fucking foot off, it's very important that you do it. When he starts squirming too fucking much, both fucking hands—BOOM (as he swings the hook like a baseball bat)—right under the chin! When he fucks around too much, you fucking sink that hook into him and give it everything you got. Sink that hook into him. When you hear that screaming, then you know you got their attention. Right here in the barn. You can't do it on the road. I'm not going to touch her in front of a thousand people. She's going to fucking do what I want and that's just fucking the way it is. I am the boss. I will kick your fucking ass." (Don't take my word for it; this undercover footage appears near the end of this video.) Frisco and his two brothers learned the trade from their father, Joe Frisco, who spent a lifetime beating elephants for many circuses, including Ringling Bros.
Only support all-human circuses like Cirque Du Soleil and Cirque Ingenieux!
The Circus: It’s Modern Slavery
By Dick Gregory
When I worked as a civil rights activist with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., we sought justice through peaceful means. I was a participant in all of the "major" and most of the "minor" civil rights demonstrations of the early '60s, including the March on Washington and the Selma to Montgomery March. Under the leadership of Dr. King, I became totally committed to non-violence, and I was convinced that non-violence meant opposition to killing in any form.
I felt the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" applied to human beings not only in their dealings with each other—war, lynching, assassination, murder—but in their practice of killing animals for food and sport.
There are simple steps each of us can take to eliminate the exploitation of other beings. One is to refuse to go to any circus that uses animals. When I look at animals held captive by circuses, I think of slavery. Animals in circuses represent the domination and oppression we have fought against for so long. They wear the same chains and shackles. No matter what the circus folks tell us, there is no way to persuade an elephant to "dance" or a tiger to leap through hoops without some threat of punishment or violence. Big-cat trainers carry whips; elephant handlers use bullhooks—a sharp, hooked metal tool used to poke and jab sensitive spots. Behind the scenes, trainers often use electric stunning prods and heavy sticks to make their point.
Circus animals may be fed regularly. They may even have a veterinarian to look after them. But this doesn't make life easy for them. They are caged and shackled and forced to work when the boss says so. They never have even a taste of freedom, but go from cage to circus ring to cage. They travel thousands of miles during the performing season, which means long hours in boxcars or tractor trailers with no room to stretch, let alone run.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey are two of the most famous and profitable circuses in the world. Even so, it has been cited for violating the Animal Welfare Act (the only federal law protecting animals in performing shows) more than 100 times.
This year already, two Ringling animals have died on the road. One was Kenny, a baby elephant forced to perform in two shows and appear in a third in one day even though he was ill. After the third show, he lay down and died. Kenny was only 3 years old and would have stayed with his mother in the wild for up to 15 years.
The other casualty was a tiger being used in a Ringling publicity photo shoot. When the tiger attacked one trainer, the other trainer on the scene returned the animal to his cage, got a gun and shot the big cat to death.
Both of these deaths could have been prevented, and not simply because the situations should have been handled better by those in charge. They were unnecessary because the animals should not have been imprisoned in the first place. As Alice Walker writes, "The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men."
Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and brutal taking of life. We don't have to be a part of it.
Bolivia Bans Wild and Domestic Animals in Traveling Circuses
Note: As you read this story, please recognize that none of the changes in these or related laws would have been possible without the efforts of undercover agents taking part in DIRECT and ILLEGAL activity on behalf of animals.
LA PAZ, Bolivia, July 14, 2009 (ENS)—Bolivian President Evo Morales has signed the world's first law prohibiting the use of both wild and domestic animals in traveling circuses.
This is the first national law to ban the use of both domestic and wild animals in circuses. To date, Croatia, Singapore, Austria, Israel and Costa Rica have all banned wild animals in circuses. Similar bans on animal use in traveling circuses in Costa Rica, Finland and Denmark only prohibit the use of wild animals or certain species.
The Bolivian law, signed earlier this month, was tabled by Congresswoman Ximena Flores of Potosi. It is expected to be published shortly.
The law arose as a result of evidence gathered during an undercover investigation by the nonprofit Animal Defenders International.
Investigators found lions confined in a tiny cage on the back of a truck—two were pregnant but were forced to continue to perform. ADI videos show circus employees beating a lion in the circus ring with a baton and beating a caged lion with a metal pan. In one video, a caged lion was jerked by a chain around its neck by circus workers outside the cage, causing visible pain.
Three brown bears were kept in tiny compartments measuring just 2.5 x 3 meters (8.2 x 9.8 feet) inside a cage on the back of a truck. Their only exercise was the walk to and from the ring for their short performance. There were no safety barriers to protect the audience as the animals were made to dance, play dead and ride a bicycle.
Other ADI videos showed circus employees beating a wolf and a llama in the circus ring.
The findings of the investigation were presented to the Bolivian Congress together with a report from Animal Defenders International on the scientific evidence of suffering of animals in traveling circuses, The Science on Suffering.
The new law bans the use of wild and domestic animals in circuses in the Bolivia, as their conditions and confinement are considered acts of cruelty.
The circuses will be allowed one year to adapt their shows to a humans-only program and during this time, the government will issue regulations on confiscation and monetary sanctions for any breaches of the law.
ADI Chief Executive Jan Creamer said, "This is a truly historic day for circus animals. The undercover investigations, the scientific research and the hard work of our supporters in Bolivia have made a difference for animals that will reach around the world."
"Bolivia is the first country to ban animal circuses in South America and the first worldwide to ban both domestic and wild animals in circuses," said Creamer. "We applaud President Evo Morales for setting the highest standard for animal protection for South America, which the rest of the world now needs to follow. We also salute the efforts of Congresswoman Flores and all the local organizations and who along with ADI worked tirelessly to ensure that the bill became a law."
Groups in Bolivia that worked alongside ADI on the campaign for the new legislation include: Focomade, Vida Silvestre, Biosfera, Codac, Zooprama, Anima Naturalis-Bolivia, Gaia Pacha, EBA-Bolivia, and Animales SOS, among others.
Here's What's Wrong With Rodeos and Horse Racing:
The rodeo is a vicious industry of abuse and cruelty. The website www.sharkonline.org has exposed rodeo depravity like no other.
Horse racing is an extremely abusive industry as well. In the wake of injuries to the race horse Eight Belles in May 2008, I wrote an exposé of the cruelty that is too frequently hidden from public view. It was subsequently published in The Oakland Press (Mich.) on Thursday, May 15, 2008, and is presented just below.
Abuse Is Abuse, Of Course
By Gary Yourofsky
QUESTION: Why is the horse the only mammal who cannot have a broken leg repaired?
ANSWER: The horse is the only mammal that can be insured for millions of dollars!
As more than 150,000 thrill-seekers gathered at Churchill Downs in Louisville last Saturday to bet on which animal could run a circle the fastest, more than 14 million TV viewers witnessed the inherent cruelty when horses are forced to race. Eight Belles broke both of her front ankles shortly after she crossed the finish line in second place.
Ankle injuries are all too common in this animal-enslaving enterprise that breeds 1,000-pound stallions for huge, strong upper bodies but ignores their human-sized ankles that carry the body's weight. This genetic-altering and selective genetic-breeding process is akin to the meat industry's breeding of pigs who have huge, extra-fleshy upper bodies but weak arthritic legs.
The techniques used to dominate horses are vile. In fact, the word "breaking" as in "breaking a horse" doesn't involve whispers, contrary to what many people want to believe. It is physically and psychologically abusive. Getting horses to allow saddles on their backs is the first step of domination. Animals are locked into a small area where they cannot escape. Horses quickly realize they must acquiesce to the demands of their human captors or face the consequences—which can include food or water deprivation and even killing (euthanasia) if the horse is deemed unmanageable. When the saddle is finally attached, the horse desperately tries to shake it off because the cinch is painfully tight around the hypersensitive waist area.
Animal abuser Trent Normandin even states the following on his website: "The horse goes to great lengths to get the strange object off his back. Trent allows the horse to try to shake off the saddle and learn that he cannot."
Then it's time for the bit to be forced into the horse's mouth so their every movement can be controlled. This cruel and vile device—which used to be shoved into the mouths of black slaves in America when they were auctioned off to white businessmen—forces the horse into full submission. The bit is intentionally placed behind the front cutting teeth and behind the back grinding teeth. When the rein is yanked, the steel implement painfully grinds against the teeth, the roof of the mouth and the cheek area so the horse will submit to the demands of the rider and turn left or right, or stop. The mouth is one of the most sensitive parts of anyone's body, therefore making it not only evil to control someone in this way, but purely fallacious for those in the racing and equestrian industries to call themselves horse-lovers! Intentionally inflicting pain and discomfort on someone else is hateful, not loving.
After the bit is in place, the mounting of the animal which—for the record—does not want to be mounted, is next. Normandin again acknowledges the inherent cruelty of riding a horse: "At this point, the average horse furiously rebels and may buck and rear." It should be abundantly clear that the breaking process does not benefit the horse in any way. It is only a benefit to those who wish to reap profit from the horse's body.
Many racing fans also claim that horses naturally love to run. This is misleading in two ways. First, loving to run and being forced to run are two different things. Every being under the sun, except maybe the sloth, loves to run. So this is a ridiculous rationalization. Animals and people, however, want to run on their own terms, when they feel like exercising, playing, or escaping from a tenuous situation. Secondly, as the nation's only traveling animal rights lecturer (more than 1,600 lectures in 27 states), I have seen thousands of horses in fields along Americas highways and visited many sanctuaries over the years. I have still only seen horses run once! It happened at the SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary in Manchester, Mich., when a handful of their rescued horses were introduced to a new field in 2003. Their dashing excitement quickly faded after a few minutes, and they went back to their true love: grazing! Not running! Horses, when given the chance, graze as much as cows.
Meanwhile, I have yet to mention the whip. When this weapon is used or threatened to be used, I am not sure how any rational individual can claim that this obscene industry is humane, benign or necessary in the 21st century. Civilized societies are supposed to show compassion and act kindly and mercifully toward one another and the creatures that live amongst them.
For information on the equally cruel industry of greyhound racing, check out www.RescuedGreyhounds.com.
Here’s What’s Wrong With Hunting:
The following essay was published as an editorial in the Detroit News on April 20, 2001. It subsequently appeared in the book Hunting: Opposing Views, published in 2008 by the Gale Group/Greenhaven Press.
NOTE FROM ME: Before you read the essay, I want to expound on a few points.
- The Deer Range Improvement Program (DRIP) is still in existence. And every state has a program like DRIP. It might not be called DRIP but there is a DRIP-like program all over the US.
- Here is a detailed explanation about sex-biased hunting. If we didn't have sex-biased hunting, there would be an even ratio of male deer to female deer. So, if someone took a sample group of 10 deer—anywhere—there would be five males and five females. The five males would impregnate the five females who would then give birth to five offspring. However, after decades of killing big bucks for their large racks, we now have ratios of 7-to-3, 8-to-2, or 9-to-1 FEMALE to male. Let's take the 7-to-3 ratio. We now have three males impregnating seven females (we know males can impregnate as many females as they come in contact with). Then seven females give birth to seven offspring which means there are a minimum of two EXTRA babies per sample group of 10 deer because of sex-bias hunting. But, let's go further. Wildlife biologists have confirmed that when deer, and other animals, including humans during war times, feel their population is being decimated, as is the case after hunting season ends, the majority of all the females give birth to twins or triplets. So, let's take the twin scenario. Seven females are now giving birth to 14 babies instead of the original five (if our society didn't hunt) thereby having 9 EXTRA babies per sample group of 10 deer. When you multiply the extra babies over the entire Michigan herd, you have an "extra" 500,000 to 700,000 deer every year. And guess how many hunting licenses they issue every year? You guessed it, between 500,000 and 700,000. Plus, that's how the Michigan herd grew from 500,000 in the 70s to nearly 2 million nowadays. This scenario works in every state with the numbers only varying slightly.
- The only excuse to kill and eat animals would be a pure survival scenario. But this scenario is rare. Inuit living in an icy environment comes to mind (which is why I've never traveled to Alaska to lecture). I'll never understand why people who reside in NON-ICY or NON-DESERT settings hunt, kill and eat the flesh of animals. Habit, tradition, convenience or taste are invalid, barbaric reasons to harm animals. MURDERING and COMMODIFYING animals are crimes. Murder is murder whether victims stand upright, walk on all fours, have fur, feathers, horns, beaks or gills. Self-defense or vicarious self-defense (defending others who cannot defend themselves) are the only justifications for murder. Commodification is when humans turn animals into inanimate objects and can't see them for anything else. Cows have been turned into shoes, briefcases and hamburgers. Chickens have been turned into buckets of wings. Deer have been transformed into unwilling participants of a bloodthirsty sport, severed-head wall-trophies and venison burgers. When humans are treated the way hunters treat animals, people scream Holocaust, genocide, massacre and bloody murder. Yet, according to the hunters' mind-set, animals are "game" who deserve to be killed. This "game" is void of rational thought, decency and kindness. It is, quite frankly, sociopath behavior. I've watched hunting/fishing shows on ESPN for more than 25 years. As a sports junkie, I have to wait for the blood-shows to end weekend mornings before GENUINE sports shows air. I hear excitement in the hunters' voices before they pull the trigger or shoot the arrow. No need to fabricate the true reasons for deer-hunting, or any other animal-killing moment. Hunting and fishing are bloodsports, plain and simple. Additionally, hunters aren't exonerated from the killing because they do the killing themselves. It's makes them directly responsible instead of the accomplice meat-eater who pays someone else to commit the crimes. The latter is still unequivocally wrong and evil, but killing and harming directly shows more psychotic behavior than someone who cannot harm and kill directly.
I am the founder and president of Michigan's most outspoken and uncompromising humanitarian organization, ADAPTT. Nearly 80 high schools and universities have invited me to educate and enlighten students about animal liberation, ethics, justice and kindness.
Before I refute every hunting lie, let me begin with two quotes from some well-known animal rights activists.
The first one is from Mohandas Gandhi. "The life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. The more helpless the creature is, the more it is entitled to protection from humans from the cruelty of humans"
The second quote from the great philosopher Pythagoras. "As long as humanity continues to be the ruthless destroyer of other beings, we will never know health or peace. For as long as people massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed those who sow the seed of murder and pain will never reap joy and love."
Now, contrary to the rosy picture hunters always paint about themselves—the noble hunter, the honest hunter, the caring hunter, the concerned hunter—let's run down a quick list of noble hunting adages:
- Shoot more and shoot more often, I'm a gut-pile addict, whack 'em and stack 'em, live to hunt/hunt to live and kill on.
- And how about this comment from Ted Nugent, the world's most outspoken animal-killer and just about every hunter's hero: "I contribute to the dead of winter and the moans of silence, blood trails are music to my ears. I'm a gut-pile addict. The pig didn't know I was there. It's my kick. I love shafting animals. It's rock 'n' roll power. (World Bowhunter's Magazine, Volume 1, Number 4, May 1990, page 12)"
It's hard for animal rights humanitarians to discuss the truth about hunting when we're constantly dealing with lies about overpopulation, lies about kindness and lies about science.
ADAPTT is fed up with hunters, their government cronies and all of their sick mentalities. The so-called "experts" who work for the DNR and the NRC are not "experts." They're hunters and hunt supporters.
And hunting is not sound science. It is only sound fun for unsound individuals who commit cowardly acts. And it sounds to me that any sound person who possesses a scintilla of sound sense would understand that soundly truth.
To appease hunters in 1971, the DNR began serious efforts to change the "old forest" situation in Michigan. There were around 500,000 deer at that time which wasn't enough to please the hunters. Therefore, the DNR instituted the Deer Range Improvement Program known as DRIP which called for the clear-cutting of 1.2 million acres of forest creating a more accessible food supply for deer and further stimulate reproduction. The DNR also has always issued a disproportionate number of licenses to kill male deer, because killing males instead of females causes the females' internal reproductive mechanism to go haywire. Then, she ends up giving birth to twins and even triplets to keep the species going.
The DRIP program and sex-biased hunting has caused the deer herd to level out at around 2 million animals last year.
For the record, hunters cause an increase in deer-car accidents and contribute to crop damage.
In 1972, there were 10,742 deer-car collisions. Last year there were about 70,000. Gee, I thought hunters were hunting to reduce deer-car collisions? In 1996, The Michigan Farm Bureau even threatened to file a class-action lawsuit against the DNR for solely catering to the needs of hunters.
By the way, as deer-car accidents and crop-damage steadily increased over the years, here's what Dave Arnold, a DNR executive, had to say to The Detroit Free Press on January 1, 1980: "Don't lose sight of the purpose of the program. When the DNR decided several years ago to try and increase the herd to about one million animals, we knew the auto collision rate and crop damage would rise."
Here's what Ned Caveney, a DNR state forester, had to say to the Northwoods Call a Charlevoix paper on May 26, 1991: "In Michigan, we manipulate forest habitat to produce amazingly unnatural deer numbers --- up to two million of the critters some years. That probably approaches two million more that existed before man got into the act."
In the '90s, pro-hunting governor John Engler created The Hunting and Heritage Task Force in order to expand hunting and fishing opportunities to the public which is the same reason why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service exists. By the way, the USFWS offers 290 hunting programs and 307 fishing programs on the 514 national wildlife refuges throughout the U.S. Paragraph six of Engler's Hunting and Heritage Task Force edict states the following: "While Michigan offers widespread opportunities to hunt and fish, more could be done to encourage participation, especially in high population centers. All divisions within the DNR should work together, making hunting and fishing more accessible on both public and private lands. Where possible, expand opportunities to hunt and fish within urban parks and recreation areas."
This was the sole purpose behind the recent deer killings at our metro-parks. Not because the deer were eating up all the trillium plants. The HCMA board of commissioners wouldn't know the difference between trillium and helium. Moreover, humans are the only animals who destroy land and take more than they need.
The metro-park killings didn't take place because the hunters wanted to donate food to the hungry. That's just a clever public relations gimmick to try and place a halo around those who murder animals for fun. It is far more cost efficient to feed hungry people spaghetti and stir-fried tofu, and you can feed more people that way too.
Everyone must understand that wildlife management is an illusory concept created around 100 years ago. There is no such thing as wildlife management. Humans cannot manage nature. The only managing humans should be doing is managing to stay out of the animals' space.
And, once again, it is unjust, stupid and contemptible that the DNR and NRC—made up entirely of hunters and hunt supporters—make decisions about the fate of wild animals. That would be akin to allowing pedophiles to write child protection laws and misogynists pen domestic abuse laws?
Do hunters eat their kills? Yes. But do hunters hunt for food? No! They hunt for the thrill of the kill. They receive a rush. A super-shot of adrenaline. It's bloodlust and dominance. It's arrogance and selfishness. It's hatred and brutality. It's dishonor and viciousness. It's murder and it's obscene.
Hunters always use the excuse that deer are going to starve to death during the winter as if starvation wasn't a natural process and nature's way of controlling populations and the ecosystem's way of working.
Starving deer provides food for scavenger animals and is nature's way of weeding out sickly animals and allowing the strongest ones to reproduce.
A bullet to the head or an arrow through the chest is not a solution to starvation. But, furthermore, hunters don't even shoot starving deer. They don't make good trophies and don't have lots of meat.
I dare anyone to show me a photograph of one hunter last year who shot one emaciated deer. Just one. Hunters shoot big bucks with big racks for big trophies. Watch their TV shows on PBS and ESPN and TNN. That's all they talk about—big racks and big trophies.
On April 17, 1989, in The Free Press, Nugent said this about hunting: "I don't hunt for meat. I hunt to hunt."
In 1990, Nugent said the following in his World Bowhunters Magazine: "Nobody hunts just to put meat on the table because it's too expensive, time-consuming and extremely inconsistent."
For the record, I never threatened to harm someone's child over the recent deer-killings in our metro-parks. I threatened to take a bullet for the deer and form my own deer-police unit to protect deer from hunters. But I did challenge about six sissified animal-killing hunters to show me how tough "tough guys" really are. I wanted to fight these bullies and put them in their place. Unfortunately, as usual, they refused to take me up on my challenge. If there's one thing that I've learned in six years of intense activism, animal-abusers are cowards who would never fight someone who would fight back.
To obtain more info about the industry of hunting, check out http://animalrights.about.com/od/wildlife/a/DeerManagement.htm.
Here’s What’s Wrong With Vivisection:
Humanitarian and British author George Bernard Shaw summed up vivisection best when he once proclaimed, "Those who won't hesitate to vivisect, won't hesitate to lie about it as well."
Vivisection is the act of cutting, drugging, burning, blinding, shocking, addicting, shooting, freezing, infecting and surgically mutilating live animals. Vivisection also happens to be more than just bloody science. It's a bloody fraud. Every year in the US around 20 million monkeys, dogs, cats, pigs and rabbits, and 50-80 million mice/rodents are incarcerated and infected with mutations of human diseases, tortured in violent burn and brain-damage re-creation experiments, observed for meaningless data and killed.
First, let's understand that animals are a completely different bio-mechanical entity than humans. The anatomical, physiological, immunological, histological [dealing with the cell structures] and even psychological differences between humans and animals are too great to overcome. At this moment, a formula for making animal-derived research relevant to human health is non-existent. Animal research has not, can not and will not save a human lives because information cannot be extrapolated from one species to another.
Let me elucidate this point to you in a few ways. Every day in veterinary schools all across this world, the fraud of vivisection is substantiated. After talking with several veterinarians who unfortunately have been fooled into believing that animal research can be beneficial to humans, I asked them, "When you were in vet school studying feline leukemia, which animal did you study upon?" They all replied, "Cats." I asked them why they didn't use dogs for feline leukemia research. They replied that studying dogs for feline leukemia didn't make too much sense scientifically. I then asked why dogs, cats and other animals are used for human leukemia research. Their silence exposed the scam. Veterinarians invalidate the widespread use of species-to-species extrapolation because they use cats for feline leukemia research, horses for colic research, dogs for canine distemper research and so on. They don't use dogs for cats, pigs for dogs, and monkeys for horses. For the record, I ethically oppose what takes place in veterinary schools. Understand, though, I cannot oppose it on scientific grounds because it is scientifically justifiable to research on the species in question when searching for treatments/cures for that species. However, when it comes to using animals as predictor models for humans, my opposition is ethical AND scientific.
No matter how diligently animal researchers try, they can never re-create the spontaneously-occurring diseases that humans get. They can only re-create symptoms and give mutations. Plus, the experiments are always done in a controlled, manipulative environment where researchers can produce whatever answer they're looking for. If researchers want to show that there is NO link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, no problem, just bring in some dogs, hook them up to facial mechanical devices, and force them to inhale smoke with every breath. It's true that smoking tobacco does NOT cause lung cancer in dogs. Then again, I haven't met too many dogs who smoke Kools in the first place. How about showing that diet drugs are safe for humans? No problem. Bring in some rodents, gorge them until they become obese and give them large doses of fenphen. For the record, the diet drug fenphen passed all rat research protocols but was taken off the market years ago after killing several humans. Over the years, thousands of drugs have 'passed' animal research tests only to harm or kill humans later on.
Were you aware that every 2-3 seconds someone in the world dies from a disease the medical community has known how to cure for nearly two thousand years! That disease is malnutrition. But in early '98, with a hefty grant, The Detroit Free Press reported that animal researchers were close to identifying the hunger gene in rats. Huh? How many more meaningless, idiotic and wasteful experiments will researchers conduct and, more importantly, will society condone? The sad truth is that medicine - in its myriad of treatments - is a commodity. If you can't afford it, then you don't get it. Keep this in mind as well, not one of Jerry's Kids has ever walked or been cured of muscular dystrophy even though the telethons have taken in more than $50 billion dollars. And that's a generous estimate. It's probably much more. The money has come from kind people who have been duped by the animal research community's guileful, mendacious and insidious hook: "this latest mouse experiment is hopeful and promising." Hopeful and promising - the two favorite words of a vivisectionist -can be translated into 'send more money so I can continue my lifelong mission of gathering useless information'.
Dr. Christopher Anderegg, who received his medical degrees from the Yale University School of Medicine, explained, "It is impossible to predict human reactions to drugs, vaccines and other chemicals by testing them on animals." Still, vivisectionists lie about the value of animal experimentation and remain unwilling to use the following 10 forms of true scientific research techniques; 1) human-based clinical research; 2) epidemiology (study, causes and distribution of human diseases); 3) cellular and molecular biology using human-based tissue and cell cultures and in vitro; 4) autopsy research; 5) biopsy research; 6) computer models using virtual reality, simulators and 3D programs; 7) mathematical models using formulas to determine drug concoctions and reactions; 8) case studies; 9) human-based DNA/genetic research; 10) trial and error methodology.
Fortunately, some people/organizations are responding to the truth. Dozens of charities like The Easter Seals Foundation, The American Kidney Fund and The International Eye Foundation, to name a few, only use the aforementioned methods of scientific research and, more importantly, refuse to perform or fund any form of animal research. So, if Easter Seals engages in essential non-animal-based research for birth defects, while The March of Dimes engages in vivisection because it claims that's the only way to conduct birth defect research, I ask you, "Who's lying?" I hope you feel the same way I do when asked to select between two diametrically opposed positions. Personally, I always side with the victims of injustice. Since healing human beings cannot be based upon violent protocols and human medicine cannot be based upon a false, duplicitous model, it seems clear to me who's lying. Polio victim Linn Pulis once eloquently said, "I would not want to promote research on animals. Fortunately, only my back is twisted, not my mind."
Dr. Richard Klausner, animal researcher and former director (1995-2001) of the National Cancer Institute, a huge animal researching entity, once said, "The history of cancer research has been a history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply doesn't work in humans." In the February 11, 2013, edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the headline of a 10-year National Institute of Health (NIH) study read, "Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory diseases." NIH director Francis Collins stated, "If it works in mice, so we thought, it should work in humans. But 150 drugs that successfully treated sepsis in mice later failed in human clinical trials." Sepsis affects 750,000 people in the U.S. every year, killing one-fourth to half of them!
For some amazing information on why vivisection is unscientific, please check out Americans, Europeans, and Japanese for Medical Advancement. It is the website of Dr. Ray Greek, the world's foremost expert in determining the value of all medical research. And watch the HIDDEN CRIMES documentary from the '90s (there are 8 segments on YouTube). It is still one of the most insightful documentaries about the unethical and unscientific nature of vivisection. Also, as if to show how archaic animal models and experiments truly are, even the University of Pittsburgh, the American university which tortures the largest number of animals annually, has ceased using animals in one of its courses: http://pcrm.org/news/university_pittsburgh_medical_center_stops_lethal_use_pigs_110518.html
Dr. Jerry Vlasak: Physician, Activist, Anti-Vivisectionist
The following piece was written by Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon in several California hospitals, and one of the world's grittiest animal rights activists. Dr. Vlasak has been arrested, and physically assaulted, simply for coming to the aid of Canadian seal pups during the annual Canadian seal massacres. (You can e-mail Dr. Vlasak by clicking here). Read what Dr. Vlasak has to say about the inefficacy and moral bankruptcy of vivisection:
"On a daily basis, animals are drowned, suffocated and starved to death; they have their limbs severed and their organs crushed; they are burned, exposed to radiation and used in experimental surgeries; they are shocked, raised in isolation, exposed to weapons of mass destruction and rendered blind or paralyzed; they are given heart attacks, ulcers, paralysis, and seizures; they are forced to inhale tobacco smoke, drink alcohol, and ingest various drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Those who perpetrate these still legal crimes, their utter and complete violence, callousness and indifference against non human animals, can't and don't want to see that what they are doing is not only a crime against God, Allah, Buddha, nature and life itself, but results in the suffering and death of millions of humans. The University and pharmaceutical industry's addiction to archaic and outmoded animal research results in millions of humans getting sicker, fatter and dying of completely preventable diseases.
With all the millions of dollars wasted—and I repeat, wasted— on the scientific fraud of vivisection, the only result is that over the past half century Cancer deaths are UP, Strokes are UP, Heart Disease UP, Diabetes UP, and Obesity way UP.
I became a surgeon, a doctor, in order to save lives. I spent many years in preparation of my being able to work as a doctor; four years of university, four years of medical school, a year of internship and then five additional years of surgical residency. I, like the rest of my fellow students, was naive and impressionable. We had been brought up and brainwashed by the meat and dairy industries to think that flesh and cow's milk made you strong and was good for you; and we had been brought up and brainwashed to believe that animal experimentation was a necessary evil and had to be done in order to save the lives of our patients. Like the billion dollar meat and dairy industry spin machine, the university system and pharmaceutical industry has done a very good job at taking young impressionable students and addicting them to outmoded and unscientific animal research.
I'd like to tell you two short stories. The first is about a five-year-old girl who came into the emergency room with appendicitis. The little girl was so obese that her breasts were as large as a girl in her teens, and she weighed twice as much as a normal child her age. She needed an emergency appendectomy and the surgery I preformed was made much more difficult by her obesity. When patients are obese, their fat layers complicate not only the actual surgery being performed, but the complication rate after surgery drastically increases. The little girl already had type II diabetes, which is now common in American children. Type II diabetes is completely preventable and has historically been seen in adults who are obese themselves. But because of the meat, dairy and sugar industries, we have a new generation of children who are sick, fat and miserable. The little girl made it through surgery and when she was recovering I sat down with her and her parents and spoke to them about a low fat vegetarian diet and drinking soy milk instead of cow's milk, which as you know is linked to all kinds of illnesses.
I told her that a low fat vegetarian diet is proven to prevent the most common diseases that millions of people die from every single year; diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and hardening of the arteries. The mother began to cry and said that her little girl was teased by the other kids and couldn't even play like a normal child because of her weight; that she was always coming down with ailments and that she was lethargic and fell asleep in school. Then the mother looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked 'Why hasnt any other doctor given us this information?' This scenario is common in my practice, and is the direct result of the absolute power, greed and corruption of the meat and dairy industries.
The next story is about my introduction into the world of vivisection, while I was a surgical resident. I was told that I could make a name for myself if I published papers and experimented on animals; and I was told that universities were given LOTS of money by the government as long as they continued to do experiments on animals. Being the naive young doctor and wanting to follow the lead of others, I did a year of vivisection and visited animal labs throughout the country. What I learned and what I saw with my own eyes was mind-boggling. I learned that 85% of all the data gathered from animal experiments was literally thrown away because it was of no use to anyone, human or non-human; never even published, much less used to help people. Almost all of the remainder of this data was never found useful for human healthcare.
And that 1 or 2% of data that was possibly, one day, maybe going to be useful in helping people? That data could have been obtained more accurately and cheaply using modern, progressive non-animal methods. Then I learned that the pharmaceutical companies spent millions of dollars taking doctors out to dinner and paying for lavish vacations for them and their families, and in turn these researchers were to manipulate animal experiments to get the results that the drug industries wanted. Then I learned that the way universities get grant money isn't by coming up with the best and most scientific research methods, but by continuing to use animals as a model because of the billions of dollars made in the vivisection industry. I learned that the vivisection industry is like the mafia; the scientists and drug companies who engage in animal research will do whatever it takes to continue the practice even though it not only harms humans, but causes enormous agony and suffering to the animals being experimented on.
Greed, corruption and absolute power; these are the things that drive the vivisection industry; NOT saving lives or preventing disease. In a world that has discovered gene expression and can look at diseases on the cellular and molecular level, animal experimentation has no place—and I repeat, NO PLACE—in 21st Century science. We now know that based on molecular biology and gene expression, a drug that reacts a certain way in a male rat, may react completely differently in a female rat. But what about primates that share 99% of our DNA? It's not the 99% that's important, but the 1% that makes the difference in a non-human primate reacting totally differently to a medicine or surgical procedure than a human primate.
We are not going to save the lives of our fellow humans by using archaic, outmoded animal experimentation. The scientists who still use animals in their research are not only frauds, but are addicted to an outdated form of research. Colin Blakemore for instance, who has sewn kittens' eyes closed for fun and profit, is no more of a true scientist than the mad scientists in the monster movies we watched in the 50s. Blakemore is not a doctor. Like most animal experimenters, he is simply a wanna-be medical doctor who didn't have the social skills nor the brains to make it through medical school. And those medical doctors who are performing experiments on animals are simply the instruments of a corrupt university system and the pharmaceutical industry."
Xenotransplantation is an experimental procedure in which animal organs or tissues are transferred into human bodies. This is obscenely unethical because animals weren't created to be our spare parts, just like they weren't put here to be sandwiches. Trying to justify one unethical, immoral practice (meat-eating) with another (xenotransplantation) is vicious and invalid. It's like saying, "Since children are molested, we might as well make child pornography films." One evil act should not perpetuate another. It's shameful and vile that humans have turned animals into commodities. We never seem to learn from past mistakes. Whites used to view blacks in the same regard. Men used to - and still do in many cases - view women as commodities. Discrimination is always wrong which means that speciesism is just as irrational and nefarious as racism and sexism. If America instituted Europe's PRESUMED CONSENT, there would be no shortage of organs, and people wouldn't be looking to exploit animals further. Presumed consent means that everyone who dies is presumed to be a donor UNLESS stated otherwise. So people have a right to opt out of organ donation, but one has to take the initiative to opt out. Xenotransplantation is also bad medicine. It has never been successful. Although both beat and pump blood, baboon hearts and pig hearts are physiologically dissimilar to human hearts. And no amount of medical tinkering can compensate for that inherent difference.
Anti-Vivisection Resources on the Web
Americans, Europeans, And Japanese For Medical Advancement: founded by Dr. Ray Greek, a physician and pre-eminent scientist who adamantly opposes medical research on animals
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM): a group of doctors who advocate preventative medicine and true scientific research
PCRM's Humane Seal of Approval: a list of charities that refuse to torture animals in archaic, barbaric and unscientific experiments
National Anti-Vivisection Society: this page provides a list of companies that do not torture animals in archaic, barbaric and unscientific experiments
Empathy, Education, and Violence: A Time for Everything
By Gary Yourofsky
NOTE: The following piece was first written in 1997. It was updated in 2005, 2008 and 2013.
For the first time in history, animal rights activists are facing an era of unprecedented repression by the US and UK governments. With active ALF liberators hard to find, those who publicly support the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) along with former ALF activists have been receiving the brunt of the discriminatory power that these governments routinely wield against social justice activists.
"Terrorists or Freedom Fighters", a collection of essays published in 2004, ignited debate about the nonviolent liberation and arson tactics of the ALF, and the violent threats of injury or death aimed at those who directly abuse animals put forth by The Animal Rights Militia (ARM), Revolutionary Cells, Justice Department, me, Camille Marino, Dr. Jerry Vlasak, and a handful of other activists worldwide. (Vlasak ended up justifying the use of tactical violence to Ed Bradley during a "60 Minutes" interview in November '05.)
Most people are unaware of this, but the great pacifist Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "I am only effective as long as there is a shadow on White America of a black man standing behind me with a Molotov cocktail." King's position on arson ― not just the fire of the incendiary Molotov cocktail ― might surprise most people as well. He believed arson is a nonviolent act because buildings ― made of brick, wood, metal or some other insentient material ― are incapable of feeling pain.
When it came to activists engaging in violence or people doing nothing at all, King and the other great pacifist Mohandas Gandhi both chose violence. Please do not misinterpret what they meant. King and Gandhi were the utmost pacifists and firmly believed in nonviolent activism. However, both iterated time and again that something (violence) would be better than nothing (apathy).
I feel the same way. Without question, I prefer nonviolent activism like classroom presentations, tabling events, leafleting, sign-carrying protests, op-ed pieces, undercover investigations and civil disobedience. It takes a wider array of tactics, however, to achieve substantive change. Given the choice of apathy or someone liberating mink, burning down a research torture-laboratory, or killing a vivisectionist or other DIRECT murderer of animals, I will choose the aforesaid actions over apathy any day of the week.
Radical tactics have been righteously implemented throughout history to produce immediate results. The Allied Forces violently broke down the gates of Hitler's death camps, killing Nazis in the process, and forever destroying the gas chambers of Buchenwald and Auschwitz. When the North took up arms and violently killed thousands of Southern racists, those justifiable homicides committed on behalf of black slaves were unchallengeable. Gandhi achieved Indian independence even though many Indians killed British soldiers, rioted in the streets and routinely set fires. The Black Panthers tactics of intimidation and Malcolm X's "by any means necessary" philosophy did not hinder the civil rights movement or the exaltation of Dr. King. In fact, when asked to stop X's radicalism, King replied, "Don't ask me to stop Malcolm X. Malcolm X will stop when racism stops!"
As one of the nation's most outspoken animal rights activists, I take the same approach. When a meat-eater or news reporter whines, "The ALF breaks laws and burns buildings and the ARM supports violence," I simply reply, "The ALF and ARM will stop when the abuse and murder of animals stops!"
Those who actively seek to end injustices should always be praised, not vilified. Gandhi once said, "There have been murderers and tyrants, and at times they have seemed invincible. But in the end they always fall. Always!" Arsons, liberations, or acts of intimidation and justifiable homicide cannot impede the animal rights movement because nothing can hinder the truthful, benevolent push to liberate animals from their human captors.
When the ALF liberates animals and makes an immediate difference in their lives, I am not sure how any rational individual does not side with the ALF. Should we instead wait for politicians and society to gradually find time to fit animals into their greedy, selfish agendas? In the same way Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad liberated blacks by stealing the "property" of whites, the ALF liberates animals by stealing the "property" of furriers and vivisectionists.
Furthermore, during the hundreds of ALF arsons over the last 30 years, no human has ever been injured or killed. This spotless record of economic sabotage is not accidental either. Members of the ALF adhere to a strict code of nonviolence, and have risked their freedom ― harming no one in the process ― for the animals who have no freedom.
Tens of thousands of foxes and mink have been given the chance to avoid anal electrocution and neck-breaking by the reprobates who provide skin to the fur industry, while dogs and mice have been liberated from sick, vicious experimenters and placed in loving homes.
However, since violence is an essential part of activism, even if an abuser of animals perished during a fire or other form of direct action, I would unequivocally support that, too. Empathy is not for those who enslave and kill animals, the guilty victimizers. Empathy is for innocent victims, the animals. Animal rights is not about being nonviolent to humans anyway, even though nearly every activist embraces a nonviolence-to-human-ethic. Animal rights is about freeing animals from violent, avaricious, heartless thugs who profit off of animal misery and murder.
It is important to remember that the animal rights movement has been completely nonviolent since its inception yet people still view us with derision. Luminaries, oracles and contemporaries like Pythagoras, Gandhi, Schweitzer, Tolstoy, Plutarch, da Vinci, Dick Gregory, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez have espoused the compassionate message of animal rights. Animals still remain enslaved nations killed by the billion. If peacefully protesting and educating the masses were the sole factors for compassionate change, animals would have been freed by now. Sadly, love does not always conquer hate. Reason does not solely conquer ignorance, or flat-out stupidity. Nonviolent protest does not always conquer institutionalized violence.
Those who truly care about animal rights must begin to view all animals as family members. We should try and reason with those who enslave and kill animals in order to liberate our nonhuman family. But that process alone cannot produce freedom. The time has come to forcibly free our family members from their captors, even if that means injuring or killing someone in the process. It is not violent to physically stop someone from killing someone else. Using force to stop abuse or murder is a noble, justifiable act of vicarious self-defense.
Liberations, arsons or violence only evoke negative reactions because very few people ― activists included ― truly view cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits, mice and deer as family. Until everyone accepts that animals deserve the same treatment as our mothers and fathers, the killing of animals will not cease, and people will continue to condemn activists, instead of abusers.
Once animals are viewed as family, it becomes appropriate to do whatever it takes to gain their freedom and stop their torture. Society disagrees with liberations, arsons or violence on behalf of animals because no one thinks animals are worthy of such generosity. I've often said that if I liberated children from a pornography ring in 1997, I would have been carried down the streets of Detroit as thousands cheered in support. Instead, I liberated 1,542 mink from an animal concentration fur camp, spent 77 days in maximum security and was branded a terrorist.
If mentally-retarded children were in tiny cages at the National Institutes of Health waiting to be mutilated, blinded, burnt and killed by a vivisectionist, the tactics of the ALF and ARM would be unassailable. If black people were being hung upside down at a slaughterhouse as someone sliced their throats and dismembered their bodies, society would embrace the tactics of the ALF and the Revolutionary Cells. If our mothers and sisters were traipsing through the woods as someone fired an arrow or a bullet destined for their chest, then we would all give thanks to the compassionate revolutionaries who call themselves ALF and Justice Department activists. If you honestly placed yourself in any animals' position, anything would be acceptable to prevent your torture, enslavement and eventual murder.
This piece is not a call to abandon nonviolent activism and solely take up arms. The violent actions of past social justice movements were carried out by only a few, just like the violent actions of the animal rights movement that will one day be carried out by only a few.
Just to make everyone aware of my activism, in the late '90s and early '00s, I was arrested 13 times for civil disobedience and direct action, including the ALF liberation of 1,542 mink from the Eberts Fur Farm in Blenheim, Ontario. As of September 14, 2012, I've given 2,388 lectures to more than 60,000 animal exploiters at 178 schools in 30 states and 5 Israeli cities because I believe veganism and education are the most effective forms of activism. I have yet to engage in violence but believe violence has its place alongside peaceful education and nonviolent protest. It is the amalgam of these methods that will result in the eventual freedom of animals.
What You Give Is What You Should Get
By Gary Yourofsky
The following editorial appeared in The Shield—the U. of Southern Indiana school paper—on Thursday, January 24, 2008.
Ever since Pythagoras promulgated peace to our planetary companions some 2,600 years ago, the animal rights community has utilized pacifism in its attempts to facilitate substantive change. As a proponent of education, my activism is no different. Each year I give around 250 lectures on ethical veganism to over 10,000 students explaining that victims of discrimination, slavery and murder come in all shapes and sizes. Many students thank me for removing their blinders and subsequently eliminate meat, cheese, milk and eggs from their diets. After all, consuming the cut-up corpses of murdered animals—and the things that ooze out of their bodies—is hardly an enlightened way of living.
However, author Sam Harris explained a major flaw with pacifism activism: "When your enemy has no scruples, your own scruples become another weapon in his hand."
So, while my lifestyle and lectures are based on compassion, those who refuse to stop harming animals force me to support 'eye for an eye' and 'by any means necessary' philosophies.
In a world full of lying politicians and deceitful public relations, I hope you'll appreciate my willingness to unapologetically say what I'm about to say.
Empathy should only be reserved for innocent beings—human or nonhuman. Institutionalized violence doesn't simply vanish with a peaceful protest, a dose of logic and a whole lotta love. If people continually deny animals their inherent right to be free, radical tactics are necessary and justified. Physically preventing an abuser from committing abuse and killing a murderer to stop the murder are noble, vicarious acts of self-defense.
This is why furriers—who anally electrocute foxes or break the necks of mink—deserve the same treatment in return. The same goes for anybody who wears fur. If you pay someone to commit acts of cruelty, then you are complicit and, therefore, just as guilty.
Rapists, murderers and child molesters should be vivisected, executed and dissected, allowing researchers the opportunity to gather useful information that would actually benefit human health for a change. I see nothing wrong with capital punishment because if you willfully destroy someone else's life, then you automatically relinquish yours.
I believe in God but am vehemently opposed to organized religion and its attempts to sanctify cruelty in His name. Harming or killing animals is Satan's milieu. Christians, Jews and Muslims need to represent their faiths through peaceful compassionate living, not the barbaric tradition of meat-eating or the inane rituals of singing songs to the sky, growing long beards, covering the head in cloth or dipping each other in water.
The next two paragraphs—originally penned in the "Empathy, Education and Violence" piece—are the reason why the USI administration canceled my lecture last year, and why journalism Professor Chad Tew and his students fought to change school policy and bring me back. Tew knew I had a First Amendment right to speak on campus.
"Sometimes I think the only effective method of destroying speciesism would be for each uncaring human to be forced to live the life of a cow on a feedlot, or a monkey in a laboratory, or an elephant in the circus, or a bull in a rodeo, or a mink on a fur farm. Then people would be awakened from their soporific states and finally understand the horrors that are inflicted on the animal kingdom by the vilest species to ever roam this planet: the human animal!
Deep down, I truly hope that oppression, torture and murder return to each uncaring human tenfold! I hope that fathers accidentally shoot their sons on hunting excursions, while carnivores suffer heart attacks that kill them slowly. Every woman ensconced in fur should endure a rape so vicious that it scars them forever. While every man entrenched in fur should suffer an anal raping so horrific that they become disemboweled. Every rodeo cowboy and matador should be gored to death, while circus abusers are trampled by elephants and mauled by tigers. And, lastly, may irony shine its esoteric head in the form of animal researchers catching debilitating diseases and painfully withering away because research dollars that could have been used to treat them was wasted on the barbaric, unscientific practice of vivisection."
I'll be lecturing at USI on Tuesday, January 29, in the Mitchell Auditorium from 7-9 p.m.
More Problems With Pacifism
NOTE: Do not read this section (written in March of 2013) until you've read the two essays in What's Wrong With Violence. This is my response to anyone who disagrees with those pieces. If you still disagree with my position, don't bother sending me an email because this will still be my retort, along with a line from the Pink Floyd song Wish You Were Here: "Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?"
Contrary to popular belief, pacifism is more evil than violence, and non-activist pacifists are incapable of using reason and rational thought when it comes to liberation movements. I say NON-ACTIVIST pacifists because these folks are not emulating Martin Luther King, Jr. when they write letters to corporations, sign online petitions, and spend five to ten hours a day on Facebook and Twitter. None of that qualifies as pacifism-activism, because King not only confronted hundreds of armed police officers in an endless array of street demonstrations, he went to jail dozens of times for intentionally breaking the law. He refused to apologize to judges, marched down the city streets he was banned from, and shed no tears in the jailhouse.
Non-activist pacifists have turned King's brand of action-activism into nothing more than a public relations game of meaningless ideals. As philosopher Edmond Burke once said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Pacifism has actually convinced this "movement" to give its unwavering support to those who murder and rape animals, such as slaughterhouse-designer Temple Grandin, and staunch animal-eating documentarians/authors Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Morgan Spurlock. This caused me to break away from the animal rights "community" years ago.
It's amazing that PETA, HSUS, and 99 percent of vegans and vegetarians embrace Grandin, Pollan, Schlosser, and Spurlock—along with convicted dog-killer Michael Vick—praising them in the media or on their websites, even though they're responsible for harming millions of animals. Yet, whenever I show up, they all run for cover, even though I am responsible for saving the lives of millions of animals by converting tens of thousands of people (a conservative estimate) to the veg lifestyle.
As I stated in the Empathy, Education and Violence essay, even though Malcolm X and King disagreed about which tactics should be used to eradicate segregation, when King was asked to help stop X's radicalism, he replied, "Don't ask me to stop Malcolm X. Malcolm X will stop when racism stops!" If pacifists were capable of logical thought, they would take the same approach with me and substitute X's name for mine, and racism for speciesism. Technically, we don't have to agree on tactics, but NOT supporting me—and other activists who risk it all—is treasonous, and a slap to the face of every enslaved animal.
I find the pacifist position and all of their condemnations hurled at me to be inadequate for many reasons. First, for more than 10 years, I've been the only activist invited into college and high school classrooms to give more than 200 vegan lectures a year, while my 2010 Georgia Tech speech has been translated into more than 30 languages for more than 5 million hits on YouTube. I've been able to represent the animals effectively because I made a conscious choice not to be a disingenuous public relations pacifist politician. I never lie or conceal my feelings to placate evil customs and evil people. It's funny how everyone claims to despise politicians but then they imitate them, and want me to be one, too.
Second, these people have never even bothered to read my essays on violence. They read an excerpt of an excerpt of an excerpt on the Internet. For the record, here's the entire excerpt in question: "Sometimes I think the only effective method of destroying speciesism would be for each uncaring human to be forced to live the life of a cow on a feedlot, or a monkey in a laboratory, or an elephant in the circus, or a bull in a rodeo, or a mink on a fur farm. Then people would be awakened from their soporific states and finally understand the horrors that are inflicted on the animal kingdom by the vilest species to ever roam this planet: the human animal! Deep down, I truly hope that oppression, torture and murder return to each uncaring human tenfold! I hope that fathers accidentally shoot their sons on hunting excursions, while carnivores suffer heart attacks that kill them slowly. Every woman ensconced in fur should endure a rape so vicious that it scars them forever. While every man entrenched in fur should suffer an anal raping so horrific that they become disemboweled. Every rodeo cowboy and matador should be gored to death, while circus abusers are trampled by elephants and mauled by tigers. And, lastly, may irony shine its esoteric head in the form of animal researchers catching debilitating diseases and painfully withering away because research dollars that could have been used to treat them were wasted on the barbaric, unscientific practice of vivisection."
Third, why is everyone so irate with the rape sentences but completely nonchalant about the "fathers-accidentally-shooting-their-sons" line?
Fourth, why ignore this quote from my What You Give is What You Get essay: "Rapists, murderers and child molesters should be vivisected, executed and dissected, allowing researchers the opportunity to gather useful information that would actually benefit human health for a change." Or this one from my Michael Vick piece:"Unless it's self-defense or defense of another, people who murder animals or humans—along with child molesters and rapists—don't deserve equal rights."
For the pacifists who now wish to condemn me for supporting capital punishment, let me expose your insanity a little more. When you fight for the lives of people on Death Row, you condemn even more innocent animals to a murderous demise. What do you think convicts in prison eat? Carrots and tofu? Or the dead, dismembered bodies of animals? And if you wish to use the trite argument about executing an innocent person one percent of the time, let me know when society condemns executing 150 billion INNOCENT animals in the meat, dairy and egg industries 100 percent of the time! As for the lame "eye-for-an-eye-only-makes-the whole world blind" comment, when was the last time there was a blind mass murderer? I'll take a blind compassionate world/person over a seeing evil one any day of the week. There's NO nobility in protecting victimizers. Murderers, rapists and child molesters don't need your voice. The victims are the ONLY ones who need help.
Have pacifists become so in love with their ideals that they've forgotten who the real practitioners of violence are? I have harmed no one while meat, dairy, and egg-eaters pay people to RAPE animals to impregnate them, pay people to steal newborn babies from their mothers, and pay people to kill the babies, and the mothers. I have harmed no one while people who wear fur pay people to rape foxes via anal electrocution, rape chinchillas via vaginal electrocution, and break the necks of minks, so that they can drape themselves in skin-coats. But hey, I'm a reasonable guy who's willing to change his position on violence, and make a deal with all the pacifists in the "movement." When the rapists stop raping the animals, then I'll stop "wishing" or "hoping" that rapists get raped. And let me clarify something else. I think rape is purely evil. I don't support it. Don't be stupid. Rape is the most evil act of violence that can ever be committed, which is why I wish it happens to evil people. I hope Nazis, KKK members, and domestic abusers get raped, too. I certainly don't wish for bags of lollipops and money to fall from the sky and gently land in their laps. I honestly think every rapist should have his cock and balls sliced off with a cuticle-remover while he's fully conscious. Then, he should be forced to eat his severed genitals after they've been dipped in puke. After he takes the last bite, I personally want to be there to shove two 12-inch metal skewers through each eyeball, and then drag him into a room filled with 10,000 flies so he can be eaten alive. Go rent the movie Law Abiding Citizen and watch Gerard Butler's character carry out some poetic justice on the man who raped his wife and daughter. It warms my heart to no end.
What's more, anyone who condemns me for my rape comments is a pure hypocrite anyway, because when child molesters are convicted and imprisoned, EVERYONE says something like this: "I can't wait until Bubba gets a hold of him in prison." And don't you dare deny it! What do you think Bubba's gonna do when their paths cross? Counsel him about his troubled childhood, or forcibly penetrate (rape) his asshole? The problem with pacifists is that they don't fully understand evil because they refuse to look at oppressive situations from the victim's point of view—unless, of course, the victim is a fur-wearing ogress who gets raped in some fantasy retaliatory payback prose of mine. The animals who are raped and murdered see no difference between someone who violates them for their flesh and skin, or someone who does it to a human. If only the pacifists could understand this.
It's also unfair that pacifists play the pacifism default-card in every situation, meaning that no matter what a non-pacifist says, the pacifists think their position is automatically right. What they fail to realize is that there are different avenues for achieving substantive change. I understand that violence isn't always the best tactic for every situation, which is why I spend 100 percent of my time EDUCATING students in college and high school classrooms. Conversely, pacifism cannot be the appropriate tactic in every situation either. Sometimes evil people need to be killed. People who have NO compassion deserve NONE in return.
To prove once and for all how evil pacifism can be, let's play a time-travel game. The year is 1945 and I'm being held captive with thousands of others in a Nazi concentration camp. Do pacifists support The Allied Forces who enter the death camps and MURDER Nazis in order to save me and the other victims? Or do the pacifists hold firm to Gandhi's solution to the Holocaust? Even though the Mahatma was one of the most effective pacifist-activists in history, it's time that everyone knew about his INSANE solution to the Jewish Holocaust. Gandhi thought that all the Jews imprisoned in concentration camps should have committed mass suicide in order to rouse the conscience of the world. And pacifists have the nerve to think that I'm crazy! Pacifism truly clouded his judgment just as it continues to cloud the judgment of animal rights people. Pacifism ALLOWS violence to continue unabated. And if you're about to use that stale "violence-begets-violence" line, well, I'm sorry, but I must've missed that moment in history when killing thousands of Nazis caused them to commit more acts of violence against Jews. Exactly when did that happen?
I also find it odd that animal rights pacifists refuse to condemn Nelson Mandela and his associates for trying to USE violence in an attempt to end apartheid in South Africa. Why not protest him for this statement on February 11, 1990, after being released from prison after 27 years: "Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC (Umkhonto we Sizwe) was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement would be reached soon, so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle."
Why not condemn the great civil rights activist Rosa Parks for stating the following in her autobiography My Story: "To this day, I am NOT an absolute supporter of nonviolence in all situations (page 175)."
I refuse to condemn these wise, thoughtful, and necessary propositions, and the activists who lived and died by them. If people are truly opposed to using violence as a tactic, why should Mandela and Parks get free passes to promote and justify violence? I'll be eagerly anticipating the pacifists' forthcoming defense of Gandhi's Holocaust solution, and their condemnations of Mandela and Parks.
If pacifism is so wonderful and effective, and there are ONLY a handful of animal rights people who promote and support violence as I do, why is it that animal rights people are seen as weird lunatics, and animals remain oppressed by the billion? It's because no matter how much you act like a politician, and embrace pacifist ideals, evil people rarely change their evil ways unless they're forced to. So I learned a long time ago to say what needs to be said, and to support what needs to be done, even if it goes against popular thought. And lo and behold, guess who became a pretty effective activist over the years. Go to the COMMENTS/ACCOLADES section from any page of this website, and spend a moment reading the thousands of testimonials from former meat, dairy and egg-eaters who made the world a better place because they listened to my message of compassion.
This discussion is now permanently over. CHECKMATE. I win. Pacifists lose.
Fur, Liberations, and the ALF
The following essay is included in the book Terrorists or Freedom Fighters? Reflections on the Liberation of Animals, edited by Anthony Nocella. To order the book, go to www.LanternBooks.com.
Abolition, Liberation, Freedom. Coming to a Fur Farm Near You.
By Gary Yourofsky
For weeks after the events of 9-11, I was transfixed by the news media. CNN, MSNBC, FOX-News, The Today Show, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Brian Williams. Report after report. Image after image. The collision. The fireball. The smoke. The collapse. The rubble. The debris. Ground zero. The panic. The response.
As a national lecturer on animal rights, and one of the country's most outspoken animal liberationists, I believe I speak for the entire movement when I tell you that we have the utmost empathy for every innocent victim of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. We mourn human tragedy as much as animal tragedy. The notion that animal rights activists are anti human is an outrageous lie.
We choose to be activists for other species because billions of innocent animals are murdered without so much as a disquieting tinge of guilt from the masses. We are vegans because we realize that violence and hatred must be destroyed at its root, in our everyday habits of consumption.
Shortly after the 9-11 attacks, my faith in humanity was restored temporarily because I witnessed such an outpouring of love, empathy, compassion, and community. The world was condemning evil and the taking of innocent lives. In our unity to find the perpetrators, I wondered if we would understand that murdering any living being was wrong. I hoped that, by a collective awakening to compassion, the terror that humans inflict upon innocent animals for food, clothing, sport, entertainment, and research would end or at least abate.
In a moment of optimistic speculation, I pondered whether the camouflaged-hunters―lurking on American soil, skulking in the distance with guns and bows, waiting to terrorize and kill more than 200 million innocent animals annually—might throw their weapons to the ground?
Would the animal researchers who terrorize 50 million dogs, cats, primates and mice annually in vivisection procedures have a revelation? The March of Dimes experimenters who sew shut the eyes of kittens and ferrets to see if blindness affects their brains would surely stop their barbaric acts of terrorism.
After the 9-11 bombardment, the researchers at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center—who electro-ejaculate primates in order to obtain sperm for their breeding colonies—would make the connection now. Surely, the animal research community was going to be arrested and charged with acts of terrorism.
Would terrorist fur-farmers and trappers be sent to prison for breaking the necks of mink, anally electrocuting foxes, genitally electrocuting chinchillas and catching wild animals in steel jaw leghold traps?
Would humankind realize that animals do not want to be our food, clothing, entertainment and research specimens? Would we finally understand the words of British Bishop William Inge when he said that if animals ever formulated an organized religion, the devil would be depicted in human form? And would we finally seek to change that image?
Would Gandhi's immortal words of peace―"The life of a lamb is no less precious than that of human"―be recited at every school across America?
But not a damn thing changed in human attitudes toward fellow animal species. The routine violence of human customs was swept even further under the rug. The repetitive talk of people revolting against evil sickened me because it was clearly hypocritical and deceitful.
Shamefully, it seems that the hatred that humans have towards nonhumans is so vicious, bitter and entrenched, that a thousand peaceful Gods and Goddesses couldn't eradicate it. For that brief moment, though, I saw a glimmer of hope. Reporters, civilians and government officials kept saying "we will destroy the evil." Unfortunately, they were only referring to the evil people who disrupt the rest of society from performing its own evil deeds.
Each meat, dairy and egg-eater is responsible for the death and dismemberment of more than 3,000 land animals and thousands of marine animals throughout their lifetime. Annually, in the US alone, around 10 billion cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other animals live in concentration camps. Within the first year of their pathetic lives, they're sent to killing-houses where knife-wielding terrorists slit their throats, drain their blood and dismember their bodies, all-too-often while the animals are still conscious and aware. Sadly, I realized that any lesson learned in the wake of 9-11 was not going to change that.
Path To Liberation
If people truly want to end terrorism, then they should discard animal flesh from refrigerators, toss bows and bullets into the trash, insist that universities close down their vivisection laboratories, demand that department stores close their fur salons, make circuses shift to only human performers, abolish the rodeo once and for all, and support the courageous ALF humanitarians who liberate animals from places of terror. People who yearn for a compassionate world should have nothing but praise for these amazing altruists. Otherwise, any talk of peace, civilization and justice will remain the most hypocritical rhetoric that has ever existed.
Remember, just because an act might be classified as illegal does not make it morally wrong. And just because an act is legal does not make it the best avenue for facilitating substantive change. Laws have always been broken by free-thinking, radical individuals who realize that it is impossible to make progressive changes within a corrupt, discriminatory system.
Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau and Jesus, to name a few, were routine, radical law-breakers who went to jail many times for disobeying unjust laws. We see them as heroes today, but in their time they were considered by many to be law-breakers, villains and radicals. "Radical" has a negative connotation in society today. However it is simply the Latin word meaning "root", and what radicals do is to bypass pseudo-solutions and get to the root of a problem. Everyone should realize that all social justice activists were considered radical in their time. It is only after social justice activists die and society begins to evolve and comprehend their actions that the "radical" is placed on a pedestal and embraced. Without question, ALF liberations are akin to Harriet Tubman and The Underground Railroad which assisted in the liberation of blacks from white slave-owners. In fact, a wise ALF adage—from an unknown individual—states: "If we are trespassing, then so were the American soldiers who broke down the gates of Hitler's death camps. If we are thieves, then so were the members of The Underground Railroad who freed the slaves from the South. And if we are vandals, then so were those who destroyed forever the gas chambers of Buchanwald and Auschwitz."
One must understand that ALF raids have two goals; giving enslaved animals a chance at freedom and causing major economic damage. As a movement, we must stop living in fantasyland by believing that those directly involved in torturing and murdering animals, and profiting handsomely from it, will listen to reason, common sense and moral truth. The vast majority will not. If they did, there wouldn't be an animal liberation movement because they would have understood the cruelty of their ways by now and adopted a vegan lifestyle.
I am aware that some activists like Howard Lyman and Don Barnes were former abusers of animals who had epiphanies and changed. That's why I said most will not listen to reason. I didn't say never try to educate and enlighten. But in the vast majority of cases, it is just a fantasy to believe that direct abusers collectively will change. What those involved in animal exploitation will listen to, however, is damage to their profits and livelihood. Only if we make their blood businesses unprofitable, will they cease the violence against the animal kingdom.
Remember, since the inception of the animal liberation movement, no human has ever been injured or killed during a liberation or an act of economic sabotage. We need to stop accepting the lies propagated by the media and the corporations who murder animals for a living. ALF activists are not terrorists; those who abuse animals for a living are! ALF activists are not criminals; those who enslave, torture, mutilate, dismember and murder animals for a living are! Activists who liberate animals should not go to prison; animal exploiters should! It should never be viewed as a crime to try and forcibly stop hatred and discrimination and terrorism; it is an act of compassion and courage.
All animals are simply disenfranchised nations in search of the one thing that every sentient being demands: FREEDOM! They are not property. They are not objects. And they are not commodities. The earth and its inhabitants do not belong to humans, under any circumstance. So when inanimate objects—like buildings and machines—are destroyed during an animal liberation, the property-destruction issue is justified because an animal's inherent right to be free trumps economic damage, and buildings that exist to torture living beings deserve to be eradicated forever!
Let Them Read Lies
I believe one main reason why the ALF does not yet have broad public support is because of the lies spewed by animal exploiters and the distortions reported and perpetuated by the mass media. Sadly, animal-killers and their supporters will go to any length to deceive and mislead the public into believing that they are the victims and not the animals. Having inside knowledge of what animal liberation entails, let me give an example of how the propaganda machines work.
On March 30, 1997, I was part of a mink liberation effort at the Eberts Fur Farm in Blenheim, Ontario. We released 1,542 mink from their cages, but were apprehended shortly thereafter. The media reported four lies that are typically issued by the fur industry after liberations: (1) the mink froze to death after freedom; (2) the mink starved to death overnight after freedom; (3) the mink caught pneumonia and became stressed out after freedom; (4) the mink were run over by cars on rural roads at three in the morning after freedom.
Let's look at the facts.
(1) Mink are clothed in natural fur coats which make it impossible to freeze to death, especially during the pleasant month of March/April, which is when my Ontario raid took place.
(2) It takes several weeks for mink to starve to death. It cannot happen overnight. In fact, authorities involved in the Ontario mink liberation stated that the liberated mink raided a nearby chicken farm for food, incontrovertibly exposing the starvation lie. As for the chickens, my heart goes out to them. But my enmity is still enflamed by the 250 million Americans who kill and eat 9 billion chickens to satisfy their meat-addictions. If humans didn't enslave chickens, mink wouldn't raid chicken farms. If humans didn't enslave mink, the ALF wouldn't raid mink farms.
On rare occasions, some people claim that mink attack companion dogs or cats. I have yet to see any proof of this happening. Not one photo of a dead body or a pile of canine or feline bones. So, I believe this is another ploy to divert attention from the real victims; the mink. Even if the mink did attack a dog or a cat, many times dogs attack cats, cats attack birds, and so on. This just proves two other points. In the last 100 years of mink farming, not one wild gene has been bred out of these animals. And after thousands of years of dog and cat domestication, they, too, still possess their wild genes. Being raised in captivity in no way impedes an animals' chance of surviving in the wild.
It should be noted that in the late 90s after the Frye Fur Farm in Illinois was raided—and thousands of mink were given a chance to escape—the fur industry issued a press release claiming how much the Fryes loved and cared for their mink. The release stated the Fryes routinely picked up and played with the mink. Yet, across the waters in England that same year, a liberation of 10,000 mink took place. That release stated that everyone should hide their dogs and cats and children because the mink were vicious animals who would attack and eat everything in sight. Isn't it remarkable that Illinois mink are sweet and cuddly, yet English mink are rapacious and vicious?
The fur industry's public relations people are masters of doublespeak and thereby hide their atrocities from public view. It is obvious that the fur industry can't even get their lies straight. And that's because one lie leads to another.
(3) Mink do not spontaneously contract pneumonia or stress when they are not in cages. Being kept in a cage for your entire life causes stress and neurosis. Freedom is the cure for caged-induced stress and neurosis.
(4) There are no cars on rural roads at three in the morning except for those of fur farmers and police who are trying to recapture the liberated mink. If they backed off and let the mink go, rarely would there be a mink-car casualty.
The fur industry knows that if people were aware of the five methods of death used on mink, foxes and chinchillas, virtually no one would buy a fur coat. The anal electrocutions, genital electrocutions, gassings, neck-breakings and toxic chemical injections are purely evil. So, the fur industry's spin doctors have devised some glittering propaganda in order to divert attention from the heinous methods of death, and the prejudiced media are all-too happy to report them uncritically. The industry and media conspire in an attempt to make animal liberations appear foolish and describe the actions as creating more harm than good.
Any wildlife biologist or veterinarian who is not associated with the fur industry or does not own a fur coat will admit that mink and foxes are wild animals who will undoubtedly survive after being set free. They also will admit that no amount of genetic breeding can take away animals' innate, instinctive survival mechanisms. And let me be perfectly clear: Freedom does not cause death! Hunters, meat, dairy and egg-eaters, fur-wearers, leather-lovers and animal-experimenters cause death!
According to the fur industry, 400 mink instantly died after my Easter Sunday raid. Yet on my request, the lawyers asked them to provide proof of the purported 400 dead mink. They were asked to do so by either bringing in photos, dead bodies or testifying under oath. They declined all offers.
Not surprisingly, the death toll quickly descended from 400 to 300 to 200 to 100 to 12. Subsequently, during my three-day trial when I was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison, the furriers brought in photographs of two dead mink who allegedly died the night of the raid.
Now, I did not believe the authenticity of the photos, but for argument's sake, let's say that two mink were run over by the cars of the fur farmers who were trying to recapture the freed mink. Those two deaths are unfortunate. But every mink in the concentration camp was going to die. Opening the cages was the only chance any of them had. The act was justified.
The job of an ALF activist is not to guarantee safety and freedom, but to give incarcerated animals an opportunity to live in freedom. Unfortunately, 1,000 mink were recaptured because they never found the holes in the fence in order to make it across the street to the luscious miles of fields. (According to some authorities who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the official numbers of the Ontario raid were 1,542 released, 1,000 recaptured, 540 escaped and two dead.) However, of the 1,000 recaptured mink who never made it off the grounds through the cut fence-holes, the best news was 70-80 percent of the pregnant ones miscarried their fetuses. The animal rights community does not want animals bred into enslavement. A miscarriage is infinitely more humane than a lifetime of imprisonment, horror and eventual murder.
It's truly disheartening when the media and a majority of society get so upset when enslaved, tortured and soon-to-be-murdered animals are liberated. Yet, these same individuals don't get upset when enslaved, tortured and soon-to-be-murdered animals―who spend their pathetic lives inhaling the fumes of their own excrement―are gassed, anally electrocuted, genitally electrocuted, injected with toxins or have their necks broken manually.
Taking statements without questioning the source is contemptible. Why would responsible journalists heed the words of the police, who are experts at manipulation, and abject furriers, who collectively murder 40 million animals a year for money? If journalists would think rationally instead of trying to fit into the sleazy world of media hype, they could actually produce a brilliant story on ALF humanitarians and the current paradoxes in our society.
People who put their lives on the line for a cause should be commended not condemned. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once stated, "There are some things so dear—some things so precious—some things so eternally true—that they are worth dying for. And if a person has not discovered something that he or she is willing to die for—then that person isn't fit to live."
I wholeheartedly concur!
For my random act of kindness and compassion on behalf of the tortured and doomed mink, I spent 77 days in prison. (Hilma Ruby, my lone, upstanding compatriot out of the five, spent 60 days in prison.) Canadian Judge A. Cusinato sentenced me to six-months in the Elgin Middlesex Detention Center in London, Ontario. A deportation parole was issued, though, and I returned to Michigan after serving 77 days at the maximum security lock-up.
Before being carted off to prison, I was able to address the judge:
I stand before this court without trepidation and without timidity because the truth cannot be suppressed today and the truth will not be compromised. Mohandas Gandhi, one of the most benevolent people to ever grace this earth, once said, "Even if you are only one person the truth is still the truth."
The dilemma we face today is whether this court chooses to acknowledge the truth. The following statement is for everyone's edification.
One day every enslaved animal will obtain their freedom and the animal rights movement will succeed because Gandhi also proclaimed, "All throughout history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants and at times they have seemed invincible, but in the end they always fall. Always!"
The true devoted humanitarians who are working towards the magnanimous goal of achieving freedom for animals cannot be stopped by unjust laws.
As long as humans are placed on a pedestal above non-humans injustice to animals will fester because without universal equality one type of equality will always create another type of inequality. There will be no compromise here today because the truth cannot be compromised.
My presence in this courtroom today is paradoxical. I ask this court: If it is NOT a crime to torture, enslave and murder animals, then how can it be a crime to free tortured, enslaved and soon-to-be-murdered animals?
Humankind must climb out of its abyss of callousness, its abyss of apathy and its abyss of greed. Enslaving and killing animals for human satisfaction can never be justified. And the fur industry must understand that the millions of manual neck-breakings, anal and genital electrocutions, mass gassings, drownings, and toxic chemical injections can never be justified.
And, the snaring of millions of free-roaming animals in steel jaw leghold traps, who die slow, horrific deaths, is unjustifiable as well.
There will be no compromise, for the truth cannot be compromised. The schism that this court has created among the five co-accused has been sealed.
Now that I have been convicted, through my volition and in a symbolic protest of the unjust conditions that animals endure, a hunger strike will begin tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.
For every mink that ever languished in a tiny cage and was savagely murdered at the Eberts Fur Farm, I will go hungry. And for the 40 million other animals worldwide who have the skin ripped off their backs in a disgusting display of barbarity, in the name of vanity, I will go hungry.
And if this court expects me to experience an apostasy, meaning an abandoning of my beliefs, it is sadly mistaken. In April of '97, when I was incarcerated for 10 days in a Chatham jail, I briefly experienced, vicariously, what a caged animal goes through. And, thanks to that 10-day bail hearing, my empathy for every mistreated animal intensified.
No matter what I go through during my incarceration and hunger strike, will be nothing compared to the everlasting torture that innocent animals endure on a daily basis.
And if this court is alarmed by my honesty, let me close with a quote from slave abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison: "I will be as harsh as the truth and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think or speak or write with moderation. I am in earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch. And I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. My influence shall be felt in coming years, not perniciously but beneficially, not as a curse but as a blessing, and posterity will bear testimony that I was right."
There will be no compromise here today because the truth cannot be compromised.
The Struggle Continues...
During my 77-day incarceration, I felt lifeless, moribund, and enervated. Not from any sort of punishment or correction the system thought it doled out, but from the lack of public compassion and activism for animals. Apathy is a bittersweet plague which leads to nihilism. And nihilism is the father of inertia which results in the death of one's emotions.
The majority of people―submersed in the aversion of revolution―have destroyed their humanity. If one cannot feel, see, nor understand the preciousness of this earth and all of its inhabitants, then why should he or she be blessed with the gift of existence? This planet should be a replica of the most beautiful place imaginable, a place where humans view animals with awe and respect. What a pathetic life I must have led before I heard the cries of the enslaved and the tumult of the animal kingdom. Activism engulfs me. My life is this struggle. From liberator to educator, I continue to fight for interspecies justice.
About the North American Animal Liberation Press Office
The North American Animal Liberation Press Office (NAALPO) was founded to communicate the actions, strategies, and philosophy of the animal liberation movement to the media and the public. Many of these actions are illegal under a current societal structure that fails to recognize the rights of non-human animals to live free of suffering, but validates and promotes the "right" of industries to do whatever they want to animals for profit or research. Within these conditions, those in the underground working for animal liberation often cannot speak out directly. Nevertheless, their actions and message are urgent and deserve to be heard and understood.
Since animal liberation actions either go unreported in the media or are uncritically vilified as "violent" and "terrorist" with no attention paid to the suffering that industries and individuals gratuitously inflict on animals, NAALPO seeks to clarify the motivation and nature of actions taken in defense of animals.
The Press Office also tries to provide a historical, social, and philosophical context for an objective understanding of the nature and motivation of illegal direct actions taken on behalf of captive animals. While the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF, is currently the most active liberation group, the Press Office will report on ANY act of animal liberation, and provide the press and general public with information on the actions and ideology behind them.
The Qur’an and Islam
NOTE: The following information—compiled by several vegan Muslims—was arranged, edited and clarified by Gary Yourofsky. I believe in God, but I am not so arrogant and blind as to believe that God is human-like, or that God looks, thinks, or acts like us in any way. As a whole, humans are psychopathic, apathetic, and myopic. God is not! Furthermore, giving thanks, and/or praying to God, does NOT exonerate an animal-murderer from the crime. Author Cleveland Amory summed it up best when he wrote (just replace the word "Christian" with "Muslim"): "A missionary was walking in Africa when he heard the ominous padding of a lion behind him. 'Oh Lord' prayed the missionary, 'Grant in Thy goodness that the lion walking behind me is a good Christian lion.' And then in the silence that followed, the missionary heard the lion praying too: 'Oh Lord,' he prayed. 'We thank thee for the food which we are about to receive.'"
"In Hell there is a huge roller, like the ones used to flatten stones on paved roads. This roller is two hundred and fifty miles long and the beam by which it is dragged is also the same length. Someone stands next to the beam with a fairly long whip in his hand and forces the people to lie on the ground, like stones on a path. Two hundred to two hundred and fifty other people are chained to the beam and are forced to pull the roller over the people lying on the ground. As they pull, they are whipped. They are screaming, and the people being crushed are also howling and wailing. Blood flows everywhere. This goes on from morning until night. Then all those who were crushed take form again and are made to lie down and be crushed once more. Then they are heaped onto a fire burning as high as a mountain. I have seen this. I saw different people there: a man who butchered goats, a man who butchered cattle, and a man who weighed and sold the flesh of animals. I asked them what they had done and they told me. I saw all of this with my own eyes." M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, the late vegan Muslim spiritual teacher and renowned Sufi Shaykh
"All creatures are like a family of Allah. And Allah loves most, those who are the most compassionate to His family." The Holy Prophet Muhammad
"All creations are given freedom and a place to live. They are all given water, air, fire, and a connection to earth and ether. But man grabs for himself what Allah has created as common to all. He snatches the homes of others for himself. He claims the water as his own. He claims the air as his own. He makes the sun his own. He makes the earth his own. He claims the moon is his. He attempts to make what was common to all, his own. All are members of the same body. Created from one essence. If fate brings suffering to one member, the others can not stay at rest. You who remain indifferent to the burden of pain of others do not deserve to be called human." Sa'di, the late vegan Muslim spiritual teacher
Pure Islam has always been very concerned with the suffering of any sentient life form. Ahadith (the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad) abound regarding compassion for humans and nonhuman animals alike. The great Sufi Rabi'ah al-`Adawiyah of Basrah was an early Muslim vegetarian. In recent times, M.R. Bawa Muhaiyadeen was very vehement and outspoken about "the true meaning of the first Kalimah" in relation to vegetarianism and compassion for all.
The Qur'an states that animals are individuals, communities and nations in their own right, not mere resources.
"There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, that doesn't form communities like you. They ALL shall be gathered to their Rabb (Lord) in the end." Qur'an, Sura 6:38 The essence of Islamic teachings on the rights and liberties of nonhuman animals is that depriving animals of their fair share in the resources of nature is so serious a sin in the eyes of Allah that it is punishable by punitive retribution. The Qur'an describes how the people of Thamud demanded that the Prophet Saleh show them some sign to prove he was a Prophet of Allah. At the time of this incident, the tribe was experiencing a lack of food and water, and was, as a result, neglecting its animals. It was revealed to Prophet Saleh to single out a she-camel as a symbol and ask the people of Thamud to give her a fair portion of food and water. The people of Thamud promised to do that but later killed the camel. As retribution, the tribe was annihilated. This incident has been mentioned in the Qur'an many times (7:73, 11:64, 26:155, 156; 54:27-31).
Understand, once it has been established that each species of animal is a "community," then it only stands to reason that each and every creature has the right to life and a share in all the natural resources. If an animal is not posing a direct threat to the life of an individual, or if an individual is not residing in a region (icy or desert) where the consumption of animal flesh is absolutely necessary for survival and for survival alone, then the suffering one inflicts on any animal is excessive, cruel and contrary to the teachings of Islam. In other words, halaal (permitted) killing has NOTHING to do with a certain technique of killing (keeping the animal completely conscious when slicing the animal's throat, looking directly into the animal's eyes when slicing the throat, watching the fear on the animal's face when slicing the throat and watching the tears stream down the animal's face when slicing the throat) or uttering of a prayer (reciting Allah's name and/or saying a prayer when slicing the animal's throat). Again, halaal, without question, is for survival only. So, if a Muslim is eating meat, cheese, milk, eggs and other animal products, then that Muslim is eating haraam (unacceptable), food that is a complete sin in the eyes of Allah. "The qurban (the commandment of saying the third kalimah when ritually slaughtering animals) was also sent down to stop this murdering. All the prophets came in order to gradually correct the people and to gradually reduce the number of murders. When a man slaughters an animal for food, this prayer is meant to destroy the beastly qualities within him that cause him to want to kill an animal. Although it is commonly understood that this Kalimah is meant to remove the qualities within the animal, if you kill the animal-qualities within the man, then he will no longer want to slaughter animals. Before the beast that is inside man kills another animal, this prayer was sent down so that both beasts could be brought to a higher state. It is for these reasons that the third Kalimah was given to man. There are some learned people who only have a few levels of consciousness. They have studied the religious texts, and they have Bachelor's or Master's degrees. But even though they have studied so much, they cannot discriminate between what is wrong and what is right. They do not distinguish between what is good and evil. They have not learned to treat other lives as their own. Nor have they understood through their awareness that all lives are one life, that all lives belong to one family, and that all beings are of the same family." M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
Of the 114 chapters in the Qur'an, 113 begin with the phrase "In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful." All Muslims accept that showing compassion and charity is a service to Allah. Yet, the many cruel things humans do to animals—especially the cruelest of them all which is to kill them, dismember them and eat their flesh—is anything but compassionate, merciful and charitable. Accordingly, the Holy Prophet Muhammad stated, "No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother [human and nonhuman] that which he desires for himself. Allah will not be affectionate to a man who is not affectionate to Allah's creatures. Whoever is kind to the creatures of Allah is kind to himself. A good deed done to an animal is as good as doing good to a human being while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being. The Holy Prophet Muhammad was once asked: "Oh Prophet, are we rewarded for kindness to animals?" Muhammad replied, "There is a reward for kindness to every living thing."
The Qur'an states that man has "dominion" over animals. However, it is clear that this is not a license for enslavement and murder, but rather humankind's responsibility towards all of Allah's creation. In the beginning (Genesis), we are told that Allah created a perfect garden where we were given ONLY vegetation to eat. Allah commanded humans to eat of that vegetation alone to nourish the body. Later, after the Great Flood wiped away much vegetation and many drowned animals were scattered upon the face of the Earth, it was revealed to the Prophet Noah that it was permissible (halaal) to eat scavenged animal flesh for survival only. Later while wandering in the desert Wilderness, the Prophet Musa (Moses) was told that it was permissible (halaal) to kill and eat animals for survival only. Later, though, when vegetation returned, people continued to kill animals for food because some Judaic/Christian/Islamic theologians erroneously believed that it was permissible in EVERY possible context to kill animals and eat their flesh. Fortunately, many prophets spoke out against this. Among them were Isaiah, Daniel, Shadrak, Meshak, Abedneggo, Amos, Solomon and Judah Maccabee, to name a few.
"Every creature that lives and moves shall be food for you; I give you them all, as once I gave you all green plants. But now you must not eat the flesh with the life, which is the blood, still in it. For the blood is the life." Genesis 9:3-4
Many cite the above reference as their "Divine Permission" to exploit nonhuman animals for whatever means they might happen to contrive. But they are unequivocally wrong. After the flood, it is said that Noah had taken every non-aquatic animal indigenous to his region aboard an ark. So allow us to visualize this for a moment. After the deluge had subsided, Noah could now kill and eat those that Allah had just told him to save? Are we to believe that it was important to save these animals from the flood, but now that everything was said and done, Allah—all of a sudden—decided it was okay for Noah to eat the animals he just saved? Moreover, if one of these animals were killed, then reproduction would have been impossible because there were only two of each.
After the revolutionary movement of Judah Maccabee, Nabi 'Isa al-Masih (Jesus) wanted to abolish flesh consumption altogether. In Al-Injil (the original, unaltered Aramaic Gospel) we are told that 'Isa absolutely opposed flesh consumption when it was not necessary for survival. He went so far as to physically restrain those who abused and killed animals needlessly. And there is prophecy after prophecy in the Nevi'im (the writings of the prophets) of the Old Testament that speaks of the Messiah being vegetarian. Even ancient portions of the Book of the Dead allude to the Messiah being vegetarian. This is not at all something that one can make up as they go along. The divine message is a fundamental reality of oneness and compassion and peace. And becoming one with the animals of the earth and freeing them from their bondage is the final truth and final step for global salvation. Spiritually, we have been given higher wisdom to realize both that flesh consumption is not necessary and causes suffering to others who are a part of the oneness of Allah. Allah told the first Prophet Adam to eat a strict vegetarian diet. And many prophets after Adam prophesied that Eden standard once again.
The Historical Question of Sacrifice
"The first cases to be adjudicated on the Day of Judgment will be those of bloodshed." The Holy Prophet Muhammad
Allah clearly spoke out against animal sacrifice (and flesh-eating) through his prophets. Pythagoras (570 B.C), Mahavira (599 B.C. and founder of Jain religion) and Buddha (563 B.C.) condemned the sacrifice and eating of animals. The three aforementioned prophets were among the 124,000 Prophets of Islam. We—as Allah states in the Qur'an—make no difference between any of them. It is furthermore alluded to in the Torah that the advent of ritualistic slaughter itself was descended from the days of more primitive spiritual misunderstanding. There are numerous passages in the Bible, Injil and Qur'an which downgrade in importance, or completely reject, animal sacrifice altogether.
"You believe that Moshe (Teacher of the Torah and Master of the Prophets) indeed commanded such creatures to be slain and offered in sacrifice and eaten, and so you do in the Temple, but behold one greater than Moshe is herein and he comes to put away the bloody sacrifices performed in the name of the Law, and the feasts on them, and to restore to you the pure oblation and un-bloody sacrifice of grains and fruits as in the beginning. For the hour is coming when your sacrifices and feasts of blood shall cease, and you shall worship a holy worship and pure oblation. Let these creatures therefore go free, that they may rejoice and bring no guilt to man." Al-Injil 28:3-5
"God was displeased with the slaughtering of animals, not wishing them to be slain. He did not ordain sacrifices or desire them, nor from the beginning did He require them." The Apostle Peter in the Clementine Homilies "'Isa (Jesus) said, "I came to destroy the sacrifices, and if ye cease not from sacrificing, the Wrath of YHVH (God) will not cease from you." Al-Injil (Aramaic Matthew)
"I hate, I spurn your pilgrim feasts. I will not delight in your sacred ceremonies. When you present your sacrifices and offerings, I will not accept them." Amos 5:21-23
"For I desire mercy not sacrifices, and acknowledgment of YHVH rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6-7
The prophets of the Tanukh (ancient group of various southern Arabian tribes and clans that first moved into central Arabia) often spoke of sacrifices as an abomination to YHVH. After the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis stated that sacrifices should be replaced by prayer and good deeds. Similarly, such strong language can be found in Isaiah 1:11-16 and verses such as Hosea 6:6, Isaiah 66:3 and Micah 6:6-8 state that sacrifices are definitely unnecessary. Of course it will be the first pre-programmed, knee-jerk reaction of any devout flesh eater to suppose that such verses are subject to interpretation. Were the Prophets attacking the practice of sacrifice itself, or were they simply opposing the behavior of the people of their culture stating that their sacrifices were hypocritical or null and void due to their contrary lifestyles? To one who is insistent upon exploiting religion to condone their cruel desires, this will be a difficult case to prove. However, the rage of the notorious vegetarian Isaiah, must prove at least partially convincing that it was the practice of animal sacrifice itself that was being assaulted. "The reek of sacrifice is abhorrent to me" (Isaiah 1:13) and "There is blood on your hands; wash yourselves and be clean." Isaiah 1:15-16
The Sunnah (example) of 'Isa and Other Vegetarian Prophets While many Anbiya (Prophets) were vegetarian, the one that Muslims should most closely be aware of is Nabi 'Isa al-Masih (Jesus). For unlike the other Anbiya, it is 'Isa who is said to return with Imam Al-Mahdi. Ahadith bears witness that `Isa will prostrate in Salat (prayer) behind the Imam al-Mahdi. So without delving into what literally dozens of Christian and pre-Christian Gospel accounts of `Isa say about him abstaining from flesh consumption, allow us to view several of the Islamic Ahadith that record the dietary habits of `Isa, the one who will Return and slay Al-Masih ad-Dajjal (anti Christ) according to the beliefs of all Muslims across the globe. "'Isa told his followers,"Eat from the plants of the wilderness and escape from this world in Peace." Notes: Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181/797), al-Zuhd, p. 198 (no. 563). Cf. Ibn Abd Rabbihi, al-`Iqd, 3:143; Ibn Asakir, Sirat, p. 138, no. 128 (Asin, p. 541, no. 111; Mansur, no 9; Robson, p. 73). "'Isa was a constant traveler in the land, never abiding in a house or a village. Whenever night fell, his lamp was the moonlight, his shade the blackness of night, his bed the earth, his pillow a stone, his food the plants of the fields. At times, he spent whole days and nights without food." Notes: Abu Rifa'a al-Fasawi (d. 289/902), Kitab Bad' al-Khalq, p. 333. Cf. Ibn `Asakir, Sirat, p. 133, no. 120.
"Masih said, 'Flesh eating flesh? How offensive an act!'" Notes: Al-Raghib al-Isfahani (early fifth/early eleventh century), Mahadarat al-Udaba', 1:610.
"`Isa Ibn Maryam, used to say: The produce of the earth is my food and fruit. I retire for the night with nothing to my name and awake in the morning with nothing to my name. And there is no one on earth richer than me." Notes: Abu Nu`aym al-Isbahani (d. 430/1038), Hilyat al-Awliya', 6:314 (Asin, pp. 374-375, no. 44; Mansur, no. 80; Robson, pp. 67-68.
The Qur'an tells us that 'Isa told people what to eat, and these Ahadith tell us that he ate plant-based food alone and told others to eat plant-based food alone. As well, if Prophet 'Isa al-Masih ate no flesh or animal products 2,000 years ago, then why do so many imagine that he would be ANY different when he returns with the Holy Imam al-Mahdi? And with that in mind, it would serve to reason that the Imam will abstain from flesh foods if 'Isa, his closest companion, is a strict vegetarian.
Following the vegetarian diet (an Ital, "Vital" or "Total" diet) that Allah predestined humanity to eat is the only way to avoid complicity in the inherent cruelties of animal agriculture. Some, shamefully, misinterpret empathy for animals as a weakness. Antithetically though, standing up against cruelty is an act of strength, especially when most people merely follow the crowd. Being in a majority is not an indication of the truth. The Most High says, "If you obey most of those who are on earth, they will mislead you from the path of God" (6:116).
Furthermore, since humankind was not designed to consume animal products, it should come as no surprise that when we eat meat, cheese, milk, eggs and other animal products that we also will reap the destructive harvest of our actions, whether this is a harvest of environmental destruction or detriment to human health and soul. Allah created humans in a state of Eden as herbivores, not as omnivores, and certainly not as carnivores. Adopting a diet free of meat, cheese, milk, eggs and other animal products is the easiest and most consistent way for Muslims to live in accordance with the ethical, environmental, and health precepts of Islam.
The Bible, Jesus, and Veganism
NOTE: For a rabbinical view about why Jews should be living a vegan lifestyle, read this amazing 2010 essay from the late Rabbi Simchah Roth. When I mention God in the following piece, I am also referring to Jesus. And God did NOT create us in His image. Humans created God in their image. I believe in God, but I am not so arrogant and blind as to believe that God is human-like, or that God looks, thinks, or acts like us in any way. As a whole, humans are psychopathic, apathetic, and myopic. God is not! Furthermore, giving thanks, and/or praying to God, does NOT exonerate an animal-murderer from the crime. Author Cleveland Amory summed it up best when he wrote: "A missionary was walking in Africa when he heard the ominous padding of a lion behind him. 'Oh Lord' prayed the missionary, 'Grant in Thy goodness that the lion walking behind me is a good Christian lion.' And then in the silence that followed, the missionary heard the lion praying too: 'Oh Lord,' he prayed. 'We thank thee for the food which we are about to receive.'"
THE GARDEN OF VEGAN
Adam and Eve, the first vegans on this planet, resided in the Garden of Eden, the world's first vegan paradise. They were living testaments to Genesis 1:29, God's first dietary law: "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food."
Isaiah 11:7, God's last dietary law, states, "The wolf will live with the lamb, the cow will feed with the bear, the lion will eat straw like the ox, and a little child will lead them. And neither will harm nor destroy on My Holy Mountain." The beginning and the end are vegan because veganism is the only way to live without bloodshed and cruelty.
Many other scriptures profess God's love for animals. "God tests them [humans] so that they may see they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals. The same fate awaits them both. As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath. Man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place. All come from dust and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth." Ecclesiastes 3:19-21
"In that day I will make a covenant for them. With the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land so that all may lay down in safety. I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion." Hosea 2:18-19
"A righteous man cares for the needs of the animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel." Proverbs 12:10
"Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf filled with hate." Proverbs 15:17
DOMINION, THOU SHALT NOT KILL, AND THE LOST GOSPEL
The dominion directive and THOU SHALT NOT KILL commandment hold the dubious distinction of being the most important, yet most misunderstood mandates. Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 unambiguously state, "You shall not murder." So, contrary to religious dogma, not killing animals, extending mercy, and being compassionate honor the THOU SHALT NOT KILL commandment. When meat-eaters support, disobey or ignore this all-encompassing commandment, they are guilty of committing the ultimate sin.
Displaying the utmost arrogance, meat-eaters also assume dominion gives them the right to enslave and torture animals with impunity. Dominion's true calling, however, is for humans to protect and care for God's most innocent creatures. The dominion humans have over animals is the same dominion parents have over their children.
The Gospel of the Nazirenes states, "It has been written, 'Thou shalt not kill', but I say to you, if any hate and desire to slay, they have broken the Law. If they cause hurt or torment to any creature, they are guilty. But if they kill to put an end to suffering which cannot be healed, they are not guilty, if they do it quickly and with much mercy." 47:3
Church Fathers Papias, Hegesippus, Iranaeas, Clement, Origen, Basil, Epiphanius, Eusebius and St. Jerome wrote about The Gospel of the Nazirenes, which verifies its ancient existence. Penned sometime in the first century, it is now unjustly part of the Apocrypha, scriptures viewed as inauthentic by the Church.
The Gospel of the Nazirenes is only labeled as apocryphal because it forbids the killing of animals for sacrifice or sustenance. Shamefully, most Christians are more concerned about murdering innocent creatures, meaningless customs and the death of Jesus, instead of giving compassion to those who need it the most. Jesus always tried to reduce or eliminate the pain and suffering of others.
Today's bible is the Roman—not Judeo-Christian—version of biblical events. From the years 325-403, Emperor Constantine's Council of Nicea re-wrote and re-edited most of the compassionate teachings of Jesus and other prophets to promote an agenda of hatred, from heterosexism and misogyny to slavery and speciesism.
Acts 15:20 states, "...abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood." Acts 15:29 adds, "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things."
The aformentioned Acts verses are reiterated in chapter 7, verse 10 of The Gospel of the Nazirenes: "Keep yourselves from blood and things strangled and from dead bodies of birds and beasts, and from all deeds of cruelty, and from all that is gotten from wrong. Do you think that the blood of beasts and birds will wash away sin? I tell you, No! Speak the the truth, be just, and merciful to one another and to all creatures, and walk humbly with your Creator."
MERCY OR CRUELTY
If cruelty is evil, and God is all-compassionate and all-merciful, then why do people believe God is an animal-killing, bloodthirsty, murderous devil? If slicing animals into pieces is permissible by God, then what horrible things could the Devil possibly do to animals? In other words, if you believe God condones the killing of animals, then the God you glorify is no better than the Devil you condemn.
Cruelty to animals is sacrilegious and desecrates the Good Lord's name. In The Gospel of the Nazirenes, Jesus agrees, "This commandment have I given you, that you love one another and all the creatures of the earth. Love is the fulfilling of the Law. Love is of the Lord, and the Lord is love. Whoso loves not, knows not the Lord....you are my disciples if you show mercy and love to all creatures, especially those that are weak and oppressed and suffer wrong. For the whole earth is filled with dark places of cruelty, with pain and sorrow, by the selfishness and ignorance of man." 76:5-6
THE GOSPEL OF JESUS
Jesus belonged to the vegan sect of the Essenes known as the Nazirenes. With the compassionate ways of both branches documented by dozens of historians and theologians, it's impossible to believe that Jesus consumed a violent diet of dismembered limbs and cut-up corpses. In THE PACIFISM, COMMUNALISM AND VEGETARIANISM OF PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY, researcher Charles Vaclavic also establishes an undeniable link between the Nazirenes, the Essenes and the Pythagoreans. [Until the 19th century, vegans and vegetarians were called Pythagoreans.] This religious lineage negates any claim of a flesh-eating Jesus because all three groups refused to violate the THOU SHALT NOT KILL commandment by including animals in their circles of compassion. In The Gospel of the Nazirenes, Jesus states, "Wherefore those who want to be my disciples, keep your hands from bloodshed and let no flesh meat enter your mouths for the Lord is just and bountiful who ordains that man shall live by the fruits and the seeds of the earth alone" 38:1-6
In the book FAMOUS VEGETARIANS AND THEIR FAVORITE RECIPES, historian Rynn Berry documents the veganism of Jesus, while theologians Dr. Hugh Schonfield and University of Paris Professor Ernest Renan verify His compassionate ways in THE PASSOVER PLOT and LIFE OF JESUS, respectively. Schonfield writes, "The old Nazirenes, like the Samaritans, were opposed to the Judean traditions, holding that the southerners had falsified the Law of Moses. They were vegetarians, and rejected animal sacrifices, but practiced circumcision and observed the Jewish Sabbath and festivals."
Indirect references of a vegan Jesus appear in Dr. Thomas Walker's WHAT JESUS READ, Professor Robert Eisler's THE MESSIAH JESUS and Eusebius' ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. Eusebius affirms that James, the brother of Jesus, was vegan from birth and directed the early spiritual community in Jerusalem after the Crucifixion. "Control of the Church passed to the apostles, together with the Lord's brother James, whom everyone from the Lord's time until our own has called the Righteous, for there were many Jameses, but this one was holy from his birth; he drank no wine or intoxicating liquor and ate no animal food; no razor came near his head; he did not smear himself with oil, and took no [public] baths. He alone was permitted to enter the Holy Place, for his garments were not of wool, but of linen. He used to enter the Sanctuary alone...because of his unsurpassable righteousness he was called the Righteous...Bulwark of the People."
Since James harmed no animal in his daily sustenance, isn't it logical to assume that Mary raised Jesus and James on the same diet, not one as a meat-eater and the other as a vegan? The Gospel of the Nazirenes also proclaims that John the Baptist "... shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall neither eat flesh meats, nor drink strong drink ..." Doesn't logic tell us, again, that Jesus would have followed the same "great" diet of his close friend John?
THE BODY IS A TEMPLE
If fruits and vegetables do not cause disease, and animal products are responsible for all of our main diseases, why do people believe the Lord ordained pestilent food? Are we supposed to believe the Lord said, "I give you cows and pigs and chickens. Hang them upside down, cut their throats, dismember their bodies, cook their muscles and consume their flesh. Even if it clogs your arteries or gives you cancer or diabetes, be fruitful and multiply." As you can see, rationalizing the consumption of animal products is preposterous. God admonishes us to treat the body like a temple by ingesting healthy, cruelty-free foods. Read the HUMAN HERBIVORES section of ALL ABOUT VEGANISM to discover how the human body is 100 percent herbivorous.
Daniel 1:8,11-16 clearly shows how well the human body responds to healthy, cruelty-free food: "Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel then said to the guard ... please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see. So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead."
JESUS AND FISH
In Matthew 4:19 and Mark 1:17 Jesus says to Peter and Andrew, "Come and follow me. And I will make you fishers of men." These verses, along with The Council of Nicea's account of Jesus feeding fish to the multitudes, lead people to believe that Jesus was a fish-eating fisherman.
Jesus, however, never engaged in occupations that were harmful to animals. He was a rabbi, a teacher, an orator, a healer, a miracle worker and a savior. And He gave His life for all of creation!
As for feeding the multitudes, The Gospel of the Nazirenes states, "And it came to pass as Jesus had been teaching the multitudes, and they were hungry and faint from the heat of the day, then there passed...a woman on a camel laden with melons and other fruits. And He took five melons and divided them among the people, and they ate, and their thirst was quenched...none of them went home hungry or thirsty; and many that had fevers were healed." 48:1-4
The MIRACLE is the point of the story. Whether fruit or fish, Jesus multiplied tiny rations to feed thousands. If He used fish, He certainly didn't grab a net and a hook and dash feverishly to the Euphrates to kill them. He made them appear, thus bypassing the suffering and death fishermen are responsible for. Talk about cruelty-free eating!
Animal sacrifices displayed a primitive understanding of God's mandates, and were as insane as the human sacrifices that preceded them. Humility and sincere contrition were the only penances for sin. Killing an innocent animal only increased the original sin. It never exonerated one from it. In the Gospel of the Nazirenes, Jesus agrees: "No blood offering of beast or bird, or man, can take away sin, for how can the conscience be purged from sin by the shedding of innocent blood? No, it will increase the condemnation. Is it not written in the Prophets, 'Put away your blood sacrifices and your burnt offerings, and cease from the eating of flesh, for I spoke not to your fathers nor commanded them when I brought them out of Egypt concerning these things.' And what does the eternal command you, but to be just, love, have mercy and walk humbly with the Law." 33:2-8
Isaiah 1:15 states, "The multitude of your sacrifices - what are they to me," says the Lord. I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals. I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Atop bringing meaningless offerings. Your incense is detestable to me. New moons, sabbaths and convocations - I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you. Even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands of full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight. Stop doing wrong, learn to do right."
Isaiah 66:3 states, "Whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck."
Hebrews 10:4 confirms Isaiah's Old Testament wisdom: "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins."
Micah, Jeremiah, Amos, Daniel, Zechariah and other prophets also condemned sacrifices. In fact, the first recorded animal liberation happened when Jesus freed the animals from the altar when He dispersed the money-changers from the Temple!
Many people use the bible to justify hatred, discrimination, domination and murder. 1 Timothy 2:11-13 tells women to obey men, "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve." While other scriptures condemn homosexuals, Leviticus 25:44-45 even excuses racism, "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property." For centuries, white Christians used the bible to justify slavery in America, apartheid in South Africa and pogroms of witches, Native Americans and other non-Christians. Even Hitler, a staunch Christian, used the bible in a genocidal attempt to fulfill his mendacious prophesy of an all-white race. With such documented Christian-borne atrocities, today's Christians should not be shocked when animal rights people explain how the bible is being used by meat-eaters to perpetuate the murder of billions of animals every year!
JESUS WARNS OF EVILDOERS
Most religious leaders misguide people with cruel interpretations of Christianity and Judaism. Clergy who fail to condemn the mass murder of animals in slaughterhouses, the most evil and wicked places on this planet, are spiritual hypocrites because they promote iniquity. In The Gospel of the Nazirenes, Jesus agrees: "Verily I say unto you, for this end I have come into the world; that I may put away all blood offerings and the eating of the flesh of the beasts and the birds that are slain by men. In the beginning the Creator gave to all the fruits of the trees and the seeds of the earth and the herbs for food. But those who loved themselves more than the Lord or their fellows, corrupted their ways and brought diseases into their bodies and filled the earth with lust and violence." 75:6-14
Jesus also says, "Speak the truth, be just and merciful to one another and to all creatures, and walk humbly with your Creator." 7:9-10
Most importantly, Jesus warns, "The enemies of truth and righteousness shall rule in my name and set up a kingdom of this world, oppress the peoples...teaching in my name that which I have not taught and darkening much that I have taught BY THEIR TRADITIONS." 95:3
CAIN AND ABEL
Fred "Felice" Rizzo, Ph.D., contends that Cain killed Abel because Abel was a cattle-ranching animal-killer. When Abel violated the THOU SHALT NOT KILL commandment, Cain responded with the first justifiable homicide. Cain knew that using force to stop abuse or murder was a permissible act of vicarious self-defense.
Rizzo further explains the etymology of Abel's name. It translates to anti-God. "Ab" is the prefix that negates, while "El" is an archaic word for God. The ancient storytellers passed down the Cain and Abel narrative and forever let it be known which brother was evil by labeling Abel as anti-God. According to Rizzo's etymological research, all words derived from Abel pertain to something evil, while words from Cain are happy or peaceful. For instance, the Jewish Holiday Chanukah is derived from Cain's name.
THE BEDROCK OF RELIGION
Today's bible is ambiguous about Jesus' diet because selling a vegan messiah to a carnivorous Roman society was no easy task. Convincing the meat-eating masses to accept Jesus' messianic status meant pushing aside His vegan lifestyle and labeling many of His peaceful teachings as unnecessary eccentricities.
Organized religion focuses too much on barbaric traditions and inane rituals, instead of peaceful living and compassionate duty. It sickens me that the most important aspect of religion is gathering together on the weekend watching someone in a suit—or a black, red, white or green robe with a green, white, red or black hat—performing hand-jive rituals of imaginary cross-signs and prayer-gestures. Imagine if churches and synagogues only demanded its followers to be good people rather than mean automatons! People need to stop worshiping MAN-MADE creations like The Wailing Wall, bibles and other religious books, houses of worship, and artifacts, such as the slab of granite that Jesus died on (located in The Holy Sepulcher). It's time to truly respect and honor God by worshiping and protecting His creations: the animals, the oceans, the stars, the sun, the sky, the mountains and the forests. After all, if you are destroying and murdering God's creations, then you are destroying and murdering God piece by piece!
As someone who believes in God, I do not reject the bedrock of Christianity and Judaism! I only reject stupid religious customs and attempts to justify malicious acts of cruelty in the name of God. If people looked into the eyes of an animal, they would SEE God in those wondrous creations. Job 7:8 states, "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you." God is in no book. God is in no building. God is no priest or rabbi on a pulpit condemning animals to death. God is in the heart. God is compassion. I don't believe in ink and paper, or people. I believe in compassion, and I believe in God.
SIMPLIFYING THE BIBLE’S MESSAGE
If the bible contains contradictory scriptures about permissible food, why ignore the peaceful vegan ones and accept the violent meat-eating ones? Peace should always trump violence. If I had the power to edit the bible, thus clarifying its message, I would use a four word commandment and a two word suggestion: THOU SHALT NOT KILL and BE NICE!
MANY SCRIPTURES FROM THE GOSPEL OF THE NAZIRENES:
"Do violence to no living thing, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with sufficient wages. Keep yourselves from blood and things strangled and from dead bodies of birds and beasts, and from all deeds of cruelty, and from all that is gotten of wrong. Do you think that the blood of beasts and birds will wash away sin? I tell you, no! Speak the truth, be merciful to one another and to all creatures and walk humbly with your creator." 7:9-10
"Thus it came to pass that he (Jesus) was born in the midst of the animals which, (through the redemption of man from ignorance and selfishness), he came to redeem from their sufferings by the manifestation of the Sons and Daughters of the Most High." 4:5
"And Jesus was going with some of his disciples when he met with a certain man who trained dogs to hunt other creatures. And he said to the man, 'Why do you do this?' And the man said, 'By this I live and what profit is there to any in these creatures?' These creatures are weak, but the dogs they are strong. And Jesus said, 'You lack wisdom and love. Every creature which has been made has its end, and purpose, and who can say what good there is in it? Or what profit to yourself, or mankind.'
And for your living, behold the fields yielding their increase, and the fruit-bearing trees and the herbs. What more do you need than these which the honest work of your hands will not give to you?
A grain of wheat will produce ten thousand heads, and every head will have ten thousand grains, and every grain will produce ten pounds of fine clean flour, and other seeds, fruits and grass will produce in corresponding proportion, and all the animals will use those foods that are products of the soil and become in turn peaceable and in harmony with one another, and with man. Woe to the crafty who hurt or abuse the creatures of the earth. Woe to the hunters for they shall be hunted. And the man marveled and stopped training the dogs to hunt, and taught them to save life rather than destroy it. And he learned of the doctrines The Way and became his disciple." 14:6-9
"And it came to pass that Jesus...found men with a beast of burden. But the horse had fallen down, for it was over-laden, and he (the man) struck it until blood flowed. And Jesus went to him and said, 'Son of cruelty! Why do you strike this defenseless animal?' Do you not see that it is too weak for its burden and that it is suffering greatly?' And then Jesus said again, 'Do you not see how it bleeds, can you not hear also how it wails and laments?'
And Jesus was sorrowful and said, 'Woe to you because of the dullness of your hearts, you hear not how it laments and cries to the Lord Creator for mercy. And Jesus went forward and touched it and the horse stood up, and its wounds were healed. Jesus said unto his disciples, 'Because of the sick, I am sick; because of the hungry, I am hungry; because of the thirsty I am athirst.'
Jesus also said, 'I have come to do away with the sacrifices and feasts of blood, and if you cease not sacrificing and eating of flesh and blood, the wrath of the Lord shall not cease from you; even as it came to your fathers in the wilderness, who lusted for flesh, and they ate to their content, and were filled with rottenness and the plagues that consumed them." 21:2-8 (FYI, this part appears VERBATIM in the Panarion from Epiphanius' writings as he discusses The Gospel of the Ebionites.)
"It came to pass one day as Jesus had finished his discourse, in a place near Tiberias where there were seven wells, a certain young man brought live rabbits and pigeons, that he might have them to eat with his disciples. And Jesus looked on the young man with compassion and said to him, 'You have a good heart and the Lord shall give you light; but do you not know that the Lord Creator in the beginning gave to man the fruits of the earth for food, and did not make him lower than the ape, or the ox, or the horse, or the sheep, that he should kill and eat the flesh and blood of his fellow creatures?'
Indeed, the Pharisees believe that Moses commanded such creatures to be slain and offered in sacrifice and eaten, and so do you in your temple, but behold, I have come to light the Way back to the Law, even the true Law of Moses; and to put away the bloody sacrifice as in the beginning, even the sacrifice of grains and fruits of the earth.' For the hour approaches when your sacrifices and feasts of blood shall cease and you shall worship in holiness with a pure Oblation." 28:1-4
"Then Jesus said, 'Do you think that I speak of the eating of flesh, which you ignorantly do in your temples?' Not as your ancestors, who craved for flesh and taking of it, ate of corruption till it stank in their nostrils, and their carcasses fell by the thousands in the wilderness by reason of the plagues." 31:2-3
"For the fruits of the trees and the seeds of the herbs alone do I partake, and these are changed by the Spirit into my flesh and my blood. Of these alone and their like shall you eat who believe, and are my disciples, for of these in the Spirit come life and health and healing to man." 32:4
"'Can the blood offerings of the law take away sin?' And Jesus answered: 'No blood offering of beast or bird, or man, can take away sin, for how can the conscience be purged from sin by the shedding of innocent blood? No, it will increase the condemnation. Is it not written in the Prophets, 'Put away your blood sacrifices and your burnt offerings, and cease from the eating of flesh, for I spoke not to your fathers nor commanded them when I brought them out of Egypt concerning these things.' And what does the eternal command you, but to be just, love, have mercy and walk humbly with the Law.
Is it not written that in the beginning the Lord ordained the fruits of the trees and the seeds and the herbs to be food for all flesh? But they have made the House of Prayer a den of thieves, and for the pure oblation with incense, they have polluted my altars with blood, and eaten of the flesh of the slain. But I say to you: Shed no innocent blood nor eat the flesh of the slain, and your days shall be long in the land." 33:2-9
"And some of his disciples came and told him of a certain Egyptian, a son of Belial, who taught that it was lawful to torment animals if their sufferings brought any profit to men. And Jesus said to them, 'They who partake of the benefits which are gotten by wronging one of the Creator's creatures cannot be righteous; nor can they touch or teach holy things, or speak of the mysteries of the Kingdom whose hands are stained with blood, or whose mouths are defiled with flesh.' The Lord gives the grains and the fruits of the earth for food; and for righteous man there is truly no other lawful substance for the body. Wherefore I say to all those who desire to be disciples, keep your hands from bloodshed and let no flesh meat enter your mouths; for the Lord is just and bountiful; who ordains that man shall live by the fruits and seeds of the earth alone. I am in all creatures and all creatures are in me. In all their joys, I rejoice. In all their afflictions, I am afflicted." 38:1-6
The original interpretation of the Ten Commandments "1) Ye shall worship the one eternal unbegotten Lord Creator, of whom all things are made; 2) Ye shall not take away the life of any creature, nor yet torment it; 3) Ye shall cherish and protect the weak, the oppressed, and all creatures that suffer wrong. 4) Ye shall not eat the flesh, nor drink the blood of any slaughtered creature, nor yet anything which brings disorder to your health or senses; 5) Ye shall eat the fruits and herbs of the earth, and working in the law, live long in the land; 6) Ye shall not make impure marriages where love and health are not, nor yet corrupt yourselves, or any creature; 7) Ye shall revere your fathers and mothers and all the teachers of righteousness; 8) Ye shall not bear false witness against, nor willfully deceive any, nor yet covet or steal their goods; 9) Ye shall purify yourselves daily and rest the seventh day; 10) Ye shall not do unto others, as ye would that others should not do unto you." 46:11-19
"And some of the scribes, hearing him, sought to entangle him in this talk and said, 'If you would put away the sacrifices of sheep and oxen and birds, to what purpose was this temple built for the Lord by Solomon, which has been now forty and six years in restoring?' And Jesus answered and said, 'It is written in the Prophets, My House shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, for the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. But you have made it a house of slaughter and filled it with abominations. Again it is written, 'From the rising of the sun to the setting of the same, my Name shall be great among the multitudes, and incense with a pure Offering shall be offered unto me.' But you have made it a desolation with your offerings of blood and used the sweet incense only to cover the ill savor thereof. I am come not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.
Do you know what is written? 'Obedience is better than sacrifice and to hearken better than the fat of rams. I, the Lord, am weary of your burnt offerings, and vain oblations, your hands are full of blood.'" 49:5-8
"And certain of the Elders and scribes form the Temple came to Jesus saying, 'Why do your disciples teach men that it is unlawful to eat the flesh of beasts though they be offered in sacrifice as Moses ordained?' For it is written, the Lord said to Noah, 'The fear and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the field and every bird of the air and every fish of the sea, unto your hand they are delivered.'
And Jesus said to them, 'You hypocrites, well did Isaiah speak of you and your forefathers saying, 'These people draw near to me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; for in vain do they worship Me believing and teaching for divine doctrines the commandments of men in my name, but to satisfy their own lusts.'
As also Jeremiah bore witness when he said concerning blood offerings, and sacrifices: 'I, the Lord, commanded none of these things in the day that you came out of Egypt, but only this I commanded you: to do righteousness, walk in the ancient paths, be just, love, have mercy, and walk humbly with your creator.
But you did not hearken to me, Who in the beginning gave you all manner of seed and fruit of the trees, having been for the food and healing of man and beast.
And they said, 'You (Jesus) speak against the law.'
And he (Jesus) said, 'Concerning Moses, indeed I do not speak against the Law, but against those who corrupted the Law, which was tolerated because of the hardness of their hearts.'" 51:12-17
"And in those days, those that have the power shall gather to themselves the lands and riches of the earth for their own lusts and shall oppress the many who lack, and hold them in bondage, and use them to increase their riches, and they shall oppress even the beasts of the field, setting up the abominable thing. But the Lord shall send them His messenger and they shall proclaim the Law, which men have hidden by their traditions, and those that transgress shall reap the harvest of their deeds." 61:3
"Now, Joseph and Mary, Jesus' parents, went up to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of Passover and they observed the feast after the manner of their brethren, who abstained from bloodshed and the eating of flesh and from strong drink." 6:1
"Now Judas Iscariot had gone to the house of Caiaphas and said to him, 'Behold he has celebrated the Passover within the gates with the mazza in place of the lamb. I indeed bought a lamb, but he forbade that it should be killed. The man of whom I bought it is witness. And Caiaphas rent his clothes and said, 'Truly he (Jesus) has done a deed which is worthy of death, for it is a weighty transgression of the Law." 76:27
"And they asked him further saying, 'Do you abolish the sacrifices of the law, and the eating of flesh as Moses commanded?' And Jesus answered, 'Behold, a greater Law than that which you made of Moses' law is restored to you.'" 79:9
THE LAST PASCHAL SUPPER:
"And Iscariot said to him, 'Jesus, behold the unleavened bread, the mingled wine and the oil and the herbs, but where is the lamb that Moses commanded?' (for Judas had bought the lamb, but Jesus had forbidden that it should be killed).
But again Judas said, 'Jesus, is it not written in the law that a lamb must be slain for the Passover within the gates?'
Verily I say unto you, for this end have I come into the world: that I may put away all blood offerings and the eating of the flesh of the beasts and the birds that are slain by men. In the beginning the Creator gave to all the fruits of the trees, and the seeds and the herbs for food; but those who loved themselves more than the Lord or their fellows, corrupted their ways and brought diseases into their bodies, and filled the earth with lust and violence. Not by the shedding of innocent blood, therefore, but by living a righteous life shall you find peace.
Blessed are they who keep this Law, for the Creator is manifest in all creatures and all creatures live in the Creator." 75:6-14
"This commandment have I given you, that you love one another and all the creatures of the earth. Love is the fulfilling of the Law. Love is of the Lord, and the Lord is love. Whoso loves not, knows not the Lord. Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken to you. By this shall all know that you are my disciples: if you show mercy and love to all creatures, especially those that are weak and oppressed and suffer wrong. For the whole earth is filled with dark places of cruelty, with pain and sorrow, by the selfishness and ignorance of man." 76:5-6
"And one asked him saying, 'Jesus shall infants be received into the Congregation in like manner as Moses commanded by circumcision?' And Jesus answered, 'For those who are in the Law there is no cutting of the flesh, nor shedding of blood.' Let the infant...and let the parents see to it that the infant is brought up by Nazirite tradition in the Way of the Law, neither eating flesh nor drinking strong drink, nor touching things impure, nor hurting the creatures given by the Creator into the hands of man to protect.'
Again one said to Jesus, 'Jesus, how will it be when they grow up?' And Jesus said, 'After seven years, or when they begin to know the evil from the good, and learn to choose good, let them come in Spirit and receive the blessing at the hands of the Priest or the Angel of the Congregation with prayer and Thanksgiving, and let them be admonished to keep from flesh-eating and strong drink, and from hunting the innocent creatures of the earth;" 91:6-7
MARY MAGDALENE, THE VEGAN:
"Wherefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much, not only man but also beast and birds of the air, yea, even the fishes of the sea; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." 11:8
"It has been written, 'Thou shall not kill', but I say to you, if any hate and desire to slay, they have broken the Law, yea, if they cause hurt or torment to any creature they are guilty. But if they kill to put an end to suffering which cannot be healed, they are not guilty, if they do it quickly and with much mercy." 47:3
"And again I say to you, if any desire and seek to possess the body of any creature for food, or for pleasure, or for profit, they defile themselves thereby." 47:6
JESUS FEEDS FRUIT TO THE MULTITUDES:
"And it came to pass as Jesus had been teaching the multitudes, and they were hungry and faint from the heat of the day, that there passed by that was a woman on a camel laden with melons and other fruits. And he took five melons and divided them among the people, and they ate, and their thirst was quenched. And he said to them, 'If the Lord Creator makes the Sun to shine, and the water to fill out these fruits of the earth, shall not the Same be the Sun of your Souls, and fill you with the Water of Life?' None of them went home hungry or thirsty; and many that had fevers were healed."48:1-4
"And as Jesus was going to Jericho he met there a man with a cage full of birds which he had caught and some young doves. And he saw how they were in misery having lost their liberty, and moreover being tormented by hunger and thirst. And he said to the man, 'What will you do with these?' And the man answered, 'I go to make my living by selling these birds which I have taken.'
And Jesus said, 'What would you think, if another stronger than you, or with greater craft, were to catch you and bind you, or your wife, or your children, and cast you into a prison, in order to sell you into captivity for his own profit, and make a living?'
Are not these your fellow creatures, only weaker than you? And does not the same Creator care for us all? Let these your little brethren go forth into freedom, and see that you do this no more, but provide honestly for your living.
And the man marveled at these words and at his authority, and he let the birds go free. So when the birds came forth they flew to Jesus and stood on his shoulder and sang to him. And the man inquired further of his doctrine, and he went his way, and learned the craft of making baskets, and by this craft he earned his bread, and afterwards he broke his cages and his traps, and became a disciple of Jesus."41:1-6
"And Jesus came to a certain tree and abode beneath it many days. Mary Magdalene came there with other women and they ministered to him of their substance, and he taught daily to all that came. And the birds gathered around Jesus, and welcomed him with their song, and other living creatures came to his feet, and Jesus fed them, and they ate out of his hands. And when he departed [from under the fig tree] he blessed the women who showed love to him, and turning to the fig tree, he blessed it also, saying, 'You have given me shelter and shade from the burning heat, and given me food also.
Blessed are you, increase and be fruitful, and let all who come to you find rest and shade and food, and let the birds of the air rejoice in your branches. And behold the tree grew and flourished exceedingly, and its branches took root downward and sent shoots upward, and it spread mightily so that no tree was like it for its size and beauty, and the abundance and goodness of its fruit. And as Jesus entered into a certain village he saw a young cat which had none to care for her, and she was hungry and cried to him, and he took her up and put he inside his garment, and she lay in his bosom.
And when he came into the village he set food and drink before the cat, and she ate and drank, and showed thanks to him. And he gave her to one of his disciples, who was a widow, whose name was Lorenza, and she took care of her. And some of the people said, 'This man cares for all creatures. Are they his brothers and sisters that he should love them?' And he said to them, 'Verily these are your fellow creatures of the great Household of the Lord Creator, yea, they are your brethren and sisters, having the same breath of life in the Eternal.
And whoever cares for one of the least of these, and gives it food and drink in its need, the same does it to me. And whoso willingly suffers one of these to be in want and defends it not when cruelly treated, suffers the evil as done unto me. For as you have done in this life, so shall it be done to you in the life to come." 34:1-10
"And Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the Kingdom is at hand.' And he was walking by the sea and saw Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother casting a net in the sea; for they were fishers. And he said to them, 'Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.' And they straightway left their nets and followed him." 14:2
Dogs and Cats
No one in this movement is challenging the love that we have for our companion animals. But this love has created a huge, inexcusable problem. We love these animals TO DEATH! And I say TO DEATH for a reason. We love them so much, we breed them, and we breed more of them, and we keep breeding them, and then we breed even more of them, and then we breed even more of them until we end up murdering five to ten million UNLOVED, UNWANTED, HOMELESS dogs and cats ANNUALLY in dog and cat slaughterhouses that we euphemistically refer to as shelters or humane societies. However, shelters and humane societies are supposed to be havens, places of comfort and protection, not places of perpetual killings.
Therefore, breeding animals should be a CRIME until all cages are empty. A moratorium should be mandated immediately until all homeless animals, languishing in city slaughterhouses, have a home. (In fact, human breeding should be illegal as well until all the UNLOVED, UNWANTED, HOMELESS children have been adopted into loving homes. Insisting that animals and children look a certain way is selfish and unbecoming of a species who purports to understand right from wrong. Whatever happened to altruism?)
Moreover, dogs and cats are carnivores. This is an ethical dilemma because we end up enslaving and killing even more cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and fish to feed the dogs and cats that we like more than the cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and fish. Carnivores can kill ON THEIR OWN, but we have no right killing for them. Since people NEVER go into the backyard and kill squirrels or birds for their companion dogs and cats, why should it be okay to pay people at the slaughterhouse to murder cows, pigs, chickens, etc. for their dogs and cats?
Fortunately, in this day and age, there is vegan dog food and cat food. Rex, my baby who passed away on January 24, 2004 at the age of 15, ate vegan dog food for the last 9 years of his life. www.vegancats.com or www.vegepets.info, which is run by a veterinarian, are great websites for cruelty-free dog/cat food. You can also read an e-book about vegan dog nutrition at www.behavetech.com/vegandogs.pdf. If people knew what was in dog/cat food, they would be using the vegan formulas in a heartbeat. www.vegepets.info goes into great detail about this.
I wish I could take away the domestication of dogs and cats. It was a bad idea to take them out of their natural environments thousands of years ago. However, I am not an irrational absolutist. It is obvious that dogs and cats ENJOY living with us. Their happiness is obvious. They live in our homes (and I don't consider our homes to be prisons) and receive love, warmth, shelter, water and food. Besides the meat-based foods, I see no ethical dilemma with dog and cat companions. However, there is one exception to the previous statement: spaying and neutering. Taking away an animal's right to procreate is unethical, and is the ONLY discrepancy in the animal rights philosophy. Considering the alternative—murdering millions of LIVE dogs and cats in city slaughterhouses every year—I will GLADLY and WITH BELLS ON take away an animal's right to procreate. If given the opportunity, I would also do the same to humans. There are way too many of us destroying this planet. For the record, since spaying or neutering an animal is a surgery performed with anesthetic, it cannot be labeled cruel even if it is a violation of their right to reproduce. It is simply a violation of their rights, not an act of malice. (Birds, fish, snakes, and EVERY other animal NEVER belong in our households because they are always kept in cages. And cages are prisons. And NO creature is happy in a cage.)
The Atlanta NAACP is a Racist Organization
By Gary Yourofsky
The following editorial appeared in the Florida Sun-Sentinel and Oakland Press (Mich.) on Sunday, September 9, 2007.
Civil rights icon Dick Gregory explained, "Under the leadership of Dr. King, I became convinced that non-violence meant opposition to killing in any form. I felt the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' applied to human beings not only in their dealings with each other, but in their practice of killing animals for food and sport."
Ironically, Michael Vick, his diehard fans and the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP are at polar opposites with Gregory because supporting, defending, excusing or engaging in animal cruelty continue to be everyone's favorite pastime. Rationalizing cruelty and forgetting about victims are the other hobbies humans love most.
For more than 2,000 straight days, hundreds of dogs at Vick's Virginia compound were forced to attack each other while cheering spectators wagered thousands of dollars on which dog would rip the other dog to pieces. Vick's love of violence continued long after the winning dogs' jaws were pried off of the losing dogs' throats. When some of his dogs didn't win, they were slammed to the ground, hanged, electrocuted or drowned. Any talk about Vick making a 'mistake' or being 'immature' is false. Throwing a pass into double coverage is a mistake. Giving someone the finger is immature. Shoving the heads of dogs into a 5-gallon bucket of water until they die is evil, malicious and purely premeditated.
These facts didn't seem to sway R. L. White, who heads the Atlanta NAACP. He recently asked the NFL not to "permanently ban Mr. Vick from his ability to bring hours of enjoyment to fans all over this country." Unless it's self-defense or defense of another, people who murder animals or humans—along with child molesters and rapists—don't deserve equal rights, future career guarantees or the Atlanta NAACP's support. Since the NAACP went out of its way to involve itself in a case that has nothing to do with the violation of Vick's civil rights, I am forced to ask: How much money did Vick donate in order to get the NAACP's outspoken support?
If certain people or influential organizations are defending Vick's psychopathic behavior because of his skin color, then it's just as immoral as anyone condemning him because of it.
White's other comment about Vick receiving "more negative press than if he had killed a human being" can be impugned with two letters: OJ! Simpson has received close to 15 years of negative press. How about the years of unfavorable coverage for Jon Benet Ramsey's parents? Robert "Baretta" Blake and Phil Spector have gotten tons of bad press. How about the negative press Bush receives about the deaths of 100,000 Iraqis and 3,300 American soldiers?
Speaking of White's hypocritical "negative press" statement, didn't the NAACP make a national spectacle out of Michael Richards and Don Imus? Both received way more negative press than Vick, even though the only remnants of their behavior were hurt feelings, not dead bodies. Is the NAACP prepared to ask CBS to bring Imus back after a short hiatus, or urge The Laugh Factory to give Richards another 10 minutes of stage time?
Furthermore, if people are outraged because Vick oversaw the torture and murder of dozens of dogs in the blood-sport of dog-fighting, why aren't people outraged about America's annual torture and murder of 10 billion land animals for the blood-tradition of meat-eating? If you think the dogs that Vick killed suffered greatly, you should see what farm animals endure before their flesh winds up on a grill at Outback. You can view a clip on my www.adaptt.org website. It is deceitful to condemn one form of cruelty to animals and not another, especially when it all happens because of tradition, habit, arrogance and profit. And spare me the invalid comments about humans being more valuable than animals. That discriminatory belief (speciesism) is also the foundation of racism, sexism and heterosexism. Slavery, oppression and discrimination only occur when one group believes they're more important than another.
A lifetime ban from the NFL and the maximum amount of jail time should be Vick's punishment. Better yet, he should be forced to live and die like a pit bull in a dog-fighting ring. Then maybe he, White and many others will finally understand what inequality is all about.
For more information about the sister bloodsport of cockfighting, check out www.idausa.org/campaigns/sport/cock/cockfighting.html.
Slavery—Animal and Human
Michael Vick, Frederick Douglass, John Africa, and the Systemic Nature of Exploitation
By Jason Hribal
The following article originally appeared in the online political newsletter Counterpunch, September 22-23, 2007. Jason Hribal is co-author of Cry of Nature. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There remains a good deal of speculation surrounding the events that occurred on the 13th of September 1916. What we know for sure is that a 30 year old circus performer named Mary was lynched in front of a large crowd in Erwin, TN. Apparently, "Murderous Mary," as she was subsequently deemed, had killed a local handler the day before, and a mob of county residents demanded that the owner of Sparks Brothers Circus turn over the elephant for immediate execution. He concurred and discussions began. Death by poisoning? Maybe electrocution? Perhaps, dismemberment by two train engines? Ultimately, they decided upon hanging via chains and a steam-powered industrial crane.
Following the matinee performance on the 13th, the attendants were directed into the nearby rail yards. Two thousand strong, the crowd might have been. Folklorists recorded two versions of that afternoon's events. Some county residents said that Mary was hung alone. While others were quite confident that she was not unaccompanied that day, as a "negro" or two was hung by her side. The little evidence available suggests the former: the lynching was singular. Yet, the latter memories remain more significant—as these witnesses (subconsciously, at least) blurred the distinction between species, as well as demonstrated the systemic nature of oppression. Hmm. . . . I can already see some readers becoming uncomfortable, and others angry, at such a provocative suggestion. In truth, comparing humans to other animals, in any manner, can certainly be dangerous business. Consider, for instance, the Michael Vick dog-fighting case.
Early on, there was a general feeling of outrage towards Vick and sympathy for the dogs. This exposé of dog-fighting shook people up. But just as quickly, much of the commentary—especially from the Left—turned reactionary in its tone. There were those who argued that this whole issue really boiled down to nothing more than a matter of race. In other words, the outraged expressed towards Vick was simply displaced racism. Some explained that this was a cultural issue: Southerners apparently enjoy blood-sports, and thus the general public needs be more considerate and accepting of such customs. And others played the game of tit-for-tat: humans are worst off—in terms of need and want—than other creatures. Seriously, they contended, who has time to think about dog-fighting, when we have humans being killed in a war?
It is significant to note, that while each of the above commentaries seem to be taking a different approach, there is an underlying thread that connects all three: fear. What do I mean? Well, in almost every reaction that I have over-heard or read about the Vick case, a similarly phrased disclaimer has been used: 'I like dogs, but this is going too far.' This is talk about other animals and about their place in society. This is thinking about social and economic relationships, about hierarchy, and about equality and rights. This talk and thinking is a challenge to anthroarchy: a challenge to the human domination of our fellow creatures. Thus the fear, to which I spoke of above, is one of losing status, power, and profit as humans. It is of little wonder then that most of (if not all) the reactionary essays written about dog-fighting contain no discussion of dogs. For this omission distracts us from the fundamental issue at hand: dogs, humans, and the nature of exploitation. Luckily, however, there are two key historical figures in the African-American freedom struggle who would have neither been offended nor afraid to think about such issues and what they might mean. Perhaps, then, Frederick Douglass and John Africa can help us continue our dialogue.
In Douglass's descriptions about his days trapped in slavery, he often made direct comparisons between the treatment and use of other animals and that of himself. When purchased, my old master "probably thought as little of my advent, as he would have thought of the addition of a single pig to his stock!" ". . . Like a wild young working animal, I am to be broken to the yoke of a bitter and life-long bondage." Indeed, "I now saw, in my situation, several points of similarity with that of the oxen. They were property, so was I; they were to be broken, so was I; Convey was to break me, I was to break them; break and be broken—such is life." But Douglass was not alone in making these recognitions of commonality, as such thinking was routine among African-American slaves.
Mary Prince, James Roberts, Henry Box Brown, William W. Brown, Martha Browne, William Hayden, Aaron, Leonard Black, Moses Grandy, Henry Bibb, Thomas L. Johnson, Harriet Jacobs, Josiah Henson, John P. Parker, Henry Williamson, and the list goes on. The African-American slave narratives are full of such direct and keen comparisons.
The above narrators spoke about being treated in the same manner that mules were treated—as a form of property, as a stock, as a machine. They wrote about being thought of in the same manner that oxen were thought of—as inferior, unintelligent, and soulless. They complained about having to work in the same manner as horses had to work—without recognition, without adequate food and water, without breaks, without wages. As Thomas L. Johnson was taught early on, "You must understand you are just the same as the ox, horse, or mule, made for the use of the Whiteman [the owner] and for no other purpose."
The above narrators described being transported alongside sheep—on ships, boats, wagons, and chain-droves. They described being auctioned alongside cows—displayed, examined, sold, and separated from their families. "The cattle," Moses Grandy recalled, "were lowing for their calves, and the men and women were crying for their husbands, wives, or children." Grandy would lose four of her children in a similar fashion. The narrators described being housed with pigs—in barns, shacks, or sheds. They described being controlled and punished like dogs—with the tail of a whip, the point of a rod, or the end of a rope.
When William W. Brown wrote that "at these auction-stands, bones, muscles, sinews, blood and nerves, of human beings, are sold with as much indifference as a farmer in the north sells a horse or sheep," was he analogizing flippantly? When Harriet Jacobs said that women "are put on a par with animals" for "they are considered of no value unless they continually increase their owner's stock," was she playing loose with her comparisons? No. Rather, Brown and Jacobs were describing an actual historical reality: their experiences. Josiah Henson acknowledged that once "I was sent on some hasty errand that they might see how I could run; my points were canvassed as those of a horse would have been; and, doubtless, some account of my various faculties entered into the discussion of the bargain, that my value as a domestic animal might be enhanced." William Hayden recognized that slavery turned him "into a beast of burden—racked with toil, persecuted with stripes." Leonard Black knew that society had "prostituted them to the base purpose of his cupidity, and his baser beastly passions, reducing them to mere things, mere chattels, to be bought and sold like hogs and sheep!" John P. Parker understood that African-Americans ". . . were sold south like their [master's] mules to clear away their forests" and that he himself was "an animal worth $2000."
At this point, some readers may be wondering if these descriptions might have been written on behalf of other animals. But such an inference would be incorrect. For while Douglass, Johnson, and Grandy may have felt empathy for the ox or cow, none of them challenged the system in regards to the treatment and use of the "brute creation." Rather these narrations were written on behalf of African-Americans, and they made a basic argument. Slavery is an instrument and institution by which other animals are socially oppressed and economically exploited. In other words, cows are slaves. Pigs are slaves. Horses are slaves. Humans should not be.
When Vincent Leaphart changed his name to John Africa, the transformation had been completed. He had become a revolutionary, and the world around him now turned upside down. Beyond race, beyond gender, beyond species, class became the key element in the struggle. His reasoning for this was straight-forward. All living beings come from the same source, and each is interconnected to and interdependent upon one other. Thus, only through cooperation—a cooperation that broke down the barriers of ethnocentrism, of patriarchy, of anthroarchy—could true social change and movement be achieved. This was the origin of MOVE.
From the beginning, MOVE fought against the system through a broad-based approach. For instance, they organized constant protests against prisons and zoos. Why both? Their answer was simple: these two institutions are essentially the same. Each functioned in the service of the state or empire. Each imprisoned fellow creatures against their will. Each should be abolished. Some readers may decry that such thinking is anthropomorphic. But as I have explained before, anthropomorphism is a fundamentally unempirical but highly political term. It is a vacuous label wheeled as a blunt cudgel. This weapon seeks to retard critical thought, to create fear, and to prevent unity among fellow creatures. But John Africa was never easily intimidated.
The MOVE community itself had always been an extended one. It included men, women, and children. It included people with black skin, brown skin, and white skin. It included cats and dogs. These relations were familial. Indeed, on that May day in 1985, when police and the FBI dropped a bomb on their house, it was not just six adults and five children that were killed. It was six adults, five children, a large number of dogs and cats, and countless other creatures that were killed.
Before his death, John Africa was widely known as "the dog man." This was not a title of derision. Nor was it some sort of satirical statement. Rather, the title signified a true camaraderie, for Africa had a particular love of dogs and hatred of dog-fighting. Whether on the tough streets of Rochester, NY or Philadelphia, PA, he would seek out fights and put a stop to them. Africa would get right into people's faces and explain that slave-masters once organized fights for their pleasure and profit. Therein, it was the African-American slave who was forced to brawl, bloody, and kill each other. Now, we have African-Americans doing the same thing to another animal. Are these actions not full of hypocrisy? Are they not unjust and immoral? Is dog-fighting, in fact, not perpetuating the same system that oppresses and exploits ourselves? Shouldn't the cycle of violence be stopped where it first begins? Well, John Africa believed so, and he could not have been more correct.
There are two primary purposes to the blood-sports of dog-fighting, bull-baiting, and cock-fighting. The first was defined succinctly by the past British War Minister, William Windham: "When the spirit of a proud people is aroused by a call upon their honor, or even by a favorite war-cry, it is not difficult to bring them en masse in action; but no such armies could have been raised in such a space of time, had not the arts of military life been much cultivated throughout the land." Blood-sports, Windham defended and endorsed, functioned as to promote killing in the service of the state. Themistocles, the Greek politician, once staged a cock-fight on the eve of war with Xerxes as a direct means to instill a sanguinary thirst among his troops. In the film documentary, Winter Soldier, a Vietnam combat veteran described to the audience the final act of basic training. The commander appeared before his squad with a bunny, and proceeded to tear off the rabbit's head and gut the creature. Indeed, the dog-fighter Michael Vick was not so much a victim of societal violence, as the cause of it. Blood-sports lead to war—not the other way around.
The second purpose of blood-sports is money. Dog-fighting, for example, is big business and part of the vast gambling industry. It is an egregious mistake to see these fights as anything but highly organized, strongly funded, and very lucrative. People of different ranks may participate (and lose their cash), just like in any other gambling activity. But big money is always somewhere in the background. Millions of dollars are pumped into the planning, promotion, and operational facilities of this industry. There are international, national, state, and local organizations that provide logistical and monetary support. As for the dogs, they are the workers: employed to fight in order to produce a profit for their owners. The multi-millionaire Michael Vick invested heavily into starting and operating a dog-fighting business—the Bad Newz Kennels. And it was from the dogs that his business made its money. This is a class relationship: with Vick on one side and his dogs on the other.
There is a growing consensus among the scholars of slave-studies that the origins of human slavery itself can be traced to the domestication of cattle, pigs, and horses. In other words, the enslavement of humans first appeared in those ancient societies where other animals had recently been domesticated. Slavery begets slavery. Would have either Frederick Douglass or John Africa been surprised or offended to learn of this? No. Nor would they have been shocked or angered to learn that the first modern abolitionist movement was led by Pythagoreans.
The 17th century Philadelphian Quakers—Benjamin Lay, Anthony Benezet, John Woolman, and Joshua Evans—were not just radicals who advocated for the abolition of slavery. They were not just the ones who influenced Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson, and John Wesley. Rather they were the radicals who advocated against the oppression and exploitation of all animals: human, pig, horse, and dog. Their actions took the form of writing pamphlets, preaching in the Southern States, schooling African-American children, using means of civil disobedience, boycotting of products, campaigning for the poor wage-laborer, refusing to eat the flesh of another creature, and refusing to ride in a horse-operated carriage. Indeed, named after the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras, these Pythagorean Quakers were part of a larger movement, one that stretched from the English Revolution through the French Revolution. Although small in number, this movement was nonetheless powerful in voice—for its struggle to turn the world upside down was one based upon a broad class vision. Thus, in addition to helping bring an eventual end to slavery, as well as leading the way in a myriad of other human causes, the modern Pythagoreans also forced mainstream society to deal with their treatment and use of other animals. These dealings took shape in two 19th century reforms: animal rights and vegetarianism.
But to return to Douglass and Africa, their status as humans would not have been threatened after the discovery of this history. Nor would have either of them been shocked or frightened to learn that the industrialist Henry Ford obtained the idea of the assembly line (as applied in the manufacture of automobiles) from studying the operations of the slaughter-house. Or that the first business schools at American universities and colleges were the Agricultural Departments. Or that the economist R.H. Coase himself—long before he developed his infamous neo-liberal theorem and accepted the Nobel Prize—sharpen his teeth in the 1930s by studying the labor-power of pigs and bacon production. Or that, in my parent's home county of Stephenson, IL, the old industrial factories have been all but replaced by new neo-liberal ones: Wal-Mart, a prison, and a gigantic pig-processing facility. Or that standing behind the current expropriation and genocide occurring in Darfur, as the sociologist David Nibert has described, is the cattle industry—as it wants the land for beef production.
Neither Frederick Douglass nor John Africa would have been afraid of the above information. They would not have ignored or denied such comparisons between species and recognitions of commonalities. They would not have tried to intimidate others from thinking about such issues. They would not have attempted to prohibit discussion about such issues. Douglass and Africa did not fear an animal planet, for both fully understood the systemic nature of social oppression and economic exploitation. And, in the case of John Africa, one of them did something about it. These are lessons to be learned.
Four Myths About "Helper" Animals
By Gordon M. Brown
Gordon Brown is a former Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges near San Diego, California, and an animal rights activist.
Animals were not put on this earth to be slaves for handicapped people. Dogs, monkeys, horses and ponies were not created to walk blind people to the local store, or fetch the remote control for paraplegics. Likewise, dogs did not evolve for the express purposes of sniffing out drugs, bombs, land mines, and dead or live bodies, nor did they evolve to intimidate suspected criminals and otherwise make life easier for human police officers. So-called "helper animals" are subjected to a form of involuntary and indentured servitude. Why? Because absent the costs of feeding, housing, and otherwise caring for them, these animals are not compensated for their labors. In a saner world, handicapped people would hire humans to perform this sort of work, and compensate them accordingly. There are plenty of people who need jobs, and plenty of people available for this type of work, including those with special caretaker skills. Using dogs, horses, ponies or monkeys is simply a way to obtain this assistance free of charge.
Naturally, those who disagree will protest that either (1) "helper" animals want to perform this sort of work; or (2) "helper" animals are adequately compensated, with food, water, and shelter; or (3) "helper" animals are loved by their handicapped companions; or (4) unlike humans, animals cannot grasp the concept of "being compensated adequately for one's labors;" therefore, the entire question of just compensation for animals is meaningless.
Let's deal with each of these myths in turn. First of all, animals no more "want" to perform so-called "helper" tasks than they could be witnessed performing them in their natural states! These animals are denied their inherent right to exhibit natural behaviors. All training sessions break the animals' natural instincts. While "breaking" a dog can be done without physical violence, it is unquestionably harmful psychologically. When it comes to monkeys, horses and ponies, the "breaking" is both physically and psychologically harmful.
Second, having shelter and being fed doesn't improve the lot of these animals, or otherwise justify their servitude. Human slaves were, and are, fed and housed also. Apart from performing backbreaking labor, these slaves experience lives of profound boredom that cuts across their instincts to cultivate their highest human inclinations and talents. Likewise, circuses, vivisection torture chambers, zoos and marine parks feed and house animals. There is no question that these animals' lives are also marked by profound boredom that undermines their instincts to roam, to forage and hunt, to socialize with other animals, and so on—that is, when they're not being tortured, or beaten, abused, and made to perform ridiculous "tricks" to amuse and entertain humans. Rational individuals rightly condemn the animal entertainment and vivisection industries because they are based on imprisonment, oppression and cruelty. It remains for these individuals to show how the keeping of "helper" animals is materially different—not merely as a matter of degree, but also as a matter of kind.
Third, as much as handicapped persons might "love" the companion animals who care for them, this misguided love does not in any way negate the fact that these animals are employed as slaves. In ancient Greece it was fairly common for slaveholders to maintain convivial relations with, and express a certain affection for, the slaves employed in their households. If such conviviality and affection sufficed to morally justify their servitude, we'd probably see slaveholding practiced in modern Greece! (Similarly for slaveholding in pre-abolitionist America, albeit to a far lesser extent since black African slaves were more routinely demeaned and treated as if they were "animals.")
Finally, the argument that animals cannot grasp what it means to be adequately compensated appears to be a formidable objection on its face. Nevertheless, this line of thinking, so often invoked in philosophical circles especially, can be overturned quite easily. Imagine a small child of about three or four being forced to labor without compensation—or, more appropriately still, imagine a severely retarded adult coerced without compensation into heavy labor, such as hauling rocks around in a quarry (more appropriate because, unlike the child, it's presumed the retarded adult will never grasp the concept of just compensation). Reasonable people would agree that in this circumstance the retarded individual has indeed been enslaved, and further, to exploit him in this fashion is obviously immoral notwithstanding his inability to comprehend just how dire is his own moral predicament. (Many would go as far as to say—rightly, in my view—that it's precisely because the retarded man doesn't understand the harm being done to him that his exploitation is so particularly heinous.) Yet these very same reasonable people fail to note the exactly comparable situation with respect to "helper" animals—in fact, any animal that has been enslaved for any reason. Their unreflective biases in favor of the retarded human, and against "helper" animals, constitute speciesism, pure and simple.
The Case Involving Trained Giant Rats
In a November 23, 2008 article published in the Boston Globe online, it has come to light that members of an African species of giant pouched rat have been trained in Belgium, and deployed in various parts of Africa, to sniff out buried land mines that remain deadly even after many decades. The rats' extraordinary sense of smell has also been harnessed to inspect saliva samples of people thought to be infected with tuberculosis. Unlike humans and dogs, the rats' bodies are so light that they cannot detonate the explosives that they detect, so the rats are unharmed on that account. What's more, their astounding olfactory capabilities render them able to detect TB infection in saliva samples where the disease was completely missed through microscopic analysis. The rats apparently accomplish this task many times faster than human diagnosticians can, and at a fraction of the cost.
These trained rats pose an interesting and difficult case because (1) it appears that they suffer little or no harm, even during the training period, which lasts eight to ten months. The rats live a life of relative ease and comfort on a par with seeing-eye dogs, for instance—certainly a better, more fulfilled life than that of the typical rat to be found in a cage in a vivisection lab; and (2) there is no question that they accomplish a world of good. (Even the most hardened animal rights theorists must acknowledge this datum of the discussion.)
It is highly tempting, therefore, to view their case as a justifiable exception to the rule prohibiting use of animals for human purposes. Certainly animal activists of a utilitarian or welfarist stripe might see it that way. According to their lights, whatever minor inconvenience the rats will endure in the course of their deployment must be measured against the considerable benefits accruing from that deployment. If use of the rats in this fashion produces the greatest balance of benefits versus burdens for the greatest number of individuals, both human and animal, then according to that calculus their use must count as justified on moral grounds.
Consistently with all else said herein, this essay maintains the view that the rats are nevertheless exploited as slaves. It must be noted that the rats would not naturally be inclined to sort out the smells of TB infection and explosives except through an intensive training period lasting many months. Secondly, these rats must of necessity be confined to some type of enclosure, no matter how large. A cage is a cage is a cage, and the use of cages violates an inalienable right of all animals, rats included: their natural right to liberty. What seems like a radical proposition on its face is really cut of the same cloth as the proposition that not even one rat should be vivisected in a laboratory even if, contrary to fact, that vivisection demonstrably saves the lives of thousands of humans and animals. In either case, no amount of utility, i.e., no amount of good consequences arising from the use of rats, can trump the fact that a violation of their fundamental rights has taken place.
Conclusion: Consequences for Disabled Persons
As much as Gary Yourofsky and I empathize with disabled people, we don't think they're so special that their animal companions should be enslaved for their benefit. We understand fully the tragic implications of being blind, or being confined to a wheelchair; we understand that no one would ask to be born with severe disability, or fall victim to a terrible disabling accident or illness in the course of their lives. But all the sorrows of disability quickly succumb to selfishness once handicapped people think the whole world should grind to a halt just for them. Accordingly, the notion that handicapped persons want to secure some measure of "independence from other humans" simply will not do in this situation. Granted, it isn't ideal to have a person hanging around you all the time. But when we take the larger moral picture into consideration, we see that this is just one more setback that a handicapped person will have to deal with.
Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages in New York City
Every year, the list of accidents involving horse-drawn carriages grows longer. Horses are often forced to labor in all weather extremes while walking on hard pavement, dodging cars, and inhaling exhaust fumes. After decades of controversy, it has become clear that additional rules and monitoring make no difference in the lives of these at-risk and dispirited animals. The only humane solution is a permanent ban on horse-drawn carriages.
Famous Animal Rights Quotes
"As long as humans continue to be the ruthless destroyer of other beings, we will never know health or peace. For as long as people massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, those who sow the seed of murder and pain will never reap joy or love."
"Men dig their graves with their own teeth, and die more by those instruments than by all weapons of their enemies."
"All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do?"
"But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh, we deprive a soul of the sun, and light, and of that proportion of life and time they had been born into the world to enjoy."
"A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no hawk's bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born to an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or axe, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou had rather stay until what thou eat is to become dead, and if thou art loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare."
"Can you really ask for what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? I, for my part, marvel at which man was possessed, who was the first to pollute his mouth with gore, and to allow his lips to touch the flesh of murdered beings. How could his eyes endure the spectacle of the flayed and dismembered limbs? How was his taste not sickened by contact with festering wounds, with the pollution of corrupted blood and juices?"
"It was the saying of Bion, that though the boys throw stones at frogs in sport, yet the frogs do not die in sport but in earnest."
"Wherefore I say to all those who desire to be disciples, keep your hands from bloodshed and let no flesh meat enter your mouths, for the Lord is just and bountiful; who ordains that man shall live by the fruits and seeds of the earth alone."
"There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, that does not form communities like you. They all shall be gathered to their Rabb (Lord) in the end."
"A disciple of the Buddha should have a mind of compassion and cultivate the practice of liberating sentient beings. He must reflect thus: throughout the eons of time, all male sentient beings have been my father, all female sentient beings my mother. I was born of them, if I slaughter them, I would be slaughtering my parents as well as eating flesh that was once my own. This is so because all elemental earth, water, fire and air—the four constituents of all life—have previously been part of my body, part of my substance. I must therefore always cultivate the practice of liberating sentient beings and enjoin others to do likewise—as sentient beings are forever reborn, again and again, lifetime after lifetime. If a Bodhisattva sees an animal on the verge of being killed, he must devise a way to rescue and protect her, helping her to escape suffering and death. The disciple should always teach the Bodhisattva precepts to rescue and deliver sentient beings."
"Cow-killers and cow-eaters are condemned to rot in hell for as many thousands of years as there are for each hair on the body of every cow they eat from."
"One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them."
"When I look at animals held captive by circuses, I think of slavery. Animals in circuses represent the domination and oppression we have fought against for so long. They wear the same chains and shackles."
"If you had to kill your own calf before you ate him, most likely you would not be able to do it. To hear the calf scream, to see the blood spill, to see the baby being taken away from his momma, and to see the look of death in the animal's eye would turn your stomach. So you get the man at the packing house to do the killing for you."
"Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel and brutal taking of life. We don't have to be a part of it."
"Kindness and compassion towards all living beings is a mark of a civilized society. Racism, economic deprival, dog fighting and cock fighting, bullfighting and rodeos are all cut from the same defective fabric: violence. Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves."
"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are all still savages."
"It is a matter of taking the side of the weak against the strong, something the best people have always done."
"People ask me how I look so young; I tell them I look my age. It is other people who look older; what do you expect from people who eat corpses?"
"Animals are my friends. And I do not eat my friends."
"If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth—beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals—would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?"
"Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity."
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
"It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures."
"There is no religion higher than truth and righteousness. If we commit sins with the name of God on our lips, can we hope to win the grace of God? Suppose one man admits the existence of God, but lives a life of falsehood and immorality, while another knows not the name of God but lives a life of truth and virtue. Can there be any doubt as to which should be regarded as truly religious as well as moral?"
"I do not regard flesh food as necessary for us. I hold flesh food to be unsuited to our species. To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. The more helpless the creature, the more it is entitled to protection from humans from the cruelty of humans."
"The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but, 'Can they suffer?'"
"It is not an act of kindness to treat animals respectfully. It is an act of justice. It is not 'the sentimental interests' of moral agents that grounds our duties of justice to children, the retarded, the senile, or other moral patients, including animals. It is respect for their inherent value. The myth of the privileged moral status of moral agents has no clothes."
"Housing animals in more comfortable, larger cages is not enough. Whether we exploit animals to eat, to wear, to entertain us, or to learn, the truth of animal rights requires empty cages, not larger cages."
"Veganism acknowledges the intrinsic legitimacy of all life. It recognizes no hierarchy of acceptable suffering among sentient creatures. It is no more acceptable to kill creatures with primitive nervous systems than those with highly developed nervous systems. The value of life to its possessor is the same, whether it's the life of a clam, a crayfish, a carp, a cow, a chicken, or a child."
"As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields."
"A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral."
"Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men."
"As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures, there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together."
"People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times."
"What do they know—all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka."
"In their behavior toward creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimize blindly and without a thought."
"In their behavior towards creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right."
"Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God? It's unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give. It is inconsistent. I can never accept inconsistency or injustice. Even if it comes from God. If there would come a voice from God saying, 'I'm against vegetarianism!' I would say, 'Well, I am for it!' This is how strongly I feel in this regard."
"Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they're only animals."
"Our grandchildren will ask us one day: ' Where were you during the Holocaust of the animals? What did you do against these horrifying crimes?' We won't be able to offer the same excuse for the second time: that we didn't know."
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
"If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals."
"Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace."
"What an amount of suffering and cruel punishment the poor creatures have to endure in order to give pleasure to men devoid of thought."
"Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight."
"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow man."
"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."
"My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt."
"My refusing to eat meat occasioned inconveniency, and I have been frequently chided for my singularity. But my light repast allows for greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension."
"Dave Scott, considered the world's greatest tri-athlete, holds a degree in exercise physiology. In his words, it's a 'ridiculous fallacy' to think that athletes need animal protein. He is joined in his views by such Olympians as Edwin Moses, the gold medalist who went eight years without losing the 400-meter hurdle competition, and Murray Rose, who, at age 17, won three gold medals in the Olympic swim competition. This year, I was glad to see Olympic champion Carl Lewis crown his career with his best long jump in two years to win a record-tying ninth gold medal. Lewis, of course, is a longtime vegan whose dietary changes developed out of his moral and religious convictions. Several years ago Leroy Burrell and Carl Lewis traded titles back and forth when they were being hailed as the fastest sprinters in the world—and both were vegetarians. Whether you are a world-class athlete, a weekend athlete, or simply a recreational exerciser, we know that you can meet your performance objectives, and improve your health by eating a plant-based diet that meets your energy needs. Even at my present age of 93, I found that switching to a plant-based diet improved my health dramatically."
"The only way we can guarantee our continued survival on earth is to recognize the importance of other non human life forms and stop pretending we're on top of some pyramid of domination over other beings."
"Animals have done us no harm and they have no power of resistance. Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God. There is something so very dreadful, so Satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power."
"We have enslaved the rest of animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form."
"[T]he very fact that an animal is going to be eaten seems to remove it from the category of intelligent beings, and causes it to be regarded as mere animated 'meat.' "
"Philosophers...have been emotionally stroked for their intellects. They often think that logical debate is the highest mode of living. It boils down to an ego problem. I'm so glad I no longer think that the intellect is what matters most. I'm very clear that compassion is a far better quality to cultivate than intellectual acumen. The latter can be used to make life, all life, worse for the entire planet. Compassion cannot be misused in such a harmful way."
"The victim feels the suffering in his own mind and body, whereas the victimizer...can be quite unaware of that suffering. The sword does not feel the pain that it inflicts."
"Whenever people say 'we mustn't be sentimental,' you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, 'we must be realistic,' they mean they are going to make money out of it."
"One day, I reached out to eat something and he ran away. Obviously, he didn't want to be eaten."
"Hunting is not a sport; in a sport, the contestants must know they're in the game."
"It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions."
"Damn these human beings. If I had invented them, I would go hide my head in a bag."
"A missionary was walking in Africa when he heard the ominous padding of a lion behind him. 'Oh Lord' prayed the missionary, 'Grant in Thy goodness that the lion walking behind me is a good Christian lion.' And then in the silence that followed, the missionary heard the lion praying too: 'Oh Lord,' he prayed. ' We thank thee for the food which we are about to receive.' "
"To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime. That alone is the justification of all that humans may suffer. It cries vengeance upon all the human race. If God exists and tolerates it, it cries vengeance upon God."
"Because the heart beats under a covering of hair, of fur, feathers, or wings, it is, for that reason, to be of no account?"
"The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front of it."
"Those who won't hesitate to vivisect, won't hesitate to lie about it as well."
"I would not want to promote research on animals. Fortunately, only my back is twisted, not my mind."
"The reason why I am against animal research is because it doesn't work. It has no scientific value. One cannot extrapolate the results of animal research to human beings, and every good scientist knows that."
"The cruel experimenter cannot be allowed to have it both ways. He cannot, in the same breath, defend the scientific validity of vivisection on the grounds of the physical similarities between man and the other animals, and then defend the morality of vivisection on the grounds that men and animals are physically different. The only logical alternatives for him are to admit he is either pre-Darwinian or immoral."
"It is difficult to entertain a warm feeling for a 'medical man' who straps dogs to a table, cuts their vocal cords, and spends an interesting day or week slowly vivisecting or dismembering them."
"My own conviction is that the study of human physiology by way of experiments on animals is the most grotesque and fantastic error ever committed in the whole range of human intellectual activity."
"Atrocities are no less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called 'medical research'."
"The question was, can we give up animal experiments without halting medical progress? My answer is not only can one [give up vivisection] but that one must give up animal experiments not to halt medical progress. Today's rebellion against vivisection is no longer based on animal welfare. We have to speak of a scientific rebellion out of consideration for human beings."
"There will come a time when the world will look back to modern vivisection in the name of Science, as they do now to burning people at the stake in the name of religion."
"I am not interested to know whether vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race. The pain which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity toward it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further."
"What I think about vivisection is that if people admit that they have the right to take or endanger the life of living beings for the benefit of many, there will be no limit for their cruelty."
"I abhor vivisection. It should at least be curbed. Better, it should be abolished. The whole thing is evil."
"It seems to me of great importance to teach children respect for life. Towards this end, experiments on living animals in classrooms should be stopped. To encourage cruelty in the name of science can only destroy the finer emotions of affection and sympathy, and breed an unfeeling callousness in the young towards suffering in all living creatures."
"I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence."
About Law-Breaking and Radical, Revolutionary Activism
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."
"If we are trespassing, then so were the American soldiers who broke down the gates of Hitler's death camps. If we are thieves, then so were the members of The Underground Railroad who freed the slaves from the South. And if we are vandals, then so were those who destroyed forever the gas chambers of Buchenwald and Auschwitz."
"The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality."
"Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
"When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist. When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat. When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist. When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn't a Jew. When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out."
"Pacifism is generally considered to be a morally unassailable position to take with respect to human violence. ...While it can seem noble enough when the stakes are low, pacifism is ultimately nothing more than a willingness to die, and to let others die, at the pleasure of the world's thugs. It should be enough to note that a single sociopath, armed with nothing more than a knife, could exterminate a city full of pacifists. ...Here we come upon a terrible facet of ethically asymmetric warfare: when your enemy has no scruples, your own scruples become another weapon in his hand."
"I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had—as I now think—vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done."
"I never did give anybody hell. I just told them the truth and they thought it was hell."
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
"I am anti evil, anti oppression, anti lynching. You can't be anti those things unless you are also anti the oppressor and the lyncher. You can't be anti slavery and pro slavemaster."
"Revolutions are never fought by turning the other cheek. Revolutions are never based upon love your enemy and pray for those who spitefully use you. And revolutions are never waged singing, 'We Shall Overcome.' Revolutions are based upon bloodshed. Revolutions are never compromising. Revolutions are never based upon negotiations. Revolutions are never based upon any kind of tokenism whatsoever."
"Who ever heard of angry revolutionists all harmonizing 'We Shall Overcome Some Day' while tripping and swaying along arm-in-arm with the very people they were supposed to be angrily revolting against? Who ever heard of angry revolutionists swinging their bare feet together with their oppressor in lily pad park pools, with gospels and guitars and 'I Have a Dream' speeches?"
"I am only effective as long as there is a shadow on white America of the black man standing behind me with a Molotov cocktail."
"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to rouse the conscience of the community over its injustice is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law."
"There are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for. And I submit to you if a person has not discovered something that he is willing to die for then that person isn't fit to live."
"Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it polite?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a point when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor polite, nor popular, but one must take it because his conscience tells him that it is right."
"If he doesn't put you in jail, wonderful, nobody within his sense likes to go to jail. But if he puts you in jail, you go in that jail and transform it from a dungeon of shame to a haven of freedom."
"We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws and abide by the unjust system, because non cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good."
"I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as the truth and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think or speak or write with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her baby from the fire into which he has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present! I am in earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not excuse. I will not retreat a single inch. And I will be heard. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal to hasten the resurrection of the dead. It is pretended that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by the coarseness of my invective, and the precipitancy of my measures. The charge is not true. On this question, my influence, humble as it is, is felt at this moment to a considerable extent, and shall be felt in coming years—not perniciously, but beneficially—not as a curse, but as a blessing; and posterity will bear testimony that I was right!"
"If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. ... Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence."
"There can be no doubt as to which side is right and which side is wrong, for compassionate defense of life is a force of good and sadistic mass destruction of life is a force for evil."
"The victim is nothing to the vandal. The vandal doesn't care what any ONE victim thinks, any more than what the next victim thinks. The victims are interchangeable."
"I'll be the self-determined damned before the blessed lump of clay. I'll be the self-reliant idiot before the learned led astray. I'll be the unruly over-reactor before the smiling unaffected. I'll be the laughing stock revolutionary before the dignified slave."
"Night of justice, knight of justice. Liberation's crusade has begun. Your laws will have no meaning past the setting of the sun. Demons feeding off of the innocents' pain. Generations of oppression, one generation will break this chain."
"What sick, ridiculous puppets we are. What a gross little stage we dance on. What fun we have. Dancing. Fucking. Not a care in the world. Not knowing that we are nothing. We are not what was intended."
"You may torture my body, break my bones and even kill me. And then you can have my dead body. But not my obedience."
"This is the customary time when the defendant expresses regret for the crimes they committed, so let me do that because I am not without my regrets. I am here today to be sentenced for my participation in releasing mink from six fur farms. I regret it was only six. I'm also here today to be sentenced for my participation in the freeing of 8,000 mink from those farms. I regret it was only 8,000. It is my understanding that of those six farms, only two of them have since shut down. I regret it was only two. More than anything, I regret my restraint, because whatever damage we did to those businesses, if those farms were left standing, and if one animal was left behind, then it wasn't enough. I don't wish to validate this proceeding by begging for mercy or appealing to the conscience of the court, because I know that if this system had a conscience I would not be here, and in my place would be all the butchers, vivisectors, and fur farmers of the world. Just as I will remain unbowed before this court—who would see me imprisoned for an act of conscience—I will also deny the fur farmers in the room the pleasure of seeing me bow down before them. To those people here whose sheds I may have visited in 1997, let me tell you directly for the first time, it was a pleasure to raid your farms, and to free those animals you held captive. It is to those animals I answer to, not you or this court. I will forever mark those nights on your property as the most rewarding experiences of my life. And to those farmers or other savages who may read my words in the future and smile at my fate, just remember: We have put more of you in bankruptcy than you have put liberators in prison. Don't forget that. Let me thank everyone in the courtroom who came to support me today. It is my last wish before prison that each of you drive to a nearby fur farm tonight, tear down its fence and open every cage. That's all."
(my mink liberation speech can be found in the section Fur, Liberations, and the ALF)
"I understand the serious nature of the offenses to which I have plead guilty. I accept responsibility for my actions. At the time, I feared there were dire and immediate threats to both human and non-human lives and that the health and safety of human communities, as well as the ecological integrity of the Earth, were in jeopardy. I care deeply about my fellow human being and the other living creatures with whom we share this planet. I felt responsible to take extreme action in the hope that it would save lives and halt deadly practices that directly threatened living beings and contributed to the degradation of the environment. I thought that what I was doing would shine a light on these dangerous policies so that an informed public dialogue would ensue and policies would be changed. For more than twenty years, I participated in every legal avenue open to me as a private citizen to educate and persuade government officials and corporate representatives to reconsider policies. I have also participated in civil disobedience in the style taught by Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. I want to explain that the more I learned of the consequences of deforestation and genetic engineering, the more desperate I felt. I am not opposed to conducting research in the interests of expanding knowledge and bringing improvements to health and well being when it is conducted in a responsible and humane way. But genetic engineering research is often conducted in open-air situations that release contaminated pollen into the environment with devastating effects, as in the case of the terminator seed plants. Communities should have the right to choose or refuse the risks that come with GMOs. What I was more and more aware of in my research and in my dealings with indigenous activists' work around the globe is that the use of GMOs forced on communities by collusion between banks, companies and governments was causing starvation, debt and environmental damage through contact with these GMOs. My actions were individual acts of conscience and I take sole responsibility for them. The property damage was intended to be symbolic and theatrical in nature, not dangerous or threatening to any individual. I hope to protect my community and the Earth, to respond in defense of the living systems of animals, land and water. I tried to preserve the natural world from destruction because it is all of our home, because its health is necessary for all of use to live well."
"I'm here today because of the arsons I committed at the Tandy Leather Factory in Salt Lake City and the Tiburon restaurant in Sandy, Utah, which sells the incredibly cruel product foie gras. The U.S. attorney wants to give me the maximum sentence and beyond not because of my "crimes" but because I am unrepentant and outspoken. My intuition tells me that this court is not going to show me mercy because I become suddenly sorry. So instead of lying to the court in a feeble attempt to save myself, as I'm certain many do when they face their sentencing day, allow me instead to tell you what I am sorry for. I am sorry that when I was 19 years old I built two slaughterhouses that are still killing animals even now as I speak. I am sorry that Tandy Leather sells skin that has been ripped from the dead, and often live bodies of such animals as cows, ostriches, rabbits, snakes and pigs. I am sorry that the leather tanneries that supply Tandy Leather Factory poison the earth with dangerous chemicals. I am sorry that the restaurant Tiburon profits from the force-feeding of geese and ducks until their livers explode so that rich people can then use that as a pate for crackers and bread. I am sorry that they make a living from the dead bodies of wild and exotic animals. I am sorry that we live in a day and age where you can rape a child or beat a woman unconscious and receive less prison time than an animal liberation activist who attacked property instead of people. I am sorry that my brother was so desperate to get out of debt that he flew from Iowa to Colorado just to get me in a taped and monitored conversation for reward money. I am sorry I am biologically related to such a worthless little snitch. I am sorry that I waited so long to become an Animal Liberation Front operative. For all of these things I will always have some regret. But as far as the arsons at the Leather Factory and Tiburon, I have no remorse. I realize that the laws of the land favor a business' ability to make a profit over an animal's right to life. It also used to favor white business owners' ability to profit from a black persons' slavery. It also used to favor a husband's ability to viciously attack his wife and act on her as if she were an object. Those who broke the law and damaged property to stand against those oppressions were also called "terrorists" and "fanatics" in their time but that did not change the fact that society progressed and is still progressing along those lines. So today I'm the bad guy. That is just a matter of historical coincidence. Who knows, perhaps a less brutal and less violent society will one day exist that will understand that life and Earth are more important than products of death and cruelty. And if not, then to hell with it all anyway! Whether my supporters or detractors think I am a freedom-fighter or a lunatic with a gas can makes no difference to me. I have spent years verifiably promoting, supporting and fighting for Animal Liberation. I have seen the animal victims of human injustice, thousands of them with my own eyes, and what I saw was blood, guts and gore! I made a promise to those animals and to myself to fight for them in any way I could. I regret none of it, and I never will! You can take my freedom, but you can't have my submission."