Speciesism & the History of Oppression

By on Aug 6, 2014 in Blog | 6 comments

  George Bernard Shaw once wrote that “Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity.” It’s one of the scariest truths I have ever come to know. Consider, for example, the horrible atrocities that took place against African Americans who were used as slaves, or the treatment of women before equal rights. For hundreds of years, ordinary people accepted, participated in, and perpetuated oppression, it would seem without question. If you were to ask them at the time why it was ok to treat people this way, they might try to justify it by saying that they look different, or they are somehow inferior. In reality, however, there was no morally justifiable reason for this oppression. It was just how it was. It had become accepted because it was “custom,” and they had reconciled themselves to those atrocities. Our Customary Treatment of Animals Now let me ask you a similar question about our treatment of animals today. Today, we imprison, abuse, and slaughter 70 billion animals every year. We enslave them and use them for entertainment, we use their fur and skin for our clothing, and we steal and slaughter their babies so we can drink their milk. All of this is customary, and is accepted by the vast majority of the population. But, if I were to ask you why it is okay to treat them this way, what would you say? Would you have a good reason? What would it be? Whatever your rationalization, I guarantee you will think is just as indefensible as those who tried to justify slavery or the holocaust by the end of reading this blog post and watching this film. Speciesism In Speciesism: The Movie, director Mark Devries makes the indisputable case that there is no morally justifiable reason for excluding animals from our realm of moral consideration, and therefore, for our treatment of them. He takes all of our arguments, and through a process of talking to experts, scientists, philosophers, and ordinary people on the street, debunks them one by one. So what’s your rationalization? That they aren’t as smart – Well, should we kill babies and people with mental disabilities then? That they don’t suffer or feel pain – They absolutely do. They feel pleasure, pain, fear, happiness, and suffering just like you and me. In fact, as Marc Bekoff argues in the film, they may experience suffering more than humans. That we can – That just makes us bullies. This idea that I can do this to you, so I am going to do this to you just doesn’t fly as moral justification. Because they look different – Really? Being covered in hair and having four legs gives us as much a right to kill as having a big nose, or different colour eyes. I’ve pre-paid for the first 50 view of this film. Please, please go and watch it! I guarantee it will make you think, challenge your beliefs, and make you laugh out loud at the same time. To watch for free, click here, select “Rent now,” sign up for a free Vimeo account, and Enter Discount Code: “The Animals.” A Paralyzing Conclusion When you go through this process, what you quickly realize is that there is, in fact, no justification for excluding animals from our realm of moral consideration. It’s scary when you finally see it, because what you must face next is the paralyzing conclusion that what we are doing to animals is not food production, it’s not science, it’s not fashion – It’s mass murder; an atrocity on a scale so large it surpasses any atrocity in the history of mankind. We are talking about 70 BILLION animals slaughtered every single year. On any given day when you wake up and have your coffee in the comfort of your home, there are hundreds of millions of animals living in absolute heart-wrenching misery. When you finally see it, it’s absolutely crippling. It is mass murder and it’s happening right now, all around you. Everyone you know is participating in it – your family, friends, co-workers, public figures. Our entire world is built on it. It’s our food, our clothing, our entertainment. It’s everywhere you look: that ice cream, that sandwich, those shoes, that circus. Every single part of society is soaked in this horrific truth; this abominable stain on humanity. We are drowning in it. Facing Denial Oppression always takes the same form, explains Peter Singer in the film: “In all these cases you have a dominant group that holds power, and that defines itself as superior and develops an ideology to justify it, and to exclude the others.” Even when you see it though; even when you recognize that this is precisely what we are doing to animals, and that there is absolutely no moral grounds for this exclusion, our instinct is to go into denial. It’s a natural reaction, explains Singer. Think about the way slave owners would have reacted when someone brought to them an argument against slavery. People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed, and they don’t want to have to face the implications of what they are doing. In the case of animals, if we accept this truth, it means that what we are doing is so wrong, and so relentlessly evil, that it far surpasses any past atrocity. That is a difficult thing...

Must Watch Documentary: Cowspiracy

By on Aug 5, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Must Watch Documentary: Cowspiracy

Milk. Honestly.

By on Jun 20, 2014 in Blog | 7 comments

  We grow up being conditioned to believe that it’s totally normal to drink cow’s milk. Advertisements on billboards, in magazines, school cafeterias, and on television have been telling us this for decades. But is it? Stop and think about it for a minute; block out everything the dairy industry has told you, and give it a real honest look. It’s bizarre isn’t it? I mean what we’re doing when we drink cow’s milk is consuming the breast milk from another species. Just like humans, cows produce milk when they’re pregnant to feed their babies. This milk was never intended for humans; It was made for the sole purpose of nourishing baby calves, whose tiny bodies need to grow into big cows — Which should make you think: If we’re drinking it, what are the baby calves drinking? What happens to them? And how do mother cows produce enough milk for all of us humans? These are questions the dairy industry doesn’t want you to think about, because once you do, you realize that what’s going on is beyond bizarre. It’s abhorrent, tragic, and utterly heartbreaking. This is the story of the dairy industry. Honestly. Female Cows Confined and Forcefully Impregnated If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting a cow, the first thing you would be struck by is how incredibly sweet and gentle these creatures are. Their hearts are pure, and you can feel it. You know they would never hurt you. If you stop and watch them for a while, you’ll notice something else about cows: They have unique personalities just like humans, and they’re incredibly social; they like to roam and sleep together. Some even have a best friend, and they get sad when they’re separated. In the dairy industry, however, these gentle beings are treated like nothing more than a commodity. Everything that is natural to them is denied, and they endure incredible suffering, all in an effort to maximize milk production. Female cows are confined indoors their entire lives in filthy cramped sheds, with hard, abrasive concrete floors. At the tender age of 15 months, they will be forced into pregnancy. Farm workers will use a metal rod to artificially inseminate the cows – a process that is so painful, the cows often have to be restrained in what is known as a “rape rack.” Babies Taken Away Once a year dairy cows will give birth to a calf. Many people don’t know this, but cows have incredibly strong maternal instincts just like humans. When her calf is born, her natural instinct is to take care of him; to clean, and feed him, but she cannot. Within a few days of being born, her small and fragile calf will be dragged away from her and locked up in a shed to prevent him from drinking his mother’s milk; milk that will be sold for human consumption.  When their babies are taken away, it’s an incredibly traumatic experience. Mothers can be heard frantically crying out for the calves days after they have been separated. In some cases, mothers even try hiding their calves from farm workers, and some make incredible escapes, traveling miles to other farms to try reach their stolen calves. Heartbreaking first-hand accounts of babies separated from their mothers “The very saddest sound in all my memory was burned into my awareness at age five on my uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. A cow had given birth to a beautiful male calf. On the second day after birth, my uncle took the calf from the mother and placed him in the veal pen in the barn – only ten yards away, in plain view of the mother. The mother cow could see him, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heart-wrenching bellows that she poured forth – minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days – were excruciating to listen to. They are the most poignant and painful auditory memories I carry in my brain.” – Cody Carlson, a former undercover investigator exposing animal abuse on factory farms. Calves Immobilized, Then Sent to Slaughter at Just Weeks Old What happens to the calves when they are taken away? The females will become dairy cows, and be forced to endure the same torture as their mothers. Male calves, on the other hand, will be made into veal. In order to ensure their flesh stays tender, they will be completely immobilized – chained in small dark crates too small to turn around. Alone, terrified, and so distressed from the separation from their mother, they will often cry until their throats are raw. After 8-16 weeks of this torture, they will be sent to slaughter. When they enter the slaughterhouse, still longing for the comfort of their mothers, many will desperately try to suckle the fingers of the hand that leads them to the kill floor. Abuse Common on Veal Farms On top of all of this, undercover investigations reveal that baby calves are often severely abused on factory farms. From Mercy for Animals Canada’s Investigation into the Quebec veal industry “Baby calves, just weeks old, are kicked, punched, slapped and yelled at by barn employees. Some are grabbed by the testicles to force them into narrow wooden stalls. Several lie gasping for air on slats stained with urine and feces.” More From The Humane Society’s Investigation...

Must Watch Debate on The Ethics of Eating Animals

By on Jun 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Must Watch Debate on The Ethics of Eating Animals

What the Bible Really Says About Eating Meat

By on Jun 16, 2014 in Blog | 3 comments

  When talking to other Christians about the ethics of eating meat, they almost always say something like “God gave us permission to use animals for food in the Bible,” and that’s the end of the discussion. But should it be? While it’s true God gave us permission, this permission was not unconditional; He did not say eat animals always, regardless of whether or not you need to, and regardless of the consequences. In fact, He gave several conditions for when we should not eat meat, and these conditions should clearly tell us that eating meat today is not right in the eyes of God: 1. The Bible Warns of Hurting Other People For Food “For if your brother is hurt by what you eat, you are no longer walking according to love. By what you eat, do not destroy that one for whom Christ died.” – Romans 14:15 “It is a noble thing not to eat meat, or drink wine, or do anything that makes your brother stumble.” – Romans 14: 21 “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” – 1 Corinthians 8:13 Every day, between 6,000 and 43,000 children die of starvation, and 1.1 billion people go without access to clean drinking water. Why? Because our current food system, which is primarily driven by meat and dairy production, is incredibly inefficient. The world easily produces enough calories to feed 10 -11 billion people, but the majority of crops grown worldwide do not go towards feeding people. Instead they become feed for livestock so that people in developing countries can eat meat and dairy. According to Cornell University, if we took the feed that went to livestock and gave it to people instead, we would be able to feed 800 million more people in the US alone! If just one person were to skip eating meat for one day and eat only plant-based instead, they could save enough grain to feed 40 people. Eating meat is not just making our brothers stumble, it is literally a death sentence for millions of people worldwide every single year. 2. The Bible Warns of Destroying the Planet For Food “So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. Do not tear down God’s work because of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong for a man to cause stumbling by what he eats.” Romans 14:19-20 Modern day factory farming is destroying the planet. There is no question about it. It is by far the leading cause of water pollution, species extinction, and deforestation. According to the World Bank,  1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second for cattle grazing, and on a whole, animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction. Factory farming is also the leading cause of air pollution. According to a UN report: “The livestock sector is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.” That’s about 40 percent more than all the cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships in the world combined! If anything is tearing down God’s work, it is animal agriculture. See Cowspiracy for more facts like these. 3. The Bible Warns of Mistreating Animals For Food & Tells Us to Love Them “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened ox with hatred.” – Proverbs 15:17 “And He said to them, ‘Which one of you will have a son or an ox fall into a well, and will not immediately pull him out on a Sabbath day?’” – Luke 14:5 “If you come across a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young.” – Deuteronomy 22:6 “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” – Isaiah 40:11 Have a look at modern day factory farms, and slaughterhouses where animals are raised and killed for meat and tell me where there is love. There is none. Hatred doesn’t even begin to describe the way these animals are treated. See the dozens of undercover investigations conducted by Mercy for Animals, or watch Meet Your Meat or 10 Billion Lives. Consider also the contrast between how God tells us to treat babies and mothers, and how they are treated on factory farms for eggs and dairy. Mother hens are kept in cages so small the cannot even stretch their wings. Her eggs are stolen from her, and her male baby chicks are ground up alive. Mother cows are imprisoned and forcefully impregnated. When she gives birth, her baby is stolen from her and killed, so that her milk can be taken for human consumption. Given what God tells us, how can these practices be defended? Besides what the Bible says about caring for animals, The Ten Commandments also tell us not to steal or kill. 3. The Bible warns of gluttony “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.” – Proverbs 23:20-21 “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set...

Toronto March To Close Down Slaughterhouses

By on Jun 14, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments