As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields
We are the living graves of murdered beasts
Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites
We never pause to wonder at our feasts
If animals, like men, can possibly have rights
We pray on Sundays that we may have light
To guide our footsteps on the path we tread
We're sick of war we do not want to fight
The thought of it now fills our hearts with dread
And yet we gorge ourselves upon the dead
Like carrion crows we live and feed on meat
Regardless of the suffering and pain
We cause by doing so.
If thus we treat Defenseless animals for sport or gain
How can we hope in this world to attain the PEACE we say we are so anxious for
We pray for it o'er hecatombs of slain
To God, while outraging the moral law
Thus cruelty begets its offspring: war.
I don’t agree with some of George Bernard Shaw’s views, but he had a point in the poem above. But, he isn’t the only one to see that what goes around comes around. The observation that as long as there were slaughterhouses there would be battlefields was made by Tolstoy.
Gary Francione, U.S. law professor, animal rights philosopher and founder of Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach makes a case when he explained that as long as we tolerate violence of any sort, there will be violence of every sort. As long as humans regard it as normal to slaughter animals for food for which there is no justification other than the trivial pleasure we get from eating or using animals, they will regard it as normal to use violence when they think that something more important is at stake. Francione points out that, “it goes the other way as well”, stating that, “as long as we tolerate racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other forms of discrimination, there will be speciesism.” He says that animal advocates oppose speciesism because it is like racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination.
Our opposition to speciesism logically implies a rejection of these other forms of discrimination If we want a nonviolent world, we must embrace nonviolence in our own lives. As Gandhi said, we must be the change we want to see in the world. Veganism is an important element of a nonviolent life as there can be no doubt that all animal foods and animal products are the result of violence. As a female character in Psyclone observes, there are few things as obscene as the practise of repeatedly raping a captive female to keep her pregnant and lactating, stealing her newborn babies for slaughter or slavery, and using her breast milk.
The interconnectedness of animal and human exploitation is excellently expressed in the following verse:
She belongs to everyone.
Thin and wrinkled, she is on tap
dripping into their waiting mouths
and hands. Her milk duct is her trap.
Sometimes it runs dry when they’ve drained
too much from the soft pumping source
and she supplements it with blood.
They don’t notice this change of course.
They only worry when the thing
stops working. When their bellies drain
and swell like fat bladders waiting
to be emptied and filled again.
They never try to feed themselves.
She thinks she is to blame for this.
She was the one who demanded
to be needed in the first place.
She dreams of regaining her strength
finding her own piece of land
to grow old, wise and die on.
But the head herdsman’s callous hand
is slapping her flank and calling
her to work. She dreads this moment.
The hum of cold machinery.
The coercion. The rough treatment
of her flesh as they drag her out
and connect her up. The cruel taunt –
she has a roof over her head
what more does the silly cow want?
Pat Winslow (The Fact of an Eye)
In its broadest sense, veganism is the cultivation of a society that renounces domination and systematic killing. This is the core of animal-rights theory: the forthright claim that all conscious beings, human or not, should be allowed to live on their own terms, not the terms set down by those who seek to control and exploit.
To my mind it’s no coincidence that the world’s most peaceful societies are vegetarian or vegan, or the tendency for many individuals within politicised movements to reject the products of animal exploitation. Peace and freedom from exploitation are inextricably linked to our dietary habits.
Psyclone’s storyline includes two characters whose feelings on and practice of veganism challenges commonly held feelings and definitions of the term.
As well as far-reaching ethical considerations, there are also very practical aspects to the decision to cut out or reduce meat eating, as pointed out (finally!) by Lord Stern of Brentford in an interview with The Times when he said: “Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better.” He predicted that people’s attitudes would evolve until meat eating became unacceptable. “I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating,”
One of the greatest problems faced by human society and something which allows the continual slaughter of innocents, and here I’m talking about people, women and children, by governments and military, is the ability and tendency humans have to live in denial, to turn away from what they know to be real and to live their lives as if it were not real and happening every day. Out of sight stays comfortably out of mind, and if ever brought to a person’s attention is usually glanced at, physically and mentally, and then quickly forgotten. Thinkers throughout history to modern day have seen how this habit of turning away is created by people’s dietary programming and habits. From childhood most people are habituated into not only eating animal products, but also denying the exploitation and suffering involved in the practice.
The World Peace Diet has been called the most important book of the 21st century and the foundation of a new society based on the truth of the interconnectedness of all life. The following are some of the points made in the book by Will Tuttle, the author, as he and his wife Madeline travel around the U.S. speaking about world peace and our place in it.
Everywhere, though, the truth is popping up! It’s increasingly difficult to avoid hearing and seeing the obvious. Eating animal foods destroys the Earth. Drives global climate breakdown. Drives species extinction. Drives ocean depletion and forest devastation, drug addiction, disease, soil loss, water pollution, acidification, toxification, despair, and the mentality of exploitation and elitism and war.
Even if we are benumbed to the degree that we are not concerned about the suffering of animals, and we are only able to care about other humans, we soon realize that the human anguish caused by eating foods of animal origin requires us to choose a plant-based diet. Human starvation, the emotional devastation required to kill and confine animals, the pollution and waste of water, land, petroleum, and other vital resources, and the injustice and violence underlying our animal food production complex all compel us to abandon our acculturated eating habits.
The ripples that radiate from our choices to eat foods from animal sources are incredibly far-reaching and complex. They extend deeply into our essential orientation and belief system, and into our relationships with each other and the created order. From every perspective we can possibly take, we discover that our culturally imposed eating habits are numbing, blinding, and confining us.
The violence on our plates reverberates through our bodies, our minds, our culture, and throughout our world. How can we or our elected representatives act wisely while the blood that is running through our veins and brains is polluted with hormone, drug, and pesticide residues, cholesterol, and the fear, panic, and psychotic depression lived by the animals we eat?
Compelling our children to eat animal foods gives birth to the “hurt people hurt people” syndrome. Hurt people hurt animals without compunction in daily food rituals. We will always be violent toward each other as long as we are violent toward animals – how could we not be? We carry the violence in our stomachs, in our blood, and in our consciousness. Covering it up and ignoring it doesn’t make it disappear. The more we pretend and hide it, the more, like a shadow, it clings to us and haunts us. The human cycle of violence is the ongoing projection of this shadow.
We are all beings of light and awareness and love, born into a culture of violence, ignorance, and exclusion. We take on its darkness and fear, and the core ritual used by our culture to effect this is our daily meals, where we are forced to participate in routine killing by eating and buying the flesh and secretions of imprisoned, terrified animals. Our path to freedom lies in freeing these animals; veganism is the spiritual and practical key to happiness and peace for all.
It seems that we humans are ripening spiritually, and I believe that there is nothing more important at this stage of our spiritual evolution than developing compassion for all living beings, and transforming our eating habits to reflect more compassion and awareness.
The spiritual and cultural revolution that calls us must begin with our food. Food is our primary connection with the earth and her mysteries, and with our culture. It is the foundation of economy and is the central inner spiritual metaphor of our lives.
When light shines, darkness simply disappears without a trace. No fight is required. Letting the light shine through, breathing deeply and fully, we partake of the infinite, moment after moment.
The basic idea is about human potential," Tuttle says. "We humans have so much more potential than we are actually using, because we're born into a culture that forces us from the time we're little children to ignore what we're actually doing to animals. Routine mistreatment of animals for food in this culture has created this sense of disconnectedness from our wisdom."
"If we're really serious about creating a culture where peace, sustainability and justice are actually possible, we have to look at our food choices. It's very challenging. But it's very liberating. I get a lot of e-mails from people saying that not only have they lost weight and have more energy but they're just much happier."
The World Peace Diet, of all the books out there, presents the spiritual, cultural, and psycho-social dimensions of our meals and would provide a solid foundation for the world's transition to a plant-based way of eating. We have to understand the "big picture" in order to make major changes in our lives, and when we do, it's easy to make the changes.
Also worth a read is Lee Hall's explaination of the connection between veganism and peace in The Vegan Peace Declaration
The following article by Dr J Mercola sets out some health facts about milk.
Don't Drink Your Milk!
The path that transforms healthy milk products into allergens and carcinogens begins with modern feeding methods that substitute high-protein, soy-based feeds for fresh green grass and breeding methods to produce cows with abnormally large pituitary glands so that they produce three times more milk than the old fashioned scrub cow. These cows need antibiotics to keep them well.
Their milk is then pasteurized so that all valuable enzymes are destroyed (lactase for the assimilation of lactose; galactase for the assimilation of galactose; phosphatase for the assimilation of calcium).
Literally dozens of other precious enzymes are destroyed in the pasteurization process. Without them, milk is very difficult to digest. The human pancreas is not always able to produce these enzymes; over-stress of the pancreas can lead to diabetes and other diseases.
The butterfat of commercial milk is homogenized, subjecting it to rancidity. Even worse, butterfat may be removed altogether. Skim milk is sold as a health food, but the truth is that butter-fat is in milk for a reason.
Without it the body cannot absorb and utilize the vitamins and minerals in the water fraction of the milk. Along with valuable trace minerals and short chain fatty acids, butterfat is America's best source of preformed vitamin A.
Synthetic vitamin D, known to be toxic to the liver, is added to replace the natural vitamin D complex in butterfat. Butterfat also contains re-arranged acids which have strong anti-carcinogenic properties.
Non-fat dried milk is added to 1% and 2% milk. Unlike the cholesterol in fresh milk, which plays a variety of health promoting roles, the cholesterol in non-fat dried milk is oxidized and it is this rancid cholesterol that promotes heart disease.
Like all spray dried products, non-fat dried milk has a high nitrite content. Non-fat dried milk and sweetened condensed milk are the principle dairy products in third world countries; use of ultra high temperature pasteurized milk is widespread in Europe.
Other Factors Regarding Milk
Milk and refined sugar make two of the largest contributions to food induced ill health in our country. That may seem like an overly harsh statement, but when one examines the evidence, this is a reasonable conclusion.
The recent approval by the FDA of the use of BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) by dairy farmers to increase their milk production only worsens the already sad picture.
BGH causes an increase in an insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in the milk of treated cows. IGF-1 survives milk pasteurization and human intestinal digestion. It can be directly absorbed into the human bloodstream, particularly in infants.
It is highly likely that IGF-1 promotes the transformation of human breast cells to cancerous forms. IGF-1 is also a growth factor for already cancerous breast and colon cancer cells, promoting their progression and invasiveness.
It is also possible for us to absorb the BGH directly from the milk. This will cause further IGF-1 production by our own cells.
BGH will also decrease the body fat of cows. Unfortunately, the body fat of cows is already contaminated with a wide range of carcinogens, pesticides, dioxin, and antibiotic residues. When the cows have less body fat, these toxic substances are then transported into the cows' milk.
BGH also causes the cows to have an increase in breast infections for which they must receive additional antibiotics.
Prior to BGH, 38%of milk sampled nationally was already contaminated by illegal residues of antibiotics and animal drugs. This will only increase with the use of BGH. One can only wonder what the long term complications will be for drinking milk that has a 50% chance it is contaminated with antibiotics.
There is also a problem with a protein enzyme called xanthine oxidase which is in cow's milk. Normally, proteins are broken down once you digest them.
However, when milk is homogenized, small fat globules surround the xanthine oxidase and it is absorbed intact into your blood stream. There is some very compelling research demonstrating clear associations with this absorbed enzyme and increased risks of heart disease.
Ear specialists frequently insert tubes into the ear drums of infants to treat recurrent ear infections. It has replaced the previously popular tonsillectomy to become the number one surgery in the country.
Unfortunately, most of these specialists don't realize that over 50% of these children will improve and have no further ear infections if they just stop drinking their milk.
This is a real tragedy. Not only is the $3,000 spent on the surgery wasted, but there are some recent articles supporting the likelihood that most children who have this procedure will have long term hearing losses.
It is my strong recommendation that you discontinue your milk products. If you find this difficult, I would start for several weeks only, and reevaluate how you feel at that time.
This would include ALL dairy, including skim milk and Lact-Aid milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. If you feel better after several weeks you can attempt to rotate small amounts of one form of milk every four days.
You probably are wondering what will happen to your bones and teeth if you stop milk. The majority of the world's population takes in less than half the calcium we are told we need and yet they have strong bones and healthy teeth.
Cows' milk is rich in phosphorous which can combine with calcium -- and can prevent you from absorbing the calcium in milk. The milk protein also accelerates calcium excretion from the blood through the kidneys.
This is also true when you eat large amount of meat and poultry products. Vegetarians will need about 50% less calcium than meat eaters because they lose much less calcium in their urine.
It is possible to obtain all your calcium from dark green vegetables (where do you think the cow gets their's from?). The darker the better. Cooked collard greens and kale are especially good. If you or your child is unable to take in large amounts of green vegetables, you might want to supplement with calcium.
If you can swallow pills, we have an excellent, inexpensive source called Calcium Citrate, which has a number of other minerals which your body requires to build up maximally healthy bone.
It is much better than a simple calcium tablet. You can take about 1,000 mg a day. For those who already suffer from osteoporosis, the best calcium supplement is microcrystalline hydroxyapatite.
It is also important that you take vitamin D in the winter months from November to March. Normally your skin converts sunshine to vitamin D, but the sunshine levels in the winter are very low unless you visit Florida or Mexico type areas.
Most people obtain their vitamin D from milk in the winter; so if you stop it, please make sure you are taking calcium with vitamin D or a multi vitamin with vitamin D to prevent bone thinning.
Most people are not aware that the milk of most mammals varies considerably in its composition. For example, the milk of goats, elephants, cows, camels, wolves, and walruses show marked differences, in their content of fats, protein, sugar, and minerals. Each was designed to provide optimum nutrition to the young of the respective species. Each is different from human milk.
In general, most animals are exclusively breast-fed until they have tripled their birth weight, which in human infants occurs around the age of one year. In no mammalian species, except for the human (and domestic cat) is milk consumption continued after the weaning period. Calves thrive on cow milk. Cow's milk is designed for calves.
Cow's milk is the number one allergic food in this country. It has been well documented as a cause in diarrhea, cramps, bloating, gas, gastrointestinal bleeding, iron-deficiency anemia, skin rashes, atherosclerosis, and acne.
It is the primary cause of recurrent ear infections in children. It has also been linked to insulin dependent diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, infertility, and leukemia.
Hopefully, you will reconsider your position on using milk as a form of nourishment.
Some years ago I worked as a gardener for a very elderly blind lady. An exceptional lady, she asked me one day if I smoked, to which I replied I did. She tut-tutted and said, “Well I won’t bother telling you about your health, you young people think you’ll live forever, but you should think about your complexion, smoking is very damaging for your complexion.” In the spirit of that comment I would leave you with this thought. In Psyclone a character comments that, ‘We are what we eat. Observe one’s fellow humans with that thought in mind and one can see the fearful, domesticated, sheep-like, and bovine. That last word, ‘bovine’, I see in people a lot. I also have noticed a growing national concern with weight and obesity. What I haven’t noticed is anyone making a connection between Bovine Growth Hormone and people’s weight.
Below is a list of recommended reading from a selection of Library Thing authors.
Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World by Bob Torres
Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights by Bob Torres
Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Vegan Planet: 400 Irresistible Recipes with Fantastic Flavors from Home by Robin Robertson