Animal Liberation is Human Liberation

Welcome to Peace to All Beings. Until we liberate animals from human exploitation and violence, we cannot expect to have true freedom and peace for ourselves. We human beings can awaken to our higher consciousness and embrace a new paradigm of living in harmony, rather than in fear and domination. We can become "Homo Ahimsa," my term for a new nonviolent and kind human, but we must make that choice together. There is hope for our species--hope that we will not continue this war against animals and the earth. Together let us co-create a new culture and heal the wounds humanity has caused to the earth, to each other, and to the animals who share this world with us.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

INTERFAITH VEGAN COALITION IN ACTION AT THE PARLIAMENT


THE INTERFAITH VEGAN COALITION

SHINES A LIGHT ON AHIMSA AND VEGANISM

AT THE PARLIAMENT OF WORLD RELIGIONS

Thanks to the hard work and donations of many people, In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition, co-founded by Lisa Levinson and Judy Carman, had a well-received presence at the 2018 Parliament of World Religions.  The theme of the Parliament was “The power of love and the promise of inclusion.”  Eight thousand people from around the world attended this historic event.  Plenaries, talks, and panels went on all day and into the evenings from November 1 to the 7th in Toronto, Canada.  We felt it was essential for the animals and the vegan message to be represented there and to reach as many people as we could. 

We reached out and spoke out for a Vegan World in six ways: The Interfaith Vegan Coalition (IVC), Good Dot, and Vegan World 2026 booth; networking with attendees; a vegan banquet for the Charter for Compassion; several vegan talks and panels; two showings of the Thomas Jackson’s new film, “A Prayer for Compassion; and a traveling art exhibit entitled “Animals and World Religions,” curated by Dr. Lisa Kemmerer. 

The Booth: IVC shared a 20 x 20 foot booth with Abhishek Sinha and Deepak Parihar, co-founders of Good Dot (www.GoodDot.in); with Dr. Sailesh Rao’s Climate Healers’ Vegan World 2026; and with Dr. Lisa Kemmerer’s brand new traveling museum exhibit, “Animals and World Religions.”   Good Dot offered samples of their plant-based meats to their visitors on one side of the booth. Good Dot’s mission is “to bring high quality, affordable plant-based meat substitutes all over the world.  We want to save lives, both human and animal, by providing tasty, healthy and environment friendly alternatives to meat.” 

On the other side of the booth, IVC displayed our Vegan Advocacy Kits for various religions (accessible online at www.interfaithvegancoalition.org) and shared handouts from coalition members such as Vegan Spirituality, Circle of Compassion, Vegetarian Friends, and Christian Vegetarian Association.  We also had recipes from Madeleine Tuttle and others, several books and prayer flags to sell, invitations to the film screenings of “A Prayer for Compassion,” etc.  Along each side of the booth, Lisa Kemmerer’s “Animals and World Religions” panels were displayed.  Sailesh Rao’s Climate Healers’ Vegan World 2026 banner and science-based poster brought attention to the urgency we are facing.  By the year 2026, if we do nothing to change the current trajectory of extinction, all wild vertebrates will become extinct.  We must create a vegan world soon in order to eliminate animal agriculture, the leading cause of extinction and so many other world crises.  The dialogues with visitors to the booth went on steadily throughout each day.  We were so encouraged by the many vegans who visited as well as those who were not vegan, but who were very open and interested in the spiritual, environmental, health, and animal connections.
 The Interfaith Vegan Coalition side of the booth.  The panels on the sides
are the Animals and World Religions traveling art exhibit.
 The Good Dot display on the other side of the booth.  Delicious samples
were offered to booth visitors.  People loved them all.  
 Lots of interest, many great discussions, new hope for the animals.

Networking: Some of the religions represented at the Parliament indicated a definite leaning toward veganism as part of their spiritual work.  Among them were the Tzu Chi Buddhists (www.tzuchi.us), Aumism (www.aumisme.org); and Caodaism (PortlandCaodaiTemple@yahoo.com). Zoroastrians are asked to be vegetarian one month out of each year; The Sufi Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship recommends vegetarianism.  The Urantia Foundation members are approximately half vegetarian or vegan.  Many in the Share International group (www.share-international.us) are veg, and they serve vegetarian food at events.  The founder of World Clergy (www.worldclergy.org) is vegan.  We met several animal ministers.  Of course, many of the Jains, Hindus, and Sikhs were veg or vegan.  At the Hindu American Foundation (www.HAFsite.org) one third of the meals served are vegan. The Brahma Kumaris group includes a growing minority of vegans.  The Ontario Sikhs and the Sikh Gurdwara Council served a free vegan lunch (although the desserts were not vegan) to thousands of people every day.  The people in the world who have aligned veganism with their spiritual values is increasing exponentially.  It was very encouraging.  
                 The loving, generous Sikhs serving thousands of people vegan lunches every day.


The Charter for Compassion Vegan Banquet: The organizers of this banquet for 300 people were very open to IVC’s suggestion to make the banquet vegan.  Good Dot provided much of the food, and Chef Sandra Sellani, The 40 Year Old Vegan cookbook author, supplied the recipes and helped the chefs with preparation.  The end result was truly delicious.  The Banquet took place on November 2 and featured awards, speakers, and music.  Although we were not able to offer a meal blessing orally, we were given permission to write a vegan meal blessing.  This was printed on beautiful cards and placed at each attendee’s place setting.  Abhishek was also given the opportunity to speak about the Good Dot food and why the vegan meal was in perfect alignment with the high aspirations of compassion.  IVC plans to follow up with the Charter, as well as its partner, the Golden Rule Project, to create more vegan meals at their future events.  
This is the Vegan Meal Blessing that was placed at each person's place setting at the Charter for Compassion Banquet.  Many seeds of lovingkindness for animals were planted at the Banquet and all through the week.  May they bear beautiful fruit and bring a final end to the killing, domination, ownership, and exploitation of our animal cousins.  

Vegan Talks and Panels: Dr. Lisa Kemmerer, author of Animals and World Religions, gave a talk on “Integrated Justice,” showing how nonviolence to animals is critical to justice for all.  She also was on the ”Justice for Just Us?” panel, along with Candace Laughinghouse, Charlotte Cressey, and Dr. Alka Arora.  Rabbi David Rosen also gave a talk on veganism, as did Dr. Neal Barnard of Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine.  There may have been more vegan talks of which we were not aware, as there were many hundreds of talks and panels.  At the closing plenary, Swami Chidanand Saraswati stated that he believed the next Parliament should be totally vegan.



Two Showings of Thomas Jackson’s new film, “A Prayer for Compassion”:  Dr. Sailesh Rao, producer of the film, hosted two showings during the Parliament, bringing more vegan enlightenment to all attendees. Thomas interviewed many spiritual leaders who are vegan to show how veganism is in perfect alignment with one’s highest spiritual ideals. Please go here to see the trailer and share it.    



The traveling art exhibit entitled “Animals and World Religions,” curated by Dr. Lisa Kemmerer and Carolyn Mullin:  Each beautiful panel represented various world religions and included statements made by some of their leaders that align the values of those faiths to veganism. Contact Carolyn Mullin at mullin.c@gmail.com to display this traveling exhibit at your local organization, University, or place of worship. The exhibit will have an online component soon.  


Heartfelt thanks to the many folks who helped make this happen: Abhishek Sinha, Deepak Parihar, Frank Lane, Dr. Sailesh Rao, Carolyn Mullin, Dr. Lisa Kemmerer, Marilyn Turkovich, Sandra Sellani, Thomas Jackson, Ray Kowalchuk, Steve Kaufman, Reverend Carol Saunders, April Willson, Raquel Fronte, Charlotte Cressey, Dr. Alka Arora, Candace Laughinghouse, Dr. Neal Barnard, Rabbi David Rosen, Beth Redwood, In Defense of Animals, and many more.






Monday, October 22, 2018

Veganism is the"Golden Rule" in Action


Our world is in a spiritual, moral, and physical crisis.  The hope for humanity and for all life on earth is simply this:  Human beings have to wake up very soon and stop dominating and destroying the planet and the lives of all the others who live here under our thumbs.  It is time to choose to love, cherish, and heal all whom we have harmed and all we have destroyed.  We are talking about a massive spiritual awakening.  Why do we say “spiritual?”  Isn’t this a simple logical understanding.  It’s in everyone’s face—we are nearing annihilation caused by our own actions and inactions.  But no—that is not enough.  Logic alone will not get us there.  Clearly.  There is plenty of scientific evidence, news reports backed up with facts, overwhelming data to show us every day what new reef has died, how many whales have beached and died from sonar testing and ingesting plastic, how many acres of rainforest have been cut down for the cattle industry.  The facts are there.  Our egos know.  But it is in our hearts and souls that the passion and love to stop the violence resides.  The cries of the animals, all nature, and our own spirits are calling us to bring healing now and reverse the damage we have done.    

We know now that the best healing for an individual is holistic.  It needs to address the physical, mental and spiritual life of the suffering one.  Without the body, mind, and spirit being nourished and cared for, the healing will not be complete.  This is just as true for the healing of the world which we must undertake as a species.  When we engage in healing at the level of spirit, we enter the mystical realm.  There we find ourselves nurtured and strengthened by the Divine Love that animates and breathes life into all beings.  Passion and faith begin to do their work in us so that we enter into partnership with the Divine and discover what is ours to do in this healing and transformative work. 

Our true nature, in a word is love.  We are meant to be creatures who love and care for creation.  Some say we had to go through a self-centered, fearful period of development that led to all of our violent ways.  Perhaps so.  But that time is past.  We cannot remain there any longer and hope to survive as a species.  This is our big chance to become the nonviolent, compassionate, peaceful creatures we are destined to be.  Nearly all religions promote The Golden Rule in one form or another.  We have been told to “Do unto others as you would have others do unto You.”  But we have never fully understood it until now.  The “others” in this rule includes all life, all sacred creation.     

Veganism is the Golden Rule in perfect action.  It is the pinnacle of living a life of nonviolence, caring for all others, and having reverence and compassion for all life.  The vegan life is life giving, not life taking.  When we become ethically vegan, we come home to our spiritual and heart essence at last. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

THE TUTTLES 'ROUND THE WORLD VEGAN TOUR AND PRAYER FLAGS PRESENTED


AROUND THE WORLD WITH COMPASSION AND LOVE:  Will and Madeleine Tuttle have now completed their vegan world tour, literally “encircling the earth for all beings everywhere” with compassion.  They reached thousands, perhaps, millions, of people in many countries with the vegan message of compassion, nonviolence, and lovingkindness for all living beings.  As a special holiday gift to all of you, here are two videos of their tours in India and China.  Please enjoy and share them.  The world is awakening.   

Video of Will & Madeleine’s Tour to India:
Video of Will & Madeleine’s Tour to China
ANIMAL PRAYER FLAGS THEY PRESENTED IN CHINA
Will and Madeleine presented this prayer flag to the Abbott of 
the Pure Land Buddhist Temple in Xiucheng, China. 

They presented this flag to the Three Harmonic Temple 
in Kunmiing, China where they have a vegan school
and an animal sanctuary.  

Many thanks to Will and Madeleine and all the heroes enlightening the world about the sacredness and interconnectedness of all life.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

ART WITHOUT ANIMAL CRUELTY



ART WITHOUT ANIMAL CRUELTY
By Judy Carman
Reprinted with kind permission of Compassion Arts  

It all started when “The Story of Chickens” art project came to town. The artist’s plan was to display a group of chickens in a mobile pen for 30 days and then publicly kill them and serve them to her audience as a meal.  As I struggled to understand how such an atrocity could be considered “art,” I called city hall and learned, to my relief, that such activity was illegal within the city limits.

What happened next brought beautiful creativity into the process. Once she learned that her plan was illegal, the artist was quite open to our suggestions to use no live chickens at all and involve our animal rights group--Animal Outreach of Kansas (AOK)--in her work.  She allowed us to display many works of art that were respectful of chickens in the month-long art display at the gallery.  At the end of the month, she hosted a potluck at the gallery and allowed four of us to speak to the audience about the rights of chickens.  What began as an impending tragedy was transformed into an opportunity to educate people about the rights of animals and their desperate need for liberation from human exploitation.  I give the artist a lot of credit for that. Karen Davis of United Poultry Concerns, who helped us throughout the campaign, published a more detailed account of the event in the UPC article, The Story of Chickens: Closing Night

Speaking about the rights of chickens at closing night

                      An interactive art display honoring chickens at the gallery by Anna McCoy.

Still, a nagging question hung in the air-- how could the original art project ever have been considered “art” and given a grant?  And how could there be so many other animal abusing “art” projects that have caused the suffering and deaths of so many sentient beings?  A few examples include: the killing of a chicken in a school cafeteria as a filmed art project; setting fire to three live rats; the killing and displaying of 9,000 butterflies; throwing cats up a flight of stairs; the filming of a man holding a fish while he or she slowly died; and the strapping of LED lights to the legs of 2,000 pigeons and forcing them to fly at night, causing many to die.

It is safe to say that most of these works of art, if done by a non-artist, would be considered animal cruelty and possibly prosecuted.  Artists understandably demand free expression, yet none of them would claim that harming, killing, confining or using a human being in such ways would be accepted as art in today’s world. Respected animal rights artist, Sue Coe, whose drawings of animals help awaken people to the horrors they endure at human hands, makes it clear that we must bring an end to all use, abuse, killing and eating of animals. Mary Britton Clouse, of the Justice for Animals Art Guild, states, “Art is about ideas. Animals are not ideas. They are as real as we are.  Their suffering and deprivation are psychologically and biologically indisputable. . . . No act of self-expression is worth the life or liberty of another.”

So what do we do as animal activists?  Minding Animals International has just introduced a powerful new tool that will help us bring an end to using live animals in art.  That tool is the  Minding Animals Curatorial Guidelines One of the goals of the Guidelines committee was “to identify and avoid human exceptionalism/anthropocentrism, which prioritises humans over animals. Key to CAS [Critical Animal Studies] is a critique of capitalism and globalisation in its role in the domination of people, animals and the earth, but CAS also sees the intersections of all oppression anywhere and for whatever reason as motivation for employing the powerful forces of compassion and social justice...”  This revolutionary set of guidelines for artists and curators will be introduced at the International Minding Animals Conference in Mexico City in January, 2018. Carol Gigliotti, Yvette Watt, Jessica Ulrich and Rod Bennison are the main authors of the guidelines. They are also the panelists of the discussion that will take place at the Minding Animals Conference.  They describe the panel as follows:

 “Animal Art Exhibitions The growth of Animal Studies as a field has been mirrored by the increasing number of animal themed artworks and exhibitions. However, many artists and curators do not properly consider the impact of the artworks and exhibitions on perceptions of nonhuman animals, and on the individual animals themselves. The result has been numerous examples where the animal has been treated disrespectfully, marginalised, exploited, and caused physical and/or behavioural suffering. Animals have been killed as part of or for an artwork. The three panelists, along with Rod Bennison, were charged with developing Curatorial Guidelines for Minding Animals Exhibitions. Designed to avoid inappropriate and unacceptable uses of animals as subjects for artworks in exhibitions connected to Minding Animals International conferences and events, the guidelines may serve as a model for other curators in situations such as galleries, museums, performance spaces who are faced with similar decisions in their choice of what artworks and performances should be supported. The goal was a positive one of opening doors for curators to consider their choices in the wider and increasing context of respect and concern for all animals. This respect and concern includes acknowledgement of animals’ intelligence, consciousness, agency, and creativity and therefore is supportive of the creative impulse rather than attempting to limit it. The panel will discuss the process of defining these guidelines and consider what ideas were of utmost importance and the language to convey that: such as both wild and domesticated animals’ needs and rights, artistic freedom, ethics, the meaning of art and its limits. Additionally, the stakeholders in this process will be discussed and the discussions and handling of disagreements and multiple considerations examined…”

In addition to this ground breaking panel and set of guidelines, of course, we also have the help and vision of Compassion Arts, vegan and activist artists, ethical university professors and art museum directors, and many others.  Together we can find ways to establish firm vegan policies prohibiting all use of living beings in art projects around the world. AOK is currently working with a local art museum to initiate such a policy. I welcome any advice and am also available to discuss any similar projects you may have.
Judy Carman, M.A
Judy Carman is the author of the award winning Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul; and co-author with Tina Volpe of The Missing Peace.  She is co-founder with Will and Madeleine Tuttle of Circle of Compassion and the Prayer Circle for Animals Facebook. A recipient of the Henry Spira Animal Activist Award, she founded the Animals’ Peace Prayer Flag Project; co-founded, with Lisa Levinson, the Interfaith Vegan Coalition;  and co-founded Animal Outreach of Kansas.

POSTSCRIPT--I just received this link to an article about vegan art supplies that are made without harming animals.  What a great resource for vegan artists.  Thank you Sue Coe for this valuable information.



Friday, July 21, 2017



How What We Think Can Help Liberate Animals:
The dande-lion-hearted activist

We animal liberators are a lot like dandelions.  A lot of people would rather we not appear in their lawns even though our bright yellow blossoms are quite beautiful.  They try to pull us up by the roots or spray us with herbicides of all kinds, but somehow we always manage to pop back up cheerily and then overnight turn into the most lovely puffballs, full of hundreds of seeds.  All we need is a little wind and there go our seeds flying about like tiny birds.  That’s why the number of vegans (and dandelions) increases every day.  We dande-lion-hearted activists have planted a lot of seeds with both our thoughts and our actions.   

It’s been said that we attract what we think about most.  That is why it has also been said that every thought is a prayer.  Atheists and theists alike “pray,” in that broad sense, whenever we have a thought. Our dilemma as animal liberationists is that we have awakened from the cultural trance that ignores animal suffering and are now painfully and constantly aware of the terrible plight of the animals. In the true meaning of the word “compassion,” we are “suffering with.” What do we do, then, with our feelings and thoughts?  We have gone through the door of denial, and now we can’t Not Know. 

Our thoughts and feelings often turn to rage at what is happening, anger at the perpetrators, burn-out after working so hard with seemingly little progress, loneliness from being ostracized by some, and endless grief over the animals whom we cannot physically save. But if it is true that we attract what we think about most, then for the sake of the animals and ourselves, we must acknowledge the injustice while simultaneously attracting what we want for the animals.  We want to “attract” their liberation.  Therefore, the majority of our thoughts must be Loving thoughts empowered by the feeling of Love if we are going to bring animal liberation into reality.  


The question for all of us is--how do we keep our thoughts focused on this Love and this Vision of peace for all beings.  It is a challenge that activists for justice have faced through the ages.  It requires us to take time to feel the joy and peace that lies within each of us and connects us all to each other and to the animals.  It is from that place of peace that we can find the strength, the optimism, and the wisdom to do our part for the animals. In Defense of Animals’ Sustainable Activism Campaign’s goal is to help us all with that challenge.  IDA offers many resources to help activists.  Among those resources are
VeganSpirituality.com; (founded by Lisa Levinson)
Circleof Compassion.org (founded by myself and Will and Madeleine Tuttle)
PrayerCircle for Animals Facebook (also founded by me and the Tuttles);
The Animal Prayer Flag Project  right here at Peace to All Beings.com

Gandhi said, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won… Think of it—always.”  Our awakening to the plight of the animals was an awakening to love for all beings and to reverence for all life. We have the great privilege of seeing with our hearts what peace and liberation for all beings can look like.  We have been blessed with the ability to love unconditionally just as the animals do.  May the seeds of all our thoughts, feelings, prayers, and actions bloom with that love.  Imagine, feel, and know that humanity is being transformed and animal liberation is close at hand.

© Judy Carman, 2015

               


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Are We Trumped or Are We More Powerful Than Ever?



Eating as Though the Earth Matters column

ARE WE TRUMPED OR ARE WE MORE POWERFUL THAN EVER?
As Trump prepares to take on the presidency, people all over the country are realizing—now, more than ever before—It really is up to us!  How many times must we see our legislative victories for the earth and for justice lose traction under the shenanigans of politicians?  Now it is possible that coal, oil, Keystone XL, and a nightmare of ecological terrors could escalate. Nil Zacharias writes in the online “One Green Planet,” an article he titled, “Here’s how you can shape our environmental future with Trump as president.” 
Zacharias writes that “With Donald Trump as President, huge questions loom about the future of the fight to preserve our natural ecosystems…”  He notes that the EPA could possibly be abolished or at least lose significant funds; that there could be increased subsidies for animal agriculture; and many policies to push for more coal and oil instead of alternative energy. We all agree with him when he says “The fight is not over,” but what does that fight look like now.  Of course, we cannot ignore what tricks the new administration will be playing.  But, more than ever, we must turn toward each other and “be the change” as Gandhi famously advised.  And not just “be the change” but also help others to be that as well.  As Zacharias writes, “if we care about our environment and the future of humanity, we have to start practicing change in our daily lives.” 

Captain Paul Watson, vegan activist and Founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, in his November 15 “Huffington Post” article, “Why fighting Donald trump is a waste of time,” acknowledges the threats posed by a Trump administration. But he also points out that it is up to us.  The keys to our survival include, “Individual passion. Individual imagination. Individual initiative. Individual courage.” “Depending on a politician to solve any of these problems is like depending on an oil executive to promote solar energy. It is simply not in their interest or as Bill Clinton once put it, ‘It’s the economy stupid.’”  Trump, he points out, is no better or worse than “the rest of these so-called leaders whose agenda is to serve the corporations and to enrich themselves.”

Love, Numbers, and Consumption
Time is short. We have to use our activist time wisely.  There is so much we can do individually as people who care about our earth.  It is time to create the world we want and heal the human caused damage, whether or not politicians and corporations cooperate.  Our power as people is enormously greater than that of governments.  That power lies in three primary areas: Love, Numbers, and Consumption. 

Love--for the earth, for the wilderness, for the trees and animals, for each other and for the children of the future--that is what motivates us to keep going as we continue to stand in solidarity. The lust for power that is causing so much destruction is intimidating, but we must always remember that lust is fueled by fear.  It can never match the strength of people emboldened by compassion, love, empathy, and care for all the living.   

Numbers?—well, there are a lot of us, and with this election, there is evidence that our numbers just grew exponentially.  More than ever, the realization is dawning that we cannot depend on the government to take good care of us if we just elect the right people.  What may well be the silver lining in all this is that people are becoming ready to take care of each other and of the earth with or without the will and action of the power elite.  Human rights, peace and justice, environmental, and animal rights groups may have many different missions and work to do, but it is clear that we all have one common mission.  Often referred to as intersectionality, we are now seeing that all justice work, whether for the earth, animals, or people, is focused on ending oppression and violence. Most efforts on the part of one cause to end oppression can benefit the other causes.  The exception to that premise occurs when activists act compassionately toward one group while unconsciously causing oppression to another. As Carla Golden states in her “activist’s lunchbox” article, “As long as those who gain the most from the current system can keep you oppressing other beings then you excuse and permit their oppression of you.” 
It is a time in our history when we activists must join together in our common goal to end oppression and build a world in which all people, animals, and the earth are protected from human greed.  As Golden points out, “If education, awareness, non-violent speech, and non-violent action are part of your social justice activist toolbox, then vegan needs to describe your activist lunchbox. Without non-violent sustenance, you are fueling your activism with the oppression against which you campaign. Eat peace and campaign for peace. Awaken the vegan within. Every social justice activist’s lunchbox must contain non-violence…Intersectionality calls for veganism to protect all beings, non-humans and humans, and secure justice, freedom, and compassion for all.”

Consumption—this is mind-boggling in its potential to create the world we envision.  We all know Americans’ consumption levels are off the charts compared to the rest of the world.  Not only do we need to consume less, but also consume consciously and mindfully.  When we shop at thrift stores, second hand stores, garage sales, Craigslist, and fair trade and ethical companies, we peacefully and nonviolently protest against big corporations and their child and adult slavery, unsafe working conditions, waste, pollution, mining for resources, and a long list of environmental, social justice, and animal atrocities caused by their reckless pursuit of profit without ethics.  But more than that, with enough of us participating, we peacefully and radically reduce their profits and force them to either close or get ethical!   
But our greatest influence as consumers lies in what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Nowhere else do we have such power to eliminate oppression of people, animals, and the earth as we do with our food purchases.  The government-subsidized animal agriculture industry causes animal suffering and death to billions of animals; causes misery among slaughterhouse and other workers; uses most of our fresh water and land; destroys rainforests and indigenous peoples’ homes; grows enough grain for animals that could be used to end world hunger; pollutes our air, waterways and seas; degrades the land; denudes forests; and destroys wildlife and their habitats.  That covers many of the justice movements directly. And the good news is that it is this one industry upon which we can have the most profound impact.  We can transform that industry by ourselves, without legislation, without appealing to those in power.  Most of us would have a hard time eliminating all petroleum products from our purchases right now, but overnight we can tell BigAg that we will not buy their products because they wreak havoc on the planet and all who live upon it.    

There are signs that this globally destructive industry is already paying attention to our ethics in action since the number of people going plant-based is rising dramatically. An October 10 article in the New York Times by Stephanie Strom is entitled “Tyson foods, A Meat Leader, Invests in ProteinAlternatives.” The largest meat processor in the country, Tyson Foods, has actually invested in the plant-based “meat alternative” company, Beyond Meat.  This new company is one of several that aims to do their part to heal the earth and create social justice by giving people an alternative to the destructive practice of eating animal products. One of Beyond’s products is the Beyond Burger that some Whole Foods Markets are selling next to their meat cases. The article quotes Tyson senior Vice President of New Ventures, Monica McGurk. ‘The quality of the Beyond Burger is amazing…We think it’s a game-changing product that gives us exposure to this fast-growing part of the food business.’

This is happening, not because of legislation which continues to subsidize animal agriculture or lobbyists getting soft hearted about the environment, but because of our power to choose what we buy.  Americans are simply eating more plant-based, vegan meals, and Big Ag is noticing.  If they have to switch to plant-based products to continue their profitability, then that is exactly what they will do and are beginning to do.  According to the Plant Based Foods Association, these new companies which include Beyond Meat, Heidi Ho, Califia Farms, and others showed $4.9 billion in sales from June of 2015 to June of 2016, outpacing in growth regular food businesses.  General Mills has moved quickly on the basis of such news and has invested in Beyond Meat and another plant-based company Kite Hill.   

Michele Simon, who is the executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, said ‘The question in my mind with these acquisitions is always why they’re being done…The most positive view is that this means the meat industry is shifting away from animal meat to plant-based meat, but I don’t think we know that’s the case yet — it could also be a way of distracting attention from their industrial meat business.’  Also, if enough meat industry investors got too much control of the companies, they could destroy them. At this point, there is no doubt these animal agriculture companies have no plans to give up what has made them so rich and powerful. And that puts the responsibility back onto each one of us.  If we buy plant-based and never again buy animal-based, then they will have no choice but to transform into the non-violent, non-destroyer of the earth that we know they must.  According to Strom’s article, one survey found that 22 percent of consumers said they were eating more plant-based meat substitutes than they did the previous year.

By “being the change,” by living without oppression, by acknowledging our power and our ethics, we can re-wild the earth; we can bring the forests and prairies back; we can help wild animals on the brink of extinction thrive once more; we can end world hunger.  By eating plant-based meals we tell BigAg we are through with them.  By not supporting them, we prevent them from continuing to pollute the air and waters of earth.  I’m not saying legislation, demonstrations, and other forms of protest aren’t important.  They are critical. But recognizing the simple fact that we can make an enormous difference from this moment on by living non-violently is more important than ever before.  This is something we can each do as individuals right now and from now on that will bring us exponentially closer to the healed world we hold in our hearts. It’s up to us.  The power elite is not going to do it for us.  And that’s ok, because we can do this ourselves. I know we can.  We have the passion, imagination, initiative, and courage that Paul Watson says we need.  We have all those things.  We can do this.      
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
© 2016, Judy Carman, M.A., is author of Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul and co-author of The Missing Peace: The Hidden Power of our Kinship with Animal;  2014 winner of the Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist award; and owner of a truck and a car powered by used veggie oil and house and a Chevy Volt electric car powered by solar. Her primary websites are circleofcompassion.org and peacetoallbeings.com.