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.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Karuna For Animals--a website to treasure

I wrote this for a recent Prayer Circle for Animals Weekly Update

Our prayers for all animals continue to circle the earth, to uplift humanity’s consciousness,
and to bless the animals themselves. Thank you for joining people around the world
who are praying this prayer in many different languages but all with the same love: “COMPASSION ENCIRCLES THE EARTH FOR ALL BEINGS EVERYWHERE”

This internet world, techie though it may be, is linking us together in ways few could have imagined 100 years ago. With it, the power of our prayers has grown exponentially along with the realization that millions of us are praying together for a world of peace for all beings. Recently, I met a wonderful new e-friend when she ordered some of the animal prayer flags. Her name is Erica Settino, and I want to share what she is up to, because I know you will love it. Her group is called Karuna for Animals: Compassion in Action. “Karuna,” of course is the Sanskrit word for compassion. They are an all volunteer yoga based group “whose members seek to promote compassion (karuna), peace (shanti), and loving-kindness (metta) for animals of all species. It is our mission to raise awareness and funds for the rights of all animals. Through a dedicated practice of the science of yoga, community outreach, humane education, vegan cooking and nutrition education, and monthly fundraisers, we aim to cultivate the change we hope to see in the world.” The group also has a goal of creating an Animal Sharanam (Sanskrit for sanctuary) on Long Island.

Suresh Jindal is quoted on the website: “Once we experience and feel this inter-dependence of all living beings, we will cease to hurt, humiliate, exploit and kill another. We will want to free all sentient beings from suffering. This is karuna, compassion, which in turn gives rise to the responsibility to create happiness and its causes for all."

Please visit Erica’s website when you get a chance. Not only is it lovely, inspiring, and informative, but it lets us know—there are so many of us holding the vision, doing the work, praying the prayers. So this week, let us hold in our hearts a special prayer for all those out there, many whom we have not yet met, who are faithfully praying for the animals. May the compassion and loving-kindness being endlessly sent out by all of them and by us radiate into every heart on earth.

Thank you from my heart to yours. No matter how long it takes—we are all connected in Divine Love and Truth.
May all beings, including all people, be happy and free.

With Love, peace, and gratitude from Judy

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Going Wild for Wildlife

This was my Planet Kansas column, “Eating As Though The Earth Matters," for the Kansas Sierra Club magazine, October-November, 2012, Issue. 

Going Wild for Wildlife

Years ago in the ‘70’s, when I volunteered for Save the Tallgrass Prairie, we made t-shirts for one of our conferences with the saying on it—“Wild Kansas—It’s Big Medicine.” The idea behind it, of course, was that we must keep the wild places wild and protect those who live there, because without them we would “die from a great loneliness of spirit” as Chief Seattle is often quoted. And also because it is simply and obviously our responsibility not to destroy them.

Wendell Berry, in his famous poem “The Peace of Wild Things,” longs to “lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water…” For many environmentalists, our love for the outdoors and the animals who live there was the main impetus that got us involved in the movement in the first place. And for those of us who were actually alive in the ‘70’s, we’ve accomplished a lot, but we have also mourned many losses and experienced firsthand that “loneliness of spirit” that comes from learning of another oil spill or another animal who has been killed or whose entire species has been lost.

Polar bears and whales

The fragile and pristine Chukchi Sea area in Alaska is under attack by Shell Alaska, now that the federal government has granted Shell a permit. In recent news they had to stop drilling for oil due to huge chunks of ice moving in their direction, but they intend to return and their actions, if they are not stopped by legal means, will cause unimaginable destruction to the land, air, and water there and suffering and death to the many threatened and endangered wild creatures whose habitat is being invaded—polar bears, walruses, bowhead whales, and many others. In addition to the drilling permit, Shell received a waiver for clean-air standards.


In Washington state, a rancher lost two animals, allegedly to wolves. The Department of Fish and Wildlife there now plans to kill four of the wolves in the Wedge pack ( also known as a family) causing devastating trauma to the rest of the pack. There are only eight packs in the state barely hanging on after they were exterminated decades ago. Wyoming, on the other hand, plans to kill wolves statewide as their protection as an endangered species has been lifted.
Turtles and sharks

The National Marine Fisheries Service is allowing California to continue fishing with mile-long gillnets. Endangered sea turtles, whales, and many other marine mammals and thousands of fish and sharks, considered trash by the fishermen, are killed by these nets, not to mention the millions who are sold and eaten.

Wild horses

Wild horses are being driven from their last remaining homes by terrifyingly noisy helicopters into holding facilities where their lives become completely disrupted. How tragic to think of that icon of wildness and unbridled freedom being captured and left without any semblance of the life that they love. The reason for this, of course, is once again to allow ranchers to maximize their range.

And let’s not forget prairie dogs and the many other innocent animals who are losing ground (literally) to make room for more livestock or tossed away as trash into the sea Not only are they being killed to get them out of the way, but also their water and ours, their air and ours, and their land and ours are being horribly contaminated by livestock raising and cruel, wasteful fishing practices, particularly when it is intensive factory farming (for both fish and land animals).

The earth matters to us, and the earth matters to all these animals. What can we do to save them and their habitats? Of course, there are many things we can do from letter writing to active protests, but there is one thing we can do that takes no extra time or money. Every day we eat. And how we eat directly affects the earth. Eating animals and their products , as you can see from the sampling above, causes wild animals to lose their habitats and their lives.

There are many programs aimed at getting ranchers to peacefully coexist with wildlife, but progress is too slow. We must do more. Reducing and eventually eliminating the buying of meat, milk, and eggs would end the arrogant practice of killing wildlife to protect animals who are also going to be killed. If you’re wondering why I included drilling for oil as relevant to what we eat, such activities are also deeply entrenched in livestock raising. A November/December Sierra club magazine article (p. 21) reported that if everyone in the U.S. eliminated meat and cheese just one day per week, that would be the equivalent of “taking 7.6 million cars off the road.” To expand that out to eliminating meat and cheese altogether, 7 days per week, that would be equivalent to reducing the need for fuel for 53.2 million cars.

If it sounds like a wild idea, well, I guess it is.

Let’s go wild for the wilderness and all those who live there too.
It’s “Big Medicine” for all of us.

Copyright, Judy Carman, 2012

Dreaming the "impossible" dream

Last Tuesday, October 16, 2012, our elephant campaign to free Tembo and Sunda from the Topeka, Kansas, Zoo ran into a roadblock bigger than any so far. The Zoo hired Alan Roocroft, an expert on captive elephants and their feet, to inspect Tembo and Sunda and make his recommendation regarding their future. Prior to his arrival, we were hopeful, because we had read some of his writings which were strongly worded and indicated that captive elephants suffer greatly from the hard surfaces on which they are forced to stand and lie down.

Yet, to our sad surprise, he stated that Tembo and Sunda were in great health (in spite of USDA violations) and recommended that they stay at the Zoo for the rest of their lives. He suggested a few enrichments, including moving hay around at different heights and locations to keep the elephants busier. The vote from the city council is anticipated to take place October 23, this Tuesday. We will be there but fully expect to see the council vote against sending Tembo and Sunda to The Elephant Sanctuary.

As I have pondered this over the last week, an old song keeps coming to mind. It is “The Impossible Dream.” You can hear it sung beautifully at The words bring tears to my eyes for our elephant campaign, but also for all the work that all of you and all animal activists are doing to teach the world that animals are not ours to use, enslave, incarcerate, exploit, eat, experiment on, or force to entertain us. Like the Man of La Mancha in the song, we may be seen as crazy for this revolutionary idea, but our hearts will not rest unless we dream this impossible dream, pray this impossible prayer, and always, always know that ‘though it appears impossible in the physical realm, it is not only possible but the only true reality. Here are the words to the song by Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion. May they bless you and inspire you in your quest to right the terrible wrongs being done to our animal brothers and sisters.

To dream the impossible dream; To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow; To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong; To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary; To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest; To follow that star
No matter how hopeless; No matter how far
To fight for the right; Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell; For a heavenly cause

And I know if I'll only be true ; To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm; When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this; That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage; To reach the unreachable star

Thank you from my heart to yours. No matter how long it takes—we are all connected in Divine Love and Truth.

May all beings, including all people, be happy and free.