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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hope for Wolves, Grass Eating Criminals, Mother Earth, and us

This is my most recent article for Planet Kansas.  You can see the article on pages 18-19 online here

Sierra Club Planet Kansas, Fall, 2014, Issue
Eating as Though the Earth Matters column

Hope for Wolves, Grass Eating Criminals, Mother Earth, and us
At a rest stop on I-70 not too far west of Topeka I saw something so peculiar I had to make a note of it.  It was a quote from a man named Carl Becker whose words were immortalized on a plaque there.  To paraphrase, his statement was this: When you look at wilderness, you lose hope.  So see it not for what it is but for what it can be.  Having just driven from Yosemite where I was overcome at each turn of the road by the majesty of the place, it was a jolting reminder that not everyone was a John Muir fan. It was Muir, as you know, who helped save Yosemite from those who would have only “found hope” in greedily taking it apart piece by piece for profit.

Those two world views reveal a lot about our challenges today as we seek to save our precious earth from the ravages of the human propensity to look at everything as objects put here just for our use.  The fear of and estrangement from nature, coupled with our seemingly endless ideas on how to use it to our benefit has spelled disaster for ecosystems everywhere.

But is the tide turning in favor of Mother Earth?  Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club quotes President Obama as saying to new college graduates, “You’re going to have to push those of us in power to do what this American moment demands.”  He was referring to the environmental crises.  Brune points out that 70% of U.S. adults polled, across party lines, agree that greenhouse gases from power plants should be limited. His hope and belief is that the U.S. can get all its electricity without coal or gas by 2030.  He could be right.  Already there are more people working for solar companies than there are coal miners. 
The world view that our species is the center of the universe and that everything is here simply for us to use—appears to be losing ground, perhaps just in the nick of time.  Animals, of course, both wild and domesticated, have been victims of that “all for us” belief system for thousands of years.

A recent example is the killing of the alpha female of the Huckleberry wolf pack by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.  According to Defenders of Wildlife, WDFW had assured the public that no alpha wolves would be killed because they are so crucial to any pack’s survival.  As you know, wolves are being killed at a devastating rate all over the northwest.

Why?  Big Agriculture and small ranchers, including those who claim to be humane.  A federal agency known as Wildlife Services, using our tax dollars, and other agencies are at their beck and call.  The wild carnivores are killed to prevent them from killing cows, goats, sheep, chickens, etc. all of whom are going to be killed themselves by human beings for profit.  Or, in the case of prairie dogs (58,000 of whom were killed in 2013 alone), bison, and other herbivores, their crime was eating grass. Such is the “hope” of animal producers—that they can control and manipulate nature and those who live in it to make a financial profit. The mindset behind it is that the oppression and domination of those who can’t defend themselves is acceptable as long as it benefits the oppressor.  Shooting entire families of wolves from helicopters and/or poisoning them in their dens is an example of this moral and ethical abyss.

In other articles I have shared with you, we have looked deeply at the many water, air and earth catastrophes caused by animal agriculture.. So in this article we will just focus on the devastation it causes to wildlife and ecosystems.

According to Norm Phelps in his book The Longest Struggle, the well-known environmental group known as Greenpeace began a unique campaign.  Paul Watson, one of the founders, convinced his fellow activists that defending the environment and ecosystems involved defending the individual animals as well and indeed seeing them as individuals with feelings, families and lives of their own. 
So in 1975 they acquired a ship which they named “Greenpeace V” with a plan to stop Soviet, Japanese, and Icelandic whalers from killing whales. Using inflatable zodiacs, they attempted to place themselves between the whales and the harpoons.  Not caring about the protesters, the Russians fired anyway. This group also attempted to place themselves between baby harp seals and their killers and famously sprayed nontoxic red dye on the babies to make their white coats worthless to the seal killers. Greenpeace eventually stopped that kind of activism designed to raise public awareness and save individual animal’s lives along with their ecosystems.  Paul Watson resigned from Greenpeace and formed the now world famous “Whale Wars” environmental and vegan group, Sea Shepherd. 

Paul teaches and demonstrates the new world view that we human beings are not the center of the universe and that animals are not here for us to use.  He and many other wise environmentalists are making it clear that “protecting ecosystems” is not enough. Our ethics, as Einstein, Gandhi, Schweitzer and many others have made clear, must expand to include nonviolence to all living beings, not just people.  Without such an ethic, we are mired in violence.  When entire families of prairie dogs and wolves are killed so that we can kill cows, we have to ask ourselves—What is wrong with this picture?

Most of our cultures down through the ages have programmed us from early childhood to accept the domination dogma that Carl Becker and so many have unquestioningly lived by.  But always in the background there have been those iconoclasts who questioned authority and looked more deeply at who we are and what our place in the world’s ecosystem really is.  It takes a lot of courage to step out of the mainstream and as Walt Whitman penned, “dismiss whatever insults your own soul…”  I believe our souls cry out at the news that mother wolves and their babies are killed by guns and poisons against which they have no defense—just so we can kill more cows. 

Reporter Stephanie Lee covered a story for the San Francisco Chronicle in August about some  new companies that are making a profit without harming wildlife or other animals.  Hampton Creek has developed an egg substitute made from plant proteins.  They are rethinking, as Lee says, “the way food is made.”    
She states, “…high-tech food makers backed by the likes of Bill Gates and the co-founders of Twitter are finding a place on supermarket shelves. Hampton Creek's mayonnaise and cookies, both plant-based, are in 10,000 stores worldwide. Plant-protein-derived chicken and beef by Beyond Meat in Southern California will soon be in 6,000 stores nationally.”  Recognizing the environmental, health, and nonviolence benefits of plant based foods, these company founders and investors are taking a stand for a better world.
Hampton Creek is being backed by some very forward looking investors including Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, Jerry Yang who co-founded Yahoo, billionaire Tom Steyer, Gates, as well as Khosla Ventures, and others.

Some of these same investors are backing Ethan Brown’s company, Beyond Meat.  He started the company, he says, because he cares about animals and wanted to help them and the Earth. Biz Stone, founder of Twitter, a vegan, and an investor in Beyond Meat, calls it a “disruptive technology company,” in essence questioning the status quo, dismissing what is so deeply insulting our souls, and creating a new way to bring food to all tables (including the worlds’ hungry) without violence to the earth, wildlife, and other animals..  

Beyond Meat's research has found that 4% of the U.S. population is vegan.  Brown points out that the meat people are eating is causing serious health and environmental issues.  Yet many do not want to give it up.  His answer to that: ‘…so why give it up? Why not try plant-based meat?’

As environmentalists, our “hope” is not Carl Becker’s “seeing [wilderness] for what it can be” after we manipulate it, but rather to be caught up in the awe and wonder of wilderness and the animals who live on this planet with us, to be able to live lightly upon the earth, indeed to do everything we can to bring back the clean air, water, and soil that once blessed our earthly home.

As I have said in all my previous “Eating As Though The Earth Matters” articles, the good news and the “hope” is close at hand.  Three times each day, starting now, each one of us can make an astounding impact for good by eating vegan, plant based, nonviolent meals and committing ourselves to nonviolent practices toward this sacred Earth and all who live here. 
© 2014, 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 powered by solar. Her primary websites are and   

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What is Vegan Spirituality?

How can it help activists and animals?

Is Spirituality a Part of Your Life?
IDA_COSA_JudyAs an animal advocate, how would you react if asked, “Are you a spiritual person?” Some of you may have an immediate knee-jerk reaction against the word “spirituality,” which often brings to mind religion and churches. Most places of worship, as we are painfully aware, ignore the worldwide plight of animals and, in fact, openly exploit animals at potlucks, fishing and hunting outings, and other traditional “family” activities. Many of us have found ourselves frustrated when we tried to change their policies to be cruelty-free and animal friendly. We all know sincere people who consider themselves spiritual seekers but who participate in all the socially programmed rituals of animal abuse and killing. They may be exploring Buddhism, attending meditation retreats, practicing yoga, studying shamanism, or reading spiritual books. But they have not yet made the connection between their desire to become spiritual and the correlating need to live nonviolently, with kindness, respect, and compassion for all beings; not just the human ones.
Beyond the Mind
So why would I call you a spiritual person? Eckhart Tolle said, “All the things that truly matter—beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace—arise from beyond the mind.” Spirituality is what we feel and deeply know in our hearts and spirits, i.e., “beyond the mind.” The fact that you care about the suffering of animals, in spite of society’s pressure on you to ignore it, means you are in touch with your true heart and your true spirit. Spirituality is the unseen, but deeply felt, love that dwells in your heart. In that sense, you have truly been called by love to do what you can to help liberate animals from human violence, and you have answered the call.
The Two Most Revolutionary Ideas
The two most radical and revolutionary ideas ever conceived are the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and the profound counsel, “Love One Another.” In my book Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul, I explain how nearly every religion is rooted in those very concepts. While many religious people acknowledge that, indeed, their faith is based on that radical love, nevertheless religions tend to add on loopholes making it possible to rationalize not doing unto others (such as, animals, slaves, women, etc.) as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule is so revolutionary because it asks us to act from our spirit, which is unselfish, connected to all life, and free of cultural and religious dogma. It is the highest ideal for human behavior. If we evolve in that direction, we will become what I call “Homo Ahimsa”—the kind, compassionate, nonviolent human being we are destined to be. By taking the vow of ahimsa, of nonviolence and love, also known as veganism, you have demonstrated what it is to live a spiritual life—one in which your heartfelt beliefs are in synch with the way you live. You are demonstrating how to love one another, not just the human ones, but everyone. You are demonstrating what spirituality truly is.
Setting Your Spirit Free
We are dual-natured individuals. We have a survival nature that tells us to protect ourselves at the expense of others if necessary; and we have our other core nature–our spirit that longs to care for others, even at the expense of ourselves. Anyone who has committed themselves to be a voice for animals is demonstrating that they are spiritual, in the sense that they have allowed their spirits the freedom to express this most radical, unselfish love. It is this love and this spirituality that will transform the world into a place of freedom and peace for all beings. It is this love that stirs one to take action to help free animals from human domination and violence. Veganism at its core is the ultimate spiritual practice, for it is love in action for all life.
How Vegan Spirituality Helps Activists and Animals
The Prayer Circle for Animals (, which I co-founded with Will and Madeleine Tuttle, states that by practicing vegan spirituality, we:
l) Create an energy field of compassion and caring for all beings of Earth
2) Hasten the transformation we are seeking for a world at peace
3) Strengthen us all for the work ahead
4) Elevate global consciousness to the awareness that all life is sacred and interconnected
and to the joyful acknowledgement of our kinship with every being
There is an endless well of peace and joy that comes from opening our hearts to animals. There is also grief, despair, loneliness, and even burnout from bearing witness to the endless sufferings they are enduring. A vegan spiritual community and access to spiritual tools can help us all stay strong and positive, showing the world how beautiful the vegan life can be.
The Physical and the Metaphysical—The Sanctuaries in Our Hearts
Through a combination of physical actions and metaphysical prayer, also known as focused thought, we greatly increase the chances that worldwide animal liberation will become a reality.  There are physical sanctuaries for animals all over the world. As spiritual vegans, we also create sanctuaries in our hearts.
Focusing our thoughts on a clear vision, knowing it is true, and refusing to doubt it, can manifest that vision like a magnet. Holding the vision of a world in which no animals are exploited helps to bring that vision into reality. The more people who hold that intention, see it in their minds, imagine it, and feel the joy of it, the more power is generated to bring it into the tangible, visible world. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. All we need to do is get in synch with it.
Veganism—the Ultimate Spirituality
Many people are on a journey to live from the highest ethic, to discover their own true nature, to awaken in consciousness, to find lasting inner peace, to understand their soul’s mission on Earth, and to learn to live in a sacred and mindful manner on the Earth. When we understand what spirituality really means, it helps us to assist other spiritual seekers to see that veganism is an essential part of a spiritual path. There will always be a sense of incompleteness and numbness until one opens one’s heart to the animals and lives by the vegan ethic. Tina Volpe and I wrote The Missing Peace to demonstrate through the stories of many people that the ultimate inner peace is found when we give it to others—not just human others, but all others.
When we really think about it, veganism is the ultimate spirituality, the highest form of consciousness in which one realizes that all life is sacred. Through this practice of love, we can heal the world and liberate all living beings.
© 2014 Judy McCoy Carman, M.A. Author of Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul; co-author with Tina Volpe of The Missing Peace: The Hidden Power of our Kinship with Animals. Co-Founder with Will and Madeleine Tuttle of The Prayer Circle for Animals (; Author of the Peace to All Beings website ( where you can find the Animal Prayer Flag project. Judy can be reached at

This was originally posted on the Sustainable Activism page at  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New You tube video of prayer flags accompanied by Daniel Redwood's beautiful song

Please enjoy this video of some of the many photos of flags you all have  sent me.  Daniel Redwood sings "With Us, Not For Us," to accompany the video. You all made this possible.  Tears come every time I watch it, even though I'm the one who put it together.  Daniel's song is so full of meaning and power, and you all are spreading powerful prayers on the wind for the animals of earth. 

Gandhi said there is nothing more real or powerful than prayer.  Thank you for all you are doing to bring freedom, peace, and happiness to all beings everywhere.

Click here to see the video and please share it-- Animal Prayer Flags You Tube with Daniel Redwood's music

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mindful Grief and a Retreat for Activists

I write these updates every week and they are sent to everyone who has signed up to receive them at  Hope you like it.  
Prayer Circle for Animals Weekly Update
Please share with friends!!
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:
My Cow Neighbors
When we moved into our rural home 8 years ago, there was a 5 acre lot just to the west of us.  Our house was only about 100 yards from the fence line. About 4 years ago, a young couple built a house on the 5 acres.  Recently they brought 12 cows to their property.  Most mornings I greet them from my front porch, because one of their favorite hangouts is under the trees by our fence. They are literally my next door neighbors and my friends. These cows are so precious and so full of personality.  They seem to enjoy my singing and conversing with them about the day.  When I am with them I banish thoughts of their fate from my mind, because I just want to share joy with them. 
From Joy to Tears
However, as they get older, it is getting harder. From my back porch, I saw the neighbor building a corral and chute for loading the cows the other day. I was overcome with a flood of emotions and tears—the desire to stop my friends from being killed, the anger at my neighbor’s ignorance, my grief that then pours into the river of tears being shed by all of us for all animals being killed every second of every day. 
Mindful Grieving
What I want to say to you is that by taking on the liberation of animals we are entering into a profoundly beautiful relationship with animals, but we are also accepting ongoing grief as a part of our lives.  We cannot let ourselves be overcome by it, because the animals need us to keep going, but we can give ourselves permission to cry once in a while and share our grief with others who understand. It’s so important.
Vegan Spirituality Retreat June 22
With all this in mind, I wanted to be sure you knew about the Vegan Spirituality Retreat in Malibu June 22 (  Activists need support, renewal, and tools to help us stay the course and not burn out. I will be one of the speakers this year and would love to see you there.   
Prayers for All Activists
As airline attendants tell us on every flight, we must put the oxygen mask on ourselves first so that we can help others who aren’t able to do so.  This week let us send out prayers and caring thoughts to all activists.  May all of you feel the comfort and guidance of the Light of the World that dwells in us and in everything.  May all of you feel the Love that surrounds us all, shows us the way to free the animals and gently reminds us to take care of ourselves so that we can care for them.
Thanks to all of you, compassion is encircling the earth for all beings.  Thank you for your devotion to truth, love, liberation and peace for all beings.
With Love, peace, and gratitude from Judy, and also Will, Madeleine, Tara and the Circle of Compassion team
If you haven’t already done so, please join us at the Prayer Circle for Animals Facebook page.  You can share ideas and prayer requests there.  These updates will be posted on that facebook and on so that you can share them if you wish.  Thank you.  
To support our work and help us expand this ministry, please go to
May all beings be happy.  May all beings be free.
Please visit the website often to see updates and special prayers, and also to join in our “A prayer a day for animals” which features a prayer for a different group of animals each day of the week. 
Over 800 people are signed in to this Prayer Circle at circle of compassion.     Many more are joining us when these prayers are shared via social media.  Please share this widely so that we may continue to add more people to our ever-expanding circle of compassion.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Under Siege—Can Hearts Change In Time?

This is my latest"Eating as Though the Earth Matters"  "Planet Kansas" article for the Kansas Sierra Club. 

Sierra Club Planet Kansas, Spring, 2014, Issue
Eating as Though the Earth Matters column

Under Siege—Can Hearts Change In Time?
Iowa is under siege.  As hog farms proliferate over the state, the threat to public health grows along with them.  In Ted Genoways’ onearth article, “Hog Wild: How Factory Farms are Poisoning Iowa’s Water,” he explains that, while the state inspector staff has been cut by 60 percent, the growing number of farms is producing so much manure that it cannot be contained by the lagoons.  So the toxic, antibiotic, chemical, and bacteria-laden manure is being applied as fertilizer to millions of acres.  We all know what happens then—it runs right into the rivers and streams threatening life downstream.
Meanwhile, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and other dangerous gases are vented (incompletely, of course) from the barns to pollute the air.  According to Genoways, Iowa is overrun now with more than 8,500 of these polluting “farms” that produce over 5 billion gallons of liquid manure each year.  One of the biggest owners of hog farms is the weirdly named New Fashion Pork.  They also own the packing plant in St. Joseph, Missouri, which kills 15,000 pigs every single day.  The air and water pollution, cruelty to animals and plant workers, and the sheer unbridled voraciousness of such an operation is thought provoking to say the least—how did we get into such a mess? 
This article brought to my mind some farmers who saw what they were doing to the water, air, land, animals, and indeed their own health, and gave up everything they knew in order to stop contributing to such destruction. 
Howard Lyman was a fourth generation cattle, pig, and poultry farmer who loved the land, studied agriculture in college, and grew the family ranch and wealth significantly with his knowledge and expertise.  The ranch was in Montana, and he farmed it for forty years.  Following what he had been taught in school, he used “modern methods” to increase crop and animal yields. But as the years went by, he noticed that the flowers and birds that once graced his land were seldom seen or heard.  There was nothing of nature left—only units of production and all the equipment and chemicals it took to keep the profits going. 
Howard, like so many of us, loved nature, being outdoors, and appreciated the beauty of the countryside.  Yet, from his up close and personal viewpoint, he could see that nature was being devastated by his very actions.  After recovering from a life-threatening illness caused in part by his consumption of animal products and his constant contact with agricultural chemicals, he and his wife made up their minds to put an end to the business that had brought them so much financial gain.  They became possibly the only vegan ex-cattle ranchers in Montana at the time.
Howard went on to work as a lobbyist for the National Farmers’ Union in Washington, D.C. and worked on legislation for the National Organic Standards Act.  He has spoken internationally, appeared on Oprah, and wrote the books, Mad Cowboy and No More Bull. 
Howard wrote a chapter in my book The Missing Peace.  “The question we must ask ourselves as a culture,” he wrote, “is whether we want to embrace the change that must come, or resist it.  Are we so attached to the dietary fallacies with which we were raised, so afraid to counter the arbitrary laws of eating …that we cannot alter the course they set us on, even if it leads to our own ruin?  Does the prospect of standing apart or encountering ridicule scare us even from saving ourselves?” Of course, he is referring here to the whole gamut of destruction caused by animal agriculture, including human disease as well as the devastation to wildlife, the soil, the air, water, ecosystems, and our own emotional well-being.  He longs for “the sweet smell of grain and not the forbidding smell of excrement.” 
Another rancher, this one from Michigan, is Harold Brown.  Like Howard he was raised on a farm where rabbits, pigs, dairy cows, and beef cows were grown to be used and slaughtered, and wild animals were hunted.  Naturally, he ate a lot of animal flesh, dairy products, and was taught by his family not to get emotionally attached to the animals they were going to kill and eat.  Like so many young people today, whether farmers or not, his veins were loaded with cholesterol, and at the age of 18 he had a heart attack.  His dad had several heart attacks and a stroke several years later.
In reaction to his doctor’s warnings, Harold had to change the way he ate.  When he discovered that he could reverse heart disease by eating a vegan diet, he made that commitment to his own health.  However, by opening up to the philosophy of veganism—which is to do no harm—he began to see animals, not as commodities as he was raised to believe, but as individuals.  Harold now writes and speaks in order to encourage people to question what they have been taught about animals and to help save the world from the ravages of animal agriculture. 
John Robbins, in his book The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World, describes a profoundly soulful encounter with a pig farmer.  Robbins asked to tour the farmer’s pig farm for an article he was writing.  Inside the pig barn, he viewed unimaginable suffering, stench, and pollution.  The farmer’s wife invited Robbins to dinner, and to his own surprise, he impulsively accepted the invitation, despite his horror at the conditions for the pigs and the damage being done to the environment by the farm. 
Expecting only small talk and a quick exit, Robbins was shocked when the farmer suddenly raised his voice causing his wife and children to disappear into other rooms, leaving Robbins and the farmer alone together.  Inexplicably, almost as a confession, the farmer began to tell a story about a pet pig he had as a boy.  His father raised pigs for slaughter, but this one turned out to be a friend.  The boy often slept in the barn in the summer with the pig by his side, and they swam together in the nearby pond.  But one horrible day, his father told him that it was time to kill the pig.  If he refused, then he would no longer be his son.  So he killed his friend, and kept up the family tradition of raising pigs, no matter the cost to his heart, the land, or the pigs. 
Not too long after that, Robbins heard from this fellow about a complete life transformation.  Because of that emotional breakthrough, the farmer and his wife had the courage to give up completely on the only life they knew and start over.  They created a pig sanctuary and invited  local school children to come and learn about how amazing pigs are, and they support themselves with their organic vegetable farm. Robbins commented in his book, “When I look at many of the things happening in our world, I sometimes fear we won’t make it.  But when I remember this man and the power of his spirit, and when I remember that there are many others whose hearts beat to the same quickening pulse, I think we will.”

When we look at animal agriculture, animal rights and environmental activism go hand in hand.  While each movement may look at it from a slightly different viewpoint, we all see the same devastation leaking and blowing and carving its way into every ecosystem and into everything that sustains life on our planet.        
In the Winter issue of “Planet Kansas,” Michael Brune delivered some great news about solar and wind outcompeting coal and gas.  Iowa, he stated, is getting 25% of its electricity from wind now.  That’s Iowa, the state that is under siege from pig farms.  Which way will we go?  He calls the fossil fuel companies zombies because they are “already dead.”  But the pig farmers are very much alive and causing every bit as much destruction as the fossil fuel companies do.  Brune calls for an end to pessimism, and I couldn’t agree more. The stories told above make it clear that even those making big profits can change.  There is so much we can do, and so many people waking up to the need to take personal responsibility and to take immediate grassroots action.  As I’ve said before, one of the simplest, quickest, and most far reaching actions we can all take is to boycott animal agriculture and join the millions who have taken the vegan pledge of no harm to ourselves, the earth, and all the beings who share the earth with us.  

Note from me (not in the published article):
Please share with your friends who love the earth and air and water. We all need to work together to bring peace to earth for all beings and all of nature.