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.

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. 

Massive Easter, Earth Day, Animals in Labs Week, Cosmic Grand Cross, "Noah" the Movie--lots going on!!

Prayer Circle for Animals # 163: Massive Easter, Earth Day, Animals in Labs Week, Cosmic Transformational Global Prayer Wave, April 21, 2014

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:

Advance apology: This will be a little longer than usual.  So much is happening this week.
Easter is on Sunday; World Week for Animals in Labs starts Sunday; Earth Day is the 22nd; the release of the movie “Noah” is in theaters, and on top of all that, there is an astrological Grand Cross with transformational power reaching its peak on the 23rd.  I hope I can do justice to the tremendous potential that lies within this week.

Easter’s message of an end to animal sacrifice and forgiveness “for they know not what they do.”
As we’ve discussed before, many Biblical scholars believe that Jesus was a vegetarian who taught nonviolence and may have been crucified primarily for his demonstration against the highly lucrative animal sacrifice in the Temple. Yet he forgave those who killed aniimals and who persecuted him  

Animals in Laboratories are crucified and tortured daily in sacrifices to the gods of money and “science.” 
This week is dedicated worldwide to the awareness of their suffering and our ongoing work to bring an end, once and for all, to using animals in experiments as well as supporting the work of those who are developing non-animal tests that can actually help people and animals.  In Defense of Animals is encouraging people to leaflet, demonstrate, and educate people about the cruelty and uselessness of animal testing.  At the website you can find encouragement by seeing what many groups are doing as well as find ideas for action.

Earth Day brings with it the promise of human consciousness rising as more and more people learn that we are here to care for the earth and not destroy it.
The fact that Earth Days all over the planet keep growing and multiplying is a sign that we human beings have the capacity to change our ways, to become nonviolent and to see the earth as a sacred, holy place.  While the vegan message has been just a squeak among the rain barrels and recycling craft booths at Earth Day events, thanks to activists it is growing louder and more visible every year.  As we know, none of the green ideas will save the earth if veganism is not at the heart of it all. 

“Noah” the movie is in theaters now.  Noah and his family are clearly portrayed as vegan.
Noah and family, descendents of Adam and Eve’s son Seth live as vegans. In the film, the descendents of Cain have overrun the earth and devastated it with weapons, mining, cities, and endless violence.  When Noah is out one day with his sons, an animal runs by having been speared by people.  Noah tenderly caresses the animal as he takes his last breath.  When the boys ask him why people would kill an animal, he explains that they want to eat him.  The boys ask why, and Noah tells them that the men think it will make them stronger.  “Will it?” the boys ask.  “No,” answers Noah, “Only God makes us strong.”  Noah often refers to the animals as “the innocents.”  During the flood, a violent king manages to get onto the ark.  He kills animals in the ark to eat them, and tries to convince one of the sons that you have to eat them in order to “be a man.”  Of course, putting Hollywood and the Bible together to try to tell a cohesive story has its drawbacks, but what is important to us and to the animals is that this message of compassion and kindness was crystal clear in a movie that will be seen by millions.  And it has been released at a time that is positively exploding with transformational energy.

The Grand Cross is a powerful celestial alignment.
It is occurring now and for several months, but it will reach its peak this week on April 23.  Four planets are at an equal distance from each other forming a cross in the sky (even more interesting since it is so close to Easter).  The Cross aligns with our equinoxes and solstices causing what many believe to be “the turning of the age.”   According to  “…the Cardinal Grand Cross [opens] a Quantum Gateway of potential to a most cherished ancient truth; a cosmic truth built upon the foundations of LOVE and a deep reverence for all of LIFE.   People are awakening en-masse to a higher wisdom and transcending the social, political and religious frameworks built on fear, to co-create a new world based on foundations of LOVE, compassion, sovereignty and unity.” 

A Prayer Wave for this Week Full of Promise
Great Spirit, Light of the World, we give thanks for all the activists around the world working to educate people about animals in laboratories and those teaching vegan truths at Earth Day events.  Strength and wisdom pours through us from Universal Love to empower each one of them to carry the precious message of the sacredness of all beings.  We give thanks for the producers of the movie “Noah,” for their courage in so clearly connecting violence toward animals with war and environmental devastation.  We give thanks for the many scholars who put forth the possibility that Jesus was vegetarian, opposed animal sacrifice, and taught nonviolence and compassion for all beings.

We feel the Cosmic and Grand Cross energy of Love, Compassion, and Reverence for Life moving in all hearts and strongly drawing all of us to Higher Consciousness and Wisdom.  We see people at Easter services finally understanding Jesus’ message and refusing to eat ancient traditional meals of sacrificial lambs and others.  We see everyone who attends the movie “Noah” suddenly understanding that human violence is directly connected to eating animals so  that they may free their own souls and the animals at the same time.  We see them transforming to lives of ahimsa.  We see animal experimenters falling to their knees at the grief-filled realization of what they have done to animals, receiving forgiveness, and going forth to create cruelty-free scientific methods.

Above all, during this powerful and sacred time, a Prayer Wave of Divine Love and Tenderness will flow through each of us to encircle the world and bless every single animal on earth. ‘Though we appear to be physical, yet we know we are timeless spiritual beings and One with all life. Together we raise our voices and sing a new song with the innocents of earth. We sing your song with you, dear animals, and we know that Love and Justice will prevail so that all of you will be safe and free to live in peace.              

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.  I will post these updates on the facebook so that you can share them if you wish.  Thank you.  


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.  Please forward this widely so that we may continue to add more people to our ever-expanding circle of compassion.