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.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

A WORLD THAT WORKS FOR ALL: Awakening the Sleeping Giant of Religion



The Awesome VeganSpirituality Forum and Retreat at Unity Village, Missouri

Facilitated by Lisa Levinson, Judy Carman and Reverend Carol Saunders

This is a brief summary of the wonders and joys of the forum and retreat that took place at Unity Village, Missouri, October 1 through 3, 2021. Stay tuned for the next one!

THURSDAY, September 30: We started off with deliciousness on Thursday evening, September 30, for all those who arrived early. Gigi the Vegan brought Kale Yeah Wraps from her Wellness Cafe for us to eat while she performed a food demo and told us about her vegan journey from cancer to healing. 

The hall leading into the Fillmore Chapel, where we had most of our activities, was adorned with the beautiful traveling Animals and World Religions Exhibit, curated by Dr. Lisa Kemmerer. The panels, in various forms, have travelled to the Parliament of World Religions and many other events, enlightening people about the deep connection between world religions’ highest values and doing no harm to animals. 

After attendees introduced and shared about themselves, Dr. Will Tuttle blessed us with a heart opening piano concert, and Madeleine Tuttle accompanied him with her beautiful flute. 

FRIDAY, October 1: After Meditations led by Dr. Will Tuttle and his concert piano, as well as Gentle Movement led by Lisa Levinson, Friday morning began with an inspirational welcome from Reverend Carol Saunders. She explained that the early 1900 revolutionary founders of Unity Village, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, were adamant about the need to do no harm to animals, to not eat them or use leather on their bibles.  They established a vegetarian restaurant in Kansas City, a city devoted to its slaughterhouses and bar-b-q's. 

As we had hoped, many ministers, activists and deep thinkers came to this landmark event to explore how we can awaken the sleeping giant of all religions. The animals and Mother Earth need the help of these billions of spiritual seekers to deepen their commitment to being caretakers and partners in love with all life, rather than dominators and exploiters of nature and innocent beings.

Following Reverend Carol, we were astonished to hear from the Executive Director of Unity Worldwide Ministries, Shad Groverland. We expected to hear the usual "welcome and enjoy your stay." Instead we heard Reverend Shad speak out about the need for Unity churches to raise the bar to the heights to which the Fillmores aspired and taught, reinstate the wisdom of vegan living and recognize that this is not about spiritual comfort alone, but about spiritual growth and the discipline that it requires. He shared his perspective that Unity ministries have lowered the bar of spiritual consciousness and lost the beauty of the Fillmores' original and transformative teachings.  This applies to every religion where its members have forgotten that the universal Golden Rule applies to all living beings, not just the human ones.

This awakening and enlivening talk by Reverend Shad was quickly followed by more guidance on how we are going to do this when Dr. Will Tuttle took the stage. He is the author of the award winning book The World Peace Diet, among many others. He has presented over 4,000 talks around the world, accompanied by his Swiss visionary artist wife, Madeleine. 

 Unity Village's own chef created a scrumptious series of vegan lunches and dinners that had everyone raving about the beauty and taste, as well as the enthusiasm with which this pre-vegan chef created them.   

  After lunch, we were given some wonderful tools that can help us introduce vegan values and love and appreciation for animals into religious rituals. Reverend Sarah Bowen and Reverend Erika Allison of the Compassion Consortium introduced some very inspiring interspecies spiritual practices and rituals.  

We continued to receive more tools to help bring vegan values to people of faith when we listened to Keith Akers, author of The Lost Religion of Jesus and Disciples. Keith showed how the five precepts of Buddhism closely match many of Jesus' teachings, and lead us to understand that we are not here to harm other beings but rather to care for and have reverence for all life. 

The ever sparkling Charlotte Cressey then helped us to understand how the labyrinth can be a "tool in transformation." She also encouraged us that the "Vegan Paradigm Shift" is coming soon as long as we are here to make it happen. Her "Embody Love" courses offer even more assistance with this transformation toward which we are all moving.

  After another amazing vegan meal, we were treated to "Veganism, Ahimsa, and the Spiritual Life"
 offering by Victoria Moran, founder of Main Street Vegan and co-founder of the Compassion Consortium. Victoria's podcasts are essential to hear and to share with others, as they always nudge the listener closer to a vegan lifestyle of kindness and ahimsa (Sanskrit for non-harm). Victoria's talk was followed by a viewing of the film "A Prayer for Compassion," by Thomas Jackson. This film is truly one of the most important tools we have for bringing the message of vegan living and love to the

SATURDAY, October 2--Gandhi's Birthday, dawned with more valuable gifts for us all to share. After Meditations and music led by Dr. Will Tuttle and Gentle Movement led by Lisa Levinson, Dr. Milton Mills presented "What the Bible Has to Say About Plant-based Diets and Animal Rights." Dr. Milton Mills, an emergency physician and Seventh Day Adventis, gave us some superb tools to help us reach those who believe that God is fine with us killing and eating animals. Dr. Mills is famous for explaining how our bodies are not designed by God to eat animals, and that eating them leads directly to poor physical and spiritual health.  He makes it crystal clear that God's highest goal for us is to do no harm and to live in a joyful Eden at peace with all God's creation. We are here, he said, to be a shining light, and vegans are working with God to return us to a vegan world. Robbie Schiff, a frequent speaker on vegan spirituality, shared some vegan treats and words of wisdom.

Dr. Mills' great offering was followed by our entire group walking the Unity Village labyrinth, led inspiringly by Charlotte Cressey. We ended the walk by forming a circle around the labyrinth and repeating the worldwide circle of compassion prayer "Compassion encircles the Earth for all beings everywhere." 

After another satisfying and beautiful lunch we heard from Sara Eifler, Program Director of Jewish Veg speaking on "Faith-Based vegan advocacy in your community." She guided us in a workshop so that we could work in small groups to choose a typical religious ritual and veganize it. 

Dr. Sailesh Rao, founder of Climate Healers and author of Carbon Dharma and Carbon Yoga, followed Sara and explained to us "How to Get to a Vegan World by 2026" and why we must. We are running out of time. He explained that the world is controlled by only a few giant and wealthy elite entities that benefit from sick people and addictive behavior. It is a Ponzi scheme, but we do not have to play their game. Going vegan is a powerful step to live without them and create an entirely new system based on love, not fear, and understand that we and the animals are all one family. Dr. Rao's information can help us build a fire under the various religious groups and motivate them to help literally save the world. The time is now, and we need all people of faith to help. 

A gourmet dinner was followed by Dr. Lisa Kemmerer's "Religions of the World and the Vegan Moral Imperative." Dr. Kemmerer is also the curator of  the "Animals and World Religions" traveling exhibit  which graced the hallway outside the Fillmore Chapel that I referred to at the beginning of the article.  She is also a professor, the author of many books, including Animals and World Religions, and a world expert on anymals (as she refers to them as a way to raise our perception and respect for them) and world religions. 

Thomas Jackson capped off a day of awe and wonder with a sneak peak at his inspiring new film "Compassion in Action--Bringing the Elixir Home." As a fiery vegangelist, he gifted us with his unique style of veganizing the world and creating heaven on earth.  

SUNDAY, October 3. The sun rose on a beautiful day in spite of predictions of rain. So with gratitude we were able to have our outdoor Interfaith Contemplative service and our Animal Blessing ceremony at the Lowell Terrace Garden, which is an outdoor church tucked in among the trees and flowers of Unity Village. With Madeleine Tuttle's beautiful flute music nurturing us, we blessed the animals with various rituals that celebrate vegan ideals of harmony, compassion, gratitude, and prayer. To receive a copy of the Blessing Ceremony, please email interfaith@idausa.orgAll the rituals can be used in any religious setting or ethical tradition. 


This forum and retreat was organized by Judy Carman and Lisa Levinson of Vegan Spirituality and the Interfaith Vegan Coalition and Reverend Carol Saunders of The Spiritual Forum. VS and IVC are groups designed to help you bring vegan values to your religious communities, friends, spiritual leaders and family. There are Faith Based Advocacy Kits at the Interfaith Vegan Coalition website as well as helpful brochures that you can download or order. Vegan Spirituality hosts retreats, animal blessings, vegan ceremonies and online interviews of vegan spiritual leaders.  VS is an online and in-person community that explores veganism as a spiritual practice while IVC helps bring vegan values to your religious communities, friends, spiritual leaders and family. Reverend Carol Saunders' popular and brilliant podcasts and other essential offerings can be found at her The Spiritual Forum

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


 The landmark new book titled, Animal Agriculture is Immoral, includes chapters by me, Pramoda Chitrabhanu, Lewis Regenstein, Brandon Burr, Dan Brook, Rabbi David Rosen, Karen Davis, Jason Glasson, Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, Richard Schwartz, Sailesh Rao, Rabbi Dr. Schmuly Yanklowitz, Steve Kaufman, Susan Hargreaves, Victoria Moran, Will Tuttle, Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Hope Bohanec, Duke McLeod, and S.O. Fasrus. It is a Climate Healers publication. My chapter is entitled:  

What Would Homo Ahimsa* Do?

 Michael was mowing on a hillside in a forest one day. At the bottom of the hill among the trees was a rocky creek. Thinking he could ride the mower successfully down to the level area above the creek, he began descending the hill.  But the path was muddy, the large mower lost traction, and Michael suddenly found himself pinned upon the jagged rocks next to the creek with a five- hundred pound machine on top of him.  For a couple of hours, barely able to breathe and sensing that one leg was badly injured, he wondered if he was going to die. When he was finally found, the first thing he wanted was to be touched by another human being. “Please, just hold my hand,” he said.  It was that touch that sent physical waves of hope and healing through his body.  As men gathered to lift the machine and pull him to safety, he knew he would survive, and his gratitude for their compassion and kindness was overwhelming.

Such is humanity at its finest—reaching out, helping, touching, rescuing, bringing hope for an end to extreme suffering and fear of death.  At the other end of the human behavior spectrum, we find humanity at its worst in the form of animal agriculture and the extreme abuse of animals in many industries.  Instead of rescuing these innocent and defenseless cousins of ours who have never harmed us, instead of touching them with love and respecting their rights to live and be free, they are brutally killed by the billions at the hands of human beings.  Those hands that could bring comfort and compassion, as they did for Michael, instead bring terror, torture, suffering and death without mercy.

What is going on here?  How can the same species, indeed some of the same individuals, behave in such opposite ways?  Clearly, there is a desire in most human beings to be kind and loving.  This yearning is, perhaps, best expressed in the Golden Rule--“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is a nearly universally accepted moral value by almost all religions and ethical traditions. Although many of these traditions stop short and apply it only to certain (but not all) human beings, there is no logical, scientific or spiritual justification for limiting it so arbitrarily. But doing so has, for centuries, allowed animal agriculture, slavery, wars, genocide, religious persecution, etc. to proliferate and benefit those in power.   

Nevertheless, the Golden Rule still shines like a star, beckoning us toward an ideal to which most, if not all of us, aspire. Certainly, we could not have this as an ideal if we did not believe we could achieve it. Somewhere, deep in our hearts, we long for a chance to express our true and ideal nature all the time toward all sacred life. I believe that time is here now if we will grab the opportunity.

Deep in our souls, we know who we really are and that we are not here on this earth to cause despair, destruction, desecration and death to nature, people and to billions of our fellow earthlings.  Animal agriculture, and all that it destroys, shows how far we have fallen from our ideal.  Our golden moral compass points us toward a higher consciousness that understands the sacredness and interconnectedness of all life, and we can see, now better than ever before, that, by the law of cause and effect, we ourselves are reaping the same death and suffering that we have sown for others for these many thousands of years. 

Animal agriculture is a recent invention of human beings—approximately 10,000 years old.  Prior to that, there is anthropological evidence that many human beings lived in small egalitarian, mostly nomadic, bands that did not wage war and did not have weapons of war.  Although there were respected elders among the groups, they did not have the authority to force their friends and families into armed conflict.  We could say that animal agriculture and war are twins, born together out of the dark shadows of the human psyche. 

Ten thousand years later, we live in a world filled with billions of Homo Sapiens, all fully capable of love and compassion.  Yet, in spite of our potential for kindness, the world that we have created is one that grows more violent, oppressive, sick and polluted with each passing day. Only Homo Sapiens, and no other living being on earth, is responsible for the devastation caused to our beautiful Earth home and to all living beings who are trying to share this home with us.

Our time is up.  We cannot live as Homo Sapiens any longer.  That species cannot solve the problems it has created.  It is a creature too willing to leave morals and ethics behind, too eager for self-gratification to unfurl its full capacity for love, and too frightened and confused to heal the damage it has done.  We have to evolve now.  All because of the actions of Homo Sapiens and only Homo Sapiens, the sixth extinction of animal and plant species accelerates, deserts keep forming where once there were life-giving forests, waters continue to fill with lethal trash and poisons, pandemics proliferate, polluted air toxifies the bodies of all who live here, millions of children and families starve due to animal agriculture and millions of innocent farmed and aquatic animals suffer and die every single day from human violence. We have finally run out of time. 

This is a spiritual, moral, ethical, and life or death crisis for us and all species. Governments and giant corporations have no interest in repairing the damage that has brought them so much power, control and wealth.  It is absolutely up to us to literally elevate our consciousness and realize who we really are--Homo Ahimsa. Only with the ethics of nonviolence and unconditional love for all beings can we rise up and heal the wounds we have caused to ourselves, the Earth and all our fellow earthlings.

It is time for all people to take off the masks that we have worn to show our conformity and our willingness to go along with the status quo, for fear of rejection and not fitting in.  It is time to get rid of our masks and see how radiantly beautiful we really are. With our masks off, we take a deep breath and we stare this anthropocentric patriarchy in the face and see, really see, this is not what we want. This does not reflect our true nature, and it is killing us and everyone else. What a liberation it is to know that we do not need to live this way. In fact we ourselves can bring in an entirely new way of living and create peace and freedom for all earthlings. Our hearts and our spirits already know the way. This is something remarkable to celebrate!

Animal agriculture, hierarchical domination and war grew up together and fed upon each other. Because all of these dark forces are completely out of alignment with our true nature of lovingkindness and ahimsa, the suffering has been beyond measure. All the domination of women, animals, nature and people considered “other,” has brought us now to the edge of a cliff, but we still have time to choose.  We can give up in the face of what seem to be overwhelming odds.  Or we can wait for Big Ag, Big Pharma and the military industrial complex to fix it.  Or we can seize this amazing opportunity, this big push, this calling to our souls from all the innocent lives hanging in the balance—and reveal ourselves as the radiant, loving beings we truly are. 

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “The present chaos is not the end of the world, but the labor pains of a new earth and a new humanity coming into form.”  Our new form is Homo Ahimsa—the one who, not only knows the Golden Rule, but lives by it every day. Deep within, we are not killers. We do not salivate at the sight of a cow or a chicken. In quiet moments, with our minds still and calm, we can feel our sweet connection to the dog at our side and the birds singing in the trees. Just as Michael needed his hand held so desperately; in their suffering, the animals who are being tortured and killed by people, long for a simple touch, a touch of hope and healing, a touch that says, you are safe now.  We are here, not to harm you, but to free you. 

When we think about it, eating plant-based food and living by vegan values is the Golden Rule in action.  What would Homo Ahimsa do? At the top of the list would be to live vegan since that is in perfect alignment with ahimsa nonviolence and the Golden Rule. Veganism can be defined as a way of life that excludes using, confining or killing animals for any purpose.  It is an ethical principle that leads to living nonviolently and with compassion toward all people, animals, nature and the Earth. It is a commitment to touch gently, rescue, liberate, love and cherish all sacred life.  Ahimsa literally means non-harm and is a commitment to nonviolence, truth, lovingkindness, and justice. The shining beacon of the Golden Rule that has been part of cultures for these many centuries finds its pure and whole expression with the arising of vegan Homo Ahimsa consciousness in us all.  

Isaac Bashevis Singer famously said, “As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures, there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people.  Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.”  That profound statement carries within it a major key to our rising consciousness and the world of peace we want to create. By simply ending the shedding of “blood of innocent creatures,” we have a chance to create a world of peace, liberty and harmony.  And what is really exciting about this is that we don’t have to wait for Big Ag to decide to be nice. We have the power in our own gentle hands. We simply stop buying their products, and their doors will have to close, bringing to a final end the hells on earth that caused so much pain and misery. Imagine that! Let us rejoice that we do indeed have that power. 

Gandhi once prayed, while witnessing the sacrificial slaughter of thousands of lambs at the Temple of Kali, “for some great spirit, man or woman, fired with divine pity, who will deliver us from this heinous sin, save the lives of the innocent creatures, and purify the temple.”  Let us all be an answer to Gandhi’s prayer. Let us purify the temple of Mother Earth. Let us hold the hands and paws and hooves and fins of those who need to know that we have finally awakened to who we really are. Now we understand that we have the power to stop their suffering and eliminate this vile, diabolical, immoral industry. Let us join together, hand in hand, around the world and rise up to our higher consciousness of lovingkindness, ask forgiveness, and get busy healing the damage Homo Sapiens has done.    

Judy McCoy Carman, MA, is the author of Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul and Homo Ahimsa: Who We Really Are and How We’re Going to Save the World; recipient of the 2014 Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist Award and founder of the Animal Peace Prayer Flag Project.  She is co-founder of Animal Outreach of Kansas, Worldwide Prayer Circle for Animals, Interfaith Vegan Coalition and assists with Vegan Spirituality events. Her website is 

*Homo Ahimsa first appeared in the book Peace to All Beings, and is the subject of a new book, Homo Ahimsa: Who We Really Are and How We’re Going to Save the World. See a detailed description of our transformation from the predator species, Homo Sapiens into the caretaker species, Homo Ahimsa at Sailesh Rao’s   

You can order this book at