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Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization dedicated to
reducing the suffering of farmed animals
by promoting informed, ethical eating.

Donations to VO are fully tax-deductible.
VO’s tax identification no. is 86-0736818.

Vegan Outreach
POB 1916, Davis, CA 95617-1916

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Vegan Outreach Enewsletter  •  July 15, 2001

 

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Contents

 

Announcements & Requests

VegRD.com

As Jack Norris has pointed out in several articles and speeches, being a healthy example of the vegan lifestyle is very important for those who seek to lessen the amount of suffering in the world. During his leafletting trips across the country over the course of two years, Jack met scores of people who told him that they had tried to be vegetarian / vegan, but didn't feel healthy.

Jack is currently updating his "How to be a healthy vegan" handout that he had prepared for AR2001 to ensure that it reflects all the latest research and controversies. As soon as the edits are complete, we will post it on our website. In addition to what is currently available in our Health section, another great resource is VegRD.com – a site run by Virginia Messina, R.D., a member of Vegan Outreach's Board of Advisors.

 

Want to be a reviewer?

Often, Vegan Outreach receives books for review consideration. Unfortunately, we rarely have the time to give the books the consideration they deserve. If you are interested in reviewing some of the books we receive, please contact us at books@veganoutreach.org and tell us what kind of books you would like to review. Thanks!

 

Feedback

Your writings mean a lot to me – you are surely one of the most articulative, important voices in the movement. Your recent piece on the issue of step-by-step reforms in the treatment of animals was especially meaningful to me, as I was just thinking a lot about it when your piece arrived in the mail. It truly clarified the whole issue for me. Many thanks.
JC, San Rafael, CA, 7/9/01

 

News

Last week, we noted that PeTA has called off its "Murder King" campaign after Burger King agreed to toughen its animal welfare guidelines to meet or exceed those of McDonald's. Now, Burger King has sent a letter to the USDA, criticizing the agency for not enforcing its humane slaughter regulations.

 

Excerpts from How Are We To Live? by Peter Singer

This week, we share the final excerpt from Peter Singer's book How Are We To Live (also found in his book Writings on an Ethical Life):

 

Living Ethically / The Good Life

I am not defending the objectivity of ethics in the traditional sense. Ethical truths are not written into the fabric of the universe: to that extent the subjectivist is correct. If there were no beings with desires or preferences of any kind, nothing would be of value, and ethics would lack all content. On the other hand, once there are beings with desires, there are values that are not only the subjective values of each individual being. The possibility of being led, by reasoning, to the point of view of the universe provides as much "objectivity" as there can be. When my ability to reason shows me that the suffering of another being is very similar to my own suffering and (in an appropriate case) matters just as much to that other being as my own suffering matters to me, then my reason is showing me something that is undeniably *true*.

In a society in which the narrow pursuit of material self-interest is the norm, the shift to an ethical stance is more radical than many people realize. In comparison with the needs of people starving in Somalia, the desire to sample the wines of the leading French vineyards pales into insignificance. Judged against the suffering of immobilized rabbits having shampoos dripped into their eyes, a better shampoo becomes an unworthy goal. An ethical approach to life does not forbid having fun or enjoying food and wine, but it changes our sense of priorities. The effort and expense put into buying fashionable clothes, the endless search for more and more refined gastronomic pleasures, the astonishing additional expense that marks out the prestige car market in cars from the market in cars for people who just want a reliable means to getting from A to B – all these become disproportionate to people who can shift perspective long enough to take themselves, at least for a time, out of the spotlight. If a higher ethical consciousness spreads, it will utterly change the society in which we live.

We cannot expect that this higher ethical consciousness will become universal. There will always be people who don't care for anyone or anything, not even for themselves. There will be others, more numerous and more calculating, who earn a living by taking advantage of others, especially the poor and the powerless. We cannot afford to wait for some coming glorious day when everyone will live in loving peace and harmony with everyone else. For a long time to come, the world is going to remain a tough place in which to live.

Nevertheless, we are part of this world and there is a desperate need to do something *now* about the conditions in which beings live and die. There is no time to focus our thoughts on the possibility of a distant utopian future. Too many humans and nonhuman animals are suffering now.

We have to take the first step. We must reinstate the idea of living an ethical life as a realistic and viable alternative to the present dominance of materialist self-interest. If a critical mass of people with new priorities were to emerge, and if these people were seen to do well, in every sense of the term – if their cooperation with each other brings reciprocal benefits, if they find joy and fulfillment in their lives – then the ethical attitude will spread, and the conflict between ethics and self-interest will have been shown to be overcome, not by abstract reasoning alone, but by adopting the ethical life as a practical way of living and showing that it works, psychologically, socially, and ecologically.

Anyone can become part of the critical mass that offers us a chance of improving the world before it is too late. You can rethink your goals and question what you are doing with your life. That might mean quitting your job, selling your house, and going to work for a voluntary organization in India. More often, the commitment to a more ethical way of living will be the first step of a gradual but far-reaching evolution in your lifestyle and in your thinking about your place in the world. One thing is certain: you will find plenty of worthwhile things to do. You will not be bored or lack fulfillment in your life.

Most important of all, you will know that you have not lived and died for nothing, because you will have become part of the great tradition of those who have responded to the amount of pain and suffering in the universe by trying to make the world a better place.

Part 1

 

Every Donation Prevents Suffering

Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals by promoting informed, ethical eating.

All donations are tax-deductible.

Vegan Outreach

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