|Enewsletter • July 15, 2002|
An Advocacy Issue
Next Action Day Scheduled
Semi-Annual National Day of Leafleting Your Local School Set for September 17
After the success of the first event in April, Vegan Outreach and Viva!USA are proud to announce that the date has been set for the next event. It should be early in the school year for most.
If you don't have a local high school conducive to leafleting, or can't be off work at dismissal time, a local college or university should work as well.
New Advocacy Tools!
Lauren Panos, Vegan Outreach's designer and researcher, has developed
a set of 3 powerful, eye-catching posterss. They are 11" x 17"
– perfect for advocates to use in displays. You can see larger versions
by clicking on the images below, or going to our Advocacy
Please note – if you don't want these folded when sent to you, we will send them in a postal tube. However, they won't be able to be sent with other items in the same package.
New Version of Meet Your Meat
When possible, video is almost always the most powerful means of conveying to people the conditions of factory farms and slaughterhouses. Bruce Friedrich and colleagues at Peta have finished the latest version of the incredibly powerful 13-minute-long video, Meet Your Meat (you can see the new version online at their site).
Vegan Outreach now has copies of the 2-hour loop of this version – perfect for tabling. You can order a copy (and other materials) from our catalog. A narrated version (for talks) and a sub-tittled version (for Faunavision/ Faunette situations) are in the works, as is a new CD-Rom edition.
If you have the chance to use a TV and VCR in your outreach efforts at any point, there is no better tool available than Meet Your Meat – it is the most profound voice we can give the animals!
Letters to the Editor re: Time Magazine's Vegetarian Cover Story
Thanks very much for the cover story on vegetarianism (July 15, 2002). Considering Time reporter Matthew Cooper's statement that "animal rights could be the next big social movement in American life," it's a bit odd that the article doesn't discuss, at all, the fact that animals raised for meat, milk, and eggs in the United States are treated in an array of ways that would be illegal were dogs or cats treated similarly. Your poll shows that five times as many people go veggie because eating meat supports animal cruelty than for environmental reasons, yet your story effectively covers the fact that eating meat wastes resources and pollutes our environment, while the animal issue nets only passing reference, with no real explanation of the abuse inherent in factory farming.
Thank you for the article, "Should We All Be Vegetarians?" It is encouraging that the popularity of vegetarianism has grown to the extent that it warrants a cover story in your magazine.
Your article focused on two of the main incentives for adopting a vegetarian diet: It is healthier for us and healthier for the planet. Another incentive is the animal cruelty involved in the meat and dairy industries. One aspect of Viva!'s work is investigating and documenting the abuses that occur on factory farms. Viva! investigations have documented the suffering and cruelty endured by cows on dairies, pigs and ducks, and have led to several grocery store chains abandoning selling duck meat purchased from farms exhibiting the most egregious cruelty. It is the immense pain and suffering endured by animals used for food that has prompted many caring individuals to adopt a vegan diet.
It is easier now than ever before to adopt a vegan diet, as there
are many alternatives available that are healthy and great tasting,
too. There are even products like non-dairy ice cream and cream cheese
that taste great. Viva! has lots of information and helpful tips
about converting to a vegan diet, and we are available to help people
who are interested in making the transition.
Thank you for explaining to millions of Americans that, with proper nutritional understanding, a vegetarian diet can not only be compassionate, but healthy.
Your article didn't discuss one major motivation for today's vegetarians: the conditions in which animals are raised and slaughtered in modern agriculture. Regardless of whether we go vegan or choose to buy from a local organic farmer, each of us can make choices that don't support cruelty to animals.
Your excellent, well-balanced cover story failed to note that:
For most of the three-quarters of Americans who consider themselves Christians, vegetarianism can seem particularly odd and even unchristian.
Since Jesus ate fish (Lk 24:43) and Paul condoned meat-eating (I Cor 10:25), becoming vegetarian is similar to saying "I am better (or smarter, or healthier) than God." In short, "if the God of the Bible wasn't vegan, why should I - or anyone - be?"
Thankfully however, (as Dr. Richard Young points out in "Is God a Vegetarian?") God may prefer vegetarianism for people today. The Bible portrays a vegetarian Eden, after all, and the prophet Isaiah foresees a return to nonviolence after the Messiah comes (see Gen 1:29, Is 11,65).
This makes sense, considering the Body of Christ is a living, breathing, eating entity, not merely a fixed statue set sometime 2000 years ago in the past. So the question is not "what did Jesus eat?" but "What Would Jesus Eat," today?
If a vegetarian diet is also proven to be healthier for us, the
planet, and animals, is there any good, biblical reason the 160 million
Christians of America shouldn't immediately add to the growth of
the nation's 10 million
I think not!
Comments on Steven Davis' Collateral Deaths Argument
Steven Davis raises valid points. I am glad that he is legitimizing the idea that we should kill as few animals a possible. The end goal is to change all agricultural practices to the point that they do not kill and/or mutilate vertebrate animals. As long as people see animals as a means to their ends (such as because they taste good), there will be little hope in getting society to push for animal-friendly plant harvesting methods. On the other hand, if we succeed in getting society to reject the idea that animals are ours to eat - via spreading veganism - we will be much closer to creating the motivation needed to develop animal-friendly plant harvesting methods.
Until Davis' actually publishes his data in a peer-reviewed journal, there is no way to assess the accuracy of his statements. He could be totally wrong as far as we know. He used alfalfa (not a staple of vegans diets) as the model for animal deaths, and my understanding is that alfalfa harvesting is one of the most hazardous to field animals.
-Jack Norris, President, Vegan Outreach
Most cultivated acreage in the US grows feed crops for animals, so even in terms of collateral deaths and displacements, a vegan diet causes significantly less suffering than the standard American diet. But yes, it is clear that someone who hunts for their meat, or buys exclusively grazed organic meat also causes significantly less suffering.
If someone convinced me that my diet caused significant suffering, then I would reconsider my options. I don't claim to follow the perfect diet, nor do I claim to have all the answers. But, knowing the innumerable cruelties and immense suffering on factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses, each of us can do our best to minimize the amount of suffering we cause.
In case you saw the original interview, which has been floating around email lists:
Comments on The State of the Movement by Nathan Nobis