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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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Enewsletter

Vegan Outreach Enewsletter  •  August 9, 2003

 

Office Update

The Vegan Outreach office will be closed from August 13-23rd. The last orders for materials will be sent out Tuesday morning, and any requests for Vegan Starter Packs received after August 8th will go out the 26th.

If you need anything during this time, please email Jack Norris.

If you are at the Portland, OR, or Boulder, CO event, please stop by and say hello!

 

News

lauren Ornelas, Jack Norris, and Paul Shapiro

AR2003 A Success!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

 

Corrected URL for the song Why Vegan?
by Beloved Binge

 

Church of the Holy Vegan?

"Vegans, who avoid any and all products of animal exploitation, including leather, are sometimes mocked for their 'inflexibility.' But there's another, more relevant, term for this: devotion."

 

Dairy Farms Evolve to Survive

"Faced with costs of adaptation that can run into the millions of dollars, thousands of farmers, many of them from small operations, are dropping out of dairying every year. Last year, farmers shut down 6,000 dairies – an average of 16 each day. ... There were 92,000 dairy farms dotting the countryside in 2002. That's one-fifth the number of U.S. dairies in 1975. Using high technology and cutting-edge research on feed and genetics, they have boosted milk output per cow more than 50% in the past 20 years. Although the number of dairy cows in the USA has fallen 17% to 9.1 million in the 20 years through 2002, total output has risen 25% during the same period."

 

British Study Links Crohn's Disease to Milk Bug

See also this article by Dr. Michael Greger.

 

Excerpts from How Are We To Live? by Peter Singer

Part 1 (originally run in July 2001)

One of the main questions that vex many activists is: How can we convince people to care about the suffering of others? Obviously, it is possible for people to live without caring about a consistent set of ethics (e.g., eating some animals while loving others).

To explore this question, in this and the next issue of VS, we'll be sharing excerpts from Peter Singer's book, How Are We To Live? (excerpts also found in his book Writings on an Ethical Life):

 

Living Ethically / The Good Life

We must, of course, be thankful for the fact that today we can help strangers without dreading the knock of the Gestapo on our door. We should not imagine, however, that the era of heroism is over.

Reason's capacity to take us where we did not expect to go could also lead to a curious diversion from what one might expect to be the straight line of evolution. We have evolved a capacity to reason because it helps us to survive and reproduce. But if reason is an escalator, then although the first part of the journey may help us to survive and reproduce, we may go further than we needed to go for this purpose alone. We may even end up somewhere that creates tension with other aspects of our nature. In this respect, there may after all be some validity in Kant's picture of tension between our capacity to reason, and what it may lead us to see as the right thing to do, and our more basic desires. We can live with the contradictions only up to a point.

Here is an example, from Gunnar Myrdal's "An American Dilemma":

"The individual ... does not act in moral isolation. He is not left alone to manage his rationalizations as he pleases, without interference from outside. His valuations will, instead, be questioned and disputed.... The feeling of need for logical consistency within the hierarchy of moral valuations – and the embarrassed and sometimes distressed feeling that the moral order is shaky –- is, in its modern intensity, a rather new phenomenon."

Our ability to reason can be a factor in leading us away from both arbitrary subjectivism and an uncritical acceptance of the values of our community. Reason makes it possible to see ourselves in this way because, by thinking about my place in the world, I am able to see that I am just one being among others, with interests and desires like others. I have a personal perspective on the world, from which my interests are at the front and center of the stage, the interests of my family and friends are close behind, and the interests of strangers are pushed to the back and sides. But reason enables me to see that others have similarly subjective perspectives, and that from "the point of view of the universe" my perspective is no more privileged than theirs. Thus my ability to reason shows me the possibility of detaching myself from my own perspective and shows me what the universe might look like if I had no personal perspective.

Consistent with the idea of taking the point of view of the universe, the major ethical traditions all accept, in some form or other, a version of the golden rule that encourages equal consideration of interests. "Love your neighbor as yourself," said Jesus. "What is hateful to you do not do to your neighbor," says Rabbi Hillel. Confucius summed up his teaching in very similar terms: "What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." The "Mahabharata," the great Indian epic, says: "Let no man do to another that which would be repugnant to himself." The parallels are striking.

The perspective on ourselves that we get when we take the point of view of the universe yields as much objectivity as we need if we are to find a cause that is worthwhile in a way that is independent of our own desires. The most obvious such cause is the reduction of pain and suffering, wherever it is to be found. This may not be the only rationally grounded value, but it is the most immediate, pressing, and universally agreed upon one. We know from our experience that when pain and suffering are acute, all other values recede into the background. If we take the point of view of the universe, we can recognize the urgency of doing something about the pain and suffering of others, before we even consider promoting (for their own sake rather than as a means to reducing pain and suffering) other possible values like beauty, knowledge, autonomy, or happiness.

The possibility of taking the point of view of the universe overcomes the problem of finding meaning in our lives, despite the ephemeral nature of human existence when measured against all the eons of eternity. Suppose that we become involved in a project to help a small community in a developing country to become free of debt and self-sufficient in food. The project is an outstanding success.... Now someone might say: "What good have you done? In a thousand years these people will all be dead, and their children and grandchildren as well, and nothing that you have done will make any difference." That may be true, or it might be false. The changes we make today could snowball and, over a long period of time, lead to much more far-reaching changes. Or they could come to nothing. We simply cannot tell.

We should not, however, think of our efforts as wasted unless they endure forever, or even for a very long time. We can make the world a better place by causing there to be less pointless suffering in one particular place, at one particular time, than there would otherwise have been. As long as we do not thereby increase suffering at some other place or time, or cause any other comparable loss of value, we will have had a positive effect on the universe.

 

Feedback

I received your pamphlet a year ago, and it really made me realize how cruelly people treat animals just to make a quick buck. Now, I am a big supporter of what you do, and have become a vegan myself. My family is not supporting me with my decision (I’m 13 years old). But I am still with you 100%! It would mean a great deal to me if you could send me information about foods, substitutes, recipes, and some more information (maybe to help persuade my family to support me). My mom is really concerned about me getting the right nutrition.
TM, Atoka, TN, 8/7/03

Yesterday, I was at the Warped Tour and got a Vegan Outreach package. After reading it, it just made me sick. I want to be a vegan. My family doesn’t support me (I’m 13), nor do they believe I will stick with my opinion and feelings. Please send me information to distribute to people!
TD, Troy, MI, 8/4/03

I am writing to thank you for publishing your pamphlet Why Vegan? It is because of this simple and honest booklet that I have re-connected with my true self. Though I have always felt free to express a love for traditional companion animals, like cats and dogs, I (like many others) learned early on that I was not to extend this compassion and love to animals my family served to me as dinner. Those early experiences really hurt me and as a result I because hardened and indifferent to the plight of lab animals, farmed animals, and the hundreds of animals who died as a result of my major shoe addiction. I have been vegan for four months now, and while that isn't long, I know I will never passively accept animal abuse from myself of anyone else again. I am so happy since I have chosen to embrace truth and love. Thanks you for being a part of my personal growth and thank you for helping save lives.
OL, New York, NY, 8/1/03

 

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

POB 30865, Tucson, AZ 85751-0865