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A guide to nonviolence
Our relationship with animals
Animals are constantly a part of our lives. They share our homes, sleep in our beds, and may even greet us at the door. We turn to them for emotional support, consider them members of the family, and mourn their deaths when they pass. These animals may not be able to balance a checkbook or speak our language, but we love and value them highly. We believe they enjoy their lives as much as they enjoy the company of others. For other animals who are, in many ways, no different from dogs or cats, we stick forks and knives into their cooked bodies and wear their skin as clothing. If we believe violence just for enjoyment against a dog or cat is wrong, how do we reconcile what we do to other animals? We certainly do not need animal products to be healthy; we consume animals out of habit and because we enjoy the taste or convenience of their products. This strange contradiction is our “moral schizophrenia.” If we want to overcome our social affliction, we must take the first step in being nonviolent and become vegan.
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Veganism is not a diet, but a way of life which excludes the use of animals for any reason. This means a vegan does not eat, wear, or use animals or their products. Instead, vegans thrive on diverse plant-based foods, animalOver 50 billion animals are killed free clothing, and find a l t e r n a t i v e every year worldwide. ways to doing In the time it took to read that anything that sentence, 3,163 chickens, 170 would involve an ducks, 87 pigs, 36 sheep, 40 turkeys, 25 goats, 19 cattle, and 1 animal. buffalo were killed across the globe1
1: Based on the 2007 United Nations Food and Agriculture report. Figures considered for a two second timespan.
What about “humanely-Raised” products?
An increasing number of consumers attempt to address the devastation we cause to animals not by going vegan but by purchasing products advertised as “humane” or as produced “ethically.” However, as you’ll see, these labels are practically meaningless. The conditions of “humanely-raised” animals are no more of an improvement than putting air fresheners in a torture chamber. Meanwhile, these products encourage the public to believe it is okay to exploit animals simply because we enjoy it. “Do not let new welfarists [or anyone else] convince you that veganism is “hard” or that vegans think that they are “special”. Veganism is increasingly easy in the 21st century. What’s hard is being a nonhuman animal whose property status robs her of any meaningful moral consideration.” -Roger Yates
Can’t we just have better welfare?
When our habits are threatened by our instinct to do what is right, we often try to rationalize ourselves out of breaking our habits in order to avoid this conflict. One of these rationalizations is to believe the solution for animals, if welfare regulation fails, is simply to have better welfare. This is the vicious cycle of animal welfarism. As you’ll see in the succeeding pages, the past three hundred years of animal welfare laws have shown as long as animals are property, they cannot have rights. Without rights, their exploitation is not only continued but protected by the mantra of their increasingly better conditions. We all know the property status won’t go away overnight, but with veganism, each one of us and the friends we encourage can gradually reduce the very demand for their exploitation in the first place. Going “Never doubt that a vegan is easier than you think and this guide will help you through it. small group of thoughtful, The following pages provide examples of how animals are used and why veganism is easy, healthy, and necessary if we claim to take animal interests seriously.
committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
“There is no meaningful distinction between eating flesh and eating dairy or other animal products. Animals exploited in the dairy industry live longer than those used for meat, but they are treated worse during their lives, and they end up in the same slaughterhouse after which we consume their flesh anyway. There is probably more suffering in a glass of milk or an ice cream cone than there is in a steak.” -Prof. Gary L. Francione
“But you don’t have to kill the cow for milk, right?”
Some people may choose to avoid eating meat because they do not want to hurt or kill animals. However, these same individuals may also consume non-meat animal products (e.g. eggs or milk) thinking there is no wrong done to the animals who make them. Truthfully, there is no moral difference between eating a slab of steak or drinking a glass of milk. The life of a dairy cow, for example, involves a tremendous amount of suffering. When we find someone is being treated in such a way that they are suffering, we’ll naturally want someone else to step in and stop the cruelty. However, in the case of the animals we use for food, entertainment, and so many other purposes, they suffer not because people are failing to better the treatment but that they are “things” we use in the first place. So in the case of the dairy cow, her labor begins with being raped by human hands and bovine semen. Her babies are taken away from her to be raised as veal calves and after she has endured a “life” of forced milking and confinement, she and her babies are taken to slaughter. All of this happens because we raise these mothers so we may take their milk for ourselves. This is not a matter of misbehaving dairy farmers but what is necessary to get us the milk, flesh, or whatever else we want from these animals. The dairy  cow is only one example of why our treatment of animals is not the problem but that we use them as property in the first place. So the first thing we must do as nonviolent people is to go vegan.
Left: ringworm infections consume a veal calf’s face. Most veal calves are the babies of dairy cattle.
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Anyone who’s ever owned anything wouldn’t think it’s strange for a property owner to want to take care of his or her property, especially when that person’s money comes from keeping these possessions in good condition. This is the case with animal property as well. It’s in the best interests of an animal owner to take care of the animal when it helps to make more money or keeps costs down. “Humane treatment” laws tend to actually benefit producers by getting rid of “wasteful” methods while comforting consumers to believe they can still exploit animals in a way that is “ethical” or “humane.
How “humane” is humane slaughter?
Objects of property cannot truly have rights. To have a “right” is to have a certain kind of freedom which cannot be taken away simply for someone else’s Actual diagrams for enjoyment. When we make something “humane” slaughter by designer Temple or someone our property, any attempt Grandin we make to ensure the best welfare (e.g. bigger cages, less painful slaughter, etc.) cannot interfere with our interest in getting what we want from the thing or person. Animal products labeled as more “humane” still use an animal as property. Treatment cannot be so improved that the animal products are unaffordable to consumers or “[The use of humane slaughter methods]... unprofitable to producers. This is results in safer and better working why “humanely-raised” animals conditions...brings about the improvement end up on the same trucks to of products and economies in slaughtering the same slaughterhouses as operations; and produces other benefits conventional animals. In fact, for producers, processors, and consumers many laws against inhumane which tend to expedite an orderly flow of treatment simply do not apply livestock and livestock products...” during transport and other times -United States Humane Methods of Slaughter when the law would prevent the Act. profitable use of animals. For these reasons, it’s not that welfare laws “Humane treatment” laws still treat animals as don’t but can’t meaningfully protect objects of property and actually economically animal interests. In any case, being benefit the production of animals by legislating property means not having rights. against “wasteful” practices.
Birds are raised from hatcheries where male chicks (useless for egg production) are killed immediately. This process may involve suffocation, gassing, or even being ground up alive. Female chicks endure
“Veganism is an act of nonviolent defiance. It is our statement that we reject the notion that animals are things and that we regard sentient nonhumans as moral persons with the fundamental moral right not to be treated as the property or resources of humans.” -Prof. Gary L. Francione, Distinguished Professor of Law, Rutgers University
overcrowding and are “debeaked” via pressing a hot plate directly to the beak to be singed blunt. This is a painful process often resulting in infection and an inability to eat or drink. Whether a chicken comes from a backyard coop, a “free range” or a crowded, filthy enclosure, birds are the result of the standard industry practice of hatcheries. This cruelty exists despite laws passed supposedly to minimize the suffering of animals. Animal welfare laws many of us believe protect animals actually do nothing to prevent many of the painful and deadly practices necessary to efficiently profit from animals.
h While the atrocities of a hatchery are reason imn editcheries, male chicks m aately killed. are enough to abhor bird production, some consumers attempt to lessen the harm of animal exploitation with the purchase of free range or cage-free bird products. These labels have little to no legal meaning and may simply refer to a small outdoor concrete enclosure or a cageless but filthy and overcrowded barn. As for egg production, chickens enjoy eating the unfertile eggs we take away from them. “Free range” or “cage-free” birds come from deadly hatcheries. They may still be debeaked, crowded, and cut off from light. These birds end up in the same transport to the same slaughterhouse as any other chicken. This “improvement” is akin to putting nice paintings resc usd A bird erhouee from a in a torture chamber. slaught
Fish and aquatic animals
Fish are beings with muscles and nerves which allow them to explore and feel just like land animals2. While they may not have facial expressions or show emotion in the same way we do, they have families, fear pain and love life as much as a dog or cat. The death of fish for food is one of slow and painful suffocation. They are decompressed, stabbed, and often cut open alive to bleed to death in agony. To kill a fish is no more humane than to kill a rabbit or a cow.
“Sentience” describes a feature of animals (humans or otherwise) which separates us from things like plants and inanimate objects. Animals are sentient because they can feel, sense their surroundings, and process this in a brain. While some plants have ways of responding to predators or the changes around them, these are chemical reactions and biological events which do not involve thinking. That is, plants and rocks do not have a brain. They do not feel pain nor have emotions or thoughts. Plants and lifeless objects are not sentient. We could break sentience into further characteristics like the thinking abilities humans have that nonhumans do not (or vice versa) but when it comes to having a right not to be used, what more does a being need than sentience? When sentient beings are used, they have an understanding about it. They can have negative or positive feelings about their situation. However, our obligation is not to ensure animals have only supposedly positive feelings about their being used but not to use them in the first place.
2: Sneddon, L. (2003). The evidence for pain in fish: The use of morphine as an analgesic. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 83(2), 153-162. doi:10.1016/S0168-1591(03)00113-8.
“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.€€” -Alice Walker
It’s not how we treat nonhumans but that we use them as our property "...In relation to so-called
“The issue is not whether we can make the process more ‘humane.’ The issue is how we can justify any of this under any circumstance. The issue is not treatment; the issue is use.” -Prof. Gary L. Francione farm animals, animal welfare organisations seem to be forever forced into a ‘never-win’ situation....
Not only do the welfare groups spend years campaigning for change, this is followed by a long period of implementation and then these same groups spend years monitoring the reforms they supported, exposing violations of regulatory laws they were instrumental in creating.” -Roger Yates, PhD. lecturer in Sociology, Bangor University
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“I’ll admit, it all started with a girl. I first started giving up animal products because I wanted to impress her. She was my first girlfriend. Gradually, I came to learn how animal products were saturated in so many things. I had never thought about how most baked goods, for instance, were stuffed with all kinds of secretions, enzymes, and random chemicals all from animals. At first, I was a little worried about giving up some of my favorite foods. But I learned from her there were plenty of options available and I developed new tastes for all kinds of foods I had never tried before. Looking back, I can’t believe I ever thought any of this would be difficult. When I went vegan, I just looked for alternatives and gave it up completely--no excuses. Even though I was practically addicted to cheese, I never missed meat or dairy or anything else. My body and cravings basically adjusted to what I A horse limps from a was eating. While I changed my eating habits injury. Later, he wil racing l be killed. and my wardrobe, I gradually began to clear
my head of this idea that animals didn’t matter-like they were significantly different from me in the ways that matter the most. I came to understand that we are constantly thinking of animals in the same way we think of cars, cellphones, and music players. It wasn’t until I understood the pervasive status of animals as property that veganism was solidified for me. I love being a vegan, I will always be one, and am never shy to tell my friends they should go vegan too!“ -Adam, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
A nonviolent life
“Let’s stop talking about veganism as a matter of compassion, benevolence and other nice-sounding, but ultimately anthropocentric missives. The idea that we are being kind, acting compassionately€, or saving lives€€ just by being vegan is misguided. It’s also paternalistic. Veganism is a matter of justice, and it reflects the absolute minimum of justice that I owe other persons (human and non). That doesn’t mean we’re not compassionate people. It doesn’t mean we can’t act compassionately toward other animals (human or non). It just means that veganism is what we owe them. It’s not an act of charity.” -Vincent J. Guihan
At times, individuals considering going vegan look at all the many non-vegan things around them and wonder “where do I draw the line?” Indeed, it’s no secret we live in a very non-vegan world. But we don’t need to define limits for ourselves to start off doing what we believe is right. If your favorite snack cookie uses refined sugar, why not spend the extra fifty cents to buy the organic knockoff product? There is no vegan police, yet it is up to us and only us to know what we are capable of doing. Leading a nonviolent life does not mean being perfect, but ultimately it us up to us to reject violence wherever we see it.
“Aren’t humans naturally carnivores?”
Some maintain that, despite the ethical problem of our use of “God loved the birds and animals, humans are biologically invented trees. Man loved the meat eaters and have historically been so as well. They may also point birds and invented cages.” -Jacques DeVal, “Afin de to a set of teeth in the upper jaw vivre bel et bien” called “canines” as proof. However, humans are not obligate carnivores but omnivores. We can easily subsist on a plant-based diet. Our canine teeth are actually very small and blunt. Compare them to real carnivores like cats whose canines are pointed and protruding for piercing and shredding. In fact, we are anatomically more like herbivores in a number of important ways. For example, we have jaws which can move horizontally and flat molars for grinding plant fiber. Our The small intestine (white) of a carnivore intestines, especially the small intestine, (left) is considerably shorter than that of are strikingly identical to those of an herbivore and a human (right) many herbivores--long, winding, and ridged to slowly move plant material and absorb nutrients. The intestines of a carnivore are short and smooth to quickly dispel meat and its bacteria. Carnivores are distinguished psychologically as well. For instance, do you salivate at the sight of blood and screaming? For these and many other reasons, is it any wonder why we must sterilize our meat (heat) or why heart disease is the #1 natural killer of human beings? A similar question may be: “Is it okay to consume animals if other animals kill for food in the wild?” Whether or not other animals make ethical choices, humans can. We can choose not to exploit animals. In addition, if we were to justify our actions this way, we would also justify Tiger canines Human canines a number of other socially unacceptable acts of violence.
A vegan diet is one of the healthiest diets in the world and eating vegan doesn't require breaking the bank or moving to a big city. You can start today with a balanced and flavorful meal. However, as with any diet, you should take care to get all the nutrients needed for healthy living. While some will tell you to worry about your protein, most people actually get too much. A vegan can get all the protein they need from lentils, tempeh, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, and even vegetables in marginal amounts. More importantly, a vegan should pay attention to their calcium, iron, and B12.
Calcium, Iron, and B12
A vegan gets his or her calcium from dark green leafy vegetables like kale or collard greens. Iron can be found in lentils, spinach, or hummus and is made more absorbable with adequate vitamin C intake. Whether or not vegans need a supplement for B12 is a controversial topic. However, we do know humans need only a small amount over a very long period of time. It doesn’t hurt to take a supplement, but B12 can be found in some fortified foods and nutritional yeast.
A Green Lifestyle
Consuming a plant-based diet also has a significant effect on the environment. For instance, the amount of potatoes which can be produced on an acre of land is about 40,000 lbs compared to only 250 lbs of cow flesh which can be grown from the same acre. When we feed plants to animals in order to eat the animal, we waste an enormous amount of food. For only one pound of cow flesh, 16 lbs of plant food and 5,000 gallons of water are required. Compare that to 25 gallons of water for a pound of wheat. Animal agriculture is also responsible for most of the food borne illness epidemics from water runoff. Our use of animals contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions as well as the destruction of forests for grazing. More than 250 million acres of forests are cleared every year in the US alone for this purpose.
While you convert your diet, also convert your kitchen. Keeping your living space stocked with diverse vegan snacks and meals makes finding good food at any time a snap.
Where to eat? What to eat? What to buy?
A transition to a vegan way of living can be made very easy by stocking up on healthy, non-perishable foods (seeds, nuts, granola, dried fruit.) Meanwhile, try making meals with plenty of servings from each section of the vegan food pyramid. Fats (2
servings) servings) servings)
Check out Vegan.FM's vegan lookup tool at vegan.fm/isitvegan. Find out if your products, ingredients, stores, or alcohols are vegan or tested on animals. You can also look up vegan locations where you live.
vegetables (4 legumes,
nuts, and servings)
Calcium rich foods
grains (6 servings)
“People are able to do all kinds of horrible things, but the fact that they can do them should never be accepted as justification for doing them. The thing we must emphasize is that we can be vegan, and be healthy and live comfortable lives. That is what is important, so whether meat is healthy or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is healthy to be vegan, so we have an alternative to animal exploitation and are therefore morally obligated to do that.” -Elizabeth Collins
Recently, more and more foods are being produced without animal products. For instance, you can find vegan ice creams, yogurts, cheeses, milks, deli meats, roasts, chicken, burger patties, meatballs, scrambles, egg replacers, and more. However, a good vegan transition doesn’t mean eating processed foods. Try these healthy suggestions for planning your first vegan meal.
Plan your meal with ease Breakfast
& & & & & &
Fried bulgur with agave nectar/maple syrup Vegan cereals or oatmeal with nondairy milk Fresh fruit Pancakes or waffles (using an egg replacer) Tempeh bacon Tofu scramble Soup, salad, and a sandwich Baked potato and chili beans Falafel Edamame 3-bean salad Rice and veggie stir fry
& Quinoa and mushroom stuffed peppers & Bean tacos with lettuce and tomatoes & Masala dosa & Black bean burger with sweet potato fries & Sushi (no fish) and rice
& & & & & &
Snacks and Sweets
Fruit smoothie Granola Celery with peanut butter Chips and guacamole Fried cinnamon tortilla strips
Free vegan recipes
& & & & &
Don’t know how to make these meals or don’t know what they are? Visit www.vegan.fm/plan for details and instructions.
The essence of "Ahimsa"
By adhering to “ahimsa,” meaning “nonviolence,” we recognize that treating a sentient being as a means to our ends cannot be justified simply because it gives us pleasure. Avoiding the consumption of any and all animal products (e.g. wool, honey, silk, etc.) is the first, not the final step, in embracing the principle of ahimsa. Most “The most important form of incremental people are born into a habit of change is the decision by the individual to consuming animals at nearly every become vegan. Veganism, or the eschewing meal and are raised to believe our of all animal products, is more than a matter use of animals is humane or fair. of diet or lifestyle; it is a political and moral statement in which the individual accepts the However, if you consider yourself principle of abolition in her own life. Veganism nonviolent and you believe, at is the one truly abolitionist goal that we can least, that animal interests should all achieve and we can achieve it immediately, be taken seriously, you must take starting with our next meal.” -Prof. Gary L. Francione the step of going vegan. While vegans are everywhere and there are plenty of like-minded people to help you, only you can make the decision to regard animals not as things, but as persons. Only you can embrace ahimsa, Only you can decide to practice nonviolence by going vegan and you can start today at your next meal.
See the back page of this pamphlet for recommended websites to learn more about animal rights, nonviolence, and veganism.
“Go vegan. It’s easy and better for your health and for the planet. But, most importantly, it’s the morally right thing to do.” -Prof. Gary L. Francione
Below are stills from video footage of the outside of a slaughterhouse. The girl you see turning around never lived with a name, but to those who remember her, she is known as “Katie.” Presently, she is afraid of the sounds she hears. She is confused about what is happening. She wants to get out, but the walls are so close, she cannot turn around.
This is not a gory video. There is no death or bloodshed--only the panic of a frightened animal who appears to know it’s all coming to an end. As you witness Katie’s story, think of her before you eat that hamburger, ice cream cone, or slice of cheese and ask yourself... is it really worth it?
Read “Introduction to Animal Rights” by Gary L. Francione or one of his other works: Rain Without Thunder; Animals, Property, and the Law; and Animals as Persons. Also, see the abolitionist approach blog at www.AbolitionistApproach.com with free pamphlets, video, and audio interviews and podcasts.
A transition to veganism is always easier when surrounded by like-minded people. Join an animal rights forum at www.animalemancipation.com/forum or www.veganfreaks.net/forum to ask questions, get advice, or just make new friends.
Find food and products
Animal products, unfortunately, are everywhere. They’re hidden behind cryptic ingredient names in the foods we eat, they find their way into restaurant food unmentioned, but this doesn’t have to make being vegan difficult. Search any ingredient name or alcohol product to see if it’s vegan or find your region to see where you can be accommodated while eating out. Also find recipes for making great vegan meals at home. It’s all at www.vegan.fm/isitvegan
a Free copy or copies oF this pamphlet, visit www.vegan.Fm/pamphlet
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