Mark your calendars for January 19-21, 2012 in Grand Rapids, MI
The 2012 Wake Up Weekend Vegan Chili Cook-off is just a month away! And what better time to heighten the anticipation than to give you a taste of what's in store for the biggest Wake Up Weekend ever! What do I mean by big? Allow me to explain.
Bryant Terry, 5th Annual Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture "Out of the Factories and Into the Fields: Cooking as Inspiration for Liberation" Friday, January 20, 3:30 pm, Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall
Whether he's urban farming in his home city of Oakland, articulating a new politics of food activism, or dishing up greens with Martha Stewart, Bryant Terry is all about re-envisioning cooking as a powerful tool for exposing interconnected forms of human and animal oppression, and inspiring our liberation into more redemptive ways of eating and of being together around the table, around the neighborhood, and around the world. In this, his second Wake Up Weekend appearance, Bryant will bestow upon us the honor of pre-releasing his brand new book, The Inspired Vegan, due out for the rest of the world on January 24. Meet Bryant and get your signed copy hot off the press at a reception following the address that will also feature catered appetizers from the book.
Nathan Runkle, "Inspiring Compassion: Putting Our Ethics on the Table" Saturday, January 21, 3:00 pm, 106 Gallery, 106 South Division, Grand Rapids
When I was 15, I was mostly chewing gum, lifting weights, and listening to hair metal. When Nathan Runkle was 15, he founded Mercy For Animals, thereby laying the groundwork for what has become, a decade later, the premiere boots-on-the-ground animal advocacy organization in America. When it comes to exposing the injustices that animals undergo in modern food systems, Mercy For Animals is in a league of its own. Heard about that Norco Ranch investigation that helped to seal a landslide victory for Proposition 2 in California? MFA. How about the investigation of Sparbo Farms that recently resulted in McDonald's and Target dropping their main egg suppliers? Also MFA. When he's not appearing on CNN, Nathan and his organization are behind the scenes investigating cruelty and mobilizing the resulting footage into award-winning documentary films such as Fowl Play and Farm to Fridge that are changing the way the next generation thinks about, buys, and eats food.
A Weekend With All the Fixins'
And of course, we'll set off all of the above with the usual array of Wake Up Weekend fineries: a vegan potluck on Friday night, a vegan brunch on Saturday morning, an amazing art exhibition (titled KINSHIP curated by Brett Colley and featuring work by Adam Wolpa) and the VEGAN CHILI COOK-OFF on Saturday evening, and benefit show on Saturday night! Stay tuned for the official poster and schedule detailing the whole nine yards COMING SOON! As ever, all of these terrific community events--with the exception of the Saturday brunch ($12)--are free and open to the public! See you at Wake Up Weekend 2012!
Mix a cocktail, grab an Adirondack chair, and read for the cause!
Consider injecting some purpose into your pleasure reading this summer by checking out care2.com's recommendations on Animal Rights Reading: A Top Ten Summer Book List. And if you've already devoured all of these suggestions or none of them particularly strikes your fancy, there's certainly no shortage of other possibilities, as scientists, theologians, legal experts, philosophers, physicians, dieticians, and activists continue to discover new and ever more compelling evidence in favor of the importance of compassionate eating. Those of us who wish to make a difference have an obligation to know what we are talking about and to be able to refer others to the best, most recent resources.
JONATHAN BALCOMBE ON DIANE REHM
MARCH 16, 2010 8:14 PM
Balcombe Knocks it Out of the Park in Interview on Public Radio
If you have fifty minutes to spare, I recommend dropping everything and checking out this fascinating interview with cognitive ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, author of the new book Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals. Rarely, if ever, have I heard a more articulate public defense of animal sentience, the richness of animals' inner lives, and the ethics of veganism. Simultaneously humble and firm, Balcombe offers principled answers to all the big questions: What about eating meat, eggs, and dairy? What about leather shoes? What about fishing? What about hunting? What about companion animals? If you're looking for inspiration or ideas for making headway with friends and family, it'll be hard to do better than Jonathan Balcombe. Big props to the Diane Rehm Show for having the vision to invite him!
JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER ON EATING ANIMALS
OCTOBER 19, 2009 4:35 PM
A Concerned Parent on a Moral Quest to Feed His Child Right
Readers of good fiction (especially good fiction written by youngish, controversialish authors) have likely dipped into one or both of Jonathan Safran Foer's celebrated novels, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Given that the protagonist of this latter book is a winsomely presented child vegan, it is not altogether shocking that Safran Foer has turned his talents more explicitly and non-fictionally to the question of the moral implications of Eating Animals. The conceit? He is now a concerned parent, and the prospect of his failure to provide a compelling moral example for his son is looming ever larger. Curious? You can get an early glimpse of the first chapter of the book (due out tomorrow) in Safran Foer's recent New York Times article.
Why Christians Need Animals...And God Does, Too!
Dr. McDaniel's address is titled "Why Christians Need Animals...And God Does, Too!", and he describes the project as follows: "I will suggest four ways that Christians are enriched by the presence of animals: as vessels of grace, subjects of respect, objects of amazement, and sites for the holy. I will then introduce a way of thinking about God -- the panentheistic perspective of process theology -- in which animals are understood as adding to the beauty of God's own life and subjects of God's care. The lecture concludes with a consideration of the idea that, given the extent of animal suffering, there is tragedy, even in God, and also with the suggestion that, if there is a continuing journey for humans after death, there must also be one for animals." Light refreshments and a book signing follow the address. The lecture is free and open to the public and a selection of Dr. McDaniel's books will be available for sale at 20% off the retail price.
Got Dinner Plans Beforehand?
If not, you should consider joining the Students for Compassionate Living for one of their legendary vegan potlucks at 5:00 pm in the DeVos Communications Center Forum just across the beltline from the main campus. The potluck theme is "Southern Soul", so fry up some garlic and greens, boil down the black-eyed peas, BBQ some seitan, and break out the biscuits and gravy. As always, please bring a dish to share and your own table service. Hope to see you there!
"For scholar-activists concerned with systemic connections between animal, environmental and human oppression, Nature Ethics provides a lens through which to examine other philosophies, theologies and political and environmental theories. Exploring the connection that Kheel makes between human violence and socially constructed masculine identity is like donning a pair of 3-D glasses that exposes previously unseen dualisms in even the most esteemed perspectives on animal rights, Gandhian nonviolence, environmental protection and ecological holism.
The ecofeminist invitation to develop empathethic relationships with individual beings validates the experiences with animal suffering that move many toward activism in the first place. Kheel's refusal to rely solely on the "conceptual force" of rational arguments makes her final call to a conscious ethos of contexualized care toward nature and individual other-than-human animals hard to resist. If you have ever been frustrated by rational or spiritual systems that don't seem to wed theory with praxis, Nature Ethics may illuminate why."
Los Angeles Teacher Authors Children's Book on Veganism
That deafening roar you hear is the sound of vegan parents the world over thanking Ruby Roth for authoring and illustrating the book that we've all been waiting for: Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things. One look at these gorgeous page spreads and you'll be scrambling to pre-order your copy for immediate delivery on the May 26, 2009 release date. Watch Ruby and some of her students talk about the book below and then become a fan and join the burgeoning ranks of Ruby's supporters. Perhaps if there's interest, we can do a potluck and children's story hour in early June to celebrate the release. Stay tuned! And MANY thanks to our friend Brianne Donaldson for the tip!
Peter Singer on Acting Now to End World Poverty
First and foremost, the vegan lifestyle is about acknowledging the inherent dignity of others and advocating compassion and justice in face of these others' unnecessary suffering and death. A number of previous posts have highlighted the degree to which veganism addresses issues other than just "animal concerns," such as environmental apartheid and global hunger. Today's post recommends a new book by Animal Liberation author Peter Singer that seeks to motivate average folks like us to take radical steps toward eradicating global poverty.
Singer's notoriety as an animal advocate has often deflected attention from his other work. Nevertheless, for the past four decades since the publication of his classic paper "Famine, Affluence, and Morality", Singer has been equally, if not more, outspoken about the moral urgency of seeking justice for the world's poorest people. For a free preview of Singer's accessible, inspiring writing style and an overview of the general strategy of his argument, check out his 2006 New York Times Magazine article titled "What Should a Billionaire Give...And What Should You?". If you like what he has to say, consider reading the book and then sharing the inspiration with family and friends.
BEST. VEGAN. CHEESECAKE. EVER. PERIOD.
OCTOBER 17, 2008 11:42 PM
Lemon Cheesecake Beyond Belief.
I won't mince words. This is the best vegan cheesecake I've ever tasted, bar none. It is better than the cheesecake at The Chicago Diner. It is better than the cheesecake at Karyn's Cooked. It lasts for about two days when one eats it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I've baked it three times in the past month. Gilding the Lily with Homemade Strawberry Preserves.
The first time I made it, I was a bit shy about serving it naked. So I dressed it with some organic strawberry preserves. It was divine. At two o'clock in the morning, however, once our guests had vacated the premises (along with my sense of propriety) I ate a wedge (almost six inches across) all by itself. There is no need to put anything on this cheesecake but your bare, greedy hands.
The Joy of Vegan Baking
It just isn't kind to dangle this in front of a person without providing the means for prompt gratification. So, on the condition that you promise to purchase Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy of Vegan Baking, I'll oblige. Any cookbook that sustains a perfect five star rating across 100+ reader reviews is well worth your $13.57 (even in a recession). Lemon Cheesecake (Recipe Slightly Modified to Reflect Best Results)
For the crust: Graham Crackers; some Mi-Del Ginger Snaps; 1/4 cup sugar; 5 T. Earth Balance. Process crackers, snaps, and sugar to a fine crumb; add Earth Balance and pulse; press into a lightly oiled 9-inch spring-form pan and bake at 350 for ten minutes until golden.
For the cheesecake: 4 1/2 t. Ener-G Egg Replacer; 6 T. water; 24 oz. non-dairy cream cheese (at room temperature); 1 c. granulated sugar; 1/2 t. vanilla; 4-6 T. lemon juice (the recipe suggests 2 T., but I like a strong lemon flavor, so I doubled it and left the pulp in as well); 2 T. lemon zest (again, I doubled it from 1 T.); fresh strawberries for serving (optional).
What To Do: Preheat oven to 350. Using electric hand mixer in a large bowl, whip egg replacer and water together until thick and creamy. Beat in cream cheese until creamy (about 30 seconds--don't go longer!). Beat in sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest (beat until smooth, but don't overbeat--this will cause cracking on the surface during baking). Pour batter into crust and smooth top. Bake until center barely jiggles when pan is tapped, 50-55 minutes. It is fine if it puffs up a bit and turns golden brown; it will settle as it cools. Cool completely in pan on rack for at least one hour; refrigerate for at least two hours (but preferably 24 hours) before serving.
Warning: People feel very strongly about this dessert. I slipped a slice into Senator Obama's back pocket just as the 3rd debate was drawing to a close. The ensuing scene was deeply disturbing. Bake at your own risk.
Advice for the Next Farmer in Chief on the Hidden Politics of Food Michael Pollan is no vegan, as I have been perhaps too eager to point out in previous posts. Nevertheless, he talks a lot of good sense in this new article published yesterday in the online edition of the October 12 Food Issue of the New York Times Magazine. Addressed to "Mr. President Elect", Pollan's "letter" states that "Food is about to demand your attention...you will need not simply to address food prices but to make the reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of your administration: unless you do, you will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change." Hopefully, this truthy article is evidence that Pollan is ready to spend more time speaking truth to power and less time searching for his inner noble savage on infantile boar-hunting expeditions. We can only hope.
GR WELCOMES GENE BAUR!
SEPTEMBER 20, 2008 4:00 PM
Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder to Speak at Calvin, Wed 9/24 Gene Baur is undoubtedly one of the most influential animal advocates in the United States. Since co-founding the renowned Farm Sanctuary in 1986, Gene has been in the trenches fighting for the dignity of farm animals--whether that means going toe-to-toe with industry PR people on Larry King Live, testifying in local, state, and federal hearings on animal welfare laws, sharing the good news with the New York Times, or rubbing shoulders with vegan celebs to raise awareness and capital for the cause. Imagine our surprise, then, when this animal compassion juggernaut called to express his interest in opening the Michigan leg of his book tour right here in Grand Rapids!
Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food
On Wednesday evening, September 24th, 2008 at 7:30 pm in Science Building 010 at Calvin College, the Students for Compassionate Living will host Gene Baur for a public lecture followed by a book signing. Please consider coming out to give Gene that unmistakable extraVEGANza! welcome and to grab your own signed copy of his new book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food. Don't miss this opportunity to meet and greet one of the great champions of our cause!
Precocious 9-year-old Vegan Protagonist Seeking Broader Readership
Noodles and Moles have both recently devoured and raved about Jonathan Safran Foer's 2005 novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close--a book about a young boy struggling to deal with the loss of his father in the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. I am now on page 46 of the novel myself, and though I am considerably bitter about the fact that its author, three years my junior, already has two best-selling books to his credit, I am nonetheless finding his brainchild, the fictive 9-year-old Oskar Schell, to be entertaining company.
The Inimitable Oskar Schell
Who wouldn't want to spend a little time with a kid whose business card reads as follows? "OSKAR SCHELL: INVENTOR, JEWELRY DESIGNER, JEWELRY FABRICATOR, AMATEUR ENTOMOLOGIST, FRANCOPHILE, VEGAN, ORIGAMIST, PACIFIST, PERCUSSIONIST, AMATEUR ASTRONOMER, COMPUTER CONSULTANT, AMATEUR ARCHAEOLOGIST, COLLECTOR OF: rare coins, butterflies that died natural deaths, miniature cacti, Beatles memorabilia, semi-precious stones, and other things. EMAIL: OSKAR_SCHELL@HOTMAIL.COM; HOME PHONE: PRIVATE/CELL PHONE: PRIVATE; FAX MACHINE: I DON'T HAVE A FAX MACHINE YET."
The Gimmicks Abound, But the Fun's There Too
Foer's "neo-experimentalist" style (replete with sentence fragments, blank pages, stream-of-consciousness narration, and even a flip book) may annoy some readers (for instance, the folks at Yankee Pot Roast). But if you're willing to indulge some vaguely Dave Eggers-ish, somewhat McSweeney's-esque pomo pyrotechnics, and you're intrigued by the prospect of a novel with a young vegan protagonist ("General Tsao's Gluten" makes an appearance as early as the first chapter), then check this one out.
Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation
As many of you know, I spent the summer writing a booklet on the intersection of animal ethics and faith issues (from a Christian perspective) for the Humane Society of the United States. The result of this endeavor is finally available online and you can check it out here. The limited edition version of the publication (which is not yet featured on the website) includes 14 amazing collages by our very own Adam Wolpa. We hope to have a pdf of the limited edition up soon, but until then you can check out Wolpa's collages here.
Something for Everyone
While the argument developed in this booklet is grounded primarily in broadly Christian assumptions, my hope is that there may still be some strategic value in the booklet for people who do not share these assumptions. After all, many non-Christians who care about the plight of animals still have a vested interest in being able to appeal to Christian audiences in a language that such audiences can understand and appreciate. Moreover, there are certain empirical facts about the fallout of our dependence on industrial animal agriculture that all of us have a vested interest in knowing, regardless of our diverse religious identities. Pages 23-36 focus specifically on these empirical issues, so if you're allergic to religious discourse but still interested in the general topic, you can skip straight to this section of the booklet for a succinct overview (with recourse to the latest scientific research) of the hidden human, animal, and environmental consequences of the traditional American diet.
Bob Torres on "The Political Economy of Animal Rights" The Vegan Freak is at it again. In his new book Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights, Bob Torres wields an explosive battery of Marxist and anarchist artillery to level a withering critique of both the capitalism that drives animal exploitation and the conflicted philosophy of animal rights activism that he claims unwittingly entrenches this exploitation. For those who have read previous posts on the recent conflicts between Reformist and Abolitionist approaches to animal advocacy, the alleged inconsistencies in the "New Welfarist" approaches that Torres is criticizing will ring familiar.
The Uninterrogated Assumptions of "New Welfarism"
Says Torres: "Because some new welfarists imagine that talking about human hierarchy over animals and the moral wrong of all animal exploitation is too onerously radical and difficult for the average person to understand, let alone accept, we end up with campaigns, strategies, and tactics that do little more than refocus the efforts of industry to produce products that "caring, ethical" consumers find pleasing. We also end up with so-called "reforms" that even animal rights organizations argue make animal exploitation more profitable. Some activists refer to these reforms as "victories," and they are victories, in a sense: they are victories for the industry." (100) Among the organizations targeted here are PETA and The Humane Society of the United States, groups that, according to Torres, do not even engage, much less challenge, the foundational assumptions upon which the exploitative practices of animal use industries ultimately rest, namely the property status of animals (which paves the way for their commodification), and underlying that, the traditionally accepted hierarchy of human beings over animals.
Veganism as a Baseline
Entitled "You Cannot Buy the Revolution," the final chapter of this provocative read provides an intriguing but somewhat scant set of recommendations for moving forward. First and foremost, Torres maintains, veganism "must be a baseline for the animal rights movement. It is the daily, lived expression of abolition in one's life, and a rejection of the logic of speciesism." As Torres sees it, "vegan education should form the basis of our outreach and activism; in our interactions with people outside the movement, we should discuss why veganism is a viable option. This works in direct contrast to the current animal rights discourse, which promotes "happy meat," "humanely" raised eggs, and organic milk. All of these products rely on exploitation and maintain the relations that will continue to exploit. If we want to eradicate exploitation, we must begin by ending it in our own lives, and encouraging others to do the same." (145) Beyond adopting veganism, Torres recommends that we eschew large, beaurocratic institutions like PETA and HSUS in favor of marshaling the power of the internet and working in "consensus-based affinity groups"--smaller, more flexible collectives of like-minded people that may serve as "models of non-exploitative, non-hierarchical social relationships that highlight mutual aid and conviviality, while also respecting individuality." (148) Sounds a bit like ExtraVEGANza!. Who knew we were a consensus-based affinity group? SNAP!
At Home With Bob Torres
Controversial as its thesis may be, Making A Killing is an intriguing, challenging, and inspiring read, at least in part because of the uniqueness of Torres's voice. As a scholar-activist with a Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University and a professorship at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, he brings pedagogy and agitation into an unsettling, but potentially invigorating, confluence. Read all about his personal and professional exploits at bobtorres.net.
Are Specieism and Animal Liberation Compatible?
This remarkable new book by Tzachi Zamir maintains that, contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to argue to the abolition of many "animal use" industries from "speciesist" premises. Here's a brief description of Zamir's argument from the book's promo page at Princeton University Press:
"Many people think that animal liberation would require a fundamental transformation of basic beliefs. We would have to give up "speciesism" and start viewing animals as our equals, with rights and moral status. And we would have to apply these beliefs in an all-or-nothing way. But in Ethics and the Beast, Tzachi Zamir makes the radical argument that animal liberation doesn't require such radical arguments--and that liberation could be accomplished in a flexible and pragmatic way. By making a case for liberation that is based primarily on common moral intuitions and beliefs, and that therefore could attract wide understanding and support, Zamir attempts to change the terms of the liberation debate.
Without defending it, Ethics and the Beast claims that speciesism is fully compatible with liberation. Even if we believe that we should favor humans when there is a pressing human need at stake, Zamir argues, that does not mean that we should allow marginal human interests to trump the life-or-death interests of animals. As minimalist as it sounds, this position generates a robust liberation program, including commitments not to eat animals, subject them to factory farming, or use them in medical research. Zamir also applies his arguments to some questions that tend to be overlooked in the liberation debate, such as whether using animals can be distinguished from exploiting them, whether liberationists should be moral vegetarians or vegans, and whether using animals for therapeutic purposes is morally blameless."
THE VEGANOMICON COMETH!
OCTOBER 27, 2007 11:57 AM
Dazzled! Floored! Dumbstruck! SPEECHLESS, even.
Okay. So I'm not speechless (it would probably take a to-scale model of a Lamborghini Diablo sculped in batter-fried tofu and floating in an Olympic-sized pool of ponzu sauce to render me speechless). But I am indeed dazzled, floored, and stricken by the long-awaited arrival of Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's VEGANOMICON: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. It's true: the implacable post-punk kitcheners who brought us Vegan With a Vengeance and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World have struck again, this time delivering the most comprehensive and accessible vegan cookbook we've ever seen.
Noodles's First Veganomicon: Leek and Green Pea Cassoulet with Biscuits
With over 250 tantalizing recipes built on easy-to-find, reasonably-priced staple ingredients, The Veganomicon covers every imaginable corner of the culinary landscape. Allow me to rehearse the categories in the Table of Contents: Snacks, Appetizers, Little Meals, Dips and Spreads; Brunch; Salads and Dressings; Dressings; Sammiches; Vegetables; Grains; Beans; Tofu, Tempeh, and Seitan; Soups; Casseroles; One-Pot Meals and Stove-Top Specialties; Pasta, Noodles, and Risotto; Sauces and Fillings; Breads, Muffins, and Scones; Cookies and Bars; Desserts; Menus for the Masses. HOLY SMOKES! Get ready for a flurry of new posts!
Moles's First Veganomicon: Tofu Florentine.
ANOTHER FORTHCOMING BOOK
AUGUST 11, 2007 9:52 AM
This book looks fascinating. Thanks for letting me know about it, Amazon!
In Brutal, Brian Luke explores the gender divide over our treatment of animals, exposing the central role of masculinity in systems of animal exploitation. Employing philosophical analysis, reference to empirical research, and relevant personal experience, Luke develops a new theory of how exploitative institutions do not work to promote human flourishing but instead merely act as support for a particular construction of manhood. The resulting work is of significant interest both to animal advocates and opponents of sexism.
SEVEN REASONS TO GO VEGAN: RECOMMENDED READING
MARCH 4, 2007 10:41 PM
(1) Animal Suffering
Non-human animals used for food, clothing, entertainment, and commercial research are sentient beings who are fully capable of feeling pain and experiencing psychological trauma; the conditions under which they are raised subject them to merciless suffering and untimely and often painful deaths. Since medical research has discredited the popular claim that animal products are indispensable for good nutrition (quite the contrary!), this suffering and death is entirely unnecessary in the overwhelming majority of cases, unless one is prepared to interpret mere aesthetic enjoyment on the part of human beings as a necessity. Read all about it in Tom Regan's Empty Cages.
(2) Poor Environmental Stewardship
Animal husbandry, especially in its modern industrial form, has devastating consequences for the environment: it requires wasteful allocation of land to grow grain to feed animals (when it could be feeding people); it requires astronomical amounts of water, and fossil fuels for herbicides, pesticides, and transportation; it generates massive amounts of waste (manure) and greenhouse gasses (cow flatulence produces almost 20% of the methane), and animal and chemical waste runoff causes air and water pollution. Read all about it in Michael Jacobson's Six Reasons for a Greener Diet.
(3) Exploitation of the Disenfranchised
Factory farms and slaughterhouses are among the most dangerous and degrading places to work (not to mention to live): the stench is unbearable, the work environment is filthy and full of peril (physically and psychologically), the acts of cruelty that workers must perform are horrific, and these operations prey on illegal aliens and other disenfranchised persons who have limited employment options.Read all about it in Gail Eisnitz's Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment inside the U.S. Meat Industry.
(4) Global Injustice
International companies exploit arable land in the developing world (which could be used to grow food for the undernourished people who live there) in order to grow grain to feed animals that only the richest countries in the world can afford to eat. More importantly, in order to keep grain prices low, the government pays billions of dollars per year in subsidies which harm the global poor (i.e., the 20% of people in the world who live off of less than what a $1/day would buy in the USA, and the 50% that live off of less than $2). The Economist, The Lancet and other publications have estimated that discontinuing the subsidies and reallocating these resources more responsibly could save millions of people a year from unnecessary suffering and death. Read all about it in John Robbins's The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and the World.
(5) Local Injustice
Industrial agriculture has destroyed rural communities, putting family farmers either out of business or into servitude to large, unscrupulous corporations who take virtually all of the profits and none of the risks; the result is that land which, when wisely stewarded, can support the growth of hundreds of species of plants (a practice that has a regenerative effect on the soil) is now used to grow genetically modified corn and soybeans to feed factory farmed animals. Read all about it in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.
(6) Poor Stewardship of Personal Health
The most current scientific and nutritional findings provide substantive evidence that eating animal products is a direct cause of “diseases of affluence” such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, breast and intestinal cancers, Alzheimers, and many others; meanwhile, the same studies show that the consumption of a whole foods, plant based diet not only reduces one’s risk of getting these illnesses, but can mitigate and even reverse them when they’ve already taken hold. Read all about it in Dr. Kerrie Saunders's The Vegan Diet As Chronic Disease Prevention.
(7) Poor Stewardship of Public Resources
Personal health crises lead to public health crises, and this is proving true in the United States, where we spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on medication and invasive surgical procedures to treat “diseases of affluence” that can be prevented by the more responsible consumption of a whole foods, plant based diet. Read all about it in Dr. T. Colin Campbell's The China Study.
A FASCINATING READ
MARCH 4, 2007 10:11 PM
THE BLOODLESS REVOLUTION
The truth is often stranger than fiction. Would you believe, for example, that Rene Descartes-a philosopher often maligned for his ostensibly inhumane view of animals as unfeeling machines-was actually an advocate of vegetarianism? Did you know that Adam Smith, the world renowned Enlightenment economist, believed that the integrity of the northern European economy depended on switching from wasteful animal husbandry practices to a more efficient potato-based agriculture? Could you have imagined that Hindu Brahminism was a key influence on 17th century Christian sects seeking to restore the lost harmony of Eden through English gardening practices? Learn more about these and many more surprising facts heretofore lost to history in Tristram Stuart's The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times
FEATURED AUTHOR: TOM REGAN
NOVEMBER 14, 2006 9:06 PM
Introducing Tom Regan...
First moved to consider the issue of animal compassion in the Vietnam era by reading Gandhi's The Story of My Experiments With Truth, Tom Regan has been a pioneer of the animal rights movement ever since. A distinguished Philosophy Professor at North Carolina State University, Regan has argued that non-human animals, as psychological centers of consciousness, are "subjects-of-a-life"--unique, irreplaceable individuals who value their own lives even if no one else does.
Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights
His most recent book, Empty Cages: Facing the Challenge of Animal Rights, presents general audiences with an accessible and persuasvie defense of animal rights, followed by an account of the suffering that non-human animals are made to endure in the food, clothing, entertainment, and research industries. Those who wish to get a sense of the drift of Regan's arguments in a succinct, easily digestible format may consult Ten Reasons for Animal Rights or the companion site for Empty Cages. Those desiring a more robust philosophical defense of Regan's Kant-inspired argument that the rights of animals are grounded in their status as "subjects-of-a-life" should check out The Case For Animal Rights. Professional philosophical and popular audiences alike will find much of interest at The Tom Regan Animal Rights Archive.
FEATURED AUTHOR: MATTHEW SCULLY
NOVEMBER 9, 2006 8:53 PM
Not a fan of Peter Singer? Introducing Matthew Scully...
One of my favorite things about the animal compassion movement is that it transcends the liberal/conservative divide. Case in point: our second featured author, Matthew Scully.
"Compassionate Conservatism...For Animals"
Scully has a decidedly more conservative point of view on the importance of compassion for animals than that of our first featured author. Indeed, if Singer's left-wing, anti-religious utilitarianism leaves you cold, then perhaps you'll warm up to Scully, a former advisor and speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Though Scully is skeptical of "rights based" discussions of the moral standing of animals, he is emphatically opposed to their merciless suffering in factory farms on the grounds that our "dominion" over the animal kingdom implies a call to mercy and good stewardship in caring for the non-human beings under our charge.
NOTE: The links for the books provided below are to Amazon.com. If you are considering making a purchase, please entertain the possibility of buying or ordering these books from Schuler Books and Music, our very own independent bookseller here in Grand Rapids. Remember: these books won't be on the shelves in our local bookstores unless we create the demand for them!
Welcome to the first installment of the Featured Author Series!
Given the widespread perception among the general public that veganism and animal rights concerns are long on sentimentality and short on argumentation, one of the primary goals of this blog is to get the word out on authors whose work provides the intellectual grounding for these concerns.
Introducing Peter Singer...
Our first featured author is Peter Singer, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. A world famous philosopher and animal advocate, Singer is widely viewed as the father of the contemporary animal rights movement. His magnum opus, Animal Liberation has served since 1975 as the definitive articulation of the moral atrocities perpetrated against non-human animals in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs or "factory farms") and other industries in which animals are subjected to morally unjustifiable treatment.
Singer's most recent contribution to the animal ethics literature is The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter, a collaboration with human/animal rights attorney and author Jim Mason. In my humble estimation, this book is the single best introduction to the ethics of eating currently available, largely because it presents the animal cruelty issue in the context of many other lesser known moral implications of factory agribusiness, including the degradation of the environment, the loss of human dignity suffered by those who work in factory farms, and the personal and public health fallout of the consumption of animal products.
In addition to his own influential writings, Singer has contributed much to the field of animal ethics by way of editing anthologies that showcase the work of other authors. The updated Second Edition of the classic In Defense of Animals, for instance, offers the reader essays on everything from the scientific and religious implications of animal ethics to cutting-edge activism strategies. Those who'd like a sneak peak at one of the excellent essays in this volume may check out the online version of Jim Mason's "Brave New Farm?".
Finally, those concerned about the question of whether Singer's compassion for the suffering of animals extends to the suffering of human beings may wish to consult his classic article "Famine, Affluence and Morality".