What does Republican Matthew Scully, the former senior speechwriter for George W. Bush, have in common with former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich? The same thing Erykah Badu and Joaquin Phoenix have in common with Cesar Chavez, Pythagoras and Leonardo da Vinci. Besides capturing the hearts and minds of generations, all are vegan. By not wearing fur, leather, wool, silk and down, nor consuming milk, cheese, eggs, honey and the meat of any land or marine animal, they made a compassionate decision to directly save the lives of thousands of animals.
When I became vegan on July 24, 1996, and finally understood that animals have an inherent right to be free and live completely unfettered by human domination, I wondered why it took me more than 25 years to attain this nonviolent awakening.
I began to ask, "Who taught me that animals were put on this Earth for food? Who taught me to disrespect animals and view them as mere commodities? Who stole my compassion, my empathy and my conscience? Who lied to me? Who instilled this vicious mindset of human-to-animal exploitation as standard operating procedure?"
Over the years as I gave 2,660 lectures to more than 60,000 people at 186 schools in 30 states and several Israeli cities/schools, I asked tens of thousands of meat, dairy and egg-eaters similar questions. "Who told you to eat the corpses of dismembered animals and reduce your body to a walking graveyard? Who stole your compassion, your empathy and your conscience? Who lied to you? Why do you embrace such meaningless violence and then make inane rationalizations about the suffering of innocent creatures?"
The global atrocity of eating animals kills more innocent beings in one year than all human atrocities combined! Worldwide, around 60 billion land animals [10 billion in the USA] and 90 billion marine animals [18 billion in the USA] are killed and eaten every year in a monumental Holocaust borne of ignorance, arrogance and racism. In America, each meat, dairy and egg-eater is responsible for the deaths of 3,000 land animals and thousands of other marine animals throughout his or her lifetime. The human race v. animal race brand of racism permits humans to enslave and kill any other species with impunity. Singer calls speciesism the "purest form of racism" because it kills more innocent beings that any form of human-to-human racism.
This makes veganism the most important aspect of animal rights, because almost every animal who is abused and killed on this planet is abused and killed by the meat, dairy, egg and honey industries, despite the fact that humans have no right to commodify animal bodies and turn them into sandwiches and shoes! Even people residing in icy or desert settings have NO justification to murder animals because their lives are NOT more important than animal lives! Besides fleas and ticks, humans possess the dubious distinction of being the only expendable creatures on this planet. We bring nothing positive to the table as we are destroyers, attackers and takers. Our extinction would benefit the air, the water, the forests and the animals. All the excuses people use for exploiting animals—especially habit, convenience, taste, tradition, and profit—are invalid, vacuous and barbaric reasons for causing intentional harm to them. (FYI: Inuit Greenlanders have the worst longevity stats in North America and amazingly high cancer rates, thus proving that animal products do not belong in our bodies!)
Meat, dairy and egg-eating societies are also the main cause of world hunger among humans, as these societies continually feed around 50 percent of the world's corn, wheat, oats and soy to 60 billion land animals and tens of billions of marine animals (through fish-farming) instead of hundreds of millions of starving people! Every two to three seconds, someone on this planet dies from malnutrition while pigs and cows get fat. Consequently, meat, dairy and egg-eaters are anti-human, because feeding billions of animals instead of millions of hungry children is an indirect form of human genocide.
As an ethical vegan, it's logical for me to proclaim that the only nice slaughterhouse is an empty slaughterhouse. This statement, however, is often challenged by uninformed, egocentric individuals who believe mercy and kindness are exclusive to humans. But to deny every animal's inherent right to fly, swim and run freely is cruel and dishonest. If given an option, no animal would choose pain or death.
To understand the compassionate movement of animal rights, one must deploy a sense of empathy with others, in order to examine the issue from the animals' point of view. This is not a radical concept. Abolitionists looked at slavery through the eyes of subjugated blacks, just as the Allied Forces looked at Nazism through the eyes of Jews and other non-Aryans whom Hitler labeled unworthy and expendable. Empathy allows people to understand the injustice without over-analyzing the issue, especially when those in power deem the victims unworthy and expendable, something Hitler, slave-owners, and meat, dairy and egg-eaters have all done to their respective victims.
Meat, dairy and egg-eating, however, is not an instinctive behavior. It is learned tradition. Scientific claims of the human body being omnivorous or carnivorous are erroneous and illogical. To paraphrase author Harvey Diamond: If someone placed a two-year old child in a crib with a bunny rabbit and an apple, the child would play with the rabbit and eat the apple, an unambiguously herbivorous reaction. People become inured to the taste of blood, flesh, veins, muscles, tendons, cow secretions [milk], hen-ass droppings [eggs] and bee vomit [honey], as I will discuss in Humans Are Herbivores.
Fortunately, de-programming the perfunctory ways of meat, dairy and egg-eaters is possible. The University of North Texas opened a vegan dining hall in 2011, a private elementary school in California became the first in the nation to have an all-vegan menu in 2015, a kindergarten in Israel decided to go all vegan in 2014, and the Victor Valley Medium Community Correctional Facility in Adelanto, California, successfully ran a vegan rehabilitation program, just to name a few. My lectures convert tens of thousands to veganism annually, while tens of thousands more significantly reduce their meat, cheese, milk and egg intake.
These are the reasons why vegans are the utmost humanitarians. We indiscriminately seek justice for all by doing unto others as we would have done unto ourselves [THE GOLDEN RULE]. If every meat, dairy and egg-eater logically and compassionately re-evaluated their beliefs, they would understand why veganism is the only ethical and acceptable way to live on this planet.
Comparing the Two Great Holocausts
Isaac Bashevis Singer, the compassionate Jewish humanitarian who escaped Nazi-occupied Poland, once condemned every animal-exploiter by stating, "What do they know—all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them [animals], all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka."
Singer's statement is probably the most damning indictment of humankind ever uttered. It establishes the fact that violence is violence and murder is murder even if the victims have beaks, horns, gills, feathers or fur.
In the last 12 months alone, tens of billions of animals worldwide were enslaved, murdered, dismembered or tortured by the food and clothing industries, by vivisectors and hunters, and by their captors in rodeos, circuses, and zoos, making the Animal Holocaust the largest Holocaust of all time. It is also the longest-running Holocaust of all time because animals were the first victims of slavery, oppression and murder. Humans perfected these psychotic techniques on animals before using them on each other. The fact that Heinrich Himmler, the Gestapo Commander who created the Jewish Holocaust's gas chamber system, was a mass murderer of chickens before orchestrating the mass murder of humans (yes, he was a chicken farmer/killer), makes the aforesaid point impossible to impugn. For anyone offended by the word “Holocaust” to describe what animals are going through, have a look at Leviticus 1:1-10, shown just below, to see which victims truly own the word.
When Nazis rounded up Jews, babies were ripped out of their mothers' arms. In the dairy industry, calves are stolen from their mothers after birth. Other animal mothers, such as sows, rabbits and ewes, have their babies taken within days, weeks or months after birth. Separating families is a psychologically devastating tactic used to weaken one's pride and inhibit their desire to retaliate and fight back. Nazis swiped this technique from the meat, dairy and egg industries. Jews were tattooed to mark them. All animals in the meat and dairy industries are branded with hot irons, or ear-notched with a numerical tag. Jews were sent to the concentration camps in the same extermination trucks that still send animals to slaughterhouses. The Nazis constructed human slaughterhouses to massacre millions, while these torture-buildings have been strategically built all over the planet to massacre billions of animals. Jews have been, while animals still are, treated like nothing, as if their lives don't matter.
You can also compare the two Holocausts this way. Go to the nearest cow or pig slaughterhouse, remove the animals, and replace them with humans. You have now re-created Birkenau. If you travel back in time and remove the Jews from Birkenau and replace them with cows or pigs, a Holocaust is still taking place. During my 2012-13 lectures in Israel, after showing a new slaughterhouse video, I asked thousands of people the following: "Why is it that if the animals in that video were dogs or cats, you'd be outraged? If they were kids, you'd be screaming bloody murder! Instead the victims are cows and chickens and fish, and all of a sudden no one cares, and everything is okay. So I'm a little confused here. Is the slaughterhouse a problem? Or is the problem who's getting killed in the slaughterhouse? It's a HOUSE OF SLAUGHTER. Why does it even exist? Especially in a country that loves to say, 'NEVER AGAIN. IT'LL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN.' I got some news for ya. The Animal Holocaust was happening long before the Jewish Holocaust, during the Jewish Holocaust and it's still happening today. It's time for Israel to become the first nation on this planet to abolish concentration camps once and for all."
As if to add gross insult to gross injury, many meat, dairy and egg-eaters, in their naked attempts to defile the animal rights movement, often proclaim that Hitler practiced vegetarianism. However, biographers Albert Speer and Robert Payne attested to Hitler's love for liver dumplings, stuffed squab [pigeon], ham and sausage in the following books: Inside the Third Reich and The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler. German Chef Dione Lucas wrote about Hitler's meat-eating in her Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook, published in 1964. Rynn Berry's Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover describes how Goebbels, The Third Reich's propaganda minister, tried to sell Hitler as a vegetarian to make him seem as peaceful as Gandhi. The article in this section titled Hitler and Vegetarianism: Both Are Evil provides ample evidence that, contrary to a good deal of popular misconception, Hitler and his henchmen were meat, dairy and egg-eaters who adorned themselves in leather and other animal skins.
The Ineffectiveness of Laws and Regulations
Were you also aware that animals in the meat, dairy and egg industries receive no legal protection whatsoever? After all, slavery and slaughterhouses cannot co-exist with freedom and protection. Here's an excerpt from section two of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the federal law that oversees animal-use in America: "When used in this act, the term "animal"...excludes farm animals, such as, but not limited to, livestock and poultry used or intended for use as food..." That's pretty cute, isn't it? The animals who are enslaved or eaten aren't even recognized as animals under the law. Does this remind you of another piece of legislation that ignored the victims and existed to shield victimizers from prosecution? When the Constitution was first enacted, only land-owning, slave-owning, white men of European descent were protected. Blacks, Natives, women and many others were conveniently excluded.
In his book Dominion, Matthew Scully explains that people have to choose between being radically kind or radically cruel. There is no comfortable "middle ground." That explains why the meat, dairy and egg-eating animal "welfare" movement—which includes vicious religious-based kosher and halal-style throat-slicings—is radically hypocritical and deceitful. Its REAL goal is to ensure that the enslavement and killing of billions of animals goes on forever, unabated and with complete legal protection. By definition alone, slaughter and slavery are radically cruel and can never be humane even if animals live on free-range/freedom/organic/cage-free/antibiotic-free/hormone-free/grass-fed/local farms, or are murdered with a 'knife and a prayer' in accordance with ancient religious blood-draining customs. If animals go into slaughterhouses alive and come out chopped up into hundreds of pieces, how could anyone claim that they aren't being mistreated, abused, tortured and terrorized? How in the world could SLAUGHTERING BILLIONS of INNOCENT beings be done with love, humanity and concern?
The Animal Welfare Act, kosher and halal-style killings—and the free-range/freedom/organic/cage-free/antibiotic-free/hormone-free/grass-fed/buying-local marketing terms—are used to manipulate people into thinking that meat, dairy and egg production can be done happily and humanely. But there is no such thing as happy and humane slaughter just as there is no such thing as happy and humane rape, happy and humane slavery, or happy and humane child molestation. From the animals' point of view, anyone who commodifies their bodies is equally vicious. Most people are unaware that Himmler, the Gestapo Commander who created the Jewish Holocaust's gas chamber system, almost fainted when he watched 100 Jews being shot to death in his honor. The Jewish Virtual Library states: "Subsequent to this experience, he ordered as a more humane means of execution the use of poison gas in specially constructed chambers disguised as shower rooms." If Himmler were still alive, I am sure he'd love to have a meal with the "humane" meat, dairy and egg-eating assholes who perpetuate his insane beliefs. (And if for some reason my aforesaid words aren't proof enough of the claims of terrorism I'm lodging against the meat, dairy and egg establishments—and the people who consume these products—maybe the billions of dead, dismembered animal bodies consumed annually could count as proof.) Reduction and abolition are the only options to end this massacre. Welfare regulations are a stamp of approval to let the carnage continue unabated, because compassionate ways of enslaving and killing billions of animals simply do not exist.
This is why I am NOT a fan of legislation. Fighting for bigger cages or "better" treatment of animals is contradictory and ridiculous. It will never lead to empty cages. When examining human liberation movements, you'll notice that Malcolm X and Dr. King didn't fight for "better" treatment of blacks via improved segregation policies. They wanted to abolish segregation. They fought for equality and freedom. Cesar Chavez fought for it, too. Same thing when Gandhi liberated India from British rule. If abolition instead of welfare were somehow legislated, I'd be down for that. But I don't believe you can legislate until you educate. Passing welfare laws—which won't be enforced anyway—without explaining why it's evil to commodify animals is backwards.
The Ethics of Biofabrication
Since the early ‘00s, many scientists have not only talked about growing flesh-meat, cow-secretions and animal-skin in laboratories without using live animals—which would eliminate the harm, commodification and killing animals for “food” and “clothing”—but many have made huge strides in the field of biofabrication. Even though these biofabricated products were obtained with a standard, simple and painless biopsy, they are NOT a viable option for vegans because the meat, dairy and skin are still comprised of animal protein/tissues. However, since the foundation of animal liberation is solely based on ethics and compassion, it appears that “growing” animal products in a laboratory can reduce and eventually eliminate the enslavement and murder of billions of cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, rabbits, goats and fish. Therefore, if biofabrication allows meat, dairy and egg-eaters, and leather-wearers, to consume and wear animal products without the harm, then it's a positive turning point in the push for animal liberation. This will also benefit the earth because animal agriculture is the number-one cause of environmental destruction (see the articles Animal Agriculture and Environmental Destruction and Animal Agriculture and World Hunger for more detailed information).
Nevertheless, I still think that growing animal products in a lab is backwards, and just proves how irrational meat, dairy and egg-eaters can be. Amazing-tasting, plant-based “mock” meats and dairy foods have been around for a long time, and are nowadays so good as to make their animal-based counterparts irrelevant. Products by Tofurky, Gardein, Tofutti, So Delicious, Follow Your Heart and many other companies are out of this world. Check out the six articles in the section titled The Vegan Shopping Guide, beginning with Vegan Meat Substitutes.
Additionally, cultured/biofabricated meat and dairy won't solve any health issues because they will still contain enormous amounts of fat, animal protein, and trans fatty acids, all of which are the main causes of all major diseases. But since I do not want to be the Health Police Chief, people do have the right to make themselves ill as long as they aren't harming animals in the process. But it is not their right to torment and kill animals, and destroy the earth, in the process of making themselves sick. If people don't care about being healthy, plenty of unhealthy vegan options exist. Oreos, Ruffles, white rice, Twizzlers, Taco Bell bean burritos without the cheese, etc. happen to be vegan. So feel free to gorge yourself to death on that shit. I simply “recommend” genuinely healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes.
So Veganism Is for Whom, Then?
Veganism is for anybody who wants to be kind to animals, healthy, and tread as lightly as possible upon the world's ecosystems. As a result, millions of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, black, white, Asian, Latino, Native, pro-life, pro-choice, pro-gun and anti-gun people live a vegan lifestyle. Millions of Democrats, Independents and Republicans are vegan as well. Tales of tree-hugging liberals being the only supporters of veganism couldn't be further from the truth. Scully's Dominion is a right-wing, faith-based, Christian conservative view supporting veganism because ethnicity, religious affiliation or political party have no bearing on eating a veggie burger tonight instead of a hamburger.
Beyond this, however, veganism is for EVERYBODY because—as you will learn from reading all 24 essays in this section titled All About Veganism—veganism is not only a lifestyle choice; it is a moral imperative that MUST be honored since we continuously claim that our species is intelligent, compassionate, logical and rational.
PLEASE NOTE: Anita Sidler's drawings of animals were created solely for the ADAPTT site and cannot be used under any circumstances without Sidler’s permission.