Advocate: Lies Carnivores Tell Themselves
By Jack Vegetarianberger
Before discussing how carnivores deceive themselves about the cruel
and murderous effect of their diet, I ask that you please take a moment
to write the New York State Attorney Generals office to request
that it invoke the states anti-cruelty law to halt the force-feeding
of ducks and geese to produce foie gras.
Section 353 of Article 26 of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law
relating to cruelty to animals makes it a crime to torture or unjustifiably
injure, mutilate, or kill any animal. Force-feeding vast quantities
of food to ducks and geese for the sole purpose of producing a nonessential
food product, for example, is obviously unjustifiable.
The production of foie gras requires that duck and geese be extensively
overfed in order to greatly extend their livers. The often trice-daily
feedings over a short period of time cause their livers to expand to
six to 12 times their normal size. One result: the deformed animals
are often barely able to stand, let alone walk. Some birds, due to ruptured
internal organs, literally explode.
Fortunately, only a few foie gras producers exist in the United States,
but one of the largest, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, is located in Ferndale,
New York. Help shut it down. Write a polite letter to Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer asking him to outlaw the force-feeding of ducks and geese.
And request a written reply.
Contact: Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, State Capitol Building, Room
220, Albany, NY 12224-0341; phone (518) 474-7330; fax (518) 402-2472.
You can contact Spitzer online at www.oag.state.ny.us, but a personal
letter often makes more of an impact than an online comment.
No Tuna Salad Sandwiches for Me, Please
Its virtually impossible for me to pick up a book, whether its
a work of nonfiction like Animal Liberation or a work of fiction like
the Bible, and not pay close attention to the authors attitude
toward nonhuman animals. Im always curious to learn if the author
recognizes animals as individual beings, if the author refers to nonhuman
animals as a genderless it (as opposed to he
or she), and if the author is a vegetarian.
I recently read Wisdom Circles: A Guide to Self-Discovery and Community
Building in Small Groups (Hyperion, 1998) by Charles Garfield,
Cindy Spring, and Sedonia Cahill. In the books first pages, Garfield
and company explain that the purpose of wisdom circles is to create
a small community that joins together in a circle, meeting heart
to heart, learning from each others life experiences and honoring
the values that sustain our lives, with the emphasis being to
create a safe space within which to be authentic, trusting, caring,
and open to change. We are searching for a way of life that embraces
wisdom and compassion as its core principles.
Compassion? Wisdom? Caring and open to change? Wow, this is great stuff.
But, I wondered, are Garfield, Spring, and Cahill vegetarians? If not,
how do they rationalize their abuse of nonhuman animals? My questions
remained unanswered until I reached the bottom of page 58 and encountered
a section titled Ill Take a Tuna Salad Sandwich, Please.
We are constantly on the receiving end of the gifts of life,
write the authors. Take, for instance, the mundane act of ordering
lunch and then receiving your tuna salad sandwich. You probably thank
the server, but you are indebted to the person who caught the tuna,
to the person who processed it in a factory, to the person who transported
it to a warehouse or store, and finally to the person who made your
sandwich. To how many people might you offer a thank you for
doing their part in getting that sandwich to your table?
Then there are the connections we take for granted in the Web
of Life. What about the tuna? the green onions? the celery? the wheat?
These were alive and well, living recently on Mother Earth... What about
gratitude to them for giving up their life energies so that you may
continue to live? How many of us take the time to express gratitude
for our food, through whose life essence we continue our lives?
Indigenous peoples take the time to offer thanks to the spirits
of animals that have been killed for their gifts of food and clothing...
Garfield and his co-authors suggest a mealtime prayer that may
help kindle gratitude in your heart: I send prayers of gratitude to
all the plants and animals that have sacrificed their lives that I
What planet do Garfield and company live on? They are deceiving themselves
(and others) when they speak of animals that have sacrificed their
lives. Do they honestly believe that, in the case of the tuna
salad sandwich, a tuna fish searched out the fishermans hook
so she or he could be impaled, yanked out of the water, killed, and
as a sandwich? What about the millions of turkeys who are killed for
Thanksgiving? Do the authors believe that the life goal of these animals
is to be treated miserably, then to have their throats slit and their
bodies sold as the centerpiece of a mealtime ritual centered on gratitude?
Regarding the indigenous peoples and their offer of thanks: Ill
bet the only thing nondomestic animals want from indigenous people is
to be left alone. An expression of gratitude may be comforting to the
killers conscience, especially if the killer believes the animal
has a spirit, but it is of absolutely no benefit to the animal victim.
Contact: Charles Garfield, Cindy Spring, Sedonia Cahill, Wisdom Circles,
3756 Grand Ave., Suite 405, Oakland, CA 94610; phone (510) 272-9540;
Kudos for E: The Environmental Magazine
If youre a socially conscious vegetarian, the January/February
2002 issue of E Magazine is a must-read, must-have. The magazines
cover features a young, female environmentalist staring at the camera,
with a hot dog in her hands, about to bite. The cover line reads, So
Youre an Environmentalist... Why Are You Still Eating Meat?
The magazine features four insightful articles from an environmental
perspective on the pros and cons of carnivorism and vegetarianism.
In Give Peas a Chance, E publisher Doug Moss offers the perspective
of someone who became a vegetarian half a life ago, at age 25.
Freelance writer Sally Deneen investigates the argument of whether humans
were meant to eat animal flesh in Body of Evidence, and
E editor Jim Motavalli weighs in with a pair of lengthy, robust articles,
The Case Against Meat and Across the Great Divide, about
friction between animal rights and environmental organizations over
vegetarianism [read Satyas
interview of Motavalli in December/Januarys issue]. Great
For more information, visit E Magazine at www.emagazine.com.
For a subscription to the unfailingly thoughtful, bimonthly magazine,
send $20 for six issues or, better yet, $29 for 12 issues to E: The
Environmental Magazine, Subscription Department, P.O. Box 2047,
Marion, OH 43306-2147.