Thinking of a Sweet Friend Who Has Passed.

Thank you, Brenda. I wish I could say it one more time in a message you could open.

Your support, your love, your luminous thoughts will always be beacon in my life.

Love…liberation,

Lee.

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Vegan 101: A Simple Slideshow About a Principle

And now, and word from to our sponsors.

Friends, I’m on a mission to bring the animal liberation message to empathetic people. People who know we need a deeper transformation than competitive politics can reach. People for whom “being the change” is not some feel-good cliché.

And if you’re in the position to support this work and wish to do so, this month is a great time to step in. Tomorrow, Sunday 16 September, a special offer opens for people who become patrons of the Studio for the Art of Animal Liberation on Patreon. And it will be very special for me too, because patrons inspire the flow and the content of my work.  

Join as a Muse (that is, at a $15 or higher monthly level of support) this month, and your name will be in the credits of a new slideshow: Vegan 101. (Become a patron at any level to help inspire and support this work and the work to come.) This slideshow, the first in a planned series, will be freely available so any person may present it at a library or lunch or book club – or to mark World Vegan Month 2018 this November. It will be a bright, concise vegan explainer that focuses on veganism as it set out to be….

A movement.

A challenge to transcend our dominator mentality.

A call to understand what respectful co-existence with nonhuman life on our planet really takes.

If you sense the power of radical empathy to redefine ourselves as human, this slideshow project needs your presence.

❤️ Love and liberation,

Lee.


Banner photo: Alex Litvin, via Unsplash.

What Is Veganism? [Audio Clip]

…is part of a collective offering, based on the definition of veganism from the people of The Vegan Society who set the movement in motion. I doubt I could improve upon that striking piece, nor need I try. Yet prompted by conversations with Will Anderson of GreenVegans.org, with James, Jenny, and Harold of HumaneMyth.org, with Bill Drelles and Jack McMillan of the Cleveland Animal Rights Alliance, Chris Kelly in Texas and many other thoughtful people, I enjoy revisiting the early definition to convey it in today’s words. Here, in an audio version.

A Note on #CowAppreciationDay

One of the most haunting statements I’ve heard about race-based oppression was uttered by Randall Robinson, repeated by Dr. Joy DeGruy Leary: “The worst thing you can do to a people is to rob them of the memory of themselves.”

It bears restatement: Human liberation movements and animal liberation involve different oppressions, and the way to unravel them involves different social mechanisms. Yet there is, it seems to me, something in Robinson’s message that can inform the theory of animal liberation.

Humans have robbed our domesticated animals of their ancestors’ evolution. The free-living ancestors of today’s cows are the aurochs, now extinct. Aurochs were not particularly friendly to our ancestors; but then, they had no such interest or obligation. A group of aurochs could trample a village. We, ever the clever primates, figured out how to trap them and breed smaller, more docile animals from them, so that instead of preparing hunting parties to stalk them, we could make them accessible and push them around.

To this day, cows trample a few dozen humans to death each year—I’ve found myself chased by cows in Wales; I’ll never forget my surprise and panic—but they’ve lost their ancestral stature and relationships forever. The vegan principle does not challenge us to integrate them into pleasant scenery or human friendships; it challenges us to stop breeding them into a dependent existence. To liberate our advocacy, we need to foster in ourselves an awareness, a recognition, that other animals are not our babies, not our housemates or helpmates; that domesticated or trained animals are limited, not perfected; that the freedom of living beings in habitat, without any need to seek human rescue or shelter or companionship, is a healthy thing to want; and that the lack of it is not.

Domestication, captivity, and caregiving are often taken for symbiosis. But these actions don’t bring us into harmony with the rest of living world. We can only hope to correct (or at least stop perpetuating) what we can perceive as domination. Images of animals doing things that impress or amuse us in controlled circumstances should, instead of being classified as cute, jar our senses. They should remind us of the evolution and history they could have had, had we let them be.


Adapted from On Their Own Terms: Animal Liberation for the 21st Century. Artwork released into the public domain by its author Pearson Scott Foresman

Summerfest Schedule Now Posted

Are you coming to the North American Vegetarian Summerfest this year? If so, please find me so we can get some time in person! I’ll be in the hallway near the main Living Learning lobby a lot. Watermelon shows up there frequently and, from time to time, so does  Miyoko Schinner’s artisan nut cheese. 
As for presentations, I’ll be offering:
  • The Environmental Impact of Eating Sea Life. Current status of Earth’s aquatic habitats and communities. Is the “sustainable seafood” concept helping or making things harder for sea life to survive and thrive?
  • Why Vegan? Vegan for Your Health, for Environmental Healing, for Fair Food Sources, for Animal Liberation. (Maureen and Vance: You are quoted in this one.)

Photo credit: Jason Pompilius

  • Climate Change: Is It More a Fossil Fuel Problem, or a Diet Issue? Comparing these emissions sources. Of course there is a lot of overlap between animal agribusiness and fossil fuels. This session will offer information on the science basics, plus a few less discussed aspects of the dichotomy. It will conclude with a call for a movement of Dietary Divestment for the Climate.
This is an event I can recommend. It draws more than 700 attendees from all over the continent. It offers a positive, refreshing atmosphere with endless conversation (I mean that in a good way!) and several days of really fabulous food that will inspire you and tune up your support network for the coming year.

Kentucky Derby Champions: You Bet They Die

This Saturday, May 5th, brings us the 144th Kentucky Derby, with the Preakness (May 19th) and Belmont Stakes (June 9th) galloping close behind.

Every year, people celebrate Derby Day with parties, mint juleps, and sunbonnets. This year they’ll be marking the tenth anniversary of the end of Eight Belles, raced to death in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Perhaps they’ll recall the two horses who died at the 2016 Preakness in Baltimore. Pramedya’s leg broke. And after winning the first race, Homeboykris collapsed and died before making it back to the barn.

Ten years prior, Barbaro won the 2006 Derby, but shattered a leg in the Preakness, and died soon after. Remember?

Or do we forget because the deaths are so common, so constant? Every year, 500 horses, more or less, die at a racetrack. Every year, spectators will gasp hundreds of times as they see with their own eyes that racing is animal torture.

Full story at Counterpunch.