"Our perception that every other animal in the world is here for us to do with as we please is the problem. Anthropocentrism is what we should be afraid of -- not anthropomorphism."
For hundreds of millennia, our ancestors were one weak species in the struggle for survival. With weapons and will, we came to dominate all other species, even the very predators for whom we were prey. In order to maintain this position, it became essential for us not only to deny our own animal-ness but to also deny non-human animals any emotions, behaviors, or traits that we reserve only for humans.
Thus, today, the most offensive thing you could call someone is an “animal,” and the quickest way to undermine those who advocate for animals is to accuse them of “anthropomorphism.”
And yet, though it's generally frowned upon to attribute what we consider “human” emotions onto non-human animals – love, joy, or sadness – we don't seem to consider it anthropomorphism when we project negative human traits onto animals. We unabashedly characterize rats as smarmy and...more
“May we create compassionate Thanksgiving rituals that reflect the fact that neither our values nor an animal have to be sacrificed in order to celebrate this holiday.”
No matter how much we romanticize the notion of tradition, the truth is there is no contradiction between eating compassionately and honoring tradition. In fact, our holiday foods and rituals are really symbols for something much deeper.
In being attached to the symbol (turkeys), we risk losing the true meaning of Thanksgiving: community and gratitude, family and friends, and the abundance of the fall season.
What better way to honor this holiday than with all the gifts of the autumn harvest?
So, take a look at the video below to see what it looks like to celebrate and host a seasonal Thanksgiving dinner that’s characterized by beauty, compassion, and delicious abundance.more
We already impact animals so much in our every day lives: we eat them, we destroy their homes, we make them perform for us, we shoot them for sport, we use and hurt them in so many ways. So how can we HELP them in our every day lives? Listen to my TOP 5 SUGGESTIONS that don't even require much effort but that make a huge difference in the lives of individual animals and that make us better people.more
You know you're supposed to eat more vegetables and fruit. So, with good intentions for eating healthier, you buy them.
But after a few days of not being eaten, said fruits and vegetables break down and wind up in the compost bin rather than in your belly. My advice? EAT the produce you buy and stop treating your refrigerator like a storage unit.
Fine, you say, but you didn't eat them because you just don't have time to chop vegetables. My advice? Yes, you do. You're just not using the time you have to chop vegetables. So make time. But if you don't like that advice. Try this: chop some of the veggies before putting them in the fridge. Or, on occasions when you'd rather spend your money rather than your time, pay a little more for vegetables chopped in advance.
Fine, you say...but you heard that vegetables chopped in advance lose their enzymes or nutrients or something like that. Not only is that not really true, but here's the bottom line: VEGETABLES CHOPPED IN ADVANCE HAVE MORE NUTRIENTS THAN NO VEGETABLES AT ALL.
We have the potential to be our own...more
“Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Ability doesn’t mean prerogative."
Unfortunately, I've heard this more times than I could count on my teeth: "Humans are meant to eat meat. Just look at these incisors in my mouth." When we compare the physiology of a human with that of a carnivorous animal and with that of an herbivorous animal, it's clear that we resemble the latter substantially more than we do the former.
But, even if I were not able to illustrate that our physiology resembles herbivores way more than it resembles carnivores, it still doesn't matter.
Simply by virtue of the fact that what we know that we can survive – and actually THRIVE – on a plant-based diet and have no nutritional requirements for the flesh or fluids of animals -- that we have no need to kill animals for our own survival, means that we need to take a hard look at our excuses for killing over 10 billion animals in this country alone every year.
I say that I believe the real reason we kill and eat animals is simply because...more
"Make a difference in a stranger’s day with a smile and a nod. Nodding is like a mini version of bowing, and the recipient immediately feels the honor of it."
Although I value personal space and solitary time, I'm a social person. No doubt about it. My nightly neighborhood walks with my husband usually wind up being shorter than we anticipate because I stop and talk to almost every neighbor we meet (especially if they have dogs).
But even when walking alone, running, or hiking, when I pass people I don't know, I'm always inclined to give some kind of greeting, some kind of acknowledgment of their existence. For years, I would smile, but I never really felt it connected.
I would often find that the smile I would flash in the brief moment before we passed one another didn't feel authentic. I felt it came out looking more like a disinterested smirk rather than a sincere grin. And rarely did it garner a response.
And so I started nodding. And it changed everything.
Now, when people are walking (or jogging) toward me, I make a point to...more
I’m always struck by the accusation that vegans have an agenda. It’s remarkable to me that our minds have become so jaded by advertising and marketing that we trust McDonald’s or the National Cattleman’s Beef Association or the Pork Producers – those who have THE MOST TO GAIN, the most money to make off of the backs of animals and off of our ignorance. But when a vegan talks about the joys and benefits of a plant-based diet – we’re accused of “having an agenda.”
It’s true. I confess. I have an agenda. It’s called compassion.more
In Animals in Film: Part 1, we talked about the history behind the American Humane Association and its “No Animals Were Harmed” disclaimer. Today, in Animals in Film: Part 2, we discuss where things have gone wrong on TV and movie sets that lead to the death or injury of animals and why these productions still received the “No Animals Were Harmed” disclaimer from the monitors meant to protect the animals.more
One misconception about veganism is that there are rules about what vegans “can” and “cannot” eat, of what we’re “allowed” or “forbidden” to eat. Let’s be clear: vegans can eat whatever we want. There’s nothing we can’t have. But, there are some things we simply don’t want.
We’re “allowed” to eat whatever we want. Nobody is preventing us. We aren’t adhering to rigid dietary laws. We aren’t forbidden to eat animals. We don’t want to eat animals.
Being vegan is not about rules or doctrine. It’s not about restriction or self-denial. And though being vegan does involve saying “no” to some things—such as cruelty and exploitation and violence—at its core, being vegan is about saying “yes.”
It’s about saying “yes” to our values. What’s the use in having values if they don’t manifest themselves in our behavior? We say that someone who lives according to his or her values and ethics has integrity. Well, what does it mean to not manifest our values in our everyday behavior? And how many of us actually translate our values into action? For me, being vegan, which extends...more