Home » animal activism

Tag: animal activism

Book Review: Mercy For Animals

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to start this review for nearly 30-45 minutes now. You see, I’ve read the book from cover to cover once already and started it again to try to pull out parts that I want to share. The problem is I’m nearly 100 pages in again and am having a hard time putting it down long enough to type this.

Nathan’s story is gripping not only because of the experiences he shares, both harrowing and courageous, but because of the compassion from where that story generates. Whether it’s from the beginning of the book and his recounting of his childhood on the family farm or to the undercover investigations he has been a part of; the narration exudes benevolence and pulls you in from the moment you start reading.

There are beings that roam this earth that shine light wherever they go. Some believe those beings are angels or Bodhisattva’s. Suffice it to say, Nathan is surely one of those people. With careful intention, he built an organization that is selfless and has one goal; to save as many animals as possible. What I think makes them different though is the seemingly minor things they do like push for more space for chickens and hens in cages and crates. It’s about pushing for more humane conditions for animals that are already part of our shameful “food supply chain”. Mercy For Animals pushes for those little things because with small steps come bigger one’s.

Speaking of “bigger one’s”…

I have not followed MFA over the years so this book opened my eyes to one of the major breakthroughs they had; and that was with Nestlé. Through tireless investigations and work MFA were able to get Nestlé to commit to the “Five Freedoms Of Animal Welfare” which are:

  1. Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition
  2. Freedom from fear and distress
  3. Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort
  4. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  5. Freedom to express normal patterns of behavior

Nestlé did this on their own after being shown evidence of just how horrific their supply chains were and how despicable the animals were treated. The company was absolutely floored by the documentation they were shown. But, they swore to implement changes and that is amazing.

The fact of the matter is, Nathan Runkle lives and breathes his convictions. There is no denying that.

I walk away from this book with not only a deeper understanding of what it means to be an animal activist, but how to be one. Nathan’s story can, and will, inspire even the most apathetic individual.

He also touches on the future of the movement and the future of food. It’s a promising future and I hope to do what I can to help make that happen. You really need to read this book, I can’t tell you that enough.

Mercy For Animals Links
Website: https://www.mercyforanimals.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mercyforanimals
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mercyforanimals/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MercyForAnimals
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mercyforanimals

Activism: What’s Your Place?

Today, there are many facets to the Vegan movement. At one point it didn’t seem like there were, and you generally had a collective of hippies that you assumed were the only “true” vegans because of their crunchy lifestyle and the air of lentil/ tofu that wafted off of them when they walked by. Today though it’s much more wide-ranging than that. With technology you don’t have to just stand in front of a business or law office to protest. Now you can do so with blogs, Facebook posts, online petitions, etc; the expression and volition in which tech is used are enormous. It’s not just on the internet, though, that vegans are stepping up and showing that this lifestyle is legit.

image borrowed from https://www.torrewashington.com/in-the-zoneYou’ve got athletes who are proving that you don’t need to eat the flesh of another living being to perform at your best. One of the biggest names in plant-based athleticism is Brendan Brazier who has done all sorts of endurance events and founded one of the most popular vegan supplement companies; VegaScott Jurek and Rich Roll are ultra-marathon runners that not only run really far, but they win races too. You’ve got bodybuilders such as Torre Washington who are demonstrating you don’t need animal protein to build a physique that rivals any carnivores. There are NFL players such as David Carter, aka the 300lb Vegan. MMA even has plant built fighters like former pro fighter, Mac Danzig. They are all pushing their bodies to extremes on a vegan diet solidifying the fact that we do not need to eat other sentient beings to push your body to its limits.

veganmillenYou’ve got your millennials who are grabbing a hold of the movement with vigor and pushing information into places it’s never reached before. With the explosion of the internet we are seeing all sorts of people posting about their vegan transitions on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and more. Statistically, the millennials have become the largest percentage of vegetarians/ vegans out of the last few generational period. It’s believed they could be the one’s to really help this movement gain some traction. Some of the biggest social media users, not expressly millennial, are the Vegan Bros who’s message if one that is much more palatable for younger generations.

You’ve got the activist who is loud and will protest with reckless abandon to prove that their argument is truth. These include people, and celebrities, such as Jane Velez-Mitchel who is hands down one of the most boisterous when it comes to ethical veganism. One of the most well know people in animal welfare circles has to be Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace (I didn’t link them for personal reasons) and the Sea Shepherd. You’ve also got well known animal rights advocates such as Will Potter who has taken more of a legal approach to his activism, but is still just adamant as others and pushes right to edge. Speaking of pushing to the edge, you’ve heard of Gary Yourofsky? Yeah, he’s one of the BIGGEST and absolutely LOUDEST advocate for animals and veganism. You may have seen him on this video below…

There is also the vegan that everyone despises; you know the holier than thou one who has that certain air of superiority in their voice that turns you off and makes you never ever think of going vegan in your whole life? They hold those words to annunciation and make you feel even shittier than you do? There’s so much condescension in their voice you are nearly driven to violence, not compassion. Ya, I knew a bunch of these jackasses way back and it’s partly what turned me off from this movement. Now if I meet one of those assholes I just ignore them, there’s not many of them left. I could name a few names but them I’m being just as big of a douchebag, so we will let you judge for yourself.

I know I’ve missed a bunch of people and ways in which activism can be represented. But I couldn’t forget one of my new favorite podcasts which is hosted by my SHVP teammate, Scott Spitz. His new podcast, The Rational Vegan, approaches activism in a, you got it, rational manner. I wrote and re-wrote a description of the podcast, but cannot sum it up any better than Scott, so here’s a snippet from the site explain the Rational Vegan.

12642635_1211424802218244_7259536695111202538_n“If we wish to promote a more ethical and compassionate way of living to the rest of the world, then it is in our own best interests to ensure that the vegan message is one that can be supported with both appeals to emotion and intellect. We need to hold ourselves to a both a high intellectual and ethical standard. If we do not, someone else will, which will in turn give the impression that veganism is either irrational, or is rife with inconsistencies. It is up to us to counter and challenge the widespread misinformation about what veganism actually is, and what it means to live vegan. – The Rational Vegan”

My point in all of this is, vegan activism takes many forms. We all have a voice.

For instance, I’m not a sign holder. I’m not a rabble-rouser. You won’t see me out there asking for signatures for a petition. You won’t see me busting down doors to labs or anything like that. I’m more like a vegan ninja.

My friends, family and co-workers all know about my veganism. I try not to bring it up, I just let it sit there. It’s when they ask a question that the box gets open. I try my best to choose my words and explain why the lifestyle benefits me physically, morally and ethically. All the while, not putting them down for their lifestyles. That approach won’t get anyone anywhere. They know about my blog and I get private messages from folks all the time asking questions. I am happy to open up and explain.

IMG_0222Because of joining Strong Hearts Vegan Power, it’s like wearing a big VEGAN sign on the front of our jerseys. Oh, well, that’s because we do wear those. But again, the shirt design are not condescending are printed with “We’ve vegans and we’re better than you!” That shit is frowned upon and again, would just turn people off. I’m proud to wear the shirt and be there if anyone needs me to be.

Of course, you are here on my blog and it’s another extension of the activism I am comfortable with. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. I use them all and repost meme’s, links and articles that I find interesting enough to pass along.

So, I’m curious: What is your type of activism? What are you doing to help promote veganism?