BE VEGAN — TO ALIGN VALUES WITH ACTIONS / TO WIDEN THE CIRCLE OF COMPASSION
In our collective desire for a kinder world, where shall we to begin? A good starting place is always to expand our circle of compassion to include those more vulnerable than ourselves. Individuals commonly known as “farmed animals” are some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
Many say that they love animals and would never hurt them but then thoughtlessly consume their bodies and byproducts. Consciously choosing to eat plants over persons allows a kinder world to come into possibility.
With exponential growth, more and more humans are seeing that we have to change the way society views and treats other animals. Every day, many are choosing to no longer participate in the unnecessary cruelty of animal agriculture. Mealtime is perhaps the most obvious occasion where our choices can contribute to an others oppression or liberation.
Three times a day we are each given this opportunity to confront the consequences of our food-choices. We can pause and deliberately look within ourselves, and examine our good hopes for the world — and consider any places where our actions don’t align with our ethics. In these conversations we need to be honest about the associated harms our actions (and who may be affected) so that we can choose wisely.
It is unfortunately still common for humans to relate to our plate of food in a way that is totally detached to the ethical care we all try and apply in other spheres of life. With cognitive dissonance we fragment our own practices and ignore the food violence that we do not want to problematize. This ongoing silence about the preventable deaths of countless individuals every day enables this oppression to become unseen and concealed. The invisibility of animal oppression in the human-centric world is such that few take notice of the cows, chickens, pigs, and other animals. Individuals are never themselves considered.
Piebird’s role as a sanctuary is to make visible other animal-persons. To live love loudly and celebrate each as someone special and worthy. Through our own reflection each of us can make visible the plight of other animal persons and offer ourselves a deep critique of food choices.
BE VEGAN — FOR THE ANIMALS
Like the companion animals we all love, those who are unlucky enough to be born "farm" animals are sentient, sensitive beings who experience the same feelings we do. But unlike those beloved pets, many "farm" animals are hidden away and treated like commodities at best, living full of fear and pain.
Humans share the world with other beings but they don’t share well. We have extensive one-sided relations with other animals, which can be extremely negative from their point of view. By taking a careful look at our choices, we can learn to live more harmoniously. We can co-exist with other beings and recognize others as selves with lives, experiences, stories and histories of their own. Other animals have love, joy, friendships, desires, perception, memory, and a sense of the future (including their own future). They are indeed someone, not something. Each is an individual. Everyone deserves respect.
BE VEGAN — FOR THE PLANET (CLIMATE CHANGE)
The world has focused first on tailpipes and pipelines in our effort to stop greenhouse gas emissions, but we need to expand our view to consider another industry and habit that has disastrous climate implications. Animal agriculture and it’s associated land-use generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transportation sector. Avoiding meat and dairy is “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact on Earth.
Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of deforestation, ocean acidification, habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and mass species extinction. If we are to restore health to the Earth, we must learn to live in harmony with all beings with whom we share our home.
BE VEGAN — FOR HEALTH
Going vegan is a great opportunity to learn more about nutrition and cooking, and improve your diet. You won't be consuming saturated fat from meat, milk and eggs and instead be choosing fruits and veggies high in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Some research has linked vegan diets with lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. You can eat a totally plant-based diet that supports excellent health, whilst helping animals and protecting the planet.
Since humans have no biological need to consume animal products (and health practitioners are increasingly cautioning against the harm of animal products), we can entirely withdraw our support from this exploitative practice by choosing peaceful plant-based alternatives.
BE VEGAN — FOR PEACE
Many people search for Peace while overlooking the violence inherent in the meat, dairy and egg industries. More farmed animals are killed every 5 days than the total number of humans who have been killed through all war, all genocide, and every other human-caused atrocity in recorded history (this appalling number even excludes animals who live in water and animals killed for fur & research, etc)
If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society by participating in sustained violence.
Eating animals is organized around a powerful and socially privileged group (humans) using another group (farmed animals) for their own purpose. Only through committed deeds of dismantling these systems of oppression can we build Peace. We must question all of the systems of domination that operate to limit the freedoms of others.
Veganism rejects the oppressive ideology that animals are here for us to use in whatever way we choose. This is why Piebird is a sanctuary, to be a home for those who as a species have been denied everything — and offer them peace, freedom and respect.
BE VEGAN — FOR FEMINISM
Animal agriculture primary exploits female bodies — and does so to such a degree that these industries of animal oppression are not just anti-animal, they are also anti-female. Cultural exploitation of the female reproductive system is inherent in using dairy, eggs and flesh as food. Consuming animal products proliferates yet another attempt to control the female body, when we should be encouraging everyone to stand up to the systematic abuse of female-identifying persons.
Widening our circle of compassion to include all species helps to end the cycle of oppression that results when one group seeks to exploit another that it judges as inferior.
Veganism is to embrace resistance to patriarchal violence. Veganism imagines a society grounded in respect for the autonomy and dignity of all.
BE VEGAN — FOR ANTI-SPECIESISM JUSTICE
In order to better understand the issue of human oppression over other animal-persons, it is helpful to understand the major moral concern of “speciesism.” Speciesism, meaning bias against members of other animal species, is a type of human-centric ideologically that denies the interests of other-animals any moral consideration equal to humans. The interests of other animal-persons are seen as inferior and thus their lives are defined by human interests, for human use.
Like the related and better-known bias-based ideologies such as racism and sexism, the idea that human interests are above those of other animals is no longer defensible. Particularly, the “lesser than” assumptions that hold the core of speciesism in place are no longer deemed scientific — it is well documented that the intellectual and emotional lives of other animal-persons are richer than ever understood before. Consciousness and broad emotional awareness are common among all animals, human and others.
Yet, the ongoing normalization of speciesism enables the hugely coercively power exerted over other animal-persons. Speciesism is institutionalized so humans can profit fiscally, socially, and culturally by exploiting animal-persons. Because of denial mechanisms that justify participation and ignore the consequences, speciesism allows humans to participate in vast animal oppression, neglecting their suffering or individuality.
Veganism is a rejection of the speciesist mindset and calls for justice and liberation of animals. Veganism educates, and it leads by example.