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We Will Be Heard

We Will Be Heard

“I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation… Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen;—but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest—I will not equivocate—I will not excuse—I will not retreat a single inch—AND I WILL BE HEARD.”

~ William Lloyd Garrison, American abolitionist (January 1, 1831)

 

November 1st – celebrated around the globe as World Vegan Day – is the first day of World Vegan Month, and kicks off a whole thirty days of vegan awareness activities, to be carried out all across the planet.

Some readers may wonder what makes the vegan cause worthy of an entire month dedicated to its awareness, and why it inspires such a passion in those of us who are dedicated to spreading the message.

When we advocate for the widespread adoption of vegan values, we speak for the entire population of humanity’s victims – from wild animals who are hunted and exterminated to make way for the ravages of human excess, to domesticated animals who are bred, confined (whether in crates or paddocks), and ultimately killed so that people can make use of the products of their misery.

These billions upon billions of sentient beings are considered, by today’s ‘civilized’ society, to be nothing more than chattel property, and their owners are legally entitled to subject them to many forms of barbaric cruelty in the name of profit, convenience or pleasure.

How can we who see this injustice not be moved to speak out on their behalf? In the dark days when the horrific custom of enslaving our fellow human beings was accepted behavior, the abolitionists could not, in good conscience, remain silent. We too, will continue to speak on behalf of freedom, until all beings are free.

The pandemic of violence in the world calls to us to reevaluate our relationship with non-human animals – who are victims of the most extreme forms of our collective violence – and to recognize that they are no more meant to be our possessions than African-Americans, women, children, or any other living beings. They too, are individuals, who value their lives, feel pain, fear death, and have a right to live free from oppression.

On this world vegan day, I think I speak for many vegan activists when I say that we, like the abolitionists before us, will continue to shout it from the rooftops and the hilltops, until the human race recognizes the inherent right of all sentient beings to be free from the shackles of slavery. We will continue to speak out on behalf of humanity’s innocent victims until we put a stop to the breeding-exploiting-killing cycle that keeps tens of billions of animals annually in chains of oppression, from factory farms to family farms, from battery cages to backyards.

This cycle of exploitation not only burdens our planet with the weight of a population of billions bred solely to serve the desires of humans, it also prohibits us from moving forward into a more peaceful and prosperous future, the inhabitants of which reject violence and bloodshed as a matter of principle.

We know that there are people, many of them, who do not want to hear what we say, and who will continue to ridicule our position and ignore our message in favor of maintaining the status quo, and the destructive habits that go along with it… We know that the majority of the human population, apparently, would rather see innocent beings killed than accept minor taste sacrifices or inconveniences. And we know that most people simply are not willing to examine their own participation in the extreme misery we have been conditioned to accept without question.

But there is something else we know. We know that every single person who has decided to take a stand against animal slavery has done so because of an experience of profound realization, and that for many, the epiphany occurred because of something they learned from someone else. That fact alone is sufficient to motivate us to continue to speak for those who do not speak our languages, until justice is served and freedom for all is attained.

The vegan evolution is occurring one step at a time, one person at a time… one realization at a time. For those of you who are on the brink of breaking through: Do It Now. Your only regret will be that you waited so long.
For those of you who are not yet convinced: Perhaps, one day soon, you will join the movement of those who have experienced the joy of freeing their slaves.

Until then, don’t expect us to be silenced, for we are in earnest—We will not equivocate—We will not excuse—We will not retreat a single inch—AND WE WILL BE HEARD.

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Image: Wanda Embar

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222 comments

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8:44PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

There is nothing extreme about the vegan perspective it's simply a belief, or knowing, or as the writer put, “a profound realization” that all animals are sensient beings and therefore participating in their suffering and torture isn't even considered to be option any longer. As far as the environmental impacts of factory farming vs. organic agriculture, industrial factory farming uses far more water, produces far more waste and yields far less when using the same amount of resources. And fruits, vegetables and grains are not a low quality food. Human beings evolved on diets with far less protein than we consume today and the majority of it did not come from animal protein, in fact there have been studies linking excess animal protein to increased risks of certain cancers. And yes, we can feed the masses with organic farming. Yes, the current industrialized mono-culture system is unsustainable. It requires synthetic fertilizers to replace the dirt and top soils that are wastefully washed away each season however, the farming systems that were used before industrialized farming prevent that. It's been coined permaculture and it's modeled based on relationships and patterns found in natural ecologies. Working with nature, not against it. And finally, as far as what we would do with our current population of imprisoned and tortured animals speaking from a personal point of view, if it were me being the one confined, tortured and suffering I would welcome death. An

10:00AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Common sense Jamie...agree

9:44AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

I wonder if these vegan extremist are of the same type of thinking that believes a fertilized egg that is killed is murder. What do you propose we do with the billions of farm animals once we all go vegan? should we turn them loose to destroy our one remaining source of food plant life? Or should we do as PETA does and humanely destroy them. What is going to happen to our planet once we convert all of our remaining forest to cropland to support the increased production of low quality food necessary to support vegans? What about all the increase in agricultural chemicals and runoff. Do you honestly believe that we can raise enough food to feed the billions of people organically? You really do mean well, but you really are not better than everyone else just because you are vegan. Death is a necessary part of life without it the world would become a very crowded very dirty place very quickly.

4:18AM PDT on Aug 25, 2011

I can see only two possible ends for those species of animal that have been domesticated as meat and/or dairy animals or meat and egg birds: 1) Remaining so, with maybe some shift to emphasize the milk or eggs more so meat becomes the by-product of milk or eggs, or 2) The species becomes extinct. Cows do not make good pets. Even when meat is the by-product of milk, for every cow kept ten years and producing ten calves in those ten years, one heifer calf is raised as a replacement. Eighty percent of heifer calves are killed at one to two years of age as meat and 95% of bull calves are raised as meat rather than breeding stock. We no longer use oxen as draft animals, so we would have no use for cattle and would allow them to become extinct. Is a short life as a meat animal for the vast majority of cattle so much worse than extinction as a species, that extinction is preferable to short lives as meat animals?

10:13PM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

Thank you for writing such an amazing piece Angel♥

11:48PM PDT on May 7, 2011

I always wonder why carnivores feel the need to constantly criticise vegetarians and vegans. Go find a better way to get rid of your angst.

5:03AM PST on Feb 10, 2011

Adam G.: Yeesh, you're all heart, aren't you?

4:05PM PST on Dec 11, 2010

I wish I'd seen this last month! I would've tripled my meat intake :D
oh well, I'll have to do it this month instead. I've just found out about another area close by that has a kangaroo problem so "skippy" is on the menu ;)

7:22PM PST on Nov 14, 2010

Some of the comments mentioned killing plants. It has already been said that many more plants get killed when they are first fed to "farmed" animals instead of being directly eaten by humans. I wish to add that it is possible to easily choose vegan food that does not involve killing the plant. That is not being restrictive, since I made that observation purely by chance. Potatoes do involve killing the plant but I largely gave them up because I work shift work and use the internet a lot, and if I have not slept enough during the previous night, a meal with potatoes puts me to sleep. In addition to the "usual" fruits, many foods called vegetables in everyday speech are actually fruits (tomatos, cucumbers etc.), and most processed foods come from seeds (pasta, corn flakes, tomato sauce, soya milk, soya burgers ... are just a random selection). Vegans and other ethical consumers are always looking at new ways to avoid harm to others. I do not think that animals just stand there to be killed by harvesters, which are very noisy. To avoid urban sprawl and minimise timber use, I live in an apartment.

I have not read the first (oldest) half of the comments below. Unfortunately, all those news items and forwards from Care2 "friends" have turned into an end in themselves, and I only manage to follow up some, and it has been weeks since I have even looked at, let alone commented a vegan article on the "Care2 Causes".

8:27PM PST on Nov 13, 2010

a really nice Thanksgiving greeting -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rptFAq3l-ew

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