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Let This Year be Cruelty-Free

Let This Year be Cruelty-Free

Even without our Gregorian calendars urging us to shift into 2014, I think we would all on some primal level still feel a call to transform with the seasons. Whether you are embracing the introspective quiet of winter or opening anew to the warm, expansive feeling of summer, there is change in the air… there is a stirring; a shift is taking place.

At this time of year many people choose to write out resolutions and goals, or attempt to reconnect with friends and relatives. They look forward to creating a new self in the New Year.

This year though, if we are to find a stronger, kinder, lighter self in 2014, then there is one place we would all do well to begin: by looking for where we still abide by cruelty in our lives.

In 2014, I wish for more people to ask themselves

Are the chocolate beans we enjoy in our treats picked by the hands of a child sold into slavery?

Are the pillows that cradle our heads at night made of soft feathers plucked from a living or recently murdered being?

Are our feet covered with the skin off a loving mother‘s back?

Do our life choices directly contribute to world hunger? Deforestation? Clean water shortages?

For entertainment, do we trick the slick creatures of the sea with baited and hidden hooks?

Do we watch the fox pacing in his cage, to feel somehow closer to nature?

 

Where do we look away? In what ways do we deaden our compassion for those who do not have a voice, or at least not a voice we are willing to listen to?

What items fill your pantry, house and life that show that you are still willing to abide by cruelty if it fits your “needs”? Or, more truthfully, your “wants”?

If we look honestly at our life choices, it is easy to see how many slaves still serve us, hidden from sight though they may be, and how our life choices ripple out and affect the lives of “the other”… both human and non-human.

This is the beginning of a new year. Let it be the beginning of an awakening inside you. The seasons have changed and both you and the world are ready.

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Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati

Gentle World is a vegan intentional community and non-profit organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. For more information about vegan food and other aspects of a vegan lifestyle, visit the Gentle World website and subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

251 comments

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5:47PM PDT on Apr 18, 2014

thanks

7:43AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

"What items fill your pantry, house and life that show that you are still willing to abide by cruelty if it fits your “needs”? Or, more truthfully, your “wants”?"

Since computers include animal byproducts, then perhaps some vegans will be tossing their computers out. Since car tires include animal products, will vegans stop driving and walk as alternate transportation? Musical instruments such as violins and guitars often are glued with animal byproducts. Insulin includes animal products and so do heart valves for surgery. If you live in a cold climate and use antifreeze, it is an animal product and so it the radiator fluid used for the rad. Some soy cheese include animal byproducts as do some potato chips.

http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/9-everyday-products-you-didnt-know-had-animal-ingredients.html

http://animalsmart.org/feeding-the-world/products-from-animals

7:42AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

In fact, there are many ingredients used in products that contain animal byproducts, not just our computers.

"The asphalt on roads and walkways, the concrete blocks used to build bridges, even the steel in trains and planes are made using animal products. Fatty acids and proteins are used to make lubricants and fluids. Glycerol is in brake fluid and anti-freeze while stearic acid is used to help tires hold their shape and improve their wear."

"Would you believe that even buttons used to fasten clothes can contain animal products plus the fabric dyes used to color them (?) How about fireworks? The same component used in the tire industry, stearic acid, is present in the production of fireworks. It is used to coat metal powders such as aluminium and iron which prevents oxidation, allowing compositions to be stored for a longer period of time."

7:42AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

"About 350 pharmaceutical products come from animals. Medical supplies also rely on animal products. For example; latex surgical gloves contain tallow, x-ray film contains gelatin, and wool grease is used to make thermometers heat sensitive."

"Although we should all avoid using pharmaceutical products in favour of more natural approaches to health, it may, on occasion, be advisable or even necessary to take a pharmaceutical product."

Yes, that also includes vaccines and I certainly am not going to stop getting vaccinated.

http://www.vegansecret.com/sharing.cfm?pageMode=2&title=Animal%20Ingredients&subCatID=23

So, one tells me to avoid animal products but then on a vegan site, some say to other vegans to: ..."it may, on occasion, be advisable or even necessary to take a pharmaceutical product."

And then some of these same people have the nerve to lecture others about using animal products 'for our needs' or what some label as our wants.'

7:41AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2011/05/09/12-seemingly-vegan-vegetarian-foods-that-really-arent/

If vegans don't wish to wear wool, do you think that vegetarians are going to stop wearing hats and scarves when it is -30 out there? Or will some vegetarians stop eating eggs, cheese, yogurt and drinking milk because vegans don't want them to?

Omnivores are not going to stop eating meat, many obtain meat from non-factory farms where animals are outside and in pastures with plenty of space and their barns are spacious, not at all like factory farms. The chickens are not in cages as in factory farms and milk can also be obtained from non-factory farmed organic sources without growth hormones, antibiotics or any use of GMO feed.

7:41AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

Jeaneen A said: "I wonder if the hearts of meat eaters will ever open to compassion for animals and the planet, they seem to be too selfish to care for anything but themselves. Hopefully their hearts will open and save the planet and animals."

One gets tired of how some vegans depict either omnivores or even vegetarians as 'uncaring' because we eat or drink animal products and are not vegan like you are. Many vegetarians will refuse to stop eating organic cheese, eggs and honey whether you judge them to be 'selfish' or 'lacking compassion.'

7:41AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

There are a lot of omnivores in the world that eat meat and who are you to judge if they have no compassion? Many are volunteers for shelters and help animals in many other ways. Only three percent of the entire world's population is vegan, so many people continue to use animal products and do not need to be labelled as 'not having our hearts open' or as 'selfish.' Animals raised on organic farms at least live out in the sunshine and are grazing in pastures, if no one ate meat, there would be no more sheep, cows, pigs or even chickens alive in the future. No one would see a cow or a sheep in western nations again in a 'meatless world,' which is never going to happen.

You cannot impose your way of life onto the rest of the planet simply because you sit in judgement and label the rest of us as having 'no compassion.' Using baseless stereotypes to try and effect social engineering and turn us all into vegans will not work, especially if you are typing a comment on a computer that uses animal byproducts.

8:14PM PDT on Mar 19, 2014

Thank you!

3:28AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

We must all vow to do better!

3:05AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

Well, 2014 was the year I joined this site. I was inspired after seeing an item about animal trafficking in Indonesia and started googling for petitions. So yes, I guess I am doing what the article suggests.

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