Powerful Anti-Meat Speaker Demands, “Take Animals Off the Menu”

A powerful speech by a former corporate executive lays out, in passionate and powerful terms, the multiple arguments for eliminating the consumption of animal products. Delivered by Australian philanthropist Philip Wollen, this video of his participation in a debate this past spring is mesmerizing:

Who is this passionate evangelist for animal rights? He’s not exactly a hippie. Philip Wollen was a successful corporate executive, who held management positions at Citicorp and Citibank. In the early 1990s he had a change of heart and has since devoted his life to philanthropy, speaking and spending his money to further animal rights and human welfare around the world through his  charity, the Winsome Constance Kindness Trust.

The ten minute speech is both hard and inspiring to watch, as Wollen makes the case for forswearing animal consumption. While he seems to exaggerate or misspeak in a couple of instances, nevertheless his words are a strong indictment of much of Western society’s collusion with the  meat industry, citing:

Animal cruelty –  The appalling terror and disgrace of factory farming, where terrified animals are slaughtered by the millions in what Wollen calls “ignoble gulags of despair.” He points not only to the animals killed for food, but to the animals that would be inconvenient if allowed to live, such as the billions of chicks that are ground up alive simply because they are male.

Human health - Wollen dismisses any argument that we need to eat animal products to be healthy, drawing attention to research at Harvard and Cornell to support this case that meat is not necessary. It seems he is referring to the Vegetarian Diet Pyramid, which, indeed, does not include meat but does include dairy and eggs.

Environmental sustainability – Livestock production places terrible demands on water and land, and causes dangerous pollution. For example, a 2008 study found that “90% of small fish caught in the world’s oceans every year such as anchovies, sardines and mackerel are processed to make fishmeal and fish oil,” which is then fed to farmed fish, pigs, and poultry.

Social justice - Demand for meat and other animal products uses up a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources, including water. Poor countries raise and export meat to developed nations for cash rather than focusing on feeding those at home.

Despite his palpable anger, Philip Wollen is not totally pessimistic.  He invokes hope through our technological progress  and the growth of the animal rights movement as the  greatest social justice issue since abolition of slavery, and urges those who do not consume animal flesh to make their voices heard. He mentions an estimate of 600 million vegetarians worldwide; this may be accurate given that India has some 400 million vegetarians, but the number of vegans is certainly much lower.

It would be a huge, perhaps fruitless challenge to convert the entire human race to a vegan diet. However, with articulate, passionate activists like Philip Wollen who use their money to support their beliefs, perhaps we can move toward a kinder, more equitable global dinner table. As Wollen suggests, the map of (inter-species) peace can be drawn on a menu.

Related Stories: 

Study Shows Vegans Are More Empathetic, Neurologically Speaking

Speciesism and Veganism: Transcending Politics and Religion

New USDA Guidelines Praise Vegetarian Diets


What's the back story of this juicy dinner item? Image: Tarale via Flickr, CC license http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarale/6688989961/


Jim Ven
Jim Vabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

Riannon, many of us, I for one, disagree with you on all points. This "speaker" wasn't even so powerful, and nothing said influenced me at all. If anyone I ever listened to about nutrition influenced me about even considering becoming vegan, it might have been Bill Clinton, but then he's not even vegan. He's a pescaterian (he admits to eating fish 2 - 3/X a week). I see you are a VERY recent member here in Care.2. Did you only read the article, or did you bother to also read comments made from it? This is not a brand new article and there are now 330 comments made, many,if not most refuting the reasons given in the article itself.

Rhiannon Bloomfield

I agree with him. No excuses to eating meat. People need to realise the unnecessary cruelty these animals are put through.

5 years ago

Even if slaughterhouse had NO walls, there are people who cannot be healthy on a plants-only diet.
There are people who have different nutritional requirements, and still care about animals. We do the best we can and have been buying strictly humanely raised organic meat in small amounts for a long time.

Some realities are just real.

Judith Howard
Judith Howard5 years ago

Something has to get in your face before you get it. Yes, if slaughterhouses did indeed have glass walls debates like this wouldn't be happening. This man is giving a voice to those who can't speak for themselves. Thank you, Mr. Wollen. Compassion in action.

Dale Overall

Phillipa, I will always eat meat, it is tasty, flavourful and since my portions are small and not a massive size like some people there is nothing wrong with my health, there is no damage. Maybe your body doesn't digest meat well, mine has no problems with it because I don't gorge myself on it and I stick to organic non-factory farm meat with no poisons in it and organic veggies.

There is absolutely nothing wrong about eating meat and all the insults and rants won't change that. Jane B, eat your tomatoes and I will eat my small amounts of organic meat, quinoa, veggies. You live in modern society and trucks carrying produce to feed you wipe out animals bringing lettuce and spinach to market.

Anyone living in modern society has an effect on animals. Your home once was a place for animals to live. Unless one lives in a cave with permission from the resident bats one has an effect on animals and birds and some of us eat them.

Dale Overall

Eating meat will never become an illegal act, even though it must be in the dreams and aspirations of vegans such as Karen P. Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot eat? Unless I become a cannibal it is none of your business what kind of meat, eggs, poultry I consume.

Not everyone consumes factory farm meat, a lot of people eat organic meat and poultry that are free range and not stuck in cages. His message does not get far with me and I get tired of self-appointed vegan evangelists/fundamentalists/cultists who think they can cram quinoa and veggies down my throat if I feel like having chicken or quail.

Most of my food is not meat but when I want to eat it you have no control over this although some aspire to ban meat eating on the planet. Forget reality and rationality, not everyone is a vegan. Those whom wish to be vegan/vegetarian, fine, as for the rest of us, we are not changing to suit you.

Dale Overall

Thank you San M! A vegan not being judgemental and calling me nasty names for eating meat! Am glad you are happy and enjoy your quinoa, spinach and many tasty foods! There are many vegan foods that are wonderful.
I try not to be harsh even when attacked but some go way out of line!

Dale Overall

Believe me, I haven't been brainwashed by any industry and certainly have lived on an organic farm and know where meat and poultry come from. Most people eating meat/poultry certainly have a good idea of the source. People know that when buying a steak it came from a cow. One can put photos of all the cows you want on the organic meat that I obtain, it won't make a difference.

If some believe that their aches and pain came from eating meat, by all means stay vegetarian. Purchasing meat or poultry from factory farms has all sorts of antibiotics/hormones in them. Why eat that when there are organic farms with natural foods/free ranging with blue skies and the sunshine? The same goes for purchasing veggies, who wants GMO or veggies constantly sprayed with pesticides when one can have organic veggies?

No Carole H., I am not brainwashed and don't eat huge portions of meat but do enjoy the taste of it along with veggies and other foods. Plants are part of the food chain but they are not the only part of the food chain. What next, the lion being told he must go vegetarian and not eat Zebra because the Zebra is sentient? Can't see the lion eating artichokes any time soon.

Dale Overall

Until Mother Nature decides to alter our DNA with life on Earth surviving by eating rock pate, it's the natural order that life survives by eating what was once living entities be it plants, animals, birds, quinoa.

Cats/Big cats such as lions are obligate carnivores, should they be given legumes to eat instead of their natural diet? Some vegans have meat free diets for cats even though cats must eat meat. Get a hamster instead!

Modern society affect animals, from the birds dying by the thousands smashing into high rise glass office tower windows, animals hits by trucks taking veggies to market.

Free range organic meat is not toxic, free of chemicals and organic veggie farms avoiding pesticides.

Plants are living but not sentient, what makes humans decide which life is better? We were designed to eat living things. If you chose not to eat meat, your choice. Addiction, if eating is an addiction so is asparagus and coconut milk.