Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M. beautifully delves into the psychology of what we eat and why. I remember in college learning about how we have learned to more easily kill our enemy from a distance. This thought has resurfaced time and time again as I think about people who eat meat and dairy, what Melanie Joy calls Carnism “The invisible ideology that disconnects us from our rationality, our feelings and our values. And which enables a massive global injustice.”
Melanie highlights concisely yet thoroughly the pure integrity of being vegan. She furthermore delves rather deep into the inherent violence with carnism and the inescapable cognitive dissonance associated with this invisible ideology. She sets the premise for explaining this “invisible ideology” with saying “We tend to assume that only vegans and vegetarians follow a belief system. When eating animals is not a necessity, which is the case in much of the world today, then it is a choice. And choices always stem from beliefs.”
After becoming ill from eating a burger with Campylobacter bacteria Melanie quit eating meat. She described her diet change as a paradigm shift. When she explains the experience of seeing the world differently I could really relate. Now when Melanie witnesses others eating meat she sees “people putting the bodies of dead animals in their mouths as if nothing at all were wrong”. So she set off to figure out “how rational caring people, like myself, could just stop thinking and feeling.”
Melanie does an amazing job explaining the belief systems, choices, and ideology of veganism and Carnism, a term she coined. She boldly confronts us with the violence meat and dairy eaters are in denial of which totally conflicts with core values. She follows this up beautifully saying “Our pain is the mirror in which we can see the reflection of our humanity.” Then she delineates various ways in which we pay for our carnism and enable it through denial, justification, and cognitive distortions.
Melanie even explains that the mentality which enables all violent ideologies (racism, sexism, etc…) are the same. She says “It’s the mentality of domination and subjugation, of privilege and oppression. It’s the mentality that causes us to “turn someone into something. To reduce a life to a unit of production. It is the might-makes-right mentality that makes us feel entitled to wield complete control over the lives and deaths of those with less power-just because we can…” “And so if we fail to pick out the common threads that are woven through all violent ideologies, then we will recreate atrocities in new forms.”
Check out the great video of her speech at TEDx Talks to learn more!
“If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.”
As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.
This video, appropriately titled “The Most Important Speech You Will Ever Hear”, by Gary Yourofsky was one of the most inspirational and important when I first became vegan.
Originally, I became vegan for health reasons. I just didn’t feel healthy with my traditional diet. Gary challenged me to really think about the ethics and logic in a much deeper way.
This video is the pinnacle of logic being put well. It expresses for ethics what “Cowspiracy” does for the environment. Gary’s presentation is so important that I also rank it up with other great, significant documentaries like “Mission Blue” and “Food Matters“. All these fuel veganism with such meaningful integrity. So be sure to check all these videos out after this!
Welcome to “the world’s oldest and strongest addiction”
When what we do makes sense on every level we are much stronger. We are living in harmony with our body, mind, community, all of life, and the world. We enable our existence to maintain being a part of the universe.
Being a healthy Vegan is quintessential to the continuity needed for good mental health. It fosters physical health as well. And veganism’s integrity is so omnipresent, far beyond you, perpetuating a difference across the planet.
Here’s a start of some interesting
“It is never ok to be picking and choosing which forms of discrimination to be opposed to”
“The Golden Rule states, do unto others as you would have done unto yourself. Animals qualify as others. And, though shall not kill. The four most important yet most ignored words in all religious teachings.”
“Speciesism: the unethical, unprincipled point of view that the human species has every right to exploit, enslave, and murder another species. And all because we believe our species is so more special, so more superior than the other ones. We’re the only ones that count and we’re the only ones that matter. That line of thinking, that thought process, that is the bases of all forms of discrimination.”
“Understand something essential about discrimination. It is never ok to be picking and choosing which forms of discrimination to be opposed to. Which ones to say are evil, racism, and which ones to say are ok, speciesism. Discrimination is evil in its foundation or it’s not. Cannot have this one both ways, it does not work like that.”
When sharing a video of what goes on in a slaughterhouse, Gary says to his audience “if you choose to eat meat, milk, cheese, and eggs I think at the very least you are obligated to see the pain and suffering your are causing. But if you do feel a need to turn away or close your eyes during this video, you might need to ask yourself a question. If it’s not good enough for my eyes then why is it good enough for my stomach?”
“Right now, on American highways, there are no less than 5,000 concentration camp trucks. Trucks that we constructed. Inside these trucks there are living, terrified, innocent beings; Cows and pigs and chickens. These trucks are being driven to concentration camp slaughterhouses that we’ve carefully constructed all across America. When the trucks arrive the animals are so frightened they won’t even get off the truck. They’re not stupid, they know what’s next. So, people go on the trucks with electric prods and force them to walk down the shoots to their own death… inside, these innocent, living beings are hanged upside down fully conscious. In other words, they go in live against their will and come out chopped up into hundreds of pieces. Do you know what’s more insane than that? Meat eaters walking around like their lifestyle isn’t causing any harm! Like it’s normal and natural to be consuming violence and death. How would you feel if the day you were born somebody else had already planned the day of your execution?”
Our culture and traditions have come from such deep, dark paths. We really need to assess what we’re doing and why when it comes to all our learned rituals. We all interpret life in our own way. But, the reality of our actions is something we should thoroughly consider. Otherwise, we become the victim as well as the assailant of our mindless habits.
We should not discriminate when it comes to the victim of torture and murder. All animals have a right to live and share in this world free from senseless harm, like that inflicted by humans.
Killing chickens for a religious ritual is as absurd as eating chicken. Using another animal as a food source is absolutely not necessary in this day and time for modern civilizations. It is not healthy, it is not sustainable,
Did you know that if you drink milk you are nor just stealing milk from a baby calf? You’re stealing a baby calf from it’s mother. This is no different to the victims, the mother cow and baby calf, than it would be for you and your mother if you were separated from each other.
The Price of Milk, Cheese (dairy) and veal: Separation of a cow and her calf
Gary Yourofsky has delivered thousands speeches around the world. Gary enlightens, shocks people with reality, and provokes his audience to think the most powerful, ethical points of veganism. To learn more visit adaptt.org and Gary’s channel on YouTube.
“People who’ve been oppressed understand oppression better than others.”
“When you hide the truth from people then you have atrocities take place.”
“That brings to mind a quote that made me go vegan from a bishop from England, William Ralph Inge, in an 18th century sermon. This man said that we have treated our cousins in fur and feather so horribly that beyond a doubt if they ever formed an organized religion the devil would be depicted in human form.”
“We cut things off their bodies, their horns while they’re fully conscious off the cows, we cut the beaks off of hens, we rip the testicles out of baby pigs when they’re born, we torment them, put them on concentration camp trucks, we send them to slaughter houses, they know what’s going on, they’re aware, they’re conscious, they smell death and fear and blood in the air, we cut them up in pieces, this stuff has to stop.”
“When confronted with comparing the animal holocaust to the Jewish holocaust: “we’re talking 12 million people were killed by the Nazi’s, in one year alone on this planet 60 billion land animals 90 billion marine animals are tortured, tormented, and killed in the world’s most massive holocaust. That’s just in one year alone. In America today, 30 million land animals will be tortured and killed in one day alone.”
“If you took humans off this planet the extinction of humans would benefit everything that exists; the animals, the forest, the air, the water, the mountains… if you removed ants, this is how special ants are, the whole ecosystem would collapse without ants… if the bees disappear everything falls apart.”
When questioning Gary’s perspective that people who run slaughter houses are like Nazi’s: “sure, to their victims they are. It doesn’t really matter what I think. To me yes, but most importantly to their victims. The victims don’t see the people that kill Jews any different than the people who kill cows”
When the argument of nature being full of species killing other species: “It’s also full of species not killing other species. 75% of the animals on this planet are herbivores. But why do we try to justify human behavior based on lion behavior or shark behavior? It’s also unfair because nobody else wants to do any else that lions do. You notice that convenient argument, we just want to do what the lions do when they eat Antelope.”
The interviewer also inquired about humane killing. Gary cleverly retorts with an analogy of taking a women on a date, wining and dining her, then slipping her a date rape drug and raping her. He then asks “is that humane? Why not? She didn’t feel a thing! See cause the act of rape of evil ok the act of killing is evil. We can’t do it in a nice way…”
Asked, are we progressing at a pace that is sufficient: “not quickly enough for the victims. But, sadly, as you know, change is slow. I t took us four hundred years to convince white people in America not to own blacks. You can see why this is taking so long. We can’t even treat each other kindly, you can see why we have a difficult time treating chickens, and pigs, and cows… with kindness. As I bring this up I want to let people know that the path to peace is through veganism.”
“We can find peace on this planet by eradicating speciesism. Because this is the first form of hatred humans are taught. Racism, sexism, Antisemitism, hetero-sexism, these are branches of hatred. The root is speciesism because that’s the first form of hatred humans are taught. When you’re a kid growing up you’re taught be nice to the dog, be nice to the cat, but that cow and that chicken he doesn’t count, just kill him, screw them. Uh, be nice to the horse, be upset when someone poaches a rhino, be upset when somebody cuts the fins off of a shark. Hey, but that turkey, kill him, it’s thanksgiving, it’s a holiday. So, the kid is confused growing up. So when we get down to talking about discrimination and why it’s wrong and where it comes from, it all stems from that somebody looks and acts differently than you. If you taught a child growing up that hey, just because chicken looks differently than you do, that chicken has every right to live, that spider has every right to live, just like you do. How is that child going to grow up and look at a different person who’s a different size, shape and color, how is that kid going to look at that person in hatred, with violence. Speciesism, by eradicating that, we can bring peace to this planet. ”
When inquiring about Gary’s focus on the moral aspect of being vegan, and if it would be more effective to stand on the health and ecological reasons, Gary beautifully responds with “Because the issue is going to be ethics to me. Health issues are selfish reasons, I’m trying to make people unselfish, the reason why we’re so mean to animals is because we think we’re so special. I’m trying to make people altruistic. Now here’s what I love about the health benefits of veganism. When you’re being altruistic you should never anything in return. When you’re vegan you get a lot of great things in return; your health, you’re good to the earth. Let’s face it, the worst form of environmental destruction is animal agriculture. So there’s some great benefits and kickbacks. But, without a clear conscience, without mental health, we can’t have physical health. So if you’re going to focus on the physical health aspects and miss this (mental) aspect you’re still not right.”
“The Real Matrix”, does an incredible job penetrating the false logic instilled in us from culture. Follow through this video and you will be forced to face the reality of what you’re eating, the lies you are living off of, the tragic industries you are supporting, and introduces you to the lives you are destroying and killing as a non-vegan; as he puts it “Meet your Meat”.
Everyone should watch this entire video for a reality check:
This video is full of powerful example and analogies that you just have to watch, quotes are hard to pull from the full effect of their work. Nonetheless, here are just a few of the many awesome points made in this video:
3:53 “If you’re told the lie enough times, it becomes part of your reality. And if enough people were taught that lie, that the blue circle is larger than the red, then now it becomes part of the culture. And if that culture then passes that misinformation along to the next generation, now it becomes tradition. And what we have to remember is that just because we have a tradition, it does not mean it is morally acceptable. Tradition and morality are not always the same. I mean can you think of any traditions that we once had in the United States of America that we no longer have? That today we think back and that was immoral?”
5:38 “Every year in the U.S. 10 billion… Yes, 10 billion cows, Pigs, and chickens are being slaughtered for food.”
6:12 “We can slaughter 300 animals, every second, and not question that. Because of the story we have been told. The story justifies the action.”
36:47 “70% of antibiotics produced in the U.S. are fed to farm animals.”
38:48 “But, Milk must be good for kids, though, right? Because every school I’ve been into, elementary, middle and high school, there is all one product being served. What product is that? (Milk.)
39:00 “What is the #1 cause of food allergies among infants and children?”
39:37 “What countries drink the most milk? What is osteoporosis?: USA, UK, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Remember what have we been taught? “Drink cow’s milk, get strong bones”. Which countries have the highest rate of osteoporosis?: USA, UK, Sweden, Finland and Norway”
41:03 “In fact, if you look at countries in Africa and Asia, they don’t suffer from very high rates of osteoporosis. They also do not drink very much cow’s milk, if not at all.”
37:23 “Every story has an author. Who is the author of this story? (Dairy industry) Right. And what is the ultimate goal of the dairy industry? Why would the dairy industry be some holier than thou company. I mean, if I said to you “Cigarettes, it does the body good!” You’d probably say I work for the cigarette company, right? None of us would believed that. Why believe this?”
37:42 “And if you believe that milk does the body good, why would 75% of the human population be lactose intolerant? Do you know that means, that 3 out of every 4 people on this planet, when they drink milk, they suffer from one of these symptoms: diarrhea, stomach ache, gassiness, bloating, ear infection, excess mucus.”
42:45 In comparing Cow’s milk to alternatives, like Soy, Rice, Almond, etc…, the amount of calcium is usually the same. But, “plants have fiber, no cholesterol. Animal products, no fiber, and high in cholesterol.”
43:53 “The greatest trick ever pulled was convincing people they need to drink milk. Dairy is the worst. In terms of the cruelty inflicted upon the animals, they suffer for a longer period of time, and it’s just completely unnatural and unhealthy. It’s unhealthy. And there is a reason why people love their cheese and their milk: it is meant to be addictive.”
44:54 Milk “has a chemical called casomorphin. When you digest it, that chemical is released. Casomorphin is morphine. It makes you giddy. It makes you want more. It makes your brain think “Eat more, eat more””
“68% of all diseases in the U.S. are diet related.”
45:38 Top 3 leading causes of death in America are “Cancer, heart disease, stroke. Every 40 seconds somebody suffers a stroke in the U.S. And that’s the American Stroke Association. The American Heart Association says that every 24 seconds somebody suffers a heart attack in the U.S. And the Institute for Cancer Research say that every day 3,400 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer.”
57:20 “You can get everything from this (Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes, Whole Grains, Nuts & Seeds), everything. All your vitamins, A, B, C. Vitamin D from the sun. You get all your calcium , all your iron, your omega-3, all your protein and amino acids.”
50:39 “You know why these animals don’t suffer from these diseases? Because they eat what is natural to their anatomy. When it comes to diet, we are the dumbest species on this planet.”
Details from the video:
Published on May 9, 2012
A fascinating and entertaining presentation on the ethical solutions and health benefits of veganism by James Wildman of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida (http://arff.org).
The goal of ARFF’s Humane Education program is to encourage a sense of personal responsibility toward animals and the planet, to empower young people to make conscious, compassionate choices, and to encourage critical thought.