The organic, humane speciesists

A short narrative:

People I know said: “We stopped eating meat!”

Same people said: “We just love organic stuff, and recently when we went to our local organic farm we saw how lovely these farmers were and just how lovingly they kept their cows … and guess what, it was even the first time we ate some red meat again.”

Speciesism is a sign of not only a lack of basic fundamental necessary human empathy, it also indicates a lack of rational common sense. If you don’t understand what I mean, please read this text by Vasile Stanescu

Why “Loving” Animals is Not Enough: A Response to Kathy Rudy, Locavorism, and the Marketing of “Humane” Meat

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jacc.12017/abstract

Listen to an abbreviated version here:

Vasile Stanescu, “Why loving animals is not enough: a feminist critique”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nndAHEgwRmM

 

Animal Portrayals in Mythology: Eating Animals and Moral Decay – Iblis and Zahhak in the Shahnameh

Animal Portrayals in Mythology: Eating Animals and Moral Decay – Iblis and Zahhak in the Shahnameh.

This also is an interesting case of an ‘absent referent’, who yet is (one could maybe say:) “an absent ethical factor’.

An interpretation by Farangis of ‘Zahhak and Iblis’:

The epic Shahnameh tells us about people’s behavior in a language full of images. The people and the kings decide for themselves and for others. There are the loved and the unloved rulers, everywhere we come across the intelligent, the stupid, the prudent, the weak, the strong, the active and the apathetic.

One tale of the Shahnameh epic seemed of special interest to Farangis, a story which tells about the human behavior in relation to diet or eating habits, in which a normally neglected aspect is being described of how someone experiences a change in character because of their eating habit.

Today we learn a lot about the impact of our eating habits on our physical health. In this story about Zahhak the attention is directed towards the damaging impact a diet can have on the mental condition or on the soul. The story tells how eating killed animals has changed the character of people. Shouldn’t we consider this story as relevant for our current society?

Read the story here: http://zahhak.farangis.de/index.htm, or in an alternative version here: https://www.simorgh.de/objects/131208_1/. The Warner and Warner translation excerpt can be read here: http://zahhak.farangis.de/sources/zahhak_excerpt.pdf. (It must be noted that the original Persian version is completely not alike the Warner translation.)

* the passage in the story mainly referred to, is the section “How Iblis turned Cook”.

We’ve long been featuring this story on this blog in our links section (see below). During the time of our blogging on here we have collected so far a few items on Animal Mythology and on the issue of Animal Portrayals. Please see these sections:

https://www.simorgh.de/objects/category/animal-portrayals/

http://simorgh.de/niceswine/tag/animal-mythologies-and-representations

http://simorgh.de/niceswine/category/sources-for-the-animal-portrayals-series

https://www.simorgh.de/objects/tag/mythology/ (some entries may overlap)

http://simorgh.de/about/category/tierethik-und-mythologie/ this is in German )

Finally: Two protagonists in the Shahnameh eventually find out that the only existing cure to “the malady” is a complete removal of a violence-based “nutrition”; all blood and everything that’s been gained through violence has to be removed from one’s body.

Park-Kim Sujin: The Concept of Human-Centrism in the Intellectual History of Both the East and West

The Concept of Human-Centrism in the Intellectual History of Both the East and West

Talking About Animal Rights: Philosophies and Ideas about Animal Rights (Part 1)

By Park-Kim Sujin
Translated by Kang Eun-sil

How come we don’t feel guilty about exploiting animals?

The philosophies or thoughts of prominent philosophers or thinkers have influence on those of ordinarypeople not only in the times of those philosophers and thinkers but also in later times. This becomes clear when we consider the male-centered ideology that has justified suppression of and discrimination against women, or the ideology of capitalism, which have exercised enormous influence for a long time.

The general thoughts members of society have regarding a specific object or matter are the outcome of the philosophies and thoughts that emerged in former generations and have had a great influence. This is also true of the debate over animal rights. The perception of non-human animals shown in Eastern and Western philosophies and thoughts are found in modern people’s thoughts and attitudes.

Behind human beings’ perception that non-human animals are a mere means to human ends, not living beings, are the philosophies and thoughts that regard non-human animals as things or means. It can be hardly denied that in both the East and West, human beings’ perception of non-human animals has been entirely human-centered. Highly influential philosophers in the East and West contributed to ordinary people developing such ideas.

Western philosophers’ perception of non-human animals and humans

On the premise that only humans have reason, Aristotle said human beings were justified in using non-human animals as resources because they were ranked lower than humans.

Descartes saw the ability to use signs, symbols and languages as an important difference between humans and non-human animals. He argued that it was justifiable to discriminate against non-human animals that had neither reason nor the ability to use languages. He said the sounds produced by non-human animals were not a language but automatic responses like innate gestures.

For Descartes, non-human animals were nothing more than machines without souls. So, he felt no guilt in dissecting a living dog placed on a table. For him, the scream the dog made during dissection was little different from the sound produced when the spring or gear wheels of a watch were disassembled.

John Locke said God granted reason only to humans. He argued that as humans were the only beings with reason, they had ownership of nature. For him, nature was something God permitted humans to conquer, and thus it was natural for inferior non-human animals to obey superior humans.

Amid the increasing presence of pessimists who believed human beings did not have reason, Kant tried to restore reason—which was disappearing from the attention of other philosophers—saying, “Only humans have reason.” He said “We humans do not have any direct duty with regard to non-human animals. As non-human animals do not have self-awareness, they are a mere means to accomplish a certain end. The end is humans.”

Even after discovering that non-human animals too feel pain…

In modern society, non-human animals are being exploited and abused in even more ways.<

If the arguments of the philosophers above—Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, and Chevalier—are accepted, the exploitation and abuse of non-human animals will be justified. Acknowledging humans’ ownership and control over non-human animals will allow humans to conquer, use, and kill non-human animals for the purposes of their interest and convenience.

Furthermore, as non-human animals are considered nothing more than machines, humans do not have to feel guilty or disturbed for using them. Reason is the exclusive property of humans, and non-human animals lacking reason cannot possibly have self-awareness.

The thoughts and arguments of the philosophers above have constituted the basis on which humans today understand nature, non-human animals and the world.

There is one thing more horrible about humans today, however. While people in the past did not believe non-human animals could feel pain, philosophers and many others today acknowledge that non-human animals can feel pain. In this respect, people today seem crueler than their predecessors because they are paying little attention to the exploitation of and violence against beings that can feel pain.

Which Is Crueler? Humans or Non-Human Animals?

There are a few things I want to discuss at this point. I found something strange in what the Western philosophers above argued. The world has changed, and humans no longer lead a life completely dependent on God. So, we should rethink the assertion that God granted reason only to humans.

Furthermore, we need to think about what “reason” really is. It is commonly said that only humans have reason. But, looking at things happening across the world, we may come to doubt that humans are really equipped with reason. If reason is a good thing and all humans have it, how can we explain numerous problems happening across the world such as sexual abuse, domestic violence, unfair labor issues, and discrimination and violence against minorities including the disabled, immigrants and homosexuals? If “a certain order” truly exists in human beings, as Chevalier put it, how can we explain the disorderliness of the world today?

Humans ranked non-human animals lower than themselves and dismissed the sound produced by them as not a language. They also differentiated themselves from non-human animals and defined the emotions and languages of beings other than humans from their perspective, saying, “They are not languages.” All this shows how selfish humans are.

I’d like to raise a question: who granted humans the right to rank non-human animals lower than themselves and to make use of them as they want? Some say humans behaving like non-human animals could bring about an catastrophe. But I think it may be the other way around. Non-human animals becoming as cruel as humans would cause a bigger catastrophe.

The understanding of animals’ rights may have to begin with raising questions about what we have taken for granted. A similar approach has been made to the understanding of homosexuality. While people in the past tried to explain the causes  of homosexuality, people today think about the causes of heterosexuality or ask heterosexuals questions like “How do you distinguish love and friendship?”

The lives of all living beings are equal in Buddhist philosophy

Then, how are humans and non-human animals viewed in Eastern philosophies? To begin with, let’s examine Buddhist philosophy, which teaches respect for life. Buddhist philosophy is highly different from Western philosophy in its perspective on non-human animals.

The respect for life that Buddhist philosophy teaches is not confined to the lives of humans. It holds that the lives of all living creatures, humans and non-human animals, should be respected. From the perspective of Buddhism, the phenomenon of appearance is nothing more than an outer cover created by karma. The nature of all living creatures is permanent and completely free, and thus no discrimination exists between humans and non-human animals.

The absolute freedom and equality of Buddhism are applied to all living creatures regardless of their status in the hierarchy. Life should not be used as a means or tool to achieve something because it itself is the goal to be realized. Any living creature must not be killed, discriminated against or repressed.

In Buddhism, the concept of “Buddha” does not refer to Sakyamuni [the historical Buddha] alone; everything in the world is thought to be a Buddha. All of the things that comprise the world, including mountains and fields, sky and wind, humans and non-human animals, are Buddhas, no discrimination is found among them.

Buddhism does not allow dividing animals into humans and non-human animals, calling the division a sort of “delusion.” These fundamental ideas and attitude of Buddhism prove that Buddhism, unlike other philosophies, sees non-human animals as beings, not things.

Mercy belongs to humans, and hatred to non-human animals?

However, the Buddhist ideology that does not allow discrimination among all living creatures does not seem to have any direct effect on modern people’s perception of or attitudes towards non-human animals. That is because many Buddhist followers and teachers still see non-human animals as things.

Many Buddhist leaders who put emphasis on reaching nirvana believe only humans can reach nirvana and see non-human animals as lowly things. We can find many passages in Buddhist books that associate humans with affection and mercy, and non-human beings with hatred, jealousy, and other negative emotions. Furthermore, many Buddhists believe being born as non-human animals is the result of bad karma in a past life.

Park-Kim Sujin, who interviews lesbians for her Ilda column “Over the Rainbow,” is writing another column called “Talks of Animal Rights.” This column will provide an opportunity to learn of animal rights, a still-unfamiliar concept to Korean society, and to lead an ecological life that seeks harmony between humans and non-human animals.

*Original article: http://www.ildaro.com/sub_read.html?uid=6386&section=sc3&section2

Posted 2nd December 2013 by ILDA: http://ildaro.blogspot.de/2013/12/the-concept-of-human-centrism-in.html

Marseille based vegan band Velvetine

We asked Stef from the Marseille based French band Velvetine about how they would describe themselves as a vegan band:

Ethically / politically: The members of Velvetine are vegan, antispeciesist, antisexisist and antiracist. Our third opus “Un jour ordinaire” is dedicated to animal liberation. Velvetine plays in places militant as in not militant places, to spread the antispeciesist message as widely as possible.

Velvetine’s style: using guitars, voices and machines, distilling an electro-rock blend of savage poetry. Colored by subtle harmonies, Velvetine draws up a tormented and powerful mood from deep running roots in ethnic and noisy music. The release of our next album is planned for spring 2014.

Un jour ordinaire

Des oiseaux empalés rôtissent dans les vitrines.
Des corps démembrés garnissent les étals.
Sur le pont des bateaux, des poissons tressaillant
Lentement s’asphyxient

Dans des hangars fétides, de mornes vies s’écoulent
On coupe à vif, des becs, des dents, des testicules
On enfonce des embucs jusqu’au fond des gosiers
Partout roulent des camions bourrés de condamnés
Ceux qu’on va égorger, saigner.

En ce jour ordinaire, ceux qui ont peur et mal
Se comptent par millions
En ce pays en paix, la torture et le meurtre
Sont le lot quotidien
Et maintenant, et maintenant
Ça dure encore
Et maintenant, et maintenant

From Velvetine’s album Septembre which also thematized Animal Liberation.

Connect via

Bandcamp: http://velvetine.bandcamp.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Velvetine/377544125513

Knives and Forks for Freedom on awareness and the complexity of ethical veganism

Vegan punks, Knives and Forks for Freedom

Cody, multitasking member of the political hardcore punk band Knives and Forks for Freedom from Canada, tells us his thoughts on the complexity of ethical veganism:

For me, living in the industrial capitalist world, there is almost no reason not to be vegan. I believe that not enough people are truly aware of the consequences of supporting industrial animal agriculture. It is safe to say that the majority of the population is mostly unaware, or chooses not to acknowledge the reality of the practices of factory farming and slaughterhouses. Animals are born into a life of confinement in poor conditions until their brutal slaughter, very often done without anaesthesia. It’s very obvious that this is the reason slaughterhouses are not made of glass walls and are often located in remote areas, safe from public awareness. Otherwise, so much less people would knowingly support this industry.

I generally have a reasonably optimistic view on humanity though. I’m sure most people would be opposed to these practices if they were more aware of them. After all, many people like animals, such as their pets. No one would want their dog or cat to have to experience a life of confinement, neglect and torture. But because of the complete disconnect with where this food comes from, no one really thinks about it. It seems that most people are led to believe in vague myths that this food comes from traditional family farms where animals live happily. But instead, what we have is intensive factory operations whose primary goal is to create profit as efficiently and cheaply as possible.

On top of all of this, industrial animal agriculture generates so much pollution and causes great environmental damage. It also requires so much more grains, soy and water to feed livestock than the food created from plants. It’s just very inefficient and unsustainable. So by simply refusing to support the industry, it creates less demand for the products and then creates less harm. So for me, the refusal to support these industries is also rooted in an anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist way of thinking.

At a larger level, we live in a culture based on hierarchy and power. Animal’s being forced to spend their lives in confinement and poor conditions for people’s benefit is one example of that. I think we’re also vaguely led to believe in a “survival of the fittest” myth, which ultimately just serves to normalize the idea that it’s completely fine for the dominant class to rule and exploit those who they consider “inferior”. In the case of non-human animals, this denies them their sentience and their own right to live. As such, it’s absolutely essential to be critical of power relations in all levels in society. In the case of veganism, it is simply about making small daily choices to simply not support industries built on exploitation. Our comforts and pleasures should not exist at the expense of the lives of others.

Please Don’t Eat Me

Well I know it’s not the best you’ve ever had,
but I sure don’t think it’s all that bad.
Is it enough knowing that nothing living had to die?
I know you’re used to your meat, but soy is worth a try.

The cows never saw it coming,
relaxing in the green pastures of lies,
never knowing the humans’ insatiable hunger.
No time for this cow now, but who is next?!
Please don’t eat me!

“This tofu tastes terrible”, is all you can ever say.
And “who cares about a fucking cow anyway”,
but have you ever thought about the life they live?
We take so much from this planet, that we never give.

To the death you’d argue it’s about health for you.
Well what’s good for that cow to eat, is fucking good for you too.
If we planted that grain in the fields where they eat,
it would end world hunger and no one would have to eat meat.

There’s no reason for us to still do this.
We have the technology to surpass this savageness.
Humans are much smarter than all other animals on earth,
but when we act like animals,
do we doom ourselves to die…like animals?!

Album: I’m Not Fucked Up, The World Is, released 2011

Dic of the Hour

The dictator of choice wasn’t chosen by you,
but chosen for you.
Believes in America and his country,
believes we do not have a voice.

Put in place, by the powers that be.
I’ve learned enough, they’ll never have control of me.
I’ll keep screaming, ‘til I have no voice.
One day, we’ll remove the dictator of choice.

They laugh, while you slave for your daily food.
People are slaughtered in the streets every minute,
people just like you.

A new dictator; how many times will they do it?
How many times will no one notice?
Until the whole world, is fucking third world!?

Album: Who’s in Control?, released 2012

Connect through:

Bandcamp: http://kafff.bandcamp.com
FB: https://www.facebook.com/4freedom4all

Risa on intersectional veganism and the impacts and effectiveness of individual action

We have asked Risa about what intersectional veganism means to her in terms of impacts and its further reach:

Veganism is an economic boycott of products and services that disrespect the lives and rights of other species to be free. Since I value freedom and doing the things I love to do, I would feel hypocritical supporting the suffering, confinement and death of other living beings who all have the desire to live free.

So, with the energy that money is, I choose to support farmers and products that are congruent with my philosophical beliefs. I try to minimize suffering and harm through my vegan lifestyle, while realizing that no lifestyle except growing all of your own organic food, etc. is a ‘perfect’ choice; I do the best I can to live in harmony with nature.

Veganism has worked for me for more than 13 years. I consider it a spiritual practice, as living with integrity in a way that’s consistent with your beliefs gives you peace.

Risa talking about her writing the song STRANGE FRUIT, as an Animal Rights song inspired by Billie Holiday‘s famous song:

Listen on Bandcamp:

Connect on

Bandcamp: http://risa.bandcamp.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/risamusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/risatweet
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/selectahhrecords

Lightning Sparkles

LIGHTNING SPARKLES in
human souls
Lightning sparkles in beetle souls
bird souls fox souls
dog souls cat souls
tiger souls elephant souls
Lightning sparkles in all living beings
huge lightning sparkles firework

what god prescribes
radio silence to you?

Farangis Yegane: Wohnlabyrinth, Edition Farangis, 2007


Must Listen: Jonny Ablewhite – White Hot Bullet

Jonny Ablewhite is the writer and maker of this song dedicated to animal liberation. He’s one of the activists who had to serve jail time for their involvement in the Save the Newchurch Guinea Pig animal rights campaign. The breeding farm was closed due to the pressure of acitivists in 2005. John Ablewhite released this and other AR tracks on his site: http://www.vegandia.co.uk/home.htm

Here are some links about the SNGP Campaign and it’s successful outcome:

ANIMAL PHARM
LAST RITES FOR NEWCHURCH GUINEA PIG FARM
http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news509.htm

“Saved” Newchurch Guinea Pigs Victory March Sat 3rd September 2005

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/09/322514.html

Victory for animal rights campaigners

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/08/321837.html

Thought Around ongoing-thinking

The images and the text: Farangis Yegane

The mind and the thoughts are free – good that it’s so – but why does my mind whirl in thoughts, I mean, why is my mind constantly occupied with thinking and with thoughts?

When I hear the word LOVE – I do think. When I hear a dog barking – I think. When I hear a car that went fast stopping – I think. When I hear a weather forcast – I think. When I see the picture of a politician – I think. When I read the results of a poll – I think. When I see the packed shopping cart of the customer in a supermarket – I think. Would I speak all my thoughts, the result was an ongoing river of speech, starting from dawn to the mid of night.

I rethink
I prethink
sometimes I think solo
sometimes in a choir
I think black
I think blue
I think as a man
I think as a woman
I think soft
I think hard
I think at the goal
I think at the start
I think in darkness
I think in light
I don’t think
when I am in love
I think high
I think deep
I think, think, think
until my star has called for me.