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Posts Tagged ‘famous quotes’

To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man. For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal. But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse. If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous. And that is the unpardonable crime.

~Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize 1915

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At the moment our human world is based on the suffering and destruction of millions of non-humans. To perceive this and to do something to change it in personal and public ways is to undergo a change of perception akin to a religious conversion. Nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again because once you have admitted the terror and pain of other species you will, unless you resist conversion, be always aware of the endless permutations of suffering that support our society.
~Arthur Conan Doyle

This quote kind of says it all, but because I’m a loud mouth, I’ll happily add my own two cents to it!

People often ask me why I made the decision to go vegan.   I can point to certain events leading up to that moment that are helpful in explaining how I got here, but at the same time, when I really think about it, it’s almost as if it wasn’t a choice at all. Of course I wasn’t forced to be vegan – that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that it was almost like I had been asleep before and suddenly I woke up and saw the cruelty and suffering around me; being vegan seemed like something I simply had to do. I couldn’t ignore the fact that I had been contributing to animal suffering for 26+ years. I couldn’t look the other way anymore and continue to act as though I hadn’t just had a complete change in perception.

One of my favorite parts of Doyle’s comment is when he states that “nothing can ever be seen in quite the same way again”. We all experience awakenings throughout our lives, whether it’s because we fall in love or get our hearts broken, find religion, have children or any number of other major life events. These things change us permanently and profoundly–just as my awakening changed me. You see, I had always considered myself to be an animal lover, and yet I ate some animal or animal product every single day. What I really was was a dog and cat lover. Then, somehow I opened up my eyes to the beauty and wonder of all non-human animals; I forced myself to imagine the pain and suffering that farmed animals must experience every single day on factory farms, how excruciating each day must be for them… For me, it was virtually impossible not to have a complete change in perception.

I believe that most humans have the capacity to connect with non-human animals, but that we are discouraged from doing so from a very young age. We are taught that dogs and cats are companions, and cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, turkeys, etc. are for eating and/or using in some other way.  It isn’t always easy and it can be scary (as change often is), but if you can open your heart up to the joy and beauty of other non-human animals, you will realize that they are not here to serve human purposes, and they most certainly are not here to endure senseless pain and cruelty only to be brutally killed for our dinner. They are here for their own reasons: to play in wide open pastures, to forage for food to nourish their own bodies, to create and nurture their families, and just to enjoy life. Who are we to take that from them?

My hope is that more people will allow themselves to see animals for the amazing individuals that they are; that more people will have their very own vegan awakening.

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The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.

~Schopenhauer

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Mark Twain Said…

Heaven is by favor; if it were by merit your dog would go in and you would stay out. Of all the creatures ever made, [man] is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he is the only one… that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain.

~Mark Twain

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The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.

~Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher, 1788-1860

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On Deer Hunting

I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.

~Ellen DeGeneres

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Scared monkeys in a lab

“Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is ‘Because the animals are like us.’ Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: ‘Because the animals are not like us.’ Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.”


— Professor Charles R. Magel (1980)

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Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: “Because the animals are like us.” Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: “Because the animals are not like us.” Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction.
~Charles R. Magel

Did you know that the United States is the largest user of chimpanzees in biomedical research in the entire world? New Zealand, England, Sweden, Austria, and a number of others have either banned or limited such use, and yet we continue to subject our closest living relatives to painful and unnecessary medical testing. And guess what? It’s our tax dollars funding this research. “The cost to U.S. taxpayers for chimpanzee research and maintenance is estimated at $20 – 25 million per year, money that many in the scientific community believe could be allocated to more effective research.”* Based on how little information scientists have obtained by subjecting so many innocent animals to unnecessary tests, the bar for “more effective research” isn’t very high. So if chimps are such good substitutes for humans, why is it that we’ve gotten so little information? The reason is that there are substantial differences between chimpanzees and humans when it comes to diseases like HIV/AIDS:Chimp in research

  • Humans become immunodeficient and do not maintain normal levels of critical immune factors, CD4 and Tlymphocytes. Chronically infected chimpanzees maintain normal levels and do not become immunodeficient.
  • In contrast to humans, HIV does not reproduce well in chimpanzees.
  • HIV infected humans contain the virus in their blood cells and plasma. Chimpanzees contain the virus only in their blood cells.
  • Virus particles are found in human saliva and spinal fluid. In chimpanzees they are not.
  • Humans develop opportunistic infections and cancers associated with HIV. Chimpanzees do not.
  • Humans drop their antibody count prior to systemic illness; chimpanzees do not.**

So, what a great use of our tax dollars! I mean, remember when the scientists found the cure for AIDS from all this research? No? Oh, that’s right BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T.

But, there’s potentially good news. The Great Ape Protection Act (H.R. 5852) could end all the suffering for chimpanzees currently in labs. It would put an end to invasive research and testing on an estimated 1,200 chimpanzees remaining in U.S. laboratories. “The bill would also retire approximately 600 federally owned chimpanzees currently in laboratories — many for more than 40 years already — to permanent sanctuary.”*** Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? I know I’d rather have my tax dollars go toward almost anything else than the pointless use of these poor animals.

So, what can you do? Go to the HSUS website here and find out who your local representatives are. Then, make a quick phone call (or send an email), tell them you strongly support H.R. 5852 and tell all your friends to do the same! These chimps deserve better – help them live out the rest of their lives in sanctuaries.

Also, if you’d like to know more about alternatives to animal testing, check out this website. It has some great information and frequently asked questions and answers.
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*Humane Society of the United States.
**Johnston MI. The role of nonhuman primate models in AIDS vaccine development. Mol Med Today. 2000 Jul;6(7):267-70 (as cited here).
***Humane Society of the United States.

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“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”
~Albert Schweitzer

I think about this a lot. Maybe too much.

Sometimes, even though we all know there is immense suffering in the world, we ignore it. In some ways it’s a defense mechanism – how much suffering can we bear to know about in a world where we feel helpless about ending any of it? We’re all guilty at times of just being busy managing our own lives: going to work or school, paying bills, spending time with friends and family, or dealing with our own struggles. It’s not easy to open up your eyes and see all of the terrible things that happen around us.

I know this. I know it well.

I tend to think there are two types of people in the world: those who float through life, and those who really live life and really, really think about the world in which they live. Being a floater is easy–you concern yourself with your immediate circumstances and that’s about it. The latter, however, is really difficult. It means dealing not just with your immediate circumstances, but also with the circumstances across the world – poverty, hunger, child abuse, disease. Man, I got a little depressed just writing all those words. Kind of overwhelming, isn’t it?

Here’s the thing, though: Can you imagine, just for a minute, what our world would look like if everyone who was able chose to be a Thinker instead of a Floater? What if we all just picked a cause that we care about and put as much as we could in to making a difference for that cause? THAT would be overwhelming too, but in the best possible way. Think about how much we could accomplish.

For some reason, the animal rights movement is what called out to me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about starving children in Africa, or racism, or AIDS . . . it just means that for me, this is what I needed to do. I spared myself the sight of the suffering of farmed animals for a long, long time. When I finally opened my eyes to it, it was heartbreaking. It took me a while to figure this out, but I finally realized that the only way I could not be heartbroken was to try to make a difference. I may have felt helpless, but I wasn’t actually helpless, and neither are you. I may never live to see the day when humans stop treating animals so cruelly, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to my grave without being able to say “At least I tried”.

So, I ask you to do this: Look around you. See the suffering, and then go do something about it.

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