Posts Tagged ‘paul shapiro’

During the Midwest Animal Advocacy Conference in June (yes, I’m a little slow on some of my posts!), a lot of the things the speakers said really stuck with me.  One of those things came from Paul Shapiro, the Senior Director of the Factory Farming Campaign at the Humane Society of the United States.  To paraphrase, he basically said that at some point in his journey to becoming vegan, he realized that just because he wasn’t physically killing the animals he was eating, it didn’t mean he wasn’t responsible for their pain, suffering, and ultimate deaths.  He likened it to hiring a hit-man, only instead of hiring that hit-man to kill another human (which is how we typically think of hit-men), he viewed meat eating as paying someone to kill an animal for human consumption. If you are doing that, does that make you any less guilty than the person who’s actually slitting the throats of those pigs, cows, chickens and other animals?  He determined that it didn’t and stopped eating animals.

I think it’s an interesting analogy: hiring a hit-man.  I mean, it really makes sense.  If you hired someone to kill a human, you’d be held responsible in a court of law–just because you didn’t pull the trigger doesn’t absolve you of guilt, so why should we feel any differently about paying for meat at the grocery store?  Sure, we’re a few more steps removed – we don’t even meet the person who kills the animals we eat, but that doesn’t mean we’re not responsible for it.  In fact, when it comes down to it, if you’re eating meat, you’re more responsible than those slaughterhouse workers – if you didn’t create the demand, they wouldn’t be there doing your bidding.

Something to think about…

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I am so excited about an upcoming animal advocacy event scheduled to take place here in the Twin Cities from June 6 – June 8. It’s called Their Lives, Our Voices:

Their Lives, Our Voices 2008 seeks to bring together individuals from across the region for a hands-on, high-quality conference focused on helping animals. Our goal is to make the conference as inclusive and accessible as possible for both new and veteran activists in the Midwest region, with a focus on farmed animal advocacy efforts.

There will be some amazing speakers, including Gene Baur from Farm Sanctuary, baby lambsCarol Adams, author of Beyond Animal Rights: A Feminist Caring Ethic for the Treatment of Animals, and Paul Shapiro from the Humane Society of the United States (just to name a few). I went to see Gene Baur speak once, and was able to visit with him afterwards and I have to say that he is truly inspiring. I left that evening feeling so much more positive about my ability to effect change for farmed animals. What amazes me about him is that despite all the horrible things he’s seen, he is still so optimistic and determined. For me it is all too easy to get depressed when I read about or watch a video on factory farming cruelty ….but somehow he manages to keep a positive attitude, and is such a great example for the rest of us. I can’t wait to hear the other speakers as well, all of whom I imagine will be just as energizing as Gene Baur.

If you live in the Midwest or feel like visiting, you should totally register for this conference. You can find all the details here. I am really looking forward to it!

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