MAY 17, 2012 9:47 AM

Support this revolutionary partnership and get some terrific perks for your effort!
Just ten days left to throw our support behind this terrific collaboration between Tree Huggers and Bartertown to bring a package-free vegan grocery store to Grand Rapids! Visit their Kickstarter Page and donate now!

FEBRUARY 6, 2012 9:12 PM

Leading cognitive ethologist and author to visit Calvin and Grand Valley State
I'll never forget the day I first became familiar with Jonathan Balcombe's work. It was March 16, 2010, and I was in the car listening to this interview with Jonathan on the Diane Rehm Show. I joined the interview already in progress and after a few minutes of hearing him speak, I distinctly recall being on pins and needles to learn the name of the man whom I had already decided, in just 180 seconds, was the most warm, inviting, knowledgeable and articulate animal advocate I had ever heard. After arriving at my destination, I sat in the car for a full half hour, unable to tear myself away, and then made a beeline to the nearest computer to order Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals, his newest book at the time. Since then, I have added Pleasure Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good and The Exultant Ark: A Pictorial Tour of Animal Pleasure to my collection, listened to every interview I can find, and dreamed of the day that he would bring his formidable talents to Grand Rapids. That day is February 20! And don't miss his talk on February 21st at GVSU! Book-signings follow both events!

JANUARY 31, 2012 2:51 PM

Paul Shapiro and HSUS investigators expose Walmart's Pork Supplier
Pigs are at least as intelligent and emotionally and socially engaged as dogs. And yet, as Paul Shapiro explains in the above video, Seaboard Foods (the third largest pork producer in the U.S.) and Prestage Farms (the fifth largest pork producer in the U.S.) keep their pigs in conditions that no dog-lover could ever condone. Tell Seaboard and Prestage to abandon the use of gestation crates, and tell Walmart you want to see a swift and just termination of their relationship with these suppliers. Unless of course you find the industry defense of these practices compelling. Need some inspiration to move you to action? Watch Paul Shapiro's recent presentation at Calvin College titled Blessed Are the Meek: Showing Mercy to All Creation.

JANUARY 9, 2012 2:27 AM

Big Update at WakeUpWeekend.Com!
If you haven't checked out the new website yet, now's the time! You'll find an updated schedule with abstracts and dozens of links pertaining to lectures, workshops, and other events, as well as new posts on 3 terrific sponsorships and a grant and veg eats in Grand Rapids. Stay tuned for further updates on the KINSHIP Exhibition, the Sixth Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off, and the Adoption Benefit Show! Also, please consider liking us on Facebook and sharing our new website in your status to help us generate buzz and boost attendance. Thanks in advance for your help! We can't do it without you!

JANUARY 4, 2012 12:45 AM

Posters Hot Off the Press and a New Online Home!
With just over two weeks until blast-off, posters are going up and we've got a brand-new dedicated website up at! By entering your email address and clicking the "Follow" button on the bottom of the sidebar at the right, you'll enroll for email updates that will keep you apprised of all new developments. Look for short abstracts of the above listed events (along with links to venue maps) later this week, as well as an invitation to sharpen up your vegan chili chops for this year's CHILI-TIME SHOWDOWN. In the meanwhile, please direct all ideas, feedback, kind offers to be a clean-up crew volunteer, and early-admissions chili intentions to

DECEMBER 22, 2011 3:30 AM

Mark your calendars for January 19-21, 2012 in Grand Rapids, MI
The 2012 Wake Up Weekend Vegan Chili Cook-off is just a month away! And what better time to heighten the anticipation than to give you a taste of what's in store for the biggest Wake Up Weekend ever! What do I mean by big? Allow me to explain.

Wayne Pacelle, "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them"
Thursday, January 19, 7:30 pm, Calvin College Chapel
Wayne Pacelle, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Society of the United States, will kick things off with a public lecture on his new book, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them. Called The Barnyard Strategist by the New York Times, Pacelle's journey as the leader of the largest animal protection organization in the United States has taken him everywhere from animal rescue operations, to demonstrations on Capitol Hill, to the sets of The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Ellen Degeneres Show. Learn more about his motivation for writing the The Bond here, and then join us on the 19th to get your autographed copy at the reception and book-signing following his lecture.

Bryant Terry, 5th Annual Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture
"Out of the Factories and Into the Fields: Cooking as Inspiration for Liberation"
Friday, January 20, 3:30 pm, Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall
Whether he's urban farming in his home city of Oakland, articulating a new politics of food activism, or dishing up greens with Martha Stewart, Bryant Terry is all about re-envisioning cooking as a powerful tool for exposing interconnected forms of human and animal oppression, and inspiring our liberation into more redemptive ways of eating and of being together around the table, around the neighborhood, and around the world. In this, his second Wake Up Weekend appearance, Bryant will bestow upon us the honor of pre-releasing his brand new book, The Inspired Vegan, due out for the rest of the world on January 24. Meet Bryant and get your signed copy hot off the press at a reception following the address that will also feature catered appetizers from the book.

Nathan Runkle, "Inspiring Compassion: Putting Our Ethics on the Table"
Saturday, January 21, 3:00 pm, 106 Gallery, 106 South Division, Grand Rapids
When I was 15, I was mostly chewing gum, lifting weights, and listening to hair metal. When Nathan Runkle was 15, he founded Mercy For Animals, thereby laying the groundwork for what has become, a decade later, the premiere boots-on-the-ground animal advocacy organization in America. When it comes to exposing the injustices that animals undergo in modern food systems, Mercy For Animals is in a league of its own. Heard about that Norco Ranch investigation that helped to seal a landslide victory for Proposition 2 in California? MFA. How about the investigation of Sparbo Farms that recently resulted in McDonald's and Target dropping their main egg suppliers? Also MFA. When he's not appearing on CNN, Nathan and his organization are behind the scenes investigating cruelty and mobilizing the resulting footage into award-winning documentary films such as Fowl Play and Farm to Fridge that are changing the way the next generation thinks about, buys, and eats food.

A Weekend With All the Fixins'
And of course, we'll set off all of the above with the usual array of Wake Up Weekend fineries: a vegan potluck on Friday night, a vegan brunch on Saturday morning, an amazing art exhibition (titled KINSHIP curated by Brett Colley and featuring work by Adam Wolpa) and the VEGAN CHILI COOK-OFF on Saturday evening, and benefit show on Saturday night! Stay tuned for the official poster and schedule detailing the whole nine yards COMING SOON! As ever, all of these terrific community events--with the exception of the Saturday brunch ($12)--are free and open to the public! See you at Wake Up Weekend 2012!

NOVEMBER 29, 2011 10:01 PM

Paul Shapiro on Showing Mercy to All Creation
On the chance that you missed Paul Shapiro's excellent lecture at Calvin College last week, here's a link to a video of the talk courtesy of the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship. Stay tuned for some amazing photos of what showed up at the Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck following the talk!

NOVEMBER 17, 2011 4:10 PM

A Feast For the Mind, Heart, and Stomach with a Great American Activist!
Paul Shapiro is on the vanguard of the American animal protection movement. When Paul talks about animals and food, people listen. From members of the food industry, to journalists and social critics who write about it, to animal advocates seeking to reform it, all parties to the discussion are playing close attention to Paul Shapiro.

Paul's talk, "Blessed Are the Meek: Showing Mercy to All Creation", will address the prominent role played by the standard American diet in exacerbating various moral and practical problems for human beings, animals, and the environment, and then go on to suggest that a commitment to more intentional eating practices can be a powerful tool for people of faith who wish to seek justice, love mercy, and tread a bit more lightly on the planet. Wherever one may stand on matters religious, all animal advocates have a vested interest in being able to understand and communicate with audiences of faith, so coming out to hear what Paul has to say is in everyone's best interest!

Please join us for a Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck immediately following the talk. This potluck is the perfect opportunity for those unfamiliar with the diversity, beauty, and deliciousness of plant-based cuisine to enjoy a very pleasant surprise! The hope is that anyone and everyone who loves a good old fashioned holiday feed will join the fun! If you cook, please consider showing off your talents by bringing a dish to share. Also, please bring your own table service to help us decrease our carbon footprint.

To learn more about the speaker, visit the websites for the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship or the Humane Society of the United States. For inspiration on what to bring to the potluck, visit or Hope to see you on Monday!

SEPTEMBER 29, 2011 1:16 PM

Put on your Comfy Shoes and Walk for Justice on October 9, 2011!
I had intended to get this post up a bit earlier in the game, but there is still time to join in the fun at this year's Grand Rapids Walk for Animals. Get inspired by learning about the history and the vision behind this long-standing Farm Sanctuary tradition, and then visit the Facebook pages of Grand Rapids Walk for Animals and VegWestMichigan for details on how to get involved. Even if you can't commit to fundraising as a registered walker, you can always make a pledge of support to any of the 50+ people in our community who have already signed up to carry the banner for Grand Rapids!

Hey Couch Potatoes! Need a Little Extra Motivation?
Would you be more enthusiastic about skipping Bones re-runs to get out for the walk if Bones herself told you git 'er done? Well, turns out you're in luck! Listen to Bones and join the team or make a pledge!

MARCH 20, 2011 2:30 PM

Wake Up Weekend 2011 Poster
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words! (Again!)
With a combined event attendance of over 700 people, this year's festivities were the biggest and best ever! Have some ideas about what you'd like to see on the program in 2012? Tell us! In the meanwhile, be sure to keep up that agitation for the animals by getting involved with terrific organizations like Farm Kind, Grand Rapids for Animals, Humane Society of GVSU, Not One Sparrow, Sasha Farm, Students for Compassionate Living, and VegWestMichigan. And keep up that vegan stamina by eating your veggies at Bartertown and Brick Road Pizza! Afraid that you missed the chance to score an official, handprinted Wake Up Weekend 2011 Program and Commemorative Poster (see, respectively, below and above)? Fear not! Drop us a line at, and we'll send you one wherever you are for just $5.00 (postage included).
Get Your Programs
Introducing Carol Adams
The Sexual Politics of Meat
After Anthropomorphism
Carol and Adam
Ben DeVries
Radiator Hospital
Royl Space
Damned Dogs
Xtra Vomit

FEBRUARY 23, 2011 10:28 AM

All events are free and open to the public (excluding the optional vegan buffet at Brick Road Pizza on Saturday morning ($11.00) and the Adoption Benefit Show on Saturday evening ($6.00). Donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to

Our annual two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes, Brick Road Pizza, Calvin College Students for Compassionate Living, ExtraVEGANza!, Farm Kind, Humane Society of GVSU, Not One Sparrow, VegWestMichigan, and VegFund.

7:30 pm--Carol J. Adams, "The Sexual Politics of Meat"
Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, Calvin College
A vegan reception and book signing follows the lecture.

Some 20 years ago, "feminist-vegetarian critical theory" was born in the groundbreaking publication of Carol J. Adams's The Sexual Politics of Meat. Adams's thesis is that meat-eating is a central symbol of the patriarchy, and that we can't dismantle harmful systems of male domination until we recognize the link between how women are objectified and (visually) consumed and how animals are objectified and (literally) consumed. Adams's powerful multi-media presentation is the result of two decades of her continued work mapping the interdisciplinary terrain opened by this provocative thesis across the fields of theology, philosophy, visual culture, literary theory, psychology, eco-feminism, and social work in domestic violence education and prevention.

3:00 pm--Nathan Runkle, "Inspiring Compassion"
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College

Join the Founder and Executive Director of Mercy For Animals--one of the nation's most influential animal advocacy organizations--for a workshop on how our current food system affects the interests of our fellow non-human creatures, and how our food choices can become powerful tools for cultivating the virtues of compassion, mercy, and good stewardship.

5:00 pm--"Compassionate Comestibles" Vegan Potluck**
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College
Hosted by Students for Compassionate Living

At an event where omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are coming together in fellowship, a vegan bill of fare insures that everyone can enjoy what's on the menu! What's your favorite vegan recipe? Bring a dish to share and find out where others come down on this appetizing question! Need a few ideas? Vegan Yum Yum, Post Punk Kitchen, and ChooseVeg never disappoint.

**Please help us to reduce our ecological footprint by bringing your own washable or recyclable dinnerware and perhaps an extra setting or two for our out-of-town guests and last-minute participants; a limited number of recyclables will be on hand for those without table service.

7:30 pm--Carol J. Adams, Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series***
Fourth Annual Address: "Anthropomorphism: The Christian Double Standard"
Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, Calvin College
A vegan reception and book signing follows the lecture.

Anthropomorphism, roughly speaking, is the ascription of human-like traits to non-human beings. How does anthropomorphism figure into human attitudes and actions toward God, animals, and even other human beings? What are the potential risks and rewards of anthropomorphizing others and what recourse do Christians have upon acknowledging these prospects for re-imagining and deepening their relationships with God, human beings, and other animals? Come follow Carol J. Adams on a trailblazing journey through these and other fascinating related questions in a brand new presentation commissioned especially for this event!

***The Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series is an independent event established by a friend of Calvin College and supported this year by additional help from Calvin College Gender Studies and The Office of Multicultural Affairs. Since the lecture is free and open to the public and likely to be of interest to Wake Up Weekend participants, the College has kindly permitted us to include Adams' lecture on our program.

10:00 am--Harold Brown, "Veganic Agriculture"
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids

Join Harold Brown, President of FarmKind and star of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home, for a state-of-the-field discussion of recent developments in veganic agriculture--the practice of organic farming without the use of animals and their byproducts or the killing of free-living animals who reside on or around the farm.

11:30 am--Vegan Brunch
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids

A vegan buffet of Brick Road brunch favorites: all you can eat for $11.00 (kids half price!). Need I say more?

1:00 pm--Ben DeVries, "Why Creation Care Needs Creature Care"
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids

While many Christians are increasingly hospitable to the idea that environmental stewardship or "creation care" is an important aspect of Christian living, comparatively few have investigated the implications of that idea for their attitudes toward and practices concerning the non-human animal creatures with whom we share the Earth. Join Ben DeVries, founder of the web-based animal welfare organization Not One Sparrow: A Christian Voice for Animals, to learn more about why authentic "creation care" demands a serious commitment to "creature care".

5:00 pm--Fifth Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff
Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes, 6 Jefferson, Grand Rapids

In addition to the chili-time magic you've come to expect from you and your peers' relentless pursuit of the perfect vegan chili, this year's highly-anticipated cookoff will also feature eats and sweets compassionately crafted by our hosts--the good folks at Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes. This event is open to the public and the privilege of tasting chilis and sampling Bartertown's wares is completely free of charge. But if you want a shot at the bragging rights, there is an entry fee of $10 per chili payable at the event. As if you need any further incentive, first prize is $50 in Bartertown Bucks, a Guest Chef Internship at Bartertown, your chili on the menu, and a limited edition t-shirt. There will also be prizes for 2nd and 3rd place as well as for the coveted Chili-time People's Choice Award.

If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to at your earliest convenience. In a pinch, you slackers out there can still register a chili on the day of the event, but it will greatly help our planning to know your intentions in advance. Please plan to have your chili on site and ready to eat by 4:30 pm.

8:00 pm--Adoption Benefit Show
featuring Damned Dogs, Radiator Hospital, and Royl Space
(106), 106 South Division, Grand Rapids

Your $6.00 admission gets you three musical acts for one great cause: our goal is to raise $420 to cover a year's room and board at Sasha Farm for Moose, a former veal calf who will be relocating to the sanctuary later this month. Read all about it at our Adoption Benefit Show event page.

Questions? Need more information? Drop a line to! See you at Wake Up Weekend 2011!

FEBRUARY 15, 2011 11:40 PM

Brick Road Fundraiser
Stuff Your Face for a Good Cause on Sunday, February 20!
Remember how much fun we had at Brick Road Pizza during last year's Wake Up Weekend festivities? Well, they're looking forward to having us back again this year, and to help us put on a good show, they're hosting a fundraiser for us this coming Sunday, February 20, 2011 from 11 am to 2 pm. Your $11.00 admission (kids half price!) gets you an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet as well as a euphoric altruism-induced buzz from the knowledge that 25% of the proceeds will go to help us pull off one of the most ambitious Wake Up Weekends ever, including two evening lectures by feminist vegan legend Carol J. Adams, workshops on animal rights activism (Nathan Runkle), veganic agriculture (Harold Brown), and religious animal welfare advocacy (Ben DeVries), and a vegan chili cook-off hosted by our new friends at Bartertown--Grand Rapids' brand spankin' new vegan diner and cakeshop. Wake Up Weekend kicks off on March 10 (stay tuned for further details and a full program), but please join us on Sunday to get the ball rolling!

FEBRUARY 1, 2011 12:28 AM

Bartertown ROC'S Logo
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is for GR's Newest Vegan Entrepreneurs
Another vegan coup is unfolding right here in little ol' GR. Local chef, filmmaker, record producer, and now vegan entrepreneur Ryan Cappelletti is opening Bartertown and ROC's Cakes--a worker owned, vegi-vegan-raw diner and cakeshop located at 6 Jefferson Street in Grand Rapids. If you're as excited as I am about this incredible development, please show your love by coming out to a Bartertown benefit on Monday, February 21st at the Wealthy Street Theater at 8pm. In addition to the singular opportunity to support an amazing new venue in our fair city, your contribution of $5.00 includes admission to a screening of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (the film that inspired the name "Bartertown"). Your contribution of $10.00 buys admission to the movie plus $5.00 in Bartertown Bucks to spend at the diner. Limited edition tees and other ground-level merch will be for sale as well. Mark your calendars and see you there!

JANUARY 3, 2011 10:42 AM

Vegan Frozen Pizza and Other Reasons to Revel in the Arrival of 2011!
If the advent of Tofurky Pepperoni Pizza isn't a reason to celebrate the new year, I don't know what is. But there are plenty of other reasons too. For instance, the weather should be a bit better than usual for this year's Wake Up Weekend, which we've moved to March 10-12 to accommodate the schedule of our headline speaker, Carol J. Adams. (Learn more by reading all about her recent presentations at Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley, or check out this old extraVEGANza! write-up on her groundbreaking vegan feminism. We're hoping to have Harold Brown in town as well for a screening of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home". Stay tuned for further details!

NOVEMBER 23, 2010 11:14 PM

Better get your prep on with this helpful instructional video!
After surviving the obligatory onslaught of bizarre hypothetical questions about what she would do if she lived on a remote jungle island, or was offered a hamburger by a cancer-ravaged uncle in his final act of hospitality, etc, our hero manages to turn the tide and convert her inquisitor into an eager proponent of the abolitionist approach. Optimistic? Maybe. But who couldn't use a little optimism on Thanksgiving?

NOVEMBER 18, 2010 11:55 PM

Who Says Vegans Can't Enjoy Turkeys on Thanksgiving?
We can bear witness to their stories of survival, we can admire their beauty, we can prepare feasts that express our solidarity with them, and we can contribute to their flourishing. Join Farm Sanctuary in establishing a new Thanksgiving tradition that gives these beautiful, social creatures the respect they deserve. Adopt a turkey today!

NOVEMBER 18, 2010 2:34 PM

Ms. Betty in Purple.
This Just in From Los Angeles: BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!
I don't have occasion to do a lot of posts on handbags here at extraVEGANza!. That's because (a) I'm not a big handbag guy; and (b) I had never encountered a line of vegan handbags that did a BOSS enough job instantiating the qualities of creativity, sustainability, affordability, rubber-necking potential, and overall PHATNESS to merit devoting the precious cyber real estate to featuring it. All of that has changed, thanks to Susan Nichole Onofrey, whose Los Angeles based e-retail business was born out of her frustration over the endless, fruitless search "for a designer quality, yet animal friendly bag". Oh, don't we know it. The good news is that, thanks to Ms. Onofrey's decision to be the change she wanted to see in the world, our searching is no longer in vain. Feast your eyes on the fruits of her labor, and then get two for the price of one with free shipping in the United States. Holiday gift shopping for that swank, socially-conscious fashionista in your life has never been so easy! Including the 8 bags featured here, there are well over 50 bags and wallets from which to choose!

Savannah in Black & Red.

Brooklyn in Metallic Silver.

Kamini in Camel & Black.

Tara in Cream.

Stella in Candy Apple Red.

Leah in Black.

Vanessa in Brown.

NOVEMBER 9, 2010 7:56 PM

Sunday! Get Your Place in Line to Benefit Sasha Farm!
From 11am to 3pm this Sunday, November 14, Brick Road Pizza Company will host an all-you-can-eat vegan Thanksgiving buffet to benefit Sasha Farm, Michigan's largest sanctuary for rescued farm animals. Admission is $12; kids 12 and under are free! For more information on the event or if you have any questions, simply click here to read all about it. Hope to see you on Sunday!

AUGUST 13, 2010 2:17 PM

Now You Can Visit the Farm without Visiting the Farm!
Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY, is one of my very favorite places to visit. I have wonderful friends in the area, the Finger Lakes are spectacular, and the sanctuary itself is an amazing place not only to become sensitized to the kinds of beings that farm animals are, but to enjoy the outdoors, the company of inspiring people, and genuine fellowship with other creatures. With the advent of their new Reel Life at Farm Sanctuary Video Series, it is now possible to enjoy a "trip" to the farm any old time the fancy strikes. Watch at your own risk, however, since you may well find yourself planning a trip there upon seeing what it's like.

JULY 2, 2010 11:04 AM

Mix a cocktail, grab an Adirondack chair, and read for the cause!
Consider injecting some purpose into your pleasure reading this summer by checking out's recommendations on Animal Rights Reading: A Top Ten Summer Book List. And if you've already devoured all of these suggestions or none of them particularly strikes your fancy, there's certainly no shortage of other possibilities, as scientists, theologians, legal experts, philosophers, physicians, dieticians, and activists continue to discover new and ever more compelling evidence in favor of the importance of compassionate eating. Those of us who wish to make a difference have an obligation to know what we are talking about and to be able to refer others to the best, most recent resources.

MAY 20, 2010 11:01 PM

In case you're shopping for a new favorite animal...
I could watch baby sloths all day. They're hugging stuffed animals, scratching their bums, and hanging about in hammocks. There's even one that looks like Yoda. I'm sold on sloth watching. Can't get enough sloth footage? Check out The Amphibian Avenger's recent post on Sloth Love.

MARCH 25, 2010 10:49 AM

Picture 1
Join in the Fun and Support Our Friends at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Those of you Wake Up Weekenders who had the privilege of attending Nekeisha Alexis-Baker's presentation on Racism, Sexism, and Speciesism back in 2009 know very well that anything she puts her hand to is well worth attending. That's why I thought you might like to know about a free concert she's promoting on Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, IN, featuring Seth Martin and the Menders, a band of good old fashioned folk agitators with members hailing from all over the globe (have banjo, will travel!). Elkhart is just a short drive due south, but if you can't spare the time on a weeknight, you can still check out the music, fan them up on Facebook, and spread the good word to friends and family in or around Elkhart. What's the animal connection, you ask? Seth's got a song in the new documentary film The War On Animals. Check out the trailers here, but a word of warning--they are not for the faint of heart.

MARCH 16, 2010 8:14 PM

Balcombe Knocks it Out of the Park in Interview on Public Radio
If you have fifty minutes to spare, I recommend dropping everything and checking out this fascinating interview with cognitive ethologist Jonathan Balcombe, author of the new book Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals. Rarely, if ever, have I heard a more articulate public defense of animal sentience, the richness of animals' inner lives, and the ethics of veganism. Simultaneously humble and firm, Balcombe offers principled answers to all the big questions: What about eating meat, eggs, and dairy? What about leather shoes? What about fishing? What about hunting? What about companion animals? If you're looking for inspiration or ideas for making headway with friends and family, it'll be hard to do better than Jonathan Balcombe. Big props to the Diane Rehm Show for having the vision to invite him!

MARCH 3, 2010 12:19 PM

An Excellent Blog on Sustainable Agriculture Around the World
While The Worldwatch Institute isn't a vegan organization, they do a lot of excellent work to raise awareness about the moral and environmental dangers of industrial agriculture and to spread the word about sustainable alternatives for feeding a hungry world. In preparation for their annual "State of the World" report in 2011, they've launched a very informative blog called Nourishing the Planet. Check it out here, sign up for a weekly newsletter, and spread the word to interested friends and family.

FEBRUARY 22, 2010 8:46 PM

Nope. Not a joke. Well, not intentionally, anyway.
I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read it myself in Hoosier Ag Today: How is Big Agriculture going to win the battle for the hearts and minds of consumers who are increasingly skeptical of the moral and environmental sustainability of industrial farming? According to "communications expert" Dr. Wes Jamison, the answer is by telling them that "Happiness is a dead animal". Obviously.

FEBRUARY 10, 2010 6:28 PM

Doublespeak and Dishwater Coffee With A Heaping Side of Malevolence
In addition to increasing their risks for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, various cancers, and stroke, Denny's patrons now enjoy the distinction of supporting a company that mocks the suffering of chickens for financial gain. In addition to inviting friends and family to boycott Denny's, won't you take a moment to tell the kind folks there what you think of their new campaign? And don't forget to share the love with the marketing firm behind the commercials--Goodby, Silverstein & Partners--whose stated mission is "to change minds through the creation of experiences that are moving, humorous, beautiful, and respectful." Indeed. What could be more moving, humorous, beautiful, and respectful than making light of the misery of the most abused animals on earth in order to sell more of the commodity on which their suffering is predicated?

FEBRUARY 7, 2010 10:35 PM

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words!
What do activists, artists, chili cook-offs, community organizers, eco-chefs, panel discussions, philosophers, potlucks, restauranteurs, town hall meetings, and a combined event total of over 600 participants have in common? Wake Up Weekend, that's what! Thanks for helping to make 2010 our most successful year to date! Have some ideas about what you'd like to see happen in 2011? Send them to In the meanwhile, see if you can locate your smiling face among the crowds!
The Many Faces of Food Activism
Animals and the Kingdom of God
Sold Out!
Live Cooking Demo
Bryant Cooks
Meeting Bryant
Capacity Crowd at Brick Road
Gendered Eating
Just Eating
Named and Nameless
Brett Colley
Kate Daughdrill
Adam Wolpa
Erika Jane
Full Gallery
Chili Judges
Chili Tins
And the Winners Are...
IYA Chili
Spicy #12
Chef's Choice
Chili Cookoff

JANUARY 8, 2010 11:57 AM

*All events are free and open to the public (excluding the optional vegan soul food buffet after Bryant Terry's cooking demo; the buffet is just $10.00 per person at the door). Donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to

Our annual two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Animals & Society Institute, Brick Road Pizza Company, Christian Vegetarian Association of West Michigan, DAAC, ExtraVEGANza!, G-Rad, Not One Sparrow, OrganicAthlete of Grand Rapids, Students for Compassionate Living, and VegWestMichigan.

2:30 pm--The Many Faces of Food Activism
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College

Stay on the cutting edge of the movement by learning from the people who are making it happen. From rights to welfare, from religion to art to politics, from veganic agriculture to urban gardening to Proposition 2, our panelists know the score. Join us for this workshop and you will too!

Harold Brown (Farm Kind, Hector, NY)
Brett Colley (Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI)
Ben DeVries (Not One Sparrow, Kenosha, WI)
Lisa Oliver-King (Our Kitchen Table, Grand Rapids, MI)
Paul Shapiro (Humane Society of the United States)

5:30 pm--"Compassionate Comestibles" Vegan Potluck*
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College
*Hosted by Students for Compassionate Living

At an event where omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are coming together in fellowship, a vegan bill of fare insures that everyone can enjoy what's on the menu! What's your favorite vegan recipe? Bring a dish to share and find out where others come down on this appetizing question! Need a few ideas? Vegan Yum Yum and Post Punk Kitchen never disappoint.

***Please help us to reduce our ecological footprint by bringing your own washable or recyclable dinnerware*** and perhaps an extra setting or two for our out-of-town guests and last-minute participants; a limited number of recyclables will be on hand for those without table service.

7:30 pm--Third Annual Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture*
The Chapel Undercroft, Calvin College.

"Animal Sacrifices", Dr. John E. Hare, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University.

*The Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series is an independent event established by a friend of Calvin College. Since the lecture is free and open to the public and likely to be of interest to Wake Up Weekend participants, the College has kindly allowed us to include Professor Hare's address on our schedule.

11:00 am--Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids

Why read about him in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, or Mother Jones Magazine, when you can hang with Bryant Terry in person right here in Grand Rapids, get some expert instruction on how to battle the social ills of structural racism and food insecurity by eating more sustainably and compassionately, and then stick around for an optional $10 all-you-can-eat buffet custom designed for the event by Bryant himself. Copies of Vegan Soul Kitchen will be available for purchase on site! Already have it? Bring it along and turn it into an autographed copy!

*Bryant's visit is generously sponsored by the Calvin College Office of Multicultural Affairs, Student Activities Office, the departments of Art and Art History, Biology, and Philosophy, Students for Compassionate Living, and our friends at Brick Road Pizza Company.

2:30 pm--Lecture: "Justice for Animals: What May We Hope?"
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids

Dr. Andrew Chignell, Sage School of Philosophy, Cornell University.

3:30 pm--Town Hall Meeting: Just Eating--Making a Difference in YOUR TOWN, USA
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids

Join our panel of activists, professors and friends for an open discussion on approaches to transforming local food systems in cities such as Grand Rapids, MI, Ithaca, NY, Washington, D.C., and others.

5:30 pm--Opening Reception: Named and Nameless
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids

An exhibition featuring the work of Sue Coe, Brett Colley, Kate Daughdrill, Erika Jane, and Adam Wolpa. This exhibition deals with the complicated relationship between human and non-human animals, exploring industrialized farming practices, domestic companionship, and entertainment through the lens of global and local consumption and visual culture. Named and Nameless addresses the construction of societal belief structures and values, and seeks to uncover paths to justice and peace within this manufactured environment.

5:30 pm--Open Studio: The Artist is the Human is the Animal*
Division Avenue Arts Collective, 115 S. Division, Grand Rapids.

An exhibition featuring the work of Rebecca Green, Justin Kellner, Molly Pettengill, and Cory Scneider. All proceeds from sales of artworks will benefit Farm Sanctuary.*

*Please note that the opening reception for this event is on January 15, 2010. Doors open at 6:00 pm with a screening of Earthlings following at 7:00 pm. Admission is free and refreshments will be provided by Brick Road Pizza Company.

7:00 pm--Vegan Chili Cook-Off
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
You know the drill on this one: Best. Vegan. Chili. Ever. (Made by YOU, if you've got the guts to compete, anyway.) All the traditional categories will be back, along with a brand new CHEF'S CHOICE honor awarded by celebrity guest judge BRYANT TERRY!

*If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to ASAP to request a registration form. Last year's festivities drew a record-shattering 28 chili entries--CAN WE RAISE THE BAR TO 30 THIS YEAR? NOT WITHOUT YOUR HELP!

9:30 pm--Film Screening: Fowl Play--The Untold Story Behind Your Breakfast*
Division Avenue Arts Collective, 115 S. Division, Grand Rapids.

Since the exclusive premiere of the original version of Fowl Play at Wake Up Weekend 2008, the film has won multiple awards on the festival circuit. Come check out the critically acclaimed latest version.

Questions? Need more information? Drop a line to! See you at Wake Up Weekend 2010!

DECEMBER 22, 2009 8:41 PM

Mark Your Calendars: January 22-23, 2010 in Grand Rapids, MI!
It's that time of year again, when wistful memories of 2007, 2008, and 2009 conjure great expectations of good times yet to come! Good times such as, for instance, taking pointers on how to get your Vegan Soul Kitchen up and running from eco-chef and bestselling cookbook author Bryant Terry, or getting the inside scoop on recent animal protection legislation from HSUS überActivist Paul Shapiro, or learning about veganic agriculture from abolitionist icon Harold Brown of Farm Kind. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. You've come to expect speakers galore, vegan eats in abundance, artworks o'plenty, and--of course--the opportunity to compete for bragging rights in the battle royale of vegan chili cook-offs. We're going to bring it all, and then some, so set the dates aside and let's get ready to rumble! Stay tuned for the full schedule coming soon!

NOVEMBER 30, 2009 10:33 AM

TONIGHT! The Truth About Food (FOR FREE!) in a Neighborhood Near You!
Doors open at 6PM and the reel gets rolling at 6:30. There will be information tables to browse and a question-and-answer discussion after the show. This event is sponsored by Aquinas College's Students Striving for Sustainability, WMCO-OP, and Slow Food West Michigan. Why not make it an evening to remember by visiting Brick Road for some vegan pizza before the show, and The Meanwhile for a local pitcher and some post-film discussion?

NOVEMBER 16, 2009 12:59 PM

Share the Goodness? No thanks!
In Empty Cages, Tom Regan coins the phrase "disconnect dictum" to describe the gap that often separates what major animal industries say about their business from what they actually do behind the scenes. To see the disconnect dictum in full effect, look no further than Hatfield Quality Meats, a "family owned" company that invites us to "share the goodness" of their "conscientious stewardship of livestock" by consuming their "wholesome" pork products. Here's how they portray their business in a recent commercial:

Hatfield Quality Meats: What They Say
And here's what they pay one of their major suppliers, Country View Family Farms, to do in their name:

Hatfield Quality Meats: What They Do
Those interested in holding Hatfield Quality Meats accountable for their schmaltzy commercials, their treatment of pigs, or both of these offenses may wish to register a complaint with their PR department or make a contribution to Mercy For Animals to support the undercover investigations that bring these instances of the disconnect dictum to light.

OCTOBER 29, 2009 9:52 PM

HBO Star Has Big Love for Turkeys. You Should Too!
As Thanksgiving draws nearer, it's time to start thinking about how to get our should-have-been national bird the widespread public respect she deserves. What better way to do so than to join Ginnifer Goodwin and Farm Sanctuary in celebrating this noble bird through participation in the 2009 Adopt-a-Turkey Program? This year's adoptees are an especially winsome bunch, and your one-time donation of $25.00 gets you or the recipient of your gift of compassion an adoption certificate and a full color photo of your adoptee. Who will it be? Bubbles, Gideon, Mello, Olive, Rhonda, or Hawthorn? For a gift of just $150, you can sponsor the whole flock! On our last Thanksgiving in the Windy Cindy, we sponsored a turkey called Whisper whose photo adorned our table while we feasted on bird-free vegan vittles from The Chicago Diner. Three cheers for new and better traditions!

OCTOBER 19, 2009 4:35 PM

A Concerned Parent on a Moral Quest to Feed His Child Right
Readers of good fiction (especially good fiction written by youngish, controversialish authors) have likely dipped into one or both of Jonathan Safran Foer's celebrated novels, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Given that the protagonist of this latter book is a winsomely presented child vegan, it is not altogether shocking that Safran Foer has turned his talents more explicitly and non-fictionally to the question of the moral implications of Eating Animals. The conceit? He is now a concerned parent, and the prospect of his failure to provide a compelling moral example for his son is looming ever larger. Curious? You can get an early glimpse of the first chapter of the book (due out tomorrow) in Safran Foer's recent New York Times article.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2009 7:17 PM

...And Support Fantastic Vegan Artist Sophie Canadé
Everyone loves cute, cuddly sock monkeys, especially when they are sewn with love from used (albeit laundered) socks in an effort to ken the origins of the universe and our place within it. Okay, so Sophie Canadé's sock monkeys are not exactly run-of-the-mill. They're fashioned into gordian knots, mobius strips, DNA double helixes, and of course dark energy. And now, for your viewing pleasure and edification, they are hanging above the lush environs of HopCat in a ten-foot sock tree sculpture fashioned with care to approximate their natural habitat. Curious? Check out Sophie's artist profile, browse her portfolio, get on down to HopCat, and then VOTE 36551 for Sock Monachus Nemus! In the meanwhile, check out this video to heighten the anticipation! And don't forget to vote before Wednesday, September 30!

Vote Sock Monachus Nemus for ArtPrize 36551

SEPTEMBER 7, 2009 7:07 PM

Farm Sanctuary's Gene Baur Will Be There! How About YOU?
Friend of extraVEGANza! Annie Smolinski has done us a great service and organized the first ever Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals right here in Grand Rapids! As if the opportunity to raise funds for this important cause weren't motivation enough, Annie has gone the distance to secure both an in-person appearance from Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur (who will walk with us on the 1.5 mile tour of East Hills and Eastown) AND an optional all-you-can-eat vegan buffet at Brick Road Pizza after the event! You've seen Gene in Peaceable Kingdom, read about him in The New York Times, and watched him on Larry King Live--now it's time to join him on a late summer stroll through a couple of your favorite neighborhoods in our fair city, gorge on some vegan pizza, and show Gene that we Grand Rapidians are prepared to walk what we talk about animal compassion!

Mark Your Calendars and Register Now!
DATE: Sunday, September 20, 2009
TIME: Registration 12:30 pm, WALK at 1:00 pm
PLACE: Brick Road Pizza Parking Lot (Behind 1017 Wealthy SE)
HOW TO REGISTER OR DONATE: Go to Farm Sanctuary's Firstgiving Webpage and click on "register for an event" or "donate to a friend's page". Grand Rapids' registration site is on page three, and your $15.00 registration fee includes a t-shirt if you register before September 13!
AFTER THE WALK: Meet and greet Gene, who will talk to us about Farm Sanctuary's efforts on behalf of animals, and stay for an optional vegan buffet at which we'll school him in the art of eating vegan wings!
QUESTIONS: Contact Annie at

We've worked hard to earn our place in the animal advocacy big leagues! Now it's time to put on our game faces and git 'er done! See you on September 20!

SEPTEMBER 1, 2009 10:55 AM

200 Million a Year Suffer This Merciless Fate.
Mercy for Animals just released this harrowing footage of standard egg industry practices for dealing with unwanted male chicks at Hy-Line North America's hatchery in Spencer, Iowa. You can read about Hy-Line corporate headquarters' response in this article from yesterday's Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, but allow me to share the most chilling sentence: "Instantaneous euthanasia by maceration is specifically supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Federation of Animal Science Societies, Agriculture Canada, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and European Union (EU)." As long as our culture continues to suborn the treatment of animals as property, the people in the white coats will continue to assure us that there's nothing morally wrong with grinding up millions of unwanted male chicks alive. Please share this information with family and friends and encourage them to be the change they want to see in the world by boycotting eggs!

AUGUST 24, 2009 1:05 PM

Even Time Magazine is Ready to Face the Music
With the New York Times advising us to curb the "Meat Guzzler", Foreign Policy calling meat-culture "The Slavery of Our Time", The Washington Post declaring our diets "The Meat of the Problem", and Scientific American exhorting us to put down"The Greenhouse Hamburger", I suppose it was only a matter of Time until the widest tributary of the journalistic mainstream would observe the necessity of "Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food".

Say Goodbye to "Cheap" Meat
Time's Bryan Walsh is not mincing words here: "We don't have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil -- which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills -- our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy -- demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 -- but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs -- and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants -- and as every farmer knows, if you don't take care of your land, it can't take care of you."

With periodicals as mainstream as Time Magazine beating the war drums this loudly, it's tempting to hope that our country's state of denial is finally starting to lift. Do your part! Share this link! Better yet, go vegan!

AUGUST 11, 2009 1:52 PM

Ever wonder how the frontman of the Psychedelic Furs visualizes the apocalypse?
Wonder no more, thanks to this beautiful video interpretation of Richard Butler's California made in collaboration with Jon Carin of Pink Floyd.

AUGUST 9, 2009 9:46 AM

New Research Shows You're Not Just a Deluded Anthropomorphist
Though proud guardians are often derided for holding the intellect of their canine companions in high esteem, there is new evidence to suggest that this respect is well justified. Thanks to Emily Schreur for the great photo!

AUGUST 4, 2009 10:57 PM

Ezra Klein Joins the Litany of Truth-tellers About Meat-Culture
While denial and shoulder-shrugging even among otherwise discerning people are still par for the course when it comes to reckoning with the fallout of meat-culture, it's hard to deny that the winds of change are a blowin'. They're gusting near to gale force, for instance, in this recent article from the Washington Post by celebrated progressive blogger Ezra Klein. Thanks to Amelia Hicks for the tip!

JULY 6, 2009 5:13 PM

Mark Your Calendars for Saturday, July 11 at 11:30 am!
Interested in hearing a free lecture by Will Tuttle, peace activist and author of The World Peace Diet? Come to Brick Road Pizza at 11:30 am on Saturday morning to catch the lecture, and stay for an optional vegan buffet at 12:30 pm (the cost of the optional buffet is $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under 12). See you on Saturday!

JUNE 8, 2009 8:51 AM

Watch CBS Videos Online
Unlikely buddies Tarra and Bella are back by popular demand!
Loyal extraVEGANzers will no doubt recall the uplifting story of Tarra the Asian elephant, her best dog Bella, and their eyebrow raising camaraderie at The Elephant Sanctuary outside Nashville, Tennessee. Three cheers for sanctuary founders Carol Buckley and Scott Blais who had the moral courage to tell Disney where to stick it when they came calling with a plot to pull this retired circus elephant back into the entertainment business. Even so, Tarra and Bella have gotten their fair share of facetime with the stars (e.g., Oprah), if always on their own terms at their home turf in Tennessee. If you like what you see, please consider becoming a member of the Sanctuary or sponsoring an elephant.

NOTE: Apologies for the fact that getting to the video may require you to sit through an excruciatingly annoying advert for a brand of rum that I will leave unmentioned; I will, however, take a moment to recommend their far superior competitor Mount Gay Rum just to spite them.

JUNE 4, 2009 2:49 PM

Meat: "The Slavery of Our Day"
Jim Motavalli of Foreign Policy is the latest pundit to predict the imminent demise of meat-culture in a piece titled The Coming Vegetarian Revolution. I'll believe it when I see it, but I have to admit that even the increasing frequency of the prediction is heartening.

JUNE 4, 2009 12:17 PM

The year is 2109. The menu? 100% Vegan
We've all heard of Meatless Mondays, but this recent blogpost by health and wellness expert Kathy Freston invites us to imagine a meatless future, full-stop. The blogpost is an imagined dialogue between a 22nd century history teacher and her students, the latter of whom are positively incredulous that human beings ever used animals for food. Dare we dream!

JUNE 4, 2009 12:00 PM

Now Playing on a Computer Near You: The Distinguished Speakers of WW09!
Whether you're bummed that you had to miss this year's Wake Up Weekend events, or thrilled at the prospect of re-living them, your ship has come in thanks to the hard work of the Calvin Video Network, which recently posted nicely edited footage of virtually the entire 2009 program to Vimeo.

Nekeisha Alexis-Baker

Wake Up Weekend - Nekeisha Alexis-Baker from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Harold Brown

Wake Up Weekend - Harold Brown from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Ben DeVries

Wake Up Weekend - Ben DeVries Part 1 of 2 from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Adam Durand

Wake Up Weekend - Adam Durand from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Bee Friedlander

Wake Up Weekend - Bee Friedlander from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Michelle Loyd-Paige

Wake Up Weekend - Michelle Loyd-Paige from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Nathan Runkle

Wake Up Weekend - Nathan Runkle from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

APRIL 28, 2009 7:08 PM

Eminent Theologian to Offer 2009 Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture
The second annual address of the Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series at Calvin College is this Friday, May 1, at 7:30 pm in the Meeter Center Lecture Hall at the Hekman Library. This year's speaker is Dr. Jay McDaniel, the Willis T. Holmes Distinguished Professor of Religion at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. An eminent figure in the timely and rapidly expanding field of creation care theology, Dr. McDaniel is the author of numerous books including Of God and Pelicans: A Theology of Reverence for Life (John Knox) and Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism (Chalice).

Why Christians Need Animals...And God Does, Too!
Dr. McDaniel's address is titled "Why Christians Need Animals...And God Does, Too!", and he describes the project as follows: "I will suggest four ways that Christians are enriched by the presence of animals: as vessels of grace, subjects of respect, objects of amazement, and sites for the holy. I will then introduce a way of thinking about God -- the panentheistic perspective of process theology -- in which animals are understood as adding to the beauty of God's own life and subjects of God's care. The lecture concludes with a consideration of the idea that, given the extent of animal suffering, there is tragedy, even in God, and also with the suggestion that, if there is a continuing journey for humans after death, there must also be one for animals." Light refreshments and a book signing follow the address. The lecture is free and open to the public and a selection of Dr. McDaniel's books will be available for sale at 20% off the retail price.

Got Dinner Plans Beforehand?
If not, you should consider joining the Students for Compassionate Living for one of their legendary vegan potlucks at 5:00 pm in the DeVos Communications Center Forum just across the beltline from the main campus. The potluck theme is "Southern Soul", so fry up some garlic and greens, boil down the black-eyed peas, BBQ some seitan, and break out the biscuits and gravy. As always, please bring a dish to share and your own table service. Hope to see you there!

Comments (2)

APRIL 22, 2009 5:00 PM

Another Amazing Event Brought to You By Calvin College Student Activists
Mark your calendars for this Saturday, April 25, and join Calvin College Residence Life in celebrating the Mad Farmer Food Fest from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm in the outdoor ampitheater of the Knollcrest East Apartments (see SE corner of this map) for great food, an on-campus farmers' market, and a series of fantastic workshops on eating right.

Tickets are $5.00 for adults and just $2.00 for children, and the price of admission includes lunch catered by Brick Road Pizza and Marie Catrib's, a keynote lecture on "Practicing Resurrection through Food Choice" by Karen Lubbers of Lubbers Family Farm, and breakout sessions on a variety of topics of interest to vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Calvin College Box Office or onsite at the event. Peruse the full schedule of activities here and plan to make a day of it! Where else in Grand Rapids can you eat vegan pizza, support local farmers, have your face painted, participate in a vegan bread-making workshop, and learn about the ethics of eating from the good folks at places like Mixed Greens and Mud Lake Farm, all for just $5.00?

Comments (2)

APRIL 20, 2009 10:44 PM

Morrissey Leaves Stage in Protest of Meat Fumes from Backstage BBQ
Ah, Moz. You're still a hero after all this time. It seems like just yesterday, but it's been 24 years since...

APRIL 16, 2009 10:24 PM

Jeffrey Masson's Take on the Truth About Food
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, award-winning author of numerous books on the inner lives of animals, has just published a new monograph on the use of animals for food. Read all about it in New York Times columnist Eric Konigsberg's piece titled "A Man with Opinions on Food with a Face". Many thanks to John Scherer for the tip on this article.

Comments (1)

APRIL 2, 2009 10:42 AM

Mercy For Animals Strikes Again
This gut-wrenching video exposes the deplorable conditions inside the largest industrial egg farm in New England. How many "worst case scenarios" in how many states will we have to witness until we start believing that these problems are not just troublesome "one-offs" but standard industry conditions? Consider doing your part to keep the heat on this industry by supporting Mercy For Animals.

MARCH 28, 2009 5:20 PM

"Ripping the legs off live crabs and crowding lobsters into seafood market tanks are just two of the many practices that may warrant reassessment, given two new studies that indicate crustaceans feel pain and stress."
Couldn't have said it any better, Jennifer!

MARCH 23, 2009 10:43 PM

Marti Kheel Spotlights the Need for Holism in Ethical Inquiry
Friend of ExtraVEGANza! Brianne Donaldson has this to say about Marti Kheel's recent book titled Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective:

"For scholar-activists concerned with systemic connections between animal, environmental and human oppression, Nature Ethics provides a lens through which to examine other philosophies, theologies and political and environmental theories. Exploring the connection that Kheel makes between human violence and socially constructed masculine identity is like donning a pair of 3-D glasses that exposes previously unseen dualisms in even the most esteemed perspectives on animal rights, Gandhian nonviolence, environmental protection and ecological holism.

The ecofeminist invitation to develop empathethic relationships with individual beings validates the experiences with animal suffering that move many toward activism in the first place. Kheel's refusal to rely solely on the "conceptual force" of rational arguments makes her final call to a conscious ethos of contexualized care toward nature and individual other-than-human animals hard to resist. If you have ever been frustrated by rational or spiritual systems that don't seem to wed theory with praxis, Nature Ethics may illuminate why."

Get a free sneak peek at google books. If you like what you see, consider ordering a copy to read and then loan to friends and family.

MARCH 16, 2009 10:52 PM

Chimp's Premeditated Assaults Obliterate Another "Uniquely Human" Trait
How many "uniquely human traits" will have to bite the dust in view of the rich, complex lives led by non-human beings before we get the picture? I suspect that I'd be stockpiling stones too if my life consisted in being held captive to the gazes of jeering voyeurs who treated underestimating my intelligence as a spectator sport. Learn more about this enterprising 30-year-old Chimp named Santino here. Thanks, Gill, for the heads-up!

Comments (2)

MARCH 9, 2009 9:41 PM

Los Angeles Teacher Authors Children's Book on Veganism
That deafening roar you hear is the sound of vegan parents the world over thanking Ruby Roth for authoring and illustrating the book that we've all been waiting for: Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things. One look at these gorgeous page spreads and you'll be scrambling to pre-order your copy for immediate delivery on the May 26, 2009 release date. Watch Ruby and some of her students talk about the book below and then become a fan and join the burgeoning ranks of Ruby's supporters. Perhaps if there's interest, we can do a potluck and children's story hour in early June to celebrate the release. Stay tuned! And MANY thanks to our friend Brianne Donaldson for the tip!

Ruby Roth and Her Students Discuss the Book

Comments (3)

MARCH 2, 2009 1:34 PM

No Such Thing as "Sustainable" Beef, Study Shows.
A recent study conducted by German scientists confirms what common sense already clearly suggests, namely that the resource-intensive process of fattening and killing cows for food spells trouble for the environment even when it's done organically. My top two favorite quotations? I'm glad you asked: (1) "Vegans eat in a decidedly climate-friendly way" and (2) "Anyone who believes that by buying a ribeye steak from an organic store they are automatically contributing to climate protection is mistaken."

Other highlights of the article include a candid rebuke of "greening" efforts in the German government and elsewhere that continue to insulate livestock production from due environmental criticism (because of powerful lobbying interests), and an interviewee who just can't bring himself believe "that the world will come to an end because of cows burping and farting." Greed and denial--always a winsome combination! Möchten Sie es auf Deutsch lesen? Klicken Sie hier. Many thanks to Clayre for the tip on this article!

Comments (2)

FEBRUARY 24, 2009 7:09 PM

New "Sanctuary Tails" Blog Brings the Farm to You!
Visiting Farm Sanctuary is a beautiful, life-changing experience that well deserves a place atop your travel "to-do" list. Until such a time as you're able to visit in person, however, there's a new blog that can get you significant face time with some of the farm's most intriguing residents: Sanctuary Tails: News From Beyond Farm Sancutary's Barn Doors. Lucky ducks Burton, Kohl, and Harper (pictured above), for instance, vastly prefer their new digs at the Sanctuary to their previous lives as foie gras production machines. Read all about them and the many other survivors who have overcome great odds to enjoy a second chance at life the way it was meant to be at Farm Sanctuary's New York and California shelters.

FEBRUARY 23, 2009 10:41 PM

Join Forces With a Great New Vegan Vlog
Recent college graduate Michelle Taylor has taken her passions for clear, engaging communication and compassionate eating and channeled them into an excellent new vegan blog comprised of a series of brief video clips designed to demythologize the transition to a whole foods, plant-based diet. Check out Vegan Break and show your support for Michelle's exciting new initiative!

FEBRUARY 7, 2009 12:31 AM

Cass Sunstein in The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
Believe it or not, the co-editor of Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions is apparently at large in the halls of power. Many thanks to our friend Ben DeVries for the tip.

Comments (2)

JANUARY 22, 2009 7:12 PM

Better Safe Than Sorry: Please, No Peanut Ingredients in Potluck/Cook-Off Foods
Due to the nationwide salmonella outbreak that has been linked to peanuts, we are declaring Wake Up Weekend 2009 a peanut- and peanut-ingredient-free event. While it is disappointing to have to rule out so many delicious recipes in one fell swoop, I suspect we'll all be happier without the specter of a mass outbreak looming over our festivities. Apologies to Jimmy Carter, as well as to those of you who may have been planning a peanut-based contribution to our events. Luckily, the peanut-free options for tasty vegan vittles are practically limitless! Let's stay on the safe side and exploit some of those!

JANUARY 21, 2009 9:05 PM

It's Not Too Late! Register Your Chili Now!
The Wake Up Weekend 2009 competition is heating up, but with just nine registrants so far, we're still a full five chilis shy of the high bar of fourteen contestants set back in 2007. We'd love to SMASH that record this year, and we know you've got it in you.

The Details
The showdown begins at 7 pm sharp on Saturday, January 24th, 2009 at the gallery at 106 South Division, Grand Rapids, MI. If you have a crockpot or some alternate means of keeping your chili warm throughout the competition, we encourage you to use it. Please arrive no later than 6:40 so that we can have your chili ready to serve promptly at 7:00 pm.

Want in?
Please send your name, contact number, e-mail, recipe name* and recipe description** (optional) to

*By "Recipe Name," we simply mean the banner under which your chili will march into battle, e.g., "Vic's Veg Volcano" or "Torrid Thai Surprise."

**Like a fine wine, a well-crafted vegan chili is a complex affair. Incarnate for us the essence of your masterpiece. Particularly creative, humorous, or otherwise noteworthy descriptions may be published on ExtraVEGANza! to motivate others to compete and to attend (descriptions will be published anonymously in order to preserve the fairness of the competition). Look for a new post early on Friday with a rundown of the highlights!

Can't Contribute a Chili?
That's okay! There are plenty of other less intensive ways to participate. We'll need people to bring soft drinks, chips and dips, and other finger foods to supplement the chilis, as well as extra bowls, plates, cups and utensils to share with those who forget to bring their own. REMEMBER: To keep the Wake Up Weekend free of charge and still feed the masses, we need to count on a little help from our friends. If you can help in any of these ways, please drop a line to

JANUARY 12, 2009 6:52 PM

*All events are free and open to the public (excluding the all-you-can-eat Saturday brunch, which is just $10.00 per person at the door). Donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to

Our annual two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Animals & Society Institute, Brick Road Pizza Company, ExtraVEGANza!, G-Rad, Not One Sparrow, Oven Mitt Bakery, and Students for Compassionate Living.

2:30 pm--Animal Advocacy: What, Why, Who, and How?
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College

Stay on the cutting edge of the movement by learning from the people who are making it happen. From rights to welfare, from religion to politics, from the laws of the heart to the laws of the land, from grassroots to goliath, our nationally recognized panelists know the score. Join us for this workshop and you will too!

Harold Brown (President, Farm Kind, Hector, NY)
Ben DeVries (Founder, Not One Sparrow, Kenosha, WI)
Adam Durand (Campaign Director, Animal Rights International, Rochester, NY)
Bee Friedlander (Managing Director, Animals and Society Institute, Ann Arbor, MI)
Nathan Runkle (Executive Director, Mercy for Animals, Columbus, OH and Chicago, IL)

5:30 pm--"Compassionate Comestibles" Vegan Potluck*
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College
*Hosted by Students for Compassionate Living

At an event where omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are coming together in fellowship, a vegan bill of fare insures that everyone can enjoy what's on the menu! What's your favorite vegan recipe? Bring a dish to share and find out where others come down on this appetizing question! Need a few ideas? Vegan Yum Yum and Post Punk Kitchen never disappoint.

***Please help us to reduce waste and carbon emissions by bringing your own washable or recyclable dinnerware*** and perhaps an extra setting or two for our out-of-town guests and last-minute participants; a limited number of recyclables will be on hand for those without table service.

7:30 pm--Film Festival
Bytwerk Video Theater, DeVos Communications Center, Calvin College
Eating Mercifully
Fowl Play (A Film By Adam Durand)

Two great films by two great directors, one of whom--Adam Durand--will be on hand to introduce his work and take questions after the screening. Did you know that the idea for "Fowl Play" was hatched at Wake Up Weekend 2007 and that the original first-cut of the film was edited here in Grand Rapids for our sneak preview screening at Wake Up Weekend 2008? Now in 2009, the final version has been nominated for Best Documentary in a national film festival in Hollywood, but YOU get to see it first right here in Grand Rapids. Look for special mention of Wake Up Weekend in the credits!

11:00 am--Vegan Brunch at Brick Road Pizza
Tofu scramble, french toast sticks, vegan fried chikn, and all your favorite specialty pizzas and salads are on the menu at this $10.00 all-you-can-eat vegan juggernaut that Chef Ryan promises will be a day to remember! Whether you're a Wake-up-Weekender or just a hungry Grand Rapidian, come on out! Everyone is welcome!

1:30--Spotlight Session: Animal Advocacy and Religion
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
"Not One Sparrow is Forgotten: A Simply Christian Animal Advocacy"
Ben DeVries (Founder, Not One Sparrow)

3:00 pm--Panel: Animal Exploitation and Questions of Race and Gender
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids

"Thinking and Eating at the Same Time: Reflections of a Sista Vegan"
Michelle Loyd-Paige (Dean for Multicultural Affairs, Calvin College)

"Speciesism, Sexism, and Racism: The Intertwining Oppressions"
Nekeisha Alexis-Baker (Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary; Co-Founder, Jesus Radicals)

7:00 pm--Vegan Chili Cook-Off and Print Sale Benefit
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
You know the drill on this one: Best. Vegan. Chili. Ever. (Made by YOU, if you've got the guts to compete, anyway.) Add vegan cornbread lovingly prepared by Oven Mitt Bakery, and a print sale that puts the artwork of Wake Up Weekend within everyone's reach, and you simply can't say no! Come on out and help us raise a few dollars for our participating animal charities, and we can show the world that compassion is recession-proof!

*If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to ASAP to request a registration form. Last year, we were a bit light on chili (and a bit heavy on chili-eaters), so let's anticipate another big turnout and get as many of you to put your culinary prowess on display as possible!

See you at Wake Up Weekend 2009!

Comments (1)

JANUARY 4, 2009 11:14 PM

Unlikely Chums Presage the Peaceable Kingdom
Not since Owen and Mzee has there been a more winsome animal odd couple! Have your Kleenex at the ready, because this one will moisten your eyes.

Comments (1)

JANUARY 3, 2009 7:25 PM

Mark Your Calendars: January 23-24, 2009 in Grand Rapids, MI
It is something of a tradition here at extraVEGANza! to go into a brief period of hibernation over the holidays and then return with a "COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!" in the new year to promote our annual Wake Up Weekend festivities. Remember how much fun you had in 2007 and 2008? You attended workshops and lectures, you wore your extraVEGANza! pride on your sleeve, you prepared and ate award-winning vegan chili, and you purchased artwork by a variety of fantastic national and regional artists, all for the worthy cause of compassion for animals!

Lucky for you, Wake Up Weekend 2009 is right around the corner, featuring yet another full slate of A-list speakers and events to kick off a new year of animal-friendly living in Grand Rapids and beyond! As ever, we'll be bringing some of the movement's most exciting people to our fair city and rallying ya'll to fire up your vegan chili-making skills. We've got a few innovations in store as well, including a print sale that will make Wake Up Weekend artwork more affordable for everyone, a $10.00 all-you-can-eat vegan brunch buffet at Brick Road Pizza, and additional sessions on cutting-edge topics including Animal Advocacy and Religion, and Compassionate Eating and Race Awareness. Stay tuned for the official schedule TBA in just a few days!

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NOVEMBER 19, 2008 10:04 AM

As the holiday known regrettably as "turkey day" approaches, please encourage friends and family members to think before they eat. Consider recommending to your loved ones the possibility of adopting a turkey this year, and then filling up instead on some of the vegan thanksgiving delicacies described here, here, and here, among many other places.

NOVEMBER 5, 2008 2:28 AM

Battery Cages, Veal Crates, and Gestation Crates Banned in California by 2015!
On a day of victory and liberation for the human population of the United States, California voters sent a clear message to those who seek to profit from the exploitation of animals: yes we can do better!

Comments (3)

OCTOBER 16, 2008 12:06 AM


OCTOBER 13, 2008 9:39 PM

Oprah: How Do We Treat the Animals We Eat?
Everyone knows that Oprah's got a heart for animals. Back in 1998, she was on the hot seat for taking the beef industry to task and getting sued for it (she won). More recently, she's been in the news for leaving a $30 million fortune to her dogs and for her public experiments with veganism. Today, she jumped into the fray of California's Prop. 2 debates, hosting an episode of the wildly popular Oprah Winfrey Show titled How We Treat The Animals We Eat. Among the guests were HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle and a number of industrial livestock producers and smaller-scale "free-range" farmers. Oprah did her best to give both sides their say, but it was pretty clear where she stands.

Mercy For Animals Exposes Cruelty to California Chickens
Nathan Runkle and his crack team of investigators at Mercy For Animals have exposed the conditions inside a major California egg producer just three weeks before citizens will vote on the proposition. Lastly, check out the New York Times' recent endorsement of Prop. 2. Alert your friends and family in California to these important resources.

OCTOBER 8, 2008 1:42 PM

Get them thinking about Proposition 2!
After sending them this new commercial, you can follow up with a link to this site where they can learn more about The California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. For information on what the opposition is saying, you can steer them to this site. Pro or con, the more people talk, the more concern over the lives of animals permeates the culture and becomes an issue on the radar of everyday folks. Let's help to keep the conversation alive!

SEPTEMBER 26, 2008 11:38 AM

Going Viral: The new "Yes on Prop. 2" Video "Uncaged"
The animator-activists behind the celebrated Meatrix films are at it again, this time stumping for the "Yes on Prop. 2!" campaign, a ballot initiative in California that is seeking to ban the use of gestation crates for breeding sows, veal crates for calves, and battery cages for egg laying hens by 2015. While the passing of Prop. 2 will hardly result in the animal elation depicted in the video, the extremely modest improvements to the system that might result would nonetheless be a significant wake-up call for the industry. Let's do our part to insure that this video goes viral! Watch it and share it with friends and family!

Comments (1)

SEPTEMBER 20, 2008 4:00 PM

Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder to Speak at Calvin, Wed 9/24
Gene Baur is undoubtedly one of the most influential animal advocates in the United States. Since co-founding the renowned Farm Sanctuary in 1986, Gene has been in the trenches fighting for the dignity of farm animals--whether that means going toe-to-toe with industry PR people on Larry King Live, testifying in local, state, and federal hearings on animal welfare laws, sharing the good news with the New York Times, or rubbing shoulders with vegan celebs to raise awareness and capital for the cause. Imagine our surprise, then, when this animal compassion juggernaut called to express his interest in opening the Michigan leg of his book tour right here in Grand Rapids!

Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food
On Wednesday evening, September 24th, 2008 at 7:30 pm in Science Building 010 at Calvin College, the Students for Compassionate Living will host Gene Baur for a public lecture followed by a book signing. Please consider coming out to give Gene that unmistakable extraVEGANza! welcome and to grab your own signed copy of his new book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food. Don't miss this opportunity to meet and greet one of the great champions of our cause!

Comments (2)

AUGUST 2, 2008 1:39 PM

Nursery 1
Noodles paints a mural for Vegucator Jr.
Our baby boy is scheduled to wrap up his lengthy intrauterine adventure by the end of the month, so we enlisted the multi-talented Noodles to help us make his nursery a more inspiring place to be. One of our many hopes for our son is that he will choose someday to see his own well-being here on the green planet as intimately connected to the flourishing of non-human animals and the earth as well. Until then, we'll do what we can to make a place for him in which the beauty, mystery, and wonder of the world around is as accessible as possible to his impressionable imagination.
Nursery 2
A stag stands sentry over the crib.
Nursery 5
Feathered friends in flight.
Nursery 3
An owl perched above the bookshelves.
Nursery 6
A fox guards the door.
Nursery 4
Gus and Charlie at the ready for mischief.
Thanks for all your hard work, Noodles! We LOVE the results, and we suspect that E.W. will too!

Comments (5)

JULY 28, 2008 1:27 PM

Vegan. For the People. For the Planet. For the Animals. It's that simple.
Nonviolence United, a nonprofit NGO out of Boulder, Colorado, has done the movement a great service with this excellent 12-minute video that details the variety of pressing reasons--human, animal, and environmental--for choosing a vegan lifestyle. Instead of relying on the tired tactics of doom, gloom, shame, blame and gory images of suffering animals, the folks at NU have given us an inspiring vision of veganism as a smart, green, compassionate way to live well for ourselves, the earth, and our fellow creatures. The video embedded above is a self-contained 9-minute edit (drat, those YouTube length restrictions!), but the full version is well worth watching. Share it generously with family and friends! And don't forget to register your support with Nonviolence United for doing us all such a good turn with this positive, upbeat resource!

Comments (2)

JULY 14, 2008 9:13 AM

Spain Grants Legal Rights to Apes
Many thanks to my colleague Kevin Corcoran for spotting this fascinating opinion piece in the New York Times on the recent legislation in Spain of legal rights for apes. Adam Cohen, the author of the piece and an assistant editor for the Times who has contributed numerous articles on human rights, concludes the article with the controversial suggestion that increased attention to the rights of primates might pay dividends for the more humane treatment of human beings: "The Supreme Court recently ruled that states are not obliged to administer lethal injections in ways that avoid unnecessary risk that inmates will suffer great pain. If apes are given the right to humane treatment, it just might become harder to deny that same right to their human cousins."

Comments (1)

JUNE 24, 2008 4:57 PM

"Stockfree" Green Manure. All The Nutrients, None Of The Exploitation.
The Associated Press recently published this fascinating article on veganic farming. Unlike most organic farms that use animal products such as manure, bone meal, and blood meal to fertilize their crops, veganic farmers take out the middle man (in this case, the animals who process plant foods into manure) and put composted plant matter--"stockfree" or green manure--directly onto their fields instead. The famous Huguenot Street Farm in New Paltz, NY offers this helpful explanation of the basic principles of veganic farming, and Friends of Animals goes into a bit more depth in this article. If you're in the market for a whole book on the subject, Jenny Hall and Ian Tolhurst's Growing Green comes highly recommended by our friend Harold Brown of Farm Kind. If you're looking for a more hands-on experience, consider this Veganic Farming Training Program offered by the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, AZ.

JUNE 2, 2008 11:27 PM

Joanna Lucas's "Letter From a Vegan World"
Vegans are often asked by curious friends and family members why they consider "humanely raised" animal products such as organic dairy, "rose" veal, and "free range" eggs to be morally objectionable. Joanna Lucas of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary outside of Denver, Colorado, has penned an eloquent and moving answer to this question in her Letter From a Vegan World.

Essential Reading for Vegans, Omnivores, and Everyone in Between
Taking as her foil the efforts of welfare organizations pushing for "humane" consumer alternatives to factory farmed animal products, Lucas explains why she believes that these efforts run counter to the true spirit of compassion for animals, arguing that vegan outreach and education must be the central focus of the movement.

The Faces of Organic Dairy, "Rose" Veal, and "Cage Free" Eggs
Lucas's letter begins with descriptions of what life is like for organic dairy cows, "rose" veal calves, and "cage free" hens and goes on to encourage vegans to stand firm in their abolitionist convictions. She even provides a link to a full color pdf of the letter that is ready to be printed and distributed in your very own grassroots outreach effort. Many thanks to my good friend Harold Brown of Farm Kind for calling Lucas's letter to my attention.

Comments (2)

MAY 31, 2008 11:55 AM

The Awe and Reverence of All Creatures Great and Small
Many thanks to my colleague David Hoekema for calling my attention to Paul Waldau's intriguing new essay, "Religion and Other Animals", in the most recent edition of Sightings, an online publication of the Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion at the University of Chicago.

MAY 31, 2008 10:46 AM

Recent Editorial Blasts Industrial Animal Production
"The so-called efficiency of industrial animal production is an illusion, made possible by cheap grain, cheap water and prisonlike confinement systems." So says an editorial published today in the New York Times under the scathing title "The Worst Way of Farming". Citing recent reports including the Pew Commission Study and The Union of Concerned Scientists' new paper, CAFOs Uncovered, the editorial board of the Times concludes that "animal husbandry has been turned into animal abuse"--"millions of animals are crowded together in inhumane conditions, causing significant environmental threats and unacceptable health risks for workers, their neighbors and all the rest of us." Three cheers for the Gray Lady! Be sure to send the links to your family and friends.

APRIL 30, 2008 10:20 PM

Prestigious Pew Commission Affirms California Ballot Initiative
The following is the text of an e-mail update from Paul Shapiro, director of the factory farming campaign at The Humane Society of the United States.

"The prestigious Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production just concluded its 2.5-year study of American animal agriculture with unanimous findings from its 15 members. The Commission was chaired by former Kansas governor John Carlin and included, among others, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, former Dean of the Univ. of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Michael Blackwell, and more.

The panel concluded that factory farms pose unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and animal welfare. It also issued a series of recommendations, including a phase-out of battery cages, gestation crates, veal crates, foie gras, and tail-docking of dairy cows, along with inclusion of poultry under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. The Commission even put out a press release in which it cites the pending California anti-cruelty ballot measure as one of "the types of modest animal welfare public policy improvements that the Commissioners recommend implementing."

The Washington Post published a great story on page A2 today entitled, "Report Targets Cost of Factory Farming." USA Today's story begins, "The way America produces meat, milk and eggs is unsustainable, creates significant risks to public health from antibiotic resistance and disease, damages the environment and unnecessarily harms animals, a report released Tuesday says." The Wall Street Journal's coverage focuses both on the problems caused by factory farming and the Commission's conclusion that the "agriculture industry is exerting 'significant influence' on academic research." And the Des Moines Register's article highlights the fact that the Commission is accusing "some livestock interests of trying to disrupt a wide-ranging study of the industry by threatening to yank financing for scientists and universities."

Both the Associated Press and Reuters have national stories on it, as well.

Comments (1)

APRIL 26, 2008 9:46 AM

Taking Veganism to Church
As a Mennonite youngster, I worked the church potluck circuit with reckless abandon--especially the dessert table. Back then, it would have been difficult to imagine a church potluck without animal products. But as the evidence mounts that industrial livestock production has serious repercussions for creation, more and more faith communities are taking notice of the moral and spiritual significance of eating. As a case in point, Splinters and I are members of a small group at Sherman Street CRC that recently put on a multi-cultural, intergenerational vegan potluck with over 40 parishioners and friends.

Enchiladas, Lasagna, and Dahl, Oh My!
I brought our favorite Seitan Enchiladas with Salsa Verde (from Ann Gentry's spectacular Real Food Daily Cookbook) along with a side of refried black beans.

Others prepared vegan lasagna, Indian dahl, African groundnut stew, fresh salads and fruits, and a variety of other amazing offerings. Suffice it to say that no one went away hungry, least of all those who spent any time near the sweet table, which boasted vegan coconutty cookies (from Wealthy Street Bakery), "cockeyed" chocolate cake with coconut frosting, chocolate banana cupcakes with peanut butter creme frosting (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), and a transcendent ginger coconut macadamia carrot cake that obliterated my previous conception of the standard for vegan desserts.

Rediscovering the Intersection of Food and Faith
Though a lot of vegans have given up on seeing the church as a potential ally in the struggle for justice for all God's creatures, there is reason to be hopeful. As Christine Gutleben of the Humane Society of the United States points out in a recent editorial in the New York Times, the principles of compassion, mercy, and justice for animals are built into our faith traditions, just waiting for visionary people of faith to reawaken the church to their significance for our everyday lives. For more information on the resurgence of religious interest in these matters and links to resources that can help you communicate the message of compassion for animals in your own church community, check out the Animals and Religion initiative of the Humane Society of the United States.

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MARCH 21, 2008 1:01 AM

Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation
As many of you know, I spent the summer writing a booklet on the intersection of animal ethics and faith issues (from a Christian perspective) for the Humane Society of the United States. The result of this endeavor is finally available online and you can check it out here. The limited edition version of the publication (which is not yet featured on the website) includes 14 amazing collages by our very own Adam Wolpa. We hope to have a pdf of the limited edition up soon, but until then you can check out Wolpa's collages here.

Something for Everyone
While the argument developed in this booklet is grounded primarily in broadly Christian assumptions, my hope is that there may still be some strategic value in the booklet for people who do not share these assumptions. After all, many non-Christians who care about the plight of animals still have a vested interest in being able to appeal to Christian audiences in a language that such audiences can understand and appreciate. Moreover, there are certain empirical facts about the fallout of our dependence on industrial animal agriculture that all of us have a vested interest in knowing, regardless of our diverse religious identities. Pages 23-36 focus specifically on these empirical issues, so if you're allergic to religious discourse but still interested in the general topic, you can skip straight to this section of the booklet for a succinct overview (with recourse to the latest scientific research) of the hidden human, animal, and environmental consequences of the traditional American diet.

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MARCH 11, 2008 6:23 PM

Excellent documentary about climate change, world hunger, creation care, and non-human animals, all from a Jewish perspective. Also check out the review by The Humane Society Animals and Religion here.

MARCH 9, 2008 2:49 PM

VegMichigan Goes All Out on April 13th!
Those of you who attended this year's Wake Up Weekend! will remember enjoying fellowship with our friends from the East, VegMichigan. On April 13th, we'll have a chance to see them again, this time on their side of the state, at the Metro Detroit Great American Meatout in Ferndale, MI. With free food from local veg-friendly restaurants, product samples from veg companies, and a cavalcade of excellent speakers, this event is a "must attend" for Michigan vegans on a mission! Tickets may be purchased in advance here at a discounted rate of just $7.00 per person ($3.00 for students, children 5 and under are free). Interested in free admission to the Meatout plus a free subscription to VegNews Magazine? Consider joining VegMichigan; membership has its privileges! Interested in carpooling or joining a Grand Rapids caravan destined for the Meatout? Leave a comment below and we'll see what develops.

JANUARY 30, 2008 3:48 PM

Confronting Global Climate Change
Calvin College right here in Grand Rapids is one of over 1,700 universities and colleges participating in an exciting national initiative called Focus the Nation. Its purpose is to provide a day of focused discussion on global climate change and solutions for the future that can help "to move America beyond fatalism to a determination to face up to this civilizational challenge, the challenge of our generation." At Calvin, a series of events is planned during the first week of the spring semester culminating on January 31, 2008 with a teach-in, discussion with elected leaders, and a celebratory concert.

Food & the Future
Among the sessions planned for the teach-in (download the full schedule) is an offering on "Food & the Future" (9:00 am TODAY in the DeVos Forum) during which I will make a brief ten-minute presentation on Industrial Animal Agriculture and Global Warming. The purpose of this post, in addition to publicizing Calvin's contribution to this important nationwide initiative, is to provide attendees of the teach-in (and other interested parties) with links to online resources for further investigation of the general issues that I briefly consider in my presentation. Though ten minutes is not enough time to provide in-depth coverage of the serious environmental challenges posed by our reliance on industrial animal agriculture, my hope is that the following resources might inspire you to give these challenges the rigorous consideration they deserve.

Tuition-Free Online Education!
My general strategy for approaching this constellation of issues is articulated in a paper I recently gave in the Calvin College Christian Perspectives in Science Series titled Animal Welfare and Global Sustainability. In writing this paper, I found many of the following articles, papers, and reports illuminating. Check them out and decide for yourself!

1. "Rethinking the Meat Guzzler", New York Times, January 27, 2008.
2. A Factory Farm Near You, New York Times, July 31, 2007.
3. Meat Is Murder On the Environment, NewScientist, July 18, 2007.
4. Rearing Cattle Produces More Greenhouse Gasses Than Driving Cars, UN News Service, November 29, 2006.

1. Diet, Energy, and Global Warming, Gideon Eshel and Pamela Martin (University of Chicago), 2005.
2. Meat: Now, It's Not Personal, World Watch Magazine, 2004.
3. Sustainability of Meat-Based and Plant-Based Diets and the Environment, Pimentel and Pimentel, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003.

1. Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006.
2.Livestock Development: Implications for Rural Poverty, the Environment, and Global Food Security, The World Bank, 2001.
Managing the Livestock Revolution
3. Global Warming: Climate Change and Farm Animal Welfare (Executive Summary), Compassion in World Farming, 2007.
4. Global Warming: Climate Change and Farm Animal Welfare (Full Report), Compassion in World Farming, 2007.

Comments (2)

JANUARY 27, 2008 9:17 PM

A New Lecture Series at Calvin College is in the News!
Wake Up Weekend participants may have had the pleasure of attending Dr. Stephen H. Webb's inaugural address of Calvin's new Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series. Those who missed the lecture can read all about it in this article from yesterday's Grand Rapids Press. With an article on a recent vegan wedding reception at the Amway Grand earlier in the week, our hometown paper is doing their part to get the plight of farmed animals in the news. Take a minute to let them know that you appreciate their coverage of these stories and that you'd like to see more on related topics!

DECEMBER 19, 2007 3:49 PM

Bob Torres on "The Political Economy of Animal Rights"
The Vegan Freak is at it again. In his new book Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights, Bob Torres wields an explosive battery of Marxist and anarchist artillery to level a withering critique of both the capitalism that drives animal exploitation and the conflicted philosophy of animal rights activism that he claims unwittingly entrenches this exploitation. For those who have read previous posts on the recent conflicts between Reformist and Abolitionist approaches to animal advocacy, the alleged inconsistencies in the "New Welfarist" approaches that Torres is criticizing will ring familiar.

The Uninterrogated Assumptions of "New Welfarism"
Says Torres: "Because some new welfarists imagine that talking about human hierarchy over animals and the moral wrong of all animal exploitation is too onerously radical and difficult for the average person to understand, let alone accept, we end up with campaigns, strategies, and tactics that do little more than refocus the efforts of industry to produce products that "caring, ethical" consumers find pleasing. We also end up with so-called "reforms" that even animal rights organizations argue make animal exploitation more profitable. Some activists refer to these reforms as "victories," and they are victories, in a sense: they are victories for the industry." (100) Among the organizations targeted here are PETA and The Humane Society of the United States, groups that, according to Torres, do not even engage, much less challenge, the foundational assumptions upon which the exploitative practices of animal use industries ultimately rest, namely the property status of animals (which paves the way for their commodification), and underlying that, the traditionally accepted hierarchy of human beings over animals.

Veganism as a Baseline
Entitled "You Cannot Buy the Revolution," the final chapter of this provocative read provides an intriguing but somewhat scant set of recommendations for moving forward. First and foremost, Torres maintains, veganism "must be a baseline for the animal rights movement. It is the daily, lived expression of abolition in one's life, and a rejection of the logic of speciesism." As Torres sees it, "vegan education should form the basis of our outreach and activism; in our interactions with people outside the movement, we should discuss why veganism is a viable option. This works in direct contrast to the current animal rights discourse, which promotes "happy meat," "humanely" raised eggs, and organic milk. All of these products rely on exploitation and maintain the relations that will continue to exploit. If we want to eradicate exploitation, we must begin by ending it in our own lives, and encouraging others to do the same." (145) Beyond adopting veganism, Torres recommends that we eschew large, beaurocratic institutions like PETA and HSUS in favor of marshaling the power of the internet and working in "consensus-based affinity groups"--smaller, more flexible collectives of like-minded people that may serve as "models of non-exploitative, non-hierarchical social relationships that highlight mutual aid and conviviality, while also respecting individuality." (148) Sounds a bit like ExtraVEGANza!. Who knew we were a consensus-based affinity group? SNAP!

At Home With Bob Torres
Controversial as its thesis may be, Making A Killing is an intriguing, challenging, and inspiring read, at least in part because of the uniqueness of Torres's voice. As a scholar-activist with a Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University and a professorship at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, he brings pedagogy and agitation into an unsettling, but potentially invigorating, confluence. Read all about his personal and professional exploits at

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NOVEMBER 15, 2007 7:53 PM

Are Specieism and Animal Liberation Compatible?
This remarkable new book by Tzachi Zamir maintains that, contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to argue to the abolition of many "animal use" industries from "speciesist" premises. Here's a brief description of Zamir's argument from the book's promo page at Princeton University Press:

"Many people think that animal liberation would require a fundamental transformation of basic beliefs. We would have to give up "speciesism" and start viewing animals as our equals, with rights and moral status. And we would have to apply these beliefs in an all-or-nothing way. But in Ethics and the Beast, Tzachi Zamir makes the radical argument that animal liberation doesn't require such radical arguments--and that liberation could be accomplished in a flexible and pragmatic way. By making a case for liberation that is based primarily on common moral intuitions and beliefs, and that therefore could attract wide understanding and support, Zamir attempts to change the terms of the liberation debate.

Without defending it, Ethics and the Beast claims that speciesism is fully compatible with liberation. Even if we believe that we should favor humans when there is a pressing human need at stake, Zamir argues, that does not mean that we should allow marginal human interests to trump the life-or-death interests of animals. As minimalist as it sounds, this position generates a robust liberation program, including commitments not to eat animals, subject them to factory farming, or use them in medical research. Zamir also applies his arguments to some questions that tend to be overlooked in the liberation debate, such as whether using animals can be distinguished from exploiting them, whether liberationists should be moral vegetarians or vegans, and whether using animals for therapeutic purposes is morally blameless."

SEPTEMBER 28, 2007 8:30 PM

Once a bashful mutt on the street, now Charlie barks with vim and vigor at anything he sees (especially when he wants to wrestle with his brother Gus). Oral surgery, good food and a clean, loving home later, Charlie is as good as new. Many thanks to those who rescued and restored him to good health.

Comments (2)

AUGUST 19, 2007 11:11 AM

A Vegetarian Journal for Quakers and Other People of Faith
Though Animal Liberation is often considered a "secular" phenomenon, the cause of compassion for animals is gaining ground among people of faith. These advances are happening because of the work of visionary individuals like Gracia Fay Ellwood, publisher of the Vegetarian Friends website, author of "Are Animals Our Neighbors?", and editor of The Peaceable Table, a Vegetarian Journal for Quakers and Other People of Faith. Though Ellwood lives and works in California, she has connections to West Michigan as an alumna of Calvin College, from which she graduated in 1961 with a major in (what else?) Philosophy. If you find Christendom's general indifference to the plight of non-human animals alienating, then take a page out of Ellwood's playbook and BE THE CHANGE you'd like to see in the Church.

AUGUST 13, 2007 1:34 PM

Bruce Friedrich Rebuffs LaVeck and Stein's "NeoCarn" Charges
PETA's Vice President for International Campaigns, Bruce Friedrich, has written a provocative reply to James's LaVeck's recent argument that Welfarist reforms undercut the animal rights movement. (The above link will take you to directly to Friedrich's article, but you should also check out the excellent blog on which it is posted--Animal Blawg, an animal law blog for academics, students, and practitioners.)

In a rather ingenious turning of the tables, Friedrich maintains that LaVeck's criticisms of those who support welfare reforms betray a hidden but potent form of speciesism in LaVeck's own arguments. Says Friedrich: "Death penalty opponents simultaneously advocate for the abolition of the death penalty while also working to ban the most torturous forms of execution (e.g., hanging and electrocution). Most readers are probably opposed to the death penalty, and yet we recognize that at the very least, we should support efforts to eliminate especially horrible forms of killing prisoners while they are alive. Those animal advocates who don't take the same stance with regard to animal welfare reforms (and demean them as inconsequential) seem to lack the ability fully to empathize with animals in the same way we empathize with humans--again, speciesism in its purest form."

Friedrich's article is a "must read" for those who wish to stay abreast of the most important developments in the movement.

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AUGUST 9, 2007 10:50 PM

Highlights from Animal Rights 2007 on a computer near you.
One of these days, you'll get tired of watching R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet, low budget ads for mini-malls, clips of skateboarding bulldogs, and videos of idiots putting mentos into diet coke bottles and begin to crave a bit more substance from your steady diet of YouTube. Lucky for you, there's a host of great new clips boasting highlights from this year's Animal Rights 2007 Conference in Los Angeles a few weeks back. Those of you who have attended AR events here in Grand Rapids in the past couple of years will see some familiar faces in the crowd. For instance...

Harold Brown of Farm Sanctuary
If you've ever had the privilege of hearing Harold speak, you know that he can change your life with just a few heartfelt sentences. So imagine what he can do with a full ten minutes on the mic. Or just watch it here.

Howard Lyman
Attendees of the 2006 Vegetarian Awakening Conference here in Grand Rapids won't soon forget Howard's impassioned keynote address. The Mad Cowboy is at it again here at AR 2007 telling big agriculture: No More Bull! Check out his presentation here.

Erik Marcus of VEGAN.COM
Though Grand Rapids has not yet enjoyed the honor of Erik's presence, tentative plans are in the works to bring him to town for Wake Up Weekend 2008! Let's roll out the welcome mat a little early by boosting his book revenues (check out Meat Market and Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating) and tuning into his excellent podcast. Here's what he had to say in L.A.

Comments (2)

JULY 31, 2007 6:29 PM

Your State-by-State Guide to Exploitation and Degradation
Is it me, or is the New York Times feeling guilty about that "Death By Veganism" fiasco awhile back? In yet another op-ed on the environmental fallout of factory farming, the NYT showcases an organization called Food and Water Watch which has recently launched this fascinating interactive map offering a state-by-state breakdown of all the CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) in the U.S. You can even search by facility type to find out, for instance, how many pig operations exist in your home state (that's a whopping 220 for Michaganders). To our shame, the state of Michigan is the 11th worst factory farm polluter in the union, with Allegan and Cass counties being by far the worst offenders.

Please consider informing your friends and family in Michigan of this educational opportunity and encourage them to boycott factory farms and do their part to help clean up our great state!

JULY 31, 2007 10:24 AM

James LaVeck and Jenny Stein speak to the politics of recent welfare "victories".
As the director/producer team behind Tribe of Heart, James LaVeck and Jenny Stein have brought us some of the most effective documentary films in the animal rights movement, including Peaceable Kingdom and The Witness.

In this recent essay titled Project for the New American Carnivore, LaVeck and Stein tackle the incendiary question of what effects welfarist compromises with "more humane" producers of animal products are having on the animal rights message. Drawing on analogies between the "Neo-Con" tactics of the Bush Administration and the allegedly "Neo-Carn" agenda of major Animal Welfare organizations, LaVeck and Stein argue that the animal rights movement must return to its vegan roots and stop making compromises with companies that use and slaughter animals, however "humanely" they claim to do so.

This essay is a "must read" for those who wish to stay on the cutting edge of the central debates in the animal rights movement.

JULY 30, 2007 7:47 PM

A note from Professor Tom Regan:

"To the best of my recollection, the speech I gave, as presented on YouTube, was given in 1989, in London, under the auspices of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. It was part of a debate over the question, "Does the animal kingdom need a bill of rights?" I spoke in favor of the proposal, as did Andrew Linzey and Richard Ryder.Germaine Greer and Mary Warnock spoke against against it.

For its time, the event was a big deal. As I recall, the BBC televised it throughout the UK on one of the national channels. The room (it was a formal setting, in a regal hall) was packed, those in the audience as respectful as they were attentive.

I do not think there was any formal, or informal, vote on the question. So who won the debate is not something anyone can know. I do know, though, that it was a memorable event in my life. For me, perso9nally, I had never before (and have not since) had the opportunity to address so many people, at one time, and in so many different places, on the philosophy of animal rights. I will never forget it.

As to how it came to be posted on YouTube: I haven't the foggiest idea."

Comments (1)

JULY 25, 2007 10:35 AM

Putting our art auction proceeds to good use!
Those of you who attended the Wake Up Weekend! art auction in January may recall that a portion of the proceeds of your generosity went to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY. Check out what the celebrated "Gray Lady" has to say about Farm Sanctuary and its Executive Director Gene Baur in this feature from the Food and Wine section, annoyingly titled Bringing Oinks and Moos into the Food Debate. Though the author's disposition toward animal compassion advocacy is a bit irritating at times, the article does touch on an issue that is generating a lot of controversy in the movement right now--namely, that of whether animal advocacy organizations are diluting their animal liberation message in order to make inroads into the mainstream.

JULY 20, 2007 11:49 AM

I nostri amici italiani sono molto bei, non sono?
A few minutes ago, I received an e-mail informing me that a new comment had been made on one of our posts. When I checked the email, I was delighted to see that we now seem to have an Italian readership, as the address linked back to this enchanting e-shop called Tippitappi recently launched by an eco-vegan graphic designer in Reggio Emilia, a beautiful place in northern Italy. In addition to a whole host of must-have 100% organic cotton t-shirts printed with inventive animal and earth friendly designs, Tippitappi has a great blog which you may read in either Italian or English. Here are a couple of my favorite t-shirt designs:
I don't eat animals.

Zoos = Prisons

Is International Organic Apparel Swapping even legal?
We're no match for our Italian friends, of course, but perhaps we could persuade them to trade some of their wares for some of ours? We love you, Tippitappi! Thanks for visiting us and keep up the great work. Buona Fortuna!

Stay tuned for more designs...
If you spend all your disposable income at Tippitappi, that's just fine with us. But if you manage to save $15-20, you just might be able to cash in on one of our limited edition extraVEGANza! "FUNDAMENTALIST VEGANGELICAL" tees later this summer. Dare to dream!

Comments (2)

JULY 20, 2007 12:11 AM

Zero Tolerance for Dog Torturers!
Please consider joining the throngs of outraged Americans calling for justice to be done to those who subborn this unconscionable form of animal cruelty. By clicking on this link and filling out the form, you can register your disapproval of the NFL's indifference to Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick's indictment on charges related to his alleged operation of a dogfighting ring. If Vick is guilty of these brutal crimes, he'd better start praying that Senator Robert Byrd is wrong about the fate that awaits perpetrators of such cruelty.

Comments (5)

JUNE 28, 2007 7:25 PM

Listen Up, Legislators Everywhere!
Oregon has become the first state in the U.S. to employ representative government as a means of banning the use of gestation crates for breeding pigs. Other states including Arizona and Florida have used voter ballot initiatives to ban the practice, but Oregon state Senator Ginny Burdick did it the hard way by introducing a bill and shepherding it through both houses. Read all about it in this press release from The Humane Society of the United States.

Comments (1)

JUNE 18, 2007 11:08 AM

For "edu-tainment" animals, the cost of admission may be higher than you think.
Animal enterprises such as aquariums and zoos count on the public perception that their reasons for being are noble ones: education, conservation, and research that benefits the animals themselves. But is this scenario really plausible? The authors of this article challenge us to think before we patronize such establishments.

Comments (1)

JUNE 9, 2007 9:38 AM

Mercy Makes A Difference!
The next time you and your high school chums are racking up a two dollar tab during a four hour dishwater coffee binge, you can be assured that the open-faced turkey sandwich ordered by the robust looking gentleman in the booth next to you was NOT sourced by House of Raeford, the North Carolina poultry processing plant featured in the Mercy For Animals Expose posted on June 7. Read all about it in Denny's Dumps Supplier After Bird Abuse Video.

Congratulations to Nathan Runkle and Mercy For Animals on this very successful campaign. Visit them here and support their good work!

JUNE 7, 2007 9:50 PM

Mercy For Animals Documents Cruelty in N.C. Processing Facility
One nagging concern I have about the prospects of ostensibly "humane" smaller-scale animal farming is that even the most well-intentioned, conscientious farmers cannot insure that their animals do not undergo horrific cruelty, since in many cases they have no choice but to transport their animals to slaughter in facilities where they themselves have no control over how their animals are treated.

As you can see from this sobering undercover footage of a poultry processing plant in North Carolina, even on the unlikely supposition that these turkeys and chickens lived blissful lives on Old McDonald's Farm, the fate waiting for them in this facility was unimaginably cruel. This footage is graphic. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

JUNE 5, 2007 7:41 PM

"The 'Babe' Vegetarians: Bioethics, Animal Minds and Moral Methodology"

From Bioethics and the Movies
Questions for Discussion:

1. Bioethicist Bernard Rollin suggests that “there is perhaps no set of social issues on which otherwise sane people on either side of the question allow themselves to be as overwhelmingly irrational as in matters pertaining to the treatment of animals, and our moral obligations to them.” Is this true? If so, what is it about ethics and animals issues that might explain why people respond these ways? Is it bad when people respond “irrationally” to moral issues? What can be done to lessen this kind of response and encourage better responses (what are these?)?
2. Some people argue that movies like “Babe” and “Charlotte’s Web” “anthropomorphize” animals. What does it mean to “anthropomorphize” something? Is it a mistake to anthropomorphize any animals? It is a mistaken to anthropomorphize all human beings (or all beings who are biologically human?)? Why or why not?
3. Some people claim that there are “more important” moral issues to address than the treatment of animals in farms, labs, slaughterhouses, etc. How does one argue that one moral issues is “more important” than another? Is the number of beings affected relevant? Is it the severity of the harms relevant? How does one decide this? If one issue is more important than another, does that mean another is not important? Discuss these issues as they relate to animal issues.
4. Some animal advocates argue that there are important similarities between (past) movements for women’s rights, rights for minorities (e.g., African-Americans) and other oppressed humans and the (present) movement for animal rights. What are these similarities? What are the differences? Which are more morally important here, the similarities or the differences? Why?
5. Most people would not eat their pet dog or cat. What would their best reasons for not doing this imply for whether they should eat chickens, pigs and cows?

APRIL 1, 2007 9:37 PM

Sneak Peek!


The Journey Home

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MARCH 21, 2007 7:50 AM

Here's an uncoming movie that I saw mentioned in the PETA "Animal Times" magazine.

Comments (1)

MARCH 17, 2007 10:02 PM

On another note, I was not just vsiting family that week. I was also with their three pug dogs named Julia, Buster and Liza. This is Julia:


Even though Julia and Buster cannot walk so well anymore (besides their whole host of other problems), they still have a high quality of life. It was with joy and admiration that I watched my uncles carry these dogs outside so they could enjoy the sun, walk Buster with a special leash for back leg support and respond to their cries in the night. Uncle #1 even holds up Buster's hind legs so Buster can eat and drink more easily. I have no doubt that as Buster (14), Liza (12) and Julia (7) continue to age, they will be taken care of well.

Comments (1)

MARCH 6, 2007 10:08 PM

Animal Warfare: Coming to Your State Soon

Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau

March 2007

Animal agriculture is under fire. I call it “animal warfare.” Special interest groups campaigning around the nation under the banner of animal rights, and using emotion to trump fact-based science, are changing the way the livestock industry has legally and humanely operated for years. While wrapping themselves in a warm and fuzzy flag, these groups employ sophisticated, big-money tactics to misinform the uninformed.

The campaign is spreading across the country. Animal activists are rallying throughout the nation behind ballot initiatives, legal action and lobbying to shut down animal agriculture. These groups are going state-by-state campaigning on emotion, leaving many producers concerned with who will be the next target.

Emotional Appeal

Because of these animal warfare efforts it is now illegal in Arizona for livestock producers to use veal and gestation stalls – scientifically proven, humane animal-care methods. In Arizona’s Proposition 204, millions of dollars were spent by activist groups to basically shut down one hog operation. There are no veal producers in the state. In terms of those two sectors of livestock production, and in spite of valiant opposition from Arizona Farm Bureau and others, the voters of Arizona were low-hanging fruit for our foes.

Another example of the trend can be seen with recent business decisions by Smithfield Foods and Maple Leaf Foods to switch from gestation stalls to group housing. Both companies clearly stated their decisions were based on marketing. One has to question the logic of any meat company that attempts to satisfy the meat-unfriendly mission of an animal rights group.

Part of the animal rights campaign is being waged on Capitol Hill. Legislation in Congress (HR 661 and S394) would stop the slaughter of non-ambulatory livestock. It is essentially a ban on the slaughter of fatigued hogs since it is already illegal for non-ambulatory cattle to be used for human consumption. During transport hogs become tired and lie down. There is nothing medically wrong with the animals, a fact supported by veterinary science, but when they are barred from processing it can be a costly matter for producers.

A Slippery Slope

Horses are another target in the animal rights campaign. There are approximately 100,000 unwanted horses slaughtered each year and sent overseas for human consumption. But legislation in Congress (HR 503 and S311) would ban equines from being slaughtered, which would open the door for neglect. Animal rights organizations are preying on people’s emotion and touting their devotion to horses, but still offer no alternatives for what to do with these animals. The existing horse shelters are full and there is no funding for new ones. This is another extreme animal rights position that hitches a ride on the coattails of our national love for horses.

If this legislation passes, however, it will not only infringe on constitutional property rights, but it will set up a slippery slope for animal agriculture. If horse slaughter can be banned without being based on food safety, science or facts, what’s next?

The anti-horse slaughter activists are gaining momentum. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court in Texas just decided that an archaic, outdated, nearly 60 year old law should be enforced that makes it illegal to slaughter horses in that state. These groups have also pressured airlines to stop transporting horse meat overseas.

When it comes to animal rights issues, activist groups are taking it to the extreme – promoting their special interests instead of science and facts. PETA and other groups have shown they are willing and able to spend millions of dollars to advocate their cause.

My message for Farm Bureau members and all of animal agriculture is: Do not underestimate the efforts of these heavily funded and highly organized groups. Be a proactive voice for agriculture and be ready to combat the animal warfare propaganda when it reaches your state. Don’t let these groups go uncontested when they provide misinformation to the uninformed.

Comments (1)

FEBRUARY 25, 2007 9:31 PM

Animal circuses are bad for animals and they sure can't compare to anything like this. Too bad Cirque is so expensive though! Oh well, the video is pretty amazing: I've watched this probably a few dozen times over the last few months by now...

FEBRUARY 21, 2007 3:36 PM

Trappist monks’ egg factory under fire as cruel to chickens
Posted on Feb 21, 2007 13:39pm CST.


Armed with the words of Pope Benedict XVI, an animal rights group is calling on a South Carolina Trappist monastery to shut down its egg production facility because, the group claims, the monks mistreat the monastery’s 38,000 hens.

In a press release, the Norfolk, Va.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said the group’s undercover investigation of Mepkin Abbey’s egg production facility “revealed shocking cruelty to chickens.”

Calling the abbey’s facility “hell on earth” for chickens, PETA wrote: “Tens of thousands of hens at the monastery are painfully debeaked, crammed into tiny cages, and periodically starved.”

In a letter to Mepkin’s abbot, Fr. Stanislaus Gumula, PETA vice president Bruce Friedrich wrote: “As a fellow Catholic, I was saddened to learn that Mepkin Abbey is operating an egg factory farm.”

In a telephone interview with NCR, Gumula rebuffed PETA’s charges, denying any inhumane treatment of the chickens, and saying he sees no way to enter into a dialogue with Friedrich.

“[Friedrich] wants to throw his position down my throat,” Gumula said. “We treat our animals very humanely.”

Friedrich’s letter said the debeaking method, common to the vast majority of the nation’s egg producers, is painful and “enormously stressful” to the birds.

Debeaking, said Friedrich, is an industry term, and it does not involve chopping the entire beak off. It involves chopping the ends of their beaks off, which is why the debeaking may not be apparent in the photographs taken by the PETA source at Mepkin. According to poultry experts, he said, the pain is acute and chronic, lasting for more than a month.

Friedrich also said that Mepkin’s practice of placing up to four hens in cages that “are roughly 12 inches by 18 inches” is unnatural to the animals. “This means that the animals never breathe fresh air, feel the sun on their backs, build nests, raise their young, or do anything else that God designed them to do,” he wrote.

Friedrich bolstered his protest of Mepkin practices with a quote from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to a German reporter: “Animals, too, are God’s creatures. … Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.”

Friedrich said PETA confirmed its allegations after they followed up a complaint by sending an undercover staff member to Mepkin, ostensibly as a retreatant, who secretly recorded the egg operations as well as conversations he had with monks involved with the abbey’s egg production.

Gumula said Feb. 20 that he was unaware of the undercover investigation, which Friedrich said was slated to be announced at a Feb. 22 press conference near Mepkin. Photos and video from PETA’s undercover investigation are on the group’s Web site at

Friedrich defended PETA’s undercover tactics: “Documenting a crime sometimes requires undercover police officers, and documenting this horrible and nonstop cruelty to 38,000 animals required our undercover investigation. There’s nothing unethical about using undercover cameras to expose hypocrisy and cruelty to animals. The treatment of these hens is grotesquely unethical; using a camera to expose it is our moral obligation.”

In his letter, copied to Trappist Abbot Generals Dom Bernardo Olivera and Dom Mauro Esteva, Friedrich wrote, “Your cruel treatment of these poor animals, by the tens of thousands, would warrant felony cruelty-to-animals charges if dogs or cats were the victims. But chickens are intelligent animals who suffer and feel pain, just like dogs and cats do.”

Friedrich said, “Chickens understand sophisticated intellectual concepts, learn from watching each other, demonstrate self-control, worry about the future, and even have cultural knowledge that is passed from generation to generation.”

He asked that the abby “please shut down this operation forever” once the current population of hens dies. “It is an ugly stain on your otherwise blessed community. Instead of raising funds for your abbey by abusing animals, please consider solely making foodstuffs that don’t involve animals”

Gumula said the abbey about 30 years ago gave up on its “free-range” practice, which allowed the hens to move about on the floor, saying the hens are “in much better conditions now.”

Under the free-range system, the hens “were susceptible to rodents, to snakes and all kinds of disease and bacteria,” Gumula said. “The situation they are in now is not that way.”

Gumula said Mepkin’s hens are “not on top of each other. The droppings go into a pit that we flush out daily. We’re following all the guidelines of the United Egg Producers for the humane treatment of chicken that’s based on a group of scientists that were not beholden to the egg industry.”

Gumula said the egg production operation accounts for about 60 percent of the abbey’s annual earned income. The facility produces approximately 9 million eggs annually, which are delivered to local customers in the Charleston, S.C., area, bringing in about $140,000 a year to Mepkin.

Consumers “are getting a much cleaner, wholesome product than what we were able to do when we had floor chickens,” Gumula said.

Gumula said PETA has an inflexible position.

“It’s a one way street,” he said.

Gumula said Mepkin’s egg operation is “not a blight, and we’re not treating them inhumanely, and for [Friedrich] to say that, I’m sorry, it’s not based on reality.

“I’m not saying that he has to agree to the exact way that we do it, but for him to accuse us of doing things inhumanely; well we’re not. That’s all I can say. We’re going to differ, and I can understand certain sensitivities. But we’re doing what we feel is best for the chickens themselves and for the consumer that’s going to be eating the eggs.”

North Carolina State University philosophy professor emeritus Tom Regan, an animal rights author and activist, compared the egg producers’ definition of humane to a famous exchange in Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice in Wonderland, between Alice and Humpty Dumpty. “Words mean what I decide they mean, neither more nor less,” Regan said, quoting Humpty Dumpty.

“Humane is a word that actually has an established meaning, and if you look it up, you’ll find that it means to treat with kindness, mercy, consideration, compassion -- very positive ways of treating another being,” Regan said. “You debeak an animal; you put an animal in a cage, it can’t turn around, it can’t dust bath, it has no access to fresh air, every natural instinct is frustrated except they’re being fed 24 hours a day, and you call that humane. That is merciful, kind, considerate, compassionate? I don’t think so. … They’re making up the meanings of words. What they’re saying is not what they’re doing.”

Also: a NY Times report on this topic.

FEBRUARY 15, 2007 11:42 AM

In case you are considering defecting to Canada in hopes of finding a kinder, gentler land, see this story, "The egg industry faces an ultimatum -- Either you unlock the battery cages that cruelly confine the hens or the Canadian consumer will do it for you."

On a more positive note about a friend from the North, see this very interesting anti-factory farming video from Barenaked Ladies' Steven Page (he's the guy who writes/sings their good, non-novelty songs like "The Old Apartment," "Call and Answer," and "What a Good Boy," but that's irrelevant). I'd sure like to know more about the origins of this neat video.

FEBRUARY 10, 2007 7:41 AM

Following yesterday's (by no means new) observation that Charlotte's Web contains logical reasoning in favor of animal rights, I invite you to take a look at what some critics of this reasoning and this movie have recently said. Take a look at this ridiculous page -- "Charlotte's (Tangled) Web" -- by the Center for Consumer Freedom. This CCF works for the animal agriculture, restaurant and vivisection industries, in addition to big tobacco and the alcohol industries. To learn more about this organization and to see how low these industries will stoop to try to silence criticism of their products, see, this page and watch this short video:

Comments (1)

FEBRUARY 9, 2007 6:27 PM

Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White, Chapter One

Before Breakfast

"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

"Out to the hoghouse," replied Mrs. Arable. "Some pigs were born last night."

"I don't see why he needs an ax," continued Fern, who was only eight. "Well," said her mother, "one of the pigs is a runt. It's very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything. So your father has decided to do away with it."

"Do away with it?" shrieked Fern. "You mean kill it? Just because it's smaller than the others?"

Mrs. Arable put a pitcher of cream on the table. "Don't yell, Fern!" she said. "Your father is right. The pig would probably die anyway."

Fern pushed a chair out of the way and ran outdoors. The grass was wet and the earth smelled of springtime. Fern's sneakers were sopping by the time she caught up with her father.

"Please don't kill it!" she sobbed. "It's unfair."

Mr. Arable stopped walking.

"Fern," he said gently, "you will have to learn to control yourself."

"Control myself?" yelled Fern. "This is a matter of life and death, and you talk about controlling myself." Tears ran down her cheeks and she took hold of the ax and tried to pull it out of her father's hand.

"Fern," said Mr. Arable, "I know more about raising a litter of pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble. Now run along!"

"But it's unfair," cried Fern. "The pig couldn't help being born small, could it? If I had been very small at birth, would you have killed me?"

Mr. Arable smiled. "Certainly not," he said, looking down at his daughter with love. "But this is different. A little girl is one thing, a little runty pig is another."

"I see no difference," replied Fern, still hanging on to the ax. "This is the most terrible case of injustice I ever heard of."

A queer look came over John Arable's face. He seemed almost ready to cry himself.

"All right," he said. "You go back to the house and I will bring the runt when I come in. I'll let you start it on a bottle, like a baby. Then you'll see what trouble a pig can be."

Next up: the best of anti-vegetarian propaganda, the best that a public relations office can come up with!

Comments (1)

FEBRUARY 5, 2007 4:11 PM

Earlier today, the vegucator expressed his disgust for this series of ads by Real California Cheese, which I hadn't seen until I looked them up online. The conversation we had about these ads was to the effect of false advertising, and why there isn't a lawsuit against the california cheese heads. Well folks, indeed there is! Check out this great essay by John Robbins.
He is also the author of The Food Revolution, which indeed CAN save your life.

So, here are the happy cows of California...

Finally, check out this follow up to Real California Cheese's Happy Cows. Suddenly the grass isn't greener on the other side, is it?

PS. Now what about "poultry"

JANUARY 15, 2007 10:10 PM

In case it's suggested at Wake Up Weekend that we should eat animals who have been slaughtered in "humane" and "compassionate" ways, we ought to prepare for the discussion by having read James LaVeck's excellent essay "Invasion of the Movement Snatchers: A Social Justice Cause Falls Prey to the Doctrine of “Necessary Evil.” LaVeck is the producer of Peaceable Kingdom, a film being shown at the festival that stars Harold Brown, an honored guest at the fest.

Comments (14)

JANUARY 12, 2007 11:44 PM

Anticipating the WAKE UP WEEKEND! 2007, and my world is all vegan cupcakes and kittens...

Comments (1)

JANUARY 5, 2007 12:04 PM

If you don't know much about the cruelties of the egg industry, here's a film you'll want to watch, "Wegmans Cruelty." After you watch the film, check out their page and forward this on to anyone who lives in NY, PA, NJ, VA, MD and anywhere else there's a Wegmans grocery store.


The film:

Comments (2)

JANUARY 1, 2007 1:07 PM

Reposted from the Animal Ethics blog. (Why blog when there's so much good stuff to repost?!)

Veganalytic's note: Professor Mylan Engel at Northern Illinois University is one of the leading voices for vegetarianism and the rights of animals in academia. Indeed, perhaps there would be no extraVEGANza blog or such a compassionate living movement in Grand Rapids were it not for his fortunate influence! Perhaps he should be brought up to give some lectures! Here is Mylan Engel's latest post from Animal Ethics:

Resolve to Do Right By Animals in 2007!

As another year comes to a close, most of us find ourselves reflecting on our lives and resolving to improve ourselves and our lives in various ways. These resolutions typically fall into one of two categories: (1) Resolutions to acquire some desirable trait or better-making habit, e.g., resolving to exercise regularly; and (2) resolutions to eliminate some undesirable trait or worse-making habit, e.g., resolving to quit smoking. Sometimes resolutions from each category mirror each other, e.g., the resolution to improve one's health and the resolution to quit smoking. Most New Year's resolutions are primarily self-regarding, like resolving to get in better shape and resolving to eat less sweets. Some resolutions, however, are primarily other-regarding, like resolving to help others in various ways, e.g., resolving to volunteer at the local soup kitchen, or resolving to donate a certain amount of one’s paycheck each month to an organization working to curb global hunger and poverty.

A google search of “Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions” turns up hundreds of hits, containing various Top 10 Lists of resolutions along with suggestions as to how to achieve them. For examples, see here and here. Even the government has gotten in on the game. This site provides a list of some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, each linked to pages designed to help people succeed in keeping the resolution in question. As you might expect with 66% of Americans being overweight, out of shape, and in poor physical condition, the most popular resolutions include the following:

1. Lose weight.
2. Quit smoking.
3. Exercise more.
4. Eat right.
5. Get in better shape/become more healthy.
6. Drink less alcohol.
7. Spend more time with family and friends.
8. Get out of debt.
9. Try something new or learn something new.
10. Get organized.

I suspect that many, if not most, of these resolutions are on your list of resolutions, as well. Let me recommend adding one more resolution to your list:

11. Stop supporting unnecessary animal cruelty in all of its forms.

[Below, I offer several reasons as to why you should add resolution 11 to your list of resolutions.]

Most people who have made resolutions like 1-10 above will have failed to keep them by the end of January. One reason people generally aren't able to stick to resolutions like 1-10 is that, so stated, these resolutions are vague and imprecise with no clear objective in sight. Lose weight. How much? Quit smoking. How and by when? Exercise more. How much more? Eat right. What counts as eating right? Get in better shape. By what standards?

Since the New Year's resolutions you have made for 2007 are your resolutions, I assume that you would actually like to succeed in keeping them. To increase the likelihood of keeping your resolutions, experts recommend that you try to make your resolutions concrete and precise. For example:

1. Lose weight -- I will lose 10 pounds by March 15th.
2. Quit smoking -- I will join a smoking cessation program in consultation with a physician and quit smoking by the end of February.
3. Exercise more -- I will walk or jog or stationary cycle or X [plug in your preferred form of aerobic exercise for X] 30 minutes a day and do strength conditioning twice a week.
4. Eat right -- I will eat a diet low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and high in complex carbohydrates and fiber; and I will limit my consumption of empty calories like those found in sweets, soda pop, and trendy high-calorie coffee drinks.
5. Get in better shape/become more healthy -- By May 1st, I will have lowered my systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 points each, lowered my total plasma cholesterol by 30 points, lowered my resting heart-rate by 5 beats per minute, lowered my body mass index (BMI calculator) by 2 points. [The numbers provided are just by way of illustration. Since people vary in the degree to which they are in or out of shape, individuals need to determine their own fitness and health improvement goals, in consultation with a physician.]
6. Drink less alcohol -- I will not consume more than the recommended one to two alcoholic beverages per day.
7. Spend more time with family and friends -- I will do X in the evening with my spouse or partner, and I will do Y with my kids on the weekend (where you and your family and friends fill in the variables appropriately).
8. Get out of debt -- I will pay off some specific amount of debt by March 31st.
9. Try something new or learn something new -- I will try out a new healthy habit, or I will try to learn how to do X.
10. Get organized -- E.g., I will clean out one closet each weekend for the next 6 weeks, or I will spend 20 minutes each evening sorting through a pile of papers, etc.

Specific resolutions like those just listed are easier to follow, they allow you to track your success, and they can be fully accomplished.

What about resolution 11? Like the original 1-10, resolution 11 is also vague on details. Stop supporting unnecessary animal cruelty in all of its forms. How? What can I do to stop supporting unnecessary animal cruelty, and is it difficult to do so?

Here are some surprisingly simple things you can do to stop supporting unnecessary animal cruelty:

(a) Stop eating animals.
(b) Stop eating animal products.
(c) Eat delicious plant-based meals centered around whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and in moderation nuts, instead.
(d) Stop wearing animals -- Don’t purchase or wear garments made of fur or containing fur trim, don't purchase garments advertised or labeled as "faux fur" since these garments may be made of real fur mislabeled as faux fur (for details, see my previous post on mislabeled dog fur jackets here), don’t purchase leather, and as your leather garments wear out, replace them with nonleather alternatives.
(e) Don’t purchase cosmetics or personal care products that were tested on animals when equally effective cruelty-free products are available.
(f) Don’t purchase cosmetics or personal care products that contain animal ingredients.
(g) Purchase cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care products instead. Cruelty-free shopping guides that list companies that don't test their products on animals is available here and here.
(h) Don’t attend circuses that contain nonhuman animal acts.
(i) Do attend socially conscious circuses like Cirque de Soleil that exclusively feature human performers.
(j) Donate only to Humane Charities that don't test on animals. A list of Humane Charities is available here.

At first blush, the list of changes that are required in order to stop supporting unnecessary animal cruelty may seem daunting, but in reality, quite the opposite is the case. First, since there are so many things that you can do to stop supporting unnecessary animal cruelty, you can start with any one of these sub-resolutions (a)-(j) and then, once that sub-resolution has been accomplished and thoroughly ingrained in your behavior, you can move on to the next way you can stop supporting cruelty. In short, breaking resolution 11 into a number of easily accomplished specific sub-resolutions makes it more likely that you will accomplish at least part of your over-arching goal of reducing your contribution to unnecessary animal cruelty. Second, many of the things you can do to stop supporting animal cruelty -- like not buying or wearing fur -- require minimal effort and no expense!

Where should you begin? Obviously, since not buying and not wearing fur requires minimal effort and no expense, that's a good place to start. Of course, since that is so easily accomplished, you may have already fully succeeded in carrying out that aspect of resolution 11 long ago. What to do next?

I recommend trying to accomplish sub-resolutions (a), (b), and (c) next. Why? Because doing (a), (b), and (c) will help you accomplish many of your other resolutions. Moderately to seriously overweight people who eliminate all meat and all animal products from their diets and replace those animal-based foods with plant-based foods almost always lose 10-20 pounds with no other behavioral changes. If you are serious about losing weight and improving your health, try out a cruelty-free vegan diet for three months. If you are like most people, you will be amazed at (i) how much weight you will lose, (ii) how much better you will feel, and (iii) how much more energy you will have. One beauty of a low-fat vegan diet is that you can eat as much vegan food as you like and still lose weight. Switching to a vegan diet devoid of meat and animal products also almost always result in significantly lower plasma cholesterol levels. A vegan diet also reduces the risk of heart disease and some cancers, while lowering blood pressure, and is, thereby, extremely helpful in achieving your goal of improved health. By eating a low-fat vegan diet centered around whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, you will be eating right. And, of course, by experimenting with all sorts of new vegan dishes, you will be learning a new healthier way of cooking and eating. So, if you are serious about losing weight, improving your health, eating right, and trying something new, switching to a cruelty-free vegan diet will single-handedly help you accomplish all of these goals.

But wait. There's more! For no extra charge, switching to a vegan diet also dramatically reduces your contribution to unnecessary animal suffering. If you are like most people, you think that it is seriously morally wrong to contribute to unnecessary animal suffering. Switching to a vegan diet will help you to live your life in accordance with your own deeply held moral values and will, thereby, help you to live an authentic life, a meaningful life of integrity. When looking for ways to better ourselves as the New Year approaches, we should look for ways to better ourselves both physically and ethically. Making an effort to live our lives in a manner consistent with our most deeply held moral values is one of the most important steps we can take toward being our best selves.

Like resolution 7, resolution 11 is primarily an other-regarding resolution (even though those who respect animals and refuse to eat them will experience profound health benefits as a result). Its primary focus is the well being of other sentient beings. Since other beings are affected by our other-regarding behavior, other-regarding resolutions may be easier to stick to than purely self-regarding resolutions. After dieting for a few weeks, one might rationalize as follows, "Oh well, I don't really mind carrying around 20 extra pounds. I just read that 'curviness' is in this year. Plus, if I lost weight, I'd have to buy new clothes." But if one keeps in mind the animals that one is trying to help, one might be more inclined to stick to one's resolutions. Plus, as Kathie Jenni rightly points out here, when it comes to doing right by animals, one can always take steps to reinforce one's motivation.

Suppose you find yourself about to give up on one of the sub-resolutions of resolution 11 that you have set for yourself, e.g., sub-resolution (a). Then, you can stop and remind yourself of one of the main reasons you resolved to stop eating meat in the first place, namely, your desire not to support the kinds of cruelty inherent in modern animal agriculture. If you feel yourself losing your resolve, take 12 minutes to re-view the documentary "Meet Your Meat" here or here. Or, suppose you're thinking about back-sliding on sub-resolution (d) and purchasing a fur-trimmed garment. Then, take 2 minutes and re-view this video of raccoon dogs being skinned alive. After seeing these documentary videos, I think you'll find all the strength you need to steel your resolve not to purchase such products of pain.

The bottom line:

Elsewhere in this blog (see here, here, and here), I have written about ethical synergy, the regularly observed phenomenon that simultaneously showing respect for persons (including oneself), animals, and the environment typically benefits all three groups (including oneself). Resolving to do right by animals and to stop supporting unnecessary animal cruelty is yet another powerful example of ethical synergy at work. As we have just seen, resolving to do right by animals is a great way to do right by yourself. By not ingesting animals you will not only not be supporting the unnecessary animal cruelty inherent in modern animal agriculture, you will also be taking positive steps toward improving your health, eating right, and losing weight, steps much more likely to result in permanent weight loss and improved cardiovascular health than unhealthful fad diets that cannot be sustained for the long haul. By not purchasing exorbitantly expensive fur coats and fur-trimmed coats, you will be actively boycotting animal cruelty while simultaneously saving money that can be applied toward resolution 8, i.e., that of getting out of debt. Doing right by animals makes us better people in countless ways, and that, of course, is the main reason we make New Year's Resolutions in the first place. Join me in resolving to do right by animals in 2007.

Wishing you a Happy Humane New Year!

DECEMBER 29, 2006 2:58 PM

Don't let the relative sizes of their portraits fool you. Watch Singer take off the gloves and give Colbert a taste of his own medicine!


Comments (2)

DECEMBER 26, 2006 10:33 PM

Video of Tom Regan's lecture "Animal Rights: An Introduction" at the Interdisciplinary Lectures on Animal Rights at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg on the 24th of May 2006. Tom Regan is excellent.

DECEMBER 17, 2006 11:54 PM

A 24-minute documentary about the horrors of industrial agriculture in Michigan produced by Michigan Sierra Club.

Comments (2)

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