What is Milk?

The dairy industry is desperate. Their sales have declined by 7% in 2015 and they are expected to decline by double digits in the next three years. The reason? People are learning that plant-based alternatives are far healthier. That’s very good news for the animals.

Dairy companies are not going down without a fight though. They have asked their  congressional representatives to complain to the Commissioner of the FDA about the use of the term “milk” by the plant-based competitors.  They have asked that the FDA use its “legal authority to investigate and take appropriate action against the manufacturers of the misbranded products”.

The same thing happened with Hellman’s Mayonnaise.  Hampton Creek, a producer of “Just Mayo” that makes an egg-free mayonnaise, became the defendant in a lawsuit by   Hellman’s to ban them from using the term “mayo”. They lost.

The dairy industry receives plenty of subsidies funded by taxpayers. Those subsidies are used to enslave and abuse animals for their milk, shortening their lives by more than three-quarters, and then discarding them once their bodies are used up. They are no more than products on an assembly line.

More progressive companies watch consumer trends closely. Rather than try to protect their outmoded practices, they apply their creativity and turn it into innovations. Ben & Jerry’s is one such company that has begun a line of non-dairy ice cream that is delicious. Beyond Meat is another one that has created a plant-based burger with 20g of protein. It’s 100% vegan and is winning over the die-hard burger eaters.

I would rather give my money to businesses that promote health, sustain the environment and leave animals to enjoy their lives as they should. Wouldn’t you?

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Another plant-based mayo product that is delicious.

 

Oxymoron – Eco-Terrorism

Will Potter is an investigative journalist who got arrested for simply leaving pamphlets on doorsagainst animal testing. There was no violence or  harassment. He just wanted to do something positive to save animals. The charges were dropped, but he was visited by two FBI agents a couple of weeks later. They threatened that if he didn’t spy on other protest groups for them, then he would be on a domestic terrorist list.

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He poignantly asks, after his fear abated, How could animal rights and environmental activists, who have never injured anyone, become the FBI’s number one domestic terrorism threat?

A few years later Potter was asked to testify in Congress about his reporting and told of people risking their lives to protect forests, save whales from being harpooned and protesters climbing over barbed wire to save beagles from testing. These brave people were incredibly effective in their efforts. So much so, that opponents made up a new name to vilify them: Eco-terrorists.

Companies such as the Glaxo Smith Kline, National Pork Producers Council, National Chicken Council, Pfizer and United Egg Producers got behind the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and turned activism into terrorism if it caused a loss of profits. Few people had heard of this law. In fact, less than 1% of lawmakers were in Congress when it passed.

Supporters of this law say it is necessary for the extremists. Many companies in multiple countries are now making it illegal to photograph or document animal cruelty on their properties. (I’ve written about these “Ag-Gag Laws” in earlier blogs.)

How is it extreme to document cruelty so that animals can be free to live without pain? How could saving lives possibly be considered terrorism? This is a blatant misuse of power.

Defenders of animal testing will say that this is necessary to further science. That is a lie, pure and simple. Software programs are far superior for testing drugs and chemicals.

These companies that perpetrate animal abuses are not going to police themselves. The only way these voiceless animals have any chance of being protected is through the efforts of undercover investigators and the journalists who expose them. Criminalizing this is not only a serious infringement on our freedoms, but a green light for sustained egregious abuse.

Potter has written articles in the Chicago Tribune exposing the cruelty that led to public outcry. He is now on the counter-terrorism watch list, having his speeches and articles monitored. As he says, these tactics are meant to instill fear and silence dissent. Fortunately, he won’t back down. (see his interesting TED talk).

I applaud Will Potter and hope that he continues to write about all this. We need more people like him who will speak up against violence and cruelty, and refuse to be intimidated.

 

 

 

A Picture Worth 1,000 Words

slide1I found this on animalplace.org today and sent this to some meat eating friends. Rather than try and persuade them on the animal rights argument, I’ll try and ecological stance. The resistance I get baffles me since there are so many good reasons to stop eating animals and virtually NO good reasons to eat  them. Perhaps appealing to self-interest will get greater attention.

I will never understand why people hold onto customs wholesale (e.g. killing turkeys for Thanksgiving, or torturing and killing chickens for Kapporos), when they cause needless violence, when they could so easily amend them to embrace kindness and compassion. In the meantime, I’ll give thanks to those organizations that produce effective messages like this one. I figure if I I can ‘drip on’ my non-vegan friends with compelling messages like this, then maybe, just maybe eventually I’ll get through.

Thank you animalplace.org and Gotdrought.com.