"This Is Hope" is a crossover book for self-identified environmentalists, species rights advocates, vegans and vegetarians, those dedicated to true sustainability, fish and wildlife "management" professionals, students of deep ecology, and those who want to know the biocentric solutions for our dietary, consumer, and reproductive choices.
Will’s Blog

News: Olympic Games and Orca captures


As the February 14 demonstrations protesting the Taiji dolphin slaughters and captures draws near, do NOT forget the Russian captures of beluga, pilot, and orca whales. Stories about orca whales and Taiji dolphins taking part in the Sochi Olympic games have faded in the media. The exception is this excellent investigation http://timzimmermann.com/2014/02/10/who-is-white-sphere-the-barely-disguised-conglomerate-behind-russias-wild-orca-captures/ by a journalist who took the time to uncover the truth.

We ask you not to view the Olympic Games on TV (NBC in the US) in protest of these travesties and many others. Russian President Putin and his government are responsible for violence against these whales and dolphins, homeless dogs in Sochi, and LGBT people.

As for the Olympic Committee, we reject the notion that the highest standards of personal behavior and competition are required of athletes by the Olympic Committee while the same committee AND SPONSORS do not require hosting countries to uphold justice for individuals from other species and people. The Olympic Committee must reform the host country selection criteria or face dwindling public and commercial support for the games.

Reclaiming “Humane” – Part 3

A DRAFT proposed definition of humane.

mother orangutan with her babyIn parts 1 and 2 I discussed why we need to update and reclaim the word humane. I’m offering a DRAFT updated definition below. It is unfinished, uses too many words, and needs revision. But it does begin to remove the self-serving, anthropocentric misuse of the word humane that causes, ironically, so much suffering.  I will continue to work on this and consult people with skills that exceed mine. After presenting the meaning of humane in a modified format at a July, 2014 conference, I will re-post the results of that collaborative work here.  For the moment:

humane – an adjective that describes human behavior and the relationships we establish with people and individuals from other species that reflect empathy, compassion, kindness, mercy, protection, and love for their direct benefit absent exploitation, harmful treatment, and lethal outcomes, and is to be practiced independently of any benefit the person being humane may or may not receive.  It is not humane to endorse any practice or act that harms or kills a person or other sentient being or to cause or let remain any aspect of suffering in order to further exploitation or make the harm more commercially successful. Importantly, “animal welfare” is not humane. It is the expression of the “Golden Rule”.

Being humanerequires the humane person to oppose any strategy, policy, or act in businesses, organizations, and in one’s personal life if involved with persons being inhumane, contributing to the harm, enabling harms to remain, or causing the death of sentient life from another species, wild or domestic. This includes animal agriculture, fish and wildlife management (hunting, trapping, fishing), captivity, entertainment, experimentation, animal welfare and rights organizations, environmental organizations, and other human institutions that exploit individuals from other species or destroy their ecosystems. We extend our humane treatment to other species, whether captive, domesticated, or wild as we would for ourselves.  If under our protection as domestic species, we support their living a natural, full lifespan that is fulfilling to them. If in the wild, our task is to protect and restore their ecosystems, end our war on wildlife, and practice a sustainable and humane vegan new human ecology.

An unexploited right to life free of human violations is one of the “rights” we share with individuals from other species.  That is what it means to be humane.

 

Reclaiming “Humane” – Part 2

iStock_000008958903XSmallWe need to look no further than the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to see how humane as applied to humans has evolved internationally. They state, “The actual meaning of ‘humane treatment’ is not spelled out, although some texts refer to respect for the ‘dignity’ of a person or the prohibition of ‘ill-treatment’ in this context. The requirement of humane treatment is an overarching concept. It is generally understood that the detailed rules found in international humanitarian law and human rights law give expression to the meaning of ‘humane treatment’. … However, these rules do not necessarily express the full meaning of what is meant by humane treatment, as this notion develops over time under the influence of changes in society. This is shown, for example, by the fact that the requirement of humane treatment has been mentioned in international instruments since the mid-19th century, but the detailed rules which stem from this requirement have developed since then, and may do so still further.”

 

This applies to the species’ rights movement as readily as it does the ICRC. The mission statements, policies, strategies, and actions of organizations must evolve to define humane as human behavior that is dedicated to the direct benefit of individuals from other species, is absent exploitation, harmful treatment and lethal outcomes, and is supported independent of benefit to humans. That means it is clearly not humane to endorse any practice or act that is purposed to make the killing of a sentient being acceptable or commercially successful. Importantly, “animal welfare” is not humane.

 

Animal welfare seeks to reduce suffering in other species but does not oppose their being exploited in the most extreme way possible, slaughter.  We must not let the principle of being humane continue to be corrupted, intentionally and not, by animal welfare advocates. Humane and animal welfare must have separate definitions and meaning to us. Incremental animal welfare reforms enable the exploitative industries to adapt to growing public concerns about the injustices and unbelievably cruel human behaviors that assault other species. Animal welfare is animal welfare and humane is humane. We must oppose any strategy, policy, or act carried out by persons, businesses, or organizations that contribute to the harm and death of sentient life from another species, wild or domestic. This includes animal agriculture, fish and wildlife management (hunting, trapping), and other human institutions that exploit individuals from other species or destroy their ecosystems.

 

Some organizations have been around for a long time. Theirs is a history of animal welfare reforms that at one time seemed a good thing to most people. We now live in a different era. If their profile is not truly humane in the context of what we know today, then there’s need for organizations to change their names. A humane organization is characterized by their mission statements, policies, and strategies. That still leaves me uncomfortable with the way “animal welfare” is being used. It encourages bad human behavior towards other species and ecosystems. “Humanely-raised” labeling schemes are one example. It encourages animal agriculture as if animal welfare could do more than green-wash and humane-wash the industry. It is essential that we change public understanding of what is humane and what is not. We need this to stop the exploitation, speciesism, and slaughter of sentient individuals from other species.

 

brown cowUntil we reclaim the meaning of humane we will remain mired in the dishonesty that animal agriculture on any scale—like hunting, trapping, and fishing—can be made acceptable by calling it humane because animal welfare reforms have been established. And as I describe in This Is Hope, this is true for nondomestic species. Wildlife managers have set up agency cultures that intentionally favor high populations of some huntable species (‘game” as they are disrespectfully called) while suppressing populations of natural predators. This causes human conflict with wildlife and alters ecosystems. The agencies then want to cure this “problem” their policies created. Under this intentional agenda, agencies collect license and tax revenues derived from the “recreation” of hunting, trapping, and fishing. They turn ecosystems into battlegrounds and encourage the use of horrific tools of war against wildlife. We must oppose this if we are to extend the updated definition of humane to other species in ecosystems and reform fish and wildlife management agencies. There is already a trend in management philosophy to manage on an ecosystem level and not just exploit single species. This won’t end their inflicting suffering.

 

The words humane and “inhumane” are deeply embedded in our culture. It will take effort to ensure, as the ICRC noted, “…that both the definition of humane and the appropriate courses of organizations must continue to evolve.” That is the task before us. Humane societies and animal welfare organizations need to advance the rights of species to be treated humanely in truth, not fiction. They and we must support their living a natural lifespan that is fulfilling to them if under our protection. If in the wild, our task is to protect and restore their ecosystems, end the war on wildlife, and practice a sustainable and humane vegan new human ecology.

 

Summary

Who owns the definition of humane lies at the core of what many of us are challenging: a corruption of the animal rights movement by many of the larger organizations (see www.humanemyth.org). We are undercut with outdated perceptions still in common use that a death is humane if the killing is done in a manner that prevents or diminishes suffering with instantaneous or near-instantaneous unconsciousness to render the individual insensate to pain. There is little accounting for the psychological state of suffering in confinement, little accounting for the suffering of others who lose the presence of the one killed, little accounting of the extensive cruelties that remain throughout their lives, and no weighing of the harm caused when domesticated and wild life are taken unnecessarily before their natural life ends.

 

iStock_000002162356XSmallAs witnesses we know this harm well. The individual who was surprised by an unexpected death does not have to realize it was an injustice—because we do. We are responsible for that lethal act, so our knowing that injustice, that taking of a young unfinished life, is not humane. It wouldn’t be called humane if you killed me with a sudden death when I was ten, or now. It is an artificial distinction if you make it true for humans and not for individuals from other species (a case of speciesism). An unexploited right to life free of human violations is one of the “rights” we share with individuals from other species.

 

Let’s practice the updated understanding and definition of humane. I believe this moves us to legitimate questioning of the validity of organizations that call themselves or their actions humane when they are not.  They are leading the public to believe one can slaughter all we want and still be humane.  That no longer works. The definition of humane has changed and is no longer the property of inhumane organizations or people.

 

Next post: a proposed definition of humane.

 

Please share your views here. This is a moderated blog, a discussion. From it I will modify as a work in progress by many to reclaim the meaning of humane.

Reclaiming “Humane” – Part 1

milking machinesBehind the word “humane” there is a long, evolving history of how it has been defined and understood. Many of us are now concerned about how this word is being applied to our relationships with other species—and humans. We are living with the legacy of humane as it was understood during a past when we had a limited understanding of individuals from other species—who they are and what their needs demand of us. If a person or organization describes an act or activity as humane, the definition matters. Beings, domesticated and wild, who are capable of feeling physical pain, distress, or psychological harm depend on our best efforts to define and use this term to protect their interests, including the right to life. To do that, we need to reclaim and update what it means to be humane.

iStock_000010870225XSmallDuring a recent phone call I was reminded that the backsliding of several humane and welfare organizations has  required a watering down, or more accurately, ignoring what it means to be humane as we should understand it today. Our actions as individuals, organizations, and industries are measured by this term, so we’d best get it right. Toward that end, I offer the following.

Humane is an early spelling of human. Today, a cursory look at online dictionaries reveals differing definitions:

  • Merriam-Webster.com: “marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals”. The Merriam-Webster.com examples are fairly vague in application; “It’s not humane to treat animals that way”; and, “Conditions in the prison are more humane now.”
  • Oxforddictionaries.com: “having or showing compassion or benevolence / regulations ensuring the humane treatment of animals, and inflicting the minimum of pain, humane methods of killing”. One example sentence is, “but I am willing to put my concerns to one side if a humane stunning could be inflicted on the animal prior to its slaughter.”
  • dictionary.cambridge.org: “showing kindness, care, and sympathy toward others, esp[ecially] those who are suffering.” The example used is, “She felt it was more humane to kill the injured animal quickly than to let it suffer.”
  • wictionary.org:  “Having or showing concern for the pain or suffering of another;  compassionate.” Wictionary gives one contemporary example, “It is no longer considered humane to perform vivisection on research animals.”, and one that is contextual and comparative, “As methods of execution go, beheading is more humane than drawing and quartering.” Of course it is plain that this is not the same as equating beheading with being humane.
  • collinsdictionary.com: “characterized by kindness, mercy, sympathy, etc. inflicting as little pain as possible, a humane killing; [formatting removed in all]

Note the common words used to define humane:  compassion, kindness, mercy, sympathy, consideration, benevolence, and “concern for the pain and suffering of another.”  Now compare those defining words to the examples these dictionaries use to demonstrate the meaning of being humane. You’ll see that the words used to define humane and the examples given in sentences are often at odds with what we know today. Most of the sentence examples do not protect the individual animals from exploitation or slaughter. Being outdated, they also avoid contemporary considerations such as lack of killing necessity, the innate right to life, a requirement that all preventable suffering be addressed—not just a few aspects, and addressing the harms done to others who knew the slaughtered individuals socially.

The harms of using humane as we do now can be demonstrated by making three-year old girls and boys subject to our humane treatment as the dictionaries would have us understand it, instead of individuals from other species—livestock or hunted wolves, for instance.

Oxford Dictionaries would allow that we have “regulations ensuring the humane treatment of [three-year old boys and girls], and inflicting [upon them] the minimum of pain, [and use] humane methods of killing [them]”. For humans, we would be, “willing to put [our] concerns to one side if a humane stunning could be inflicted on the [three-year old boys and girls] prior to [their] slaughter.” Likewise Collins Dictionary would be telling us we were “characterized by kindness, mercy, sympathy, etc. [as we] inflict[ed] as little pain as possible [on the three-year old human children], [as in] a humane killing.” Merriam-Webster would be writing, “It’s not humane to treat [the children] that way” [and as such would be violating the law], and, “Conditions in the prison are more humane now” implies they are still inhumane whether they be prisons for adult humans or individuals from other species. The people at Cambridge Dictionary.org give us a specific case where ending the life of another can be humane. We understand this exception.

Our reference points are the decisions we make about and with the terminally ill. We know when we, our spouses, family members, and our friends consider life at some point in time something they no longer want to experience. Through empathy and basic understandings of physical and psychological pain, we know when ending an unbearable suffering life can be a humane thing to do. When the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) updates guidelines to create a “humane death”, they do so with the intent of creating a low-stress, instantaneous unconsciousness. Regrettably, they do not discriminate between a merciful euthanasia and wholesale slaughter of individuals unnecessarily killed to be eaten. So it is here that I must extend the idea of a humane death towards other sentient beings to be the same I would extend to other humans.

young turkeyThe contradictions between the dictionary definitions of humane as we understand the concept today and the examples demonstrating their application are what we have inherited. In the 16th Century, it referred to the higher qualities desired in human behavior; in 1774 the British Royal Humane Society was established to rescue drowning swimmers. Eventually “humane societies” and “animal welfare” organizations expanded the definitions. We were including more species and more aspects of their care.  Historically, these were seen by our species as advances. It did not stop the persecutions and accepted norms of abuse we have grown to oppose today. We now know that what was seen as humane treatment of the past is the inhumane treatment we understand now.

We have arrived at a very uncomfortable place where the past use of humane is being applied today to perpetuate injustice and suffering. The definition and application of the term humane has to change. It must recognize the unmet needs and innate rights of other species, their rights to life, and not being exploited. It stands to reason that when the definition of humane changes, so too must the organizations operating under the humane banner. Both must continue to evolve.

Next: Reclaiming Humane / Part 2

The Inevitable Persecution of Wolves by Wildlife “Managers”

iStock_000009009156XSmallA few years ago, I compared the “game management units” where the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) set the highest quotas for killing wolves with hunter licensing and killing of elk in the same areas. There was a direct correlation. Hunters killed far more elk with guns, arrows, and muzzle loaders in those areas had the highest removal rates of wolves compared to low-wolf quota areas. I used the data from the IDFG online records. This biased persecution of wolves is not unique to Idaho. I saw the same pattern while living in Alaska for seven years, only there they were (and still do) killing black and grizzly bears in addition to wolves to keep moose populations high enough for hunters, urban and indigenous alike. More recently, Montana, Washington, Wisconsin and other states have enacted various methods for killing wolves. Widely approved are leghold traps where there is no requirement to check the traps for days while the wolves, coyotes, fox, and other species suffer. Baiting is allowed. Hunting with packs of dogs is allowed in at least one state. Wolves are shot from airplanes. Professional wolf assassins are hired at taxpayer expense.

All of it serves to remind us that the profession of fish and wildlife management, especially at the state level, is thoroughly corrupt and trapped by arcane legislated mandates. They still are not acting for ecosystems, but instead “ranch” the species that will be hunted and thus provide department revenues through license fees. In one of many non-biocentric policies, state departments of fish and wildlife management continue to artificially stock nonnative species for revenues. Through similar makes-no-ecosystem-sense policies, these agencies ensure hunting is the top selection pressure, the ultimate decider of how evolutionary genetics plays out for the rest of history.

For Idaho, IDFG was created by a public initiative. Here is its mission statement:

“All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho. It shall be preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed. It shall be only captured or taken at such times or places, under such conditions, or by such means, or in such manner, as will preserve, protect, and perpetuate such wildlife, and provide for the citizens of this state and, as by law permitted to others, continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.” (as of June 2012)

Generally, the ultimate measures of successful “management” are the trends (up or down) of abundance and diversity of species and communities of species over the span of as many original geographic areas as they existed in the past. Biodiversity is declining at an astounding rate, perhaps 100, or 1,000 or 10,000 times more than the fossil record indicates for past norms. Part of the disagreement lies in the fact we have no idea how many species exist on Earth so it is assumed most extinctions go unnoticed. They are gone forever and we never knew they existed, nor of their miraculous complexity and role in ecosystems, nor their necessity for other species survival. Recent estimates indicate Earth is losing some 140,000 species per year.

Fish and wildlife management agencies do not spend anywhere near the resources on maintaining ecosystem integrity and researching for new species and their natural histories, for instance, than they do producing hunted, trapped, and fished wildlife targets. If that weren’t awful enough, agencies ignore the element of human-caused suffering directed at individuals from other species, behaviors and agonies these agencies enthusiastically promote. Consider the egregious violations of disrespect and cruelty in their promotion of bow hunting and trapping. What in the hell is wrong with these degreed people?

Under wildlife management professionals, we are losing biodiversity and net geographic abundance of species and their communities. The strategies of these agencies are unable to match the destructive power of human behaviors—our human ecologies. As a result, the Idaho wolf kills, for example, are inevitable. It’s what we get from the institutions of fish and wildlife management. They are focused on protecting cattle for slaughter and the special interest hunters, trappers, and fishers. That will not change until progressive biologists, ecologists, and legislators vocally challenge the social and political root causes of the collapse of ecosystems and the accelerating loss of biodiversity. Currently, they do not see this needed reformation of their professions as being their duty, responsibility, or legislated mandate. But you’d think anyone with a true love for what we are losing would be motivated by a higher purpose and responsibility. Meanwhile, we’ve a front row seat to watch “wildlife management” continue to be a core problem as extinction rates rise and human populations rush in like a storm surge displacing native species whose predator-prey ratios are suppressed.

Think about what a vegan human ecology would accomplish for biodiversity and the reformation of fish and wildlife management and conservation biology. As it now stands, employee and agency cultural worldview beliefs block that consideration. Imagine no livestock grazing on public and private lands and no land being used to grow food for livestock starting in the U.S. and other first-world nations. Imagine the immense reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen runoff into the oceans in a vegan human ecology. If not in this profession, then where lies any hope while they oppose us?

New Alert to Stop Wolf and Coyote Killing Contest

Please go to www.greenvegans.orgiStock_000008330410XSmall to see how you can save lives.

Reclaiming Abolitionism (and the Species Rights Movement) – Guest Blog

Whole Foods Best Butcher Seattle 5 24 13 1

Re-blogged from Voices From Animals. The title is “Reclaiming Abolitionism: It’s Time for Us to Take a Stand for Animals”. This is an important summary and explanation of why our voices are rising in opposition to mainstream “humane incrementalism” that operates under the guise of species rights. This and the accompanying piece (“The Invasion of the Movement Snatchers”—linked in the article) are essential to understanding why we must respond to the corruption of founding movement principles and the immense harm it causes. Please read, share, and save.

http://vfaonline.org/alerts/41-alertsgeneral/185-reclaiming-abolitionism.html

and be certain to also read

http://www.humanemyth.org/invasion.htm.

“This Is Hope”—the resource for Green Vegans

will_300dpiHello Everyone,
During this holiday season, we reflect on possibilities, about how humanity can be both compassionate and sustainable. More than that, we want to be part of the solution. In This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology / How we find our way to a humane and environmentally sane future, I describe the issues and the solutions. Veganism solves only part of a larger structural problem concerning human behavior and the institutions of violence it creates. It alone will not produce the world and life you want. The success of veganism rests upon a reformed worldview shaped by our need to create an intentional, biocentric human ecology. I urge you to purchase my book today; find out what the environmentalists are not telling you, what fish and wildlife management agencies are not telling you, and why Michael Pollan is wrong about veganism and ecosystems. Find out why there IS hope.

For yourself and as a gift, if you purchase Hope via the Green Vegans website Amazon link, an auto-donation will be made. It is available also online worldwide and at bookstores in several countries.

This Is Hope is a crossover book for self-identified environmentalists, species rights advocates, vegans and vegetarians, those dedicated to true sustainability, fish and wildlife “management” professionals, students of deep ecology, and those who want to know the biocentric solutions for our dietary, consumer, and reproductive choices.

This is Hope compares the outcomes of two human ecologies; one is tragic, the other is full of promise. “Our human ecology is the expression of everything we do and is represented by every interaction we have on earth…it consists of the multitude of relationships we have with other people, other species, and our physical environment’. I describe our current human ecology in depth to illustrate how we are living inappropriately, cruelly, and unsustainably. This is obsolete and has been for a long time; it is the cause of our overpopulation, our overconsumption of resources, the poverty of ecosystems and people, and our disregard for the rights of individuals from other species. This is Hope proposes a new human ecology to replace it.”

Author Bio
Will is an environmentalist and species rights professional who for over 30 years has conducted campaigns while employed for regional and national organizations. He recently founded Green Vegans (www.greenvegans.org). He lives in Seattle, WA.

Endorsements
Finally! A MUST READ for anyone seeking a practical planetary path from the current trajectory of death and desperation to one that truly engages and embraces hope for all species. This book provides a pioneering path for those who truly want to be the change we want – and need – to see in this world. As we collectively experience this never-before era of one species empowered to make it or break it for all, we now have HOPE to survive together. As a scientist in wildlife management and conservation, I can attest to tragically ridiculous and archaic methods that continue to be used to (mis)manage wildlife and plant species for human ignorance and greed rather than for the planet and successive generations. This Is Hope incorporates the best and the brightest of science while allowing for the potential of humanity.
Toni Frohoff, Ph.D. (Author, Dolphin Mysteries and Between Species)

John Hunt Publishing/ Earth Books Paperback
ISBN 978-1-78099-890-9
$22.95 | £12.99
6×9 inches | 230×152 mm
478PP

For endorsements, background, and table of contents, go to www.thisishopethebook.com.

Distributed to the trade by National Book Network in US; by Orca Marston in UK / Publisher contact: catherine@jhpbooks.net / earth-books.net

Regards,
Will

Will Anderson / www.ThisIsHopeTheBook.com (Blog and book page) / www.greenvegans.org

Deep Vegans – 2

iStock_000012214795XSmallThere are many arenas for vegans to prevent suffering and needless death (more about that in later posts at thisishopethebook dot com). This was the case when a three-person delegation returned to the International Whaling Commission conference last year in Panama. At every meeting over several days we stated our names and our organization, Green Vegans. Whenever we spoke, whenever we introduced ourselves to commission members from other countries, to other organizations, and U.S. officials at meetings, when others saw the placards at our tables, and on every document we distributed, we were there audibly and visibly repeated as “Green Vegans, Green Vegans, Green Vegans.”

A relatively small vanguard of professional environmentalists is trying to stem the loss of biodiversity, loss of habitat, and in some cases stop wanton cruelty (whaling and sealing, for example). Cruelty and killing is the active ingredient in environmental destruction. In the same way, at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), our opponents are global economic systems and worldview beliefs that do not know the value of a life and are not willing to state what it actually takes in terms of changes in our human ecology to really protect ecosystems—something we are already familiar with in animal agriculture.

What is our lesson in this? We cannot afford simply to “be vegan” and then rest. The same reasons for our becoming vegans and vegetarians also compel us to become knowledgeable environmentalists, advocates for reduced human populations, and supporters of social and economic justice. Increasing human populations increase the suffering of both domesticated and wild individuals from other species and damage their ecosystems. The decline of ecosystems and unfolding extinctions cause excruciating physical and psychological pain, misery, and bewildering homelessness for countless species during the process. These are calls for vegans to act.

We must act on the reason that these issues are about grievous harm to individuals of other species and people, our health, and sustainability. As deep vegans, we must expand into other causes. Instead of a slow introduction into front-line environmentalism, and to those of you who already are there, I’m asking you to jump into the deeper end of the pool for a moment.

Here are two links related to a past CITES meeting. From a guest blog by Dr. Margi Prideaux on the Shiftingvalues website is a description of the difficulties wildlife advocates are facing there. Without our vegan human ecology message at CITES and other environmental forums, they will not succeed in saving biodiversity and abundance. They will not be able to stop the harm we care so deeply about as vegans.

http://www.shiftingvalues.com/cites-conference-risks-driving-a-split-in-international-efforts-on-the-conservation-of-elephants-manatees-and-polar-bears. More on that conference here, http://www.cites.org/

This isn’t more work for us as much as they are opportunities to be more effective. In doing this we improve and complete the characteristics, culture, power, and blessings of veganism.

Deep Vegans – Part 1

Tropical rain forest. Whatever our initial reasons for stepping onto the vegetarian or vegan pathway, we must quickly grow into a broader and deeper understanding of how important Veganism is to the future of all life on Earth. For some, like me, Veganism is a product of my past, less informed vegetarianism. I saw that my food choices were not just about relationships with family, friends, and social sharing. It also was about my relationships with individuals from other species, ecosystems, and the impoverished half of humanity. I saw animal agriculture outbid the poor for grains sold on the global market and the terrible toll on humanity that it caused. Once we look more deeply and learn about the connections between our food choices and the rest of the world, our vegan choice is reinforced over and over as practical and moral issues. We understand the pain, suffering, destruction, and injustice we would cause people and other species if we were to return to carnism.

The CITES conference that opened earlier this year in Bangkok, Thailand is an example of the Vegan imperative. CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The fates of many species and individuals from those species are deliberated in this forum, not often effectively. CITES, like many international institutions, is no match for unsustainable, cruel human behavior. But the conference hasn’t been pressed by vegans advocating the ecological benefits of a vegan human ecology that can slow the loss of biodiversity. CITES does not care to recognize that Veganism offers the greenest, most sustainable, and least harmful dietary choice many people can make to protect wildlife. We stop the direct killing, the destruction of their ecosystems, end the commerce, ruin economic incentives to kill, and dramatically slow global warming that is broadly harmful to ecosystem stability. There are many other changes that would need to be made simultaneously to stop the human-caused loss of biodiversity—reducing global human populations around the world being one of them. Still, it is undeniable that Veganism is essential for CITES to succeed.

In fact, Veganism is essential for solving a multitude of environmental problems caused by humankind. Unfortunately, the majority of biological institutions/agencies/sciences and the nonprofit environmental organizations that mirror the fish and wildlife management cultures and values, ignores veganism. They do this without a basis in science. That is unacceptable and indefensible. Vegans should be storming their academic gates and their agency offices.

That isn’t likely to happen until single-issue vegans “grow over time into a broader and deeper understanding of how important Veganism is to the future of all life on Earth.”  Deep ecology, and I am extending that concept to a deep human ecology, is premised on every species having innate value that exists independently of and without having a use or economic benefit to humanity. That innate value extends to ecosystems. In my advocacy, I am bridging deep ecology’s innate value of all species and ecosystems to what has been the “animal rights” movement. This means that we talk about species and ecosystem rights based on their innate values. For species and the individuals from other species, we do not require the “sentience test” before we value them. This opens the umbrella of compassion to protect life itself, not a narrow field of candidates. Species rights is a more effective approach than the limited concept of “animal rights”.

On a practical level, cheerleaders for the sentient can easily remember that the sentient need the non-sentient (like herbivores need plants) and ecosystems to survive and not suffer by: starvation; loss of sheltering habitat; toxic prey; the destruction of species’ culture and social life; contaminated water; the extinction of grasslands; the loss of insects and amphibians; and excessive, unrelenting stressors caused by us. All of those harms would be covered by species rights.

Here and there we can see a glimmer of hope that conservation biologists, naturalists, and mainstream environmentalists will start acknowledging suffering and species rights. These issues are at the core of how our human ecology creates relationships with ecosystems, flora, and fauna. A vegan human ecology should shape their management objectives. All have value and have a right not to be harmed, and where harm is unavoidable, minimized. This leads to a wonderful conversation about human overpopulation, environmentally destructive economic systems, and the current barbaric culture we find in fish and wildlife “management” agencies. That’s part of the argument I build in my book. It’s all interrelated.

The mirror image of this is that if vegans and our organizations hope to change the world, we are required to become informed and active environmentalists who carry a far different message to government agencies and the public. That requires vegan organizations to change and expand their objectives, to show up at public hearings and describe and demand a vegan human ecology before the rest of nature as we prefer it is lost forever. Vegans must become the banner carriers in many movements. As we do this, more people will recognize that Veganism makes winning their particular cause possible. The important thing is that vegans are the only hope of getting these changes realized. Hard to believe, but true. Veganism has untapped power beyond our current appreciation. The sooner we realize and act on that power, the better it will for everyone and every species on Earth.

Next: Deep Vegans – Part 2

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News: Olympic Games and Orca captures

February 11th, 2014

As the February 14 demonstrations protesting the Taiji dolphin slaughters and captures draws near,[...]

Reclaiming "Humane" – Part 3

January 28th, 2014

A DRAFT proposed definition of humane. In parts 1 and 2 I discussed why we need to update and rec[...]

Reclaiming "Humane" - Part 2

January 25th, 2014

We need to look no further than the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to see how human[...]

Reclaiming "Humane" - Part 1

January 21st, 2014

Behind the word “humane” there is a long, evolving history of how it has been defined and understood[...]

The Inevitable Persecution of Wolves by Wildlife “Managers”

January 5th, 2014

A few years ago, I compared the "game management units" where the Idaho Department of Fish and Game [...]

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