Today I make an announcement, and also finally respond to the hugely publicised campaign by the NZ animal welfare group S.A.F.E to promote "free range" pork consumption. I must admit I really let the side down. I wallowed in a level of self indulgment that is really inexcusable, especially from someone such as myself who claims to be such an activist. I apologise. I didn't write any letters to the papers or participate in any discussions, because I allowed myself to be negative. Well, now I finally made a comment on an animal welfare page (not a local one), maybe it was the wrong place to do it -maybe all the people who read that blog are vegan, I don't know. Here is the article if you want to comment also:
Animal Welfare Examiner
That is the comment I should have left on every NZ paper opinion page and every discussion board across the country while everything was going on, and I didn't. I admit I let everyone down especially all of the poor suffering pigs. The story is still out there though, so I will now be participating - better late than never.
I want to thank all of you who did respond on these opinion boards and to the papers and talk about veganism. For example Bea Elliot wrote in, and she lives in America, where they have so many detrimental welfare campaigns of their own to deal with, and I live here and I didn't write anything, so I am put to shame. No excuses, I let the side down. However, I have addressed the issue in this episode and I welcome comments. I am not trying to turn this podcast into a rant, or into a negative website dedicated to criticising S.A.F.E - in fact I hope to not mention them again - they do what they do, I do what I do. However, it was so highly publicised, and I was so disturbed by it that I needed to get it off my chest, and now I feel so much better. This is really a good way to resolve inner conflict - I recommend starting a blog or podcast! It is worth it. Also, as I told someone recently, we can't let the others do all the work for us. Grass roots means community level, and that is what we need, in all languages, by actual members of those communities in their own words. And that is what grass roots activism is all about. Also, in light of campaigns such as this one, we need it more than ever, so that is what I hope to do in New Zealand. Also, I would like to acknowledge another abolitionist vegan in New Zealand! I hope I am not incorrect in pinning this description on you Bron - but I think you get it! Thanks for keeping in touch, and I am sorry I didn't include you in the tally. Now we are FOUR!
Finally, coincidentally as I was uploading this post, I checked my email and there was a new update from the Abolitionist Approach about an article in which Gary Francione mentions the importance of seeing animals as individuals - this is how I understand it to be when they are described as persons. So I thought it was a good coincidence.
UPDATE: check the comments section of this post to see input from Roger Yates where he also mentions Professor Francione's book Animals As Persons and some quotes to explain some of the concepts as presented in the book.
P.S I am aware that Anthony De Mello passed away many years ago, so although I did talk about him and his writings in the present tense I do know he is no longer alive.
P.P.S The following is the passage I referred to in this episode. Mr. De Mello was primarily concerned with the human condition, was a Jesuit Priest, and was not a vegan, but even as a non-religious vegan I find his writings very helpful. It appears the Krishnamurti is the originator of the quote.
"...The great Krishnamurti put it so well when he said, "the day you teach a child the name of the bird, the child will never see that bird again". How true! The first time the child sees that fluffy (sic), alive, moving object (sic) and you say to him, "Sparrow", then tomorrow when the child sees another fluffy, moving object similar to it he says, "Oh, sparrows. I've seen sparrows. I'm bored by sparrows".
If you don't look at things through your concepts, you'll never be bored. Every single thing is unique. Every sparrow is unlike every other sparrow despite the similarities. It's a great help to have similarities, so we can abstract, so that we can have a concept. It's a great help, from the point of view of communication, education, science. But it's also very misleading and a great hindrance to seeing this concrete individual..." - Awareness, Anthony De Mello