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There are animal welfare vegans and animal only-fight-against-other-vegans abolitionist vegans. V-EGANISM is neither. Just as there are positive things and negative things about conservatives and liberals, there are positive things and negative things about welfarists and abolitionists. V-EGANISM avoids all 4 "political parties", and remains as an independent in thoughts and actions, only choosing what is right and just for animals, humans, and the environment. V-EGANISM however does have a mission statement which is how the founder of veganism, Donald Watson, originally coined the word's definition. It was a perfect definition then and it still is a perfect definition now! So the following paragraph is V-EGANISM's official Mission Statement--and nothing more, nothing less, we are simply called, "Vegan Activists", with no additives:

"V-EGANISM educates people and helps people and animals regarding the political and social justice cause, Veganism, which is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude--as far as is possible and practical--all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, cosmetics, household products, entertainment, service or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals, and the environment."

Healthy Body, Mind & Spirit Maneki Neko Cat

Healthy Body, Mind & Spirit Maneki Neko Cat

Love & Peace Maneki Neko Cat

Love & Peace Maneki Neko Cat

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Did John the Baptist Really Eat Locusts and Wild Honey?

There's a longstanding confusion in the etymological origin of the word locust. Locust is both a bean from the carob plant and an insect. The Greek word for cakes or bread made from the flour of the carob bean is 'egkrides' and the Greek word for locust the insect is 'akrides'. The insect locust is approved to be clean for consumption in Leviticus. It was a delicacy in those days and was mostly consumed by the upper and/or priestly class.

John the Baptist belonged to a group of ascetics who believed in repentance and in leading an austere lifestyle. The carob bean was seen as the diet of the lower class who normally endured hardship and exploitation from the priestly class. So most likely John the Baptist ate locust plant seed from the carob tree.

Also, regarding honey, it could be anything from saps of certain trees to juice of the crushed dates. Carob flour and crushed dates made a good damper or sweet rustic cake, hence the word 'egkrides' in the Greek version of the Bible.

Some Church Fathers circa 400AD put forth an injunction to change the word 'egkrides' in the Bible meaning cakes to 'akrides' the insect locust, not realising that locust the insect was a delicacy enjoyed by the priestly upper crust, from whom John the Baptist and people like John distanced themselves from.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Veganism and Vegetarianism

I agree with everything Gary L. Francione says in this commentary below except he is wrong about one thing. Many, many people--including me--became vegan via being a vegetarian first. When I found out how cruel it is to eat animal flesh, being a vegetarian made me want to learn more about the subject and that naturally led me to veganism studies.

So, although I definitely do agree with Gary in that it is better to be a vegan for a day, or several days, or a week, etc., at first to eventually become a vegan, being a vegetarian first does work sometimes too on the road to being vegan. But yes, as Gary said, vegetarianism and veganism are very separate diets/lifestyles and should be promoted as such.

Commentary #1: Vegetarianism as a “Gateway” to Veganism?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Lord Christ Jesus Was a Vegan

Book description (From Amazon):
"This book raises many interrelated important issues in life and tries to clarify the spiritual facts and to tie the loose ends, according to the wisdom of Divine Love. The good news about Lord Christ Jesus being a vegan (a strict vegetarian), for Biblical reasons is expounded in this book. This book discuss in detail the interests, the well-beings and the freedom of all creatures. The main points discussed in here, from the Christian vegan perspectives are: why mankind should live to honor God, about the universally abiding laws given us by the supreme Creator, the Christian justice, the importance of Church unity, nutrition, balanced diet and related issues. The pages loudly echo the spirituality of animals and the normal feelings of all that live; encouraging mankind to choose environmentally friendly products and services instead of animal products or animal services. Every violent sport and entertainment that involves animals is denounced together with the modern day idolatry and animal slavery; urging God fearing people to actively love and defend all animals and the universe in the Holy Name of Christ Jesus now and always."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Peace Pilgrim

Mildred Lisette Norman (July 18, 1908-July 7, 1981), known to all as Peace Pilgrim, was a U.S. pacifist, strict vegetarian, and peace activist. In 1952, she became the first woman to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one season. Starting on January 1, 1953. In Pasadena, California, she adopted the name "Peace Pilgrim" and walked across the United States for 28 years.

Peace Pilgrim said, "Our present lesson is to stop killing each other. The lesson of non-killing of creatures is a little bit into the future, though those of us who know better need to live up to the highest light. Now, I wouldn't kill any creature--I wouldn't even kill a chicken or a fish--and therefore I stopped immediately eating all flesh. I have learned since that it is bad for your health, but at that time, I just extended my love to include not only all my fellow human beings but also my fellow creatures, and so I stopped hurting them and I stopped eating them. Then I learned from a college professor...that it takes many times the land to raise the creatures we eat as it would to raise fruits or vegetables or grains. Since I want the maximum number of God's children to be fed, that also would make me a vegetarian. I enjoy my food, but I eat to live. I do not live to eat, as some people do, and I know when to stop eating. I am not enslaved by food."

As a strict vegetarian, Peace Pilgrim also did not use fur, feathers, leather or bone.

Peace Pilgrim was also an early advocate for tolerance for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. She did not believe in discrimination against any being.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Compassionate Wear

As I have said in a previous post, while the vegan community has done a super brilliant job in educating people about cruelty-free, vegan, ethical eating, I feel the community has not done nearly enough in educating people on vegan ethical clothing/footwear/accessories. I even hear vegans say they still wear some footwear made of animal products because they can't find any good quality shoes/boots that are cruelty-free, especially offline in stores.
So F.A.A.R.M. will be doing a lot of focusing on vegan clothing/footwear and other accessories, like belts, to help vegans (and non-vegans) easily find good cruelty-free product wear. As a matter of fact, most running shoes are naturally vegan, as synthetic materials are much more breathable and readily available, but always ask to make sure it's vegan if it's not mentioned on the product.
Brooks is one such company that carries many vegan footwear, but other companies, such as Saucony, New Balance and Asics all offer high-performance vegan shoes. I got a pair of Brooks running shoes, like the above, for Christmas. They feel terrific on my feet! And Asics has made it easy to shop for vegan running shoes; all running shoes with "N" in the product code/style number are vegan.
To help you easily find compassionate, wearable items at online and offline stores, check out:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer was born today in 1875. In 1893 he attended the University of Strasbourg and studied theology, philosophy and musical theory. In 1899, he received a Ph.D. in Philosophy, and in 1900 he received a second in theology. Between 1900 and 1905 he acted as a minister of a small church in Strasbourg. During this period he also wrote several books dealing with general philosophy and ethics, religion and the musical philosophy of Sebastian Bach. He became an expert organist, organ-builder and was recognized as one of the leading musical figures of this time.

In 1905, Schweitzer made a radical career change and decided to devote the rest of his life to the natives of equatorial Africa. He decided that he would study to become a doctor of medicine and reentered the university. In 1909, Schweitzer formulated the international regulations for organ building. In 1913, Schweitzer received his Doctorate of Medicine.

In 1915, while on a steamboat journey in Africa, he was inspired with a new way of thinking: Reverence for Life.  This phrase would be the description for his future philosophy of life.

Schweitzer was saddened by the amount of misery he saw in the world. His sadness was not limited to only humans but also the animal world.  The sight of an old limping horse, tugged forward by one man while another kept beating it with a stick to get it to the knacker’s yard at Colmar, would haunt him for weeks.

The sight of animals being beaten or hurt was something he could never understand or accept, from the times of his early youth.  The brutality was quite incomprehensible to him, and he wondered why in his evening prayers he should pray for human beings only. So when his mother had prayed with him and had kissed him goodnight, he would add silently a prayer that he had composed himself for all living creatures. It went something like this: "O heavenly Father, protect and bless all things that have breath; guard them from all evil, and let them sleep in peace.”

This gentle but strong willed man would spend over 50 years helping natives of Africa with their health problems. During this period in Africa, he wrote additional books on the subjects of philosophy, religion, music, art, ethics and human civilization throughout the ages. In 1953, Schweitzer would be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and $36,000. He would spend all of the money for his leprosy hospital in Africa.

Schweitzer’s general philosophy could be stated as never to destroy life that breathes, unless it is unavoidable, and by going out of our way to help any living creature in distress we are helping to discharge a debt--a debt of honor--which we owe to the rest of creation for its vicarious sacrifice to our needs. It is after all the only sane and reasonable course we can adopt.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Adopt a Rescued Bird Month

When people say they've adopted a rescued animal, we tend to think of either dogs or cats. But birds are adopted as rescued also.

January is Adopt a Rescued Bird Month. Many people may not realize that along with the large number of dogs, cats, and other animals that enter shelters, many birds do too. Each year thousands of birds are relinquished to shelters when their owners decide they no longer want them or cannot take care of them properly. Most birds live eight years or longer, and a parrot's life span can rival that of a human, as some birds can live to be 60-80 years old and are a great commitment by their human companions. Bird companionship is a long-term commitment that requires dedication that often surpasses that of dog or cat ownership. While smaller birds have shorter life spans, human guardians are still encouraged to research the bird they hope to provide a home for in order to make certain that they are prepared for the special needs of their new feathered friend. Also, adopters need to consider the finances involved with vet visits, good-quality varied food, a proper-size cage, and toys. Guardians also need to realize that birds--especially those in the parrot family--thrive on social interaction. So if you are not home often, a bird might not be the right choice for you.

Many guardians do not realize that birds often require specialized veterinary care and should always be seen by a vet that is familiar with birds, so seeking the advice and knowledge of an avian veterinarian is helpful, both before and after adoption of a new bird. Birds are sensitive and intelligent companions that will surprise you with their beauty and song.

Here are other things to consider:

Birds can be noisy. Birds sing and chirp, but they also squawk and screech. Not all of their vocalizations are soothing and pleasant; some can be downright ear-splitting. Take this into consideration, especially if you live in an apartment building.

Birds like space. Provide your feathered friend with the largest cage possible—no space is too big for a creature adapted to flying through jungles and across savannas. A typical cage for small birds should be about 25 inches tall and 25 inches from front to back.

Birds are sensitive to their environment. It is important to place your bird's cage in a warm, bright area, close to where the action is but away from drafts and direct sunlight. Avoid kitchens at all costs—birds are extremely sensitive to fumes from self-cleaning ovens and Teflon-coated cookware.

Birds are social butterflies. Birds can be every bit as loving and affectionate as dogs or cats. In fact, they should be taken out of their cages and handled every day for at least an hour. Daily exercise and ample out-of-cage time are the keys to a happy, well-adjusted bird.

Birds need exercise. Just like any other creature, birds can become overweight and unhealthy if they don't get enough exercise. It's important to let your bird out of his cage each day for free flight.

Birds are naturally clean. Like cats, birds are self-cleaners, as they preen their feathers daily. No smelly shampoos or flea baths for this feathered pal, keep up your bird's good looks with a simple nail trim.

Each species has its own specific characteristics and habits, so do some research into which bird would be best for you. Birds need proper nutrition, room to exercise and clean living conditions in order to be healthy and happy. Be sure to understand how to feed and care for your bird before you get one.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

National Vodou Day

Today is National Vodou Day. A holiday which takes place each year since 1996. Every year, thousands of adepts "vodounsi" gather in several locations. In Comè, a small town about a hundred kilometers west of Cotonou, hundreds of vodou adepts gathered to sing, dance and offer prayers and sacrifices to gods and ancestors. In the country of Benin, His Excellency Houngué Towakon Guédéhoungué II, president of the vodou in Benin, leads the ceremonies. Of Benin's seven million citizens, 65% believe in Vodou.

Followers acknowledge the existence of both a supreme being and many smaller gods which can intercede with the supreme being on behalf of humans. Vodou followers believe that all life is driven by spiritual forces of natural phenomena such as water, fire, earth and air and that these should be honoured through rituals like animal sacrifices.

But fortunately not all vodou practitioners believe in using animals in sacrifices.

In her book, Vodou Visions, Vodou mambo, Sallie Ann Glassman, discusses a cruelty-free alternative way of practicing this religion. Glassman, who is a vegan, does not believe in animal sacrifices. She explains in wonderful detail of how one is able to be a genuine practitioner of Vodou but still practice a cruelty-free life.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Tourist Trail

John Yunker’s novel, The Tourist Trail, is an epic thriller about the often unnoticed heroes who devote their lives to protecting animals. It chronicles the lives of various characters from extremely different walks of life whose worlds intertwine to reveal their shared destiny: To protect animals. Some of these characters live and breathe their passion for animals, allowing it to drive their every decision and relationship. They’d give their lives for their cause without asking for anything in return. Other characters find themselves drawn into this world unexpectedly as the situations they’re faced with cause them to question their own sense of morality. The novel has vibrant multidimensional characters and is full of plot twists, romance and non-stop danger. As the book progresses, the lives of the characters begin to intertwine and the emotional twists and turns become just as enveloping for the reader as the dangerous battles at sea.
The Tourist Trail was inspired by the author, John Yunker’s, trip to the Patagonia region of Argentina, where he volunteered with The Penguin Project. The book is based on the award winning short-story he wrote after his volunteer work.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Historical Spiritual Beliefs in Relation to Animals


Today's animal rights movements are often political, meant to affect change in legislature. But the roots of the belief in animal welfare and opposition to animal cruelty has more spiritual contexts, affiliated with cultural groups having a loving affinity for the earth and its beings.

Native American religion is closely linked to the land. There is a common thread of connection with the earth and the supernatural. A strong emphasis is placed on developing a personal spirituality, as well as the intertwining of the natural and spiritual worlds. Land and its creatures blend well with Native Americans’ spiritual awakening and daily ritual, though typically this belief is not considered a religion; it’s a lifestyle and the basis of an entire culture. Spirituality is a mindset and a relationship with natural beings, not a doctrine.

Native American religion is also accompanied by sacred mythological narrative, relying a lot on animals to tell the story. These stories are deeply based in nature and symbolism using the seasons and weather, plants, animals, earth, and the elements, culminating in the embrace of a great Spirit, a connection to the Earth. These stories were handed down verbally and used in traditional tribal gatherings where the peoples worshipped using song and dance.

Vegetarianism, the earth and religion are also interconnected in the ancient practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Vegetarianism is mandatory if you are a strict follower of Jainism, based on the principle of nonviolence, ahimsa. Formed from Hinduism because of distaste for animal sacrifice, Jains are either lacto-vegetarians or vegans. They believe it's important to contribute the least amount of violence as possible--to all of nature--thus influencing positive karma and necessitating liberation during reincarnation. Some followers of Hinduism also practice ahimsa and non-violence to animals, holding vegetarianism as an ideal. Linked to this is offering only vegetarian food to a god in order to receive it back as prasad, a mental condition for generosity. The belief is that non-vegetarian food is harmful in developing the mind and spirituality. Hindus have a scriptural basis for these practices, the Mahabharata states: “Nonviolence is the highest duty and the highest teaching.” Exists the more practical belief that meat consumption is not beneficial to physical health. There's also Hindu dietary law, linking the basis of man’s good and evil to food, which provides some context for why some Hindus prefer not to eat meat; treatment of food is directly tied to karma and blessings in this life and the next, and this includes forming a relationship with the earth and what it produces.

In Buddhism, animals are understood to be sentient beings and they are highly regarded, as is man’s relationship with the natural world and humanitarianism. Buddha theorized that sentient beings have been our mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers, children, and friends in past lives. This is similar to some Native American ideology. This notion makes clear the difficulty of distinguishing between moral rules for animals and humans as we are all interconnected. Animals are believed to be separated from humans by state of mind, or a different realm of existence (Tiryagyoni). All the earth’s creatures must work together to protect one another, and individuals who harm others will in their turn experience the same thing. The first of the five Buddhist precepts bans the taking of life, sometimes applied to all sentient beings, including not just mammals, but insects and invertebrates as well. Early Buddhism contains regulations to prevent the harming of sentient beings in the animals realm, because it directly impacts all other realms.

Mainstream modern religions like Christianity often disassociate, at least in majority doctrine, from obligations to the environment and animals, placing options on the individual, and playing down the need for interconnectedness and community. But if one chooses to look there is plenty of encouragement in ancient spiritual traditions for finding our roots and a deep spiritual balance between humans, other animals and our Mother Earth.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

National Bird Day

Today is National Bird Day. It's a day for public awareness and education on birds.

Since the late 19th century, bird protection has become an especially increasingly important issue. Birds are among the most popular animals in the exotic pet trade, and most birds in captive breeding programs are kept there solely for commercial gain.

For more information on National Bird Day, including how you can get involved, check out:

How Do I Get Involved?