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The Book of Vegan

Bringing the light of the truth, erasing cruelty, and embracing justice for all.

by Michael Corthell,
founder of The Vegan Project (formerly The Village Vegan)

ABOUT

Being an Ebook this publication is a 'living' book, that is, it contains live links that provide more information for the reader. It can also be added to, and be continually updated as new information becomes available. 

The Book of Vegan is intended to be informational and be as accurate as possible. That being said you are strongly advised to fact check by using GOOGLE and researching multiple sources. The author invites you to freely share any and all information contained in the book, especially info panels(memes) as part of your vegan outreach and activism. Simply right click the photo and 'save as'. For access to all our memes and photos clink this link.

INTRODUCTION

I define veganism this way: Veganism is, in fact, an ideology or a belief system. Veganism is a social justice issue. Vegans do not consume or use anything from animals(as far as is practicable, practical and possible). We also do not participate in any form of animal exploitation or cruelty. Vegans support and advocate for the rights of all non-human and human animals. Vegans are also de facto environmentalists.

And I will go so far as to say that ethical vegans can be rightly labeled as Healers (or Guardian Angels if you prefer) because we are helping to bring the 'light of the truth' to the world with the message of love, equality and justice for all, thereby helping to create a better world for ourselves, and our posterity — both human and non-human.

As a function of human civilization two competing ideologies stand out; veganism as described above and carnism which will be shown in meme panels like #1 below, with my commentary and associated hotlinks for further information.   


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Carnism is a term used in discussions of humankind's relation to non-human animals. It is defined as a prevailing ideology in which people support the use and consumption of animal products, especially meat and is a belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals and not others. Carnism is seen as a dominant belief system supported by a variety of fallacies and defense mechanisms with most of those going unchallenged. The term carnism was coined by social psychologist and author Melanie Joy in 2001 and has been popularized by her book ''Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows''.

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Veganism is a broad based social justice issue that includes both non-human and human animal rights. If you are against racism, sexism and homophobia it follows that you are also against speciesism which is a form of all three since it is discrimination based on your birth.

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I like to stress that we vegans are de facto environmentalists. And the reason we are is that raising animals to produce food requires a huge amount of land, food, energy, and water. Naturally the more vegans there are, the less harm done to Earth's environment. 

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For true ethical vegans, veganism has always been more than a trendy lifestyle choice. It is, and always has been for the animals first, but now that we are deeply entrenched in the climate crisis, veganism's positive impact on Earth's environment, with the possibility of being the primary method of reversing climate change must be recognized.  

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Sometime in the future our posterity will look back on our practice of speciesism, the belief that humans are superior to all other animals, and therefore seen to have more rights, than non-human animals and feel a mix of anger, shame and sadness. They will wonder why the world didn't embrace veganism sooner. The they will feel the same way most of us feel today when we consider racism, homophobia and sexism.

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Speciesism is a form of prejudice, it is very closely related in fact. Prejudice refers to any preconceived attitude, emotion, or behavior toward members of a group(including animals), which in anyway implies negativity or antipathy toward that group. The definition of racism: (Oxford Dictionary) ''prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.'' This gives me another opportunity to mention that the enslavement of human beings and prejudice toward 'the other' all began directly after the domestication(enslavement) of animals by human animals. 

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Our current dominant system, carnism assumes that humans are just competitive by nature and that nature along with animals are resources to be used(and abused) and that economic growth, through capitalism is how society improves and how people become happier. This, most people now understand can not be sustained. Veganism is essentially the opposite of this belief system with its precepts of compassion, do not harm and love for the Earth.

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Ahimsa, in Jainism means respect for all living things and avoidance of violence toward others can also be defined  simply as loving kindness and compassion. That ahimsa is therefore the core value of veganism. And it should be noted that Jainism believes that the only way to save one's own soul is to protect every other soul.

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If animal rights is not a unique issue, as it is closely related to all other social rights movements. This equivalency is problematic in practice because as Tobias Leenaert said, ''It would mean physically attempting to stop people from buying or eating animal products, in supermarkets and restaurants, always and everywhere, because that’s what you’d do you if you saw someone severely beating a child or torturing a woman or shackling a worker to the desk.''

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Hunting is the pastime of stalking and running after and then killing wildlife (or game), especially for food or for sport. 'Trophy hunting,' is a specialized form of hunting in which the hunter’s expressed goal is to get the hunted animal’s body or body part,(the head or hide), as a trophy(memento) that memorializes the thrill of the hunt. 

The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 'Trade Database, Killing for Trophies' provides a comprehensive look at the scope and scale of trophy hunting trade and isolates the largest importers of animal trophies worldwide.

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This video will force you to open your eyes to the truth about factory farming and the food industry. You will come face to face with the reality of your food choices. See where (and who) your food comes from.

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Newborn pigs quickly learn to run to their mothers’ voices, and can recognize their own names by the time they’re around 2 weeks old. Sows have also been known to 'sing' to their young while nursing them. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions about pigs and their capabilities. Our friends at World Animal Protection have 10 facts that will help you understand them a little bit better. 

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Becoming a vegan is one of the best things you can do to help stop animal cruelty. By not paying for animal products, you are lowering the demand for them, which means fewer animals are bred and raised to suffer and die on factory farms.

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The health and wellbeing of all non-human animals is a vegan's number one concern. Because we no longer eat them, use them, or abuse them the Law of Compensation or Karma kicks in, and is extended to us in a positive way. We get healthier, and so does our planet. Now that's a bargain! 

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Long Form: Veganism is a lifestyle that seeks to exclude all forms of exploitation of non-human animals, which goes well beyond diet to include the rejection of all forms of animal abuse, including harm to their biosphere. Veganism also includes a moral duty to actively oppose all forms of animal exploitation and to encourage and educate others to become vegan, with the primary aim being the eradication of speciesism and carnism.

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Even though people who are trapped in this carnistic system are not cruel or violent by nature, the system is. Dr. Melanie Joy: ''Carnism is also a violent system, as it's organized around intensive and extensive (and unnecessary) violence toward animals. Even the production of so-called humane meat, eggs, and dairy—a tiny percentage of the carnistic products produced in the world today—exploits animals and involves brutality.''

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What will it take? Education for one, and democratic legislation passing animal rights laws for another. Education via committed vegan activists spreading the positive message of non-violence and justice toward all sentient creatures -- human and non-human. And laws that correct the injustices of the past toward animals. 

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Do good and good will come to you, do bad and bad will pay you a visit. I believe that everything we eat has a spiritual and karmic effect on us: the body, mind and soul. By eating animals, a person increases the tendencies and instincts of the particular animal eaten in their own body, and even brings about more animal-like emotions such as fear, aggressiveness, and even predatory impulses. Looking at eating a 100% plant-based diet we can see the effects of positive karma: good health, with a high level of physical and mental wellbeing.   

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For example: 'Humane Slaughter'. What the hell kind of oxymoron is that? There is never anything humane about killing an innocent creature in a slaughter house. And lets not confuse it with euthanizing a sick or injured being. Is there any such thing as part-time slavery? You get the idea. Justice for animals means justice for human animals as well -- they go hand in hand. It's all about social justice

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And you thought that only lobsters, crabs and shellfish were boiled alive. Joining them are chickens and turkeys. The level of cruelty, intentional or not is stunning. For a second imagine a dog being boiled alive every minute of every day -- more than half a million dogs killed by scalding hot water while still conscious each year. Shocking, crazy, infuriating, and sickening right? This is the reality for hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys each year to provide Americans with cheap meat on their tables. Much of this horror is due to increased 'processing line' speeds. The National Chicken Council, which represents the poultry industry and is an established advocate of unrestricted line speeds, maintains that operating at speeds of up to 175 bpm(birds per minute) is a long-standing and safe industry practice. The results of these speeds are scalding of birds and injury to workers.

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First, Adam and Eve were apparently created, and it was dictated that they only eat plant-based diet: Gen 1:29...Speaking to them God said, "...Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon all the face of the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.” So far so good.

Then after the Flood in Gen 9:1-3 God said to Noah and family, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.''

This passage is very specific and even acknowledges the previous statement in Gen 1:29. Now let's skip to the end of the Bible, last page:

Rev 22: Eden Restored22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.''

The biblical scholar in us would point out that all this misery (eating animals) happened because humankind fell off the 'perfection wagon' but the timeline is jumbled. Permission to eat animals must have been given to Adam and Eve because one of their sons was a shepherd. 

Cain, the firstborn, was a farmer, and his brother Abel was a shepherd. The brothers made sacrifices to God, each of his own produce, but God favored Abel's sacrifice instead of Cain's. Cain then murdered Abel, whereupon God punished Cain by condemning him to a life of wandering.

Allegorical, or literal and historical? It depends on your faith perhaps, but it is clear that diet played a big role in biblically events. Other examples can be found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy:  Leviticus 11:20-22 states: "All winged swarming things that walk on all fours shall be an abomination for you. But these you may eat among all the winged swarming things that walk on all fours: all that have, above their feet, jointed legs to leap with on the ground—of these you may eat the following: locusts of every variety; all varieties of bald locust; crickets of every variety; and all varieties of grasshopper."

Wendy Ann Wilkenfeld, in a Harvard Law School paper writes, ''The Bible not only regulates what kinds of food the Israelites may eat, but also which parts of the acceptable animals may be eaten. The sciatic nerve, the fat, and the blood are all forbidden to the Israelites. In contrast to the biblical food regulations concerning which types of foods may be consumed by the Israelites, the Bible provides an explanation for each of the food laws concerning which parts of the animal are acceptable as food.'' See the Full Paper

The answer concerning veganism as the preferred human diet is hinted here but not resolved. However the amount of space devoted to food and food law in the Bible is telling and I strongly suspect was to regulate health and social behavior. 

But could it be that fueling and maintaining a body that is a vessel for the Spirit is of prime importance and critical for the expression and proper manifestation of that Spirit?  What do you think?

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Many dogs sold in pet stores or online come from from 'puppy mills', which are commercial dog-breeding facilities that focus on profit instead of  the health and welfare of the animals. However, puppy mills in the U.S. are legal, but the vast majority aren't regulated.

Conditions in many puppy mills are unethical and disgusting in many cases. Dogs live in filthy conditions without adequate food, water, or veterinary care. Female dogs are bred with little to no recovery time between litters. Inbreeding can also a problem. I recommend animal shelters and animal rescue organizations


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There is much that has to happen before the climate crisis we find ourselves in is brought under control and stabilized and reversed. The single biggest thing any individual can do to help is by being vegan. An Oxford University study, published in the journal Climatic Change, shows that meat-eaters are responsible for almost twice as many dietary greenhouse-gas emissions per day as vegetarians and about two and a half times as many as vegans. Dr. Fredrik Hedenus, the lead scientist of the study, said that “reducing meat and dairy consumption is key to bringing agricultural climate pollution down to safe levels.”

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Will you change the world? Do you want a global civilization who's priority is the welfare of it's inhabitants? Or continue with a capitalist system that prioritizes money, power and influence over all else at the expense of morality, empathy, and kindness? 

We are living in a world where anyone(particularly animals) or anything can be exploited and monetized for corporate profit. Greed has ruined the world and created class divisions - the 'haves' and 'have nots'. Wouldn't be better if we developed global Resource-Based Economic System? An economic system based on direct-common ownership of land, resources, production, distribution, and allocation, characterized through non-usury (monetary) intelligent management of resources for common consumer social abundance rather than profit-based scarcity (Capitalism) or need-based scarcity (Socialism). A gift economy in which the need for money, barters, or exchange is surpassed by the development of advanced earth-based technologies. Wouldn't that be better for all life on Earth?

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Where did cruelty come from? It had to start somewhere. There is much evidence to support the theory that humanity turned to cruelty and subjugation of animals during the process of domestication about 12,000 years ago. Human slavery dates back to prehistoric times and was apparently modeled on the methods used in the domestication of animals. Additionally, according to FBI profilers many serial killers start abusing and killing animals before moving on to human victims. They have concluded that there is a strong correlation between cruelty to animals and human violence. In particular they cite animal abuse perpetrated by adolescents as a predictor of later human violence. Therefore in my view the abuse and use of animals was and is a key factor in the multiple crises we now find ourselves in; colonialism, war, famine, pestilence. In order for peace to come to Earth, we as a civilization need to use different methods to solve problems, to say the the least. The way forward is clear, it's only our collective will that's lacking.

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Save One Life, Save the Entire World (Including Yourself)

Being vegan saves both lives and Earth's finite resources. On average, each day one animal's life is spared and incalculable misery avoided just by one vegan's actions.  

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Veganism's number one precept.

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[Yesterday was September 2, 2021 in the above quotation]

In fact we may already be doomed - beyond any one of the ecological tipping points that will mean that we've reached the point of no return. But we may not be, so let me remind you once again that the single, most important thing any one individual can do to help mitigate the climate crisis is to STOP eating and using animals. The science is clear and it is irrefutable.

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