Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A short lesson in ethical living for the new year



Certain ethical points that should be pretty obvious:

We shouldn't exploit children just because they are weaker than us, or people with mental disabilities just because they're less intelligent;

We can't simply go up to someone and have sex with them just because we find them attractive;

We can't go and live in a stranger's house just because we think it's nicer than ours;

We can't take someone's coat off their back and start wearing it just because we like how it looks/feels;

We shouldn't physically hurt someone just because we find them annoying;

We shouldn't eat the meat of animals, just because we like the taste, or wear their fur/skin because we like how it looks/feels.

While the first five points are fairly obvious to most of us, many of us still have no problem with eating meat, even though the latter is arguably even worse than some of the other points since it involves taking innocent lives. This is because we see animals as lesser beings that are meant to serve us, and to give up their lives for our benefit whenever we want. While not as advanced as humans, the animals with whom we share the planet are sentient beings, meaning they feel pain, fear, and many other emotions, just like we do. They are often very intelligent creatures. In most parts of the world, there are more and more healthy alternatives to eating meat. If you haven't done so already, today could be the day when you say "enough", and advance to a higher level of consciousness by saying no to meat. Today is the day when you can become part of the solution, instead of part of the problem.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My favorite movies of 2014

Here are 10 movies that I found inspiring and/or moving in one way or another. This is not a "best of" list, it is a personal list of movies that I enjoyed in the previous year, one in which I saw somewhere around 200 movies (not all new of course). I haven't seen every critically acclaimed movie (Interstellar, Birdman come to mind, among others). I enjoyed a couple of blockbusters (Edge of Tomorrow & the last X-men, for instance), though the list of my personal favs is mostly blockbuster free. Some movies I thought were really good (Nightcrawler & Locke, for example), but they didn't inspire me beyond a feeling of respect for them. Others, such as Frank and The Grand Budapest Hotel, I suppose I'm just not enough of a stereotypical hipster to enjoy. Anyhow, without further ado, and in no particular order...

1. Comet - one of my top three for 2014

2. These Final Hours - Australian end of days/ coming to terms with one's conscience type movie

3. Boyhood

4. Her - yeah, it came out in the last week of 2013, so it still counts

5. White Bird in a Blizzard - possibly Araki's best, good retro feel

6. Fury

7. Blue Ruin

8. Under the Skin - a sad poem with violent undertones

9. Noah - anyone who knows my position on animal rights will not be surprised to see this on here ;)

10. '71

...and I'm sure I've forgotten a couple. :) Anyway, if you agree with some of these, what can I say...

Friday, December 12, 2014

EFFAISM: Stay strong when talking about animal rights

Franz Marc, The Fate of the Animals (1913)
There are many people out there who have a problem with those of us who don't eat meat for ethical reasons. Some think we're preachy. Others think we're misguided (for a variety of reasons). A quick look at any popular social media post related to not eating meat will reveal a multitude of opinions relating to just how ridiculous and plain wrong not eating meat is, according to these people. I've already discussed why we shouldn't eat meat many times, so I'm not going to go into this again. I would, however, like to remind my fellow vegetarians and vegans who avoid meat for ethical reasons, to stay strong, and to not be misguided into taking a soft stance on what you believe in.

When people who eat meat accuse you of being closed-minded, remind them that it is your mind that is open to ending the suffering of all animals, while their mind is the selective one, only caring about humans. Your adoption of a meat-free diet shows that you have a mind that is open to diminishing violence in the world. If they believe that it is alright to kill animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, fish, etc., then their minds are not open to eliminating violence, no matter what they claim. They claim that some animal rights activists (most of whom are vegan) are violent, and this is true. But much of the violence that is carried out by animal rights activists is done out of frustration of dealing with closed-minded individuals who think it's alright to continue to torture and kill animals, whether it be for food, clothing, entertainment, etc. The only reason that people get outraged at animal rights "violence" is that they still see these animals as less important, as creatures that are somehow born to suffer and/or serve us. When people call you extreme, ask them this: Which is more extreme, wanting to save the lives of animals or condemning them to death by either being an apologist for meat or being indifferent and not taking a stand against it? Is it more extreme to want to end violence than to make excuses for it? All things considered, it is much crazier to eat meat than to not eat it. When people say that it is OK to kill animals as long as we treat them humanely beforehand, remember that, while better, this is not the ultimate solution. The most basic right that we all have is the right to live. When people call your ideas a pipe dream, remind them of the countless other pipe dreams throughout history that led to a better life for both humans and other animals. Speaking up against inequality is the first step on the road to obliterating that inequality.

When they say that we don't have the moral right to preach, tell them that indeed we do. Yes, lots of us are shamed into being apologetic about what is sometimes perceived as "preachiness", but in actuality we have every right to speak out against violence and to protect animals. We are the voice of the voiceless, and, as such, we are the ones that truly "get it". If the things that are being done to animals were done to humans, there would be no discussion. Everyone would get on board and agree that change was needed. We should be proud that we have understood a very important truth, that all sentient life is important. When it comes to our interaction with other animals, we are the ethical elite, and we have the responsibility to try to elevate others to the same level of understanding.

Image: Franz Marc, The Fate of the Animals (1913)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mowisz Masz (Warsaw, Poland) | VEGAN AND VEGAN-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS AROUND THE WORLD

Mowisz Masz is a relative newcomer to the Warsaw, Poland vegetarian/vegan cafe/restaurant scene. It is a cozy (read:small) cafe with a nice, comfortable interior that offers a tasty, varied vegan buffet brunch on weekends (all you can eat, 25zl). The only thing that's unfortunate about the place is the service, sometimes. They have a good selection of coffee and other drinks, and you can even buy some of the furniture. Located on trendy Mokotowska Street between Plac Zbawiciela and Plac Trzech Krzyzy, it is proof of the growing appeal of veganism in Poland's capital.

Mówisz Masz
Mokotowska 48
Warszawa, Poland
+48 664 301 118
https://www.facebook.com/mowiszmaszcafe

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ethical e-cards for Christmas and the rest of the holiday season

EFFANOW.COM has added 12 new free e-cards for the holidays. Download them, share them, post them. Spread the word that we can all do our part to make this a cruelty-free holiday season.