Farewell To Steak: Film Review

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The fascinating 2013 documentary called « L’adieu à la viande » (Farewell to Meat) about the consumption of meat in Europe (from Franco/German channel Arte) not only approaches the issue of eating flesh from an environmental aspect but also from the idea of the masculine psychology behind it. Just like American men, European men are conditioned to think that meat makes them strong and more masculine. It is the same old patriarchal thinking that is behind capitalism (from the Latin capita = head) and animal agriculture as well documented by Dr. Will Tuttle in The World Peace Diet.

Read more on The Flaming Vegan

FIGHTING FOR OTHERS KNOWS NO COUNTRIES

Yesterday, I joined my first ever anti-bullfighting protest in the South of France (Rodhilan, near Nimes and Montpellier) and I had my first taste of what it is to get « lacrymogene » gas (aka tear gas) in the face (several times). I haven’t met such a group of dedicated people so determined to break the barriers held by the police and take the risk of arrests, gassing, being searched, etc… ever. I was searched myself twice and tear gassed at least 4 times. It was truly inspiring. Getting tear gassed is a very unpleasant experience and anyone who has had that kind of experience knows that this is something you would rather avoid. However, anyone who is truly dedicated at making clear the barbarism and perversity of some people can’t avoid taking risks sooner or later.

Some of my (new) friends in fact, had got into an arena the day before in another city and got bit up and yelled obscenities at by « aficionados » (bullfighting fans) because they dared trying to interrupt their sadistic torture of sentient beings to death. My heart goes out not only to the poor animals who were tortured to death (and absolutely for nothing at all as the law in France forbids the consumption of bull meat if killed for bullfighting) but also to the activists who risked literally their lives. Some ended up at the Emergency Room.

I have not been in that situation myself but I am not afraid of taking risks for the right reasons. It is a small price to pay to try to open up the eyes of the blinds, brainwashed crowds. I am principally a vegan educator and found out that for a lot of activists in France, it is rather difficult to maintain a Vegan lifestyle. I don’t judge them. I understand their position. I have managed personally because of my long term experience in the United States where everything is easier. Had I never left France, I might not even be Vegan at all now, I’m almost certain of it. There is still a deep programming related to food in France because of our deep culture in and around the world for our « cuisine ». In America, people tend to eat whatever they feel like. In France, they eat around very specific, deeply engrained and old traditions around food and that are a lot harder to change. But I also met people who are dedicated vegans and are doing the best they can (as Colleen Patrick-Goudreau would say).

I can’t wait for The World Peace Diet to come out in the libraries in French soon (and it’s coming!) because my aim is going to be promoting Veganism to the best of my abilities. This is a country that is what America was in the 90’s when it comes to Veganism but I see no reason why this can’t change and I see real hope for change from having talked with various activists.

After the demo was over, I spend the evening with a few people in a place which is very much like a sanctuary with horses, goats, etc and it was wonderful to see and share my experience in the United States with them. They have a huge thirst for more education and activism here and they even grow their own organic fruits. One was cooking vegan sausages! which, yes, you can definitely find here if you know where.

There are dedicated activists here but not all of them have yet connected all the dots or are still deeply indoctrinated into nutritional myths around food (even more so than Americans). Vegan education is therefore deeply important here.

To all my new friends and old friends alike (in the US), have faith in the ability of people everywhere to change and grow. I do.

Here is the link to the album of pictures of yesterday’s Anti-Bullfighting fight. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152520843218138&type=1&l=e59458e664

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Being Vegan in the Workplace

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I just posted a new article on The Dodo. Hope you like it.

 

I have encountered a lot of vegans whose biggest difficulty with their new lifestyle is to make it compatible with their work place as, generally speaking, most of them don’t work in Vegan businesses. Oh, I wish we all could do it! But how do we make the best of it in the meantime (while we support vegan businesses so we have more of them)? 

https://www.thedodo.com/community/VeganEmpowerment/being-vegan-in-the-workplace-528667096.html

EATING ANIMALS By Jonathan Safran Foer

I picked up this book based on outstanding reviews in VegNews Magazine and other sources. I was in fact taken by the writing from the very first page. The author draws you into his life and conflict about eating animals in a very personal way which i have enjoyed. But i can’t help feeling that he tries very hard to find excuses for the meat industry, although he makes none for the factory farming, thank God.

My favorite chapter of the book is the one devoted to the idea of eating dogs! Yes, it may shock a lot of westerners to read this chapter but it is really the author’s way of showing the absurdity of most people’s way of treating some animals as pets and others as just merely food. He makes a good point of showing that millions of companion animals are being killed in the appalling US shelter system and that these dead animals could feed thousands of people. He demonstrates the weirdness of the distinctions we make between species of animals and the absurdity of our food systems as it is presently. There are in fact entire sections of the book dedicated to graphic descriptions and testimonies on how animals are being killed in the most horrific ways just to satisfy our dietary habits.

What annoys me with this book, however, is the tendency the author has to point out that he is a vegetarian and at the same time somehow approves of the way the animals are treated in systems other than factory farming (which is near nonexistent). He points out that it is still a cruel system in some respect but gets too deep into the friendliness he feels for these farmers, however well intentioned towards the animals they may be. The one testimony that actually made me breathe a bit better in all of this is the one from the vegan woman from PETA when she points out the not really answered question in this book: Why eat meat in the first place?

I still have not found many books pointing out the absurdity of eating meat (aka animal flesh) at all. I am still waiting for the person (except maybe with Skinny Bitch!) that will point out that we DON’T NEED MEAT TO SURVIVE, that our bodies are healthier without it (hence the fact that we are natural herbivores and just made the choice of being omnivores). The fact that the author shows up in « humane » slaughterhouses to show a « better » way of treating the animals does not impress me at all. In the end, these poor creatures are still being castrated (which he points out), and killed. His reaction to seeing and almost petting a live animal and knowing it is going to die a minute later is proof that we are not natural meat eaters. A real carnivore wouldn’t get squeamish at the idea of blood and death. In fact, in nature, carnivores are attracted to blood and flesh and they have the teeth to tear it apart! We are not them! And if someone pretends otherwise, he must seek a doctor right away.

In the end, the author makes a valid point for vegetarianism versus eating animals. But his motivations, no matter how well founded, are not strong enough if he still somehow defends the killing of animals in some parts of his mind. On the other hand, i loved his de-construction of some parts of Michael Pollan’s book « The Omnivore’s Dilemma » and how he counters the arguments presented in that book. This is a book in fact that i couldn’t finish as it made me angry. Michael Pollan is an apologist for the meat-centered, global warming causing, disease prone, diet. There is no place for meat eating in the global warming century, which Jonathan Safran Foer points out very well.