Still No Life of Pie

 

Film Review and commentary by Jim Robertson

Life-of-Pi-Richard-Parker

Spoiler Alert:

If you haven’t seen the movie, Life of Pi, and you plan to, don’t read this post yet. In discussing what I feel is the story’s theme I will end up revealing some of its major plot points, and I don’t want to spoil the experience just to make a point about ethical veganism…

Still here? Ok, assuming you’ve seen the film (or read the book on which it’s based), you’ll recall that there are essentially three parts to the story, ending with what many critics felt was a disappointing and even unnecessary “alternate” account of events to explain how Pi survived such a long ordeal at sea. Personally, I didn’t find the ending a disappointment, perhaps because I may have been one of the few people who got the message the movie was trying to make. After reading dozens of reviews fawning over the special effects (the computer generated middle act was indeed amazing) and decrying the ending, I found only one review that saw it the way I did: the “alternate” story (told by Pi to a pair of Japanese Ministry of Transport officials) was really what happened.

Now, you might be thinking, why does it matter; why ruin a fun thing (especially when it looked so astounding through 3-D glasses, so I hear)? To answer that, I’m going to try to make a long story short and hit its key points (many of which were completely missed by most mainstream film critics, and movie-goers).

The film starts off with an introductory act in which we learn about the early life of the main character, Pi, through a series of flashbacks as told to a visiting writer who wants to write his biography. We are told that Pi spent his childhood trying many of the world’s religions on for size, hoping to get to know God (his atheist father tells him, “You only need to convert to three more religions, Pi, and you’ll spend your life on holiday.”) At one point he jokes that as a Catholic Hindu, “We get to feel guilty before hundreds of gods, instead of just one.”

Of note is the fact that Pi is an ethical vegetarian. He’s also fascinated by a tiger (named Richard Parker, after its captor) stuck in a zoo owned by his father. When Pi is caught trying to befriend the captive tiger, his father decides to teach him a lesson by making him watch Richard Parker kill a goat, thus instilling a morbid fear of tigers in the curious boy.

The movie’s second act begins after it’s revealed that the zoo must close and the father decides to move the animals, and his family, by ocean-going freighter across the Pacific from India to Canada. En-route, the ship is swallowed up in a massive typhoon and Pi—according to the version of the story he is telling the writer, as we witness it—is the only human to make it onto a life raft. Somehow some of the zoo animals  must have escaped their pens in the ship’s hold, and he finds himself adrift with only an injured zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and Richard Parker—the 500 pound Bengal tiger—for company.

It’s during this portion of the movie that viewers are drawn in by its startling special effects; and it’s also when the main character learns that sometimes the world is no life of pie (my interpretation of the title, as a play on the expression “easy as Pie”).

Driven  by hunger, the hyena soon feeds on the zebra and, as it turns on the orangutan, Richard Parker rushes out from under the lifeboat’s only cover (where he has stayed out of sight until now) and quickly dispatches the hyena. This chain of events is essential to the plot since, skipping ahead to the third act, it mirrors Pi’s “alternate” story: substitute the zebra for a deckhand, the orangutan for his mother, the hyena for the cook and Richard Parker for Pi’s alter-ego.

The symbolism here is that after witnessing the cook kill his mother, Pi summons his tiger-inner-self to kill the cook. And eat him. That’s right, to survive his 227 days at sea, Pi had to turn to cannibalism. Incredibly, though it’s critical to the story’s theme, nearly none of the film reviews I read even mentioned cannibalism, since most critics didn’t realize that the second “alternative” version of Pi’s plight was what must have actually happened. I thought it was pretty obvious when an adult Pi asked the writer, “So which story do you prefer?” to which the writer answered: “The one with the tiger. That’s the better story.”And so it goes with God” was Pi’s reply, meaning that, people believe what they want to believe. In order to cope with the sometimes harsh realities of life and death, in this case, resorting to cannibalism for sustenance—and still retain one’s sanity—people often cling to a fantasy world and make up stories which are easier to stomach.

Life of Pi is more than just a happy little special-effects film about a vegetarian boy and a computer-generated, 3-D tiger surviving on computer-generated, 3-D tuna and flying fish. It’s about the kind of anguish any sane person would go through when forced to eat the flesh of another human being. Perhaps the reason I could more easily relate to the story’s deeper meaning (that so many carnivorous critics failed to see) is because, having eaten only plant-based food for the past decade and a half, I feel that same sick revulsion every time I pass the meat isle in the neighborhood grocery store and imagine people actually consuming the flesh so brazenly displayed there.

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Animal Rights: Remedy to Trumpism

By David Cantor

The Trump presidency is proving as destructive, troubling, and demoralizing as anticipated by anyone respectful of the Constitution, of human beings and other animals, and of the living world.  Increasing animal abuse is the overarching trend: intensifying injustice and assaults on human beings, reversing constraints on our species’ destruction of the living world (the Biocaust), and reinvigorating the animal-abuse and disease-spreading industries driving climate breakdown, toxic pollution, and other sources of misery.

So the needed response is not just protesting and resisting Trump, voting for candidates who oppose Trumpism, and urging people to act “humanely” at the personal level.  Our opposition must advance the total paradigm shift needed to reduce animal abuse by undermining the full range of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice.  One easy thing to do: Read and share with your officials and potential candidates Responsible Policies for Animals’ two-page political background paper “Governing for Life: How Officials Can End Animal-Abuse Policy, Annihilation of Nature, and Resulting Human Misery by Upholding the Constitution and Its Stated Values.”

Animal abuse has never been reduced in more than 50,000 years.  The Animal-Abuse Revolution generated, thousands of years ago, tyrannical governance such as the American Revolution has only begun to eradicate.  That ongoing Enlightenment-, justice-, and equality-based Revolution is widely faltering due to infiltration and cooptation by consumer-capitalism, its global mind-management endeavor (public relations), and the ascendance of the weapons industry.  Ubiquitous access to powerful weapons enables dangerous human enemies to appear the most pressing problem.  But the Animal-Abuse Revolution is the root of weapons manufacturing as well as most human misery.

Regulation of capitalism irks the most aggressively dominant, the greediest, and the most conscience-challenged tycoons even while many of their peers accept or even praise it.  Deregulation, the centerpiece so-called 2017 “accomplishments” the Trump administration boasts of, sounds abstract and legalistic.  But it means removing the already-mild restraints on what nonfeeling, amoral, nonliving corporations and industries and their dependents can do to human beings and other animals.

The primary endeavor of the radical right is to permanently free capitalism from democracy – as Nancy MacLean puts it in Democracy in Chains.  So the people won’t be able to decide what corporations and industries can do to the living world, including “us” and Earth’s other beings.  As Joel Kovel shows in The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World, capitalism is primarily a war on the living world.  Trump brazenly bullies the human world toward tyranny to overcome human self-interest, our innate affinity for nonhuman animals and the living world (biophilia), and the values stated in the Constitution: liberty, justice equality, defense, tranquility, and the general welfare.

A problem with treating even the best Democratic candidates and their platforms as the solution to the Trumpian project is that the Democratic Party, too, is an engine of capitalism and the Biocaust.  It’s not just that Democratic candidates and officeholders, too, receive donations from big money; it’s that they accept the basic humanist-extremist premises that only human beings are innately entitled to a chance at a fulfilling life; our pursuit of fulfillment needn’t take other beings’ experience or ecological value into account; our species’ population explosion, its rampage over Earth, and its impacts on other animals and the living world are self-justified; and dividing “the pie” among humans is their only responsibility.  Democrats need coaching such as RPA’s above-mentioned background paper provides.

The first Earth Day, in 1970, taught us that our species must reduce its “footprint.”  Since then, both major parties have failed to lead humanity toward the needed change, succumbing with little resistance to capitalism’s war on the environmental movement and animal advocacy – as Sharon Beder shows in Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism.

Many Democrats rail against the gross inequality among humans that steadily grows, undermines democracy, increases human misery, and generates protest and rebellion.  But none publicly acknowledges that animal abuse in its full scope, dating back more than 50,000 years – all that humans do to each other, and to and with other animals and their natural homes – is the root of the pre-Constitutional tyranny Trump labors to restore and the misery from war, disease, poverty, and demagoguery which the Constitution enables us to overcome if we exercise vigilance and perpetually and fully exercise our rights as policymaking citizens.

Creating needed lasting change entails thinking independently, not following politicians’ framing of the agenda, their public-relations campaigns, or the news industry’s reflexive rehashing of them.  We must assess policy through experience and books, educating our representatives and candidates.  Most politicians, though well-meaning, are not particularly well educated or informed beyond conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is generated by an industry-government-university-media complex in service to humanist extremism that omits other animals’ interests and thus the living world we all depend on, which unfortunately rapidly collapsing.

With three plant or animal species going extinct per hour, human health and wellbeing steadily worsening, violence and transportation and infrastructure disasters frighteningly constant and ubiquitous, sea levels rising, hurricanes and wildfires intensifying, ocean life nearly gone, and human industry abusing all animals on Earth, including humans – obviously a new paradigm is needed.  Tweaking the old one won’t work.  In his 2017 manual On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder urges us to avoid screen-based media versions of reality, informing ourselves through books in order to assess the validity of what special interests and opinion-mongers foist on us electronically.

As long as only human beings are deemed persons – beings worthy of respect, equal treatment, and a chance at fulfillment – they will continue to suffer needlessly along with all of Earth’s other animals.  Because the abuse humans rationalize inflicting on nonhuman animals by denying their personhood and their worthiness of consideration generates nearly all human misery.  That counterintuitive reality is explained in many items at this website.  But how do we get the public and its officials to act based on reality?  I’ve spent my three decades as a full-time animal advocate – when I wasn’t investigating and protesting atrocities and being arrested for civil disobedience – learning the origins, causes, and nature of animal-abuse policy, culture, and practice and implementing campaigns to strike at their roots.  Results and recommendations for action pervade this website.

Passionate, dedicated, and skillful pursuit of solutions to superficial problems without addressing roots of the problems describes most animal, environmental, public-health, and vegetarian advocacy of recent decades.  Good work that doesn’t address root causes explains why misery and threats to life itself continue increasing and intensifying: The roots continue generating the problems we wish to solve; they keep reappearing the way grass grows tall after mowing.  Responsible Policies for Animals’ website, literature, and lectures focus the roots of the big problems Trump intensifies but by no means causes.  RPA’s campaigns ask us to act with long-term persistence rather than briefly express ourselves and lament the lack of results.

In 2018, make the vision of equal rights of all animals the basis of your mainstream political activities.  I’m glad to assist you.  By educating authorities, we not only can undermine Trump’s effort to intensify the Biocaust; we can put our species on the new trajectory all living beings desperately need us to embrace.

Turkeys – Who Are They?

*Karen Davis Talks “Turkey” at UVA Nov. 15*

*Turkeys – Who Are They?
<https://www.facebook.com/events/185118602045200/>, University of Virginia,
Charlottesville, VA. *
*A presentation by Karen Davis in Brooks Hall Nov. 15 at 6pm. Sponsored by
Animal*
*Justice Advocates. All are welcome!*

Sanctuary workers such as myself know that turkeys are intelligent,
emotional,
keenly alert birds with highly developed senses and sensibilities. Turkey
mothers are superb parents who will fight to the death to protect their
young.
The idea that wild turkeys are “smart” and domesticated turkeys are “dumb”
facilitates a view that turkey hunting is a benign collaboration between a
stalker and a “savvy” partner, and that turkeys bred for food are
brainlessly
“adapted” to factory farms.

In my talk, I draw attention to the moral miasma surrounding the
“Thanksgiving”
turkey, the ritual taunting by the media each year and ask – what if this
mean-spirited foreplay and blood sacrifice were taken away? What elements of
Thanksgiving remain? Karen Davis, PhD, is president of United Poultry
Concerns
and the author of *More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual,
and*
*Reality* published by Lantern Books and available from UPC
<http://www.upc-online.org/more_than_a_meal.html>.


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/videos/171112_turkeys-who_are_they.html>

Maneka Gandhi warns against neglecting animals’ plight

http://www.canindia.com/maneka-gandhi-warns-against-neglecting-animals-plight/

Lucknow, Oct 28 (IANS) Union Child and Women Development Minister Maneka
Gandhi, who is a strong votary of animal rights, on Saturday said that the
time had come for the people to understand that they are ignoring the
plight of the animals at their own peril.

Here to attend an event on animals, their rights and the need to do
something for them, organized by Connect Lucknow, Gandhi said that there
were innumerable experiences, most for them sad, to explicitly warn the
people that even a speck in the animal world, if ignored or slighted, will
return to haunt and hurt mankind in a big way.

“Many a times if a stray dog bites someone, people would shout on ‘why
haven’t I died’ as if I have given birth to these dogs,” she said while
championing the cause of stray dogs, and urging people to be more sensitive
towards them, feed them and even give them shelter after sterilization.

Stressing how the animal kingdom and the human race are interlinked,
Gandhi, citing the example of cockroaches, rats, snakes and stray dogs,
said they were crucial to the eco system as they got rid of dirt, small
insects and mice.

“There is no city that can survive for a day if these dogs are killed…see
what happened in Surat (Gujarat) many years back. The municipal
commissioner got the stray dogs killed and thereafter there was outbreak of
plague,” she said.

Asking people to give up non-vegetarian food, plant more trees, be
compassionate to animals, provide funds to NGOs for animal shelters, she
also urged people to think of the bigger picture on how neglect of animal
rights could lead to a huge imbalance in life of everyone.

Hollywood actress Maggie Q on how becoming vegan can help save the planet

http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/2116303/hollywood-actress-maggie-q-how-becoming-vegan-can

The Mission: Impossible star tells City Weekend of her passion for animal welfare and why she became a vegan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 9:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 October, 2017, 2:54pm

 

The Mission: Impossible III star views her acting career as a stepping stone to pursuing her true passion – environmentalism.

From supermodel Gisele Bundchen’s eco-friendly flip-flop line to a Leonardo DiCaprio film on global warming, those in the limelight are leveraging their celebrity status to push causes close to their heart.

For Q, promoting veganism is her way of doing her bit to build a sustainable future. She says carbon emissions from animal farming are “the real issue driving climate change”.

“Once you’ve done the research you can’t unlearn what you know,” says Q, who became a vegan 20 years ago.

A report by the United Nations in 2010 said a global shift towards a vegan diet would be vital to save the world from hunger and the worst effects of climate change.

One lesser known cause of climate change is raising animals for food consumption, which requires huge amounts of land, food, energy and water.

Over half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture, according to a report by research organisation the Worldwatch Institute, and more than 90 per cent of the Amazon rainforest land cleared since 1970 has been used to raise livestock.

Q tells City Weekend that kicking our meat habit will be the most important building block towards preserving our planet for future generations.

How do animals relate to environmental sustainability?

We are seeing climate change right in front of our eyes. One of the things that is missing from political discourse, from policy, from government, is the fact that the leading cause of carbon emissions in the world is animal agriculture and no one is talking about it. This is the real issue that is driving climate change.

Ninety per cent of rainforest destruction is caused by animal agriculture. We raise 70 billion animals for food annually – this is using up 45 per cent of the world’s land mass and most of our water. In the United States, 5 per cent of our fresh water is used in homes and 55 per cent goes to animals so that we can eat richer foods.

About 18 per cent of emissions are from animal agriculture, and 13 per cent are from transportation. That 18 per cent is from the methane, the ammonia, the nitric oxide which is being put into the air by animal waste.

It’s not a sustainable way to live. First world countries are very spoiled: we can eat richer foods because we have the money to attain them. You have to remember there is a cost, it doesn’t come for nothing: 80 to 90 per cent of the fresh water in the US goes to agriculture.

I understand it’s a topic that makes people uncomfortable. Food is a comfort thing and we associate it with being cared for. But the truth of the global impact cannot be denied any more. The science is there.

What is the main thing we can do in everyday life to pass on the Earth in a sustainable way to future generations?

I can’t tell anyone else what to do, but I don’t eat animals: that is my daily solution. As a vegan I save 1,100 gallons of water a day. It takes 440 gallons of water to produce a pound of eggs, 1,000 gallons to produce a gallon of milk, 900 gallons to produce a pound of cheese, and 2,500 to produce beef. If we are talking about a sustainability message, you cannot leave out the animal message – absolutely impossible.

I don’t have the power to make the change I want to. I can only wake up every day and look in the mirror and say I am making the best decision. I worry about the world I am leaving. We are looking at a world that is facing ultimate destruction if we don’t make better, smarter choices, and that starts with you. Every dollar you spend goes to feed a corporation that is either responsible or not responsible. I have felt in life very underpowered in moments because it can be a very overwhelming issue. In the absence of my power in some areas, I know that every single day my dollar is a vote. And I don’t want to contribute to anyone who is not responsible. That is the power I have. Know that every day when you wake up you have those choices, and those choices can become very powerful for the future of our environment.

What is the main issue China, or Hong Kong, needs to address when it comes to the environment?

With China being the leading population in the world, when you talk about carbon emissions from food, this is the largest footprint in the world. Meat consumption in China has gone way up because of the influence of the Western diet. The No 1 restaurant in China is KFC, which I find completely disgusting, but they are being influenced by our fast food. So there is no country in the world that has a bigger carbon footprint than China.

What are your thoughts on China’s Yulin dog meat festival?

Any kind of cruelty for me is off the table. I understand that culturally certain people do certain things, but when I speak to my Chinese friends they say that this is not cultural, this is new. This is not something that is ancient, that they have done forever. A lot of times these practices spring up because they make money. If you’re just collecting animals off the street or stealing people’s dogs, that is not a lot of overheads.

What does it mean to use your platform to speak out, and do you feel pressured to do so?

Passion – that’s all I feel. Our rainforest, the lungs of the planet, are disappearing because we need to feed our cows. That’s not worth it, a steak is not worth that.

I sort of feel like my career is a stepping stone to talk about the things I really want to talk about. I enjoy my career – I’m an artist, a creative person and obviously that fulfils a certain part of me – but at the same time we have a social responsibility as people in the public eye to speak of the things we are passionate about, the things we believe can make a difference. And if we are not doing that, why do we even have a public platform?

How do you influence people around you to lead a green life?

With the facts. The thing is, now we have statistics that are undeniable. I used to try to influence people to be more compassionate in their lifestyle and their diets, but you can’t always influence people to be compassionate the way you are. We are different people for different reasons, but now with the environmental impact and footprint that a meat diet has, you really can’t look at the facts and not care what is being done to our planet.

A meat diet is the No 1 destroyer of our planet. No 2 is transportation, and even 25 per cent of that transportation is meat transport, so now we are talking about the No 1 and No 2 killers of our planet. This is unacceptable. We know the facts, and if we are not doing anything about it, not making individual decisions to be better, we are guilty of destroying our planet.

It is difficult to eat cheaply as a vegan. How do we get companies to supply more options?

There is a way to eat sustainably that is not super fancy, where you don’t have to shop in Central. I was talking to someone the other day about his rice and beans supply: US$20 a month feeds him all the beans and protein he needs. He buys vegetables at the farmers’ market – grains in bulk. That’s really how you bring the price down. If we don’t demand it, the price is not going to come down.

There is a fear in the business world – no one wants to be on the outside of what people want. You guys in Hong Kong had the massive protest a few years ago that was so impressive, I started crying when I saw. The Hong Kong people so impressed me, because it was something they truly believed in. They took to the streets and they said, this is not something we can accept. That is what you do with your dollar; silently, in your homes, on your credit card, at the ATM – you can protest daily through your decisions, or you can do it en masse as you did, but again, the power is in our hands.

Do you have any future plans for movies in China, or about the environment?

If the script is good, I’ll work anywhere. I am talking to different movie companies in China and Hong Kong all the time, but it’s hard because of the timing. When you’re on a television show, you work nine or 10 months of the year, so it’s hard to find the time.

There are three things I want to make movies about: environmental problems, animals and human rights. Those are the three things I look out for all the time.

You were selected by Jackie Chan in Hong Kong as a future action star. How does it feel to be back in the city?

For me it’s very personal because I’ve met some of my best friends in the world here. I have people here who are like family, so coming back is important to me. It’s been a long time.

MAKING SENSE OF MAGGIE

Maggie Q was born in Honolulu in Hawaii to an Irish and Polish father and a Vietnamese mother.

The 38 year old left the islands as a youngster after her family were unable to support her through her course studying veterinary science at university, and so she started modelling in Tokyo aged 17.

She later undertook modelling work in Hong Kong where she began going by the surname Q after finding Asian audiences had trouble pronouncing her actual surname, Quigley.

She was spotted by Jackie Chan as a potential action movie star and later worked alongside him in Rush Hour 2. Next came a role in spy thriller Mission: Impossible III, in which she starred opposite Tom Cruise. Since last year she has been seen in the drama series Designated Survivor as FBI agent Hannah Wells.

Q was named by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) as 2008’s Asia-Pacific person of the year. Last year she appeared on a billboard for the NGO to promote diet change in aid of climate change.

Facts about Q:

At one stage she took care of eight rescue dogs, and now has two

She has three tattoos: one on each arm, and a phoenix on her left hip

She won an athletics scholarship to university

She got engaged to her fiancé, American actor Dylan McDermott, after four months dating

Yoga is her main form of exercise

She has been trained in sword fighting

Vegan Demographics 2017 – USA, and the world

http://veganbits.com/vegan-demographics-2017/

vegan demographics

 It’s been a long time since I’ve written about vegan demographics. Do we care? Should we care? Probably not, but since Jane and I are coming up on ten years as vegans in a few months, I figured now was a good time to look at the vegan demographic statistics. As you might suspect, it’s not easy to determine how many vegans there are. It’s not like you enter that information on your census report. There are all sorts of polls on vegetarians and vegans. I like getting my data from faunalytics.org. Most, but not all of the following information is from their site.

We are the one (half) percent

So how many vegans are there in the USA? Based on a sampling of 11,000 adults, aged 17 and over, only two percent of Americans are vegetarian. Only one-in-four vegetarians — or 0.5% of the USA adult population — is vegan. Only half of one percent of the USA population — or 1.62 million of us — is vegan.

(Is 11,000 a reasonable sampling? Perhaps you are think that this sampling is too small and is therefore skewing the results. I suspect otherwise. This sampling is, by far, the largest such sampling that I’ve found. Most other such polls are usually only looking at about 2,000 people.)

There are many former vegans than there are current vegans; there are more than five times as many former vegetarians/vegans than there are current vegetarians/vegans. Said differently, 84% of vegetarians/vegans abandon their diet. Extrapolated out, that means that there are 8 million lapsed vegans as opposed to the 1.6 million current vegans.

Only about one-in-eight Americans has ever considered themselves vegetarian/vegan. Roughly 88 percent of Americans have always considered themselves omnivorous/carnivorous.

Vegan Demographics

So who are the 1.6 million vegans? You might be surprised to find that the average age of a vegan today is 42. I suspect that many people think that most vegans are in their 20’s and 30’s. According to this research, those young adults only account for about half of all vegans.

What is less surprising is that 74% — almost three-in-four vegans — are female. Most vegans are left leaning politically and are not religious.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that the typical vegan is female, left learning, non-religious. Let’s look at longevity. As we have seen, there are many more former vegetarians/vegans than people who currently eat this way. The survey suggests that for many, it’s fleeting. Only about one-third (34%) maintained the diet for three months or less, and more than half (53%) of former vegetarians/vegans adhered to the diet for less than one year. So it appears that people try this lifestyle on for size and for one reason or another, half of them go back to their normal, traditional diet after a year or less.

If you are thinking that the current vegetarians/vegans might return to their former omni eating ways, only 12% of the current vegetarians/vegans in the survey have been eating this way for less than a year. Therefore, 88% of those who claim to be vegetarian/vegan have been so for over a year, presumably many have been eating this way for several years.

Income

While this might come as a surprise to some, there are more vegans in the lower end of the income range. The average American earns $54,000. The largest concentration of vegans is in the sub $50,000 income range.

This, according to data gathered by VRG as reported by the Huffington Post.

Why the discrepancy? It’s probably age related; there are more vegans in their 20’s and 30’s than there are in their 50’s and older. Older adults are more likely to have higher incomes than younger adults.

The Huffington Post article suggest that younger people are more likely to be vegan and tend to have lower incomes than older people:

Six percent of survey respondents between 18 and 34 were vegetarians compared to only two percent who were over 55. Young people are also more likely to make less money than older adults as more of them are students or are starting their careers.

(The information reported above from Faunalytics indicated that the average age was 42. This survey from VRG suggests that there are far fewer vegans in their 50’s than in their 20’s. The VRG survey which sampled 2,000 adults also found a closer ratio of vegans based on gender than the Faunalytics survey of 11,000 found. The VRG survey suggests that women make up only 55% of vegans. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that Faunalytics determination that women account for 74% of vegans seems more accurate to me.)

Why are you vegan?

Participants in the study were asked about their motivations for eating a vegetarian/vegan diet. A great many people indicated that they are vegan for health, taste, and humanitarian reasons.

The same questions were asked of former vegetarians/vegans. There is a statistically significant association between nearly all of the motivations tested and whether an individual is a current or former vegetarian/ vegan, with the exception of cost, social influence, and wanting to follow a food trend.

Most Vegan Friendly Cities in America

According to PETA, the most vegan friendly cities in America are:

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. New York City, New York
  4. Detroit, Michigan
  5. Nashville, Tennessee
  6. San Diego, California
  7. Honolulu, Hawaii
  8. Austin, Texas
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Richmond, Virginia

There are many websites which have their own way of determining which cities are most vegan-friendly. Having never been to Detroit or Richmond, I have to say that those locations come as a surprise to me. Several of the other large cities appear on everyone’s list.

Vegan Demographics: Largest Concentration of Vegans (by country)

The following two tables are derived from data gathered by Wikipedia

  1. United States
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. Poland
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Israel
  7. Italy
  8. Sweden
  9. Spain
  10. Finland

These are the only ten countries that they have listed for vegans. It comes as a surprise to me that there are so many vegans in Japan. Maybe it’s just the volume of people that skews this data somewhat. According to this table, there more than 3 million of the 127 million residents of Japan are vegans.

Vegan Demographics: Largest Percentage of Vegans (by country)

As you can see, Israel has the largest concentration of vegans, with five percent of the population indicated to be vegan. The USA only ranks fifth on this list.

Please not that the data from Wikipedia suggests that 1.5% of the USA population is vegan, whereas the data from Faunalytics indicates that only 0.5% of the USA population is vegan; just one-third as many.

Not In My Backyard: The Day My Quiet Cul-De-Sac Turned Into a Bloodbath

By Hope Bohanec, Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns

I live in a rural area of Sonoma County, California in the small town of
Penngrove. It’s farm country and there isn’t much more in the tiny downtown
block than a burger joint and bars. But it’s a beautiful, peaceful area. The
golden hills glimmer in the distance, and mature, majestic oak trees shade
the
wild turkeys and deer in our neighborhood. My husband and I have been in
this
area for over a decade, and while a miniature horse or a goat in a field is
a
common sight, chickens were not, up until a few years ago. The popularity of
having chickens at home has grown, and now we see flocks of chickens
everywhere.
Across the street, there is a chicken “tractor” (a mobile chicken coop) in a
sprawling field. We often see a colorful collection of chickens here and
there,
wandering and scratching around front yards as we take our evening walk.

So when our new neighbors built a chicken coop in their backyard, I wasn’t
surprised, but I was concerned. Our four duplexes share a laundry, and I
walk
directly in front of this neighbor’s house on a regular basis. He is often
outside in a cloud of cigarette smoke. When the chickens first came, I
braved
inhaling a haze of second-hand smoke to inquire about the birds. He said he
got
them for eggs. I said, “You’re not going to kill them, are you?” He said no,
that he had them just for the eggs. I reminded him that coops need to be
cleaned
daily and that he should adopt chickens if he was going to get any more, but
doubted that he would care one way or the other about something like this
as he
blew smoke away from my direction.

A few months later, I was walking some laundry out to the machines. As I
glanced
in this neighbor’s front yard, he and two other men were standing around a
tall,
green, plastic garbage can. There was a scuffle and I couldn’t quite figure
out
what was happening at first, until I saw his arms spotted in blood and a big
black bird flapping her wings furiously as she was being held upside down by
both men in the garbage can. Her large ebony wings beat desperately against
his
arms. The third man was skinning the sandy colored feathers off another
chicken
and there was a third little body, colorless, headless, featherless, with
her
feet cut off, balanced on the top of the garbage can. I dropped my laundry
basket and screamed, “What are you doing!?!?!” The neighbor was immediately
uncomfortable. He said, “Oh, sorry Hope.” One of the other men looked at me
and
said, “We’re gonna BBQ!”

I ran back to my apartment and grabbed my cell phone and then back to the
scene
of the horror and with trembling hands started taking pictures while I
pleaded
with him to stop. There wasn’t another bird out there, just the three now
still
and silent. The neighbor said these three were the “old ass chickens.” I
assume
he meant they were not laying eggs as frequently as the others in his
backyard.

Through my tears, I reminded him that he had promised he wasn’t going to
kill
the chickens. He didn’t say much, just apologized again. He knows my
feelings as
he sees my vegan bumper stickers every day, and we have talked on a couple
of
occasions about veganism and not killing animals. It seemed to me like he
felt
“caught in the act.” I can only hope that he does feel a degree of guilt
and not
just embarrassment about doing something his neighbor disapproves of.

I was so upset I forgot my laundry basket which sat out in the driveway for
hours and I cried my eyes out. It was sickening to witness. My neighbor
literally had blood on his hands from taking a precious life not fifty feet
from
my front door, and there was nothing I could do about it. The fact that
these
men were executing this repulsive act in a garbage can felt terribly
symbolic of
how they seemed to feel about these birds. They treated them like garbage
and
left their heads, feet, feathers, and other parts of their little bodies to
be
thrown away with the trash.

I called our mutual landlord to complain. He sympathized with me but said
only
that he would tell the murdering neighbor that he should do his killing in a
more private and secluded area of his backyard in the future. I know that
it is
legal to kill animals who are your “property” as long as you do it
“humanely.”
But what can be humane about taking a sentient being’s life? And although
throat
cutting and beheading are considered “humane” methods of killing, they
certainly
are not. Throat slashing is a painful, traumatic way to die, and it can take
agonizing, frightening minutes for someone to bleed out. Killing an animal
who
wants to live can never be humane. This idea that we can “humanely” take the
life of another animal is an outrage. And I am outraged that it is
happening in
my backyard . . . in anyone’s backyard.

The idea that it is somehow better to “kill your own” baffles me. One
argument
my neighbor might use is that his bird had a good life and this was her
“one bad
day.” But what about all the other days of life you are depriving her of?
What
about all the days of sunshine, eating, dustbathing, playing with friends,
and
loving being alive? It’s not just one bad day; it’s denying someone a
lifetime
of experience, robbing them of the full knowledge of life. If we don’t want
our
human life cut short, how can we justify taking the life of another sentient
being who wants to live when it is completely unnecessary and we live
healthier
as vegans?

Another position that people who kill animals themselves take is that the
person
is now aware of the process and “knows where their food comes from.” But
this is
useful only to that person. The animal receives no benefit from this
concept. If
they took care of the animal, fed and cleaned and provided for this animal,
then
a bond of trust was formed between the caregiver and the dependent. To turn
on
someone you care for, and then mercilessly kill them, is a terrible
betrayal of
trust. In fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal. This phrase is the title of my
book
on the subject of small scale animal agriculture, *The Ultimate Betrayal*.
For a
broader, in depth analysis of this issue, I encourage you to read my book
<https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Betrayal-There-Happy-Meat/dp/1475990936/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1372963043&sr=8-1>
.

I haven’t seen my neighbor since that horrible day, which is unusual as he
is
typically out in his haze of smoke several times a day. I think he has
moved his
habit to the backyard so he doesn’t have to look me in the eye. I hope that
my
reaction made him think deeply about what he did. There is a different
energy
now when I walk past his place and out to the laundry. It feels somber and
sad
knowing what occurred there. It’s horrible to live with but only
strengthens my
resolve to fight for these beautiful birds and help bring about the day when
they no longer suffer at the hands of our neighbors.

__________

Hope Bohanec is the Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns and author
of
*The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?*
<http://www.the-ultimate-betrayal.com>


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/alerts/170901_not_in_my_backyard.html

If we can’t defend animal rights, we don’t deserve to call ourselves progressives

http://www.salon.com/2017/08/19/if-we-cannot-defend-animal-rights-we-do-not-deserve-to-call-ourselves-progressives_partner/
“The world’s most pervasive form of exploitation, along with its
resultant environmental harm, can’t be laid at the feet of
Republicans, conservatives or those we define as bigots in our
society. That’s because both sides of the aisle participate in the
needless consumption of animals.

“Consumers are increasingly made aware that countless sentient beings,
just like companion dogs and cats, are abused and slaughtered for
products we don’t really need. Marketers convince the public that
animal exploitation is necessary to sustain human life. But it’s not
true.

“This profiteering is a byproduct of unchecked capitalism, producing
food products that cause cancer, contribute to obesity and exacerbate
the diabetes crisis.

“Public consciousness is sorely lagging on the issue. Standing against
the exploitation of sentient beings outside our own species is often
considered superfluous by progressives who embrace radical thought in
other areas. It’s not uncommon to hear a supposed liberal accuse
vegans of not caring enough about humans.”

All of us with compassion

No automatic alt text available.

“For as long as i can breath i will fight for the animals…
The day i stop breathing, on my final breath i will feel sadness, that i can fight no more.
Yet elated that i am freed from this living hell that all of us with compassion have to witness on a daily basis, created by fellow humans that i am ashamed to be connected with.~ X”