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February 8, 2013 6:00am
Michael Greger: Nothing to sneeze at
From age-old scourges like smallpox and tuberculosis to emerging threats like AIDS and SARS, our interactions with animals have played a pivotal role as the source of human disease.
Before there was swine flu (H1N1), there was bird flu (H5N1). In spite of the visibility of H1N1, leading public health authorities still predict as inevitable a pandemic of influenza, triggered by bird flu and expected to lead to millions of deaths around the globe. The influenza virus has existed for millions of years as an innocuous intestinal virus of wild ducks. What turned a harmless waterborne duck virus into a killer? In Bird Flu
, Dr. Michael Greger traces the human role in the evolution of this virus, whose humble beginnings belie its transformation into a killer mutant strain with the potential to become as ferocious as Ebola and as contagious as the common cold. In the face of the coming pandemic, Dr. Greger reveals what we can do to protect our families and what human society to can do to reduce the likelihood of such catastrophes in the future.
January 25, 2013 6:00am
The Union Stock Yard: The beginning and end of the line
What can we say about the Holocaust, and can we in any way talk of it in the same breath as the routine slaughter of billions of animals on today's factory farms?
In a thoughtful and thought-provoking contribution to the study of animals and the Holocaust, The Holocaust and the Henmaid's Tale
, Karen Davis makes the case that significant parallels can, and must, be drawn between the Holocaust and the institutionalized abuse of billions of animals in factory farms. Carefully setting forth the conditions that must be met when one instance of oppression is used metaphorically to illuminate another, Davis demonstrates the value of such comparisons in exploring the invisibility of the oppressed, historical and hidden suffering, the idea that some groups were "made" to serve others through suffering and sacrificial death, and other concepts that reveal powerful connections between animal and human experience, as well as human traditions and tendencies of which we all should be aware.
In Eternal Treblinka
, scholar Charles Patterson shows the links between the Chicago meat-packing industry, the assembly lines of Henry Ford, and Hitler's embrace of mechanized slaughter and eugenics perfected on animals: a deadly combination that led to the killing of over six million Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and communists. Thoughtfully showing the ideology of purity and dehumanization that led to the Holocaust, Patterson reveals how the fascist mentality exists even today in the destruction of life unworthy of life in the factory farms of today.
October 23, 2012 2:43pm
The title of the anthology is undecided.
Call for Submissions!
Lantern is putting together an anthology of international contributors who are Latina and vegan, and wonder if you're interested in writing for the project.
Two years ago we published SISTAH VEGAN
, which includes writing from a very diverse group of African-American women about veganism. The volume is interesting because it's not just stories of why or how individuals went vegan, but it is heavily cultured, discussing hair, music, health, body types, tradition(s), religion(s), black politics, and more.
We are hoping to create a similar (and yet completely different!) book by vegan women from Mexican, Brazilian, Peruvian, Guatemalan, Argentinian, Puerto Rican (and more) backgrounds.
Topics written about should be based in personal experience, and avoid references and footnotes if at all possible.
If you are able to write in English and
Spanish or Portuguese, we'd love to have your piece in multiple languages. The non-English pieces will not be in the printed book, but we hope to make them available digitally. However, they will not be able to be proofed and corrected by Lantern.
We cannot provide payment, but we are planning to donate proceeds to the Food Empowerment Project
. The word count is 2,500-5,000 words. The deadline is December 15th, 2012.
Spread the word!
Email submissions to wendy (at) lanternbooks (dot) com and kara (at) lanternbooks (dot) com.
September 27, 2012 10:37am
The ability to protest peacefully and to voice unpopular opinions without being arrested and imprisoned arbitrarily are cornerstones of the U.S. Constitution, and are the reasons why, in spite of the many limitations imposed upon sectors of its society over the centuries, the dominant order has been forced to change to allow people of color, women, and others to take their place in society.
Animals raised for their flesh or body products, however, remain without even the most basic natural
rights: to move around, to associate with their conspecifics, to breathe clean air, and to nest or wallow or graze. They rely, as do all non-human animals, on human beings to speak up for them and articulate those basic rights, as well as to challenge those who are either indifferent to, or actively complicit in harming, their welfare.
Since the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)
in 2006, however, the ability to document abuses, draw attention to the horrors, and raise public awareness about the suffering of animals in factory farms or scientific laboratories has been substantially curtailed. Further laws
have either been passed or proposed that would make it a crime to videotape animal abuse without the facility's permission!
We at Lantern not only believe that cruelty toward animals is wrong but that the freedom to disseminate information (no matter how upsetting) is the cornerstone (indeed, very definition) of a free society. And we've made a commitment to publishing in this very area. In Muzzling the Movement
an in-depth and tightly argued analysis of the case of the SHAC-7
, the organization whose supposed activities ultimately led to the passage of the AETA, lawyer Dara Lovitz reveals the history behind the AETA, examines the tendentious and speculative government case against the SHAC activists, and in so doing shows how the U.S. government has deeply compromised the freedom of speech and protest enshrined in the Constitution.
The AETA was passed as a means for industry and government to respond to some industrial sabotage and animal rescue undertaken by animal activists. The books listed below ask tough questions not only about how far is too far for animal activists to go in prosecuting their cause (note: no animal activist has killed or maimed anyone in the United States), and whether destroying machinery and targeting the homes of individuals either directly or tangentially involved in industries that harm animals is a good idea.
Doing undercover investigative work and being the subject of a criminal prosecution as a terrorist is no joke. (Ask Daniel McGowan
, the subject of the sad and moving documentary If a Tree Falls
.) pattrice jones's Aftershock
examines the traumatic effects on activists who have been arrested or abused by government agents, as part of a deeper analysis of trauma within the animal rights community. It's essential reading for anyone who exposes themselves to the full force of the law, and anyone who wants to understand the depth of embedded trauma within society as a whole.
August 25, 2012 6:00am
Vegan by choice, grumpy by necessity
In a world that values sunshine over the saturnine and hope over harrumphing, it's hard to be a professional curmudgeon. In the animal rights community (where the competition for Chief Grouch is fierce), that vital role was ably handled by the late Cleveland Amory
, whose dyspepsia was a key component of the barbs he so effectively aimed at hunters and other animal exploiters. The banner of bile is now waved by Kim Stallwood, a.k.a. the grumpy vegan
, who first refined discontent and dysphoria into an art form in his editing of The Animals' Agenda
magazine, and then in two books he edited for Lantern: Speaking Out for Animals
and The Primer on Animal Rights
Actually, I'm kidding. Those two books are inspiring and thoughtful examinations of how one can help animals in distress and through policy changes rather than belly-aching about how awful everything is. Plus, Kim is distressingly sweet-tempered when you get to know him (which, of course, you are thoroughly discouraged from doing), and now that he is back in his native England after doing time in the U.S. for many years, he's distressed to find unwelcome shafts of sunlight brightening the winter of his discontent.
Fortunately, this being the world we live in and our exploitation of other animals showing no sign of stopping any time soon, Kim retains a measure of grouchy glory. He's currently working on a couple of books: Animal Dharma
and The Animal Rights Challenge
, which I'm sure will be glorious ill-tempered and full of pique. Whatever he turns his hand to, Lantern wishes him luck, and hope that we don't see him around.
July 12, 2012 6:00am
Frederick Douglass: Weatherman
The nineteenth-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass perhaps summed up the philosophy of direct action best: "If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning."
Two recent movements that have decided to thunder and plow the ground are the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). Both groups are committed to direct action. They don't believe the earth or the animals who share the planet with us "belong" to anyone; nor that the earth or animals are our "property." So they break into and/or destroy private property, either covertly or overtly, and rescue animals from mink farms or labs, or they burn down ski resorts or other places that contribute to environmental destruction. Although their rhetoric may seem violent to some, those who subscribe to the ALF and ELF philosophy don't believe in physically harming any being, including humans.
June 27, 2012 10:36am
The question is always thrown at me in the most random moments—in the middle of a biology lab, during a tennis team pasta party, or even at a Yale campus interview. And each time, I wonder how to answer it. Throughout most of high school, I gave people an answer that was easy to grasp: for the environment. Not many people bother to argue with hard numbers—who would dispute the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air per pound of meat, the inefficiency of producing a given weight of beef as opposed to potatoes, deforestation per half-pound hamburger? But I always knew that the reason for my vegetarianism was far more complex than just being purely environmental.
A few months ago, my cell phone buzzed late at night, signaling a text message. I was awake reading a book, and fumbled around before flipping my phone open. "So," it read, "I'm vegetarian now…"
June 21, 2012 4:14pm
I wrote this response to an argument I recently heard that buying "humanely-raised" meat could reduce animal suffering more than going vegetarian or vegan because it would increase the market for those products.
I use quotation marks around "humanely-raised" because, for practical purposes, there is no humane way to raise animals for human consumption. "Humanely-raised" animals still suffer.
Most "free-range" chickens, for example, are still crowded tightly in dark, stench-filled sheds and still painfully de-beaked without anesthesia. A small door in the shed leads to a tiny outdoor run; however, very few of the birds are able to cross the crowded shed to access it. "Humanely- produced" dairy products still require cows to be kept constantly pregnant--that's the only way to get a continual supply of milk--and the newborn calves are still taken away at birth, so that humans can consume milk or cheese. Cows know their own babies and cry out for them long after the calves are taken away. In egg production, only females will eventually lay eggs, of course, so hatcheries kill male chicks right after hatching, seldom humanely. A backyard chicken keeper may be completely unaware of the slaughter that preceded her order from a hatchery of young hens to raise.
May 3, 2012 6:00am
Karen Davis: She rules the roost
What does it mean to become and then live as a vegetarian? It might mean nothing at all; or, of course, it might be a step too far for you. Carol Adams
has been thinking deeply about vegetarianism for over thirty years in a number of titles that explore feminist theory, critical theory, sexual politics, religion, and environmentalism: all as they relate to the decision no longer to eat animal flesh or use the products of animals.
Now Adams has collaborated with Patti Breitman to explain How to Eat like a Vegetarian Even If You Never Want to Be One
. Cutting back on meat but don't know what to serve? Want an easy way to eat healthfully? The lists, charts, and hints in this book will reward you with meals, snacks, and surprises that are as easy to make as they are delicious.
For those who've tried to go vegetarian but have found their own drama, or the pressure of family, friends, and co-workers too much, Donna Beaudoin's Sister Vegetarian's 31 Days of Drama-Free Living
is the perfect book. With recipes, life-tips, and an exercise regimen, Donna (a.k.a. Sister Vegetarian) will have you up and running (literally) in no time.
Voices from the Garden
takes a different approach to talking about vegetarianism. In fifty stories, people who became vegetarian talk about the reasons why they did so: whether they had a health crisis that propelled them into reflecting on what they put in their bodies; or whether they were concerned about the health of the planet and decided to reduce their consumption of meat and dairy because of the high costs of producing both for the environment; or whether they were moved by the plight of farmed animals and felt they didn't want to be a part of the system that treated them as commodities. Whatever your interest in being or becoming a vegetarian, these books provide numerous insights into what the vegetarian lifestyle means beyond the cookbooks and the fake meat products, and promise a way for you to live a deeper and more authentic life.
Of course, today wouldn't be today unless we mentioned the incredible work of Karen Davis at United Poultry Concerns
and the two books she's written for us: More than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality
and The Holocaust and the Henmaid's Tale
: both of which deal with birds and both of which make a strong case that, at the very least, we should respect these extraordinary animals.
For more on International Respect for Chickens day, click here
April 5, 2012 2:41pm
Lucas the pig enjoys a mud bath at Peaceful Prairie
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
Last Sunday, I participated in a group tour at the nearest farmed animal sanctuary, Peaceful Prairie
, about an hour's drive east of Denver. Both we and the animals we visited were fortunate to have a warm, clear day to enjoy each other.
The first thing we noticed as we approached the property was a herd of llamas. I'd never seen that many, about fifteen, in one place. Then we drove through the gate and up to the house. Peaceful Prairie's founders and directors, Chris and Michele Alley-Grubb, welcomed us.
April 5, 2012 6:00am
Jim Mason: Plenty to think about
Other-than-human animals are an overwhelming presence in our collective and individual lives and, at the same time, are taken for granted by human animals. Sociologists have neglected the study of human-animal interaction and the role of animals in society. This is true despite the fact that animals are an integral part of our lives: in our language, food, families, economy, education, science, and recreation.
In more than thirty essays, Social Creatures
examines the role of animals in human society. Including work by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Carol J. Adams, Josephine Donovan, Barbara Noske, Arnold Arluke, Ken Shapiro, and many leading scholars, anthropologists, and psychologists, the book also comes with an extensive bibliography of hundreds of articles and books.
In order to know how we can best address cruelty to animals, we need to know why
we are cruel to animals. This essential, yet perhaps elusive, question is the centerpiece to Lantern's publishing program.
March 29, 2012 2:02pm
Tesla, one of Vegucated's three featured participants, making friends with a chicken
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
I'd been hearing great praise for the documentary Vegucated
, and this week was able to see it at a vegan potluck/movie event. Three average meat-eating New Yorkers agree to go vegan for six weeks and have their experience filmed. They get lots--and I mean lots--of support and expert advice. It begins with the filmmakers, who show them vegan advocacy films, take them grocery shopping, dining out, and to a farmed animal sanctuary. Their "vegucation" is also provided by such luminaries as Howard Lyman (a contributor to Lantern's book The Way of Compassion
), Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Milton Mills, T. Colin Campbell, and other speakers and participants at the Vegetarian Summerfest, which the three attend as part of the experiment. How fortunate they were to get this kind of solid information and encouragement, compared to those of us who went vegan years ago and had to figure it all out for ourselves! Viewers, of course, get all the same encouragement vicariously by watching the film, and can find more at the Get Vegucated
website, including the movie trailer; Vegan at Heart, a four-week-long daily email coaching program; tips on making social connections with other local vegans; the DVD available for purchase ($19.99); and info on hosting a screening.
March 1, 2012 12:35pm
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
Two weeks ago I blogged in this space about "The Story of Chickens," a project sponsored by the Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas (KU). This so-called "art" exhibit called for the display of five chickens in a moveable coop at several locations in Lawrence, Kansas; the chickens were then to be slaughtered in public and served at a community potluck. I am happy to write today that the project has been substantially altered because local animal cruelty law does not permit slaughter within Lawrence city limits. No chickens will be displayed or slaughtered; the project has been reduced to the display of an empty coop and a concluding dinner. For details, see the news release from United Poultry Concerns
and yesterday's article in the Kansas City Star
In the midst of rejoicing about this, I noticed that a number of Lantern authors had become involved in actively opposing this project, helping to publicize it and urging others to join the outcry.
February 16, 2012 12:30pm
A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
Today I sent the following letter to my alma mater, the University of Kansas, in protest of an upcoming exhibit at the university's Spencer Art Museum called "The Story of Chickens
." This project will encourage townspeople to get to know and care about five chickens over a period of time, then the chickens will be slaughtered in public and served at a potluck.
August 15, 2011 4:08pm
Dylan, August 2005 and August 2011
Pamela Rice's 101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian
gives a tall stack of relevant arguments for foregoing animal products. Her reason #58 discusses the life of a dairy cow.
I visited Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary
this weekend and remembered one of my own reasons: Dylan.
Dylan is a rescued calf that I met (and fed out of a baby bottle) when he was a few days old. Six years later he's a couple thousand pounds heavier, but with the same lovely personality as that tiny calf.
What does Dylan, a steer, a male, have to do with dairy cows?
Dylan's mother was a dairy cow, and he was discarded so that her milk would not be "wasted" on him. Both milk and egg production have little use for male offspring.
After running around playing tag with sweet Dylan, you can be sure I have no interest in dairy products.