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March Against Fur/Canada Goose

On Saturday, February 18th, 2017, dozens of animal rights activists gathered in New York City in the March Against Fur/Canada Goose in order to raise awareness about the cruel and inhumane fur industry and the barbaric practices by which Canada Goose and other manufacturers of fur clothing produce their garments.  Activists brandished signs and banners, chanted slogans, and distributed anti-fur pamphlets to passersby. Vegan Future Now handed out several dozen of the pamphlets, which were published by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and had many candid conversations with pedestrians who were, by and large, very supportive of our efforts.

Here are some photos from the event.

Two activists pose with their signs before the march begins.

Two activists pose with their signs before the march begins.

If you wouldn't wear dog fur, then how can you justify wearing coyote fur?

If you wouldn't wear dog fur, then how can you justify wearing coyote fur?

Canada Goose kills. Like, a lot.

Canada Goose kills. Like, a lot.

One of the organizers of the march and one of the most passionate animal rights activists in New York City, leads protesters down Fifth Avenue.

One of the organizers of the march and one of the most passionate animal rights activists in New York City, leads protesters down Fifth Avenue.

If people stop buying fur, manufacturers will stop producing it. It's that simple.

If people stop buying fur, manufacturers will stop producing it. It's that simple.

Rob Banks leads the march near the Flatiron Building.

Rob Banks leads the march near the Flatiron Building.

Activists rallied outside Paragon Sporting Goods on Broadway to protest the retailer's decision to carry Canada Goose jackets.

Activists rallied outside Paragon Sporting Goods on Broadway to protest the retailer's decision to carry Canada Goose jackets.

A committed and passionate animal rights activist minces no words about her attitude toward the fur industry.

A committed and passionate animal rights activist minces no words about her attitude toward the fur industry.

Animal rights activists raise awareness and their voices outside Paragon Sporting Goods.

Animal rights activists raise awareness and their voices outside Paragon Sporting Goods.

One of the heroes of the New York City animal rights movement speaks up for the animals outside Paragon Sporting Goods. 

One of the heroes of the New York City animal rights movement speaks up for the animals outside Paragon Sporting Goods. 

To see more photos as well as video from the march, and to get the latest updates about what Vegan Future Now is doing, please follow us on Instagram at @veganfuturenow. 

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Michael Harren Brings Animal Rights Center Stage with The Animal Show

It is an axiom of activism that one person can make a difference. The person who made the difference for activist, composer, and performer Michael Harren's latest project, The Animal Show, was a chicken named Casey, whom he met while volunteering at the Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary in Montague, New Jersey. At the time of their first meeting, Casey was recovering from an illness in the farm's convalescence quarters, which Harren had the task of cleaning.

"I had never had any kind of interaction with a chicken before," he explains, as we discuss veganism, animal rights, and his new show in his impressively tidy Brooklyn apartment.

"So, I put my hand into her coop, not knowing what to expect. She came over and rested her head in my hand and closed her eyes, and I thought 'Oh my god, this animal is showing me affection right now! This chicken is a thinking, feeling, affectionate being'."   

Michael Harren at his home in Brooklyn 

Michael Harren at his home in Brooklyn 

Though Harren had been vegan for several years at that point, his reasons for not eating animals were mostly philosophical, stemming in part from an adherence to the ethics of nonviolence. But after visiting the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary in Willow, New York in 2014 and participating in their Thanksliving celebration, a Thanksgiving-themed event in which the sanctuary's turkeys are the guests of honor, he began to see animals as individuals with personalities and desires.

"When I went vegan, I had made the connection between the meat on the grocery store shelves and the animal from whose body it had come, but what was missing for me was the realization that the animals themselves were individuals who wanted to live and who enjoyed living," he says. "In terms of how I relate to animals, that experience was a real turning point for me." It was on the car-ride back to Brooklyn after Thanksliving that Harren conceived The Animal Show, a 75-minute show that combines original electro-acoustic compositions with his personal stories about some of the animals he has met and gotten to know.

Harren, a Texas native with a salt-and-pepper beard and self-effacing sense of humor, informs me that he wrote The Animal Show over the course of about a year, during which time he was an artist-in-residence at the Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary. Many of the stories he tells in the show involve the friendships he made and interactions he had with the residents of Tamerlaine, including Casey and her friends.

"Once you take a moment to get to know these animals, what you realize is that they are not so different from us. They form friendships, they have mood swings, they mourn, they play, they laugh, they enjoy living, just like we do. Who are we to take that away from them?"

The Animal Show is playing at Dixon Place in New York City on October 27th, 28th, and 29th at 7:30 p.m.. For tickets, please visit DixonPlace.org.

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Ritual Slaughter in New York City

If you're not one for open-air slaughterhouses, the overpowering stench of blood and feces on the streets and sidewalk, and the sound of terrified animals having their throats slit in the presence and with the assistance of children, then maybe New York City just isn't the place for you. For that is the distressing and anachronistic scene at an annual event that takes place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, in which an estimated sixty-thousand young chickens are jammed into plastic crates, shipped into the city on trucks, left on the sidewalk without food or water, and then summarily slaughtered in an atavistic and violent atonement ritual known as kaporos.

Your first thought may be that such an overtly unsanitary and unhygienic and morally appalling festival must certainly be illegal in the Capital of The Modern World in the year 2016, and indeed it is illegal. The ritual sacrifice of live animals as described above and practiced within the city limits of New York violates no fewer than fifteen city and state public health and safety laws and statutes regarding cruelty to animals. And yet, it is an annual occurrence that the NYPD does not merely tolerate, but positively supports. Every year the NYPD and the mayor's office not only fail to enforce the very laws that it is their sworn duty and solemn responsibility to uphold, but are also complicit in the breaking of those laws by providing manpower, barricades, and generators to aid and abet the practitioners of these flagrantly illegal activities: activities that are a threat to public health and public safety and are also unimaginably painful and traumatic to the animals involved.

This disgraceful and inhumane practice must end now. And so must the willingness of the New York City Police Department and Mayor deBlasio to look the other way and grant impunity to those whose attachment to an obscure and violent religious tradition is being allowed to imperil public health and public safety and to subvert the laws that protect nonhuman animals from agonizing cruelty. The desire of a few small religious sects to adhere to the barbaric practice of sacrificing live animals in order to atone for their sins should not put other New Yorkers in the position of having to sacrifice our health, safety, and decency at the altar of religious tolerance.    

Below are photographs that Vegan Future Now took at this year's kaporos ritual in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Hovering over each photo with your cursor will reveal a description of the image.

Tens of thousands of live chickens are shipped into Brooklyn in small, cramped, feces-laden plastic crates.

Tens of thousands of live chickens are shipped into Brooklyn in small, cramped, feces-laden plastic crates.

This young chicken will have her throat slit open in order to make a human being feel better about the sins he or she has committed in the past year.

This young chicken will have her throat slit open in order to make a human being feel better about the sins he or she has committed in the past year.

The practitioners invariably hold the chickens with their wings pinned behind their backs, which is incredibly painful for the birds.

The practitioners invariably hold the chickens with their wings pinned behind their backs, which is incredibly painful for the birds.

No matter what your feelings about animal rights may be, I think we can all agree that no animal should be treated like a bag of groceries.

No matter what your feelings about animal rights may be, I think we can all agree that no animal should be treated like a bag of groceries.

The NYPD provide barricades, manpower,  and generators to make sure this illegal activity goes off without a hitch.

The NYPD provide barricades, manpower,  and generators to make sure this illegal activity goes off without a hitch.

Most of us would have to provide our own lights and electricity if we wanted to host an event that violates fifteen state and local laws, but the NYPD are happy to do their part to illuminate this illegal and bloody event.  

Most of us would have to provide our own lights and electricity if we wanted to host an event that violates fifteen state and local laws, but the NYPD are happy to do their part to illuminate this illegal and bloody event.  

Animal rights activists showed up in great numbers to protest the cruel and anachronistic practice of animal sacrifice. 

Animal rights activists showed up in great numbers to protest the cruel and anachronistic practice of animal sacrifice. 

Leaving aside the logically and morally indefensible practice of scapegoating through an atonement sacrifice, forcing children to witness ritual slaughter on such a massive scale is tantamount to child abuse. 

Leaving aside the logically and morally indefensible practice of scapegoating through an atonement sacrifice, forcing children to witness ritual slaughter on such a massive scale is tantamount to child abuse. 

Just before I took this photo, a man standing beside me informed me very menacingly that the contents of this crate are his private property and if he saw me take a photo of it, he would break my camera. I took the photo and the man did nothing. Verbal and even physical abuse of protesters is a common occurrence at kaporos rituals.

Just before I took this photo, a man standing beside me informed me very menacingly that the contents of this crate are his private property and if he saw me take a photo of it, he would break my camera. I took the photo and the man did nothing. Verbal and even physical abuse of protesters is a common occurrence at kaporos rituals.

A terrified young chicken is handed over to the man who will slit her throat open and toss her aside to bleed to death.

A terrified young chicken is handed over to the man who will slit her throat open and toss her aside to bleed to death.

At no more than a few weeks old, this young chicken is sliced open in a ritual that should have ended thousands of years ago.  

At no more than a few weeks old, this young chicken is sliced open in a ritual that should have ended thousands of years ago.  

Another victim of superstition and human cruelty.

Another victim of superstition and human cruelty.

This barbaric and unnecessary act is repeated 60,000 times over the course of just a few days on the streets of Brooklyn every year.

This barbaric and unnecessary act is repeated 60,000 times over the course of just a few days on the streets of Brooklyn every year.

After their throats are slit, the chickens are tossed to a second slaughterhouse volunteer who places them headlong into inverted traffic cones, where they slowly bleed out.

After their throats are slit, the chickens are tossed to a second slaughterhouse volunteer who places them headlong into inverted traffic cones, where they slowly bleed out.

Is this really the kind of work that children should be doing? Though there are laws on the books that forbid persons under 18 to work in slaughterhouses, those laws apparently don't apply to all of us equally. 

Is this really the kind of work that children should be doing? Though there are laws on the books that forbid persons under 18 to work in slaughterhouses, those laws apparently don't apply to all of us equally. 

Once the chickens have bled out, they are thrown into garbage bags. The participants in and organizers of this event claim that the chickens slaughtered in the ritual are used as food for the less fortunate, though that claim seems incredibly dubious in light of the complete absence of sanitary standards observed before, during, and after slaughter.

Once the chickens have bled out, they are thrown into garbage bags. The participants in and organizers of this event claim that the chickens slaughtered in the ritual are used as food for the less fortunate, though that claim seems incredibly dubious in light of the complete absence of sanitary standards observed before, during, and after slaughter.

This is where the chickens end up. Their bloody bodies are thrown by the hundreds into plastic bags, which are in turn thrown into a cargo van. This is not a refrigerated food service vehicle and in no sense of the word are these corpses being handled as if they were intended for human consumption.  

This is where the chickens end up. Their bloody bodies are thrown by the hundreds into plastic bags, which are in turn thrown into a cargo van. This is not a refrigerated food service vehicle and in no sense of the word are these corpses being handled as if they were intended for human consumption.  

The blood of the innocent and defenseless does not cleanse your soul. It stains it. 

The blood of the innocent and defenseless does not cleanse your soul. It stains it. 

For more information, please visit EndChickensAsKaporos.com

  All images Copyright 2016 Vegan Future Now

  

 

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Why Every Thinking Person Should Be An Environmentalist, and Every Environmentalist Should Be A Vegan

Let's begin by defining the only term in the title of this essay that might admit of some ambiguity: environmentalist. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an environmentalist is “one who is concerned with protecting and preserving the environment”. To be anything other than an environmentalist in this sense of the word then, is to lack concern for protecting and preserving the environment. And to lack concern for protecting and preserving the environment is to be indifferent to the inescapable fact that a healthy environment is necessary for the survival of the human race; for without clean water, fresh air, and healthy soil, human beings simply cannot live, or at least not for very long.

So, to be anything other than an environmentalist is to be indifferent to protecting and preserving the very system upon which human beings and all other forms of life as we know it rely for survival. Indifference to an issue as important as the survival of one's own species is at the very least unbecoming of a thinking person, and at worst imprudent, myopic, and destructive.  

With the exception of certain religious zealots who positively relish the idea of seeing the world engulfed in an apocalyptic conflagration, however, very few thinking people are keen to admit that they are indifferent to the survival of the human race. But the simple fact is that if you are not concerned with protecting and preserving the environment upon which human survival is utterly dependent (which is to say, if you are not an environmentalist), then aren't you, ipso facto, indifferent to human survival itself? For how can someone lack concern for the preservation and protection of that without which human survival is impossible and at the same time claim to be concerned with human survival itself? Because human survival cannot be uncoupled from a healthy environment, there is simply no reconciling not being an environmentalist with the claim that one is concerned for human survival. 

Because human survival cannot be uncoupled from a healthy environment, there is simply no reconciling not being an environmentalist with the claim that one is concerned for human survival.

Every thinking person should be concerned about the survival of life as we know it on the only planet we have, and should therefore be concerned about protecting and preserving the system upon which life depends: the environment.

Ergo, every thinking person should be an environmentalist.

And every environmentalist should, obviously, do her utmost to support those industries and organizations that adhere to environmentally responsible, sustainable practices and (perhaps more important) should also withdraw her support from those that do not. Being an environmentalist is after all about much more than just separating the refuse from the recyclables and driving less; it's about making informed, considered, rational choices to support industries and organizations whose values and practices are consistent with the principles of environmentalism and to refuse to support those industries and organizations that are destroying the environment upon which we and all other species rely.

Animal agriculture is the number one driver of deforestation on the planet. In the United States alone, over 260 million acres of forest have been clearcut and converted to cropland for cattle.

Animal agriculture is the number one driver of deforestation on the planet. In the United States alone, over 260 million acres of forest have been clearcut and converted to cropland for cattle.

And no industry is doing more to destroy the environment than the global animal by-product industry. No other industry in the world uses more natural resources, produces more pollution, or is responsible for more environmental degradation than the industry that produces meat, eggs, and dairy. Consider these statistics:

Taking all of the above facts into consideration, it's clear that animal agriculture is not an industry that any sincere environmentalist should be willing to support. In fact, there is no industry that is less deserving of an environmentalist's support than the global animal by-product industry. Whether your primary concern about the environment is climate change, deforestation, water pollution, or water scarcity, there is no way to square a willingness to support animal agriculture with the claim that one is an environmentalist, because a person cannot rightfully claim to be concerned about protecting and preserving the environment if he is unwilling to withdraw his support from the one industry that is doing more than any other to destroy the very environment that he claims to want to protect and preserve.

What does it mean, in practical terms, to withdraw one's support from animal agriculture? It means to stop buying and consuming the products of animal agriculture: meat, eggs, and dairy. It means being vegan.

Ergo, every environmentalist should be a vegan.

To be an environmentalist is to recognize your moral obligation to current and future generations of human beings as well as to the billions of other nonhuman animals with whom we share this planet and our brief time on it. Being vegan allows you to fulfill at least part of that obligation and to spare the lives of thousands of animals in the process.

What thinking person would say no to that?   

To learn more about the benefits of going vegan, please see the Why Go Vegan page of our Web site. And to get your free Vegan Starter Kit from the good folks at PETA, please click here.

(Full disclosure: Vegan Future Now has no formal affiliation with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. We just think they do awesome work.)

 

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Who Cares About Animals?

"There is simply no reconciling a sincere concern for someone's well-being with the intention to send her to slaughter and profit from the sale of her dismembered body. The claim to care about someone is utterly irreconcilable with the intention to destroy him."

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People Don't Hate That You're Vegan, But Why

"While someone telling us they're trying to lose a couple of pounds does not say anything about our own weight, someone telling us that they avoid certain products out of a concern for our common planet and the other beings on it implies that everyone ought to act according to these same concerns."

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Ambassador or Slave? A Reflection on The Use of Animals in Zoos

"The idea of an involuntary ambassadorship makes as much sense as any other form of so-called employment in which the 'employee' doesn't have the option to quit and in which she has no say at all regarding the terms of her employment. The term for that kind of an arrangement is immediately recognizable when applied to humans. We call it 'slavery'."

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