Revilers Will Revile…and then nothing changes

Oh my gosh, I’m starting a post with a dictionary entry. What’s become of me??

REVILE verb (used with object), reviled, reviling.

1. to assail with contemptuous or opprobrious language; address or speak of abusively.

In this post you’ll read the word “revile” a lot. I chose it over “hate” because “hate” has lost its punch if you ask me. And the meaning I am looking for is to regard someone with boiling contempt, to despise them, or to wish them ill-will, so “revile” seemed a better fit. I also liked, “despise.”

Okay, read on…..

Did you hear about the cow who ran for her life? Literally? Well, she lost it in the end anyway. Here is the whole story.

Just like many other people (there were 1,488 comments on MFAs FB post of this story last I checked), I was disappointed about how the situation was handled. I think there must be better ways to deal with a loose cow than to shoot it dead, right? I also feel sad for the cow since its story represents a fight for freedom, the saga of an underdog and because it suffered. I am tempted to villainize the police officer who shot the cow, (especially because the picture gets me emotionally revved up) and to appoint him as a “bad person” in my mind.

I said I am tempted.

I’m writing this post to suggest that despite that strong urge, it is absolutely necessary to check my revile-o-meter level and get a grip. Because when revilers revile, nothing changes. 

Let me give you an example. Here are some comments that were made on the Facebook post of the story:

MFA FB posts

That is some of the more moderate reviling that was there. These don’t represent all of the comments of course. Most of the commenters were simply sad and frustrated and incredulous as to why the cow wasn’t simply tranquilized or corralled.

It is these types of comments though that I am writing about today. What does that kind of thinking and expressing accomplish? And I don’t mean for the cow…I mean for our evolution as a species for goodness sakes!! I agree that we are an incredibly violent species. I agree that we are complicit in impossibly egregious actions against animals through our indifference and disinterest. But I also believe that each and every one of us is capable of doing horrible things depending on what our path has been. But for the grace of God, and so on.

We are submerged in a culture that inundates us with messages of violence, consumerism, competition, fear, and selfishness. We are constantly hypnotized into believing that these things are the truth and other ideas of reality are considered ridiculous and feeble. There are simply people out there who do not know that this does not have to be the way it is. Can revilers not see that they are just adding to the suffocating culture of separateness that is the problem? A slaughterhouse worker says, “F*** you, cow,” and you say, “F*** you, slaughterhouse worker.” What’s the difference?? You, the cow, and the slaughterhouse worker are ALL the same. Let’s get up and above all this status quo reviling! Let’s recognize the interconnective repercussions that our thoughts and intentions have! We are not going to change a thing by spreading more of the same.

*sigh* I wrote about this in the past regarding the Taiji dolphin hunt. I think I write about it because I have a hard time believing in the good of people. I have a hard time trusting people. I have a hard time not giving into the temptation to revile. So I’m writing to myself also. Because I know that when I agree to not send that hateful energy to a person I have never and will never meet, whose life and struggle I cannot know, I feel better. I feel more powerful, not less. I am more of Self and less of ego. That is when change can happen. And we need some serious change don’t we?

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Before I go, I want to recognize that I haven’t posted the next installment of The Untethered Soul review this week. I was planning on it tonight, but as you can see I got on a soapbox and couldn’t get down. 😉 Don’t worry though…it’s coming soon!

Love from a recovering reviler,

~~~S Wave~~~

More Hard Truth About Dairy

You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Okay, it’s time to face more hard truth about the factory dairy industry. A new investigation by Mercy For Animals shows unbelievable–just unbelievable–abuses at a dairy farm at Leprino Foods in New Mexico which is a supplier for Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s.  Yes, this is a hard video to watch. If you are squeamish about these kinds of images, muting your volume first might help, or read my tongue-in-cheek list of tips from a previous post. But please watch it.

If you can’t stand to watch it, I understand. But that doesn’t mean you can’t engage. Instead of watching, just quickly scroll down so the video is off screen. Below it you will find a petition to sign stating that you will boycott Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa John’s unless stricter animal abuse prohibition is put into practice. Signatures DO make a differencePlease sign it.

I know many of Life As a Wave readers are already aware of the lack of transparency in factory farming. I know many of you have taken steps to educate yourselves and to adopt humane lifestyles and diet. However, there are numerous people out there who still don’t know the suffering behind what they are eating. Some of them are your friends and family. They don’t know the connection between the meat and dairy industry or believe that they could “never stop eating cheese.” For their good, the animals’ good, and the Earth’s good, it is crucial that the facts about factory farming be shared and so that change can happen. So, please share it.

Here is the link to the video and the petition: http://www.sliceofcruelty.com

Remember, no one ever stopped abuse by turning a blind eye. You can do it! For them, you can look.

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Keep Me Hanging On

Start by doing what’s necessary;
then do what’s possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

– St. Francis of Assisi

This week has been especially disturbing to me in terms of farmed animal welfare. Two new undercover videos were released from Mercy For Animals (MFA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The first, from MFA, shows dairy farm workers at an Idaho farm sexually molesting dairy cows. You can read about it and/or watch the video here.

The second, from HSUS, chronicles a practice in a Kentucky pig breeding factory of feeding ground up body parts of piglets back to the mothers. These piglets apparently die from severe diarrhea, so that is in there too. You can read about it and/or watch the video here.

What?? (sigh)

Meanwhile, I was also reminded this week of the Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness which was signed in 2012 by a group of neuroscientists. It states that based many non-human animals have “neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors,” including all mammals and birds.

Interesting juxtaposition. We exploit and abuse animals. <—> They might be conscious like we are. Quite an implication for us.

Now I know that science competes with itself, so is the Declaration based on “sound” evidence? I don’t know.  But I know that it shows that there are people alive, now, who are discovering animal consciousness to be at the least a possibility.

Don’t you feel sometimes like your pets are self-aware or are connecting with you or other animals emotionally? Don’t you sense that they have true affection for their babies? That they fear? And love?

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Then why not a pig? Then why not a cow?

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It is hard for me to imagine any sound argument supporting our culture’s current treatment of our fellow creatures. Whether you base your reasons in the science, the spirituality, the indigenous traditions, or just the gut reaction you have to animals in pain, doesn’t something seem off? Doesn’t it seem like something should change for the good of our OWN species, let alone all the others? I’m not talking about “extreme” changes like a vegan world or animal rights being written into law…I’m pointing just to a basic respect for non-human animals. A humbling of ourselves to recognize the impact our choices have on them and to entertain the possibility that we, as a species, could treat them better.

I personally believe that our future survival really does depend on a change in consciousness. It requires an end of division and competition at the levels we suffer now and a new collaborative, cooperative civilization. Not just with each other, but with the Earth and its other inhabitants with whom we should be sharing this home. It is the hope of that civilization (brought about by necessity, compassion, and divine guidance) along with my own proactive efforts to propel change that keep me hanging on.

So hang on! To each pig crammed into a gestation crate, each elephant shackled in a concrete shed for our entertainment, each of you that feels like it’s too much to try and change….hang on. It might not be in my lifetime or yours, but I believe that things will change. Or, I should say, that they MUST.

In the meantime, go to those links, sign the petitions, get some more meat out of your diet, keep on improving your own choices to align with what you believe and FIND YOUR HOPE! There is always hope. Truly.

I think I might be a broken record when I’m writing about this. 🙂 And I’m guessing that I’m probably preaching to the choir. So be it. There’s too many reasons to keep writing.

Love to you all. The world needs you!

~~~S Wave~~~

Happy and Humane Holidays

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”

His Holiness The Dalai Lama

This post ends on a positive note, I promise. But first the bad news…

There’s a new round of undercover investigative videos out just in time to make you think twice about your Thanksgiving dinner and your upcoming Christmas shopping. First, the animal advocacy group, Mercy For Animals (MFA) has just released documentation from their most recent undercover investigation of farmed animal treatment. The videos are available for viewing on their website, but please know that they are very graphic. As always, I recommend you prepare yourself for some images that are likely to disgust and disturb. To read/view less graphic information, you can read the LA Times report here. You can also sign MFA’s petition to Tyson foods here. This time around, the culprit was West Coast Farms, based in Okfuskee County, Oklahoma which is a Tyson Foods supplier. The person who collected the video was working undercover on the farm just this past September and October and witnessed abuses such as:

– slamming piglets against the floor to kill them

– hitting pigs with wooden boards and a bowling ball

– spiking piglets like footballs

– confining pregnant sows to cages in which they cannot turn around (a common practice called “gestation crates”)

– cutting off piglets’ tails and slicing their genitals to remove testicles without anesthesia (again, not uncommon practices)

I think that is enough for you to get the idea. This kind of treatment has also been documented via undercover investigation at cattle farms, poultry farms, etc. To those of you who would like to imagine that this kind of treatment is a shocking exception to the norm, I would say that after years of following the movement of farmed animal welfare and reading and watching numerous testimonies from people inside the industry, I am not convinced in the least that this kind of facility is somehow the anomaly within an otherwise humane system where transparency is prioritized, animals are respected, and workers are kept safe and happy. That kind of model just isn’t profitable enough to be the norm.

The second report that just came out is from PETA. Earlier this week they released a video also shared by CBSNews based on an investigation into the angora fur industry in China. The PETA statement explains that the investigation showed “workers violently ripping the fur out of rabbits’ skin as the animals scream in pain. After their fur is yanked out, the gentle, sensitive rabbits are left in shock, able only to lie motionless inside their tiny, filthy cages. After they endure this process every three months for two to five years, their throats are slit and their skin is ripped from their bodies.” To read more and to find the video link click here. This method of fur “manufacturing” is no more a deviation from the norm than the treatment of the pigs above. If you are curious about how mink, down, chinchilla or any other type of fur and feather are collected just do a simple search and you’ll find plenty of information. It’s not a pretty picture…but why in the world did we ever think it could be??

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So what does this disturbing news have to do with the holidays? The holidays have become as much a time for personal reflection and gratitude as it is for religious or commercial participation. As I mentioned in the last post, we are seeing daily expressions of thanks-giving on social media and Christmas is a time where we begin to plan the positive changes for which we want to strive in the coming year. Well, here is your chance to give thanks and to make a positive change ahead of the holidays!

First, as you do your Thanksgiving preparations, walking the aisles of your market like you have done every other year, view your choices through a lens of true compassion and thanks. Think about what you’ve learned about the meat and dairy industry…if you haven’t learned something on Life As a Wave then I’m certain you have learned plenty elsewhere. Make the easy decision to replace some of your dishes with humane selections.

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Yes, your family members will wonder why you used almond milk to make your mashed potatoes and will challenge you to explain why your green beans are being served sans bacon. Take it as an opportunity to share what you know! And if you’re wondering how to make animal-free dishes, there’s information everywhere! For example, here is a great list I just encountered: 32 Vegan Recipes That Are Perfect For Thanksgiving. You can easily cover your Thanksgiving table with this list alone.

And fear not…there’s even vegan pumpkin pie!

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Second, the shopping season is here and Black Friday is next week. There are so many reasons to avoid the shopping craze that is coming up, but let’s stay on topic and discuss free-trade, plastic waste, and local economies another day. 🙂 As you shop, will you avoid fur? How about leather? How about down? It isn’t as hard as you might think and again, it shows people that you care! Need some ideas about which corporations are animal friendly? Use PETA’s shopping guide and shop from home. You can also download the Leaping Bunny app to help you shop for cruelty-free products. Or, heck, just check those tags before you put something in your cart.

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I started this post by introducing the “bad news,” but let’s remember that there wouldn’t be a “bad” without a “good.” The good news is that as we each encounter new knowledge (even the kind that makes you disgusted or disheartened) it is a chance for us to decide anew. And there is a great gift of power in that, as I’ve written about before. What is the one new decision you will make today to make it a more humane holiday season?

Happy Thanksgiving,

~~~S Wave~~~