That’s really not that important what meat eating society thinks about veganism because it’s pretty damn easy for meat eaters to brush this stuff aside, laugh it off and make jokes about it. It’s always easy for victimizers to mock and minimize the suffering of the victims, something we’ve done awfully well unfortunately when it came to forms of human to human oppression. And I understand some people think it’s radical or silly when I say view an issue through the eyes of a cow, a pig, a chicken, a turkey, a fish or some other animal on this planet. But understand that all social justice mouvements, they always look at an issue through the eyes of the victims. An abolitionist looked at slavery through the eyes of enslaved blacks, while the Ally Forces looked at Nazi through the eyes of Jews, and other non Arians that Hitler labelled unworthy and expendable. If you utilize empathy it really allows you to understand the injustice without over analyzing the issue. Please do not over analyze and overthink what I’m talking about tonight, there is just no need to. This is simple stuff, this is compassion, decency and mercy and kindness. I’ll break it down even further for everybody. When I say “use empathy” all I’m saying is use the golden rule. Actually put it to use, for a change. Instead of just paying just lip service to it like most people do. And the golden rule, by the way, is in all religions in one way or another. Even atheists say it’s a wise way to live your life. Because the golden rule simply states that you should treat others -and animals do qualify as others no matter how you look at this issue- you should treat others like you would want to be treated. You should do onto others, as you would have done onto yourself. And since no one in this classroom, I’m positive, wants to be treated the way we treat cows and pigs and chickens and turkeys and fish and most other animals. Again, there is no reason to allow speciesism to continue unabated. Now I have to drive this point on a little further about discrimination because so many people have a hard time comprehending the fact that humans are acting in a vile discriminatory way towards the animals that they share this planet with. But as the speech goes on I sure hope you start to figure out that the same exact asinine and idiotic and vicious and vile excuses and rationalizations that people always use to oppress, enslave and kill the animals, they are the exact same asinine and moronic excuses that we have used to oppress, enslaved and kill each other. Whether it was Whites over Blacks, Latinos and Asians; men over women; straight people over gay people; all the religious hatred, the religious wars that were going on for thousands of years. You know a sad comment that I hear a lot when I travel this country, and I do a lot of lecturing nowadays, around 250 talks a year in 20 states around 10 thousand students. There’re a lot of people making comments like this to me: “Hey Gary, my man, your speech is pretty tight man, you surprised me, you make a lot of sense and you do make some pretty great points, EXCEPT you’re talking about animals.” “They’re just fish, they don’t look like us, they don’t act like us, they don’t think like us, so they don’t deserve any moral consideration whatsoever, they don’t deserve their right to be free, and their right to bodily integrity.” Well, the problem with that line of thinking, when you go back to couple hundred years ago and slavery in America, and activists like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass were trying to abolish slavery, what do you think the majority of White people were saying about Black? “Ah, come on, they’re just Blacks, they don’t look like us, they don’t act like us, so they don’t deserve any moral consideration whatsoever, they don’t deserve their right to be free and their right to bodily integrity.” Go back 87 years ago before the 19th amendment was enacted giving women the right to vote, when women were trying to obtain their equal say in society, what do you think the men were constently saying? “Ah, come on, they’re just women, they don’t look like us, they don’t act like us, not as smart as we are, not as strong as we are.” I always loved that form of logic from men : “Not as strong as we are!” So they don’t deserve their equal say in society? The moment we start playing this asinine ‘fill in the blank game’, fill in the blank game goes like this : “They’re just Blacks, they’re just women, they’re just homosexuals, oh they’re just immigrants, they’re just Mexicans, they’re just Iraquis, they’re just animals, they’re just cows and they’re just fish.” It is an asinine, stupid and invalid excuse to harm somebody else, to commit acts of cruelty and injustice against someone else. Peaceful compassionate ways of being unjust do not exist. And that’s because violence is violence, cruelty is cruelty, discrimination is discrimination, and premeditated murder is premeditated murder, even if the victims only walk on all fours, and have fur, and feathers and horns and beaks and gills. I hope you didn’t really believe that happy cows come from California. That animals sing and dance on the way to the slaughterhouse and wind up at the grocery store all magically wrapped in plastic. It is amazing the things that we do to animals on a daily basis, and then we have the audacity to think that we’re civilised. The animals have not done on single thing to us to deserve the wrath and the cruelty that we hurl on them, not a single justification, not one, for what we do to these innocent beings. I want to let everyone know that, around 11 years ago, when I was still consuming the cut up corpses of dismembered animals, and I am not being dramatic when I say that, I’m just fed up with the lies, I am… I’ve had enough of the euphemisms. So I hope right now people understand, maybe for the first time ever, what meat actually is. It is the cut up corpse of a dismembered and tortured animal. It’s a dead body sliced up in really small pieces. I used to come up with insanes excuses like everyone else to eat flesh. I hope you don’t think I was any different. No different: “God says it’s OK, that’s why He put the animals here!” “Oh but it tastes so good!”; “Oh but I need my protein!” “Oh but if we don’t kill the animals they’re gonna overpopulate, and take over the world.” You don’t think I know the same idiotic excuses and rationalizations that everybody else uses? I used them for years myself. I used to come up with the most unvalid reasons to justify torture and cruelty against innocent beings. Not to allow animals into my circle of compassion. Until I finally understood something, and here’s the cold hard truth : that I was complicit on all the violence. Animals being tortured and killed so I could have a sandwich later on that day. Frankly I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit that I ever once believe that I was more special than the animals and think that they should have had to suffer and die intentionally on my behalf. Because I am no longer that arrogant and pretentious to think that my feelings, or the feelings of my species, are the only things that count on this planet and this universe. Please understand as meat eaters we are all complicit in the violence. We don’t do the killing directly, do you think maybe there’s a reason for that? Maybe because 99% of all the human beings cannot take a 12 inch blade and shove it into somebody else’s throat, start slicing and cut their head off? We sure pay other people to do the dirty work for us. Capitalism. We live in a capitalist society : supply and demand. Corporations like Tyson and ConAgra, Smithfield and Perdue; Companies like McDonalds and Burger King and Wendy’s and KFC. They would not be producing a flesh product if there were no market for that flesh product. So don’t for one minute think that you yourself cannot directly affect the lives of thousands of animals by just changing what you eat every day. From birth untill death in America, every single meat eater consumes around 3 thousand land animals. And thousands of other marine animals, those are stats from the USDA. And collectively we are enslaving and killing 10 billion land animals in America every year, and 18 billion marine animals in America every single year. And I hope people understand what I’m truly offering tonight. It’s quite special, you don’t get this offer to you ever throughout your entire lifetimes. Do you realize when you hit the door after my speech, that you can directly end a massacre, you can take part in directly ending a massacre. When has this ever been offered to you? Instead of just paying lip service to all the problems that are going on on this planet that you are not even responsable for, and that you are not even actively trying to end. I gotta tell you something that drives me insane when I travel the country and talk to so many people thousands of people every year. Everybody talks a good game, everybody is such a smooth talker when it comes to peace and compassion. Everybody always wants to tell me, never show me, just want to tell me how peaceful and compassionate they are because of what they believe or what they’re opposed to : “Hey Gary, I believe in that! And I’m opposed to that ! And the Genocide in Darfour, oh man, I’m opposed to that! And the war in the Middle East, mark me down I’m opposed to that too! What other attrocity you got for me man? Oh that’s horrible, can you mark me down for being opposed to that too.” Can somebody tell me since when does opposing and atrocity make the world a better place? I’d like to know. I’d like to know since when does opposing an atrocity alleviate or eliminate the atrocity. Listen folks, I do understand most of you don’t want to hear what I have to say tonight. I’m cognizant about that. But I hope you’re aware that, as I stated earlier, I am no politician, I am no bullshit artist I’m not here to try to say something so I can scave your vote for next term, I’m not a PR person, I’m not a sales person, I don’t want to sell you a thing, I don’t want your money, I don’t want your e-mail address and I don’t want your mailing addresses. I’m here to talk about the worst form of cruelty and violence taking place on this planet bar none, eventhough most people don’t want to hear about it. But when you sit back in the comfort of your living room, condemning things that are going on elsewhere, my friends that is pure unadulterated lip service. That’s the definition of lip service. And by the way when everybody always tell me how opposed they are to the genocide in Darfour, besides the people doing the actual killing, who’s for it? What kind of an opposition is this? Who’s everybody opposing? I got news for you, unless you get on a plane and fly to the Soudan and try to stop the genocide there, you’re opposition right here doesn’t mean a damn thing, not a damn thing. But this is a chance to walk the compassionate talk that everybody is always talking about. This is a chance to show others how truly peaceful you are. This is a chance for a personnal revolution, to leave your mark on this planet, a very light mark, while you’re here, by causing the least amount of harm : veganism. And this is so blasphemist to me in so many ways, this God complex that we have : deciding who gets to live and who gets to die, who gets to procreate, when and where. I don’t even know where to begin with this condemnation, I don’t. But I’m gonna start by saying this : we are not Gods, and we are not angels. Do I have to remind everybody about the things that we’ve done to each other? Cambodia, Armenia, Serbia, the Inquisition, the Crusades, Holocaust, slavery, Apartheid, Rwanda, Uganda, killing of Native Americans, burning of witches, Virginia Tech… Do I need to continue this list? Why do people walk around acting like humans are the crown of creation? Why? Because we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to each other? Because we open up the door for somebody else once in a while? Or maybe because we send out cards praying for peace on Earth once a year? Just praying for it, because God forbid we should ever do anything to actually make it happen, but hey, every December “Peace on Earth to you !”, “Hey, peace on Earth everybody!”, “Hey, peace on Earth to you!” We have taken away so much from the animals because of our selfish, barbaric habits, rituals and traditions, and convenience, and of course, the root of all evil : profit, money. We’ve taken away their right to be free. I do not exclude myself from the condemnations that you are hearing. Listen to the words I use. I choose every word I use for a reason. I say “we”, humans, human kind, and I’m part of all those groups. As long as my species does something atrocious to another, I take complete and full responsability. I am not excluding myself from these harsh words. And you hear me saying these things because I am tired of people walking around rose colored glasses on thinking that everything is wonderful. It’s not. Do you realize there is only one species on this planet, and one species only, that if you remove that species from the planet, the removal benefits every other species. All the animal species, the forest, the rain forest, the woods, the air and the water. Everything on planet Earth – FACT, not my opinion: FACT – benefits if you take out one species : it’s us. If we’re the only ones not living in harmony with the eco system, the only ones destroying its own home and taking everyone else down with us, the perpetual question I have is ‘why do people think we’re so special?’ We’re the complete opposite! We have strayed so badly from things that are normal and natural and proper, and it’s time to get back on this path. Call me naive, idealistic, foolishly idealistic, but I do have faith in humans, sometimes I don’t know why. But I do because I know deep down inside most people are good people. But that compassion, that goodness has been beaten down into us, it’s dormant. And I’m just trying to awaken everybody from the soporific, mindless robotic state. “Do this! Do that! Eat here! Eat there! Pray here! Pray here!” And nobody thinks for themselves anymore. Everybody does what they’re told, like good little automatons. They’re 2 groups of people on this planet: the haves, and the have nots; the wealthy, and the destitute, and I’m talking destitute, not American destitute, even our destitute people in America have cable TV and cell phones and running water. I’m talking Third World destitute. When you look around on this planet, what’s killing destitute and impoverish people? Two things – besides war – two things: Lack of clean water, dirty water. Lack of food : starvation. Starvation and dirty water. When do you ever hear of “10 thousand Ethopians dying from cancer”? “100 thousand Nigerians dying from heart attacks and strokes”? It doesn’t happen. Conversely look to the affluent world, look to the Western world, what’s everybody dying of? Heart attacks, strokes, cancers and diabetes, diseases of wealth. Diseases of affluents, what we choose to put into our bodies every single day and is killing us. I certainly know why people eat meat. They’ve acquired a taste for it, an addiction. It is the king of all addictions by the way. Just so you know, cocaine, heroine, alcohol, cigarettes, ain’t got shit on meat, cheese, milk and eggs, it is the king of all addictions. Look at the billions of beings that we murder, the ill health we bring into our bodies, the planet that we’re destroying. It is the king of all addictions. Now I know we don’t need meat to be ethical, that’s obvious. We don’t need meat to stay healthy, that’s also obvious, and we certainly don’t need meat to eliminate world hunger.