Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Show and Tell

Anna brought this for show and tell. The letter of the week was C, so she brought a collage. She cut out pictures from a Farm Sanctuary magazine, arranged them and glued them to paper. All by herself (with some help).

As always, click on the photo to see it larger.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Halloween That Was

Well, it's the middle of November. I've failed miserably at VeganMoFo, my son is sick with the pukes and I have a folder on my desktop titled "Halloween" that's been staring me in the face for a while now. 

I'm officially bowing out of VeganMoFo. It was fun while it lasted, but it didn't last long enough. Maybe next year I'll go back to a more traditional food-based theme. 

So, here are some photos from Halloween. Get comfortable. There's a lot. 

Vegkins had a Halloween potluck party the weekend before Halloween. I didn't have much time to take photos, so here are the two that I got of Liam in his bee costume: 


And this is the only one I got of Anna in her duck costume. The thing on her back is the duck head that she wears like a hood. You'll just have to trust me that it was cute.

We went to North Dakota for Halloween to celebrate my eldest brother's 40th birthday. It was a surprise party, Star Wars themed.

Here's my family. Leia and 3PO made some cute kids, huh?

My costume was ... um ... a little tight.

And the kids when wild.

Cousin Joe rocked the lightsaber.

Cousin Zach rocked the blaster.

Cousin Ella rocked the hair and the lightsaber.

There was a time, not too long ago, that the blasters and light sabers would have bothered me. But I'm fine with it now, and I actually see it as a potentially positive outlet and exploration. Which reminds me, I need to finish reading Killing Monsters and then write a review of it. 

Zach and his dad, Jango Fett.

My sister-in-law is nothing if not creative. Check out the ice in this punch bowl.

Cousin Henry was one of three Yodas.

My brother Mike won the award for most creative costume.

And his daughter Kate (the newest addition to our ever-growing brood), won the award for cutest. There's a cat in Star Wars, right?

Henry regards Kate.

Henry kisses Kate.


Ella tickles Anna.

That night, the brothers rented some ice time and played hockey. We're not a big hockey-playing family. Our school was too small to have a hockey team. But we all enjoyed skating growing up, and tried to play hockey on the small slab of ice the volunteer fire department would make beside the firehouse.

Anyway, it was fun and exhausting and now I sort of want to start playing hockey for fun again.

The next day (which was Halloween), we drove back to St. Paul, but made an extended stop at cousin Zach's to go trick-or-treating. This was in Buffalo, which is about an hour north of St. Paul.

You may or may not remember back in September when I posted photos of some pumpkins in my dad's garden. He carved the kids' names into them with a nail. This is what they ended up looking like. Pretty cool. 

Liam really got into trick-or-treating. We pulled him around in a wagon and he wanted to get out for each house. It was really fun.

In case you're wondering, the kids traded candy at the end of the night. Anna and Liam gave all of their non-vegan stuff to cousin Zach and Zach gave most of his vegan stuff to Anna and Liam.

Anna still doesn't really seem to care about not having non-vegan stuff (and she's not one to keep her feelings hidden, so if she cared, we would know about it). I keep waiting for that to change, but maybe it won't. We talk every once in a while about why we don't eat non-vegan food, and who knows, maybe she actually understands and genuinely doesn't want to eat it.

This is what our pumpkin looked like when we got back home (the one in the middle has a hole in it, created by an industrious squirrel, I think). It was a wet and warm week in the lead-up to Halloween. Now it's freezing and there's snow on the ground. What a difference a few weeks make.

And just the for hell of it, here are more photos of Liam in his R2-D2 costume.

You can see his fake smile in these first two.

I don't think I'll be posting anything else before Thanksgiving, so have a happy one! 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 11 - Oatmeal and Applesauce

Most of these songs I'm posting on here were recorded when Anna was a baby/toddler. She loved oatmeal and applesauce, so of course I sang songs about it.

Liam liked/likes things too, but I don't sing as much as I used to. It might have something to do with having less time. Or maybe he doesn't react to them in the same positive way Anna used to. Or maybe I've just died a bit inside after having a second kid? Who knows?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 9 - Potato Masher

The kids especially liked this one.

But it hurts my throat to sing it, so they don't get to hear it much.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 7 - Mashed Potatoes

Here's Anna singing a song about mashed potatoes a year and a month ago.

Here friend Ella was over. She did not want to sing along.

I'm actually making mashed potatoes today. I don't have a recipe to give, but I can say that the ingredients I find really make mashed potatoes are green onions, garlic salt and cream cheese. A friend of mine tipped me off to cream cheese in mashed potatoes last year and holy crap is it good. I use this stuff.

He also suggested I use a hand blender to fluff them up. It works brilliantly.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 4 - Apple Butter (Song and Recipe)

Oh, apple butter. 

Nothing says autumn quite like it. I usually make enough in the fall to at least get me to the first big snowfall. This year I made a double batch, 11 pounds' worth of apples, which should get me there even though I've given quite a bit of it away. 

I don't usually make conscious efforts when choosing the style my songs will be in (in fact, my song "writing" process is pretty much unconscious from start to finish), but I'd like to think that subconsciously I sang this song in a monotonous tone in order to signify winter's slowly yet steadily approaching march. 

It just gets colder and colder here and we all sit around waiting for the snow, wondering how we're going to deal with it when it gets here. And then all of a sudden, plop, down drops a few inches and it seems to only take one time leaving the house to get used to the new snow-covered reality. 

Anyway, apple butter: 

Here's the recipe my mom gave me a few years ago. My mom prefers to cut back on the spices so she can taste the apples more, but I really like that cinnamony clovey taste, so I put in the full amount. 

All Day Apple Butter

5 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and finely chopped (no bigger than one inch)
4 cups sugar (or a cup less, if you want)
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or less if you want)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (or 1/8 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. salt

-Place chopped apples in crock pot.
-Combine sugar, cinnamon, 
cloves and salt; pour over apples and mix well. 
-Cover and cook on high for 1 hour.
-Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently as it thickens to prevent sticking)
-Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. If desired stir with a wire whisk until smooth.
-Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch head-space.
-Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Yield: 4 pints.

This freezes and thaws really nicely, so don't worry about making too much. 

This year, I used an immersion blender. It really smoothed out everything, which actually was a bit of a drawback for me. I don't like my apple butter to be chunky, but I do like it to have a bit of texture. I think next year I'll stick with just letting the apples dissolve, helping them along with a whisk. 

Oh, and I use Haralson's because those are the apples that, until this year, my dad grew in his yard. He used to have five trees, I think. The last one had to be chopped down last fall (or was it this spring?), so this is the first year I've had to buy the apples I make apple butter with. The money doesn't bother me, I just liked the idea of using apples from the trees I grew up with. 

I suppose this is just a small reminder that I'm actually aging. Outliving the trees from my youth and all...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 3 - Mommy Didn't Clean the Bib

Here's another song from when Anna was a baby/toddler. There would be times when I'd have her all ready to eat and I'd reach for her bib and it would be dirty (we had one really good bib, and a bunch of crappy ones). Sometimes, it was Jen's fault that the bib was dirty.

The song that follows is what went through my head whenever I saw that dirty bib. In a way, I'm making fun of myself here.

So yeah. I'd see that bib and the first place my mind went was some sort of melodramatic, tragic Meatloaf song or something. Which is ridiculous, right? I mean, it was just a dirty bib.

But I love the kitchen. And I like things to be the way I want them to be. But reality is, and a dirty bib isn't the end of the world.

I need to constantly remind myself that the little annoyances in my life aren't really worth getting worked up over. A messy eater? Big deal. Some playdough got worked into the carpet? That happens. The garlic press wasn't soaked immediately after use? Meh.

These things aren't really worth the seconds that I spend worrying about them. Especially when there are more pressing matters for me to get worked up about (like racism, sexism, speciesism and the downward spiral of my nation's political landscape ... just to name a few).

That's not to say that we shouldn't look for ways to make our everyday lives run more smoothly (for example, labeling your spice jars so you don't have to smell them to see what they are ... which reminds me that I should do one or two Obvious Kitchen Tips this MoFo). I'm all for working smarter, not harder.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't sweat the small stuff. It's not all small stuff. But some of it is. So ... try not to sweat it.

Side note: I want to make sure everyone knows that I don't think these songs are actually good. I don't even like most of the styles of music I'm singing in. They're just stupid little songs that I sing to make my kids laugh. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 2 - Avocado

Avocados were a staple of Anna's diet when she started to wean. She loooooved them. So much so, that I wrote this little ditty. Then I added some Garage Band music which I played with the keyboard (the computer keyboard, that is). I don't really know how to play music, so it was all done by ear, which took some doing.

Anyway, most of the songs I post this month won't have instrumental accompaniment, so don't worry.

Liam doesn't eat as much avocado as Anna did when she was his age. Which is sort of a bummer. But he does eat tomato sauce and Anna never did (and rarely does now). So that's nice.

Monday, November 1, 2010

VeganMoFo Day 1 - Waffles for Everyone

VeganMoFo is here!

VeganMoFo is a month-long on-line festival of food where participants from around the world blog about food at least five times a week for a whole month. 

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that posting five times a week is not my forte. So we'll see how it goes this year. 

I had this idea a couple years ago (which was the last time I did VeganMoFo) that I would record a song for each day of VeganMoFo and post it on the blog.

Being a stay-at-home dad, it seems like I spend at least half of my day in the kitchen making food for the kids, or thinking about food for the kids or cleaning up food from the kids. And in order to break up the monotony, keep my sanity and entertain the kids, I often make up little songs about the food I'm making, or the utensil I use while making it (I have this great ditty about a potato masher that you'll hear at some point this month).

So here it goes. Day 1. Song 1. This is the first song I ever recorded on my MacBook when Anna was a year old or so. I originally titled it Waffles, but have since decided to call it Waffles for Everyone. Has a better ring to it. 

I tried to go for an Elvis Costello feel for this one, in case you can't tell. Oh, and Anna was sitting on my lap when I recorded it. She sang along. 

So yes. Prepare for a month of ridiculousness courtesy of These Little Piggies Had Tofu. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Each year on Halloween we here in the Piggy household dine on the flesh of innocents, and this year is no different.

In past years, the kid(s) have feasted on a free range backyard human, conventionally raised store-bought human from the supermarket (2008 was a tight year for us financially) and last year it was backyard cats.

This year, I've been thinking a lot about the idea that if you couldn't kill an animal yourself, then you shouldn't eat animals. So I thought I'd better teach my kids to kill if we're going to keep going with this tradition. It's either that, or stop the tradition. And since you couldn't tear tradition from my cold, dead hands, I guess I have no choice but to teach the kiddos to kill.

So we cornered this bunny in the back yard. First, I set Liam loose, but all he wanted to do was pet the little guy.

Then I asked Anna to kill him for me (I'm squeamish, I'll admit). She didn't want to at first. She asked me how I knew he was a "him" and that's when I realized a mistake I've been making all this time.

"It," I said, "I meant 'it.' Now kill it please."

Reducing the bunny to a thing by using "it" instead of "he" or "she" seemed to put her at a bit more at ease. So she went after "it" with nothing but her bare hands. After an hour of abject failure, I decided to help her out by whittling a spear out of a fallen branch.

Anna looked on quietly as I shaved one end to a deadly point. She finally said, "Isn't that sort of like cheating, Daddy?"

"No, Anna. It's not cheating. It's natural. Our brains evolved the ability to make tools and weapons, which sort of makes it the opposite of cheating."

Then she said something about nuclear weapons and I told her to be quiet while daddy whittled.

Long story short, we had bunny for lunch. The kids weren't big fans of the bunny by himself, so I made some of him - I mean "it" - into a meat smoothie for Anna:

As you can see, she really got into it. These are the piercing eyes of a daughter whose father made her kill a bunny.

I pureed the other parts into a squash tomato bisque for Liam (you know how kids are with texture):

"My daddy wuvs me so much he made my big sister kill a bunny wabbit!"

Who knows what fleshly delights next Halloween will bring...

Happy Halloween!

For the record, Anna's drinking a banana, soy yogurt, hemp seed, flax oil, strawberry, blueberry, spinach smoothie (recipe here). And Liam's eating curried squash tomato bisque. I'll probably post the recipe for that during next month's VeganMoFo.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bruce Friedrich Debates Bruce Friedrich’s Monster

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer of sorts. I generally don’t write about animal rights theory on this blog unless it relates to my family. Though I frequently read animal rights books, blogs and consider myself well versed on animal rights theory, this blog is about raising my kids. So I don’t tend to focus on theory too much. Also, there are others who articulate animal rights theory much better than I do, and I feel that what I would write in this blog would be a repetition of what they already eloquently say.

But today I'm going to break character and delve into animal rights, specifically the debate within the larger animal activist movement about how best to spend our time advocating for animals. If you’re here to look at pictures of my kids, this probably isn’t the post for you. On the other hand, if you consider PeTA an animal rights organization, maybe this is the post for you.

I went to a debate on Friday night and I need to write about it. My thoughts about this are like a raging fire in my brain, actually, and I’m pretty sure the only way to extinguish it is to relate how frustrating the experience was for me, and maybe to help you feel some of my frustration (as Bleeding Gums Murphy once said, “The blues isn’t about feeling better, it’s about making other people feel worse!”).

The debate, titled “Is Meat Ethical?”, was between PeTA vice president Bruce Friedrich and a member of the University of Minnesota debate team whose first name was Nick. I didn’t catch his last name.

I arrived about ten minutes early and a couple members of Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA) were handing out leaflets for their Veg Week. A young woman asked me if I wanted a brochure and I said sure. CAA is a local new welfarist animal activist group.

Hold on. Some of you might not know what I mean when I say “new welfarist”. In a nutshell, new welfarists (like PeTA) focus on the treatment of animals and spend time and money trying to incrementally improve that treatment. They have the long-term goal of animal liberation, but they focus most of their money, energy and time on regulating industry rather than educating the public about veganism.

CAA is a new welfarist organization which focuses primarily on educating the public, though they have also done work with industry and declared incremental changes as victories. They have a “Veg Week” and encourage people to go vegan or vegetarian, confusing the drastic difference between the two and perpetuating the idea that the average person doesn’t have the wherewithal to understand a cogent argument and choose to be vegan without first being vegetarian or without first reducing their meat intake or cutting meat out one day a week, etc.

I’m not picking on CAA here, I’m just trying to convey who they are and what they believe (as an organization).

In regard to the new welfarist ideas on reductions in animal suffering, I personally don’t think that supposed short-term reductions in suffering are anything to toot your horn about.

First, how do you quantify suffering? How do you know that birds crammed onto a floor are suffering less than birds crammed into cages?

Second, when an animal organization declares one type of exploitation as being better than another type, they implicitly encourage people to purchase that “better” product of exploitation.

Third, there has been animal welfare for about a couple centuries now, and we’re using more animals in more horrible ways then we ever have before. Animal welfare doesn’t reduce demand. If it did, demand would have been reduced by now, instead of growing exponentially.

I’m an abolitionist vegan, which means that instead of advocating for bigger cages or no cages, I advocate for no ownership at all. Abolitionism is, as far as I’m concerned, the only logically consistent approach to animal rights.

Dan Cudahy put all of this better than I ever could in his essay, Abolition versus New Welfarism: A Contrast in Theory and Practice. I suggest giving it a read.

And while your at it, read Prof. Gary Francione’s piece, The Four Problems of Animal Welfare: In a Nutshell

If you’re one of my readers who doesn’t read a lot about animal issues, you might think the differences between welfare and abolition are like the differences between two slightly different religions, where one kneels during prayer and the other doesn't for example, and you’d be excused for thinking so. But for people who think about these things and engage in animal advocacy, it's clear that the differences between abolitionism and new welfarism are quite pronounced and that they have real-world consequences.


OK, that was one hell of a diversion, but I wanted to provide some context for the debate.

So the debate started and Bruce Friedrich was introduced and here’s the first thing he said:

“Why do University of Iowa graduates put their diplomas in their car window? So they can park in handicap zones.”

Oh yes he did! He started off with an ableist joke. As VP of a profoundly sexist organization, this didn’t surprise me.

Friedrich went on to say in his opening comments that as long as you oppose being wasteful with food, oppose global poverty and animal cruelty (he presented them in that order), then you’ll agree with him that eating meat is unethical. He didn’t need to talk about the first two points at all to make his case, but he did, which left the debate wide open, unfocused and wasted a lot of time. More time was spent debating the economics of global poverty than debating whether or not animals should be treated as resources.

Friedrich said that the only ethical diet is a diet that avoids meat. He did use the word “vegan” a couple times, but he also used “vegetarian” and he used them interchangeably. Is it any wonder that people are confused about what these words mean?

After closing his arguments about meat being unethical he undercut them by showing the first minute or so of Meet Your Meat.

Meet Your Meat (a video Friedrich co-directed) is a film that focuses exclusively on the animals at factory farmes. So yet again, he left the debate wide open and basically invited his debater to talk about the virtues of “happy meat” and “humanely” raised animals. In fact, there were times when both of them seemed to completely agree on the point that supposedly humane raising and slaughter of animals is commendable.

Part of Nick’s counter-argument, of course, was that the problem isn’t meat, but the way the animals are raised. He maintained that there were ways of doing it that gave animals good lives and that killing them for meat wasn’t necessarily wrong. To buttress this idea, he quoted Peter Singer. He called Singer the father of the animal rights movement, a title that is often attributed to him.

Singer himself is not a rightist though, and he doesn’t actually argue for animal rights (the term appears in his book Animal Liberation, but he later said he regretted ever using it). He’s not vegan, he promotes welfare reforms and maintains that death is not a harm for non-human animals. For a critique of Singer’s views, I suggest reading the essay “Peter Singer and the Welfarist Position on the Lesser Value of Nonhuman Life” by Prof. Gary Francione. 

So where would Nick have gotten this crazy idea that Singer, a man who says there’s nothing inherently wrong with killing animals, is a proponent of animal rights? Why, from Bruce Friedrich’s PeTA, of course! When you click on “read more” under “Why Animal Rights” on PeTA’s home page, there’s Singer’s book, Animal Liberation.

(For an analysis of the myriad contradictions of PeTA, I suggest reading Dan Cudahy's essay, PeTA, a Corporate Tangle of Contradictions.)

Nick also said that hunting gives animals a nice clean end to their lives instead of starving to death and that it manages populations which lessens suffering of deer.

Friedrich’s response to this wasn’t that we shouldn’t kill deer because they have an interest in living their lives and that to ignore that interest for unnecessary reasons is wrong. No, instead he said that Nick was wrong on his population point because hunting actually increases populations since deer breed more when under duress.

So … Friedrich’s argument is that people shouldn’t hunt because if they do there will be more deer?

Wouldn’t you expect the VP of an animal rights organization to instead defend a deer’s right to live free from unnecessary harm and death? Me too! Which is why I and many others contend that PeTA should not be considered an animal rights organization.

For all the contradictory messages that come out of PeTA, Friedrich could have just as well debated himself. 

Friedrich also kept coming back to the point that if we wouldn’t do something to the cats and dogs in our care, then we shouldn’t do it to any other animals either; that the abuses that farmed animals endure would be cause for legal action if they were inflicted upon our pets. But what he didn't say is that there are plenty of horrible things we can do to our companion animals that are perfectly legal, but would not be so if we did them to our children.

And he should know. You might think that Friedrich would be opposed to killing perfectly healthy cats and dogs just because homes can’t easily be found for them, but you’d be wrong. PeTA killed (they use the term “euthanize” of course) 90% of all dogs and cats relinquished to its headquarters in Norfolk, Va. In 2009.

Given that, you'll understand then why Friedrich’s insistence that we should treat farmed animals as well as we treat our cats and dogs rang just a tad hollow and frightening to me.

Friedrich also maintained that any meat you buy in any grocery store is the product of great suffering. He repeated this several times, which made me wonder about that love letter PeTA wrote to Whole Foods…

The debate then moved into the “questions from the crowd” period.

I asked one. It went like this (it was, for the most part, a prepared question):

I would like to read part of a letter to John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, one of those grocery stores you keep talking about, on January 24th, 2005.
"The undersigned animal welfare, animal protection and animal rights organizations would like to express their appreciation and support for the pioneering initiative being taken by Whole Foods Market in setting Farm Animal Compassionate Standards. We hope and expect that these standards will improve the lives of millions of animals."
This letter was signed by, among other organizations, PeTA.
Nick’s defense of “happy meat” is a symptom of organizations like PeTA focusing on factory farms instead of animal rights.
How can you argue that eating meat is unethical when the organization you are Vice President of is actively congratulating businesses for killing animals for meat? To say out of one side of your mouth that killing animals is wrong and then say out of the other side that you appreciate companies who raise and kill animals "humanely" is indicative of some awfully confused thinking. If it's wrong, it's wrong. Just as someone wouldn't say that putting padding on a waterboard makes waterboarding better (note: my waterboarding example came from a Gary Francione post, Ingrid Newkirk on Principled Veganism: “Screw the principle”), or raping gently makes rape better, anyone who takes the interests of animals seriously should not say that inflicting somewhat less suffering on animals while they're alive makes the unnecessary suffering and death of that animal any better. Arguing for better treatment and then patting yourself on the back when a company takes heed only serves to make people feel better about eating animal products.
I ask this question under the assumption that you agree with most policy decisions of PeTA. If you don't, I apologize, though I don’t know why you would remain VP if that’s the case.
Can you explain why your organization supports animal compassionate standards and what those standards are?

He answered my question with three main points (everything in this post is paraphrased, by the way):

1. PeTA, of course, wants to see animal liberation, but incremental reforms in the meantime are important. They are steps toward liberation.

2. He likes to apply the golden rule in situations, and the way he applies it is by asking himself, if he were a chicken and in a small cage, wouldn’t he want to have a bigger cage or not be in a cage at all?

3. He also dragged out the familiar new welfarist assertion that focusing on welfare reforms helps the animals who exist right now.

And this is when my head nearly exploded. I think it was right at this moment. Because I had so much to say in response, but I wasn’t the one on stage with him. My question was over and that was it.

So I’m going to douse my brain fire by responding to Friedrich’s points here in this blog, where people might read it and get something out of it (but even if they don't, I had to write it down somewhere and this seemed like the best place).

1. Incremental reforms are not steps toward liberation. Instead, they further entrench animals into the property paradigm, writing more laws about animal ownership and codifying the ways in which animals can be used to satisfy our every whim. They make people feel better about animal products overall, thereby increasing consumption. And when incremental reforms are touted as victories by organizations such as PeTA, it gives people the impression that, if they eat these products of less suffering, they are off the hook; they’ve fulfilled their moral obligations to animals. Why would an animal rights organization perpetuate this view?

2. The golden rule? If you’re hitting me in the head with a tire iron while kicking me in the shin with steel toed boots, wouldn’t I ask you to stop doing both? Wouldn’t your obligations to me (based upon the golden rule) demand that you stop doing both? If you stopped doing just one, let’s say the tire iron to the head, should I congratulate you? Thank you? Give you an award for your humane kicking of my shin?

Shouldn’t the application of the golden rule demand that we advocate for the end of animal use? Don’t you think the chickens would rather we do nothing unto them?

Should PeTA have given an award to Temple Grandin for designing “humane” slaughterhouses that cause somewhat less stress for animals? How about if these slaughterhouses also increase the efficiency and rate with which animals are killed, and increase the profits of the businesses who run and rely on those slaughterhouses (all of which means more dead animals)? How does applying the golden rule lead you to award and promote a slaughterhouse designer? How does this create anything but confusion and continued slaughter?

3. Friedrich says that welfare reforms are helping animals right now. To not work for welfare reforms now, he says, is to abandon the animals who are alive and suffering at this very moment. But in his answer to another question about "happy meat", he laments the fact that broiler chickens live only seven weeks.

When a welfare reform laws are passed, they don't go into effect within seven weeks. It usually takes years. And more often, they are not enforced or never go into effect. So, by passing reform laws, you’re not helping the chickens who are alive now (remember that they have, at most, seven weeks to live), you’re not helping the chickens who are alive in the future (at the very least, you might be hurting them a little bit less, but you’re not helping) and you’re wasting precious time and resources on further entrenching the property status of animals while you could instead be putting all that effort into vegan education.

What does vegan education do? 

Well, it helps a lot of people go vegan. And what does that do? 

It reduces suffering in the short and long term.

If Hank goes vegan tomorrow, he removes himself from the demand for chickens to be raised and slaughtered (a chicken not brought into existence doesn’t suffer at all). Hank’s decision to not buy chickens’ flesh immediately starts to have an effect on the pocketbooks of those who raise chickens for meat. And while it’s true that more chickens are always being brought into existence - it’s a market that’s expanding, not contracting - Hank’s refusal to buy animal products causes that market to expand at a lesser rate. And eventually, given enough time and enough Hanks, this rate of expansion will level off and then start to decrease. The more vegan education, the more vegans, the sooner this can happen.

There you go. Short term and long term goals met and there’s no confusion about what we “animal rights people” maintain we owe animals. 

Why do you think PeTA disagrees?

Monday, October 4, 2010

North Dakota in September

We took a trip to North Dakota in early September to visit my parents. Here are some photos.

No late-fall stay at Grandpa and Grandma's is complete without a walk to Grandpa's gardens (and without taking home boxes of fresh vegetables).

I tried to get one of Anna in the corn, sort of like I got when she was just over a year old. 

Just for the heck of it, here's the one I took back in September of 2007.

Wow, that's really weird to look at those two together. I forget how long it's been.

Anyway, Liam loved running through the corn, too.

Then the corn attacked him!

I really like this next one. You can see Anna in the foreground and then Liam, but way back there is my dad getting eaten by the corn.

My dad scratched Anna and Liam's name into pumpkins with a pole barn nail (and he did the same for the other 7 grandkids and other people's grandkids in town, too). I talked to him last night and all of the pumpkins are picked and orange and ready to go. I wish we were less than 6 hours away.

This is as busy as it gets when we visit my parents' house. Which is why we love going there.

Then we visited some more family in Carrington, ND.

A good time was had by all.