Thursday, March 29, 2007

Intolerable Cruelty

I am suffering from empathy overload.

Meat makes me mad. Dairy is driving me crazy with sadness & frustration: milk & cheese are synonymous with meat. Calves are dragged away from their mothers after birth and the male calves will be crated to be veal or slaughtered to be beef. I am becoming more and more intolerant of milk & meat in my presence.

While in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, I had noticed an extremely disturbing billboard for a horror movie titled, "Captivity". It consisted of four panels that showed a young woman in various states and the words: abduction (with a gloved hand over her mouth), confinement (behind a chain-link fence with her bloody finger sticking out), torture (gauze over her face and tubes up her nose), termination (her head thrown back and lifeless). It was pretty horrifying and I can't believe these ads were even up, well apparently, others were offended enough too that the ads have been removed.

This offensive ad reminded me of what animals in the meat, dairy, fur & wool industry are subjected to on a daily basis. I wish that people would open their eyes and be offended by the meat they are eating or the milk they are drinking and the horrifying existence that we have imposed on livestock & fowl. Chickens & turkeys are debeaked without anesthesia because they are crammed in such close quarters that they would peck and attack each other. Beaks are akin to fingers. They are full of nerve endings and chickens use their beaks to explore.

I guess I should be thrilled about Burger King making a shift towards sourcing from humane slaughterhouses. Not exactly, what a vegan would wish for...but, I am appreciative that some of these big companies are at least cognizant of the pain & suffering of these animals. This is a hopeful step in the right direction.

Well, what's a girl to do with all this empathy overload & frustration?
Make yummy vegan blueberry pancakes with tempeh bacon?

Well, these were delicious and fluffier than any non-vegan pancakes I had ever made, but not the right answer.

The correct answer to what's a girl to do with empathy overload & frustration is:

Party like a vegan rock star of course!

Just picked up some tickets for a fun cocktail benefit on 4/7/07 where I will be with like-hearted people at the the Farm Sanctuary Event in NYC. Am really looking forward to this fabulous benefit- wish you all can join! If you can't make it, I promise to take some fun pictures.


Vincent Guihan said...

Party like a rockstar...too funny.

When I have empathy overload, I cook (which is good, because it has improved my cooking and I need to eat daily). Creation, I guess, provides me with a direct action that I can take that helps me rearrange the universe, even it's only in my own personal space.

Pancakes and tempeh sausage don't sound like a bad idea either. :)

bazu said...

Awww, I feel like we have empathy overload in common. I literally feel sick at the sight of suffering (human or animal). Two things that have been bugging me lately: the seal hunt in Canada and the $200 milion dollar kangaroo pelt/leather/meat industry of Australia. How barbaric and cruel can you get...? UGH.

I read about that benefit in a magazine- so cool that you're going to be there! Yes, please take pictures and notes for us!

KleoPatra said...

i can't wait to see the photos. i'm with you on the empathy... it's sooooooo hard to deal with REALITY...

Anonymous said...

Funny you should be affected by the horror movie ad. I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness about these. There was movie out last year called 'hostel' which I never watched because I was so disgusted by the idea. I couldn't believe people actually went to watch it. Why can't people associate the suffering with the actual suffering of torture victims worldwide? I don't mind monster movies because monster aren't real but torture is. And if some scriptwriter can think it up, I can practically guarantee it's already been done to someone, for real. So, I empathise with your empathy overload - sometimes I just want to pull the duvet over my head and pretend none of these horrible things acutually happen. Some of the world's torture victims are just as voiceless and defenceless as the animals we work hard to protect. Sorry about the rant but you have touched on a topic I care deeply about it! Thanks! Zodie.

Village Vegan said...

I totally agree about the empathy overload thing. Seeing fur coats and other signs of animal suffering (meat!) really makes me feel sick. How cruel and ignorant can some people be?

I hope you enjoy the benefit. It's certainly a worthwhile cause. Oh, which recipe did you use for your pancakes?

Melody Polakow said...

That sounds like so much fun.

empathy overload.. I relate to that 100%..

the food here and on your last post looks great..

that human hair is creepy..

scottishvegan said...

It’s hard to deal with the cruelty that goes on in the world sometimes. Sometimes I just have to force myself to think about something else or I would go crazy. I too find it difficult to be all that pleased about Burger King’s new policies. I appreciate that they are doing something, but it’s just a drop in the ocean really… I am hopeful that it might influence others companies in the future though.
Hope you have fun at the benefit… it sounds like a great night! Looking forward to some photos!

runswithdog said...

Good move on the hanging out with like-hearted people (and the partying like a rock star :-)) Seriously, when things get to be too much, you can gain strength from knowing you aren't all alone.

Damn, that billboard sounds horrific. How do people think up this kind of stuff?

springsandwells said...

In general, I am very disgusted by how often the "entertainment" industry turns to violence - particularly against women. I don't find it remotely entertaining to watch endless movies or TV shows or news reports about women being attacked, raped, kidnapped, oppressed, brutalized... I also find it amazing that there is not more overlap between feminist action and animal rights/vegetarian action as all the issues boil back down to the harm and suffering that results from domination and a power imbalance. - and incidentally there is also the issue of the harm that is done to the perpetrators.

I just finished reading a very wonderful book called "All About Love: New Visions" by bell hooks. It's not a perfect book, but it's very thought provoking in its exploration of love as an approach toward life - and many of its under-recognized dimensions: childhood, romantic relationships, community, fear, grief... all very interesting. It relates to this phenomena of empathy overload to me, and the ability to face suffering with a heart of love so that we are able to stay clear and effective on our own end.

Anyhow, the pancakes look great! :)

Vicki said...

I read about the Farm Sanctuary event in VegNews and want to go so bad! Have a great time & share what you glean. :o)

stellarjoolz said...

Meows! I've finally surfaced. Sorry for the lapse in blogging comments :-). It is now 11:54pm on a Saturday evening....I just got up, I've slept all day and most of Friday night. Whew was I tired! I'm feeling somewhat not tired now...catching up on some blog reading. I saw that Farm Sanctuary flyer last week and was going to register for it....but you stressed out life got in the way and, oops, forgot about it. Now that I hear that you're going, I'll register asap!

I agree with you on the suffering, it makes me sick and makes me cry to see it happening. I need to remember these things when I fall off the wagon and consume meat. Don't worry that I'll fall off the wagon completely, I perform mental self flagellation. I also have you and your blog to bring me back to perspectives.

Your pancakes look d-lish!

Melissa said...

Are the pancakes from a cookbook recipe? If so, which one?

vko said...

Hello all! So exciting to get such great comments...

Vincent- yes, I agree cooking is good for empathy overload and actually I also meant to add blogging- which is extremely great purging and hopefully helpful to bring those on the fence to the vegan-side...

Bazu- I know it's all so disheartening, I can't even hear sad animal stories- makes me terribly upset. And yes, plan to take plenty of pics, really excited about it!

Kleo- reality sucks, but it's nice to be able to take comfort in the vegan blog community!

Zodie- I love a good rant! I do it all the time and I completely agree with you- I never watch horror movies that involve torture, etc. It's so disturbing, never understood why that is entertainment. Come by again for a rant!

Village Vegan- People are so ignorant. I want to make them all sit down and watch how fur is made before they are allowed to purchase anything with fur on it. The pancake recipe, which had lost the link which is why I didn't post it, but found again:


Melody- looking forward to the event and yes that human hair on my last post is creepy. They should make human hair 'fur' coats instead of animal fur...

Scottish Vegan- will post lots of pics, thanks!

Runs With Dog- thanks for your comments, hope you are doing okay- still thinking of you & your family.

Springs&Wells- sounds like an interesting read, will have to check it out.

Vicki- hello! will be gleaning lots and will be sharing lots...

Stellar Joolz- welcome back to blogland! Will hold you to the self-flaggellation and maybe you need to carry a peta magazine on your person...

Melissa- hello, great little black kitty pic- I posted the link for the pancakes a few comments up. Thanks for visiting!

anony-mouse attack! said...

Don't ask me why the attack is added on, it sounded cute and I'm tired. :)

Here's your comment, though I have misgivings still ;) :

*hugs and meows* for your empathy overload.

Your pancakes look very pancake-y and you know how much I hate pancakes...and your party looks prreeettttyyyy cool...take lots of pictures...and now, proceed to that next post. :D

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