Friday, November 21, 2008 - Contributing to the BS

One of the most unfortunate incidents to befall veganism is that the domain name '' is run by Erik Marcus. The irony is that in his logo, he claims to be "Cutting Through the BS":

Yet he doesn't even seem to know what he's talking about. Check out the FAQ on his website. Under "What is a vegan?" he has written:
A vegan is someone who doesn’t eat animal products: meat, fish, milk products, eggs, or honey. Many vegans also avoid fur, leather, and wool as these products generally result in the confinement, abuse, or slaughter of animals.
Once more, veganism is dumbed down. And to the lowest common denominator: it's a diet.

Almost as an afterthought, he mentions "many" vegans also avoid wearing the skins and fibers from animals.

I'm sorry, but ALL vegans refuse to wear fur, leather, wool, silk and whatnot. And no, these products don't "generally" result in "confinement, abuse or slaughter of animals" -- they inevitably do. On top of it all, this apologist bonehead makes it sound as if confinement, abuse or slaughter are the problem. What is the 'line' here? Two out of three? If i don't abuse or slaughter the animal, is it okay to abuse them?

More-over, this all reduces the meaning of veganism. Like most 'authorities' on veganism, Marcus doesn't describe where veganism came from, or what it was originally intended to be about (as is no surprise, since it conflicts with what Marcus purports veganism to be.)

But, to top it off, there's this article (even highlighted on his blog) where Marcus, a supposed vegan, exclaims that he is "thrilled" about a place that exploits hens and sells their eggs.

I'm sorry, but no vegan should ever be "thrilled" about a place that sells eggs. But Marcus is "relieved beyond belief" that there are some cage-free eggs being made available. (Why don't advocates of cage-free eggs and other 'free-range' animals ever address the issue that in order to be cage-free, these farms must spread out immensely - thus eliminating significant amounts of habitat from free-living animals? Do chickens need to be cage-free more than other animals need space to LIVE?? You call yourself an animal advocate???)

In his vision, this "is only 5 percent of what needs to happen", followed by "We’d like them to be exclusive as soon as possible."

So 100% of what needs to happen, according to this vegan, is 100% cage-free eggs.

No, veganism isn't the goal. Cage-free eggs are.

What a disaster. With vegans like this, who needs omnivores? It's becoming really difficult to tell the difference.

Cutting through the BS, Erik? Not even close. You're at the forefront of the BS.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

UVic Martlet: Campus food outlets recognized for veggie-friendly practices

I had a quick Facebook interview with Kailey Willetts from the University of Victoria weekly newspaper the Martlet, as PETA had awarded UVic 2nd Place in their 'awards' for vegetarian-friendly campuses. Luckily, this turned into an informative article, rather than some skimpy fluff piece that typically results.

I'm guessing for 2009, UVic won't be included, after PETA's effort to highlight and promote themselves backfires in this instance. ;)

- Dave

Campus food outlets recognized for veggie-friendly practices
Nov 19, 2008 02:23 PM Kailey Willetts

If you head to Village Greens for lunch today, you'll find vegetarian fajitas on the menu. Or, if noodles are more your thing, you can opt for a stir-fry with tofu.

It's because of options like these that UVic scored second in Canada in the "Most Vegetarian-Friendly Universities List" from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals youth division (PETA2).

The competition focused particularly on vegan options, and praised UVic for its vegan lasagna, curried faux chicken and potatoes stuffed with chili and soy cheese. Winners were chosen based on their dining options, student nominations and votes.

Last year, UVic achieved fourth place overall.

With this year's second-place finish, UVic beat out nominees Simon Fraser University and the University of B.C., coming second to Mount Allison Univesity in New Brunswick.

According to PETA2, more students are becoming vegetarians or vegans because, on average, they are fitter than meat eaters. Eating animal products has also been linked to heart attacks, diabetes and other diseases, according to the group, which believes becoming a vegan is the best way to end animal suffering and protect the environment.

Dave Shishkoff, director of the UVic Vegan Association, says UVic is a good school to be a vegan at, and he's impressed with the venues offered on campus, like ones in the Student Union Building.

"The SUB apparently labels foods very well, and places like [Finnerty's] have vegan brownies, cookies and muffins, sushi and frozen burritos," Shishkoff wrote in an email interview. "Plus, our annual Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck is by far the most delicious Thanksgiving event in the city."

However, Shishkoff said the vegan message shouldn't be confused with the vegetarian one.

"Sadly, groups like PETA, Vegan Outreach and many others have completely ignored this, and are effectively 'dumbing down' veganism to what vegetarianism now stands for - which is nothing," Shishkoff said. "How many fish and chicken eating 'vegetarians' do you know?"

Shishkoff says that while UVic may be vegan-friendly, the message is meaningless coming from PETA.

However, he sees that the upside of the PETA competition is that it may encourage more vegan students to consider coming to UVic. Shishkoff believes it's important to have more active vegans on campus.

"I think a more useful campaign would be to assist vegans at colleges and universities in [promoting] veganism," he said.

For Shishkoff, being a vegan isn't a dietary or lifestyle choice, but a philosophy of "peace and respect, that argues that we shouldn't be exploiting other animals." He made the choice to become vegan 18 years ago, because it made sense.

"There was no reason for me to consume animal products. There's no physiological need, or requirement for anything that comes from an animal," said Shishkoff. "Other animals deserve respect and consideration as well ...should it really be a misfortune to simply not have been born in a human body?"

Shishkoff says being a vegan is very doable - it just takes a little education about alternatives. He also says it's more difficult dealing with social situations, but that people who take themselves seriously will encourage other people to as well - that they'll respect the "anti-speciesist" as they would an anti-racist or anti-sexist.

For more information about PETA2, visit their website at

For information about the UVic Vegan Association, visit their Facebook group: "UVic Vegan Association."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Irish Group NARA Opposes PETA Publicly

Below is another release from the group National Animal Rights Association, from Dublin, Ireland. So great to see them pushing aside common and popular notions, and thinking more deeply about these issues. They're right on with this, and that PETA has absolutely nothing to do with animal rights, confusing those who are interested in serious ideas..and of course they sully the name of animal rights.

Hopefully NARA will look more deeply into the issues; I wonder if they'd find that other groups that they link to, such as Vegan Outreach, to also be conflicting and problematic, and of even more concern, groups like SHAC and the ALF, who rely on threats, intimidation and violence in their attempts to be heard. If veganism and animal rights are a part of the peace movement, with respect and consideration being at the heart of these, perhaps these methods are opposite of our intended goals as well...

***Press Release***
Misrepresenting Animal Rights: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Although Irish organisations and individuals have sought to care for nonhuman animals for many years, animal rights advocacy ~informed by rights-based theory~ is a very recent development in Ireland. Grassroots animal rights advocates in Ireland intend to defend animal rights from the threat of neo-welfarism.

The Literary and Historical Society at UCD are hosting a debate next Wednesday (24th) entitled "The Animal Rights Debate", featuring Mr. Bruce Friedrich of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA). We believe that Mr. Friedrich will be contacting the media in Ireland to publicise this event and PeTA in general. He will characterise himself as an animal rights advocate even though he and his employers reject and marginalise animal rights theory. We, the grassroots animal advocates of Ireland, we who take rights, animal rights, and animal rights philosophy seriously, are furious about PeTA's distortion of animal rights, and we want no part in it. PeTA is not an animal rights group even though it claims to be (it claims to be the largest AR organisation in the world). This is misleading: PeTA do not promote animal rights beyond using the term as a rhetorical label and they purposely act against animal rights philosophy.

PeTA are inspired and influenced by animal welfare ethicist Peter Singer (author of the famous non-rights text, Animal Liberation).[1]

PeTA promotes NO animal rights philosophy on their web sites, eg:

"Animal Rights" to PeTA is just a slogan – they are not interested in the philosophy of animals rights and they never promote or mention AR philosophers such as Gary Francione [ ] and Tom Regan [ ].

Instead, they deliberately misname Singer as an animal rights advocate (see "why Animal Rights?" / – the 'learn more' tag links to Animal Liberation, a utilitarian text by a leading utilitarian philosopher. Animal rights is based on deontological ethics).

Laura Broxson, spokesperson of Dublin-based National Animal Rights Association, said: "We are just beginning to make a mark for animal rights in Ireland. The last thing we need is for people to believe that PeTA's childish stunts [2] and sexist campaigning [3] have anything to do with genuine animal rights campaigning. PeTA cheapen and trivialise animal rights. The message from Ireland: we don't want PeTA's silliness".

Speaking about NARA's philosophy, Laura Broxson said: "We say clearly and openly on our web site that we are opposed to rights violations. Animal rights is more than reducing suffering. It is a vegan position on human-animal relations that says we humans should not use nonhuman animals but respect them as a matter of justice. We at NARA feel we are making headway with our rights-based campaigns and the Irish public are beginning to understand that animal rightists believe that nonhuman animals are rights bearers who rights are frequently and routinely violated. We also would never engage in sexist campaigning like PeTA do".

Asked to comment, Dr. Roger Yates, sociologist and social movement theorist at UCD, said: "It probably would be a serious blow to rights advocates in Ireland if PeTA muddy the waters here with their rhetorical version of animals rights. From the perspective of effective advocacy, it seems logical that it is best for animal rights to be represented by those genuinely committed to rights-based philosophies about human-nonhuman relations. I doubt that Irish animal rights advocates will think that gassing millions of chickens, PeTA's latest 'victory' in Canada in partnership with KFC, has anything to do with animal rights. It is far from certain that such initiatives have much to do even with animal welfare".

"There has been a long standing belief within the animal protection community, at least among animal advocates in the USA and Britain, that animal rights and animal welfare are compatible ideas about the use and treatment of other animals. However, there is growing evidence supporting the contention that traditional animal welfarism and its newer formulations ('new welfarism' - represented by organisations such as PeTA) are antithetical to the aspirations of animal rights advocates", he added.


Laura Broxson, spokesperson for NARA – 086 8729 444
Roger Yates (UCD) – 01 716 8586 [mobile 0863912018]


[1] Ingrid Newkirk, president of PeTA, endorsed Peter Singer's 2006 collection, In Defense of Animals: The second wave (Blackwell), thus: 'Peter Singer's writings changed my life. I have waited for this book a long time, a quarter of a century in fact...'



Related Link: