A Voice for Animal Rights

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The following excerpts are from an interview by David Horton with Will Tuttle, author of The World Peace Diet, for Abolitionist-Online. A voice for animal rights:

This
animal thing, some get it, others don’t. Is it lack of compassion or is
the prospect of making such a radical change to eating ( to just what
you feel like) too much to take on board?

The
more I’ve studied this, David, the more I feel that it’s a minor
miracle that anyone is able to question our culturally-imposed eating
habits deeply enough to go vegan. Across cultures, and across species,
all animals take what their parents and culture teach them is their
proper food very seriously. What’s true is that our culture’s meals
strongly contradict our inherent compassion
, so we need early and
constant pressure to force us to see certain non-human animals as food
rather than as fellow beings we would naturally respect and care about.
It’s the example of other vegans, especially vegan communities of one
kind or another (even on-line communities), that provides the most
powerful psychological and cultural force for healing and liberation.

In your
book, you explain how animals have a purpose, how they establish social
order and express their natural intelligence. If we don’t acknowledge
their sentience and sophistication is it because we eat them and
support their exploitation?

Yes,
this is a basic psychological mechanism that we automatically engage
whenever we find ourselves in a position where we are knowingly harming
others. Our natural compassion can’t stand it. So if it’s “food
animals,” then we have to psychologically distance ourselves from them,
using all kinds of stories that are supplied by our culture’s
institutions (religion, science, education, family, government, media,
etc.) that these animals were put here by God for us to use, that we’d
die in 24 hours of a protein deficiency if we didn’t eat them, that
they don’t have souls, and so forth. We do the same thing for “enemies”
we think we have to kill in wars – reduce them to mere “insects” or
“vermin” in our minds so that we can harm them. Same with people we
enslave. In The World Peace Diet I refer to this as our
culture’s underlying mentality of reduction and exclusion. It is
ritually injected into us through our culture’s daily meals and all the
stories surrounding our routine mistreatment of animals used for food
.

Chapter
7 is about the Domination of the Feminine and you cite two prime
examples: the hen and the cow. “Dominating others requires us to
disconnect from them.” Is that what men do when they try to dominate
women? Is it the arrogance of our species, the ease with which we are
able to disconnect? Is this the biggest mistake of our species?

Yes,
I think that this is probably the biggest mistake we humans make. And
yes, it plays out in relationships between men and women, and also in
many other ways as well. Domination requires disconnection and also
reduction. Most women know how it is to be looked at as “meat” and as
men, we are taught early on to look at women in that way, as we are
taught to look at certain animals as well
. I would not say, though,
that it is easy for our species to disconnect. We’ve got to remember
the ferocity of the programming we endured!! It’s tremendously
powerful! From the time we lose our mother’s breast, we are forced to
eat the flesh and secretions of brutalized animals two or three times
every day, in the most important, relentless, ongoing rituals in our
culture: our daily meals. We are taught continually to disconnect the
reality on our plate from the reality that it took to get it onto our
plate. Yes, we are masters at disconnecting, but only because we have
been forced to practice it rigorously and religiously since birth. We
could also be masters at connecting if we were taught those skills! The
wealthy elite only maintains its power because the masses eat foods of
death, disconnectedness, and enslavement, and reaps its own
enslavement. We will be liberated when we liberate those who are at our
mercy!

There’s more toxin coming into our bodies from animal products than from plant foods. Why?

That’s
a big question! Animal foods concentrate physical toxins. For example,
the legal limits on pesticides sprayed on crops fed to humans are
stricter than on crops fed to animals. All pesticide residues
concentrate in the fat, flesh, milk, and eggs of animals, especially
the way animals are forced to eat slaughterhouse waste and the feces
and flesh of other animals in today’s factory farms. Fish concentrate
toxins to an even greater degree, as I explain in my book. On top of
all that, there are the heterocyclic amines, carcinogenic substances
formed by cooking animal flesh. In addition, there are the basic
components of animal flesh: saturated fat, cholesterol, and acidifying
animal protein, all three being now understood to be basically toxic to
our human physiology. On top of all that, there are what I call in The World Peace Diet
the metaphysical toxins: we are eating the vibrations of grief, terror,
anxiety, despair, and panic. No wonder the biggest demand for
pharmaceuticals is not just for statin drugs, digestive drugs, insulin,
and other drugs to fight the physical devastation of animal-sourced
foods, but drugs for depression, rage, and insomnia! We become what we
eat and what we practice!

All
through your book you come back to this one matter of the vital
connection we all have with our culture and the natural world in the
food we eat. “It all begins with our most fundamental social ritual:
eating”. Can you say something about our meals and the way they hold us
back.

Our
meals of hidden violence are devastating our earth, torturing millions
of beautiful and sensitive animals daily, and laying waste the inner
landscape of our thoughts and feelings. The wars, diseases, neuroses,
and crimes we see around and within us have their genesis in the wars,
diseases, neuroses, and violent crimes we inflict on billions of
animals routinely and completely unnecessarily. The basic sense of
disempowerment people feel to change “the system” stems from their
daily meals, which are the rituals that keep us as domineering
commodifiers, enslaved ourselves!

I am seeing more and more people “get” the message of The World Peace Diet
and begin to share it with others, and this is the foundation of the
healing of our world and of our culture and ourselves. We will continue
to be merely ironic in our quests for peace and justice and wisdom
until we make the connections that are on our plates and authentically
come into alignment with our true nature of compassion and share this
uplifting and liberating understanding with others. I encourage
everyone to teach a community course on The World Peace Diet,
and to spread the message of compassion, not just for ourselves, but
for all living beings and all future generations. As they say, “We are
the ones we are waiting for!”

 

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