Is there any vegan on the planet who was surprised to learn that the Nevada moocher rancher, Cliven Bundy was also a racist, liked guns and was a tad hostile to women’s rights?

Exploiting other races or other genders and exploiting other species go together very well, kind of like a “horse and carriage” or a “horse and carriage in New York City.”

In fact, some writers on the topic of animals and racism and animals and sexism, think people didn’t even know how to systematically exploit and abuse other groups of people until they started exploiting and abusing groups of animals.

The systematic exploitation of animals started around 11,000 years ago when humans went from hunting and gathering to the “domestication,” of plants and animals. Despite the fact that “domestication” sounds like such a sweet word, implying perhaps sitting by the fire with Mrs. Tiggywinkle or house-breaking Bella the new puppy, when it comes to most animals “domestication” means violence.

The transition from hunting to herding was gradual: “(the former hunters, now herders) learned how to control animals’ mobility, diet, growth and reproductive lives by castration, hobbling, branding, ear cropping and such devices as leather aprons, whips, prods and eventually chains and collars,” writes Charles Patterson, author of “The Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust.”

This ruthlessness, detachment and brutality involved in “raising” animals was built into the culture so that it was a short hop from confining and slaughtering animals to slavery and genocide of humans.

If you look at the history of American slavery, many of the “tools of the trade” such as branding and collars, were the same as what was and is used by ranchers. If you look at the history of the Holocaust, the Nazi’s first reviled Jews by calling them “pigs” and “vermin” over and over and over again, until finally the German people agreed: the “vermin” had to be exterminated.

So as a rancher, old Cliven Bundy’s been around the cruelty and exploitation block. He knows how it’s done. When he started flapping his meat hole about black people, it all made sense to him.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


It’s true: For some, having a cat makes life worth living. The hardcore cat freaks will even start needing more and more of the little critters. Three cats become seven cats which become 25 cats which become an intervention involving the Humane Society and the local sanitation department.

But even if you never make it to the 11 o’clock news level, cat companionship can be a problem for vegans. The sorry truth is cats eat meat. Sometimes it’s bird meat or mice meat, but often it’s fish, chicken, beef or lamb in the form of processed commercial cat food. Some cats even insist on raw eggs and cows’ milk.

When I write “insist,” I mean INSIST. I’m not sure you can talk a cat out of anything she sets her mind to. Most cats have their minds firmly set on animal foods.

(Yes, yes, yes, I know there have been cases of cats who have gone vegan, but they are not the norm. The norm wants meat NOW.)

There’s just no way the complaining feline majority is going to be persuaded by the vegan’s environmental argument, the vegan’s health argument or the vegan’s animal cruelty argument.

Animal cruelty? My cat would probably find a Mercy for Animals video amusing.

Of course, you could force your cat(s) into Meatless Monday, by leaving her (them) in the garage every Monday with water, vegan cat food and a blanket(s) while you spend the night in a motel. Problem is, she (they) would make up for Meatless Monday on Tuesday.

A vegan friend of mine has, albeit reluctantly, decided to refrain from getting another cat after her 18-year-old one dies. She believes the tragedy of the factory farming and slaughter of cows, pigs, chicken, sheep, goats and fish is worse than the tragedy of cats euthanized by the SPCA and the Humane Society.

The numbers support her contention. According to HSUS, 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in this country every year, a pittance when you compare that to the 9 to 10 billion “food animals” slaughtered annually (not even counting the fish).

So here I am with Barky, the spectacularly beautiful black cat we got from the Humane Society years ago. She’s stretched out on my desk. As I pet her back and hear that tiny rumble of a purr, I’m soothed, forgetting for a while, the anguish of the billions of animals forced into unseen slaughterhouses and torturously small pens and cages all over the country.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


(What not to say on Thanksgiving.)

It’s mid April and while everyone else is thinking about taxes, you, the weirdo vegan is STILL obsessing about Thanksgiving and what’s going to happen in November.

OK, Thanksgiving is tough. What other holiday centers around a dead animal? When people are trying to be endearing or cute, they’ll even call Thanksgiving, “Turkey Day.”

In kindergarten, I remember making turkeys out of apples, toothpicks, marsh mallows, raisins and construction paper for Thanksgiving. Somehow we all got the idea that the turkey was happy. How could a creature with a marsh mallow head be miserable?

No one is ever invited to think deeply about animals raised for food ever, but especially not on Thanksgiving Day. You, the vegan, however, are thinking deeply and it’s painful.

You have to just sit there and watch somebody dismember a turkey right in front of your face. You have to smell it. You have to watch others, people you care about, eat it. You have to see the bones, the skin, the little dots on the skin where the feathers used to be. You have to hear stories about some overweight guy who got thin by eating Subway turkey sandwiches every day. You have to do all this while remembering the sweet turkey Rosie, you met at the Farm Sanctuary two weeks ago — the one who let you pet her head.

Vegan etiquette dictates that on Thanksgiving you sit there in calm silence and politely say, “No thanks,” when they ask if you’d like some flesh or some bloody gravy.

Of course, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to be polite. You could jump up and down and call everyone murderers and cannibals or you could not go to Thanksgiving dinner, explaining to your family and friends that you can’t stand to witness their barbarous animal food consumption and that it makes you sick.

But again, talking about cannibalism and your sense of revulsion tends to be quite alienating to people. It burns a lot more bridges than it builds.

Just about anything you say about veganism and animals, veganism and the environment and veganism and health gives people the idea that you want them to do something.

How do you usually feel when someone wants you to do something? Especially when that something they want you to do is something you think is impossible, no fun, odd, maybe dangerous and might even make you fat.


Here’s another approach to Thanksgiving. Go and have a good time. Don’t stare at the turkey or the gravy or anything else.

When someone calls you a traitor to the family and the country, you can say, “You know, Grandpa, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you said about Obama the last time we were together and now I think you’re right; deep down he is a socialist and he does want to take everyone’s gun away.

Or if somebody mentions cooking turkey at four in the morning, it might not be a bad idea to express gratitude for all they do to bring the family together. You do that, people might start to think of you as wise, instead of a weirdo lunatic. And if people start thinking of you as wise, that’s a point for the animals, a point for the environment and a point for public health. And if they start thinking of you as sensible, who knows what might happen?

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


For those us who like to think of ourselves as “counter-cultural,” or “semi-counter-cultural” or even counter-culture sympathizers, Whole Foods Grocery is mortifying.

We KNOW we’re being duped by a big-ass corporation posing as, well, a non-big ass corporation.

“Would you like credit or would you like to make a donation for bringing your own bag?” the Whole Foods check-out clerk coos at us. Ahhhhhh.

We get to have the pleasure of painlessly giving 10 cents to a worthy organization.

So perfect. We don’t have to engage with a homeless person or even a bell-ringing Santa. We know our name won’t be added to yet another email list or junk mail list. And hell, you don’t have to be a genius to know 10 cents is a lot better than a dollar for the homeless person or $25 to Planned Parenthood. And all the while we get to feel good that we said “donation” instead of “credit” for bringing in our own bag.

The store is beautiful. All the colorful fruits and vegetables; all the “natural” foods; the seeming absence of Frito-Lay and General Mills, Whole Foods is a wonderful oasis from the grotesque American consumer culture.

At Whole Foods you know you’re not going to be visually assaulted by a huge display of ½ liter plastic bottles of Pepsi or by boxes and boxes of Froot Loops and Captain Crunch.

You know you’re not going to get hit with that slightly sweet, slightly rotting, slightly perfumey, overly-refridgerated grocery store smell as soon as you walk in the automated door.

And the dimmer, more “nurturing” lights? Whole Foods must have hired feng shui experts along with their architects to design the stores.

Oh, I must write something about the Whole Foods staff! Have you ever encountered a nicer group of employees? Ask where something is and a smiling and empathic “team member” will take you there. At the check-out, when they ask you how you’re doing, it seems like they might really want to know.

I love Whole Foods!

It’s the “Garden of Eden” of grocery stores, a place I’d like to go and hang out even if I didn’t need to buy anything.

When I shop there, I’m imagining I’m getting to kick all those mean nasty corporate kings in the shins, the ones who have inflicted all the plastic food-like substances on the world, causing a blight of Type 2 diabetes and obesity. I also spit on Wall Street while I’m pushing my cart (with the smoothly functioning wheels) past the big, wholesome-looking bulk bins of brown rice, raw almonds and the rest. Whole foods appeals to the hippie in us all.

But wait! Did you know that the brand with the lovely bucolic, “natural” looking label, Muir Glenn, is owned by General Mills? That the ooooh so natural toothpaste, Tom’s of Maine, is owned by Colgate-Palmolive? That Odwalla, you know, the company that sells freaking carrot juice, is owned by Coke? That the most holy of holy line of environmentally-friendly cleaning products, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day, is owned by SC Johnson? And finally did you know that Stacy’s All Natural Pita Chips is owned by yes, Frito-Lay? Real hippies know these things and real hippies know that although the produce section in Whole Foods kind of looks like a farmer’s market, it isn’t.

No, I don’t enjoy being manipulated and duped by General Mills, but Muir Glenn tomato sauce is fat free and has the lowest sodium content I have been able to find. Sure, the Odwalla carrot juice is made by Coke, but it’s still carrot juice.

I also don’t enjoy being duped and manipulated by the Whole Foods store itself but even if they weren’t beautiful, they often have the stuff I want, especially if I’m in, say, Memphis, Tenn. where there aren’t a lot of other “natural” markets.

Whole Foods is the “miracle” of what the French philosopher Guy Debord calls “The Spectacle Society,” where everything becomes an opportunity to make a buck. You’ve got a bunch a people who hate the multi-national food corporations? Well, then you start up a multi-national food corporation that is ostensibly anti-multi-national food corporations. Natch.

Whole Foods answers to stockholders, just the same as Nabisco, not to the gods of democracy, brotherly love and the Gaia principle. It’s listed on the Nasdaq as WFM.

If there’s anything that jolts the Whole Foods customer back into reality it’s the Whole Paycheck prices. Real hippies can’t afford Whole Foods.

I once saw an extremely sad yet at the same time extremely ridiculous note on a message board at Whole Foods. (Isn’t a food market message board downright homey?) Anyway, it said, “We’re seniors and we can’t afford Whole Foods prices. Please lower your prices. We want to eat healthy too!”

Hello?… Where do you think you are? The Garden of Eden of grocery stores?? Step aside old lady — make way for the paying customers. “Do you want ‘credit’ or ‘donation’ for bringing in that bag?”

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


Are you a vegan Debbie Downer?

I know I certainly have been one at times. Take this quiz and find out if you, too, are coming off as a dum-ta-dum-daaaaaaaaaa… a vegan Debbie Downer.

Here are some questions:

1) Do you think it’s fine to talk about climate change, water pollution and/or factory farms at a dinner party?

2) Do think it’s fine to talk about “the obesity epidemic” or “the Type 2 diabetes epidemic” at a dinner party?

3) Have you ever started crying in the meat department of a grocery store?

4) Do you read the whole New York Times news section every day?

5) Have you ever told everybody at a wedding you’re not going to eat the cake because it has eggs and butter in it?

6) Have you ever posted graphic pictures of farm animal cruelty on your Facebook?

7) Have you ever told your children that Chucky Cheese was demonic and they weren’t
allowed to attend any birthday parties there?

8) Have you ever shown “Earthlings” to your party guests? Or have you ever said “If you really loved animals, you’d watch ‘Earthlings’ ”?

9) Have you ever tried to scare or guilt trip someone out of eating something you know is bad?

10) Have you read Gail Eisnitz’s book, “Slaughterhouse” and tried to tell people about it?

11) Do you sadly talk about world hunger or animal suffering to people standing in the grocery checkout?

12) Do you think about what it’s like on a factory farm at night when you should be sleeping?

One “yes” to any of these things could toss you into the Debbie Downer vegan camp. I’m not saying these are wrong things to do!

It’s just that if you want to do them, you’ve got to pull it off in a way that doesn’t send all pre-vegans running and screaming from the room.

Contrary to popular opinion, being a bummer doesn’t help animals and it doesn’t help you. It doesn’t help the health and welfare of the people you love and it doesn’t help the planet. If you’re following the “if animals are suffering, I’m suffering too” theme, you might want to rethink that.

New vegans are especially prone to slipping into the Debbie Downer syndrome. The information about the animals, public health, the environment and hunger is devastating. Finding out the world is not what you thought it was fucks with your brain and fucks with your soul.

It’s like you had no idea the house was on fire and now you do know you’ve got to tell everybody! Surely they’ll run out of the house and call the fire department. Surely once they’re aware, they’ll go vegan on the spot.

I was one of those go-vegan-on-the-spot people. Stumbling out of the theater after seeing “Food Inc.” that was it for me. No more animal foods. Then I read the “China Study,” which only cemented my commitment. I thought all I had to do was tell people what I’d found out and they’d instantly go vegan too.

Wrong. It’s also devastating to find out most people including people you really care about don’t want to go vegan, at least not now.

The situation around animal foods is depressing, but there are things you can do, things you must do if you want to better the situation for yourself, animals and the rest of us. Some stuff that sort of works:

* Take up jogging or some other vigorous exercise and try not to wreck your knees or your feet.

* To learn how to act in social situations, study the Japanese tea ceremony.

* Donate yourself to a vegan or animal rights group.

* Read Carol Adams’ book, “Living Amongst Meat Eaters.”

* Repeat to yourself: “Eating a boatload of potato chips and dark chocolate doesn’t fix anything.”

* Be nice.

* If you can’t be nice, start your own blog and call it “Son of Vicious Vegan” or “Vicious Vegan 2” or maybe even “The Vegan Pain in the Ass.”

As vegans who want to change things, it’s so important for us to be happy. Why would a carnist want to go vegan when he sees how miserable veganism seems to be for you? Veganism really is wonderful. It feels good on so many levels. It is OK to enjoy it!

A word about climate change: Currently, I’ve found that there’s now a code for “I’m scared shitless about global warming” and it’s “God, the weather’s gotten weird.” That’s all anyone seems to be able to handle right now.

Whoa. Time to go to the gym.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —