Tag Archives: animal activism


Activist Leslie Goldberg.

By Leslie Goldberg

I really didn’t know what to make of the DxE video I was watching: Animal rights activists marching into restaurants and yelling about animals who wanted to live and how “meat” isn’t food, it’s violence. The activist/troublemakers usually held AR signs and stony expressions. The restaurant customers looked amused, embarrassed or annoyed. The staff? Angry, then frazzled.

As an animal rights activist myself, generally of the polite variety, I was intrigued, but also intimidated— especially when I’d see a DxE video of someone going into a restaurant alone and starting to shout. I said to myself, I COULD NEVER DO THAT. My husband said, “YOU’D BETTER NOT DO THAT.”

I live close to a Nations Giant Hamburgers, a KFC, a Jack ’n’ the Box and a Burger King – so many opportunities, I thought. But no, I can’t. I just can’t.

Weeks passed and still I kept wondering about DxE. I’d check out the notices on Facebook for Direction Action Everywhere Meetups, held on Saturday mornings at the DxE House in Oakland.
The DxE House. I had a picture in my mind – White frame house, falling apart, in a rough part of Oakland. My imaginary house was…

Read the rest of this essay here.

A recent DxE meetup.


By Leslie Goldberg

The fight over the “morality of meat-eating” rages. It’s on Facebook, on Twitter, in the newspaper, on TV and radio, in our dining rooms and in our classrooms. Recently on social media, I read the question, “How can my wonderful, kind and generous friends keep eating animals? Are they evil?”

I would suggest that flesh-eaters aren’t bad and certainly not evil, except maybe Donald Trump and/or Jeb Bush. (And no, Hitler was NOT a vegetarian.)

People are just hypnotized by the culture. It’s like there’s a micro-chip lodged deep in our brains that keeps us from realizing the suffering of animals and often, the suffering of other humans.

I’ve only been vegan for six years. For most of my life I ate the flesh and secretions of animals. My consumption tortured and killed animals on a regular basis, yet I loved animals. I only read horse books as a child. I cried when my companion animals died. I adored the movie “Babe.” I saw the “in-your-face” animal rights artwork of Sue Coe. Even though some of these things disturbed me, they didn’t cause me to make any connection between my behavior and the suffering and murder of animals.

It was like being under a spell or sleep-walking. Almost by chance I woke up. I saw some images in a movie and I knew I could never knowingly eat an animal or her bio-fluids again.

As animal rights activists, our job is to break the spell – throw cold water in the face of our flesh-gnawing, secretion-sucking society.

But how? My favorite tools are loud obnoxious public demonstrations and disruptions; blogging; making videos and films; writing books; and writing songs. There’s also tweeting, letters to the editor, complaining in restaurants, and, yes, posting on Facebook.

What about getting to people’s hearts via the stomach, or, if you like, the digestive tract?

These days, I’ve kind of given up on that tactic. Of course, vegan food is great and I really appreciate the love and the effort that goes into vegan cooking, but tasty meals aren’t going to change our society. I would suggest that neither the best vegan cupcake in the world or the best vegan sushi in Manhattan is going to trigger any serious soul searching or moral questioning. (Not the way graphic imagery of animal suffering might.) Sad to say, but I don’t think Ben & Jerry’s new vegan ice cream is going to liberate animals (both human and non-human.)

Activist and author of “Whitewash – The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health” Joseph Keon said to me recently the most typical response he hears when carnists eat delicious vegan food is, “Wow, if I could cook like this, I’d be vegan.” Translation: I don’t have the time or the skill to cook vegan or care enough to make the time and learn new cooking skills.

Just as the civil rights movement, the gay liberation movement, the women’s movement, the abolitionist movement hinged on ordinary people speaking up, the animal rights movement is going to need to get noisy if we are to succeed. Heard at the recent National Animal Rights Conference 2015: “Never miss an opportunity to say what needs to be said.”

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –


By Leslie Goldberg

It’s the old pitch: “heart disease, blah, blah, blah, diabetes, blah, blah, blah, cancer, blah, blah, blah, cholesterol, blah, blah, blah, obesity, blah, blah, blah, saturated fat, blah, blah, blah, arthritis, blah, blah, blah and on and on and on.

Their eyes glass over and then they say, “Protein, blah, blah, blah, calcium, blah, blah, blah, omega 3’s, blah, blah, blah,” and/or “My uncle ate eggs, steak and cheese every day of his life and he lived to be 117.”

And, maybe, maybe, maybe, “OK, OK, OK, I’ll try it.”

Another ex-vegan is born.

Actually, when you think of it, why would anybody think they could persuade anyone to do anything based on health? Have you ever gone to a birthday party and said, as the cake was being cut, “You know we shouldn’t eat this because it’s bad for us.” Or maybe, you’re at a ballgame and your friend is just about to bite into a hot dog and you say that could give you cancer or a heart attack.”

What about saying to someone who has just settled into a little TV watching that they should really be out there running?

I changed my eating because of the animals. I just couldn’t be a part of the holocaust. But I didn’t think other people would be moved to go vegan because of that. I pitched to friends’ and family’s self-interest. I talked about health and weight and I talked about health and weight some more. Talk, talk, talk, until it was suggested that I do something that is anatomically impossible.

The reason the health argument doesn’t work is that it depends on human will-power. Is there any power on earth weaker than that? Cheese, which contains an opiate called casomorphin, is actually physically addictive. It takes about 10 pounds of milk to produce one pound of cheese. “Like it or not, mother’s milk has a drug-like effect on the baby’s brain that ensures that the baby will bond with Mom and continue to nurse and get the nutrients all babies need,” said Dr. Neal Barnard, founder of the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Cow’s milk is “mother’s milk,” folks, just not your mother’s milk.

In addition to addiction, animal rights activists are up against an inescapable, 24-7 barrage of milk, meat, dairy and fish advertising and lobbying. (Remember, if those stupid and insulting ads didn’t work, they wouldn’t spend billions on them.)

Recently I found another clue as to why the vegan health argument doesn’t work in an article by New York Times columnist Jane Brody. In it, she wrote about a new book by Michelle Segar called “No Sweat: How Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness.”

Segar, who is the director of the Sport, Health and Activity Research and Policy Center at the University of Michigan, told Brody, “Health is not an optimal way to make physical activity relevant and compelling enough for most people to prioritize it in their hectic lives.”

Brody went on to write, “Though it seems counterintuitive, studies have shown that people whose goals are weight loss and better health tend to spend the least amount of time exercising.

“Rather, immediate rewards that enhance daily life – more energy, a better mood, less stress and more opportunity to connect with friends and family offers far more motivation, Dr. Segar and others have found,” she wrote.

Doing the right thing, i.e., stopping the exploitation of animals in our daily lives is also something that offers immediate rewards. Suddenly a weight of guilt is lifted. Nothing offers a better sense of well-being than knowing you’re living in accordance with your deepest values.

Esteemable acts create self-esteem.

It’s not rocket science: When you’re doing shitty stuff, you feel shitty.

Animal agriculture is torturing and murdering animals – you would have to be living under a rock to not know that. It takes a lot of energy to keep trying to push away awareness. Become truly aware and whoosh! Feel the energy.

Yet, standing up for animals can be a lonely job in this society. And you might not feel that great arguing with family and friends. You might not feel that great not arguing with family and friends and keeping everything inside yourself.

Perhaps, try not arguing AND speaking up for animals. Something small. A friend of mine, Mike, works at a place where the management serves lunch. There’s nothing for him to eat so he goes out and gets his own food. When his co-workers would ask him why he did that, he used to say, “because I’m vegan.” Now he says, “I don’t eat animals.”

Mike has also found that the very best solution to the “Lonely Vegan Syndrome” is finding friends who are also working for Animal Liberation, ideally an animal rights group that gets together for not only protests, but for fun.

Last week I went to “Pizza Night” at the Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) House. I had several kinds of pizza including some chocolate, banana and brown sugar pizza (I hate that expression, “to die for,” but in the case of that chocolate pizza it seemed right on.) The get-together was fun and a lot of friends were there as well as several newcomers.

It made my day. Well, that and going to the gym.

P.S. I once chatted with one of the godfathers of the vegan health movement Dr. John McDougall. McDougall has been in the trenches for decades. He knows what plant-based doctors are up against. He knows the truly depressing recidivism rates among people who try a vegan diet. I was talking with him about some animal rights activism I was doing and he said, “It’s you guys (meaning the animal rights acitvists) who are going to make this whole thing happen.”

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –

(By the way, my new book of humerous drawings, The Sex Lives of Cats, has just been published. Check it out here.)


By Leslie Goldberg

Everyone knows vegans are wusses, struggling to even remain upright because of their extreme protein deficiency and lack of calcium. Suffering so, they tend to stay reclined, reading vegan puffery and listening to music that sounds like clouds.

I tend to be very weak myself. Sometimes I’m so weak I can only run three miles and I have to cut my bike rides down to 10 miles. It’s difficult, surviving as I do on lentil soup, potatoes, bean and rice tacos, almond butter sandwiches, hummus, tofu lasagna and the kindness of strangers.

Imagine my surprise finding this video! These people must be sneaking burgers. Plus their music hurts my delicate vegan ears.

Check it out!

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –


Photo by Michael Goldberg

By Leslie Goldberg

Obviously, I wish you wouldn’t buy any eggs at all. But the large eggs are the worst, explained chicken expert Jan Galeazzi of Animal Place, a farm sanctuary in Grass Valley, CA. And there’s even some eggs that come in “extra large” and “jumbo” sizes which, for the hen, can be, well, just imagine…

As she held one of the rescued chickens, tucked under her arm, Jan talked to a group of us gathered recently in the chicken yard connected to Animal Place’s chicken barn.

She explained that modern selective breeding has created a chicken that doesn’t much resemble the one that God/evolution created. The God-made chicken produces about 15 eggs a year. The man-made chicken produces up to about an egg a day.

An egg a day. Doesn’t matter whether the hen is on a factory farm, a “free range” or in a backyard.

The larger the egg, the harder it is for the chicken to pass them. Sometimes they just can’t lay the egg. It won’t come out. The egg can either break inside her oviduct, causing an often fatal infection or get pushed back into the stomach.

The chicken’s stomach can get filled with eggs in shells so that their abdomens become huge and it’s hard from them to walk. Eventually they often die from the condition.

Also, just the strain of producing so many eggs wears the chicken out after a couple of years. On factory farms they are “culled” at a year or two. In the backyard, commercially bred chickens can usually live about four or five years. The biggest killer of laying chickens (besides the chicken industry) is cancer of their reproductive systems.

I recently saw a “joke” on the internet: “Hey vegetarian, my food poops on your food.”

Well, Mr. Carnivore, actually your food also poops on your food. Eggs come from a chicken’s so-called “vent.” In a chicken there’s no additional hole for poop, explained Jan.

Speaking of poop, it also gets into the meat. A New York Times article cited a study finding that 48 percent of chicken found on grocery store shelves was contaminated with e coli, generally an indicator of the presence of fecal material.

That’s basically why you’re supposed to cook the shit out of chicken flesh and chicken secretions.

Sorry, eating eggs and eating chicken “meat” is just shitty on so many levels.

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –


Animal Rights protesters in the street.

By Leslie Goldberg

For five minutes, maybe three minutes, I’m not sure exactly, — animal rights activists stopped the world.

Today as cars backed up on Geary Street in San Francisco and as other cars were blocked from leaving a big downtown underground parking lot, over 100 protesters from the animal rights organization DxE formed a large circle in the street. Wearing blue T-shirts and white bloody masks, we held signs with pictures of animals and signs reading, “WHO WILL THEY KILL TODAY?”

For those few moments people stopped, looked and heard a magnificent choir of full-throated voices rising to the heavens chanting:













I felt my voice strong and my feet solid on the ground. Finally I was up off my knees. You see, for six years I’ve been either silent or begging, pleading, cajoling, even joking in an effort to persuade people to give up the murderous habit of using animals for food, entertainment, shoes, clothing and research. It hasn’t worked.

There is a smaller percentage of vegans today than in 1999. Part of the reason our numbers have decreased instead of grown is a wildly successful advertising ploy/scam by the animal foods industry called “Humanely-Raised,” “Cage-Free,” “Organically Grown” and “Free-Range.”

Out on Geary, the drivers were getting angrier and angrier, laying on their horns.

Eventually the protest in the street stopped and we moved to continue our Direct Action on the sidewalk. I never knew that the front of Macy’s could be a sacred space, but today it was. With the masks now off we stood silently outside the automatic doors of the store: witnesses to the unimaginable suffering that is going on every minute of every day in research laboratories, on fur farms, in slaughterhouses and on farms which raise animals for food.

Nine billion land animals are killed every year in the United States for food.

Clutching shopping bags, a lot of people scurried past us. Others just stood and stared as we resumed chanting. Others snickered, but even a street musician’s upbeat (and loud) electric guitar playing right next to us couldn’t dent the solemnity or the gravity of our witnessing or obscure the magnitude of the worldwide “Eternal Treblinka” endured by animals on this earth.

We’re not going away until every animal is free from suffering.

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –


Security guard stands by during protest at the goat cooking demonstration. Photos by Michael Goldberg

By Leslie Goldberg

We were at the annual Goat Festival in San Francisco to cause a disruption Saturday. Yup, this morning I wasn’t pecking at my keyboard spouting off about animal rights or about the environmental disaster caused by animal food consumption, but rather I took it to the streets with the animal rights groups DXE (Direct Action Everywhere) and BOAA (Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy).

The disruption was successful: By chanting (loudly) and holding up signs we managed to make it almost impossible to give a cooking goat sausage demonstration.

A small group of foodies had gathered under a tent in front of the Ferry Building to watch John Stewart-Streit show how to fry up the flesh of a goat and to also have some samples. Stewart-Streit owns a restaurant in Oakland that serves “house-butchered porcine delights.” The onlookers sat on folding chairs apparently unaware they were about to experience an animal rights protest up close and personal.

Security, on the other hand, was aware there was to be a disruption. There were about eight San Francisco police officers and private security guards standing around. The cops kept talking into their radios. The security officers seemed annoyed.

As the goat cooking demo got started and the chef started talking about the “pleasures” of goat consumption, one activist who had been sitting in the audience stood up, and holding a poster of a dog kissing a goat, faced the audience and explained (loudly) about how goats feel, suffer, experience joy and love their families just like us.

She was so strong and forceful, Stewart-Streit who had a microphone could not make himself heard above her. Then another activist stood up, also holding a poster and started shouting about the suffering of goats and yet another activist did the same.

Then a chant began with about 30 activists standing around the seating area. We whipped out our signs reading “Stop Violence” from under our shirts and from out of our bags.

It was loud. Yet, amazingly, for the most part, the audience just sat there. At first when individual activists were speaking there was laughter but later the expressions turned blank as they stared at us with our Stop Violence signs. Despite the intimacy (we were quite close) it was as if they were watching TV.

Also amazingly, they passively ate the sausage that was handed out from a big platter while the ruckus was going on. I have to say, I did see a few angry faces in the audience and heard one woman say, “We have rights too.”

Chef John Stewart-Streit hands out sausages made from dead goats.

I didn’t respond to her with what I would have liked: “Your rights end at a goat’s throat.” I’d been instructed not to engage with individuals, so I didn’t.

I’m a new member of DXE. I had trepidations about joining. I’d seen the group’s videos where they walk into grocery stores such as Whole Foods and/or restaurants such as Chipolte and start chanting, “It’s not food, it’s violence.” They hold up signs depicting either really cute and sweet animals frolicking in sanctuaries or depicting horrendous animal cruelty.

Is this the right tactic I wondered. Wouldn’t we succeed in simply pissing people off by getting in their faces like that? Why wouldn’t they decide that animal rights activists were just crazy assholes and vow never to stop eating animals?

Then I heard a short lecture from one of the DXE organizers a couple of weeks ago who explained that DXE wasn’t really about converting individuals but rather, impacting society as a whole and making the effort to get our message out into public consciousness.

He also said that DXE is firmly committed to non-violence and if members are asked to leave by the police they leave.

I decided, what the hell, maybe this will do something. Maybe this will stop the slaughter, save the environment and restore public health. My husband Michael and I joined.

Before our action we had gathered at an apartment where some of the DXE organizers live. There I was stunned to learn that a DXE protest at a circus in LA had gone very badly and that circus employees set on non-violent DXE members and beat them with flashlights. One of the DXE members who had been attacked and injured had also been arrested and charged with felony assault.

Oh god.

They had advertised the Goat Festival as a place to “bring the kids to play with adorable baby goats” and attend the “goat-themed cooking demo.”

What? Play with the goats and then turn around and eat sausage made from their flesh?

OK. We’ll go to the Goat Festival where they are eating goat flesh and secretions yards away from where they are playing with living, breathing goats. Our presence as animal rights activists will suggest, if nothing else, “There’s something really bizarre about this.”

The Goat Festival was also “Humane Meat Ground Zero.” The event was sponsored by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Folks troubled by the killing of animals for food could find some comfort in the belief that “Well, at least they had a good life.” And those worried about the environmental devastation caused by factory farms, could soothe their souls with the idea that the meat is “free range” and “sustainable.”

For this post all I want to say is “humane meat” and “sustainable meat” and “cage free” are advertising slogans aimed at people who have money and who care about animals. Those slogans are not the truth, folks. Undercover video of some of these “farms” are almost as gruesome as factory farm footage, but even when it’s nice and the animals are grazing in pastures, it’s not the whole story.

Why I’m not on board with the so-called humane meat or the humane dairy trip:

1) Killing animals and causing them pain, terror and suffering for trivial reasons like “It tastes good” or “Humans have always eaten meat” cannot be defended ethically even if a person paid three times the normal price for that meat or those eggs or those dairy products (yes, they brutally kill dairy cows and egg chickens for meat when they’re “spent.”)

2) Meat and dairy consumption is not “sustainable.” There is simply not enough land and not enough water on this earth to produce enough meat and dairy to feed everybody.

3) No matter how “food animals” are raised they cause planet-threatening pollution and planet-threatening green house gas.

If you still want to argue, write me a letter.

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –


By Leslie Goldberg

Since Gov. Jerry Brown has announced that the little people now should cut back their water consumption by 25 percent, the folks in the animal food industry must be popping the champagne corks. Not only has Brown declined to ask agriculture, including animal agriculture, to cut back, it looks to me like none of the major American media outlets are focusing on livestock and calling it out for the mega-sponge it is.

Instead, the press recently has managed to suggest the idea it’s fruits and vegetables that are the culprits and if we want to do right we should not only turn off the sprinklers but ditch the almond milk and maybe skip the salad. Ok, ok, we should definitely turn off the sprinklers and phase out those oversized spa bathtubs, I agree. But there has been scarcely a hiccup about animal ag with a few exceptions and that’s a serious bummer.

Animal agriculture deserves more than a hiccup! And hamburgers are costing us way more than $1 a piece. Forty-seven percent of California’s water is used for meat and dairy products, according to a study by the Pacific Institute.

California’s biggest crop happens to be not almonds, tomatoes or lettuce. It’s alfalfa. Michael Pollan said during an interview with phys.org, that about 25 percent of our water is going to raise alfalfa, which is primarily for animal feed – not avocado sandwiches.

And possibly the worst of it is that a lot of that alfalfa is being shipped from California to Asia and the Middle East, areas that have started to glom onto the West’s genius animal-food-heavy diet.

“A hundred billion gallons of water per year is being exported in the form of alfalfa from California,” said Professor Robert Glennon from Arizona College of Law, who was quoted in a BBC article. “It’s a huge amount. It’s enough for a year’s supply of water for a million families – it’s a lot of water, particularly when you’re looking at the dreadful drought throughout the south-west.”

So the animal agricultural water footprint is, yes, the animals themselves, but also growing feed crops for not just California’s meat and dairy industry but that of China and the Middle East.

“Wonderful,” I sarcastically write.

However, I think there may be hope. I’m one of those pesky lefties who believes almost nothing happens in this country unless the mega-corporations want it to happen. Somehow I can’t imagine all the non-animal agricultural corporations standing by and watching this one economic sector, animal agriculture, take us down.

And of course, as consumers of these animal products, we can do something too: not be consumers of animal products. “Changing one’s diet to replace 50 percent of animal products with edible plants like legumes, nuts and tubers results in a 30 percent reduction in an individual’s food-related water footprint,” wrote James McWilliams in a New York Times op ed piece back in early March. “Going vegetarian, a better option in many respects, reduces that water footprint by almost 60 percent.”

It’s time, New York Times, to, at the very least, run another McWilliams piece.

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –


Butchering the language has long been a part of the meat industry: cow flesh becomes “beef,” deer flesh becomes “venison,” diseased duck liver becomes “foie gras,” pig flesh becomes “pork” or “bacon.” Even the word “meat” itself is a disguise. These words are convenient – they help animal food consumers forget what they are actually doing: eating dead animals.

And now the industry has come up with another word, “harvesting,” to mean shooting and killing animals for their flesh, suggesting, perhaps, it’s not mean, it’s no worse than picking dandelion leaves for tea! After all, plants have feelings too!

In an article about antelope consumption titled “Meat of the Year,” published yesterday in the Pork Network, an online industry publication, columnist Dan Murphy, an apparent fan of “harvesting” animal flesh, further retreats from reality by calling antelope a “natural, renewable, resource.”

(If the muscle tissue from this animal is so renewable how come they charge between $21 and $36 a pound for this “product” ?)

What Murphy calls “harvesting” is shooting antelopes on Texas antelope farms from long distances (50 to 200 yards) using sound-supressed rifles with “Leupold scopes,” (These are the “preferred tactical” scopes used by the military, the writer informs).

The slaughterers in this case are the “harvest crew,” a “shooter, skinner and a government inspector,” who “quietly search for deer and antelope.”

As an activist friend has said many times, “There’s no way to humanely slaughter an animal who wants to live.”

Yet, of course, Murphy calls this “humane meat” because the animals are spared the feed lot, the bodily mutilation without anesthesia, the battery cage, the gestation crate, the no-food, no-water transport and the slaughter house of the industrial agriculture system. But to make sure we don’t think that the writer actually does care about animal welfare, he explains that animals who aren’t stressed taste better. Quoting an article from Forbes magazine on the same subject: “A wild animal that senses a threat reacts with an increased flow of adrenaline, which in turn creates a rapid increase in lactic acid within the muscles. This acidic condition causes the meat to become tough, strongly flavored, and reduces the shelf life of the meat.”

Forbes is pretty stoked about antelope meat, arguing that it deserves to be named “the latest food craze” of 2015. Murphy seems pretty stoked too, but oddly, in the middle of this article, he notes the exquisite beauty of antelopes.

“Antelope, however, are graceful animals well-suited for captivating nature videos and wildlife postcards. They’re practically the poster critters for the notion that we mustn’t eat anything with a face.”


Well, I know, Dan Murphy, you’re on the payroll of the “Pork Network” and some other industry PR departments and you’ve written a lot of columns with titles like “Make Mine (Extra) Meaty.” I read your diatribes on “stupid vegans,” but methinks you protest too much. Could you?…Is it possible?…Are you, maybe, a pre-vegan? Or… or… are you a secret vegan? I ask because at times you sound like one.

– A Vicious Vegan blog post –


Mark your calendars: 2017. That’s the date when, some climate experts are now saying, irreversible climate change is likely to become locked in unless we do something FAST. This means that it would no longer be possible to avert flooding interspersed with droughts, therefore seriously wrecking agriculture. It means 1700 American cities under water. What else, I don’t know.

Climate change is mostly caused by too much carbon in the atmosphere. Since that carbon takes at least 100 years to dissipate, even 1000s of people buying Priuses or putting up solar panels (while wonderful) isn’t going to be enough to turn things around. It isn’t going to be enough to stop the debacle which could come as early as 2017 or as late 2020.

But there is hope.

In case you haven’t heard, livestock is responsible for at least 51 percent of human-induced carbon and other greenhouse gases. That’s according to the respected Worldwatch Institute which published a report in 2009 by environmental specialists Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang of the World Bank Group, a United Nations agency.

That’s cheeseburgers, bacon, eggs and vanilla shakes, folks.

Fifty-one percent.

And those environmental specialists have explained how replacing livestock products with plant-based products will also free up land to plant trees, which can suck up the excess atmospheric carbon. More trees happens to be a very big deal. And the reverse – losing the rain forests – is also a very big deal.

If this sounds like another “go vegan” pitch from me, it’s not. You actually don’t have to go totally vegan or totally vegetarian to help.

The solution is for people around the world to not only plant trees but also to replace close to 50 percent of today’s livestock products with better alternatives, according to the website “Chomping Climate Change.” Better alternatives are everything from grain-based meats to soy milk, nut butters, whole grains, and legumes.

While livestock emit a lot of carbon through carbon dioxide in respiration, livestock also emit a lot of two other highly potent greenhouse gases: methane and nitrous oxide.

The thing that’s handy about methane and nitrous oxide as opposed to CO2 is those chemicals largely dissipate from the atmosphere within 8 years, quick enough so that large-scale replacement of livestock products with plant-based alternatives could allow us to make a real difference and head off the 2017 tipping point.

But Houston we do have a problem, which is some unfortunate news that I recently acquired from an off-the-record yet credible scientific source: Even if the entire United States goes vegan, that’s not going to be enough to head off this environmental catastrophe.

It has to be the whole planet replacing close to 50 percent of animal-based foods with something else, something else like lentils or potatoes or Beyond Meat stir fry or tofu, or, hell, vegan banana bread.

Currently, China is eating one fourth of all the animal foods on Earth. One fourth.

India with its huge population of over a billion people, too, is chowing down animals. While consumption of animal foods has dropped a bit in the US (population 316 million) it’s increasing in India to the tune of 12 percent a year and there’s no sign that it’s letting up!

OH CRAP! OH FUCK! OH SHIT! (sorry for yelling in this post, but I’m upset.)

One of the reasons that we’re not going to be able to have a little climate change free oasis in, say, the Bay Area or the Pacific Northwest is that greenhouse gas is “transboundary.” It means that green house gases don’t respect borders, so if somebody is raising pigs in China or cows in Brazil or chickens in Alabama, there’s still going to be an epic tornado in Oklahoma or an epic hurricane in the Philippines or a flood in San Francisco.

But before we all pack our bags and head for Mumbai and Beijing with our Vegan Outreach leaflets, it’s important to consider this embarrassing statistic: As individuals, we Americans consume more animal products than anyone else in the world. Per capita we consume twice as much as the Chinese.

India really humiliates the United States. Per capita we Americans consume 19 times the chicken and 10 times the pork that they do.

I once had an unpleasant conversation with Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org at a 2012 Bioneers conference. I hassled him for not bringing up the fact that animal food consumption is a big factor in climate change.

He was pissed and so was I. He asked me where did I think the biggest increase in meat consumption was happening and I told him I knew it was in the poorer parts of the world that were staring to develop economically.

“And how are you going to ask people who are just now starting to be able to enjoy eating meat that they can’t eat it?” he said.

When it happened I was a bit discombobulated, but now I would have answered to him that “meat” isn’t just pork chops these days. Check out the dictionary. It defines meat as an essential food that includes alternatives to livestock products (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meat). Again better alternatives to animal foods can be legumes, whole grains, potatoes, Annie’s veggie burgers, tempeh bacon, etc.

I would have also said that the only reason that animal-based foods have become hip in the so-called “developing world,” is they’re taking their cues from the more affluent countries — that would be the US, that would be Europe. Even if the whole U.S. going vegan isn’t going to be enough to turn around climate change, we’ve still got a huge important job to do here now: Make plant-based cool. Make animal foods obsolete.

As friend and fellow activist Bee Uytiepo says, “Eat like a real environmentalist.”

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —