Why I Can’t Support Factory Farming Or Fur

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Lately some friends (and some not so friendly to me) have asked, “Why so radical with this food and fur thing?  Have you gone mad”?

The answer is yes and no.  Sometimes I hear, “Don’t you even care about children and their causes?”

These are good questions and valid questions.  First, my wife and I love kids. We donate the majority of the money (that we donate),  and promotional time to children’s causes.

So why suddenly this thing about being a vegan and saying no to fur.  First, the animal thing is “not sudden”. Those who know me even from my home town knows my affection for animals.  It’s been with me since I was a child, and I’ve become even more so in adulthood.

My wife Lee Hiller-London and I tweet about animal and childrens causes as much as possible.  Same on facebook.

Occasionally I get asked, “So do you prioritize animals over humans?”  Again, very good question.

Of course not.   Also, to sleep at night, given all the new information I now have, from reading, watching videos, observing in the forest, and talking to Lee, I realize that animals have a lot more intelligence, feelings, and even loyalties to their own families than we once knew.

And sometimes people ask, “But why so ‘angry’ about fur farming?” I could go on and on about the cruelty of it; because now we know it exists.  But there’s a lot more to it than that.

When the “Endangered Species Act” was founded, it was not only because a couple of animal rights nuts thought the snail darter and other fuzzy little animals were cute.  It was because enough research had been done showing that when one species becomes endangered on the planet, so does humanity.  So I was beginning to lean towards getting as much fur, leather, and other animal bi-products out of my life long ago.  It was/is only common sense. A person need not buy into the “animals have feelings too” idea; to understand what science has proven.  Eliminate one species; and we *all* go. That is not Rick talking.

I sometimes get called things like “crazy liberal animal lover” etc.  That’s okay.  In 1973, the one U.S. President who felt, to even my surprise, that the current animal protection was not enough, signed the Endangered Species Act was none other than Richard M. Nixon.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endangered_Species_Act

Some ask me (and I’m not kidding), “So if I eat meat, I can’t be your friend?”  I hope that is not how you feel.  It’s surely not how I feel. All I ask is to please become informed first.  The meat that is being sold to us today, is not the meat that was sold to us growing up.  It is, most likely, factory farmed.  That means, aside from unusual cruelty to the animals), unhealthy meat with a massive amount of hormones and unnatural fats that give us cancer, heart disease, and a host of other ailments (often at a young age), that are preventable, simply from exploring small farm (free-range), organic if possible, meats.

Fish, even wild-caught, is no longer safe.  It is so full of mercury and other toxins, we no longer even eat sushi, one of my final hold-outs before turning vegan.  Forget the fact that science has discovered that fish have feelings and intelligence way beyond what we were originally taught, it kills us.

So what is left?  Again, that is your personal choice.  For us its vegan.  Lee is 100% raw vegan, and I’m about 75% raw. I plan to make the transition into raw within a few months. There is still a great amount of toxins and such leaving my body from the years of eating basically dead foods that were not sustaining me, just putting me in survival/slow death mode.

I was one of those people.  When I told my cardiologist that I was changing my diet to more fresh vegetables and fruits he gave me the thumbs up.  He loves being a surgeon, but so much surgery is not a cure, it is a control.  I am grateful to him for having those skills.

Why do we speak out against fur?  After all wasn’t America built on the fur trade?  Yes it was.  But it was built on slavery too; but that didn’t make it right.   So much more is known today than even a few decades ago regarding fur and the animals that bear it.  This short video (hard to watch) is by Heather McCartney (daughter of Paul and Linda) regarding how it is raised in China http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfp8qtxXg1U, but sting operations are finding it is not that much different in the U.S. and Europe.  Dog, often skinned alive, is included to unsuspecting consumers, thinking they are buying faux fur.  Saks, Macy’s, Neiman’s and several others just settled a law suit with the HSUS who proved that dog was being sold as “faux fur”.

The “new improved” fur industry is billing itself as raising a kinder-gentler and “ethically euthanized”. Numerous sting operations have already proven that to be a lie.  Often designers and brands are shown the one or two “humane” farms (so that they don’t get totally sick) and that is all they see. The sad thing is; there’s only a few of those.  The business simply has proven itself unable to be accountable, and the largest majority are, for the most part, very very similar to the one in the video. The killing methods may (or may not) be slightly different.  But the horrid living conditions are the same.

This new fur industry is billing itself as “green” and “earth friendly”; and people are buying into it. Don’t believe it.  It’s anything but that.  Again, don’t take my word.  Do your own research (they will be glad to show you their green ethical farm, but what about all the rest.  All the fur from a brand does not come from one or two farms. It comes from every country on the planet.  And 99.% of those farms are run to the detriment not only of the animals, but to the planet, and; to you and me.  Because we can’t see it up close, it doesn’t seem to affect us.  But it does.  Even if you don’t buy into the global warming theory because Al Gore supports it, perhaps you can make an exception to fur because Richard M. Nixon signed the ESB into law; and I’m guessing it was not because of his love of fuzzy little wildlife (though I could be wrong). It was because science had proven by 1973 that one lost species most likely means humans go next.  And that has never been disputed.

Most of this information has been around for a long time.  My patient wife Lee has been transitioning into less meat, chicken, fish, and finally 100% vegan over the past few years.  I was late to the table but turned vegetarian about 7 months ago, and finally vegan ten days ago.  I’ve not had one cup of coffee since that time, but haven’t felt I needed it.  My eyesight is starting to improve, as is my ability to concentrate.   In other words, my quality of life is improving, finally.  I watched Lee’s own health and good looks improve that much more. I wanted that too.  Now I’m getting it.  I don’t demand others eat like we do, or not wear fur. That is a personal decision; But we would never feel comfortable in our own skin promoting a business such as a factory farm or fur business.  After all, they don’t even get to feel uncomfortable in there skin, and then someone else pays for it and wears it.  We feel a responsibility to help our friends get all the right information, so they do not make the same errors the generation before us did, through no fault of their own (they simply didn’t have all the facts).  Thanks and happy trails to everyone.

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Rick London is founder and co-creator of Google’s #1 offbeat cartoons & funny gifts (Londons Times).   His cartoon features over 1/4 million tees, mugs, shoes etc.  Every single product is vegan-friendly.  His wife is nature photographer Lee Hiller-London who is creator of the popular nature blog  Hike Our Planet and has her own line of about 36,000 gift items.

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