Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
Transcript of Barbara DeGrande’s ARZone Guest Chat
4 December 2010 at:
2pm Pacific Time
5pm Eastern Time
10pm UK Time and:
5 December 2010 at:
8am Australian Eastern Standard Time
ARZone would like to warmly welcome Barbara DeGrande as today’s chat guest.
Barbara has a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from U.C. Santa Barbara and a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University.
Barbara is currently the Dallas Vegan Culture Examiner for Examiner.com as well as a Feature Writer for Suite101 in the Documentary Film section.
Barbara has generously agreed to engage ARZone members today on a range of topics.
Jason WardHi Barbara nice to have you here today
keep the chat running smoothly. Alternatively feel free to utilise the open session at the completion of Barbara’s formal questions to do so. I’d now like to ask Barbara the first question on behalf of Tammy McLeod.
Gary Francione on Twitter, blogs, etc. My own blog was actually started in response to my adult son and his wife asking me to start a vegan recipe blog; they had blogs and saw a need. It has, like me, evolved over time.
doing the same?
inconsistencies publicly displayed all over their office” (a mounted swordfish, horse racing photos, etc.). Yet, your cat friend Skitter received excellent care there. When you consider this, do you see any parallels between it and other kinds of animal care, such as zoos and aquariums? Are those places providing a valuable service despite their unenlightened views?
Only in the lack of awareness of those very inconsistencies. Here in Texas we have hunting ranches - animals penned in by huge chain link fences where people come in and shoot them for “sport.”
for animals as is done in aquarium I would see sanctuaries as providing care for animals in a less exploitive way, where the animals live at home and are not on display to amuse humans.
read it. It is an important issue and one that is often overlooked by activists. "yet she consumes"
instinct is often to find a cause and work on it.” Whilst this is understandable, and many people feel they must help animals who they deem to be suffering “now”, do you have any advice for explaining to others that single issue campaigns which appear to … have immediate “successes” are often detrimental to other animals, even leading to the misconception that some other animals are worthy of saving and others are not?
help liberate animals. Protests about the baby seal slaughter have been ongoing for decades. I am old enough to have witnessed the failed policies of such targeted approaches. More animals are being tormented now than ever before. That is in itself damning information.
that humans are superior and animals are put on earth for man’s use, however cruelly mankind wants to use them.” How can vegans reach people like this “where they are” when their entire self-identity seems to be wrapped up in the domination and exploitation of others?
can do is try to live a non-violent vegan lifestyle and let that speak for itself. BTW, Orsi felt veganism threatened his faith - his own admission.
May I ask a quick follow-up?
Thank you. Are you saying then that there will be some people who we just can't reach, and that we should focus on those we can?
No, but I rarely go after an individual on my blog. I think because of his belief system, he would be challenging. I reach out - he would probably not reach back is all I meant.
Thank you Barbara, I like how you say to reach out, even if they won't reach back. Brooke Cameron has the next question, whenever you are ready Brooke.
Thank you This week, the Sea Shepherd crew have left Hobart for the Southern Ocean in their bid to stop the Japanese Govt. sponsored whalers killing as many whales as possible. Their quota this year, again, includes 50 humpbacks, along with 935 minke whales and 50 endangered fin whales. Without SS’s presence in
the Southern Ocean, there’s little argument this quota would be met each year. Do you support the direct again of SS, if so why, if not what would your alternative be?
I do not personally support them financially and do not actively follow them. Years ago I was a Greenpeace supporter; I followed Paul Watson when he was on ARZ. I do think protecting the oceans and life therein is
very important work. Sometimes campaigns for whales or dolphins tend to get the media attention while other sea life is overlooked, yet is equally important. Obviously, there is no purpose in saving whales if we do not save their environment and the sea life they need to survive. Some of these conservationists are not vegan, which I see as problematic. I would like to see many of these organizations combine forces to promote veganism.
Thanks for that, Barbara. May I also ask a follow-up?
Thanks! Sea Shepherd refer to themselves as an anti-poaching organisation and reject the idea that they should be responsible for vegan education. Paul Watson is very open about that. Do you think it’s fair to expect more from SS in the form of vegan education?
No I don't; I just think it would help the animals and the ocean more if they would look at the big picture. I understand that is not their purpose, but it is mine!
Thanks, Barbara, and Brooke.
Jason Ward:Thanks Carolyn. In episode 10 of your podcast, you say farewell to welfare. You describe your journey from vegetarianism to abolitionist veganism. Can you talk about the process by which you became vegetarian in the first place: where you, for example, subject to this “vegetarian first” tradition in the movement? IOWs, did you fall into the common trap of not thinking of veganism as the ~first thing~ we do for nonhuman animals in animal advocacy?
I became a vegetarian decades ago and veganism was not a word I had even heard then. It was difficult to be vegetarian then and I was living in an ideal place - on the banks of the Russian River in Sonoma County, California - not a bad place to be at all. Later, I did hear the word and actually was eating a plant-based diet but did not fully realize what vegan meant until a few years ago. I always hated the idea of eating animals. I learned more about what was going on from listening to podcasts. Now I am a strong believer in a clear VEGAN message. I would have embraced veganism much sooner had I learned about what was going on in the world of animals then.
Thanks Barbara, Jason has the next question. Go ahead Jason!
Thanks again Tim
you please give an example or two of what you mean?
Let me use an example from my professional life as an analogy. If a client came to see me in therapy with an addiction that was destroying his or her life, it would do no good to demand they stop. The issues are too complex emotionally and physiologically. They would need to change many patterns in their life, many associations, and look at what function the addiction plays in their life and thinking. I would need for them to discover this and help them see by asking the right questions and supporting them. In much the same way, I cannot force anyone to become vegan. I can only provide education, information and support
should they choose to make a change in their life. A real life example: recently a former colleague asked me to stop posting vegan articles on his page. I agreed. About two weeks later, he wrote me that he was giving up eating mammals - no vegan but working on it. I put the information out, pulled back when asked, and then he felt comfortable and moved forward. I think the operative word in that quoted sentence was "demand." :-)
Thanks again, Barbara! Roger has a question next, which he'll ask himself now that he's finally arrived. Thanks, Roger.
As a sociologist, I was particularly taken by your Veganacious post, “Small Non-Vegan Visitors,” in which you describe catering for two boys, one aged 5 and the other somewhat older. Your account – and especially in relation to the reactions of the older child – made me think of the social power of socialisation processes. The older guy seemed to have gained some prior prejudice toward veganism which you had to work at to
overcome. You speak of him wrinkling his nose ~before~ tasting things. Were you simply dealing with a fussy eater, or someone already “educated” by a speciesist society?
A bit of both. Not fussy by extremely limited in his tastes. And definitely a product of early socialization. He is ten and was five when I first came to Texas - he had been taught to stomp on ant hills. I explained the interdependency of ants and termites and how imporant it was to leave the insects be. Only a few weeks ago, his little brother told me big brother was taking insects out of the house rather than killing them. And he asked me to make him a vegan pizza just last week. He is still not thrilled with all vegan fare but loves vegan ice
cream (especially fresh strawberry), banana bread, and now pizza. Little brother has eaten about 50% vegan at least most of his life; he is open to eating anything.
Barbara, may I ask a follow-up?
Yes by all means!
Thanks! You've not mentioned whether there are any young girls in your family... but, given your background, do you think that boys are more ready to hurt others, as a show of their "manhood"?
They definitely have different pressures. Despite me being a terrible tomboy, I did not have the same pressures as young boys do. There is the myth about what being "tough" means. I love it that when I pick my grandson, 5, up from preschool, at least five or six little roughians come up and hug him before he leaves. That never happened when I was a kid! Hopefully, some of these pressures will change over time. Unfortunately, when I worked "inside" I found that many girls and young women are involved in beatings, stabbings, murders, almost on the same level as the young men. Some kinds of equality are nothing to celebrate, sadly.
wow. Thank you for that. Carolyn has the next question, Carolyn?
Thanks, Tim. Hi, again, Barbara, you strongly reject all violence, and rightly so in my opinion. I’m curious if you have an opinion on the recent case of the sending of razor blades allegedly infected with the HIV virus to a prominent vivisector in the US, by animal rights activists. Do you class this as a violent act? Why or why not?
It is definitely calculated to intimidate. There is often, though, a boomerang effect with these kinds of tactics. One example I mentioned in a podcast was about vegan activists throwing a cayenne-laced pie in Lierre
Keiths face as she spoke at a book store, promoting The Vegetarian Myth. Her sales shot up, she was interviewed repeatedly, and the view of vegans plummeted. I do understand the frustration of people taking part in these tactics; they obviously feel very passionately. But I do not personally support them.
Thanks, again, Barbara, for your insight. Tim Gier would like to ask another question now, go ahead, Tim.
In your recent podcast you mentioned that it's unrealistic to think that all people might go vegan overnight. A prominent advocacy group agrees with you and so they advocate that people start on their path to veganism by refraining from eating chicken and fish, because the majority of others killed for food are fishes and chickens. Does that kind of gradual approach make sense to you?
No. I try not to partner with any kind of exploitation. It is not my job as a vegan to suggest that one kind of exploitation is preferable to another. It sends the wrong message. Even less animals are killed by veganism; let's support that. If people need help transitioning, we can be there for them. Once you accept and embrace veganism, eating is the easy part!
Thanks, Barbara. Ben Hornby would like to ask a question next, thanks, Ben.
Thank you. Many advocates believe that children should be the focus of as much of our advocacy as possible. Although, obviously, adults are capable of education at any age, often older people can be overlooked. Do you focus your advocacy anywhere in particular, and do you have an opinion of the focus being, often, on children?
I do not focus my advocacy right now on any particular age group; I am doing podcasting, blogging, creating vegan recipes and working on a directory for vegans. These are support services available for anyone. I do
have some ideas about the new group and future outreach possibilities. I would like to see us leaflet at local events and college campuses, maybe develop a humane education curriculum. As someone who came to veganism in later years, I would not overlook anyone at any age, but do think the sooner the better, definitely.
Barbara, thanks again. Roger has another question for you. Professor Yates, when you are ready
ok Hi Barbara. Like me you seem to dislike the term “veg*n” and have written about the response you had from animal advocates when you criticised the “word.” Can you explain why you dislike it so much and the
nature of the response to your critique?
I dislike it because it equivocates - it is not clear. In an attempt to cast a wider net, the vegan message gets lost. The recent spate of people calling themselves ex-vegans, including a vegan cookbook author, demonstrate the problem inherent in people thinking veganism is about diet, and lumping people with different diets into a single category. It confuses the public. Vegan is a simple world; has it been explained to me earlier, I could
have done so much more and saved more animal lives. Let's stop Veganaphobia!!!!
Thanks again, Barb. Jason Ward has a question for you next, all yours, Jay!
would be likely to be listed? How do we find this directory?
Thanks Jason. It is not yet fully operational but is at http://vegansdirectory.com and we have a page on Facebook and Twitter. When it is done it will have hundreds of vegan businesses, services, and organizations
from around the world. One of the joys of working on this is that I am seeing what is developing and where as I discover these services and businesses. Right now there are over 400 listings; I am hoping to have it operational in a few months. It is helpful to find out which laundry soap is vegan, which cosmetics are okay, etc. Most are all vegan; if not, there is a **Vegan Warning** about what is not vegan. A few products are listed that might be of interest to vegans, but most are vegan. It is also fun to write to so many companies and alert them
that people are searching for vegan products. It all helps!
Thanks again, Barbara! For the last question in the formal chat for today, Tim Gier will ask a question from Lorraine Haines. Thanks, Tim.
will continue, or can you see more positive interactions becoming the norm in the future? Thank you for your time.
thinking, differing ways of doing outreach, different resources - all helpful. I also think it is important to learn how other people think and feel, in order to develop more effective ways of educating them, while educating myself too. Also, being attacked or called names comes with the territory, so we have to develop a thick skin and be prepared to move forward anyway. It is about the animals, not us.
ask another question first, go ahead, Tim
are). Now, everything we feared has started happening. So, part of it is the passion it takes to work on something with such seemingly insurmountable odds, and it is easy to see others within the movement as a threat. It is like having one of those parachutes that preschoolers sit around and pull. Everyone pulls
at once and the chute doesn't move. That gets frustrating. Plus, unlike overpopulation, we have a very real sense that those animal death calculators are going off all the time. While there may be a wide variety of personality
types, I see it more as evidence of frustration, misunderstanding, and passion.
Carolyn BaileyThanks, Barbara. Roger wanted to ask another question as well, thanks Rog.
Tim GierThanks Barbara
Roger YatesSo, what's the latest DeGrande analysis of Farmville, Barbara!
Barbara DeGrandeHa! I love and hate that darned game. My sister got me started and it is how the grand kids keep in touch. But what a time drain! Good therapy though - THAT I can do successfully!
Carolyn BaileyThanks, Barb! Mangus O'Shales has a question next, go ahead, Mangus, thanks.
Mangus O’ShalesLast week a few of you were talking about how its easier for white rich people to be vegans and not so easy for people who live in africa or somewhere like that. what do we do about that? thank you for talking to us
Barbara DeGrandeGood question, Mangus. I have two correspondents in Uganda and I know things are very difficult there. There are parts of the globe that are still pretty dark when I search for vegan businesses, but also some countries
have relied on plant food as their main food source, too. I think people with a wide array of choices should be the ones to begin, though. And hopefully we can continue to reach across the globe. But honestly, it troubles many of us and I am glad you are thinking about it. I wish I had a better answer.
Tim Gier Barbara, how do you deal with the frustration? It does seem as though we're facing a mountain road, driving an old underpowered Fiat that won't make it to the top.
cats) rather than having them put to sleep?
get into judgments and keep my focus on what I can control and what I think is right. But there are no easy answers. For example, one sanctuary I know has quit taking in lions and other big cats because of this dilemma. I think these animals may well go extinct due to the unsustainable nature of feeding them in
the future. These are horrendous questions we have put ourselves in a position to deal with.
our society has become so speciesist? As in its ok to kill other animals to keep the cute fluffy ones alive?
demand, which would not be fed to others anyway. When it comes to questions such as who deserves to live and who should be killed, the answer is that to each and every life, it is sacred to them. When population pressures get worse, more and more of these questions will be asked. Some activists rescue as many companion animals as possible others have none, in part for these reasons.
I know someone who runs a farm animal sanctuary and that is always a top priority or she would run out of space in a hurry.
hatchlings, as they try to make it to the sea, dying as the food for predators. Do you think we have any obligation to intervene in those kinds of situations?
Barbara DeGrandeI think we have an obligation when we have mucked up the works, otherwise we should leave animals be. One example would be how we are decimating predators, then going in and killing the herd animals due to
overpopulation. We are not very good at interventions overall, or we would be putting a check on our own overpopulation. Notice how everyone talks about reaching 9 billion people? Who is talking about stopping the growth?
thanks Barbara for being here today - you rocked!!!
Thank you, Barbara. This has been a great chat!
this was a good chat. thank you barbara.
Thanks very much, Barbara!
Thanks for today, Barbara. Great chat!
thank you Barbara! You're my hero!
Barbara, thank you very much for your time and your thoughtful replies to our questions!
Thank you much indeed, obsereved and absorbed and grateful , great discussion :-)
Thanks also to all ARZone members for your support again today
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