Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Transcript of M. Butterflies Katz's Live ARZone Guest Chat

Transcript of M. Butterflies Katz’s Live Guest Chat

18 June 2011 at:

6pm US Eastern Time

11pm UK Time and:

19 June 2011 at:

8am Australian Eastern Standard Time

 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

ARZone is pleased to present M. Butterflies Katz as this week’s Live Chat Guest.

 

Butterflies began her journey over 40 years ago, at age 12, when she learned that "meat" was a dead animal, and immediately stopped eating animals. “In those pre-internet days, I had no other authority/inspiration to follow beyond my own conscience” explains Butterflies.

 

When Butterflies was 21, Jay Dinshah (the founder of the American Vegan Society) wrote eloquently about 'dynamic harmlessness' and inspired her veganism. It was the horror of the dairy industry that clinched it, but she rid her closet of leather and began buying only vegan products (which were difficult to source in those days).

 

At age 24, she met up with a vegan community called Gentle World after discovering their classic cookbook. She has since co-authored Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm.

She learned that preparing tasty delicious food was a great tool for vegan advocacy, and so has used it ever since. She now is a chef at a local vegan/organic café in the far north of New Zealand.

 

Butterflies has created a new concept and practice in vegan events, called ‘Vegan Sharing Circles’ - in Florida, U.S. She created a pamphlet called "Becoming Vegan" which she distributes (with other abolitionist literature) at these events.

 

Butterflies identifies with being an abolitionist, anti-speciesist activist, opposed to all violence imposed on human/nonhuman animals.

 

Butterflies welcomes the opportunity to engage ARZone members today, on a range of topics. Would you please join with me in welcoming her to ARZone?

 

Welcome, Butterflies!

 

M. Butterflies Katz:
Thank-you and of course, hello everyone.

 

Sadia:
An absolute honor and delight to be in your presence today Ms. Butterflies Katz! Thank you and welcome. :-)


Mangus O’Shales:

Hi Butterflies!

 

Jason Ward:

Hi Butterfilies, Welcome!!!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Hi again, Butterflies!

 

Tim Gier:

Hello again Butterflies, thanks for joining us!

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Hi, Butterflies.


Sharni Buckley:

Hi Butterflies, welcome!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Butterflies will be responding to her pre-registered questions first, and then we’ll open the chat up for all members to engage her.

 

Please refrain from interrupting Butterflies during her first session, and feel free to send a private message to an admin if you wish to address her at any time.

 

I’d now like to ask Barbara DeGrande to present the first question to Butterflies; when you’re ready, thanks, Barbara.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thanks, Carolyn!

You have had decades of experience talking to people about veganism. What do you consider to be the most effective form of vegan advocacy?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I guess I would have to say ‘speaking from your heart’, though I actually don’t know the answer. Believe it or not, lots of people become vegan from a relationship or from their spouse, so no kidding, I think ‘love relationships’ make vegans. 

 

Gentle World founders have made a lot of vegans. Many people have walked through the doors of Gentle World’s vegan educational centre as a non-vegan and shortly after left as a vegan. I suppose the living example of a group of vegans and their heartfelt voice for nonhuman animals, a video or two, combined with delicious vegan food – is the package deal that sells it.

 

Supreme Master is responsible for quite a few vegans on the planet, apparently. The Abolitionist Approach is (make-sense) vegan advocacy that appears to have more success with making real vegans than groups who don’t even ask you to become vegan. The materials of the group Animal Equality are right up my alley, but I don’t know how effective they are. The most effective form of vegan advocacy is that which actually creates vegans, which Is not a hugely easy thing to do. As vegan educators – we need to encourage others to break through their eons of indoctrination that humans have the right to exploit other animals. 

 

Barbara DeGrande:

May I ask a follow up question please?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Yes

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Could you share a vegan education success story or two?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

We've had many young wwoofers come from around the world to Gentle World's vegan educational center. One couple from Austria that I shared time with here - became vegan and animal rights activists. People at the sharing circles I host in Florida have become vegan, stayed vegan, and some have moved on to abolitionist viewpoints. The lovers and husbands in my life, those close to me - who in that love space, saw the light of becoming vegan. One person became vegan from reading one of my poems. Couldn't ask for more than that for writing a poem! 


Barbara DeGrande:

Lovely, thank you Butterflies!

Next question will be asked by Sharni Buckley. Sharni, when you are ready!

 

Sharni Buckley:

Welcome, Butterflies; how has the animal rights movement changed in the last thirty years? Do you think that veganism will continue to spread at an increasing rate?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

By the way, the questions were all really good!

Animal Rights activists weren’t even vegan years ago. Now, the word is out that to be an animal rights activist is synonymous with being vegan. How can one be for animal rights and at the very same time be involved in harming animals? In years past, it was about “cruel treatment” and now we’re coming in with a new and improved angle; abolishing animal use; then words like “respecting animals” or “humane” are not open to interpretation.

 

For example, ‘our animals are treated with dignity and respect right up to their day at the slaughterhouse.’ We want people to see the simple Truth that animals are not ours to use for any reason. There’s a dichotomy going on of more violence, insanity and environmental devastation, while at the very same time, the number of vegans on the planet is expanding. I can’t predict which way it will all go, however, I feel the only thing I can do is try to make more vegans on the planet; a solution for what ails our planet and its way too many inhabitants.

 

I think veganism will spread at an increasing rate, because it is The Truth; for the greatest good of nonhumans, humans and the planet we share. I believe and I hope that the truth will prevail. Historically, people have made mass changes of perception, and we’re asking them to do it again.

 

Sharni Buckley:

Thank you!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Next question will be asked by the one, the only, Tim Gier!

 

Tim Gier:

You spend time in New Zealand and you spend time in the US. Do you see any differences between how veganism, antispeciesism and animal rights are looked upon or practiced in those places? Thanks Butterflies!


M. Butterflies Katz:

I can’t even get a book from the library on animal rights in northern New Zealand. It’s very backwards here, but there are some excellent Abolitionist Approach advocates in New Zealand and more vegans than you would imagine for a country that is highly indoctrinated that New Zealand = beef and dairy and wool. (As a side note, they are nicer to their slaves compared to the horrific factory farms of the U.S.)

 

The U.S. is advanced in veganism; better and more vegan restaurants, way more vegan products, vegan groups, vegan this and vegan that. I sometimes have to order things internationally because I can’t get them in New Zealand. Commercial VeganPet or Ami kibble is super expensive to bring in. You can’t really get basic vegan vitamins, if needed. I never have anyone in the states tell me that humans need “meat” for survival, whereas I get that more in this hemisphere (Australia/New Zealand).  The anti-speciesism movement coming out of Europe is not that prevalent in New Zealand or USA, (that I know of), but I think it is an approach that all activists should become aware of. 

 

Tim Gier:

May I ask a follow-up?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Ah oh

Go for it...

 

Tim Gier:

thank you :-)

Are you aware of the work Jose Valle is part of with the team at Igualdad Animal? What is your opinion about Open Rescues and Street Theatre protests? They are anti-speciesist vegan activists operating in Spain and other parts of Europe. 

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I'm not as aware as you about Jose Valle, I think I do like his work, but there is a language barrier. I don't know about Street Theatre protests? What are they? I don't have a strong opinion on open rescues, enough to want to come right out with it at this moment. Maybe later!

 

Tim Gier:

They do things such as mass peaceful demonstations with activists holding what look like the bodies of dead animals. They also put people in "packages" so they look as though they are "pieces of meat"

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I have not formed an opinion on that just yet...but watch out when I do form an opinion on something!

 

Tim Gier:

Fair enough! Thanks

 

Sky:

You’ve been involved with a vegan community called Gentle World since you were 24. Could you please explain how this community has impacted on your life and elaborate on why Gentle World exists? 

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Gentle World has impacted my life by sheltering me from the harshness of the non-vegan world out there, raising my consciousness by teaching me about integrity, defining and exemplifying ‘following the Truth’, prioritizing Love, and encouraging my own evolution and living the ideals that hardly anyone else ever talks about, let alone tries to live on a daily basis. It transformed me from a shallow, consumerist, suburban, dressed like a model, type person - to a country girl, a naturalist, who lives one with her environment, a non-consumer, a recycler and conservationist, and much different from the person I would have been if I had not joined paths with them.

 

To sum Gentle World up in a sentence: It is an intentional community of sun-loving, country-living, Truth seeking, vegans who have come together for the intention of improving themselves, and other lofty pursuits. Gentle World has a vegan educational centre in New Zealand that is a model of vegan communal living, where the food is grown veganically, and the land is off the grid – solar and hydro powered. The oasis of sanity, called Shangri-la, was once animal-harming land. The fences and “not-okay corral” (used for sheep shearing) were immediately ripped down, and replaced with fruit trees, vegan-organic gardens, flowers and flowering trees. While those things were ripped down, the derelict house, that most people would have destroyed, was restored and preserved.

 

Gentle Worlders agree on some very important things, and right up there at the top of that list is veganism. Because they could not accept “the world as it is”, they have agreed to work together towards the building of a new one, both for themselves and as a model of what human beings can achieve, when they are willing to do what is right. To learn about Gentle World, visit the website: http://gentleworld.org  

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Butterflies! Brooke Cameron would like to ask the next question, thanks, Brooke!

 

Brooke Cameron:

Thank you Carolyn. It's great to see you here, Butterflies. You’ve been critical in the past of humans feeding cats non-vegan food. Could you please explain what your solution to this would be, in the short term, given that many cats, being carnivorous, are unable to thrive, or even survive, on a vegan diet?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Vegans, who choose to be caregivers for rescued cats, I believe, should at least be lessening the demand for animal products by feeding cats at least some vegan cat kibble. Some dedicated vegans are successful with feeding their cats from the plant kingdom with supplementation, and if a feline has had their PH checked and is healthy, I’m all for it. In fact, I see it as evolutionary. Personally, I don’t want to live with carnivores. I don’t want to see hunting and killing in my immediate reality; it’s bad enough I have to be surrounded by it on Planet Earth, day in and day out. Plus, the creatures (mice, birds, geckos) in my surroundings are counting on me to keep our world a vegan sanctuary. Therefore, I live with only those nonhuman animals that can also eat vegan. They let you know.

 

I think vegans will feel more aligned with their values if they rescue dogs over cats - or rabbits or some other naturally herbivorous animal, if dogs are not appropriate for your situation. We have to do the best we can with any given circumstance. It’s a tough issue. I can’t deny what is in a can of cat food and how it got there; I just can’t wrap my head around why other animals must suffer and die to feed our companion cats.

 

Brooke Cameron:

May I ask a quick follow-up?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

But of course...


Brooke Cameron:

Thanks! Is that not speciesist? To be anti-carnivores?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Perhaps. I never claimed to be completely nonspeciesist...I'm exploring the concept and it has become part of my evolution. I'm not anti-carnivores. However, I have to admit, I prefer the company of herbivores, of all species. Just a preference because they are more gentle and less scary.

 

Brooke Cameron:

Thanks, Butterflies. It's a very difficult and complicated issue. Thank you for your honesty.

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Your welcome. That's one thing I'm good for.


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Butterflies! Luna Hughes is up next, thanks, Luna.

 

Luna Hughes:

Why do you think it is that there is so much divisiveness in a movement that is about compassion and justice?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Two opposing viewpoints:

1. Someone may be more comfortable to come to veganism via identifying with being “straight-edge vegan” or “non-speciesist vegan” or “abolitionist vegan” or “a punk rock vegan” a “vegan-anarchist” or “raw food vegan” or “vegan muscle-making groups”– “vegan freaks” whatever - so because the vegan concept needs to take off, we are finding it everywhere, in all walks of life, in all ages and colors of people, in all religions and in atheists, in straight or gay, in straight-laced to pot-smokers, from doctors to wanderers, from Poland to Portland thus so many factions to reach more and more people.

2. I think if we got out of our ego, we would see that we really need to unite, even though that is hard as we don’t agree on approach or tactics and sometimes don’t even seem to have the same goal. We feel so passionate about wanting to help nonhuman animals, and everyone thinks they’ve got the right approach and wants everyone else to follow their way of thinking – in order to really help liberate animals. So we’re a movement of everyone thinking their way of seeing it – is the right way – this seems to be an aspect of the human condition.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thank you Butterflies!  Next question will be asked by our own Carolyn Bailey. Carolyn

 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Barb! Hi Butterflies! You began your journey to veganism at the age of 12, how did your family and friends react to your decision, at such a young age, to stop eating animals, and what barriers did you face at that age?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Carolyn, I don’t know if I can remember back that far!

 

Everyone said ‘how can you let her do this?’ And I mean EVERYONE. There was not a single person agreeing with me – I was on my own. Even though my parents were omnivores, they allowed me to live my convictions. I had to learn to fend for myself; did my own cooking. My brother, who initially told me “meat” was a dead animal, reacted by helping himself to my dinner portion, however he later became vegan and is a long-time vegan activist.

 

My parents eventually saw the light too. They were vegan(ish) for over 20 years. In their old age, they are letting go of it, however they have a vegan kitchen (except for cat food) and that is because my brother and I keep it that way. I can’t complain about parents who allowed their child to be vegetarian at a time in history when we didn’t actually know if I would die from it. In recent years, they’ve offered their home to host vegan banquets, sharing circles, and events.

 

When I was young in school, I was respected, but stood alone. However, even back in those days of relative ignorance about animal rights, I remember refusing to dissect in high school, and being allowed to abstain without any backlash. I feel if we are really self-assured in our stance on veganism, that we won’t create barriers. In college speech class, I gave a speech on Veganism and Empathy and got the highest grade in the class. 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That's really cool, Butterflies. I have a follow-up if you don’t mind.

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I'm braced and ready.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Do you have any advice for children under 18 thinking about following a similar path that you wish you had at that age? Thanks!

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I did not have the internet and all the many available resources we have today. In the Age of Information, there is no excuse for anyone of any age not to educate themselves about vegan living. The earlier the better, for your body, mind, and soul; which is a huge bonus. On the physical health level, the earlier you stop putting animal products through your system – the better off you will be in adult years. It’s been a real health plan for me, though that is a reward; not the reason I did it. 


Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks again! Brooke Cameron would like to ask the next question. When you're ready, Brooke. 

 

Brooke Cameron:

Thanks. Many animal advocates believe that the regulation of animal use will lead, eventually, to the abolition of animal use. Believing that the best way forward is to address one issue at a time. Do you believe this approach is helpful, and will eventually lead to a vegan world in which we respect all other animals?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

That is what they believe, or say they believe, however we’ve been doing the above mentioned approach for a long time and there’s more killing in more horrific ways than ever in history. Therefore, I think we should try a new approach, which is actually asking for what we want. People can understand if we just present it in the right way.

 

The regulation approach does not ring true to me as does the Abolitionist Approach or any other approach based on nonspeciesism. I have never in my advocacy asked for “better conditions” for animal prisoners or more “humane” methods of harming them, but rather for ‘putting an end to’ the entire system that thinks we have some right to use other animals. In asking for what we really want, we will get better conditions anyway.  But I don’t want to get buddy-buddy with exploiters and ask them to rape and murder in a less horrific way, I want them to stop raping and murdering. Period. I’m staying focused on that goal. 

 

Brooke Cameron:

Thanks! May I ask another follow-up please?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Go ahead...

 

Brooke Cameron:

Just to clarify, you seem to quote THE abolitionist approach, by that do you refer solely to the Gary Francione style of abolition, or abolition in general?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Do I want to do this...hmmmm.....

I think one can be an abolitionist without being a Gary Francione groupie, however it was his writing that first inspired me to see the abolitionist principle with veganism, that is. With other activists, I try to get above personality things and just appreciate what they give to the movement. Every activist comes with flaws and imperfections but when I think of the theory that Francione gave his life to and came up with, my heart swells for the man. But it is solely based on his theory and approach and writing, not on personal feelings.

 

Brooke Cameron:

Great answer, I agree. The majority of abolitionists don't adhere to the Francionist style of abolition. Thanks for your response!

 

Jason Ward:

The next question is from Roger Yates who couldn't make it today so asking it will be Tim Gier - Please when you are ready Tim

 

Tim Gier

Thanks Jason! Here's Roger's question: You have recently asked this question on Facebook: “Which of the following definitions of veganism/vegan most resonates with you? Only pick 1 response. Share widely, let's see how veganism is - or should be -defined” followed by 10 closed questionnaire options from which to pick. What have been the results so far, and what can we - or what did you hope - to learn from them?


M. Butterflies Katz:

Thanks Roger for this question. Since I have thousands of vegan activist friends on facebook, I wanted to use that to learn how vegans, and all their perceptions, actually define veganism. I realized from an earlier poll, that we are not talking about the same thing, believe it or not, when we speak of veganism.

 

Some believe it to be the standard dictionary definition of no animal products in the diet and beyond. For those, I wanted to elevate their definition to one provided by a vegan organization. Various websites all define it differently. I will be putting it all together for my next blog. There are many interesting definitions that will be included: from The Vegan Society (past and present), to Joan Dunayer, to Animal Equality, to Gary Francione, etc. that I intend to include – along with the results of the survey question.

 

The options were closed because I learned from the previous poll that people will just put in there stupid comments or their misconceived idea of the definition of vegan, like they do it for health reasons. It makes no sense to say that we are vegan for health reasons. We can say we are herbivores for health reasons, but that is not a definition of veganism. The one option that received the most votes was “Recognizing the Right of all sentient animals to be treated with respect/justice” and in close second place was “Do not consume/wear/use animals or take part in activities of their exploitation”. If we put them together, I think we’ve got a winner! Over 800 vegan activists voted, and the drum roll The winning definition is: “Recognizing the Right of all sentient animals to be treated with respect and justice. Vegans do not consume/wear/use animals or take part in activities of their exploitation.” 

 

Roger Yates:

Hey - thanks Butterflies!!!

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Yeah, I'm happy you're here.

 

Roger Yates:

Sorry I am late today folks - I was involved in a traffic accident a few hours ago... see my FB for the gory details!!!!! thanks again Butterflies

 

Sadia:

Hope you are okay, Dr. Yates!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

It is amazing you made it here at all! Dedication....or insanity?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Barbara DeGrande has the next question, when you're ready, Barb!

 

Kate:

Hi Roger. Glad your injuries are not so bad that you couldn't be here. Hope you're better soon. :)

 

Barbara DeGrande:
Thanks Carolyn.

What have you learned about human nature after decades living as a vegan? What has been the single biggest obstacle you have overcome in maintaining a vegan life?  Eriyah, you need to register questions with an admin.

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I’ve learned that human nature is something that we need to “rise above”…humans are propelled by their ego and do what they want, not necessarily what is right. It’s for us vegans to help others to do some soul-searching so they can find that part of themselves that would never want to inflict suffering on those who can suffer. Anyone searching for their soul would arrive at that conclusion. Vegan educators need to help people to discover the vegan that lives within them. I’ve learned that people are more open to making change and listening to the vegan message if it comes dressed in a loving vibe. In a space of Love, people are more able to see the light in regards to veganism.

 

I know this is a rather unconventional approach, but you’ve heard all the others, and I do participate in some of those approaches too, but I think love affairs have created many vegans. And the goal is to create more vegans. I can hardly think of an obstacle to maintaining a vegan life. The only obstacle was myself before I “got it”. For example, I sort of sensed that dairy production was not right, but I chose, for a long while, not to further educate myself. I avoided it, because I knew I would have to “give up” my ice cream habit and I didn’t WANT TO. That part of me that was not a Truth seeker and was avoiding going beyond vegetarianism, was the only obstacle I’ve ever encountered. The cost of vegan dog food in New Zealand is really expensive; that makes it difficult, but not an obstacle to being a vegan. I can’t, nor do I want to imagine, anything that could be an obstacle.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thanks so much, Butterflies.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Butterflies. Ben Hornby would like to ask you a question now, thanks, Ben.

 

Ben Hornby:

Thanks! How has the internet and mostly Facebook & Twitter changed your advocacy? What are the good and bad parts of online advocacy?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

The internet is one of the greatest tools we have for spreading the vegan message. An interesting note is that many years ago, when computers first came out to the public, I wasn’t really interested to learn how to use them. Dr. Klaper (vegan medical doctor) said to me that I could use it for vegan advocacy. He convinced me, and taught me and other members of Gentle World, how to use a computer, and I’ve been using it for that purpose ever since.

 

Twitter/Facebook are an added extra feature to vegan advocacy. I still like to do real-human-contact advocacy too. It’s just something else I can do during the day, every day, while I hide out from the world, which I like to do. Being on Facebook has expanded my horizons and I have had my mind opened by many online bloggers and activists. It’s where I met many of you. I think it is a real high that all us vegan activists are communicating and lifting each other to newer and higher perceptions. Facebook/Twitter used for advocacy is nothing short of a miracle. I can make vegans while in the comfort of my vegan home.

 

Ben Hornby:

Thank you

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Next up is Kate's question, which, as Kate is very busy transcribing, will be asked by Jason Ward. Thanks, Jay!

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks Carolyn

Given that animals are sentient and plants are insentient, if we could be confident that no animal would be harmed, would you advocate killing carnivorous plants?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I never thought about this topic. I don’t advocate killing. However, I see what you mean, when a plant is not sentient and it eats a sentient creature and we have the ability to stop this, perhaps we should. But thanks for bringing up an issue I never heard of! I’ve never come across a carnivorous plant, you know. It certainly is not top priority on my list.

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Butterflies. Tim Gier would like to ask another question now, thanks, Tim

 

Tim Gier:

How important to your vegan philosophy is the deep connection you feel toward free-living animals?


M. Butterflies Katz:

Not that important. I have had beyond-the-beyond incredible experiences with free-living animals that were possibly the highlight of my life. However, I became vegan from knowing domesticated cats. Just knowing that other animals were communicative, that they had a face and two eyes, and that I could have a friendship with them, was enough for me to know (no

matter what species of animal; free-living or domesticated or farmed)  that I had no right to harm or kill them…and nor would I want to. My vegan philosophy is based in the longing that all animals will be free-living – one day soon.


Tim Gier:

Thank you Butterflies, the next question is from Erin, who can't be here so Jason will ask on her behalf! Go Jason!

 

Jason Ward:

Thank you Tim

After all these years, how do you stay motivated to work within the movement when there is so much talk of “burn-out”?

Thanks Butterflies

 

M Butterflies Katz:

When abolitionists were fighting for the abolition of human slavery; there was no “burning-out” until emancipation day. When vegan-abolitionists are working for the abolition of nonhuman slavery, there’s no burn-out allowed until all animals are free. So as much as I dislike the constant disagreeing, having to be exposed to people’s indifference to the suffering of other animals, and the depression that comes from constantly hearing/seeing the horrific things humans do to nonhumans, I feel compelled to be a continued voice for them. It’s not about me, it’s about them; their plight they need me to speak up and not burn-out.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Butterflies. Sharni Buckley would like to ask the last question in the formal session for today next.If you'd like to address Butterflies in the open session, please feel free to PM an admin with your intention. Thanks!

 

Sharni Buckley:

Thanks Carolyn.

Butterflies, you self identify as being an abolitionist. From my understanding single issue events, such as circus campaigns, are not in accordance with abolitionist principles. Could you please explain why it is viewed as negative to abolish the use of other animals in circuses? 

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I have never thought to JUST protest the circus. I have only participated in vegan education; which encompasses all harming of all animals. It makes the most sense, to me. I don’t see any difference in a circus, a zoo, a seaquarium, a horse-drawn carriage, dog-racing, hunting, wearing fur/leather/wool, vivisection, eating animal products all the same ’animal exploitation’ that’s what I’m against, not a single aspect of it. I believe in changing the whole mindset of how we view other animals. I prefer to tell the whole Truth. I would not be upset with someone if they felt a calling to advocate for abolition of the use of animals in circuses, but I don’t think it is the best approach and it’s not the role I choose to play in the movement. I would hope that if someone were involved with a protest to abolish circuses - that they would also hand out vegan literature. I don’t believe in asking for baby steps. I don’t think we have time for that as a species. Humans need to grasp the vegan concept before it is too late.

 

Sharni Buckley:

Thanks for that. Could I ask a follow-up please?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Yes

 

Sharni Buckley:

Do you believe, as Gary Francione does, that a single issue campaign incorporating vegan education, when being clear that the campaign is part of an overall effort to end all animal exploitation, is an acceptable form of activism.

 

Where do you do the in person outreach you do? Is there a particular place or kind of place you go to? Would you tell us a little bit about how you begin a conversation with others about the need to be vegan?


M. Butterflies Katz:

I speak to people whenever it comes organically in life, which is a lot. I participate in vegan cooking classes, vegan educational days to the community with FREE vegan banquet. We just had one in northern New Zealand, in animal-harming country, and 100 people showed up! It was great. I'm about to head to Florida where I take advantage of the fact that I am amongst lots of people, and host vegan educational events/sharing circles/banquets and give out literature. The first one made it to the front page of the Sun Sentinel News paper; the food section. They just showed up, suprisingly!

 

I don't do the single issue thing, with incorporating vegan education, so I obviously don't think that is the way however, like I mentioned earlier, I don't have a serious issue with someone if that is their calling so long as there is vegan, anti-speciesist literature as well.

 

Sharni Buckley:

Thank you

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I liked Tim Gier's single issue campaign - I saw this morning.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks so much, Butterflies. I'd like, now, to open the chat up to other ARZone members who wish to engage Butterflies, and ask that you please PM an admin before addressing Butterflies. Admins available are Tim Gier, Barb DeGrande, Jason Ward or myself. First up with a question in the open session is Tim Gier on behalf of Eriyah Flynn, thanks Tim.

 

Tim Gier:

Thanks Carolyn, here's Eriyah's question: Is there a guide in the works on starting vegan community such as the Gentle World for those who would like to start one? 

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

If there isn't, there should be, and I will pass your idea on to the others. There has been a manual put together for the wwoofers who come to stay here. It tells of basic daily behavior that works in communal living. Each wwoofer is handed it to read right when they come. It talks about veganism, and much more. You need a really strong purpose to stay together. It would be good for vegans to get together and live together. It is better for the planet (share refrigerators, cars, etc. - more ecological) better for raising children, though I don't promote that

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Butterflies, may I ask what a wwoofer is?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

It used to be a willing worker on organic farms, and they recently changed it to World Wide opportunites on Organic Farms It's a work trade program, where helpers come and help on organic farms and get fed organic food in exchange. I am starting the same type idea but for vegans so vegan travellers will be able to stay with vegans abroad in exchange for accomadation, and perhaps food too. Gentle World gets many wwoofers - most young people - and mostly from Europe who are not vegan and get a taste of vegan living, and many become vegan. Also, many of them are already vegan and just want to connect. Wwoofing has been a great program to be involved with.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks for that explanation! Janine Laura Bronson would like to ask the next question. Thanks, Janine.

 

Janine Laura Bronson:

Nice to see you here, everyone, and glad you're "ON" Butterflies

My question is one of an interesting nature, that might be researched at some point in time not sure if you are familiar with Maori language?

I wanted to find out eventually if there is a connection between the word slaughter and cook, like in Hebrew, same three-letter root of the word for both :-)

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I will be needing to go soon. I have dogs to walk...that are letting me know that they got to go.

 

I'm not the one to help you figure it out, Janine...better ask someone else...anyone can help her?

 

Tim Gier:

i barely speak English.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Perhaps someone may wish to comment on that question when they read the transcript.

 

Janine Laura Bronson:

Thanks


Maynard S. Clark:
Jan and I can talk - and recruit the resources from what I have

 

Janine Laura Bronson:

Would appreciate that very much!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks Butterflies, next up is Wanda Embar, thanks, Wanda

 

Maynard S. Clark:

No problemo, Jan.

 

Wanda Embar, Vegan Peace:

I don't want to keep you from walking your dogs Butterflies. My question can be skipped. I enjoyed the interview. Your answers were very interesting.

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Hi Wanda, go for it. I'd like to hear your question.


Wanda Embar, Vegan Peace:

Many abolitionists seem to spend a lot of their energy attacking what they consider welfare groups (like PETA). Do you think that anything good can come from these "internal" attacks or do you believe in working side-by-side. 

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

There must be more to this question...

 

Wanda Embar, Vegan Peace:

Are you asking more of an explanation from me?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I think we should be able to voice our concerns about each other's tactics and approaches. Maybe we should do it via personal email at first.

I don't agree with PETA's way - I'm not big on personal attacking.

 

Maynard asked a nice question about The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals, of which I would like to respond to.

 

Maynard S. Clark:
Please tell us about the Cookbook for People who Love Animals, which your group published and is distributed out of Summertown TN. Over the years, I have bought many - yes, hundreds of copies of _Cookbook for People who Love Animals_ - FOR DISTRIBUTION TO local vegetarian group members (as gifts, as premiums, etc.). :-D thumbs up!

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

In 1881, a store clerk sold me a copy of The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals; a classic, one of the first vegan cookbooks published in the U.S. - and that is how I met up with Gentle World, the publishers.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

'best of class'


M. Butterflies Katz:

It was done on a computer, pre-internet days. And we used to sell it from health food store to health food store on road trips. Before internet, it sold 80,000 copies. It has now sold 100,000 copies. It has recipes for animal friends, too. I felt compelled to meet the Gentle World people after seeing it, because they were the only other people who felt like I did. I was a bit nervous to go to a commune. Especially when the Jones Family mass suicide had just happened, so communes sounded wierd to me. But, how bad could they have been if they were all vegan? Some special tid bits on The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Thank you.  Might I ask a related followup? Butterflies, could you give us a concise history of Gentle World, with its name change?  Was it World of God at first? I seem to recall

(a) early presentations at NAVS Summerfest (run then by the Dinshahs and the Graffs) then

(b) World of God? and a song "God Bless These Animals, Friends Whom We Love!" (which runs through my mind every July 4th)

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Good Memory...on the song title!

 

Maynard S. Clark:

To the tune "God Bless America" (often sung on July 4th) Would the song (audiofile) OR the text be available somewhere on the web (or could you e-mail it to me)?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Light, founder of Gentle World, rewrote the lyrics to God Bless America to God blessed the Animals...friends whom we love, we'll stand beside them, and guide them...through this night with a light from above.... from the mountains, to the prairies, to the oceans, to the sky and in the sea..... God blessed the animals....and will set them FREE...God blessed the animals....and will set them FREE. It was kind of fun in those days!

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Thx!  Applause!

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Gente World had many names...World of God, God's World, A Brighter World, etc. - until they incorporated as a non-profit educational organization in 1976 under the name of Gentle World. Maybe not 1976...

 

Maynard S. Clark:

80s?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Forgot the date...need more Brazil nuts for selenium...for memory. Look on the website. He was a member of Gentle World, and we published his books. He's a friend.

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Applause.  Thank you.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

sXe vegan has a question for you, please go ahead when you're ready, sXe …

 

sXe Vegan:

Thank you Carolyn. Hi Butterflies:Would you agree that human breeding goes against the core of veganism and is comparable to not neutering domesticated animals? It is undeniable that land is being used (stolen rather, causing extinctions), albeit much less for a vegan diet and secondly, vegan children may well grow up, discard their vegan values and become carnivores unless the laws change to be non-speciesist. 

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I don't promote breeding of human beings. I've never had children, purposefully. It's not the same though because breeding other animals is forced upon them by humans, which is akin to sexual assault, and in animal farming it is rape. With humans, breeding has not been forced upon them. But they really should see that this is no time to be having children! We have way too many inhabitants using up the deminishing resources and the world is an insane asylum.

 

I never wanted to bring someone to a place that I was trying to escape but that is my personal feelings, and if someone does choose to bring a child here, I will love and respect him/her and give them all the love and truth I can offer. We have a 2 year old living with us in Gentle World, his name is Soul. He is a wonderful human being...a treasure...a bring-up in my life. And I won't be afraid to tell him some day, that I advocate for people to stop breeding.

 

Tim Gier:

Do you think the world would be a better place wihout humans?

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Not all humans, but many of them.

 

Tim Gier:

We certainly have had a very destructive effect on the ecosystem, haven't we?

 

sXe Vegan:

Thank you! I agree with all you said above and the rape comment, I mean to compare our breeding with say cats and dogs who aren't forced.  

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

The planet surely needs far less humans, we're a pest. We think other species are pests and we proceed to exterminate them, we might get our karma. You mean we should spay / neuter humans, like we do nonhumans? sXe

 

sXe Vegan:

They should spay and neuter themselves, I suppose human rights issues come into play if it is done on children and so on. But then again we fail to have a biocentric perspective.

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

I'm all for spaying/neutering humans, and educating people to do that to themselves, without it being forced...as that takes away freedom and basic rights. But this is just off the top of my head, and I really need to consider issues for longer than a minute or two.

 

sXe Vegan:

Yes of course. Thanks!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thank you, Butterflies, both for your insight and your time today. ARZone very much appreciate you being here with us today!

 

M. Butterflies Katz:

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Time to go. Thank-you for tuning in, hope I was not too boring after all the great philosophical guests on Animal Rights Zone...  

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thank you Butterflies!

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks Butterflies for your time with us here today

 

Tim Gier:

Thanks Butterflies, it was great having you here!

 

Sadia:

:-) Thank you so very much for a sweet converse. Grateful for your time!


Wanda Enbar, Vegan Peace:

Your answers were very interesting. Thanks Butterflies!

 

Ben Hornby:

Thanks for being here in ARZone today. You were certainly not at all boring.

 

Mangus O’Shales:

Yes, thanks, it was good to hear from a more down to earth person!!

 

sXe Vegan:

Thank you for the gr8 chat and tell your dogs we're sorry :-)

 

Leah:

Bye and thank  you!

 

Trent Engelhart:

great chat

 

Tim Gier:

Thank you to all our members. As always, you make ARZone what it is.

 

 

 

ARZone exists to promote rational discussion about our relations with other animals and about issues within the animal advocacy movement. Please continue the debate after a chat by starting a forum discussion or by making a point under a transcript.

 

 

Views: 150

Tags: M.Butterflies-Katz, Transcript

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Comment by Alex Melonas on June 21, 2011 at 7:22

First, it important to note that I am arguing "in principle," so your practical concerns, which may or may not be valid, are largely moot.

We don't hold the principle that whatever happens to be in our interests, "naturally" (or biologically speaking), is morally relevant per se. It is certainly in my interests, evolutionarily speaking, to strengthen my, say, racial in-group or to procreate with as many women as possible (sometimes with violence, if necessary). But that isn't relevant, morally speaking, because whatever happens to be "natural" is the arbitrary result of genetic mutation in response to external stimuli; it is arbitrary, like my race or sex. So it isn't at all clear to me why a carnivores interest to be a predator is morally relevant.

This is to say, "rights" cannot be founded on interests alone without an independent standard that distinguishes between "good" and "bad" interests. Just because they are interests, that is, doesn't mean anything, morally.   

Finally, re: population growth, it isn't clear how your argument is relevant in the first instance: is it ethical to bring additional beings into the world? My answer (above) is no.

Comment by Carolyn Bailey on June 21, 2011 at 7:13

I couldn't agree more with your comments on carnivores, Brandon. 

 

Comment by Brandon Becker on June 21, 2011 at 2:33

I disagree with Alex: I think it is speciesist to be anti-carnivore, since you are discriminating against carnivores based on their biology - their need to consume animal flesh to survive. Not to mention their interest in living according to their own autonomy and self-determination. I also think it would lead to ecological collapse if there were no predation to keep herbivore populations in check.

According to Clive Ponting's book A Green History of the World, carnivores are only successful about 1 out of every 10 tries. Just as carnivores are built to kill, herbivores are built to escape. I promote non-interference with natural predator-prey relations so other animals can be free of our anthropocentric tyranny and live lives according to their biological natures.


Regarding humans having children: population cannot be looked at by itself. A human living in poverty in Bangladesh has far less negative impact on the planet than a human living in the United States or other mass industrialized society. Humans living outside civilization in primitive tribal societies generally live in harmony with their environment. Population matters, but resource consumption (which is driven by governments promoting corporate capitalist agendas) is the most important aspect.

Comment by Alex Melonas on June 21, 2011 at 1:32

Good chat. I'm sorry I missed it. 

Two things. I am anti-carnivore; it is not speciesist to be anti-carnivore. The crucial difference, as I see it, is that an opposition to predation turns on the morally relevant reason that predation causes harm and death. It doesn't follow that we should kill currently existing carnivores. That would be arbitrary because they are carnivores through no fault of their own. However, I see no ethical reason (perhaps practical though) why we shouldn't interfere with "nature" to reduce the amount of harm and death that occurs. Eliminating future generations of carnivores, then, in principle, is a justifiable goal.

And re: having children, I find it difficult to justify for many reasons. First, most agree that we have an obligation to avoid causing harm when we can, but it isn't clear to me why, then, we don't have an obligation to prevent or reduce harm when we can. Given the amount of harm currently experienced in the world today, it seems difficult to justify expending the resources (material, mental, emotional, time) that it takes to bring another being into existence when those resources could be used to fulfill our obligation to prevent and reduce harm when we can. Moreover, it is plausible to argue that we will simply be adding to the amount of harm experienced by bringing another being into existence. (Can we be confident that that baby will be happy? If not, and we could know in advance that that baby would be ultimately unhappy -- life is a grind punctuated with moments of happiness, but ultimately... -- wouldn't it be wrong to bring that child into existence?)

Comment by Christine Vardaros on June 20, 2011 at 18:07
Very cool and interesting interview! Thanks for the transcription!

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