Tag Archives: climate change

HOW I’D SALVAGE THE WORLD – IN ONE MINUTE

I’m running for Parliament in Canada’s October 19th election as a candidate for the Animal Alliance/Environment Voters Party – AA/EV – for the Toronto-Danforth riding. Though the AA/EV is one of Canada’s tiniest political parties, I represent billions more beings than my fellow candidates. These beings include not just the thousands of voters and residents of Toronto-Danforth but also Canada’s billions of animals: our wildlife; the dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, birds and other creatures we live with as companions; the unlucky members of those same species imprisoned in facilities that torment them in the name of science; and the billions of cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs, goats and fish condemned to factory farms where they endure brief, wretched lives that end in terror in slaughterhouses.

factory farming I carry the interests of so many creatures on my shoulders!

I also advocate for the well-being of the environment whose destruction humanity – and other political parties – seem bent on permitting, by failing even to acknowledge – much less address – the biggest contributor of all, the factory farming that continues to gobble up Canadian family farms.

They do not protest against how the effluvia from factory farming pollutes neighbouring land and the waterways it seeps into. Nor, when discussing health care, do they express alarm that before slaughter, the tormented and sick animals are given antibiotics – 80% of antibiotics are used for animals, only 20% in human health care – and so everyone who eats their flesh is also exposed to antibiotics, leading to the widespread resistance to these once wondrous drugs that threatens to leave us unprotected against diseases that were once easily manageable. Nor do they cry out against the hormones given those animals to boost and hasten their growth and slaughter and that, in the humans who eat them, are linked to breast and testicular cancer, among others. Nor do they worry about the pesticides the animals ingest in their feed that is grown with many carcinogenic chemical pesticides.

That’s the tip of the iceberg of what I stand for, and doesn’t even glance at the economy, the TPP, health care, immigration, terrorism, privacy, Bill C51, democracy itself in Canada. silence

Yet in an upcoming television All-Candidates debate on Rogers TV, we are each allowed exactly one minute to introduce our programs. How is that possible? A one-minute speech is no more than 140 words, and I’ve taken nearly triple that already.

And then last Sunday in church, reciting the Apostle’s Creed, I had an epiphany. That creed, (King James version) which encapsulates the core of Christianity and even wraps it in a bit of narrative, is 110 words! If Christianity can be expressed so succinctly, so can the world-view that has driven me to enter the political arena.

My creed: I believe in a world where humans respect, protect and enhance the environment they depend on and share with animals and plant life, and where progress is measured not as macroeconomic units of growth but always in terms of justice, equity and sustainability. Humans are inextricably linked by biology and ecology to non-human life, and when humans harm other life forms, they harm us all, not just physically and emotionally but also ethically and spiritually.

Our best science shows that the economic course that humanity is currently pursuing will—left unchecked and unreformed—result in drastically altered ecosystems and catastrophic events far worse than we are already witnessing and enduring around the world.

I believe in Canadian sovereignty and mourn its sacrifice at the altar of globalism via the TPP and previous cross-border deals, increasingly crafted in secrecy from voters but not from special interests, including lobbyists.

TPP silence (And, if I speak as fast as the speed of light, I can also include) I believe Bill C51’s acceptable features are far outweighed by its potential to silence dissent, invade privacy and crush ethical whistle-blowers and animal advocates like myself as “terrorists.”

Amen.

It’s (barely) do-able. Perhaps, in the capable hands of the folks who produced the Book of Common Prayer version of the Apostles’ Creed, mine could be reduced to one minute, articulated without rushing. Until that happens, I’ll zip along as fluently as I can, and rely on answering questions – I’ll have 30 seconds for each! – to elaborate on my world vision.

Thank you for speed reading for the most crucial of causes: animals and the environment.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I’m running for Parliament to shout out Inconvenient Truths

For all the electioneering chatter about the environment and about greening Canada, there’s a huge element missing in the discussion and the political pledges—the inconvenient truth about animals and factory farming. I’m running for Parliament in the upcoming October 19th elections to tell those truths, and to speak out on behalf of animals.

animal rights correct human wrongs

Have you, too, ever wondered why even green-oriented politicians avoid or (at best) give glancing attention to the 650 million farmed animals slaughtered every year? Do they take their direction from former American Vice-President Al Gore, whose wildly influential documentary An Inconvenient Truth omitted to flag methane as the single greatest contributor (18%) to global greenhouse gas emissions and also failed to urge us to eat less meat as a way to save the planet?

Poppyo and I at vigil Jan. 2013the-horrors-of-factory-farming-21349353Why did Gore do that? In trying to figure out how such a convincing environmentalist could betray his own mission, I imagined a conversation in which Bill Clinton, whose near-fatal heart attacks had by then converted him into a vegan, grilled his friend and colleague Al Gore on that very issue.

Bill Clinton: Let’s talk about the illogic of claiming to be a Green Guy who cares about the environment when you don’t even mention animals! Sure, you laid it on thick about the other major villains—fossil fuels, the destruction of the world’s forests, and so on—and you challenged people to make small personal changes that would add up to big differences to stop climate change. And you called it a moral issue, not a political one. But you left out the mother of all inconvenient truths—the human treatment of animals and what that’s done to the environment.

Hey, don’t shrug your shoulders! You know the facts as well as I do. (He scrolls quickly on his tablet.) Just to refresh your memory: Factory farming is a major generator of greenhouse gases. Let me put it even more starkly. Sixty-five percent of human-related nitrous oxide comes from manure, and has 296 times (that’s 29,600%!) times the Global Warming potential of Co2. And factory farms account for 34 percent of all human-induced methane—Can’t you just smell those toxic cow farts?—and methane is 23 times (or 23,000%!) as warming as CO2! Then there’s the ammonia, most of which comes from these same factory farms. Besides the agony it causes the animals who are forced to breathe it in every day of their short lives, that ammonia is also responsible for widespread human illness, including respiratory disease.

Canada factory farm cow               Baby cow killed for cheeseloverCanada factory farm hamburger

Shall I go on? How about the irony that 33 percent of the world’s global arable land is devoted to producing crops to feed animals that are raised to be killed and eaten?

Al Gore: Stop! You know why I glossed over all that, Bill. It was a strategic decision. I figured that if I could convince people that climate change is a looming disaster but assure them that they can fight back against it by making small changes in their behaviour, then maybe they’d do it. But asking people to drive a hybrid car and to turn off the lights is a far cry from asking them to urge their government to make drastic changes to the way their food is produced. Come on, Bill. You’ve always told me to watch out that the agro-industrial lobby doesn’t clobber me and to make sure that I keep my eye on the pulse of the people, who are every bit as carnivorous as I am!

Bill Clinton: Sighs. You’re right, Al. How could you ask government to take on corporations like McDonald’s and all the other fast food outlets that are such wonderful customers of factory farmed animals?

kfc-scary-photo-3That imaginary conversation contains several Truths, all of them about political expediency and will. The thought of promoting the most Inconvenient Truth of all is so daunting that even the greenest-oriented political parties dismiss it, leaving it to Canada’s tiniest party – the Animal Alliance/Environment Voters Party – to enter the political fray with the most urgent message of all.

I am carrying that message to voters in my riding, and that message is resonating. Everywhere I go, people stop to encourage me and, often, to tell me stories about their personal epiphanies about factory farming. I’m winning! I won’t win a seat in Parliament, but I’m winning the battle to force the winners to confront my Inconvenient Truths.

When you go to vote, don’t vote for me,” I tell my audience at political rallies and meetings. “Vote, instead, for Canada’s millions of farmed animals, for animals tormented and trapped in useless laboratories, for our wildlife, our endangered species, our domestic animals, our marine animals. On voting day, remember that an X beside my name is a promise to millions of animals that finally, someone is speaking out for them and is committed to protecting them and to preserving the environment they share with us.”

AAEV Elizabeth Abbott 2

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada elections 2015, Uncategorized