A Better World, Spring 2003
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ARMONIA, CHOWA, HARMONI, HARMONÍA
HARMONIE, HARMONY, HARMONIYA, PAGKAKATUGMA
I wonder how much of your life is changing through the learning experience in social responsibility. Mine has changed a lot. I believe all of us had several social justice issues of which we had been previously unaware. Through our studies, though, as time goes by, we recognize that understanding all issues is an indispensable part of our self-growth as global citizens living on this indivisible planet Earth.
Issues of animal rights struck me the hardest among all the social justice issues because it completely changed my perspective. I am from Japan where animal rights are not well known. Many Japanese people protect pets and wildlife; yet, they tend to ignore the welfare of animals who end up as food, clothes, and entertainment. We still rationalize the use of these animals. I brought my fur scarf when I traveled from Japan to St. Cloud not thinking how the rabbit suffered from a miserable life. I used to like to wear fur. It made me look like the soft, furry animals that I love. I used the fur to decorate myself rather than to keep me warm. It is very interesting to see how sexism plays out in animal rights issues. For example, most people who wear fur are women. I learned that women decorate themselves to appeal to males in our patriarchal societies. Female beauty has been treated as more important than other factors such as a woman's uniqueness and spirit. The patriarchal cultural expectation also pressures men to be tough and "beefy." They are raised to dominate other beings through hunting, animal races, and meat-eating habits. Meat consumption is encouraged, especially for males, even though meat has been one of the major causes of heart problems and cancer. Both women and men sacrifice their physical and mental health because of the existing power structures of sexism, speciesism, and capitalism which profits off of the sales of animal products, gambling, guns, and so forth.
Last winter, I became a vegetarian and animal rights activist. There was a time when I could never imagine being a vegetarian. What I needed was more honest and accurate information on nutrition and animal abuses in modern factory farms, fast-processing slaughterhouses, fur industry, and animal entertainment. This information needs to be free from the influence of the businesses that profit from them. Now I am aware that the inefficient use of natural resources for animal agriculture is causing environmental devastation and global hunger. I also know that there are countless things we can do every day to live in harmony with all living things.
The Social Responsibility Program gently guided me in the process of expanding caring, kindness, and compassion with more information. This is a great way to open the door for learners. I remember one day, a lady shouted something at me when I was wearing my fur scarf two years ago. I didn't understand why she was so angry, but now I believe it was about my fur. I wish she had explained the problem. Nobody can learn positively when being shouted at. To get my words out, I have been working on educational activities on anti-racism, peace, animal rights, and feminism.
No one is perfect, but we can strive to be the kind of person we would like to become through education and actions. I hope all of you are experiencing meaningful personal growth with motivation that you are gaining through your studies. May your life of active social responsibility bring justice to our world!
GA Social Responsibility
VEGAN/VEGETARIAN/ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP
AN INTERVIEW WITH CHAIR, MIKE CHOUINARD
How did the Vegan/ Vegetarian/ Animal Rights group start?
I decided it would be a good idea for people to have a place to turn who had questions or were thinking about going vegetarian or vegan. It would also be an outlet for information on the cruel practices of factory farming, the fur industry, animal testing, and animals in entertainment. We also focus on the other negative impacts of an animal based diet on the environment, our health, social justice in all countries, and biodiversity.
Who can join the group?
The group is open to anyone who is interested. We even allow people from the St. Cloud community to join who aren't attending SCSU.
What is the vision/ mission statement of the group?
We're a group that cares about and works toward changing the corrupt system of raising animals for the benefit of human beings. In this process, animals are treated as mere objects, who are subjected to unnaturally short and painful lives. We also understand that the current state of food consumption cannot continue in the manner that it has thus far. A diet that relies heavily on livestock cannot aid in a sustainable environment. A progressive diet that doesn't rely on animals is essential to the future of our environment, our health, and the well being of animals. This change must be considered by each one of us, and we will continue working to remind people of all of these things.
How many members are in the group?
About 10 active members. About 50 on the e-mail listserv.
Please describe some of the things that the group has taken action on and/or been involved with?
Working with Aramark on campus to bring more Vegan/Vegetarian options to students and faculty on campus.
Held kiosks numerous times both indoors and out with information about cruelty toward animals.
Presented to an audience in the Atwood Theatre during NOVA week about vegetarianism being a solution to global hunger and environmental devastation.
What are some of the goals of the group?
Change the food outlets on campus to include more whole foods that don't contain animal products as both healthy alternatives and sources for vegan/ vegetarians.
Educate people on and off campus about all of the various exploitations of animals by bringing speakers, hosting tables, making displays, and speaking to each other on a personal level.
Contact information for the group:
Good sources of information on Vegan/ Vegetarian diet or animal rights
INTERNSHIPS: A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR LEARNING
One option for fulfilling the professional application requirement in the Social Responsibility program is through an internship. Students are encouraged to seek out an internship in a topic that interests them, because it gives you real world, career experience. Several opportunities are available! You simply need to take the initiative. There are openings in organizations concerned with the environment, animal rights, LGBT rights, social services, women’s rights, diversity issues, peace, etc. The following is a featured internship. If you would like more information about other possibilities for internships, please contact, firstname.lastname@example.org
Featured internship: Eco-Animal Allies
We are looking for flexible, motivated people who are passionate about animal rights, vegetarianism, and sustainability. As a small nonprofit, an intern would be allowed to experience the whole range of activities involved in advocacy or they may just choose to do those roles which best fit their skills and interest. Our organization staffs information booths, organizes conferences, publishes a newsletter, holds demonstrations and vegan food giveaways, does web-advocacy, produces literature and letters, mobilizes supportive people, and a host of other effective, rewarding activities. We look forward to working with you.
POETRY FOR CHANGE
Who Will Speak for the Animals
By Kelli O. Kersell
Who will speak for the animals,
For those who have no choice?
Who will keep them safe from harm,
Who will be their voice?
Who will speak for the tiger,
Hunted for fur and bones?
Or the rabbits locked in the lab's cold cage,
Frightened and alone.
Who will speak for the fox,
As the trap snaps shut on her paw?
Who will explain to the eagle,
What humans call the law.
Who will cry out for the dolphin,
as he drowns in a driftnet maze.
Or answer the calls of our forest kin ,
As their homes are set ablaze.
Who will speak for the animals,
For the strays in the avenue?
Who will help to ease their pain?
I ask you friend....
Permission to publish granted by author. Source: http://www.all-creatures.org/poetry/whowillspeak.html Copyright 2001 Kelli O. Kersell
Editors of A Better World:
We would like to hear from you! If you would like to share any comments or story ideas, or if you have any questions…
Please contact us: email@example.com
Phone: 650-1045 or 203-6132