eleventhbeatnik

musings of an aquarian age counterculturist


The Story No One Wants

“The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them,
but to be indifferent to them:

that’s the essence of inhumanity.”
George Bernard Shaw

This is the story no one wants.

This is the story I’ve sat with time and time again since 2011, wondering where it could go, and who would dare look.”

So begins the narration to the short film The Slaughterhouse, the first collaboration between myself and Kelly Guerin.

I first saw Kelly’s work when her film, Animal Auction, went viral in late 2014. I was really drawn to her filming, editing and sensitivity to the subject matter of our relationships with animals. I asked if she would look at, and try to make sense of, some of my more difficult material; video that I’d shot of the killing of animals, but hadn’t been able to put together in a way that didnt make people turn away. In endless emails, we mulled over how to craft this short film, and I think that, after much careful and thoughtful work, Kelly has done a really beautiful job with stitching the photos, videos and narration into what is now The Slaughterhouse.

I’ve taken photos of animals being killed in Europe, southeast Asia, North America and in Africa. It was in Tanzania that I was able to spend the most time with the workers and with the animals. I’ve witnessed the brutal treatment of animals, but at the hands of kind humans, who are frustrated, underpaid, and would rather be working elsewhere. They have almost unanimously said as much. Many of the farm and slaughter workers that I’ve encountered have been illegal and migrant workers, and have shared that they are the casualties of class of caste. And then, many of us just kill (and consume) out of ignorance. We’re not taught to think otherwise, or to open our minds and hearts to other possibilities, and caring is not only painful and challenging, but stigmatized.

Doing this shoot was hard. Really hard. But it was interesting to witness the men seeing the animals anew, through my eyes. They actually felt sympathy for me, as I struggled, at times, to maintain composure, while documenting the cows and goats being killed. Some of them expressed sympathy for the animals as well.

This is the story nobody wants to see. To look at our treatment of animals, no matter on which continent, is to witness both suffering, and our complicity in that suffering. But in bearing witness, we can learn, and change.

My hope is that, through this work, we can all look, care, share, and change.”

Jo-Anne McArthur
We Animals

For more information on Jo-Anne’s important, courageous and
compassionate work, please visit: We Animals

It is my core-held belief that it is by shining light on the dark places we illuminate ourselves.  Once enlightened, we can – each and every one of us – make decisions and choices every single day that contribute toward a more peaceful and compassionate world.  It has nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with intention and living from a place of love. Most importantly:  it is never the wrong time to listen to your heart.

Wishing peace for all,
eleventhbeatnik

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to bet better.  It’s not.”

Dr. Seuss


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Sustainability: Secret No More

Please take the time to watch this brilliant documentary. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is required viewing for anyone who even remotely cares about the environment, human health and animal welfare.

This mind-blowing film is so well done.  If the stats revealed here do not pull our collective heads out of the sand, I honestly don’t know what will.

Kindly support the filmmakers who did such an outstanding job despite many roadblocks along the way by purchasing the download or DVD from the documentary’s website:  Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.

As Maya Angelou once said:

“Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better”.


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Strength in Community

photo credit: google images

photo credit: google images

After viewing the film Food Matters, I started reading everything I could find on the subject of Orthomolecular Medicine.  Last week I attended a seminar rooted in that philosophy.  The topic was “Dietary and Supplemental Support for Stress, Anxiety and Depression.” Some of the information presented was new to me; other parts were review of nuggets I had previously stumbled across on my own.

The presentation was really interesting and reinforced many, if not all, of my personal beliefs surrounding the role of nutrition in achieving and maintaining vibrant health.  I attended this talk with certain filters in place, keeping in mind that as an ethical vegan, I often find myself on the sidelines of many discussions involving mainstream nutrition or flavour-of-the-month dietary fads .  As always, I had to remind myself going in that this was a generalized nutrition talk within the realm of “natural medicine”, meaning I would have to do “compassionate replacement therapy” in my head every time I heard the words “meat”, “protein” and/or “fish oil”, etc.  Gah!   Anyway.  By reminding myself that the animal protein bandwagon is firmly not an option for me, and that there are always compassionate alternatives available, I took in the information relevant to my situation and set aside everything else not in line with my personal ethics around food.

In the end, it was not the content of the talk that turned out to be a major revelation for me.  The light-bulb moment that evening occurred as I surveyed my surroundings.  Looking around, I was amazed to realize that the event was not simply well-attended, but brimming to capacity.  It was a full house:  standing room only.

At this realization, one thought dropped down in my mind like a tonne of bricks:  “A sold out seminar directed at those suffering from depression and anxiety.  This is a sign of the times.”

Every person in that room was touched in one way or another by ‘mental illness’ (a term I abhor, but have yet to hear another that everyone understands or accepts).

Every person in that room was someone, knew someone, or had heard of someone suffering with major depressive disorder, general/social anxiety, PTSD, bi-polar disorder or perhaps one of many other stress-related conditions.

Every person in that room was looking for answers, alternatives, ideas.

Every person in that room was hopeful.

Every person in that room was in community.

Perhaps it seems rather Pollyanna-ish to focus on hope in the face of the mind-boggling numbers of people struggling with the symptoms of this far-reaching spectrum of dis-ease.  But I sincerely believe that as long as people are seeking solutions there is hope.  That room was full of people seeking solutions.  Full to capacity.  Full of hope.

I believe depression can be overcome with time, patience and guidance.  And my heart is full.

I believe that suicide is not a foregone conclusion with respect to mental illness.  And my heart is full.

I believe there are antidotes to stress and anxiety available and possible.  And my heart is full.

I believe there is love and healing in community.  No matter what that community looks like.  And my heart is full.

It is my intention to incorporate orthomolecular medicine into my own experience of depression and anxiety in a way that works for me.  I am hopeful.  In community.

My heart is full.

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
Marin Luther King, Jr


Esther the Wonder Pig

Steve, Derek & Esther

Steve, Derek & Esther

Have you heard about Esther and her two Dads?  If not:  run, do not walk, to check out their story:  Peace Love Esther

Esther’s facebook page has become just a little bit of an addiction for me.  Okay, edit that.   I am absolutely smitten.  It is so much fun reading the daily photo captions and watching this family evolve and grow (literally grow: Esther is 450+ pounds!)

And the best is yet to come.  Plans are in the works to open an animal sanctuary in Esther’s name.  It is a really exciting journey of compassion and an opportunity for others to share in it.   My own experience working at an animal sanctuary taught me that although it is hard work and costly to manage, it is an endlessly rewarding and enlightening experience.

If you are so moved, please consider donating to help bring this sanctuary to life:

Let’s Build a Sanctuary

The Esther Effect.  What a beautiful thing!

 

Esther & Shelby

Esther & Shelby

 


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Toronto Change-Makers

“When the suffering of another creature causes you to feel pain, do not submit to the initial desire to flee from the suffering one, but on the contrary, come closer, as close as you can to her who suffers, and try to help her.”
-Leo Tolstoy, A Calendar of Wisdom

There are so many wonderful organizations out there doing amazing things to raise awareness and consciousness in the area of animal rights all over the world, for which I am immensely grateful.  The dedication and commitment it takes to undertake this type of heart-wrenching advocacy work comes directly from the heart.

Locally, a couple of stories really caught my attention this week on the theme of “bearing witness” and I feel compelled to acknowledge all those involved and share their stories here:

Liz Marshall is a Toronto filmmaker who brought us the brilliantly moving film The Ghosts in Our Machine.  Through the camera lens of photographer Jo-Anne McArthur, this beautiful and gentle documentary captures the essence of animals caught in situations of both injustice and hope .

Liz Marshall Interview:
Liz Marshall: The Ghosts in Our Machine

Jo-Anne McArthur:
WE ANIMALS Jo-Anne McArthur

Toronto Pig Save is an inspiring collective of peaceful, local grassroots change-makers holding weekly vigils for pigs arriving in transport trucks at Quality Meat Packers slaughterhouse in Toronto.  The work they are doing is both necessary and powerful.


THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR EMBODYING THE MEANING OF “BE THE CHANGE…”.


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HumaneMyth announces the launch of the 50,000 Pigs Campaign

HumaneMyth announces the launch of the 50,000 PIGS CAMPAIGN at:  50thousandpigs.org

50,000 PIGS….
Joe Maxwell is the Vice President of Outreach and Engagement at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). He also personally profits, along with his business associates, from sending 50,000 individuals to slaughter each year.

50,000 PIGS…
It’s hard to fathom the magnitude of this number. Imagine these individuals standing in single file. The line to the slaughterhouse would stretch for over 28 miles. If they were to be killed in sequence, it would mean the life of one pig would be taken every 11 minutes. 24 hours a day. For an entire year.

50,000 PIGS…
These animals, and countless others being used and killed by HSUS’s collaborative partners in the meat industry, have been abandoned to their fate by many activists and organizations under the influence of HSUS.

With nobody else to advocate for them, will YOU be their voice?

Turning a blind eye to industry collaboration is not animal rights work.

It is not animal welfare work.
It is not animal protection.
It is not animal advocacy.

It is a betrayal of the animals.
It is a betrayal of fellow activists.
It is a betrayal of public trust.
It is a betrayal of the cause of justice.

It is time to BREAK THE SILENCE and confront the betrayal.

BE A VOICE FOR THE 50,000!

50thousandpigs.org

50thousandpigs.org


The Ghosts in Our Machine

Last night I attended the première of The Ghosts In Our Machine at Hot Docs.  More thoughts on this later.

For now my message is this:  SEE THIS FILM.

It is a beautiful and perception changing work that covers a difficult subject in a gentle and heart opening way.  Jo-Anne McArthur’s soulful photography is stunning.

To learn more:  The Ghosts in Our Machine

the ghosts in our machine