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International Peace Day: September 21st

International Peace Day is celebrated every year on September 21st. It in designated as a worldwide movement to create a Global Ceasefire and day of peace and nonviolence.

In Ojai, we have supported this vision by creating a 3-day celebration: Living Peace in Ojai.

On Friday, the 21st, the Ojai Peace Coalition gave it’s local Noble Peace Prize. It went to Clive and Marion Lehman, who started a weekly Peace Vigil after the 2004 elections.

As they were telling their story, the story of the vigil, and sharing stories of Peacemaking, I thought about a war that we humans prefer to ignore; organized global terror about which it’s more comfortable to remain in denial...

This organized terror is the wanton — deliberate and unprovoked — premeditated murder of animals by humans for food and clothing. These factory farms are not better than concentration camps.

• 232 million cattle are slaughtered each year. • 1.1 billion hogs are slaughtered each year. • 470.25 million sheep and goats are slaughtered each year. • 17.5 billion chickens slaughtered each year. • 1.1 billion turkeys slaughtered each year. • 10 billion are slaughtered in research each year.

This is a grand total of 20,400,000,000 (twenty billion) animals murdered each year for food.

Now, what about clothing?

• 335,000 harp seals were murdered — mostly clubbed to death — in Canada for their soft white fur in 2006.
• 85,000 nursing harp seal pups were stabbed to death in Namibia in 2006.
• Many 100s of thousands of cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats are murdered for their skins in India.
• The list goes on and on, including deer, alligators, crocodile, toads, ostriches, kangaroos, lizards, snakes, dogs, cats and exotic animals raised in tiny pens,

These animals are our fellow beings on this planet. Our fellow earthlings. Our total disrespect for other species is one of the contexts, one of the behind the scenes attitudes, that allows us, by default, to look to solve our human conflicts with violence.

As long as their are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.
-Leo Tolstoy

If you are having a reaction to what I’ve said so far... If you’re thinking that you need to eat meat for protein... If you think that we are omnivores or carnivores... If you think that eating a little bit of meat once and awhile is ok...

Take 90 minutes and watch a movie called Earthlings. You can watch or download it on Google Video (click here...).

It’s intense. And, I’m strongly suggesting that you watch it. It’s crucial that we know who we are; that we know what we do. When you eat meat, or drink milk you need to know where it comes from. You need to know what you’re supporting with each bite.

What there is to notice while watching this film is not only the way we treat our fellow beings. What’s just — and maybe more important is who we have become as a species. We have become the workers in the slaughterhouse, we have become who is required to sustain a diet filled with animal products. We have dissociated from our actions.

There is no escape. Victim and perpetrator are both equally affected; though affected differently. In the case of animals, they may have it easier. They suffer and die. We suffer and live, carry it on. Pass it on. Pass on looking the other way. Pass on living in denial.

So, how to extricate oneself from voting with your dollars and your teeth to continue this culture of premeditated murder?

Become a vegan. Stop eating all animal products. No flesh products. No dairy products. No egg products.

It’s a line in the sand. A line of demarkation in being responsible for the health of your mind and your body. A line that says NO to the agribusiness and pharmaceutical control in your life. A line that says NO to treating our fellow earthlings with such total disregard.