International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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chickens behind barsFrom the Secretary...

A call for solidarity with all living beings
IVU News - Issue 3 - 1998

Becoming a vegetarian is quite possibly the most important and far reaching decision any of us is ever likely to make. Regardless how strong our initial motivation, however, an unjustified fear of being out of step with others or being left socially and emotionally out in the cold requires of the kind of moral support and motivation that IVU, by its very existence, can provide to individuals and organisations worldwide.

In a world increasingly dominated by irrational and superstitious beliefs and ideas based on a distorted concept of humanity and a combination of tradition and fundamentalist political, religious, or personal intransigence, it may be easy to question the chances of success of a bold and still pioneering vegetarian movement committed to a revolutionary redefinition of human priorities and of the way in which our physical, spiritual and social needs are satisfied.

To discover our true selves and come to terms with the non-predatory role that nature intended us to play at the low end of the food chain, it is necessary to play an active part in the vital struggle to vindicate the rights of our fellow sentient beings and guarantee their deliverance from the dread and horror of the filthy prisons - a mockery of the levels of hygiene and cleanliness ostensibly required in the food industry - where they languish in fear, piled high on top of each other, until they pay the ultimate price of human insensitivity and choke to death or feel the sharp or more often blunt blade of the anonymous mercenary execusioners charged with the unsavoury task of rendering life into meat to satisfy an insane human craving which defiles both our minds and our bodies while we bicker and kill one another in endless conflicts over meaningless issues, unable to solve the problems that we face without a valid set of ethical rules to guide us and protect us from ourselves.

The historical failure to comprehend the true significance and worth of other living organisms - inextricably linked with our own bio-rhythms and survival - has inevitably led humans to regard all life as a limitless source of meat, marketable items or genetic material to tinker with or clone at leisure and for profit.

The buying, selling and butchering of animals is perceived as an affirmation of human dominance and control rather than as a failure to communicate with other highly evolved life forms. Whatever humans cannot relate to or understand, they try to consume and digest to make it more like them, thus making it a formidable challenge for others to view the treasured ‘tasty morsels’ as the butchered remains of suffering individuals whose lives and death depend on the frivolous extravagance of human gourmets.

Consumerism binds us as captive consumers to a society increasingly dissatisfied with the definition of pleasure in terms of owning and using an object or product which everyone has. Nevertheless, such behaviour may be psychologically reassuring as a symbolic celebration of victory over poverty, letting us partake in the coveted good things of life.

The seemingly Utopian vision of a planet where slaughterhouses and dreadful nutritional diseases are banished forever to the dustbin of our darkest history - ending the incestuous human culinary fascination with death and freeing life to evolve and manifest its exuberant diversity unhindered by artificial manipulation or regulatory control - may seem an unlikely promise to fulfil, but the only clear choices for the third millennium are these: ecological disaster brought about by social upheaval as a result of famine, or a sustainable and harmonious future in which human desires and needs can be met without reckless destruction of life.

Our active role as social campaigners - working for a radical transformation of the way in which society is currently conceived and organised - must be to emphasise and condemn the myriad inconsistencies, failings and excesses of consumerism and to provide answers and solutions based on an unswerving ethic of respect for all living beings.

The guarantee of a viable future for everyone lies in letting an unwavering commitment to universal justice for all beings be our main guiding motivation and common agenda. Let us all rise to the very serious challenges ahead and join with IVU as active members and volunteers in calling for the urgent adoption of ethical solutions to the grave social and environmental problems existing worldwide.

- Francisco Martín
Hon. General Secretary.

Contributions to IVU News are welcomed. Material published does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or the policy of the International Vegetarian Union.