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Are there equivalents elsewhere and do they fulfill a role ?
I`ve heard of veggie organisations asking for donations saying it will help them, e.g. send out free veggie recipes to anyone enquiring. There might have been a case for that 20 years ago, but today ?
I was also surprised to see CIWF (Compassion in World Farming) (www.ciwf.co.org) welcoming the increased market share taken by British veal,(British law requires more humane treatment for calves than equivalent European law). I understand that CIWF is not a veggie org as such, but have they conceded too much ground ? There are no easy answers - what do others think ?
I am more in favor of vegetarian recourses, such as The Vegetarian Resource Group. I really like their Web site, and visit it often.
As far as promoting the cause, I think that PETA (U.K.) has done a lot to promote both vegetarianism and veganism. However, in the eyes of many they often push things too far, and the media loves to excoriate them as often as they can, but in spite of--or because of--the constant controversy, most everyone knows what PETA’s message is. Unfortunately, that particular kind of publicity may push people away from vegetarianism/veganism, for fear of being branded a radical.
As for organizations asking for donations, I agree, with computers as ubiquitous as they are, it would seem that any organization's costs should be lower nowadays, and an extraordinary amount of information can be provided online. Still, it obviously takes capital to run any enterprise, and not everyone has Internet access, so materials sent through the post are still necessary. Even if a particular organization fully embraced technology, there would still be costs associated with promoting and running their Web sites, and their business. That said, I have yet to find a veggie organization that I wish to support, financially speaking at least.
As to using veggie societies. I sometimes search for recipes on the internet and come ascross various sites but I'm not a member of anything particulary. I've got so many things I'm involved in as it is. I don't usually actively promote vegetarianism but, interestingly, meat eaters often bring up the topic so that gets me explaining my reasons.
Also, the whole companion animal stuff just really bothers me. I don't see any problems with companion animals, however PETA has a big problem with any and all of these. PETA seems more interested in the political cause than in the actual animals. Releasing animals that are intended to live as a companion animal is just cruel. My dog would certainly consider any separation from me as cruel and unusual punishment. As her human mom, It's my responsibility to provide her the most humane conditions, abuse free training and good socialization opportunities with humans, other dogs, and other species.
If PETA were to have their way, my ten pound ball of fluff would be left to fend for herself on the street. After meeting some dogs that have had to do this, I would never consider it a benefit to either the animals or the humans.
As you can tell I feel pretty strongly about PETA. I can't think of an organization that represents my values less, while at the same time that I am part of the group that they claim to represent (e.g. people who are concerned enough about the treatment of animals that they are vegetarians).
Anyone who is considering supporting PETA should research the entire set of beliefs of this organization before doing so. Their site is quite extensive and plainly talks about their causes.
Domesticated animals are severely disadvantaged in the wild. All of the inbreeding we've subjected their species to has for the most part crippled them in their former natural habitat. They're completely our responsibility, and PETA is probably toeing the stance of how irresponsible it'd be of us to release species we domesticated into the wild to live an extremely difficult lifestyle. If they truly care about animals, then I'm sure they follow the policy you read about in that fact sheet.
PETA isn't too bright, however, so I wouldn't be totally surprised if they did encourage something as retarded as freeing domesticated animals into the wild. Even though I don't eat fish, they're completely off base on some of their claims about fish intelligence and sentience.
Extremist groups that focus more on proselytizing and dramatic demonstrations will never sway the general public to their cause, because they refuse to acknowledge other points of view and would rather demonize everyone else, instead of meeting at some middle ground to promote real understanding.
To attempt to answer chanale’s question regarding their stance on companion animals. I believe PETA’s official stance is one along the classic Bob Barker “please spay and neuter your pets” line. They also discourage the giving of animals as pets since many of these animals are unwanted and are neglected or abandoned. They advocate adoption, and adopting adult animals over puppies and kittens. And as Yiggy mentioned: they address the issue of breading and inbreeding.
I have never heard of them advocating the releasing of companion animals as bilbette has alluded to. I am not saying that bilbette is wrong--they or someone speaking for them very well may have said that--just that I have never heard or read it.
Crops that are grown this way have been labelled 'veganic' and to date I have only heard of one farm in the U.S. that adheres to these standards (Huguenot Street Farm in NY).
To me, this is the ultimate ideal-- complete independence from animals in our food production processes. These groups are showing that it can be done!
I would like to mention Farm Sanctuary as a wonderful veg organization. Although they are not very big they do make a difference. They have a Veg for Life campaign and I know that many people who visit their farms instantly turn veg.
Also--& I know a lot of veg*ns will disagree w/me--I am not a fan of any org or advocate that hammers along w/the comparison of factory farms, etc. to slavery or the Holocaust. Regardless of whether or not you think the comparison is, @ bottom, valid, it's really really problematic, given the history of race relations in the West, to compare animals to people of color/other minorities--I mean, given, for example, the history of referring to certain races as animals, etc.
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