Following some discussion of Peaceable Kingdom, I'm posting a column I wrote a couple years ago with some [new material] mixed in.
In October, my search for a new home took me to the Boston Vegetarian Society’s 10th annual Food Festival. Surprised by the size of the crowd, I spoke to a member who told me that in the past five years attendance at events has increased to the point that they have trouble finding large enough places to meet.
Browsing the displays with thousands of other people, I sampled everything from soups to desserts and picked up free issues of a half dozen magazines. My favorite is Satya (truth in Sanskrit) which is described as a journal of vegetarianism, environmentalism, animal advocacy, and social justice. You can read their back issues at their website. [Satya is no longer being published, but 13 years of great articles can still be read there.] On a more casual level, I also enjoy VegNews which I subscribed to at their festival booth.
There were also many speakers during the day. The Vegan Freaks, of the like-named book, were there. I didn’t find them freaky enough for my taste as they spoke of the ABCs of being vegan in this society. Fortunately, they get a lot more radical on their website.
A standing-room-only crowd listened to Dr. Michael Greger speak about foods which prevent cancer. He’s a very humorous speaker with great presentation skills and one of the funniest moments came when he listed many medical groups which promote the benefits of a plant based diet, then pointed out that the Cattlemen’s Association disagrees. This and other of his speeches are available at his website with proceeds going to charity. The self-interested approach to vegetarianism isn’t very inspiring, but it still means fewer abused and slaughtered animals.
One of the strongest motivators to a vegetarian diet is the movie
If you have a shred of compassion left in your soul, this film will bring tears to your eyes. Show it to a roomful of people, and vegetarians, vegans, and anti-factory farming activists are created on the spot. Watching it will also answer the question asked by Moby in the brilliantly featured song which gave this column its headline.
[For those not familiar with the song, it consists of three lines:
Why does my heart feel so bad?
Why does my soul feel so bad?
These open doors.
Performed by a group of gospel singers, the first two lines are repeatedly sung in a slow deep voice as the film shows animals being abused and scenes from slaughterhouses, livestock auctions, etc. The final line, more upbeat in both voice and music, plays against scenes of animals being rescued and treated with kindness. For me, this four minute segment is one of the most powerful in the film.]
Unfortunately, things are rarely peaceable in the human kingdom, and Lorri Bauston left Farm Sanctuary last year and started a sanctuary in
[Two years later, the new version of the movie is still being worked on. I'm happy that Maple Farm Sanctuary which I visited in October will be one of the sanctuaries featured in the new version. However, I'm very disappointed that the filmmakers didn't just make a new movie and keep Peaceable Kingdom available as it was, a much loved and highly effective film. I imagine legal and personal human issues are the reasons behind that unavailability, not what's best for the animals.
This will actually be the third version of the movie. I first saw a copy of the original 77 minute version from the library and later bought a used tape of what turned out to be the second 70 minute version from an animal rights group at Living Green Expo. After a stop at the library, I compared both versions earlier today to confirm my impression that I preferred the original and came to the same conclusion though it was difficult to make the comparison with one tv and some scenes kept but moved. The second version cut many scenes of Farm Sanctuary events and history including the old VW van and the Grateful Dead tofu pups, eliminated Lorri's comments about it being a violent scary mean world for little creatures, little beings, less powerful beings. Also missing was her comment about sanctuaries being havens for people too, an emotion I felt very strongly myself. Wayne Pacelle was eliminated from the movie and Howard Lymon's section was changed substantially.
Despite having the second version, I would still buy a copy of the original version if I found one. Having seen the movie many times, I learned today that I still can't watch it without crying, both for the sake of the animals and for the reminder that there are still good people in the world, something I find it easy to forget.]
The library also used to have a copy of the same filmmakers’ Witness, the story of how a man who had a violent youth in
Unfortunately for my home search, I can’t afford to live in