People are inspired to go vegan for a variety of reasons, but for me it was always about the animals first and foremost. The way animals are treated and viewed is appalling, and this page has some information about it. Make whatever decision feels right for you afterwards, but I think we should all be making an informed decision, so I hope you’ll take the time to check out some of these videos, articles, and books.
So, because they’re a fast, easy, impactful way of learning, let’s start with the end-of-semester staple of tired teachers everywhere – videos:
1. Face your Food. This one of the more recent PSA videos that PETA puts out, and this one is narrated by Peter Dinklage. You can watch it here. It’s basically a four-minute introduction to animal cruelty. These are hard to watch, but so worth it. The fact that they’re hard to watch should tell us that this is wrong, not that we should stop the video, right?
2. Also by PETA, there’s this video. It’s narrated by Paul McCartney, and currently up on the Meat.org site. This one is slightly more in-depth. Still hard to watch, still worth it.
3. Meet your Meat is an older video that Alec Baldwin narrated, also by PETA, but I’m putting it up here because I don’t think you can hear this message too often, and this was (I believe) the original video that started the series, and the one I saw first. Watch it here.
4. Dairy. Here’s “Dairy in 60 seconds.” Look, a lot of people think being vegetarian is just as good as being vegan, because what’s wrong with milking some cows, and taking some eggs? I think chickens have been covered in the other videos here, but do you really thing routinely raping cows (who only produce milk after giving birth, just like humans), and then stealing their babies away from them to be caged (to keep them “tender”) and fed an anemic diet (so their meat is that nice pale, soft texture) and then slaughtered for veal is acceptable? Because I don’t. We only eat dairy products when the baby they were intended for doesn’t. Under the “Health” section, you’ll also see a number of reasons dairy is bad for us (screw you, “Got Milk?” ads. You lied).
5. So, I think from the videos so far you’re starting to get why I don’t eat animal products. But, you ask, why not wear wool? Seriously, what could be so bad about that? First, let’s learn a few cute facts about sheep here. Okay, now here’s “Wool in 60 Seconds.” Right, now you’re ready for some actual info. Pink (with a stank face on the entire time), lays down some truth here. I like this video because it highlights parts of the wool industry that most consumers have never considered. For a full list of PETA’s videos about wool, go here.
6. So, if we’re not supposed to wear wool, what about the more expensive, luxury animal fibres? Surely those animals are treated better if we’re paying so much for them. No, not so my friends. Watch this about Angora. I could post similar videos about other fuzzy creatures we like to wear, but instead I’ll move on. You’re smart enough to get the picture.
7. In this day and age, most people know that wearing fur is a no-no, but most don’t know why, except that they don’t want buckets of red paint thrown on them. Well, here’s “The Fur Industry in 60 Seconds.” Want some more actual info? This is a short video narrated by Olivia Munn about the fur industry. I’ve seen worse videos than these, but I like that these PETA ones are quick and factual. There are a lot of slow, sad, much longer videos out there by others, and they’re easy enough to find if you’re so inclined.
8. Okay, okay, we get it. Don’t wear animals, you say. But I’m guessing you’ve never thought about your down-filled duvet or coat before. Watch this to get an idea of why that’s just as bad.
9. We’ve covered all the obvious ways animals are used. Animal testing and vivisection, however, are just as awful. I choose products that do not contain animal ingredients, and have not been tested on animals because of this. That’s a sixty-second introduction. There are many videos that highlight the treatment of just one breed (Beagles, for instance), but this video is a little dated and cheesy, but the message is right on point, so it’s worth a watch. If you want to hear Dave Navarro (mostly naked) talk about cosmetics testing, watch this. Kym Johnson (from DWTS) did a photoshoot and video response, so if seeing her naked will make the medicine go down easier, watch this.
Note: A lot of these videos come from PETA. You may have an issue with the extreme tactics PETA uses, but there’s no denying that they’re the most visible group of animal advocates, and they get results. Also, this information is honest and important, so put aside your biases for a moment. Also, if you’d like to see why I, personally, support PETA, watch this short clip about what they’ve accomplished in 2014 alone. Yeah.
10. Under the “Products” tab, I’ve listed a number of documentaries. These aren’t all about the animals, but I figured this was as good a place as any to list them. You can buy them right on this site, or you can find some of them on Netflix, at your local video store etc. A few great documentaries are Vegucated (some lighter fare – more human-interest than most, but still a great one), Forks over Knives (about the health impacts of eating animal products. You won’t find graphic displays of cruelty in this one), Earthlings (Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, this movie has been called “The Vegan Maker”), Food Inc. and Food Matters (both about the broad spectrum of food industries), Blackfish (for some reason the public really latched onto this one and it went huge. It’s a great documentary, but honestly I kind of think it’s easier to take because all you have to do is not visit Seaworld. That said, it’s a good intro to why we shouldn’t use animals for entertainment), Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (another human interest-type story, but pretty inspirational). There are tons more I can’t think of right now, but I’ll add them as they come to me.
11. Books. If you’ve made it through some of the sixty-second videos and you’re ready for a little more in-depth information, books are great. There are thousands of books about animals as food, entertainment, etc. and a lot of them are really good. I’ll add an extensive list later, but for now you can check out the few that I already have under the “Products” tab.