Russell Simmons and I you could say are a bit of the Batman and Robin (well, I prefer Batgirl) of the vegan animal rights movement. Together we have done PSAs, blogs, interviews and used our television show, “Running Russell Simmons” to promote our agenda of a compassionate society starting with what people decide to stab with their forks. For us, every day is a day to consider the life of a battery hen or a dairy cow or a cow raised for food but there is one day that belongs to those animals, World Day for Farmed Animals. It was my pleasure to attend the recent World Day for Farmed Animals event in Los Angeles where Russell and I re-located recently to run Def Pictures. Hundreds of animal rights activists stood in solidarity for the most voice-less, most choice-less: the animals. Specifically, the 65 billions of animals who are as Russell says, ‘born into suffering so that people can make themselves sick, harm the environment and do what is karmically hurtful”. Officially, WDFA takes place on or around October 2nd to honor the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, an outspoken advocate of non-violence towards animals. As he said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.” And aint that the truth!
Leading the charge for a cruelty free world is FARM ( Farm Animal Rights Movement- http://www.farmusa.org ). The protests that FARM organize are typically outside of actual slaughterhouses, like Farmer John’s, where we, those that attend, can often see the eyes of animals who have known nothing but pain being driven into the slaughterhouse to suffer a painful, terrifying deaths. The stench of death is all around us, urging us on in our fight. World Day for Farmed Animals (WDFA), founded in 1983, is dedicated to exposing the needless suffering and death of sentient animals raised and slaughtered for food. The founder of FARM, Alex Hershaft has always been fascinating to me. Born in the Warsaw Ghetto, he witnessed unspeakable horrors that included beatings and shootings and witnessing first hand Jews dying of typhus all around him. His escape from the ghetto involved being smuggled out by a family maid and surviving the war by passing as an Aryan. He later got the devastating news that that his father had died following internment in a German slave labor camp along with most of his family. As an adult he witnessed a Druze family sacrificing a baby goat to celebrate the birth of a baby. He soon went vegetarian and noticed the parallels between the Nazi Holocaust and animal slaughter which is something many of us in the movement get heat from even mentioning together in the same breath. However, even Russell has made that connection and stood firmly behind it. Because of the work of FARM and other animal rights groups over the past few decades, public awareness of the benefits of plant-based eating and farmed animal abuse has grown substantially: Over 30 million Americans have explored a vegetarian diet , consumption of beef and veal have dropped by 30 and 70 percent, respectively, many fast food chains and some major food processors now offer meatless options, mainstream public health organizations are promoting a plant-based diet. And 93 percent of consumers oppose farmed animal abuse and 80 percent favor government regulations. So YAY for us! And the animals! I support many groups such as PETA, Farm Sanctuary, Mercy for Animals etc and am now a full fledged groupie for FARM who in 1976 has launched a variety of grassroots campaigns in pursuit of our mission: World Farm Animals Day, Great American Meatout, Gentle Thanksgiving, Pay-Per-View , Letters from FARM, Sabina Fund, Vegan Earth Day, Meatout Mondays, and Live Vegan.
Additionally, FARM conducts movement-wide programs, like the Animal Rights National Conference. World Day for Farmed Animals will continue until animals are no longer seen as commodities, raised for their flesh and by-products. On this day, and on every day, we fight for the animals who are bred and born and raised on factory farms, where they are confined, mutilated, and raised to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them literally suffer to death. The times are changing for animals and days like World Day for Farmed Animals guarantees that more and more people will go vegan not just for the sake of the animals but for the environments survival which is OUR survival and for their health. And I will be there at every event until this day comes. Until then, Onward…
Please visit FARM and support their important work www.farmusa.org
Great interview with FARM’s founder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzTHuZPu0xw
Please watch this video, the organization will even http://www.10billionlives.com help you set up a “pay-per-view” event, where viewers are given $1 each to watch the 4-minute video like on our 10 Billion Lives Tour.