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Take a Smile Break


This is Sobe and Johann, whom some of you might recognize from PCRM's photo contest for the image that will appear in Jonathan Balcombe's picture book, Exultant Ark. An adorable Wanda Embar photo of two piglets won, but I voted for a photo of NYC vegan Rina Deych's photo of Sobe and Johann (and above is not the photo entered in the contest, but I just adore it). I'm partial to images people wouldn't expect, and I think that's what this represents: it's surprising because of our prejudice, our expectations . . . what we were indoctrinated to believe. It's challenging.

I've had a couple of miserable days of bad news and yesterday even tweeted a plea for good news (and debiguity was kind enough to respond with news of 90 hens rescued from a cockfighting operation!). I was going to write about in vitro meat today (I've been dreading it, but I feel like I have to), but my heart just sang at the photos of Sobe and Johann. When you click on a photo you get a whole new page of photos of them, and one is sweeter than the next.

With all of the bad news and misery and cold (record cold here, down into the 20s this week–don't laugh) and disappointment in humanity and of course the global financial crisis . . . and let's not forget vegans who promote animal products, it can be difficult sometimes to even smile.

Take a minute or two and click through the Sobe and Johann pages. And even the Johann and Dori pages, which are also delightful. Take a couple of deep breaths, and smile.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. What great photos! The odd coupling of iguana and feline reminds me of North Florida when I'd find my cats asleep with a (very tame)armadillo. Strange bed fellows indeed.

    The brutal cold is awful. It's different if you live in this kind of climate… where you expect it to be cold for months on end. But these occasional frigid snaps – makes me a shut-in. I can't wait for our "normal" weather to return.

    I hope your world gets better… thanks for the smiles 🙂

    February 6, 2009
  2. Dan #

    I’ll smile after I say that the ‘vegans’ who promote animal products aren’t vegans. You cannot say “I don’t have sex with prostitutes, I just sell them” and think you're clear of prostitution. You cannot sell or promote animal products and call yourself a vegan.

    February 6, 2009
  3. Dan #


    Sorry, I don’t smile for long. 🙂

    Your link to “[so-called] vegans who promote animal products” is a link to Farm Forward’s website. If you go to the “people” page of the site ( ), you will see Bruce Friedrich of PETA and Miyun Park, formerly of Compassion Over Killing, now co-opted by HSUS, on the Board of Directors along with John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods and Frank Reese, a ‘poultry’ producer.

    Friedrich and Park were (years ago) formerly strong animal advocates who wanted to abolish animal agriculture and used to criticize ‘humane animal products’ as the myth that it is. Now they fully promote and endorse ‘humane animal products’ through their main organizations and via Farm Forward.

    James LaVeck of Tribe of Heart wrote an excellent article published a couple of years ago in Satya entitled “Invasion of the Movement Snatchers” ( ) which is well-researched information on a public relation firm’s blueprint for how to literally divide and conquer a movement. The blueprint is meant for any social movement, but it has worked wonders to slow down and neutralize the environmental movement, and it is now being used effectively for the animal rights movement.

    Farm Forward is an excellent example of this PR blueprint being put into action to at least slow down, and preferable eliminate the animal rights movement. Being aware of and strongly pointing out these strategic dynamics is half way to defending ourselves against them. I think this issue deserves a blog entry soon.

    February 6, 2009
  4. mary martin #


    I probably should have said more about Farm Forward. Thanks for all that.

    And I happen to have written about that particular article by James on August 7, 2007 in "On Calling Off Your Own Boycott"

    I have since altered my position on the boycott concept as it's not as if there's anything the animal exploitation industries could do that would make me go back to supporting them. Going out of business and ceasing their activities completely is the only action I'd like to see. But the rest holds true . . .

    And it's certainly worth revisiting.

    February 6, 2009
  5. The "Farm Forward" website is disturbing on many levels.

    Anyone who purports to advocate for nonhuman animals yet works with industry to promote products of violence is a traitor to the cause and a betrayer of the victims. Welfarism is speciesism, an ideology of oppression.

    Look at the Farm Forward "Victories" page:

    There is little difference between the industry and these "animal protection" groups. As Gary Francione says in "Rain Without Thunder," when those in the movement say we should quit critiquing each other and instead focus on the "real enemy," it really is unclear who they are talking about.

    February 6, 2009
  6. Dan #

    Well, my comment was mostly off-topic (nothing to smile about), so I understand why you didn’t elaborate on Farm Forward, but thanks for considering posting Farm Forward as a good example of what LaVeck was talking about. Reminders and revisits are a big part of advocacy. 🙂

    February 6, 2009
  7. I think I was just a bit flippant by totally ignoring reference to farmforward. I had seen the site a few days ago and my initial angst must have worn off. But now that I'm rethinking them and their ilk, I just wanted to point out the following from their site:

    "Still others find it simply more convenient and personally meaningful to cut animal products out of their diets entirely."

    "an increasing number of people are giving up meat or all animal products."

    and this:
    "a move toward plant-based diets…"

    and this too:
    "both vegetarians and selective omnivores have swelled in ranks."

    Is it me… or does anyone else see how they've gone out of their way to avoid using the word "vegan"?

    In fact, throughout their whole site there is only one mention of veganism: – "Oprah Winfrey discussed cruelty to farmed animals on her show, even going so far as to try out a vegan diet for two weeks."

    The "even going so far" being the operative "extreme" example.

    I don't know how a group that represents itself to be "progressive", "compassionate" or "thoughtful" regarding food could possibly overlook veganism by accident. (?)

    But this might explain their blatant omission:
    "The future of how we eat doesn’t belong to any one vision of what it means to eat ethically."

    And then finally, there's numerous mention of pigs that taste like real pork should… and chickens that taste better, and marbeling in beef, ad nauseam… Yet no mention of dietary "necessity" for any of it. Only the excuse that: "eating animals is a significant part of our culture and our culinary habits."

    No doubt, this group is determined in their efforts to have their pound of flesh – no matter how nice they have to be about it.

    February 6, 2009

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