Funeral for a friend

Today I attended a small funeral for a friend of mine, it was very informal with only four people in attendance, there were no Cadillac hearses or flower cars or priests saying stock words from some many times rehearsed eulogy (insert deceased’s name here), just a few heartfelt words spoken by someone who knew and cared about her and many internal thoughts.

She was just a young girl and I hadn’t known her that long, but she was sweet, outgoing and a regular part of my life nearly every saturday and sunday for the last two years. Something very different about this funeral for me was that I’d held this little girl’s still warm body in my arms when we found her and we tried to recuscitate her, at first with hope, then in desperation and finally to no avail, she was gone, I looked around the room and saw the faces, some whom knew her and some that didn’t, all filled with confusion and anguish, as I’m sure mine was too.

It’s been a strange day, and tomorrow will be another strange day, as it will mark the first day since she was born that the sun will rise without little Edie walking this earth, I know that sounds morbid but, thinking of it that way has always been my way of putting someone’s life to rest. Now I’m reflecting on the day and although I’m sad, I’m able to see something to be thankful for, and that something is veganism….

You see, Edie was a chicken, someone that would have been a commodity to most people, yet thanks to our vegan lifestyle she was an individual, a someone and not a something, a living being with a personality all her own, In fact she was part of one of the lasting memories of my very first visit to the Woodstock farm animal sanctuary, she was a “free roamer” and she along with Peanut butter, Hettie, and Rocky were perched on and around the huge pigs the first time I’d seen them, she was the last of those four, she was Edie, and she was my friend, she’s gone and I’ll miss her, but I won’t forget her or the other three and neither will the rest of her friends, she was a good girl.

So tonight I’ll sit here and be happy that I’ve learned the things that I’ve learned, the things that have made me a vegan and opened me up to meeting and appreciating others, like little Edie, and I’ll try and wrap my mind around the fact that 9,000,000,000 other chickens will be killed this year in the USA for absolutely no reason, all of whom are individuals, all of whom have distinct personalities, all of whom will never get the opportunity to be known for who they are like Edie did, because they won’t make their way to a farm animal sanctuary or into the hands of some other caring individual who will appreciate them and give them a good place to live their lives out……..

Do the right thing, don’t be a scumbag who kills and eats my would be friends, GO VEGAN and meet some new friends that you’ll never forget.

I never saw you, but I know you.                                                                                                              I never touched you, but I feel you.                                                                                            I never met you, but I miss you.                                                                                                I know you’re gone, but I won’t forget you.                                                                                I couldn’t save you, but I fought for you.                                                                                   I am an Animal Defender and always will be..


Don’t disassemble me

I’ll wager anything that that’s what animals would say if asked their opinion on whether they’d like to live out their lives and die a natural death or visit a slaughterhouse.

Lately I’ve been stuck on the idea that most people don’t really consider the horror involved in the transformation that takes place to go from living, sentient being to product under plastic wrap in the supermarket, so here are just a few of the lovely people that an animal will meet and the jobs they perform during the disassembly process of someone’s mother, father, son or daughter.

1. Cattle Driver works in pens and squeeze pen; uses electric prods, paddles, whips and voice to drive cattle into serpentine.

2. Serpentine Cattle Driver works in serpentine; uses electric prods, paddles, whips, and voice to drive up serpentine and into knocking box. Also responsible for marking lot cow.

3. Knocker operates knocking box; uses air gun to drive captive-steel bolt into foreheads of cattle while they are suspended on center track amd restrained by side walls.

4. Shackler shackles rear left hind leg of cattle with chain suspended from overhead rail; can shackle either before or after knocked cattle fall onto green conveyor belt from which they are lifted up by the chain.

5. Indexer/Hand Knocker uses long metal pole to space cattle between “dogs” on overhead rail; uses cap-gun hand knocker to shoot cattle that show signs of sentience after passing through the knocking box.

6. Ear-Tag Recorder uses paper forms to record ear-tag number and color of each cow; also keeps track of lot numbers.

7. Presticker uses hand knife to make incision along length of cow’s neck, giving the sticker access to jugular vein and carotid arteries. Must take care not to be kicked in face, arms, chest, neck, or abdominal area by cows that are reflexively kicking, or kicking because they have not been knocked completely unconscious.

8. Sticker reaches into the incision made by the presticker and uses hand knife to cut jugular veins and carotid arteries of cow.

9. Tail ripper uses hydraulic scissor-type knife to cut off bottom third of tail; disposes of this down a chute; uses hand knife to make incision from the anus to the teat or penis area.

10. First Legger uses hand knife to cut hide off rear right leg, opening hide to expose flesh underneath.

11. Bung Capper uses hand knife to cut around anus.

12. First Hock Cutter uses large hydraulic shears to sever right hind hoof about six to ten inches from end and deposits hoof in chute; uses hand knife to poke hole between tendon and lower leg bone.

13. Belly Ripper uses hand knife to make incision down length of cow, starting from udder or penis area where the tail ripper left off and continuing to about mid-chest level.

14. First Codder uses air knife to skin inside thigh of right leg, picking up at point where first legger left off.

15. First Butter uses air knife to seperate hide from flesh around anus area.

16. First Hock Vacuum sticks enormous metal air-vacuum over first hock (hind right leg, now clipped by first hock cutter) and holds it there for approximately seven seconds to clean area of fecal matter and hair.

17. First Hang Off inserts metal hook attached to metal wheel pushed by “dogs” on seperate overhead rail system into the hock hole created be first hock cutter; guides/ lifts the wheel onto the main rail track.

18. Trimmer uses handheld trimming knife to clear area behind right hind leg and anus of fecal matter and hair; position exists primarily in winter when there is more fecal matter on cattle.

19. Unshackler/Low Raider uses hands to release shackle as a machine called a low raider lowers left hind leg of cow. Cow now hangs from hook threaded through hole in leg created by the first hock cutter.

20. Second Legger uses hand knife to skin left hind leg exactly as first legger has done for right hind leg.

And on and on for 121 steps at the slaughterhouse.

The preceding steps are just a short excerpt from the excellent and painstakingly well documented book Every Twelve Seconds by Timothy Pachirat (whom I happen to know), the book is about much more than this, but today I wanted to point out how matter of fact and routine the job’s descriptions seem, as if they were simply assembling a new car, or in this case disassembling a car, in fact it’s been said that Henry Ford got the idea for his automotive assembly line after seeing the disassembly conveyor in a Chicago slaughterhouse.


These things should never be allowed to become a routine part of everyday life (for humans) or death (for animals), and yet they are, and this is something that happens to another cow every twelve seconds just in this one slaughterhouse in Omaha every day, let alone all the other slaughterhouses in this country and the world, and for those of you talking about how you’d only buy (happy) “humane” meat, those animals meet the same end as the others.

Show me where the “humane” is in that.

Don’t support this shit, you don’t need to.


This is not the place in Timothy’s book, but another slaughtersouse.






So I went to Moo shoes in NYC last night with my wife Wendy, where we met up with our good friends Stevie Jones and Jenny Brown [director of Woodstock farm animal sanctuary] for a book signing by the incredible and definitely unapologetic vegan artist Sue Coe for her new book Cruel. While I’m not the most social guy I thought it would be cool to meet and show support for a person that is the real deal and be one of the first to get her new book, since her previous books have set the standard for animal rights art as far as I’m concerned, it was certainly worth the trip. Sue was so friendly and humble, but without question hardcore animal rights, I got to speak with her and was immediately taken with her no bullshit way of just saying what she meant and not mincing words [reminded me of myself LOL]. Sue stayed, signed books, drew personalized pictures in them, had her picture taken with anyone who asked and shared her views on animal rights and other things for a long while, she had a way of making you feel as if she’d known you for years, it was great to meet her.

The room was filled with animal rights activist types, some of whom’s names you might know [Jenny Brown, Amy Trakinski, Anne Sullivan, Ashley Lou Smith, Joshua Katcher and many more] all were friendly, good to talk to and enjoying themselves [and crazy vegan food from The cinnamon snail that was parked out front] but for me the night was about Sue, her new book and what she’s done to bring awareness to the fucked up way animals are treated for simply [and literally] being born into different skin…….

Thanks Sue Coe, I love your balls-out, tell it like it is and definitely unapologetic way of conducting yourself, it was a pleasure meeting and speaking to you.

Oh, and I got my picture taken for Sue’s publisher’s blog.

You can find Sue’s older stuff here.

Hello and welcome, my name is Mike and I am the unapologetic vegan.

This is a blog for those of us whom are tired of hearing good vegan people apologize for making omnivores uncomfortable about their choice to eat animal flesh or dairy or for “putting them out” by having to eat vegan in our presence.


I’m never going to act as if it’s OK for you to eat the flesh of one of my friends just so you don’t feel guilty, and the same goes if you’re wearing someone elses skin or fur.

Ask me questions about my veganism and I’ll gladly give you information on what happens to animals because of people’s eating and clothing ”choices” and I’ll show you that you can be strong and healthy without eating flesh or dairy and you won’t freeze to death without wearing another being’s skin, but after I clue you in you’ll have no excuse to keep contributing to their horror, you’ll have to decide who you are going to be from that moment on, will you be the person who had no idea and then changed your ways or will you be the person who had no idea and now couldn’t give a shit because you’re too fucking lazy to change ? I’ll tell you one of my favorite quotes here, it’s by Jonathan Safran Foer, author of the great book “Eating animals”

“We can’t plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?”

If you want to feel comfortable around us, stop having animals tortured, enslaved, raped, skinned alive and killed directly on your behalf, until then live with the knowledge that I am surviving just fine without anyone being harmed or killed intentionally just so I can live, it’s 2012 we don’t have to eat animals so I don’t and you shouldn’t either.

I was a meat eater, I wore leather, I was living as if it were “normal” because I thought it was, or maybe because I didn’t THINK at all, I just went along oblivious of the pain and suffering that I was so far removed from and yet directly supporting, and then I learned and changed, and you can too.

Give it some thought and then experience what it feels like to be able to hold your head up high with the knowledge that you are no longer a contributer to the biggest and most deeply entrenched “ism” in the history of man “speciesism”.

Some of my best friends are non-human animals and I will defend their right to live lives free of pain, suffering and horror until the end and if you can’t understand that, tough shit, I’ll do it with or without you, but I’d much rather do it with you by my side.

I never saw you, but I know you.                                                                                                I never touched you, but I feel you.                                                                                           I never met you, but I miss you.                                                                                                I know you’re gone, but I won’t forget you.                                                                                I couldn’t save you, but I fought for you.                                                                                   I am an Animal Defender and always will be..