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 The Santa Cruz Friendly Vegans


Santa Cruz Animal Rights

We work to reduce suffering among both human and non-human animals.

Our primary goal is to educate people about the cruelty inherent in the many commonly-accepted ways non-human animals are exploited and abused in our society. These include:

Animals in Agriculture

More than 40 billion animals are killed for food each year in the U.S. alone, far more than are killed for all other uses combined. When people see the conditions these animals endure, they are usually shocked. One of our primary goals is to expose people to this information, thus allowing them to make informed decisions about how their actions affect other sentient beings. We do this in a number of ways: by showing videos, distributing leaflets, making literature available in schools and libraries, and more.

Since the scientific community now agrees that a vegan diet can be at least as healthy as one that includes animal products, the only reason to continue to eat meat is because we like the taste. This clearly becomes a case of killing for pleasure, something which compassionate people agree is abhorrent.

For this reason all our events are vegan (that is, we request that all food brought to our events be free of all animal products). However, we welcome open-minded people, vegan or not, to attend our meetings or potluck dinners. We believe that once people find out how good vegan food can be, the decision to become vegan will be that much easier to make.

Animals in Entertainment

People often don't think about the treatment of non-human animals in circuses, rodeos, and other forms of so-called "entertainment." When we ask people to stop and reflect on the conditions these animals endure, and the fact that they suffer purely for the pleasure of the observers, we are confident that people will stop supporting these cruel industries.

Animals in Sport

Hunting, fishing, and other uses of animals in sport are typically both unnecessary and cruel. We encourage people to consider the perspective of the victims when thinking about these activities.

Animals Killed for Their Fur

Most of the animals killed for fur garments and fur trim live extremely miserable lives and are then brutally killed. Many of the animals are skinned while fully conscious, or are only stunned and return to consciousness while they are being skinned.

Animals in Research

Even after recognizing the cruelty inherent in society's treatment of animals in other areas, many people hesitate to condemn scientific research done on animals. They often argue that even if the animals do suffer in the process, the reduction in human suffering is worth the price.

Looking more deeply into the subject, however, one finds that animal research, at least today (and arguably in the past as well) not only causes suffering to non-human animals, it also causes suffering to humans as well. This is because the basic premise on which animal research is typically based is invalid. This premise is that animals are "causal analogic models" of humans -- in other words, they assume that something found to be both safe and effective in animal tests will also be both safe and effective in humans, and conversely that something found to be either unsafe or ineffective in animal tests would also be unsafe or ineffective in humans.

The truth is, however, that neither of these assumptions are valid. For example animal experimentation found the drug thalidomide safe for non-human animals. It was only when the drug was subsequently used in pregnant humans that the terrible side effects of malformed or missing limbs were discovered. This is one example (of many) where the reliance on non-human animals being causal analogic models of humans resulted in significant harm to humans. Another example is penicillin, which shortly after its discovery in 1928 was found to be ineffective in rabbits, and thus was largely abandoned. It wasn't until 1942, after many years and thousands of unnecessary human deaths, that penicillin began to be widely used in humans. (More information on this topic can be found in Dr. Ray Greek's work, including his book Sacred Cows and Golden Geese.)

We believe that animal research is frequently unnecessary, counterproductive, and cruel. However, we do not condone violence or threats of violence in addressing this issue (or any other issue, for that matter).

Companion Animals

With more than 7 million cats and dogs killed each year in the U.S. due to overpopulation, breeding of cats and dogs simply causes more suffering. We encourage spaying and neutering, and remind people that wonderful companion animals can always be found at shelters and rescue organizations.