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Celebrating Vegan Earth Day

With Earth Day just around the corner on April 22nd, this is a fit opportunity to recall the important role of veganism in saving our planet, as well as all the fun Earth Day celebrations we conducted before the pandemic.

It’s Animal Agriculture

Raising animals for food accelerates global warming, depletes our water resources, poisons our waterways, and destroys forests and other wildlife habitats.

Global warming is accelerated by the release of greenhouse gases, so called because they trap the sun’s heat near the earth’s surface. These include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide is released by burning forests to create animal pastures. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cows and from animal waste pits, respectively.

Wind erosion from animal croplands generates airborne particles, which irritate respiratory passages and make them more susceptible to infections. Residents downwind from animal croplands are exposed to fertilizers and pesticides sprayed on crops. Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from animal waste pits produce an unbearable stench.

Animal waste containing vast amounts of nitrates, pathogens, antibiotics, and hormones is stored in huge pits, euphemistically dubbed “lagoons.” During major storms, this waste winds up in the nearest waterway, while some of it leaks gradually into vital groundwater supplies underlying the pits.

Rain and snow runoff from animal feed croplands and from factory farms and its waste pits contain soil particles, salts, organic debris, fertilizer, and pesticides, which kill aquatic organisms in nearby streams and lakes. Eventually these pollutants wind up in the ocean producing huge “dead zones.”

Industrial fishing is wiping out the oceans’ biodiversity, as miles of long lines and trawling nets sweep up huge numbers of “non-target” aquatic organisms. Shrimp trawlers discard as much as 85 percent of their catch. Bottom trawlers scrape the ocean floor and destroy all life in their path.

Animal agriculture is the key factor in destruction of wildlife and their habitats. Ancient forests are cut down and burned to create cattle pastures. When the pastures become trampled and depleted, they are converted into animal feed croplands. Each year, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials kill thousands of bison, wolves, coyotes, foxes, prairie dogs, ferrets, blackbirds, starlings, and other wildlife that are thought to interfere with ranching operations.

Earth Day Fun

In light of animal agriculture’s enormous role in promoting global warming, air and water pollution, and habitat destruction, we have encouraged our supporters to take part in their local Earth Day observances since the turn of the century.

The FARM staff has also participated in a number of Earth Day marches, rallies, and tabling opportunities in the nation’s capital.

Before the pandemic, we mailed thousands of round “earthcards,” “Devastation” trifolds, and colorful posters for distribution at local Earth Day events.

This year, we invite to visit our Green Your Plate website. The website details the devastating environmental impacts of animal agriculture, but then, offers lots of memes, videos, and other tips for posting on social media. We hope that you will join us. 

Closing Note

The world’s attention to the devastating environmental impacts of animal agriculture was first awakened in 2006 by the United Nations publication “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” A number of confirming studies have been published since then.

According to a 2015 report from the Chatham House, animal farming accounts for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, about the same as burning fossil fuels for transportation. Still, 69% of people think that transportation is a major contributor to climate change, while only 29% believe that meat production is responsible.

Clearly, we have our work cut out for us.

In an environmentally sustainable world, we must replace meat and dairy products in our diet with vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels with wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources.

Here is some more recent documentation of the environmental impacts of animal agriculture to assist you in your advocacy:

The views expressed here are of the author and do not necessarily
represent the views of the Farm Animal Rights Movement

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41 thoughts on “Latest Post”

  1. Amazing post. Some people are shocked at the comparison between the Holocaust and what humans do to animals, but this is just speciesism. They feel that comparing human and animal suffering somehow discredits or diminishes human suffering, because they believe animals are lower than humans. Thank you Alex Herscaft for making this important point and hopefully the no vegan majority will see the truth soon. Peace and Love

    1. I’ve always believed that animals are higher than humans not lower. They seem to be more evolved than we are. Compassionate loving and only by necessity… not for monetary gains or ego. As you all know! I don’t kill bugs either 🙂

  2. Thank you. I often reference the holocaust in my animal activism and now here are your world changing words to back me up. Thank you thank you. Blessings.

  3. Dear Alex,

    I am moved and humbled by your experience as a young child and the journey it has taken you on. I am finding it hard to put in to words my gratitude that you have been able to find a positive trajectory for the suffering, pain and loss of life among your loved ones, not to mention countless others.

    I am only months in to living a more compassionate life. Vegan eating has been an easy conversion for me and my only regret is having not done it sooner. I have often been saddened by peoples’ lack of empathy towards fellow humans and found it hard as a child to understand racism. Little did I know I was implicitly being taught that oppression (in its’ many forms) was ok. I guess it has never sat well with me, but until only recently the connection between eating animals, animal cruelty and our oppression of people, has eluded me.

    Thank you for giving voice to such a big topic and sharing your experience. I look forward to reading more from you.

    Sincerely, Cyntra

  4. I was never in a camp. But I recognized oppression, and resolved to stop eating meat many years ago. Interestingly enough my own mother tried to guilt me about my decision. And she was raised on a farm.
    So thank you. I firmly believe that you cannot say you love animals and continue to eat meat…it’s more appropriate to say you love certain animals and hate the rest.
    And if you eat meat, you are harming the climate. That’s a proven fact. So thank you sir for your convictions. They are entirely correct.

  5. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I have been a vegetarian since I was a child and a vegan for ten years.
    It is so refreshing to read that others see how this evil, everyday like slaughter, slavery and torture is acceptable if someone else does it for you

  6. Thank you very much for this website, for this clear message.
    I am from Slovakia, and I woul like to make translations of your blog posts, so people, who do not speak English, can read your important thoughts, if it is ok with you.
    I never heard thoughts about our beloved animal toys in our childhood opposing the teaching, that animals are food. I is very strong image of our internal incoherency.
    Thank you. I is honor to read your kind words!

  7. It’s awesome to become acquainted with a four-decade Vegan. I will keenly anticipate your periodic sharing of wisdom and advice

  8. Thank you. Sir for your incredible insight…
    World must start to understand that
    Savagery is. Savagery… no matter the species 🙏

  9. This Text was verry emotional and show the same Violence to animals in high level how the Violence to jewish people before many years ago. Changes was only the Spezies,the cruelty ist the same and so unnessesary!!! Love all beeings is our learning Prozess! I fight for every Animal!💪💪💪✌️I’m a vegan.❣️

  10. Thank you very, very much for calling on your family’s tragic experience, and that suffered by so many others, to advocate for fairness and compassion for all sentient beings. When will the world learn? “Peace on Earth, goodwill towards ALL.”

  11. This was the first time I heard of you. I’m already vegan , 3 years only unfortunately.
    I wish you can reach more and more people , your words are so powerful. I wish you health and happiness and that many people will hear you out

  12. Alex, I’m so grateful that you are still so active in fighting for the animals! Keep it up as there is still too much work to do. We are fighting against our own government which subsidizes the animal industry!

  13. Dear Alex, dear, dear man! I have for many years referred to the killing of these precious beings we share our Earth with as another holocaust! It has always saddened & sickened me. I am forever grateful for the work you do to try and bring awareness, awakening to the human species about what is REALLY going on!!! There are many times I cannot even leave my home for fear of what I might see! I pray and oh I do so hope one day this horrifically heinous treatment of these beloved beings, the innocents indeed will end! …. Thank you!

  14. This is a great reminder of how far we have come. Sometimes it seems as if we have stalled and that there is no way to reach the 8 billion people on this planet.

    But comparing the progress over the past four decades does reveal a real move forward. I can remember the day when wanting a veggie burger meant boiling lentils or soaking beans to start with!

  15. Thank you for this stunning, informative perspective that most people never consider. After going vegan in July 2014 I had a gut-punch realization that we do not live in a civilized society. The atrocities against nonhuman sentient beings remains hidden, justified with baseless rationalizations, or dismissed. The comparison to the holocaust has been controversial mostly because of this indoctrinated, false belief of human superiority. Equally tragic is the suffering people cause each other.

  16. Hello Alex,

    Our movement of the last few years has had a lot of infighting, dealing mostly with tactic, effectiveness, funding, pc culture and #ARmetoo (or intersectional veganism vs not). I know these are big questions, but I was mostly wondering where you stand in all this.

    Specifically, with the #MeToo and intersectional veganism. Is there room for this in the movement or should everything just be focused on the animals? I feel we are missing goals here and forgetting the animals, but also I am conflicted because I do see how things are connected and that we can’t just look past it. Is it everything and anything for animal liberation, or is it a larger more interconnected fight and where do we start? What if someone is accused of sexual misconduct in the movement? Do we support trans rights? Farm workers? There just seems to be a lot and I’m fairly new to all this.

    I know this is a lot, and maybe a future blog article? But I’m curious your views on this.

  17. Incredible what you experienced over your lifetime. A true survivor and someone who has dedicated a lifetime to saving lives. I’m going to subscribe to your blog.

  18. Thank you so much for this. Very wise words that must be spread and shared. Many people will not want to hear these words because they don’t want to think of themselves as bad people but the animals depend on us to share.

    1. Thank you for all your throught-out informed beneficial points. Indeed you have touched upon many that I have been saying for years, being an ARA about 2 decades and Animal lover/rescuer from childhood. I’m the daughter of WWII Holocaust survivors and recognize 100% the parallel of the Animal Holocaust. At my demos I’ve advocated for communication via love and tolerance, in order to build a bridge of communication instead of a wall of defense. Aka NVC (Non-Violent Communication) and the importance of early education to counter the indoctrination via the ‘not yet vegan’ homelife and community. All you have mentioned shall be indeed beneficial. 🌟🕊💖🌱🌸✌🌷Thank You
      Mitzi Ocean global coordinator of the International Anti Fur Coalition (IAFC)

    2. It’s an honour to follow someone who proves what I’ve been saying for, what feels like, ever. Much respect and admiration to you sir.

  19. Dr Hershaft is one of the very few who can refer to the Holocaust when referring to animal rights. To the best of my knowledge PETA previously drew comparison and it caused controversy.


      I am very happy to meet you, even if it’s on the computer. I have thought for many years that in order for there to be peace in the world, we have to stop killing and eating animals. We have to start with the animals and work our way along our paths to people. It’s horrible what we do to animals not even giving the smallest thought to the suffering we are causing them. I am not without guilt in this area as I ate animal flesh for the first forty years of my life until I met my husband to be who was a vegetarian. Now we are both vegetarians, but we do eat frozen yogurt and ice cream causing suffering to cows. I am now pledging to become a vegan and hope I will have the willpower to stay a vegan. Since I am now 83 years old, I will have to begin again doing some cooking as vegan food, I’ve found, is difficult to find. So I said to myself, this is too hard. So wish me well that I can stick to a vegan diet.

  20. Carla Sofia Salas

    THANK YOU só much for speak for animals and for show to the world the meaning of what they eat, and that a steak in your dish is more than a piece.of meat and potatoes! It’s a dead body part of a living being who had a cruelty life and a brutally dead!
    We are what we eat!

  21. Hi.
    What you quoted as similar between Holocaust and animal slaughter, stems from both been brought to us by same people. Modern “farming ” and slaughter comes from Germany and was brought to the States by Germans who went to live there. Four years after Neuremburg, all the scientists sentenced to death were freed and brought to America. They became CEOs in all the mayor companies, including pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

    However, how can you compare what is done to animals, though wrong, to the Holocaust? By doing so you disgrace your parents’ memory, which is up to you, but also that of all the others who were murdered. It cheapens the Holocaust and is especially insulting because you mention your parents died there. I really don’t think it helps the cause either.

  22. Thank you Dr Hershaft for this very moving informative piece, I have read it twice so far. I agree that animals must think of us as Nazis but I think not all animals because some animals are in sanctuaries but unfortunately very few compared to the many billions of land animals murdered unnecessarily for food every year and trillions of sea life. I became a vegetarian in 1979 merging into veganism by 1999. In 1981 I went to the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem on a 2 week trip to Israel with my husband & his parents, some of what I saw at that museum is still in my mind now. Some years later we visited the Holocaust Jewish Museum in Sydney & later still I became a member of the museum. Thank you again Dr Hershaft.

  23. Thank you, Alex, for your heartfelt expression of what I have known for at least 30 years. Your beautiful testimonial underscores why I became a vegan over 26 years ago while in college (27 as of New Year’s Day 2021). As a Reform Jew who experienced ample anti-Semitism throughout my formative years, I can’t stand to see anyone subject to bigotry of any kind. I have no tolerance for moral hypocrisy that segregates non-humans from our moral sphere simply based on their different species, as if we should only respect the dignity of humans, and all other beings are legitimately exploitable for any purpose. I believe Tikkun Olam, the Jewish principle that advocates “healing the world” by definition must include veganism as a moral imperative. The notion of intersectionality also must include non-human beings in our moral community, lest we undermine the values we claim to uphold. As an agnostic Jew, I prioritize moral consistency over superstition. I don’t celebrate Jewish holidays or attend synagogue for Shabbat as I did when I was younger, though I had a Bar-Mitzvah and Confirmation, but I cannot accept any self-described Jew who consumes non-humans, has no qualms about vivisection and other myriad abominations against non-humans so ubiquitous in our daily lives as being consistent with Jewish values. Mohandas Gandhi advised us to “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, “No one is free when others are oppressed.” I am personally offended by anyone, especially Jews, who proclaim that comparing non-human animal exploitation to the Nazi Holocaust “cheapens the memory” of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Third Reich. This is patently hypocritical and willfully ignorant, particularly when most of us know firsthand what bigotry feels like. This is exactly why I rebel against all true bigotry, regardless of who the subjects of such discrimination happen to be.

  24. Taking ethics “off the table” directly undermines the message of veganism and animal rights, which is that what humans are doing to other animals is a form of radical evil–not merely wrong, but terribly, unspeakably wrong. “Taking ethics off the table” sends the message to the public that it is acceptable to make light of, to obscure, to trivialize animal suffering and trauma. See:

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