Category Archives: Moral compartmentalisation

Tasmania’s Dark Mofo: Is Killing Animals Art or Business as Usual?

I discuss an event in Tasmania which happens each year : Dark Mofo. This June during this festival, a young bull is slated to be killed (not in front of the public) prior and his body cut up and used in an installation.

There’s been a huge outcry from the public. I discuss the moral compartmentalisation that occurs every time an instance like this happens in society whether it be Harambe the gorilla, Maurius the giraffe, Cecil the lion and so forth. Most who are outraged by these individuals being killed, are not vegan.

Like most of us before we became vegan, we do not understand that every sentient being loves life just like this bull loves life and does not want to die. Every animal we eat, wear and use as a resource is just like this young bull and will go through the same horror and torture before they are killed and when they are killed. And all of it is for trivial reasons of mostly palate pleasure.

We don’t need animal products to survive, in fact we can *easily* meet all of our nutrition requirements from plants (and other non-animal sources). Since that is the case, the only reason we can give for why we continue participating in this tremendous violence is because they “taste good”. That’s morally unjustifiable.

It’s easy to be vegan.

All we have to do is make that decision to end our participation in this tremendous violence and injustice, and the rest is easy. It just requires a little research. Go no further. Here’s my vegan resource to assist you

If you are vegan, and you want to politely register your opposition to killing this sentient being for this installation, consider writing to Lord Mayor Sue Hickey –
email: lord.mayor ( at) hobartcity (dot) com (dot) au
or contact Dark Mofo here. Consider asking the Lord Mayor to consider going vegan and ask those at Dark Mofo to consider going vegan 🙂 and to urge the organisers to accept the invitation of Brightside Farm Sanctuary to rescue this young bull and care for him.

Here’s the vlog I did on Faint Signals from Vega on Youtube.

Thanks for listening. 🙂

989 total views, 1 views today


2017: May It Be Everything You Wish It To Be

I share some thoughts on what we can do as a species to make the lives of our own species and that of others better.  I speak generally about the problems that arise from trying to block issues from our minds, and how we can open ourselves up to ideas and how we can envision and create a better world by questioning what we have been told, how we are living, and the systems we are living within, and by caring about all sentient beings.

For more information:

The Empire Files with Abby Martin

Chris Hedges, Columnist – Truthdig

TeleSur English

Mint Press News: Independent, non-partisan journalism

Sane Progressive

Black Agenda Report

George Galloway | Facebook

John Pilger

George Ades

Eva Bartlett

The Real News Network: Independent News, Blogs and Editorials

Party for Socialism and Liberation: PSL

Democracy Now!

Cabin Talk





1,185 total views, 1 views today


Turning Despair into Action

“Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.”
September 1, 1939
W. H. Auden (1907 – 1973)

Atomic bomb tests at Maralinga Australia. Australian soldiers can be seen observing. There were indigenous communities who were forceably relocated and those who also suffered radiation poisoning and still to this day have not been compensated.


Please read my disclaimer about external sites, groups, organisations, individuals linked to or mentioned in this episode.

Please go vegan

For more information:


The Coming War on China


200 Aboriginal Maralinga victims denied compensation





1,287 total views, 1 views today


Star Trek and the Issue of Sentience

VT ep 32 header

Star Trek is a vehicle for science fiction themes, and like many science fiction stories, it sometimes uses the future to focus on issues that touch us today. I look at the issue of sentience, as seen in respect of the character, The Doctor on the series Star Trek: Voyager. After a brief look at the way this pop-cultural icon addresses the issue, I launch into other considerations of sentience, highlighting moral inconsistencies and moral compartmentalisation and the way this relates to non-human animals.

Music intro from TV series Star Trek Voyager.

One correction: I used the term at one point “non-white” when I meant to say “people of colour”.

Here’s some excerpts of the series episode titled “Author Author”

Starts at 1.17

Starts at 0.45 secs

Thanks for listening 🙂 Please subscribe to this site for future updates.

For more information:

Sentience, Speciesism and Rights | How To Go Vegan Podcast

Sentience: The Morally Relevant Characteristic Justifying Basic Rights



1,581 total views, no views today


I Cannot See You

I cannot see you
A personal account of my own speciesism and I also talk about my personal experience as a vegan in relation to societal speciesism and our moral compartmentalisation.  When we are speciesist, and any of us are if we are eating, wearing and using animals, it’s like trying to look at animals through a fog. We see shapes, but we cannot see them as sentient moral persons. And sometimes, even when we have a moment when we are presented with a clear view, we refuse to see what is so very obvious.

If you’re not vegan, please consider checking out my resources. Thanks for listening. I invite you to subscribe to my podcast.
Join me next time 🙂

1,560 total views, 2 views today


What? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive didn’t tip you off?

european lobster
Please excuse the sound quality in this episode.
What? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive didn’t tip you off?

Next time we encounter a tank of lobsters at a restaurant or “seafood” shop, we should stop for a few moments to put aside our prejudices and really look at these individuals.

In the lengthy piece “Consider the Lobster” (“Gourmet” magazine 2004) by the late writer David Foster Wallace (who sadly suicided in 2008), he spoke about the ethics of boiling a lobster alive, all for a few moments of palate pleasure and he also spoke about a lobster’s sensory neurons.

He writes:

However stuporous the lobster is from the trip home, for instance, it tends to come alarmingly to life when placed in boiling water. If you’re tilting it from a container into the steaming kettle, the lobster will sometimes try to cling to the container’s sides or even to hook its claws over the kettle’s rim like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of a roof. And worse is when the lobster’s fully immersed. Even if you cover the kettle and turn away, you can usually hear the cover rattling and clanking as the lobster tries to push it off. Or the creature’s claws scraping the sides of the kettle as it thrashes around. The lobster, in other words, behaves very much as you or I would behave if we were plunged into boiling water (with the obvious exception of screaming).15 A blunter way to say this is that the lobster acts as if it’s in terrible pain, causing some cooks to leave the kitchen altogether and to take one of those little lightweight plastic oven timers with them into another room and wait until the whole process is over.

I remember many years ago on a sea cruise I ate a lobster. I was 16 and had never eaten lobster before. The waiter put down the dish with a lobster who had been cut in half. I remember feeling slightly uncomfortable because half his head was on my plate. Major cognitive dissonance. At the same time, my speciesist belief system kicked in and I proceeded to eat this individual and I enjoyed it. But I remember this event very well. Now as a vegan, I shudder to think about it. At times, when I dare think about my past participation in animal use, I am ashamed and guilt-ridden. And I must say while composing this post, having to read Wallace’s descriptions of murdering lobsters literally made me feel nauseous.

This is the torture I put this particular individual through for a few moments of palate pleasure.

David W. Foster continues:

[i]t takes a lot of intellectual gymnastics and behaviorist hairsplitting not to see struggling, thrashing, and lid-clattering as just such pain-behavior. According to marine zoologists, it usually takes lobsters between 35 and 45 seconds to die in boiling water. (No source I could find talked about how long it takes them to die in superheated steam; one rather hopes it’s faster.)

In Maine at their Lobster Festival they boil alive 100 lobsters at a time. The unbearable fear and torture.  maar_august2004_mainelobster608

Today while browsing Twitter, I came across a numerous headlines relating to this particular issue of crustaceans and pain. I have chosen one titled: “Further evidence that crabs and other crustaceans feel pain” I sighed and thought really? What was the giveaway? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive by thrashing about trying to push the lid off a boiling pot? These ongoing kinds of (often torturous) studies always astonish and sadden me. The unending experiments apparently trying to determine whether these non-human individuals feel pain. It makes me sigh with despair at our species’ pathetic attempts to rationalize our exploitation of the vulnerable.

Recalling my time as a nurse in a neuro-intensive care unit, many of our patients were in a coma. Although they were unresponsive except for basic simple physical reflexes, as nurses, we would talk to them, tell them what we were about to do e.g wash their face, moisten their mouth etc. We treated them with the same regard we would had they been conscious. We have such regard for our own species, even when they are comatosed, yet we are so invested in using non-human animals as resources, that we cannot even acknowledge the obvious.

If one searches online, there have been numerous scientific articles about lobsters interactions with other lobsters: their sentience, their very fine sensitive hairs on their shell etc. There have been scientific articles about other crustaceans (and fish), their sentience and also their ability to feel pain.

Here’s another excerpt from “Consider the Lobster” by David F Wallace:

There are, of course, other fairly common ways to kill your lobster on-site and so achieve maximum freshness. Some cooks’ practice is to drive a sharp heavy knife point-first into a spot just above the midpoint between the lobster’s eyestalks (more or less where the Third Eye is in human foreheads). This is alleged either to kill the lobster instantly or to render it insensate—and is said at least to eliminate the cowardice involved in throwing a creature into boiling water and then fleeing the room. As far as I can tell from talking to proponents of the knife-in-the-head method, the idea is that it’s more violent but ultimately more merciful, plus that a willingness to exert personal agency and accept responsibility for stabbing the lobster’s head honors the lobster somehow and entitles one to eat it. (There’s often a vague sort of Native American spirituality-of-the-hunt flavor to pro-knife arguments.) But the problem with the knife method is basic biology: Lobsters’ nervous systems operate off not one but several ganglia, a.k.a. nerve bundles, which are sort of wired in series and distributed all along the lobster’s underside, from stem to stern. And disabling only the frontal ganglion does not normally result in quick death or unconsciousness. Another alternative is to put the lobster in cold salt water and then very slowly bring it up to a full boil. Cooks who advocate this method are going mostly on the analogy to a frog, which can supposedly be kept from jumping out of a boiling pot by heating the water incrementally. In order to save a lot of research-summarizing, I’ll simply assure you that the analogy between frogs and lobsters turns out not to hold.

Ultimately, the only certain virtues of the home-lobotomy and slow-heating methods are comparative, because there are even worse/crueler ways people prepare lobster. Time-thrifty cooks sometimes microwave them alive (usually after poking several extra vent holes in the carapace, which is a precaution most shellfish-microwavers learn about the hard way). Live dismemberment, on the other hand, is big in Europe: Some chefs cut the lobster in half before cooking; others like to tear off the claws and tail and toss only these parts in the pot.

And there’s more unhappy news respecting suffering-criterion number one. Lobsters don’t have much in the way of eyesight or hearing, but they do have an exquisite tactile sense, one facilitated by hundreds of thousands of tiny hairs that protrude through their carapace. “Thus,” in the words of T.M. Prudden’s industry classic About Lobster, “it is that although encased in what seems a solid, impenetrable armor, the lobster can receive stimuli and impressions from without as readily as if it possessed a soft and delicate skin.” And lobsters do have nociceptors, (17) as well as invertebrate versions of the prostaglandins and major neurotransmitters via which our own brains register pain.

Lobsters do not, on the other hand, appear to have the equipment for making or absorbing natural opioids like endorphins and enkephalins, which are what more advanced nervous systems use to try to handle intense pain. From this fact, though, one could conclude either that lobsters are maybe even more vulnerable to pain”

Seriously, here’s a little tip off for anyone still questioning whether these individuals feel pain. They do their best to avoid harm. They defend themselves against possible harm. And as I mentioned earlier, they struggle desperately to climb out of a pot of boiling water. I mean seriously! It’s not difficult at all if one is paying the least bit attention to see that crustaceans feel pain and what’s more they are sentient. We just choose not to acknowledge it– just as we choose not to acknowledge that other animals are sentient–so we can continue to exploit and murder them (for convenience and trivial reasons). This failure to acknowledge other species’ basic right not to be used as property is the result of our unrelenting speciesist indoctrination from the time we were born.

And we do it, because we can.

I wish to share with you a few relevant quotes from an excellent blog: UVE Archives which explains speciesism:

Racism and speciesism are both the same wrong of ignoring morally relevant characteristics, such as sentience, in favor of morally irrelevant characteristics, such as species or race membership. Just as racists find it very difficult to see anything wrong with their racism, speciesists find it very difficult to see anything wrong with their speciesism.

Speciesism (like racism, sexism, and heterosexism) is the epistemically irrational prejudice of favoring one or more species over other species without a morally relevant characteristic providing justification. From the standpoint of irrational, unjustified prejudice, ignoring the morally relevant characteristic of intelligence in preventing certain classes of humans from obtaining an education is the same as ignoring the morally relevant characteristic of sentience in exploiting and killing nonhuman animals for food, clothing, research, and entertainment (all of which are unnecessary).

Speciesism is one form of irrational, prejudiced compartmentalization. An example of speciesist compartmentalization is when we pet and love a dog while a pig’s full body and head rotate over a fire pit. Why isn’t it the other way around? Better yet, why don’t we pet and love both the dog and the pig?”

Whether non-human animals express emotions and responses we can recognize or identify with or whether non-humans display “intelligence” like ours is irrelevant as to whether they deserve at least one right — the right not to be used as property. All that matters is sentience. Whether they feel a little pain or a lot of pain, whether they are “like us” or not, the issue is that we have no right to torture and murder other animals. We have no right to use these individuals as resources just because they are from another species.

Finally I would like to share this quote about sentience and speciesism from a blog post titled: “A Matter of Life and Death”

We consider killing humans to be wrong regardless of the individual’s cognitive abilities, moral capacity, mental health, sex, race, nationality, age, or sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter whether the person in question is terminally suffering from dementia, psychologically ill, severely retarded or a productive genius – we believe it to be seriously wrong in all cases. If we consider any given case to be particularly egregious, it is often due to the individual’s vulnerability, not to any mental or moral characteristics he or she may possess.

By stark contrast, the majority of us act as if there is absolutely nothing wrong with unnecessarily killing a member of certain other species of sentient beings. But what rational basis do we have for such a discrepancy in our perception? What quality is found in all and only humans that could possibly point to the conclusion that the lives of other animals are unimportant?

Let’s remember this next time we pass by a tank of lobsters in a restaurant. Let’s stop and really look at them. Let’s put aside long held beliefs that they are “things” or “food” and instead, recognize that they love life; that they are individuals and let us remember, they are in this terrible situation because we are not vegan.

Let us stop pretending that other animals’ lives do not matter to them, that it’s acceptable to exploit them as long as we do it “humanely”. Let’s stop pretending that there’s such a thing as non-abusive use of animals, because if we do our research — instead of believing industry and large animals organisations — there is no such thing as “humane” use and even if there were, it would still be unjust. Let’s stop believing our own supremacist notion that we are the ONLY species on the planet that is important and all others are just here for us to use.

Just to give a little perspective. Today 150 million nonhuman sentient individuals–who loved life just as we do, and who are like our nonhuman family members whom we love so much– were tortured and murdered, mostly for our palate pleasure. Many many more sea animals suffered the same fate. When we are not vegan, we are participating in unspeakable acts of violence every day that we eat, wear and use other animals. We are contributing greatly to the planet’s ecological meltdown as 51% of greenhouse gases are from animal use industry according to a 2009 Worldwatch Institute report.

We need to regain our connection to the planet, and recognize our interconnectedness to the millions upon millions of other species who share it with us. Please! Let’s stop our participation in violence and end our self-deception.

Please go vegan. It’s not a hardship. Far from it. Being vegan brings more and more happiness into our lives as time passes. Becoming vegan will be one of the best decisions we make in our lives and it will be a first step to a nonviolent life.

I will leave you with a quote from a wonderful Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh: “We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness”

Thank you for your consideration 🙂

2,575 total views, 3 views today


VT Podcast Ep 8: Veganism and All Forms of Life

Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges

A reading of Pulitzer Prize recipient Chris Hedges’ essay ( posted Jan 4, 2015 )   “All Forms of Life Are Sacred“. His essay discusses veganism and the moral imperative.  Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer prize recipient and his bio can be found here.  He is also a regular contributor to and his essays are posted each Monday.

Normally I discuss various issues in my episodes, but I decided there would be some value in reading this essay.  Next time I will return to discussing issues as usual.  I hope you enjoyed today’s episode 🙂

I apologise for any poor pronunciation of any author’s name.

Disclaimer: Please note I do not endorse opinions of authors nor do I endorse individuals mentioned and I do not endorse any links, opinions or ads on external sites.

Please feel free to leave feedback / comments whether positive or negative as long as it is constructive and civil.

I look forward to your company again. 

2,460 total views, 2 views today


Vegan Trove Podcast Episode 2: Speciesism and Other Forms of Discrimination

Welcome again friends. 🙂 In Episode 2, I briefly touch on some of the topics covered in my 1st podcast. I explore some quotes, articles and interviews and include some of the audio.

Excerpt of transcript of Russell Brand / Paxman interview on BBC’s Newsnight:

Jeremy Paxman: Well, how do you have any authority to talk about politics then?

Russell Brand: Well, I don’t get my authority from this pre-existing paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people. I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity. Alternative means alternative political systems.

Jeremy Paxman: They being?

Russell Brand: Well, I’ve not invented it yet, Jeremy. I had to do a magazine last week. I’ve had a lot on my plate. But I say—but here’s the thing that you shouldn’t do: shouldn’t destroy the planet, shouldn’t create massive economic disparity, shouldn’t ignore the needs of the people. The burden of proof is on the people with the power, not people who like doing a magazine for a novelty.

Jeremy Paxman: How do you imagine that people get power?

Russell Brand: Well, I imagine there are sort of hierarchical systems that have been preserved through generations—

Jeremy Paxman: They get power by being voted in. That’s how they get it.

Russell Brand: Well, you say that, Jeremy, but like—

Jeremy Paxman: You can’t even be asked to vote.

RUSSELL BRAND: It’s quite narrow—quite a narrow prescriptive parameter that changes within the—

JEREMY PAXMAN: In a democracy, that’s how it works.

RUSSELL BRAND: Well, I don’t think it’s working very well, Jeremy, given that the planet is being destroyed, given that there is economic disparity of a huge degree. What you’re saying, there’s no alternative. There’s no alternative, just this system.

Jeremy Paxman: No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying—

Russell Brand: Brilliant.

Jeremy Paxman: —if you can’t be asked to vote, why should we be asked to listen to your political point of view?

Russell Brand: You don’t have to listen to my political point of view. But it’s not that I’m not voting out of apathy. I’m not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery, deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations now and which has now reached fever pitch, where we have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that are not being represented by that political system. So, voting for it is tacit complicity with that system, and that’s not something I’m offering up.

Jeremy Paxman: Why don’t you change it then?

Russell Brand: I’m trying to.

I touch on the problems of large animal charities ignoring the solution to animal “cruelty” and more importantly the solution to abolishing animal use (Veganism),  and I expand on a topic I broached last week about the ecological disaster that is animal agriculture and its contribution to species extinction and climate change and how green groups ignore its contribution and why, and I touch on a number of diverse miscellaneous issues.

This 2nd podcast is again a tad long (approx 45 minutes) but I think you might find it interesting.  Episode 3 will (hopefully) be in the next 2 or 3 weeks if time permits (I’m very busy till the new year).

As well as subscribing to this site for updates, please join “Vegan Trove” on Facebook for future podcast updates :)

Disclaimer: Although I mention various individuals or sites in my podcasts, please note I do not necessarily endorse these individuals, or opinions, links or ads.  Please view my disclaimer:

Please note episodes are now available on iTunes.
Thanks for listening. I look forward to having the pleasure of your company next time.  :)

For more information:

Russell Brand’s “The Trews

On the Environmental Disaster of Animal Agriculture | UVE Archives

Recommended books 

My LiveVegan Page: Another Facebook Casualty?

2,019 total views, 1 views today