Michael

The Interconnectedness of Life – The Book



Added on December 15, 2014 by Michael Lanfield
www.michaellanfield.com / www.weareinterconnected.com

For more than four years, since I started writing, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I knew I had to tell my story of awakening. The animals were my inspiration and they taught me that I needed to share the message. It is their message; their cries, their fear and their blood, but it is also a message of love, compassion and kindness. I felt the urge to start a blog and website and eventually sit down and write a book. I really did not know where this was going to take me, but I knew my message had to be heard.

Along the way I met some beautiful and inspiring people. Their stories were always heart-warming and telling, but it was the animals that propelled me to do what I do today. After all they are the ones being butchered alive for our gluttony, all for the taste and pleasure. Is this all really worth it, their blood and death on our hands?

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It is true, what farmers and slaughterhouse workers go through all day long, abusing and killing animals, haunts them in their dreams. And on top of that, the drug, spousal and sexual abuse is rampant in their lives and they spread it within their community.

I envision a world of peace. I see paradise on Earth. My realization after years of experience, researching and learning of Mother Earth’s teachings, I can say I am more aware and present than I’ve ever been in my 32 years of living. I can attest now I know more, of course there are still a lot to learn, but I can attest that it is the cries of the animals, mostly for the meals we prepare and consume, that really gave me a purpose in my life. It lead me to seeing and feeling myself in others. It gave me the courage to speak out for the voiceless, and to spread loving-kindness and awaken the love in everyone.

I truly believe, as humans, we are born loving and caring. Ever since we were little children, the love and compassion that was innate in us has been hidden and suppressed. We’ve been programmed since little infants by our culture and all institutions to not feel any love and compassion for others especially non-human animals. There is a hierarchy, where we believe humans are superior to all others, and the Caucasian race being the most superior and then other human beings following down the line. Next down the list, comes women and then non-human animals such as cats and dogs. Down the pyramid, we see wild animals as less important, following with farm animals at the bottom of the list. Somewhere in between, we also see the domination of plant species. We see this as a circle of life. But it is not a circle of life at all. It is a pyramid of hierarchy and domination of other living beings.

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We are all interconnected. And because of this, we need to heal our own wounds if we are to heal the wounds in others. Just like we can’t love others, if we don’t love ourselves first. The Interconnectedness of Life is just that, we need to visualize a world of paradise. We need to heal our wounds and scars and envision a world truly at peace. Violence cannot exist in a peaceful world. No violence of any sort.

“As a teenager and young adult I questioned everything. I wondered if this was the way we were supposed to live. I didn’t understand why there was so much violence all around us; why humans were destroying the environment and how we were disrespectful to animals. I started meditating as a young adult, trying to understand. I saw documentary films and did research on the Internet, but I just couldn’t understand. Though I always went back to the photo of the bear in the muzzle beside me at the circus and wondered, how on Earth could anyone commit such atrocity to an innocent creature? And funny enough, there I was consuming animal products without a single worry in the world. I did not understand that I was the problem and that I needed to change my habits.”
– Michael Lanfield, Excerpt taken from the book The Interconnectedness of Life

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I was to blame, but now I can be a force for healing. For the first twenty-six years of my life I paid people to kill innocent creatures, who did absolutely nothing to us, and they deserve to live free of any exploitation and use.

As Will Tuttle, PhD mentioned in an interview,
“Even animal foods, no matter where they come from, whether it’s hunting, I mean hunting is probably the least harmful, but as soon as we own animals, as soon as we have any sense of ownership, property. Owning another being is violence. Actually it’s a delusion; we do not own another living being.”

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Purchase The Interconnectedness of Life (Paperback)
http://www.weareinterconnected.com/theinterconnectednessoflife/paperback

Download the free e-book (PDF)
http://www.weareinterconnected.com/the-interconnectedness-of-life-pdf

“The Interconnectedness of Life articulates in an uplifting and engaging way the many correspondences between vegan living and building a healthier world. Michael Lanfield weaves stories from his personal journey of transformation together with the latest research on nutrition and ecology. To this he adds a judicious selection of wise words from sages of many times and places. The result is a literary banquet that is sure to inspire and guide readers to greater compassion, clarity, health, and understanding. Highly recommended.”
– Dr. Will Tuttle, Author of the #1 Amazon bestselling book The World Peace Diet


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Exposing the Wrongs of the Animal Rights Movement

 
Added on August 15, 2014 by Michael Lanfield
www.michaellanfield.com / www.weareinterconnected.com
 
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As humans we are all on a spiritual journey in life. We are on a path of raising consciousness, however many people and organizations have come to look at it as business and profit. What we need to do is follow our hearts and support individuals who are truly making a difference for animals and the planet. Yes we are called to be vegan activists and we can earn a living while doing so, however if money or personal image are the main motivations of doing so, we are not truly living with integrity as vegans. People who claim to be vegan, but don’t embody the vegan message in their everyday lives, who are materialistic money grubbing or kill animals directly or indirectly by paying people or getting volunteers to do their dirty work for them are in fact fooling themselves and the animals. They are not vegans at all. Though they may do some good work for the animals, they turn their backs and are committing crimes of unimaginable cruelty and death. They are hypocritical. While they say and do one thing, they turn around and cause harm in other ways. Some of these activists and organizations support humane slaughter or capital punishment.
 
We live in a world of immense suffering and violence, why do we have to maximize the cruelty on top of that by deceiving ourselves and others? We are not vegans if we feed our dogs or cats, non-vegan pet foods and we are surely not vegan if we own a restaurant that serves animal products. Nor are we vegan if we prepare non-vegan foods for other people or purchase non-fair trade products like cocoa for example. Activists, who use violence to justify the means, are not living the true meaning of veganism. Veganism as Donald Watson coined it back in 1944 means, “…a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practical—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose”. Even though in the context Donald meant non-human animals, humans are also animals, mammals that is. And we must have empathy and compassion for human-animals as well. Slaughterhouse workers and animal farmers also need our love. I argue in my book The Interconnectedness of Life, Unconditional Love means “affection without any limitations”. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This is the universal principle we must all learn to practise and preach.
 
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As vegan activists we are all far from perfect, but we can strive to minimize the harm we cause to others. Of course there will be times when we fall off the bandwagon, but we must pick ourselves up and stand back up on our two feet and learn from our mistakes. There are many people that often fail on a vegan diet and burnout. I’ve seen many friends over the year’s burnout and live as closet vegans or go back to meat-eating. Some of them in fact weren’t even vegan to begin with. These are the angry vegans who believe humans are viruses and we should all be exterminated from the face of the planet. It is also the vegans who do it purely for health or weight loss reasons that seem to also fail. I’ve seen it mostly in the raw food movement; people claiming to be vegans now including honey, royal jelly, deer antler velvet and colostrum in their diet. Some even switch over to paleo or primal diets.
 
In the end veganism is not about health or our selfish endeavours, veganism is not about keeping our opinions to ourselves or about being the judgemental angry vegans, veganism is a philosophy which seeks to minimize as much pain and suffering as possible and to share our stories with others. Veganism is the unconditional love for all beings. We must respect everyone.
 
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Some people may consider me to be a pacifist and they’re right, I am. I do not support violence of any sort. That being said, it does not mean I don’t defend myself if absolutely necessary for my survival. If I’m out in the jungle and a tiger or lion attacks me, I would try to defend myself. That would also be true if I or my family was being attacked by another person. I would try to defend myself and my family. This also goes to insects or microbes that try to attack me or infests my home; I would try to defend myself.
 
We must realize that as vegan activists, slaughterhouse workers are not killing on their own free will. They were programmed just like all of us from a young age to see animals merely as food and commodities and they took on the job most likely out of desperation to earn a living. I certainly don’t like what they’re doing, but what good does anger or hatefulness do for the animals or for the planet? There is nothing wrong with showing loving-kindness to these people as well. Although, it is normal to be outraged when we witness horrible abuses towards animals, we must understand that these people are only doing this for two reasons, to earn a living and because they’ve been indoctrinated by the herding culture like the rest of us.
 

As we realize our interconnectedness with all living beings, our purpose naturally becomes to help and bless others, and it is a role we can carry without burnout or anger. The terrible suffering we see may certainly disturb and outrage us, but the outrage turns to compassion and creativity rather than to anger, despair, or vindictiveness. Rising above anger and despair while still keeping our hearts open to the ocean of cruelty, indifference, and suffering on this earth is not easy. It requires cultivating wisdom and compassion – both the inner silent receptivity that links us to the eternal truth of our being and the outer actions of serving and helping others that give meaning to our life. By creating an inner field of peace, kindness, joy, and unity, we contribute to building a planetary field of compassion that reflects this consciousness. A positive approach is essential because it mobilizes our spiritual resources, generates enthusiasm, and brings more joy and love into our world. In the end, as Mahatma Gandhi emphasized, we must be the change we want to see in the world.
‒ Will Tuttle, PhD, Author of The World Peace Diet

 
 

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Unconditional Love

If we want to live in a world of kindness and love, why do we toil with that which only parishes? Why don’t we instead create a world of love? Love is the key to ending the oppression and suffering that we are plagued with. Unconditional love is the answer. We need to love the birds, the trees, the soil, the stars and clouds, our fellow humans and all beings. We need to love Mother Earth as she is the heart and soul of this planet. She takes care and nourishes us with her sweet delectable fruits of the earth. She is a wonderful breathtaking beauty of multitude of colours. Animals are magnificent beautiful creatures with their own lives and drives and deserve just as much right to be here on this planet as anyone else.

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We are biologically all the same. We have feelings, drives and purposes to fulfill and we need love. Everyone with their own genetics and life experiences, feel and behave differently. At this very moment our thoughts and views of others can have a negative or a positive impact on the lives of others. We don’t know what’s going on in people’s minds, at least not yet, but we can control our thoughts and feelings to affect our situations and the people around us.

While I see many people negatively affected by other people’s actions, I believe this has to do with their own thoughts. I believe our purpose on this planet is that of unconditional love for all beings. We must embrace a circle of compassion and include everyone in our sphere of love. When we love everyone, the love radiates back to us in countless positive ways. When we hate or are indifferent to others, it brings out the worst in us and it boomerangs back to us in negative ways.

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What I’ve learned over the years about loving everyone unconditionally has helped my life more than ever. As I see it, when you love everyone more and more, even people who don’t see eye to eye with you, a more harmonious relationship becomes of us. Just like we are becoming better beings by loving, they do as well. There is a beautiful example of this in the book Peace to all Beings, by Judy Carman.

“A thief entered the cottage of Pavahari Baba to steal what he could. When Pavahari Baba returned home and saw the thief, he ran after him offering more, pleading with him to come back and get all that he needed. In awe of the response, the thief never stole again and became a disciple of Pavahari.” (Carman, Judy McCoy. Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul. New York, NY: Lantern, 2003. Page 111. Print.)

We can see that when we love and freely give out of kindness, we in turn spiritually heal and awaken to the mysterious wonders and beauty of the world and awaken the beauty in others. This is the true innate gift instilled in all of us. As little children we are taughtto be kind, loving and generous, but as we get older, we selfishly compete with one another, disconnecting from our innate wisdom of kindness and compassion.

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I don’t see enemies in anyone. I treat everyone as I’d like to be treated, with love and kindness. Even the so-called ‘enemies’, I don’t see as enemies. I forgive and send out all my love to them. What good does it do to be hatful towards someone who doesn’t see eye to eye or share the same viewpoints? Even those who commit violence need all our love. A part of them is unawakened; they’re still part of the cultural programming. In a way, we are their teachers, loving and guiding them to higher consciousness. We can’t heal ourselves when we are not healing others.

As guardians of the Earth, our job is to care, protect and love one another. Our actions and thoughts are what shape the world we live in today.

As Dr. Will Tuttle says in The World Peace Diet,

“As we realize our interconnectedness with all living beings, our purpose naturally becomes to help and bless others, and it is a role we can carry without burnout or anger. The terrible suffering we see may certainly disturb and outrage us, but the outrage turns to compassion and creativity rather than to anger, despair, or vindictiveness. Rising above anger and despair while still keeping our hearts open to the ocean of cruelty, indifference, and suffering on this earth is not easy. It requires cultivating wisdom and compassion – both the inner silent receptivity that links us to the eternal truth of our being and the outer actions of serving and helping others that give meaning to our life. By creating an inner field of peace, kindness, joy, and unity, we contribute to building a planetary field of compassion that reflects this consciousness. A positive approach is essential because it mobilizes our spiritual resources, generates enthusiasm, and brings more joy and love into our world. In the end, as Mahatma Gandhi emphasized, we must be the change we want to see in the world.”


Much love,
Michael Lanfield
http://www.michaellanfield.com
http://www.weareinterconnected.com

4 Comments »

My Friend, the Cow

 

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I had a dream a few days ago that I’d like to share with you. It felt as real as if I was actually there. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life and yet I also felt heartbroken. I really do believe when we dream, the Universe is trying to tell us something. After I awoken from the dream I was inspired to write about it, but I did not know how or where to start. For me, I never wrote a fictional story before, and I believe it was something I would never be good at. But after giving it some thought, I decided to tell the story.

I was in a strange building. Animals were all around, some of them glimpsed at me. It was still light outside, drizzling, the air covered in fog, as I looked out the door. I saw a few workers, but they took no notice of me. As I walked around, I started realizing where I was. I kept looking at the animals, cows chained in stalls one next to the other. I was in a barn where farmers raised animals. Looking around, there weren’t many animals; I’d say about a dozen or two. All of them were tightly chained in stalls slightly larger than their bodies. They were munching on hay.

Just then I noticed I was in one of the stalls standing next to a dairy cow. Beautiful light brown and white in colour, she looked peaceful as she continued to chew on hay. She then turned her head slowly around, as best as she could, (considering that she was tightly chained in the stall) and put her face on my chest. Gently I put my arm around her neck and put my face on hers and we both stood there holding each other for a few moments. In a moment of silence, I looked in her eyes and I saw a beautiful creature. It was an utterly breathtaking moment, I will never forget.

As I sat down beside her in this tiny stall, barely large enough for the both of us, she tried to sit down. She couldn’t even turn around or sit down properly. The short chain was choking her. At that moment I sensed her pain, I understood the immense agony she was going through. How could anyone live in such terrible condition every day of their lives? At that moment I did not see her peaceful, but I felt her pain as she tried to lie down, the chain pulling ever so tighter around her neck. My heart cried out as I started to tear. The pain she was feeling was the pain I was also feeling.

Her backside was down, but because the chain was too short she couldn’t fully lie down, awkwardly kneeling, crushing me. Part of her massive 1500 pound body was on top of me. I tried to escape, but part of me was under her. She was not doing it on purpose; after all we loved each other. Because of her exhausted weakened condition, she wanted to lie down.

A moment later a worker was trying to pull me out when I had awakened from the dream. I felt so much gratitude that all I wanted was to be back in the presence of my friend. I felt gratitude for the experience, for being alive and being able to give her a few moments of happiness.

I’ve learned from this what animals truly go through, the misery they endure throughout their lives until they are slaughtered. I realized what it feels like not being able to turn around or the ability to properly lie down. I understand that’s its no fun living chained up in a stall, tethered at the neck your entire life. I know that even if animals are treated well they all end up killed in the end anyways. Though the animals may not be industrially raised in huge stinking warehouses with thousands of other animals, or abused and beaten by workers, they are not living their natural intended lives they were meant to. Just like us, animal feel pain, animals feel fear, and they experience loneliness and depression. These animals have no zest for life and no purpose. We steal their purposes thus losing our purpose.

My friend, the cow, though she’ll probably never get to experience the grass beneath her feet, feel the warmth of the sun, or be able to socialize with any of her kind, I’m glad at least she had one good friend like me. Even now I can still feel her gentle face on mine and my lips on her skin as I kissed her face. I clearly remember holding her and the gentleness of her face on mine. Today is the day we can all learn from animals, to empathize and to love them. They’re probably wiser than we ever give them credit for.


Much love,
Michael Lanfield
http://www.michaellanfield.com
http://www.weareinterconnected.com

5 Comments »

Toronto Slaughterhouse to Close Down

 

A hard but gruelling mission, Toronto Pig Save has been at the forefront of a battle since they started bearing witness of the pigs in transport trucks back in 2011. Located at 677 Wellington St. West and 2 Tecumseth St. in Toronto, Canada, Quality Meat Packers Ltd. and Toronto Abattoirs Ltd., is home to one of the largest pig slaughterhouses in Ontario slaughtering some 6000 pigs daily.

 

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According to The Globe and Mail, “Prices for live pigs have shot up by about 45 per cent this year as a virus has spread to 6,000 U.S. farms and killed millions of piglets. Traders in Chicago set the price for hogs by Canadian slaughterhouses, which have also been pinched by inexpensive imported meat and a lower Canadian currency. The price paid by Ontario pig processors has climbed to about $280 from $160 in the past year.”

Last year Quality Meat Packers ceased slaughtering pigs on Fridays, from 5 days to 4 days of production. I was told it was due to the demand for pork products. Today Quality Meat Packers will move towards closing the abattoir leaving 750 workers unemployed. David Schwartz, part of the Schwartz family who owns Quality Meat Packers and Toronto Abattoirs Ltd. also owns Great Lakes Specialty Meats of Canada in Mitchell, Ontario. Producers have also been withholding pigs at that location, until payment has been guaranteed.

 

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Instead of laying off the hundreds of workers at Quality Meat Packers, owners like David Schwartz could produce analogue type meat products or plant-based milks which are a booming sector in the food market. He could also start gardens and greenhouses growing organic fruits and vegetables, feeding a hungry world. There is no need to create jobs of mass killing, there is a need for wholesome organic foods and creating jobs that of love, growing foods and tending to the Earth is a possibility.

I am extremely grateful to the volunteers, activists and co-founder Anita Krajnc for their amazing dedication to the cause. Like the many activists, I also took part in bearing witness on many occasions at both Toronto Pig Island and Quality Meat Packers slaughterhouse where I first saw animals being transported and slaughtered. Before that I had no idea there was even a slaughterhouse in my neighbourhood.

 

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Toronto Pig Save started as a grass-roots movement in December 2010 after Anita Krajnc adopted a dog named Mr. Bean. In 2011 Toronto Pig Save started bearing witness of pigs transported in trucks and killed at the slaughterhouse. In late 2012 they founded a sister group Toronto Cow Save and in July 2013, another sub-group, Toronto Chicken Save. Today The Save Movement is now a worldwide movement with cities such as Burlington, Hamilton, Guelph, Windsor, London, Montreal, Brandon, Vancouver and Lethbridge, in Canada; New York City, Huron (South Dakota), Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina in the USA; and Melbourne in Australia now organizing events.

 

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I became a vegan more than 5 years ago for ethical reasons for the animals. I no longer wanted to be a part of the systemic violence towards animals for food. But when I started bearing witness, looking into the eyes of the animals, I knew I had to do more for them. No longer did I want to work in useless jobs that did nothing to help the planet or animals; I had to spread the vegan message to as many people as I could. It is urgent that everyone bears witness to the atrocities happening to animals on a massive scale. We can then make changes, not by legislation or buying into all the humane, happy meat gimmicks, but by becoming vegan and eliminating all animal products from our lives and spreading the message to others.

Even though this is only one of the millions of slaughterhouses and farms to shut down, nonetheless it is an indication that global consciousness is spreading. People are making the connection to their food choices and what they put in their mouths. More people are awakening to the cruelty behind bacon, eggs, milk and honey. I believe the only time we will ever see a heavenly world is when we stop using and killing animals for food. It’s that simple. No more can we justify the cruel and unnecessary practise of animal agriculture. No matter how nicely animals are treated, their products will still be stolen from them and they will be killed when their production declines. The babies will still be inevitable stolen from their mothers and the males usually killed at birth; it is a cycle of violence that is mostly hidden away from view of the consumer.

 

“As long as we remain, at core, a culture that sees animals merely as commodities and food, there is little hope for our survival.” ‒ Will Tuttle, PhD, Author of The World Peace Diet



Much love,
Michael Lanfield
http://www.michaellanfield.com
http://www.weareinterconnected.com

7 Comments »

The Interconnectedness of Life

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For the past decade I’ve been thinking if this was the way we were supposed to live. I knew there was something terribly wrong with the state of the world. I seen a lot of violence in documentary films, on the news and on the Internet, but I didn’t realize it had a lot to do with my food choices. Subconsciously I had absolutely no awareness of “who I was” or “the meaning of life”. And I think not many people do. As I started learning and doing research I came across the film Sharkwater in 2007, and for me that was an eye opener. Sharkwater is a film about one man’s life in saving the oceans and the horrific shark fining industry. But I still couldn’t understand why humans were so destructive.

A year later stumbling across PETA’s website I found some disturbing footage of farmed animals and baby seals being slaughtered which opened up a part in me. In 2009 after eating shrimp, I was hospitalized for serious food poisoning. I kept on asking myself, “If this was the way we were really supposed to me living”, and “What is the meaning of life?” I felt lost and I didn’t know where to turn. But a few weeks later, it was like nothing I had experienced; I had finally awakened. It was one sunny afternoon looking out the window, when a voice called out to me. I finally understood what my purpose was, and why I was put on this planet.

“If I profess to love animals and the planet, why was I still consuming animal foods?”

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I felt like a hypocrite! At that moment I vowed never to consume animal foods, because I understood the immense cruelty involved in consuming them. I had awakened to the true realization of the interconnectedness of all life. I felt connected to the trees, to the sky and all the animals. Not only did I refrain from eating them, I also dedicated my life to being a voice for them. I finally realized I was not alone, when I met compassionate people who just like me, loved animals and wanted to help protect them.

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I have a dream, that one day all the killing will stop; the killing of man, the killing of Mother Earth and most importantly the killing of animals. Love is the answer and veganism is the solution. No more can we argue that veganism can indeed save the world. A revolution can not happen until we all stop eating all animals and become vegan activists, ourselves.


Much love,
Michael Lanfield
http://www.michaellanfield.com
http://www.weareinterconnected.com

4 Comments »
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2 Responses to Michael

  • jele Votava says:

    Michael, me too, I want to give to You my deepest from heart coming thanks for what You do for the souls of our beloved animals and for the whole universe! In the 1970th, together with others and my livelong companion, we made protestion processions dressed in costumes with spots of artificial blood in the streets of Berlin against the vivisektion of the animals and did diskuss with the people there about all those cruelties. Often however s.o. did not want to know anything about it and told us not to show the terrible pictures of the whole to the children. But just the children were very intersted to give a help to those poor animals and to stop their torture! They alway liked to take our flyers to read and see for others too. Thanksgod today in Germany we have those couragous men and women like “SOKO TIERSCHUTZ” that go in over and over again to the animal factories to uncover the scandalous conditions there and bring them to the public with photos and films. So that more and more people in Germany are brought to the veganism. In Berlin slang we use to say “Berlin ick vegane Dir!” (About: Berlin- I make a vegan out of You) We already have many vegan restaurants, cafes and 3 vegan supermarkets. Two big ones called “VEGANZ”. Jele from Germany near Berlin.

  • Marlene says:

    Michael,

    Thank you for this beautiful, influential post, and for being an effective, powerful activist. Because of noble men like you, Eden is being restored, co-created, and actualized.

    May all beings be happy, may all beings be free, and let it begin with me.

    Peace, Marlene

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