The Most Radical Vegan Activist Ever

Vegans are often accused of being angry, self-righteous, and offensive.

Such accusations are familiar to anyone who tells the truth in a corrupt society like ours.

The vegan activist who has been slagged more than any other vegan spokesperson is Gary Yourofsky.

His hard-hitting YouTube videos, essays, and in-person lectures are the most unforgiving condemnations of carnism and animal exploitation you’ll see.

But Yourofsky isn’t just a vegan media activist. He’s also been an animal rights activist who had the courage to engage in direct-action animal liberation.

Gary Yourofsky has been arrested more than a dozen times for animal activism.

He spent months in a Canadian maximum security prison for being part of an Animal Liberation Front action that invaded a mink farm and released hundreds of mink.

Yourofsky is  hardcore and uncompromising, and openly states he’s not a pacifist when it comes to defending animals.

In fact, the high-energy animal rights campaigner has gotten into physical altercations with people who were promoting animal exploitation.

Yourofsky was an official spokesperson for PETA for several years, but insiders say he became “too radical” even for PETA.

He now focuses on his own animal rights and vegan organization–Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow (ADAPTT).

One very inspiring aspect of Gary’s work is that he doesn’t limit himself to just promoting veganism.

He actively, physically confronts developers, animal exploitation facilities, politicians, and others to protest various animal harms, including hunting, circuses, fur farms, and habitat destruction.

The governments of the United Kingdom and Canada permanently banned Yourofsky from entering their countries, alleging that his beliefs and actions constitute “terrorism.”

For vegans who want to hear someone articulate the most uncompromising, indignant critiques of animal exploitation, Gary’s videos are powerful and compelling.

He definitely isn’t “politically correct,” or polite.

In one video embedded in this article, he speaks of his wish that people who eat animals or engage in animal exploitation be treated as badly as animals are treated.

He sometimes gets very worked up and appears to wish violence upon those who participate in or support animal exploitation industries.

Yourofsky is probably the most polarizing figure in the animal rights, animal liberation, and vegan movements.

You may watch these videos and come away saying, “I totally get where he’s coming from and appreciate his passion.”

Or you might say: “He’s way too angry and mean.”

I urge you to watch the videos regardless.

Sometimes I wince at the directness, fire, and in-your-face style he uses, but Gary Yourofsky has risked his life and freedom for innocent animals.

He truly embodies the qualities of a Vegan Samurai– he’s strong, unafraid, and willing to risk his safety and freedom to defend the defenseless.

The man well articulates the atrocities of the animal exploitation industries, and the feelings of outrage that most vegans feel when confronted with the brutal reality of what humans do to innocent animals.

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Who Does the Vegan Samurai Protect?

As you become familiar with the Vegan Samurai warrior code, it’s useful to remember that original ancient samurai were sworn warriors who served the most powerful individuals or social organizations, such as emperors or clans.

This was centuries ago. Crucial differences between today’s vegan samurai and ancient samurai are that a Vegan Samurai isn’t sworn to serve a patriarch, emperor, or military commander.

Nor does a Vegan Samurai use an arsenal of deadly weapons and other martial arts to fight actual physical battles.

So why do I say a vegan samurai is a warrior, and on whose behalf does the vegan samurai fight?

I became a vegan samurai after seeing “undercover” videos and photographs taken at facilities where animals are raised, entrapped, killed, or processed for food, for animal experimentation, or for animal entertainment.

I could relate to the helplessness and suffering of these animals because as a child I was a victim of violent bullying that resulted in physical injury.

I still vividly remember how it felt to be powerless, small, hemmed-in, attacked by cruel humans.

Classmates and even some adults stood back passively while I was attacked.

I cried out for help, but witnesses turned away and left me to suffer alone.

Later on, when my parents reported the incidents to school administrators and even the police, none of the witnesses had the courage to come forward to identify the bullies.

When I saw animal abuse videos and photographs, I immediately identified with the animals, and wanted to be their protector and defender.

Giving voice to the voiceless and defense to the defenseless is a saying I’ve heard and repeated as I’ve gotten more into animal liberation and animal rights.

People with conscience rush to the aid of someone who’s being victimized, especially if the victim is clearly unable to escape or fight back.

So when I decided to give up my weak attempts to be a vegetarian eating mostly organic foods from health stores and take the plunge by going 100% vegan, my resoluteness was bolstered by my desire to protect and defend animals.

The original samurai used martial arts hand-to-hand fighting, along with samurai swords and other war hardware.

They faced extreme physical danger as a matter of honor, and in service to their emperor or other master.

Vegan samurai don’t fight that way. We use words, ideas, images, political lobbying, and lifestyle choices on behalf of animals.

We do face danger and staunch opposition because we’re vegan, but it’s usually not physical danger.

It’s the danger of being an empathic, morals-focused person defending a group of exploited beings in a society that generally scoffs at morals, empathy, and the rights of non-human animals.

In some cases, a vegan faces subtle or overt forms of social ostracism or logistical exclusion.

Vegan travelers, especially in air travel systems or hotels, often find it impossible to source a wide range of vegan food items.

In some families, marriages, or workplaces, vegans are viewed with suspicion, scorn, or even hostility.

We’re tagged as being “scolds,” “judgmental,” “OCD,” “food cops,” party poopers or weirdoes because we refuse to be customers of those who exploit and harm animals.

In fact, vegans are relentlessly slagged on YouTube and in other media venues, and are often subjected to harassment when they make a stand on behalf of innocent animals.

This  may sound blunt or harsh, but people who deliberately harm innocent animals, or whose dietary choices support such harms, could well be described as enemies of those animals.

Given that those animals are the beings I fight for, I see being a vegan means I’m participating in an epic battle between good and evil.

How else can you describe a battle in which your opponents just don’t care that they’re inflicting terrible suffering on other beings?

A vegan samurai also fights internal battles.

We struggle with our own food desires. For example, I was raised eating meat, dairy, fish, and eggs.

When I’m hungry after exercising, and walking past steakhouses and other animal-exploiting food businesses that export their cooking smells into the air, I sometimes feel intense craving for animal-derived foods.

I feel like an alcoholic sworn to never take another drink again, lest I fall off the wagon and lose the battle with alcoholism.

But I won’t give in to those food cravings. I owe it to the animals to stay true to my vegan samurai code.

The main thing to remember is that the vegan samurai’s honor code includes this tenet:

I’ll always stay true to my vegan principles, because I’m defending those who can’t defend themselves.

Why I Became a Vegan Samurai

What is a vegan samurai and why should you consider becoming a vegan samurai?

Let’s start by defining what a vegan samurai is.

I first envisioned the Vegan Samurai code when I was transitioning from raw food and vegetarian diets to veganism while also studying religion, spirituality, philosophy, ethics, animal sentience, and related topics.

As I considered my life and the tenets of general society, it seemed we lack a crucial organizing principle or code of behavior that would create inner peace, physical health, social harmony, and justice.

For example, when I talked to people about the terrible harm human society does to non-human animals and the earth, I sadly learned that many people have no internal moral code and conscience when it comes to such harms.

This lack of internal moral code and ethical conscience starts with individuals and then permeates society as a whole, especially capitalist consumerist societies.

Our world is threatened by amoral hedonism, mindless entertainment, selfishness, greed, narcissism,violence, and relentless consumption of the planet and non-human animals.

Look around all people rushing to and fro in airplanes and cars, in a frenzy of compulsively traveling, buying, talking on or looking at handheld electronic devices.

They’re stressfully busy doing things that almost always involve consuming fossil fuels and other energy sources, eating animals, and harming the planet.

Our technoindustrial grid is founded on systemic, societally-approved brutality: the way humans use animals for food is a perfect example.

In my studies, I noticed earlier cultures had “codes of honor” that organized personal and group relationships around morals, civic duties, and spiritual centeredness.

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism had aspects of honor codes that greatly impressed me.

But when I discovered Bushido, which is the code of virtues commonly associated with samurai warriors, I felt an immediate clarity, practicality, and attraction.

Samurai warriors have been popularized (in a distorted, sensationalized way) in movies, books, anime, and hentai.

In modern lore, such as the Quentin Tarantino movies Kill Bill: Volumes One and Two, samurai are portrayed primarily as unhinged sword-fighting warriors who possess almost-supernatural fighting skills combined with iron will and a lust for blood, revenge, and victory.

The actual samurai were martial artists and military warriors in Japan hundreds of years ago.

They fought bloody battles using body skills and various weapons including samurai swords.

But fighting and blood aren’t the whole samurai story– true samurai were also trained in the liberal arts, and had a rigid personal honor code that governed the way they managed their thoughts, ethics, actions, and interactions with others.

This code and the samurai lifestyle are sometimes known as “Bushido.”

I don’t follow all aspects of Bushido, of course, because I’m not a sword-wielding warrior serving an emperor.

But I was particularly impressed that Bushido required frugality, self-control, benevolence, sincerity, loyalty, respectfulness, and right behavior towards others.

I also like the fact that Zen Buddhism influenced samurai and Bushido.

Buddhism, of all major “religions,” has by far the most explicit teachings forbidding the killing of animals.

Buddhism also acknowledges more than any other religion that all animals are sentient, not just human animals.

A further benefit for those of us walking the vegan path is Buddhism includes the practices and teachings of “emptiness,” and meditation—two inward-looking concepts that clear the mind to provide an accurate, calm, and health-enhancing view of “self” and life.

As I started the vegan life exposed to the enormous societal and interpersonal pressures from those who create or eat animal-derived food products, I felt a need to be a “warrior” for veganism, the earth, and animals harmed by humans.

I also noticed that being vegan in a non-vegan society, where I too had been raised to love eating flesh, eggs, and dairy, is a spiritual warrior path requiring us to always strengthen our resolve by remembering the moral reasons we adopted veganism.

To put it simply, I learned to resist external and internal negatives by following a form of vegan Bushido code, so I could stay on the vegan path as an empathic being in a world full of needless suffering.

My commitment to non-killing, to not being a customer of those who exploit animals, involves honor, frugality, benevolence, sincerity, loyalty, self-control and other Bushido values.

Of course, I’m not into sword fighting or ritual suicide as the ancient samurai warriors were.

While the original samurai had no qualms about shedding blood, the vegan samurai is dedicated to preventing the shedding of blood, especially the blood of animals tortured and slaughtered for food.

So there you have it… the birth of the vegan samurai.

To my knowledge, I’m the only one so far.

I’ll be writing more articles that explain and amplify what a vegan samurai is and does, and I hope you too will become a vegan samurai.

For now, I suggest reading this book on the Bushido code, and also engaging the YouTube videos I’ve embedded herein.

The bottom line is that being vegan is a form of being a warrior… a wholly honorable warrior on behalf of innocent animals, mother earth, a just society, and your own physical and spiritual health!

 

Animal Liberation: A “Bible” for Vegans

Do vegans have a Bible of veganism?

If they do, it could well be the groundbreaking book Animal Liberation, first published in 1975, written by Australian philosopher and Princeton University professor Dr. Peter Singer.

Singer’s book summarized and synthesized the social sciences of philosophy and ethics to explain how and why the pervading human view of animals can be called “specieism.”

Like other isms such as racism and sexism, speciesism is the human-created belief that “we’re better than they are, and they’re inferior to us.”

Most of us are raised to believe that humans are “the best” species, the most important species, the only species that really counts.

Speciesism claims that all other species can be used by us for whatever we want to use them for: food, experimentation, entertainment, labor, fur, skins, etc.

It also links up with dominionism– the idea that humans have the right to change the entire planet and use the biosphere and Nature however we want to.

Note that I don’t use the term dominionism as it is commonly used to describe a “Christian” theology that seeks to create “Christian” nations.

As Peter Singer so persuasively explains, speciesism derives from a set of irrational and unfounded assumptions and irrational beliefs about the world, about humans, and about non-human species.

You may be surprised to know that until only a hundred years ago, leading philosophers and scientists argued that there was no such thing as cruelty to animals because animals have no feelings and no rights.

Some famous scientists and philosophers like Rene Descartes (1596-1650) believed non-human animals were unfeeling machines that happened to have beating hearts and the ability to move, breathe, and vocalize.

And even today, people who slag vegans and veganism and defend harming animals seem to believe that non-human animals feel no pain and thus can be handled as if they’re inanimate, machine-like objects.

Using classical philosophical methods that build on fact and logic, Singer brilliantly analyzes the beliefs, attitudes, and systems humans use to justify the enslavement and torture of tens of millions of animals for food and other uses.

He shows that speciesism is part of a continuum of harmful isms that come from impulses to dominate, victimize, and harm other beings.

When you see humans abusing others, including through child abuse, wars, police misconduct, rape, sexual harassment, bullying, spousal abuse, domestic violence, and other mean practices, you’re seeing the same “dominator mentality” that drives humans to subdue and exploit non-human animals.

Singer updated Animal Liberation several years ago, and made it an even more compelling book of moral philosophy that would take an entire semester to fully understand and explicate if you’re taking a college course on it.

But it’s also very readable in one go, and clear enough to function as a Bible for those of us looking for the rational, fact-based ethics of why humans should stop eating and otherwise harming animals and each other.

Take a look at the Peter Singer YouTube videos embedded here, and get your own copy of Animal Liberation here.

You’ll find intellectual foundations, moral imperatives, a well-reasoned and articulate voice, and personal inspiration from this pioneering work that helped jumpstart the modern vegan and animal rights movements!