Here is the full transcript of Gary Yourofsky’s entire speech on animal rights and veganism at Georgia Tech 2010 [Q&A Session Included].
Breaking laws from people, from Jesus Christ to Nelson Mandela, from Rosa Parks to Martin Luther King, laws have always been broken to facilitate substantive change.
Today’s speaker holds a BA in journalism from Oakland University and a radio broadcasting degree from Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts. Gary Yourofsky has already experienced more than many people will ever want to in a lifetime. He has been arrested more than ten times, and spent 77 days in a maximum security detention center, all in the name of animal rights.
Gary has lectured in hundreds of schools nationwide, including The University of Connecticut, Michigan State and Bowling Green, Author Charlotte Montgomery even included a chapter about Gary in her book, Blood Relations.
Please welcome, national lecturer, Gary Yourofsky.
Gary Yourofsky – Animal rights activist
Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Gary Yourofsky. Please take a moment and write down my email address and my website, in case you want to contact me later on.
Today we are going to talk about the world’s forgotten victims: Animals. And the world’s oldest and strongest addiction: Meat. I’m going to challenge your belief systems today, so certain parts of the speech will be intense, but let me start with a quick disclaimer: I am not here to be your enemy. The views expressed today, do not necessarily reflect the views of your professor or this institution. I am not trying to take you away from your religion.
No religion mandates meat eating. The Golden Rule states: “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself” and animals qualify as “others” and “Thou shalt not kill”, the four most important, and yet, most ignored words in all religious teachings. There is not an asterisk next to that commandment saying: “unless you walk on all four and have fur, feathers, horns, beaks or gills.” You can keep your friends, your politics and you patriotism, still watch your favorite TV shows and listen to your favorite music, even if it’s Ted Nugent.
I’ll be making some sarcastic, yet truthful comments throughout the speech. Please feel free to laugh while I’m being sarcastic, just don’t laugh during the serious parts.
And I’m going to speak for around 65, maybe 70 minutes, but then we’ll do a Q&A session after, for about half an hour, so hold your questions until then. In the meantime, I have some rhetorical questions for you.
Is slavery — owner, victim, profit, domination — exclusive to the human race? Have blacks, Jews, women and children been the only victims of this atrocity? Have not cows been enslaved? What about pigs, chickens, turkeys, fish, sheep? If they’re not enslaved, then what are they? Free?
Can slavery have a victim that is neither a human, nor an animal? Have not the oceans, the forests, the earth itself, become victims of ownership too? And what about a slaughterhouse? House of slaughter: slaughterhouse. Do you really think there is such a thing as “humane slaughter”? Exactly what is your definition of “humane”?
Besides psychological and physical abuse, torture, dismemberment and murder, what else do you think happens to animals inside of a slaughterhouse? Do you think they get belly rubs and tushy slaps? And if you think there is such a thing as “humane slaughter”, I’m curious, do you also think there is such a thing as “humane” rape, “humane” child molestation, “humane” slavery? How about “humane” holocaust?
In fact, what is your definition of a holocaust? Is it a massacre of human beings, or a massacre of innocent beings? I thought it was innocent, which brings us to the biggest holocaust massacre of all. Every year in America, without mercy, we murder 10 billion land animals, and 18 billion marine animals. Not for health, survival, sustenance or self-defense. People eat meat, cheese, milk and eggs for 4 reasons: Habit; tradition; convenience; taste.
I want to define a word that might be new to some people right now, and it’s , it’s up there on the screen: V-E-G-A-N.
Vegans, like vegetarians, do not consume the meat of any land or marine animals. Vegans, however, unlike vegetarians, also refrain from eating cheese, milk, eggs, honey or any animal product, whatsoever. We also don’t wear animals skins, no fur, leather, wool, silk or down.
Now, I want to let you all know, that I was not raised vegan. I ate meat, cheese, milk and eggs for around 25 years. I used to wear leather shoes, belts and jackets like everyone else. In fact, around 20 years ago, I even owned a fur coat. Needless to say, I understand your lifestyle, it used to be mine. And for people involved in politics, let’s get this out of the way right now. I am not a democrat, an anarchist or some hippie with a closet full of tie-dyed shirts. I’m not a Republican, a socialist or a fascist. I’m an activist, root word is ‘active’.
I’ve been banned from 5 countries so far, and arrested 13 times, for random acts of kindness and compassion, on behalf of my animal brothers and sisters, if you want to read up about that, check out my website. And today, I would love to give you a chance to actually do something, and truly get involved. Because I understand that a lot of people want to get involved, honestly I do.
But putting a “coexist” bumper sticker on your car, wearing a “What would Jesus do?” bracelet, or sporting a “Peace and Love and Sunshine” T-shirt: That is not “getting involved”. I understand that we are all on a journey in life. We all have different likes and dislikes, different nationalities and religions too. But there is one thing that we need to have in common with each other, and that’s peace. Genuine compassion and genuine peace for our planetary companions.
Contrary to political and religious dogma, animals do not belong to us. They are not commodities. They are not property and they are not inanimate, stupid objects, who can’t think and feel. That Descartes’ Cartesian way of looking at animals, like they’re machines, it is outdated, and quite frankly, 100% insane.
Because, if we all understand that animals can use their eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell, mouths to eat, legs to walk, feathers to fly, fins to swim, genitalia to procreate, bowels to defecate, I’m always perplexed that most people don’t believe that they can also use their brains to think, feel, be rational, be aware and be self-aware. Am I supposed to believe that every body part of an animal functions just like it’s supposed to, except the brain? Those lies are thick.
The propaganda from the animal abusers is enormous. I mean, when was the last time you turned on TV and saw a commercial for shiitake mushrooms? People singing and dancing down the streets, having a good time eating mushrooms? How about alfalfa sprouts? Quinoa? It’s a seed. Radishes? Raspberries? Tofu? You don’t see that stuff advertised on TV.