The most passionate speech I've heard about NOT eating animals was by Philip Wollen.
Philip Wollen was second in command of the massive Citibank - one of the largest banks in the world. One day he went with some of the banks clients to see what was being done with the banks investments; he was taken to slaughterhouses. He recalls the sound as like that of his dying father. He gave up his job and decided to spend the rest of his life caring for animals and not support slaughterhouses. He formed The Kindness Trust which has a website and a facebook page.
You can hear his famous speech in a debate called "Animals Should Be Off the Menu" in this 10-minute video on YouTube. The transcript of this speech is below if you prefer to read it.
The full debate, nearly two hours, also includes Peter Singer's articulate segment.
Transcript to The St James Ethics and Wheeler Centre debate
"Intelligence Squared: Animals Should Be Off the Menu"
June 21, 2012 at 8:27pm
On behalf of St James Ethics Centre, the Wheeler Centre, The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, The Age, The City of Melbourne, and the ABC… all of whom have worked together to make this event possible, I would like to welcome Philip Wollen.
"King Lear, late at night on the cliffs asks the blind Earl of Gloucester
“How do you see the world?”
And the blind man Gloucester replies “I see it feelingly”.
Shouldn’t we all?
Animals must be off the menu – because tonight they are screaming in terror in the slaughterhouse, in crates, and cages; vile ignoble gulags of despair. I heard the screams of my dying father as his body was ravaged by the cancer that killed him. And I realised I had heard these screams before. In the slaughterhouse, eyes stabbed out and tendons slashed, on the cattle ships to the Middle East and the dying mother whale as a Japanese harpoon explodes in her brain as she calls out to her calf. Their cries were the cries of my father. I discovered when we suffer, we suffer as equals. And in their capacity to suffer, a dog is a pig is a bear. . . is a boy.
Meat is the new asbestos – more murderous than tobacco. CO2, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide from the livestock industry are killing our oceans with acidic, hypoxic dead zones. 90% of small fish are ground into pellets to feed livestock. Vegetarian cows are now the world’s largest ocean predator. The oceans are dying in our time. By 2048 all our fisheries will be dead. The lungs and the arteries of the earth. Billions of bouncy little chicks are ground up alive simply because they are male.
Only 100 billion people have ever lived. Seven billion live today. And yet we torture and kill two billion animals every week. 10,000 entire species are wiped out every year because of the actions of one. We are now facing the 6th mass extinction in cosmological history. If any other organism did this a biologist would call it a virus. It is a crime against humanity of unimaginable proportions.
The world is changing; 10 years ago Twitter was a bird sound, www was a stuck keyboard, Cloud was in the sky, 4G was a parking place, Google was a baby burp, Skype was a typo and Al Qaeda was my plumber.
Victor Hugo said, “there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come”.
Animal Rights is now the greatest Social Justice issue since the abolition of slavery. There are over 600 million vegetarians in the world. That is bigger than the US, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia combined! If we were one nation we would be bigger than the 27 countries in the European Union!! Despite this massive demographic footprint, we are still drowned out by the raucous huntin’, shootin’, killin’ cartels who believe that violence is the answer - when it shouldn’t even be a question.
Meat kills animals, kills us, and is killing our economies. Medicare has already bankrupted the US. They will need $8 trillion invested in Treasury bills just to pay the interest. It has precisely zero!! They could shut every school, army, navy, air force, Homeland Security and Marines, the FBI and CIA - and they still won’t be able to pay for it.
Cornell and Harvard say’s that the optimum amount of meat for a healthy diet is precisely ZERO.
Water is the new oil. Nations will soon be going to war for it. Underground aquifers that took millions of years to fill are now running dry. It takes 50,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef.
Today one billion people today are hungry. 20 million people will die from malnutrition. Cutting meat by only 10% will feed 100 million people. Eliminating meat will end starvation forever. If everyone ate a Western diet, we would need two planet Earths to feed them. We only have one. And she is dying.
Greenhouse gas from livestock is 50% more than transport . . . . . planes, buses, trains, trucks, cars, and ships.
Poor countries sell their grain to the west while their own children starve in their arms. And we feed it to livestock. So we can eat a steak? Am I the only one who sees this as a crime? Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping the tear-stained face of a starving child. When I look into her eyes, do I be silent?
The earth can produce enough for everyone’s need. But not enough for everyone’s greed.
We are facing the perfect storm.
If any nation had developed weapons that could wreak such havoc on the planet, we would launch a pre-emptive military strike and bomb back it into the Bronze Age. But it is not a rogue state. It is an industry. The good news is we don’t have to bomb it. We can just stop buying it. George Bush was wrong. The Axis of Evil doesn’t run through Iraq, or Iran, or North Korea. It runs through our dining tables. Weapons of Mass Destruction are our knives and forks. This is the Swiss Army Knife of the future – it solves our environmental, water, health problems, and ends cruelty forever.
The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones. This cruel disgusting industry will end because we run out of excuses.
Meat is like one and two-cent coins. It costs more to make than it is worth.
I come from the bush, farmers are the ones with the most to gain. Farming won’t end. It would boom. Only the product line will change. Farmers would make so much money they wouldn’t even bother counting it and I’d be the first to applaud them.
Governments will love us. New industries would emerge and flourish. Health insurance premiums would plummet. Hospital waiting lists would disappear.
Hell, “We’d be so healthy; we’d have to shoot someone just to start a cemetery!”
So tonight I have two challenges for the opposition:
1. Meat causes a wide range of cancers and heart disease. Will they name one disease caused by a vegetarian diet?
2. I am funding the Earthlings trilogy. If the opposition is so sure of their ground, I challenge them to send a copy of the Earthlings DVD to all their colleagues and customers. Go on I DARE YOU.
Animals are not just other species. They are other nations. And we murder them at our peril.
The peace map is drawn on a menu. Peace is not just the absence of war. It is the presence of Justice. Justice must be blind to race, colour, religion, or species. If she is not blind, she will be a weapon of terror. And tonight there is unimaginable terror in those ghastly Guantanamos we call slaughterhouses.
If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we wouldn’t be having this debate tonight.
I believe another world is possible and on a quiet night, I can hear her breathing.
Let’s get the animals off the menu and out of these torture chambers.
Please vote tonight for those who have no voice.