Simone Reyes Vegan GMOs

Watching the nightly news is always difficult because we are constantly finding a new cause within our cause that we have to add to our list of ways we need to protect animals. And now fellow warriors, we can add a yet another one to our roster: Genetically Modified Organisms.

" /> Simone Reyes Vegan GMOs Watching the nightly news is always difficult because we are constantly finding a new cause within our cause that we have to add to our list of ways we need to protect animals. And now fellow warriors, we can add a yet another one to our roster: Genetically Modified Organisms.">
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Why Animal Rights Activists Need to Add GMOs to Our Cause

Simone Reyes Vegan GMOs

I am a proud tree-huggin’, peace lovin’ animal rights vegan, hippie activist. Animal rights has been in my blood since I got my first afterschool job at the local Greenwich Village vet, The Cat Practice at the tender age of ten. There I got to listen to forward thinking vets who refused clients requests to declaw cats back when it was the thing to do. That stuck with me… just because something is in fashion (or legal!) sure as hell doesn’t make it right. And it also taught me to question everything..most things aren’t what they seem.

Veganism isn’t just a word that describes my diet, it’s the essence of my being and the way I identify my lifestyle. Basically that means I don’t eat meat, fish, honey, dairy of any kind and shun all animal by-products that could creep into my food. And recently I’ve taken it a step further and have been eating mostly Raw. I wear only cruelty free clothing (no fur, leather, wool, suede, silk, feathers). I don’t believe in using animals for medical research or for entertainment purposes under any circumstance (zoos, swim with dolphin programs, horseracing, aquariums, carriage horse rides, etc.). I use my life as a platform to speak out against animal abuse every chance I get.

As many of my friends know, one on one I’m painfully shy, but when it comes to fighting for animals I cannot censor myself and will tell anyone who wants to listen — and especially those who don’t — why they need to practice compassion. I’m a take no prisoners, in your face warrior and I know how to win any animal rights argument because I am on the side of right when it comes to the way humans treat animals. Yup, I’m hardcore. And many of my friends in the animal rights movement share my views and are certainly just as hardcore — which by the way, we don’t view as radical, just simply kind. Ingrid Newkirk (Peta) is the Leader of our Badass movement and by example, she has taught me many things — first and foremost to do my research on the issues because knowledge is power.

Even when we seasoned activists feel like we have heard it all before and nothing more can shock us, we find more ways humans are harming animals. Our mouths are constantly open in shock and our faces constantly wet from tears. This is the life of animal rights activists. Oh and our throats are usually raw from speaking our truth, THEIR truth and our fingers calloused from typing on keyboards to our Congressmen, Senators, etc. to beg them to consider those they govern who don’t vote but should count just as much as the ones who do — the animals. Watching the nightly news is always difficult because we are constantly finding a new cause within our cause that we have to add to our list of ways we need to protect animals. And now fellow warriors, we can add a yet another one to our roster: Genetically Modified Organisms.

And as most of you know, when we (the animal rights army) set our sights on something, you better watch out. So, buckle up GMOs we are coming for you. And if you don’t know why, I’m happy to explain it to you. Here is some background. Before the subject landed officially on my radar, I certainly knew what GMOs were and knew that they were probably “bad” for me. I understood that it uses laboratory techniques to insert artificial gene units to re-programme the DNA of plants with completely new properties. The artificial gene units are created in the laboratory by joining fragments of DNA which is scary enough, but what I didn’t realize was that they areusually derived from multiple organisms, including viruses, bacteria, plants and yes, animals. You can believe my antenna went up when I read this. This practice results in widespread mutations, which result in major changes to the DNA of the plant. These mutations unnaturally alter the genes’ functioning in unpredictable and lets face it, hazardous ways such as poorer crop performance, toxic effects, allergic reactions, and environmental damage that our beloved animals rely on to live (not to mention us humans).

And believe this, no matter what the industry claims, GM foods are not properly tested for human safety before they are released for sale. So who are they tested on? You guessed it…ANIMALS. That is why, my vegan warriors, we need to be especially concerned and FIGHT BACK against GMOs and demand to know when we are purchasing them. As vegans who buy cruelty free products and are quite obsessive about reading ingredient labels, we must demand that GMOs are labeled or we could be getting into bed with the enemy without even knowing it because GMOs are DIRECTLY linked to animal research. Animals used in GMO production are either the source of the genetic material, or the recipient of genetic material. Genetic material from jellyfish and coral has been used to create GM mice, fish, and rabbits as glowing pets for the novelty pet trade. Delightful. This got my attention and put the GMO issue not just in my consciousness but in my heart. And anybody who knows me personally, once you are in my heart (as animals have always been) I will fight to the death for you. And I will get all my friends on board to do the same.

So, we have to all put our heads down and get to work. Think about it; patenting of genetically modified animals treats the animals like things/property instead of innocent beings capable of pain, fear, etc. The patenting of animals breaks my heart and I’m sure it does yours as well. I am against vivisection in all circumstances and am often reminded of the Gandhi quote “I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence” whenever I am making my case against research. This reads like a Sci-Fi horror movie but its not. That my brothers and sisters is just the tip of the iceberg. The animals have no voice, no choice. To big business they are just commodities, nameless/ faceless products that have no souls. All they have is us to fight for their welfare or often, just to fight for their right to be left alone.

So, in a nutshell, I believe that vegans should be against using animals for GMOs and testing genetically modified crops on animals. I think we should also fight the practice of genetically modifying animals. These are all directly related to the horror of factory farms, such as the practice of breeding chickens and turkeys to grow so large that they suffer from crippling leg deformities, lung collapse, and heart failure before they are ever led to slaughter. We need to keep an eye on Monsanto, who is the leading producer of and the biggest threat to us at this point. It all seems quite overwhelming of course but like any other good brawl there’s a place to fight back.

The anti-GMO movement is gaining steam and putting pressure on President Obama to hold his promise to the American people by mandatory labeling of GMO foods. So, for your own health, your children’s health and for THE LIVES OF SENTIENT ANIMALS get involved. Consider marching for your right to know what is in your food. Go to Right2Know March (@right2knowmarch) tie up your vegan kicks and start walking for the cause. Europe and Japan have already made such demands and thankfully they now know what they are eating. If marching is too much to ask of your schedule you can write to your Congressmen here.

We need to fight for our rights to know what is in our food and as vegans we have the right to know if what we are buying hurts animals. Plain and simple. The seed is the source of life. We need to keep it pure and unpolluted. Science is only useful if it respects nature and enhances our world to heal…not to make money or monopolize products. And certainly not to add yet another way humans use and abuse animals.

We will never rest until every cage is empty. Animals need us to protect them from being another commodity in the world of GMOs. In the wise words of the brave heroes of The Animal Liberation Front “If not now, when? If not you, who?”

Image: Simone Reyes & Organic fare at @CafeGratitudeLA / photo by @maileibailey

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6 comments on “Why Animal Rights Activists Need to Add GMOs to Our Cause”

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Barry Laws
3 Years Ago

This is why Mike Pompeo\'s proposed bill to ban GMO labeling laws needs to be defeated and he needs to be voted out of office.

6 Years Ago

totally agree with your position on cat declawing, animal rights etc. Your position on GMOs, however, is based on some extremely questionable information and encourage you to do some research into the subject. e.g. High levels of natural mycotoxins in non-gmo grains are dangerous to animals e.g. VERY high levels of mycotoxins in non GMO grains relative to conventional and GM grains... Do some research and I am sure that you can live with GM and your beliefs in animal rights.

6 Years Ago

"This practice results in widespread mutations". mean like all forms of breeding. Genetic engineering creates on average LESS genetic change than many forms of traditional breeding, which are less predictable and HAVE resulted in dangerous crops such as toxic potatoes and celery. "poorer crop performance, toxic effects, allergic reactions, and environmental damage". Sorry but this is just repeating myths. Crop perform varies by location and year but there are plenty of studies showing equal or increased yield from GE crops. As for toxic effect and allergies, present your evidence. Most reports have been based upon poorly performed animal studies (you know those thing animal rights activists say are ineffective...until one supports their view) and most evidence points the other way. I share your opposition to vivisection though I differ on the implications of such a stance and what is practical and realistic to reduce or end it. Should we be directly opposed to vaccination as well, and to modern medicine? Yes it is tragedy that animal are killed in labs, but boycott politics does not work the same for all things such as govt funded research. (Direct action on the other hand is another matter) Boycotts by vegans will not drive vaccines off the market, but it will put ourselves and those around us in danger, there are outbreaks of vaccine preventable illnesses and deaths of infants in my state because of low compliance rates. Let us not forget that many conventional crops like soy and rice are also the subject of animal experimentation and many conventional seeds are sold by companies with direct connection to genetic engineering as well. Banning GMOs outright is a long shot, until then siding with the anti-GMers seems to only bolster their calls for MORE research, longer studies, & using more animals. I mean if individuals want to avoid GMOs go ahead but I wouldn't fool myself into thinking its helping out animals. We should be careful to not mix the concepts of GE animals and GE plants, as vegans we can oppose one while supporting the other since we already differentiate between animal carcasses and plant foods in the store. I do not see the issue of GM animals as significantly altering the acceptability of animal use in food production, research, or the pet trade nor as falling outside the normal spectrum of exploitation non-GE animals are subject to. Lastly Ill leave your readers with some examples of anti-anti-GMO vegans. First we have my blog Skeptical Vegan. Frankenfood Fears - Bt Cotton, Farmer Suicides, and Fluffy Thinking - GMO Labeling - Second we have Vegan Skeptic with some more in depth pieces. The IRRI – Conducting Genetic Modification We Can All Support - Alexey Surov and GM Soy - A Recurrent Tale Against GM Foods - And third we have the ever cranky Pythagorean Crank who it appears already posted one of the links. You Say Tomahto, I Say Flavr Savr -

6 Years Ago

Hello Simone, This should be an animal rights issue but for reasons other than you think. There's a growing movement of critical thinking vegans and animal rights activists who are in support of the exploration of GE biotechnology. I wrote a blog post about it called Vegan GMO Redux: Please check it out and follow some of the referenced links for more in-depth information. thanks, -Dave

Lisa Viger: Blogger, Raw on $10 a Day (or Less)
06 Nov 2011

PCrank, One field over from my place is a GMO soy field. I see actual people there about three times a year. First, in the spring, when the entire field is sprayed with Monsanto's Roundup. Every blade of everything dies ... so does any animal in the vicinity. When it's done, the field looks like a moonscape. I'm not convinced that GMOs alone equal danger ... but I'm not convinced they're safe, either. There simply hasn't been enough testing. My other concern is that GMOs are nearly always engineered to withstand incredibly toxic levels of herbicides, not to provide better quality food. The Monsanto debacle is about GMOs created to withstand the particular decimation of Roundup (which is now creating super weeds). No critical thinker from any camp would be in favor of GMOs as they are implemented today. What IS an emerging way to grow food that should be of interest to the thinking vegan is veganic farming. It's organic growing without animal product input (no manures, blood meals, bone meals, etc.). If you're interested in food production, particularly sustainable and vegan food production, I suggest you check it out ...

6 Years Ago

This is a great article and one that I can see myself in, in many ways. Whilst I've always been an animal lover I haven't always been educated or knowledegable about the things that go on in our world. I had a period of vegetarianism in my teens (4 years) which ended when I worked in Germany and found it impossible to find food without meat (back in the early 90s - I'm sure it's much improved now). I became veggie again in Jan this year and vegan a few months ago. I'm still learning and finding out about the organisations that genuinely care and help and those that appear to have their own strange agenda - PETA appears to be one of those. I have read articles on how they've 'rescued' dogs and cats from kill shelters only to then murder them themselves and even that they filmed an abusive act on an animal to use a propaganda in their own campaigns. Surely if they are about animals right to life that includes domestic animals such as cats and dogs - domesticated only because of mankind's desire to play god with breeds etc. I genuinely don't understand why they have a problem with companion animals - they bring so much love to a human's life and vice versa - how can that be bad? Sorry this if off track but I admire what you do and find myself confused at PETA's real agenda.

Big City Vegan
6 Years Ago

Thank you Simone for writing this articulate and heartfelt article about a subject that most people don't understand so much about, pay a lot of attention too or understand the animal cruelty that is involved. Thank you One Green Planet for continuing to bring these issues to light. :) Sharon


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