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April/May 2007


AR Arguments Against Heifer International?
I’ve really liked how the recent issues have provided a variety of perspectives on ethically complicated issues (e.g. cage-free eggs, happy meat, “terrorism”).

The Heifer Project seems similarly complicated morally. Animal protectionists are torn it seems because they care about poor humans and animals, and feel they have to choose one over the other when asked for an opinion on the organization.

The blogging I’ve seen on this recently and the short pieces on it online haven’t impressed me much, even the Jack Rosenberger piece from [Satya, February] 2001 seems to only glance the surface of the issue. The best argument against Heifer is that it sows the seeds of greater exploitation. Maybe this is true, but the case hasn’t been developed convincingly. The kinds of alternative development projects (e.g. fruit tree planting) recommended by some aren’t robustly justified either.

I would really like to see some people dig into this: look more at what Heifer is actually able to achieve, what its projects actually look like on the ground (intensified ag.?), etc. I would love to see some Carol Adams-esque criticism of their advertising/media, a Friends of Animals-type piece on Heifer’s moral worldview, and the reasoned analysis of a Vegan Outreach article on the outcomes of Heifer Project interventions.

Jason Ketola
Via e-mail

Combating “Coca-Coma”
Thanks so much for February’s Satya. It’s the first time I’ve read your magazine, having only discovered your website recently, linked from a yoga website. Satya is fantastic. The articles are extremely well written and researched by professional writers with the gift of capturing the reader’s intellect, curiosity and heart.

As a spiritual person, I am a vegan by need (I have allergies to the protein in dairy products) and a vegetarian by choice. The purpose of this e-mail is simply to praise your work with Satya.

It seemed to me that many of the articles in Satya’s February issue about social activism related to [Andrew] Harvey’s ideas of healing America, for which goal he has established the Center for Spiritual Democracy. One of the words he has coined that sums up part of his philosophy is “Coca-Coma,” our way of life that is “absolutely addicted to such nervous hysteria and multitasking that nobody has the inner peace to connect with the silence of the divine.”

I was also surprised and happy to see so many vegan restaurants and food suppliers advertised in your February issue. This is most helpful to your readership. I once lived in Brooklyn’s Park Slope section and am delighted to now learn (and proud, too, since I was born in Brooklyn) that this New York borough is full of wonderful writers, editors and critical thinkers with such a depth of vision and spiritual understanding.

Emily K. Benjamin
Via e-mail


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