EVEN Interview with Gary Yourofsky
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Eugene Veg Education Network (EVEN)
October 2015

Exclusive EVEN Interview with Gary Yourofsky, October 2015, Educator, Liberator

The problem is that humans have victimized animals to such a degree, that they aren’t even considered victims. They aren’t even considered at all. They’re nothing. They don’t count, they don’t matter, they’re commodities like TV sets and cellphones. We’ve actually turned animals into inanimate objects– sandwiches and shoes. It is the greatest magic trick ever performed.
– Gary Yourofsky

Gary's website is ADAPTT Animals Deserve Absolute Protection Today and Tomorrow

Gary Yourofsky

As of January 1, 2015 Gary Yourofsky has given 2,660 lectures to more than 60,000 people at 186 schools in 30 states and several Israeli cities/schools, including the U. of Alabama, U. of Florida and Georgia Tech. His lecture has been translated into more than 30 languages for over 10 million YouTube hits. Activists in Israel created the Hebrew website GARY- TV and convinced two major vegan companies to put that site's URL directly on their packages! Lecturing is a softer approach for Yourofsky, who has been arrested numerous times for random acts of kindness and compassion, and banished by five countries from entering their borders. In 1997, Gary liberated more than 1,500 soon-to-be-murdered minks from the Eberts Fur Farm in Blenheim, Ontario. He has written, produced and completed voiceovers for graphic TV ads in LA, Detroit, Corpus Christi, Chicago and others.

Yourofsky's inspirational actions have been covered by newspapers, radio outlets, and TV stations around the world.

Born on August 19, 1970, Yourofsky holds a B.A. in journalism from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, and a radio/broadcasting degree from Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Southfield, Michigan.

EVEN: How did veganism become part of your life?

Gary: My stepfather used to be a clown in The Shrine Circus. He took me backstage when I was 23. I saw three elephants chained to the cement floor in the warehouse of the Michigan State Fairgrounds. Sadness, hopelessness and fear were emanating from their eyes, from their bodies. They were swaying neurotically from side to side. A monkey was screaming in his cage, grabbing the bars of his prison. Two tigers were pacing feverishly in their tiny cages. Cruelty was staring me in the face. I knew something was wrong. If you pay attention to energy, you can tell when a fellow being is in peril.

The slave-show I witnessed made me question where my food and shoes came from, what truly went on in an animal research laboratory, etc. I ended up going to Thorn Apple Valley pig slaughterhouse in Detroit for 6 weeks straight, for 2-6 hours every day. I couldn't believe my eyes.

My heart hurt. The animals’ fear was palpable. The screams, impossible to brush aside. I knew I had to make a choice. Was I going to be their friend, or their enemy?

Was I going to be hypocritical, or ethically consistent? How could I condemn the abuse of elephants in the circus but not the murder of animals in a slaughterhouse? I became vegan on July 24, 1996.

EVEN: Who was an influential person in your life earlier on that led you to veganism?

Gary: No human influenced me to become vegan. Didn’t read my first AR [animal rights] book until around 2004 (Dominion by Matthew Scully). The screaming, terrified, enslaved animals were the only influence needed.

EVEN: What do you think makes veganism hard for people?

Gary: Laziness...the fear of change...and the irrational mindset of addiction. In the same way humans have domesticated sheep and other animals by murdering the strong ones and breeding the docile, obedient ones, the powers-that-be have done the same with the masses. Strong leaders are harassed, imprisoned or assassinated, which are great deterrents if you want to silence a firebrand and suppress a revolt. Our society pushes “family,” too, because once people have families, the chance of becoming active lessens. On top of all this, the propaganda machine is endless. Religion, media and schools spew intentional lies and misinformation about proper human-to-animal relationships.
They tell us to disregard animals, view them as commodities, property and resources, and convince us that animals cannot think clearly, nor act morally or altruistically, nor experience love and hatred, or kindness and terror, in the same way that we can.

Concerning the fear of change, this is a constant theme throughout history. Men in America were terrified that if women got an equal say in society, the system would collapse and their lives would be valued less. Whites in America were scared that if blacks obtained their freedom and equality, the system would collapse and their lives would be devalued. Heterosexuals are terrified that the psychotic institution of marriage will collapse if gays are given their right to marry. And humans are terrified that if animals are liberated and no longer viewed as inferior subordinates, human life will be valued less. Yet, the evidence has always been unequivocally opposite. When women and blacks were let in, the system didn’t miss a beat. When gays are given their equality, the system will be as stable/unstable as it was before. And when animals are liberated one day, the world will be a beautiful place and the system will still function.

As for addiction, addicts are ALWAYS irrational when it comes to their habits. Have you ever known an alcoholic, a cigarette smoker, or a heroin user to be rational when it came to alcohol, cigarettes, or heroin? Of course not. And there is NO such thing as a rational --- or ethical --- meat, dairy, egg and honey-eater when it comes to animal issues and whether humans should be enslaving, murdering and eating animals, or using them as test subjects, clothing and entertainment.

Gary Yourofsky

EVEN: What, in your opinion, is the most misunderstood idea about veganism?

Gary: That one cannot obtain the proper nutrients even though ALL nutrients come from the plant kingdom or can be produced naturally in our bodies (B12 comes from bacteria that exist in our mouth and intestines). Concerning B12, 39% of Americans have a B12 deficiency yet only 1% of Americans are vegan. How can this be a vegan issue? And if nearly everyone in America is sick or has died from a disease, yet only 1% is vegan, how can sickness be a vegan problem?
The propaganda machine keeps on churning out lies and deceit. And the obedient, unthinking, apathetic people in our society keep accepting it.

EVEN: What one thing from your thinking in childhood do you wish you could change?

Gary: I simply wish my parents would have taught me about speciesism and how it was just as evil as racism, sexism and heterosexism. Sadly, my parents were lied to by their parents who were lied to by their parents and so on. The vicious cycle of violence is real. But if people simply stopped listening to their ignorant parents, their biased religions, their corrupt government and the prejudicial media, change would be quite easy. All it takes is courageous, fearless, unique individuals to make substantive change in this world. Unfortunately, there are very few courageous and fearless people.

As for uniqueness, this is virtually nonexistent! And it’s a shame that people think they’re unique because they have a face ring, retro clothing, colorful hair, drive a certain kind of automobile or listen to some obscure musician. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 18+ years of interacting with over 60,000 people during my vegan lecture tour, it’s that everyone is the same, whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, Republican, Democrat, independent, socialist, fascist, black, white, Asian, Latino, Native, pro-life, pro-choice, pro-gun or anti-gun.

Vegans are the ONLY unique people on this planet who think outside of the box. They are the ONLY ones who reject society’s norms, and live differently than the aforesaid groups and people.

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity would sit down and eat a steak with Keith Olbermann and Barack Obama before they would dine on tofu and asparagus with me!

EVEN: If you were to mentor a younger person today, what guidance might you offer? What encouraging words might you share with a newbie?

Gary: I would share everything I have said in my three speeches, and all of the knowledge I offer in the essays on my ADAPTT website. But I would drive this point home the most: Since most people only pay lip service to the injustices of the world, because one cannot affect the outcome of an atrocity like the Darfur genocide, veganism is your only chance to stand up for what’s right several times a day, every day, for the rest of your life! Veganism gives people an actual chance to DO SOMETHING instead of adding more cement (good intentions) to pave that road to Hell.

EVEN: What advice would you give to a vegan advocate wanting to become more of an activist?

Gary: While I used to employ a wide array of tactics to facilitate substantive change, I’ve realized through hands-on activism that That’s why – as of January 1, 2015 - I have given 2,660 lectures to more than 60,000 people at 186 schools in 30 states. I would also advise them that direct action (liberating animals from places of torture or destroying these torture-buildings) and radio/TV/billboard/print advertising are the next, most-effective ways of spreading the animal liberation message. Lobbying, protesting, letter-writing, American media, civil disobedience, and preaching pacifism ad nauseum, along with EDUCATION is the most effective way to enlighten the masses. Welfare concessions/campaigns, are counterproductive and simply ineffective in this day and age.

A quick note on pacifism: placing a halo around your own head by saying ‘I am a pacifist’ and ‘I don’t believe in using violent tactics’ doesn’t make the world a better place. It might make YOUR world better and YOU might feel better about YOURSELF, but it does NOTHING whatsoever for the victims. If you want to learn more about the dangers of pacifism, go to the OTHER ANIMAL ISSUES section on my site and read WHAT’S WRONG WITH VIOLENCE and MORE PROBLEMS WITH PACIFISM.

Sadly and criminally, many self-indulgent inactive pacifists have shunned me for being an outspoken supporter of X’s ‘by any means necessary’ philosophy, even though NOT supporting me means you are supporting violence since millions of meat, dairy, egg and honey-eaters who would have had a chance to see my speeches, essays or advertisements continue along their violent paths unchallenged.

Gary Yourofsky

EVEN: Do you have a favorite vegan meal or food you can tell us about that really makes veganism work for you?

Gary: I have a simple meal with two versions. Either one cup of organic pearled barley with one yam, or an organic tofu sandwich on cinnamon raisin Ezekiel bread with onions, mustard and 1 organic tomato. Snacking on raw cashews throughout the day is one of my favorite things to do, too.

 Gary Yourofsky

EVEN: What one thing makes veganism worthwhile for you?

Gary: Knowing that I am no longer taking part in the intentional, premeditated murder of innocent beings.

EVEN: Any opinion or insight on the future of veganism in today's world?

Gary: De-programming the perfunctory ways of meat, dairy, egg and honey-eaters is possible. Conservatively speaking, my lectures have converted hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, while hundreds of thousands more have significantly reduced their meat, cheese, milk, honey and egg intake. Abolition and reduction are the only proper ways to end a Holocaust.

Veganism can resurrect Eden and create heaven on Earth. We can have a place where humans view animals in awe, and animals view humans with a curious aloofness. It’s time to reconnect to the natural world for the sake of the animals, and our collective conscience. Because without spiritual health there can be no physical health.

Protecting the weak is the first step to enlightenment and being truly civilized. Without animal liberation, as author Milan Kundera explains, there can be no peace on Earth: "Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test which lies deeply buried from view, consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it."

Watch "The Best Speech Ever" here.

“The problem is that humans have victimized animals to such a degree, that they aren’t even considered victims. They aren’t even considered at all. They’re nothing. They don’t count, they don’t matter, they’re commodities like TV sets and cellphones. We’ve actually turned animals into inanimate objects– sandwiches and shoes. It is the greatest magic trick ever performed.” – Gary Yourofsky

Additional Credits:

Wayne State University journalism professor Jack Lessenberry, once said this about Michigan's most outspoken animal rights activist: "We murder billions of animals each year, and that's what Yourofsky has dedicated his young life to fighting. Actually, he knows he can't do much to stop it but he intends to raise our consciousness. Frankly, when I went to interview Yourofsky, I expected to meet a fanatic. Afterward, not only did I find him frighteningly sane and mostly convincing, I had the rather uneasy feeling that always comes when you realize that you are a hypocrite."

Several attorneys, led by Donald Perkins, Esq., tried to pass a resolution in Michigan in honor of Yourofsky's actions. "We recognize that throughout this nation's history, other individuals, acting from conscience have similarly violated certain laws and ordinances. In our own time, these same principles of nonviolent disobedience to unjust laws have been applied by such individuals as the Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom were—as was Michigan's Gary Yourofsky—sentenced to jail for their actions."

Author Charlotte Montgomery included a chapter about Yourofsky in the book Blood Relations: Animals, Humans and Politics.

Yourofsky's 2004 essay "Abolition, Liberation, Freedom. Coming to a Fur Farm Near You" appeared in Terrorists or Freedom Fighters, the first-ever book about the Animal Liberation Front, edited by Steve Best and Anthony Nocella.

"What's Wrong With Hunting" appeared in the book Hunting: Opposing Viewpoints, published in 2008 by the Gale Group/Greenhaven Press.

In 2009, Westview Press' textbook Essential Criminology (3rd edition), written by professors Mark Lanier (U. of Alabama) and Stuart Henry (SDSU), featured a brief summary of Yourofsky's essays that indict humans as criminal violators of animals. In addition, London rapper "I & Ideal" also sampled parts of Gary's lecture in the track titled Not in Our Nature on his 2013 CD Odd One Out, while Asteroide B-612, a band from Chile, paid tribute to him in the song Que La Fe Me Riegue.

Emily Moran Barwick, one of Gary's many converts, put together a few educational videos on her Bite Size Vegan channel, Israeli artist Miky Mottes created an adorable illustration of Gary and some animals, while Andy Lally, a streetluge, Grand Am Rolex Series and NASCAR racer, put ADAPTT.org stickers on two of his vehicles in 2010 and 2012.

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