How to Talk with Non-vegans

I recently participated in a very interesting conference call organized by a Buddhist organization, Dharma Voice for Animals, featuring Bruce Friedrich as a speaker on how to be an effective advocate for animals. For me the most valuable his points was that by being effective advocates, we multiply the effect we have in the world. As individual vegans, we save many animals, and the more we persuade others, the more we may influence policies and markets that have the potential to save many more animals. This is a link to his talk:

How to make the biggest impact in conversations? He recommended to have a truly interactive engagement by asking questions and staying empathetic when talking with non-vegans, using the Socratic method. Another participant shared this YouTube video by another activist on using the Socratic method.

Fasting talk from JAINA 2017, just in time for Paryushan

I gave a 50 minute talk at JAINA on scientific aspects of fasting and Jainism. Rather than have one long video, I’ve divided it into shorter segments below.

Here are the videos in order:

Here are the slides: Water fasting intermittent fasting and Jainism. For further reference, here are some additional links Continue reading

Vandhana Bala, Mercy For Animals attorney speaks powerfully at JAINA 2017

Vandhana gave three thoroughly researched and well delivered talks at JAINA 2017,  of which we are posting two. The first talk  was regarding the suffering of farmed animals with an emphasis on dairy and egg production. The  second talk, for a Women’s Forum program, connected the exploitation of female animals in milk and egg production with the moral choices Jain women can make to avoid the violence.

Sagar Shah from UK Jain Vegans at JAINA 2017

Sagar Shah gave a number of presentations at JAINA 2017 in New Jersey. Here is one on environmental an ethical issues in modern food production that we recorded . In this talk Sagar presents a compelling comparison of the killing of dairy cows and male calves in meat, milk and cheese, namely that 6 pints of milk = 350 g cheese = 1/4 lb steak (the numbers in the talk below are slightly outdated).  A few people commented on how powerful this was, since Jains would never consider eating steak moral. Subsequent to the presentation, he has updated the slides ( 2017.07.03 – Environmental and ethical issues in modern food – how Jainism helps (11 Aug update)) and here are the detailed calculations (Data and methodology – equivalence of beef and dairy in killing cows ) and (Data and calcs on equivalence of eggs and chickens).

Here are some additional references Continue reading

Ahimsak Eco-Vegan Committee Booth and Vegan Panel at JAINA convention 2017

We had a panel on veganism for the youth program. Here is the video

Many people helped make our display boards for the convention during the holiday weekend and they served as a focal point for conversation.IMG_2379

MILK – The White Gold or The White Lie?

This short film made in India about milk reminds me a lot of our year in India. We saw cows eating plastic garbage daily, and saw various organizations that considered giving kids a daily glass of milk as a great service. It is great to see Kuntal Joisher, the first vegan to climb Everest who we met at in Milipitas in the movie. Also Nandita Shah from Sharan who we saw speak in Ahmedabad.

Jain group in UK decides to serve all vegan Jain food at events!

Rajeshbhai of the Shree Digambar Jain Association(SDJA) attributes a couple of talks to the beginning of a change for the SDJA in the UK. Pravin Shah of the JAINA education committee  gave a talk in London at a SDJA event during Paryushan 2013 that convinced him and his wife Jyotiben to go fully vegan because  of the violence involved in dairy production and consumption. I happened to visit London soon afterwards and got to talk for the first time in Gujarati about veganism to this group, and was also invited by the Jain Vegans in the UK to speak about health aspects in English. Apparently the planning committee of SDJA became convinced to serve only Jain vegan food afterwards. No option of dairy, no compromise on taste. They worked with some caterers and voila.Here is the community enjoying lunch at a recent event.032

The Jain vegans group and others have been educating the Jain community much longer than the couple of years since Pravin uncle and my talk. And the Young Jains have served only vegan Jain food at their conventions for years. Another UK group, SCVP, has also catered vegan food at their events.

What will it take for JAINA, other US based Jain organizations and Indian organizations to follow their lead?  And  to shift away from styrofoam and plastic-ware too…. climate change is also a form of hinsa towards the planet!

Do you know the inside story of how Jain organizations have decided to serve vegan food? Please comment!