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David Duchovny Tackles Animal Rights, Veganism in New Book

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Most people know David Duchonvny as an actor but with a new book out tackling the issue of veganism and animal rights in fiction form, he is ready to be known as a writer.

Duchovny spoke to The Los Angeles Times about his new project, a fable for adults called ‘Holy Cow.’ The book tells the story of Elsie Bovary, a cow that leads another two animal characters in their plight to escape a farm so they won’t become dinner.

“I always had this idea — I thought, ‘If I was a cow, I’d try to get to India,’” explained Duchovny who said he pitched the idea to several studios in hopes to make it a film but had no success because the topic was too controversial. “Last year, I woke up and I thought… ‘You’ve been saying you’re a writer your whole life, why don’t you … write something?’ That’s how that all started.”

Duchovny, a former vegetarian-turned-pescetarian , drives an electric car and has a green home, so it’s no surprise all of the topics of animal rights and the effects of meat eating on the planet are touched upon in the novel.

“For me, it was fun to play with the cow’s consciousness: She knows about Homer but doesn’t know she’s going to be eaten. That’s kind of fun, huge ignorance on the one hand and a liberal arts education on the other,” he explains of the process of Elsie discovering that as a cow she will become food for humans. “I’m also interested in the taxing of the environment in terms of our meat-eating lifestyle. The sheer number of cattle, pigs and chickens that — through no fault of their own, they’re kept by us humans — are polluting the environment in ways that are shocking.”

Duchovny will be reading and signing his novel ‘Holy Cow’ at Barnes & Noble at the Grove on Feb. 18. For those outside of LA, though, the book will be available in bookstores nationwide on Feb. 3.

Via The Los Angeles Times

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0 Comments
  • MaryFinelli

    I’m very glad for the compassion that Mr. Duchovny has for these animals, and grateful for his efforts for them. However, it is very disappointing the he is “a former vegetarian-turned-pescetarian.” Far more fish than land animals are killed for food, and science has shown that they, too, are sentient. Vast numbers of fish are used as food for farmed animals -including farmed fish- and so fishing props up animal agriculture. Both fishing and fish farming are extremely destructive to the environment. Additionally, fish consumption is hazardous to human health. More information is at http://www.FishFeel.org and https://www.Facebook.com/FishFeel.org

  • Ellen

    the truth is out there. Unfortunately he is not the one spreading it.

  • MaryFinelli

    I’m very glad for the compassion that Mr. Duchovny has for these animals, and grateful for his efforts for them. However, it is very disappointing the he is “a former vegetarian-turned-pescetarian.” Far more fish than land animals are killed for food, and science has shown that they, too, are sentient. Vast numbers of fish are used as food for farmed animals -including farmed fish- and so fishing props up animal agriculture. Both fishing and fish farming are extremely destructive to the environment. If you care about animals, you should care about fish.

  • Sama

    If he was a cow he would “try to get to India”? Hate to squash his
    naivety but I doubt he’d want to walk the streets eating plastic
    bags….

  • People keep learning as they live and changes are made as the information is given to them. I am thankful for any positive steps made !

  • Nicole Jaja

    ‘If I was a cow, I’d try to get to India,’”? india is one of the biggest exporters of leather tho
    nope, if i´d be a farmed animal, i´d try to get to the nearest animal sanctuary in the area. (meaning, doesn´t matter where in the world, as the whole world pretty much kills animals one way or the other, so the safest are animal sanctuaries anywhere)

  • Very interesting and I will be reading this book. I hope it will make people stop and think about their food choices and choose to take cruelty off their plate.

  • RobertSaltiel

    I, too, am quite disappointed. To go from vegetarian to pescetarian is a large step in the wrong direction, which belies a lack of understanding of the scope of the plight of innocent animals on this planet and how they suffer in so many ways at our hands. All sentient beings feel pain. All lives matter. I’ll second the previous commenter’s remarks about India and leather, with regard to Mr. Duchovny’s statement. (I might as well also point out for information’s sake that those “vegetarians” who consume dairy and eggs cause newly-born calves to be slaughtered so we can have their milk, and cause male baby chicks to be ground up alive as they are an industry “byproduct” of no commercial value). Mr. Duchovny cannot possibly purport to speak for veganism. He needs to align his actions with true understanding and compassion.

  • T.A. McDonnell

    Contrary to what this book seems to imply, there is no morally coherent difference between consuming the flesh of animals and consuming their milk or eggs. Similarly, there is no morally coherent difference between wearing fur vs. wearing silk, wool, or leather. As others have rightfully pointed out, all involve exploitation and imposing unnecessary suffering and death upon other sentient beings for reasons no more compelling than palate pleasure, convenience, “fashion” or “tradition.”

    True justice demands that we treat others as we would wish to be treated, both
    humans and non-humans. If you would not like to be eaten, or forcibly
    impregnated, or to have your babies taken from you as soon as they are born, or made into leather or fur, or used in a painful biomedical experiment, or
    exploited via a circus, zoo, “sport” or “hunting” — then you should not inflict that (or support it by your own participation) upon any other sentient being. Pretty straightforward, really.

    The problem is that most people are utterly disconnected from the fact that the
    dogs and cats they love are no different from a moral standpoint than the cows, fish, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, ducks (etc., ad nauseum) whom they exploit. Prof. Gary Francione refers to this tragic disconnect as “moral schizophrenia.”

    The slick marketing of the multibillion-dollar animal industry encourages
    people to stay in the dark about the horrific brutality that consuming animal
    products entails and to believe that we somehow “need” to consume
    animal products to be optimally healthy. Nothing could be further from
    the truth.

    Perhaps the most sinister myth being aggressively promoted (and happily
    accepted) is the whole idea of (so-called) “humane” slaughter, i.e., the idea that consuming animal products is OK, as long as the animals are “treated well.” Talk about an oxymoron — George Orwell is surely rolling in his grave. All such euphemistic nonsense serves to do is to make the public — especially the self-professed “conscientious” omnivores (who should know better) — *more* comfortable about continuing to participate in animal exploitation. Every animal wants not only to live but to be free. We have no right to enslave them for our own selfish purposes.

    As Prof. Francione often says, “If you are not vegan, please go vegan. Veganism is about nonviolence. First and foremost, it’s about nonviolence to other sentient beings. But it’s also about nonviolence to the earth and nonviolence to yourself.”

  • T.A. McDonnell

    Contrary to what this book seems to imply, there is no morally coherent difference between consuming the flesh of animals and consuming their milk or eggs. Similarly, there is no morally coherent difference between wearing fur vs. wearing silk, wool, or leather. As others have rightfully pointed out, all involve exploitation and imposing unnecessary suffering and death upon other sentient beings for reasons no more compelling than palate pleasure, convenience, “fashion” or “tradition.”

    True justice demands that we treat others as we would wish to be treated, both
    humans and non-humans. If you would not like to be eaten, or forcibly
    impregnated, or to have your babies taken from you as soon as they are born, or made into leather or fur, or used in a painful biomedical experiment, or
    exploited via a circus, zoo, “sport” or “hunting” — then you should not inflict that (or support it by your own participation) upon any other sentient being. Pretty straightforward, really.

    The problem is that most people are utterly disconnected from the fact that the
    dogs and cats they love are no different from a moral standpoint than the cows, fish, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, ducks (etc., ad nauseum) whom they exploit. Prof. Gary Francione refers to this tragic disconnect as “moral schizophrenia.”

    The slick marketing of the multibillion-dollar animal industry encourages
    people to stay in the dark about the horrific brutality that consuming animal
    products entails and to believe that we somehow “need” to consume
    animal products to be optimally healthy. Nothing could be further from
    the truth.

    Perhaps the most sinister myth being aggressively promoted (and happily
    accepted) is the whole idea of (so-called) “humane” slaughter, i.e., the idea that consuming animal products is OK, as long as the animals are “treated well.” Talk about an oxymoron — George Orwell is surely rolling in his grave. All such euphemistic nonsense serves to do is to make the public — especially the self-professed “conscientious” omnivores (who should know better) — *more* comfortable about continuing to participate in animal exploitation. Every animal wants not only to live but to be free. We have no right to enslave them for our own selfish purposes.

    As Prof. Francione often says, “If you are not vegan, please go vegan. Veganism is about nonviolence. First and foremost, it’s about nonviolence to other sentient beings. But it’s also about nonviolence to the earth and nonviolence to yourself.”

    • Mark Caponigro

      Right. Actually, it seems there are lots of animals who don’t mind at all being in captivity, and in fact thrive there, provided that they are not being exploited in any way, and that their human companions or keepers have the well-being of these nonhuman animals always as their top piority. That is true in the case of our relationships with our “pets,” i.e. our animal companions, when we are caring for them responsibly; and also in the case of animals in shelters and sanctuaries.

      Also, many kinds of smaller animals seem to do OK in zoos, although their situation always needs to be considered suspect, because there are two elements of exploitation usually present, (1) the desire to exhibit them, which some animals are OK with, but which can sometimes lead to any of a variety of stresses in others; and (2) the capture of more wild animals, including social animals who are removed from their families or communities, justified as an action taken to conserve species (e.g., for captive breeding programs), without due regard for the interests of the individual animals. Some zoos are much better than others, of course; but I don’t know of any that refuses on principle to exploit at least some of their animals. So visiting zoos always seems to involve some complicity in animal abuse.

      As for that final item in the quote by Gary Francione, “Veganism is about … nonviolence to YOURSELF,” that is for me, as a Neoplatonist, a matter of great importance. And in my experience reading the words of vegan activists, most do not do nearly enough to emphasize it.

      • T.A. McDonnell

        Your thoughtful comments are once again always appreciated, Mark.

        Re. holding animals in captivity — while it’s true some animals do better than others, as a general rule it is problematic morally, since animals have instinctive desires to roam freely and mate as they would in the wild.

        Even our so-called “pets” (I prefer the term “companion animals”) are here as literal refugees from domestication, which is likewise problematic morally.

        Prof. Francione and his partner have 5 rescued dogs (all vegan), and he often says that although they love these dogs with all their hearts, and that they are considered family members, if they were down to the last two dogs on earth, they would absolutely *not* breed them.

        I feel the same way about my dear shelter rescue, Nikki, who was saved from “death row” in a high-kill shelter for the crime of being one of “man’s best friend(s)” who had nonetheless worn out her welcome when the couple she was living with had a baby.

        • Mark Caponigro

          God bless Nikki! That attitude, on the part of her former people, is disgraceful but all too common: These little animals need us for everything, and give us so much in return, so in accord with their nature; and yet people treat them as no better than dispensable accessories. It’s the same with our little Brucey, a foundling.

          As for David Duchovny: On the basis of the excerpt he read, he seems to have so thoroughly anthropomorphized his nonhuman characters as to lose sight of their true animal natures. E.g. there’s nothing unnatural or unpleasant about ground-dwelling birds’ not flying. So he comes across as someone like the people who had Nikki and Bruce, who likes animals a lot, when it’s convenient, but not otherwise. I wish I could say, “He at least has his heart in the right place,” but that’s not obvious.

    • nuclear_rainbow

      Moral schizophrenia? I’m surprised to read that a professor uses the word ‘schizophrenia’ in such a way.

      I know this post is old, and I’m not saying I don’t agree with you, but thats not what schizophrenic means. It’s not a splittting of anything. It’s an illness that affects a persons ability to think, behave, and feel clearly.

      A moral schism or psychosis maybe, but not schizophrenic. Let’s not perpetuate the most common misconception of this serious and debilitating illness.

  • blessthebeasts

    People like this do more harm than good. They confuse people into thinking that eating fish, chicken, dairy and eggs are fine and dandy when in fact it’s two sides of the same coin. Ellen DeGeneris is another one of these vegetarian phonies.

    • Mark Caponigro

      Right. But in general I have great respect for Ellen, not only as a major voice for LGBT rights, but also as a defender of animals; so it would be interesting to hear her explain her stance.

      • blessthebeasts

        I’ve always liked her and looked into getting some dog food from her company, thinking it would be vegan. It has meat in it! I emailed them and didn’t get a reply. For the record, I’ve raised six vegan dogs and they’ve all been incredibly healthy.

        • Mark Caponigro

          Terrific! I would be very interested in knowing more about vegan diets for dogs. From what I have read, it should be possible with such omnivorous mammals (bears too, I guess, though we don’t usually have bears as animal-companions!); but cats, on the other hand, are a bridge too far.

          • T.A. McDonnell

            Mark, see Kate FitzGibbon on FB – she has a lot of experience with healthy vegan cats. More complicated than dogs, to be sure, but not actually “a bridge too far” in many cases.

    • Candice Johnson

      I agree with you on Ellen,she’s a big phony.
      She does ads for Proctor and Gamble(Cover Girl),one of the biggest animal testing companies on the planet.Care about animals? Not when the all mighty dollar is concerned.I also sent a letter to her and,of course,got no response.
      And Mark,do you think she would be all about LGBT rights is she wasn’t gay? I don’t think so.

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