Chris Hedges discusses veganism and mass incarceration with educator and poet Gretchen Primack.
The poet Gretchen Primack has for many years taught in the American prison system. Her book ‘Visiting Days’ gives words to the suffering and grief of those locked in cages across the country. She is acutely aware that our prison system – the largest in the world with 25% of the globe’s prisoners, although we are less than 5% of the global population – not only destroys the lives of those we lock away, but those on the outside who must also bear the trauma of mass incarceration. Prison culture poisons us all. She draws parallels between what we do to human beings we lock in cages, often for decades, and what the animal agriculture industry does to animals. This barbarity is related. Primack argues that once we treat all living beings as sacred, which means becoming vegan, we will live by the values that most of us already profess, in our words if not our actions: Cruelty towards sentient beings is a sin.
Gretchen Primack’s poetry collections include: ‘Visiting Days’ and ‘Kind’