Anti Fox Hunting March – London

 

On Monday the 29th of May, activists, campaigners and concerned citizens from all over the country gathered in London with a shared objective. In response to the recent release of the Conservative manifesto, in which a free vote on hunting with hounds was promised, over two thousand people marched on Downing Street to make their voices heard. The message was loud and the message was clear: there is no place for fox hunting, or any other form of hunting with hounds, in a modern, progressive Britain.

As someone who strongly opposes cruelty to animals I travelled to London specifically to take part in this event, and to lend my voice to the cause. Although just over two thousand of us were in attendance, we marched with the backing of millions. At least 84% of the country’s citizens support the ban on hunting with hounds, with a recent poll putting this figure at 90%. In a country divided on so many issues, and reeling from a referendum that literally divided the population in half, one thing is clear: the nation stands together on fox hunting.

The absolute opposition our nation has to repealing the ban was not only apparent by the turnout for the demonstration itself, but the response of the public who watched the procession; significant numbers of whom cheered and clapped as the protesters passed them by.

Animal lives should never be used as political weaponry, but in this instance they have been and the people are not happy. At the risk of alienating the 70% of Tory voters who support the hunting ban, Theresa May has gambled her election campaign on appeasing the pro-hunting lobbyists. In employing this self-serving tactic May has declared war on animal rights, and those who fight to protect them.

The Labour Party slogan throughout this campaign has been “For the many, not the few”. I find this especially poignant as I reflect on the possibility of Theresa May heading a government which seeks to overrule the will of the many, simply to please the very few. Thanks to Theresa May, a vote for the Conservatives is now a vote to repeal the ban on hunting foxes, hares and deer with hounds; it is a vote to continue a wildly unsuccessful badger culling campaign; and it is a vote to continue the UK ivory trade, something David Cameron had previously promised to ban. For those who consider animal rights a critical part of our society’s moral code, Theresa May’s manifesto has made the Tories impossible to vote for.

As a nation we proudly assert our place on the world stage as a society of animal lovers. We regard with contempt events such as Yulin dog meat festival, and the annual whale slaughter in the Faroe islands. We’re far from perfect in this country, and as a vegan I know we have a long way to go when it comes to animal rights. But Monday’s event served to remind me that when we Brits see cruelty we oppose it, and we act on it.

On Monday we delivered a message, but on June 8th we have the opportunity to deliver an even more powerful one; one that changes the shape of British politics and shows future candidates that even at our most divided, on protecting our wildlife we are united.

A Letter

My Dearest A,

I’m really sorry I haven’t written in what must seem like ages. I never seem to have enough time anymore. I’m working day and night but each time I look up I still feel like I’m getting nowhere.

No matter what I say it’s like no one really listens.

I’ve met some wonderful people recently, who have really helped me. I love spending time with them although it can be so painful when we talk; sometimes we just end up holding each other and crying.

One of the guys is so strong and his words give us all hope, he’s a warrior, you would be so proud of him. He stands up for you even when they try to knock him down. I worry for him sometimes, I know how hard this is and the toll it takes on all of us.

You have to believe that things are changing; I know it doesn’t seem like it and it must feels like things are only getting worse, but we are changing hearts, more people are joining us every day.

Soon they will not be able to ignore us, push us aside or treat us like they do. When enough of us stand together they will have to listen.

One day we will break down those walls and you will be free.

I have to go now; I still have so much to do. Rest all you can, take care of the others and know that we’re here for you and we are not all the same.

Love
V

Irrelevantarians

I’m getting ever more frustrated by the Vegetarians, the Reducetarians and the Flexitarians. I understand the message that’s it’s much easier to get people to reduce the amount of animal products they consume, than it is to get people to cut them out altogether and go vegan.

I get that they feel there may be certain nutrients in animal products that they can’t get from plants, although I wholeheartedly disagree and having lived half a century this way am living proof of this.

Still all of this in entirely irrelevant, animals that would choose life, have to die to accommodate your lifestyles. This is and always will be unacceptable in every single case. Just doing it less only makes you feel better about yourself; it will never make it right.

Join me at a save vigil, look into their eyes as they are being taken to their deaths and tell me it’s still OK for you to be a part timer.

I really dislike these labels, you either consume animal products or you are vegan. The amount you consume is irrelevant. You eat animals, they are killed for you, own it.

We’re all faced with two simple options when it comes to our food choices. Both of which will more than meet our needs. One causes harm to animals and one doesn’t. It really is as simple as that.

And as for consuming only organic, pasture raised meat, this is a completely unrealistic ideal, again to make you more able to live with your actions. The cost, the availability of land, makes this impossible. As long as people choose to continue eating animal products, there will be factory farms and all of the horrors that go hand in hand with them.

Organic and pasture raised animals no more want to die than any others. Giving them a cuddle and a kiss as you wield the knife really won’t make any difference to them.

And please don’t call yourself an environmentalist or say that you stand up for animal rights, for as long as you continue to consume animal products.

I get that the road to veganism will be a long one, but this has to be our moral baseline, our goal as an intelligent, caring species.

I will just about accept these Irrelevantarians so long as they use these diets as a stepping stone to veganism. Otherwise you’ll just end up pissed one night in a kebab shop. Moderation is the most difficult of disciplines.

Take the Next Brexit to Veganism

With the UK leaving the EU and seemingly pinning its hopes on a trade deal with the US, our friends from across the pond will be in a strong negotiating position. This will almost certainly mean that we will have to lift restrictions on food imports. Many American food products are banned by the EU, with animal products being the most stringently restricted due to them not reaching hygiene standards.

Following Brexit, the UK will no longer be obliged to follow these standards and any sort of trade deal will almost certainly be dependent on relaxing these standards. This will mean that we will begin to see meat from animals fed on a hormone and antibiotic rich diet, both of which are used to promote rapid growth.

Antibiotic Resistance is a growing concern around the world and certainly here in the UK (it is estimated that 80% of all antibiotics in the US go into animal feed) but to secure any sort of lucrative deal this may have to be overlooked. The practice has been linked to numerous health issues in humans and is cruel and unethical to artificially accelerate the life cycle of animals.

Chlorine-washed chicken may also find its way into our food supply. Chicken carcasses are “disinfected” with chlorine and other chemicals where hygiene standards are poor on the farms where they’re raised. Because the cost of providing improved welfare for these animals would eat into their bottom line, they chemical-wash they’re potentially infected carcasses.

With US food standards almost across the board lower than those in the EU, there’s probably never been a better time to go vegan.