The Food of Kings – A Brief History of Carnism

I’m going to publish a few excerpts from a talk I gave recently at a vegan festival. Here is part Two.

Humans have been eating animals for a long time, no argument there.

But it’s only relatively recently that the masses have had such easy and affordable access to so much of what had long been known as “The Food of Kings”.

Up until the Second World War meat, dairy and eggs were much more of a luxury than they are today.

During the six years of war and the nine years of rationing that followed, animal products were scarce and this was a problem because scarcity fuels demand.

If you could get yourself some meat, some eggs, some milk or cheese, even if it wasn’t completely legally, you took it.

It was a good source of both protein and fat, two things that were absent, or at least lacking, in many of the diets of the time.

And 15 years is a long time to live under the conditions of war and then rationing.

None of us should be surprised that as it ended and everything gradually became more plentiful, the mind-set remained.

Meat, dairy and eggs were firmly established as not only the best food you could eat, but it was also the affluent choice.

It made us feel like the kings that went before us; it became a symbol of status.

If you and your family had a meat rich diet, you’d made it.

This idyllic, healthy lifestyle, this freedom, it was why we went to war in the first place!

I can still remember as a child my own father proudly carving the meat in readiness of our Sunday family ritual.

Of course, and to my parent’s huge dismay, I only ate the roast potatoes and the vegetables.

And almost no one questioned it, in homes the length and breadth of the country families were living the post war dream and the meat on their plates was a symbol of their freedom and our victory.

Inspired to Share – Vegan Outreach

8 months to the day I made the long overdue choice to go full compassion and be vegan after 10 years vegetarian. During these months I wanted to share the truth I myself had fully become aware of in the dairy and egg industry. I’d always been opposed to eating animals and had in the past wanted to bring awareness to others, only to be told not to say the truths. I was also struggling then as a vegetarian on how to be active to share the truth as a then 19 – 20 year old.

Sadly not much could I seem get involved in or know how to access at the time and became subdued to a degree in my feelings with to people eating animals. I never wavered as a vegetarian from pressures, abuse, mockery or food choices. It was so easy to be vegetarian, it was second nature, there was no lame excuse but selfishness to full down.

As a vegan now, there are so many opportunities to be involved to share the truths. It can be overwhelming! From protests, demos, vigils to outreaches. London is a hub for activism I’ve found. Sadly there was little activism happening in my local area, though I knew a few were going on such as vigils, which are essential in themselves, yet only reach to a degree.

Most important is to work within our local towns/cities/villages to share with the locals. I wanted to start something myself so launched Kingston Vegan Outreach for my local area in Surrey. We are only two events in but they have been extremely successful and well received. All the more eye opening is the large number of vegan and vegetarians already in the area, right at my door step! Who would have guessed.

My hope with these outreach events are that we are able to bring awareness to the locals and to encourage local vegans/vegetarians to become active to share the strong feelings they have for being vegan. For if we ourselves feel cruelty is wrong, we need to share to others this as they won’t know if we don’t help share the truths!

Please if you’re interested in becoming active and attend an outreach group near you or to join Kingston Vegan Outreach. The FB page is –

Vegans Bear Witness to Carnist’s ‘Choice’

Exactly one week ago I’d attended Farnborough Animal Vigils group to bear witness along with many other vegans/vegetarians to the innocent pigs, cows and sheep enroute to be killed for human’s to eat their deceased bodies.

It’s haunted  myself and many others ever since with flash backs with the tiny piglets no more than 8 weeks old (coincidentally the same age puppies or kittens are taken to from their mums and sold to humans for their entertainment, not for the kittens/puppies). Also the very young male calves, few months old, with soft doe brown eyes wide and innocence looking out of the trailers having been taken from their grieving mums. Sent to be killed because they’re born the wrong gender all so humans can drink his mother’s milk.

The many older piglets were kept in filth and wreaking of faeces and urine. The with one trailer, smell hung long in the hot air that day well after the trailer had emptied of the piglets and left. I could still smell days afterwards. The heat of that day was well into the 30 degrees. The metal trailers were like ovens for the suffering animals. The pigs packed tight were gasping and panting heavily (very much as a dog does on hot days) in this metal inferno. We gave water to what pigs we could to ease their thirst.

The piglets were the hardest to bear along with the tiny sons of dairy cows.. so tiny and wide eyed and curious. Oblivious to their violent end. Many people broke down of this extend of injustices to these tiny children. The sons and daughters of someone now grieving for her stolen children. Many tried to persuade the workers there to sell the babies to spare their lives. Yet these children were only reference to as contract or a delivery. The disconnecting of which no person present could comprehend.

Though my first vigil well back in January had been the hardest due the reality I had myself face for the very first time outside a slaughterhouse. The extent to the cruelty I have seen on this most recent vigil and the victims I shall not forget but use their lost lives to share with my outreach groups to the public I speak with.

This day saw 5-6 trailers and one large truck of innocent beings sent to die. It doesn’t have to be this way. Vegans don’t want to have to bear witness to innocent billions of children destined to die to shake carnists up about the truth when it’s so apparent in this age of technology and information and science.  Yes, the food industry is what puts the blinds and blinkers on people. Yet we can think for ourselves and make a choice if we dare to not be dictated follow the crowd with lies and deceit.

Until the last killing house is closed, animal activism shall never cease or be quieted to conform for those feeling the guilt of their ‘choices’ nor to the food industries whom keep trying to lie and brainwash people.

We want to be unique yet aren’t in our blindness to follow in supporting cruelty.

The New Normal

I really am the happiest, most positive, most optimistic person I know. I always try and bring that positivity and happiness to others too, I’m really not selfish with it.

Even I have my off days though and today is one of those days, shame really because it’s all so unnecessary, if only people were honest with themselves.

Those closest to me think I’m too thin and are “really worried about me”. According to my doctor and the NHS body mass index checker I am the perfect weight for my age and height. My BMI is 21.

I live on a vegan diet and an almost entirely whole food, vegan diet. I don’t like the term “plant based”, it’s ambiguous. Someone who eats the odd bit of meat, fish and dairy could say they have a plant based diet, mine is 100% vegan.

The thing is, being overweight is the new normal, it’s what we see as normal and when we see someone who is not, we consider them too thin. Probably because in the 50 years between 1960 and 2010 the weight of the average adult in the west increased by two stones.

And going hand in hand with this additional weight are the fast growing prevalence of lifestyle diseases such as T2 diabetes and obesity. As well as that 40% of UK adults are taking statins to reduce cholesterol and more of us die from heart disease caused in the main by blocked arteries than anything else. These are all diet related and cost the NHS billions to treat.

I don’t have any of these. I don’t take any medication. I never get sick. This is because of my diet and because of my weight.

Recently I converted a man in his early 60s to veganism. It’s only been six or seven weeks but his life has changed already. He feels amazing, has almost unlimited energy and is losing the extra weight he was carrying.

It’s not impossible that I will have given him 10 years of quality living, free of the concoction of drugs most of us are kept alive on.

I don’t want praise for this; it’s what I do day in day out. I do it for the individuals of course but mostly for the poor innocent animals being needlessly slaughtered every day.

I get that most people don’t care. It sickens me to the bottom of my stomach and I have less and less time for these people, but I know I can’t change everyone.

I make no apologies for my stubbornness. I’m simply not prepared to sit and watch it happen without speaking up and loudly.

If it makes you uncomfortable then you need to have a close look at why you don’t care. Just don’t turn it around, deflect it back at me to make yourself feel better.

Animal Lovers

I’m going to publish a few excerpts from a talk I gave recently at a vegan festival. Here is part one.

Here in the UK we’ve always considered ourselves a nation of animal lovers. But how do we show that love, how do we express these deepest of feelings?

I don’t think for one minute they believe we love them and based on the way the large majority of animals live and die in this country, and I’ve looked into their eyes as they were being taken to their deaths, I believe they think that we truly hate them.

We treat the animals that should be under our care far worse than we do the most horrific criminals in our society, who get a way better deal than the innocent animals that rely on us to look after them.

They trust us with their lives and we betray that trust in the very worst way possible.

Just like our pets, these creatures would love us unconditionally, yet we imprison them, we break up their families, we deny them even the most basic of rights, we kill them, we cut them into pieces, we cook them and we eat them.

And what makes it worse, is if we stopped this horrific cycle tomorrow, they would forgive us.

They would forgive us for something even the godliest human that ever lived would consider unforgivable. Yet for profit, taste and convenience, we continue this endless cycle of abuse.

Animals are not like plants or inanimate objects. In all of the most important ways, they are just like us. After all, we are animals ourselves.

Each one is a unique individual with their own personality. They are someone, not something. They are not just alive. They have lives.

With our gifts, our wisdom, our capacity for empathy and compassion, we should be leaders. We should be leading, guiding, caring for and ensuring the safety and survival of all creatures on this planet.

Sadly though, we’re an evil, greedy species, which sometimes makes me wonder if this world wouldn’t be better off without us.

You see 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. Why would anyone choose the one that causes harm? You wouldn’t, would you?

And when you learn that the choice that’s bad for animals is also bad for the environment and bad for your own health, it literally doesn’t make any sense to choose that option, especially when a better option exists.

And it does. And it has a name. Veganism.

Our claim to be animal lovers is the greatest hypocrisy ever spoken and we should be ashamed of ourselves for so casually throwing this around.

And for no reason other than to help us live with the reality of our actions.

I’m deeply ashamed of what we’ve allowed ourselves to become without barely a second thought when it comes to the way we treat animals.

I’m saddened that so many otherwise good people either choose to ignore the truth, are ignorant to it or simply don’t care.

And I don’t understand why I am so completely different from the majority, when in almost every other way we are so similar.

Maybe I actually am the freak, the weirdo, the vegan.

Could You Take a Life?

Imagine you are inside a slaughterhouse; there’s you, a man with a knife and a piglet. The man intends to slice the piglet’s throat.

How far would you go to save the piglet’s life? How would you feel if you couldn’t save it and had to watch it die? Imagine that for a moment.

What would most people do what as the knife cut into the piglet’s throat? Throw up, cry, attack the man with the knife? These would be normal human reactions; in fact, these reactions are what make us human.

But if we walk down the supermarket aisle and see the same piglet neatly packaged in plastic, all we think about is how good it would go with a little apple sauce. What does that say about us?

We can’t focus on that one piglet though. His or her life is worth no more than the millions of others who are mutilated and killed every day, you just happened to be there.

Do you think you or anyone else has more right to life than the piglet? None of us get a do over, once it’s gone, it’s gone, same goes for the piglet.

In fact, do we have the right to take any life? Isn’t it a simple choice between right and wrong?

Put yourself in the position of being the man with the knife; ask yourself if you could do it. I expect the answer would resoundingly be no.

But what if I offered you £1,000, would you do it then? How about £10,000 or £100,000? What would your price be?

Imagine all the things you could do with that money and it’s only one piglet.

Even if I put £100,000 in a brief case, handed it over along with the knife and the piglet, I’m still not sure most people could do it when the moment came.

Why is that?

The sad truth and what sums most of us up, is that we’re more than happy to allow someone else to slice the piglet’s throat on our behalf; we’ll even pay them to do it. Just so long as we don’t have to be there.

We all forget who we are sometimes.

No Saves are Easy, Some are Harder than Others

Often when I speak to people about attending a Save Vigil they say that they could never do it. They say that would be too upset or they wouldn’t be able to control their anger.

In the past I’ve always dismissed this, telling them they can do it, it’s not so bad, great people, etc etc.

I’m not so sure anymore.

Today we stood outside Newman’s Abbatoir in Farnborough, Hampshire and witnessed truck after truck of baby animals being taken to their deaths.

Really, babies. Calves and piglets no more than two months old.

People were screaming, crying, begging them to stop. People I’ve known a long time, people I’ve never seen get emotional in this way, broke down on the street and had to be helped up.

We even offered to buy the animals and send them to a sanctuary for the same price that the slaughterhouse were paying. This probably sounds crazy but we didn’t know what else to do.

I spoke to all of the drivers that were willing to speak. One or two showed brief signs of humanity in their eyes, some got verbally aggressive with me, one threated to punch me.

I almost wish he had.

One of our group brought his daughter with him. She’s maybe 11 or 12. After one of the trucks went inside she asked the policewoman on the gate why she allowed it to happen. She couldn’t understand.

The policewoman was visibly moved and simply didn’t have an answer for her. She then asked if she had children of her own, she asked what she would do if someone took her baby.

The policewoman had to walk away.

No saves are easy, this one was almost impossible.


Bristol March to Close all Slaughterhouses – 17.06.17

On Saturday 17th June the VGN team travelled to Bristol to cover and take part in the March to Close all Slaughterhouses. We also took the opportunity to catch up with Dave & Lizzie as the Walk For Hope passed through the city.

Hosted by Bristol Animal Save, we marched from College Green through the centre of the city and ended at the fountains where there were speeches from Earthling Ed, George Martin and Jayesh Patel.

We ended up spending a few days in Bristol last week and found it one of the most vegan cities we have visited recently.

After the speeches we all went to Cafe Kino, an excellent vegan cafe to catch up and eat their amazing food.


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Going Vegan – Real Life Stories

We probably all have someone that we consider would be the last person ever to go vegan.

Mine was Steve, my kind of brother-in-law (it’s complicated).

Steve is from North-East England, Hull in fact, which is a world away from the vegan stronghold’s in London, Bristol and Brighton. In Hull the men are men, the weather is generally bad and nothing exciting has come out of there since The Housemartins.

Many will disagree that The Housemartins were exciting, they were OK and went on to become The Beautiful South, which I always found a tad ironic.

Happy Cow doesn’t have one single vegan restaurant or cafe listed in Hull.

Steve is a no nonsense kind of guy. He’ll always say it as it is. Not particularly sociable, but a decent bloke who for the most part chooses to keep himself to himself.

Because of our tenuous relationship he will visit our home every now and then for family gatherings. The last time I saw him was maybe six weeks ago, it was early May.

When we have gatherings at our home, all of the food is vegan. People either like it or go home hungry. I really don’t mean that in an unkind way, but people know the score and for the most part are pleased and surprised.

Steve’s been here more than a few times and is used to it. I don’t think he was ever particularly happy about the offerings and would probably have been the one who rushed home to cook some chicken or sausages afterwards, complaining as he went.

When Steve was here in May we were talking about veganism. I probably did most of the talking to be honest and he probably didn’t listen to much of it, but I did manage to catch his attention when I started talking about health.

I told him he was overweight.

Now this is not a tactic I use regularly when speaking to people about veganism, I certainly wouldn’t use it on a stranger, but this was OK. Steve denied it of course; he’s not particularly big but had the standard pot belly.

I suggested we check his BMI out of curiosity.

I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right. It was a party, a celebration and this guy is weighing his relations. How obsessed is he! I doubt many reading this will be in any hurry to invite me to their parties.

I was right though. His BMI was over 28 so he was heading towards obesity.

I gave a talk at a vegan festival earlier in the year and I took a prop. It’s a box that weighs two stone or 13 kilos. I used it during the talk to demonstrate how much extra weight all of us are carrying now compared to back in 1960. It’s quite heavy and shocks some people as weight is hard to imagine and two stone doesn’t sound a great deal.

This was about how much weight Steve needed to lose to get his BMI down into the normal range. So he held the box, we talked some and although he didn’t commit to anything, it definitely caught his attention.

Three weeks later we got a text from him which read “THREE WEEKS VEGAN!” That was it, I did say he was a man of few words.

Today, maybe six or seven weeks later, my partner spoke to her sister who is Steve’s partner, who reported that he’s lost a load of weight, feels amazing, has incredible energy levels and basically won’t stop talking to her about it.

She did also mention that he’s driving her mad.

I haven’t seen him since the day of the party. He hasn’t contacted me directly or asked for any other help of info, which is fine. By all accounts he doesn’t want to meet other vegans. My thought is yet.

I doubt he talks about it to his friends or colleagues; maybe he’s a little embarrassed. He’s over 60 and it’s a big leap for someone who’s lived on meat all of his life and probably spent most of it arguing against it. I honestly don’t know. It doesn’t matter.

So I don’t expect him to be joining me at a vigil any time soon. I doubt he’ll be handing out leaflets on the high street or offering advice to people and I’m sure he won’t be taking his laptop on the tube and showing footage of animal cruelty whilst wearing an anonymous mask.

But that’s OK. It’s another vegan, another person not contributing to the insanity.




If you have a real life story you would like to share via VGN, send it to and we’ll publish.


Follow Your Heart

Our existence, our lives are not black and white. It’s not a simple case of we’re born, we breathe for a bit and then we die.

Anyone who disagrees could possibly end up leading a relatively dull and uninteresting life. And quite possibly one full of regrets.

Life is about magic, it’s about adventure, wherever and whenever you find it. I don’t mean we all have to go climb mountains or swim with dolphins, it can creep up on you at any time, when you’re least expecting it. And when it does you have to make a choice.

Do you follow your head, choose the safe option, stick with what you know, or do you take a chance and follow your heart.

We are all here for just the briefest moment in time. It may seem like eternity when you’re looking forward, but when you look back it appears to have gone in a heartbeat. If you find something or someone that moves you, and you will know when you find it, grab it or them with both hands and don’t look back.

Your sensible brain will do everything in its power to stop you so you have to be prepared to fight. It will throw doubt after doubt your way and will wear you down with logic and reason.

And before you completely write it off and stick with the status quo, look closely and ask yourself how great your life really is, then imagine how amazing it could be with a sprinkling of magic.

The sad truth is that so many people get to a place where they look back at a lifetime of missed opportunities, at what might have been. How different, how much more magical their lives might have turned out if they had only had the courage to listen to their hearts.

None of us want to hurt animals. Our hearts are screaming at us that it’s wrong but we just can’t stop. Our sensible brain tells us it’s OK, it’s natural, normal and necessary.

And rather than follow our hearts we keep doing what we’ve always done, we push it to the back of our minds and carry on as before.

Love is not a crime. It’s not a bad thing and it’s OK to admit you feel it. Not every chance you take will work out but you’ll never know unless you are brave enough to try.