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Why am I Vegan? Happiness and Living Your Truth

People often ask me ‘what makes me so happy?’ I am generally smiling and content and at peace with myself and this seems to radiate outwards as well, people respond so well to a wide smile and a genuine compliment and tend to feel comfortable enough to ask where my happiness originates from. I genuinely irritate some people as well and have a hair trigger temper too – I’m not Mary Poppins lets be honest – but mostly as long as I am not hungry I can be pretty delightful.

Over the years I have come to realise the beauty of truth. Knowing your truth, telling your truth and living your truth. My truth is I love humans (universally, not intimately) and loving humans doesn’t mean I like or condone a lot of their behaviour, but as a race I love us all, so I want everyone to have the best chances, the best support, the best education and the best planet possible. I love humans so much I do not steal their breast milk, I do not forcibly impregnate them, I do not take their babies and shoot them in the head, or crush them in a grinder. I do not keep humans in a unnatural environment and slaughter them before their natural life span, I do not gas humans or boil them alive, I do not wear clothes made of human skin. I do not eat baby back ribs or young tender children, I ignore the fact humans have protein and taste good fried, I ignore the fact we are overrun with humans in some areas, I do not endorse a cull of suburban areas for pest control.

And because I love animals I do not do any of this to them either.

I was vegetarian for years before making the connection between the dairy industry and eggs actually still killing animals, I wore leather and had designer leather handbags, I wore Chanel perfume and had organic milk and honey in my tea, thinking I was doing my best by not eating animals, but as you can see from the above, Love is not just about not eating humans, love is about freedom and kindness and respect and not being dragged screaming to a slaughterhouse. It is not enough to refrain from eating your child and say this is evidence of love.

My truth is that I am vegan and I live that truth as fully as I can and it makes me glow with happiness, I know there are terrible injustices every day in the world against humans and animals on an unimaginable scale but I know I am not part of the problem, I am part of the solution.

Out went the designer bags and shoes to the charity shops, bit drastic but gave me a chance to research and find amazing vegan replacements. In came almond milk and plant based cheese and learning to cook properly.

By making some small changes in the products we buy and the food we consume we can help save humanity for sure, the planet will be fine if we manage to starve ourselves to death and use all the freshwater for cattle, even if we end up in a nuclear holocaust the planet WILL survive, but humanity will not. We live in the Garden of Eden but we manage to turn it into hell. I found a little bit of heaven inside myself by going vegan- because no one died screaming for my lifestyle, and that’s a great feeling.

 

 

Balancing Act in Vegan Activism

A thought came to me recently seeing so many well known people in the vegan world playing prominent roles in the current movement sweeping the UK. A person who has work or family commitments can feel disheartened if they aren’t able to commit to the movement as much or or as often as they would like to.

However, simple things and contributions as we go about our days can help no matter how small.

I today for instance had some fun stickering in the ‘murder aisle’ of Aldi and M&S and speaking to fellow workers on ‘lactose intolerance’. Girl you simply aren’t a baby cow.
I’m always stickering on the back of seats of trains/buses on the way to work and leaving leaflets where I know they will be found.

Putting a few stickers about or speaking to people as you go about your day can mean as much as any other form of activism. Don’t ever feel for one minute that just because you have an incredibly busy life and you can only contribute in little ways, that you are letting anybody down.

Even if vigils, outreaches or protests are impossible for you to get to, though this are great to gain ideas and meet fellow vegans and support network, never underestimate the value of the small contributions that you can make.

The Enemy of Truth – In My Humble Opinion

We learn sayings as children and often without thinking accept them as being right. We then incorporate them into our own thinking and even use them in our everyday lives.

One that concerns me is “Everyone has the right to their own opinion”. Now, I don’t disagree with this, of course people can have opinions, what bothers me is the credence we give to opinions, simply because we have accepted that people have the right to them.

The fact is though; opinions are the lowest form of human knowledge. They require no accountability or understanding. Anyone can say whatever they like and justify their right to spout utter nonsense simply because of their “right” to an opinion.

Opinions are often no more than an extension of our egos, which in turn are more often than not inflated “opinions” of our own importance. This borders on narcissism, which is a major hindrance in the quest for social justice.

I may have made the leap from someone who is opinionated to a narcissist more quickly than is reasonable, but if you think of the characteristics of a narcissist which include, superiority, arrogance, self-absorption, self-admiration, exploitative, entitled and power hungry, you can easily imagine these characteristics in a stubborn, highly opinionated person.

I do want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with having opinions; they contribute to how we learn, can stimulate debate and can define trends of thought when groups are questioned. They are only a judgement though, a statement and are not conclusive. They are not facts until proven to be so.

From the point of view of an environmentalist and an animal rights activist, opinions are the enemy of the truth. When questioned, people with absolutely no experience in the relevant field suddenly become experts in nutrition, human anatomy and planetary science amongst other things.

They will argue as if their lives depend on it that we need to eat animals to survive, that we need it for protein, that cow’s milk is good for us, that our teeth are designed to rip apart the flesh of an animal, that climate change is a myth created by the Chinese and so on and so on.

All are opinions based on  core beliefs learned as children, their fear of change and their stubbornness.

The highest form of knowledge is empathy. It requires us to forget about ego and to live in the world of another. If we empathise with the animals in the factory farming, or any farm situation, we will be unable to live with the horrors that are carried out in our name and will turn away from it.

Put yourself in the place of a mother having her children taken from her and killed. Imagine being forced into a cycle of perpetual pregnancy until your body can no longer take it and then being dragged off, killed and cut into pieces.

Imagine living your whole life in a filthy dark shed with nothing to do other than eat and drink. Imagine that the first day you ever feel the sun on your back being the day you die.

Imagine living your short six week life in a huge shed with 10,000 others, being fed a cocktail of drugs to make you grow unnaturally quickly until you are dragged off and your throat is cut.

If you can imagine these horrors happening to you or those you love then the only option is veganism. If you can’t, you don’t want to, or in your opinion it would be a waste of your time, then you probably need help. You have narcissistic tendencies as did Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussain.

Empathy Can Save the World

Social justice can only be achieved when a society empathises with its neglected social groups. From the 18th century campaigns to tackle child poverty through the anti-slavery movement, woman’s suffrage to gay rights, none of these revolutions would have been possible without the rise of empathy and the regard for human life.

Empathy is the reason we have the principles of freedom and fairness, which are necessary components of social justice.

Social justice cannot start and finish with the human race; it must encompass all living creatures. Not only are we needlessly slaughtering tens of billions of sentient beings each year under the false belief that we need to feed on them, but to facilitate this we are wiping many other species from the face of the planet.

Our oceans are literally being destroyed and fish species are being wiped out at a rate never seen before in human history. The coral reefs are crumbling; dead zones are appearing across our oceans and seas.

We all know in our hearts that this is wrong, unsustainable and is destroying our fragile environment, but we continue along this path because the educators, our leaders are short sighted, guided by the thought of losing their position at the table.

Empathy takes courage, risk, and self-sacrifice, and can often be so very difficult. It is challenging, at times perhaps even excruciating, to dare to put the good of another, be it human, animal or environment above ourselves.

The only chance we have is to work together but in our capitalist world where competition is king and greed is good, we are heading towards oblivion. Only by working together, by empathising with the world around us can we pass on the lessons we have learned to future generations.

Suffering must be a lesson to us all, something we learn from, not a consequence of our actions.

We all have the ability to empathise, to imagine how it feels to walk in someone else’s shoes. Be it the mother holding her dying baby in drought ridden Africa, the child who is told that his father, a soldier, won’t be coming home or the cow, chained upside down by one leg, having it’s throat cut while still conscious because of outdated religious practises.

The power of empathy has changed the world many times through co-operation and understanding of right and wrong. It is without judgement, criticism or confusion, rather the selfless action of doing what we know to be the right thing.

The greatest and most beautiful gift I have ever been given is the miracle of empathy. The foundations of our human world rest upon it; without it we will crumble and fall.

Removing the AG-Gag

Late last Friday afternoon, a federal judge struck down a controversial law that prohibited photography or filming inside agricultural operations in Utah, ruling the law violated the First Amendment.

It violated much more than that.

The First Amendment, by the way, protects freedom of speech.

Animal agriculture has long had the legal system on its side, if not in its pocket.

The simple fact of the matter is that in factory farms and slaughterhouses across the world, innocent creatures who value their lives every bit as much as you or I do, are having them brutally ended, simply for profit.

Never, ever be fooled that it’s for any other reason.

These evil, greedy butchers will go to almost any length to hide what they do from the public. The Ag-Gag law is aimed at punishing animal rights activists who go undercover to document the abuses and horrific conditions that animals on factory farms must endure.

This is a victory for the animals. It may not be a watershed moment from which the entire ag-gag institution falls in a heap, but it will set a precedent, so it’s a real possibility.

And I know it’s been said a million times, but if these people and places have nothing to hide, what do they have to worry about?

Vegan Dating in a Carnist World- Tales from the Front Line

So you go Vegan for love and end up hating everyone- sound familiar? Looking for love and companionship as a Vegan really tests your ethical stand points, your tolerance levels and general misanthropy.

After some failed experiments dating carnists and holding vegetarians in fairly high contempt it has become clear that only a vegan will do. But at my age (37) in case you were wondering you tend to have a tick sheet mental or online in a spreadsheet format  (which I would wholeheartedly advise) by the time we approach 40 you know what you are looking for in a partner or at least you have compiled a list of unsavoury habits that are deal breakers.

I know, I know.. there is the argument that by intermingling and living with carnists that Vegans can show them the light and the way, in reality this means storing meat in your fridge and sitting opposite your loved one as they snack on dismembered corpses- sexy huh?

I always say to men who try and convince me to date them as they ‘only eat clean protein- chicken and fish ‘ : Imagine going out with a girl who ordered ‘only puppies paws and kittens ribs when you ate out’ who left dismembered guinea pigs and rabbits in the fridge to fry up for breakfast?? Not cool.

Seriously eating corpses and drinking stolen breast milk from baby cows and eating something that came out of a hen’s backside?! When you wake up and realise what meat and dairy are, you realise you have bought into the biggest marketing con of all.

When you see advertising for lumps of charred flesh between buns, or when your neighbours have a barbeque you have to wonder how people don’t make the connection between burning flesh and tortured screams of all species.

So the dating compromises I am willing to make are things like: watches football, cannot spell definitely, one failed marriage allowed, drives a sports car occasionally (but not as main mode of transport) these are things I can live with.

I cannot live with and love and bare my soul to someone who pays psychopaths to torture and slaughter his food and by his food and apparel choices is actively helping to kill the planet. Being Vegan is not a diet and it is not a religion, I am asking no one to believe in any allegorical tales.

Being Vegan is the LEAST we can do in this beautiful world of abundance that has been turned into hell on earth for billions of animals each year. It is better for EVERYBODY, humans, animals and the environment to tread lightly on this earth and be kind.

Kindness and being able to cook are the two most important qualities in a man to me, if you are not Vegan you are not kind.

So until I find a kind, funny, intelligent man that makes my heart sing- I will stay happily single. Sometimes Compromise is the most offensive C word.

Food Choices – Our Future Depends on Them

When faced with a clear, obvious choice, the overwhelming majority of the human race will usually choose the correct option. Sadly when it comes to our food choices, we really let ourselves down.

There is no ambiguity when it comes to these choices; they are as simple as this:

Option One: Causes harm to billions of animals, is catastrophic to the environment and is a major threat to human health, costing trillions in pharmaceuticals and public health care each year.

Option Two: Does none of the above.

I may have simplified this slightly, but only very slightly.

By leading a vegan lifestyle you will make one of the most positive contributions to the health of the planet that any individual can make.

Your own health will improve more than you could ever imagine, you will lose those extra pounds you’re carrying around and you will lift the burden of cruelty, pain, suffering and death that weighs heavily around the necks of a growing number of compassionate people.

So with such a clear, logical choice, why are the majority of people still choosing the wrong option?

There are a number of reasons including fear, ignorance, convenience, laziness and conditioning. Living a vegan lifestyle takes time, practice and dedication and is probably not at the top of the list of priorities for many busy people. If done badly, it can even have a negative effect on your health.

This is why we need those in power, those who can really shape the future to see that the world is screaming out for us to make this change.

Vegan options need to on every shelf and should be half the price of traditional products. The horrors of industrialised farming should be known to everyone and not hidden from view. The environmental consequences of our continued reliance on animal products must be front page news, as must the damage they are doing to public health.

If we want to leave anything of this wonderful world behind for future generations then need a complete change in the way we think about food.

 

 

A Brief History of Carnism – Part 3

I’ve been publishing a few excerpts from a talk I gave recently at a vegan festival. Here is the final part.


The agricultural revolution may well turn out to be the greatest crime in human history. Many will disagree but if you measure crimes by the sheer amount of pain and misery they inflict on the largest number of beings, then this claim is not implausible.

By 2050 there will be an estimated 9.7 billion people on earth.

To feed this number of people on the current western diet we will need to breed, house, feed and slaughter close to 100 billion animals every year.

And to put that into perspective, that’s nearly 2 billion a week, 275 million a day and more than 3000 every second of every minute of every day.

This is the reality that awaits us. This is the future we have to look forward to, the future we are allowing to happen.


Factory farms are far from the only way that we humans control the lives and death of animals. Cultures around the world are exploiting them in all sorts of hideous ways.

In parts of China and in South Korea dogs are slaughtered for meat where the belief is that the more agony and stress they are put through, the better the meat tastes.

Millions of wild creatures are killed or abused each year in the Far East for traditional medicines and even aphrodisiacs.

In bear farms across parts of Asia bile is extracted from their gall bladders because some believe they hold medicinal powers.

The bears are housed continuously in small cages which prevent them from standing, sitting upright or even from turning around.

Some bears are caught as cubs and may be kept in these conditions for more than 20 years.

There’s a demand for all of these products just as there is for bacon and eggs here in the West.

If asked, those treating animals in a way that anyone here would deem cruel, needless and barbaric, would probably make the same excuses as we do.

In that to them the practices are normal, it’s their culture, it’s the way it’s always been.  And how can we criticise these people in other cultures?  Why should they restrain themselves or change what they have been doing for generations while we’re torturing billions of farm animals?

In the oceans, whales and dolphins endure long and painful deaths at the hands of factory fishing vessels.

Each year Sealers chase, club, axe, and often skin alive a few hundred thousand new born pups for the fur trade.

And hunters still think it is normal to stalk, sneak up on, and kill animals for no better reason than the thrill of it, capturing these moments by taking “selfies” with their trophies.

As horrific as all forms of exploitation, abuse and cruelty are, condemning them in any way will always be hypocritical so long as we continue our own systemic abuse.

If you continue to pay for, consume or wear animal products you equally as guilty as the sealers, the hunters, the fishermen and the factory farmers.


Something future generations will surely notice is the rise of the animal rights movement of the early 21st century.

Where there is abuse or wrong doing towards animals you will see men and women, boys and girls with the hearts of lions protesting and campaigning against it.

But change will not come quickly and it may not come at all unless we unite and stand together.

Changing what you eat or the shoes you wear is not enough. You have a voice and you need to make it heard.

Instead of 30 of us at the next save vigil I want there to be 300.

Instead of a few people reaching out to the public in our major cities, I want to see groups in every town across the country.

Instead of 2,000 people marching through London this year I want there to be 20,000 or 200,000.

When this happens, the powers that be, the people who can make change happen will have to listen to us.

And this, by force of numbers, is the only way that real change can possibly happen.

We should all be incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved already but in truth we’ve barely left the starting blocks. Nothing has really changed.

Animals are still dying in incalculable numbers, the planet is burning and we are killing ourselves on the diet that turns the few into billionaires.

I want to see every single person who like me, like you, like us, believes with their hearts and their souls that this insanity has to stop, to stand up, take a step forward and say enough is enough.


The way that we treat the innocent and defenceless creatures in our care is one of the revealing marks that we will leave behind.

It’s one of the most fundamental of human responsibilities; it’s how we will be remembered.

Together we can rid the world of these needless miseries.

And among the gifts that we can offer posterity, they really don’t come much better than that.

One of my favourite quotes is by Margaret Mead, an American cultural anthropologist and speaker of the 1960s and 70s. She said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

 

 

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 – https://www.facebook.com/Kingstonveganoutreach