Animal Lovers

We proudly wear the title of being a nation of animal lovers. Each year we spend 6 billion pounds on or cats, dogs, bunnies, budgies and guinea pigs. The love we feel for our companion animals is so strong, they become full members of our families and are treated accordingly.

So imagine a scenario. Your cat or dog is taken from you, loaded on to a truck with lots of other people’s pets and taken to a slaughterhouse. You are told that your pet is needed for human consumption, that it’s always been this way, that it’s just an animal.

You are assured that your pet’s death will be humane. It’s explained to you that your pet will line up with all of the others and they will enter the kill room one by one. There it will be stunned, hung upside down and his or her throat will be cut and its blood will be drained. It will be quick and painless, they won’t be aware of what’s happening, it’s just an animal.

There is nothing you can do to stop this.

In desperation you follow the truck to the slaughterhouse. When you get there you see people trying to stop the truck, holding up signs in protest and standing in front of it. You see people looking in the side of the truck, talking to and trying to comfort the animals.

But the truck driver refuses to stop. The police and security guards are pushing the protestors out of the way; many are in tears, begging them not to do this. These are not even their own pets.

The truck pulls into the slaughterhouse and you never see your little friend again.

So you decide this has to stop, you talk to your friends, your family, your neighbours, in fact anyone who will listen but you find almost none are prepared to do so. They tell you that everyone has the right to eat meat if they choose to and you have no right to suggest otherwise. They suggest that you’ve been brainwashed, that you sound like an extremist, a tree hugger, a hippie.

You post on Facebook, on Twitter but get the same response.

Every single day in the UK 2-3 million cows, pigs, sheep and chickens are slaughtered. You don’t know them, but they are every little bit as conscious and as capable of giving and receiving love and affection as your pet. They have every bit as much right to life as your pet.

We do not need to eat animals to live, to survive and thrive.

We call ourselves a civilised society, in the way we treat the animals that should be under our care we are anything but.

They are not just animals, we are all just animals.

To be cruel or not to be cruel .. why is this even a question?!

If you have a choice between products on a shelf one marked LOTS of animals died for this shampoo .. or one marked with a leaping bunny that signifies NO animals died for this product. I am guessing you would swerve the clearly marked cruelty product? Especially if there were smoking style photos of rabbits and cats and dogs being abused on the side. Right? I mean we are a nation of animal lovers right?

The sad fact is if the truth be known, almost all products on the shelves in UK stores should still carry a graphic warning, as even if the products themselves havent been tested on animals, they can still contain animal exploitation products and compounds that are tested on animals.

Because we cannot rely on cruelty products to promote their true nature, we have to start asking the right questions rather than assuming because it says ‘natures way’ or ‘herbal extracts’ that this is a suitable product for our health and also the planets health. Products that are cruelty free and vegan with eco friendly packaging are the best choice for you, your body and the environment and animals.

Animal testing and animal exploitation are vicious evil practices that have no place in a civilised society. There are so many viable alternatives to an outdated practice instigated by a man they modelled the characters of Jekyll and Hyde upon!

A well known body snatcher who founded a grisly museum of stolen body parts; in the 1700’s John Hunter developed the process of animal testing prior to human testing and we still use it today.

There are now so many people working to change these processes, Dr Hadwens trust is amongst research companies providing animal free testing in pharmaceutical research. There are so many cosmetic brands and beauty products that are vegan and cruelty free .. make the change be a real animal lover and stop supporting cruelty and suffering for the latest MAC shade.

Be peaceful, be graceful, be kind BE Vegan.

 

 

Ethics and the Cost of Happiness

I had a conversation only recently with a vegetarian, in particular this vegetarian is resistant to completely giving up dairy. She understands fully that baby cows die for her choices, but has been a finicky eater for years and is in her late 60’s and feels it is too hard to change totally. She will however try plant based milks but has yet to find one that will replace dairy  on a permanent basis. She insists she is trying her hardest but is conditioned to feel milk is comforting and nourishing and makes coffee taste good.

So I asked the question: if cows milk was £10 a litre would she still drink it? And the answer was swiftly no!

So although I believe that dairy farms like the Ahimsa farm, who offer a more compassionate option for dedicated milk thieves, are doing a good thing in one respect, it would take the whole dairy industry to raise its prices drastically and for the government funding to be removed, so dairy could no longer be sold as a loss leader.

Making the  price more accurately reflect the cost of its victims seems key to ensuring widespread change, particularly in an older generation who have been brought up with free milk at school and milk puddings at home and milk tokens for their children.

Dairy is embedded in the lives of many older people who have been brought up on constant propaganda around animal agriculture.

But, as we can see if you make people suffer financially.. they will find alternative options pretty damn quickly. If we cannot convince people with logic, with compassion, with ethics, with environmental concerns about the meat or dairy industry- it would appear the final option will be when meat and dairy price tags reflect the horrific impact these industries have on the world.

Would all the so called civilised ‘animal lovers’ start eating dogs and cats and drinking donkeys milk if meat was £50 per 100g and milk was above £10 a litre? Or would they realise you can live without meat and milk and eggs? And succumb to the joy of plant based meals, full of protein, full of flavour and fibre and vitamins ? Would they learn to love nut milk lattes.. and realise all you give up, when you give up meat and dairy and eggs .. is the cruelty. Cruelty to animals, cruelty to the planet, cruelty to the future generations and also cruelty to your health.

Regardless of the cost and regardless of your age, you are neither a lion nor a baby cow. Step away from the breast milk and corpses and step into the light of vegan cheeseburgers, cupcakes and superfood salads and meals. Be bearable…Be Vegan.

Feminism and Veganism

Feminism and Veganism

For many years I had no concept of what feminism was or why it was needed, growing up in white affluent Surrey with a female monarch and a female prime minister I naturally thought women mostly ran the world and that men had agreed to this.

Oblivious in my childhood bubble I saw my mother and father both work, both drive cars and have equal opinions in the household. I wasn’t aware of all the steps it had taken for women to be able to vote or own property in the UK, I had no idea women were viewed by some as intellectually deficient. I was a rough and tumble tomboy child with a bmx and scuffed knees, I fought with the boys and played with flower fairies and sylvanians, I cut my hair short and climbed trees. I felt like a balanced person not just a girl. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up Prime Minister was my answer, I had no thoughts of ‘boys jobs’ and ‘girls jobs’ I may not have wanted to be a bin man or a pilot but I wouldn’t have dreamed that my gender would stop me doing either.

Imagine my horror upon bursting confidently into the workplace to be treated as less than male colleagues, paid less than male colleagues and viewed as a liability due to my gender. In my twenties; Even as a top performer my older male boss would happily tell clients they only kept me around to do the washing up in front of all the other staff and encouraged sexist comments and behaviour.

So even in today’s so called enlightened society in the UK sexism and insults to women are commonplace, being a feminist has really never been more important, There are still so many battles for female humans globally, for education for health rights, voting rights, rights over their own bodies. people around the world are obsessed with women’s attire, in France you can be ordered to take off your clothes on a beach and uncover your hair at gun point, in other countries women risk punishment for being too uncovered! Personally I think some stringent rules across all cultures to ban males in speedos, large basketball shirts when not actually playing the sport and of course socks with sandals would be of more benefit to civilisation!

So how does this relate to being vegan? Of all of the injustices and outrages in the animal agriculture industry the female of all species are particularly exploited, if I am to remain true to my feminist beliefs, that females  AND males deserve to be free and safe and have equal opportunities to live peacefully, then I cannot stand by whilst females of any species are forcibly impregnated, have their babies ripped from them, watch their babies being slaughtered and then steal the milk that was intended for their baby.

I cannot accept that females of any species are herded into massive barns and pumped full of hormones to produce unfertilised eggs for snacks and and as a baking ingredient? Before all of these poor exploited mothers are dragged off to be killed for more snacks.

All mothers bond with the baby growing in their tummy, cells from male human babies have been found in their mothers brain tissue (fascinating!) so it is not a massive leap of the imagination to say that all mothers carry part of their child with them forever.. an invisible cord that connects mother to child. Why would humans be the only species that this applies to? Hens talk to their chicks in the egg so when they hatch the chick knows its mother. IT’S MOTHER ! Not just a hen, not just a pig, not just a cow, not just a sheep- Mothers.

So as a feminist I am proud to stand for all females of all species. We are not humankind if we only look after human rights. We do not give animals rights, we can only restore those we have stolen.

Feel the Fear and do it Anyway

Throughout my life there have been many occasions where I have faced fear and uncertainty (like most people I imagine). There’s been times where I have felt small, vulnerable and alone, yet in my head most of the time I manage to convince myself I am 10 feet tall and all powerful, yet all merciful! No one is more surprised than I when I stand up and I am only 5’3!

Fear can be a useful catalyst for change, a warning, a wake up call .. an emotion to be explored and a reminder of our mortality. But it is a fleeting emotion and should be dealt with and erased, not held on to and nourished.

For a lot of people this is experienced most often as fear of loss. Whether it be a person, a way of life or a belief, humans tend to form attachments. And change and embracing new views about the world can be a loss of sorts, a loss of a certain reality and a loss of comfort and security. It can be upsetting and unsettling to acknowledge that the cultural programming and propaganda that has surrounded us all of our lives, has inescapably coloured our perception of the world, of right and wrong and of legality. It is only when we seek a different point of view and new knowledge that we can be fully engaged in the choices that we make. Ask yourself how do I know-what I know? If the answer is: from school a long time ago, what my parents/priest told me or I read the mainstream news faithfully, this bears more examination!

The amazing work that the cube of truth and other vegan outreach teams do is invaluable in making people face their fears. Most people view themselves as compassionate animal lovers, yet they shy away from the many undercover documentaries on UK farming. They scroll past ‘that vegan friend’ Facebook posts and they squeal in horror if you mention a baby cow has been destroyed so they can have a flat white.

Most people’s fears come down to the following: Am I good enough? Am I a good person? Have I been lied to my whole life and is the government actually is trying to slowly kill me with air pollution, GMO riddled corpses and animal secretions, whilst taxing me and reducing my freedom if possible?! So the last one probably isn’t that common a fear but it SHOULD be!

We all want to see ourselves as good people, so coming face to face with the reality that animal agriculture and abuse is ingrained in most peoples lifestyle choices; and it does no good at all is hard to face.

Meat eaters – vegetarians FACE the FEAR, see what you buy into, see what your meal choices are doing to this incredible planet, watch the crying babies dragged from their grieving mothers, watch the abuse, the torture, the fear that these beautiful trusting animals face.

Your fears can be conquered, you never have to watch and bear witness again if you are not part of the problem. You can lay your fears to one side. A trembling calf in a slaughterhouse or a piglet being stamped on can only be released from their fear, their misery, their pain and exploitation if you face your fear of change and try some almond milk or any of the many varieties of plant based milks and creams. If you try new exciting dishes with jackfruit, seitan and plant based burgers. You can sample baked delights, burgers, hot dogs .. all the same food you know and love.. minus the fear. The most common regret that vegans have is ‘I wish I had done it sooner’.

Be brave. Be bold, question everything. Find your truth and live it and the world will be a better place for us all. This is the real war on terror and together by making simple food and clothing swaps we can wipe out terror for 56 billion animals a year.

 

 

Dump Hogwood Horror Farm – National Day of Action

Tesco have so far refused to drop Hogwood as a supplier. So we think their customers should see for themselves exactly what was found at the farm by Viva! Campaigns: extreme overcrowding; routine mutilations; cruel farrowing crates; filthy and waterlogged floors; sick and dying pigs; piles of decaying, maggot-infested piglets; and skulls and bones in nearby woods.

Join us in peaceful demos outside Tesco stores nationwide by ordering your FREE materials today. Our special leaflets (which are also ideal for door-dropping) also educate about the UK’s abject failings to protect farmed animals and offer people FREE help in avoiding all cruelty by trying vegan.

Find out more and order: viva.org.uk/tesco-day-of-action

 

 

 

Minimalism and My Dad’s Big Pants

A long time ago, too long to mention, I went on a road trip from London to The Algarve with three friends. We planned to be away for three weeks and while packing I realised I didn’t own anything like 21 pairs of pants.

I was a young man with no intention whatsoever of washing anything while I was away, so what was I to do?

Having been vegan from a very young age I was (and still am) quite slight. My father on the other hand couldn’t get enough animal inside him and was a good deal more portly. So it wasn’t an ideal plan but with no other option, I “borrowed” a few pairs of his pants.

I figured the best thing to do was to wear them on the journey so I had my cool boxers for when I got there.

We left home around 6pm and drove all night through France, arriving in San Sebastian at around 8am the next morning. We checked into a hotel and then hit the bar.

Five pints later my friend Bill and I decided to go to the beach. It was so hot and the bay at San Sebastian is a sun trap and really warms the water. We couldn’t resist it. We started stripping down until it hit me that I was wearing my dad’s big pants.

The beer out voted common sense and in I went. It was lovely, clear warm water, we stayed in for ages.

Sometime later we decided to get out. We didn’t have any towels with us but figured the sun would dry us off in no time.

I was having to hold my dad’s big pants up at this point because when they got wet, they got even bigger, like really big, especially around the waist! I just needed to get my jeans on and all would be good.

But there was a problem. We got to where we left our clothes on the beach and they were gone. Everything was gone. We didn’t have our valuables on us so that wasn’t an issue, I just kept thinking that the hotel was at least a mile from the beach and I would have to walk there holding my dad’s pants up.

I was 22, wearing nothing but a huge pair of dark blue Y Fronts that I had to hang on to otherwise they would fall down and I had to walk in bare feet, topless, for half an hour like that through the streets of San Sebastian. Not cool.

At that moment I would have given anything for a pair of jeans, a T-shirt and a pair of flip flops.

In recent years I have tried to live a minimalist lifestyle. I have two pairs of jeans and a pair of trousers. A few polo shirts, a few T-shirts, a pair of shorts and two pairs of shoes.

Thinking about it, I do have quite a few pairs of boxer shorts and I could live with less, I’m not getting rid of them though, lesson learned!

Other than to give you all a good laugh at my expense, the moral of this story, which is 100% true by the way, is that having more and more “things” is not what makes us happy. We think it will because we’re all told to get more, buy more stuff, but in reality it really doesn’t.

Happiness is being around people you care for and who care for you. It’s about a beautiful sunset, a kind word or hearing a song you haven’t heard for ages on the radio. It’s hugging someone you love, hearing good news or doing a good deed.

You can’t buy these things; you can’t buy happiness, joy or love. When you look back on your life, these are the things that will mean the most to you.

After frantically searching the beach for our clothes a kind Spanish man approached us and in broken English basically told us that while we had been in the sea the tide had come in and he had moved our clothes to the back of the beach. He took us to them.

I can’t tell you how happy I was and still remember it vividly all these years later.

Be happy with what you have, give as much as you can to others who need help, be kind to each other and please, stop hurting animals.

Effective Vegan Activism

There are those who suggest that all vegans should be activists. I have to say that in an ideal world I agree with this. It does though come with a few conditions, certainly where outreach is concerned.

Ineffective or bad activism is worse than no activism. People who have not taken the time to educate themselves properly, who accuse the very people they are trying to educate of being murderers or planet killers only give the rest of us a bad name. Sorry, this is a little extreme but you hopefully get my point..

Outreach is an art form, I fully admit I am still a work on progress, but I am considered and I practice regularly. Each time I am out there I improve but I was never a bad activist.
Long before I took to the streets I researched, I watched people on You Tube, I read, I listened, I learned.

What we are doing is so important. You may only ever get one chance with that person and if you get it wrong, if you are aggressive, you will push them in the other direction and you will enhance the stereotype that we are all members of an angry cult.

I respect anyone who wants to get involved with activism and encourage everyone I can to do so, but being vegan doesn’t automatically make you an effective activist. Far from it in fact, and especially if you are not able to control your passion, your emotions or yourself.

The first time you ride a bike you’ll probably fall off. If you were let loose in a car without an instructor you’ll probably crash. Everything needs to be learned and especially something this sensitive.

There are some amazing outreach activists out there. Go along to an event (or five) and shadow them if you can. Listen to them; ask them questions when they are not speaking to anyone.
Watch as much as you can on You Tube, practice on your friends and family and only when you’re sure should you take to the streets.

And be honest with yourself, not everyone will be cut out to speak to the public. There are other activism avenues you can go down, ones that might suit you better.

We are all working towards the same goal. Lose your ego, empathise, accept your limitations and do what’s best for the greater good.

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.

 

 

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.