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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

Tesco Sweet Treat Haul !!

So I, Lily, took a trip to my local Tesco’s in order to buy a few essentials; alas, I managed to come out with a few other things seeing as their Free From section is growing quickly and I have a rule to try everything at least once!

So to jump straight in, I am and have long been a chocoholic. Being vegan means you’re slightly limited for choice and you have to do a bit more digging around in order to find just what you’re looking for. Tesco’s left me in the position of being unable to resist. Here’s what I thought of them.

At first I thought I was dreaming, but no, there they were GIANT CHOCOLATE BUTTONS! As you can probably imagine, after taking this photo I opened the packet to try them.  I was not disappointed! “Milk” chocolate (as opposed to dark or white) is my favourite and these are really good.

They’re quite sweet and they lack the creaminess of some chocolate, nevertheless they are really good. Not the best I’ve had so 7/10 –  I will be back for more.

 

 

I moved on only for these to leap off of the shelf and into my basket. I LOVE anything truffle based so no one should be surprised that there was a box with my name on it. These are really good and the packaging is classy, although I generally associate truffles with being coated in powder, which, these were not.

They have a hard exterior with a chewy inside and are fairly chocolatey. I can’t say they are the best I’ve tasted, but they are very good and I’m really encouraged and excited when I imagine how much better they will be in the future. For £2 a box they are a must try, for me though I can only give them 6.5/10.

 

 

Last but most certainly NOT least, are these Toffee & Vanilla cones. I always like to check if any new vegan ice creams that have been added to the Free From section and my heart skipped a beat when I saw these. How great do they look! I knew there and then that they had to be mine.

Before going vegan, I didn’t really eat a lot of ice cream; these days though I simply can’t get enough of it. Vegan ice cream is so light, refreshing and tasty, if I see a new brand or flavour I just have to try it. Finding this was a real treat they were just so good. If you’re looking for an alternative to dairy ice cream I would 100% recommend these. At just £2 for a box of four they are excellent value. And my rating? 11/10 for sure!

Whether you’re vegan or not, you should definitely try these. I can’t imagine anyone not absolutely loving them and when things are this good, there really is not reason to not let the baby cows have their mothers milk, we really don’t need it.

I hope you enjoyed this short haul. I’m going to be reviewing lots of different products including make up, clothes and other food items. I’ll either be blogging on here or via our YouTube channel so please stay tuned!

Happy Veganising!

Lily

Extreme parenting: should a child ever be made to eat meat?

Every few months or so an article surfaces online detailing the neglectful actions of parents who have apparently caused harm to their child by feeding them a vegan diet. Often shared by people who do little more than read the headline, it usually goes unnoticed by most that there is far more to the story than initially meets the eye.

Such examples include the parents who fed their baby a diet mainly consisting of soya milk and apple juice. The prosecutor in this case specifically mentioned that the issue was not that the infant’s diet was vegan, but that he simply was not fed. Other examples include religious parents who self-diagnosed their child with allergies and fed him a diet lacking in key nutrients; and the mother who refused to take her child to the hospital (despite the baby’s obvious sickness) due to a number of personal and religious beliefs. In all of these cases poor dietary decisions were made by the parents, but none of the symptoms themselves were actually related to a lack of animal products in the child’s diet.

In the UK alone, hunger and malnutrition affect millions of people. In the last few years there has been a significant increase in malnutrition in children; the vast majority of whom consume meat and other animal products. In these cases we recognise that a number of factors are at play; some parents struggle to afford to feed their children properly, whilst others are simply neglectful. The fact that these children are malnourished and non-vegan is obviously never reported – this would go against the media bias, and would not make for profit generating clickbait.

The NHS, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Dietetic Association all state that a vegan diet is healthy at all stages of life. This includes pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence and onwards. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation classifies processed meat as a class 1 carcinogen, and red meat as a class 2 carcinogen. The fact that processed meat falls within the same classification as smoking, makes it highly questionable that we as a society see fit to feed such products to our children. What may seem like a harmless piece of bacon is actually a substance strongly linked to several types of cancer. This is a conclusion reached by a group of 22 experts, from 10 countries, reviewing the results of over 800 studies. You have to wonder: what sort of headlines would be making the rounds if a child was sent to school with a packet of cigarettes in their lunchbox?

Although red meat currently has a lower classification, it is still considered “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the World Health Organisation. This includes all forms of beef, pork and lamb, amongst many others. According to Cancer Research UK, 21% of bowel cancers and 3% of all cancers are caused by red meat. What possible reason could we have for feeding this substance to our children, when it is not only damaging the planet we hope to leave for them, but also putting their health at severe risk?

Although it is often said that vegan parents force their beliefs on their children, it is actually meat eating parents who are guiltier of doing so. An infant given meat by his or her parents is denied a number of important choices which should be theirs to make later on in life. Not only are children in this situation made to consume products which could be detrimental to their health, they are also forced into believing in an ideology which states that killing animals for pleasure is acceptable. An individual raised eating meat can never undo the harm they have caused to the planet or bring back the countless animals killed on their behalf. This is something that most vegans have to live with, and something that understandably causes them a feeling of grief, even though they were not complicit in the original decision.

Should a parent ever have the right to make a decision which can cause such an overwhelming feeling of guilt to the child later in life? In any other situation we would certainly say no. Yet this is what a parent is risking when they allow their belief in a carnist ideology to dictate how they raise their child. Bringing a child up as a vegan, even if you consume meat, circumvents this risk.

Of course, it may be tempting to disregard the evidence. A perceived sense of convenience may persuade you to continue to force animal products into the diet of your unsuspecting child. Perhaps, like many others, you will justify this decision by explaining to your child where meat, dairy and eggs come from. The concept of killing animals for food, delicately put into words, may not cause any immediate distress to your child. However, this is obviously a very confusing message, as we also tend to teach our children that animals are our friends, and that they should be cared for, not mistreated. Surely, double standards such as these are not good lessons for our children.

Vegan diets may be considered extreme by many, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, it is the only diet which provides a child with a non-biased foundation on which to construct their own moral decisions. In a society where it’s not only possible but practical to live a healthy life without enslaving or slaughtering animals; surely raising a child to be anything other than vegan is the most extreme decision of all.

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