The Fallacy of Free Range Eggs

If you look for it, you will find news of a worldwide outbreak of Bird Flu. We have been following it closely on VGN but its barely made the mainstream news here in the UK despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of birds have been “culled” over the past few weeks.

The UK poultry industry has been told that all birds must be kept indoors until further notice and this is giving egg producers a rather large headache. The problem is that if the birds are still being kept inside at the end of February, under EU laws, they will lose their “Free Range” status and will have to be re-labelled as “Barn Eggs”. This accounts for approximately 50% of all the eggs on supermarket shelves.

My heart bleeds.

For the most part, free range is a joke. It conjures thoughts of birds roaming “freely” around a field, chirping away happily. This is not the case. To qualify as free range, the birds have to be allowed access to the outside for at least part of the day. This can mean opening a small door at one end of a huge shed for as little as five minutes. Most of the birds don’t even know it is open and couldn’t get to it even if they tried.

But to mindless consumers it makes them feel better about their eggs. “Sure they may cost a little more, but at least the chickens are well treated.” The level of denial that surrounds the disgusting meat, dairy and egg industries is palpable. The fear of change, of going against what they have been told since childhood is so great, its simply too much for most people.

To sit down to eat and feel anxious about the ethics of your meal must be a horrible feeling. To comfort yourself with the fact that because everyone else does it, it must be OK is the way most people deal with it. The most dangerous phrase in any language is we have always done it this way.

So what will everyone do when there are no more free range eggs? They may not have to worry. The poultry industry have petitioned the EU for an extension. They want the rules changed, rules they never questioned in the past, they now want changed.

Now I am not sure how this will play out, but I have to think that the EU is in no mood to do the UK any favours. In fact if I was sitting on the EU bird flu committee I would be rubbing my hands together with glee.

Rules are rules farmers and the fact is that by the end of February you will have kept these birds locked up for 12 weeks. I don’t believe they were ever truly free range, what I do know is by the end of this month they will certainly not be.

Angry Vegans

“If you want to be vegan, that’s fine, good luck to you. Just don’t force it down other people’s throats. It’s my right and my choice to eat whatever I like and it’s got nothing to do with you.”

These are sentiments I hear all the time. The wording might be a little different each time but the message is the same. It’s an argument that bothers me in many ways. Veganism is about much more than what I eat. It’s about living a more compassionate lifestyle, caring for others and the environment. So in saying that how can I be an angry vegan? Yet I am, very angry.

I’ve lived meat, dairy and egg free for nearly 50 years. I’ve never had any illness worse than a cold, never broke a bone am fit, healthy and as mentally I’m as sharp as I’ve ever been. My BMI is 21.7 and I have a flat stomach! I have brought four children up on the same diet and none of them have ever been sick either.

Virtually everyone I know of the same age (and many younger) are either overweight or at the very least carrying more weight than they should be. Three people I am close to had heart attacks in 2016. None were over 50, all were meat eaters. I say were because one has cut it out altogether and the other two have cut down. Happily all three are still with us.

Let’s look at the initial statement in this piece a little more closely. “Don’t force it down other people’s throats”. The thing with veganism is it’s like winning the lottery, it changes your life. You want to climb to the top of the highest building you can find and tell the world about it. All vegans are aware of and are vehemently against the horrific cruelty that is part and parcel of putting meat on plates and once you stop contributing to this it’s like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders and you want to tell the world about it.

When something good happens to any of us we want to share it, and when it’s something anyone can have, we want our friends and family to have it. And all the people we work with, and all the people we connect with on social media. Even people we randomly meet going about our lives. It’s such a great thing, we want everyone to know. But before you know it, you’re accused of forcing it down people’s throats.

“It’s my right and my choice to eat whatever I like”. This statement is true. Obviously it doesn’t allow us to eat each other, but as the world order stands at the moment, if someone wants to eat the bodyparts of a dead animal or their secretions, they are completely within their rights to do so. The thing is, it may be your right to do so but it’s not right to do so. I know this is vegan speak and contentious but I have known all my life that it is correct. When I was very young I used to think that I was from the GLOBAL NEWS and one day everyone would think like I did. I no longer believe I’m a time traveller but firmly believe that sometime in the GLOBAL NEWS people will look back upon us as the savages that we are.

Until we start caring and valuing all of the creatures we share this planet with, we won’t really care or value any. I have a horrible feeling that unless we all adopt a vegan mind set, by the end of this century most of the animals and sea life that we grew up with and took for granted, will be gone.

Yes it’s your choice to eat whatever you like but it shouldn’t be. If there was no profit in animal agriculture then people would have to kill animals themselves if they wanted to eat them, I wonder how most people would deal with that? The entire industry exists to make money and for that reason only. By continuing to support it with your stubborn defiance you are supporting the most evil trade that exists on our planet today.

A lot of meat eaters tell me how much they abhor factory farming and rightly so. They tell me that all animals should be allowed to live “natural” lives yet they still eat them.

Pasture raising animals is impossible with the current demand for meat and dairy products. We already use 40% of the earth for animal agriculture, much of which is done behind closed doors in huge factory operations. Experts estimate that to meet current demand we would need three times the earths land mass to pasture graze the animals we grow for food. Whether you like it or not, if you choose to continue to consume and support the meat, egg & dairy industries then you are supporting factory farming.

“It’s got nothing to do with you”. Actually it’s got everything to do with me and all of us. Despite those with a variety of vested interests claiming otherwise, meat and dairy production has a major impact on global warming. This fact is well established, there is and will be no argument. Unless we make drastic changes there is every chance of a four degree warming by the end of this century. Even on my hyper healthy diet it is unlikely that I will be around by then, but my grandchildren certainly will be. If the rate of warming continues our planet will be a very different place by then. So if your actions are going to negatively impact the lives of my family, it has everything to do with me.

Not everyone will like this but I believe that if you’re not an angry vegan then you’re possibly a selfish vegan. I’m angry because billions of beautiful creatures are needlessly butchered each year for pleasure and profit. I’m angry because we are destroying our only home. The Coral Reefs and the Rainforests are dying or being destroyed, thousands of species, plants & creatures are becoming extinct and once all of these are gone there’s no way they will ever come back.

It’s difficult to describe just how angry I am. We all should be.

The Biggest Picture

This Veganuary more than 60,000 people signed up to go vegan for a month (at least). What this demonstrates is that a growing number of people are realising that our current diet and food production system is not only unsustainable but is slowly killing both us and our planet.

Tens of thousands of people, many of them children, die from starvation every single day yet we grown enough food worldwide to feed the 60 billion land animals we raise and kill every year for food. 75% of the Soy grown worldwide is fed to animals.

Governments and scientists around the world are on high alert because of the very real threat of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are added to the food that farm animals eat to avoid disease and increase growth. They are passed to us through the food system and we become resistant to the drugs. Tens of thousands of people are already dying each year because the antibiotics have stopped working and estimates are that 50 million a year could die by 2050 from ailments that would have been easily cured in the past.

The planet is warming and there could be some very dark days ahead of us. The largest contributor to this is animal agriculture and all of its associated industries. There’s a great deal we as individuals can do to lessen our own personal GHG footprint, but the biggest by far is changing our diets.

Since the introduction of fast food and with meat dishes taking centre stage in almost every meal, the rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer have sky rocketed. As consumption has gone up so have these diseases. Treatment costs health services around the world tens of billions every year and is crippling them.

90% of Amazon Rainforest destruction has been to either clear land for grazing livestock or to grow feed for food chain animals. Rainforests around the world are being cleared at an alarming rate and this has a knock on effect of habitat loss and species extinction.

Our oceans continue to be plundered and fish levels are declining very quickly. There is a real possibility that we could have fishless oceans before the end of this century. Coral Reefs are dying; ocean dead zones are appearing more regularly, often where waste from the animal agriculture industry is dumped into and poisons our waters. 60 billion animals produce a huge amount of waste which has to be disposed of.

The treatment of animals bred for food is one of, if not our greatest crime and history will one day reflect this. The huge majority of them are imprisoned in horrific factory farms, which in itself is torture enough. They are forced to produce offspring, or eggs in the case of chickens, as often as they can. Their young are taken from them at or shortly after birth and once their bodies have no more to give they are shipped off for slaughter. This could never be described as life. The only reason this evil practice continues is because it well hidden from the public eye and many of those who are aware choose to look the other way. It has become normalised.

The killing of any being who does not want to die can never be humane. Cows, pigs and sheep have their throats slit, often while still conscious and are hung by their hind legs until they bleed out. They are then skinned, butchered and their body parts are neatly packaged with cartoon images of happy animals on them. Nothing I know of could be farther from the truth.

Most people believe that the unnecessary killing of any animal is wrong. Health organisations around the world have stated that a well-planned vegan diet provides all the nutrients we need to live a healthy life. Therefore killing animals for food is unnecessary.

I understand that giving up meat, dairy and eggs can be difficult for a lot of people. We have been brought up to believe that we need to eat these things to live healthy lives. We learned this from our parents who learned it from their parents and we teach it to our children. It’s ingrained in our society.

If you ever wonder why this is the case, just pay attention to TV adverts, billboards and all forms or advertising. Everywhere you look someone is trying to get you to consume their products, telling you how good it is and how good it is for you. They are the puppet masters and we are the puppets. We fall for it every time.

Being vegan can be difficult for some. Being vegan can be inconvenient at times. There will be times when the less committed will be severely tested and times when the committed will go hungry.

For my part, I became vegan at age four or five. Not out of a love of animals, a consideration of the environment or for my health. I did it because the thought of eating the rotting flesh of a dead animal was and still is the most disgusting thing I could imagine. I have lived this way now for 48 years. I’ve never had worse than a cold, never broken a bone and am fit and healthy.

I guess it was a struggle but you adapt. Being the only child in a school of 1200 pupils that didn’t eat meat, made me stand out a little. More often or not I didn’t eat a thing until I got home in the evening because schools in the 1970s wouldn’t have considered catering for vegans and even at home it wasn’t easy, coming from a family of six which included five carnivores. I was always the awkward fussy child and was basically a pain in the ass. It’s who I am though; it’s who I’ve always been and I am so proud of myself.

An Incredible Journey

7.10pm GMT – 28.01.2017 : Nick Bean @schimmbo for Vegan Global News

Having been meat free all of my life I can’t easily empathise with people who struggle to make the change to veganism in adulthood. People often say it’s difficult to make the switch which I can only put down to the fact that eating meat, eggs and dairy was something they had accepted as normal and natural for a long time and is at the core of what they were taught by the people they trusted the most, their family. As I’ve said before, core beliefs are hard to break.

What I can do and what I try to do it to show people what amazing place veganism is. The food is truly magnificent once you properly discover it and the health benefits are almost unimaginable unless you experience them yourself. And because at our core none of us want to complicit in the harm inflicted on animals raised for food or to the environmental destruction that it contributes to, you know in your heart that you are doing the right thing.

It changes you in other ways too. You get the gift of compassion; you become a better version of yourself. You’ll feel like a new person and like a drug, want more of it. Through kindness, friendship and generosity, both given and received, you can find the person that deep down you’ve always known was there. The soul you kept hidden away in case showing that side of yourself was seen as a sign of weakness.

I can only compare it, for the sake of this piece, to people who feel close to their god. I don’t have a religious bone in my body and I don’t believe we need to worship idols and as many do. I believe religion, in the way it’s generally understood, has been the root cause of the majority of conflicts throughout history. Personally I believe religion should come from within and is an individual moral standard to which we should hold ourselves.

Our planet cannot sustain our current lifestyles, this fact is undeniable. The Earth is warming and one million new people are born every four days. We struggle to feed the seven billion we have today, one billion people currently don’t get enough to eat each day and it’s predicted that there will be nine billion of us by 2050. To pass this planet on to GLOBAL NEWS generations in anything like the condition we found it, there will have to be changes, sacrifices.

Alone you can’t influence the fossil fuel companies to change their practises. You can’t tell the 300 million Indians who live without electricity that they shouldn’t strive for the lifestyle that we’ve enjoyed for 100 years. Sure you can drive less, take shorter showers and turn lights off but realistically we’ve past that point.

What you can do is to change your diet. I’m not talking about Meatless Mondays because all that means is that you’re only contributing to the destruction of lives and the environment six days a week. You have to go the whole way and become vegan.

This probably sounds tough, but as I said in the beginning, I can’t see that. For me it’s the easiest, most natural, in fact the only way to live. What I can do though is offer you an amazing support network made up of the most amazing people, people who will be there for you any hour of the day or night. You will be welcomed with open arms into the fastest growing social justice movement on the planet. You will get all the help you need along with wonderful recipes and ideas on places to eat out.

I’ll encourage you to come to events where you will hear truly inspirational people speak, to go to lectures and hear the leading doctors explain exactly why we should all be living this way. We’ll see cookery demonstrations that will literally blow you away. I’ll encourage you to take part in protests and demonstrations and to stand in front of trucks heading for a slaughterhouse. I’ll encourage you to find your voice, to talk to and encourage others. Then after a time you‘ll find your own path.

You’ll find a new family, not to replace your old one, but to compliment it and you’ll find a new you. The compassionate soul that’s been quiet for so long will find its voice and its heart. You will be proud of who you’ve become and your only regret will be that you didn’t do it sooner.

And you never know, one day you might even become as annoying as me.

Adopting a Plant Based Diet

7.25pm GMT – 22.01.2017 : Nick Bean @schimmbo for Vegan Global News

There’s a common misconception that eating a plant-based diet is unnatural, that it’s the choice of hippies, activists and the socially marginalized. Instead, I suggest that it is beyond a doubt the most natural, healthy, and advisable thing you can possibly do to optimise your wellness and become bulletproof to disease.

We live in one of the most prosperous nations on Earth, and yet overall we’ve never been less healthy. One out of every three deaths is caused by heart disease. A close second is cancer, killing one out of every four. 50% of us are obese or overweight. And by 2030, 50% of us will be diabetic or pre-diabetic.

How did we get here?

Of course the answer is complex, but the biggest contributor is what we eat. Currently, 94% of the calories consumed are empty, lacking any true nourishment whatsoever, with only 6% of calories coming from fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and seeds.

Natural has become unnatural. Unnatural has become natural. We’re completely upside down when it comes to food and health. And it’s time for a change.

To right the ship, we must begin by confronting the reality that we’re actually addicted to foods that are killing us. Top of the list are processed foods; soda, snacks, desserts and other packaged items laden with preservatives, saturated fat, sugar, fructose corn syrup, sodium, and other unnatural chemicals. Of course, we all know these foods are bad for us and yet so many are powerless when it comes to giving them up.

Because many of these foods are specifically made to activate the pleasure centres in our brain, enslaving us to habitual poor dietary choices, the very essence of addiction. When combined with our national preference for excessive meat and dairy intake, blood cholesterol escalates, clogging our arteries. Our cells become cancerous and our immune systems spiral out of control in response, creating a state of chronic inflammation. This confluence of factors creates a persistent condition in which our bodies become disease incubators, sentencing us to an almost certain future of chronic illness.

The standard operating procedure for treating these common chronic conditions, everything from high cholesterol to erectile dysfunction, is to prescribe medications that treat symptoms rather than address the root cause of the issue. Counsel and guidance to improve diet and exercise have been supplanted by Statins, Viagra and countless other drugs designed to quell the symptoms of every conceivable malady.

Taken as a whole, hearth disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes account for approximately 75% of our current health care costs, to the tune of countless billions of pounds annually. This is simply not sustainable.

And yet the great irony is that so many chronic diseases (except certain cancers of course), in fact 90% of all Western disease, need never exist in the first place. It’s time to reverse the trend.

You might be surprised to learn that a plant-based diet is the only nutritional protocol known to man that has been shown to prevent, and in many cases, actually reverse, these four and many other chronic illnesses that unnecessarily plague us.

In the most simplistic terms, if we flipped our diet so that we began getting 94% of our calories from fresh, whole plant-based foods (rather than current levels of 6%), most of our diseases would simply vanish. And our health care crisis would essentially repair itself.

Going Vegan

Personally, I cannot emphasise enough how adopting a 100% plant based diet will change your life. But I also realize not everyone is ready to jump in with both feet on day one.

It’s not about deprivation. Instead, it’s about a willingness to release old ideas you’ve harboured your whole life about what a healthy diet entails. It’s about being open to the adventure of experimentation, exploring and rediscovering whole foods in their natural state. It’s about developing an enhanced connection to and relationship with your body, learning to pay greater attention to the nexus between the foods you eat and how you feel and function. And ultimately, it’s about developing a more acute intuition about what truly serves you, so you can reprogramme yourself to make better choices that are in your best long-term interest physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

As your diet changes your energy levels improve, your preferences will shift from empty calories to foods that actually nourish you. The more whole, plant-foods you incorporate into your routine, the more likely those unhealthy cravings will subside. And before you know it, that hankering for cheese might just vanish altogether.

Embracing a plant-based won’t just repair your health. It is the key that will unlock your heart and allowed you to discover, embrace and unleash a better and more authentic version of yourself on the world.

Circle of Life

8.42pm GMT – 16.01.2017 : Nick Bean @schimmbo for Vegan Global News

People often talk to me about the circle of life. The lion stalks and kills the zebra then eats it down to the bare bones. This is “the beauty of nature, the way it’s always been”.

But what happens when a bear kills a hiker in the US? Do they call that part of the circle of life? No, they get a posse of people with guns to go and kill the bear. Or when a tiger takes a child in Bangladesh? Do they call that part of the circle of life? No, they get a posse of people with guns to go and kill the tiger. Aren’t these animals just doing what comes naturally to them? Should they be hunted and killed for this?

You can’t have it every way.

And on that, if any of you want to go chase down a pig, catch it, kill it with you bare hands and eat it down to the bone then fair enough, you have my total respect. You won’t do that though, you’ll get someone else to do it for you. You won’t even watch. You’ll get them do to it in a place far away from where anyone can see. You’ll get them to package it and put a sticker on the front of a happy smiling animal in a sunny pasture. And what’s worse, you’ll believe it, just like you always have.

People often talk to me about the circle of life. This is simply a poor attempt to justify your own existence.

Empathy & Compassion

6.45pm GMT – 09.01.2017 : Nick Bean @schimmbo for Vegan Global News

These are two words that I believe are at the core of all humans. We are born with these traits and only lose or disregard them through the experience of living. What I mean by this is our environment and those we interact with influence and shape us in ways they we are generally unaware of. We accept things as being normal far too easily. In many ways these traits are also considered by many as signs of weakness.

Imagine your children when they were young, how kind, gentle and loving they were. The worst people to have ever lived were kind gentle babies once, we all lose or disregard these traits in varying degrees as we are forced to survive modern life.

At its simplest, empathy is the awareness of the feelings and emotions of others. It’s the link between us and others, because it is how we as individuals understand what others are feeling as if we were feeling it ourselves. We all empathise with others; when you know someone is feeling low by their body language or when you are told a sad story and imagine yourself in that position. Some are more empathic than others, some do their best to ignore it or at least choose their moments to acknowledge it.

In what is fast becoming a “dog eat dog” world, to honestly justify your claim of being a “good person” you need to really empathise with those around you. Take a few minutes and imagine how you would feel if your child was dying of starvation and there was nothing you could do other than watch your baby die. Imagine the fear of those living in a war zone, waking up each day not knowing if it will be your last.


Compassion generally follows empathy. Compassion is a strong feeling of sympathy and sadness for the suffering or bad luck of others and a wish to help them. Compassion is donating to a good cause, or simply helping a stranger in need. Too often though we feel compassion but do nothing about it. It can initially cause a strong emotional response but we allow this feeling to lessen and carry on with our lives. We often share these stories with others who also empathise but also do not act on it. Some actually revel in having other peoples’ sad stories to tell.

We have made this world the way it is. By choosing not to act we show how uncompassionate we really have become. How disconnected with how we were as children. As I said, it can be seen by some as a sign of weakness, but this is not the case. Many are afraid to show their true feelings and if they see it in others will ridicule them, but this is fear, it’s a way of deflecting it away from themselves in case they are ever seen for who they really are. You have to choose to be better, you have to be stronger and true to yourselves. I honestly believe that 99.99% of people are good people. Deep inside they want to be seen as good people but they build walls, as they are afraid of others seeing them for who they really are.

We have such a short time on this planet, we should all try and be the very best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be.

Veganism is about much more than not eating meat or dairy products. It’s about kindness, compassion, justice and equality to all earthlings. Only when you become vegan can you call yourself a truly compassionate person. The vegans I know are the kindest, gentlest people. They are the most generous and the most open. I am very proud of who I am. I am proud of the fact that I care for all living creatures and that I show it through the way I live.