Archive | April 2014

Protein tho.

Ever have days like this?

protein

Poetry for animals. #labanimalweek

As  comes to an end, here is some deeply poignant poetry to ponder on.

Curing cancer is easy, and cruelty-free.

By 2020, 47% of Brits will develop a form of cancer in their lifetime, according to this article from last year, based on research by Macmillan Cancer Support. That’s shocking. Shocking stat, yes, but just as shocking is the fact that the majority of those cancers might never occur at all, if people stopped eating the products of intensive factory farming. We could stop wasting millions on pointless and ineffective cancer research, too. There is a very simple preventative medicine that works really well to help you avoid cancer completely – it’s called veganism. It’s easy, and healthy, and great for the planet. It’s cheap to live on, and it saves over 100 animal lives per year per vegan. No brainer? You’d think.

The evidence is there in ever-increasing abundance that eating a diet of meat and dairy causes cancer. Research shows it, time and again. Articles then try to pass on the wisdom of said research to the reader, e.g. ‘Diets high in meat, eggs and dairy could be as harmful to health as smoking’; ‘UN urges global move towards meat and dairy-free diet’. But I’m not sure people are paying enough attention. Instead, we wait to be sold a product that is still dairy but has had the supposedly harmful bits taken out of it, or meat from animals that have been raised ‘organically’ and ‘grass fed’ and have had all the fat bits cut off after they were slaughtered. Seriously? Are we this stupid?

Bowel cancer seems a particularly relevant and preventable case in point. I notice in the news today, George Alagiah has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. In 2010, in the UK alone over 40,000 people were diagnosed with bowel cancer. What is one of the main suggested reasons for such high incidence of bowel cancer? A diet high in processed and red meat.

The article about poor George Alagaih (who I have always respected and who I hope makes a full recovery) led me on to reading an article about the famous French chef Michel Roux  – renowned for his classic French cooking, which usually involves inclusion of at least one kind of animal’s flesh in his recipes – and how he’d developed bowel cancer some years previously. Now I’m sorry, but when I read about such people falling ill or dying with cancers, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, etc. – people who have spent years extolling the wonders of cooking up every kind of animal part, bathing it in dairy produce, then smothering it with more animal parts/dairy produce (Clarissa Dickson Wright springs to mind) – I find myself wondering why everyone is so shocked at their demise. One part of the article about Michel Roux stood out, as it should. Describing his treatment and recovery, it says: “After that, he resumed eating carefully, moderately, cutting down on meat, gluten, alcohol and dairy products, especially cow’s cheese…” Funny, that. And eating that way to begin with would have probably prevented his cancer in the first place.

I get really angry about the apparent inability of the ordinary public to reject the constant brainwashing of mega food companies pushing their meat and dairy products at us 24/7, and instead act on research (and compassion), and behave logically. It’s not difficult to cut meat out, or drop it entirely. It’s not difficult to switch from butter to dairy-free soya or sunflower spread, and I speak as a one-time butter addict. I’m pleasantly surprised at how good these spreads are and I’m never going back to butter. It’s not even that difficult to cut out cheese (ok, it’s a bit difficult, mainly because of the trace amounts of morphine in cheese – yes, really) once you’ve got over the bizarre fortnight of cheese-cravings and midnight urges for cheese. I don’t miss cheese now, not even a tiny bit, and I know my bod is grateful for the huge reduction in cruelty-laden fat in my diet. AND I BLOODY LOVE ALMOND MILK. See, it’s possible. Entirely possible for any mere mortal to quit meat and dairy forever, and not only will you live without falling over and breaking fragile bones every time you walk down the street, you’ll actually thrive.

Look at this dude if you don’t believe me – Patrik Baboumian, Vegan Strongman. There are countless more like him.

The protein argument is a long-standing myth, borne of ignorance, misinformation, and brainwashing by those good old meat and dairy industry people. Plant proteins are simply better than meat proteins. There, I said it. After all, where do you think all the animals whose meat you eat get their protein? Plants, obviously. Humans are grazers (look at your teeth – those aren’t carnivore teeth, they’re grazer’s flattened and widened teeth); we are not designed to eat meat in the quantities that we do today.

Too many cancers are entirely preventable. To prevent them is to save countless lives, and not just the human ones. I can’t help think that those who fall ill due to high meat and dairy consumption are suffering the fallout for the hundreds of lives they took (yes, you took those lives – supply and demand, baby). Animals are begging to live right at this very minute as they are led ever-closer to death in a slaughterhouse somewhere in the world, often beaten, stabbed and abused for a laugh, while pushed to their deaths. More than 150 billion animals are slaughtered every year for human consumption alone. It’s unsustainable. It’s utterly inhumane. It’s sanctioned murder, in all its various abusive and horrific forms. If we humans suffer the painful results of increased rates of cancers, heart disease, diabetes and strokes as a result of all of that tragic and unnecessary killing, should we be surprised, or should we stop and radically re-think?

R.I.P. Soul Cat

My heart hurts. My little soul cat Gucci died on 7th April 2014, hit by someone racing to get somewhere in a car.

I never knew a cat like her. She had so much affection and love to give. She cuddled up close whenever she could, and had taken to washing my face. She slept on my pillow most nights. She purred loudly in my ear and face, and spoke to me all the time. She followed me around and watched what I was doing. She was a very special cat. Most people commented how incredibly affectionate she was.

She had mixed pigmentation, which meant she had black pads on her paws on one side, and white pads on her paws on the other side. She had black whiskers on one side of her face, and white whiskers on the other side. Her fur was incredibly dense and soft, not like any cat’s fur I’ve ever known. She had a presence I’ve only known in one other cat. She was fully aware; we were soul cats together.

I remember choosing her at Cats Protection some years ago. I had looked once already, on a previous day, and couldn’t find her. I knew exactly what she’d look like. I knew she was there and waiting. She would be a tortoiseshell female, and I’d know her when I saw her. I went a week later, determined to find her. She was there, in one of the last cages, with her two brothers. Left by a family who had moved. She came forward in the cage to say hello, and her brother batted and scratched her with his paws and told her off. She came forward again when I said I wanted to meet her, and sat up on her hind legs to greet me. That was it. She was mine.

To the driver who hit her, broke her jaw and ultimately killed her, but drove off anyway without looking back: Wherever you are, you scum excuse for intelligent life, you will suffer torment and sadness. I promise it.

To all drivers reading this, remember there is nothing so urgent you need to speed around on streets, cut corners and bolt down residential roads. There are always consequences. Please drop your speed. And if you ever hit an animal, I would hope all my friends would have the respect and decency to stop and care for that animal to the best of their ability including taking it to a vet.

Gucci

Protect The Great Barrier Reef.

I just love this. It speaks for itself.

Shut Taiji Down.

I wish journalists would stop reporting the Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan cetacean drive hunts as an “annual cull” in the press. It happens SIX months of the year. It’s ongoing. It starts in September and continues to March each and every year. I can’t help but think this is deliberate mis-use of language to pull the wool over people’s eyes and disguise the fact that this practice is ongoing half the year. That’s six whole months of the same bloody, inhumane, violent slaughter, and the same capture of live, traumatised dolphins who have witnessed their families slaughtered before them.

There is a sickness in Taiji. It is driven by greed. This is not tradition. The dolphin drive hunts have only been happening since the 1960s, since the arrival of ‘Flipper’ and the realisation by the entertainment industry that live dolphin shows equals cash. Huge amounts of cash. Millions, to be precise. They found a small fishing village called Taiji, where dolphins were known to swim close to the shores off the coast of this southern region of Japan. As I understand it, Taiji fishermen had occasionally caught a dolphin, or found one stranded, and local people had eaten the meat. But now the greedy middlemen had found a source of more live Flippers. Taiji has been shipping out live captive dolphins ever since. Each one sells for thousands. The statistics provided by the wonderful people at Ceta-base show the numbers involved for all the world to see.

Tradition, as we know, is no argument for anything, anyway. Many things that humans used to practice “traditionally” have been made illegal the world over because we came to realise they were cruel and wrong. This should be one of those things.

Who eats dolphin meat anyway? Anyone? This meat often ends up in pet food for Japanese pets! It is a wasteful, not to mention deceitful, loss of lives, all for greed and profit.

We need to get the facts right so that people understand how damaging this practice is and how it’s decimating populations of whole species of dolphins. They’re advanced, highly evolved mammals with highly developed brains and emotion centres. They feel pain, loss, grief, terror, hunger, confusion, agony, just as we do. Possibly more so. We don’t even understand how their amazing brains fully work yet. It is a crying shame that our love for dolphins, and wonder at their antics, has brought us to this horrific situation.

We need to educate ourselves to appreciate that dolphins belong only in the wild. They do not belong in tanks. We do not have the right to steal them from the ocean and their family pods to use them for human entertainment and consequently condemn them to short, miserable lives in captivity. We need to boycott aquariums with cetaceans. Boycott marine parks, dolphinariums, swim-with-dolphin experiences – the lot. Don’t attend. Don’t pay to see them. If you do, you perpetuate the cycle of capture/slaughter; our money fuels this violent business. Take away their greedy reasons for killing dolphins.

Stop killing whales and dolphins, Japan. End this vile cetacean hunt in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture forever.

Open Letter To WWF

I’ve always supported WWF. I’ve donated monthly to you, on and off, over the years. I’ve heard people bitch about WWF – that the WWF is rooted in trophy hunting, they support trophy hunting, that WWF was originally just a cover for those who enjoy hunting and want to preserve wild game to hunt, etc. I didn’t believe them. I carried on supporting WWF.

Now, I find that you are indeed all of those things. You fully supported the recent auction in the US of a critically endangered black rhino trophy hunting permit, in the guise of “conservation”. I’ve heard the reasons for it. It’s bullshit (or rhino shit if you prefer). Do you honestly expect people to support you in your stance? How does glorifying killing a critically endangered rhino, and sticking the glowing halo of “conservation” on its head, protect ALL endangered animals, exactly? Money doesn’t mean shit if all the rhinos are dead. And money hasn’t stopped their numbers plummeting so far, has it? In fact, it’s the reason they’re dying. And if money helps so much, why not hold an auction evening for a unique picture or painting of a black rhino instead? If this guy Corey has so much money to burn, and if he cares so much about conservation, why doesn’t he go over to Africa and help protect them? Why does he want to shoot one? Is he unwell in the head?

It is hunters and poachers who have left them in such low numbers, just like it’s hunters (and farmers) and poachers who are killing off ALL the world’s wildlife. (And yes, I did just put hunters and poachers in the same murdering boat.) Logical conclusion being that permitting, supporting and glorifying a trophy hunt of a critically endangered rhino can only ever be a bad thing for rhinos.

If WWF can’t see that, then I can’t see why any true conservationists would ever support WWF again. I certainly won’t.

Vegan Agenda? I’m talking to you.

To those who whine that vegans have an agenda: some of us do, some of us made a radical choice and simply and quietly live by that. But a vegan’s agenda is a good agenda; it is unselfish and acts as a voice for those who have no voice.

A meat eater’s agenda is selfish and ignorant in the extreme. Too many times I hear, “I eat meat because it tastes good…”, “I don’t care how it got to my plate…”, “Animals are put here for us to eat them”, “If we didn’t eat animals, we’d be over run by them”, “You need meat for protein”, “You’ll get ill and die if you don’t eat meat”. And so on.

Firstly, that’s shocking ignorance. Get a clue; use a brain cell. Think it through. We’ll be over run with farm animals? Erm, no. What we will find is that we suddenly have an amazing abundance of…FOOD! Grain, which can feed all those starving kids around the world. Funny, that. Rainforests wouldn’t be so appealing to cattle farmers and they would leave them alone instead of ripping them out to rear cattle for your burgers. That’s a good thing, remember? There are so many good outcomes from us not rearing animals for meat that expose the utter absurdity of the fact that we do, and on such a large scale.

Secondly, who gave you the right to kill animals and eat them? I thought killing things was generally accepted as a bad thing in a moral and decent world? Somewhere along the way we forgot to include everything except humans in that moral code?

Killing animals is unacceptable. Would you kill it yourself? In the majority of cases, the answer is no. If you wouldn’t kill it yourself, don’t eat it. It’s pure hypocrisy.

Nature dictates that animals kill other animals to survive. The key word there is SURVIVE. There is no reason in this world for humans to eat other animals, and most definitely not on the scale of consumption that we do. That huge scale, brought about by greed and profit, has led to a sick and perverted system of factory farming of animals as if they were commodities, objects, foodstuff to be used and abused. No wonder there is so much shocking abuse and barbaric treatment of animals within farming. Theyre seen as ‘things’. It’s sick and WRONG. Why would you want to be a part of something so wrong? Because it tastes good? Your reasoning is confused at best and, frankly, pathetic.

The meat industry’s agenda is all-pervasive and insidious, using misinformation and lies, subterfuge and legal loopholes to smear and hide horrific abuse and the truth. If you eat meat, you fuel this industry of suffering, abuse and lies. Why would you want to do that? Because it tastes good? Is that really an acceptable reason?

I’m so disheartened by the selfishness of human beings. You tuck into your meat-laden and dairy meal, without a thought or care in the world how it got there; without one second’s consideration for the animals who suffer in their BILLIONS every day to fill your plate, clog your arteries, bind your gut with rotting meat and cloud your feeble brain with ‘feel good’ hormones.

I choose to think about what I’m eating. And it was in those first few seconds of thinking, at the age of 11, that I made the very obvious, logical and simple connection between an animal begging for its life – with every right to keep that life – and what was on my plate, and made the easy choice not to eat meat. What’s so difficult about using your brain cells to make the connection and the correct moral choice to cease fueling a world where animals are objects and life is cheap? The only obstacle is your own selfish arrogance.

If we create a world where life is no longer cherished and respected, we get what we deserve. If you choose to be a thoughtless, greedy, selfish uncaring consumer, may you get all that you deserve on life’s plate, and so much more.