Archive for May, 2009

31 May, 2009

Vegan Delight, Benjamin Zephaniah (plus vegan onion bhajji recipe)

By British poet, Benjamin Zephaniah, a poem called “Vegan Delight
One of the item mentions in the poem, Onion Bhajee (also known as pakora), eaten as a snack food or starter, is included here. Adjust the seasonings and chillies to taste.

Onion Bhajji

100 g / 4oz chickpea flour (also known as besan or gram flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder

1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (adjust to taste)
fresh curry leaves or fresh coriander

cold water to make batter
vegetable oil for frying

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and seasonings, herbs and chillies to taste. Mix well.
Gradually add enough water to the flour and spice mixture make a smooth batter.
Add onion.
Mixing very well so the onions are well coated.
Preheat enough oil, to cover the battered onion, in a fryer to 180ºC / 350ºF.
Carefully drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.
Drain on kitchen paper towel, serve hot.
Repeat until all the onions are cooked.

Zephaniah also wrote the foreword to From Dusk ’til Dawn: An insider’s view of the growth of the Animal Liberation Movement, a book by Keith Mann about the Animal Liberation Front.

Speaking, here, in this video, Zephaniah talks about veganism, and how it has made him strong.

The poem, Vegan Delight, reproduced here, if anyone wants to (copy & paste)

Ackeess,chapatties, Dumplins an nan, Channa an rotis, Onion uttapam,
Masala dosa, Green callaloo, Bhel an samosa, Corn an aloo.
Yam an cassava, Pepperpot stew, Rotlo an guava, Rice an tofu,
Puri, paratha, Sesame casserole, Brown eggless pasta, An brown bread rolls.

Soya milked muesli, Soya bean curd, Soya sweet sweeties, Soya’s de word,
Soya bean margarine, Soya bean sauce, What can mek medicine?
Soya of course.

Soya meks yoghurt, Soya ice-cream, Or soya sorbet, Soya reigns supreme,
Soya sticks liquoriced, Soya salads, Try any soya dish
Soya is bad.

Plantain an tabouli, Cornmeal pudding, Onion bhajee, With plenty cumin,
Breadfruit an coconuts, Molasses tea, Dairy free omelettes, Very chilli.
Ginger bread, nut roast, Sorell, paw paw, Cocoa an rye toast, I tek dem on tour,
Drinking cool maubi, Meks me feel sweet,

What was dat question now?

Although, dairy-free or not, omelettes are not vegan.

Feedback welcome.

26 May, 2009

What Animals Do People Wear?

Fur used to turn heads, now it turns stomachs.” Rue McClanahan

The types of animals and the ways they are used for clothing is more than just fur

– Fur
– Leather (from many, many animals)
– Wool
– Silk
– Suede
– Felt (some felt is made from animal skins)
– Velvet (some velvet is made from silk)
– Down, Eiderdown, feathers from the Eider duck
– Uggboots, made from sheepskin (Uggboots is a generic name for sheepskin boots, which has been trademarked for some reason in some countries)
Astrakhan/ Karakul (the wool from aborted sheep feotuses)
– Shahtoosh, wrap made from Chiru, the Tibetan antelope, an endangered species
– Cashmere, another name for goat wool
– Reptile skin – snakes, lizards, crocodiles, aligators
– Shell, mother of pearl, pearls (for buttons and decorations)
– Ivory (for buttons and decorations)
– Shearling, another name for sheep skin

Pink for PETA

Kangaroos turned into Adidas shoes

Fur from cats, dogs and rabbits can be labelled “fake” fur in the USA, in a legal loophole if the value of the fur is less than $150.

So even it you deliberately shop for “fake fur” you may still get skinned pets on your coat.

The annual seal slaughter in Canada and Namibia where baby seals are skinned alive for their fur.

Dyes Before synthetic dyes became cheap, animals were used: Cochineal / Carmine from the scale insect gives red
Hexaplex trunculus from a sea snail gives a blue purple indigo also known as Tyrian purple

Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails speaks out against China Dog and Cat Fur Farm

Every year in China, millions of cats and dogs are killed for their fur. “If you buy or wear fur, you must share the blame for the suffering of these cats and dogs. If you know someone who wears fur, please, show them this video,” says Trent.

Even if it is labelled fake fur, check.

Feedback welcome.

21 May, 2009

Why Do People Eat Animals? (plus Earthlings pt.1)

Poor animals! How jealously they guard their pathetic bodies … that which to us is merely an evening’s meal, but to them is life itself.
T.Casey Brennan

As a vegan, it seems strange to me that people eat meat, dairy, eggs, honey and other animal products. It seems vaguely cannibalistic, it stuns me sometimes that people murder animals every single day of their lives to to put something in their mouths, for a couple of minutes of boredom-killing, face-stuffing.

It is unsettling that about 6 billion people on the planet have no comprehension that they, personally, are responsible for killing a living, breathing, thinking, feeling animal and then eat the rotting, decaying corpse.

And this isn’t even getting to those mad, Mengeler-sytle “scientists” who torture animals for their own sick pleasures and call it “medical research”, this is about every day people, our loved ones, our friends, neighbours, community who are responsible for the murder and slaughter of approximately 65 billion lives* every year.

These are not ‘things”, they are living beings.

So why are vegans, (people who choose to avoid using animals products for all and any reason) still a minority on this planet?

Sometimes I wish people would really think about WHO their meat was before she/he became an IT and IT became their dinner.

I wish I understood why people cannot make the connection between what they eat and what must die for them to eat it.

I wish I knew how people could know the truth about who their food was and not care, ignore it, pretend it does not matter that someone died for their dinner.

Earthlings (watch the full video here – shows this.

“This is the most powerful and informative movie about society’s treatment of animals. A must-see film for anyone that cares enough to know.”
Woody Harrelson

Part One

You can also watch the entire Shaun Monsoon directed film on Google: CLICK HERE

The producers have offered the film for free in a lower quality film format, as in the above Google link. For the upgraded version, visit Earthling’s website to buy the higher quality DVD.

The figure 60-70 billion is arrived at by an estimate, the most recent figures I could find was for the year 2000 which was 45 billion.
Since then the population of the world has increased, the westernisation of countries such as China and India has seen an increase in meat eating, the original FAO figure does not include aquatic animals (10 billion aquatic animals in 2000 with an increase on that figure of 2% a year (compounded) to apporximately 12 billion in 2009) or those killed by home hunters, or those who died before slaughter (example, at birth, illness, extreme weather) plus some countries do not report figures. The FAO estimates a 2% year increase (if the 2000 numbers are 45 billion, a 2% increase per year for 9 years would bring that up to 53 billion) plus aquatic animals plus those not included in the figures, provides an estimate of 66 billion.

Feedback welcome.

16 May, 2009

Rain Without Thunder: A Plea For Animal Rights

Law & Order “Whose monkey is it anyway?” (2001)

A Plea For Animal Rights: Raises the question of animal ownership, and anything that can help people begin to question their own relationship with animals should be encouraged.

Why are we still fighting this? The fight on behalf of animals to not be eaten, or worn, or used for entertainments, or in any way subject to cruelty and exploitation has been going on since at least the time of Pythagoras. A fight that has been going on for over 2,500 years.

Yet, good people are still asking, pleading, begging, and fighting, for Animal Rights.

How long must we fight these same fights… the fight to end human slavery lasted though the Roman Empire, and continues to this day. Eastern European sex slaves and children in Africa and Asia are sold into slavery, that was suppose to have ended in 1833, when the House of Commons in England approved the Emancipation Bill.

Frederick Douglass, USAmerican abolitionist and supporter of women’s sufferage, was a former slave, who fought to end slavery said “If there is no struggle there is no progress“.

This quote was remembered in a piece by Henry Spira, a man who fought hard for animal rights. He made the connection between the fight to end human slavery and animal slavery.

As Henry Spira wrote in Fighting to Win (1985)

If I had to sum up all these points in a single phrase, it would be: keep in touch with reality. Dreaming about how great it would be if animal experimentation were totally abolished does nothing to bring that day closer, and it does nothing to help the animals who will suffer tomorrow and every other day we continue to dream. We need to be realistic about where our society is today and where it may be persuaded to go tomorrow. To liberate some animals today and to have some chance of liberating all the animals eventually, we need to study the realities in a detached way as a guide to action. Who profits by animal abuse? Who holds the levers of power? Who calls the tune?

To fight successfully we need priorities, plans, effective organization, unity, imagination, tenacity and commitment. We need, too, to remember the words of Frederick Douglass, the black leader of the movement for the abolition of slavery:

The editted Douglass quote that was included in that article has been reproduced in an expanded version below, to a provide a deeper understanding of the context.

The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.”

“This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.”

Frederick Douglass, “The Significance of Emancipation in the West Indies.” Speech, Canandaigua, New York, August 3, 1857

The pleading for Animal Rights will not continue for ever. There will come a point where people stop asking, and start taking. When ARA‘s realise their pleas fall on deaf ears – It will be at this point Animal Rights moves to its next stage.

Polite asking will move to struggle, and the fight will begin.

11 May, 2009

Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs say: “shares free vegan and vegetarian meals with the hungry in over 1,000 cities around the world to protest war, poverty and the destruction of the environment.
With over a billion people going hungry each day how can we spend another dollar on war?”

As this 31-second video from Sean Penn starkly demonstrates, the amount of money spent on bombs, war and weapons, could feed the world. Children die from malnutrition because they happen to be born in the wrong the country, and in the meantime, western nations are spending money on weapons to kill people.

Joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Hunger is a weapon of mass destruction. Poor health care is a weapon of mass destruction. Poor education is a weapon of mass destruction. Discrimination is a weapon of mass destruction. Let us abolish such weapons of mass destruction here at home.
~ Dennis Kucinich (vegan USA congressmen)

One way this can be done is by switching to a vegan (strict vegetarian) diet. Resources expended raising animals for food, diverts resources from providing food to people directly.

The organisation known as Food Not Bombs (FNBs) has the following philosophy:

Food The world produces enough food to feed everyone, if distributed equally. There is an abundance of food. In fact, in this country, every day in every city, far more edible food is discarded than is needed to feed those who do not have enough to eat.

Consider this: Before food reaches your table, it is produced and handled by farmers, co-ops, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. Some perfectly edible food is discarded for a variety of business reasons at every step. In the average city, approximately 10% of all solid waste is food. This is an incredible total of 46 billion pounds nationally per year, or just under 200 pounds per person per year. Estimates indicate that only 4 billion pounds of food per year would be required to completely end hunger in America. Clearly there is an abundance of edible, recoverable food being thrown away.

To recover this edible food and use it to feed people, three key elements must be combined. First, the food must be collected. Second, it must be prepared in a form appropriate for consumption. Third, the food must be made easily accessible to those who are hungry.

The reason this is not already happening is no accident. We do not have a democratic say in how food is produced or distributed. People would certainly elect to eat, but in hierarchical economies, the threat of job loss allows owners to keep wages low. An underclass results from such policies that encourage domination and violence. In our society, it is acceptable to profit from other’s suffering and misery.

This provides a model for vegan outreach (FNB has been referred to as “franchise activism”),
setting up in various cities and countries to provide food for the hungry, to fight the ideology that allows hunger to persist in the middle of enough abundance to feed the world.

Getting out in to the streets and meeting people in your physical community who may not be vegan, rather than staying behind the computer and interacting with other vegans.

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Feedback welcome.

6 May, 2009

Protein On A Vegan Diet

How do you annoy a vegan? . . . Ask them where they get their protein.

Let’s ask a vegan body builder.

Robert Cheeke is champion body builder, and as he shows in this video, and says on his website, vegan protein is found in lots of accessible places: including

Quality protein sources include tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, isolated protein powders and shakes, soy protein bars, nut butters, seitan, soymilks, and other soy products.

So, if a body builder can get adequate protein, then most vegans should be able to get adequate protein.

Robert Cheeke

Image Robert Cheeke, via Wikipedia

Where vegans get there protein is an issue that comes up pretty quickly in the conversation when someone finds out you are vegan or is contemplating a switching to a vegan diet (strict vegetarian).

It is a curious thing that people are concerned about their protein intake, a nutrient that most people, whether vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore rarely suffer from a deficiency of.

Kwashiorkor is a disease related to protein deficiency. How many people do you know have that? How many people have you ever heard about having that?

Kwashiorkor is found where there is poverty, extreme malnutrition, famine, natural disaster – it is found where there is a lack of food and nutrition. This suggests that where someone gets adequate general nutrition and enough calories, that person is likely to get enough protein.

In affluent western countries, kwashiorkor is related to severely restricted diets, such as macrobiotic (International Vegetarian Union (IVU) or living on junk food.

These examples show, that where there is adequate nutrition and calories it is not easy to get protein deficiency.

On the other side, excessive protein can lead to osteoporosis, and dehydration, kidney damage, and heart disease. How many people have you ever heard of with any of these things? How many people do you know with these diseases and medical conditions?

So which seems like a bigger problem to most people in western societies, protein deficiency or excess protein?

DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, this is not medical advice, this is showing examples of where to get protein, this is a raising issues for people to ask questions regarding their own health if they think getting protein is a problem for vegans. If anyone has any questions regarding their own health, consult a medical professional.

Feedback welcome.

1 May, 2009

May Day, May Day

From Mumia Abu-Jamal on death row

Taken from a March 23 commentary. Go to to hear Mumia’s audio columns and to get legal and political updates on his case.
While May Day has historically been a day of workers’ solidarity and a celebration of labor power, this is not a day or year like any other.

That’s because many nations are in the midst of economic recession and financial failure, and it is workers worldwide who are suffering from layoffs and mass firings in almost every sector of the global economy.

While labor is depressed, capital is aggregating to itself bigger and bigger shares of national and global wealth, as governments rush to bail out banks and investment firms, but only if they are “too big to fail.”

Under the newly amended rules of capitalism, corporations—especially in the financial sector—can scam, steal and hustle virtually everyone, and when the economy falls, the government sails in and bails them out with public money!

Under a system such as this, capitalism can never lose. It’s like a gambling casino, where the house rules change every half hour, or depending on who’s winning and who’s losing. But workers are losing.

Around the world, workers are facing lost jobs, vanished careers, foreclosed homes and families broken and shattered against the grinding wheel of capital.

This will be one hell of a May Day, but it’s the one that globalized capital has fashioned for us all. Only if labor is truly globalized can it fight for and demand its fair share from the ravages of capitalism. Let that be our mission for May Day and for tomorrow.

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