Archive for September, 2010

30 September, 2010

Why Palm Oil can be important for Vegans

Palm oil, derived from the fruit of the palm tree, is itself a vegan product, yet its use is contributing to the deaths of endangered orangutans and continued use may end up resulting in the extinction of the orangutan species.

Orangutans, native to Indonesia and Malaysia, and found in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo. This endangered species, shares 96.5% of our DNA, that makes them one of our closet relatives.

Yet, we humans are doing as much as we can to kill them by destroying their habitat.

One of the reasons, our use of palm oil. Rainforest the size of over-300 soccer fields is destroyed every hour to create land for palm oil plantations.

[Crude Palm Oil] is used mainly as an ingredient for food production (i.e. margarine, ice cream, biscuits, cooking oil etc). It also has a number of other non-food uses including greasing and softening agent in leather production and as an ingredient in the production of plasticisers, paint and surface coatings. PKO, however, is generally used for other non-food purposes such as soap making, detergents, cosmetics, ingredient for insecticides and fungicides, hydraulic brake fluids and other substances used in the electronics industry.
Palm Oil Action: FAQs

Palm oil is also known on labels as
Vegetable oil – on food labeling, it may be hidden as “vegetable” oil.

In cosmetics, quite often in shampoo:
Sodium Laureth Sulphate (may also be sourced from coconut)
Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (may also be sourced from ricinus oil)
Sodium dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS)
Palm Oil Kernal

Elaeis Guineensis
Glyceryl Stearate
Stearic Acid

Other products which contain palm oil

Steareth -2
Steareth -20
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (both palm and coconut are sources)
Hydrated palm glycerides
Sodium isostearoyl lactylaye (derived from vegetable stearic acid)
Cetyl palmitate and octyl palmitate (and anything with palmitate at the end)

via Palm Oil Action: Shopping Guide

As this Greenpeace ad, which Nestlé attempted to ban shows, every choice we make, every action we take has an impact on the life or death of another.

Disclaimer: photo of Orangutan sourced from Flickr, for re-use if unaltered. Use of this photo in no way implies that the owner of this photo in anyway endorses the author of this blog, the owner of this blog, or the issues of this post. It’s use here is for illustrative purposes, and not an endorsement of the topic.

26 September, 2010

Animal Liberation group using animal products

Negotiation Is Over is a self-style global animal rights collective, yet, they are using images of an animal product to promote themselves.

In the post Negotiation is Over: Guide To Direct Action, (hover over link for preview) a picture of a burning match is used to illustrate that post.

The image of the match is also used in more than one place on this blog.

Presumably based on an image taken from the cover of this book:

For all their talk of revolutions, Gandhi is quoted in this book, just like he is in so many other books about social change. Which, in itself is far from revolutionary.

Much criticism has been leveled at PETA, and other large animal welfare groups for supporting initiatives such as cage-free eggs and anti-fur. How is this any different? The use of a match as a symbol perpetuates the idea that it is acceptable to use animal products.

And joining the chorus of detractors, against a blog that does a lot of work to bring attention to issues of animal welfare, does this actually achieve anything for the animals.

After all, it is just an image on the computer screen, it is a cover of book, it isn’t an actual match. But it does raise thoughts of what a “perfect vegan” is, and more importantly, does a perfect vegan in reality exist.

Or, is it only in theory, that someone can be a “perfect vegan”? Once you move beyond the abstract, the theoretical, all someone can do is reduce the suffering they cause.

Matches are products that are made from animal products,

Safety matches: all matches contain animal based adhesives on the head of the stick and on the striking strip on the box. In the monsoon this is substituted with casein derived from milk using acid. Wimco Home lights use casein throughout the year.
LINK: here

The vegan blogger “Vegansaurus” also details the animal products used in the production of matches:

gelatin is a part of the chemical cocktail on match heads, and …“animal protein” as an ingredient promoting oxidization… “animal glue” as both a combustor and adhesive, and isinglass as a “conditioner”
LINK: here

Although, what undermines their message is their use of animal products to sell that message.

To be fair, this book is an environmental wake-up call and not an animal liberation book. Although, one of the editors, Dr Steven Best, is one of the leaders of the animal rights movement and one of the editors on the Negotiation Is Over blog.

This is in no way intended to sound like Vegan Big Brother, carrying out hyper-surveillance on other animal advocates, this is just intended to highlight how ubiquitous the use of animals in every day life is.

It also highlights the absurdity of some vegans to push a concept of a perfect vegan. If you live in any society, and interact with other people you will come into contact with animal products, and there are some that are unavoidable.

There are many lists, in books and online that list just some of the ways animals are used and abused to make consumer products, such as this one LINK: here.

It brings into question the entire concept of being a “perfect vegan”, perhaps, people should just strive to be a better vegan than they were the day before, and stop worrying about what other vegans are or are not doing.

So when vegans gang up on other vegans and vegetarians and carnivores and call them out for not being perfect, maybe they should take a long look at their own lives and see how perfect they are.

Does it matter what image they use? Matches for Direct Action animal liberationists, or naked women for anti-fur PeTA campaigns, does the ends justify the means?

Any opinions welcome

25 September, 2010

Vegan Big Brother

One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.
George Orwell

Vegan Big Brother (VBB): like the mythical “vegan police”

Online vegans are always being watched and monitored by other vegans, lest they say something that could be interpreted as “new welfarism”.

This is vegan-against-vegan. (‘VBB’ really doesn’t care what non-vegans do.)

Is the harassment and bullying of other vegans and vegan organisations, really the best use of our time? I thought we were supposed to be reaching out to create new vegans out of the carnivores, and not act like an online bully to people we don’t agree with.

When these people spend more time, picking over every little word and action of vegans, animal rights activists and people who are making a difference, they are not looking at those who are abusing and exploiting the animals.

These people are acting like collaborators and saboteurs and agents of the state, out to create confusion and division within the AR community. I am not paranoid enough to suggest they are, but that is the effect of their actions.

It’s Time, to actually do what we say, we need to stop worrying about what other people are doing and thinking, and put animals first.

This is a hyper-surveillance that even Orwell couldn’t have imagined.

If anyone has any experience of this vegan-surveillance, personal experiences are welcome, if anyone wants to share.

24 September, 2010

Pacifism or Animal Liberation: Which Do You Value More?

The audio on this video is a tiny little bit unclear in parts, but this is a message worth hearing, both meaningful and entertaining.

Derrick Jensen, talking about violence, non-violence, pacifism, love as techniques for activists.

When white, conservative, middle-class activists use “a Gandhi shield” which is “say the words Gandhi-Martin Luther King-Dali Lama again and again as fast as they can”, Jensen suggests that these people have never experienced violence.

Right now there is a wars raging against animals, earth and people – a holocaust against animals and the ecocide against the planet, and the slaughter of people all over the world, how will non-violence stop these wars?

For people to promote Non-Violence as their only response to the war against all life on the planet, then perhaps it is because violence – the use or opposition – is a theoretical abstract concept and not part of their every day reality.

Jensen talks about how people might confront Direct Action activists with trite non-violence sayings, and he presents responses that challenge these “non-violence” beliefs.

Jensen makes some thought-provoking points in response to people who say “violence has never achieved anything”, and maybe, if they truly believe that, they should take a look around at the state of the world and see how much of that has been caused by, and is the result of, violence.

It all comes down to what you are an activist for – if you are a peace activist, then the use of violence would repudiate your message.

However, there are activists fighting to save the lives of animals, save the earth from complete destruction or save people from being exploited in the name of the dollar. And when these people begin to say, “sorry, I can’t fight for you, I’m fighting for Non-violence. I am placing my belief in Non-violence above your right to life”, maybe it is time to re-examine these tactics used to achieve liberation.

There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence — against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences at this day at home, whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate. Interview in 1961.
— Nelson Mandela

Sidebar: Makes a reference to the powerful impact of a Mama Grizzly, long before Sarah Palin took on that symbolism.

Feedback welcome.

23 September, 2010

Mango Smoothie (vegan recipes)

What do vegans eat? That is a question that vegans hear frequently, as non-vegans puzzle over what vegans actually do eat. The answer is – vegans eat everything… except animal products.

Mango Smoothie

1 ripe mango, frozen
1 ripe banana, frozen
1 cup rice- or soy-milk (or other plant milk)

Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until thick and creamy.
If the blender cannot break up the frozen fruit, use partially frozen fruit.

Below are some ideas for alternatives.

Suggested options:

*add fresh pineapple

*add 1 cup fresh or frozen berries

*replace some / all of the milk with coconut water

*add a tablespoon flax oil (store flax oil in refrigerator)

*add juice and seeds of one passionfruit, after blending

*add lime juice

*add a tablespoon of hemp or flax seeds before blending

Yes, vegan refers to the whole lifestyle, not just food. Todays post is about food. Not veganism.

Feedback welcome.

22 September, 2010

Is it men or women… ? (Animal Liberation)

A movement is only composed of people moving. To feel its warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means.
Gloria Steinem

The following are some questions that were raised in this quote by O Anna Niemus, some things to think about – in relationship to how gender can affect how we see things. Yes, these are generalisations, but there is a basis to generalisations. This can be important when looking at why so-called “animal rights” organisations, such as PeTA (who are really welfare), use images of naked, near-naked, and women in bikinis to promote PeTA.

Is it men or women who work the most in slaughterhouses?

Is it men or women who are most involved in domestic battering?

Is it men or women who commit the most rapes?

Is it men or women who vote for the most executions?

Is it men or women who promote war, vote for war, kill in war?

Is it men or women who as ‘talk show hosts’ allow no talk?

Is it men or women who are more often pedophiles?

Is it men or women who torture lab animals more?

~O Anna Niemus

Has pictures of naked women ever convinced any man to go vegetarian? (there advertising though does not promote veganism) There would be a very narrow segment of the female market that would convinced by naked women to make life-changing decisions.

This is not another post of PeTA bashing, just questioning the tactics of brand-name animal organisations, and do their tactics work.

As a tactic to achieve animal liberation, might there be more effective ways than exploiting women. It’s been thirty years, might it not be time to re-evaluate the wisdom of exploiting women in the name of animal rights.

So, does gender make a difference in how people think about issues….

Feedback welcome.

21 September, 2010

PETA, objectifying women… again

From the PeTA degrade Women archives

Is it surprising to anyone that PeTA comes out with more of the same. Images that degrade, objectify and otherwise stereotype women.

The use of women’s bodies, such as this ad, which got banned from Superbowl, and resulted in an avalanche of publicity without the million-dollar pricetag for airing a commercial during Superbowl.

Or, the use of women’s bodies, in the picture at the top of this post… how exactly will that save any animals.

In both cases PeTA are promoting a VEGETARIAN diet. Maybe someone should force them to watch their own videos of dairy cows and egg-laying chickens…

Sidebar: have PeTA ever done any ‘anti-honey, save the bees’ exposé videos?

As an anti-censorship feminist, I don’t always understand the criticisms levelled against PeTA, for their use of women. PeTA is not a feminist group, they are not NOW (National Organization of Women) so they do not have feminist goals as their main objective. Their objective is animal… welfare? liberation? (I’m not sure what their objective is, other than promote PeTa).

I think that activists that use a diversity of tactics, a range from non-violent education to direct action may stand a better chance of ending the exploitation and enslavement of women, than those who narrow their arsenal down to an extremely limited range of tactics.

However, PeTA aren’t about Animal Rights, if they were, then it might be easier to overlook their exploitation of women, by justifying it, as – “if it saves an animal”.

PeTA, though, are not promoting Animal Rights, Animal Liberation or the end of animal slavery in any way at all.

Could someone tell me what all this “Go Vegetarian” nonsense is??

Among their many anti-animal-rights activists, they don’t even advocate people “Go Vegan”

I’ve written about PeTA before:
Celebrity Vegans And Vegetarians: their use of fur-wearing celebrities in their campaigns, 9.6 million dead animals… business as usual: PeTA (and other brand-name welfare groups) euthanising healthy but unwanted animals, and, PETA, you are not the voice of Animal Rights (so stop talking): a deeper look at the hypocrisy and failings of PeTA…
and it continues to astound even the most casual of animal activists, how PeTA continue to get away with their stunts.

And yet, the more moral outrage PeTA cause, the more publicity they attract, at the expense of real animal rights organisations and people. Leaving the general public to think that PeTA are representative of “Animal Rights Activists”. And leaving feminists to fight the exploitation of women.

Would it be acceptable to promote feminism – career success and a fulfilled life, by using the image of a fur-clad woman, stepping out of her luxury car with leather seats? No. So why is the degradation of women an acceptable tactic to promote animal welfare?

I have said it before, and I’m sure I will say it again… “PETA, you are not the voice of Animal Rights (so stop talking)”


Articles copyright 2010 ‘Vegan Animal Liberation Alliance’. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Written by RedGlitter of VALA

Feedback welcome.

20 September, 2010

Liberation: for Animals & Earth

No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution…
revolution is but thought carried into action.

Emma Goldman

From the Liberation archives

Animal liberation = earth liberation = people liberation

The liberation of animals and the earth will require nothing short of a total revolution in thinking and in action.

How can it possibly require anything less? The status quo has produced the largest extinction of plants and animals since the dinosaurs disappeared. And this time it is man-made.

Daytime TV psychologists will tell you “if you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you have always gotten”.

So why do we continue to do the same “vegan education” that we have always done and expect to produce different outcomes.

Why do we continue to fight each about “direct action”, when we fight each other, the Animal Abusers just laugh at how childish we act and just continue to do what they have always done.

It is not a competition over whose oppression is worse, oppression is oppression, exploitation and cruelty are exploitation and cruelty, the oppressor is the same – a system run by a small group of people (rich, white, male, capitalists) who profit from the exploitation of people, animals and the earth.

From my perspective, a lot of animal rights activists have forgotten what they are fighting for. They are preoccupied with the methods they will use – “non violent education” or “taking action” – but what has been overlooked in the middle is the animals.

The fight for animal liberation and earth liberation needs to be put front and centre of activism, instead of defending our weapons of choice, which is what we are doing now.

As Steven Best has said “It is becoming increasingly clear that human, animal, and earth liberation movements are inseparably linked, such that none can be free until all are free. This is not a new insight, but rather a lost wisdom and truth.” Total Revolution: Revolution for the 21st Century, (Guerrilla News: Dispatches from the Frontlines).

Because it is in the fight to make a difference that revolution will occur, when people began to think differently about the part each one of us can play in the revolution for liberation, then they will begin to speak differently and act differently.

Every person is important, every person can make a difference.

I will stand with anyone who is fighting to make a difference for animal rights, earth liberation or social justice.

Articles copyright 2010 ‘Vegan Animal Liberation Alliance’. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Written by RedGlitter of VALA

Feedback welcome.

19 September, 2010

A Militant, Radical and Powerful movement

These following two videos, are compliments of each other. The first one from Naomi Klein, talks about the reasons why we need to create a movement, the new radical left. While the second video, is from an insider’s point of view, Will Potter, an activist who knows very well the impact of the increasingly totalitarian laws designed to crush dissent but also thoughts of dissent.

“We have to build that independent left. It has to be so strong and so radical and so militant and so powerful that it becomes irresistible.”
Naomi Klein


Will Potter of GreenIsTheNewRed talks how eco-campaigners are the new terrorists

Will Potter in this video says, “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act … Non-violent civil disobedience as terrorism if it’s done by animal rights activists”

For a more in-depth look at Will Potter and the connection with AETA : Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act: Ever Heard of It?

Is there a connection between these two things?

Those in power, on all sides of the political spectrum, from the left to the right, it doesn’t matter – the poor, the marginalised, the working class, don’t all see a difference when they feel ignored, and life is getting harder, regardless of who is in charge.

Now, those in power are busy propping up the Wall Street and the banks and financial institutions that caused the GFC (Global Financial Crisis). The bail outs, have let the Masters Of The Universe off the hook, enabling them to keep doing more of the same, pillaging and plundering workers, environment, and consumers, without skipping a beat.

Recent legal efforts – from Arizona’s new racial profiling laws against Mexicans, to the expelling of Roma from France, and the manufactured outrage against a Muslim community centre in New York and the terrorist boat-people in Australia, the crack down on protesters and passers-by in Toronto during the G20 – these are all diverting attention from who is benefiting from this world wide financial crisis by blaming the poorest of the poor, activists who are trying to save lives, and the most marginalised.

Who will stop to ask why business leaders are making millions when it is so easy for fear-mongering shock jocks to the point the finger at Muslims, Hispanics, boat people, Roma, terror-babies, and say “they are the cause of your problems.

Although, it is hardly surprising that those who created global financial meltdown, are now holding their collective hands out, expecting tax payer bailouts, with cries of “we are too big to fail” yet, at the same time, claim they are uniquely qualified to solve this crisis, (yes, the crisis that they created).

But like the magicians sleight of hand trick, your eye follows where the finger points, and you don’t notice what the magicians other hand is doing.

When compassion is criminalised, when vandalism becomes terrorism, when babies are “terror-babies”, reality has been turned on it head.

Activists learn the lesson, step out of line and get punished, severely. This is new and improved McCarthy-era communist hunts, this is the modern age Witch-Hunt.

And like the witch-hunts of old, there were no real witches, in this case, there are no terrorists among the eco-warrirors and animal rights activists. It is all an illusion.

It is time to ask who benefiting?

Who gains an advantage when people who fight to save the lives of enslaved animals, the planet and poor are branded terrorist…..

The capitalist crisis & how to fight it
… it must be emphatically stated that the struggle for socialism and to abolish capitalism requires the building of a revolutionary working-class party, steeped in the theory of Marxism and imbued with its revolutionary spirit.

Feedback welcome.

17 September, 2010

Vegan question of the day….

The question: “why do online vegans spend so much time attacking each other?”

Quite often, I see other vegans saying things like “if someone supports meatless monday, they are suggesting it is ok to eat meat other days”… or “you say don’t eat meat, but what about dairy and eggs?” or something I see a lot more of lately …

“Why is Lady Gaga in her meat dress the centre of outrage, but Cher in her leather gets barely a mention?”

this leads to people blogging at each other, “why do people protest against fur, but when was the last time you saw a protest against leather or wool?”

My response to that is, someone is out there, organising the protests, arranging police permits, dealing with government officials, doing the publicity.

If people don’t like the fur protests, then organise your own leather protest or wool protest.

The have appointed themselves the Judge, Jury and Execution in deciding what is appropriate for other vegans to do. As long as someone is vegan, what business is it of anyone else how they fight for a vegan world.

It is one thing to criticise others, it is another to get out there and do something. And, when there are these people who say ridiculous things to each other like:

The “professional” animal activists are too afraid to say the word vegan.

When there is hyper-surveillance of what other vegans and animal rights activists are doing, they aren’t paying attention to what the animal abusers and exploiters are doing.

People are too scared to say or do anything, because they know the Vegan Big Brother is watching

And Vegan Big Brother is waiting for them to say something they don’t agree with, and then they will correct them.

This Civil War within the online vegan community is become more intense and more vicious by the day.

But, I will keep my head down in the online vegan community, not say anything to attract attention, and just keep doing my thing to talk about veganism, that is all I can do.

This post is not aimed at any particular person or organisation.—————————————————————————————————————

Articles copyright 2010 ‘Vegan Animal Liberation Alliance’. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.
Written by RedGlitter of VALA

Feedback welcome.