Archive for October, 2010

28 October, 2010

Ok, so you’re vegan – but do you eat people?

Food additives can refer to a lot of things – flavours, colours, emulsifiers, preservatives… these can be known by their chemical name or their E-number.

For example – E120 is cochineal, E901 is beeswax, E621 is MSG (for a full list, and vegans get into the habit of scanning food labels to find those additives that are animal derived.

However, there is one additive that is derived from humans, E920 (L-Cysteine) which is produced from human hair.

E920 is an amino acid and is used as an improving agent in flour-based products.

It is used as a ‘dough improver’ or ‘bread improver’. The L-Cysteine is added to the ingredients during the mixing process prior to baking. During mixing, it reacts with a protein in wheat. As the original L-Cysteine amino acid is not present in the final product, by law there is no requirement to list it as an ingredient.
Vegetarian Network Victoria

It is also used in the manufacture of cigarettes, as well as the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries (one of its names is Keratin)

Traditionally L-Cysteine has been sourced from feathers, pig bristles, but one of the richest sources is Human Hair.

And China, has an entire industry devoted to producing L-Cysteine from human hair.

The amino acid is extracted from the hair and feathers using a fermentation process involving a mutant strain of Escherichia coli (E.coli).

So while VEGANs are very conscious about avoid animal products, the manufacturing industries continue to find new ways to put animal derived ingredients in products, and now, there are human-byproducts to be aware of.

Food for vegans: fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains.... and HUMAN HAIR? ...

Food for vegans: fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains.... and HUMAN HAIR?

18 October, 2010

Abolitionist Vegan Bullying

After my previous post (Vegan On Vegan Bullying), describing some of the online bullying I have seen within the animal rights “community” in general, I received a range of comments at @redglitterx, the strangest from someone who identifies as abolitionist vegan was “bullying has always happened, so what is the big deal?”

This update on my previous post is my reaction to that absurd comment.

I find this strange for one particular reason, this abolitionist vegan wants to “re-educate” the world to go vegan, this abolitionist vegan thinks “if you use mean words you aren’t vegan”, this abolitionist vegan is one of the most vilest people online, with the hatred she pours all over those she regards as “violent welfarists” (ie: violent welfarist is what they call people who don’t agree that abolitionists are the one true way).

Someone should slap this woman upside the head, not me of course, I believe in peace-love-and-kumbayah will solve the worlds probelms.

These people want the world to change in how animals are regarded as tools of the capitalist State. They want people to be educated out of treating animals as property, they want the cruelty, exploitation and abuse of animals to stop. …. But they are happy to inflict cruelty, bullying, and abuse of people?

Why do these abolitionist vegans think they will get the world to treat animals with respect and dignity when they treat humans as garbage, as pawns, as nothing, as toys to be abused.

You can’t expect people to change hundreds of centuries of behaviour that says abuse of animals is acceptable, and then say, “but bullying has always happened, so why is it an issue?”

I have no opinion either way, abolitionist or everyone else… however, the only nastiness from other vegans I personally have experienced has been from “abolitionists”… some of the most vile of comments, from threats to my family, trying to send me online porn (love those spam filters!) and racist taunts.

Although I would like to believe there are some good abolitionists out there, my past experience with them has been less than pleasant.

I don’t understand the need those people feel driven to be so divisive, but deliberately setting out to inflict hurt against other vegans, is not a productive way to win animal rights.

Oh yeah… “animal rights” that’s what we are here for…. isn’t it?

12 October, 2010

Vegan on Vegan Bullying

There is an growing movement within Vegan Animal Rights to talk about “education” as being the ONLY way to achieve animal liberation and freedom from slavery for animals.

However, this education quite often takes on many forms – from harassing vegetarians and those deemed “less than pure” to retweeting Dear Leaders ramblings about “education” and “non-violence” and thinking that because they throw the words Peace and Non-violence around, like throwing bird seed at weddings, that are somehow themselves more peaceful and non-violent.

This obsession with non-violence is a strange form of hypocrisy, given the absolute horrific way they bully everyone else, it is on par with sunday-christians, who are also the meanest, vilest people on the planet for 6 days a week, but say that their behaviour is acceptable, as they attend a Church on sundays. This is NOT education, this is bullying.

They have completely changed what Animal Liberation or Abolitionist Vegan means. To these people, animal liberation has become the new peace movement, and the animals have become irrelevant.

The only reason the way animals are used and abused comes into conversation as a tactic to bully and torment others.

Would this behaviour be acceptable in other rights, justice or freedom movements? For example, would people fighting for gay rights harass people who identify as gay, and yet, choose to not wear rainbows and be gentle and kind to straight people? Would Black or Asian community leaders berate and insult other Blacks or Asians for having white friends? Would Pacific Islanders demand that other Pacific Islanders spend all their online time harassing Islanders who don’t conform to some arbitrary idea of what it means to be Islander?

This is not a legitimate use of our time.

This harassment of non-vegans is counter productive – has insulting anyone ever caused them to change their minds about anything? And the harassment, abuse, tormenting, singling out and abusing other vegans is BULLYING.

Even more shocking, this vile, nasty behaviour tends to come from those who claim they are doing it in the name of “non-violence”.

Does it ever seem strange to them, that they claim “mean words are violence, and violence is not vegan” yet, in the very next breathe, harass, insult, slander, and bully other vegans. This is what passes as “non-violence” in your world?

If you upset them, or don’t agree with them, they resort to leaking your personal details, such as your real world phone number, or address over the online communities, they contact real world friends, family, bosses, they contact your children and threaten them or send them sexually explicit material. You cannot hide once they have decide that You (rather than animal abusers) are the Enemy.

This is a simplistic world view, such as that espoused by George W Bush, in his response to terrorism – “you are with us or against us”. Forgive me, for not liking you, or agreeing with you, but since when does that mean I am “against” you?

I pity these people, they must still be stuck in High-School-World, where they were once dissed by the popular kids and have never gotten over it.

These bullies are not only a disgrace to Animal Rights, they are a disgrace to human beings.

4 October, 2010

When peaceful revolution becomes impossible

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable
John F Kennedy

When I read this, I always think the that this quote should read “those who make peaceful reSolution impossible…” but this is only version of the quote I can find.

To me, this means, when you squash all avenues for people to express grievances, when you strip away a communities or persons rights, and give them no recourse to address imbalances in justice, those feelings of injustice won’t go away. They might be crushed for a moment, but they will end up exploding in revolution that in unstoppable.

Unfortunately, with the fight for animal rights, those who are the most vulnerable, are also those with no voice. It is up to people to take up the fight on their behalf.

The peaceful revolution (or the peaceful resolution) has been made impossible, activists are being locked in prisons and raided by the police and law enforcement agencies through out the world.

So, why are these some animal rights activists who insist on fighting for “peace” and pretending they are fighting for animal rights?

Why are so many animal rights activists not angry about the way animals are being treated, they express no outrage, no anger, no desire to fight… instead they are “correcting the behaviour” of other animal rights activists.

The peaceful revolution has been crushed not only by the State, the law, the animal abusing industries who profit from exploitation, brutality and cruelty – the peaceful revolution has been roadblocked by others who call themselves Animal Rights Activists, yet talk only about peace and not animal liberation.

The peaceful revolution is impossible, that leaves one alternative….

3 October, 2010

Why Vegan SICs (Single Issue Causes) Deserve Support

Edited 29/11 to add: there has been a lot of accusation about recently over this piece, things like, I support happy meat …ah- for the illiterate who said that, I do not support “happy meat” hence this video I made:

For the abolitionist who said, I am misrepresenting and am inaccurate – I am not aligned with any side, You – as an abolitionist may disagree, but since I am not “representing” abolitionism, I can hardly “mis-represent” it. And rather than blather on to other people about how inaccurate (huh?) it is, how about leave a comment and tell me Where! it is inaccurate – oh wait, I forgot, you are an abolitionist, all you do is criticise and bully anyone who doesn’t think exactly like you. You have no desire to engage with anyone who isn’t part of your little clique or debate or defend your ideas, your idea of “vegan education” is to insult and call people “wrong” but since you haven’t ever learned to think for yourself, you can’t explain Why! someone is wrong, unless your Leader tells you first What! to think.

So go pray to your cult leader and maybe when you are perfect then I will accept your judgment of me.

Single Issue Cause, or as abbreviated SICs, are often the feature of mockery amongst animal rights advocates. But there are valid reasons why I support them.

The people who criticise others for not doing everything, are often those who don’t even attempt to do anything, in case they in turn are criticised for not doing everything.

When I hear certain vegans saying silly little things such as “people are always organising Anti-Fur demos, but never Anti-Leather demos” or “why do people have campaigns to “Save the Whales” but never “Save the Cows” whats the difference?” or “Meat free monday tells people that it is okay to eat meat on the rest of the week”.

Or they harass without mercy vegetarians as being corpse-eaters, because any animal used for food, the suffering of dairy cows and egg-laying hens, as well as the male calves and chicks being slaughtered as useless to the industry means there is blood on the mouths of vegetarians.

Often these are the same people that leap to the defence of such “vegan” celebrities as Alicia Silverstone, who eats eggs and dairy, saying they are doing a good job, and what is a little dairy. Although her ads for PeTA have been for Vegetarian campaigns, never vegan.

However, in the war against cruelty and exploitation of animals, it seems to me, a bit naive to expect the entire world population of over 6-billion people to go vegan instantly.

In the meantime, animals are still be exploited and continue to abused and treated with cruelty.

As an activist, I have seen people who would step in front of an exploding harpoon to save a whale from a Japanese whaler, yet continue to eat chicken and pork. I have seen people who can write passionate online essays in defence of veganism, yet continue to own stock in pharmaceutical companies and in companies that have palm oil plantations in Sumatra. I have seen people who make movies about the fur-trade, and yet, turn to abolitionist vegans who spend every minute online decrying anyone who promotes “anti-fur” as being a SIC and therefore welfarist.

I have found it is often those who come to veganism quite late in life who are the most harshest judges of other people, possibly thinking, “If I can make the connection, then they should as well”. And yet, while they are so preoccupied promoting peace and violence hoping it will lead to veganism, they often neglect to show empathy and compassion to other humans. (And sometimes very little to the animals, their veganism sometimes presents as “I’m perfect, why aren’t you?” instead of seeking to end cruelty and exploitation of all animals).

What is wrong with engaging people with the causes they are passionate about and then encouraging them to extend their compassion wider?

I’m fighting a war against exploitation and cruelty, I’m fighting against some of the largest industries in the world, killing animals is extremely lucrative, and fighting for animals is only lucrative for those who are prepared to sell out.

So if someone wants to take some of the load off my shoulders and organise an Anti-Fur protest, I will say: good, thank you. …

I will not ask them to also organise an anti-leather, anti-wool, anti-silk, anti-suede rally… and then because cruelty goes beyond clothes, I must also ask them to organise an anti-vivisection, anti-meat, anti-dairy, anti-egg, anti-honey, anti-whaling, anti-tuna, anti-logging in Sumatra protest, anti-circus, anti-zoo, anti-horse racing, anti-rodeo protest… and then because vegan means anti-violence and pro-feminism and pro-LGBT, I will be asking them to organise an anti-violence protest and pro-feminist rally and pro-lesbian-gay-bi-trans march… at this point if we are still friends, their likely response will be “go to hell”.

How do you complete a walk of 10,000 kilometres? One step at a time.

Single Issue Causes, are a way of connecting with others who are just taking steps into learning about animal cruelty, and treating them with hostility and disdain, is nothing short of bullying on our part and diminishes us as human beings, and possibly alienates potential vegans. It is nasty, it is bullying and this harassment of part-vegetarians and welfarists needs to be reexamined. We should work on encouraging them to either take up the vegan cause or leave them alone.

Does bullying ever work to gain true believers?

Single Issue Causes raise awareness of issues with people who are yet to make a connection. You never know what it will be that triggers someone to finally see that the food on their plate used to be a living being and the clothes on their back use to have a life. To a meat-and-dairy eating, leather wearing individual, they have little interest in the politics of welfare v rights, abolition v liberation; they only see a movement full of nasty, brutal, hate-filled people who have no empathy for anyone who isn’t exactly like them.

Is this the first-impression that we as vegans and animal rights activists want to present? No, really, is it?

Harassment of Single Issue Cause activists, implies you know them intimately and know every single detail of their lives. Exactly how do the critics of single issue cause know that the people who speak out against fur on one day aren’t out there promoting veganism on the other 364 days of the year? How does it promote animal rights to hate on others that are trying to make a difference – and what are you doing to end exploitation and cruelty to others, besides spreading it to other humans.

To suggest that someone who is fighting a single-issue cause is not also fighting every other cause when they can find 2 minutes to take a breath is arrogant and judgmental.

Sometimes, when real animals are suffering, for example, a round-up of wild brumbies (horses) is immanent or duck-hunting season is about to open, do we debate the theories of speciesism or do we take up this single issue cause and fight for these animals. In cases like this, some activists might put aside their promoting of vegan education, and fight for animals who are about to die. Sometimes the way to prevent the deaths of real animals is to make alliances with non vegans and non animal rights people. And then you can debate theory afterwards.

How do you build the Great Wall of China? One brick at a time.

Also, for a movement that is constantly redefining itself as being all-movements (peace, non-violence, feminist, pro-LGBT, anti-agist, differently-abled, anti-slavery…. it is also strangely middle-class, white, urban, Buddhist, consumerist and elitist, and extends harassment to anyone who doesn’t match that criteria… see Suburban Vegans… Sydney vegans say ‘Forget You!’).

Most people work, have friends, family, volunteer, play sport, do housework, not everyone has the opportunity to spend all day, everyday online. And so, maybe all they can do it one or two issues that particularly touch their hearts. Who am I to criticise them for that?

I would no more criticise someone for focusing on a single issue, than I would criticise a 6year old just learning to read for not completing War And Peace, or criticise a toddler just learning to walk for not completing a marathon.

Single issues might be a way for someone new to activism to start to learn how to campaign. By starting with one issue, and learning as they go, they will soon get to know others, network, support, share, and be exposed to different ideas.

Focusing on one cause at a time, might also be a way to help groups or individuals when what seems like an over-whelming task – of re educating the entire population of the world about veganism. Fight one battle, win it, and move on. Rather than be paralysed at the enormity of the task in trying to reach over 6-billion people, activists start with what they can do, and complete it, freeing their mind, energy, emotions, money for the next task.

Single Issue Causes also can harness the activists working in local communities. I live over 500 kilometres from the ocean, trying to get locals interested in the plight of sea turtles might come across as being out-of-touch with the needs of local residents. On the other hand, talking about local issues that have an effect on the lives of people in my community might be the first time some of people in my town have thought about these issues.

And the reverse would apply, there would be people that live on the beach that love to fish, but also care about the conservation of sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and penguins, do we say to these people – you have no right to be an activist, because we say so, only vegans are allowed to care about issues? How arrogant does that sound.

These complex and entangled roots feed our sense of disaffection and have bred the burgeoning single interest movement. Membership of political parties may have been in decline for decades but the number of people who can boast about their presence on a political march or their membership of a single issue group has done the opposite. The single issue has become the antidote to political apathy.
Apolitical animal? The rise of the single issue

Modern animal rights activists are not merely opposing single issue causes related to animals, they are opposing People are have different opinions that don’t matched their “every cause at once”.

They are quietly and subtly reworking the definition of vegan as “The animal rights movement is a new peace movement; a peace movement that includes all beings” – Gary Francione. … How long will it be, before veganism is an option in this reworked Peace Movement, or is Mr Francione positioning himself to be not only the father of Animal Rights (Donald Watson, you are irrelevant) but also the father of peace?

This kind of approach does not seem to be about making life better for the majority of living being on the planet, it seems to be about controlling the behaviour of a few followers.

The reliance of some vegans on “education” as a tactic, sounds eerily like Stalinist Gulags or North Korean “re-education camps”, it focuses on changing how people think, rather than the alleviating the suffering of those being exploited.

The fight to end the cruelty, exploitation and brutality against the animals of the world is overwhelmingly large, lets accept allies where ever they are.

2 October, 2010

Put the ACT in Activism

The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what a man or woman is able to do that counts. —Booker Washington

What is your passion?

What is it that gets you up everyday?

What can keep you awake all night and not feel tired the next day?

What drives you on each day, especially when you think you cannot give any more, and then you Know you can?

What is the one thing you do because you Have to do it, and know that you can’t Not do it?

If you can answer these you know what you have to do, you know what direction you want to go in… so what is holding you back.

What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

What would you do if you knew you would fail 99 times, and get up each time in order to succeed on the 100th? and not feel defeated by failure, instead be inspired to try harder each time.

Once you have identified your passion, stick with it, no matter what. Never let anything get in your way, never take No for an answer.

When you know what you want, work out how to get there.

Nothing happens by accident, what looks like luck, is often the result of hard work, or sucking up to the right people.

Put the work in, and you will begin to see achievements.

Be consistent – often success is the result of not giving up, and sticking with something long after others give up.

Never settle for second-best. Never compromise.

If we don’t take action now
We settle for nothing later
Settle for nothing now
And well settle for nothing later
– Rage Against The Machine, Settle For Nothing

Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by pointless soap opera dramas designed to keep you focused on irrelevant personality debates rather than the fight. Recognise this when it happens and say ‘tell it to someone else’.

The fight for animal rights, is like a war, you fight it one battle at a time, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but the side who wins the war is the one that refuses to give up.

Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.

Sometimes you have to kiss ass before you can kick ass.

But as long as each step takes you close to your goal, keep going. If a step takes you away from your goal, stop and change direction.

Know what you want, know that nothing will stop you, know that the fight is hard but the prize is worth it.

1 October, 2010

Thank you Animal Rights people

Online animal rights people inspire me more and more each day. When I see what other people are doing, in real life and online, it simply inspires me to push myself further.

Together we can win the fight for animal rights, because together we are strong.

And, THANK YOU to the people who click “share” to share my posts, it is much appreciated.

1 October, 2010

31 days of Animal Rights Activism

You are either an activist or an inactivist.
~ The Cove (2009) Documentary about Japan’s secret slaughter of dolphins

In solidarity with Russian protesters and in honour of Strategy 31 activists, I will be participating in the local version – Activism 31.

This just means, every day for the month of October, I will joining others in my area participating in actions that supports their causes. Not every action will be my causes, but I will join with others to support them, for social justice and human rights, not just animal rights, and in return they have committed to support me.

By supporting each other, we can be stronger, grow our network, weave the web of activism amongst local communities, we can all get stronger.

Strategy 31 is a growing movement in Russia, and now spreading to other world cities – London, New York, Toronto and Tel Aviv. It is a series of protests to support the Article 31 of the Russian constitution, which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.

The protesters have attracted many Russians who have never before dared speak out against their government, showing a bravery of defiance of their government that some activists in western countries are yet to emulate.

One act of civil disobedience among protesters is to write “31” on the palm of their hand while attending protests, in defiance of the government crackdown on support of Strategy 31.

Beginning on 31 July 2009, and held on the 31st of every month with 31 days, protesters have gather in Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow and is supported by a number of human rights organisations.

Every one of the Stategy-31 actions since it commenced has been refused permission by the authorities on the grounds that other activities were planned to take place… These “counter-actions” included the “Choose Health, Be Like Us!” festival (July 31, 2009), a youth sports festival (August 31, 2009), the “Division” military-sports festivity (October 31, 2009), an action of the pro-Kremlin “Young Russia” movement (December 31, 2009), and the “Winter Amusements” festivity (January 31, 2010). Each of the Strategy-31 actions was dispersed by regular and riot police and accompanied by large-scale detentions of participants and passers-by.
… The strategy 31 action on 31 May 2010… was dispersed with “exceptional cruelty”, with over 100 arrests.

This “exceptional cruelty” included hitting an 82 year old woman, Lyudmila Alexeeva on the head shouting “Still alive, you old bitch?” at the 31 March protests.

So, If anyone has any actions they want participants for, if its local I will hold a sign and hand out leaflets, if it on the other side of the world, I will sign your petition and email politicians.

For more about Strategy 31: What is Strategy 31? by Maryana Torocheshnikova