Posts tagged ‘animals’

3 April, 2012

What Does Ellen Say About Hunting

I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.
Ellen DeGeneres

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15 March, 2012

Animals give us their babies food, they give us their babies, then they give us their lives… in my opinion.

I was recently involved in a conversation, with a meat-eating environmentalist (who by the way, was well aware of the connection between animal agriculture and green house gases – GHG’s, and knew that animal agriculture contributes more to GHG emissions than all of the transport industries of the world combined).

This person was dismayed that people who believe that climate change is a myth are given equal air-time in the media to express their opinions as someone who has studied climate sciences their entire careers.

How can someone’s opinion be worth the same as years of study? We don’t visit lawyers, doctors, electricians, mechanics then dismiss their knowledge with “in your opinion”.

What came as a surprise was when I said, during the course of the discussion that “I don’t eat honey, that’s baby food”. My friends response was “bees make too much, we’re doing them a favour when we take it”.

I’m sorry? At what point did you get a degree in horticulture, agriculture, apiary, zoology, biology, or whichever -ology studies bees.

I told my friend, that I live on a farm, I have seen the massive decline in bee numbers, and honey is baby bee food, meant to sustain the hive during winter when there are no flowers.

“In your opinion”, she told me.

You live in the city, and I live on a farm, and you are telling me how the birds and the bees works? If you were any more in-the-city, you would be encased in concrete.

So, for someone, like my friend, who has no working knowledge of life outside a concrete jungle to tell someone who has lived on a farm all my life, makes a living from growing produce, and comes from five generations of farmers, and yet what I see around me every day, and studied, is “my opinion”.

Animals don’t produce “too much” of anything. Unless they have been breed selectively, like dairy cows or egg-laying chickens – to produce more than is natural. Nature doesn’t do “too much” of anything.

Cows produce the right amount of milk to feed their babies, and when the babies have grown, they stop producing milk. Which is why baby cows are removed from their mothers soon after birth, so humans can steal their milk.

The same for bees, bees don’t make “too much” honey, they make what they need to keep the hive alive. Honey bees must fly over 55,000 miles to produce just one pound of honey. Break that down, and a worker bee makes less than a quarter of teaspoon during her entire working life. This is not something they make too much of.

This is not my opinion. But it seems, to dismiss someone who we disagree with by saying “that’s your opinion” is an attempt to say that even though they personally have not studied it, they believe they know more than experts, because “that is your opinion, and mine is different”.

But this word GIVE, is a strange one. Bees do not give their babies food to humans, it is stolen.

Cows do not give their babies food to humans, it is stolen, and soon after birth, so is their babies.

pile of dead veal calves, credit: Farm Sanctuary

Chickens do not give their eggs, they do not lay eggs because it is fun, each shell leaches calcium from their body, it is the equivalent of a hen’s period, and if fertilised will become a baby chicken.

The bees, the cows, the hens, do not have the option to “give” anything.

credit: Farm Sanctuary

And when their working life is over, or production drops, or they are born the wrong gender – male baby chicks and male calves are useless to production – they are slaughtered.

“They gave their live, (baby / babies food) so we could eat” – no, they didn’t give. They weren’t given a choice.

Thanks to Animals Australia Unleashed: Chickens

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.

16 August, 2010

Welfare Doesn’t Help Animals

It’s been said many times, that the difference between ‘animal welfare‘ and ‘animal liberation‘ is – welfarists want bigger cages, liberationists want empty cages.

And this is one reason why… (click free range chickens to see what “free range” is in reality).

Words such as “free range” may allow the consumer feel better with sentimentality about chickens roaming the paddock (a New Zealand word for field or pasture) at will, but, how does the egg-laying hen cramped in a barn never seeing sunlight or cow on the way to slaughter agree?

For example, the current campaign in New Zealand, Australia and United Kingdom, to oppose the religious exemptions for humane slaughter. This means animals are being slaughtered without stunning first. It does not matter how well the animal is treated during their unnaturally shorterned life, the use of any animal for any reason for food is cruel and exploitation. Humane slaughter is still SLAUGHTER.

(This religious slaughter is discussed at Ban Religious Slaughter in New Zealand,
and NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT overturns ban on hideously cruel ritual slaughter by Loredana Versaci, two change.org petitions, that are still open for more signatures.)

An abolitionist vegan would say, the world should be vegan, and to support the ban on overturning of exemptions would suggest that any slaughter is acceptable. And to campaign for more humane slaughter is a welfarist position.

A liberationist vegan might say that animals shouldn’t be slaughtered at all, and seek to “liberate” them from their cages. Or perhaps be realistic about a situation and know that until the world goes vegan, to ignore the lack of pre-slaughter stunning inflicts more torture and unnecessary cruelty until then.

Chickens raised for slaughter
Farm Sanctuary's photo streem at Flicker
Source: Farm Sanctuary at Flickr. “Feel free to distribute freely for not-for-profit use, but please credit Farm Sanctuary” (photo linked to Farm Sanctuary, but uploaded at photobucket.

But what is the effect of more “humane” methods of raising animals for food or methods of slaughter? (I am not suggesting there are degrees of humaneness, rather that is how these issues are foisted on consumers)

For the life of an individual animal, it might be bigger cages, or equivalent depending on the animal involved. For all animals it is a set back in terms of the fight for rights.

Shoppers opt for ‘freedom food’ chickens

Sales of the RSPCA’s Freedom Food chicken is up £55 million from £16.4 million to £71.6 million since March last year, compared to a drop of more than £26 million for standard chicken, figures from Kantar Worldpanel show.

The amount of Freedom Food chicken sold in supermarkets increased by more than 15 million kilos, compared to a decrease of 11 million for standard chicken, according to the research.

The result of this “freedom” foods”*, is an increase in the sale of dead chicken body parts, by four million kilos.

This effect of increasing sales due to consumers feeling less guilt is dealt with by Matt Ball, of Vegan Outreach, when he asks the question: Does working for or supporting welfare measures harm the longer-term goal of bringing about liberation?

In this essay, Ball quotes the Brazilian Landless Farmers (Subverting the current system to achieve more democracy): “Expand the floor of the cage before you try to break out.”

Matt Ball takes the position, how would you feel if it was you? In a cage being tortured for day after day. Would you want people agitating for change , no matter how small, and then keep fighting with every incremental change, Or would you prefer to have a hard-line uncompromising absolutist say, if the prisoner cannot be free all the way, then let them suffer until we win their freedom.

Fighting for incremental reforms may make one a “welfarist” (oh the horror!) but what is a label? if that person is still fighting for liberation, something the critics often fail to.

However, the fight must go on, even if reforms are gained, it is not as if liberationists give up the fight, they just know there are other battles, life and death issues that are out there, and will stay out there, until all animals are free, until all cages are empty.

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*Freedom Foods, a label from the RSPCA on animal products. Welfarism in action. Regulating the cruelty, not preventing it.


Feedback welcome.

5 May, 2010

Is Obesity more socially acceptable than being Vegan?

There has been some discussion about this recently, about whether society (or the people/institutions in it) are more tolerant and accepting of an obese person than they are of a vegan. Since the the controversy It’s strange being in the eye of a media storm exploded regarding celebrity blogger Mia Freedman.

As a former fashion magazine editor and columnist, she caused a furor recently on a blog post about “gainers” Gainer blogs: Meet the people who think bigger is better.

Gainers deliberately gain weight, a lot of weight, super morbidly obese, not just lumpy, dumpy, chubby, but skin-melds-with-the-couch obese (so large that they can’t move, because their skin has fused with whatever bed or sofa they are sitting on).

Watching the attacks on Mia Freedman for her totally innocuous comments, from obese people who are offended by their choice to eat themselves to death questioned by someone who looks like she takes care of her health.

The critics went from defending an obese persons lifestyle choice to attacking the writer, Mia Freedman, not what she wrote. These Gainers defended their lifestyle like a mama lion defending her babies.

However as a friend noticed, where are the defenders of Veganism. Vegan get their children removed by government agencies for not feeding children animal products, equating veganism with child abuse, yet the woman at the centre of Mia’s article, is eating herself to death in front of her children.

Which raises the question, in our western society, it’s more acceptable to be Obese than Vegan? (side bar: is there such a thing as obese vegan?)

Vegans tend to be not overweight, I have never met a long term vegan who was over-weight, though some people take up a vegan diet (more correctly termed “strict vegetarian”) for weight-loss, and other are large to start with but gradually the weight comes down. The unofficial theory that has come up in talking with other vegan females about body image is: when you eat proper nutritious food your body settles at the weight it was always suppose to be.

Of course, if someone is super morbidly obese, their eating patterns have become disconnected from what their body is telling them it needs for nutritional requirements. For someone – especially a mother with young children (such as Donna Simpson, the woman at the centre of the article) – to set out to become 700 kilos probably needs some sort of therapy. This woman knows her eating will very likely kill her, leaving her children without a mother, yet, she goes on the internet, and allows strangers to pay to watch her eat.

What I found interesting about the whole Gainers controversy was the overwhelming numbers of fat people, obese people, mostly women, who attacked Mia Freedman for her comments, without taking the time to understand them. They have some kind of Obesity Pride movement going on. Size acceptance. Forcing society to treat people who set out to gain weight as a minority group who have been deprived of their rights. The effect is that super morbidly obese becomes normal. (And the effect this will have on a generation of children obese from birth will be disastrous in terms of health consequences.)

If an obese person is told to buy two plane tickets because they take up two seats, they raise hell like their civil rights have been denied. Hey, people! if you take up two seats, the airline can’t sell the second seat, you are depriving them of income and you act like that is equal to having your right to vote or free speech taken away? And, if you think that is bad, try getting a vegan meal on a flight. Last time I did that, despite ordering and checking, and then double checking, the best I got was “we seem to have misplaced the vegan meal, would kosher do?” well, looking at some kosher slaughtered meat (which causes intense suffering because to the animal, pre-stunning is not allowed) on my vegan tray, I would have to say No! It will not do! And yet the super morbidly obese person two rows ahead of me got full on pampering because they would not shut up about being made to pay for two seats.

Let’s talk about clothes shopping – my local chain store starts their sizes at 10 (Australian 10 = UK 12 = USA 8). All the media focus on is the super morbidly obese complaining they can not find clothes that fit. Not in my experience. I shop in the children’s department to find something that fits, because large chain fashion stores are more interested in catering to their obese customers. Far from not having options, obese people have more options than non-obese.

Yet, when it comes to clothes shopping some obese people act like they are being discriminated against because they have to pay more. If their clothes use up twice the amount of material as average sized clothing, why should they not pay more to reflect that.

Eaten out recently? Plate sizes that banquet sized. Meals that could feed a family of four served to one individual. Meals that contain a weeks worth of salt, sugar, saturated fat. And yes, everything has Fries with That. It’s not Small-Medium-Large anymore, it’s now Large-Extra Large-Super Extra Large. With extra cheese. Ok, now try finding a vegan meal at a chain restaurant.

Vegans are called extreme, have their food choices question, have their motives attacked, compared to “Peta terrorists” (as I heard recently), meanwhile society is being Super-sized, we have given up on the war on obesity. We seem to have accepted that obese is the new normal and instead of looking at ways for people to reach an acceptable healthy weight, we are just making everything bigger.

However, as Adventures Being Vegan shows, vegan is slowly getting the message across. Things are being to change.

Obese-defenders will say that being morbidly obese is a health issue while being vegan is a choice. I’m sorry, but to me it is not a choice. Faced with causing the slaughter of billions of animals for food, clothes, entertainment, porn, Mengeler science “experiments”, cleaning products or personal care products. I don’t see it as a choice.

If you don’t look after your body, where are you going to live?” Donna Aston


Feedback welcome.

8 October, 2009

Animal Experimentation – but it’s for good for everyone


Good scientists, altruistic and noble, good men and women, with only the best interests of their patients at heart. Seeking to find cures for diseases?

White-coat Nazi’s would be a better description.

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was a experiment on poor, black men in Tuskegee Alabama that lasted 40 years (1932-1972), and refused to give treatments even after penicillin was invented.

Even when people tried to bring this issue to attention, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) over ruled them, and continued the experiment. The CDC wanted the Tuskegee study to continue until all the participants were dead.

The experiment only ended when a researcher went public, the spotlight of media attention was the only reason it ended. It is easy to imagine that these experiments would have continued if the media had not have found out.

This happened because the men involved were black and poor. It happened because people in charge did not care about the lives of those who were being experimented on.

People who do experiments on any living being, whether human or non-human, do not care about their patients, and they do not care about making a better society, they do these things because they can. They have a pathological cruelty and total lack of empathy, they do not see others as having any rights to life at all.

Animals and people become mere things, not individuals. The lives of a few are traded for some imagined good for everyone.

And if this is what they can do to people, imagine what they can do to animals, and people who have no rights. They do these things because they can.

If it is outrageous to do this to people, imagine what it is like for animals.

30 June, 2009

21 Stupid Things People Say To Vegans

A collection of things people say to vegans, because sometimes you just have to laugh.

1. The number 1 stupid thing people say is “Where do you get your protein?” Arggghhh! People are not short on protein. If a healthy person eats enough calories on a range of foods, chances are they will meet their protein requirements. However, meat and dairy and eggs contain NO FIBRE, so the most logical reply to that is “Where do you get your fibre?”

2. But Hitler was a vegetarian. And the response is “How is that even relevant?” In online debates, the first person to mention the Holocaust loses, except when it comes to vegetarians and vegans, then Hitler is proof of … who knows what in the minds of people making this point. (And, by the way, NO, he wasn’t.)

3. If we didn’t eat animals first, they would eat us. Elephants, horses, bulls – some of the strongest animals there are, are also vegetarian. 65 Billion animals are killed for food (not counting those killed for other reasons) a year, there are less than 7 billion people on the planet, that’s a sort of disparity in numbers.

Highland cattle

Image via Wikipedia

4. I like animals too… smothered in gravy, next to the mashed potato. Is there anything more moronic? Is there any response to that, except roll your eyes and walk away.

5. If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat? Ok, if God didn’t want us to eat people, why did he make them out of meat. Generally it is the same people who never set food in a place of worship who say this.

6. Oh, I could never be vegan, I like meat too much. How about a rapist saying, Oh I could never stop raping, I like it too much. or A drug addict, Oh I could never stop drugs, I like them too much. or, Oh I could never stop driving way too fast, I like it too much. Just because you like something does not mean that it is good for you, or good for others.

7. But vegetables feel pain too. I saw this on a vegan forum once, a response so brilliant, I wish I could take credit… “I tell you what, I will jab you in the eye with this carrot – let’s see who feels more pain, you or the carrot”. If plants could feel pain, they would have evolved a mechanism for avoid it. And meat eaters are still eating plants, it is just processed through the bodies of animals, so if they really cared about plant-rights they would give up meat.

8. But fish/bees/chickens don’t feel pain. They use this to justify eating fish, honey, eggs. Sometimes it is said by the same people who think vegetables feel pain. Any animal with a central nervous system feels pain, that includes bees and fish. I am at a complete loss where this idea that fish don’t feel pain comes from.

Macro Bee

Image by Antonio Machado via Flickr

9. and 10. On telling someone you don’t eat honey, they may say “Bees aren’t animals” or “but honey comes from flowers“. What? What do you mean, bees aren’t animals? Since when? Of course they are animals, and honey is produced from bee-vomit. They swallow the pollen and partially digest it, then regurgitate it. Honey comes from from flowers in much the same way that steak comes from grass and corn.

11. But god told us to eat animals, it’s in the bible. Well, actually, No, apart from the whole -how accurate is the bible?- debate. Page 1 of the bible, God puts all the good stuff right up front, it’s a long book, he knows some people might get bored and skip pages so, page 1 GEN 1:29 “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”

12. Yeah, but god said, we have dominion over animals. GEN 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” That says dominion, it does not say, “you have dominion, and eat them”. For Christians, god was pretty specific about what he meant for food – Every Tree That Has Fruit With Seed In It. It’s hard to believe that 3 lines later, he would forget to add that part about eating animals.

The Bible

Image via Wikipedia

Besides, the bible also says, Ex 20:13 “thou shall not kill” it is one of the 10 commandments. It is actually number 6, why it is not in the top five commandments, is a debate for theologists. For people who believe in the literal translation of the bible (eg, the earth is 6000 years old, stone the homosexuals) seem to twist and turn this very basic commandment to mean whatever they want it to mean.

13. Animals were raised for food, to not eat them is disrespectful. How about all those children in Third World countries, that were sold into slavery or make 20C a day making sports shoes, to not buy them would be disrespectful. Or all those women who are abuses and raped in porn movies, to not watch them would be disrespectful. The animals didn’t raise themselves to be eaten or raped to produce milk, people did that, and they did it for money! It is only disrespectful to large multinational corporations that have their profits as a main concern and not your health, the planet’s health, or the animals welfare in mind.

14. Animals give their life for food, when I eat them I give thanks to their spirit and honour them. Ok, to be perfectly clear, animals don’t GIVE anything, they have their lives STOLEN from them, they have no say, they have no choice. And whether you give thanks or not, they are still just as dead, slaughtered, murdered. I would like to murder your child and cook ’em up in the deep fry, would that be ok, as long as I gave thanks and honoured their spirit? No? Really? What a surprise.

15. A wise native man told me once, that is the circle of life, we eat animals and when we die, our bodies are returned to the earth and animals eat us. Ok, I will give you this one, you are only allowed to eat your body weight worth of worms, bugs, insects, maggots and bacterial slime in the entire course of your life time. Fair trade? But sheep, cows, chickens, pigs being vegetarian animals are off the menu, they would not eat you, so they are not part of your life circle.

CAT combine harvester

Image via Wikipedia

16. What about all those animals killed in the combine harvester, so in fact, vegans cause more deaths than meat eaters. Most grain in this world is feed to animals raised for food. U.S. Could Feed 800 Million People With Grain That Livestock Eat, Cornell Ecologist Advises Animal Scientists. So if someone cares so much about the mice and locusts that get killed during harvesting, they should stop eating meat and animal products as a first step.

16. If we didn’t hunt animals, the world would be over run by all the lambs and chickens and coyotes that we don’t eat. If animals weren’t breed for food, they wouldn’t be breed. Farmers don’t raise animals for fun, they do it for profit, if there is no profit, they won’t do it. And as for animals like deer, kangaroo, foxes, coyotes, these animals only appear to be over-running the suburbs with their increased populations because we are now putting subdivisions and roads in their homes. We are taking their land, there have no where else to go.

17. Fur is green, and leather is warm, by wearing animal skins we are keeping cheap synthetics out of the landfill. Fur is not green, it is the skin of a slaughtered animal, which takes masses amounts of chemicals to process, or it would decompose, like all dead bodies. And if land used to raise natural fibres was not being used to raise animal, there would be no problems.

18. I would be vegan, but I like ice-cream too much. So, give up everything except ice-cream. If ice-cream is the one thing stopping you from being vegan, why are you still eating meat, cheese, cream, honey, eggs?

19. My neighbours, cousins, brother-in-laws, sisters boss was a vegan once, and got very very sick, ate a steak and felt better. Ok that is anecdotal and if you don’t actually know this person, does that count? Most people I know eat animal products, and they get very very sick with cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes.

20. “If I go vegan, I’ll get weak, pale and ill” or “vegans are hard core terrorists“. Well, were you pale to start with? Make up your mind, violent and aggressive or weak and pale.

21. It’s my right to eat animals, wear animals, experiment on animals. Your rights stop where another life is affected, you don’t have the right to kill, abuse, torture, slaughter, any living creature, that is not a right.


Feedback welcome.