Category: South America

Week 32 Tapir Specialist Group (Brazil)

vego hello

I have mentioned before that people react in strange ways when they find out you are vego…it starts to wear as thin as pay outs on Collingwood supporters.  After nearly finishing this post I discovered there is a new book about it.

Richard Cornish’s book ‘My Year Without Meat’ was discussed on 774 ABC Drive today. He found that in Australia many people ‘hate vegetarians and have no respect for people who choose to sit outside the dominant paradigm‘. Is it discomfort from seeing people who choose to live by their conscience instead of feigning ignorance? Fear of change? Guilt or just mob mentality?  I am not sure but I personally got another trifecta today, so I am going back over old ground.

If people are willing to criticise those who chose not to eat meat, and defend their right to eat whatever they please, they should also be willing to watch documentaries such as Earthlings and Cowspiracy with their eyes wide open and know exactly what it is that they are supporting.  

If they still go on to tell you how much they love animals…

                                                                   …  run  …

…they are clearly a sociopath!


…there’s the defensive approachI absolutely love animals but I could never be vego – I tried it once but I’m a special case, my body needs MEAT!

Well, my body tells me it needs beer and chips too, but I think it just might be more a case of want, rather than need.  During exercise it is usually the mind that cops out before the body, and I think with most failed diets it is the same.


…there’s the fatalistic approach – It’s natural, survival of the fittest, always been done that way etc etc.

Well, cannibalism (see week 30) and/or infanticide have also featured strongly in most cultures for most of human history.  Things can, and should change as our empathy and understanding evolve.


…there’s the taste/convenience approach –  It is too hard to be vego and I don’t have enough time.  I couldn’t live without ____.

I agree it takes a bit more planning but it is getting easier and easier and yummier and yummier.  There are many pre-made vegetarian options now available – ok, many are quite processed, but at least the ingredients are listed there.  There is nothing natural about most of the meat we are sold either but all the crap that has gone into that isn’t listed on the label…imagine if your meat came with a true list of ingredients , it could look something like this:

GMO soy (from the Amazon); GMO corn (whatever is left over after making bio-diesel); ground up offal, fat and feathers; faeces; antibiotics; growth promoting hormones; vitamins; minerals; preservatives. 


…there’s the frankly pathetic approach – ‘Aww, but what about poor plants, they have feelings too’.

Yes I have no doubt that they do – I feel guilty cutting off a broccoli stem, or pulling out a lettuce.  I understand the motivation of ethical fruitarians who only want to consume what falls from plant without harming the plant itself.  However for a meat eater to come out with this line is just stupid.  Most of the animals we eat have a a central nervous system like ours which we clearly know is capable of experiencing extreme pain and fear as well as concern for our offspring and ourselves.  Also the animals we eat eat plants to grow big and strong.  They eat a lot more to make the meat that we eat than we would need directly to make our own meat ourselves.  So people who care about plants REALLY should be vego.  Or fruitarian.  Or breatharian.


…there’s the logical leap of faith approach – S/he got sick=Must be because they are vegetarian.

Just ignore all the healthy vegos and the sick trenchermen out there and this theory is absolutely, very, almost, just about watertight.


noun, plural trenchermen.

a person who has a hearty appetite; a heavy eater.

Archaic. a hanger-on; parasite.


…there’s also the attack is the best defence approach You smug, tofu munching hippies are killing the AMAZON!! My diet is better because I won’t eat soy!!   Oh, really?


Few of us are aware how much soy we eat. A typical beef burger can contain meat raised on soy meal, margarine containing soy, mayonnaise with soy lecithin and soy additives in the bread bun.

Soy is used as an ingredient in many baked and fried products, as well as margarine, in frying fats, or bottled as cooking oil. Lecithin derived from soy is one of the most common additives in processed foods, found in anything from chocolate bars to smoothies.

Around 75% of soy worldwide is used for animal feed, especially for poultry and pigs.

19% processed for its by-products including lecithin and soy oil which is used both as a consumable and a growing source of biodiesel.  Not to mention being the base of choice for fancy scented candles

6% of soybeans are used directly as food, mainly in Asian countries such as China, Japan and Indonesia. Whole beans may be eaten as a vegetable, or crushed and incorporated into tofu, tempeh, soya milk or soy sauce.

The amazon is being clear felled to grow soy to feed animals and produce increasing amounts of bio-diesel.  They didn’t build the BR-163 ‘soy highway’  for the benefit of us vegos, but if you want to be double sure, make sure your soy products don’t contain beans from Brazil.
Part of the 1,700km long BR-163 ‘Soy Highway’ which runs through the heart of the Amazon basin.
People seem to spend more time worrying about what I put into my body than what they put into theirs. Weird old world, hey!

Lucky being vego rocks!



From one vego to another, I want to say cheers to tapirs!  These ancient rainforest dwellers need all the help they can get.

Tapirs look something like pigs with trunks, but they are actually related to horses and rhinoceroses. This eclectic lineage is an ancient one—and so is the tapir itself. Scientists believe that these animals have changed little over tens of millions of years.

Tapirs have a short prehensile (gripping) trunk, which is really an extended nose and upper lip. They use this trunk to grab branches and clean them of leaves or to help pluck tasty fruit. All four tapir species are endangered or threatened, largely due to hunting and habitat loss.


About Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative – Brazil

Promoting the research and conservation of lowland tapirs and their remaining habitats in Brazil

2004 – Harry Messel Conservation Leadership Award, IUCN
2008 – Golden Ark Award, Golden Ark Foundation, Netherlands
2008 – Whitley Award, Whitley Fund for Nature, UK
2011 – DICE Research Prize, Kent University, UK

Lets fill the world with more tapirs, more love and less hate.

good samaritan

Every little bit counts…whoever did this is wonderful, the extra nice thing is that lots of people left the $10 in the envelope for someone needier than them…


Week 17 Los Cedros Reserve (Ecuador)

While Panama with its paper trail sends shockwaves through the rest of the world, poor beautiful Ecuador is reeling terribly from another kind.

The coastal area and its inhabitants are suffering the most from the recent earthquakes.  Meanwhile the inland Andean and Amazonian areas are silently suffering their own tragedy and theirs could be largely avoided.



Some pressures facing these most biodiverse areas on earth include logging, mining, poaching and clearing for farmland.

Enough food can be produced to feed the world population until at least 2050 without the need to further clear forests for farmland, according to new research.

Diet key to feeding the world in 2050 without further deforestation, modelling suggests.

And as for the other issues, are they the result of need…or just greed?

Reserva Los Cedros (The Cedars?)ridges through clouds

Los Cedros Biological Reserve consists of 17,000 acres of wet tropical forest and cloud forest.  It is a forest and wildlife reserve that was founded in 1988 with the purchase of the first land holding. The Los Cedros Reserve provides habitat for monkeys, bears, armadillos, pumas and jaguars.  It is studied by scientists from around the world.  This land was strategically chosen to halt the colonisation, poaching an illegal logging that have been undermining the adjacent Cotocachi-Cayapas national park.  This region contains the most diverse forest on earth.

This establishment of Los Cedros was made possible with the help of numerous individuals and organisations.  We would like to thank … especially the Rainforest Information Centre of Australia.

The rainforest who??  This is the first time I have heard of the RIC, but I have just visited their site and wow!

I love this 52 week challenge of discovery.  Yesterday morning I didn’t even know Los Cedros existed, now it already has a place in my heart… I found it after following many Google breadcrumb trails, most of which began and ended with Ecuadorean ‘voluntourism’ sites.  Many of these ‘charities’ seem to exist just for the sake of earning the ready cash of foreign voluntourists. (One other did stand out as being legitimate and worthwhile, but I thought they probably had their expenses covered pretty well:

The good news is, if voluntourism is your thing, you can also do this at Los Cedros, information is available directly on their site.


I found it hard to find a way to donate to them, but at last found this, though it will expire in June 2016.

Los Cedros Fund 2016

What We Need

We need to raise $5,000 immediately to be able to re-survey the boundaries of the reserve and for our staff to have the living expenses to be able to travel to Ibarra and Quito to meet with government officials to advocate for the integrity of the reserve.

Patrol must be hired to assist the community members who watch the trails for illegal logging and hunting.

We also need to maintain all that we have built to house volunteers, researchers and tourists that are the backbone of the monthly support for the reserve’s management.

All donations are tax-deductible for Australians…So this is how to get some tax dollars spent on the environment at last!


Birdy says thank you.  From coast to mountains, I wish for the very best for you, Ecuador.

Week 9 Earthrace Conservation (Argentina/International)

According to the above news article, two endangered Franciscan dolphins were swimming near an Argentinian resort last week when they were taken from the water and “manipulated by tourists to photograph.”

Footage shared by Vida Silvestre and local news sources shows a mob of tourists passing around one of the tiny dolphins, while swarming to take photos of it and with it.

“One of them ended up dying,” … “Like other dolphins, they can not stay long out of the water because its thick skin provides internal heat, quickly causing dehydration and death.” 

There isn’t much that humans won’t destroy to make their Facebook friends jealous, it seems. 

Wake up people! No animals are objects for your entertainment.

It is too late for this individual dolphin, but how best to help others? I researched and originally  planned to donate to Vida Silvestre, which was once an independent conservation organisation in Argentina, but it is now an arm of WWF.

I have just read Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything and am quite sus on larger conservation organisations as it seems they are very often having a threesome in which conservation is the minor partner, kicked down amongst the foot sweat at the bottom of the bed, while corporate industry  (that members of the board often have a history with) gets the Fairtrade chocolates on the pillow.

It seems that 75% of WWF spending goes on sometimes good, sometimes questionable projects, while 25% is blown on fundraising and admin expenses.  This ratio is considered acceptable by charity industry standards (make no mistake, charity IS an industry), but I think I could make better use of my wasted 25% or $13, thank you very much!…maybe I could ‘save the enviroment’ by buying a cask of wine instead?!…

-3L SlimCasks are equal to 4x750mL glass bottles, so there is less material used.
-Reducing environmental footprint – It takes 11 trucks to carry the same number of empty bottles as 1 truck of flattened 3L SlimCasks to our winery.
-That represents an 11-fold reduction in fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions to ship the 3L SlimCasks.
-There is less potential for breakage both in-store and at home.
-Less energy is used to produce the cardboard and oxygen-proof inner bag than with the production of glass.

I’ll drink to that! Emoji Just ignore the unrecyclable plastic bag and voila!! I’m an eco-warrior without having to sacrifice anything!!  See how good it feels to be greenwashed 😉 (Pats self on back and drives to distant shop where casks are $1 cheaper)

Sorry! Just like poor sea creatures are being dazed and confused by the increasing man-made noise in the oceans, I’ve also veered off from the most important subject of this whole sad story.

I am sorry little dolphin, may your death in the name of vanity not have been in vain.




Earthrace Conservation: Argentina

I can’t believe I feel I need a disclaimer before making a donation…but I am finding the deeper I look at many charities, the deeper the quagmire of questions…arrghhhhhh!!! 

Disclaimer: Earthrace is a frontline activist organisation run by former Sea Shepherd volunteer and captain, Paul Bethune. Paul Bethune was the captain of the Ady Gil, the beautiful black trimaran used by Sea Shepherd at the time of its much covered 2010 collision with a Japanese whaling boat.

I remember my response at the time was horror at their allowing such a generous donation to be destroyed so quickly. It felt even worse than the time I left my tricycle in the driveway and dad ran over it and said ‘that’ll learn ya to be more careful with your things’.  It did learn me good too, but I am not so sure that Sea Shepherd took home the same message…

A recent court finding, following a case brought by their cheesed off benefactor, Mr Ady Gil, has revealed some terrible behaviour was perpetrated by Sea Shepherd: the deliberate sinking of the damaged vessel after the accident.  That is even worse than wasting a cask of wine or a tricycle.

Disclamation of Disclaimer: However. In spite of such apparent news-coverage hungry insanity, Sea Shepherd and Earthrace do a lot of good on the frontline that most organisations are unable or unwilling to do. 

So with my goon glass half full, this week I am choosing to support the Argentinian chapter of Earthrace. 

Earthrace Argentina

Protecting the oceans and their species.

Killing the captive industry
There are two remaining aquariums in South America that will be targeted with campaigns to encourage the public not to pay to visit them.

Mundo Marino in Buenos Aires holds 13 dolphins as well as lonely killer whale, Kshamenk, who has been held in this tiny pool, since being ‘rescued’ from a stranding in 1992.

Shocking shark fin record
While Argentina banned the removal of shark fins at sea in 2009, it still manages to hold a shocking 5th position in the world ranking for exporting shark fin.

That’s not good and our Argentina crew plan on doing plenty in the next year to get this country off the list of those dealing in shark fin altogether.

Beach clean up in San Isidro
Fernando and the crew have also been busy cleaning up local beaches in San Isidro.

Buenos Aires Zoo ’embrace’
In December 2014, Earthrace Argentina joined a huge protest at the Buenos Aires Zoo after an employee revealed the terrible treatment of animals there including neglect, starvation and hidden deaths.

Earthrace has international chapters and features in its own TV show, the Operatives.

Thank you Earthrace for helping animals and raising people’s consciousness.

Please be good.



If someone asks you why whaling is so bad compared to all the other mass slaughter on earth, agree with them that they are all awful. A particularly terrible thing about whaling is the fact that unlike most creatures whales cannot go unconscious once pain gets too extreme; these social animals are aware throughout the whole slow and tortuous process.  Their pod members sometimes try to hold them afloat when they have been harpooned, to save them from drowning. Emoji

… and another thing, why, when a fisherperson is lost to the sea, do they receive tearful media coverage and costly search and rescue deployment, but noone ever spares a thought for all the sea creatures that had, and would have, suffered a similar horrible end (in a reverse direction) at their hands? Emoji




Charity Navigator – WWF

Way Beyond Greenwashing: Have Corporations Captured Big Conservation?

Sea Shepherd/Paul Bethune

Trimaran Ady Gil