Category: UK

Week 49 The Movement for Compassionate Living (UK)

vegan_kids

Last week, two mums I work with started a conversation about their young children showing an interest in animal rights and vegetarianism, after people outside the family had told them about where meat and milk come from.

Both of the mothers were pretty unhappy about this.  They preferred their children to be kept in the dark and were actively discouraging their children from this path.

I understand being a parent already has many challenges and at first this is may look like just another unwelcome one, but surely part of being a good parent is nurturing the emotional growth of kids, not just the physical?

If kids are taught from a young age that convenience is more important than compassion, and hypocrisy is preferable to honesty, then they don’t have a very good teacher.

humalien

Isn’t it unkind to children to feed them something they may choose not to eat if they knew the truth, especially when that ‘something’ is trashing the planet they are to inherit?

Besides the obvious and immediate animal cruelty that ‘business as usual’ entails, the actual future of the earth’s habitability is being jeopardised by animal agriculture.

It is the SINGLE greatest contributor to deforestation, water wasGolden Onion trophy, designed and produced by Georgia artist Melissa Harriste and and climate change.  It also diverts vast amounts of grains and legumes that could be more economically diverted to directly feed needy humans.

Therefore the SINGLE best way to take care of current and future generations is to take animal products off their pedestal and put plants products there instead.
Please watch Cowspiracy for a much better explanation- you will feel much smarter after watching it! (It is not a harrowing watch like some animal welfare movies so don’t be put off.)

 

I hope one day parents will feel really proud to have sentient children who have the heart to look outward, rather than just inward.  These kids are volunteering to eat veggies! download

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http://www.mclveganway.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/TheMovementForCompassionateLiving/

The Movement for Compassionate Living works to spread awareness about the true nature of animal exploitation, to promote alternative methods of plant-based food production and to share knowledge about how a happy, healthy and sustainable vegan lifestyle can be achieved.

MCL promotes:

– a way of life that is free of the exploitation and slaughter of sentient beings, that is possible for all the world’s people and that is sustainable within the resources of the planet.

– lifestyles that depend as much as possible on locally produced goods, thus avoiding the resource wastage and pollution of unnecessary transport and packaging.

– vegan-organic methods of horticulture and agriculture that use no animals or animal by-products and are free from artificial fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.

– the planting of trees, especially on the land freed from livestock farming.

We publish leaflets, booklets and a 4-monthly journal, “New Leaves”, which contains articles to inspire, inform and give practical help. MCL answers queries, runs stalls and holds meetings to gather guidance from members. All labour is voluntary.

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The following is a statement by the American Dietetic Association which was published in their 2009 Position paper:

“It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence, and for athletes.”

 

Week 38 Plastic Oceans Foundation (UK)

Could plastic be simultaneously the best, and worst, invention of the modern world?

Takizo Iwasaki’s 121st birthday

Unfortunately you can get too much of a good thing and its disposable ubiquity is tipping the scales from excellence …

gold-turd

 

…to excremence.

turd

You can even buy plastic food…but I guess plastic turds had to start somewhere! emoji

What happens when all that novelty plastic goes manky? You chuck it in the bin and it becomes landfill, cos unless it has a recycling number, it can’t be recycled, unlike Mr Number 1 himself, Pete Repeat.pete

Repeat?

I. SAID. YOU CHUCK IT IN THE BIN AND…hang on.  What is this?

In the near future new Australian technology will allow it to reprocessed into useable fuel?

Facility to convert non-recyclable plastic to fuel planned for Canberra

A facility that converts non-recyclable plastics into liquid fuel is being planned for Canberra.

The proposed facility would be built in the industrial estate of Hume and divert 200 tonnes of plastic from landfill each day.

“It breaks plastics down into a sludge and converts it into road-ready diesel and petrol,” FOY Group managing director Stuart Clark said.

“Plastics originally come from oil in the first place so it’s really just reversing it — chemically it’s not a major change.”

Australians consume more than 1.5 million tonnes of plastic each year, with much of that ending up in waterways. (That is about 62.5kg each)

Obviously not producing the plastic in the first place is the best option, but like I opined last week,  most of us can’t resist the temptations of life’s pleasures, no matter how harmful (or petroleum based) they are. Or how well meaning or aware we are.

Until we come up with a better alternative, if this turns plastic waste into a reusable resource, that is a GOOD THING.  If it keeps shale oil in the ground, that is another GOOD THING.

If it is a widespread success it may even provide a source of income to people who can collect and return waste. Let’s start them off with a container tax.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  It is still the energy intensive third best option, but at least recycling of former non-recyclables may at last be here.

Image result for barbie campervan retro

 

Barbie and her campervan might get to go on that road trip after all …

… they’ll be fuelling it!

 

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Until we do learn to treat plastic as the precious menace it is, anything we can do to keep it out of the oceans is a GOOD THING.  A lot of the city flooding throughout Asia is attributed to clogging of stormwater systems by plastic.

Thailand is considered to have the world’s highest per capita consumption of plastic bags…averaging eight per person per day, or 2,920 per year; compared to 80 per person, per year, in France.

The nation has a thriving street food culture with millions eating or buying their meals on the pavement each day. There once was a time when most of these dishes would be served wrapped in biodegradable banana leaves. But no longer.

It is a shift familiar across the region, with devastating results for the world’s oceans.

In a recent report, an American conservation group Ocean Conservancy estimated that just five countries — China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand — were responsible for as much as 60 percent of plastic waste dumped into the ocean.

Narong Ruengsri, head of Bangkok city authority’s drainage department, said removing so much plastic from the canals and drainage system is a constant battle.

“Every day we go fish out around 2,000 tons of waste from the drainage channels,” he told AFP.

http://www.thenational.ae/world/southeast-asia/flood-threat-as-plastic-bags-clog-bangkoks-sewers

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Plastic Oceans Foundation

We want to change the world’s attitude towards plastic within a generation.

The Plastic Oceans Foundation is a UK charity which has been established to provide a powerful and effective platform that wants to change the world’s attitudes towards plastic.  Plastic Pollution has become a man-made global catastrophe. Over the last 60 years plastic has become central to our lives and as a result mankind has subjected the planet to a tsunami of plastic waste. The scale of the problem is exponential.

Plastic Oceans Foundation was formed 7 years ago by Sonjia Norman (Director of Plastic Oceans, Hong Kong) and Jo Ruxton (Film Producer: World Wildlife Fund, Blue Planet, A Plastic Ocean).

plastic-oceans
http://www.plasticoceans.org/film/

 

Money is best best carrot/stick to change behaviour.

If plastic becomes either more expensive, less will be produced.

If it becomes more valuable, less will end up as waste.

Week 19 Compassion in World Farming (UK/International)

This week stares ‘I‘ in the eye.

Understandably each one of us is the centre of our own universe…so much so that in the English language we have elevated ourselves right up there alongside God by capitalising the pronoun that refers to ourselves!  Even ‘you’ and ‘they’ don’t get the same honourific treatment that ‘I‘ do!

I’m suddenly feeling mighty important, so big I command little you to read on!

week 19

 

 

 

Last week was Anzac Day and many people faced the pre dawn cold to commemorate* our service people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also last week, there was a 35 kilometre offal spill along the Northern Highway in Victoria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While coverage of one event honoured the fallen in intimate detail, the response to the other was to sweep it off the road and under the carpet as quickly as possible and pretend the fallen had never existed.

If we are to grow as a compassionate society, we need to acknowledge this insensitivity.

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I wrote a letter to the editor of The North Central Review.

I can understand why a resident expressed her relief at the recent 35km offal spill being cleaned up in time ‘so children were not confronted by this grisly scene on the way to school’.

From another perspective however, maybe it would have been beneficial for kids to see some of the reality behind meat, rather than just the sanitised, packaged myth we are all sold.

According to a UN report  ‘Animal industries are one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global’ . Let alone the suffering of the individual animals who are the innocent victims in a race for profit above all other considerations.

With a better understanding of the fact that meat once belonged to a living creature, grisly bits and all, people might be inclined to consume more mindfully.

Unfortunately it wasn’t published, this was:

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(What I reall want to know is how did they manage to make sausages with all that offal going missing anyway?!)

But seriously, somewhere along the way as we mourn human loss or our own discomforts, we seem to have forgotten about all the others also struggling on this planet.

 

War causes an extraordinary amount of physical and emotional trauma for feeling beings.

So does animal agriculture.

Lest We Forget.

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The leading farm animal welfare charity

Dairy Calf In Deep Straw

Compassion in World Farming was founded over 40 years ago in 1967 by a British farmer who became horrified by the development of modern, intensive factory farming.

Today we campaign peacefully to end all factory farming practices. We believe that the biggest cause of cruelty on the planet deserves a focused, specialised approach – so we only work on farm animal welfare.

We are immensely proud of what we have achieved so far

  • Our political lobbying and campaigning has resulted in the EU recognising animals as sentient beings, capable of feeling pain and suffering. We have also secured landmark agreements to outlaw the barren battery cage for egg-laying hens, narrow veal crates and sow stalls across Europe
  • Our Food Business team is working with some of the world’s biggest food companies as a key part of the drive towards a more ethical and sustainable food supply. Our Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards are already benefitting millions of animals each year.257 million animals are set to benefit each year as a result of our Good Award winners’ policies.

 

Chief Executive, Philip Lymbery, is my hero.  He has written a book called Farmageddon which EVERYBODY should read.

Farmageddon

Farmageddon

 

Animals are sentient beings. They feel pain. They can experience a sense of emotional well-being and understand the difference between comfort and sadness.

 

 

 

 

 

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*There is an interesting article on the rising popularity of Anzac Day here.

Week 18 Born Free Foundation (UK/International)

(Heart) Breaking news: Right after publishing this post I found this repulsive news on the abc news feed

 Cambodian elephant ride operator ‘regretful’ after animal dies ferrying tourists in 40-degree heat.

The female elephant, aged between 40–45, died by the roadside on Friday after carrying tourists around Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat temple complex outside Siem Reap.

Photos were widely shared on social media, prompting calls for Cambodia to reform the already controversial elephant ride industry.

Asian elephants only live to around 40 years old, so this is like saddling up your grandma and riding her on a 40 degree day, when she should be relaxing with a sherry and many years retired.

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Tourist elephant riding in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I just sent an email to some friends and family.

Hi friends and fam!

I just found this article on the ABC newsfeed and it brought back some regrets of mine and a hope we can all work toward a better future for these animals:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/tripadvisor-profiting-from-‘cruel’-animal-entertainment/7351292

If you know anyone who is planning on travelling to a destination where animals are exploited for the benefit of tourists, please encourage them not to support this industry in its many guises. 

Even when it seems like we may be helping, we are probably just perpetuating profit driven uses/abuses. (This includes many animal ‘orphanages’.)

I have been short-sighted enough to pay money to ‘feed cucumbers to an elephant’ in Bangkok, to give money to a homeless guy with puppies in Japan and to ride an elephant in India (after allowing pressure to override my misgivings).

I regret these actions of mine, all of which helped entrench animal exploitation for profit.  I hope I can do better in future.

Cheers,

(Not necessary, but if you would like to sign it, there is the petition is below, I did, though I wouldn’t recommend giving them any financial support.  They only score one star on Charity Navigator.)

World Animal Protection (WAP) is the new name for the organisation previously known as WSPA.
http://www.worldanimalprotection.org/wildlife-not-entertainers

 

The world’s cruellest attractions

TripAdvisor is profiting from some of the world’s cruellest types of wildlife tourist attractions. Whether it is riding elephants, taking selfies with tigers, or performing dolphin shows, TripAdvisor is promoting and profiting from attractions that involve lifelong suffering for wild animals.

Last year Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) analysed 24 different types of wildlife attractions across the world. They rated them based on welfare and conservation criteria – we used this information and combined it with our own research to identify 10 of the world’s cruellest types of attractions.

By selling tickets through their subsidiary company Viator or promoting them with Certificates of Excellence, TripAdvisor is profiting from and promoting all of the following types of cruel wildlife tourism entertainment.

Riding elephants

In order to make elephants submit to elephant rides and other human interactions, they are taken from their mothers when babies and forced through a horrific training process known as ‘the crush’. It involves physical restraints, inflicting severe pain and withholding food and water. By the time tourists come to ride an elephant, it may look at peace, but this is because its spirit has been broken. The bullhook, used permanently, reminds the animal of human dominance.

The cruelty does not end after the crush. When not performing or used for rides most elephants are kept on chains, unable to socially interact with one another. This is hugely damaging to their physical and psychological wellbeing.

Taking tiger selfies

Tiger cubs are separated from their mothers at an early age so they can be used as photo props for hours on end. They are handled and hugged by tourists and typically kept chained or in small cages with concrete floors.

In Thailand we found 10 venues housing around 614 tigers. Although Thailand is a hub of cruel tiger tourism it is also prevalent in other parts of Asia, Australia, Mexico and Argentina.

Walking with lions

Lion cubs are bred and taken from their mothers typically within a month of birth to supply the growing lion tourism industry, mostly located in Southern Africa. Tourists handle the cubs for hours and pose with them for photos. They are also often told to hit the cubs if they display aggressive or unwelcome behaviour.

When the cubs grow too big for tourists to pick up and hug – but are still young enough to control – they are used for the relatively new walking with lions tourist experience. The lions are trained to ‘safely’ walk with tourists, sometimes on leads.

These lions face a lifetime in captivity as they cannot be released into the wild.

Holding sea turtles

The world’s last remaining sea turtle farm that acts as a tourist attraction is in The Cayman Islands. Here, tourists can hold turtles and even eat them during their visit.

Suffering from stress and disease, sea turtles live a tortured life at the Cayman Turtle Farm. They often panic when they are handled and it has been known for tourists to drop them, causing significant injuries which can kill turtles.

Performing dolphins

Millions of tourists visit dolphinaria, but they are unaware of the cruelty and abuses the dolphins endure to perform in shows.

Whilst it is banned in countries like the US, many performing dolphins around the world are still captured in the wild. They are often chased by high-speed boats before being hauled on board or caught in nets. For many, the stress is too much to take and they die during transportation to their intended destinations.

Whether wild caught or captive bred, dolphins in dolphinaria face a lifetime of suffering. They spend their entire lives in a space not much bigger than a swimming pool – completely unnatural and restrictive compared to their natural open sea environment.

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Thank you World Animal Protection for taking on this campaign, it is wonderful and very worthwhile.

However I will choose to give my money to another charity as I am not really heartened by your one star rating on Charity Navigator.

This week I hope I am choosing wisely by supportingindex

Born Free

From small beginnings, the Born Free Foundation has grown into a global force for wildlife.  But a personal passion for wild animals and desire for positive change remain at our heart.  Described by The Times as ‘Big enough to make a difference, but small enough to care,’ Born Free is not a big anonymous organisation, but a family of like-minded people who share the same goals. 

Our  major international projects are devoted to animal welfare, conservation and education, and protect lions, elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, polar bears, wolves, dolphins, turtles, sharks and lots more.  Through our Global Initiatives project we respond to emergency situations worldwide, participate in international coalitions such as the Species Survival Network, run the People & Wildlife project with Oxford University’s WildCru department, and much much more.

 

Keep wildlife in the wild!!

 

Week 4 Dr Hadwen Trust -Promoting Animal Free Medical Research (UK)

 

A horrifying 4,107 research procedures took place on dogs in 2014. Yes, this is still how we treat our best friends when they are out of sight and out of mind.

DHT are currently running a fundraising campaign entitled ‘Pound for a Hound’ to raise money to save dogs from medical experiments and remind people about these voiceless victims.

 

Test beagles are confined to individual cages, often in buildings with no natural light, so typically they live their entire lives without ever seeing the sun or sky or touching the earth with their paws. Sometimes they’re “debarked,” meaning they have their vocal cords severed so the technicians don’t have to hear them cry. They’re fed “food” that’s specially designed to minimize waste, which means that it has no flavor, so along with playing outside and interacting with people and other dogs, eating is another basic pleasure they’re deprived of for life.
In short, test beagles are born into an existence designed to be completely devoid of joy and assured of regular doses of pain and poison. 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leighton-woodhouse/beagles-testing_b_1186404.html

 

And of course it’s not only dogs, it’s all kinds of intelligent, feeling animals that suffer in the name of ‘research’ at the hands of what often demonstrates itself to be a far less intelligent, less feeling beast.

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Dr Hadwen Trust - Humanity in Research

The Dr Hadwen Trust (DHT) is the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity, which promotes humanity…while at the same time also benefitting humanity. Win-Win!

To steal from brazenly from their ‘About Us’ page…

We fund and promote the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research.

To  achieve our aim, the DHT supports and assists scientists to implement existing techniques and develop new ones which are more human-relevant and will replace animal experiments. We award grants to scientists in universities, hospitals and research organisations following a rigorous and independent peer-reviewed selection procedure. Only those projects with the highest scientific calibre and the best potential for the replacement of animals will be awarded funding.

Funded solely by charitable donations, the DHT has awarded grants to over 170 research projects since 1971 in diverse areas of medical research including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney, heart and liver disease, to name only a few.

DHT Website

They also have a charity shop which is only stocks vegan (non animal derived) products.  Ethical bargains for a great cause…this is my idea of heaven!

dht shop 2

 

(ps I hope you didn’t just turn up your nose at rats? Look at these clever little cuties!)

Heartwarming rat video