Category: 3 March

Week 14 Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary (Australia)

Chickens don’t want to be astronauts, actors or alchemists.

The only thing a chicken wants is to be allowed to be a chicken.

Which sounds like a pretty simple request, but billions and billions of them live and die without even experiencing this simple joy, or, should I say, right.

Today the Australian government will meet to discuss a long overdue national standard for what defines ‘free range’.   In the words of RuPaul, I beg them

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Even this is preferable to cages, but when you look at all the land we have in Australia, it is just laziness and greed that stops farmers from allowing chickens to experience some degree of ‘chickenness’.

Anyone who has kept chickens at home knows they are each unique individuals who like to lay their eggs in private and explore the outdoors for treats and adventure from sun-up to sun-down.

Already in the ACT only farms with stocking densities of 1,500 hens, or less, per hectare can sell their eggs labelled as free range, but farmers are pushing for a national limit of 10,000 instead.

I hope that one National Gallery of Australia in the ACT features a picture of a chicken- theirs is a story that really needs to be heard.

 

Maybe also a portrait in the Archibald Prize?

 

The industry is fear mongering that eggs will suddenly ‘become unaffordable’.

Why? As more producers get on board, prices normally drop. Considering what goes into them, they are already ‘cheep’..even if costs did rise marginally at the check out, they will actually be better ‘value’ (nutritionally) for the end consumer.

Why should millions of chickens suffer miserable conditions 24 hours a day just to allow people to save 24 cents (to spend on treats for themselves?) –  Australian households already spend one of the lowest global percentages of their income on food. (Pakistan 45%; Russia 30%;  Mexico 24%; Italy 14%, Australia 11%)    http://wsm.wsu.edu/researcher/wsmaug11_billions.pdf

Even at $7 a dozen for true pastured eggs that is only 58c per egg.  A dozen can provide the protein component for 6 meals… $1.16 a serve! Compare this to the price of a piece of fish or meat.

Each egg is an individually packaged nutritious food.  Other individually packaged foods of a similar weight like as muesli bars, chips and chocolates cost the same or significantly more than that, and also cost the health system.  Speaking of dozens…basic Krispy Kreme donuts will set you back $19.95.  And give you a fat arse.

Our constitution doesn’t guarantee the people an uninfringeable ‘right to bear eggs ‘!   Eggs are not like water or air: many millions of people avoid eggs due to their religious beliefs, ethical principles,  allergies or taste.  Before factory farming, egg consumption was not taken for granted like it is today.

If Australians can’t afford eggs that guarantee even a modicum of a decency for hens, then we shouldn’t eat them.

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(Sadly this discussion is happening while cage eggs are still somehow legal.  Fortunately it seems their days in Australia may be numbered, as individuals, as well as large organisations such as McDonalds, Hungry Jacks and Subway begin to refuse them.

Many people who would never buy a carton of cage eggs, are less diligent about other sources of them.  Be aware of eggs in processed and restaurant/airline foods and of course also when travelling… those chickens you see running around the streets of Asia don’t produce the eggs to feed billions of people – caged hens in diabolical conditions do.  Be active and let businesses know that you don’t support caged cruelty.

Subway takes a stand against battery cages!

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Edgar’s Mission is a not for profit Farm Sanctuary that seeks to create a humane and just world for humans and non-humans. Our farm sanctuary currently provides life-long love and care to over 350 rescued animals.

Come for a visit and spend time on The Kindness Trail which will provide you with quotes from some of the finest human minds that will challenge you, inspire you and simply make you smile.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” William Wilberforce
“Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything.” Alexander Hamilton

“Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.” St. Francis of Assisi

Why do farmed animals need rescuing?

Few Australians are aware that the vast majority of animals in human care in this country – some 500 million ‘food’ or ‘production’ animals – have been excluded from the protection of our animal welfare legislation.

In particular, millions of farmed animals daily endure lives of abject misery in factory farms.  Barely able to move they endure acts of cruelty that would be illegal if they were your cat or dog. Imagine a life without sunshine, without freedom, without being able to socialize, without hope … Welcome to the ‘life’ of a factory-farmed animal.

How has this happened? As custodians of this planet, we have been guilty of playing favourites. We have designated some animals friends and some animals food. Yet they are no different. All share the same ability to suffer, the same need and desire to experience life, for it to have joy, meaning and purpose.

Edgar’s Mission Website

Edgar’s Mission Facebook

Edgar’s Mission battery hen rescue

International Respect for Chickens Day

 

This peacock knows chickens are pretty special!

 

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Addendum

Sadly, or should I say predictably, big industry got its way today.

The government has failed consumers AND chickens.

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Boycott bad eggs!

The government has decided on new rules for free range egg labels that fail consumers. Their proposed information standard allows egg producers stocking at 10,000 hens per hectare to call themselves free range. Their proposed standard does not require that chickens are outdoors.
Boycott bad eggs that have an outdoor stocking density of up to 10,000 hens per hectare.
Eggs that come from chickens that don’t go outside and have high stocking densities don’t meet consumers’ expectations and don’t deserve the free range label. Boycott these eggs and tell Ministers responsible for this decision about your pledge.
To identify which eggs are bad and stock at 10,000 hens per hectare, use CHOICE’s free range egg buying guide.

Week 13 Coalition Against Duck Shooting (Australia)

*Snap* …just like that, we are a quarter of the way through the year already!

*Quackle* …and now suddenly it is open slather for eco-terrorists as duck hunting season begins where it hasn’t already been banned (Allowed : Victoria, SA, Tas, NT. Banned: QLD, NSW, and WA)

“We’ve got declining populations anyway, so it would be prudent to try to hold off in these dry times.”

-Richard Kingsford,Aerial Surveryor of Australian waterbird numbers and ecosystems

-unrecovered kills from a previous season

*Pop* … hopefully the celebratory sound of bottles of Chateau Champiss being opened when this cruel bloodbath is finally seen for what it is and outlawed entirely.

Why hasn’t it been banned yet?  Quite likely due to the organised voting power of the hunters, even though the majority of Victorians are against it, according to The Saturday Paper reporter, Andrew Stafford:

As duck numbers dwindle, the Victorian government’s decision to support this year’s hunting season has sparked claims the regulatory body is biased.

Illustration: Matt Golding

He continues: The Game Management Authority estimates the total harvest from the 2015 season, based on hunter diaries, was 203,934 ducks – 53 per cent of the long-term average of 382,447. An estimated 80,610 were shot on opening weekend. But those figures do not include illegally killed non-game species, the injured, or birds that could not be recovered. Richard Kingsford said the majority of ducks killed are juveniles, victims of their own inexperience.

The Saturday Paper – Victorian Duck Hunting Season

These figures only reflect the ducks that were legally shot and retrieved. 

It is estimated that only 1 in 4 birds shot are retrieved.  Tens of thousands of others are left to die slowly and painfully, unable to eat with shattered beaks or unable to fly with damaged wings, their bodies left to rot away pointlessly. 

Meanwhile the ecosystem becomes polluted with shot and shells.

These are wild birds living in dwindling natural, publically owned reserves – they are not threatening agriculture.

Imagine if hundreds of people came into my home and started firing away while I was unarmed and minding my own business- would anybody consider this sport, or a ‘game’ as the name suggests, even if I ran for my life?

This is just a cowardly expression of bloodlust by people who want all the rights and no responsibilities. I bet they would never calmly accept the affront of a stranger so much as beeping at them in traffic, but they are willing to act like they’re in the wild west when the (fire)power is all in their hands.

This week my immense appreciation goes to these truly game people:

Coalition Against Duck Shooting

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Facebook – Coalition Against Duck Shooting

Please use this Animals Australia form to call for an end to the slaughter :  Take Action

Or write to:

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

South Australian Premier Jay Wetherill

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman

 

If Queensland can ban it, anywhere can!

Together we can make a change.

 

 

 

 

Week 12 Animals Fiji (Fiji)

Compassion Fatigue originally referred to a state of stress and psychological exhaustion that can affect caring for people or animals in distress.

Nowadays a Google search offers a common alternative definition: public indifference to charitable appeals on behalf of suffering people, experienced as a result of the frequency or number of such appeals.

“…sooner or later the outside of the envelope is reached. No matter how graphic the images, we become inured to the tragedy of subsequent disasters.”

– Susan Moeller, COMPASSION FATIGUE How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War, and Death

Of course it’s not just compassion that fatigues quickly, we are attracted to the novel and new and soon bored with the familiar.

Look at this ‘horse girl’ before and after picture…

…if you haven’t seen it before it is quite fascinating.

But the second time you see it, it’s already less interesting.

And the more people who do it, the more ‘same old same old’ it gets so the modifications needed to stand out progressively get more extreme.

Frankly, if you aren’t willing to cut off your nose to look more like a skull, then you’re not even trying!

But what has this to do with animals?  Fiji? Animals Fiji? Well I realised this week that the devastating Cyclone Winston to hit Fiji registered a lot more strongly on the meteorological radar than it did on my own personal radar. 

There are big ticket items that grab and hold the public consciousness – The 1980’s famine in Ethiopia, Port Arthur, September 11 terrorist attacks, the Boxing Day tsunami, MH370 etc, but for those not directly impacted, eventually attention wavers and is lost.

For subsequent tragedies, particularly if they are becoming a regular part of the landscape, the public and private response seems to diminish even though the suffering of those involved certainly doesn’t.

This is also a problem facing animal charities, a massive backlash followed the euthansing of Verema on track during the 2013 Melbourne Cup, but the next year it was business as usual.  The initial outcry over live export atrocities and greyhound live baiting were huge, but these too have lost their media steam.

But just because an issue is no longer a media darling, doesn’t mean it has gone away.  I needed to remind myself of this.

I want to acknowledge all of the wonderful people who keep working tirelessly for good, when it seems like the rest of the world has forgotten.

Humans are unpredictable things aren’t we…body modders seem genuinely proud when they claim they are ‘doing it for themselves; not for others’ … yet people volunteering for charities seem to find their fulfillment the opposite way – by doing things for others and making little claim for themselves.

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Animals Fiji

Animals Fiji provides emergency care for sick animals and plays a vital role in the management and control of Fiji’s feral cat and dog populations. It is currently the only veterinary or animal welfare organization in the Western and Northern Division and relies on donations to function as it receives zero government funding. Animals Fiji play’s a vital role in ensuring the health of Fijians and their animals.

Animals Fiji is registered in NSW, Australia for fund-raising activities and is operated there by two volunteers who are long-term animal welfare supporters.

Week 11 Fauna Rescue of South Australia (Australia)

Koala Koala – we love you
But we chop down your home
And you run
Koala, Koala – where do you go
When we take your gum tree away?

Please don’t run on the road
And please don’t cry
Help is on its way

-John Williamson ‘Koala Koala’

Growing up, Australian kids learn the amazing fact that koalas never need to drink water. The name ‘koala’  derives from the ancient Dharug* or Iyora Aboriginal languages’ word for them, which some have said translates as meaning ‘no drink’.

Usually this is the case, but recently there have been quite a few instances of them being caught on camera having a sly drink…of course there are more cameras around nowadays, but also the recent drought has meant the eucalyptus leaves contain less than their usual amount of water (normally about 55%).  Habitat destruction also gives animals less options to move on when times get tough and bushfires of course are another threat to our little mates.

It seems that recent conditions are just more than a koala can bear… Almost as bad as that joke, even! (They aren’t actually bears btw, they are marsupials which means they carry their tiny babies or ‘joeys’ in a small pouch with an incuded milk bar.)

South Australia has suffered some terrible bushfires recently, but despite the extra workload the good folks at Fauna Rescue managed to get a volunteer to take this one year old girl to Adelaide Animal Hospital overnight for evaluation, fortunately she was found to be healthy and soon released.

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Koala asks cyclists for water

It seems that running onto the road might sometimes be a good survival strategy

-but please take care, Blinky and Nutsy!

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Fauna Rescue of S.A. Incimage

 

Our policy is to Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release.

We have all kinds of native species coming in for care: Pelicans, birds of prey, Magpies, Parrots, ducklings and nectar feeding birds like Honeyeaters, Wattlebirds and Lorikeets.

We also care for wildlife such as Possums, Kangaroos, Echidnas, Bats, Reptiles and Tortoises.

Each year we rescue around 2,000 animals/birds & reptiles.

Over the last few years there has been a huge increase in the amount of rescued wildlife coming in to Fauna Rescue. Due to this we need to raise more funds to cope with our spiralling costs of caring for wildlife. Some of these costs include veterinary care, first aid equipment (medication, heat pads etc), specialised dietary requirements, possum nesting boxes, kangaroo compounds, aviaries, cages and day to day running expenses.. We already spend many hours a week fundraising but are falling short of monies needed.

Thank you, John Williamson, I’m gonna send in some money today.

Fauna Rescue of S.A. Inc

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What all the kool koalas drank out of in the eighties:

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*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharug_language

Examples of Dharuk words  (spoken in the region now known as Sydney) that have survived in English are:

Names of animals: dingo, koala, wallaby and wombat

Trees and plants: burrawang, kurrajong, geebung and waratah

The tools boomerang, a word from the Turuwal sub-group, and woomera (spear-thrower)

Week 10 Happy Cow Compassionate Eating Guide (USA/International)

People say the darnedest things!

For a few years now, a game has been circulating on the internet for vegetarians to tick off comments as they hear them…

Defensive Omnivore Bingo

I got a quinella this week!

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1/        Q: ‘But where do you get your protein from?’

     A: From vegetables, the same place the animals you eat get theirs from.

I have noticed that all the ‘nutritionally curious’ questions I get relate come from ‘ad-wareness’, revolving just around the big ticket items in meat/dairy advertising…protein, iron and calcium…just like advertising has led people to equate bananas with potassium and oranges with vitamin C (even though neither of them is the best source of them), people think that animal products have the exclusive claim to the above three.

If roles were reversed I think people might find it weird if I randomly started asking them whether they think their diet contains enough fibre (no animal products contain any…unless you eat wool!) and magnesium (which is mostly sourced from vegetables and is one of the most commonly deficient nutrients in the west).

We don’t need much protein- taking in more than is needed is like throwing bricks at a house that is already built, it is both wasteful and pointless, maybe even damaging.  Human breast milk, at a time when a baby is only eating this and growing FAST only averages 1.3g of protein per 100ml.

(http://www.infantnutritioncouncil.com/resources/breastmilk-information/)

2/ Shrugs shoulders and looks helpless:

‘But I just love the taste of meat’

So did I!  As a child I couldn’t decide whether my favourite food was pork spare ribs or Mint Slice biscuits.  Most vegetarians probably enjoyed meat and never thought they would be able to live without it… until something reached deep inside and they grew from living for their base senses, to living by their higher sensitivities. 

For me, personally, the change started as I was crying and behaving like a pork chop over something my boyfriend had said, then I looked at the real pork chop on my plate and thought ‘Hang on; I am all upset by something stupid, but there is a slice of dead animal in front of me…get some perspective!’  So,the next day I went to Animal Liberation (no www back then) and read all the pamphlets they had and decided there and then to stop just saying that I loved animals, and to actually live like I did.

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Most people think that being vego is about ‘missing out’.  I can assure you it isn’t all Dickension thin gruel, pinched guts and banishment to the social fringes.

There is heaps to be gained.

You get to try other amazing dishes that you previously would have overlooked-skip the boring butter chicken and try gobi manchurian, or dhal tadka next time you eat Indian.

You will start ripples of kindness around you.  And it has been proven that doing good often leads to feeling good, both mentally and physically.

You get to meet heaps of really cool people – it is like being in the Mickey Mouse Vlub, but even better!  Some people try to dismiss vegetarians as whingers, who ‘go on’ – well if you see a gross injustice going on that other people are studiously ignoring, wouldn’t you want to say something too? Would you just stand by silently and allow an old lady to get mugged right in front of you?  Or even would you be comfortable to stand by and allow people to hurt an animal in front of you?  Of course not.

Anyway trust me, vegos aren’t the only ones that go on – did someone pass a law insisting steaks must always be described to vegetarians as ‘big and juicy’?!

Watermelons are much bigger and juicier btw, so we win.

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If you are a straight man,  there are a lot of vegetarian girls who would love to meet you.  There is nothing ‘unmanly’ about not eating meat.  I wonder if anyone can explain just exactly what they think IS manly about eating prepackaged select animal bits from a distant factory farm.  Even hunters using a gun are not exactly heroic  when you think about it, are they?!

Is being a man about ‘not caring’…unless it’s about your own kids, own mates, own car, own pets etc…? Do real men also choose fossil fuels over renewables and throw litter out of the car window instead of using a bin? Come on!!

You get to play defensive omnivore bingo.

and

You get use Happy Cow – actually everyone does!  Even if you aren’t vego, see what’s in your local area – you may just find a new adventure in a place that can satisfy both the tongue and the heart!

 

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www.happycow.net

 

About:

Our purpose is to make healthy food easy to find and more accessible.
Staffed and run by vegans and vegetarians, HappyCow was founded in 1999 as a public service to assist travellers and people everywhere find vegan, vegetarian and healthy food.

Today, our online community has grown to include members from around the world who are passionate about the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle as a healthy, compassionate, and environmentally sustainable way of living.

More than simply a restaurant and health food store guide, HappyCow is an ever-evolving online hub that serves millions worldwide as a one-stop resource for everything VEG.

The Pitted Date

from The Pitted Date,a vegan bakery in Mexico

Bon - Taito-ku

from Bon Taito-ku, vegan Japanese, Tokyo

Veg*n eating places in Melbourne:

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