Category: Vegetarianism

Week 52 Animals Australia

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One thing that sucks more than goodbyes is long goodbyes.  So I have begun this at 2.24 pm and have allowed myself exactly one hour to publish it so none of the quality control (ok I probably made some mistakes, I did my best)  and researched facts of yore, just anecdotes, and rambling for the next 58 minutes.

So how did the 52 weeks work out?…Really well, thank you for asking.

I had no sick days from work and I trimmed off a small amount of excess fat and have felt good energy levels and much happier in my heart and mind all round.  It feels good to have made and actually 99% stuck to my first* NY resolution. I thank my ex, who said I never finish anything for providing extra motivation 🙂

(*and probably last- don’t wanna spoil my 99% success rate…!! Why 99%?  Because most of  my wine wasn’t vegan…I’ve been drinking lovely stuff in a fancy 4 litre box, if you would like to know more about vegan alcohol, Barnivore is a great site. Yalumba wines are vegan, kudos to them. Yalumba viognier is lovely which I buy for a ‘lash out’.  Also I have had to wear leather shoes for work and leather gloves for bushland maintenance work.  I think a lot about the animal who was unwillingly involved in their manufacture. Why I am putting this here is to show that perfection is hard to achieve as an imperfect being in an imperfect world, imperfection is not an excuse to give up trying to do the best you can wherever you can.  Oh and also I got Indian takeaway and despite my repeated request for no dairy, the food turned out to be loaded with ghee (clarified butter) rather than waste it, I ate it.  But it is good to be able to share this experience here as a trap for young players…Indian food is great for vegetarians, vegans really need to be diligent.)

Regarding the charities, wow! There are some amazing organisations out there.  Most of the ones I listed are easy to donate to, except for Haytap (Turkey) who had their Paypal cancelled by the government and they were unable to accept my credit card. So the $52 from that week sadly never made it, but all the rest are sorted.  I connected with a few lovely people around the world throught this and if you are travelling overseas, I would definitely recommend researching legitimate charities where you are headed to see if you can help out and who you can meet and share knowledge and passion for compassion with :-).  I almost wish there were more weeks in the year as there are so many other worthy ones, it is amazing what you find when you look.

One I always planned to cover was Soi Dog in Thailand, but it got bumped a couple of times and now it’s week 52 already.  I might give them the Haytap donation.  Suffering is suffering and it is great to alleviate it for any individual.  But one thing that was admirable  about most of the charities I chose to support was how they work to invoke systemic change…changing the way individuals and society treat animals and working towards cutting out the root of much animal suffering.

I will definitely stick with the plant powered lifestyle and continue to advocate for animals…

Oh and I have a little surprise… while this is the end of this particular chapter, its not a complete “So long and thanks for not eating fish” from me…

….Now I have graduated from 52 Charities High School, I am going to work on another project that will bring together all the links and knowledge and news I can find about a animals, the environment, food, events etc. Hang on in there and in a couple of months I will create a post to guide you to the cornucopia of wonderfulness I have planned.

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http://www.animalsaustralia.org/

This is one of my favourite charities that I have supported for many years. It is definitely worth visiting their page and learning about their work.

Animals Australia’s major campaigns are strategically targeting the areas where animals are in greatest need — whether due to extreme cruelty, or due to the vast number of individual animals who are suffering.

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Our work is focused around two strategic areas: investigations to expose animal abuse wherever it occurs, and public awareness initiatives to empower and inspire the community to adopt cruelty-free lifestyle choices.

You can order a free vegetarian starter kit here.

And watch a wonderful video by Lyn White here.

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To the friends I know and to the friends I haven’t met yet who read this, I really thank you!! It was pretty nerve wracking putting it out there, self doubt and all that.

I hope in some way I have contributed something beneficial xxx

1 hour 3 mins. Not bad!

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Week 49 The Movement for Compassionate Living (UK)

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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.

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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 48 Food For Life (Slovenia/International)

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This week saw the presentation of the ARIA (The Australian Recording Industry Association Music) Awards, so I thought I would come up with five Top Fives of my own, listed in no particular order…

5 Great Plant Powered Snacks

Popcorn – (cover bottom of pan in a good layer of oil, add kernels when oil is very hot – a kernel will start to spin by itself at this point, add salt now for more even coverage, leave lid askew to release moisture, keep heat up high until fury of popping subsides, immediately remove popcorn from pan before it burns.)

Eda Mame – Young soy beans. Sprinkle defrosted beans in pods with salt, or, cook beans, pod and all, in pepper and garlic.  At end stir through some veg oyster sauce and remove from heat.  In either case you don’t eat the pods but you will still be able to enjoy the seasoning as you eat the beans.

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Peanuts – Roast your own at home under the grill at high heat, or for something different, boil in salted water for about 15mins until soft.  Keeps in fridge for a few days.

Mini Spring rolls, samosas or onion rings – available in supermarket freezer. Lemon served with onion rings is a great sub for calamari.  Best way to cook all fried snacks is on a cafe style sandwich press.

Crispy Mix – Make your own assortment of nuts, pretzels, rice crackers, popcorn, biscuits, dried fruit etc and store in an airtight container for when snack attacks hit.  Middle Eastern grocers have some really great things you can put in.

5 Great Plant Powered Recipes

Mockzarella

http://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/2015/01/23/melty-stretchy-gooey-vegan-mozarella/

Add a sprinkle of turmeric and/or a bit of mustard for more colour/flavour.  This is great on tacos, toasties as a dip or even as a fondue. Yum.

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Pepperoni

http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-pepperoni/

Blend in a handful of diced roasted beetroot for colour.

Roll out on bench with greaseproof paper on top and bottom.  Cook uncovered with bottom paper directly on oven racks. Keep the paper you have removed from top and use it to allow you to flip pepperoni halfway through cooking.

Have on toasted sandos with mockzarella.

Simple but pimped Dhal Tadka

No soaking required.

In pot or pressure cooker boil red split lentils, chopped onion and tomato, grated ginger, salt and turmeric to taste, in enough water to make it quite soupy.  Add some kale or broccoli at end of coking if you like for extra colour.

In a separate pan fry up any or all of peppercorns, coriander/cumin/fenugreek/mustard seeds. Add chilli flakes, sesame seeds, curry leaves – all optional.

Serve dhal, top with fried spices and some macadamia or coconut oil and optional coriander leaves.

Vegetable Manchurian – My Chinese-Indian Love Affair

http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/veg-manchurian-veg-manchurian-gravy/

Gobi manchurian is cauliflower fried and served the same way.  Find it in restaurants that serve dosa or that have a Chinese Indian menu, or make it at home, dry or with ‘gravy’ (sauce).  Ask restaurants if they can leave out ajinomoto (MSG) if they use it.

Use a sandwich press to cook the balls, same with felafel.

Vegan Pho inspired soup

http://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/2014/12/05/quick-vegan-pho/

I could live on clear soups with lots of yummies packed in.

Here is a link to one recipe, if you want to make your life simple you can use five spice powder in place of the dried spices.  I add in a splash of vegetarian oyster or hoisin sauce or weird and wonderful vegetarian pastes from the asian shop.  Have fun with flavours!

ps it’s pronounced ‘feu’ it comes from the French ‘pot au feu

To me soup like this would not be complete without a couple of pieces of mock meat, but some purist vegos would disagree.  Which brings me to my next list…

5 Shamefully Yummy Mock Meats

Mock mutton/beef chunks.  This one is easily yummier than the real dead thing.  It is usually based on shiitake mushroom stems. Eat it fried in fried rice or add to soups like pho, or curries like rendang.  Easily my fave faux.

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BBQ ‘pork’ – great in stir-fries.  Also look out for vegan char siu buns.  Steam or microwave for a total junk food treat. Usually made from wheat protein aka gluten…not for coeliacs!!

Crispy chicken/duck – this crisps up great on the sanga press.  Serve with vegies and rice and sauce of your choice. This is normally made from beancurd, the ‘skin’ off soy milk.

Pretend prawns – Yes they exist! not as tasty as the real thing, but very cute and much more sustainable.  Made from konjac, a starchy root. I love these in soups too.

‘Fish’ – This is similar in use and manufacture to the chicken/duck…it just has some nori seaweed added for ‘sea flavour’. Not for the faint hearted, some can taste a little too ‘gamey’ for comfort.

All of the above can be found at Vincent Vegetarian if you live in Melbourne.  Regular Asian grocers will often stock some of the other items. Meat eaters might sniff at the fakeness of mock meats…but it is any more unnatural than every single step of modern industrial animal farming?!

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https://ffl.org/

FFLG is the world’s largest food relief organisation.

We support plant-based meal distribution to the disadvantaged, malnourished and victims of disaster (natural or manmade), wherever there is a need in the world.

With a mission to address the root cause of all social issues through teaching spiritual equality in practice and precept, our projects also include health education, eco-farming, schooling, animal rescue and animal care.

Background on the Food for Life Project:

The distribution of sanctified plant-based meals has been and will continue to be an essential part of India’s Vedic culture of hospitality from which Food for Life was born. Since its inception in the early 70’s, Food for Life has tried to liberally distribute pure plant-based meals (prasadam) throughout the world with the aim of creating peace and prosperity. The project started in 1974 after yoga students of Swami Prabhupada became inspired by his plea that “No one within a ten-mile radius of a temple should go hungry!” Today Food for Life is active in over 60 countries.

Up to 2,000,000 meals daily!

With volunteers serving up to 2 million free plant-based meals daily to schools, as well as from mobile vans and to disaster areas. FOOD FOR LIFE is now the largest food relief in the world, eclipsing even the United Nations World Food Programme.

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5 Great Yoga Moves

Downward dog

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Bridge Pose

Lying single knee twist.

Helping those less fortunate than yourself, whatever their species

 

5 Great Animal Quotes

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” index2
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

“Some people say they love animals and yet harm them nonetheless; I’m glad those people don’t love me.”
― Marc Bekoff, The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that have received–only what you have given- a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
― Francis of Assisi 

And of course this whole blog is a really just a list of 52 great charities 🙂

Week 45 A Well-Fed World (USA/International)

I am learning about some great initiatives out there as I follow the great bread-crumb also known as the internet.

Today I got an email about this debate, held on Monday 31 October 2016 by Intelligence Squared in London’s Royal Institute.

LET THEM EAT MEAT: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH REARING AND KILLING ANIMALS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION

Speaker for the motion

AA Gill

The Sunday Times’s star restaurant and TV critic. He has also worked as an artist and a chef. In October 2009, Gill sparked controversy by reporting in his Sunday Times column that he had shot a baboon dead to ‘get a sense of what it might be like to kill someone’. He says he will eat anything that doesn’t have a birth certificate.

Speaker against the motion

George Monbiot

Writer best known for his environmental and political activism. He writes regularly for The Guardian and his most recent book is Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding. Having wavered for years between eating and not eating meat, he now claims to be 97% vegan (he eats roadkill and the odd egg or bit of fish).

 

Apparently ‘against’ won :-).  Nice one, George!

Looking up George Monbiot led me to the website of the Jewish Vegetarian Society

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JVS is an international charity, dedicated to promoting a kinder society, without killing animals for food, where mankind is not cruel to fellow beings, both human and animal, as expressed in the Torah.

We advocate a vegetarian world which protects the environment, promotes human health and conserves natural resources. All of our events are 100% vegan.

JVS in turn led me to Planeat

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Nothing changes the planet as much as the way we eat.

PLANEAT is the story of three men’s life-long search for a diet, which is good for our health, good for the environment and good for the future of the planet. With an additional cast of pioneering chefs and some of the best cooking you have ever seen, the scientists and doctors in the film present a convincing case for the West to re-examine its love affair with meat and dairy.

 

…whose website provided a link to A Well-Fed World which immediately became this week’s feature, and an instant favourite of mine…I love multi-tasking!

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What We Do

A Well-Fed World is a hunger relief and animal protection organisation chipping away at two of the world’s most immense, unnecessary and unconscionable forms of suffering… the suffering of people hungry from lack of food, and the suffering of animals used and abused for food.

We have a positive, practical, and action-led approach that produces immediate assistance for those in need and structural change for lasting results.

In addition to our direct programs, we raise funds, partner with, and promote innovative, highly effective projects that strengthen:

  • plant-based feeding & farming programs
  • farm animal care & rescue efforts
  • vegan advocacy & community building

Thanks in part to our donated office space and internet, our combined overhead and fundraising costs are less than 5%.

The result is that more of your donation goes directly to programs. In particular cases, 100% of funds are sent directly to the projects in need.

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Along the way I found out that world number 1 tennis player Novac Djokovic recently opened a vegan restaurant called Eqvita in Monte Carlo 🙂

To all this, I say, LOVE!

Novak

 

Week 44 Brightside Farm Sanctuary (Australia)

 

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Mmm..looks delicious.  We should honour its life by eating every part from nose to tail!

I have watched the first two episodes of For the Love of Meat on SBS.

I have certainly learnt a lot from the first two episodes on chickens/pigs.

 

 

Brightside Farm Sanctuary was featured in the second episode.  I know all animals are much smarter than we give them credit for, but I wasn’t entirely convinced by an experiment in the show that a pig was using its keen intelligence rather than its keen sense of smell!

Speaking of sense of smell, we humans always devise tests by our standards.  Imagine how hopelessly we would perform in tests created to animals’ standards.  A dog knows exactly  what its humans have been up to, while we can be totally oblivious to an affair that is going on, literally under our noses.  Smell is the only sense that tells the story of the past and present.  Imagine how different our society would be if we had an even half decent sense of smell?

Flight? We covet it so much we created fancy machines to indulge us with it.  Then we put creatures that nature designed to fly in tiny cages.

Lucky there are some good ones amongst us…like Emma Haswell, founder of Brighstside in Tasmania’s Huon Valley.

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Brightside Farm Sanctuary

Brightside Farm Sanctuary offers a permanent home to over 250 farm animals and companion animals. We rescue and rehome 300 to 500 animals each year, placing them in approved loving homes.

Many of the animals Brightside gives help to have been rescued from appalling cruelty, while others were no longer able to stay in their previous homes due to unforseen circumstances.

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Turkeys are completely underestimated.  They are wonderful individuals.  I am really happy to see that Owen is being given a chance to speak up for his brothers and sisters.

There is plenty of more great information to be found on the Brightside site.

Featured animal: Owen

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Owen was rescued from a factory farm when he was about 5 weeks old. We were shocked to find he and his friends were missing the ends of their toes as they had been cut off as had the tips of his beaks. This is standard practice in the turkey farming industry. No sedation or pain relief is given to these poor little baby birds. Thankfully he and his friends can still walk and perch. Owen’s favourite food is watermelon which he absolutely loves.

The voice calling for an end to cruelty must never waver, it must never get disheartened, it must keep revealing the truth, because in the end, when good people unite they can end even the most terrible injustice.WILLIAM WILBERFORCE.

 

Week 42 South Pacific Animal Welfare (Pacific Islands/NZ)

 

Samoans getting Zumba fit, but obesity still on the rise

Physical activity in Samoa has increased…Yet obesity and other “first world diseases” are still on the rise, with the government declaring them a “national emergency”.

Dr Walter Vermeulen, who runs weekly nutrition seminars, said he often saw people who complained they had been exercising for years and had not shed any weight.

“Exercise alone will not make you lose weight,” he said.

Instead, he prescribes exercise in combination with a “whole-foods, plant-based diet”.

“Corned beef has now been elevated to a status food, driving farmers to use their revenues from the sale of their health-promoting [vegetables] to buy pounds of tins of corned beef.”

Samoa fitness corned beef
Photo: Processed meat fills shelf after shelf in Samoan supermarkets, and is often blamed for rendering 80% of adult overweight or obese. (Supplied: Iona Salter)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-09/exercise-and-obesity-in-samoa/7900810

 

I looked up Dr Vermeulen as I liked his message and found an article by him titled WFPB without Borders.  I thought WFPB…WTF?

Google told me it means Whole Food Plant Based. Of course!

There is a whole nutritional institute based on this principle.  Dr Vermeulen joined it after watching the documentary Forks Over Knives.  When he found personal benefits from the diet he adopted this principle professionally as well.

(If only there was Google in 1985 so I didn’t have to ask my mum what ‘wanker’ meant…)

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Forks Over Knives movie

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WFPB: GFP, GFA, GFTE!

( Whole foods plant based: Good for people, good for animals, good for the environment!)

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http://www.spaw.org.nz/

SPAW is a New Zealand run animal aid organisation working on Pacific Islands. We recruit industry professionals and work with local agencies to run professional veterinary care and mass spay/neuter clinics within communities on our neighbouring Pacific Islands.  SPAW is a NZ based registered charity.

Our depth of services to Pacific Islands includes Veterinary Care, Spaying and Neutering, Animal Husbandry – Livestock care, parasite and vaccine programmes, humane education, training and skills development, outreach & village field clinics, assisted companion animal export services and research.

We are a full volunteer organisation. Our volunteers contribute to our efforts by funding their own volunteer experience.

“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that animal”

 

To find out more about Samoa: http://www.samoa.travel/

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Week 41 World Animal Day (International)

Today is the 4th of October which means it’s…..

 World Animal Day!

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THE GOAL OF WORLD ANIMAL DAY IS TO RAISE THE STATUS OF ANIMALS IN ORDER TO IMPROVE WELFARE STANDARDS AROUND THE GLOBE

To achieve this, we encourage animal welfare organisations, community groups, youth and children’s clubs, businesses and individuals to organise events in celebration of World Animal Day. Involvement is growing at an astonishing rate and it’s now widely accepted and celebrated in a variety of different ways in many countries, with no regard to nationality, religion, faith or political ideology.

Events are organised under the World Animal Day Umbrella by being publicised on this website and advertised using the World Animal Day brand and logo. Global branding effectively ties all events together and, over the years we have found this approach to be particularly helpful to grass roots groups who struggle to attract media attention in order to raise awareness of their work and fundraise. This draws attention to animal issues and makes them front page news – a vital catalyst for change.

We currently have a team of 93 Ambassadors representing 75 countries around the globe.  (This is a great way to find out about people and organisations around the world- from Andorra to Zimbabwe- that genuinely care for animals).

Cyprus

CYPRUS – STELLA STYLIANOU
Animal Rescue & Protection Association (ARGOS)

Stella says: Animal awareness in Cyprus was non-existent before the World Animal Day events began. With each year that World Animal Day is celebrated, awareness grows and attitudes are slowly changing as people begin to see animals in a different light. 

One of the most significant statements that will forever remain imprinted in my mind was when a local village farmer visited me at the shelter following one of our World Animal Day events. A German Shepherd dog had wandered onto his farm and he brought him to our shelter.  He said that in years past, he would have shot any stray dog on his farm, dig a hole and bury it and that would be that but, he continued, “you are doing something truly wonderful and now I cannot bring myself to do such a thing.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – PAUL LUGHEMBE
Safe Environment for All (SEA)

Paul says: Our World Animal Day Campaign has increasingly reduced the abuse of animals during transportation, the killing of dogs and the mass killing of cats in the city of Goma and surrounding areas. World Animal Day is slowly swaying the attitudes of people towards respecting the rights of all animals wherever and in whatever circumstances. 

Nepal

NEPAL – KHAGESHWAAR SHARMA
Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust

Khageshwaar says: I’m delighted to tell you that World Animal Day is now being celebrated by government institutions in Nepal, such as the District Livestock Services Office, with whom we liaise to commemorate the day. 

World Animal Day events encourage people to work together to sensitise communities, making them aware of the needs of animals they live among, and also of how they can improve their lives. Creating an outlook that respects all animals is a slow process and World Animal Day acts as an annual marker to measure progress.

Australia

AUSTRALIA – PAM AHERN
Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary

Pam says: For as long as I can remember animals have shared my world and, indeed, throughout human history animals have been trotting along beside us; offering comfort, helping forge nations and a never ending source of wonder. I just love World Animal Day and the fact it is celebrated around the globe.  The day gives animal lovers an opportunity to unite, celebrate and empower much needed change for our animal friends.

To coincide with World Animal Day, the good people of Edgar’s Mission have devised

Be Kind to Animals Week.

They in turn have found a wonderful ‘lambassador’ for 2016 in Tamara Kenneally who is an animal photographer and founder of Lefty’s Place animal refuge in Benalla, Victoria.

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I will finish with a letter I found on another Wordpress blog that seems a fitting treasure to have found on World Animal Day.

Letter to a new vegan

This was my submission for Letters to a New Vegan, a book that is being compiled by longterm vegans to welcome and support those who are just starting out. 


Dear new vegan,

Welcome. Speaking not only for myself but, boldly, for the billions of sentient beings who currently suffer at human hands, and for the straining, groaning planet, and for the people who go hungry and thirsty because we don’t know how to share: thank you for opening your eyes and acting on what you see.

I hope you will find your vegan journey to be endlessly inspiring, fulfilling and rewarding as do I and so many others I know who have chosen this path too. My motto is ‘the best things in life are cruelty-free’ and I believe this is self-evident the moment we embark on living in tune with our deepest values. There are no barriers once we have made up our minds and our hearts. Being vegan opens up possibilities while denying us nothing.

Any time you feel disconnected from people around you who still buy in to the relentless tide of mainstream thinking, remember your deep connection to those whom you have spared. Let yourself feel the lightness with which you tread and be lifted up by it. No injustice can end while we as individuals take part in it. You, for your part, are free of that now.

Of course, it is not a vegan world, and while this remains the case there is much to be done. There are countless ways to help spread the vegan consciousness, and we can fit what we do to our talents, our passions, and the time available to us. A great way to start is simply by speaking your truth. I was quiet about my veganism for the first few years, having been schooled in the art of keeping a low profile as a vegetarian growing up. I was the only one in my family and the only one of my friends bar one. I learnt to say “it’s a personal choice thing” and “I couldn’t hurt a fly”, which let people off the hook: they could attribute my choice to my sentimentality or unusual sensitivity, without looking at themselves. But about a year in to being vegan, a feeling of courage and confidence began to blossom inside me as I realised that my previous ‘live and let live’ philosophy was leaving the victims out of the equation… It wasn’t hard once this realisation dawned. I began to feel that being vegan wasn’t even about me any more. So I began to speak up, looking for bridges to build and sparks of consciousness to ignite, entirely bypassing my natural reticence and finding my true voice – for the voiceless. I hope it will be the same for you, and you find your voice at your own pace and in your own way too.

Becoming vegan sadly involves becoming aware of some heart-breaking truths, and this can be very painful to carry with us. But amidst it all – all the despair, the disbelief, the anger – we have every reason to be joyful, because we are making a difference every day. We are taking a stand for freedom and that means something for every being who is not forcibly brought into this world to be exploited and violently destroyed as a product for us to use.

The world we dream of is a paradise indeed. Space for all species to coexist, free from anthropocentric domination, suffused by a compassionate human consciousness, free from the pathological ideology of ‘carnism’ which entails an arbitrary disregard for the most basic interests of certain species even while preaching values such as kindness and non-violence in other walks of life.

You are part of this future, which need not be a far-off fantasy: all it needs is enough people to make the connection as you have. The world is vegan if we want it!

Ahimsa,

Catherine

 

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ahimsa: a Buddhist and Hindu and especially Jainist doctrine holding that all forms of life are sacred and urging the avoidance of violenceahimsa

Week 37 Cowspiracy/A.U.M. Films (USA)

< Another year, another tax dollar spent unwisely on my behalf >

tax-dollars

With the health budget blown out second only to welfare, it is good timing that the AMA is questioning the benefits of unlimited funding of IVF…so am I!

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Medicare contributes about $5000 per cycle to recipient of IVF.  There is currently NO upper limit on age or recipients, or number of treatments received.  

The cost per successful IVF baby for women over 45 is about $200,000.

That is bad enough, but since there is only a 1-6% (fresh vs frozen embryo) success rate with women over 40… what are all the ultimately unsuccessful treatments costing taxpayers on top of this?

! The only eggs that are guaranteed to grow fertile are the nest eggs of IVF providers !

Henry Rollins was on The Project (5/9/16) discussing this, and his take on it was…

“It’s a lot of money, but when you see the kid’s happy, the mum’s happy…I think it’s worth it… you can’t put a price on that….”.

What?!

Yes you bloody well can!! I can think of five thousand better uses for my tax money.

Number 1/5000: The Environment, perhaps?!  How is it that something that affects us all, present and future, is the LOWEST funded of all categories?!

In the same show, following a story about dissent within the Climate Change Authority, Mr Rollins waved his environmental (black) flag…

Henry Rollins, The Project:

Last year I spent two weeks on a scientific research boat at the edge of Antarctic Peninsula.  I would listen to lectures from Bob, the geologist, and he had nothing but bad news about what we are doing to the planet, and what’s up ahead.  I asked him “What is it, as a citizen, that I am not getting?”

And he said “You’re not getting how bad this really is.  It’s no joke, you’re getting this soft story.  The reality is way more harsh.

henry-rollins-project
“What is it, as a citizen, that I am not getting?”

Umm…

Mr Rollins is a switched on bloke…surely he can see that adding more people at any cost to this already creaking planet via a listing public health system is not a responsible idea?

Was it oxytocin talking?

Image result for oxytocin images

And this my friends, is why were are in trouble.

We have the knowledge, but not the will to act on it. The sugar rush we get from doing things that make us feel good, but that harm the planet (and ourselves!) is just too strong.

We believe we can have it all, while giving up nothing.

And this suits the guys at the top of the perch just fine.

We are just believing what we are told to. 

We are attentive students in a system which lionises pathological consumers, while social activists are either laughed at…or treated as dissidents.

…Why? ‘Money’ buys ‘democracy’, so money wins 🙂

The Landlord's Game

Did you know that the board game we call Monopoly was first created by a lady, Elizabeth Magie as statement AGAINST monopolies?

The spy who loved me

http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/helen-steel-and-john-dines-the-spy-who-loved-me-20160318-gnltdv.html

In the early 1990s, Helen Steel was a member of a British social justice group called London Greenpeace when she began a relationship with a man she knew as John Barker. They were together for more than two years and he told her he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Then one day he disappeared. A letter arrived for her a few days later. “If I manage to sort my head out, I will be back,” he wrote.

Mystery male: Helen Steel with the man she knew as John Barker, a police officer who infiltrated London Greenpeace, a ...
Mystery male: Helen Steel with the man she knew as John Barker, a police officer who infiltrated London Greenpeace, a social justice group she was a part of.  

She was both devastated and concerned about her partner’s emotional state and would spend much of the next decade looking for him. That was before she made a series of shocking discoveries: his real name, John Dines, a record of his marriage, and the death certificate of a child, Philip John Barker, whose identity he had assumed. But it was not until 2010 that she got confirmation her lover had been an undercover police officer employed as part of a secret London Metropolitan Police project to infiltrate protest groups.

Helen Steel wasn’t the only woman who found herself in this situation. Essentially, this is what happened to at least seven other British women who were lured into relationships with undercover police officers over the course of 25 years.

Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police is a book that details the infiltration of political activist groups in the U.K.  

Award winning director/writer, Franny Armstrong is working on a four part mini series about it called Undercovers.  She also made Mclibel, which was also about Helen Steel.  At the time they were unaware of the police spies in their midst.

This is another great documentary of hers>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Age_of_Stupid.

You can watch it here.

She didn’t make Cowspiracy, other people did that. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should.

 

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aum2

aum
http://aumfilms.org

Mission

A.U.M. (Animals United Movement) Films and Media’s mission is to effectively and efficiently represent a harmonious voice for all life on this planet, through all forms of media. We create, consult, and support all types of media projects, from film, journalism, online outlets, to music and stage plays, that spread a creative message for peace and compassion for all beings. We take on project submissions and ideas that will have a direct result in promoting the next stage in human evolution. We feel the best way to actualise world peace and to make our planet survive, and even thrive, is through a movement towards compassionate co-existence.

Our first major film production is titled Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret and was premiered in late 2014. This documentary uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organisations are too afraid to talk about it. You can learn more about the film at www.cowspiracy.com

We are currently working on another feature length documentary called WHAT THE HEALTHset to be released in 2016. This film uncovers the impacts of highly processed industrial animal foods on our personal health and  greater community, and explores why leading health organisations continue to promote the industry despite countless medical studies and research showing deleterious effects of these products on our health.

http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com/

 

Yes, Mr Rollins, we really are ruinous pains in the asses.

It’s only oxytocin that makes us forget it!

(We seem to forget that animals also produce oxytocin, which bonds them to their young, just  the same as us.  We forcibly impregnate them then steal their children.  How is this fair?  When people become attached to the idea of having their own children they should spare a thought for those that we treat as nothing more than baby making machines.)

Week 36 Vegan Australia / Aquafaba 101 (Australia)

 

This week is mum’s b’day and the end of winter, and what better way to celebrate than with a post on DESSERTS!!!

It makes me sad how many animal products are called for in the making of purely indulgent foods like desserts.  A simple packet of cake mix calls for the addition of eggs, butter and milk – all totally unnecessary – and easily replaced with melted coconut oil and extra liquid such as oat milk or water.  (If you are feeling saucy add some dark spirit like spiced rum, and a maybe a bit of coffee to your chocolate cake and it will be extra amazing.)

vegan cake

Of course there is something that since going plant powered I haven’t been able to have…

vegan meringue 1

…until now!!

vegan meringue 2

But…don’t you need eggs for that…? NUP!

Thanks to some detective work by a French chef and an American couple, in Feb 2015 the alchemy that has come to be known as ‘aquafaba’ (bean water!) was unleashed onto an adoring public. It already has 50,000 fans on Facebook, but I only heard of it for the first time last week, when dad rang to tell me about an article on the ABC…it is already huge in America, I guess Australia is still playing catch-up? We should be able to get E.T on video any day now.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/blueprintforliving/bean-water-aquafabe-the-new-vegan-miracle/7781582

So what is it and what does it do?

It is the liquid that you find in a tin of beans or chickpeas and normally tip down the sink. You can also use your own water after cooking, so long as it is as nice and thick as the canned stuff.

Its unique mix of starches, proteins, and other soluble plant solids which have migrated from the seeds to the water during the cooking process gives aquafaba a wide spectrum of emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing and thickening properties.

According to a post on its Facebook site, aquafaba works like soap bubbles – it has no structure in itself but can provide structure to other ingredients. Adding acid like cream of tartar can help the foam stay aerated but, again, isn’t structural. To provide structure you must add starch or sugar – or both.

It even has its own URL http://aquafaba.com/ and Facebook fansite.

So what do you use it for? Click on each link for a recipe.  I haven’t tested each of these recipes yet, so if one doesn’t work for you, try another, there are hundreds of recipes available.. just google ‘aquafaba’ and whatever it is you would like to make.Vegan Meringue Cookies are made using the water that is leftover from a can of chickpeas! Tastes even better than egg white meringues, and you get to use something that would otherwise be thrown out. So cool! #vegan #eggfree

It totally replaces the egg white in meringues.

It replaces eggs and/or cream in mousse, sponge cakes and ice cream, nougat. It can even be used in marshmallows for advanced cooks!

It acts as an emulsifier and replaces eggs in mayonnaise.  If you want it to taste like more like Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise follow the tips for ‘Follow your Heart’ veganaise in the notes at the end.

vegan mayo

It works with coconut oil to create a spreadable butter.

Vegan Aquafaba Butter

It replaces egg whites in cocktails, apparently better than eggs themselves.

“If you fill two glasses, one with egg whites and the other with aquafaba, you wouldn’t even know the difference,” he said. “The only telltale sign is the smell: Egg whites smell like wet dog and chickpeas have no smell whatsoever.”

Jason Eisner, Lead Bartender – Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre

How do I make up my own recipes with it?

Use white coloured beans or chickpeas if a lighter colour is desired, but by all means play around with other colours, all will work.  Choose low sodium, particularly for sweet recipes.

The rule of thumb is: 1 Tbsp. for one yolk, 2 Tbsp. for one white, and 3 Tbsp. for one whole egg. That said, the consistency of your aquafaba makes a difference. If its thin, reduce watery aquafaba about 25 percent on the stove to thicken it up. If it’s already thick (as it sometimes is from canned chickpeas), you don’t have to reduce. With some trial and error, you’ll get a feel for it. (http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/aquafaba-health-benefits)

For more information:

https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/blog/13-amazing-things-you-can-do-aquafaba

Thanks dad!! I owe you a meringue…or mousse….or mayonnaise…or butter…or how about a cocktail then?!

As Sam Turnbull from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken says…

…with limitation comes inspiration.  

This is an exciting glimpse of the future!

We can’t afford to eat like it’s still 1959.

World population milestones in billions (USCB estimates)
Population 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Year 1804 1927 1959 1974 1987 1999 2012 2026 2042
Years elapsed –– 123 32 15 13 12 13 14 16

 

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http://www.veganaustralia.org.au/

Go to their page to find out great information about events, including Brisveganfest this weekend (Sept 4, 2016) featuring the wonderful James Aspey of Voiceless365 fame (referring to the year long vow of silence he took to ‘speak up’ for animals).

vegan australia.png

Isn’t this aquafabulous?!

Australia is now the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world, after the United Arab Emirates and China.

http://www.smh.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/australia-is-the-thirdfastest-growing-vegan-market-in-the-world-20160601-gp972u.html

Week 35 Anonymous for the Voiceless (Australia)

 

zeitgeist
ˈzʌɪtɡʌɪst/
noun
the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.
The voiceless are starting to be heard.
Thanks to modern media, both awareness and rejection of human caused animal suffering is spreading, with Millenials leading the veganism charge. (So who are the other generations to call them the selfish ones then?!)
Image result for three wise monkeys

The monkeys who want to keep pretending everything is ok, are finding it harder to block their eyes and ears to the other monkeys, whose whispering of evil truths …has turned into a roar!

Image result for old person eating meat image
Right now, animal rights advertising is front and centre in Times Square.
The Times Square campaign reminds us that animals are just like us…
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This year, a new movement began in Melbourne.
My bet is that it will be global before long.

We employ direct action with highly effective public outreach demonstrations, using local standard-practice footage of what “food” animals experience every second of every day, 360 degree virtual reality technology, succinctly informative resources and hardline discussions that close the deal.

We fully equip the public with everything they need in switching to a vegan lifestyle. We hold an abolitionist stance on animal exploitation.

anonymous2

Anyone can get involved, here is information from their facebook page on what is required:

Direct action street outreach and demonstration. We bring the information to the people in an attempt to break down unawareness and show the cruelty inherent in meat, dairy and egg production. We will also be offering the public the opportunity to experience life from a livestock animal’s perspective with virtual reality technology.

IMPORTANT: Please bring a laptop or tablet if you have one. If you do not, please come along anyway; masks and signs will be provided on the day. Please wear black clothing where possible, though a black jumper is essential (preferrably hooded).

IMPORTANT: Download VLC Player to your laptop or tablet.http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

IMPORTANT: Download the following clips to your laptop or tablet from the link below as there will be no internet connection on site.https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0qkjty9yoodoaeg/AADw5md7GoO3wOw4fdBBay6Za?dl=0

Please fully charge your laptop/tablet for the day.

All footage shown is Australian and shows standard practice for animal-based food production in this country.
anonymous

 

Roar for the voiceless … and let the ethical zeitgeist continue!

https://www.facebook.com/anonymousforthevoiceless/

http://anonymousforthevoiceless.org/

 

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