Out With The Old…

Three years ago, I was wielding a spatula, slinging spices, and rocking a carving knife, making some delish meat-centric meals for my family. All this whilst brandishing a dry pinot or three in a tipsy waltz across the kitchen.

My favourite shows were Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and Dinner Party Wars. I watched them almost exclusively, over and over, as I drained bottle after bottle of dry white.  I seemed to have a penchant for anything creative all my life, writing, sewing, painting, and eventually that evolved to include cooking.

 All the recipes revolved around meat, which I didn’t actually like much. All my life I have had issues with eating meat: the stringiness, the fat, the cartilage, the gelatinous textures, the smell of bones. So I rarely ate it myself, but I was a “feeder”: I cooked for everyone else. And I mean everyone!

Every kid on the block stopped by for breakfast, lunch or dinner. My kids would call their friends and say “she’s making spaghetti” and BING! someone would magically arrive at my door just in time, and naturally, I made them up a plate. My daughter’s friend would ask his mother what they were having, and then contemplate one second before stating “I’ll see what Carol’s making.”I didn’t mind one bit; I enjoyed it. But I rarely ate it. Turkey at Christmas; a hamburger at a bbq, pepperoni on a pizza, but steak? nope. Chicken on the bone? Nope. Chops? hell no. 

Then I changed a few things in my life. I left an abusive ex; the box of pinot stopped gracing my counter, and I started thinking about my health. ME. My health. My life. Things I wanted. Not anyone else. Just me. What a revelation. 

I didn’t want to eat flesh. I didn’t want to eat animals. I didn’t want any part in an industry that commodifies sentient beings and reduces them to “cuts of meat” in a supermarket. I had spent years doing it in order to please others, to follow the status quo. I did it because doing what I wanted was not an option, and in truth, I didn’t know what I wanted because all my time was spent catering to what others wanted. I had become a non-entity in my own life. I was no better off than the animals bred into the agriculture industry. I followed “the herd” because that’s all I knew and all I was allowed.

And then I deleted the negative and inserted ME into the equation. 

Better late than never, eh?

And as most vegans say: I wish I had done it sooner!

Empathy for animals has to go beyond our pets: cats and dogs. It has to go beyond wild animals hunted or trapped for fur or other products. It has to go beyond animals threatened with extinction. These issues are understood around the world as being legitimate concerns which even non-vegans will support. 

But it also has to include agricultural animals: horses, cows, pigs, goats, sheep. It has to because it’s plain logical. Why protect some animals and not others? What is the difference? Non-vegans will say “well they are bred for food.”These animals which were bred to fill a human concept: that it’s easier to go out into the field and kill a cow for food than hunt it. So agricultural animals were bred out of human LAZINESS and greed. Nature didn’t breed domestic animals, humans did. So they are not natural to this world, but now they are here, why do we think it’s ok to abuse them and not dogs (which we also bred)?

We are disgusted at the Chinese Yulin Dog Meat Festival but celebrate ribfests all summer long. We think it’s horrific that some Asian cultures eat live octopus, but really enjoy slugging back that raw (read ALIVE) oyster. And this year, we were horrified that due to a Chinese delicacy of bat soup, we ended up locked down in our homes hiding from a zoonotic novel coronavirus, but we conveniently ignore H1N1 outbreaks because “mmm bacon”.

Oh believe me, I ignored the facts too. I’m guilty of all of the above and then some. But when I made the change and stopped eating meat, I also started reading and researching, and I opened my mind to thoughts and ideas about which I previously had not heard. I went back to my nature spirit roots and had some serious conversations with my soul. I did a lot of housecleaning in my mind, opened up a few musty windows and gave that space a new coat of paint. 

I like where I am now. I like me. I have goals. I have a purpose. I have drive. I’m connecting with a new tribe and I love how that feels. I’m tapping into my creativity, my spirituality, and my imagination and it’s looking up as never before. And it’s all because I stopped using other sentient beings for my own selfish needs. I recognized we are all animals: some human animals, some non-human animals, but animals just the same. We all deserve to be treated with respect; we all deserve love; we all deserve life.

Won’t you consider this concept too?  

In Our Mind’s Eye

Lately, there has been a lot of propaganda about the dairy industry: cow’s milk, and cheese by extension, is found to be carcinogenic, and the industrialization of dairy farms has changed the industry to a metal and machine enterprise rather than the cozy family farm of yore, contributing to the commodification and abuse of cows in ways beyond our imagination.

A number of years ago, I was writing for a local newspaper on a freelance basis, and I was called to cover a hostage situation.Imagine my excitement – ME! Cub reporter covering a hostage situation! I zoomed over to ground zero and discovered a local dairy farmer sitting in a ginormous tractor blocking the exit of a large milk tanker truck from leaving his property full of milk from his farm.

I kid you not. He was holding milk hostage. True story, peeps.

Now I can’t remember all the details, but I think it involved pricing, and since that has something to do with math, you can pretty much assume I didn’t understand most of it. But I took photos, got interviews, recorded a few juicy quotes – from the farmer as he wielded his oversize tractor bucket dangerously and from the bored trucker who obviously just wanted to get home to a beer and his TV – and then looked around for some background shots. That’s when I heard it.

The plaintive bawling of some creature, clearly sad and lonely, by the sounds of it, perhaps in distress. I looked around for the source and saw these tiny little white plastic huts, each with a small black and white face poking out of it. Days old calves locked away in a hut no bigger than it took to cover their backs.

I learned they were veal calves. They kept them in these huts to limit their movement and fed them special food, to ensure the tenderness of their muscles was not toughened up by movement.

It was horrible! I was not vegan at the time, and had only had veal on occasion, but I did not know this was how it was cultivated. I was appalled and at that moment, vowed never to eat veal again – which I did not.

However, my greater sin at the time was not putting all the elements of what I was witnessing together.

If the calves were in these boxes, at only days old, it also meant they were being deprived of their mother’s milk and her love. I was still so blind, in those days, I didn’t connect all the different aspects of what I saw. If I had, I surely would have stopped drinking milk and eating cheese also, based on my reaction to the veal question. But I didn’t. For years.

I still saw the dairy industry as a less invasive, less abusive industry. I still saw, in my mind’s eye, green fields of happy cows munching on their cud with the sun shining overhead. I was oblivious to the reality, preferring to gad about without questioning the veracity of what was actually in front of me.

This is what we, as a society do, everyday, peeps. With everything. We have a preconceived idea of what things should be, and despite the reality in front of us, we see that and nothing else. And if something is literally planted right in front of us, we avert our eyes, pull up that bright and lovely well-rooted notion, and STILL see what we want.

Why? Because it’s easier.

We are bombarded every damn day with crap that brings us down: high prices, low wages, leaky roofs, car repair, families in crisis, crime, illness, death, war. We are over stimulated, under appreciated, weary and jaded. Sometimes it’s just too much to allow one more injustice into our circle. We can’t bear it. So we don’t.

Like the ostrich, if we bury our head in the sand, then it isn’t really there.

But of course, it is really there, and pretending it isn’t, looking away, doesn’t right the wrongs, and it doesn’t help us in the long run.

So you see, peeps, I get it. I understand when I post an article clearly outlining the cruelty in animal agriculture, listing the poisons in the meat we consume, showing death, abuse, torture, and suffering, not everyone will see it. At that moment, the sheet drops in our minds and the movie we prefer starts playing in our heads: cue the orchestra for some lilting, light-hearted notes! It’s just too much to absorb along with everything else we already have to bear.

Eventually though, gradually, it will work it’s way into our consciousness. It did with me. It did with many others. That’s why the Animal Rights movement is growing exponentially. People are allowing the information to seep into the cracks, those cracks are getting bigger, and the facts are becoming clearer. Just like with other movements in the past, compassion and understanding has a way of spreading and growing. Good will always win over evil.

It may seep in slowly or it may, like with me a couple of years ago, make it’s presence known like a crack from Thor’s hammer to the head. We just have to try and not judge an individual’s journey to knowledge in the meantime. Our paths may differ, but the end goal is the same, and mutual support is the way we will effect change.

Just be kind. It spreads.

All I Want…

All I want is a kinder world, peeps.

Is that too much to ask?

I want wars to stop; I want hatred to disseminate into nothingness. I want people to stop hurting each other, hurting their children, hurting animals. I want everyone to have enough to eat, and all the clean water they need. I want everyone to have a roof over their head. I want everyone to have access to all the education they want, and I want them to pass on what they learn in order to help others.

I want the dollar store products to actually be a dollar!

I have chosen a path which is not an easy one. After years of personal oppression in one form or another and then intense domestic abuse, I have chosen to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. It took me many years to reach this point of awakening, but in retrospect, it was always in me. I actually always felt this way, but didn’t know where to start, and probably wasn’t ready anyway. You don’t have to like it – but then if you’re reading this blog, you probably agree anyway – you don’t have to though. I can do what I need to, say what I need to, and it shouldn’t affect those who do not agree at all.

But sometimes it does. And that’s really cool.

When I post a meme or an article that gets a dissenting response, I get kind of excited because I know it struck a chord in someone. Typically, it’s in disagreement, but I don’t care – it has caused them to think, to formulate their viewpoint, express it, and open an avenue for discussion. This is a good thing, but more importantly, it is a sign that someone’s conscience has been tripped, and like a domino chain, one thing is going to lead to another – eventually.

We are stubborn creatures. We don’t like change. Change is part of the unknown – outside our primitive cave, away from our tribes, was the unknown, filled with predators, isolation, danger. Today, we still don’t like the unknown, change, things that are different. When faced with change, our security, what we have always known, is challenged. Change is denounced, we defy it, we fight it to protect our security. Eventually though that domino effect kicks in and we learn to adapt.

Suddenly, we all start to agree: yes, slavery is bad; yes, women are equal to men; yes, racial discrimination is wrong. And it took one person to introduce the idea, to put forth their arguments, to spread the information, to set the example. Just one person.

I bet they pissed a lot of people off at first, spouting their new-found idea. I bet they were ignored, laughed at, vilified perhaps, until the idea started to take hold with a few others, and grow with time.

Maybe even violence ensued. ‘Cause that’s how we humans roll.

I feel so strongly about developing a peaceful, kinder world, that I am willing to stand with those game-changers for my cause, despite the unpopularity it may generate among my friends and acquaintances.

Veganism may be a fad to some, a trendy diet to others, a rebellious act to yet others, but to me it’s the best path for a kinder world. Because if we are kind to the “lowliest” animals on the planet, it stands to reason we will be kind to those we consider equal. Eventually, this concept may lead to us thinking of all living beings as equal, which takes things up a further notch to a perfect world.

That’s what I’m striving for, peeps. So if I post something that pisses you off or ignites a spark of dissention among you, then I am doing my job right.

Because all I really want is a kind, peaceful world.

The True Story of the Christmas Turkey

Our family used to have turkey only twice a year: Thanksgiving and Christmas, with mum’s special sausage stuffing and a creamy, savoury gravy – having it so rarely made it extra special. As adults, we followed the same recipe and the same rules, and that made the Turkey Dinner the star of the show.

In fact, turkeys are very intelligent creatures with distinct personalities. They can fly at 55 miles per hour, run up to 35 miles per hour, and can live for up to 10 years under natural conditions. Like all animals, they are sentient, and can feel pain, fear and stress. Farmers have labelled them dumb, hence the sobriquet “turkey” is usually used to insult someone, inferring lower intelligence, but studies have shown they are misunderstood in that when they don’t do what the farmer wants they are labelled “stupid” or “unintelligent”.

Well if not listening to an abuser makes them “stupid” then I am in good company!

The turkey on the Christmas platter was more than likely raised in a dark battery with no space to move, crammed in with other broiler birds. He was fed hormones and gmo grains to plump him up to an unusually meaty size so we can have lots of white breast meat, which caused him to be unable to support his weight, leaving him lying in his own feces, being trampled on by other oversize birds. Because of their tight quarters, their beaks are cut off, along with a portion of their toes, and also males may have their fleshy snood cut off – all without benefit of anaesthesia.

This is meant to prevent them damaging each other while they are confined and grown to optimum size for slaughter. Within five short months a turkey can weight up to 40 lbs, due to genetic manipulation – 56 per cent larger than those produces in the 60s. This means, due to their gargantuan size, they are unable to perform like a normal turkey in the wild: they cannot fly, often cannot walk, and certainly can’t procreate. Hence, artificial insemination is used to get turkey babies.

This is not a pristine, hygienic procedure as we might imagine. Basically, females are held upside down, while someone shoves their hand with a tube or syringe into their vent and inseminates them. A worker in Missouri was quoted as saying, ” I have never done such hard, dirty, disgusting work in my life: 10 hours of pushing birds, grabbing birds, wrestling birds, jerking them upside down, pushing open their vents, dodging their panic-blown excrement and breathing the dust stirred up by terrified birds.”

And once again, don’t think because you purchased ‘organic’ or ‘free range’ that your turkey was living in a meadow, frolicking and cavorting with the other barnyard buddies. Nope. All this means is the food was a little different and the shed they were kept in had no cages, just open floor, giving them a little more room to defecate on each other, step on each other, and breath in more ammonia fumes and dirt.

You may not realize, at the time of slaughter, most birds are suffering from … “painful respiratory diseases and eye disorders, including swelling of the eyelids, discharge, clouding and ulceration of the cornea, and even blindness. There is a high rate of viral and bacterial infections, …” according to ezine Free From Harm.

And if this isn’t bad enough, Mercy for Animals reports animals also suffer from “workers kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or on top of other birds; birds suffering from serious untreated illnesses and injuries, including open sores, infections, and broken bones; and workers grabbing birds by their wings or necks and violently slamming them into tiny transport crates with no regard for their welfare.”

Yes, folks, your turkey probably had some kind of viral lung infection, most likely some sort of skin infection filled with pus from the filth, was not treated, and then you ate it, seasoned with all those GMOs and a few kicks in the head.

After living this five months or so of abuse, they are shipped to the slaughterhouse, where they are dipped in an electric water bath and HOPEFULLY stunned enough so their throats can be more easily cut, and again HOPEFULLY after that, they are actually dead so that the boiling water they are next dumped in to remove their feathers easier doesn’t hurt them – because, you know – we want to kill them humanely. Often, however, they are not dead by the time they reach the boiling vats. It’s estimated more than 1 million turkeys are boiled alive each year.

So much for that humane death.

What does this tell you? Well I know what it tells me: We care more for rapists, pedophiles, and serial killers on death row, criminals who have committed egregious acts, in terms of humane death than we do for the innocent beings on this earth.

I’m including a link here which has a video of such a turkey facility, right here in Ontario. Hybrid Turkeys is the second largest producer of turkeys in the world – so chances are, yours came from there. In this plant, workers abused the turkeys in front of management, but when a hidden camera exposed the brutality, management was quoted as saying it was an isolated incident, and the workers were let go.

Don’t kid yourself. None of this is isolated or unusual, and it’s not limited to just turkeys and chickens. I urge you – no, I implore you – to watch the video, as horrific as it is, and then tell me you can eat your turkey on Christmas Day without a thought as to how it got there.

Hybrid Turkeys, Ontario – undercover video

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/hidden-camera-captures-blatant-animal-cruelty-at-turkey-farm-1.1729233

Merry Christmas.

Some Gross Morning Thoughts…

These days, many conversations often go something like this:

“Oh are you vegan? That’s cool. I don’t eat much meat at all. Maybe like twice a week?”

Why? Why do some people I speak with find it necessary to explain their animal consumption to me once they find out I am vegan? I mean it goes without saying I would like everyone to become vegan and finally have all living beings treated with compassion and respect; failing this at least eat less meat and dairy, but contrary to what you see on my social media, I don’t ram veganism down everyone’s throats…. No, really, I don’t.

Yet for some reason, without prompting, many people I meet seem to feel it necessary to explain to me how LITTLE meat they eat as soon as they learn I’m vegan – and I have to wonder why.

Is it guilt? It could be guilt because they know vegans in general are against the abuse and cruel treatment of animals, and the animal agriculture industry is being exposed, more and more, as proponents of the commodification and abhorrent exploitation of domesticated animals. It could be because they know vegans are also against the fur and leather industries, animal lab experiments, and puppy mills, and these folks know definitively these industries also profit from the cruel useage and eventual death of innocent animals.

So as I sit here drinking my tea with almond milk, I THEN start to wonder if they feel this guilt, then they KNOW, or at least SUSPECT, that the consumption and commodification of living, sentient beings is unquestionably WRONG so the next question is: WHY ARE THEY STILL DOING IT?

Why is it still such a battle for us who advocate for animal rights? I mean, they already actually know or they wouldn’t be justifying themselves to me, and if they know…well….why would they want to be part of it?

If you are eating less meat and dairy, or transitioning to veganism at your own pace: good for you! I’m so happy about that! The best method to being heard is affecting these industries where it hurts: their bank accounts. Every little bit you don’t consume helps get the message across – slowly – but still. And they are not going bankrupt, peeps, don’t worry about that. They will – and are – responding by filling alternate plant-based demands which are getting more and more popular all over.

But if you are, by making this statement, acknowledging there is something wrong with the animal product industry, and yet NOT actually working towards cutting it out even a little bit, then you are a hypocrite. And I don’t actually want to hear how many times a week you don’t eat meat. Because all I hear is the how many times you still do eat the flesh of a once living, breathing, feeling creature.

That’s another thing: it’s flesh – skin, muscle, tendons, blood, bone, capillaries, nerve endings, veins, all things we have, too. That crispy coating your licking your fingers over is SKIN, with hair follicles and bruises and scars. It could be your skin – but it’s not, luckily. It’s some other creature’s skin. You know in Nazi Germany, the skin of the Jews was used to make book covers, furniture covers, and lamp shades…but I digress.

Gross eh?

Anyway, that’s my gross thought for today. Maybe someone out there has an answer for why people explain themselves to me when they learn I’m vegan. I think it’s guilt. Guilt because they know and understand how cruelly animals are being treated for our consumption, and that makes me feel sad because if that is the case, then it’s going to take a lot more than some undercover videos of the inhumane treatment of pigs to stop people from eating bacon. If you already have the knowledge, and you do it anyway, that doesn’t bode well for humankind on this earth.

Why One and Not the Other?

Let me play devil’s advocate for a minute.

What if pigs, cows and chickens were not used for food. What if they were, let’s say, roaming the wilds like elephants, deer, and rhinos. And what if you found out, through some undercover activists, that there were places where these animals were kept and bred for an unnecessary use, like trophies, rather than for food. And what if this enterprise kept these animals in dirty, deplorable conditions; beat them, cut off horns and tails without anaesthetic, forcibly impregnated them to control births, prevented them from seeing the light of day by keeping them in tight metal cages and just generally abused them in order to profit off them. And they are not food. Think elephants, dogs, cats…

Would you be appalled? Would you be angry? Wouldn’t you do everything you could to lobby for the animals’ freedom? Wouldn’t you picket these organizations; produce petitions to be signed; sneak in to take videos to show the world what is actually going on? A warehouse full of dogs kept in metal crates, their puppies laying in their own filth around them. Like puppy mills but for cows, pigs, and chickens.

Wouldn’t you think this is a bad thing? That humans were evil to the core to be able to do that to innocent beings? I mean, they are not being used for food, we have loads of other things to eat – remember this is hypothetical. Try to be honestly neutral here.

You would, I know it. I can see the articles being shared on Facebook, IG and Twitter. I can see your comments. They are the same ones I see under pictures of abused dogs and cats. The same ones I see plastered all over; photos of Trump Jr. and his slaughtered trophies; Michael Vick and his bait and fighting dogs; carcasses of elephants missing tusks. I know you would think it was wrong.

So why is it alright now?

Why is it ok for cows, pigs, and chickens? Because we eat them? So there are certain animals we can abuse and some we can not. Why? Are they lesser in some way? Are they ugly? Is that it? An abomination to our senses? No…Do they damage our property, encroach in our neighbourhoods, steal our children? No…What do they do that gives us the right to maim and kill them when other animals are protected?

Why one and not the other?

That is All.

Greta and The Gingerbread House

Let’s talk Greta Thunberg.

Amazing isn’t she? Well spoken, intelligent, informed, committed. The environment, our world, couldn’t have a better advocate. She makes people take notice not just because she is a 16 year old girl speaking about serious adult issues, but because she is a 16 year old girl like no other 16 year old girl.

At 15, she implemented a strike against the Swedish government, refusing to attend school until after the Swedish general election, and instead protested in front of the parliament for the government to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. This basically started the ball rolling for her. Afterwards, she participated in other demonstrations and gave talks and utilized social media to grow support for her cause.

She felt so strongly about making changes to the way we function in society in order to save our world, she urged her parents to change their ways. They became vegan, and her mother, a famous opera singer who often travelled by plane to her performances, gave up her career to further reduce their carbon footprint. (Whaaaaatttt??)

This girl walks her talk, peeps.

I gotta say, I like that! So many people have the words, have the language, but walk a different road, all the while condemning those who don’t meet expectation.

And who else is doing this? Who else is out there sacrificing everything, living the example? Our politicians (the ones who SHOULD be) no they are still jetting around burning fossil fuels by the mega-gallon, wearing wild-trapped fur, eating steaks with their cronies – steaks which were once a living being, grown on a factory farm and slaughtered in a vile, stinking abattoir.

Let’s face it, they have absolutely no idea how to deal with climate change. They are not someone to look to in leading the way to a better future, no matter what they promise in this election. They are advised by partisan representatives of big business, suckered in to a false understanding of reality because of whispered invectives and three pieces of silver palmed under the table.

For Greta, it’s not business. Naturally, someone so vocal, and gaining popularity so quickly, has generated detractors. Due to her emotional issues (she has been diagnosed with selective mutism, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Aspergers) she has been vilified for being unstable, a peon controlled by her stage-struck “fading opera star” mother. Other’s declare her antagonistic, inciting hatred without an effective plan to offer solutions. She has been accused of being unscientific and a threat to the oil industry’s future. (duh!)

Basically, the powers that be don’t like to be shown up to their public, especially by a child. That’s the bottom line.

Now, I realize there are many who don’t believe there is a climate change issue. Some argue it’s naturally occurring due to normal changes in our solar system and the earth itself. That may have some merit, in part. But the science is there, peeps. The measurements, the ratios, the chemicals, the extinctions, the facts! Believe or don’t believe, but I’m pretty sure you can’t argue against our polluted waters, our poisoned air, the garbage building up in landfills, plastics in our sea life, chemicals in our food. Don’t believe in climate change if you want, but you better believe we still need to make massive changes to our environment if we want to have a future.

Take or leave Greta’s rhetoric, her anger, her hatred. It’s up to you.

But this world was once a sweet, beautiful gingerbread house, full of colour, life, teeming with freshness and beauty, a palatial architectural accomplishment we call home, and it is slowly being stripped of its organic infrastructure because of our exploitation of it, our stupidity, and our selfishness.

Call it what you will: climate change or not; support or revile Greta. In the bigger picture it doesn’t matter what your opinion is. All that matters is the gingerbread house is crumbling down and somehow we have to fix it or crumble with it.

Endlings

Endlings: TV show or reality? It’s both, actually. And it’s pretty fucking serious.

The term “Endlings” was coined in the scientific journal “Nature” in April 4, 1996. Correspondence between various commentators was published where it was suggested a term be created to describe the last living member of a species. Endling was chosen.

Now let me emphasize an Endling is not the last few hundred of a species’ kind, it is the absolute complete final one – ONE – of a whole species. No further of its kind will be born. The species is caput after the Endling dies.

Think about that for a minute.

I looked it up. Five billion species are already gone. That is calculated at over 99 per cent of all species. Now, I’m no mathematician, and I must admit anything other than the basics completely confounds me, but this seems like a whole lot. So I’m just going to copy and paste what my best friend, Wikipedia, said: “Estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million,[5] of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.[6] In 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one thousandth of one percent described.”

Wiki also said this: ” According to the 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by IPBES, the biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction—all largely as a result of human actions. Twenty-five percent of plant and animal species are threatened with extinction.”

I hope that clarifies it for you, because it doesn’t for me. That being said, what I DO get out of this is the fact that our plants and animals are dying off AND IT’S ALL OUR FAULT!

Now the TV show part: a company called Sinking Ship Entertainment has come out with a series called Endlings, which is geared for families and children 9 to 12 years old, and tells the story of a group of orphans who find out they are not alone in the universe after the extinction of the last elephant on earth. It actually sounds kind of cool, and is probably effective in teaching children about these issues – but don’t get the two confused. Endlings the TV show is fiction.

An Endling outside of TV is a very real, very serious, problem.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says of the upwards of 41k species on their “red” list, more than 16k are endangered. (That is almost 1/2 of them!) This is both plants and animals, peeps. According to EndangeredEarth.com, ” The species endangered include one in four mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all amphibians and 70% of the world’s assessed plants on the 2007 IUCN Red List are in jeopardy of extinction.” And many more are becoming extinct which have never been identified by scientists.

Animals have become extinct over millennia without any help from us. This is nothing new. Climate changes, survival of the fittest, catastrophic environmental events, all these natural incidents have contributed to the loss of many species, some we never knew. But the current extinction crisis is well documented as being man made. The loss of biodiversity is happening way too quickly to be anything else. In fact, it’s happening at a similar rate to our technological progress over the centuries. As we progress, so our world deteriorates. Now that’s math I understand.

I hate to say it, but I feel like our attempts at clean up are too little, too late. Huge changes need to be made to fully reverse the cataclysmic catastrophe we have triggered. David Suzuki has a list of changes we can make in our lives to curb climate change. From obvious things like “greening your commute” and “using less for less waste” and “using energy wisely” to voting in the upcoming election and demanding politicians put climate change first.

But one of the quickest most direct actions is eating less to no meat. Changing our diets to one that is plant-based. The other suggestions are great and all but will only slowly help our planet because we are so used to the ease and convenience of our mod cons. Going plant-based in diet, on the other hand, significantly and more importantly IMMEDIATELY impacts our earth.

I know, you’re thinking holy fuck, will this chick ever get off the vegan soapbox? Well, no. No, I won’t. Because of the animals. HOWEVER, not everyone cares about that aspect of veganism (how? wtf?) but I’m pretty sure EVERYONE cares about our planet.

So you say you’re an animal lover, but you eat animals. By the same token, you love our world, and you want to preserve it, heal it, and keep it healthy, but you eat animals…

See what I did there? Yeah, I probably pissed you off, and you can curse me all you want, but the facts are there. CNN, BBC, The UN, – all mainstream non-partisan organizations – have all released articles and reports reflecting the massive positive changes possible by adopting a plant-based diet – at the very least, going flexitarian and reducing the amount of meat in our diets. Not only would we be saving our health, but we would be saving the health of the planet and all the animals and plants on it and around it. Yes – around it! The air too!

It’s so huge it makes me scared, but it’s so easy to get a good start fixing it my heart aches because people just really, really want their Big Macs and steaks. And I just don’t know why these are so fucking important when cutting them out would do so much for our world and everyone and everything in it.

So I’m gonna keep making a whole whack of noise about this, peeps, because it is THAT important a thing. But it is also THAT easy a fix.

Recycle, reuse, REDUCE.

We Gotta Start Somewhere

I saw a meme today, peeps. It was on IG and it intrigued me because it seemed kind of harsh, but I’m kind of a softie, so I thought I would read what other people thought of it – and holy fuck! Some people are just MEAN!

This was the meme: screenshot_20190813-103415_instagram6632946786314450277.jpg

It’s basically saying people who choose Vegetarianism (as opposed to full-on Veganism) are doing more damage to the movement than those who eat meat, because their “partialism” (now I just made that word up and I think it’s a great new word!) causes people to think Vegetarianism is doing as much good for the animal world as Veganism – which technically it is not.

Are Vegetarians, as this meme indicates, no better than carnivores in the bigger scheme of protecting animal rights? Is it actually worse to be a vegetarian? I don’t think it is. I think it is a step towards a greater good. But let’s have a look at specific meanings first, shall we?

According to Wikipedia, “Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.”

By contrast, Wikipedia says “Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat, and may also include abstention from by-products of animals processed for food. Vegetarianism may be adopted for various reasons. Many people object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life.”

That’s in a nutshell. There is wayyy more information for each on Wikipedia, and the links are there if you’d like to have a look.

So, I see both lifestyles may be adopted out of respect for sentient life, religious reasons, moral reasons, environmental reasons, and health reasons. Vegans choose to use or consume absolutely no animal products or by-products for ethical reasons, and Vegetarians might still use some by-products, such as dairy or leather. So far, so good – I can see Vegetarians perhaps don’t go all in, but surely their actions count for something – and surely they can’t be AS BAD as those who eat meat and utilize all animal by-products. Well there is a faction of Vegans who believe this is the case.

What the fuck?

I don’t think that’s right, and certainly it isn’t fair.

Personally, I don’t eat meat or dairy, and I don’t purchase new leather or other animal by-products BUT I still have some leather items in my wardrobe – things that I am not able to replace immediately – Am I a bad Vegan?

And wait – there’s more! As mentioned in a previous post, plant-based farming can result in the deaths of many wild animals through the use of traps, or machinery, destruction of habitats, etc. So knowing this, and choosing to eat plant-based foods, logic dictates that would make MOST Vegans bad too.

Where do we draw the judgmental line, peeps?

I’m doing my best, ffs! And so are a ton of other Vegans AND Vegetarians. We are bound by the constrictures of our society as to how effective we are, regardless of how committed we are to our beliefs.

I have nothing to be ashamed of in using my pre-purchased leather goods or eating foods in which unintentionally, an animal died. Field hands and farmers have been hurt and killed on the job – we still eat the corn or beans.

Shit happens, peeps!

So ethically, as a Vegan in the world, in this life, my behaviour is considered acceptable, but Vegetarians are not….hogwash and hooey, I say!

The comments on the IG post made it abundantly clear Vegetarians were not given the same sanction as Vegans who still use pre-purchased animal-based items – and I wanted to know why?

One word, peeps! INTENTION.

If the intention to do harm to another being is not there, then it’s all good. However, a Vegetarian still uses or consumes some animal products, possibly knowing the cruelty involved, thereby giving the idea that some animal oppression is acceptable. While I agree it is NOT acceptable to knowingly kill or hurt an animal for our personal use, I also agree Vegetarianism is a step in the right direction, and should not be vilified or maligned.

Statistics show a Vegetarian can reasonably be said to prevent approximately 100 animal deaths per year. A Vegan, according to Peta, is said to prevent the death of 198 animals per year. Although it appears a Vegan “saves” more animals, the 100 animal deaths prevented by being Vegetarian is not too shabby either. It’s 100 more PER PERSON than would otherwise be saved.

Could a Vegetarian take it a step further? Of course! And they just might – unless judgers out there turn them off of belonging to this niche. Who wants to connect with and be part of a group of nasty, judgmental, downright intolerant people? Whether the group is doing good in the world or not?

Humans are pack animals. We want to belong – we want our tribe to accept us, love us and protect us. We want encouragement to progress, not condemnation for not moving fast enough. So I made this point on the IG meme:

screenshot_20190813-103401_instagram127397507615006715.jpg

You see, my compassion extends beyond non-human animals – it encompasses all sentient beings. This is what I believe Veganism is truly all about.

There is enough cruelty in this world, enough conflict, enough abuse, without inserting it into our attitude towards and treatment of people who are AT LEAST making an effort to help. We all come to our truths at different stages in our lives and in different ways. We all have individual paths to walk, perhaps governed by an omnipotent power or perhaps predicated by a past life – WE DON’T FUCKING KNOW!

So we have to stop fucking acting like we have all the answers and try to teach each other better with kindness, compassion and by example. Humans are impressionable and perceptive. If we see certain behaviours are working – and some are not – we will figure it out, in our own way and in our own time. Successful movements don’t happen overnight. Someone has to make a start.

Someone has to refuse to move to the back of the bus.

Those 100 animals the Vegetarian saved are happy someone did.

We all gotta start somewhere to get to our destination. It doesn’t matter where we start as much as it matters that we do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Being Vegan An Impossible Dream?

Being vegan: simple, right? No animal or animal by-products consumed or used, pretty clear.

But is it really?

This one really blew my mind, peeps, burst the perfect bubble of veganism in which I lived. How could I not realize this? How could I be so ignorant? Well it’s no consolation, but none of us is exempt, so I’m in good company.

The facts are: plant-based farming also kills animals!

What the ACTUAL FUCK??

Well, you know me, I had to get to the bottom of this! So I put my pencil behind my ear, slapped my glasses on, picked up my mouse (computer mouse, peeps, !) and began surfing. (Also not real ocean surfing, web surfing – if you know me at all, you know I would never, EVER go deeper into the ocean than my ankles. I was traumatized enough by having to step on mussels on the PEI beach, never mind facing up to bigger sea creatures – but I digress)

Apparently, the methods used to grow and harvest plant agriculture can be deadly to wild animals, specifically field mice, but it may also include other animals who venture into the fields for food. Snakes, voles, moles, rabbits, birds, none are excluded as possible victims of the harvest. Some have argued there are more wild animals killed in plant-based agriculture than factory farming kills domestic animals, which is patently ridiculous, as the numbers published do NOT take into account the number of wild animal deaths which occur naturally per acre, such as predators, old age, disease and environmental factors. The published numbers only reflect the TOTAL per acre. And seeing as much of our plant-based farming is used to feed said agricultural animals, it’s rather a moot point, anyway.

Unfortunately, meat supporters are using these figures to undermine the ethics of plant-based/ vegan diets. These reports are being thrown in our faces left and right, with a yodel of “nanner nanner boo boo” just for good measure, and vegans are left to stammer out weak sounding justifications whilst fighting confusion at the thought that their beliefs and lifestyle are not what they thought it was.

Two words, peeps: collateral damage.

Sounds harsh, I know, but it’s something we actually deal with daily and not just in our diets.

I mean, think about it: you wake up, brush your teeth, have a coffee, drive to work, hit an old lady at the crosswalk,….wait, what? Yes peeps, in the course of you living, breathing, working, doing everything normally in your best life, shit still happens.  And it can happen to anyone.  You didn’t intend to hit the old lady, it wasn’t planned, premeditated, it wasn’t a life goal, but it happened anyway.

Ever drive over a squirrel in your car? It’s heartbreaking! I have done it, I was traumatized for days! But that squirrel, like the little old lady, was collateral damage.

Typically, it’s a military term. Wikipedia states, “Collateral damage is any death, injury, or other damage inflicted that is an unintended result of military operations…”

Did you know Buddhist monks are so concerned about hurting or killing even insects, they they pray as they walk in case they step on any living creatures unknowingly. Even just walking down the street you might be killing something! 6beee91650a63f2a3c33102e7edb5999

As much as these associated deaths are painful to face and accept, they were unintentional. In fact, they occurred as a result of trying to do the right thing, and end animal abuse and slaughter completely.

Two more words, peeps: bigger picture.

We have to keep the bigger picture in mind. As vegans, our goal is to put an end to society thinking of animals as lesser beings; to encourage cessation of utilizing animals for our own gain, including food. We want to see a world in which no animals are harmed in order for humans to live. We want to see society respecting our earth and everything on it. It’s a tall order, and it’s going to take a very long time.

After all, it didn’t take us only two weeks to get to this place of pollution, climate change, species extinction, and domination. Sadly, people and animals will die or be hurt in the process – not intentionally – but just the same, it will happen.

What we must do is work towards a process where our farming methods will improve, and fewer and fewer casualties are experienced. This is more likely to occur if animals are respected as equal beings in this world, rather than inanimate commodities. I hate that living creatures are hurt in plant-based farming, but I hate that living creatures are hurt, killed and eaten even more. I hate that people can’t see it for what it is: murder. 836851423007c17462ed8cca6cfccff7

So as far as I’m concerned, peeps, veganism is still the right path. The end goal is compassionate treatment of all living beings. Once that concept is universal, things will start to fall into place like confetti on wet pavement.