You may want to check out this documentary on the Pig Business. From the website Documentary Heaven, this documentary explores the rise of pig factory farming, as well as how the methods used in the U.S. have been transferred to Eastern Europe, where human standards are much less 'strict' than in the U.S.
Did you know:
Most animals being trucked to slaughter are not given food or water for at least 12 hours. For World Farm Animals Day, take a pledge to fast, or just fast, to show your solidarity for farmed animals.
Learn more at this website.
Have We Been Lied To?
Although I think the title speaks for itself (unfortunately, there is a lot of lying going on!), this animated video from Farm Animal Rights Movement [FARM] presents some of the dismaying facts about agribusiness. It is not a gory or blood-filled video, so I encourage you to watch it. It's only about 3 1/2 minutes long, too.
World Farm Animals Day is Oct. 2, and FARM encourages all who care about farmed animals to participate! You can check out this event more on the FARM website.
You can also pledge to fast for 12 hours in honor of farmed animals who are denied food and water for at least 12 hours before being slaughtered. You can post your pledge on the FARM website above.
As we move into the hollyday season, I encourage folks to check out this website called Compassionate Holidays, which was established by FARM: Farm Animal Rights group. If you haven't yet experienced a vegetarian or vegan Thanksgiving, now is a great time to do so! There are all sorts of substitutes out there for the traditional Thanksgiving treats that most of us enjoy or have fond memories of! I know in years past I have made "Tofurkey" from scratch - a 'turkey' made out of tofu and seasonings and it was GREAT! I've also made stuffing, vegetables, pies, vegan eggless nog, and more! I have experimented with all kinds of vegan goodies during the holiday season and many are just soooo delicious! If you check out the Compassionate Holiday website, there are many suggestions and recipes for making vegetarian and vegan substitutes for your favorite holiday dishes! If you attend in a holiday event that isn't vegetarian or vegan, bring a vegan dish to share and bring a card that has the ingredients on it. Many folks are shocked to taste these often very delicious vegan substitutes for the traditional animal-based dishes. Better yet, go to a veggie hollyday gathering! There is bound to be at least one not too far from you this year! On the Compassionate Holidays website, you can scroll down to "Attend an Event", click on the link and put in your zip code to find a veggie gathering near you for this hollyday season!
Cowspiracy: The Vegan Documentary
If you haven't yet seen the documentary entitled Cowspiracy, I highly recommend it! This documentary exposes why environmental organizations do not discuss the largest producer of global emissions: livestock. If you have ever wondered about global emissions, environmentalism, sustainability, agricultural practices, the large numbers of fish being taken out of the ocean, how MUCH of an impact going vegan can make, and whether or not you can be healthy on a vegan diet, then this documentary is for you! Check it out, share it with friends and family [and anyone else willing to watch] and talk about it with people. It's one of the important documentaries of this period, and will hopefully help even more people make the decision to switch to veganism.
You can also learn about the film at this website.
by Willow Aureala
How long does it take to become a vegetarian, a vegan or a raw fooder? It can take a long time, or it can take an instant!
When I first found out about vegetarianism in my first year in college, I would say that it took me about 6 to 8 months to switch to vegetarianism after I was informed about it. I joined a womenʻs action group in college and several of the members were vegetarian. When I was asked how I could eat animals if I loved them [which at the time I would say that I did], and informed of the philosophy and ethics of vegetarianism, that idea really struck me. However, it took several months of thinking about it, as well as reading materials and information about being a vegetarian before I finally switched.
I became a vegan in an instant in 1989. I went to a presentation at Whole Foods given by a librarian who was vegan. He told the audience about the link between the dairy industry and veal [and how veal would not exist if it werenʻt for the dairy industry; veal is the ʻby productʻ of getting cows pregnant so that they can be milked; some of the calves are slaughtered immediately, while some are raised in inhumane conditions as veal calves]. As soon as I learned about this connection, I immediately gave up two of my favorite foods: pizza and ice cream! I thought it would be very difficult to give those up, but I think because I really did not want to support the dairy/veal industry, it wasnʻt that difficult for me.
As for becoming a raw fooder, I sometimes went for it all the way - went 100% raw for months at a time, while at other times ate more cooked foods. So, my raw food track has been less ʻcementedʻ than has my vegetarian and vegan track.
So, if you want something enough, especially for ethical or health reasons, then you can switch your position in an instant. Other times, the switch may take longer. I think it depends on oneʻs motivation, as well as social support. Some of us need more social support than others, and it may vary with time. Find a social support group if you can to help you on your journey. Then, the transition may take a lot less time than you think it might!
What about you? How long has it taken you to make a major switch in your life, such as to vegetarianism or something else equally as important? What factors helped you make the switch? What helps you maintain it?
From Will Potterʻs Kickstarter website:
"… New “ag-gag” laws make it illegal to photograph animal cruelty on factory farms; in some cases, exposing cruelty can lead to more jail time than committing it. These bills have already become law in Utah, Iowa, Missouri, and Idaho. Right now, more states are considering them, and they are spreading globally. The agriculture industry in Australia is modeling its “ag-gag” laws after those in the states.
The latest trend is that the agriculture industry is even trying to ban photographs of farms taken from the air. It is unlikely that aerial photography can document animal abuse, but these industries are clearly concerned. So what are factory farms trying to hide? Will a drone allow us to see the scope of pollution caused by these industrial operations? I’m going to find out…"
Personally, I have VERY mixed feelings about drones. But, I donʻt have mixed feelings about animal cruelty. So, check out Will Potterʻs website and see what you think. Support or donʻt support his cause. I found the idea of using drones to document animal cruelty an interesting one. I was also aghast to learn that the agriculture industry has been successful in formulating laws to make it a crime to photograph animal cruelty! It seems that in the U.S., whistleblowers are being punished more and more...
by Willow Aureala
Paul McCartney is wearing a shirt in public that has "Eat No Fish" on it. He also tells a story about when he used to fish, using a rod and reel, and how he realized that he was killing the fish for "the passing pleasure it brings me. And, something inside me clicked. I realized, as I watched him fight for breath, that his life was as important to him as mine is to me."
I can relate. I stopped fishing around when I was 10 or 11 years old due primarily two events. One was when I was fishing with a cousin and his friend. My cousinʻs friend, after catching a fish, cut off the fishʻs fins and put the fish back into the water, for some unknown reasons. I was very upset by this display of cruelty, and really didnʻt understand why he would do that [I wonder now if that friend is cruel in other ways still]. Some time later, maybe a year or so later, I was fishing with my father and I saw a guy across the bank of the river. It appeared that he was catching fish, and if he was upset by the fish he caught [maybe they were too small or not the right kind, I donʻt really know], then he stomped on them to kill them. Again, I was very upset by this display of cruelty and from that time on, I no longer fished. I still ate fish until I became vegetarian in 1981.
I feel sad and, sometimes even horrified, when I see fish hauled in from nets on large fishing boats or struggling to get free from a hook. Could you imagine someone reaching into your home and hooking you in the mouth with a sharp [or sometimes dull] hook? Yikes! I see the fish gasping for breath on the boats and I feel so sad for those creatures, who are left to slowly die. Too much cruelty and suffering.
There are other reasons to stop eating fish, or even to stop fishing. Fish, according to research studies, have great long-term memories, live in complex social groups, learn from other fish and develop traditions. They can also recognize themselves and others, cooperate with one another, and use tools. Fish ʻtalkʻ to each other, even talking to other species. They may shake, point with their snouts or noses, use elaborate mating rituals, and even decorate the sea floor with shell fragments.
Thus, it could be time for others to consider removing fish from their diets, as well as discontinuing the practice of fishing. And, not only may it be a moral decision, the additional fact that the number of edible fish in the oceans is decreasing rapidly is another important consideration.
What about you - do you think it is morally or ethically wrong to eat fish, or to engage in the practice of fishing?
Culum Brown 2014 "Fish intelligence, sentience and ethics. Animal Cognition.
Help End Deadly Pigeon Races
Did you know that Taiwan holds deadly pigeon races in which typically fewer than 1 percent of the pigeons starting the races actually survive after one racing season?
Taiwan has pigeon-racing clubs where the months-old pigeons [very young birds] are forced to try to navigate hundreds of miles over open ocean, even when the weather is bad, to try to return to their home lofts. Pigeons are often flown in races without any rest in between them. PETA investigators recorded one particular race where tens of thousands of pigeons lost their lives in typhoon-strength winds. The birds were being battered and crashed into boats and into the water with many dying. Also, if the pigeons don't finish a race fast enough, handlers often resort to killing the birds. Most racing pigeons are dead before their first year of life.
Illegal gambling is the main driving force behind the pigeon races where gamblers pay up to $100,000 for imported breeder birds.
According to PETA, pigeons mate for life, are caring parents, intelligent, and personable birds. Research has shown that pigeons can identify people by how they look and behave, and that pigeons can learn to recognize all 26 letters in the English alphabet, understand basic math and have other intelligent capabilities. Pigeon mates often take turns nesting their eggs, and racers may exploit these nurturing qualities by separating the birds from their mates, eggs and nestlings so that they will try to race back to their families with every ounce of strength they have, no matter the danger.
If you want to help end this cruel and inhuman practice of pigeon racing, contact the Taiwanese government and ask them to investigate and prosecute people who run these illegal gambling practices:
The Honourable Wang Cho-chiun
National Policy Agency
Ministry of the Interior
No. 7, Sec. 1, Jhongsiao E. Rd.
Taipei City 10058
The authors of the blog could be either Willow or Allan of Anima Journey.