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Thursday, 1 December 2011

My New Animal Friends

We went to Brinsley Animal Rescue Christmas open day on Sunday. It's a wonderful sanctuary run on vegan values (yay!) and twice a year they open their doors to the public in order to raise some dosh for the animals. They're usually all out roaming free but for the few hours twice a year they chill out indoors so people can meet and greet them. These were the highlights of my day...

Boris the blind bull. He was too difficult for the farmer to look after (yuck) so the folk at Brinsley adopted him and gave him a loving home for life. Never has the term 'Gentle Giant' been more apt. Such an amazingly enormous and powerful fella, yet he chooses to do nothing but love with all his might. What a gent.


 This naughty little pair of squawkers took a real disliking to Dan haha, they tried their best to chase him off their field...what the camera missed was them actually catching up with him and biting his ankle! Haha!

Look how furious he is the little stinker!

 These little baby beauties don't have names yet, they've just arrived at the sanctuary. I dread to think what happened to their friends for whom there wasn't enough space at Brinsley.

You think dogs are playful and full of character? You ain't seen nothing until you've played tug of war with a piglet! Such little scamps, so funny and mischievous! 

And the chubbiest, laziest resident of all, Rocky. This chap was all about the belly scratches - just lay there grunting away demanding a fuss from every passer by! I fell head over heels in love with him and was more than disgusted to hear people talking about bacon and sausages in front of him. I had to try to not think about it too much or I literally would have had a nervous break down - what is wrong with people!?!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

''All My Underdogs, We Will Never Be Never Be, Anything But Loud...''

Did you people know P!nk is vegan? Woo! I never...have a look at this video and spot the cow drinking the human breast milk...Love it!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Abolitionist Again

So. You may have noticed my silence since my last post. It was weird, after writing that, the universe started hammering me with messages opposing my stance. Everywhere I turned there were compelling arguments against welfarism and amazing people doing amazing things from an abolitionist perspective; essays, lectures, blogs, and Facebook updates. So after being confronted with damning evidence in favour of being abolitionist; here I am with my tail between my legs having to admit that I was wrong.

I thought using the angle of animal welfare as a gateway for getting meat eaters to listen to my views was the best way to go. For example, I was chatting with my dad, aunt and uncle last week. Usually they switch off and/or take the piss out of me when I preach that killing animals for food is inherently wrong. This time my opener was much better received. 

''Fine whatever, you don't agree with me that animals shouldn't be killed for food. But surely, you agree with me that they shouldn't be intensively farmed and subject to torture and excruciating conditions just so that we can buy meat cheaply?''

They agreed, then they listened to my rants on factory farms and for once I wasn't having to defend my position. And there you have it; 3 more meat eaters who now know what happens in factory farms who didn't know before. Success!

Well at least I thought so. Of course they listened. Of course they agreed with me. Of course they were more open. But that doesn't mean there was any sort of breakthrough. They listened because they weren't being accused of doing anything wrong. I was telling them that it's fine to eat meat. I was telling them that the only thing they are guilty of, is not knowing the truth, and that's not their fault is it? Pandering to them like this isn't going to break down any barriers. Do I really believe that any of them are going to make a committed effort to stop buying factory farmed produce? Come on, as if! And even if they did, I was convincing myself that this would be a half way step to veganism, but it's not! People who believe they're doing enough by buying higher welfare meat are even harder to 'convert'!

If I expect anyone to change, they need to hear the harsh truth. The full truth. That animals are not ours to use, full stop. That's the message that needs to be heard because everything hinges on that. If more people believed that, fur farms, meat farms, dairy farms, puppy mills, none of them would exist anyway! We wouldn't need to pussy foot around these people and beg them to torture the animals in a nicer way. The fundamental core issue that animal use is just plain bad is what the animals need people to be pushing.

But as long as we have people fighting in any way they can for the animals, that's a good thing, right? Nope. Not only does this attitude not help, it is actually detrimental to the cause. It sets it all back a step. You just have to listen to people proudly proclaiming that they only buy free range eggs to know that it's all bollocks. It just allows people to plod on ignorantly through life with their eyes closed.

Will my family be as open to hearing my views that eating meat is heinous altogether? Absolutely not. Will they taunt me and tell me they don't care how cute the pig is because its bacon is just too goddamn tasty? Yep. Will they tell me that Jesus ate fish? Yup. Will I go round in circles and continue having the same conversations with every single person I converse with on the matter? You bet. Will they be pissed off and call me a nutter and laugh at me behind my back? I can guarantee it. 

But that's OK. Telling people the whole story, that's the only thing that's gonna change the way they think. They react in that typical way because I make them uncomfortable, (i.e. it's working!) I force them to see the truth and they'll hate me for a while because of it. But there aren't any short cuts. Yeah, I might feel better when they politely listen and agree with me that cages should be bigger blah blah blah but that's selfish, it's not doing anything to help the animals so what's the point? 

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Eating Animals

I've just finished reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Unfortunately I read it on Ibooks or I'd certainly be passing it along. An in depth look at modern factory farming; facts, figures, how it came to be and his thoughts on it. I really loved it, highly recommend it.

Although it did evoke some unsettling thoughts that I wouldn't have expected myself to think before reading it. It features accounts from family farmers (as opposed to factory farmers) who talk about the traditional 'proper' way of farming, and I found myself thinking, although they still enslave and kill defenseless animals, they're not as bad as the factory farmers, and if people are insistent on eating meat, perhaps we should at least encourage them to buy from more ethical sources.

Now before I'd read this book, when I heard people talk that that, it really infuriated me. I thought they were advocating eating meat. I guess it is sort of sacrificing your principles for practicality. But any steps that can be taken to practically reduce suffering are certainly better in my eyes.

But I suppose the question is; can it actually reduce suffering at all? Will people actually buy from family farmers instead? Or will they just use what I say as confirmation that basically I'm saying it's OK to eat meat? Will they think that it's fine to slaughter a cow when it's still a baby just as long as it wasn't tortured first? I'm not sure, and hence why we have such heated debates between welfarists and abolitionists. Of course I would love nothing more than for no animals to suffer at the hands of humans, but I think it could be the first step, so I'm sticking with it for now.

And on a more lighthearted note...After finishing the book I found the page on Facebook and liked it, but I soon realised that didn't quite send out the right message...


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

My First Demo!

I've mentioned before that I've wanted to get out there and be more active with animal rights. I'm not exactly sure where I fit yet, not sure where my time is best spent or which area I'm most passionate about. But when plans for a Beagle breeding facility for dogs used for vivisection applied for planning permission close to where I live, I knew this was the best place to start.

Here's me (one of the dogs) on the evening news!

Just in case any of you who watched the clip were fooled into believing that ''the re-development and modernisation is in the best welfare interests of the animals'' let me just point out that currently, the facility holds 5 dogs, and the application is for TWO THOUSAND cages. Also it's important to note that the clip of Beagles scamping around happily was supplied to the TV channel by a group who promote animal testing. B & K have admitted to only letting the dogs out to run around like that for 10 minutes every few days, I would have liked to have seen some footage that truly represents their dire conditions!

In any case, I am absolutely delighted that this is gaining national interest. There have been a number of similar protests this week and certainly the most exciting development is that following occupation by animal rights activists, Marshall BioResources in Italy, the largest breeding facility in Europe has been temporarily shut down after a police raid revealed horrific welfare violations. Things are really happening, and never has the famous Margaret Mead quote rang so true for me:

''Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.''

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Children and Animals #2

My boyfriend's Mum is a teacher and came home one day with a tale about one of the boys in her school.

The sweet little 6 year old was walking past a fishmongers and he asked his mum if they could buy one of the fish. So they did. The next part is the 'funny' bit, but it's the part that broke my heart. He took the fish home, named it, cuddled it, played with it and continued to take it everywhere with him.

He wanted an animal friend and the notion of a shop selling dead creatures just hadn't even entered his precious little head. Of course everyone laughed at how silly and cute he had been but they're missing the point. How innocent and lovely that the idea of killing fish for food was completely alien to him. This should have been a story that makes people feel sad that we're forcing beautiful souls like him to live in a world ran on pain and suffering. But as per usual they're too blinkered to realise.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Children and Animals #1

A few months ago 3 of my little cousins (all under 13) were eating meat and I was lurking in the kitchen.

''Nicola, why's this got red stuff in?''

''It's blood''

*Puzzled expressions*

''Because it's a dead chicken's leg''

*Horrified expressions*

Cue the rest of my family furiously telling the girls to ignore their lunatic cousin. Fast forward 3 months to the announcement one of them made that she's now vegetarian - I'm beyond proud of her!

I'm constantly thinking about the results of my actions and whether something I say will piss people off so much that they use it as ammunition against our cause. But in cases like this when I see a real opportunity for my message to be heard, I'm obliged to speak out.

A conversation with my Dad afterwards went something like this:

Dad: *Frowning* ''Come on Nic, you know you shouldn't have said that''

Me: ''Why?''

''You know why'' *looks at me as if I'm just being ridiculous*

''No I don't. Why shouldn't they know the truth?''

''Because they're too young, they should be shielded from stuff like that''

''Why, because if they knew the truth they wouldn't want to eat meat? If they're being forced to eat it, they deserve to know where it's come from. Either stop force feeding them the dead animals which you know they would choose not to eat if they were given the option, or tell them the truth. And if their parents are sure that they're doing the right thing by feeding them meat, then they should be fine with them knowing the truth.''

He agreed in principle but still felt uneasy about me saying things like that to the kids. Ellie is a bright little girl and I'm not suggesting my one statement turned her veggie (she read Charlotte's Web too) but children are just less indoctrinated, less brainwashed into the idea of gorging on flesh, they're so close to making the connection that all they need is to know the truth. Before they reach a certain age they don't defend their actions with pathetic excuses, they just get it. They agree and they're disgusted and I'll be damned if I'm supposed to let parents force feed our friends to compassionate little people without saying anything.

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