Cruelty-Free Carnists?

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Do not get into a fight on Facebook. Do not get into a fight on Facebook…I say this to myself often unfortunately. I posted a while ago about engaging with a “friend” after they posted some anti-vegan stuff on their page. I told myself I shouldn’t but I did anyway.  Well it came up again. This “friend” posted this article. I knew they were posting it because of me and I called them out on it. They, of course, claimed they weren’t but I am their only vegan friend. (Their exact response: “Actually I didn’t post this based on anyone’s posts. I posted it cause I enjoyed the content. But if thinking it’s because I’m posting it in response to something you posted helps you sleep at night then go ahead and keep thinking so”). After engaging again, even though I knew I shouldn’t, I decided it would be healthier for me if I unfollowed them. Boundaries.

This post is not about that “fight”, seriously though…you’re the one continuing to inflict harm and suffering on sentient beings just because of your taste buds (or because “God created animals for us”) but yeah, I’m the one having trouble sleeping.

It’s actually about this extremely dense article. I can’t even with this…

Basically this article is saying that veganism is not cruelty-free so we should just keep eating animals and not doing anything to make life better for anyone.  Ok that’s not really what it says but that’s what I took away. This article was just an excuse for some butthurt carnist to feel better about eating meat because they can’t argue with the facts anymore.

This article states that many vegans believe that veganism is equal to cruelty-free but veganism is not cruelty-free and they go on to list why but mostly it’s about the agricultural industry and how the people who pick the fruit and vegetables aren’t getting fair wages. That’s pretty much their only argument on why veganism isn’t cruelty-free.

The ridiculousness of this article put me on 10 immediately!

First, there are such things as fair-trade. Fair-trade products have been produced by people who are given good wages.  You can also purchase local products which help cut down on the chances of them being produced unfairly.

Secondly, since when have these people started to care about fair wages or living conditions of others? The people that work in slaughter houses work in terrible conditions, for long hours, for little money. Most of them suffer from PTSD, depression, and anxiety! But you don’t care about that while you’re sucking down your 99 cent hamburger.

Also, you’re calling out vegans specifically for not caring about people of color because we need our quinoa. (Fair-trade quinoa does exist!) Do you (these people with quotes in the article) care about where your cheap clothes come from? What about those Dollar Store purchases from China? Oh you don’t think about those? Guess what? Maybe that’s something you need to think about. Cheap means cheap for a reason and usually it’s because of the labor involved.

So now that we’ve covered the ‘fair wages’ that you carnists obviously don’t care about, let’s move to more serious issues. Do you care about the health ramifications of the people spraying the fields for your conventionally grown products? What about the animals or environment or people living around these areas? These chemicals have been proven to cause cancer. They are being blamed for the deterioration of the bee population. Scientists have estimated that if the bees die out, humans only have seven-that’s SEVEN-years before we all die out. What about the people who live by factory farms, specifically pig farms? The farms pump out the fumes from the pig sewage into the air because it’s toxic. That means that the people living nearby, even within MILES, can be affected by these fumes deemed ‘too toxic for the pigs’. Think, there is POOP in the air. What are the health ramifications of that for these people, specifically the children? There are lawsuits in Iowa and North Carolina against these pig farms. The people in NC actually WON against the factory farm. The problem is that this factory farm is not going to change their practices. They’re just going to move to another location. And since most factory farms are near lower income neighborhoods they’re just going to be moved to another low income neighborhood.

There is no way, I repeat NO WAY to live on this planet and be 100% cruelty free. The point of veganism is to minimize the amount of harm you are inevitably inflicting by living on this earth. By not consuming animals or products; by not purchasing off-products from animals (leather/wool/silk); by not purchasing or using products that have caused harm to animals (meaning tested on); by purchasing organic, fair-trade, local, and properly-priced products we can live as cruelty-free as possible.

And by NO MEANS is eating meat/dairy/eggs even REMOTELY close to being cruelty-free. So stop trying to make yourselves feel better because you know what you’re doing is DIRECTLY contributing to animal suffering.

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Speciesism

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Way back in September I posted a re-post of an article I wrote a few years back. It was about a woman who went on a hunting trip and killed a lion and how I felt that the comments on it were very hypocritical since many of the people commenting were supportive of deer hunting. I mean honestly, you swap a white-tailed deer with the lion in that picture and you see the comments of “nice rack” or “that’s a big one” or “Nice job Bobby!”  It just seemed really hypocritical to me.

Well recently I learned what that is actually called (not just being a hypocrite).

Today’s post is brought to you by the word:

SPECIESISM

Speciesism is: discrimination in favor of one species, usually the human species, over another, especially in the exploitation or mistreatment of animals by humans.

Generally speciesism refers to humans being at the ‘top of the food chain’ and seen as more important. I don’t disagree with that necessarily, however, viewing one animal as more important than another is also speciesism.

Consuming cows while saying “ew that’s gross” to the thought of eating horse meat…that is speciesism.

Being outraged at someone hunting a lion instead of a deer…that is speciesism.

Vegans who have cats as pets and feed them meat…that is being speciesist.
Vegans who ride horses…that is being speciesist.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to be speciesist.  I’m just trying to bring to light the fact that most people are speciesist.
Maybe it’s the frequency with which we come in contact with the animals but I think it’s mostly how we’ve been conditioned to view them. We have been conditioned to view cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys as food.
But horses, dogs, cats, those are companion animals and therefore viewed as more important.
And when you venture into elephants, lions, tigers, (and bears oh my!) those are ones that you don’t see as often so therefore they’re automatically more special. Obviously this is coming from an American perspective and I wonder if it’s the same for people in other countries who come in contact with the ‘exotic’ animals more often (like elephants in India).
On a side note I don’t really buy into the whole if an animal is endangered they’re more special because people don’t seem to give a crap about the bees that were put on the endangered list.
So speciesism is when we view one animal as more important than another animal. And vegans are guilty of it too.
(Again this isn’t in reference to humans before animals. This is just one animal versus another animal.)

Animal Dissection

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A Few Changes

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I hope that everyone had a great holiday and new year!  Mine was filled with happiness, laughter, and not as much rest as hoped but full of fun regardless!  Baby Boy had a great first Christmas and we learned he loves sledding!

Now that we’ve crossed over to 2018, I’ve set my sites onto what I am hoping to accomplish in this year.  I decided for the first time, pretty much ever, to make resolutions.  Of course, this blog is on the list but I’ve decided to make a few changes. As you may have noticed, last year I tried to post weekly and to be honest that left me stressed and a little burnt out. This blog was started as a way for me to get my feelings about certain subjects in the vegan world or in my personal life.  I found myself feeling dread sometimes when trying to come up with content.  So, I’ve decided to take a step down to posting once a month.  I know, I know, it’s a terrible loss!  Leaving the world with less of my thoughts-bahahaha-but we’ll get along anyway.

So, one of my resolutions is to write twice a month.  One for the blog and one for personal reasons. Writing was always fun for me and I want to keep it that way.

Some of my other resolutions include:

Being more kind to myself and others.
Being more honest-this is specifically related to our families and our vegan lifestyle, and quite honestly (ha!) this is what the blog was for originally. Now I want to bring some honesty into my personal life.
Have two new experiences-because experiences are more important than things.
One new watercolor painting per month.

I keep adding more as I see things I want to change or accomplish in my daily life.

I would advise everyone to create a list of resolutions for a new year and better you in 2018!

Thank you for continuing to hang with my here at HashtagGoVegan!

Opening Day

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On Saturday it’s the first day here in the Midwest for a weeks worth of fear, Blaze orange, and bullets.  Get ready for deer carcasses being displayed as trophies as a way to show off ‘manliness’.

Please enjoy my Double Standards post from 2014 to remind us of this time of year.

DOUBLE STANDARDS

 

 

Yes sorry, it’s a repost.

Vegans in TV

 

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This topic came up when I was thinking about the movie Moana.  Absolutely amazing movie and I totally recommend it. But what got me thinking so much is that she has a pet pig named Pua.  She loves this pig so much that she almost dies trying to rescue it from drowning. However, in another scene she is eating from a bowl and she says “yum good pork!” then immediately looks down at her pig who looks horrified and says “sorry”.

Talk about disassociation.

Which got me thinking about how vegetarians and vegans are portrayed on TV since we don’t see them very often, even when it makes sense for a character to be veg.

The first time that I can remember coming across a vegetarian character was Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons. Turning Lisa into a vegetarian was mostly due to Paul and Linda McCartney agreeing to be on the show under the condition that Lisa become a vegetarian and stay one. There was an episode later where she questioned her vegetarianism by eating insects until she had a dream where the insects showed her that they were living beings too. (FYI people are actually making and selling cricket flour…yes that’s flour made from ground up crickets). Lisa is often portrayed as a goodie-goodie political activist.

Then I moved onto Friends and Phoebe was a vegetarian who craved meat while she was pregnant (I’m not even going to get into that) and we all know her as the off the wall hippie.

Either my memory is failing or they’re not portrayed very much, but the first vegan I can remember is Ryan from Last Man Standing. He is of course the black sheep in a family (married into) full of meat eaters. Tim Allen plays Mike, his father-in-law who is a gun-toting, hunting, meat-eating conservative to Ryan’s extremely liberal character. Many hilarious ‘discussions’ ensue. They had take out for family dinner in one episode and Ryan says (paraphrasing) “dibs on the tofu scramble!” which Mike says is the most unnecessary dibs ever. (Side note:  this show is awesome and I’m very sad it was cancelled and hope it gets picked up by a different network.)

Another vegan came in Parks and Rec in the episode where Pawnee and Eagleton merged and we got to meet Ron, Eagleton’s park’s director and see him interact with Ron, Pawnee’s park’s director that we all know and love. Eagleton’s Ron is the exact opposite of Pawnee’s Ron Swanson. Eagleton’s Ron is a tea-drinking, sandal-wearing, yoga-nut vegan working to full freegan-vegan.

Funny thing about that actor, Sam Elliot, who is Eagleton’s Ron, he now plays a rancher on Netflix’s The Ranch. He finds almond milk in his fridge and says “show me the tit in an almond”. Which I find hilarious because it’s so weird to think of a grown man drinking milk from a tit, and secondly, in the same scene Ashton Kutcher‘s character, Colt, says that almond milk is healthier for you….this is a show about people who own and run a ranch and their flat out saying animal products aren’t as healthy.

Anyway, from seeing how all of these characters are portrayed it’s all very similarly. Vegans for sure are usually shown as so over-the-top, passionate liberals that no one wants to be around them. Veganism usually goes hand in hand with human rights and environmental conservation which is “seen” as a more liberal outlook but you can’t tell me there are no conservative vegans. Now that would be an interesting TV show, the Right-Wing Vegan. Vegetarians are portrayed as slightly more sane, but with a hippie element.

Hopefully with the increase of veg people in this world and the fact that that number keeps growing, we’ll start to see more vegans/vegetarians in a positive light.

Who are some vegan/vegetarian characters that are your favs?

Vacuum Up the Fluff

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I came across this posted in a Facebook group.

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Card reads:
Butterfly: Danaes Plexippus/Monarch
Origin: North/South America
Monarch butterflies go through 4 generations each year. The first 3 hatch from their cocoon and live up to 6 weeks.  The 4th generation lives 6 or 8 months and is the only insect that migrates up to 2,500 miles to escape the cold weather for hibernation.

butterfly wings

Back of card:
Our butterflies live a full life and are collected after their natural passing in preservation farms worldwide.  Eggs laid on leaves in the wild rain forest are collected and hatched in the farms.  About 5% of butterfly eggs survive to adulthood in the wild, whereas this number jumps to 80% in preservation farms.  Butterflies are then released back into the wild and the cycle repeats.  Since butterflies live an average of 2-3 weeks some pass on before being released, which are acquired by Asana Natural Arts.  All our species are approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Organization.  Your purchase supports butterfly preservation and actually saves butterflies and their existence in the rain forest.

Before fulling reading the cards I thought they were fake and the money went to help save butterflies. After reading I was surprised. The member of the group who posted it said was really excited to get these was most excited because they didn’t have to die for her fashion. I know what she meant but…

I feel like this is good wrapped in bad and it’s deceiving people who think they’re doing something to help the butterflies while receiving something beautiful.

So without the fluff they’re basically saying they go searching for butterfly eggs, take them from the wild, raise 4 generations in captivity, then release the last generation back into the wild so they can migrate and lay more eggs to do it all over again. Meanwhile they are also harvesting and dismembering the dead bodies of the previous generation and making their body parts into jewelry.

Too harsh?

Ok so 80% survive in captivity, that’s a great number but what are the living conditions like for the butterflies? Are they at least able to fly around a nice greenhouse with many plants to eat and land on or are they treated like factory farmed animals and just basically force-fed sugar?

Of course I want to believe that they’re flying around a beautiful environment with a multitude of plants to eat and sun themselves.

But part of me thinks it’s how they call chickens ‘free-range’…all trapped in one room…but you know, no cages.

Before thinking a company is doing good because of the writing they have worked hard to carefully word (fluff), think about it from all perspectives and ask the tough questions. There is no harm in asking for more information. The worst a company/person can do is not get back to you and then you’ll just be in the same boat as before you contacted them and it’s up to you to go with your gut.

‘Grade A’ Labrador

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I’m sure that reading this article is going to put many people in a tizzy. They will feel physically sick thinking about someone eating a Labrador while they pet their own.

I agree. The thought of eating a dog or cat sickens me…as does a chicken, cow, pig, or any other animal. But I’ll be honest the thought of dog or cat meat is not even in the same realm. It’s all based on how we were raised. In this country, we are raised to believe that certain animals are ok to be farmed and eaten and others are downright disgusting. Other countries may not necessarily follow the societal norms of the US…SURPRISE! (Yes, that’s sarcasm again).

Carnism is the invisible belief system, or ideology, that conditions people to eat certain animals.  (Check out Beyond Carnism for some great info and videos!)

Anyway, this article says that the younger Chinese generation is more against eating dogs and that’s partly why the ban is being talked about (hasn’t been fully confirmed). “The ban is set to last until the festival is over and that there’s no evidence the ban includes any restrictions on cat meat.” (Why not cats?!)

The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival (aka the Yulin Dog Meat Festival) takes place every year since 2009 for about 10 days and an estimated 10,000-15,000 dogs are consumed. Though it looks like less and less are consumed every year. Sound gross? You bet! But I wonder how many pigs and cows are consumed during let’s say…Brat Fest.

The Wikipedia article says that dogs have been eaten in China for over 400 years.  “The local residents and festival organizers claim that the dogs are killed humanely and that “eating dog is no different from eating pork or beef”. Animal rights activists and campaigners, however, claim that the animals are “treated abominably”, based on photographs of the event.”

Which honestly is not any different from the way cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and other animals are treated every day in factory farms across the US.

It seems like the reason for the ban is that some people have claimed that the “dogs killed in the festival are often stolen pets'”. Which is corroborated in the Wikipedia article: “A witness claimed that some of the dogs eaten appeared to be stolen household pets, judging by their collars.”

Back to the original HuffPost article, Peter Li, the Humane Society International China Policy Expert, says that “Dogs slaughtered for food come from suspicious sources. Many are stolen pets and rural guard dogs.” He noted that Chinese activists would protest a beef festival, too, if the animals were stolen cattle.”

I highly doubt as much of a fuss would be made over cows being slaughtered and sold, regardless of if they had been stolen or not.

*Side Note: I wonder if most people in the US know that it’s legal to eat dogs and cats in quite a few states. I didn’t until today. *

To be fair the HSI group does “actively fight for the rights of all animals that suffer in the food industry”. They also say, “Whilst we realize that we can’t stop the suffering of all animals for the food industry overnight, we shouldn’t use the suffering of pigs or chickens in one country as an excuse for inaction to stop the suffering of dogs in another country.”

Bringing attention to this dog-eating festival might get more meat eaters on our side but unfortunately what’s probably going to happen is you’ll get half that will disgusted while they eat their cheese burgers and half will say ‘I’d try it”.

No matter what we try to do there will always be people who will turn the blind eye. Cognitive dissonance is STRONG, my friends. So I leave you with some quotes to help reaffirm the vegan lifestyle! We all need it sometimes.

  1. “May all that have life be delivered from suffering.” -Buddha
  2. “Life is too short to make others shorter.” -Anonymous
  3. “Compassion is the best side effect of being vegan.” -Anonymous
  4. “Animals are my friends. And I don’t eat my friends.” -George Bernard Shaw
  5. “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong in the world.” -Dr. Paul Farmer

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Shark Week: A Review

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I finally got around to watching some of the Shark Week episodes that I wanted to see. The one highest on my list was Alien Sharks.  The write up was: Alien Sharks is back on Shark Week to find the strangest shark in the waters. Dr. Craig O’Connoll travels to the Bass Strait for sawsharks, while Victoria Elena Vasquez and Dr. David Ebert go into deep water in Tokyo Bay to find the goblin shark. I love the specials where they go super deep because we see marine life that is super rare.

Some of the previews looked like they had pulled up some of the sharks which I thought was a little strange. They usually ventured to the depths instead of pulling them from their habitat but I thought ok, we’ll see what happens.

It starts off with meeting one of the teams while they went searching a Tokyo fish market looking for a goblin shark, hoping to either find one on ice or that the fishermen had seen some around.  While they were asking the fishermen there were shots of people processing fish-descaling and cutting huge chunks up to sell.

It became very evident that this show/the researchers did not care about any other marine life other than the sharks they were looking for.  The Tokyo team went out with a fisherman who, the reason he’d pulled up so many goblin sharks was because he put his nets so much deeper than others to pull up the big Japanese spider crabs that were “big money”.  The fisherman, when interviewed, actually said that the sharks were “trash” to him, which made me think what he did with them when the researchers weren’t with him. Does he throw them back or does he leave them to die on his boat because he’s too busy with the crabs? It’s also not unheard of for fishermen to just kill the sharks or other marine life that gets caught in the nets right away.

The first day the researchers went out with him they found a few different types of sharks and I assumed they were going to take measurements and throw them back. Nope. They brought a few back to shore with them to take measurements and pictures. Which means that the sharks that they had pulled from the ocean were dead. All of this footage was interspersed with shots of other fishermen throwing these STILL LIVING crabs into a bucket to get ready to sell.

The second team in Tasmania was looking for sawsharks, specifically to tag them to see how far they go. They brought up a bunch right away, tagged them and released them. One researcher attached a camera to one and was able to record some footage. (They had to retrieve the camera in order to get the footage). The second time they went out they went with a fisherman who regularly brings in and sells sawsharks.

Discovery Channel says they’re “committed to sharks and the health of our oceans” but they’re hiring fishermen who make their livings off of over fishing and selling sea creatures-some living some dead. The Tokyo fisherman seemed like he went out often for the crabs. Which, according to a Wikipedia article about spider crabs, “The population has decreased in number due to overfishing, forcing fishermen into exploring deeper waters to catch them”.

I was only able to watch this special online but during the commercial breaks, guess what made its appearance….yep commercials specifically mentioning the Shark Week specials at seafood restaurants.  I find it totally ironic that many of these specials, during Shark Week or other times, are supporting the conservation of animals and land while the commercials try to entice you to eat the very thing they’re saying to protect. Talk about dissociation amongst watchers. They even mentioned with the Tasmania team that regardless of what is brought up it’s sold and made into food (while showing images of fried fish).

After that episode which made my stomach churn, I really felt like I’d watched my last Shark Week but I decided to try at least one more. The other was about the great hammerheads and it was much better. Research by observation to figure out why they come and leave Bimini, Bahamas and with the intent to cause very little stress to the sharks. (Spoiler alert: the sharks are pregnant and feast up before heading back to their place of birth to have their pups. Also, these sharks have 20-50 pups at a time every two years! Crazy!!)

So I’m conflicted on Shark Week. There seem to be some great researchers who really care about protecting these animals while others say they care but go about really shady ways of researching. Do we not question them because they’re researchers? I understand that research has to involve some non-living specimens but can we focus more on seeing how they live while they’re alive rather than theories after they’ve been purposefully pulled from the ocean for studies?

 

P.S. A special Thank You shout out goes to my husband for listening to my long winded rant about Alien Sharks before it was put into writing.

Silk

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For the record, silk moths are pretty darn adorable!

I used to play a computer game, Where in Time is Carmen San Diego (showing my age right there with that sentence). It was my favorite game! In this game you would try to catch Carmen’s ‘goonies’ that escaped from prison and went through a time machine and were causing mayhem throughout time.  One place we went was Ancient China, Genghis Khan China, and in order to get information we had to help people along the way.  One woman we ran into was making silk and she needed help. So we found her worms, then fed them leaves. As soon as their cocoons were spun we put them in the pot of water and it bubbled and then a silk tapestry came out! Wow this is so cool, my 12-year-old self thought. And then I just kept moving through the game.

The thing I just realized now is that I believe the game led us to believe the worms had fun in their boiling bath and could go on to produce more silk. (I’m not 100% sure because that was quite a long time ago and such a small part of the game).

After the silk topic was brought back up in a podcast I was listening to, I decided to look into it more (silk, not the computer game).

Silk worms are gorged on mulberry leaves which causes them to make their cocoons. Once the cocoons are made the worms, fully in their cocoons are thrown into boiling water where the worms are dissolved and their cocoons become the silk fibers we know of.  It takes 3000 silk worms in order to produce 1 k (about 2 pounds) of silk. “It takes about 5000 silkworms to make a pure silk kimono.”

Apparently, there are different kinds of silk too that are produced by other insects. I think one reason why silk isn’t always thought of as a ‘problem’ in the vegan community is because it’s hard for us to relate to insects and think they have thoughts and feelings. Just because they’re creepy crawly and I don’t want them in my house does not mean that they don’t feel fear and pain just like we do.

If you really think about it, silk is not just cruel but pretty gross. You’re basically wearing worm secretions. You’re laying your head on a pillow case made from worm barf. I mean that’s how cocoons are created.

I know insects are pretty low on the ‘things to care about’ totem-pole, but why do bees matter more than worms? Or ladybugs more than spiders? They all have a place in this world just like cows, dogs, and us. Being a vegan means not consuming, wearing, or using any animal products and not exploiting them. As Dr. Seuss says, “A person’s a person, no matter how small”. This goes for animals too.