Animal Dissection



A Few Changes


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

whitetail deer_hunting season_opening day_midwest_deer season_#govegan.jpg

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.




Yes sorry, it’s a repost.

Vegans in TV


moana_#govegan_vegans in tv_

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


I came across this posted in a Facebook group.

butterfly wings 2

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

vegan_#govegan_all_created_equal_dog meat_festival

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


Shark Week: A Review

discovery channel_shark week_line up_2017_go vegan_#govehan

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.



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.

Shark Week

discovery channel_shark week_line up_2017_go vegan_#govehan

Discovery Channel’s 2017 Line Up

The amazing Shark Week is next week! Something I’ve loved since I was a kid (along with most people it seems)! I love sharks and have since I got my very first Shark edition of Zoobooks Magazine in the mail in the 90s.  I’ve read that edition so many times that it’s falling apart…anyway…

When I was young, shark week was about learning about sharks and getting more information out to the public in the hopes that if people know about them, they’ll want to save them.  The exact opposite of all of the shark attack videos that are constantly being made.

However, Discovery Channel has decided to kick off Shark Week with a show called “Great White Shark Serial Killer Lives”. Sigh. I thought we had gotten past that. Well that’s what puts butts in the seats right? Showing sharks as mindless killing machines.

Sharks don’t kill just to kill…that’s serial killers. They kill because 1. they’re hungry or 2. they bit just to taste to see if humans are food and since we are so fragile, their teeth do major damage and people end up dying from their injuries.

In past Shark Week specials we learned that sharks are playful. We watched as a shark came up to the side of a boat and the researcher was able to touch its nose, push it to the side and the shark came back to do it again. We also learned that sharks don’t have ‘soulless black eyes’. There is actually a ring of blue around the black.

Growing up, I had a friend who lived in the Midwest and had never been to the ocean and her biggest fear was sharks. Where did this come from? From the fear porn surrounding sharks.

The more we learn about animals the more we love them and want to protect them. Shark fins are still a delicacy in (mostly) Asian cultures which to ‘harvest’ consists of cutting off the fins of sharks WHILE THEY’RE STILL ALIVE and throwing the body back into the ocean.  If sharks are constantly portrayed as mindless killers, who is going to want to protect them?

Instead of the shark attack shows and movies, let’s learn more about them. They’re fascinating and so many things are still unknown about them. Let’s try to find out more before they disappear all together.

Say it with me:

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.”

fish are friends not food_finding nemo_bruce_sharks_shark week_#govegan


Freeing Animals, One Step at a Time


One day buddy…one day.

One small step on the ladder of saving animals! First it’s Sea World stopping the use of orcas (though not all the other animals the have in captivity but baby steps I guess or maybe we call them snail steps). Now New York City is banning the use of wild animals in circuses. And it wasn’t even close! “In a decisive vote of 43 to 6, the New York City Council voted yesterday to ban the use of wild animals in circuses”. WHAAAA?!

“Both the New York Daily News and the New York Post agree: The momentum of the animal rights movement is not going to stop with wild animal acts. In a few short years, they may “free wild animals from captivity by shuttering New York’s zoos,” warned The Daily News. “If the zealots can finish off the circus, they’ll set their sights on zoos and aquariums next,” the Post wrote bitterly. These editorials echo the worst fears of the lobbyists for a dying industry: First circuses, then racetracks, then labs, then aquariums, then zoos, then farms. “Don’t expect it to end here,” said the Post.”

HAHAHA! I find this so funny because it makes me giddy! Let me call out this quote:

“If the zealots can finish off the circus, they’ll set their sights on zoos and aquariums next,” the Post wrote bitterly.

First off, zealots…haha. Second off, YES! THAT IS THE POINT!!! Freeing animals from the circus is just a small step for the animals. Animal rights activists want ALL animals freed from places they’re being exploited. For vegans it’s not just no animal products, it’s anti-animal exploitation as well. And what are zoos, aquariums, and circuses? They are ONLY places where animals are being used to bring in money. That’s it. No one would go to a zoo with no animals and just nature documentaries playing.

My all time favorite quote from the article:

Animal advocates have turned the impossible into the inevitable.


Everyone who was ever told to “man up” and “get over” cruelty to animals — anyone who was ever told that the exploitation of animals is simply a fact of life — can now say with confidence: “No. It doesn’t have to be this way. A better, kinder world is possible.”

(Can I just quote the entire article as a post?!) The meat industry has always lead society to believe that ‘real men’ eat meat and that meat=manliness. Hunting as well. I’m not saying it’s only men but it’s definitely seen as a ‘manly sport’ (different post about why hunting is not a sport). To me, a ‘real man’ isn’t cruel. He values life, in all forms.

If-you-want-to-know-what-a-mans-like-take-a-good-look-at-how-he-treats-his-inferiors-not-his-equals_sirius black_vegan.

(Alright, last one)

So once again, I find myself agreeing with The Daily News: “[I]t’s hypocritical as hell for government to ban heavily regulated circuses while we put captive wild animals on display for our edification, nevermind put millions of other animals on our plates.”

EXACTLY!!! That’s what we’ve been saying ALL along. Why do you eat a burger and think that’s ok, while petting your dog? It’s completely hypocritical.

It’s one small step on the animal rights ladder but we’re working our way to the top! It’s a long, uphill battle but we’re doing it! Rights for all animals, not just our pets!

Read the article here. The NYC Circus Ban Is Just The Beginning  Seriously, it’s amazing!