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Archive for the ‘animal rights’ Category

Pigs Vs Puppies

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been in the news today because he has apparently made some comments about how in principle he wouldn’t be against the idea of farming dogs for food. The Telegraph reports he said:

“You can’t object, unless you also object to the farming of pigs. It’s an artificial construct of our society, a cultural decision, to make pets out of dogs and meat out of pigs.”

The man has got a point. It’s one the non-omnivorous among us having been saying for a while. It’s a constant puzzle to me how people who eat animals also have pets, and I wonder at what point in history some animals were deemed friends and others meals.

Now, obviously Hugh’s an omnivore. And I have to say, I don’t know how I feel about him in general. Nice guy, but there’s a lot of death on his TV programme. However, at least he has the balls to look creatures in the eye before killing and eating them, which is more than most omnivores who avoid the reality of their decisions.

A part of me wonders if the statement he made has more clout because it came from the mouth of a meat-eater, rather than a vegan. Maybe this means it can be viewed more as a question about the way the world works, instead of being seen as propaganda or dismissed as animal rights extremism?

As expected, the media coverage of Hugh’s thought-provoking comments have mainly tried to make him sound like some kind of monstrous puppy-killer (“Let them eat puppies”, and “hugh defends eating puppy meat”), rather than discussing the double standard he is talking about. But personally I appreciate that someone in the public eye is raising the question. Obviously I’m not saying people should eat puppies because they eat other animals, but I wish people would ask themselves why they distinguish between different animals and have completely different rules for them.

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Earthlings is a film about speciesism. It was made in 2005 and shows the ways (most) humans use animals for food, clothing, entertainment and research. It is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, and features music by Moby, both of whom are vegans.

I watched it when I’d been vegan for a while, and I think it’s an amazing film. But it’s very full-on; it’s full of images and video of animal cruelty, some of which is now imprinted on my brain forever. Everyone knows as an individual what their tolerance is for seeing such imagery and it’s for each person to judge for themselves – for me, I’ve watched a LOT of videos, and I know I need to be a bit careful not to over expose myself or I can end up feeling pretty miserable about the world. So I watch things ocassionally,  and I try to make the world a better place through promoting veganism where I can, and being a good example of a happy, healthy vegan.

Anyway, I digressed. My point was, did you know Earthlings is available to watch, for free, in full?

Click here to go to the Earthlings site.

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After finding this article and this article, I decided I definitely wanted to work my way through reading all of the books on the lists. And as I do I’ll write a short review of each one on here.

So here’s the first one!

Popco by Scarlett Thomas

I had already The End of Mr Y, and really enjoyed it (it also had a small amount of covert animal rights messages). Scarlett Thomas is great at creating a lead character which is easy to identify with but also very interesting and individual.

The blurb on the back of the book says:

“Alice Butler has been receiving some odd messages – all anonymous, all written in code. Are they from someone at Popco, the profit-hungry corporation she works for? Or Alice’s long-lost father? Is someone else on her trail? The solution, she is sure, will involve the code-breaking skills she learned from her grandparents and the key she’s been wearing around her neck since she was ten. Popco is a grown-up adventure of family secrets, puzzles and the power of numbers”

back cover

I found this a really interesting read. Occasionally the detailed bits about codes went on a little bit, but I just skipped the odd paragraph if I lost interest! I really liked the main character, and it was definitely a book which made you want to keep reading. When I was reading this book, I did wonder for quite a while when the animal rights/veganism bit was going to become apparent, but it does in the second half! I liked the message of the book, and I would probably recommend it. And I do love that as a vegan, Scarlett Thomas is using her fiction writing as a platform to try and spread the message. There’s even a recipe for vegan cake at the end of the book, which I intend to make at some point!

From reading a couple of reviews on amazon, it seems some people found the animal rights aspect of the book a bit “preachy”, but I guess you can only feel that way if you’re being told something you’d rather avoid, and you’re feeling a bit defensive about it…

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Clever cow

Love this story; click here to read about Daisy the cow and watch the video. If only they weren’t locked up in the first place. Hopefully it might make people think a bit more about the intelligence of cows, their rights to freedom and their individuality as creatures rather than products.

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I was having a conversation with an omnivore at the weekend, and he was asking a few questions about veganism. One thing he said was:

“I get the egg thing, because they could be baby chickens if they were fertilised”

But the thing is, the “egg thing” actually has little to do with that. Aside from the horrendous treatment and exploitation of hens, and the cruelty they endure, what about the guy chickens?

I don’t think anyone can really “get the egg thing” until they have seen the video in this article…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8107957/40-million-chicks-on-conveyor-belt-to-death.html

And seriously, who could ever eat an egg again after knowing what the industry does to male chicks? Horrendous.

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