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Jan 8, 2014

journalist, blogger and food critic Ori Shavit talks about her journey to veganism with humour and eloquence in this 13 minute video...

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Posted: Jan 8, 2014 10:09am
Dec 28, 2013
can i come out of hiding? is the fleshtival over?

can i walk into a supermarket without my eyes being drawn to the tinselled, highly lit dismembered bodies of sentient beings butchered for unnecessary human consumption? can i turn on the television without being assaulted (on a far greater scale than the rest of the year) by body parts of beings I see as someone, not a food ingredient?

i hope edgar's mission don't mind my use of their banner!
i had this week off work, not for the celebratory time some see it as - i'm not religious so don't subscribe to the fairytale fable (but then of course, you already knew that!), but because i couldn’t deal with hearing the inevitable and often distressingly descriptive conversations about 'food' - who people would be eating and how they would be serving them...

while many sat down on 25 december to necrovore gluttony in the form of rancid, decaying flesh and body fats – yes, if you hadn’t thought about it, the moment something dies it starts to decompose no matter how you ‘dress it up’ - i sat down and decided it was time to watch speciesism, the movie…

not sure what speciesism is? a huffington post article '"speciesism : the movie" may change your world view' states “The word "speciesism," which has been popularized by Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer, refers to the assumption that a vast gulf exists between the ethical value of human interests and the ethical value of the interests of other animals. At its extreme, we may see ourselves as the only species that matters morally, and view other animals as existing merely for our use: to eat, to make into clothing, to perform experiments on, to be entertained by in circuses and zoos. Like those who grew up having overt racist beliefs assimilated into their worldview, some degree of speciesism has been so well-assimilated into the worldview of most of us that it does not even appear to be worth questioning.”

i was definitely in for some mental stimulation watching this film…

this is the first film by mark devries and, according to an article on the free from harm website 'could mark devries' first film change the world' “Before making his maiden movie, 25-year-old George Washington University law student Mark Devries was, well, a speciesist. He believed, as most of us do, that the arguments for animal rights and against speciesism were absurd and easily dismissable. But in the course of his interviews with the world’s leading philosophers on the subject — Peter Singer, Gary Francione, Tom Regan, evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins and Marc Bekoff — he had a complete shift in consciousness and became a vegan. He claims that their arguments make an irrefutable case for animal rights, and he’s equally moved by the absence of valid counter arguments."

the two articles quoted from above speak volumes on this movie and are both worth reading, and i would highly recommend watching the movie if you can get your hands on a copy (i bought mine online here and will be donating it to my local library)... it doesn’t contain the confronting imagery of ‘earthlings’ or ‘meat the truth’, but that makes it nonetheless confronting morally and ethically… it is another important expose of the continuing holocaust of those we brutalise and enslave by the billions year in and year out – they are someone, not something…

“The word "holocaust" is defined as "destruction or slaughter on a mass scale." In modern times, the word is applied most often to the plight of European Jews at the hands of Hitler, but the word was not invented for this event. There have been many holocausts before and after, many on a larger scale. Even so, to compare the slaughter of non-human animals to the slaughter of humans is not to degrade the deaths of humans but to dignify the deaths of non humans.”...dan piraro ...

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Posted: Dec 28, 2013 8:45am
Nov 17, 2013

how? by thinking about your food choices... veganism, animal rights, worker's rights, child labour - lauren ornelas connects all the dots in this short video - perhaps she will make you think outside the box, make you look behind the veil and see the slavery that exists amongst human and nonhuman animals alike... this is not a graphic video, but it is profound...

you can find out more on the food empowerment website or check out her appetite for justice blog...

and while on food choices, here's a little 'light-hearted' take on the power of disconnection - how we only see what we want to see... oh, the power of brainwashing...

from vegan street's daily meme 7/11/2013

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Posted: Nov 17, 2013 2:28am
Oct 5, 2013

well, here it is, october now and i still don't have the incentive to get back into blogging - amazing considering there is a wealth of subject matter out there... i often think about it, but then i just move on without doing anything... i've had a lot of personal stuff to deal with over the last few months and it seems to have worn me out... so while i procrastinate a little bit longer and try to find my spark again i'll just share this youtube video with you... blue-sy, rock-y music and nice voice with a message by a young man who goes by the name of evan rock...

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Posted: Oct 5, 2013 7:12am
Jul 25, 2013

i'm almost back to blogging - but not quite... having just moved - yes, time to get my own space again, with shadow and petey of course, and dealing with 'life crap' - the ending of something i should have realised had ended ages ago, a sick mother hospitalised, etc. etc.,  i just couldn't pass up sharing this brilliant post from the wonderful marla of vegan feminist agitator...

Looking at Life Through the Vegan Lens
“It's not what you're looking at that matters, it's what you see.” - Henry David Thoreau

For most of my life, I have walked around in a comfortably fuzzy world; it’s a misty place with blurred, dull edges, and I love it here for the most part. Acclimated to my astigmatism and poor eyesight, I still prefer it this way. I recently got glasses, though, and suddenly everything is so very sharp and crisp. I am noticing faces in a way that I didn’t before but this new clarity of vision also means that the dirt on the floor is much more pronounced to me as well. There is comfort in the blurred edges and sometimes the laser-sharp clarity of the world I can see so much better now has me longing to retreat to that old hazy landscape. It’s better to be able to see but it’s not without its challenges. 

I believe that the same could be said about those of us who have altered the lens through which we see the world. This is what happens when you go vegan. I think that once you can truly see life from this new, radically different framework, the lens through which you view the world is likely to be altered forever. For some of us, when the old lens shatters, it becomes obsolete, useless to us. We can no longer pretend to see things the way we did before so we can not go back to living as we did before. Others do what they can to tape the broken lens back together, a piece of tape here, some glue there, in order to not have to discard it. A successfully transformed perspective from a shattered and replaced lens is one that rearranges how we see our place in the world; though it is unsettling to suddenly see things that our culture doesn’t want us to see, things that are pervasive and disturbing, we can remedy that disharmony by changing our lives to accommodate our new vision. Whether it was because of a searing epiphany or a more gradual toppling of the excuses we clung to, the end result is that we are not the same as we once were. We are changed in fundamental ways that are often invisible but no less tangible, and this altered perspective can often make us incompatible with accepting what we once did as “the way things are.”  We are vegan.

A fundamental aspect of being vegan means that we now see the world in new ways: we see dead cows where others see hamburgers, we see tortured birds where others see omelets, we understand that we are equals in suffering. It’s not because we necessarily want to see this way but because we often cannot “un-see” it. It is our new lens no matter the challenges because living with a clarity of vision is so essential to us.

As vegans, we are often told that we are insipid or melodramatic for seeing things the way we do, and, implicitly or explicitly, we are asked to stop making life uncomfortable for those who want to continue eating animals unabated. How can we do that, though? Simply by existing and often without words, as vegans, we represent the elephant in the room and the truth about the violence we inflict needlessly. Most would prefer not to see this. We are provocative simply by existing and we can’t help that. The dissonance between what we see and what we are asked to pretend not to see is a bizarre tension vegans are expected to simply accept as an unspoken condition of adapting to life.

Needless to say, this is hard to accept.

We are being asked to not see (or to behave as if we don’t see) something that would be obvious to anyone who wasn’t complicit in maintaining the avoidance of this, and something that we see nakedly, without artifice and without trying. That we see violence and we see killing isn’t necessarily a judgment, it is a statement of fact: we see this because this is what is happening. We’re not supposed to say, think or even see this, though. When vegans, approximately 2% of the population, are told that we are oppressing others because we speak, think and simply see the truth about the horrors that are inflicted on animals, a dysfunctional dynamic is in place. We are being asked to maintain a lie about something when we cannot avoid seeing the truth.

We are looking at the world through a different lens and this lens changes everything. It makes life challenging at times but being able to clearly see and then act on what we see is an incredible honor and privilege. How fortunate we are to have this rare vision. What a responsibility, too. That we could spend a fraction of our lives letting people know what we are able to see and perhaps help them to develop a new lens is a blessing beyond measure."
marla's wonderful 'wordsmithing' never ceases to uplift me and put a smile on my face for her articulation and validation of me and my thoughts - you can't 'un-see- what you have seen, you can't 'un-know' what you know... thank you wonderful womon...

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Posted: Jul 25, 2013 1:19pm
May 26, 2013
what a combination... and they all come rolled up in this one man, damien mander, ex special operations unit sniper for the royal australian navy - now avid environmental and animal activist and founder of the international anti-poaching foundation (iapf)

the following video is 'doing the rounds' at the moment... i first heard of it on the free from harm blog which states "I’m always grateful to come across stories of men whose own struggles with received ideas about masculinity and violence have led them to confront, and openly challenge, meat’s grip on the male psyche. How does a self-described extreme meat-eater and former hunter, for example, a professional killer with the words “SEEK AND DESTROY” tattooed huge across his chest, become inspired to stop eating animals and devote his life full-time to animal rights and wildlife conservation?"

want to know the answer to that question? well, with so many sharing this i felt compelled to share his powerful message too, and to introduce you to one of the most inspiring 'real men' i have ever listened to - damien is a rivetting orator and watching this will be 12 of the most incredibly mesmerising minutes you could imagine - believe me, this is 12 minutes well spent!

oh if only there were many more damien manders in this world - who knows, perhaps this will be the inspiration that will allow others to look into their own hearts and find compassion, search their own psyche and find wisdom... perhaps this will help some make the connection, understand the truth of speciesism and the need to fight for justice for all...

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Posted: May 26, 2013 6:50am
Apr 14, 2013
a month since posting… hmmm, appears i have been ‘neglecting’ my blog somewhat so i thought it was time to at least add something new to read – although not something i have written… i have been reading many blogs and articles lately so thought i would share something that - as a vegan and womyn's liberationist (although most 'opt' for the term feminist these days) - i found inspiring, refreshing and totally 'in tune' with my views...

ruby at edgar's mission‘Intersecting oppressions: perspectives from a Muslim vegan feminist’ is by australian journalist ruby hamad, whose writing i have shared before because i just think she is brilliant…

she talks of her childhood growing up at “the tail end of a family of seven children in 1980s Australia…" 

"Life was good… until puberty hit. That’s when the illusion of equality was shattered.

I first noticed it at about the age of eleven. Whereas before, my brother and I would loiter around the playground hanging off the monkey bars until it started to get dark, my mother began demanding I come directly home after school. The pleas for permission to play a game of touch football with the neighbourhood kids (mostly boys) were treated with open-mouthed expressions of horror.

You want to play with the boys?

By the time I was twelve, I too was being saddled with chores. The chore I hated most, the one that had me seething with unspoken rage, was the task of making the bed of my younger brother.

No longer my equal.

That’s when I knew.

I knew that the gap between how my brothers were treated and how my sisters and I were treated was only going to grow, and that the reason was our girl bodies. I knew that my days of freedom were numbered.” 

i have to say here that her experience was not much different from a girl growing up in a family that had christianity in the form of catholicism as its religion in the 1950s & 60s - my brother could do anything, get away with anything, never had to take responsibility for anything (and still doesn't!!) hey as far as everyone was concerned 'the sun shone out of his arse' (and pretty much still does!!!) - took me until my late teens to realise patriarchy and religion were inextricably linked...  anyway, back to ruby's story...

she goes on to speak of her “deep discomfort with the practice of eating meat.”

"It all started with a chicken. I am often saddened at the inability of many adults to recall just how much children view animals as equals. At the age of five, I was thrilled to wander in to the backyard one day and find a chicken scratching away in the garden. She seemed to come out of nowhere and I didn’t think to ask what she was doing there because there she was and that was good enough for me.. I quickly informed her she was my new best friend and immediately set about chasing her all over the yard. So it struck my five year old self as nothing short of tragic to see myself go, a few short days later, from trying to settle on a name for her to witnessing my father hold her fragile body in his big hands and, invoking the name of God, slice her little head clean off her neck. Yes, it’s true. Headless chickens really do run around like…headless chickens.

I was too shocked to scream. Instead, I fled to the garage, which had been her short-lived home, and lay there trembling for hours, curled amongst the straw and her stray feathers. My parents thought my devastation was sweet but entirely unnecessary. It never crossed their minds that I was grieving the loss of my best friend.

That was my first brush with what Carol Adams calls the patriarchal model of meat consumption. I didn’t know it then, but eating meat is, in its very nature, an expression of male power and control over the bodies of others. There is no denying this now. We are all, vegetarian and meat-eater alike, aware of how closely aligned eating meat is with the stereotypical notion of ‘masculinity’. I remember the Australian advertising campaigns of the 1980s urging housewives to ‘Feed the man meat!’

The reason meat made me uncomfortable as a child was because it was a reminder of my own powerlessness.  Much like women, animals suffer because they are treated as commodities. Relegated to the status of objects, their own desires are irrelevant. They simply exist to be used and abused. This is not specific to one culture or religion, it is a global, structural problem that stems from the belief that the powerful have the right to dominate the weak.

Feminists who eat meat may be fighting for their own liberation, but as long as they participate in animal exploitation—Feed the man meat!—they are propping up the very system they are fighting against.

My early rejection of patriarchal authority and my repeated attempts at living a meat-free life were indeed related. I was rejecting control over both my body and the bodies of animals who I have always identified with.”

there’s much more to read in the article – which in itself is an edited exerpt from a new book “Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism,Animals, and The Sexual Politics of Meat” in which ruby has written a chapter entitled “Halal”, but my favourite overall statement goes:

“I am a feminist and a vegan because I am opposed to all oppression, to all violence, to all discrimination. I am opposed to the so-called ‘natural order’ that regards perceived inferiority as permission to deny basic rights.”

i hear you sister… that’s exactly how I feel too…to know there are younger womyn like ruby who have made the connection and really ‘get it’ is uplifting - that's the sisterhood i align myself with, not the 'watered-down' version of feminism that has lost its connection to nature…

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Posted: Apr 14, 2013 9:52am
Mar 11, 2013
blogging has been one of the last things on my mind while melting through the heat and humidity of an extended heatwave here in melbourne, but that's not to say i haven't been reading the posts of others... i've had ideas but no inclination to put 'pen to paper' - well, fingers to keyboard these days! - i even let international womyn's day go by without acknowledgement...

but, having just read an article that resonated deep within me on one of my favourite blogs - veganism is nonviolence - i felt i had to share a short excerpt... the writer - trisha roberts - so very accurately and passionately articulates my beliefs time and time again and even when her shackles are very different from my own puts words to my thoughts yet again...
"... Yesterday, on International Women’s Day, did we remember the 99.99% of the planet’s population who are non-human? Did we remember all the non-human mothers in the world? Did we consider in particular the non-human mothers we use as resources? If we did not, then we need to include them in our thoughts and our actions and consider that ALL mothers and their children, no matter what species, should be free of exploitation. Because if non-human mothers are not free, none of us are free. In fact there are parallels with how patriarchal society views and treats women, and how we use, exploit and control the reproduction of non-human females. The two are not unrelated. Women are no longer considered legal property as non-human animals are, but violence against women is at epidemic proportions today and violence against nonhumans is greater still."
all womyn - especially those who call themselves 'feminist' or 'womyn's liberationist' - need to make the connection... you can read the complete article here...

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Posted: Mar 11, 2013 7:07am
Mar 3, 2013

why are carnists so upset at finding horsemeat in their meat? what’s the difference between one species and another? why is the slaughter and consumption of one more acceptable than another?

if you eat flesh, why the outrage? why the shock and revulsion at the mere thought of eating horse rather than cow, or sheep, or pig…?

perhaps you think australia is somehow immune from the 'dilemma', immune from the 'horsemeat scandal' sweeping europe, immune from even thinking about the horse slaughter industry - hey, we love our horses, we're a horse loving nation, we wouldn't slaughter them, we certainly wouldn't eat them! hmmm, 'knackeries' and abattoirs legally slaughtering horses... maybe it's time to think again... according to a recent article in the courier mail...
“SEVEN hundred horses a month - many young fillies and colts bred for racing - are slaughtered at two Australian abattoirs and shipped overseas for human consumption, including to Europe, the centre of the horsemeat scandal.

The majority are slaughtered in Queensland at Caboolture's Meramist Abattoir, where 500 horses are processed each month.

A further 200 a month are killed at a South Australian abattoir, Samex Peterborough (formerly Metro Velda).

Thousands more are processed at 33 knackeries across Australia for petmeat and hides each year, with industry reports indicating the annual cull totals around 40,000.”
if horses are 'prcessed' here, it's only logical to assume some of them end up here... do you really believe you haven't 'inadvertently' eaten horse, or kangaroo, or camel, or some other 'unacceptable' flesh at some time in your life? i was told many years ago by a 'friend of a friend', a butcher, how commonplace substitution was, that horse and kangaroo were often 'hidden in mince' - how flour was a wonderful lightener of colour, a perfect mask...

if that shocks or horrifies you, then i have to ask again, why is the flesh of cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys, etc. etc. acceptable – why do you eat some, and not others?

according to melanie joy, author of ‘why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows…' 
"... in meat-eating cultures around the world, even though the type of species consumed changes, people tend to have only a small handful of animals they have learned to classify as edible. All the rest they classify as inedible and thus disgusting and often offensive to consume.

So when it comes to eating animals, what is striking is not the presence of disgust -- disgust is the norm, the rule, rather than the exception. What is striking is the absence of disgust. The question we would do well to ask ourselves is why are we not disgusted by the select few species we have been taught to think of as edible. And why don't we ever ask why? When the stakes are so high -- our food choices are truly a matter of life and death, particularly for the 10 billion sentient individuals in the U.S. every year who are no less sensitive and conscious than those we consider friends and family yet who subsist in abject misery, as their bodies are unnecessarily turned into units of production. Why do we leave our choices so unexamined? Why don't we consider that so-called edible animals have lives that matter to them, just as horses and dogs and cats do?” read more in “Why Horsemeat Is Delicious and Disgusting”

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Posted: Mar 3, 2013 7:06am
Feb 11, 2013
i got a phone call from my mother the other night and on answering was told "something terrible has happened..." many scenarios raced through my mind in a few short seconds, but none involved the suicide of my 'cousin' that took place on thursday evening...

my first thoughts upon hearing were 'why?', 'how?' - shocked, stunned, numbing disbelief really - surely i'd heard wrong - but then reality kicked in, and it didn't matter the 'why' or 'how' but that he was dead, and my major concern became how 'aunty eileen' was coping - the death of a child no matter how it has occurred is not something a parent is expecting to hear... not blood relatives to me, but closer than most that are, eileen and her kids have been part of my family all of my life, eileen being my mother's best friend of over 80 years...

identification had to be made and the coronial inquest was over quickly on saturday morning - there was little to be analysed, it was a 'cut and dried' suicide with a letter left for the family...  adrian was the youngest of all of the 'kids', only 48 years old, but sadly his life had taken a path he felt he could no longer walk down...

we all came together to deal with our sadness while sorting out the 'practicalities' of death, and to celebrate the lovely, funny, but lonely young man that was adrian... that's what 'my family' does, accepts and then moves on, albeit with heavy hearts, but that weight lessened by shared memories, laughter and tears (although the funeral is still to come).... some need someone or something to blame initially, but that soon dissipates... oh how sadness comes in many shades...

being in to astronomy as he was, what more can i say but fly high and shine brightly mate, you will always be in our hearts...

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Posted: Feb 11, 2013 3:03am


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