Going Vegan

Animal rights vs. Animal welfare

animal rights vs animal welfare
Evolve Campaigns made this great viral graphic comparing animal rights and animal welfare. I’ve seen it around for a while, and have always thought it did a good job of making the distinction clear. So when I saw it on Pinterest I gave it a heart!

Then I read the comments. I don’t usually engage like this, anymore! But I couldn’t help it, I had to dive in.

It’s interesting to me that folks see veganism and animal rights as some kind of choice of animals over humans, when humans are animals, and so many vegans are also human rights advocates for this reason (and also because they’re, you know, generally decent people who are working on becoming less oppressive). I don’t think that was ever an issue for me. My issue was that animals were tasty. But in any case, I don’t think any of these issues are good reasons for eating someone.

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See Speciesism: The Movie on Thursday in Ithaca

speciesism the movie

Speciesism: The Movie takes viewers on a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening adventure across the country, to expose the biggest secrets about modern factory farms, and to ask the biggest questions about the belief that our species is more important than the rest. You’ll never look at animals the same way again. Especially humans.

See it at 7pm on Thursday in Ithaca!

Happy birthday César Chávez

400px-Cesar_Chavez_Day

Happy birthday to the late, great César Chávez: a labor rights and environmental justice activist, and a vegan. He said,

I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.

10 things you can do to help bees

This morning I started to read Bee Deaths From Colony Collapse Disorder On The Rise As Researchers Point To Pesticides on Huffington Post, and then I realized I’d rather find out how I can help, instead of just feeling bad about the problem. Here are some suggestions I found on the interwebs.

  1. Stop buying GMO, non-organic food, and support organic agriculture instead. Buy used and/or organic clothing.
  2. Learn about where your food and clothing comes from and how much pesticide went into its production.
  3. Stop using pesticides in your own lawn and garden.
  4. Sign petitions banning pesticides, and support the use of organic alternatives.
  5. Encourage your local government to do more to help bees.
  6. Attract bees by planting clover, flowering trees, and herbs that bees like. Provide a water source so they can take a drink when they visit.
  7. Let your veggies go to seed after harvest, to help fatten up your bee neighbors for the long winter.
  8. Educate yourself about bees so you can be more sure of how you relate to them and what you might like to do to help them.
  9. Pass on your knowledge about bees. Your voice is powerful, and the bees can’t speak for themselves! Make sure that kids understand that bees are an important part of their ecosystem.
  10. Provide bee habitat, but make sure you’re keeping bees and humans safe from hurting each other by marking bees’ homes.

    The only one I saw folks mention elsewhere that I didn’t put here was “become a beekeeper / support your local beekeeper.” I don’t feel that it would be my place to confine and manipulate others and take things they make, or to encourage others to do that. It takes the average worker bee her entire life to produce just one twelfth of one teaspoon of honey. They make it for their colony, not for us.

    If you do choose to use bee products, please make sure they’re locally produced and that you feel good about the way the bees are living, from birth to death. Since your decision impacts the lives of other beings, you may want to educate yourself about some of the ethical problems with beekeeping, honey, and beeswax. Thank you!

Should animal lovers eat Peeps?

Did you know that Easter Peeps are made out of boiled skin and other byproducts of the farming industry? Please find out where gelatin comes from if you’re supporting its production – it involves animals suffering and losing their lives.

Never fear, vegan Easter is sweet! You can get vegan marshmallows and easter candy. You can make Devilish Potatoes (via Mercy for Animals) instead of deviled eggs, dye and hunt for vegan eggs, or make a vegan Easter basket. Start some seedlings for a spring garden or plant a tree or flower bulbs.

Easter is supposed to be a celebration of renewal and new life, and is often celebrated in a very child-centered way. Rather than objectifying and exploiting rabbits, chickens, cows, pigs, and other animals, why not set an example for children that demonstrates our respect for others of all species, and for the earth that we all call home? In the words of William Blake, “For Everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.”

Recipe: Vegan Country Collard Greens

latt-collardgreens1My dad’s from North Carolina so I grew up eating and loving southern food. Going vegan was rough for me! So I dig this recipe, Vegan Country Collard Greens With Meaty Roots, via Nutmeg:

Somehow the food we ate as kids gets embedded in our DNA. For James Johnston, chef and co-owner of two vegan restaurants in Texas, that presented a problem. He craved Southern-style dishes, heavy on animal products. As exemplified by his vegan country collard greens, his solution was to adapt country-style cooking to veganism.

Click through for the recipe!

Photo by David Latt

Looking for vegan housemates, potlucks, or bake sales?

The Ithaca Vegans Facebook group has been really active lately. Recent postings include educational events, social gatherings, and activist opportunities. Join if you want to connect with other Ithaca-area vegan folks!