Living a vegan life

Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace ~ Albert Schweitzer -1952 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

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Veganism is more than a diet, it is a philosophy and a lifestyle choice that fundamentally rejects all unnecessary animal exploitation. Evolutionary science tells us that this human nature.   Today, vegans avoid all products which involve animals exploitation including  food, clothes or entertainment.  We will talk about this more below but first here’s is a short video summary of why veganism is so important – courtesy of Evolve Campaigns.

The following is a list of some of the less well known ways to stop supporting animal exploitation and harm:

Adopt Don’t Shop
Wear your own skin
Cruelty Free Cosmetics
Say no to cruel entertainment
Sponsor an animal or foster
Say no to horse or grey hound racing


Adopt don’t shop

adopt dont shop

While it is understandably difficult to walk away from a pet shop when making contact with so many cute puppies, kittens and rabbits, adoption is the most humane method of obtaining a companion animal. While some pet shops support animal rescuers, most unfortunately still buy off breeders.

There have been several investigations into animal breeding facilities in the last few years. Those have been particularly focused on “Puppy Mills”, which are “factory style” breeding facilities for the sake of profit above the welfare of animals. Whether puppies, kittens or rabbits; most of these facilities house animals in shockingly poor conditions, in small cages, with no human interaction and improper medical care. The mothers are kept in cages and bred constantly for years. When they are no longer profitable, those animals are discarded in one way or another, by selling them on gumtree, killing them, abandoning them, or surrendering them to the pound. Most animals sold in pet shops or online come from such breeding facilities. Those will continue to operate until people stop supporting them.

Although the “Australian Getting to Zero (G2Z)” movement commenced in 2011, there is a pet overpopulation problem. According to G2Z, hundreds of thousands of healthy companion animals are being abandoned and killed in pounds, shelters and vet clinics each year. Statistics published in 2014-2015 by the RSPCA alone, showed 15% of dogs, 33% of cats and 48% of other animals have been euthanized.

If you choose to adopt your companion animal from the pound or a rescue group, you will give a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a bird or any other specie a second chance at finding a home and you will not add to the pet overpopulation problem. Best of all, you will change a homeless animal’s whole world.

maggie and Stuey

Congratulations! Now that you have decided to adopt, make sure that you desex your pet. Desexing means putting a stop to breeding. It also means that for some species, putting a stop to animals dying prematurely. Female rabbits for example have an 80% chance of dying from ovarian cancer if not desexed within the first year or two of their lives.

There are so many places available to adopt from, here are some:

Porsche’s rescue for rabbits, guinea pigs and all other animals

Pet Rescue for all animal rescues

Monika’s doggie rescue

Blacktown pound

Renbury farm

Or simply visit your local pound.


Wear your own skin

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Fur, leather, wool and Angora to name a few are industries of extreme violence toward animals.

While fur has had massive coverage in the past decades, leather, wool, dawn and angora seem to slip under the radar and are being pushed forward by the fashion industry, with hope that the consumer may remain unaware of the horrors behind them.

Here are some facts that you might be unaware of:

Leather:
  • Leather is not simply a by-product of the meat industry. It is a billion dollar industry that drives a demand for animals to be raised and killed. Leather can be made from cows, goats, sheep, dogs or cats as well as exotic animals such as snakes to name a few. It can be obtained from fully grown animals, to babies, such as male calves from the dairy industry, or even “slinks” being unborn calves from pregnant mothers killed in slaughterhouses.
  • In most cases, leather is not a labelled product, so you are unlikely to know which animal it came from. For all you know, you might be wearing dog skin.
  • Leather is also destructive to human health and the environment. The tanneries expose workers to very harsh chemicals. Such workers handle hazardous chemicals often without gloves, masks or protective gear. Most leather comes from third world countries such as Bangladesh, which is the major exporter of leather to Italy, China, US, Germany and Japan.

For more information about leather read the following articles:

Can leather be friendly by Care2

The Leather Industry by Peta

The truth-about-leather by Animals Australia

Angora:
  • Angora fur or fibre is produced by angora rabbits. Angora is obtained by ripping the fur from the animals’ sensitive skins as they scream in agonising pain. The rabbits endure this every three months. In the meantime, they are kept in tiny metal cages, with no light and horrific conditions
  • After a few years of having their fur ripped, the rabbits are hung upside down and their throats are slit. 90% of angora originates from China even if it is assembled elsewhere.
  • Angora has made its way into young people’s fashion shops in your main street mall. Always check your clothes label.

For more information on angora and to see the angora investigation click here.

Rabbit pinned down to be prepared to have his fur ripped off. Photo courtesy Peta

Down:
  • By definition, down are the softest smallest feathers closest to the ducks or goose’s body. Those feathers are what keep animals warm in freezing conditions.
  • Down features in winter coats, ski jackets, bed covers, pillows and many more items

    Geese live plucked. Photo courtesy of Animals Australia
  • The way down is obtained is by a method called “Live-Plucking”, whereby geese and ducks are held down while having their feathers plucked from the roots. This agonising process can happen up to six times a year, with many animals suffering broken legs, wings and deep wounds which are stitched back with no anaesthetic. Most down comes from China. After the use of the birds for feathers has been achieved, the birds are sent to slaughter.

For more information on down click here.

Fur:
  • Chances are, if you are already interested in this sight, you will know what horrors animals endure in fur farms. However, did you know about the Akubra hats? An Australian “icon” made from pure rabbit fur and skin and depending on the style, anywhere from 10 to 14 rabbit skins are used to make an individual hat. A review of the fur industry conducted by Animals Australia reports that “twelve rabbits are killed to make the felt for just one Akubra hat”.
Wool:
  • Australia is the largest producer of wool in the world. A farming practice called “mulesing” is at the centre of wool manufacturing. This is done in an attempt to reduce the incidence of “flystrike”. Mulesing was introduced in Australia in the 1930s and is still a current practice. Mulesing involves the removal of large strips of skin and flesh
    mulsing
    Mulsing. Photo courtesy Animals Australia

    from the area around the lamb anus without anaesthetic. Most lambs will have their tails cut off and will be castrated at the same time.

  • Sheering sheep for profit is done by labourers paid by volume rather than the hour. This is a hasty procedure with disregard to any animal welfare. Cuts to the skin, tail, ears and horns often occur during shearing with workers using needle and thread to sew back what is possible with no pain relief.

For Cruelty free fashion alternatives, see our section under vegan/ socially vegan/ shopping


Cruelty Free Cosmetics – “say yes to the bunny”

not tested on animals

Mice, rats, rabbits, primates, cats and even dogs are tested upon in laboratories all around the world. This involves poisoning, burning, chemical ingestion and eventually killing. The tests expose animals to harsh chemicals for cosmetic testing, cleaning products, foods, pesticides, packaging material and not to mention medical testing.

Animals are tested upon with no pain relief or anaesthetics as scientists fear this would interfere in the results. animal testing

It has been argued for a long time by scientists that animal tests are ineffective and does not guarantee the product to be suitable for humans, yet this practice is very common.

You can help stop this cruelty. Just “say no to animal testing” and support brands that have the cruelty free logo on them. To do so, look for products that say “not tested on animals” or have the “choose cruelty free” stamp. You can also download the free app “choosecrueltyfree” However, if you are still unsure, then you can contact the company directly.

The following are accredited cruelty free logos:

cruelty free

Resources

For a comprehensive list of brands sold in Australia that do not test on animals click here.

For the ChooseCrueltyFree app click here.

For information on types of tests conducted on animals click here.

For Information on the use of animals in medical research and teaching click here

For Sam De Brito’s Sydney Morning Herold article on medical testing click here


Say no to cruel entertainment
(Zoos, Rodeos, circuses, aquariums, horse drawn carriages and petting zoos)

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Bears, lions, elephants, tigers are all exotic animals that have been trapped and broken to perform. No animal in the wild is meant to dress up, balance a ball on its head, ride a bicycle, or stand on its front legs. Those animals have been beaten into submission, and will perform only because they anticipate what will happen to them if they do not.

Investigations into animal entertainment have shown trainers use whips, muzzles, electric prods and bullhooks to force those animals to do physical tricks that are unnatural to them. Many animals suffer mental trauma as well as physical pain.

Marine parks capture animals from the wild and confine highly intelligent mammals to small concrete chemically treated tanks. Whales, Orcas, dolphins are meant to swim up to 100 miles a day, however have barely the room to swim.

For more on the lives of marine mammals in confinement watch Blackfish the documentary

Petting zoos subject animals to mishandling, crowds, irregular feeding and transport all for the sake of photo shoots and man handling. Many sell their animals to slaughter when the “cuteness factor” has worn off. Sensitive ground dwelling animals such as rabbits are repeatedly held and dropped causing severe harm and paralysis.

Although zoos preach to be educational institutions, the constant confinement of animals to unnatural environments is cruel.

Rodeos are a cruel spectator sport. They involve animals that are physically provoked into aggressive behaviour by using devices such as electric prods and spurs. Rodeo animals in general suffer many injuries and those that cannot get up are shot.

Read more on rodeos here.

Although horse drawn carriages may seem romantic, they involve cruelty by forcing horses to pull oversized carriages and loads, ingest exhaust fumes among cars, and stand on the unnatural environment that is the pavement all day long. Some horses have fallen to the ground from exhaustion and heat.

For more information on horsedrawn carriages click here.


Sponsor an animal in a sanctuary or a rescue group, or simply volunteer or foster

adopt

Sponsoring an animal in a sanctuary is an affordable way to help a sanctuary cover its costs and continue rescuing animals. Most sanctuaries are in constant need of sponsorship for food, medical expenses and bedding.

In a similar way, rescue groups normally rescue animals from death row at pounds and try to rehabilitate them, desex them and rehome them, all while feeding them and providing them with bedding. These can add to huge expenses, so a monthly donation to a favourite charity is a great way to help animals in need.

Some sanctuaries and rescue organisations are constantly looking for volunteers, foster carers or simply transportation which you could lend a hand in. This brings you closer to helping very needy animals and helping the sanctuary/rescue keep up their work in rescuing animals.

There are many Australian sanctuaries and rescue organisations, here are some:

Porsche’s rescue

Freedom for Farmed Rabbits

Edgar’s mission

Brightside Sanctuary

Where Pigs Fly Sanctuary

Peanuts Funny Farm


Say no to horse or grey hound racing – the party is not worth it

fallen horse

Behind the fame, fortune and large hats, there is a racing term called ‘Wastage’. Ponder for a second to what happens to horses that exit the racing industry, or those who never make it to the racetrack, and you will find a definition for ‘wastage’. A research study at the University of Sydney attempted to track the whereabouts of ex racehorses.

They concluded that almost 40% of racehorses leave the industry each year due to poor performance, illness or injury or behavioural problems. This means that they will be considered useless to the industry and end up at “the doggers”. There are two horse abattoirs “doggers” in Australia. Young horses are generally killed for human consumption while older horses generally end up as dog meat.

To find out more about the issues behind racing horses, from wastage to physical and mental trauma caused by excessive training abuse, race horse jumping and whipping, click here.

In 2015, an investigation into the greyhound industry uncovered extensive animal cruelty associated with this industry. This included killing of healthy dogs and live baiting of possums, rabbits and other animals during training. For dogs that did not race fast enough to raise a profit for the industry, they were shot.

In June 2016, the special commission into the greyhound racing Industry in NSW put forward two recommendations: Rec.1 – that greyhound racing would not be permitted and the industry to be closed down.  Rec.2 to maintain the industry with reforms to improve transparency and governance which would reduce the level of greyhound deaths.  On July 2016, the NSW Government put forward the motion to shut down the industry by July 2017 and legislation to be prepared and introduced into Parliament to ban it in NSW. It is thought that the ACT will follow suit.

NSW holds 34 out of the 77 greyhound racing tracks in Australia.