Fashionable..?

 

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I was pretty excited to take part in yet another daily word prompt. You see, when thinking of fashion people minds naturally go to the latest accessories, favourite designers etc. Some might even write about the history of fashion and perhaps the more conscientious among us might even draw attention to the ethical issues the fashion industry is always plagued with, like sweat shops. My point is, we all think of different things when it comes to fashion. Me, well being consistent with my life and my blog my mind was immediately taken to the animal abuse and exploitation that seems to go hand in hand with the world of fashion.

It takes between 30-40 animals to make just one average size fur coat. Rabbits, foxes, minks, chinchillas, bears, sheep, cows, cat, dogs and seals are all farmed and hunted in a a hauntingly cruel manner. The industry itself which at one time sourced from slaughterhouses has eclipsed this industry to establish its own. The fashion industry and the elite rich peoples of the world are compliant in the support of this disgusting display of greed and ego.

Snakes are skinned alive for the pleasure of an item made from them. Chinchillas and angoras are are killed using genital electrocution often leaving them writhing in pain for long periods before death. Sheep and cows are kept in overcrowded pens in filthy conditions before they are eventually brutally slaughtered for a nice jacket,wallet, belt or other.

Seals are clubbed to death and bears are trapped by snares where they are often left for days in agony. Dogs and cats are farmed in a lot of places to satisfy the fashion industry by providing trim for the coats and other items. They are also used often in the plush toy trade to give a more realistic feel. Sheep are selectively bred to ensure a good yield of wool each year causing massive biological issues and also encouraging ‘mulesing’ a practice in which a chunk of flesh is removed from above the sheeps tail to stop fly strike. Ducks and other birds have their feathers ripped from their bodies while alive just so we can have soft pillows and quilts. Now that I have covered the main players in the fur game I would like to address another ‘fashionable’ choice that sickens me. I am going to do this in list form for ease. Here are the top ‘cruel’ foods list from around the world used to satisfy the palate of the rich and unfeeling.

  • Ikizukuri, Japanese, A delicacy meaning prepared alive in which a fish is plucked from a tank and sliced up and placed writhing on your plate.
  • Ortolan, French, a tiny bird when purchased you take home alive, place it in a teeny cage and feed it millet, figs and grapes until it is 2-4 times it’s natural size. Then you poke it’s eyes out and drown it in Armagnac.
  • Foie Gra, French, means fatty liver, ducks or geese are kept in a dark room in small boxes and force fed corn down a metal pipe directly into it’s oesophagus, when they are 6 times there normal size they are slaughtered to make liver pate.
  • Doju tofu, Japan, Baby eel like fish called Loaches that are boiled alive with tofu to make a thick cheese like mixture.
  • Fen Ganji, Tibet/China, A chicken is hung upside down by string and the intestines removed and it is stuffed with herbs and sewn back up. The chicken is then left to die in pain while drying in the wind ready for consumption.
  • Fresh Donkey, China, a donkey has it’s legs tied together and held down on the ground while it has it’s flesh removed to eat immediately.

The animal use in fashion is big business but with the plethora of alternatives out there it just seems really barbaric and well just a smidge archaic. I mean, wearing someone else’s skin is a little Buffalo Bill isn’t it. With the issues we have with plastics and other materials often sent to landfill, there are some great designers leading the charge in using these to make fabrics. I know who I will support. We simply must evolve. Not to forget to mention the consumption of animals in any manner to me is wrong, but done out in the open like this and not in some secret dark part of society really concerns me. Where has our humanity gone. Food and fashion for thought!

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Farming and hunting of wildlife is not conservation!

The new  fashionable excuse for the hunting and farming  of wildlife is conservation. Yes, that is correct. It seems that the human race has sunk to a new low. This is not the first time this movement had some legs. With the arrival of CITES in 1975, holds on bans in trade of both ivory and tiger body parts was relaxed and the increase in demand was so great that a stricter ban had be reapplied.  Let’s look at the reasoning there seems to be a new pull in this direction.

There is the thought that the money made from hunting particularly  trophy hunting  will help the local communities. This is not the case. The truth is that ecotourism brings in far more money and that money does go to the community.  In a  report commissioned by the U.K government and the House Committee, on Natural Resources, wittily titled “Missing the Mark,” examined five endangered species — the African Elephant, African Lion, Black Rhinoceros, Southern White Rhinoceros, and Leopard — that are regularly trophy hunted in four African countries. The findings poke several holes in the “kill an individual to save the species” argument and official figures show just how little effect  hunting is as a solution. Follow this link to read the report in detail.

https://www.google.com.au/searchq=missing+the+mark+report+on+hunting&oq=missing+the+ma&aqs=chrome.3.69i57j0j69i59l2j0l2.5222j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#

Another report completed by the Jane Goodall Institute states that on the whole, trophy hunting is having negative effects on populations of endangered species. Unsustainable high rates of hunting have caused population declines in African Lions and Leopards. Hunting areas are often fenced in, which fragments habitat and disrupts natural migrations. Further to that, hunting and poaching of wild elephants is outpacing the species’ reproductive rate. Most populations can support some level of hunting so long as they aren’t facing other threats but hibernation and migration are severely disturbed. The problem is, the species that suffer the most from trophy hunting are facing significant other threats. With habitat loss and poaching accelerating, species decline. It is then hard to justify removing even more individuals from the population.  Then there is the government corruption.  As previously outlined, only 3%  of the revenue generated by trophy hunting goes towards local communities, with most being concentrated among a few individuals. This creates resentment among locals, distrust of conservation initiatives, and little economic improvement in impoverished communities. These communities need to be encouraged to support and establish more ecotourism opportunities that respect nature and all it’s inhabitants.

Studies undertaken by TRAFFIC, IFAW and World Animal Protection, show that farming and hunting actually fuels demand, encouraging more illegal wildlife trade.  Hunters pay big bucks to take their trophies home with them, and this necessitates loopholes in ivory bans  and other restrictions on wildlife products in the United States and other countries. Legal imports of endangered wildlife products can serve as a front for wildlife smugglers to spirit their goods across international borders. All of this raises some serious ethical concerns.  Some forms of trophy hunting raise more ethical issues than others. In particular, the common practices of shooting from vehicles, using dogs to aid in hunts, luring animals from the confines of protected areas  and releasing animals immediately prior to hunts are causes for concern. Let us further explore the economics of carrot dangling.  On average, trophy hunting generates around 2% of total tourist revenue in  countries that allow the practice. Despite the huge fees paid by trophy hunters,ecotourism  has been shown to generate up to 15 times  the revenue of trophy hunting, much of which goes to conservation efforts. It’s a simple numbers game: while 70% of Americans would pay to see a lion, less than 7% would pay to kill one, making lions more valuable alive than dead. Genetic diversity is also very important for the viability of a species, and for those with declining populations, the genetic uniqueness of each animal holds special importance. Hunting endangered species removes valuable genetic diversity, making populations more susceptible to disease and genetic drift. More generally, hunting endangered species can have unpredictable ripple effects on the species’ ecology. For example, hunting male lions has been shown to increase the death rates of lion cubs when new males stake their claims to leaderless prides, killing cubs to make room for their own. What of the evolutionary consequences and effects?  Firstly, by targeting the biggest and most impressive specimens for their trophies, hunters can act as a force similar to natural selection on small populations. If all the elephants with big tusks, the antelope with long horns, and the lions with the largest manes are preferentially killed, individuals with less favorable traits will be selected to pass on their genes, to the detriment of the species in the long run.

When you break it all down and put all the chips on the table, money and greed seem to be the main driver and to put any other spin  is not only transparent but also insulting.   Is the farming of tigers in Taiwan helping their plight? Most definitely not! Let’s get real people. We are all part of an intricate network of life and respect and importance needs to be given to all.

Bibliography 

study.com/academy/lesson/positive-negative-effects-of-hunting.html

http://www.idausa.org/campaign/wild-animals-and-habitats/hunting/

 

Go Vegan! Speciesism makes no sense.

Speciesism‘ is the idea that being human is a good enough reason for human animals to have greater moral rights than non-human animals or a prejudice or bias in favour of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species. (Peter Singer, Animal Liberation, 1975)

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In Australia 1 in 3 households has a pet of some description that is a beloved member of the family. As a culture, we love our cats and dogs. So, why then do we brutalise, condemn to death and exploit most other species. We ridicule other cultures for their hunting of whales,monkeys, deer, dogs and many more to consume and use. It has always baffled me that people don’t see the hypocrisy in this way of thinking. Each culture looks at the other with disdain believing themselves and their practices to be right. But how can mans ego driven dominion over animals ever be deemed right?. I can’t personally believe or understand why we do this.

Overpopulation and intensive farming 

So, let’s break it down and talk about the often used justification of eating animals due to them taking over the planet if we don’t. This is without a doubt one of  the most ridiculous and misunderstood statements around. For one, human beings have to take responsibility for a problem we have created, being the over population and spread of animals through intensive farming and overgrazing. The intensive farming of animals causes a myriad of issues. For one, it relies on various types of fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides to increase the crops yield or the keeping of livestock on land far beyond it’s holding capacity. This has the knock on effect off increasing pollution, diseases and infection caused by overcrowding and hygiene issues. The following is a collection of further issues bought about by negative farming practices. (http://www.farmmanagement.pro/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-intensive-farming/) Reports and studies show that intensive farming destroys forests to create open grazing areas often leading to soil erosion. The natural habitat of animals is disturbed causing breakdowns of our delicate ecosystem. The use of contaminants changes the PH of soils and contributes to the polluting of our water ways.  Beneficial insects are killed further creating issues for the natural balance of our ecosystem. 

 

Another but arguably one of the most contentious, polarising issues of this decade is that of climate change. Animals such as cows and sheep are major sources of greenhouse gasses. Cattle production is often the worst being that they chew grass and digest it in conditions in the stomach with zero oxygen and that in turns releases methane. Parts of world heritage rainforests are being cut down for the purpose of growing soya which is then being fed to animals residing in intensive farming situations. Could this food not be given to people in need if we just changed the way we look at animals and the way we eat? There is certainly no denying the fact that the biggest contribution you could make to reduce greenhouse gasses is to stop eating meat.

The importance of acknowledging the role dairy plays in this dilemma should not be underestimated. The intensive farming of cattle, goats and sheep for the production of milk, cheese or other dairy products is simply as damaging as the farming of animals for the meat industry. That without considering the blatant cruelty of keeping female cows permanently pregnant or milked, and stealing their calves to be sent to the veal industry. 

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Skin Things

The fur and leather industry is also one surrounded by darkness and separation cementing our view of other species as less then our own.  Alligators,elephants, rhinoceros,lizards,ostriches, snakes,foxes and zebras are just some of the animals illegally poached for their skins and other body parts. Leather and fur are not by products of the meat industry as many would have you believe. Factories exist whose sole product is making garments and other products to satisfy public’s demand.

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Bees

What of the plight of the bees?. The importance they play in our lives can not be underestimated. They pollinate our flowers giving us and other animals a food source. They help with seed dispersal. They pollinate our food crops so that we may be able to enjoy the spoils. Some foods no longer available  for our consumption if bees ceased pollinating are asparagus, broccoli, melon, cucumber, pumpkins, almonds, apples, cranberries and cherries. Then there is the favourite product of many a person, honey. I think for the purposes of this piece though we should acknowledge that it is just not for us. It is for feeding their young by regurgitating from their stomach sacks. It is also passed back and forth between adults before it is deposited and sealed in a honeycomb ready for use in the winter months to keep the colony alive. The thanks we give them is to steal their hard work, on occasion burn the nest to the ground ready for the next season and fill the air and our vegetation with harmful and toxic pollutants killing them by the millions. 

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Eggs and Wool

I think a good place to end this entry would be my opinion on eggs and wool. I simply don’t believe it can be harvested without placing negative effects on these animals lives. Obviously the intensive and battery style of farming has some very stark issues with overcrowding and cruel practices being just a few. Approximately 280 million male chicks are killed every year, mostly alive, because of their inability to not provide profit.

But what of free range and hobby style farming?. Well that has it’s own issues. Even on free range farms, hens are usually killed after a few years as their production goes down and the male chicks are still of no use to them so are also killed at birth. The egg industry no matter how you view it interrupts the natural laying state. Hens only lay enough for a full nest and then begin the nesting process. By constantly removing the eggs the hens continually lay causing huge pressures on their organs and nutrition often resulting in death as egg production causes a tremendous amount of calcium to be leached from their bodies. 

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The use of wool as a product for human use brings up some other issues often not addressed. In Australia around 20 million sheep are mulesed every year. Mulesing is a procedure that removes slices of flesh around a sheep’s tail and back where bodily fluids such as urine and faeces may attract fly larvae that feed on their flesh causing blemishes in the wool production. The fact is though, these sheep are selectively bred Merino and are highly unsuited to the Australian climate. The increased folds in the skin are the cause of the problem in the first place.

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Conclusion 

Until we, as inhabitants of this planet, start viewing the other inhabitants as part of Earths interlinked and important ecosystem, we will continue to struggle to find balance. The use of animals as tools and commodities for us to abuse has to stop.  We have to stop interfering with mother nature for if we are honest the removal of the human species as opposed to any other would only create positive benefits for the planet. The mentality that all non human species are beneath us and not with us is absurd. Maybe we should try something new for a change because it is obvious that this system of thinking is not working for us. 

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Savage

I am taking part in the daily blog prompt….today’s prompt is bought to you by the letter S and the below link..dates might be a bit off as I’m in Australia but who could resist this prompt.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/savage/

Will people in a 100 years look at meat eating and the people who part took in it as savages? It is a question that has been posed many a time by many authors, philosophers,historians and scientists. Given the evolution of the human being, and the way we view our past, it certainly seems increasingly possible and even likely.

the forest destroyers are the savages

As human beings we are destroying our home at a very rapid rate. Turning a blind eye to the way we use, abuse and dominate all living things is not a something to be proud of. Being deliberately ignorant to it is kind of next level on the shit human being radar and yes my friends, make yourself a badge and wear it proudly! I say that because most people are still of the belief that mans dominion and lording over all is our right. Now that is a very outdated, neanderthal, knuckle-dragging view if ever I’ve heard one. Isn’t it time to evolve already? Evolve with and for the planet. Evolve and recognise what is needed to be a happier people living more harmoniously with nature. Nature is way more powerful than us and until that is universally acknowledged I just don’t know if anything good can come to fruition. Arrogance and discord will not bring us into this century. History has shown time and time again that arrogantly putting ourselves above the delicate balance of the ecosystem never  works.

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When you make an assumption..well we all know rest.

I have always been someone who was mostly comfortable with my identity. Self awareness is something  I pride myself on and understand that I am indeed a work in progress, and that is just fine. My struggle has been with people’s assumptions about me based on the fact that I am a vegan. I see them popping me into their little box of understanding and attempting to leave me there all the while I fight to get out of that box and so on the tug of war continues. I decided to pen this blog because I guess there may be others that go through this and I would love to hear your views or stories or just help people gain understanding.

How I fit into your comfortable definition…

Well firstly, I am not a strict vegan as people often state. I am just a vegan. A vegan is someone who doesn’t consume, wear, use or support the use or exploitation of animals for our needs. So, by being a vegan, you are already in the strict parameters. If you don’t fit into at least those, then you are a vegetarian or other.

My food pantry and refrigerator is full of “weird” fake cheeses and mock meats.  I can whip up sour cream from tofu and other herbs and spices and  I can make a convincing cheesecake with a similar method. Now, I put weird up their in it’s little inverted commas because that might be weird to you meat eaters but I think the use of animals for food of any description is way beyond my understanding. I mean eating part of the reproductive cycle of a chicken is a bit strange don’t you think. Don’t get me started on what you go through to get pate! No, people, there is nothing to fear from the humble vegetable and fruit is just plain delightful and unoffensive.

My bathroom cabinet is filled with products that are chemical free, made from nature and in recycled or sustainable packaging. Most importantly they aren’t tested on animals. Do I do this because I am vegan? Not entirely.  I do this because I am not an asshole and try if at all possible to live with kindness and compassion for the planet and its inhabitants.

My clothes are wool and silk free and I do own some hemp. Hemp is soft to wear and I wear it for the same reasons above.

How I may not fit in your little box or any other compartment…

I don’t have dreadlocks, hair wraps, facial piercings or any other adornment that might assist you in your judgments. I easily blend in with the rest of society.

My political alignments are not with anyone at the moment.  I think the main parties aren’t really representing anyone anymore and the greens are not exactly green.

I don’t support PETA or any other organisation that readily uses bullying, intimidation and ridicule to push a message based on peace and compassion. In fact I am disgusted with them most of the time.

I will continue to educate those that want to know about being vegan but I am never the one to introduce the topics, especially at the dinner table. I hate when people isolate me and use me to hide the fact that I mostly just represent something foreign to them and it makes them uncomfortable. Better to tear me down with judgement than to turn that mirror inwards. Don’t get me wrong. I regularly write petitions and send them out regarding welfare, and conservation issues and lobby in my own ways. I don’t protest in the streets anymore because I find it too aggressive and just think there’s other ways to connect and get your point across.

I don’t hate you for not being vegan. I recognise we are all at different stages and have different belief systems. This works for me and is between me and the animals. I have friends who eat meat and my long term partner does. It starts with basic respect for each other as human beings and our right to make our own choices. Don’t misunderstand though that  cruelty for the sake of cruelty is unacceptable and you holding your meat eating up as a badge of honour is a joke.  I obviously don’t agree with it  but I just fight it in other ways and it isn’t my right to attack another for their beliefs. Will I try and change the worlds view for I feel its misguided?…for sure…do I believe there is no future for meat eating if we want to save our planet? Yep.. The contributions it makes to climate change through habitat destruction, water shortages and methane production is a fact, an indisputable and scientific fact. Then there’s the grain produced to feed these animals in place of feeding the starving masses in the world. Now that’s straight up callous!

Finally, I will finish with this. I am a scientist. A very proud scientist. I share my beliefs with many greats who regardless of what I feel in my head and heart is right, make me feel less alone in a`world where we don’t yet dominate but in my lifetime I continue to hope that one day we will. There are plenty of peer reviewed papers supporting the vegan lifestyle from not only an environmental perspective but from a health perspective too.

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