Veganuary

Meat Free January

Veganuary began as a movement to encourage people to not eat meat or dairy during January. 

Since 2014, it has inspired and supported more than half a million people in 178 countries to try vegan for January. The success of the movement has been quite phenomenal, it has helped put vegan food into the core of supermarkets and on menus in most food outlets. For example, more than 500 businesses took part in Veganuary 2019. 

I stopped eating meat and dairy over 3 years ago, my motive was the environment. Learning about the devastation the meat industry has on out planet.

Globalised Agriculture

Why should we stopped eating meat and dairy? There is the obvious answer, cruelty to animals. No matter how it’s sold to us i.e organic, pasture fed, free range etc. it is still the mass production of living beings bred purely to be slaughtered. There is no humane way to slaughter a living creature end of……

However, there is another huge slaughter happening that we need to understand, that of our planet.

Did you know, most arable land in the world grows animal feed, yet animal products account for only 1% of our calorie intake. We take more resource to feed the food stuff that is the minimum in our diet! 

More than 90% of global soya- bean production goes into feed. Now soya is increasingly used in aquaculture as well. Feed production occupies one third of the earth’s agricultural land and uses agrochemicals which in turn add to water pollution.

For example, the UK’s land mass is divided approximately, into the following:

5% for urban living (including airports, roads, train lines, work spaces), 19% arable farming for wheat, barley, potatoes etc. 1% is horticulture (fruit and vegetables) yet 51% is grazing for cows, sheep, pigs, chicken farms and growing grass for hay.

This is know as agricultural sprawl. It has decimated the biodiversity of the UK landscape. For example, sheep eat everything including any tree seeds, so nothing grows except grass and moss. Ever wondered why the Lake District and Peak District look so bare and quite honestly boring, because they are grazing land for sheep.

WTF 51% of land is for grazing, thats mad. Whats even madder, no one talks about it or reports about it. Industrial farming of animals is killing out planet FACT!

Try watching Apocalypsecow from Channel 4, made by George Monbiot it explains everything you need to know.

The Story Book Farm

A typical Childrens book depicting the idilic farm life

We have been brainwashed since childhood about what a farm is and how it works. Its all happy and harmonious with no mention of what happens to the animals. We are so far removed from the reality of meat production.

Farming today

This picture shows the real farm. Sheds of animals crammed together on concrete floors being fattened up ready for slaughter. This includes gassing, electrocution throats slit. If you have the stomach watch Earthlings on YouTube.

Producing one kilogram of meat requires on average three kilos of grain and soya. These re- sources could feed an extra 3,5 billion people, according to the UN.

Not eating meat or dairy is the biggest effect you can have the destruction of the planet and halt climate change. But it goes even further, this industrialisation and globalisation of animal production has drastically increased animal diseases.

Epidemics among animals is rife. Bird flu, swine flu, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2002/03 in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada. These occurred  because there are now only a few breeds of animal left that are genetically modified. We have lost all diversity within pigs, cows, sheep and chickens. These infections transgress to humans. It is stated that each pig or cow has a million relatives due to narrow gene pool from corporate companies who genetically modify pigs, cows, sheep and chickens to gain weight rapidly.

Factory farms use antibiotics as a security measure, for example, in Germany, one third of antibiotics sold are used in animal production, in China it’s half. In the US, where antibiotics are permitted to accelerate growth, eight times more antibiotics are used in factory farms than in hospitals. All going into the meat and dairy food change.

The consequences are; antibiotic resistant bacteria and increasing numbers of infections that cannot be cured with antibiotics.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says this is one of the most serious threats for human health.

Vegan Living

But you are empowered to change this course by living a vegan life style, extending your vegan eating to vegan living.

Billions of animals are slaughtered and processed each year, for the “Fashion Industry”. Whether it’s leather, fur, wool, feathers/down, or silk, animals are “ranched”/raised, trapped, mutilated and killed under some of the most horrific conditions imaginable, just to produce clothing and accessories that most of us wear. These animals lead miserable, short, tortured lives about which the average consumer has little awareness or knowledge.

Leather is the greatest use of animal skins for articles of clothing and accessories is the use of leather and fur. Leather, not just a by-product of Big Agri-Business but comes from sacred Indian cows where they are transported abroad to be slaughtered. The hides are actually created by the toxic tanning.

Today most leather is made of cattle skin, but many exceptions exist. Lamb and deerskin are used for soft leather in more expensive apparel. Deer and elkskin are widely used in work gloves and indoor shoes. Pigskin is used in apparel, wallets and on seats of saddles. Buffalo, horses, goats, alligators, crocodiles, dogs, snakes, ostriches, kangaroos, oxen, and yaks are also be used for leather.

Wool is the second largest animal derivative we have been brainwashed to believing is a “natural” product. But sheep shearing is a painful’ distressing process for the animals. 

With more than 100 million sheep, Australia produces 30 percent of all wool used worldwide (we have 29 million sheep int the UK). Every year, hundreds of lambs die before the age of 8 weeks from exposure or starvation, mature sheep die every year from disease, lack of shelter, and neglect. Faced with so much death and disease, the rational solution would be to reduce the number of sheep so as to maintain them decently. Instead, sheep are bred to bear more lambs to offset the deaths.

Timing is critical for shearing, it is done in spring before the sheep naturally shed. In the rush, many sheep die from exposure after premature shearing. Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without regard for the welfare of the sheep. There is no regard for animal welfare.

When sheep age and their wool production declines, they are sold for slaughter. This results in the cruel live export of 6.5 million sheep every year from Australia to the Middle East and North Africa and nearly 800,000 sheep are exported from the U.K. for slaughter abroad.

There are so many other examples of animal cruelty in fashion, check the reading list at the end of the blog.

So why not have a go this January and try a vegan lifestyle its easier than you think and there is lots of support to help you find your way.

For further reading and references please follow the inks below: 

Animal cruelty for clothes

Recipes

Eat more veg

Cowspiracy (Netflix)

Food supply chain

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