Thoughts for Pike River’s Loved-ones

November 25, 2010

Have just sneaked onto somebody else’s computer, my computer is not only not working (again! poor thing got a virus) but is on the side of my house that has sunken/fallen foundations after all our earthquakes here in Christchurch. I am suffering from vertigo every time I walk on that side of the house.
I did want to post my deepest sympathies to the families and friends who lost their loved-ones in the Pike River Coal Mine. I am sure that all of New Zealand is sharing a thought or prayer for those who have lost someone. I know how close-knitted the Coasties are and cannot fathom what everyone is going through at the moment, extremely tragic. And to the families and friends overseas who have also lost their loved-ones, my thoughts are with you also.
I admire all your tremendous strength and community spirit throughout this whole ordeal and my heartfelt wish that sometime soon your boys can be returned to you.

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My Mid-Life Crises and Hair Dye

April 12, 2010

Due to the hectic life that we can all lead and a myriad of bad things that happen, the problem of aging can come along almost overnight, you look into the mirror one morning and you are young and beautiful (well, young anyway) and then what almost feels like the next day you look in the same mirror and find yourself saying ‘how the hell did I get to this?’.

And let’s admit it, we all want to, in some small way (and don’t deny it!) halt or slow down the aging process – but for a vegan, that comes with the ethical choice of not using animals (in products and testing) to gain that ego-boost – that selfish vanity streak that we all have to some extent. And I will admit it – I am not immune to bouts of depression when I think about how life seems to have passed me by – my mirror says it all.

My hair started going grey quite young and it seemed to happen almost overnight; when my dad passed from this plane and moved on to a higher plane – I had already lost my mum and at the time it was almost too hard to bear. Back then I was not vegan so used the average hair dyes that you buy in the supermarket or chemist, but since going vegan I have not dyed my hair at all except for the occasional lemon rinse or homemade rosemary/thyme boiled-up hair gloop, etc. So, for years I have been quite happy with my ‘natural’ look and have been strutting proudly with my ‘cruella de ville’ stripe of silver, but still have this nagging voice (the ego) wanting to hang on to my youth and look good while I am about it.

Well, lately I seem to have been going through a stage of, ‘how can I be this age when I still feel so young?’ I look in the mirror and do not recognise the person staring back. I have the ‘cruella de ville’ stripe of silver running through my hair but notice that the flecks of grey over the rest of my hair are becoming rampant and I have that dull, lifeless, non-gloss look. The ‘cruella de ville’ streak looked quite cool for a while but the greys? No!!! And yes – it does age you, the grey bits just do not look right.

Slowing the outward appearance of your rapid aging comes with a price – a price to the animals – way too high a price – and I ain’t going there for the sake of vanity, their lives are just as important as mine. For the non vegan it is easy just to buy the cheapest hair dye to make themselves look and feel nice – they may not see or may not care about the exorbitant price that animals have to pay – the cruelty – their exploitation and suffering – but I am vegan – I see the price – I feel the pain deep inside me. No animal should suffer being strung up by a leg and having their throat slit, or in pain burnt and blistering by effects of chemicals just for the testing of a hair dye.

I had two options here – 1) breaking my mirror into a thousand pieces and avoiding window shop reflections or 2) looking into getting a vegan hair dye. Well, option 1) was out of the question, I need seven years of bad luck like I need a hole in the head – so #2) won.

So, here is how I see it – I am getting older on the outside but not getting older on the inside – I can keep those two things closer together – lesson the gap so to speak by doing the thing I do the best, so putting my research abilities to work I decided to find a vegan hair dye. I thought at first it would be a mission, living in New Zealand, in what seems the agricultural capital of the world, but it was actually quite simple once I started looking.

Photo from Arrow Pharmaceuticals website

What I found was, Arrow Pharmaceuticals New Zealand Limited has a range of hair dyes called NaturStyle which at first – looking at the ingredients list on their website (link here) ‘seemed’ vegan. And being vegan we know that just reading something on the internet does not mean ‘truth’ So, on the blower I got – and spoke to a couple of lovely ladies there – and they were extremely friendly and helpful – and they confirmed that the ingredients were not animals, animal derived or animal by-products. Well, of course, the other BIG issue is ‘has it been tested on animals?’. They were both emphatically adamant that this product is not tested on animals. It is available at Health 2000 and Radius Pharmacies, to name just two available outlets.

One of the ‘ups’ about being vegan is that your body stays trim, young and healthy – so why have the grey hair to let you down if you can get a cruelty-free ‘fix-it’!!! So, maybe this is my ‘fix-it’ for my mid-life crises!!! I am semi-seriously condsidering it. Maybe I will happily ease my way into old age if I just get through this mid-life crises.


The Adventures of Missy and Mandy

March 2, 2010

Although I am against ownership of animals and totally agree that they should not be ‘property’, there are quite a few that share my life. Being an animal lover and vegan opens the door for animals to be ‘given’ to me after they have served their purpose where they were. I would not turn away an animal, they were born into being an owned commodity, and therefore need our love and respect until such a time that abolition of animal ownership is reached.

I would like to introduce to you two of the family members … Missy and Mandy.

Missy came to me from a family that were living in a rental property but the landlord wanted to move back in and of course that meant that a new location had to be found – a location that would ‘allow’ a pet Kune Kune who was already a year-and-a-half old and rather large. Well, of course, how many landlords would want that? So, Missy came to live with me. She is bossy and obstinate and I love her dearly. When she was a little piglet she was attacked by two dogs, hence the reason for only one ear – she is a very lucky girl to have survived. Her previous family loved her very much and still come to visit her when they can. Unfortunately her diet consisted of food off non-vegan human plates, takeaway foods and dog biscuits. And for the record – it is not easy weaning a large pig off takeaways!

Mandy was living alone and lonely  in a very confined area filled with huge farm equipment and oily mud, no grass, just mud, her stomach was dragging on the ground and her hooves were about 4-inches long and curled upwards, one even curled underneath her foot and she found it very difficult to walk. She was not a happy girl at all and did not seem to have much ‘zest’ for life. Mandy had never been treated for worms and had been fed on household scraps. Her teeth are badly worn for one so young (same age as Missy) and she had bad eczema. She was originally bought from a petting-zoo (yuck, yuck, yuck, hate the idea) for the previous owners’ daughter who quickly lost interest as Mandy grew out of her cute piglet stage and got bigger. When I went to pick Mandy up the daughter was playing on the trampoline with her friends and was not even interested in saying goodbye to her. What is that teaching the daughter? That it is ok when you have lost interest with an animal it can just be ignored and then got rid of? They are dispensable and replaceable?. Just like many children who are not taught respect for non-human life, she will not learn the value of a life and will be taking into her adulthood and therefore teaching any future children she will have the perpetual continuance of animal ownership and disregard for their welfare or happiness. Mandy is an extremely docile and loving girl, a real pleasure to have in my life. She now runs (in a Kune Kune sort of way) when she sees me, and is starting to trim down a little, although her feet will never be 100% I think (no, I don’t think, I know) that she is alot happier for having her hooves trimmed, it took six attempts to get them down to a semi-acceptable length. She always rolls over for a belly scratch and ‘pleasure grunts’ when I start trimming her hooves and is generally fast asleep before I have finished the first one. Her prognosis for a long happy life was not great, but when I first saw her, I knew, and she knew, there was something there, a bond, a mutual respect. The ‘owners’ could not get her to move onto the trailer, no coaxing or bullying worked, I basically just told them to ‘stop’, went over to her and gently stroked her and then stood and walked up onto the ramp and into the trailer with her following, with everyone else just standing there with their mouths open. Pigs respond to love, not discipline.

Kune Kune pigs are grazers with a high fibre diet just like sheep and cows are, they should not eat household scraps, takeaways or dog food. The only form of feeding should be proper pellets/nuts for pigs, without ruminants, and only as a supplement feed when the grass is not growing in winter. They are opportunists where fruit is concerned and have sharp hearing for when fruit drops from a tree. You should see Missy and Mandy run!!!

I find it very sad that people get pigs just because they are ‘cute’ and it would be ‘cool’, but the reality is that pigs grow, and can grow quite big too. Just like kittens and puppies the piglet shares the same fate of looking cute when young, being bought because they are cute, then discarded when the owner realises that they don’t stay 5-inches tall. The other thing that makes me really sad is that people think it is adorable to have a pig that is overweight. It is extremely cruel and does not make for a very happy life for the pig. They get serious issues with their limbs because of the weight they are carrying, arthritis can set in at a very young age and the fat folds will droop over their eyes and render them blind, even if they have lost weight after this stage the blindness can be irreversible. It is important to supply decent shelter as Kune Kunes can suffer from pneumonia if sleeping in exposed conditions and they also like a large amount of space to graze in. The girls come and go as they please into their ‘bedroom’ which has a concrete floor but I layed some old carpet squares down and have about eight inches of straw for them and a couple of blankets each. They just looooove to burrow themselves into the straw and make a wee ‘nest’. They roam around the orchard, can sleep in the sun, or under a peach tree in the shade (or walnut or apricot, etc, if they prefer), or even go for a mud bath in their wee pond.

I am hoping that while you are reading this, you are sparing a thought for all the beautiful pigs in this world who do not live a life of dignity or freedom – kept in cages, treated horrifically, and then sent to slaughter, their carcass served on a plate. What are we doing to these wonderful beings – these wonderful beings who share almost the same chromosomes as us. Chromosomes so close that when eaten by a human the human body thinks that it is committing cannibalism and therefore finds it extremely hard to process and digest. What, as a species, are we doing? Who, as a species, do we think we are? Better and worthier than another species? What gives us the right to treat non-humans in any other way than as respected individual worthy beings.

Pigs feel, pigs laugh, pigs cry, pigs play, pigs run, pigs amble, pigs love – and it is their right to do all this – for the whole of their lives.


Save the Beagles Protest – NZ Open Rescue Message

September 22, 2009

FYI

Save the Beagles Protest – Saturday 26th September

Hundreds of animals each year suffer the fate of live testing at Valley Animal Research Centre.

Animal testing is unscientific, producing no beneficial data and merely filing the pockets of fraudulent scientists.

Allen Goldenthal breeds hundreds of Beagles dogs every year. The only existence these animals know is one of pain and suffering.

Valley Animal Research Centre must be stopped! Come along to the protest and make your voice heard for those who cannot speak.

Saturday September 26th 1.30pm Bainesse Kennels, Himitangi or meet at 1pm, the Square information centre, Palmerston North

For further information

visit: www.varc.org.nz

New Zealand Open Rescue

PO Box 37612

Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand

http://www.youtube.com/NZOpenRescue

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nzopenrescue/

And an exerpt from Save the beagles www.varc.org.nz about other things to do:

Sign SAFE’s online petition to the Minister of Agriculture http://www.banbeagleexperiments.org.nz/Sign-Petition/ If you have your own website or blog, please link it to this petition.

And for other ideas go to www.varc.org.nz under the tab ‘what you can do’, and …

For more information, please contact National AntiVivisection Campaign, PO Box 6387, Wellington ; nzarinfo@gmail.com


Let me start off by saying …

July 23, 2009

Blogging is a whole new world – a world that I am not totally familiar with, but just like everyone else I have to start somewhere – so why not start my own blog and learn as I go. The internet has many views and opinions from many people which creates a wealth of knowledge at the click of a button, which is wonderful if you need to find something specific. I now realise that there are other vegan bloggers out in the blogosphere who also believe that what we are doing as a species to our fellow creatures is so very wrong.

So, what does another vegan hope to achieve then? What I hope to achieve in this blog is to educate people, even one person at a time would be great, to the world of veganism, the wonderful world of veganism. And just like most other vegans I hope to educate people to the fact that animals are sentient and do not wish to, or deserve to be treated the way that they are. They are not objects, they are not slaves, they are valid and they feel and they experience happiness and sadness and a whole range of other emotions just like we do. Finding the words to describe what we are doing them? – well there are no words really.

The one thing I found when first going vegan was that I knew no other vegans, so I had lots of questions about lots of things including ingredients in foods, I found myself asking “what is in this product? and what to look for and where to buy it. So, I am thinking that I will have a bit about food to maybe help someone who would like to transition to becoming a vegan and to tell them that they are not alone – go for it!! Look at what you eat, see that vegans actually do eat, and actually do eat lots of nice things, there is a whole heap of food out there that is not only good and tasty but vegan too. The other thing I hope to do is educate people on looking at what they eat and seeing it more for what it is – an animal, a dead animal on a plate. We are taught at a very young age to compartmentalise our compassion, “awww, isn’t that wee baby chick on tv cute, here Harry, eat your chicken, put hairs on your chest!!”  Selective compassion – not fair, not right.

Also what I hope to achieve is to send the visitors that happen to chance upon my blog onto other websites, wonderful & informative websites like:

So, fellow vegans, band together and lets educate!!!