Milk is Dangerous

February 19, 2010

New website for everyone to visit:

http://fantippo.orconhosting.net.nz/milk.htm

I won’t tell you all about it as I would rather you check it out for yourselves. All I can say is “Well done Bruce”.

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The rough deal

February 13, 2010

I remember when I was younger and there was a big media release on the abundance of Orange Roughy – “everyone should eat it instead of other fish, there are so many of them, sustainable for centuries”, etc, etc, and because there was so many all the fish and chip shops started selling Orange Roughy. I also remember my father (way ahead of his time in enviromental issues) saying that nothing is sustainable at those numbers and that if everyone fished for Orange Roughy they would soon be gone, he wouldn’t buy Orange Roughy because of the media hype about it – well, how right he was in predicting the overfishing of this very beautiful fish. Mother Nature is delicately balanced and by changing just one thing it can lead to a chain of events of changing alot more. Not enough is known about the deep sea ecosystem to be able to even estimate the effects of the elimination of a mid-range predator, like the Orange Roughy. The sea is full of life, the Orange Roughy is a cog in the wheel of the sea, important in it’s own right.

The Orange Roughy eats small fish, crustaceans and squid, an opportunistic feeder. They are slow-growing and long-lived. The lifespan of the Orange Roughy exceeds that of humans, anywhere from 100-years to 145-years or so and reaching maturity around 30-years of age. Because they mature at a slow rate and the amount of the fishing of this species it means that over fishing has greatly reduced their numbers – exceedingly so. Any fishing of this long-lived species is not sustainable.

It’s estimated that over one million tonnes of Orange Roughy have been exploited, and this is only since the fishing of Orange Roughy started, about 25-years ago. What will the number be next year? What will the number be in ten-years? What if there were none left?

The first Orange Roughy fishery started in New Zealand around a seamount area called Chatham Rise. It started in the late 1970’s but declined rapidly after 1979. Each winter Orange Roughy migrate to specific sites on the Chatham Rise, where they aggregate in large numbers to spawn. This is the area that supported the greatest fishing of this species at the time. There are other seamount areas that have since also suffered greatly from the fishing of this species. The fishing industry have incredibly high levels of catches for a couple of years and then rapidly decline to low levels without recovering – hence the reason for changing the areas of fishing for Orange Roughy. Also the Orange Roughy spawn irregularly.

The way that Orange Roughy is fished is by bottom trawling. Bottom trawling is extremely destructive to the ocean. In trawling for Orange Roughy there are very high by-catch numbers and the mortality for these other deep sea species is nearly 100%.

The environment of the deep sea is fragile and slow to recover after the trawl path has destroyed the sea bed and communities on the sea floor. Sediment disturbance also have destructive effects over very large areas. Immediate gratifying dollar signs in the eyes of the greedy but total devastation to the future of the Orange Roughy, to other species and to our planet. Same with the Hoki, but that is another exploitation, and another story. So, in the meantime – Orange Roughy – if the demand wasn’t there, the exploitation wouldn’t be either. Do not support the exploitation of this remarkable fish and this remarkable planets sea bed. Say NO!


You are what you eat

February 6, 2010

It’s me, at long last! Wow, I have had some serious issues with my computer and it has only taken months to sort it all out. It crashed in September and up and running last Sunday. I thought computers are supposed to make life easier? Not! My one is old, upgraded twice, still short on memory but I am going to use it until it completely dies – I am not into the disposable lifestyle and buying a new computer would mean dumping this one – not good for the environment in both the dumping and the resources it would have taken to make the new one. So I am sticking with it! P.s. do you notice the green button on my keyboard? It is an  ‘eject’ button. It doesn’t work of course, but it helps to ease the impatient-ness I have with the internet sometimes. Broadband in New Zealand is ‘almost but not quite’ as slow as dial-up.

My friend has a computer that I could have used – but to be honest – I go there to her home with all good intentions and we just sit and drink coffee and natter. I also like a bit of peace and quiet when writing and she has a tribe of eager kiddies, and writing would be hard when it sounds like the house is being pulled apart. So to sum it up, I haven’t posted for quite some while but I’m baaaack!

On Thursday night there was a SAFE movie night. We viewed Food, Inc. Check out the trailer at the website titled Hungry For Change. The icon to the left will take you to Amazon, or search the internet, there may well be a full length version posted somewhere, I haven’t looked, but worth a try.

Although the movie was Americanised it still held very true for the rest of the world, we all know that fast food has wheedled itself into just about every orifice that it can get into – and why not, fast food industries want to make a profit and the public ask (or believe they do) for it. The movie highlighted corporate greed and the absolute monopoly that only a few corporations have on food and the coverup, buying-off and bullying that these corporations do and the corrupt way in which these few corporations legalise policies. I think because the movie took a more ‘human’ approach than a ‘cruelty to animals’ approach it might mean more people would be open to watching it and having it impact on their food choices – humans have an ego and see what they want to see, they might turn a blind eye to animals being slaughtered but seeing a movie that has the human element and shows the impact on average people it might make them sit up, take notice, and look into what they eat (here is hoping – forever the optimist I am). The movie touches on the obesity epidemic and other health issues and tries to get the voice across that cheaper food does not necessarily mean cheaper as there are seriously horrendous spin-off effects to ‘cheap’ food. All-in-all, not a bad movie to watch. If it gets people thinking about ‘we are what we eat’ and there are choices if we just say ‘no!’ then hats off to them and I hope that many people do find a way to watch it – the voice of many is needed against the food corporate empire to even begin to falter.

It is a vicious cycle, eat bad food, feel listless, so eat bad food because you don’t have the energy to cook – much easier to go and get a hamburger at McD’s and before you know it you are starting to look and act like a hamburger, a hamburger with no energy, a high fat content and no nutritional value. It does not take long to cook a nutritious meal that is on the table before the person is back from the takeaway shop, although it might seem it. Eating a nutritious meal means that your energy levels are higher, more ‘stable’ and you do not need as much food because your hunger is satisfied for longer. Fortunately it hasn’t become totally impossible to buy cheap vegetables at markets here in New Zealand and alot of us who have the classic Kiwi half-acre can grow a few things. Sometimes you don’t even need a back lawn but just a balcony, hey even a tomato plant can be grown in a pot and potatoes in old tyres. But still the fast food industry grows, thrives and kills in an insidious way. So not only is it a problem with peoples energy abating and the small cost of buying a hamburger and the time in people’s lives that they think is needed to cook a meal but a habit as well – a habit we are passing on to our next generation. You just have to break the cycle.


Clean Teeth Compassionately

September 25, 2009

Many things on my site will be aimed at new vegans or potential vegans and will point out things in which ‘hardened vegans’ learnt years ago and now take for granted as an everyday part of their lives, but new and potential vegans may not be aware of. So, take this journey with me and let us learn together. Today I would like to blog about toothpastes and toothbrushes.

Not only are there many ingredients in toothpaste that are derived from the suffering and death of non-human animals, but there are many companies that use the inhumane practice of testing their products on animals. In New Zealand along with vegans from many other countries we have to be aware of all aspects and look behind the product and into the company that produces that product. What you will find is that many are seriously lacking in compassion for the sake of financial gain. Is the company that makes your toothpaste using animals for testing their toothpaste or any of their other products on? Quite possibly, in fact, more than likely. So to be absolutely sure only buy a toothpaste that states clearly on the label that it is vegan and not tested on animals. There are a couple of vegan toothpastes available but I thought I would introduce you to a lovely product which I just purchased:

lemon-myrtle

lemon-myrtle

Phyto Shield Lemon-Myrtle, Botanical Oral Care Toothpaste.

I bought this 100g tube of toothpaste for $6.10 from Stay Well Pharmacy in Hornby, on Shands Road – the little shopping complex on the left after coming off Main South Road.

Chemical-free and does not contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, added fluoride, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Along with no petrochemicals or chemical bleach.

Suitable for children, vegans and vegetarians.

Not tested on animals.

100% naturally New Zealand

Manufactured in New Zealand by New Zealand Natural Oral Care Company, freephone 0800 red seal or 0800 733 732

 Ingredients:

  • Calcium Carbonate (chalk-mild mineral abrasive)
  • Aqua (purified water)
  • Glycerol and Sorbitol (moisture retaining agents from plant origin)
  • Silica (natural ore for better paste structure)
  • Orange Oil
  • Lauryl Glucoside (mild cleanser from coconut oil)
  • Carboxymethyl Cellulose (gumming agent from plant fibre)
  • Lemon Oil
  • Calcium Magnesium Carbonate (abrasive)
  • Ammonium Glycyrrhizinate (plant derived sweetener)
  • Menthol
  • Aniseed Oil, Peppermint Oil, Thyme Oil, Myrrh Oil, Lemon Myrtle Oil
  • Totarol (in ethanol) Tincture

Sounds all good to me and it is also a very nice tasting fresh-feeling toothpaste.

Maybe your local chemist or health food shop has it in stock, and if they don’t, maybe they would look at stocking it or get it in for you. We live in a very accommodating society when it comes to most retail shops and they are on average only happy to oblige. If you don’t ask, you will never know.

Keeping along with the thought of not supporting companies who exploit innocent animals for testing their products on – think about the toothbrush you use and which company it was made by, are they a company that does animal testing? I just purchased a new vegan toothbrush from SAFE (link in sidebar), 145 Armagh Street in the centre of Christchurch. They have a selection of vegan toothbrushes (and other stuff of course). Go in and check it out and while you are there say hi to other like-minded vegans as well, very approachable and very friendly. And if you are not vegan but thinking about it – good on you, keep getting information and learn – pretend you are a sponge and suck up that information, take things slowly (or not!) because with every step you take towards veganism you are helping the animals, the planet and making yourself healthier – and always remember you are not alone – there are other vegans out there.

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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


Lambing season ’09

September 11, 2009
snow receding, summer looming

snow receding, summer looming

It is a lovely trip into work every morning, I see some beautiful sights – ever changing sights, Mother Nature showing off her beautiful colours in the changing of the seasons. The snow on the mountains is slowly, day by day, starting to recede.

I also see other things. Lambing season is in full swing and over the last month while driving to work and home I have noticed an unusually large amount of ewes with twins or triplets. I am not sure if this is consistent with the rest of the country or whether it is only a regional phenomenon this year. It has been a better winter in Canterbury, alot milder in temperature than the last couple of years and although there was a fair amount of rain there was no snow on the ground.

The problem (other than the ownership of course) with the farmers having ewes that  produce more lambs is that sometimes a ewe cannot feed three babies. The first reason is that a majority of sheep breeds only have two functional teats (some breeds have more) and another reason is that if the ewe is lactating early in the season she will lose body weight and condition. Ewes rearing twins and triplets cannot consume sufficient nutrients to prevent this weight loss early on in the season. With triplets their growth can be uneven and inconsistent with their siblings as they have to battle for the teats, competition for the available milk supply  – and the farmer wouldn’t want that, the uneven growth I mean – he wants big fat lambs. The ewes with triplets can also have an increased risk of teat damage.

Of course the farmer wants highly productive sheep, those that lamb frequently, produce multiple lambs that grow rapidly and are capable of re-breeding after having the existing lambs weaned from their mothers at an earlier time than is natural. But with triplets from ewes with only two functional teats the fight begins and the farmer wins, theft of one of the babies.

wee fella

wee fella

This little sweetie is only 10-hours old at the time of this photo and because he was one of three that his mum went through labour and gave birth to he was deemed (or doomed?) surplus to requirements, “would have died anyway”. This is not a definite, he may have died, but then again he might not have. But because he, like many are unfortunate enough to be born into slavery, farmers find someone to buy them – yes ‘buy’ like a commodity, and he could just as well have been bought by someone who wanted him fattened up a bit and had his carcass on a dinner plate. He is special in his own right. Do farmers care about what would happen to this little fella or others like him? No way, compassion is something that is not thought of in the sheep industry, only profits. Supplement feeding for the ewe could have avoided the separation of mother and baby entirely and minimized weight loss in the ewe. Well, actually, abolition of farming sheep would have avoided it entirely.

I am always deeply saddened and feel like a part of myself is dying inside with the exploitation of so many sentient beings, not a day goes by that I don’t think of the atrocities and suffering that human beings inflict on just about every other species including our own – and today my thoughts go out to those that lost their loved ones in 2001 .

When people have lamb for dinner they do not consciously make the connection between the carcass on the end of their fork and the lamb leaping around with the other lambs in the paddock, they do not think of them as living, vital, alive beings, they close their minds to the lambs being loaded into a truck heading for the slaughterhouse, they do not think of the terror that these babies feel, the loss that their mothers’ feel – these babies that have no choice – the innocents – they should not be farmed for fashion or dinner plate and do not go with knitting needles, mint and kumara.

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Glue-it at the office

September 2, 2009

At work we sometimes have to use glue, as most offices do. Since going vegan I have abstained from using any, but recently I had to. We use the  Pritt Glue-it Refill Roller made in Germany by Henkel Corporation which is readily available in all office supply stores in New Zealand. I thought I would send them a quick email before I used it to find out what was in their glue.

Pritt Glue-it Refill Roller with spare refill

Pritt Glue-it Refill Roller with spare refill

I commend them on their prompt response …

An excerpt from their reply;

“We do not use animals in the manufacture of any of our products” – signed by the Henkel Corporation.

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