No Thanks for the Mass Killing of Innocent Birds

Every year millions of innocent turkeys get killed by unthinking Americans for Thanksgiving. Not a thought is given to the fact that these birds have every right to be on this earth as humans do. Factory farm owners salivate at the amount of money they will rake in from this heartless mass murder. They gleefully prepare for this day by stuffing the turkeys into windowless sheds where they cannot move an inch, feeding them hormones and antibiotics to fatten them up as quickly as possible. They grow so big, in fact, that if they had room to move, they would not be able to stand without constant pain. If they could take a few steps and should happen to trip over a stone, as some rescued turkeys have experienced, they would not be able to get back up. They would suffocate under their own weight. All of this for a momentary taste sensation.

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This guy comes across my lawn regularly and shows me his feathers as I watch in wonder. They are peaceful birds with keen intuition. They have been shown to quiet down during solemn moments with humans, who may, for example, feel sadness. They perk up and chat when humans are happy. They are also vegetarian and non-violent. I wish I could say the same about us.

This is a travesty. If the members of every religion who purport to love all living creatures actually did, this would not have to happen. Such hypocrisy. And a very sad day.

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Veganism is Not Hard to Do

When I tell people that I’m vegan, I may as well tell them that I am a communist. Many with disbelief ask “How do you get your protein?” or “Isn’t that hard to do?”

I will admit that I was vegetarian for years before I became vegan and often thought I could never give up cheese.  But then one day I saw an undercover video of how cows are treated on dairy farms and I decided right then and there that I would give it up no matter what. If I had to do without it for the rest of my life, I would. All I had to do is conjure up in my mind some of those heartbreaking images.

Fortunately, today there are many vegan cheeses on the market that no longer taste like cardboard. The earlier cheese were not very tasty, but the newer ones made from nuts and other plant based foods are really delicious. I recently tasted a vegan pizza that was truly the best pizza I ever had.

When I hear people say things such as “I’m such a carnivore, I love meat”, I respond with “You love the TASTE of meat, not necessarily the meat itself with all the violence that goes with it, right?” Of course, I have to use a gentle tone so that I’m not considered preachy.

People are sleepwalking when it comes to eating. No thought is given to how much suffering went into their meal for that momentary taste sensation.  I like to remind folks that three-quarters of what we eat everyday is vegan. Only a portion of that meal usually comes from an animal. So why is that so hard to give up? The protein argument, that alternatives to animals aren’t enough protein for our daily needs, is simply untrue. Moreover, plant protein is better than animal protein. Here is what One Green Planet says:

Why animal protein is not better than plant-based protein:

First of all, there is a lot of evidence to suggest our bodies are herbivores not carnivores. Protein from animals can be high in unhealthy fat and cholesterol, and eating animal protein has been linked to some types of cancer and poor heart health. Plus, plant-based proteins have fiber and complex carbs. And by choosing plant proteins, you’ll save animals from factory farms and limit your intake of toxins, like insecticides and antibiotics, which can be found in meat.

In fact, there’s an overwhelming amount of research that corroborates this. I sometimes wonder if eating meat is simply an addiction for people…those same people who mistakenly believe they are compassionate. Eating animals absolves one’s capacity for any compassion.

 

 

 

The Vegan Billboards Are Up!

Last October I mentioned a campaign of billboards that ran in NYC called “Like Us. Different But Equal”. I was so captivated by the portraits and captions that I knew I wanted to replicate it so that more people could see it. My friend and partner in the venture, Chris, felt the same way, so we did some research to see who was responsible for it. We found the artist, Joanna Lucas, on Facebook, reached out to her and decided to try our hand at raising money to make it happen. Long story short, we did it! Thanks to an anonymous and very generous donor who offered a 2 – 1 match, we were able to raise $24,000 to put these billboards up on two digital billboards and four static ones off of highway 95 in Bridgeport, CT.

We chose this area because it is congested and people sit in traffic jams every day. In fact, there are 1.5 million impressions for two of the boards every week. THAT’s exposure.

What differentiates this message from other vegan ones is that the portraits are simple, beautiful and positively shown. We felt that at least it will get people thinking. I’m proud to show the pictures here below.

If you agree with this, you can help us lengthen the time we can have these billboards up. We have pad for three months, but if we can show that the website listed on the boards has an increased number of hits, then a potential funder we will cover another few months. All you have to do is click on:  www.befairbevegan.com. That’s all. If you decide to help us, then a big thank you. We are grateful for your support.

Here are the portraits. What do you think?

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Leilani Farm Sanctuary

Finding Paradise – Leilani Farm Sanctuary, by Laurelee Blanchard, is a must-read for animal lovers and anyone who is interested in nature. It is a book about a woman who was once very successful in the commercial real estate market and gave it all up to start an animal rescue facility in Maui, Hawaii.

The book is a chronicle of her own journey of how she had it all, then lost it all, and then held on to save the animals. Every chapter is a wonderful description of the unique personalities on the animals and how they got there. It is inspiring,to say the least. What makes the book especially appealing are the beautiful photographs of the animals she talks about.

There are tales of dangerous rescues with bullets flying in the background to daring trips into forbidden areas to save animals who are severely abused. What a brave and compassion woman she is!

Laurelee’s sanctuary has grown to 300 animals where she gives tours to visitors who end up becoming vegan. She is doing such great work. We need more people like her. If you want to learn more about here, there are plenty of videos where you can see the place and the animals for yourself.

Happy Reading.

Leilani

 

Vegan Chicken Nuggets

As a vegan I a always on the lookout for tasty vegan foods that I can share with my non-vegan friends. I’ve found some delicious ‘chik’n’ nuggets that I recommend you try.  Some vegan foods taste like cardboard, but not these! Hot out of the oven you would swear they are the real thing.

Interestingly, I offered some to a non-vegan friend and he wouldn’t even try it. Despite the fact that it looks like the real thing and has the texture of chicken, this person wouldn’t have any part of it. I know it’s because he realized that it was not real chicken flesh. It will always amaze me when people choose not to try something and then hold onto their outdated and wrong opinions about the unknown. It is an interesting study in psychology, but one for another time. For now, just enjoy this vegan dish.

Quorn

This is What Farms Should Look Like.

On a recent trip to Holland, I was traveling by train from Amsterdam to The Hague. I saw something that we rarely ever see anymore in the U.S. I felt a sense of peace and calm that initially I took for granted. Then I realized what it was. I was seeing animals roaming freely on beautiful green pastures. It was mostly cows and sheep gently grazing on grass, soaking up the sun and fresh air. What a beautiful sight.

This is what farms should look like, but you would have to travel far in the U.S. to see farms like these. Small farmers are being put out of business by large corporations that run factory farms. Some of these are foreign owned. They are large institutions that treat farm animals as units of production with absolutely no regard for their sentience and ability to feel emotions. I’ve written about this before so I won’t go into more detail. Compare the idyllic image above to the factory farm of today:

The animals are housed in windowless, filthy sheds where they live their whole lives in darkness. Not only is it unhealthy (and extremely abusive) to the animals, but it is killing the environment surrounding it. People who live by are developing lung diseases,  asthma and other serious diseases. Nothing will change, however, until people find out that about this, but Big Ag ensures that we don’t with their misleading marketing practices.

These corporations are making huge profits. The only way we can stop these egregious abuses is to decrease demand for the products.

Battery Cages

More than 300 million egg laying hens are abused every year in order to produce eggs. The abuse comes from the battery cages they are forced to live in for nearly two years.

They are so intensely confined in cages no bigger than a sheet of paper. The hens are shoved in with up to 10 other hens, causing their skeletal systems to become so weak that their spinal cords deteriorate and they become paralyzed. Many die from dehydration and the living birds are then forced to stand on the rotting carcasses for the duration of their lives.

Standing or rubbing against wire cages destroys their skin and feather, and their claws can grow around the bars where they’re trapped. They have to tear their skin to escape.

Beaks are cut off with a burning hot blade with no painkillers. The pain is so great that many of them don’t eat or drink for several weeks.

Cage-free systems aren’t much better. These hens can hardly lift a wing and they walk around in ammonia so strong it makes your eyes sting. They never see the outside or sunlight, or breathe fresh air.

Male chicks are killed upon hatching – 200 million of each year because they are of no use to an egg farm

None of them can engage in natural behaviors such as dustbathing or nesting. They are slaughtered at two years of age, which is less than half their normal lifespan. They sent off on truck with no food or water to be killed.

This is no life for any animal. How do factory farms get away with this? Because the animals are units of production. They are classified as food rather than sentient animals.

Please do not eat eggs. There is no way to stop this horrific abuse other than to stop demand.

Many of the factory farm owners are large corporations in China, btw.

Alaska’s Wildlife No Longer Protected

On March 21, 2017  the Senate voted down S. J. R. 18 by a vote of 52 to 47. While it was a close vote, it was split down party lines with democrats voting nay, and republicans voting yea. It is surprising that not one republican stood up against this cruel bill. Somehow, they believe that tracking animals from planes, shooting mothers and cubs in their dens, and snaring and baiting these innocent animals that are completely defenseless, is a sport. It isn’t even for subsistence. It is for a trophy.

I give heartfelt thanks to our Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy who did oppose it. They are men of compassion.

It is hard not to feel defeated about all this. Many people called their Senators, wrote letters, phonebanked and put a lot of effort into educating others about this. In our defeat we have to remember that we are on the right side of history. Freedom has never been granted to oppressed groups willingly. It has always come with a fight.

Those of us who are on the side of protecting animals will not give up. We have lost this battle to lawmakers who have no conscience about animals, but we can still fight back. Our power is our ability to vote them out of office.

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” – Robert Green Ingersoll

Senator Cory Booker is a Rock Star in the Animal World!

The Senate bill  S. J.R. 18 is coming up for a vote very soon. It is the bill that will destroy refuges for animals in Alaska and allow trophy hunters to kill bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens while hibernating. It’s hard to believe that this could go through. New Jersey Senator, Cory Booker, tweeted and posted on Facebook a heartfelt message about this, urging people to call their Senators and ask them to vote no.

Here it is:  http://www.facebook.com/corybooker/videos/vb.36872302227/10156643251437228/?type=3&theater

We need more compassionate people like Senator Booker. As he says so well, animals are going to lose this fight unless we all speak up. Please call your Senators and tell them to vote no.

Alaska’s Wildlife Refuges Under Attack

Until last week, hibernating bears with their cubs, and wolves and their pups in Alaska were protected by a U.S.  Fish and Wildlife  Service (FWS) rule from being hunted and trapped with steel-jawed leghold traps and neck wire snares. Now, thanks to a former board member of the NRA and licensed trapper,  Rep. Don Young of Alaska, those protections no longer exist. Congress passed H.J. Res. 69 that will now allow some of the worst wildlife management practices in a century.

Now hunters can shoot shoot bears from airplanes, land and water,  trap them using inhumane and cruel snares, and kill wolf pups in their dens.

Apparently, the State of Alaska had trophy hunters and state agents kill grizzly bears, black bears and wolves in order to create more moose and caribou for hunters to shoot. The NRA and Safari Club are powerful lobbies. This happened even though a 2016 poll showed that Alaskans oppose denning of wolves by more than a 2-1 margin.  Furthermore, more than a dozen wildlife biologists from Alaska wrote letters to Congress opposing this terrible resolution.

The debate is now going to the Senate. If you agree that this is a travesty for these innocent, defenseless animals, you can help by calling your Senator and asking him/her to oppose   S. J. Res. 18 asap.  Click  here for your Senator’s name.  If it is helpful, here is some text you may want to use:

“Please oppose Senators Sullivan and Murkowski’s Joint Resolution 18 which would revoke the FWS rule protecting wildlife on Alaska national wildlife refuges from cruel hunting methods.”