August 10, 2011
Veganism Feels Good
So how’s that working for you? I’m often asked by curious people, understandably resistant to the concept, but genuinely curious.
Some people might go vegan overnight, but most don’t. I was raised on weekly steak dinners, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, baloney, and other lunch meats that stick to the wall, electric cheese, and yes even veal, as I’ve mentioned. My favourite vegetable was pickles. I was Albertan and my parents were born in the 50s, what can I say.
Honestly, when I went vegan, I was doing it out of guilt. I felt horrible for the cows and chickens. I couldn’t turn a blind eye anymore. I wouldn’t want to be treated the way they were, so I stopped after attending my first foie gras demo with Liberation BC. What I didn’t know was that going vegan was going to change my whole way of looking at food. Cutting out animal products was essentially cutting out junk food. I couldn’t so easily reach for a chocolate bar, a bag of chips, ice cream anymore – I had to read ingredients. I had to take a moment to think before I ate.
It was hard for me to give up dairy. I let Glenn Gaetz in on my process, explaining to him how I’d cut it down to 2ce a week, 1nce a week, etc. And, bless him, he didn’t (outwardly) judge my process. I told him how it wasn’t working because I’d buy a tub of yogurt and have to eat it every day for a week just to finish it.
But having vegan friends, they showed me alternatives. Have you tried soy ice cream with granola? Coconut ice cream? What about vegan yogurt? Go to this website, try this recipe, shop here. Meat has been flesh to me for a long time. Inedible. Sick. But dairy used to be a craving in its many forms. Now it’s just a liquid stomachache.
The way I’ve changed my diet now… it’s incredible. I eat salads and smoothies every day. I experiment with recipes. I eat a lot more raw foods. I eat more organic and fresh than ever. And bonus – I eat no misery.
When I do eat junk food now, I feel AWFUL. I ate a whole pack of Twizzlers last week (which are vegan – props for that, just don’t eat the whole mothaf-in bag) while feeling sorry for myself about somethingr’other, and it seriously ruined my whole day. My body rejects junk now. I am the pinnacle of health, with indulgences of course in moderation. And I love food more than ever. I feel so accomplished to love healthy food. I did it! It’s like learning to love a good man and not the asshole who’s going to use and abuse you. Sometimes you have to reach beyond what you were conditioned to choose.
Now, my body loves me. I love my body. And karma loves me, too. I feel like I need to eat this way for another 4-5 years now until my cells entirely regenerate to full vegan form. Then I’ll full-on morph into… I don’t know, a mermaid or a cartoon character or something.
When I only had one or two friends who were vegan, I thought they were freakish and annoying, with their little self-promotions here and there. Now, I see that they are still crazy hippies, but I get why they’re so gung ho on their diets. Veganism Feels Good. It is the be all end all of guilt free diets. Guilt FREE, do you hear that people? What more can you ask for? Less cellulite? Better skin? A toned ass? It can give you that, too.
February 17, 2010
Two Hearts that Beat As One
Human + Animal = Beastiality True Love
Have you ever wanted to feel famous for a day? Well that was the experience Sunday as 12 activists took over the stairs at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Valentine’s Day. With thousands of camera happy people lurking around the fountain and clock, we had constant flashbulbs going off. Might have had something to do with the naked people…
This was my beginner attempt at banner making, which is an excellent thigh workout, btw, with all the hovering. The letters are made of everything from pastels, to oil paint, to tape, to gift bags, and there are also sparkles, diamond studs and tissue paper. Keep it simple.
We also had media attention, including a Russian newspaper and who I believe was Kermit the Frog.
Check out 24′s coverage here.
Everyone loved the naked guys. From our Zac Efron look-alike who couldn’t put his clothes back on because there was too long a line-up of tweens wanting to take pics with him, to our super, super naked guy who was not afraid to go all the way for compassion and was so well-received, even families wanted to take pictures with him.
So there you go – feel famous, toned thighs – activism has its perks.
October 19, 2009
Liberation BC supplied a human petting zoo to the Work Less Masquerade Party this year, offering consensual petting to an array of happy animals (unlike the scared animals who get fondled at your regular petting zoos – inaccurate examples of the rest of their kind, that’s for sure.)
The Work Less Party is basically what you might think: individuals who agree that we all need to chill the fuck out.
It’s our own anxiety and rushed stress that’s killing the planet and ourselves, so if we produce less, consume less, and take more time to enjoy what we love, the Earth’s natural balance can fall back into order.
However, the Work Less Party has a few secrets up their sleeve – scroll down to see.
*Jenny is tame example of the nudity at the Masquerade. Conrad Schmidt himself donned a red military jacket with no pants. Prizes were offered to those who could get naked the fastest, there was a Spank Bank in the corner where spankings were being doled out, and on one table a naked lady was being somehow not set on fire as a man rubbed a flame over her body. Work Less – Kink More.
March 29, 2009
This vid is of Ginger and I at the Stop the Seal Slaughter demo on Friday, March 27th.
Not sure how I feel about seeing myself on camera, but that’s really not the point, huh. Ginger and I missed the march, (ie. funeral procession complete with stuffed baby seals, Canadian flag stomping, and death her/himself). But it was good that we were there at the booth with our horrific posters to catch the disgusted eyes of passerbys.
Last year at this time, I kept waking up to the thought of my own head being bashed in with a hakapik, and felt so horrible that this was taking place that I went out and protested alone. I collected about 75 signatures and it was like pulling teeth, one woman claiming that she didn’t want to be associated with me. This year, I was really happy to have others to protest with (CATCA, Peta, Lib BC), and although I tried not to tell slaughter supporters: “how would YOU like to have your head humanely bashed in with a hakapik?”, I did end up in one altercation with a passing ignoramus who yelled: “kill the seals, save the cod!”
“It’s Canadians who have overfished the cod!” I yelled back.
“Those pictures are three years old!” he retorted, referring to the picture I was holding of what was left of a baby seal after skinning – eyeballs and a bloody pile of guts.
“It’s happening right now!” I yelled at him.
And it is. Over the next few weeks, hundreds of thousands of baby seals will be killed in front of their mothers. 42% skinned alive. Wtf. How can Canada not have an emotional reaction to this? The largest marine animal slaughter ON EARTH. And yet it’s not talked about. It’s far away on the East Coast, on the down low, off the air.
So. Is there a place for anger in protesting? Yes. Can a peaceful protest be effective? Yes. But there is a time and a place for anger.
Last year, before I started participating in demos, I remember telling my cousin: “I will never be truly happy living on this planet knowing about the atrocities that happen to animals.” (People, too -OF COURSE- but animals do not have a voice of their own. They only know how to be.) I was accepting the current reality of the world as Ultimate Reality. I was agreeing to be a victim.
This year, I feel so different. I’m sharing a small slice of the pain and that makes it so much more tolerable. Being around others who also can’t simply look past this and other animal abuse issues makes me very grateful.
March 12, 2009
…can be determined by the way it treats its animals”
The Canadian Seal Hunt
Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on the planet. 275,000 will be killed this spring.
Isn’t it illegal to kill baby seals now?
Nope. It’s only illegal to kill baby seals under the age of 11 days old, when they are known as “whitecoats”. At 12 days of age or so, the pups begin to lose their white fur – like the one in the photo to the right, who has shed the white fur on the lower half of its body – and it becomes legal to kill them. For the last ten years or so, 95% of the seals killed during the commercial hunt have been “beaters”–seals between 12 days and 3 months old. Last year in 2007, the percentage was 98%. Sealers prefer to kill these young seals because their pelts fetch the highest prices.
Do native people depend on the hunt to survive?
Not at all. There are no Inuit involved in the commercial seal hunt. In fact, the species of seal targeted during the hunt is known as the harp seal. About 325,000 are killed every March and April. The Inuit favour adult ring seals, and kill only about 10,000 annually.
A letter from Arnaituk M. Tarkirk, an Inuit man from Kuujjuak, Quebec:
We have been hearing all about the European vote to ban the importation of seal products from the so-called seal hunt.
I am an Inuk and I would like to say what I think about this.
Peter Ittinuur, Northwest Territory MP, has been saying that this vote will put a lot of Inuit on welfare. This is stupid. The money from the hunt goes to Norway mostly and has nothing to do with the Inuit.
We are skillful hunters who hunt adult animals for food, That is not the same as bashing a pup, which can’t move, over the head.
In fact, if the seal hunt stopped, we would benefit the most. There would be 180,000 more seals left for us to eat when they are a few years older, and also people would not have such an aversion to sealskin products as they have after seeing the way they kill the pups, so craft work made with adult seals would be more popular.
The Hudson Bay Company and the government are just using the Inuit to further their own purposes. I am surprised Peter Ittinuur, whom I know, could allow himself to be used like that. I know people who are against the seal hunt, and they are not against the Inuit.
I am an Inuk, and I oppose the seal hunt.
The Canadian government maintains that the hunt is humane. Is this true?
No. Seals are smashed over the head with a tool known as the hakapik (a club with a large metal spike attached) or shot with a rifle. The animals are then dragged across the ice and skinned, often while still alive. Sealers are competing for a limited number of seals in a limited amount of time, so they work quickly to get as many pelts as they can.
A study conducted in 2001 by an independent team of scientists concluded that the recommended regulations for humane hunting and killing were being neither enforced nor followed, and that 42 percent of seals were being skinned alive.
As of 2008, the Canadian government has attempted to stave off threats of a European Union ban on seal products by presenting a “new” set of rules meant to ensure a humane death:
- Stun – render seal unconscious
- Check – test blinking reflex to ensure seals are irreversibly unconscious
- Bleed – cut main artery to ensure seal bleeds out
Numbers 1 and 2 have long been “recommended regulations” of the Canadian government, and as indicated previously, they are neither enforced nor applied by the majority of sealers. Additionally, it is still legal to shoot seals in the water, where none of these three rules can be followed.
The sealers hit five, six, seven, sometimes up to eight or nine seals in a row and then take their time, going back and skinning and bleeding out the seals. Eventually they get to the first seal they might have hit. That period can last up to six to 10 minutes. It’s terrible. Some of the scenes we have seen are of immense cruelty. Seals screaming, wiggling round in pain and bleeding, and crying out.
Is the seal hunt sustainable?
No, and it’s getting less sustainable as time goes on due to global warming. Over the past 10 years, between half and two-thirds of seal pups have been slaughtered by commercial sealers. The ice cover is rapidly disappearing, and many pups do not learn to swim before the ice melts beneath them. In 2007, there was a nearly 100% mortality rate. Government scientists have estimated this year’s replacement yield (the number of seals that can be killed while still allowing the species to maintain its population) at 165,000, and yet the government has set the total allowable catch at 275,000 seals.
Aren’t the seals eating the cod that Newfoundland fishers rely on to survive?
No. In fact, young cod makes up only 3 percent of the seals’ diet. The majority of their diet actually consists of fish and squid that prey on young cod; therefore, removing the seals from the equation may actually result in more cod disappearing as predatory fish flourish. The currently low cod population is the result of poor management on the part of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
Even they admit that the seal hunt has no positive impact on cod population, explaining that the hunt is “…not an attempt to assist in the recovery of groundfish stocks…Seals eat cod, but seals also eat other fish that prey on cod.”
Do my taxes support the seal hunt?
Yes. Over 20 million dollars in government subsidies were provided to the Canadian sealing industry between 1995 and 2001. And while tracking subsidies to the sealing industry is difficult because the information is not public, $400,000 in government subsidies were granted as recently as 2004 to two sealing companies.
The sealers are using the meat, though, right? At least nothing goes to waste.
Actually, most of the seal goes to waste. The fur is sold to high-end retailers like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Prada. Some of the penises are sold as aphrodisiacs in Asia, and the oil is sold as a health supplement. The blubber is sometimes collected, but a 2006 study by Memorial University discovered that 80% of it is simply discarded. Meanwhile, the meat of the seal rots on the ice, as it is generally considered inedible and unfit for human consumption. On its website, the Canadian government admits that “finding a market for seal meat outside of Newfoundland continues to present a major challenge for the sealing industry.”
What would the sealers do for money if the hunt ended?
The people who work as part of the commercial seal hunt are fishers 95% of the year. 90% of the 5000 seal hunters live in Newfoundland; the $12 million that the hunt brings in each year is only one-tenth of 1% of the province’s annual economy, and only one-twentieth of the hunters’ annual income.
Even the sealers admit it isn’t an economical boost. Sealer Desmond Hunt is quoted as saying, “We all go out for the love of it rather than the money, which isn’t there anymore.”
In fact, due to massive boycotts of Newfoundland and Canadian seafood worldwide, ending the hunt could only increase profits in the area. According to 2006 reports, Canadian snow crab imports to the United States have dropped by $160 million due to the Canadian seafood boycott – this is more than ten times the money the seal hunt brings in.
“HSUS has to date persuaded almost 3,600 U.S. businesses to participate, including heavy hitters Publix (annual sales $24-billion), Whole Foods ($7-billion), WinCo Foods, Lowe’s Foods, Harris Teeter ($3-billion each) and smaller, seafood-driven ones like Legal Sea Foods ($400-million). Sealing creates less than 1% of the value of the sealing provinces’ fishery. Sacrifice 99% for the sake of 1%. Now there’s a business plan!”–Jeff White.
Are there sustainable AND profitable alternatives to the seal hunt?
Yes. At the rate that seals are being killed, there won’t be enough left to hunt in a few years. It is far more sustainable to explore ecotourism as an attraction for the area.
Since Canada banned commercial whale hunting in the 1970′s, the whale-watching industry has grown considerably and is now worth more than the seal hunt.
“Years ago, the Canadian government successfully turned its commercial whale hunt into a multimillion-dollar whale-watching industry, and there is absolutely no reason the government cannot do the same with seals,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the HSUS. “By continuing this appalling and inhumane hunt, the government is turning what should be an economic asset — the world’s largest migration of these highly charismatic marine mammals — into a liability. The new economies of the major nations of the world will be built around sustainable and humane practices, not the reckless exploitation of wildlife and natural resources.”
*Taken with love from www.liberationbc.org!