Friday, September 26, 2014

Tell Quaker Oats To Say No To Dairy!

Hi again,
I know this is the third post I'm doing in a relatively short amount of time, but I've just received an e-mail from the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (which happens to be one of my favourite organizations!) announcing that Quaker Oats is planning on doing a campaign this October promoting dairy consumption. According to PCRM, "MilkPEP, a milk promotion program funded by the dairy industry, is behind the promotion."

As PCRM points out,
"Milk is one of the top sources of saturated fat in the American diet, exacerbating America's No. 1 killer: heart disease. It also increases the risk of certain cancers. Just two and a half servings of milk per day increase the risk of prostate cancer by 34 percent. And research from the Iowa Women's Health Study shows that women who consume more than one glass of milk per day have a 73 percent greater chance of developing ovarian cancer, compared with women who drank less than one glass per day."

This is shocking news in itself-- but when you consider the very big fact that the dairy industry is cruel and unfair for the animals, it becomes even more horrifying that Quaker Oats would promote the consumption of milk at all.

Why is the dairy industry cruel? Here's a very brief list of some of the reasons:
  • Mother cows are taken away from their babies.
  • Cows are usually kept in cramped, confined conditions.
  • Female cows are artificially inseminated, and must be repeatedly impregnated in order to keep producing milk.
  • Male calves are often sold to spend the rest of their lives in veal crates, while female calves are either cycled back into the dairy system or slaughtered. Veal calves are purposely given low-iron diets so that they become anemic, therefore having pale flesh. They are not allowed to run around, because exercise would toughen their muscles and make their meat tougher.
  • Cows are often fed corn and other "foods" that are unhealthy for cows to eat.
  • Animals have the right to be free. They are not "tools" for ours to use. Cows should not be our milk-producing machines. If dogs, for example, were treated the way cows are on dairy farms and "milked" to provide a product for human consumption (after all, all mammals produce milk), there would be public outrage (rightfully so!). Cows are curious, sentient creatures, just like dogs are. It is cruel to treat cows the way they are routinely treated, and it is wrong for them to be "owned" at all.
  • Many more reasons!
You can see a video showing some of the horrific things that happen to dairy cows here: http://milkiscruel.com/ The website Milk is Cruel is put together by Mercy For Animals. If you'd rather see less graphic pictures and read up on factory farming, you can go to http://www.think-differently-about-sheep.com/Animal_Rights%20factory%20Farming%20.htm. Think Differently About Sheep is a REALLY cool website.

PCRM has a petition that you can sign to tell Quaker Oats that promoting dairy is not acceptable. You can sign the petition by following this link!

Please sign the petition-- stop itravel2000 from promoting animal cruelty!

itravel2000 is a popular travel website to help Canadians plan their vacations. According to a petition on Care2, itravel2000 encourages people to go to "amusement parks where dolphins, killer whales, and belugas are held captive." The petition is asking itravel2000 to remove these destinations from their website. Good idea!

The petition is still a bit short on signatures. Please sign the petition and share it with people you know, before it gets sent off to the travel website in about a week! Thanks!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Statistics Canada: Canadians are Eating Less Meat!

According to Statistics Canada, in 2013 Canadians ate 10% less meat than in 2001, and 1.5% less than in 2012. In other words, meat consumption is decreasing! This is great news! More and more people are going vegan every year as they realize how their dietary and lifestyle choices affect the animals, the environment, and their health.

You can see some related statistics on Mercy for Animals' blog: http://www.mfablog.ca/canadians-eating-less-meat


Source: http://thevegantruth.blogspot.ca/2012/05/am-i-vegan-clearly-defining-who-is-and.html

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Colgate and Tom's of Maine-- Not Animal-Friendly in My Books

Hi everyone!
I've recently learned that the company I get my toothpaste from-- Tom's of Maine-- is owned by Colgate-Palmolive, which tests on animals. Although Tom's of Maine itself does not do animal testing, the fact that their parent company does has persuaded me to switch to a different brand of toothpaste.
I've also decided to send a message to Colgate-Palmolive asking them to stop testing on animals once and for all. Below I've pasted a copy of this message. If you would like, feel free to copy and paste the message (with any edits to make it more applicable to you) into the online form at http://www.colgate.ca/app/Colgate/CA/EN/Corp/ContactUs/ConsumerAffairs/ContactForm.cvsp to increase the number of people who are demanding this company to go cruelty-free. Or, if you'd like, you can write your own message (which is probably a better way of getting the company's attention, so they'll be more likely to read each individual message instead of just skimming a lot of them).


"Hello,
I am writing to you because I have recently learned that your company does testing on animals. I am appalled that there are still companies such as yours that do animal testing. Animal testing is unnecessary and terribly cruel. It also dissuades potential customers from buying your products in the future.
There are alternatives to animal testing that many other companies employ. Now that I know about your animal testing record, I have decided to switch to a different brand of toothpaste that is not owned by a company that tests on animals.
Colgate, please stop animal testing and using animal-tested ingredients. In doing this, you may be able to win back some of your ethically-minded customers, or at least prevent any more damage from being done both to your fan base and the animals, the latter having no voice in this matter.
Sincerely,
[Cat]"
Leaping Bunny
The Leaping Bunny: www.LeapingBunny.org
To find out which companies that make cosmetics, personal care products, animal care products, and household products are animal testing-free, you can go to the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics' website, http://www.leapingbunny.org/shopping.php, and do a search-- or, if you'd like, you can scroll down on that page, look beneath the "Get Your Own Shopping Guide" heading, and order a guide or download the PDF guide for free. Their guide notes if the company is owned by a parent company that tests on animals.

Photo
Picture from  https://www.facebook.com/leapingbunny/photos/a.365637005501.152863.48644720501/10152533914655502/?type=1&theater or https://www.facebook.com/leapingbunny
Remember, every time you spend (or don't spend) money on a product, you're letting the companies know what you want and what you don't want in a product and company. It's even better if you can specify what exactly you like and don't like by contacting the companies, too! I think it's best to not buy very much in general, but when you do buy things, it's important to support the most ethical and sustainable companies.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Antibiotics Given to Farm Animals-- Dangerous for the Animals and Humans

I recently got the latest e-newsletter from Mercy for Animals Canada that included a link to an article on their website about the use of antibiotics on Canadian factory farms.


"...healthy farmed animals are routinely administered antibiotics to prevent them from becoming sick from the cramped and squalid factory farms in which they spend their lives. These antibiotics can be purchased along with fencing and footwear from farm supply stores.
"According to the World Health Organization, unless antibiotic use is curtailed, today's treatable infections will become tomorrow's deadly illnesses."
You can read the rest of the article here: http://www.mfablog.ca/2014/07/antibiotic-misuse-runs-rampant-on-canadian-factory-farms.html



Photo from Farm Sanctuary website
Antibiotics are known to cause harm to the human gut biome by killing probiotics. The "farm" animals almost certainly would experience health problems caused by the routine antibiotics as well.
Some people would argue that animals kept for food should be raised on "natural", "free-range" farms, so that human health isn't adversely affected and the animals don't suffer as much as they are suffering now. It's great that these people can see that there is something wrong with the current system, but switching to "natural" meat, milk, and eggs isn't going to solve the problem. Animals are not ours to exploit and "farm" as we wish. They are sentient creatures who deserve to be free.


There is also the fact that there simply isn't enough land or resources on Earth to sustainably feed everyone with animal flesh. According to Worldwatch Institute,


"...as environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future—deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease."
See the rest of the in-depth document here: http://www.worldwatch.org/system/files/EP174A.pdf


To make the switch to a vegan diet (if you haven't done so already!), please see www.ChooseVeg.com or www.ChooseVeg.ca, or take out a good book on veganism from the library. There are lots of books to choose from!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Arturo, "The World's Saddest Animal"

Sad case: Arturo - Spanish for Arthur - has been at the zoo for two decades, and has had no contact with his own kind since Pelusa died. Now, campaigners are worried that he is suffering mental health issues
Arturo
I recently signed a petition on Change.org calling for Arturo, a polar bear who has been dubbed by many to be "The World's Saddest Animal", to be transferred from his current location at the Mendoza zoo in Argentina to the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg.
Arturo lives in inadequate, hot conditions in the Argentina zoo. A narrated Youtube video (which you can see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxSZF-3rIt0; NOTE: following a warning, it gets graphic partway through-- I didn't watch through to the end) shows that Arturo and a brown bear in another enclosure at the zoo were exhibiting stereotypic behaviour. In the video, Arturo looks sad and lonely. Many people consider him to be depressed, which is very believable when you look at the photos. According to the Daily Mail, "The polar bear has been alone in his enclosure since his partner, Pelusa, died of cancer in 2012. Visitors to the zoo, and animal experts, had reported seeing him pacing nervously in his concrete enclosure, and appearing to struggle with the high temperatures." Although his enclosure is air-conditioned, he still has to spend time in temperatures of "up to 40C (104F)", according to the Daily Mail and others. It is said that his pool is only 50 cm (20 inches) deep. A polar bear should not be kept in sweltering hot temperatures in Argentina! Polar bears are built to live in the cold northern regions of the world, with plenty of space to roam free. Winnipeg seems like a much more suitable option for Arturo; the conditions of the zoo are said to be "world-class". (Of course, animals shouldn't be kept in zoos, but once you've kept an animal in a zoo for his or her whole life, they may not be able to survive in the wild anymore, in which case they just need to be kept in the best, most natural conditions as possible for the rest of their life.)
Unfortunately, the Mendoza zoo is refusing to transfer Arturo. I was saddened to learn this shortly after signing the petition. The zoo claims that Arturo isn't in good enough health to be transferred. They are claiming that his poor health and sad behaviours are due to old age. (As if! If a polar bear acted like this in the wild, he or she would be considered seriously unwell and/or seriously unhappy.)
If you'd like to sign the petition anyway, here's the link: Change.org
Just a reminder, everyone, please boycott zoos! Also, we all need to raise awareness about the plight of the animals who are exploited by humans. Every time we educate someone else about the way animals are being harmed, we make a difference. Even if that person doesn't go vegan and boycott animal exploitation right away, we've at least planted a seed in their mind about the matter, so that eventually they may make the right decisions. I'm definitely not suggesting that people can justify hurting animals by saying that they're "not ready to change their lifestyle yet", but at least by raising awareness, they will hopefully become more likely to make good choices in the long run.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Breedism: A Valid Concern

Quite a while ago now, I saw a picture with this logo on it on the Internet...
This shirt (and another one like it) is being sold on PETA's website. The text on the shirt reads,
"FIGHT BREEDISM
ADOPT
EACH YEAR
8 MILLION
DOGS AND CATS
ARE DUMPED AT
ANIMAL SHELTERS
MORE THAN HALF
NEVER FIND A HOME
BREEDING ANIMALS
= KILLING ANIMALS
NEVER BUY"

(I don't know where they get that statistic. According to the Humane Society of the United States, the number of cats and dogs who are euthanized in shelters every year in the United States is 2.7 million. And on PETA's own website, the number is 3 to 4 million cats and dogs who are euthanized per year in animal shelters. Either way, the numbers are staggering and horrific.

When I first saw it, I wondered if breedism is really a valid concern. Is the notion of fighting "breedism" taking it too far?
Now that I've considered it, my answer to that question is, quite simply, no! Breedism is indeed a valid concern with real consequences. When you read the rest of the shirt, you can see that "breedism" is referring to how people buy animals from breeders or pet shops just for the sake of having a "pure-bred" pet (or a specific breed, such as a pug, Pomeranian, or husky). This, in turn, means that there are less homes for shelter animals and more money going to the breeders, who then can breed more animals, so the cycle continues. As a result, animals die in shelters because they aren't being adopted-- and this is at least partially due to "breedism".
A dog is a living, sentient being, regardless of what he or she looks like. If you want to have a dog to live with you, adopt one who is in need. That way, you'll be rescuing an innocent being from dying in an animal shelter (even if the particular animal you adopted would have been adopted anyway, the person who would have adopted your new dog or cat will then be able to adopt a different shelter animal, who perhaps would have been euthanized if they didn't adopt him or her), and you won't simply be "buying" an animal as if he or she is just a commodity.

Recently I opened up a couple books on dog and cat breeds, just wanting to look at the pictures. However, I was quite disgusted by the emphasis on "pure-breds" that so many self-professed "animal lovers" display. Do these people truly love animals for who they are as individuals, or only for their appearance and usefulness in dog/cat shows? In fact, breedism is in some ways comparable to speciesism, racism, and sexism, although it is more difficult to pinpoint.
If you have a favourite dog or cat breed, I'm not criticizing you for that. However, adopting a Pomeranian from a breeder just for the sake of having a Pomeranian is irresponsible when there are plenty of other dogs with various temperaments and needs waiting to be adopted from shelters.

Moral of the story: adopt! Don't buy! And, if you can, try to adopt a dog or cat who would otherwise have been overlooked at the shelters due to their looks, medical needs, etc.

As always, I hope you have a nice week!