Petition: Ban eating animals

Sign and share: http://chng.it/4p6SXpzV

To the UK Government, Houses of Parliament and Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

We, the undersigned, believe that the government should and must cut all subsidies to animal farming and ban the sale, export and consumption of animal products including but not limited to: flesh, eggs, dairy, honey on the basis that the animal agriculture industry is causing horrific damage to the environment, to humans and non-human animals and to public health.

Video from: https://www.viva.org.uk/vegan-now

The current environment is profoundly unstable and urgent action and immediate engagement is required by all.”

The above quote is from the opening speech, given by Rachel Bronson- president and CEO of of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, at the 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement.

Read more about the Doomsday Clock: 1, 2, 3

A 2018 report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told us we’d need to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in half by 2030.

Time is running out. It’s time that the government took real responsibility for climate change and the endangerment of not just humankind but all life on our planet Earth.

According to famously popular documentary maker David Attenborough “the comfortable west” – is still largely untouched by the effects of global warming. “We may well say… ‘well it doesn’t really matter whether we go on eating meat, because we’re not affected.”

In late 2017, Attenborough revealed he had stopped eating meat, calling animal farming practices “depressing.”

The global animal agriculture industry is one of the largest sources of anthropogenic GHG (human caused greenhouse gas) emissions. According to a 2014 IPCC report agriculture and forestry contribute 24% of GHGs, to put that into perspective all the world’s trains, cars, buses, planes, boats etc make up 14% of GHG emissions.

Read more here: https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data and https://www.bgs.ac.uk/discoveringGeology/climateChange/CCS/Anthropogenic.html#farming

The global livestock industry accounts for 83% of all farmland, and humans and livestock make up 98% of all mammals on Earth, yet animal products only provide 18% of all calories consumed. We can all agree this is an inefficient and unsustainable system. Why not cut out the middleman, stop exploiting animals, and just eat a plant based diet instead?

We are living through the beginning of the Earth sixth mass extinction, and it is happening because of us. We are forcing domesticated farmed animals to breed at an unsustainable rate, all for profit.

Researchers at Oxford university found that going vegan could reduce your food carbon footprint by 73% and reduce global farmland use by 75%. Think of a world reclaimed by forests and wildlife!

In total, the “no animal products” scenario delivers a 28% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy relative to 2010 emissions and the land no longer required for food production could remove ~8.1 billion metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year for the next 100 years.

So scientists have been aware of the unsustainable impact of agriculture for years, why aren’t we taking drastic action to reduce our methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions?

Recently we have seen massive civil disobedience movements protesting against the industries and governments who are taking little responsibility for climate change. In 2018 vegan climate activist Greta Thunberg started a global movement with the Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for the climate).

Extinction Rebellion (XR) have created an organised movement demanding the government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

There are lots of changes we need to make to ensure prevent climate change from destroying more lives than it has already taken. We are already seeing the effects of climate change and the most vulnerable countries are often those with the lowest emissions.

Not only are we putting the environment under massive strain due to the effects of climate change, deforestation- which leads to desertification and landslides, air pollution, water pollution, ocean warming and ocean dead zones we are also putting public health at massive risk.

The 2019-nCov Coronavirus outbreak has flung many into panic. It’s been disputed amongst scientists whether the disease came from bats or snakes, and was then passed on by birds or mammals. China have put a temporary ban on the sale of wild animals in response to the outbreak, but has it ever been safe or ethical to sell them in the first place?

Mad cow disease, bird flu and swine flu all came from domesticated farmed animals. The NHS website advises people not go near or touch bird droppings or sick or dead birds; visit live animal markets or poultry farms; bring any live birds or poultry back to the UK, including feathers; not to eat undercooked or raw poultry or duck or eat raw

How much simpler would it be if we didn’t have overcrowded factory farms incubating and harbouring these diseases? Why not give up animal products?

36% of antibiotics are used on farmed animals in the UK, it’s no small wonder when the conditions at most farms are overcrowded and dirty. Over 30% of British dairy cows have udder infections (mastitis). One of the methods used to try to prevent mastitis is by singeing the udders with a flame.

Not only is Antibiotic resistance is a threat to human health but the World Health Organisation has stated that processed meats (such as you can find in a school lunchbox) are level one carcinogens, and red meat is classed as probably carcinogenic to humans.

There an increased risk of bowel, prostate, breast and stomach cancer; Alzheimer’s; heart disease and cardiovascular attacks; and diabetes in an animal based diet. Why aren’t our doctors being educated about these risks that scientists have found?

Not only are there loads of physical health risks, but people working in slaughter houses often suffer with suicidal thoughts, depression, PTSD and perpetrator induced trauma stress (PITS).

Why are pharmaceutical companies profiting off killer diseases that could be largely prevented by a lifestyle change?

Time is running out for human beings, but what of the 124,000 farmed animals slaughtered every minute?

What right do we have to slit their throats, shove them into gas chambers, take their babies away just moments after birth, to skin them and wear them on our backs? How do we justify it? With speciesism: as a society the accepted belief is that humans are superior and non-human animals are inferior.

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi

We might try to justify animal cruelty and exploitation by saying they’re not as smart as us. But pigs are as or more intelligent than dogs and young children, which in the UK we keep and love as companion animals. So in our culture humans are superior, beneath us are companion animals such as cats and dogs, then wildlife and at the bottom domesticated and farmed animals are the most inferior.

“The question is not can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?” – Jeremy Bentham

By this logic, we can also choose to categorise any human or animal as inferior and use that as a justification to exploit them. It is immoral, yet we still have wars, homelessness, and institutionalised discrimination and oppression.

“As long as there are slaughterhouses there will always be battlefields.”

– Tolstoy

How can we achieve equality for humankind if we treat vulnerable beings with immense cruelty and without a thought for their right to live?

To quote Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

We are taught that it is natural, normal and necessary to kill and eat animals. This message is so pervasive that most of us don’t even consider a non-vegan (carnist) diet to be abnormal despite the obvious effects on our health and the planet.

Is it natural, normal and necessary to have industrial scale factory farms where animals are sexually and physically abused, impregnated, and killed? This is an industry where it is common practice for chickens have their beaks burned or sliced off, male dairy calves are killed at only days old, male chicks in the egg industry are killed in gas chambers or thrown onto conveyor belts to be ground up maceraters, and sheep are at risk of heat exhaustion after being selectively bred so they don’t naturally lose their coat in summer whereas others die of hypothermia when they’re sheared in the colder months.

Is it natural, normal and necessary to drink the breast milk of another species orto drink breast milk as an adult?

Is it natural, normal and necessary to steal honey from bees and mutilate them, clipping their wings, to stop them from creating new colonies?

Is it natural, normal, and necessary to create myths that certain types of animals are incapable of feeling pain? Fish do feel pain.

Is it natural, normal, and necessary to create a belief system (carnism) which separates us (human beings) and them (non human animals) when we are all part of one massive ecosystem? A belief system which needs living beings- that feel pain and emotion as we do- to be treated as objects, and requires us to replace compassion with apathy.

Are we really so callous that, when confronted with the very real and constant suffering non human and human animals alike face because of the animal agriculture industry, we will continue to let this industry turn cruelty into capital at the expense of our compassion and the freedom and well-being of animals?

It has never been easier, go vegan now.

Leeds Animal Rights March 2019 – first ever!

On Saturday the 17th of August we had our first ever animal rights march in Leeds. Surge started The Official Animal Rights March in 2016, “The Official Animal Rights March is an annual vegan march founded by the animal rights organisation Surge in 2016. The purpose of the march is to unite the vegan community globally and to inspire vegans to speak up for animals in their everyday lives and get active in their local communities. “

Veganism is a compassionate, counter culture social justice movement; we seek to promote the truth and shine a light on the moral inconsistencies of carnism. We must use our privilege to fight for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves, not to do so would be to be complicit in the slaughter. We also want to create an inclusive environment of solidarity, veganism must be about all animals which means people too. The vegan community must be one free of discrimination and harassment. We have more legal rights than non human animals, but the human playing field is by no means level.

This year in Leeds we decided to have our own march, for those who either didn’t want to travel to London or were unable to due to the cost, time, commitments or accessibility needs.

We had a great turn out of about sixty or so people, travelling from all over the north- one person even came all the way from London- people brought their families, including their dogs!
We began at Albion Place (we had two venue changes because it was a lot going on in Leeds that day and Victoria Gardens and Dortmund Square had other events on) and listened to a speech from friend and vegan animal rights activist Marie Youngs, then had a minute’s silence for the two pigs raised at Farsley Farfield primary school who were slaughtered (after months of campaigning for them to live out their lives in a sanctuary) in June earlier this year.

RIP nameless pigs, slaughtered Friday 21st of June 2019

After we took a few group photos we marched in the lovely sun up onto the Headrow, down Park Row, then along Boar Lane, up Briggate and back along the Headrow to return to our starting point.

Crowd of vegans gathered at Albion Place!

We did get quite a few heckles but most of them couldn’t even be heard over our chanting
“Do not buy the humane lie, animals do not want to die
Their bodies- not ours! Their babies- not ours! Their milk- not ours! Their lives- not ours!
Go vegan for the animals!
What do the animals want? Animal liberation! When do they want it? Now!”

I did stop to chat to one bloke heckling us outside McDonalds who was angrily shouting “what about the homeless?” at us. I told him, we can care about more than one thing at once, and we do care about homeless people. After all, animal rights are human rights.
He gave some retort about how we obviously don’t care otherwise we’d be marching for the homeless. We have had marches for the homeless in Leeds, You can care about two things at once, and veganism is an intersectional movement just like feminism but you can only do one march at a time.
He also said that his mate went vegan and wasn’t healthy at all, so I told him I’d been vegan for four years and I’m perfectly healthy- never been better. He asked me how many vitamins I take and when I said “none I get all my vitamins from food” he got even more vexed so we moved on.

Much of the march was live streamed by someone from the Yorkshire Evening Post. At one point in the video they say something along the lines of “some of the chanting is quite aggressive so don’t join in if you don’t agree,” which, honestly, made me laugh. How can you call chanting aggressive when farmed animals in the livestock industry are being slaughtered in their thousands every day? What is more aggressive, shouting “animals do not want to die” or being put in a “rape rack” and artificially inseminated.

“Milk you buy I die!” In the dairy industry calves are taken away from their mothers just days after birth, male calves are usually slaughtered straight away or raised for veal and slaughtered at a few months old.

After the march we hung out at Albion Place for a few more speeches and did some chalking; then we headed over to Wharf Chambers (my favourite bar in Leeds for the laid back vibe and inclusivity) for a vegan BBQ raising money for West Yorkshire Hunt Sabs.
It was so great to feel real solidarity between vegans for the animals, compassion unites us all! Thank you so much to everyone who made the day amazing. Can’t wait for next year!
And special thanks to the dream team Maureen and Marie! Marie thank you for your powerful voice and the extra placards. Maureen thank you for baking a fuck load of vegan cookies to share with everyone, thank you both for your support and your hard work for animal rights. You make the world a better place, and you changed my life.

will you put me in a cage and ask me to sing?
will you expect me to perform when i’m stood in the ring?
will you throw away the key, then ask me to dance?
will you offer scraps and expect to receive thanks?
will you throw me in the deep end? swimming circles in a tank
will you strike me down and watch me struggle to fight back?
will you lock me in shackles, reassure me that I’m safe?
will you tell the audience that I cannot be replaced?
will you capture another like me, lock him in a cage and throw away the key?
will you say “I’m sorry but I cannot set you free”?
after all, we’re just animals.
Max Power, for the animals x

Angry parents wash away chalk memorial

I was unable to attend the memorial the weekend of the pigs’ death as I was away volunteering, so I went to write a message in chalk outside the school to remember the pigs last Friday.

Before I’d even finished writing my first sentence in chalk “RIP nameless voiceless pigs,” someone stopped their car in the middle of the road- with people waiting in the cars behind- and poured what looked like a half drank paper cup of coca-cola where I’d written RIP. 
They then told me to get a life and got back in their car and sped off and returned later with their cup refilled and poured water over where I’d started to write “bacon causes cancer.”

One parent passed me and said loudly to their child “I’m off to get a bucket of water.” I assumed they were joking until they came back with two 1L water bottles and started pouring water over the writing and trying to rub it away with their foot. They angrily said to me things like:
it’s over,
they’re gone now, nothing you can do will change that,
the children don’t need to see this, it’s the schools decision and it’s ours,
get over it.
I’m off to get more water and I’ll keep coming back until you’re gone.”

I just stood silently and held my hand up giving a peace gesture because there is nothing you can say to reason with someone who is overcome with emotion and a desire to be cruel.

As I walked home I wondered why is someone so angry about people mourning the lives of murdered animals that they need to make multiple water trips and then make their child run back and forth between their house and the school so they can get water to wash away the phrase RIP…? It would have been washed away by the rain anyway.

I don’t want this to be forgotten about, just because the pigs have died doesn’t mean this is over yet because Harris seems to be entertaining the idea of getting more pigs doomed to slaughter next school year… Despite the fact that, after allowing students to talk to the newspapers and share their personal details where anyone could read them, a student received hate mail; despite guardians of children being threatened with arrest; despite international controversy; despite various safe guarding issues; the so called responsible adults ‘in charge’ want to get more pigs next year?! Murderous minds.

Friends not food