Category Archives: Animals

Is ‘Humane’ Meat Possible? Can it Ever Be Enough? | One Green Planet

The article below, originally from One Green Planet, explains why I had no option but to go vegan. You can’t have a society that consumes as many animals as we do in a capitalist economy and expect that there is some way we can do it without causing suffering and death. And ‘humane’ practices lead to greater environmental destruction.

The only option I can see is to stop consuming animals altogether. We are destroying our planet’s ecosystem – the one that makes it possible for US to live here.

At some point, hopefully very soon, we have to wake up and realise, we can’t continue with our heads in the sand, we do terrible, terrible things and we have to stop. The type of cage we confine animals to is irrelevant – they are still breed and held against their will, usually in horrible and abusive conditions and then they are slaughtered, and there is no ‘humane’ way to kill someone against their will.

When I read about some of these campaigns with a vegan perspective I feel outraged. It is all marketing spin from the industry. Yet, for years I brought into it and ate ‘free-range’. I am angry with myself for being so gullible. If I had spent even 20 minutes really thinking it through I would have realised what BS it was, but I DIDN”T WANT TO think about it because then I would have had to change my behaviour.

I am confused about why vegans support these campaigns. We know they are wrong. We know people need to face it head on and change. I know people need time to change. But if we (vegans) don’t show them where the goalposts are, who else will?

Life or Lunch?

051a-500In the last several years, multiple farmed animal welfare improvements have been announced and implemented through the enactment of new laws and company initiatives. These welfare improvements have included actual or planned bans on battery cagesgestation cratesveal crates, and bodily mutilations. Each of these welfare victories have been the result of intense campaigning by many animal rights activists and organizations, sometimes over a period of many years.

There is no doubt that these improvements make a difference to animals. Battery cages, gestation crates, veal crates, and bodily mutilations are terribly cruel practices that totally rob animals of the ability to live natural and healthy lives. But is focusing on the production of meat and other animal products with higher animal welfare standards worth the time and resources that we pour into them? Is there any chance that they may actually have unintended negative consequences?

What are Animal…

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I have been thinking a lot lately about my past; trying to figure out why it took over four decades for me to make the connection and go vegan.


It was only my third day at the freezing works when I took a wrong turn on my way to the cafeteria. Three men were walking towards me, overalls, faces, hair all drenched in blood. Clearly headed for the showers on their way from the kill sheds. I could hear blood squelching from their gumboots.

For a moment, I couldn’t breathe for shock. Then, just as quickly, a thought whispered from behind the horror. Don’t worry, it’s just the pigs. I could feel myself start to relax, but the tense faces of the blood soaked men stopped me from speaking. Something had happened. What I never learned. We all just nodded grimly to each other in acknowledgement. I turned back towards the cafeteria.

Continue reading Disconnected

Dr Jane Goodall – “animals feel like we do”

"people started thinking in a new way  ... about animals having feelings and feeling pain. The world opens up before you once you get out of this box that tells us animals don’t have these sorts of feelings"

980xDr. Jane Goodall, the world’s leading expert on chimpanzees, is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and the educational, activist programme Roots and Shoots.  When she started her work, few in the scientific community were interested in or took seriously emotion and personality in animals other than ourselves.  Her life’s work has had a huge impact on how both science and the general public think about other animals and environmental conservation.

These excerpts are taken from an interview Jane gave to The Dodo (full text of the article and interview available here).

gorilla-505058_1280When I first went to Cambridge University in 1961, there was no way I could have studied animal minds because animals didn’t have minds. I couldn’t have studied animal emotions; absolutely not; to even begin to think that animals might share emotions with us. I couldn’t have studied animal personalities because all those things were unique to us. You see that written again and again and again.

Gradually science has come around. You can study those things now. There are more books being written about morality in animals. There are more books being written about animal personalities. The idea that animals can actually think and solve problems is being proved so often.

…  gradually all this information coming in from the field where animals are animals rather than in little cages in labs. This, I think, is what began to make people change their attitudes.



… things can be more easily shared with tweets and Facebook and all that sort of electronic information, it’s inevitable I think that the people would start thinking differently about animals.

There’s one thing about this changed attitude, and I meet it a lot when talking to people about intensive farming and so forth, and that is you start to tell them about what the animals endure and they don’t want to know. Sometimes they say, “oh, don’t tell me; I’m so sensitive and I love animals.” Then they go and eat a pork chop. The secret of how you get to people — you’ve got to get into their heart. I don’t think the head is much use in this situation.


On one hand a film, a movie, a video or whatever which only shows the wonderful nature — that tends to lull people into thinking there’s still a lot of nature left. When you come face-to-face with the individual animal, with the facts about so many rhinos being killed … it makes you angry.


On the one hand you’ve got the science out there now that shows that animals do have personalities, minds and feelings. On the other hand you are seeing animals face-to-face in these YouTubes.


It was innate in me, but could have been crushed by an uncaring, unsympathetic mother. When she found earthworms in my bed, instead of getting angry she just said they needed the earth and they would die and I was making them die and I cried. I was one and a half. We took them back into the garden.
lamb-292512_1280But you see an awful lot of cruelty in children and hopefully there’s somebody to guide them and to help them understand that animals feel like we do. Lots of people, not just children, never get taught that. I know when I started talking about the chimpanzees and other animals in Tanzania in 1991 when we began Roots and Shoots people started thinking in a new way about that. They hadn’t thought about animals having feelings and feeling pain.

baby-195669_1280The world opens up before you once you get out of this box that tells us animals don’t have these sorts of feelings.