An animal activists' handbook
1. animal rights begins on YOUR PLATE
"Thou shall NOT KILL" - God
If you still eat meat...
Perhaps you love animals and whilst you believe that you can eat animals that are slaughtered humanely, vivisection and veal are vile.
We've got news for you. Every animal farm is a concentration camp. Babies and mothers are separated, unwanted males are exterminated, worn out breeding animals are killed at a quarter of their natural life span, even on so called 'free range' or organic farms. As for humane slaughter, it's no better than saying "we have built a better gas chamber". If you doubt us, we recommend a visit to your local slaughterhouse.
Is it right to have one ethical rule for dogs but another for equally intelligent pigs? Is it right to condemn the veal trade but munch on the calf's mother who cried and fretted for days after he was taken away to be put in a crate? Is it right to haul sensitive fish out of water and leave them to slowly suffocate?
There is no such thing as cruelty free meat. The only blood-free burger is a veggie burger. The only cruelty-free sausage is a soya sausage. The only ethical fishcake is a 'fishless fishcake'!
Living without cruelty does not mean living without. Check out Cheatin' chicken, ham and garlic sausage. Choose soya bacon bits, tempeh and 'sizzles'. There are lots more delicious dishes that don't involve killing and cruelty. Why not invest in a cookbook and get experimenting with veggie versions of traditional meals or the delicious dishes in Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern or Thai cuisine. If you loathe cooking altogether, load up with fab fast foods at any health food shop or supermarket.
It's crazy to campaign for some animals and gorge on others. Surely they all have the right to live free, fulfilled lives. There are no nutrients in meat that aren't found in plant based foods without all the added saturated fat, cholesterol, pesticide and hormone residues, salmonella, listeria, BSE and a long list of other horrors. There is no nutrient deficiency that is more common in vegans and veggies than meat eaters, but all degenerative diseases, such as cancer of the colon and heart disease are more common in meat eaters.
There are no convincing arguments for eating meat, but zillions against. Chuck out the chicken, bin the beef, trash the turkey and finish with fish. Your body will thank you for it with a healthier heart, more energy and on average, six extra years of life. As for the animals, they'd certainly thank you if they could.
If you're a vegetarian...
Do you think that milk and cheese are suitable for an ethical diet because nothing died to make them? Think again! Mammals only produce milk after the birth of their young. By making them pregnant every year (usually by artificial insemination) and then taking their babies away at a few days old, we are able to steal their milk. Without the dairy industry, there would be no beef and veal industries. Therefore, milk is no more acceptable to ethical vegetarians than veal.
"Hold on!" you may think, "I've just gone vegetarian and now you're suggesting that I give up cheese, too?" True, by not eating dead animals you are doing a lot more than meat eaters to help animals, so well done. It's great that you're veggie, but don't hang around there too long. As a vegan you'll have three chances a day to save twice as many animals and sever all links with the slaughterhouse.
Maybe you have tried soya milk and didn't like it. There are several brands on the market and the strength and sweetness varies between brands. Opt for a sweetened type for a few weeks and then you'll find that cow's milk tastes disgusting and fatty. Check out your local wholefood store for vegan cheese, cream, mayonnaise, yoghurts, egg replacers and soya ice creams like Swedish Glace and Tofutti. Examine margarine ingredients for lurking lactose, casein, whey, fish oil and other nasties.
As for eggs, 98% of them are laid by hens imprisoned in battery cages. There is no legal definition of "free range" and most so called free range hens are still kept in very cramped conditions. A very small number of hens are allowed enough space to exercise properly and live anything like a fulfilled life. Remember as well that in any commercial egg farm, the male chicks are gassed to death while still only hours old.
Check the useful resources pages for details of recommended literature and groups who can advise you on vegan products. We're sure that rather than missing hen's periods and cow juice, you'll wonder how you ever survived without all the hundreds of scrummy vegan delicacies just waiting to be discovered.
...we're not just talking about food.
If you don't eat the inside, why wear the outside? You won't be taken very seriously if you campaign against fur but still wear leather, which is just cow fur with the hairs scraped off, or suede, which is pig fur with the hairs scraped off, or wool, because it is wrong to think that the sheep don't mind having it removed. Shearing is a violent process, in which the timid sheep are thrown on their backs and are usually left with cuts and bruises. 80% of wool comes from Australia, a hot country where 1/3 of sheep die from heat exhaustion and dehydration. As with dairy cows, sheep are slaughtered at a relatively young age when their wool is losing quality. Wool and mutton, leather and beef, they're all the same bloody animal slave industry.
The modern alternatives, such as vegetarian shoes made from stuff called lorica or clothing made from gortex, Thinsulate or acrylics are superior to leather and wool anyway.
The first step to becoming an activist and campaigning against animal cruelty is putting your own house in order. It's not a case of giving up things, but replacing them with better, kinder alternatives. It's a lot easier than you might think. You can give your animal skins a decent burial, or give them away. If you can't afford to buy replacements, wear them until they fall apart and then buy something kinder next time. The sooner you get some cruelty-free clothes, the more embarrassment you'll be spared when cocky meat heads accuse you of hypocrisy.
If you're already vegan...
Brilliant! but don't keep it to yourself. The fact that you have picked up this book and read this far proves that you care about animal suffering and genuinely want to help stop it. The number of animals hunted, trapped, abused in circuses and tortured in experiments each year runs into many thousands, but it's small compared to the billions of animals which suffer and die as a result of animal farming. Turning vegan and encouraging other people to do so is the best way to save thousands of animals from suffering and slaughter.
Campaign Against Cruelty An Animal Activists Handbook
available for £4.99 (plus p&p) from Vegetarian Guides, or order it from all good book shops.