I don’t want to pay for continued cruelty

Recently the animal rights group Oikeutta Eläimille released new footage from Finnish farms, this time including pig farms, a goat farm, a dairy farm and a farm for egg-laying hens. The group have released this kind of footage pretty much regularly since 2007, and the conditions at the farms never get any better, even though there have been discussions around the footage and animal welfare every time.

The industry gets subsidies from both the Finnish government and the European Union (i.e. from our tax money) to better their image. Not to advance the welfare of the animals, but to better the bad image that the industry has got thanks to the footage that has been released and because people have gotten more conscious about what they eat. I don’t understand the logic behind this, why give money to an industry so that they make a bigger gap between what is shown in their commercials and what is the truth? If we would like to give funds, then why don’t focus on advancing the welfare of the animals instead? Wouldn’t that be a better use for the money? Giving money to better the image so that people will continue to buy meat is not a solution to the problem, it’s a cover-up.

Oikeutta Eläimille has started a petition to make this kind of subsidies history. You can find the petition here. Please sign it if you care about animal welfare and think it’s wrong to give funding for covering up cruelty and bettering the image of an industry with so much problems. This is what the petition-site says, loosely translated into English:

“Petition: No subsidies for cruelty!

I the beginning of the year new shocking pictures from pig farms were released. At the same time the meat industry got 1,5 million euros in subsidies for advertisement of pork.

Factory farming causes suffering to animals and big environmental problems. No more subsidies from the society for advertisement of animal products!”

Vetoomus: Ei tukea kärsimykselle!

Alkuvuodesta julkisuuteen tuli uusia shokkikuvia sikaloista. Samaan aikaan lihateollisuus sai puolitoista miljoonaa euroa verorahoja sianlihan markkinointiin.

Eläintuotanto aiheuttaa kärsimystä eläimille ja suuria ympäristöongelmia. Ei enää yhteiskunnan tukea eläintuotteiden markkinointiin!

– See more at: http://oikeuttaelaimille.net/vetoomus-ei-tukea-karsimykselle#sthash.ZXvX6MID.dpuf

Vetoomus: Ei tukea kärsimykselle!

Alkuvuodesta julkisuuteen tuli uusia shokkikuvia sikaloista. Samaan aikaan lihateollisuus sai puolitoista miljoonaa euroa verorahoja sianlihan markkinointiin.

Eläintuotanto aiheuttaa kärsimystä eläimille ja suuria ympäristöongelmia. Ei enää yhteiskunnan tukea eläintuotteiden markkinointiin!

– See more at: http://oikeuttaelaimille.net/vetoomus-ei-tukea-karsimykselle#sthash.ZXvX6MID.dpuf

If you would like to see the new footage, it can be found at elaintehtaat.fi (the site is in Finnish, but you don’t really need any Finnish language skills to be able to find the footage). Viewer discretion is advised.

Advertisements

European elections

If you live within the European Union, don’t forget to vote in the European Elections this May 22-25! Eurogroup for Animals, the federation of animal protection organizations in the European Union, started a campaign for the elections already last year. They have created a list of points about animal welfare that they would like political groups to include in their manifestos for the elections;

1. Improve farm animal welfare
2. Reduce the number of animals used in research and testing
3. Protect cats and dogs
4. Improve the welfare of wild animals
5. Use EU trade agreements to boost animal welfare in partner third countries
6. Ensure that animals are recognized as sentient beings in all legislation

More about what these points include and about the campaign in general can be found at www.voteforanimals.eu. For the Finnish campaign go to elainpolitiikka.net under “Europaparlamenttivaalit 2014” (in Finnish).

On Thursday last week, the local Animalia activist-group hosted a political discussion around these points and animal welfare in general within the European Union. Running politicians from different political parties had been invited, and in the end seven of them agreed to come; Sanna Lehtinen from the Centre Party, Jere Riikonen from the Christian Democrats, Johanna Sumuvuori from the Green party, Eila Aarnos from the Left Alliance of Finland, Juhani Tanski from the Workers party of Finland, Petrus Pennanen from the Pirate party, and then Helena Eronen from Change 2011, who did not show up to the actual discussion.

The politicians were asked questions about for example how the animals’ position in the EU can be improved, what they have done for the animals during their political career, what they would do to turn the trend of rising meat consumption, as well as questions about animal testing and slaughter transports. I was positively surprised by most of the politicians and their knowledge and interest in the subject, and the discussion turned out to be really interesting.

The only sad thing about the event was the small amount of people who turned up. Apart from the politicians and people who work for Animalia in different ways, only few came. Maybe the advertisement hadn’t been so good, or maybe people are not so interested in listening to political discussions, I don’t know. But I hope that next time a similar discussion is held there will be more people there to listen, because I found it very interesting and helpful. It’s different to actually have the politicians there and being able to ask them questions, than to just read their pamphlets and campaign-websites and try to decide who to vote for based on those.

What do vegans eat?

There’s a lot of talking about what vegans don’t eat (i.e. meat, eggs, dairy products, animal by-products), but a lot of people don’t know what vegans actually do eat, so I thought I would try to write a series of blog posts about different things we eat. This post serves as a short introduction.

The base of the vegan diet includes:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes such as beans, peas and lentils
  • Grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Mushrooms

There are also a lot of different vegan food products out there, for example:

  • Non-dairy milk, cream, yoghurt, ice cream (can be based on for example soy, oat, rice or almond)
  • Vegan meat based on soybeans or wheat gluten (tofu, tempeh, seitan)
  • Non-dairy cheese, which is usually soy-based

For you non-vegans out there, what would you like to know about vegan food? Please tell me and I will do my best to answer any questions!

Humans have no advantage over animals

I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 (New International Version)

Esther the Wonder Pig

I’m quite sure that no one of you has missed Esther the Wonder Pig, the micro-pig who turned out to not be so small after all, and who changed the lives of the two guys who took her in. But if you haven’t heard of Esther, this post is for you!

As I said, Esther was thought to be a micro-pig at the time Derek and Steve took her in, but she kept on growing and is now a 400 pound lady. The guys still decided to keep her in their lives – and in their home – and she changed their perceptions of pigs. They started a website and a Facebook-page about Esther, and a lot of people around the world are now following her everyday life. I’m sure she has changed a lot of people by just being herself and showing that pigs are not food.

Picture from Esther’s Facebook-page

Big things are getting built around Esther and what was started through her. Esther’s Kitchen, full of vegan recipes, has recently launched, and the amazing couple who cares for Esther are now starting up a sanctuary to save other animals. I’m amazed not only by Esther – she is probably not more extraordinary than any other pig out there, she just got very lucky – but also by Derek and Steve. They have created something big amazing out of what happened, when they could have just done what most other people probably would have done if they realized their micro-pig wasn’t so small after all – get rid of her. Instead of doing that, they have created a movement that uses positivity and humor to tell people about the horrors of factory farming – and its alternative: vegan food and happy animals. It’s very inspiring and I wish them and Esther all the best.

If you want to know more about Esther and what’s going on around her – please check out her Facebook-page and her website. Maybe you will be as inspired as me!