Friday, December 16, 2011

You don't need money to make a difference

It's that time of year again when those big animal welfare organisations are asking people to volunteer their time to go out and raise money for them to "help animals"... which actually means trying to enforce laws that give nonhuman slaves better living conditions before they're brutally murdered for their flesh.

I'm tired of seeing SAFE posters everywhere asking people to "Donate to help animals!" or "Join our annual appeal to help animals!"

Well, I'm writing this blog post to tell you that if you want to help animals, if you REALLY want to help animals, you don't need to donate or volunteer for any animal welfare organisation such as SAFE. Just go vegan. And educate people about veganism!

Vegan education is easy, and you don't need a lot (or even any) money to do it. It can be as simple as talking to friends about why you're vegan. Or you can get creative! As I said in my last blog post, whatever you enjoy doing, look for a way to promote vegansim!

I've hosted my own podcast and radio show. I've created my own videos and websites. I blog. I've made animations and graphic designs. I've handed out vegan food to classmates. I've baked vegan cupcakes to hand out at the stall. I've engaged the public in conversations about veganism. I've hand-printed the word "vegan" on clothing I wear. And I've done all this without much money. I'm not a rich person. But that hasn't stopped me.

Imagine what great things SAFE could do if they actually spent their money on peaceful vegan education, promoting JUST veganism. A big organisation like them, educating people about veganism ALL OVER NEW ZEALAND, we'll have loads more people choosing to live nonviolently! If only, if only they would promote veganism! But they are too concerned about losing donators to tell people to do something as "radical" as going vegan. So instead they tell people that "you can love animals and eat them too, just buy free range!"

I urge anyone, anywhere, to advocate for veganism. Those of us who are promoting vegansim unequivocally are the ones who are truly making a difference to the lives of nonhumans. We don't need a lot of money and we don't have to be a part of any organisation to make a difference in the world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The exciting world of offline activism

I haven't been blogging much lately, but that's doesn't mean I'm getting lazy, no, it just means I've been engaging in a lot more offline activism!

Every Tuesday, providing it's a fine day, the Auckland Abolitionist Vegans Association (AAVA for short) goes out onto Aotea Square armed with a little table, pamphlets, and delicious vegan cupcakes free with a conversation! We've had some great conversations, the cupcakes are a big hit and also an awesome conversation starter "Vegan cupcakes? How can you bake without egg..?"

We have great fun at the stall! It's so great to get out and talk to people face-to-face about veganism. It's much better than talking online, where you can't see the person you're talking to. And I learn so much by talking to people and answering their questions. It helps me become a better activist. I would recommend to anyone to start a vegan stall in their area!

Something else I've started doing - hand printed t-shirt designs! It's a wonderful way to use my artistic talents to promote veganism.. and it gets me off the computer too! :)
Elizabeth wearing one of my "NZ Vegan" shirts
It's so fun and satisfying to see the end product after hours of drawing :) What I do is I create large stencils (just out of paper), print them out, cut little holes along the lines, stencil the holes on using fabric markers, then "connect the dots" and fill everything else in by hand. It's a long, delicate process (the fabric markers are permanent, so one mistake could ruin it!) but a very enjoyable thing for me to do.

I've also done a couple of interviews in the past few weeks with the Roanoke Vegan Examiner and NZ Vegan Podcast. Thanks for having me, Corey and Elizabeth :)

I would encourage anyone to get out there and participate in some form of vegan education. Do a stall, give away vegan baking, hand out pamphlets, create a short film, draw a picture, make a sculpture, whatever you enjoy doing, look for a way to promote veganism.

Peace and love ~

On "Vegan" Celebrities

I recently read an article posted in Stuff about vegan celebrities - "Celebs make veganism sexy".

I have a number of problems with articles such as this. It suggests that veganism is a diet, a trend, a health thing. Celebrities seem to always misrepresent the word "vegan" and what it actually means!

Many celebrities who say they are vegan, aren't really vegan at all. They just follow a plant-based diet, yet still wear leather, wool, eat honey, or promote non-vegan products. Veganism is NOT a diet. It's a rejection of violence towards all sentient beings. It's about respecting their right to life. Far more than "just a diet", it's also about the clothes we wear, the products we buy, the activities we engage in, the places we go, and how we live life. Vegans do their best not to participate in animal exploitation (be that human or nonhuman) by not buying animal products or products tested on animals, not going to places that profit from using other animals (eg zoos and rodeos) and, where possible, buying fair trade products.

The caption for this article is "Vegan Celebrities Leading Diet Trend". I just mentioned above that veganism isn't a diet, and it's also not a trend. Saying something is a "trend" is saying that it will only last a while.. only while it's considered "cool" (or "sexy")... and then when society's had enough of that trend you can go back to eating animal products. But veganism isn't about being "cool". I don't care what people say about my veganism, whether it's "totally awesome" or "a stupid thing", I will never go back to participating in animal exploitation. Why? Because it's not about me. It's about them, the nonhuman animals who are enslaved by humankind to produce products for our pleasure. It should always be about them.

I must also make something clear about a text in this article..
"The group says its latest figures show that about five per cent of American adults are vegetarians - saying they never eat meat, fish, seafood or poultry - and that half of these vegetarians are also vegan, meaning they don't eat dairy or eggs, either. (Strict vegans also don't eat honey.)"
ALL vegans don't eat honey! Honey comes from enslaved bees, whose food that they store for the winter (honey) is stolen from them so that humans can spread it on their toast. If you eat honey, you're not a vegan. You're a pure vegetarian. Just to make that clear. And if you eat honey, I'd recommend trying agave nectar instead!

I'll admit, some celebrities such as Ellen do a good job of showing the public how delicious vegan food can be, which is great. I'll also say that a purely plant-based diet is still better than an omnivorous or vegetarian (including dairy and eggs) diet, and I wouldn't ask them to go back. Just to re-think what it means to be a vegan, to remember who they're doing this for, and to please not misrepresent it! It's not a diet. It's not a fad. It's not a health thing.

It's justice.