A Vegan Perspective

Jump to my first post to learn more about this project and why I as a Vegan have taken a particular interest.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Pig Girl

Oh no!  Too many visits to the pigs.  She has been making snorting noises when she laughs as well.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Wilbur 101

Photo: Dave Blackey/Getty Images

Radio National is conducting an experiment where listeners can (supposedly) influence the practice of rearing a pig named Wilbur 101.  A poll was conducted to determine if Wilbur 101 should be castrated.  The voters said ‘No’ but the farmers used their veto power and decided to castrate him anyway.  The reason for this is explained in an article by Tammi Jonas.

I appreciate Tammi’s enthusiasm for transparency in farming and think that an experiment such as this one helps to bring the issues of animal agriculture to the attention of the public.  I don’t really understand the point of having a poll though if it can be overridden when the results don’t match the desired outcome.

When reading the original article regarding the poll, I felt that there was a bias toward castration and very little information was provided about the process or possible alternatives.  I will be curious to see what future decisions are presented or if the experiment is abandoned altogether.

Aarod chose not to castrate Kevin and Francis and I personally think this was a great decision... and no doubt they agree.

My own poll from 17 May is not working, so I have removed it from the blog.  Apologies to those that voted but the results were not tallying.  I was very interested to see the results, so feel free to post comments instead.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Free Range

Free range is by far the exception, rather than the rule in Australia.  Free range conditions should be the bare minimum, rather than a niche market.  Such a change would require Australians to drastically decrease their meat consumption though.  Scalability is something I plan to discuss in another post.

I applaud Aarod for trying to improve welfare standards for animals in the meat industry.  The ultimate outcome for animals being raised for meat is the same though ie. a knife to the throat or a bullet to the head.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Freedom Hill visit

Today I visited the animal sanctuary, Freedom Hill. I was joined by Aarod and his dad, Michael.

Freedom Hill is a sanctuary in the Adelaide Hills for rescued farm animals.  They currently have 22 residents, including sheep, cows, horses, goats and chickens.  One of the bulls, Trevor, is the biggest I have ever seen. The photo does not do him justice.

We were introduced to all the animals by Kym, who shared some amazing stories of how each of the residents came to be at Freedom Hill.  Some of the stories were truly horrific, so it was wonderful to now see them living happy lives in a beautiful setting.

At the end of our visit, Kym offered Aarod the opportunity to bring Kevin & Francis to live at Freedom Hill permanently, should he choose to spare them from slaughter.  We'll have to wait and see what comes of that offer.

I was amazed at the sacrifices that Kym and her family have made in order to establish Freedom Hill and was inspired by their dedication. Please visit their website if you would like to support them.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Survey says...

A survey has been created for residents of the Aldinga Arts EcoVillage to ascertain who would like to purchase pork and what cuts they would prefer.

I felt that there was a question missing, so I have decided to host my own poll here on Piggy Predicament.  Whilst people will be given the choice of ribs, sausage, chops, tail, brain, heart (amongst others), there was no mention of which of the two pigs you would like to eat.  So, will you be eating Kevin, Francis, both or neither?  Please vote using the poll on the right of screen.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

A lot to digest

An interview with author, Lierre Keith, was recently posted to Facebook and I felt it deserved some blog space.  You can view the talk here and read a thorough rebuttal to Keith’s book here.

There is so much I would like to say about this talk but I haven’t the time to write it, nor do you probably have the interest to read it.  It seems to tie in with the view of Allan Savory, which has been getting some attention lately.  His TED talk can be found here and a response to that can be found here.  The key consideration I propose is that both speakers may present compelling arguments but scratch beneath the surface and you will find many unsubstantiated claims and some simple investigation will lead you to compelling arguments that strongly refute them.

In regards to Keith’s claims about poor Vegan health, I would suggest people read, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.  It will provide a wealth of scientific evidence (the largest epidemiological study ever conducted) to support a whole foods plant-based diet.  Keith’s claims regarding specific vitamins and fats is not one I’ve come across before, so I will need to look into it further.  I would warn people to take what she says and writes with a hint of scepticism though – just because the host is enthusiastically swallowing what is being dished out doesn’t make it true.

Here is an example: Keith states, “The number one cause of death right now in farming countries is suicide”.  Not sure if she says farming or foreign but in either case, I’m not sure where she is pulling her stats from.  Have a look at this data from the World Health Organization and tell me where suicide fits.  Cardiovascular disease and cancer feature prominently in the stats for high-income countries – diseases that Keith seems to attribute to a Vegan diet.  Watch out, we’re being overrun by Vegans!  Or could it be that wealthy countries consume the most animal products?

Clearly Keith has had a very poor experience with a Vegan lifestyle.  Although she points to her own poor health as an example, I get the strong impression that her disdain for Vegans has more to do with the people she has encountered, than with the nutritional inadequacies that she attributes to the diet.  Over the years I have heard of these ‘sick Vegans’ but it is almost always a friend of a friend who knew someone once.  All of the Vegans I know are healthy, disease free and thriving.  All of the people that I have met with cancer, heart disease and diabetes consume animal products.

Keith says, “One of the things about being a Vegan is, it’s not just what you eat, it’s who you are.  That makes it really hard to examine new information”.  Replace the word ‘Vegan’ with ‘meat-eater’ and you will see that this statement can apply to anyone.  I believe probably even more so for meat-eaters though because eating animals is a lifestyle choice that most of us were born into and encounter reaffirming influences everyday; whereas most Vegans have arrived at an alternative through research and careful consideration.

Please share your comments.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Bacon Bros.

Ever wondered what goes through the mind of a pig?  Oh good, so it's not just me then.  I love comic strips and thought it was time to give it a go myself - not quitting my day job just yet.  Big thanks to my lovely wife, Jodie, for doing the artwork.
Click the pic to view full size
By the way, in case you find it a little distasteful, it wasn't me that named the pigs, Kevin & Francis Bacon.  I did however find it quite amusing to learn that Kevin Bacon is a Vegetarian and felt compelled to write about it, so here is the result.

Did you catch the news that a library was recently named after George W. Bush? Where else but Texas.  I love this piece from Andy Borowitz about the first library opened by Bush. Where else but Guantanamo Bay.  Anyway, getting off topic a bit.  More Bacon Bros. comics to come - stay tuned.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Walk For Wheels

Kevin & Francis had lots of visitors on Sunday when the fundraising event, Walk For Wheels, passed through the farm.  Check out the video below with a brief appearance from the boys.  There is still time to support the cause by donating here.