Animal Rights March 2018

Yesterday saw 10,000 vegans come together in London to stand up for animals. There were marches taking place in 23 cities across 14 countries.

We marched from Westminster to Hyde Park and then heard speeches from a variety of speakers. It was so good to walk alongside like-minded people united in the cause. We even made the news!

Here is a variety of photos from the Facebook event page, I didn’t take any myself as I needed both hands to hold my placard!

This is the third annual animal rights march in London organised by Surge and it is great to see the numbers doubling each year.

Did you take part in any of the marches? Let me know about your experiences in the comments below.

Plumes x

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Animal Rights March 2018

THL McDonalds Campaign

The Humane League is a vegan animal rights charity that originated in the US in 2005 and expanded into the UK in 2016. Their aim is to reduce the most amount of suffering for the largest number of animals.

Their last campaign in the UK was to eliminate cages from the supply chains of companies using eggs. 80 companies committed to phasing out cages including Noble Foods who have 4.3 million chickens in the UK.

Their focus has now come to broiler chickens (those raised for meat). Along with a coalition of other animal groups The Humane League is asking companies using chickens in their supply chains to sign up to the Better Chicken Commitment. This outlines a number of requirements to improve chicken welfare.

The most important factor relates to the breed. The breeds permitted under the Better Chicken Commitment grow slower so the birds are able to support their own weight and are less likely to have physical issues that a lot of the chickens raised for meat suffer from today.

The following companies have signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment

Marks and Spencer

Unilever

Danone

Nestlé

Zizzi

Ask Italian

Coco Di Mama

Pret a Manger

Prezzo

There is a notable market leading company missing from this list… McDonalds.

McDonalds uses millions of chickens in their supply chains globally and if they agreed to the commitment it would improve the lives of so many chickens and also encourage other companies to follow suit.

McDonalds only use free-range eggs and organic milk so it is hypocritical that they are not committed to improving the welfare of the chickens in their supply chains.

The Humane League has carried out a week of action this week encouraging McDonalds to make the change and do the right thing.

You can find everything about the campaign at https://www.ImNotLovinIt.co.uk.

The events started off on Saturday where a group of protesters toured 14 McDonalds locations in London, educating the public and speaking to individual store managers.

On Tuesday we took our own Ronald to McDonalds HQ in East Finchley where we encouraged employees to throw wet sponges at him. Unfortunately none of them took us up on the offer!

The public were more than happy to have a go when we took the stocks to Kings Cross and which was reported on in The London Economic.

On Wednesday a flash mob danced their way from HQ to Leicester Square.

On Thursday we delivered our petition with over 236,000 signatures to HQ along with a large “unhappy” meal.

You can see the videos of the week’s events on The Humane League UK Facebook page.

We need to keep the pressure on McDonalds, you can help by contacting them on social media, emailing, phoning and speaking to your local store manager. Go to https://www.ImNotLovinIt.co.uk/ to add your voice to the cause.

Plumes x

THL McDonalds Campaign

Vegan Camp Out 2018

Last weekend saw 5,000 vegan and vegan curious people descend on the Newark Showground in Nottinghamshire. After a 4 hour drive from London (which should have been 2 and a half hours!) my Sister-in-law, Gemma and I queued for a little while to get in and then we set to work putting up the tent.

After we had successfully putting up the tent we headed over to the food area. Last year there were only four food stalls so I was glad to see the organisers had improved on this and there were 25 stalls serving food and drinks!

I chose a chickpea curry and rice and Gemma had a massive burger from Biff’s Jack Shack.

Taken from Biff’s Jack Shack Instagram

Gemma also picked up some churros which were a firm favourite with the crowd!

After having a little look around the stalls we headed to the main stage to hear a talk from Heather Mills. If you weren’t aware Heather is an activist and an entrepreneur owning the vegan food company VBites. Heather was really inspiring and it was great to hear about the work she was involved in.

We headed back to the tent after that for a cup of tea and an early night although it took quite a while to get to sleep.

On Saturday morning we headed over to the activism bootcamp building to watch a documentary called The Last Pig. I had heard the farmer who features in this film on The Main Street Vegan Podcast so I was excited to watch the documentary. I’d definitely recommend you check it out.

We headed back to the tent to have some breakfast on the camp stove. Although there is plenty of food available I would recommend you bring some of your own too.

We went to hear a talk from Zero Waste Club which again was really interesting. I’m already a customer of ZWC and have written about them on the blog before. Their insight into plastic free living was really interesting and everyday I’m trying to live a more sustainable life.

The next talk was from Kerry McCarthy MP for Bristol East. It was interesting to hear how animal rights issues were being pursued in parliament and how an incremental approach is required in order to develop laws that protect and help improve conditions for animals.

There were some great stalls present. I picked up some information from Viva! and Gemma had her perfume bottles refilled from Eden Perfumes and also bought a cutlery set from vegan queens Bright Zine.

For dinner I had a jackfruit wrap and fries from Herbivorous. Gemma enjoyed a Caribbean meal with jerk soya pieces, rice and peas and vegetables.

We settled down into the evening talks. First up we saw Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of Peta. I was a little disappointed with her talk which just seemed to be her journey to veganism and didn’t touch upon the work that Peta does. She also didn’t hang around to receive any questions which every other speaker had, I think her talk was more appropriate for a non-vegan audience.

Next we watched the new film Dominion. Dominion was filmed in Australia and is a comprehensive breakdown on what every animal that is exploited on that continent goes through, from animals bred for food to wild animals and those used for entertainment. This was the most hard hitting vegan film I have seen and if you don’t have an emotional response to this film there is definitely something wrong with you!

After Dominion we saw a talk from Dr Melanie Joy. Melanie is a psychologist and the author of the book “Why we love dogs, eat pigs and wear cows”. Her talk was about communication between vegans and non-vegans as well as within the vegan community. It was really interesting and is the basis of her new book.

Last up on the main stage was comedian Simon Amstell. Simon is a fave of mine and I saw him perform about 10 years ago so I was looking forward to seeing him again at Camp Out. For most of the talks people were sitting on the floor or on their own camp chairs however the organisers asked that everyone stand in order to fit everybody in that wanted to see Simon’s set. He was great and had the whole audience in stitches.

There was a music stage as well with grime artist JME headlining on the Saturday night. We however decided to head back to the tent as it wasn’t really our thing.

On Sunday we planned to get up for morning yoga but unfortunately we slept through that! We packed up the tent and had a last mooch around. I bought an onion bhaji from veggies catering for the journey home and headed back to Herbivorous for some loaded fries for lunch. They had barbeque jackfruit, homemade beans and chipotle mayo and it was the best thing I had eaten all weekend.

I bumped into quite a few friends and fellow activists around the camp and we also made friends with Henrietta the pig!

Overall we had a fabulous time. There were queues for the toilets but they went down quickly and they were all toilet blocks rather than portaloos. We tried to camp nearest the quiet camping area although you will always get a few loud obnoxious people. I’ve seen pictures of the camp afterwards and lots of people have commented how clear and tidy it was left compared to other festivals.

Tickets are already on sale for next year! So head over to https://www.vegancampout.co.uk to secure your place.

Did you make it to Camp Out this year? What were your favourite parts? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegan Camp Out 2018

One Green Bottle

I don’t usually carry water around with me but since the heatwave and a recent cold I knew I needed a reusable water bottle. My Husband always carries water on him so I knew it would benefit both of us as well as improve our footprint and help the planet.

I did a bit of research and wanted to buy direct from an ethical company rather than a website that sells everything and is named after a South American river (you know the one!)

I decided to go with One Green Bottle. On their website they explain with the following –

“Onegreenbottle was started by a parent looking for a drinks bottle for her son to take to school each day. With a background as a research chemist and knowledge of the chemical composition of plastics, she identified 304 grade stainless steel as the most inert, safe and toxin free material around.

Huge amounts of plastic single use bottles are thrown into landfill or our oceans each year. Plastic takes 500yrs to decompose but does break down into plastic ‘nurdles’ which get into our food chain. We can all make a big difference by not buying single use plastic bottles. Each plastic bottle of water takes around 2 cups of oil to manufacture, it can leach harmful, toxic chemicals into your drink, it could have been in that bottle for up to 5 years and it could have travelled thousands of miles to get to your supermarket. We only recycle a fraction of disposed plastics. Stainless steel bottles are proven to be the healthiest choice of beverage container.

GOOD FOR LIFE

Good for all life. Better for our planet, best for your life and if you look after your bottle it will have a long life”

I decided to go with a 750ml bottle so I would be refilling it less frequently in this gorgeous gold colour.

I bought this 500ml green apple one for my Husband. I also love the tubes they are sent in and I will definitely be finding another use for them!

Photo taken from website

I would also recommend downloading the Refill App which will show places that you can refill your water bottle. Since I downloaded the app about a year ago the number of places that have offered free refilling has gone up loads! Pret, Costa and Starbucks will all refill your bottle for free. You can also collect points every time you refill to earn rewards that help with your plastic free journey.

Do you have any plastic free tips? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

One Green Bottle

Tell Tesco To Dump Hogwood

Last year vegan charity and campaign group Viva! undertook an undercover investigation into Hogwood pig farm in Warwickshire who supply pork to Tesco.

What they found was truly horrific. When Viva! approached Tesco about their findings Viva! (which were featured in the Sunday Mirror), Tesco refused to drop it as a supplier – reassuring customers that it takes animal welfare ‘extremely seriously’ and that it expects producers to meet ‘stringent, industry-leading requirements’.

Viva! returned this year to find little had changed and in fact had become worse.

“Once again, heart-breaking footage unveils abhorrent conditions that cannot be ignored – overcrowding, pigs covered in excreta, barren, filthy conditions, animals abandoned to die, and cannibalism. In difficult-to-watch scenes, one piglet who had been dumped in a gangway with other sick pigs, was being eaten alive by others. The same callous abandoning of animals in need was filmed during Viva! Campaigns first investigation inside Hogwood.

You can watch the footage at viva.org.uk/hogwood

So Viva! is calling for people to take a stand against this Red Tractor approved farm and tell Tesco to drop Hogwood as a supplier.

You can do this by

1. Signing the petition

2. Writing to Tesco directly. You can use the following template from Viva!

Dear Dave Lewis, Tesco Plc Group Chief Executive

In view of Viva! Campaigns shocking new undercover investigation at Hogwood Farm in Warwickshire, I urge you to immediately drop the farm as a supplier. Last year Viva! Campaigns exposed abhorrent conditions on Hogwood. In response to this to this Tesco refused to drop the farm as a supplier assuring customers that it takes animal welfare ‘extremely seriously’ and that it expects producers to meet ‘stringent industry-leading requirements’.

It is a shock, therefore, that a second investigation inside Hogwood, carried out only weeks ago (July 2018), reveals overcrowding, pigs covered in excreta, barren and filthy conditions, animals abandoned to die, continued use of farrowing crates and… cannibalism. In difficult-to-watch scenes, a piglet who has been dumped in a gangway with other sick pigs, was literally being eaten alive by others. This is not the first time that the dumping of sick pigs has been filmed here. The same callous abandoning of animals in need was filmed during the first investigation inside Hogwood.

The problems at Hogwood have not gone. In fact in some cases they have got worse. It is clear that Tesco does NOT take animal welfare seriously nor the concerns of customers. Your company’s failure to keep pigs from pain and suffering at Hogwood shows that your assurances are meaningless.

Tesco must act now and hold Hogwood accountable. I urge you to immediately drop the farm as a supplier.

Yours Sincerely

Name and Address

Please send to –

Dave Lewis, Group Chief Executive, Tesco PLC Head Office, Tesco House, Shire Park, Kestrel Way, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 1GA

3. Contact Tesco on social media

Facebook:

Help Hogwood Pigs! One year on, what has changed? Viva!’s second investigation of Hogwood Horror Farm has exposed shocking abuse and undeniable welfare breaches. Help #HogwoodPigs. Sign the petition—every little helps. www.viva.org.uk/hogwood/

Twitter:

I’ve pledged to help #HogwoodPigs. Join me in urging @Tesco to dump Hogwood Horror Farm. Sign the petition now—every little helps www.viva.org.uk/hogwood/ @vivacampaigns

Instagram:

Help Hogwood Pigs! I’ve signed the petition urging @tescofood to dump Hogwood Farm! Will you help close Hogwood Farm once and for all? See the videos and follow the link on @vivacharity #HogwoodPigs

4. Take part in a demonstration at a Tesco store on Viva’s nationwide day of action, this Saturday 11th August. Find your local event here.

Customers can have an impact and enact change. Please don’t be a bystander.

Plumes x

Tell Tesco To Dump Hogwood

Cube and Squash

Yesterday was a very busy day for me. I took part in a Cube of Truth. This is a type of vegan outreach where volunteers stand in a cube formation, wearing masks and showing footage of common slaughterhouse and farming methods from the UK. There are also outreachers surrounding the cube who speak to the public who have been watching the footage about what they have seen and what they can do to stop it.

We had a really successful day with 46 people going away taking veganism seriously and likely to look into it further and make changes in their diets.

I spoke to 3 children and they were very receptive to what I was saying and seemed interested in the documentaries I had recommended for them.

Photo credit – John Kelly

We also had the most volunteers we had ever had at this event and hopefully the success of the event will encourage more local vegans to join us in the future.

Photo credit – Dave Murphy

If you are interested in taking part in an event look at the Anonymous for the Voiceless website to find your local chapter. AV operate on every continent so there should be a chapter in your country. If not you could look into setting up your own!

When I came home I had a rest and then made dinner. My Mum and her Husband have been growing spaghetti squash in their garden and gave me one from their first harvest. I’ve never had spaghetti squash so I looked online for recipes on how to cook it.

I decided to go with this lentil Bolognese from Yummy Mummy Kitchen. It was full of vegetables with carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes along with the lentils. I served the Bolognese in the roasted squash and topped with vegan cheese. These were quite large portions so I had plenty left over to have for lunch today.

So that was my Sunday! I hope you had fun whatever you got up to.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Plumes x

Cube and Squash

Zero Waste Club

Zero Waste Club is an online plastic free grocery shop. It started off as a university project between two friends. I originally met the founders at Hackney Downs Vegan Market last year and have been a customer ever since.

In every order I always buy organic oats. I eat overnight oats almost everyday so need a steady supply.

I had also run out of onion powder and as I’m making quite a bit of baked tofu recently so stocked up. The spices come in 100g bags so should last a while.

The last items I ordered and the ones I was most excited about were the bamboo toothbrushes. I have been using bamboo toothbrushes for a while but have had to tie a hairband around mine so I could tell it apart from my Husband’s. These toothbrushes are colour coded and also you only need to replace the heads rather than the whole toothbrush which is even less wasteful than a biodegradable toothbrush. Also for every toothbrush you buy and post on instagram, Zero Waste Club will plant a tree. What’s not to like?

I will be buying pulses and more spices as and when I need them.

How are you doing with you plastic free journeys? What are your top tips? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Zero Waste Club