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

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

Veganuary 2018 initial results

Some of you may know I’m an analyst at work and love a bit of number crunching so I always look forward to seeing the stats come out after Veganuary and this year is no different, so let’s take a look!

Its great to see the overall participation increase year on year and a massive 183% increase on 2017! This only accounts for the people who sign up on https://veganuary.com so I am sure there are many others who take part every year without signing up.

It’s also nice to see people’s motivation for trying Veganuary, but whatever the reason the animals and the planet benefit from it! 79,000 were omnivores so that’s a huge number going cold tofurkey for the month!

Younger people lead the way as expected, but my age range of 25 – 34 are slightly leading the pack ahead of the 18 – 24 whippersnappers and the 35 – 44 crew don’t seem far behind them.

Women seem to be leading the way again with 84% of participants but men have increased to 14% from 10% in 2017. I think this is in part due to women more likely to sign up to the website so there may be quite a few more men taking part, they just aren’t in the official figure.

The dairy industry tried to hit back with their #februdairy campaign but as these search stats (courtesy of @vegandon on Twitter) show it paled in comparison.

So there you have it. I’m looking forward to seeing the six month results and how many people decided to stick with it. With all the options now available it just gets easier and easier to transition to veganism.

Did you take part in Veganuary this year? How did it go? Or are you a veteran of Veganuary and still going strong? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Veganuary 2018 initial results

Vegan Activism January 2018

I’ve really kicked 2018 to a great start in January with attending some fantastic activism events.

I’ve taken part in two Earthlings Experiences with Havering Vegan Action. We take to the streets of Romford for two hours on Friday nights and plant lots of seeds by showing farm and slaughterhouse footage and talking to people about their food options.

I took part in my first Chelmsford Cube of Truth with their chapter of Anonymous for the Voiceless. We now have four chapters locally, Chelmsford, Southend, Basildon and Romford. Basildon’s first event is taking part on 4th February and Romford’s first event takes part on the 11th February. I like taking part in these events as you can swap from showing footage to doing outreach speaking to people. We usually speak to around 70 people when we do these events and it’s great to see more and more chapters popping up to spread the message.

I attended my first Essex Pig Save which I wrote about here.

And lastly tonight I attended the protest at the annual Great British Greyhound Board awards organised by CAGED, I wrote about last year’s event here. There was a great turnout and luckily it wasn’t raining this year. I hope to attend more events at my local greyhound track this year and see more stadiums across the country close down.

So let’s see how I get on in February.

If you are interested in taking part in activism events I would recommend you have a look at events in your area on Facebook. If you have any questions ask away in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegan Activism January 2018

Essex Pig Save

This week I took part in my first vigil outside a slaughterhouse with Essex Pig Save. The Save Movement started in Toronto and there was a famous case where an activist was arrested for giving one of the pigs some water. There are now chapters all over the world and many in the UK. Essex Pig Save hold vigils outside Cheale Meats in West Horden monthly. Obviously animals are sent to slaughterhouses every weekday but with most of the activists working or studying full time most have limited free time in the week to attend these vigils.

I attended with my friend Charlie who I met through activism and she gave me the low down on what happens. Lauren, one of the organisers gave us newbies an introductions to the proceedings.

The slaughterhouse is on a country road so there is no pavement and we have to be very careful regarding traffic. The police are present with a couple of officers and a police liaison officer. They are given a schedule of when the trucks carrying the pigs are expected to arrive and ask the trucks to stop for two minutes so the activists can bear witness to the animals and collect footage. After each truck enters the slaughterhouse a two minutes silence is held along the border of the property. We also hold up signs so passing cars can see why we are there.

We saw around 11 trucks go in on this particular morning. Some pigs were in better condition than others, the worse having terrible skin with lots of scratches over their bodies. Some were larger and older and some were smaller and younger. Some were ghostly quiet whilst others were inquisitive coming up to the bars to see us.

Some pigs had rings in their noses. The nose of a pig is very sensitive and they use it to explore their surroundings, by putting a ring in it, which is not only painful when it is done, it means the pig is prevented from displaying natural behaviours.

When I decided to attend this vigil I wasn’t sure how it was going to affect me. Understandably many activists get upset when they see the pigs in the trucks or from the noises we hear them make when they are entering the facility. I was glad I didn’t feel too overwhelmed and I know I will be back. I think it helped having other activists I already knew there. Everybody is very welcoming and supportive of eachother.

Photo credit – Charlie Gunner

If you are coming from the station you can message the Facebook event and someone will come and bring you back to the site.

I would encourage anybody to take part in a vigil if you are able to. It really strengthens your connection to the animals and your conviction in your activism. If you have any questions on the subject please ask in the comments below.

Plumes x

Essex Pig Save