Saturday, 23 July 2011

A vegetarian’s coming to dinner

If all else fails you can always rustle up a salad
For some people hearing that a dinner/house guest is a vegetarian can be a worry. What can you give them to eat that will be quick and easy to make? And, just as important, what shouldn’t you give them to eat?

Bears eat fish, vegetarians don't
Here are some pointers:

What NOT to make –
·         Fish. Vegetarians do NOT eat animal flesh.
·         Poultry like chicken or turkey for the same reason as the one given above.
·         Anything containing meat, fish or poultry products. Vegetarians don’t eat any meat or anything derived from meat such as stew made with meat stock or soup made using a bone.
·         If you’re making dessert, strictly nothing containing jelly. Jelly contains gelatine (also spelt gelatine),which is basically grund down animal bones and muscle. You can get a gelatine-free version of jelly.

What TO make -
·         Omelettes are nice and easy, but if you’re making them an omelette, do it with free-range eggs. Many vegetarians will only eat free-range eggs. You can add things like mushrooms and tomatoes. Ask your visitor what they prefer.
·         Vegetarian sausages and mashed potato (called sausages and mash in the UK). Delicious and easy. Tastes amazing with a thick onion gravy and swede (turnip) and sweet potato mash.

·         Pasta is one of those dishes that most people like. If you can pop some garlic bread in the oven to have with it all the better.
·     Vegetarian  pizza. Easy to make and quick. Cheese and tomato is simple and tasty, but do make sure your guest isn't vegan as cheese isn't suitable for vegans unless it's specifically vegan cheese (available from health food stores).

·         Vegetarian hot dogs. There are so many different brands available and many of my non-vegetarian friends have said that they prefer the veggie versions to the meat ones they usually have.

·         Shepherd’s pie with either Soya, TVP textured vegetable protein or Quorn mince.
·         Noodles. Just a plain plate of noodles with Soya sauce can be tasty.
·         A stir fry. This is ideal because you can make it out of whatever vegetables you have in the fridge and any noodles you have.

Note - all pictures are free images from Why not give them a go?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

How to find charities that don’t use animal experiments

It can be hard to say ‘no’ to someone who asks you to donate money to charity. But the truth of that matter is that many charities commission animal experiments that DON’T further medical science. If they did a number of illnesses would have been cured by now like cancer and AIDS.

All the experiments do, is harm animals. Animals like rats, mice, cats, dogs and monkeys.

Is this justified? Maybe people would say it was if the animal experiments actually yielded results that saved the lives of human beings, but the sad fact is that these animals are dying needlessly.

To find out who the charities are that don’t fund animal experiments, go to –

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) website. They have a searchable database of charities that don’t fund animal research.

On their site, you can search for charities in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia. Charities awarded their ‘Humane Charity Seal of Approval’ are those that are committed to advancing medical research without using animals. 

In the UK, Animal Aid has a list of charities that only commission non-animal medical research and those that do. 

Note – the list is constantly updated and the policies of some charities may change.  

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Say no to sweatshops, go Fairtrade

Living cruelty free isn't just about showing compassion towards animals: it's about caring about human beings too. That means trying to buy Fairtrade (called Fair Trade certfied in the USA and Canada) wherever possible.

Fairtrade in the UK
Fair Trade n the USA & Canada

With Fairtrade you have some kind of guarantee that the workers who produced whatever you are buying were paid fairly for their work and had decent working conditions.

When you buy Fairtrade you know -
NO sweatshops have been used
NO slave labor has been used
Workers and farmers are paid a fair price
You are helping to lift poor workers out of poverty
You are helping to benefit communities and not just the workers

There are certain things you can buy that it is easy to find Fairtrade alternatives for -

1. Coffee - Starbucks
2. Bananas - available in most major stores
3. Cotton garments
4. Tea
5. Chocolate - in the UK, Cadbury's is Fairtrade
6. Biscuits
7. Sweets
8. Wine
9. Flowers
10. Cereal bars

To learn more about Fair Trade certified products in the USA, visit
To learn more Fair Trade in Canada, go to
For the UK, go to
For South Africa, visit
For Australia and New Zealand, visit

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

How to tell people you don't donate money for animal experiments

Give money to cancer research.’
‘Donate to cystic fibrosis research’

It can be difficult can’t it, when you object to animal experiments on ethical grounds and are continually being asked to donate to charities that you know fund animal experiments.

You don’t want to come across as someone who doesn’t care about human beings, because that’s not true. You can care about both humans and animals. They are not mutually exclusive. Compassion is limitless like the ocean.

So, what do you say?

I don't give money to charities that do experiments on animals, and I tell people it’s because they experiment on animals. But, I don’t leave it at that because then I’d get the old ‘you care more about animals than you do about humans’ nonsense.

I also point out -

  • That any money you give to charities which commission animal testing is wasted, because just because something works on rats, cats or monkeys, does not mean it will work on humans. We are biologically too different.
  • I usually mention thalidomide and the various medical trials that left some of the participants fighting for their lives. Click here to read more about human tests that went disastrously wrong despite the fact the medication worked on animals.
  • Giving animals diseases is not the same as humans getting diseases that may develop over time because of things like pollution and lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking and over-eating.
  • Many of the experiments carried out on animals have been done time and time again and always with the same results, so it’s a waste of time and resources not to mention illogical to fund more of the same.
Click here to read opposing views on whether the use of animals in medical research ever be justified.

Note in the case of David Price who backs animal experiments, he uses phrases like ‘Research using rats suggested that a "memory switch" could help Alzheimer's patients’ and ‘A new approach to cancer vaccines has successfully treated prostate tumors in mice.’

If the memory switch was done in humans there would be no need for ‘suggested.’ If the cancer vaccines were tested on humans and they worked that would mean they worked on humans and not just in rats.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Things I've learned whilst writing Living Cruelty Free

Writing Living Cruelty Free has been at times a distressing experience. I've had to research some things that were so upsetting I've had nightmares and wished that I could unlearn these things.

Things like what goes on in puppy farms, the shocking way that children are treated in Third World countries where they are taken advantage of by the suppliers to the big store chains to make things like clothes and toys, the appalling ways that animals are treated to make so called delicacies like veal and Foie gras.

There is one thing that I have come to realize whilst writing the book -
The countries with the shocking human rights records like China, are the ones with the worst animal abuses.

Could there be a link between human cruelty and animal cruelty? There definitely is. That's why in order to create a kinder, more compassionate world, we need to look out for each other and animals.

The other thing I have learnt is that we can never stop fighting for both human and animal rights, because there are so man people and animals who need our help.

How you can change the world

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Anne Frank

Anne Frank wasn't just one of the bravest people to ever live, she was also one of the smartest because she was right when she wrote the above.

We can change the world and we can do it one small step at a time.

You don't believe me?

Here's an example - ducks and geese are being forced fed by having a metal tube shoved down their throats to make Foie gras until their livers expand several times their normal size.

What can you do about it?

Maybe you are a vegetarian or vegan who wouldn't eat dead animals anyway. So, what can you do to change things?

Make sure anyone you know is made aware of what Foie gras is so they will never eat it. What happens then is that if even just one person listens that will be one less person eating this cruel food.

If you are a meat eater, you can say that you will never eat this so-called French delicacy and tell others what it is so they won't either.

Education is the key, because how many people who eat these things know about the cruelty involved? Some people may know, but them all? No way. It's not like theforce feeding of animals is done out in the open because it's nothing to be ashamed of. No, it's done in secret well away from people's eyes.

Less people eating Foie gras means less animals suffering.

How to change the world...
The key to changing the world is to start small. This won't leave you frustrated and angry that you can't stop all cruelty, because no one can.

Why not try it today.

Think...what do I want to change?
Ask do I do that?
Remember...a world free of cruelty begins with you by you now knowingly participating in it by buying products where animal abuse is involved and where people are not paid fairly for the goods they produce.

In my books, The Greatest Guide to Living Cruelty Free, there will be loads more ways that you can change the world and make it the more compassionate place we all want it to be.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Shark Cage Diving - animal cruelty, human stupidity

Of all the things I have researched and written about for my forthcoming book Living Cruelty Free, shark cage diving or shark baiting has got to be the dumbest.

Yes, it's cruel because if sharks attack anyone they are usually hunted down and killed - just for exhibiting their normal behavior of eating flesh.

But it has also got to be the dumbest activity that any human being could engage in.

Shark cage diving is where people go inside a shark proof cage and are lowered into the water. They may throw in food to get the sharks to come to you. 

Sharks may also be lured by blod, meat and fish that's thrown into the sea so they will follow the boats. This is called chumming. Or, brainless stupidity.

The increase in shark baiting (well, that's what it is) has led to an increase in the number of shark attacks on humans, especially in South Africa where shark cage diving is considered a tourist attraction. Would you go and taunt a lion at the zoo? Nope.

So, why taunt sharks? Especially when it may result in the shark's death, and for what - eating what it considers to be a giant fish?

Shark cage diving is a tourist attraction in countries like South Africa and Asustralia.

To learn more, click here

Save monkeys from research labs

Every year, tens of thousands of monkeys are flown to research labs around the world. Many of these monkeys are babies snatched from their mother's in the wild.

This wouldn't be possible without the airlines who fly these intelligent, socialable animals to labs where they will experience nothing but pain. Stuck in cages, they will never swing from trees or indulge in any other monkey behavior.

Office co-creator Ricky Gervais has put his weight behind the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection's (BUAV) campaign to end what they call 'cargo cruelty' because these amazing animals are treated like cargo by the airlines.

Read more about the BUAV's campaign here

If you knew that the airline you use flew monkeys to research labs, would you still want to fly with them?

Here's a list of airlines that do and don't flt animals to research labs.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The truth about Foston pig farm - prison for pigs

Pigs are intelligent animals like dogs

Pigs are intelligent, sociable animals. In fact, they are said to be as intelligent as dogs.

If the application for Foston pig farm in the UK goes ahead it will be yet another step towards US-style factory farming in the UK.

Here are some facts about the farm -
1. There will be 1000 pigs 'prodcuced' each week in this 'farm.' They will all be slaughtered.
2. The pig farm poses a risk to humans and local residents are opposing it.
3. There will be a estimated 25,000 pigs in this farm at any time.
4. The pigs will stay in cramped conditions indoors and be unable to engage in normal social behaviour and to go outside.
5. The man behind the plans believes that one day there will be no animals being farmed outside. Instead it will take place in factories.
6. There's a picnic site overlooking where they want to build the factory.
7. One of the few concessions they've made to animal welfare is that sows will be in crates they can actually turn around in.

To read more details and oppose the application, go here

Note - there are some upsetting images on this page, so it's not suitable for children.