Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vegan Activism

I have only been vegan since early this year, for me what seems an inevitable transition from becoming vegetarian about 2.5yrs ago.

And since becoming vegan I have become unbelievably wrapped up in it - which I never expected at all.

I have gone from eating everything (mostly unhealthy stuff), to lacto-ovo pescetarian, to vegan in 2.5 yrs and now it still doesn't feel enough.

Ashamedly I have only just stopped buying leather, and am still slowly converting my cosmetics, household cleaners, etc, to vegan options.

And the next step now is for me to actually do something, as opposed to stop doing something.

I already donate to a few organisations and sign petitions, but now I am volunteering to help Animal Liberation Victoria and it just turns out the first thing I can help on is the 30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge campaign. Brilliant! I have been a bit scared of volunteering at animal shelters and the like, I can't watch Meet Your Meat or Earthlings and wouldn't be able to cope with seeing the cruelty we inflict every day. But doing something positive like this is definitely a good feeling.

I have my first meeting on Saturday to see just what I'm in for!

I'm curious to hear what other vegans do, if anything, in addition to their vegan lifestyle?

Monday, August 17, 2009

RSPCA Cupcake Day - exploiting one animal to benefit another?

Ordinarily I would welcome a fundraising day for an animal welfare charity. However, the RSPCA Cupcake Day reeks of hypocrisy.

Basically you make cupcakes and people give you money to eat them which you donate to RSPCA. And then the RSPCA use this money to help the cuter, fluffier animals we love, at a cost to the cruelly treated cows and chickens who have suffered to make the cupcakes.

Just in case there was a loophole in the RSPCA's policy for which animals they protect, I checked:

'No animal should be used for the production of food or fibre, either by farming practice, transportation, or method of slaughter which in any way may cause suffering, injury or distress.'

And as any well-informed and well- researched vegan knows, there is no egg or dairy production without suffering, injury or distress.

So, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I checked out their website to see if they offer animal-friendly recipes for these cupcakes seeing as the RSPCA aren't making them themselves. I couldn't find a recipe at all, but I did find a whole list of great ideas on decorating your cupcakes with jelly lollies, marshmallows, chocolate chips and so on. All animal based products.

RSPCA, how disappointing.

Needless to say, I won't be purchasing a cupcake, or even donating to them for that matter.

PS. I did write to them about this. And got no reply.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vegan Spinach and 'Ricotta' Cannelloni

I have been a fan of cannelloni for years, and it was still my fave once I went vegetarian. However, now that I'm vegan I have had to adapt this recipe. Turns out it was easier than expected and my first go at it was a complete success! I could barely tell the difference between this and my original dairy and eggs laden version, and even my anti-vegan-food flatmate liked it, a lot!

(serves 4)

1 200g pack cannelloni tubes
3 tbsp Tofutti cream cheese (optional)

1 400g can tomato puree
1 small onion
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tomato chopped

1/2 vegan cheese sauce from Vegan Dad's Mac n Cheese Recipe
100g tofu, finely chopped or mushed with fork.
250g frozen spinach
1 - 2 garlic cloves finely chopped

1. Boil the frozen spinach as per packet instructions. Squeeze out excess water and stir in the rest of the filling ingredients.

2. Heat oil in a pan and add onions, cooking until translucent. Add remainder of sauce ingredients and simmer for a few minutes.

3. Pour a thin layer of sauce into a baking dish then fill each tube with filling and line them up in the dish. Cover with remainder of sauce.

4. Melt 3 tbsp tofutti and pour over the top (optional). Top with more cheese sauce and melting soy cheese such as Cheezly if you like.

5. Bake for 35mins at 180 C. I found that without the soy cheese on top it got a little dark so could do with a little oil on top and being covered for half the cooking time.

6. Pig out.

I'm making this tonight for 8 people, most of which are omnivores. Fingers crossed.

PS. Sorry no pics, maybe I will update this post with pics next time I make it!

Woolworths goes free-range. Stepping stone to Veganism?

In what appears to be a compassionate move from Woolworths, the giant retailer has made more room for free-range and barn eggs in its stores and is reducing the number of cage eggs it supplies. You can read more on this here.

Whilst Woolworths no doubt did this for profits, not animal welfare, I wonder what affect this has on the larger society.

I don't know, is this a move towards a more compassionate society? A stepping stone to veganism?

Or is it just reinforcing the humane myth that free-range and barn eggs come from happy, healthy chickens? That we aren't really exploiting them or controlling their lives? That we don't mutilate their beaks? That they have plenty of room to run around? That the male chickens born aren't ground up alive or suffocated? That its all ok if their miserable short lives are in a cramped barn as opposed to a cramped cage?