Tag Archives: Why Veg?

Knit One, Purl One, Save One

2 Aug

Knitting is in, and I have well and truly caught the bug.  I am knit-one, purl-one-ing all over the place (actually, that’s not quite accurate, as I’ve just really started doing stocking stitch, which is one row of knit followed by one row of purl.)  I finally get all those lame knitting jokes about repeating instructions between the asterisks.

I have been intrigued by knitting for a while, but I have always been a bit reluctant to venture into the isles of wool because, well, it’s wool! But, I finally did and I found a wonderful plethora of beautiful cruelty-free yarns that look and feel beautiful and warm.  And, then, my wonderful Mother-in-Law gave me a few skeins of this beautiful cotton yarn that just pushed me over the edge.

So, what’s so wrong with wool anyway?

‘Sheep raised for their wool all over the world are castrated and have their tails cut off—all without any painkillers—when they are only a few weeks old. Shearers are paid by volume, not by the hour, which means that they work roughly and fast, leaving animals injured or with open gashes that can become infected. Terrified sheep who don’t cooperate with the shearers are often beaten and kicked into place.

In Australia—where more than a quarter of the world’s wool originates—farmers use tools similar to gardening shears to cut huge chunks of skin and flesh from lambs’ backsides, without giving them any painkillers, in a crude mutilation called mulesing. And each year, tens of thousands of Australian sheep who are no longer producing enough wool are crammed onto export ships to be sent to the Middle East, where they are cruelly slaughtered. Sheep who survive the terrifying voyage are dragged off trucks by their ears and legs, tied up, and beaten and have their throats slit while they are still conscious.’

From Save the Sheep, although you can imagine that life is not much better for goats or rabbits which are bred for their hair.

Of course, this is on top of my general belief that animals are not our slaves and, therefore, not here for us to (ab)use!

Switching from wool to acrylic yarn is an easy and simple way to help out the sheep, along with spreading the word about the wonderful cruelty-free alternatives to wool and other animal-based yarns.  Here is a great site, with simple instructional videos to get you started: Knitting Help.

So, go out there and get knitting – and let people know that your lovely knitting projects are made with wool-alternatives: further proof that vegans don’t miss out on anything!

Finally, here’s why I’m knitting:

  • it’s relaxing
  • it’s not my thesis

Environmental Veganism

10 Jun

Although I haven’t been doing much amazing cooking in the last few days, I have been doing a vast amount of thinking; prompted mainly by the recent proclamation of vegetarianism by a very good friend of mine.  A part of the reason that I think he had not adopted the term earlier (‘vegetarian’) is because of the stigma attached to the label.  It’s the ‘crazy animal activist’ that he wasn’t ready to lumped with as it just didn’t describe him and his reasons for adopting a meat-free diet.  He is a new(er) breed of vegetarian or vegan: the Environmental Veg*n.

Among other things: ‘The global livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined. Most of these emissions are in the form of methane from livestock—a gas that is 21 times more harmful than CO2. In fact, senior NASA Climate Change modellers now think that controlling methane could be a critical first step in attacking climate change.  According to experts, 1Kg of beef is the equivalent in green house gas emissions as driving roughly 170Km in a large family vehicle.’  You can find more over here at ‘Why Veg?‘.

I feel saddened that my friend felt alienated by the stigma of veg*nism, because as fellow vegans (or vegetarians working towards veganism) we should be supporting each other and we should want to save animals and the planet: the two are not at all mutually exclusive, and I care about both equally.  I think we should all care about the planet and want to do everything we can, and by alienating possible veg*ns, I don’t think we’re doing the planet or animals any favours.

The photo above was taken late last year in the Grampians in Victoria – S and I were preparing for our trek through the Nepalese Himalaya.  I chose this photo, rather than one of the amazing, beautiful, though-provoking shots of snow-capped mountains from Nepal because it is this type of environment that we possibly stand to loose – not just the amazing stuff.


3 Jun

I am vegan for one very simple reason:  I don’t believe that animals are here for humans to use.*

Underneath this comes the ‘regular’ concerns: animal cruelty and abuse, abuse and mistreatment of the environment, my own health.  But, if all these things came ‘right’ I wouldn’t consider consuming animal products again.  If animals were treated well, slaughtered painlessly, the environmental impacts of agribusiness were reversed and the health benefits from eating a plant-only diet were proved false, it still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t think that animals are here for my use.  In the same way that I don’t believe that any other human is here solely to serve me (oh, what a terrible dictator I would make!)

I don’t need to quote facts and figures to convince myself that veganism is right:  especially when there are many brilliant publications, like Vegan Outreach’s ‘Why Vegan?’ booklet, or Animals Australia’s ‘Why Veg?’ site.

Oh, and by the way: I love pigs!

*What I really mean to say is that I don’t believe that non-human sentient beings are here for humans to use.