All posts filed under: campaigns / activism

Let’s talk animal rights

I have seen a lot of discussions lately about the use of the labels vegan, veganish and the way they are used. And other terms like semi-vegan, or flexi-vegan or even flexanist. These discussions often focus on a certain person calling themself vegan, and whether this is rightfully so, or on vegan internet celebrities calling themselves veganish, because they mainly eat plantbased, but occasionally eat pancakes with dairy or egg, or ice-cream, or fishes, or because they wear leather jackets or fur coats or go to the zoo for an afternoon of entertainment. Stop spending so much energy on discussing whether some yuppie hipster internet celebrity is vegan or not. Let’s talk animal rights. To be clear: I do believe in safeguarding the meaning of the word vegan, and subscribe to the definition of veganism: Veganism is ‘A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose” That immediately makes clear that veganism is …

Can I look at you in peace now? Premiere of Dominion in Ghent

A couple of weeks ago, the documentary Dominion was shown for the first time to a public audience in Belgium. The premiere was in the Sphinx cinema, in the heart of the city of Ghent (next to the McDonalds, oh the irony). The screening was organised by the ‘Dominion Movement Belgium’. Dominion is an Australian documentary (2018) and is announced as following (website): Exposing the dark underbelly of modern animal agriculture through drones, hidden & handheld cameras, the feature-length film explores the morality and validity of our dominion over the animal kingdom.

Dare to think. Dare to speak

Dare to think. Dare to talk. Dare to act. when you see animal abuse when someone says one needs to eat animals to be healthy when someone invites you for a visit to a zoo when it is said that it all comes down to personal choice when someone says cow’s milk is necessary for strong bones when it is said that eating animals is ‘natural’ when someone says it has always been done this way when it is said that animals don’t have feelings when at a barcecue, someone shoves a ‘steak’ up your face when someone says ‘humane meat’ is better when someone replies but a cow ‘gives’ milk when the rights of animals are violated Speak up! #animalrights #vegan Inspired by a clip made by my Alma Mater, Ghent University:

Drop the ‘strict’

Words are not simply neutral  expressions of how we experience or want to describe reality. They shape and give meaning to our thoughts and ideas, and even though we think we are giving an objective account of reality, our choice of words often has a very subjective interpretation. Here are a few texts about veganism (or a vegan diet). Note the use of ‘strict’.   The repeated use of the word ‘strict’, portrays veganism (even more) as something extreme and hard. Don’t make it sound more difficult than it is, and drop the use of the word ‘strict’.

About ‘whole’ chickens and ‘humane’ milk

Two interesting stories about animals in advertising, but coming from a whole different background. First, the poster from, a British  vegan organisation. It states that humane milk is a myth, and asks you not to buy it.  It shows a cow behind barb wire. Underneath the eyecatching quotes, the text reads: I went vegan the day I visited a dairy. The mothers, still bloody from birth, searched and called frantically for their babies. Their daughters, fresh from their mothers’ wombs but separated from them, trembled and cried piteously, drinking milk from rubber teats on the wall instead of their mothers’ nurturing bodies. All because humans take their milk. Their sons are slaughtered for their flesh and they themselves are slaughtered at 6 years. their natural lifespan is 25 years. I could no longer particpate in that. can you? The dairy industry complained that this poster painted an inaccurate and misleading picture of dairy farming. However,  the Advertising Standards Authority has backed the accuracy of the vegan message, and finds that this ad – that lets …

Just say the word!

Although veganism is on the rise, and the numbers of vegans is steadily increasing, there are some within the vegan movement that shy away from using the word vegan in advocay and campaigning. Even some animal advocacy organisations use plantbased, or obscure acronyms like veg’n or even veggie instead of vegan.  This seems to be informed by the idea that the word vegan is a deterrent and scares people away, supposedly hindering them from making lifestyle changes that would benefit animals.  The main reason why the word vegan is seen as a deterrent is that it is perceived as something ‘extreme’, or on a personal level, associated with ‘extremists’ and ‘fanatics’. First, the alternatives mentioned above hardly carry the same meaning as the label vegan. Veggie can refer to vegetables, but is also used to refer to lacto-ovo-vegetarians (thus including the use of eggs and dairy). Plantbased refers to a diet that focuses on whole plant foods (and in short: no processed foods like sausages and burgers, even if they do not contain animal products). Both veggie and …

Tofu never screams! Handlettering for the animals

Nice handwritten posters or memes, with a great composition, witty slogans! One sees them everywhere, on a chalkboard outside a shop or restaurant, as online memes, on shopping bags or other merchanise. I saw a post on instagram from Silke who had received a handbook on handlettering as a present. I had no idea there are even books about it, and also facebookgroups, and then found loads of information online (well, in retrospect, of course there are books and Facebookgroups and workshops about it, like there are about just anything!). A couple of weeks ago, I ordered two books, some pens and paper, and tried some basics. I find it extremely relaxing and it clears my head. A great way to get rid of stress! So far I have made these, vegan inspired handlettered posters. I know there’s room for improvement (any constructive feedback appreciated 😉 , but I hope to be learning along the way 🙂

Why I don’t buy a goat for Africa

A couple of weeks ago I saw this message in my Facebook Feed. It is from the Belgian NGO Dierenartsen zonder Grenzen (DZG = Veterinarians without Borders). The post calls to buy a goat. At that point, the counter stood at 127 purchased goats (meanwhile more than 300). On the website (buy a goat) I find out that the collected funds are meant for the purchase of goats in Africa. “Buy a goat for 50 euro, a small herd for 200 euro or a larger herd for 500 euro and give African families a future.” On the FB page, I read that the organisation DZG “combats hunger and poverty in remote African areas, by improving husbandry“. The goats ‘give milk and manure‘ and are being eaten, because the population ‘eats a lot of goat meat’. The goats are ‘an asset that becomes profitable over time and are easily transferred into money‘ and ‘that can be a first step to cattle farming‘. For underpriviliged African families, they can be ‘a means to step out of poverty‘, it says on …

Sea Shepherd in Antwerp: a look on board the Sam Simon

One of Sea Shepherd’s ships docked in Antwerp a couple of weeks ago. The Sam Simon anchored near Antwerp’s city museum MAS and during that couple of days crew offered guided tours on the ship. Sea Shepherd is international marine wildlife conservation organization. They use direct action tactics to protect marine life, for example disturbing whale vessels and seizure and destruction of drift nets. I visited the ship with a Dutch friend. It was fascinating! Some information that was shared during the tour: there are a lot of signposts with Japanese language on board the ship, that’s because the ship was originally a Japanese vessel new volunteers start out as sailors, cleaning, doing the simple on board tasks and can later on take on more responsibilities life on board is taken very seriously, no fooling around, and no alcohol on board. If you fool around you leave at the next harbour! The Sam Simon has participated in several operations (see the stickers) The Sam Simon is named after American television producer and writer Sam Simon (co creator of the Simpsons), who donated the money …