Can you believe we’re already in September? There have been so many wins for the vegan movement, it’s hard to narrow them down to just a few for this newsletter! To catch up on anything you may have missed, be sure to follow us on our Vegan FTA Facebook page or our website. For now however, here are our picks.
France takes meat off the menu
Yes, you read right! The country that gave the world foie gras, coq au vin and frog’s legs is being asked by its leaders to ditch its meat-heavy diet. Meat will be off the menu at least one day a week in schools, while vegetarian options will be standard in public catering, and chefs will be trained in how to prepare healthy and delicious plant-based meals.
While the proposals have sparked uproar and outrage among the traditionalists of French cuisine, they have been welcomed by many young people, where the proportion of vegetarians is twice as high as the rest of the population.
The proposed climate and resilience bill includes one compulsory vegetarian menu a week in all schools, one daily vegetarian choice in all state-run canteens, including government establishments and universities, training for canteen staff to guarantee high-quality vegetarian menus, and the stipulation that from 2024, 60% of the meat served in mass catering must meet minimum quality requirements, which are likely to favour meat produced in France over imports, giving local food and farming a boost while reducing carbon.
‘Approximately 15% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and 91% of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest are linked to livestock farming’, explained minister for ecological transition, Barbara Pompili. ‘So developing a vegetarian offer means acting for the climate, against deforestation, while giving canteens more room to purchase high-quality, locally produced meat that is better for the environment. Everyone wins’. While the focus is currently on vegetarianism, rather than veganism, it’s still a great step in the right direction. Here’s hoping more countries are inspired by France’s example and follow suit!
Amendment 171 gets rejected
Common sense prevailed and plant based manufacturers and consumers breathed a sigh of relief when the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission rejected Amendment 171, which threatened severe restrictions for plant-based dairy products. European MEPs first voted in favour of the amendment last year, claiming that plant-based products with descriptions such as ‘creamy’ and ‘alternative to dairy yoghurt’ could cause confusion for consumers. Almost half a million people signed the petition in response of the proposed amendment, including vegan activist Greta Thunberg and organisations such as Greenpeace, WWF and WHO, as well as companies including Oatly, Nestle and Alpro.
Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg, who initiated the campaign to fight Amendment 171 described the rejection as a victory for common sense. ‘It was a long and hard-fought battle. The EU’s decision-making bodies kept postponing the vote on the Amendment. We followed all the twists and turns, were kept in the dark about meeting agendas, and tirelessly kept on working to convince the EU to reject plant-based dairy censorship.
Let’s celebrate the fact that we avoided having to rename all plant-based dairy products! We’ve won the battle – but the playing field for plant-based foods is still not level. Which means that we’ll carry on campaigning for healthier and more sustainable food policies in Europe and around the world’.
Animals Asia brings 101 bile bears to safety
In the largest operation of its kind, Animals Asia recently moved 101 moon bears 750 miles from an ex-bear bile extraction and breeding facility in Nanning, China, to their bear rescue centre in Chengdu. The historic and momentous rescue had been eight years in the making and was described by Animals Asia as ‘the most challenging, unpredictable and emotional journey we have been on as an organisation’. But the bears are finally home and settling in well.
The entire mission took place over three phases between 19 April and 27 May, with the bears being transferred in three convoys of nine trucks, each carrying up to four transport cages. Each leg of the operation took over 55 hours and was accompanied by Animals Asia’s specialist team of vets and bear carers to ensure the bears were kept safe and healthy along the way. ‘Most of these bears have spent their entire lives in confinement’, said Animals Asia’s China Bear & Vet Team Director, Ryan Marcel Sucaet. ‘To be suddenly transported halfway across China could have been very distressing for them, but our team did an incredible job of keeping them calm, well fed, stimulated and comfortable along the way, as well as attending to their ongoing medical needs’.
Now safely at the sanctuary, they will live with several other bears, some from Nanning and some established residents, based on their personality, age, body weight, health condition and gender. While it sounds easy, it will take these beautiful bears time to build trust and settle into their new environment and become fully integrated into sanctuary life.
Animals Asia’s Founder and CEO Jill Robinson said, ‘We’ve rescued hundreds of bears over the years, but no one has ever attempted anything on this scale before, bringing so many bears home to sanctuary in a single operation. We couldn’t have done it without our amazing Bear and Vet team in China, without the help of the local authorities and without the help of the local community too. But most importantly we could never have done this without our supporters, our donors, our family’.
Celebrity chef reveals horrors of animal agriculture to her fans
New Zealand Masterchef winner and cookbook author Chelsea Winter is loved by home cooks around the world. However many of them were stunned when she took to her social media platforms recently to educate her hundreds of thousands of followers on the realities of the dairy and egg industries.
‘I’ve only recently come to learn that each year around 4 million newly hatched day old baby chicks as well as 2 million tiny baby calves (bobby calves) are killed as waste products of the poultry and dairy industries respectively in NZ’, she wrote in her Instagram post. ‘I’ve spent many nights unable to sleep thinking about this – it has affected me on a very deep level and I’ve had to proces a whole heap of emotions around it. I’ve got through a lot of anger and grief to arrive at the reasonable conclusion that killing over 6 million baby animals every year simply because they were born male is surely an indication that something has gone inherently wrong with the way we consume as a society. If we really listen to our hearts, do we consider this ethical? Moral? Surely all babies deserve to be nurtured and raised by their mothers, as do all living beings born on to our planet?’
In an nation widely recognised as ‘the world capital of animal agriculture’ this was a brave move and as predicted, resulted in backlash from the farming communities. However there was much celebrating and gratitude from Kiwi vegans across the country who were quick to show their support and the proudly plant-powered Chelsea says she has no regrets. ‘Research consistently proves that the massive amount of animal products we are now consuming is having a negative impact on our health, is no longer sustainable, and is for the most part staggeringly unethical’ she wrote in a follow-up post. I arrived at a place where I could no longer ignore the fact I was honouring some animals and willfully ignoring/inadvertently helping to cause suffering and oppression of millions of others (animals whose lives are carefully kept out of sight and mind to strengthen the disconnect between what’s on the shelf and how it got there). It’s much worse than I thought and I believe that one day, humanity will look back on these times and weep. I know I’ll lose some of my dear fans and there will be some backlash – a few years ago that would have scared the living sh*t out of me. (But) the animals and the planet need our urgent attention, it’s incredible the conditioning we have which makes us so blind to it. I just can’t live how I used to’.
Thank you for being a loud and proud voice for the animals Chelsea! If you have yet to discover Chelsea Winter’s incredible recipes, make sure you follow her Facebook page and keep an eye on our Vegan FTA platforms to learn how you can win a copy of her bestselling cookbook, ‘Supergood’, coming up soon!
Israel becomes first country in the world to ban fur sales
Israel has become the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur for frivolous fashion. The ban however does allow exemptions for the use of fur in ‘scientific research, education or instruction, and for religious purposes or tradition.’ This would, for example, permit the sale of shtreimels—fur hats traditionally worn on Shabbat and holidays by Orthodox men. A similar exemption currently exists in the US state of California where fur sales were banned in 2019, however this is the first ban of its kind on a national level anywhere in the world.
The ban becomes effective from the end of this year and the Humane Society International/UK hopes Israel’s ban will also inspire the British government to follow its lead and also ban fur sales. The UK was the first country in the world to ban fur farming in 2003, but the import and sale of fur is still allowed. The UK government has since launched a Call for Evidence to consider the case for a ban and while the Humane Societybelieves a UK fur sales ban would mirror the exemptions in Israel and California, such a ban would still end the suffering of millions of animals whose fur is imported to the UK from fur farms overseas.
Israel’s environmental protection minister, Gila Gamliel, passed the ban into law, and issued a statement after signing the regulations: ‘The fur industry causes the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and inflicts indescribable cruelty and suffering. Using the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral and is certainly unnecessary. Animal fur coats cannot cover the brutal murder industry that makes them. Signing these regulations will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animals’.
Jane Halevy, founder of the International Anti-Fur Coalition, which has been working towards the ban for over a decade, said ‘We applaud the Israeli government for finally taking the historic leap towards making fur for fashion history. All animals suffer horrifically at the hands of this cruel and backwards industry. Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come. Killing animals for fur should become illegal everywhere – it is high time that governments worldwide ban the sale of fur’.
Regan Russell, one year on – gone but not forgotten
June 19th marked one year since Regan was brutally murdered while bearing witness outside Fearmans Pig Slaughterhouse. Activists and branches of Animal Save Movement held vigils around the world in remembrance of the brave and inspiring longtime activist. A touching commemorative video has been released and watched around the world, with music from songwriter and activist, Barbara Helen. Toronto Pig Save, which Regan was a treasured member of said, ‘Regan Russell fought injustice all her life, she was always a voice for the voiceless. She was killed on June 19th 2020 by transport truck carrying pigs to their slaughter, while protesting bill 156, at Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. Rest in power Regan Russell, you will never be forgotten’.
Sanctuary of the Month – Broome Animal Sanctuary
In an exquisite patch of paradise, deep in the mountains, nestles Broome Animal Sanctuary. Founded by Greg Gude and Tony Frier, the sanctuary is home to over 100 fortunate and much-loved residents of all shapes, sizes and species. Hummingbirds love to visit and even the local bears can’t resist ambling out of the neighbouring forest to say hi! You only have to see their daily social media updates to see what a happy and peaceful place Broome Animal Sanctuary here. There’s Joseph, who came to the sanctuary as a piglet after being left under a park bench. Peaches, who was rescued by a caring young boy after he won her at a fair and had been marked for slaughter. Majestic Chance, who was rescued as a miracle calf after being accidentally left alone in a field for a week after being born and is the best friend of gentle grass puppy, Bubba. Jones was a truck-jumper, who took a leap of faith as a piglet on his way to the slaughterhouse and let’s not forget Wattles, the birthday pig who started it all. All these and many, many more are safe and loved in their forever home.
Greg and Tony say, ‘We are devoting our lives to improving the lives of all animals. They are no longer in danger of ending up in a slaughter house. We are committed to raising awareness of factory farm atrocities while promoting a happier, healthier and more humane way of life between humans, animals and the environment’. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Greg and Tony for our ‘Activist’ series and learned all about the realities of running a sanctuary, as well as the many novel and creative ways the pair have come up with over the years to keep the sanctuary running and the animals fed and cared for all year round. As idyllic as it looks and sounds, things are definitely not always plain sailing! Heartbreak and frustration often goes with the territory and like many sanctuaries, Broome Animal Sanctuary needs all the support it can get from caring members of the public. If you’re not already following them on Facebook, be sure to do so here. Greg’s weekly photo shoots with Otis the pig alone will make your day!
Check out the Broome Animal Sanctuary website.
Watch our interview with Greg and Tony, with a guest appearance from Joseph the pig!
Activist of the Month – Chris Peed aka The Vegan Sheepdog
As any of us who weren’t born vegan know, all it takes to make the switch can be the right message, a few choice words which suddenly make the penny drop and lead to that ‘Aha!’ or ‘OMG!’ moment, which causes us to make the change and never look back. The hard part when trying to get our point across to others of course is never having the right words or the right message when we want it. This is where Chris Peed, aka The Vegan Sheepdog comes in. This self-described husband, father, vegan and voice for the voiceless from Ohio has ALL the answers. However, it wasn’t always that way. Once upon a time, Chris was an enthusiastic hunter and fisherman, who often fought with his wife over her reluctance to eat meet! One day however, he made a connection which was to change his life. Check out his story, courtesy of our friends at Million Dollar Vegan.
Even if you think you haven’t heard of The Vegan Sheepdog before, you have probably seen his work on somebody’s social media and loved it. His words are eloquent, charismatic, humorous, ironic, truthful, heartbreaking – all the things you want them to be, right when you need them. You can find him across the board on social media, so give him a follow and get sharing!
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thevegansheepdog/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thevegansheepdog/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/vegansheepdog
Thank you Chris, for all you do for the animals. We love your work!
Meet Chef Lauren!
Vegan FTA is delighted to introduce you to our brand new resident vegan chef, Lauren D’Agostino! Lauren helps plant-passionate and veg-curious people fall in love with FLAVOUR by making plant-based cooking in the day-to-day both accessible, practical, intuitive, and fun. She loves to bring eaters of all types to the table to share and celebrate a high-vibe life – real food, clean wine, and energizing conversations. Her cookbook, ‘Plant-Based, Vegan, and Gluten-Free Cooking with Essential Oils’ showcases the pure and potent flavor of culinary grade essential oils, by providing both information and inspiration to brand new and seasoned oil users alike.
We look forward to sharing some of her delicious, healthy vegan recipes and tips with our followers at Vegan FTA! Join Lauren online and experience the flavour of plant-based cooking by sampling her FREE course Build a Better Salad, or follow along on Instagram @cheflaurendagostino.
Exciting new Vegan FTA partners to announce!
Vegan FTA is excited to announce two new partners, whose work we love and admire and are proud to stand behind. As an organisation, we firmly believe collaboration is key to our success as a movement. Here at Vegan FTA, we have been fortunate enough to work with other organisations that share our beliefs and drive to see a vegan world for the animals. By creating partnerships, this has allowed us to work with specialists in different fields that further our joint goals and message as a movement by sharing our combined expertise.
NZAVS – New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society
The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) is New Zealand’s primary charity defending animals used in science. Their mission is to end animal experimentation and the harmful use of animals for research, testing and teaching and work tirelessly and effectively to create change in the current system and put an end to barbaric practices.
Thousands of animals including mice, rabbits, dogs, cows and many other species are used across the country in cruel and unnecessary tests. The NZAVS works hard to change this, and together with our many fierce supporters, they are creating a future where animals are seen as individual beings with their own right to life at the same time as human health and medical research thrives! To learn more about their work and keep up with their latest news and campaigns, visit www.endanimaltesting.co.nz
Viva! is the UK’s leading vegan campaigning charity, specialising in undercover investigations and high-profile animal campaigns. Founded in 1994 by Juliet Gellatley, they have spent almost three decades creating a kinder, more sustainable world for humans and animals alike. Their work is split into four sections, Viva! Animals, Viva! Planet, Viva! Health and Viva! Lifestyle. Between them all, they cover all aspects of veganism, from exposing factory farming and highlighting how livestock farming is destroying the planet, to offering invaluable support and resources in helping people to go vegan. Their campaigns and undercover investigations have been instrumental in highlighting the plight of innocent sentient beings on numerous occasions, one of the most notable being the exposure of indescribable cruelty at Hogwood Farm in the UK, which led to its closure. To learn more about their work and keep up with the latest, visit their website https://viva.org.uk/ and follow them on all the usual social media platforms.
Meet Oracle, an algorithm embedded in the planet’s source code that initiates when humanity is on the verge of extinction. This exciting short film just released from Viva! demonstrates the urgent need to go vegan now, to save the planet and ourselves. Oracle highlights the three ways in which animal agriculture is so damaging; as a major cause of the climate crisis, as a primary driver of wildlife loss and how farming animals emits more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation combined.
The team at Viva! have been out on the streets sharing Oracle with the public. However you can watch and share this two-minute film from the comfort of your own home. Check it out here:
LISTEN: Vegan FTA on the Healthification Podcast
Recently Vegan FTA’s Gareth and Jackie had the pleasure of chatting with Kate Galli, for her plant-powered Healthification podcast. In this in-depth interview, they talk about so many things, including:
- Their personal journey/s to veganism
- Their health journeys and WFPBNO diet
- Effectively bringing animal rights issues into the mainstream to achieve social change
- Utilising your experiences to be the most effective advocate and specifically, Jackie’s dairy background
- True health being a matter of not just personal health but also the health of your family, your community and the planet
- The importance of compassion for animals, for fellow humans and especially self-compassion
- How to deal with living in a non-vegan world
- What do Jackie and Gareth feel is the biggest threat to veganism globally
- How and why Vegan FTA got started
And so much more! Listen to the interview here.
ACTIVIST Season 2 Finale
If you haven’t caught up on the rest of the ‘Activist’ episodes in Season 2, we have a treat in store for you! As well as our exclusive interview with Broome Animal Sanctuary, we also had the pleasure of speaking with:
We highly recommend tuning in to all these terrific interviews! Sometimes it can be tough being vegan in a non-vegan world, but every time we record another interview, it gives us hope that there are many people working tirelessly to create change and it is WORKING. Don’t forget you can also check out our YouTube channel to catch up on any of our previous episodes too!
Grab a Vegan FTA t-shirt!
Vegan FTA has teamed up with our friends at Defender of Animals Clothing to bring you an exclusive range of t-shirts designed by us, as well as an awesome tote bag so you can carry us wherever you go! They are fantastic and better yet, Defender of Animals is very kindly donating all profits from the sale of these unique products to Vegan FTA, to help us in the work we do. All products are made from organic cotton and printed in the UK in a renewable energy powered factory. Top quality apparel made by activists, for activists. Getting your hands on one (or more!) is only a click away! Check out the order page here – and while you’re at it, be sure to check out the rest of their awesome designs too!
Become a Vegan FTA supporter!
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- Share this newsletter with your friends and encourage them to follow us
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However small your donation may be, any help you are able to offer Vegan FTA is hugely appreciated and keeps us going! Thank you!