Patrik and I always believed – and still do – that vegetarianism is a good thing.
It is important to us, not to be complicit in animal misery, by breeding them in factory-like environment, too often not being able to live a species-appropriate life, being transported under horrific circumstances and finally being killed in a slaughterhouse, as an anonymous creature. An animal that never experienced love, being petted or consoled by someone, and instead of having a name, died as a number in order to meet our demands.
When I stopped eating meat thirty+ years ago, it was clear to me that I also had to stop eating fish and poultry, since they also belong to the animal kingdom. To pass on fish was a bit harder I have to admit, I really liked it a lot….well, seafood in general.
Meanwhile I’m more than glad that I quit that kind of food too. It makes me sad and often gives me impotent anger, seeing how the oceans are being emptied and abused ! Why do some countries believe they have the right to kill whales and sharks, wipe out whole species – known or still unknown ones? Why is it still allowed drilling for oil and gas and pollute the oceans – also with fatal noise? Who “owns” the world and decides what’s worth to protect and what’s not? Doesn’t the world “belong” to all of us? To all creatures? Isn’t it wrong that only a handful of people rule our Earth and form it after their greed and liking?
In my opinion are we guests on our planet, being allowed to use it in a wise manner. Unfortunately, we do not know how to behave. Instead we bite the hand that feeds us and continue to destroy our world, as if we had a second one, we can move to, when this one is destroyed. When do people realize that money can’t be eaten?
As written in an earlier post, Patrik and I have started to cook vegan.
It’s more or less a bit of a challenge sometimes, to find the ingredients for the correct taste or consistency – especially if you try to keep it simple. Well, maybe it’s “wrong” to turn known recipes into a vegan version…..Who knows, but since we are still greenhorns, it’s the familiar stuff we are looking for (for the time being).
Anyhow, we soon realized that that brings a new problem – which we’re actually grateful for!
We never buy fast food (microwave food), but some things you (we) don’t do by yourself, such as chocolate, most cookies, crisps, crackers, some doughs (like puff pastry), margarine, cheese, …..only to name a few. Then you have soaps, cleaning agents, skin creams, …..you name it.
The good thing is, most of these foodstuffs exist also in a vegan version.
Nevertheless, we read the ingredients on the products anyway, since we are so used to it by being vegetarians. We soon discovered, though – to our disapproval – that at least 80% of the products contain palm oil.
That was a bit of a shock, to express it mildly….How is it ethically justifiable that – especially vegan food – is full of palm oil? It’s bad enough to find it anywhere else, just because it’s the cheapest oil on the market. But in vegan products?
I dare to say, that meanwhile, everyone is informed about palm oil production and knows that these are boring monocultures, wherefore thousands of square kilometers of precious rainforest is being sacrificed.
These forests are also the home of many endangered species. There are over 300,000 different animals found throughout the same forests where palm oil trees grow, many of which are injured, killed and displaced during deforestation.
Today rain forests are being cleared at the rate of 300 football fields per hour to make way for oil palm plantations.
Clearing rainforest means, killing millions of animals – directly and indirectly.
So I’m asking: How can one justify using palm oil in vegan products? I simply don’t get it…..
When confronting distributors and shops, I usually got the lame answer that they try to avoid it, but – unfortunately – at the moment is no other product available. Wouldn’t it be in their hands (also) to contact the manufacturer, tell him about concerned customers and demand alternatives? I’m sure other vegetable oils would be available.
Are they too expensive maybe?
Well, Patrik and I are even more alert now. We read the ingredients on products without exception. And you know what? By doing so, we – nowadays – buy a lot less of unhealthy unnecessary stuff, such as chocolate, biscuits or crackers. Saving a few calories never hurt….
Eventually, it’s a matter of habit, when you go shopping and after a while you know the “good” brands and products and you don’t need to waste time by reading every packaging.
Once upon a time……Yes, that’s a perfect beginning to this heartwarming story!
A while ago, my friend Sabine told me the sad news about a horse she knows well and its owner. The woman owns four sport horses, mainly for jumping. Apparently, she is quite ambitious and participates in tournaments.
Well, someone who knows a bit about this sport, also knows that the horses have to jump faster and higher. Where is the limit, one would ask – and injuries are not seldom. Sadly, even deadly accidents do happen every now and then!
This unfortunate horse, called Orgon, is 14 years young, had an old injury which wouldn’t heal properly and the owner considered to give him away, since he couldn’t jump higher than one meter anymore. Otherwise, he’s still a perfectly healthy animal, which still enjoys long rides and even some exercises – only tournaments are not possible anymore.
When Sabine told me about this the first time, we both didn’t think much about it and assumed that the woman might find a new home for Orgon.
But on Monday evening, 12th December, an upset Sabine told me that the woman changed her mind and had decided to send him to the slaughterhouse, instead of giving him a chance with a new owner. The date was already fixed: On Thursday, 15th December he should die! That couldn’t be true!
Although, I never met that horse it really touched my heart and I simply couldn’t understand, how someone would send his (hopefully) once beloved animal to death, instead of caring for it, even if you can’t “use” it anymore. What’s wrong with these people? Aren’t you responsible for your animal during its whole life time? Even when it gets old, sick or maybe is not so pretty anymore? We are supposed to love our companion until it dies? My belief is that you care for it. As long as it’s not suffering and can be helped. You don’t just “throw” it away….
So Sabine asked me, if I maybe knew someone, who would be interested in that horse. She already contacted various rescue associations, but the problem was, that in such a short time it was almost impossible to find a good place – even a temporary one. After all, it’s a horse, not a hamster!
Of course I contacted people I know, who might know someone, but it was hopeless and mainly frustrating….
Then, early the next morning, I got a wonderful text message from Sabine. That a horse, once sentenced to death, had found a new home! On Wednesday, 14th December Orgon will be picked up by the new owner – a horse rescue center, at last. I cannot describe, how happy I was – my tears were not far away, that’s for sure! Of course I congratulated Sabine and told her, what a true hero she is…she never gave up on him!
Sabine also told me that she could even convince the woman to give Orgon for free to this center, although they had agreed to pay the slaughter price of CHF 600.-. But since they are dependent on donations, they of course were more than glad, not having to pay for him.
I know of course, this is an exceptional story with a happy ending for a once doomed animal. Too many others are not so lucky!
But in this case I’m overjoyed. and I wish Orgon a long and sunshiny life and I’m very pleased to end the story with the words: …..and lived happily ever after!