/' http-equiv='refresh'/> Vegan Outreach Lincoln and East Midlands: November 2011


A Day of Vegan Advocacy- Alternative Christmas Market

 We had a good day of vegan outreach at the Alternative Christmas Market. We brought along some vegan goodies, sticky toffee and raspberry cupcakes, gingerbread etc. All the recipes can be found at the link below.

We had some interesting discussions and if anyone has any questions,thoughts etc then dont hesitate to get in touch with us via email, veganoutreacheastmidlands@gmail.com.

Booja Booja


Vegan Food and Education Stall Saturday 26th November

We will be doing a vegan food and education stall on Saturday (26th) at Croft Street Community Centre for the annual Alternative Christmas Market from 10am to 4pm, directions here http://www.croftstreetcentre.co.uk/ContactUs.htm.

We will be selling a range of vegan goodies from sticky toffee cupcakes,to bags of cruelty free crunchie to gingerbread cookies and more. We will be there showing that you can show seasonal goodwill to ALL animals and still have fantastic food. All the recipes will be on here alongside some more Christmas ones to make having a vegan Christmas as easy (and tasty) as possible.


Interview with Vegan Outreach Lincoln and East Midlands - In the Examiner


We've had an interview published in the Examiner,we were approached due to it being Vegan Month.In the interview Ruth talks about animal rights and what we believe the movement is doing well and not so well.

Interview with Vegan Outreach Lincoln and East Midlands

 In celebration of World Vegan Month, I will be hosting a collection of interviews with vegan abolitionists from across the globe.  I'm excited to have this opportunity to showcase vegan activists and give a face to our beautiful movement.  Be sure to check back for regular installments throughout the month of November.
Today's featured vegan abolitionist is Ruth Sanderson, speaking on behalf of Vegan Outreach Licoln and East Midlands in England.
Note:  This organization is not to be confused with the non-abolitionist, new welfarist, and American-based group, Vegan Outreach.
Ruth, please describe your organization...
Myself and my partner Marcus are both abolitionist vegans and the founders of VOLE: Vegan Outreach Lincoln and East Midlands (No relation to the USA based Vegan Outreach). Marcus has been vegan for over ten years. I went vegetarian at 14 as soon as I realised who I was eating. As I learned of the suffering implicit in eggs, dairy, honey, silk, etc., I gradually cut them out of my life until one day, about four years ago, I realised I was a vegan. We also both have strong environmental consciences so the ecological credentials of a vegan diet are a great additional bonus.

We attend events that might lend themselves to offering a receptive audience for non-violent, vegan education. We've had mixed results so far, but it's all a learning process. Our presence exposes attendees to a new meme that they may not have considered before. Whatever the reaction, that initial exposure has at least taken place.
We also keep a regularly updated blog, have put on a university film screening for World Vegan Day, and delivered several talks. We hope to continue along similar lines, whilst being open to new ideas on how best to get the message out there.
What do you think should be the focus of the non-human animal rights movement?
We believe the educative focus of the animal rights movement should be "veganism or bust". No confusing, inconsistent messages.  Instead, only a firm statement that all animal use, irregardless of the measure of suffering, is unacceptable. As such, all available resources should be put towards achieving the goal of abolishing animal use through creative, non-violent vegan advocacy.

What are some of the biggest obstacles to reaching our goals?
A big obstacle we face are the cash-rich animal welfare groups eschewing consistent vegan education in favour of emotive and simplistic single issue targets. These serve only to maximise fundraising profits whilst sending out a confused message of what constitutes one's obligations towards other animals. They often work hand-in-hand with the interests of those who are exploiting the animals in a mutually gratifying PR campaign.  As such, they achieve very little. This way of doing things seems to have failed in taking just one glance at the statistics regarding numbers of animals used and vegans gained. A truly pitiful lack of progress.
We can actually give a personal account of where we believe things to be going wrong, as we were heavily involved in the local, single issue campaign opposing the proposed USA-style super dairy at Nocton. Our research led us to believe that the scrapped plan for this dairy was only a hollow victory. Factory farming remains entirely legal and the proposal only failed on environmental grounds.  It had nothing to do with animal welfare.
The campaign did nothing to address the huge demand for cheap, plentiful cow's milk.  Further still, the "Not in My Cuppa" slogan went above and beyond in offering tacit approval to all other sources of dairy milk. This fundamental flaw, coupled with welfare and environmental standards remaining comparable to that of standard farming practices, led us to question the actions of both local and big animal welfare groups. All of whom, meanwhile, were squabbling over who could claim public credit for a fundamentally worthless "victory."
How is your activism impacted by where you live?
Marcus and I set up Vegan Outreach Lincoln and East Midlands within the last six months as we became increasingly frustrated at the lack of vegan education opportunies in a very welfare-centric, local group in Lincolnshire. We gave years of highly involved service:  co-organising several events (including the Lincoln Veggie Fayre), procuring and preparing free food, sponsorship, etc.  So, until the very end, we tried our best to steer things in the right direction.
However the said group's influential figures seemed to be ashamed of veganism, almost apologetically so. They saw it as a "radical" concept at odds with their establishment-centered, conservative inclinations. This made it difficult to properly welcome individuals deemed to be anarchists, "hippies", "pinkos," etc., or to attend their events when invited to do so. This discrimination denied vegan education to entire groups of people, many of whom are highly interested in opposing prejudices such as speciesism.
With a penchant for ego-led self-publicity, the individuals involved also seemed more interested in fundraising and maximising profits than promoting veganism.  This is something we felt very much at odds with. In fact, apart from the group name, there was not even a definition of veganism on their website, nor any suggestion of why anyone should think to consider becoming vegan. Frustrated at the total lack of democracy and accountability, and after receiving an explicit statement that it was no longer to be considered a vegan group, we left and are happily "radical" advocates of non-violent vegan education.
What are your other interests and activities?
We are avid fans of Sheffield Wednesday football club and particularly enjoy the music of The Smiths, Morrissey and Prince. We also enjoy walking our super fit and vegan rescue dogs, preferably amongst nature and away from the encroachments of civilization.


Abolitionism in a Nutshell

Gary Francione notes four main problems with welfarism:

It helps animals little, if at all.
It makes the public feel better about the exploitation.
It does nothing to eradicate the property status of animals (which is key to actually helping animals in legal and social ways).
It's a zero sum game - every second spent could be spent on vegan education - which does help.

Francione's position has underlined this for years, and for a long time this was ignored, as before the internet the big animal groups ruled the movement. Now this knowledge is becoming commonly knounderstood, local grassroots groups are free to pursue the most effective animal advocacy of all; vegan education.


How to Best Help Animals Speech

This talk was first given at the Lincoln Veggie Fayre 2011. It was given with a PowerPoint presentation in the background. The recorded speech and slideshow  presentation will be available on here soon.  

The speech was intended to challenge the welfarist message being spread by the large organisations on the day and give those who attended food for thought. We handed out Vegan:UK, Vegan Society and Boston Vegan Association leaflets and pamphlets. Please feel free to use the speech and alter it, provided the underlying abolitionist message stays the same. 

How to Best Help Animals?
As I'm sure many of you already know, a vegan is a person who to the greatest extent possible seeks to avoid materials derived from other animals. We have placed vegan leaflets around the room and urge you to help yourself to those. There are a multitude of reasons that lead one towards veganism, the most compelling of which tends to be animal rights ethics, but personal health and environmental concerns are also well founded bonuses.

Ethical quandaries include the fate of the male calves left obsolete from the perpetual pregnancies of the dairy cows, or the male hatchlings useless to the egg industry who are tossed into a shredding machine at birth. Why do we make beloved family members of dogs and eat the categorically more intelligent pig? It takes killing 150 silk worms to death to make just one silk tie? These are all examples of speciesism.

Speciesism is the irrational belief that other species’ interests deserve less consideration than our own, even when our interests are comparatively trivial. Animal rights when taken to it's logical conclusion can oblige us to oppose speciesism and the subsequent exploitation of other animals. The thinking goes that should a sentient being be seen as mere property then that property will inevitably be subject to any abuses which their human owners choose to bestow upon them.

This is as the owners are legal persons, whereas the animals are deemed legal property. Bargaining for the interests of property against persons is like playing cards with a rigged pack – you aren’t going to get a fair result. Therefore it is the use of animals that is the main problem, rather than the inevitable cruelty endemic to the practice that results.

Most people oppose inflicting unnecessary suffering on an animal but with alternatives widely available to virtually every animal sourced food, nutrient or article of clothing can any of our use and abuse of animals truly be said to be necessary? Is eating animal products purely for the pleasurable taste experience really that different from those who enjoy dog fighting? Both are sources of unnecessary suffering and death inflicted on sentient beings in the name of a human's personal pleasure.

The abolitionist approach takes this understanding to the logical conclusion, that all use and exploitation of sentient animals should be opposed with equal measure. We assert that only abolition rather than regulation should be strived for and veganism is the moral baseline by which to achieve this goal.

Environmentally, the United Nations Livestock's Long Shadow report has left us in no doubt that livestock use is creating a crisis. The remaining clean water supplies are being used up and polluted and cattle farming alone creates more global warming gases per year than all the worlds transport systems combined; yes that's every output from every car, train and plane. It is also responsible for 80% of amazon rainforest destruction and 80% of the soya grown on this cleared land is intended for livestock to eat.

While millions of humans die of hunger it takes 6-8 calories of grain to produce one calorie of meat, if the world adopted a vegan diet nobody would need to starve. The grain needn't inefficiently pass through an animal, we can go directly to source and in doing so reduce the health risks associated with consumption of animal products such as various forms of cancer, hypertension and heart attacks. 

In the light of these truths I can't patronise you by pretending going vegetarian makes any real difference for animals, your health or the environment, as to a lesser, or often an even greater extent it still supports the perpetuation of the animal farming industry and encourages all the same problems as such. 

For example a diet lower in meat, but heavier in dairy and eggs can be much more damaging in all the aforementioned regards than some omnivorous diets where meat and dairy occupy smaller parts of the diet. Many people are addicted to dairy due to it containing a drug to encourage calves suckling. As a result it often seems many people would suckle from the cow directly given the chance. 

People have long been wrongly led by large animal welfare groups to believe that vegetarianism and veganism are two sides of the same coin, they are not.

Vegetarians (especially long-term ones) often become entrenched in the belief that they are doing all they can and have met their moral obligations towards other animals. Again I blame this on large charities telling them they're doing the right thing. It’s entirely possible however to pass through vegetarianism while transitioning to a vegan diet. That's how I personally became vegan but if I had been given the information I would have gone vegan straight away.

A big campaign for the vegetarian activist is avoiding rennet in cheese. The very same rennet, which is produced from the stomachs of calves. Calves that are created and killed by the dairy industry, often for veal. Their production a mere byproduct of the cow's continued pregnancies so she will lactate and facilitate the making of products for humans such as cheese. This hugely contradictory cycle alone is instantly obvious and hugely problematic if claiming any quantifiable ethical foundation to the vegetarian position. Both meat eaters and vegetarians pay into the animal industry complex and both have animals suffer and die for their diets.

Similarly if one really wants to prevent the badger cull, reconsider your financial support of the dairy industry before you complain to anyone else, as it is their business interests and lobbying that is crowding out and hastening towards the extermination of these free living wild animals. Very few of the big organisations are brave enough to point out and encourage action on even this most basic position, instead they rely on petitions and single issue campaigns which skirt around the problem.

A single issue campaign is when an organisation focuses resources on any individual issue rather than providing a consistent vegan message. Snapping off an easy to reach twig that will grow back somewhere else instead of hacking at the rotten trunk.

This focus leaves little in the way of an explicitly vegan message. How long has Paul McCartney been blathering on about being veggie for VIVA? You’d think someone so deeply passionate about animals would have connected the ethical dots by now? But what can be expected when he’s working with a group who still use the ethically worthless tag of Vegetarian in their name? As with other such groups while claiming an underlying vegan belief they still find themselves too cowardly to put public focus on using the necessary word as a permanently visible moral baseline.

PETA well known for their single issue campaigns, embarrassing sexist publicity stunts and awarding "welfare awards" to designers of nicer slaughterhouses acknowledged that only half of their members even call themselves vegetarian.

This from a group, making such a business of animal rights that they raised over £20m pounds profit in 2009 alone. Imagine if they opened up their vast coffers and ploughed all the money into supporting a consistent abolitionist vegan message? An actual, quantifiable culture shift could take place.

The inconvenient truth is that we don't need the big organisations and their confusing campaigns, nor do the animals. They have failed them. Their victories have led to more and more animals being used with only a consistently tiny segment of their supporters becoming vegan – as they instead ask people to take up random single issue campaigns rather than considering long term veganism.

To stay on the theme of dairy farming let us flashback to January 2011; in the dark of night an animal behaviour student is sat up at stupid o'clock completing an essay comparing models of production in farming. The Nocton super dairy is heavily in the news, as the decision on it's planning application is expected within a few months. 

The student is me and inspired by the situation, I had chosen to study and compare the "monstrous" super dairies with assumed superior standard, traditional forms of farming. Surely it's an open and shut case right? Sadly my illusions were shattered as I sat there aghast when I realised I was now a newly converted supporter of the Nocton Super Dairy proposal.

Not a supporter in the literal sense certainly, given I'm vegan, but a supporter in the sense that if a dairy was to be built the plan for Nocton certainly didn't seem a worse way of meeting the public's demand for  a steady flow of cheap dairy product than a traditional dairy farm.

At this point I was an ardent critic of the Nocton plans along with virtually everyone else, proudly displaying my "Say no to the mega dairy" sticker like virtually everyone else and I was involved in several local campaigns against it and even protested with picket signs. Talk about shattering an illusion, the victory that was within our grasp of a refusal suddenly felt very hollow and not much like a victory at all.

Not only were the welfare levels comparatively competitive with the existing status quo traditional farms but many scientific studies actually came out in favour of the environmental standards too. There's something to be said for having a large business located in one area, especially with an onsite anaerobic digester etc.

Was the campaign really based on sound logic or was it a preserve of emotive thinking over factual evidence and a matter of simply “not in my back yard” for the locals? The local Nocton residents' group called Campaign against factory farming operations have gone oddly quiet since the super dairy plans went away, strange that. I should have seen through the faux righteousness when they never had any soya milk in when I popped in for a cup of tea.

Surely the campaign against the foston pig farm will use the same tactic with their similarly pointless “not in my banger” slogan already up. Maybe the Nocton group will get involved but I wouldn’t hold yours breath, there’s already a new set of NIMBY’s already forming in Foston.

In all honesty few of us would actually enjoy having a stinking, great, super dairy nearby, but on an overcrowded island of people who demand large amounts of dairy it's going to come from somewhere. If the demand for milk products isn't addressed then nothing will really change. The chairs are shuffled on the Titanic but the same ethically problematic iceberg is still approaching.

So who really benefits from such a hollow victory for animals? I would suggest it is the big money stashing organisations and the egos within local groups who thrive on having their names appear in the media. 

The opportunity is there for them to get patted on the back for maintaining the status quo with very little in the way of actual progress. Actual serious progress of course would be met with much greater resistance from industry forces. How other animals actually benefit from these victories in cumulative terms or even factor into the equation at all is often unclear to say the least.

Compassion In World Farming were on the scene at Nocton, an organisation representing farmers and the animals they farm. What was that about a rigged deck again? Let us consider World Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and their Not In My Cuppa campaign which back then was highly visible.

It suggests that we should boycott any prospective super dairy sourced milk, i.e. that any other source of milk is preferable to instead use in our tea and ergo this is the compassionate action we should take on behalf of dairy cows. The supermarkets gladly followed this lead, a glib gesture to say the least as I will explain.

Non-super dairy milk, of course meaning all milk, currently, given there are no super dairies in the UK. Advocated promoting this campaign are not taking a very vegan position as they are promoting the consumption of dairy. Similarly these same people could be found arguing that cows belong in fields, a field being a fenced off area owned by a farmer, the cows within, likewise. Again, continuing the speciesist prejudice that other animals should be seen as human property. Again, I argue not very vegan.
Many was the time I sat back mystified as vegan spokespeople who profess to believe in basic animal rights would be constantly putting themselves forward in the media only to make platitudes to traditional dairy farmers, even going as far as wishing them success in saying any who aren't involved with super dairies should be supported.

It is the very fundamental truths of veganism that get lost within the cash grab of the big organisation's advocacy. Confronting people with uncomfortable truths and a consistent perspective doesn't tend to engender such warm feelings nor does it maximise donations on which the hired staff rely for their wages, thereby it is much more profitable to pick their campaigns and victories accordingly. The person who cares for animals is trapped in a state of learned helplessness and is told sending off a monthly cheque to VIVA, PETA or any other "animal welfare" charity is the end of their obligations towards animals.
What more could individuals ever hope to accomplish anyway? The big groups never cease to keep telling them of these numerous supposedly "significant" victories. Single issue victories that tend to achieve very little in real terms and more often than not serve only to make people feel better about animal use. Thus they are granted permission to consume animal products in ever greater quantities. The net effect is more animal use and more implicit cruelty.

In the case of Nocton, the victory was claimed by one and all; from local groups like CAFFO to the usual national names. "We couldn't have done it without you!" (meaning your donations!) they cried at every opportunity. 

Meanwhile in reality, behind the smokescreens it was the environmental agency’s doubts that made them pulled the plug on the plan. The Nocton super dairy didn't meet the necessary criteria and that was that. The petitions and outrage may have had an incidental effect if at all. Animal rights criteria wasn't even relevant to the case, as factory farming is entirely legal and thus disregarded from the decision process. 

No, the supposed animal rights organisations have failed and failed badly in achieving any true victories. More animals are being used than ever whilst the people who opt out of this usage (the vegans) remain a small mysterious minority.

In the materials distributed today or in the following talks you might be told to campaign against kangaroo skin in football boots or against cats and dogs being used for fur. Emotive causes that will encourage donations whilst flying in the face of true, consistent vegan advocacy that could actually start a cultural shift of real long term import. Significant change toward veganism – the only thing that will actually help animals – is highly impeded by these single issue campaigns.

True vegan advocacy recognises if you choose to campaign against individual forms of use and abuse you thereby give cause to think other forms of use are lesser issues and somehow more justifiable. Foie gras is unjustifiable but sausages are better, kangaroo skin is unjustifiable but cow skin is better, cat and dog fur is unjustifiable but mink and chinchilla fur is better. Or to get back on topic super dairy milk is unjustifiable but standard milk production is better.

If you campaign against these supposedly worse uses, you perpetuate the popularly held idea that only animal use perceived as extreme is a problem. If you are doing this as a group like Viva!, who are publically seen as authorities for animal interests, then you’re pretty much telling people to boycott these extreme, rare animal uses whilst ignoring the more common, sadly normal animal uses in their own lives, and neglecting the moral issue of using animals at all.

Furthermore, all the time given to muddying the ethical waters with these single issue campaigns is time lost that could have been given to a consistent message of vegan advocacy. Every minute wasted, suggesting a single issue deserves special focus, is a minute further away from challenging the paradigm of animal use being the problem. 

Vegan education again is the answer. We shouldn't be aiming to reform the cruelty; we should be aiming to abolish it. The problem isn't so much how big a chicken's cage is, rather that the chicken is in a cage at all. That the chicken as a sentient animal is an owned piece of property akin to a chair, pencil or a table is the problem. 

The steps to abolishing this use will not come through challenging one use at a time – and in the process making people feel more comfortable with everyday animal use, but rather growing the number of ethical vegans by one at a time.
The time given to campaigns revolving around humane, freedom food, organic, free range and any other similar classifications are as satisfactory as not beating your slave on Sundays. They serve only to ignore the abolitionist goal and work hand in hand with animal agriculture to work out systems and mutually gratifying PR campaigns whereby they can maximise their profits by appeasing the public and often improving the efficiency of the exploitation in the process. 

On the subject of the RSPCA's Freedom Food classification, take a look at one of the many exposes done within the farms that earn that high welfare classification and decide for yourselves whether they constitute any real improvement worth striving for. Surprisingly the dancing cows, ambling through lush fields in the TV adverts, are lying to you.

Should we really expect any real significant level of protection from the RSPCA though when their chief executive is on record as saying "The RSPCA believes that whether it’s chicken, ham or turkey, you can enjoy your Christmas lunch and still care about the animals that provided it." Be glad that oh so very speciesist charity isn't in charge of protecting you or me. That kind of protection is one we can all do without.

Today can either inspire more donations into the pot of welfarist groups and their single issue campaigns. You can continue the misapprehension that veganism is too radical, rather I would counter it is the way humans both omnivore and vegetarian use and abuse other animals that is radical.

In all truth I genuinely hope you will reject the unsatisfactory status quo and all it's empty rhetoric and will instead join the growing movement to embrace the abolitionist approach and go vegan for the environment, your health and most importantly the animals. It's not about money it’s about you, me, consistent vegan abolitionist arguments, literature and an audience to hear it and continue the process. 

That audience is everywhere we go, whether it be a one on one conversation, a letters page in a newspaper, an online website forum or a stall offering tasty cupcakes to sweeten the message. The world will not change overnight, but no social change ever has. This shouldn’t stop us from starting moving toward veganism, one vegan at a time, rather than sinking to the depths of atrocious single issue campaigns.

Please take the leaflets, and check out our website, our cards with the details are with the leaflets. The blog will have all the recipes from today’s event on it to help you with cruelty free eating as well as plenty of other information. 

Remember that the power is yours to encourage a real actual cultural shift in favour of emancipating other animals. Giving time and effort to the tacit promotion of killing cows for your shoes instead of kangaroos won't get us there.

You were never helpless. You never needed to employ someone else to work for animals on your behalf.  Come join us in abolitionist outreach, we have a stall in the main room up here. Be the vegan change you want to see. Thank you.


First Batch of Recipes from Lincoln Veggie Fayre 2011

Here are the first of the recipes from the Lincoln Veggie Fayre, more to come!



Lincoln Veggie Fayre 2011 - A thank you

We had a stall at the Lincoln Veggie Fayre which we (as individuals not VOLE) have co-organised for the last two years. Ruth gave a speech titled "How Best to Help Animals" which will be available both as an audio file and a written version on here soon. Despite being a wide ranging, challenging critique of animal rights, animal welfare organisations, NIMBYs, campaigner egos, vegetarians et al the speech was well received with around 25 people attending it.

Our stall encouraged great debate and interest regarding veganism. We gave out plenty of leaflets and hope they will provoke deep thought regarding animal ethics. We thank The Vegan Society, The Boston Vegan Association and our friends at Vegan UK for those. Also much thanks to Richard for helping us get the message out there.

The experience of the last few years have shown us how effective and positive providing lots of free vegan food and free entry can be in enticing people in to receive a vegan message. We have fought for both these aspects to remain in place as we truly believe it is education rather than a profit motive that lends integrity to such an event. Originally the Fayre was founded as a free vegan food giveaway with free entry and for this year at least it was able to remain somewhat true to those principles.

With help from some truly inspirational kitchen volunteers (Christine, Joe, James and Nicky) we were able to make an entire room's worth of diverse food. From health to comfort foods, we had cupcakes, cashew balls, salads, cookies, cheesecakes etc for all to enjoy. All recipes available on our blog.

Our only regret is that we couldn't make MORE food available but believe us when we say we tried our best. 

Below are some photos of the food from the Friday night, before it was unleashed on the public. More to come from the day itself amongst other things...

Lots of goodies

pizza rolls,jaffa cakes, ginger cookies and chocolate drops- all vegan!

Quinoa mixed bean salad,healthy and delicious!

Gluten free carot cupcakes,chocolate chip cookies and quinoa mixed bean salad.

"sausage rolls",diabetic chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies


World Vegan Day - Film Screening Report

Thanks to everyone who came to watch the film,we had 25 people attend and lots of great feedback afterwards. It seemed to make a great impression on all who saw it.
Before the film I (Ruth) gave a five minute talk to explain the other (beyond just health) reasons for veganism, the talk is below. We also had some fantastic information leaflets from the wonderful people at Vegan UK and some choice vegan society leaflets. After the film we had a great short speech from Emily who was has used the information in the Forks over Knives and Crazy Sexy Cancer books (both promote a wholefood plant based diet) to battle her stage 4 cancer with spectacular results.
                              Opening talk:

Hello and welcome to a film screening marking World Vegan Day. We hope Forks Over Knives will prove entertaining and offer up some interesting food for thought. It has hit the news recently with both Russell Brand and Ozzy Osbourne being inspired by it's message and adopting a plant based diet as a result. It should encourage the viewer to think above and beyond the bare minimum "five a day" requirement for fruit and vegetable portions, making an argument for their becoming the centre of a meal instead of an occasional side dish.

As I'm sure many of you already know, a vegan is a person who to the greatest extent possible seeks to avoid materials derived from other animals. We have placed vegan leafleture around the room and urge you to help yourself to those. Whilst the film today presents a message relevant to personal health there are many more reasons for veganism. The most compelling of which tend to be those of animal rights and environmental ethics.

Animal rights when taken to it's logical conclusion can oblige us to oppose the exploitation of other animals. The thinking goes that should a sentient being be seen as mere property then that property will inevitably be subject to any abuses their human owners choose to bestow upon them.

Be it the fate of the male calves left obsolete from the perpetual pregnancies of the dairy cows or the male hatchlings useless to the egg industry who are tossed into a shredding machine at birth. Why do we make beloved family members of dogs and eat the categorically more intelligent pig? Did you know it takes burning 150 silk worms to death, separating them from their silken cocoon, in order to make just one silk tie?

Most people oppose inflicting unnecessary suffering on an animal but with alternatives widely available to virtually every animal sourced food, nutrient or article of clothing can any of our use and abuse of animals truly be said to be necessary?

From the environmental perspective there is an ever deepening crisis in producing the food to supply an ever growing human population and the pressing need to avoid passing the crucial tipping point of runaway climate change which would again increasingly impact on the food problem. The United Nations published a report in 2006 called "Livestock's Long Shadow" in which they spelt out the numerous sustainability issues implicit to the farming of other animals.

80% of the amazon rain forest with all it's carbon storage capabilites is cleared for cattle farming and 80% of the soya grown on cleared land is transported and fed to farm animals around the world.  These cattle share the vast inefficiency of other livestock; needing to be fed a higher ratio of grain to produce diminishing returns as a food source themselves.

Climate change is also contributing to a crisis in providing clean sources of water, meanwhile animal agriculture requires and consumes vast quantities and pollutes more still with the run off and waste pollution implicit to the industry. Meanwhile cows produce vast quantities of methane, a global warming gas up to thirty times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The rearing of cows alone produces more global warming gases than all the world's use of transport combined; yep that includes all the planes, trains and automobiles. The University of Chicago concluded in a 2006 study that changing one's diet from the standard to a plant based one would be responsible for a greater reduction in a person's carbon footprint than switching from a standard family saloon to an efficient hybrid car.

There is also something to be said regarding the working conditions within slaughter houses and the links to mental illness and violence for those who are required to be render sentient beings as mere objects and operate as killers in the name of their society.

The film today first and foremost operates with a message that diet is not only an important part of a cure but is also key as a preventative measure in reducing the chances of falling ill in the first place. We are very glad to welcome Emily here today who at the end of the film would like to offer her personal testimony regarding the huge impact the Forks Over Knives message had on her in her battle against cancer and the impressive improvements she attributes to a plant based diet. So do hang around for that.

I'll also be available to take any questions, or just come over and say hello. We (VOLE) will gladly have discussions, attend events or distribute leaflets, so do get in touch. Again, please do help yourself to those leaflets for a read later on. Enjoy the film...