Fish Sucks Too

Many people consider fish (or JUST consuming fish) a good choice from an ethical, health and environmental standpoint. They believe fish are healthy to eat, don’t feel pain or complex emotion and don’t take a toll on the environment. So the perfect meat choice for someone who’s not ready to go completely vegetarian or vegan, right?

This assumption is widespread, but couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Sentience

(Mark Bekoff said it first, Fish are not mere streams of readily available unfeeling protein.)

The first argument that may lead you to believe that fish do not feel pain, might be the absence of a neocortex. This is an inappropriate anatomical comparison- we can’t judge another beings ability to process pain because it differs from ours any more than a butterfly can believe humans can’t taste because we do it with our mouths and not feet.

“Evidence from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neuropsychology suggests that
the experience of feelings in humans does not depend exclusively on structures of the cerebral
cortex. It does not seem warranted to deny the possibility of feeling in animals… We do not see any evidence in favor of the idea that the engendering of feelings in humans would be confined to the cerebral cortex. On the contrary, based on anatomical and physiological evidence, subcortical structures and even the peripheral and enteric nervous systems appear to make important contributions to the experience of feelings.

Antonio Damasio and Hanna Damasio. Neuroscientists at the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California.

In fact; a study conducted by Prof. Joseph Garner and Doctoral student Janicke Nordgreen at Purdue University proved goldfish feel pain and discomfort beyond instinctive reflex.

Essentially, in this not-so-pretty experiment; Garner showed that fish put in painful situations reacted differently to fish who were not. Goldfish injected with a saline solution were studied alongside goldfish injected with a pain blocking morphine solution and both were put in painful levels of heat (with safeguards to not destroy tissue).

Although both fish originally responded the same, wriggling at the same temperature; only the fish without the pain blockers experienced a fear response. They displayed wariness of the new object, as well as anxiety. This matches up with earlier observations of fish injected with painful solutions who would rock back and forth on the tank floor, rub their lips against the glass a and stop eating. Both groups of fish injected with pain blockers experienced no such response.

Not only are they sentient in a way that shows they can feel pain, fish are actually very smart and can remember quite far! Not the 3 minutes you might have been told is the maximum time frame they can remember.

In fact, fish have been proven to remember for up to at least 5 months.

Some can even remember faces and pick familiar humans out from strangers. In fact, they can recognize whether a person is someone they know or not in .5 seconds.

They recognize their tanks layouts and will detect a change in setup or a new item.

This goldfish won a world record for being able to remember and perform six tricks such as;

  • Eat from hand
  • Swim through loop
  • Swim through tunnel
  • Limbo
  • Play football
  • Play fetch

There’s Albert Einstein playing limbo!

And there are many others who have been able to teach their fish tricks.

Health

The second misconception is that fish is healthy. While it may be more healthy than other types of meat, I wouldn’t consider it a health food even if we’re ignoring it’s high mercury content. To borrow a few points from my general article on the health affects of meat consumption;

  1. The feeding of infected cow and sheep brains is still legal in the USA. Sources: NCBI; 1, 2.
  2. Even when meat consumption is reduced to only fish, cancer causing IGF-1 levels remain relatively the same. Source: Cancer Epidemiology, Biomakers & Prevention.
  3. PCB’s (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) i.e Instrustrial toxic waste, still found in the environment can be found in fish 1000x higher in levels of PCB’s then the water they live in. They cause skin problems, neurobehavioral and liver damage and cancer in both animals and humans. Source: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
  4. PhIP (found in fish) stimulates breast cancer cells, also making them invade healthy cells more than estrogen itself even when PhIP is in low concentrations. Source: NCBI
  5. Fish, regardless how it’s cooked, seems to be directly related to endometrial cancer risk. Source: NCBI

So you’d do better replacing your fish with vegan versions of seafood; even if you don’t think fish are friends!

Environment

If you’re interested in saving our planet, this might be the most compelling reason to cut fish out of your diet; the ocean is suffering immensely due largely to overfishing. While it may be easy to dismiss this as “just” a cause of overfishing and not fish consumption itself; we must remember that we cannot feed 7 billion humans the sadly still recommended 3+ servings of fish a week without overfishing. There is too much demand to meet that supply.

  1. 90% of all large fish have disappeared since we introduced industrial fishing techniques in the 1950’s.
  2. 38.5 tons of sea life (40% of all catches) is discarded; this is called by catch.
  3. “Sustainable” fishing isn’t all that sustainable.
  4. Jellyfish population is steadily increasing and the ocean could soon become egregiously overpopulated with them, which would be catastrophic.
  5. 2 trillion sea animals are killed annually.
  6. The ocean could be completely empty by 2048.
  7. Fisheries averaged $27 billion in subsidies in 2003.

These facts are all brought to you by the short film linked above, Losing Nemo, by the makers of Blackfish. Here are their sources which are all PDF files.

Some more facts to remember about the affects of meat consumption:

(Cowspiracy [Directed by Leonardo DiCaprio] holds a lot more sources for these in PDF format)

So whatever your reasoning for giving up fish, please consider it! Here are some vegan swaps and recipes to make the transition a little easier if you’re a seafood fan.

Worried about Omega-3’s? No problem!

  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Algal oil (EPA & DHA)
  • Hemp seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Perilla oil

Experts say as long as you get enough ALA, you don’t have to worry about EPA and DHA from non vegan sources. And if that’s not enough to ease your mind, there’s nothing wrong with supplementing; after all, meat eaters supplement more than vegans and vegetarians combined.

If this article makes you want to go vegan, try it! Good luck ❤️🐟

Where Would We Be Without The Bees?

 Bees are one of the most important insects; they must be protected. We must find a way to save them, and ultimately, save ourselves.

Bees are fuzzy little insects that are one of the biggest contributors to pollination in the world; however, 23.2 percent of honeybee colonies have died over the last winter, causing extreme concern for the future of agriculture. In addition, over the past year, multiple types of bees have been added to the endangered list.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” Maurice Maeterlinck said in his book, The Life of the Bee.

Bees and other pollinators account for the production of one-third of the world’s crops, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Concern arose in 2003 after many beekeepers reported missing colonies of bees. This mysterious disappearance of Honeybees became known as Colony Collapse Disorder, and its cause stumped scientists for years.

A Harvard study suggested that the onset of the bees’ extinction was triggered by the use of plant pesticides like Neonicotinoids and Sulfoxaflor.

Sulfoxaflor is a systemic pesticide, meaning it makes the whole plant poisonous. Once the plant absorbs the pesticide, its nectar and pollen become toxic to bees.

Sulfoxaflor was approved in 2013 by the US Environmental Protection Agency, but was challenged in a federal appeal court after increased concern for the dying bees surfaced.

After studies showed its harmful and often deadly effect, the court overturned its approval of Sulfoxaflor in September of 2015.

The court’s decision was significant because it effectively repealed a deadly pesticide to bees.

Helping bees can be an easy thing if everyone contributes to the effort. There are plants like Catmint, Chives, Wild Lilac, and Indigo that one can plant that help create new habitats for bees.  For more information on how you can help ease this, visit this separate article.

It is important to be familiar with our need for bees. They are not our enemy, but more of a tiny friend.

 

 

Is Palm Oil Vegan ?? Part 2

The short answer is yes, because palm oil comes from a plant source. There is two parts of the palm oil tree where we get oil from, the fruit and the seed of the fruit. But the method of producing has pushed many animal species including orang-utans, elephants, rhinos and tigers to the brink of extinction.
Palm oil can be found in both food and beauty products. Foods use palm oil which is extracted from the pulp of the fruit, while beauty products uses palm kernel oil from the seed of the fruit.

It is estimated that every hour, that an area the equivalent of 300 football fields are cleared for palm oil production.

You probably don’t notice that palm oil is the most used vegetable oil and is in most packet supermarket items. Sometimes, because of the negativity surrounded by palm oil production, brands label it under different names from very broad names like ‘vegetable oil’ to ‘sodium laureth sulphate’. A full list of names can be found HERE 

Its your decision weather or not you include palm oil in your diet, there are options for sustainable palm oil, their logos

Items Containing Palm Oil

Lipstick

Palm oil helps lipstick apply smoothly and it helps hold colour.

Instant Noodles (Ramen, 2 Minute Noodles etc)

Palm oil is used to pre-cook noodles so that all you need to add is hot water.

Shampoo

Used to restore oils stripped away from most shampoos

Soap

Keeps the skin moisturised while removing dirt.

 

Sources

wwf.org.au

worldwildlife.org

 

 

WHAT ABOUT CAGE FREE EGGS?

Many people think that only the meat industry is cruel. That killing only happens for meat. Which leads to a lot of people to go vegetarian.

I can’t blame them. I did the same thing. I was so uninformed about the egg industry. And it’s okay if you are, too. They spend millions of dollars every year to cover their tracks and spread misinformation. They aren’t even legally allowed to say that eggs are healthy when advertising them.

When I used to think about eggs, I pictured happy chickens roaming around. I think a lot of people imagine the same thing. But it’s the farthest thing from what actually happens.

In factory-farm type egg farms, hens are shoved into cages that they cannot even move in, typically with 3 or more hens. They live their lives in absolute filth and horror.

But what about cage-free eggs though? The hens must be happy and roam around, right? No. It’s the farthest thing from it. Hens are pretty much in the same situation, except they aren’t caged. They put so many hens in one space that they eat each other, break each other’s limbs, and peck holes in each other. It is such a myth that cage-free means happy, healthy hens. Even in organic farms, this happens.

In addition to the suffering that female chickens go through, all farms practice one of the most despicable things, ever.

Only female chickens can lay eggs, so there is no use for male chicks. What do they do with them, then?

When the males are separated from the females, they are either

  1. Thrown into a grinder and ground to death
  2. Slowly suffocated to death

It is one of the most disgusting acts I have ever heard of. Every day, I am reminded by how much cruelty is happening in the world.

What soothes my aching heart is the knowledge that I do not fund any of it, and I use my power to speak out against it. We have to educate ourselves about the truth.

http://www.earthlings.com

Resources to Go Vegan with Dietary Restrictions

We live in a society that conditions us to  believe that we need meat and animal products.

got-milk-hed-2013

Going vegan isn’t always easy. I grew up in a single parent and low income household with anemia. In addition, I am allergic to nuts and soy. So I more than quite a bit of people know that cutting out animal products doesn’t have the same level of difficulty for everyone. But can’t go vegan? I don’t know. You can decide for yourself! I will keep working on this list as more people come to me with different situations they think they can’t go vegan in, in hopes of helping them.

I can’t go vegan because…

I’m anemic

I live in a low income household

I’m allergic to nuts and soy

I have Celiacs disease

I have Gastroparesis

I have to eat a low fiber diet

It would be hard to maintain my cultural identity

I am underweight

I am diabetic (external link)

I have an eating disorder (external link)

I have Hypoglycemia (external link)

I have an autoimmune disease (external link)

I have IBS (external link & P.S Freelee The Banana Girl had/has IBS!)

Hidden Animal Ingredients in Food

Here are some of the most common unusual non-vegan ingredients. As long as you try to avoid these as much as possible, that’s all you can do since it can be very hard to pick up on every single non vegan ingredient while scanning the list of ingredients of foods.

Albunim

  • What it is: The protein components of egg whites
  • Where you find it: Processed foods

 

Carmina (carmine cochineal or carminic acid)

  • What it is: Red coloring derived from ground up insects
  • Where you find it: Bottled juices, candy, colored pasta, makeup, popsicles

 

Casein (caseinate)

  • What it is: A milk protein
  • Where you find it: In dairy products and sometimes soy cheeses

 

Glucose (dextrose)

  • What it is: Fluids and tissues from animals (some glucose comes from fruit)
  • Where you find it: Baked goods, carbonated drinks, candies, frosting

 

Glycerides (mono-, di- and triglycerides)

  • What it is: Glycerol from animal fats (sometimes from plants)
  • Where you find it: Processed foods

 

Isinglass

  • What it is: Gelatin from the air bladder of freshwater fish, mostly the sturgeon
  • Where you find it: Alcoholic beverage, jelly desserts

 

Lactic Acid

  • What it is: An acid formed by bacteria acting on the milk sugar, lactose
  • Where you find it: Cheese, yogurt, pickles, olives, sauerkraut, candy, frozen desserts, fruit preserves

 

Lactose (saccharum lactin, D-lactose)

  • What it is: Milk sugar
  • Where you find it: For souring milk and processed foods

 

Lactylic stearate

    • What it is: Salt of stearic acid
  • Where you find it: Bread dough

 

Lard

  • What it is: Fat from pigs
  • Where you find it: Baked goods, refried beans

 

Lecithin

  • What it is: Phospholipids from animal tissues and eggs, sometimes from plants
  • Where you find it: Baked goods, candy, cereal, chocolate, vegetable oil sprays

 

Lutein

  • What it is: Yellow coloring from egg yolks (sometimes marigolds)
  • Where you find it: Food coloring

Natural Flavor

  • What it is: Usually derived from an assortment of animal products
  • Where you find it: Beverages, boxed foods, canned foods, processed foods

 

Oleic acid (oleinic acid)

  • What it is: Animal tallow
  • Where you find it: Beverages, candy, condiments, vegetable fats and oils

Pepsin

  • What it is: Enzyme from pigs’ stomachs
  • Where you find it: Cheese

Stearic acid (octadecanoic acid)

  • What it is: Tallow as well as other animal fats and oils
  • Where you find it: Baked goods, beverages, candy, vanilla flavoring

Suet

  • What it is: Fat around kidneys and loins of animals
  • Where you find it: Pastries

Tallow

  • What it is: Fat of sheep and cattle
  • Where you find it: Margarine

Vitamin A (A1, retinol)

  • What it is: Vitamin produced by microorganisms and found in all animal products; synthetic form (cyanocobalamin or cobalamin on labels) is vegan
  • Where you find it: Vitamin supplements, fortified foods

Vitamin B12

  • What it is: Vitamin produced by microorganisms and found in all animal products; synthetic form (cyanocobalamin or cobalamin on labels) is vegan
  • Where you find it: Supplements, fortified foods

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)

  • What it is: Comes from fish liver oils or lanolin
  • Where you find it: Supplements, fortified foods

Whey

  • What it is: Watery liquid that separates from the solids in cheese-making
  • Where you find it: Breads, cakes, crackers, processed foods

 

For an even more detailed list, click here for Peta’s master post.

“The Dreaded Comparison”

Content warning: This article contains my personal take on topics like Slavery, Genocide, the Holocaust and brief mentions of sexual assault.

Yes, I mean this.

image

It’s not a rare analogy, and it’s not new. It goes back to even 1988.

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I have to say; as a person of color, this used to make me extremely uncomfortable. Not just because the topic was being brought up (which alone would be enough for any person of any color to become a little upset)- but because I felt like not only was my ancestors suffering being derailed, it was being compared to that of animals. I mean, humans are above animals. Right?

As a vegan of colour, I would have to strongly disagree. I won’t get into why I think human suffering and non human suffering is the same. That isn’t really the point. Honestly, I dont think they need to be or that the animal rights movement even benefits from them being compared, but they are. Lots of comparisons are made besides black slavery. I’ve seen parallels between the Holocaust, and the Trail of Tears being made. Farm Animal Rights Movement founder Alex Hershaft was a Holocaust survivor who saw the parallels between Auschwitz and the slaughterhouse.

image

PETA’s “Holocaust on your Plate” exhibition consisted of eight 60-square-foot (5.6 m2) panels, each juxtaposing images of the Holocaust with images of factory-farmed animals. Photographs of concentration camp inmates were displayed next to photographs of battery chickens, and piled bodies of Holocaust victims next to a pile of pig carcasses. Captions alleged that “like the Jews murdered in concentration camps, animals are terrorized when they are housed in huge filthy warehouses and rounded up for shipment to slaughter. The leather sofa and handbag are the moral equivalent of the lampshades made from the skins of people killed in the death camps.”

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The exhibition was funded by an anonymous Jewish philanthropist, and created by Matt Prescott, who lost several relatives in the Holocaust. Prescott said: “The very same mindset that made the Holocaust possible – that we can do anything we want to those we decide are ‘different or inferior’ – is what allows us to commit atrocities against animals every single day. … The fact is, all animals feel pain, fear and loneliness. We’re asking people to recognize that what Jews and others went through in the Holocaust is what animals go through every day in factory farms.”

Animal Rights and the Holocaust, Wiki

A lot of black activists have also made some comparison between the suffering of their ancestors and that of animals. Sistah Vegan added the following to PETAs campaign:

Because of my background in having read literature about the connections human rights has to non-human animal right (Dreaded Comparison by Marjorie Spiegel, Eternal Treblinka, by Charles Patterson), I understood that PETA’s intention was not to equate black slavery to non-human animals in a derogatory manner. Within the context of Spiegel and Patterson‚s work, I analyzed PETA as implying that the exploitation and torture of non-human animals comes from the same master/oppressor ideology that has created atrocities like African Slavery, Native American genocide and the Jewish Holocaust. Marjorie Spiegel, author of The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery, notes:

“Comparing the suffering of animals to that of blacks (or any other oppressed group) is offensive only to the speciesist: one who has embraced the false notions of what animals are like. Those who are offended by comparison to a fellow sufferer have unquestioningly accepted the biased worldview presented by the masters. To deny our similarities to animals is to deny and undermine out own power. It is to continue actively struggling to prove to our masters, past or present, that we are similar to those who have abused us, rather than to our fellow victims, those whom our masters have also victimized.

This is not intended to oversimplify matters and to imply that the oppressions experienced by blacks and animals have taken identical forms- but, as divergent as the cruelties and the supporting systems of oppression may be, there are commonalities between them. They share the same basic relationship- that between oppressor and oppressed.”

Even Russel Simmons has been known to make such a comparison, notably when he this time likens carriage drawn horses to Slavery and the Holocaust:

“There were people for slavery, remember? Slavery was fine. There were people who put people in ovens. There are all kinds of ethnic cleansing, people for it. The horses matter, the promises you made matter. [Referring to Mayor De Blasio] You got in office because we put you there. We put you in and we can take you out.”

Again, I am not white. My family is Black, Native, and Chinese. So I can understand why people get upset- I just personally don’t find it offensive anymore.

Why?

First- because I don’t see anything wrong with being compared to animals. In order for me to take offense in having my suffering compared to an animals, I would first have to think I’m above them. This is not the case. I know every soul on planet earth is just as beautiful and meaningful as well as important as any other. So when someone says “Animal agriculture is the slavery of the 21st century” that doesn’t bother me. Do others have the right to be offended by such comparisons? Absolutely! But the two situations are mutually horrific, and I can’t pretend that one tragedy isn’t a bad as the other because one of the victims can’t express themselves the same as the other. Forceful artificial insemination isnt rape, because they’re cows. Factory farming isnt slavery, because they’re animals. You can take any tragedy happening to humans today, and if you replace the human victim with that of an animal- the situation becomes normal and okay.

Second- because I also believe (bear with me) that slavery and animal agriculture aren’t the same, but that the same ideology that fueled racism fuel’s specieism.

Here in the United States, the NAACP and others are now painting animal rights activists as white racists in order to marginalize and dismiss us. I can’t help but think that this sort of “analysis” that persists in painting our movement with a broad brush is the same disparagement that people engage in when the truth makes them uncomfortable. Racists dismissed Martin Luther King as a womanizer. Colonists dismissed Gandhi as a short brown man in a loincloth. Sexists dismiss feminists as ugly, angry women.

Yet many people of color work every day to change attitudes toward animals. My own beliefs, and those of many of my colleagues, sprang from an understanding of right versus wrong. It is not racism that inspires us, but justice. I ask other people of color who have had eggs thrown at their windows or experienced other forms of racism to stop condemning for a moment and to consider that what they are now saying about animals- that animals are lesser beings whose suffering can be dismissed- was once said about them and was used as an excuse to keep them in bondage

.

– Alka Chandna, PETA. (A vegan of colour)

But that’s not really the point either. In the end, all of this is for animals. Veganism is a selfless movement. Everything we fight for is for animals and the planet. Don’t get me wrong, humans will benefit from worldwide veganism. But we would do it even if it didn’t! Again, don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely important to consider other social justice movements when promoting veganism or even just as we live our day to day lives. Not just because we don’t want to hurt the image of the movement- but because it’s the right thing to do. But since we are talking about the image of the vegan movement, this begs the question; does this comparison help animal rights?

The answer is probably no.

When people make these comparisons, they’re looking to open peoples eyes. Make other people see what they see in hopes that they’ll realize that their lifestyle is harmful. What they actually get, though, is this:

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Is this a rightful response? I don’t think so, because the animals didn’t do anything. They didn’t make the comparison they don’t know why they’re being abused and they are the only beings in the animal rights movement anyone should be focusing on. Not the vegans who somehow make you want to abuse them.