Tag Archives: vegan

Duck, Duck, PUKE!

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For the past three years the West Reading Tavern, located in West Reading PA, has hosted it’s annual Duck, Duck, Beer! event. “Come end duck season with a bang!” the Tavern exclaims. This event marks a celebration for duck hunters at the closing out of duck hunting season. The Tavern states that the event is a “special tribute to the Woodward family and Dun Wurkyn.” You are probably wondering: who the hell is the Woodward family? What the hell is a Dun Wurkyn? And what do the two have to do with celebrating duck hunting? The West Reading Tavern is owned by the Woodward family. Dun Wurkyn was the name of their families hunting lodge in the 1950’s, which they later named their Tavern’s house beer after. “The Official Hunter’s Beer” they claim. Put it all together and you have an annual event where celebrating the needless, violent deaths of sentient beings is turned into a party.

imageLoaded with live music, ice carvings, a dress up contest and a full duck themed menu ducked out to the nines. Normally this charade only lasts two days, but this year the West Reading Tavern extended it’s Duck, Duck, Beer! event to a four day murder party. And to be clear, I do not use the word murder lightly. While the laws may allow the killing of gentle animals, that does not change the fact that the killing is premeditated and practiced. That the animals are tricked, have their lives abruptly stolen from them and the killer feels excitement before, during and after the act. To shoot and kill another against their will is beyond abuse. It is cold blooded murder and for those of us who know killing another is wrong, regardless of species, that is a serious offense. We can’t take that lightly.

Last year we were protesting against the sales of foie gras sold at a local French restaurant, Papillon (who is now out of business). An older gentleman and a younger gentleman crossed the street over to where we were. The younger man had a huge smile on his face, let’s keep this confidential and call him Clark. Clark kept walking until he was about 5″ from a protesters face. He told us his father and he were the owners of the West Reading Tavern. Clark remained in the protesters face while talking about how our call in protest last year inspired them to have an even longer Duck, Duck, Beer! event this year. He kept repeating that there was nothing we could do about it because it’s such a popular event in our town. He handed their duck themed menu to the protester telling them to take it. The protester smiled and said “no thank you, I’m not interested”. Clark let menu fall to the ground and walked away, continuing to say there was nothing we could do about their duck hunting celebration. “And there’s nothing you can do about!” echoed over and over again as they walked across the street and back inside their Tavern.

imageLast year we found out about the Tavern’s event too late to pull together an on site protest. This year we were ready, and with the extra incentive of the owners threats that “there was nothing we could do about it”, we planned a huge protest. Unfortunately, or fortunately, mother nature had her own revenge in the form of a blizzard that resulted in multiple feet of drifted snow. While the Tavern claimed to remain open during the storm and have “booming duck sales”, as stated on their Facebook, we very much beg to differ. Especially since every local weather update made it clear over and over again that people needed to stay off the roads.

The bottom line is this. To extend such a despicable event speaks volumes of their establishment’s morals. But what can you expect from a family that has killed animals for fun for generations? When our local shops in our towns support and defend blatant animal abuse, we have a responsibility to speak on behalf of the victims whose voices aren’t being heard. After all, if the Tavern was hosting a four day long celebration of dog fighters with a dog meat themed menu, the town would be outraged. People would be calling from around the globe. Why? That’s where the problem lays. Why is this event not only celebrated but defended by so many in our community? We hear over and over again “how dare you pick on a small, family owned business!” What kind of twilight zone are we living in where hurting animals is cool, fun and highly defended? Why are people taking the side of the tormentors instead of the victims?

imageIt’s because we grow up ill informed on virtually every aspect of other species we share this planet with. We’re told to separate the animals we “love” from the animals we choose to eat and we let outrageous laws depict which species we can viciously hunt down without question. This is speciesism. In the words of the great Alice Walker, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” Other animals are not here for us to hunt, eat, drink, wear or experiment on. Nor are they here to amuse us. They are not here for us to exploit or profit from. They are not ours in any way. Saying “I love my dog, he’s family” while shooting ducks and then eating their bodies reveals a major disconnect. How can you possibly justify loving one species while turning your back to the mass suffering of other species who are just as deserving of our compassion, respect and protection? Just like racism and sexism, speciesism is just as harmful, offensive and unacceptable as we continue to grow into more compassionate and conscience communities.

imageHunting down gentle and kind animals should in no way be celebrated. Hunting is repulsive and devastating to wildlife. Less than 5 percent of the U.S. population (13.7 million people) hunts, yet hunting is permitted in many wildlife refuges, national forests, state parks and on other public land. And while you’ll hear people talk about it being an over population problem, the truth remains that it’s about blood hungry, money making. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, around 13.3 million ducks were harvested in the United States during the 2014-2015 waterfowl hunting season. This is down from over 13.7 million ducks harvested the previous season, which is a good sign but also shows how much our voices are needed to speak out against it. Many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they are injured but not killed nor collected by hunters. SOUTH DAKOTA GAME, FISH AND PARKS estimates over 3 million ducks and geese are not retrieved every year is the US and Canada alone. These animals die a slow death of starvation, freezing or drowning. Hunting also disrupts migration and destroys families, which is a point that must be made and brought to light because the human species seems to assume that it is the only species that values its friends and family.

Hunting is not about food, it’s not a sport and it’s certainly not a game. It’s murder and violence, there’s no doubt about it. Ducks, like all species are beautiful and unique individuals. They are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. They are gentle and wise. They are kind and they are not here for us. They are here with us as we all share this beautiful planet together. Want to hunt for fun? Hunt each other. Leave innocent animals out of it.

imageWhen we speak out for one victim, we are speaking on behalf of them all. All who violently and unnecessarily lost their lives. All who are left suffering. We are speaking on behalf of the families that were torn apart and we are speaking on behalf of all those whose tragic fate still awaits them at the hands of human arrogance. Please reach out to the West Reading Tavern and invite others to do the same. Respectfully ask they end this senseless event. Send letters, post comments or call. Even if your voice shakes, please speak up for these animals; and always remember who we are speaking for. We have the power to create change, but not until we stand up and use our voice. We are no better, no smarter and in no way more deserving of respect, kindness and freedom. Let us not forget, we are ALL animals.

Phone:: 610-376-9232
Address:: 606 Penn Ave West Reading, PA 19611
Twitter:: https://twitter.com/WRTWestReading
Facebook:: https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Reading-Tavern/299246126849241

Duck hunting sabotaging 101, from American Hunt Saboteurs::
Water fowl seasons, for some reason, are my favorite. In the reeds with a case of shells and some friends, firing away like it’s WW2—what could be more American? The primary goal here is to fire when the birds are still out of range and to convince the flock to seek another place to land. There are sabs that use a boat for this type of action. I like the ability to change my location and fire from many different vantage points without being spotted. 4-6 people in groups of 2 will spread you out even more. Most states require you be able to shoot no more than 3 shells at a time from a shot gun (preferred weapon of duck hunters). There is a plug that is sold with new shot gun; otherwise you will need to purchase one. It must be installed in the gun if you are in the field. This is usually covered in a hunter education course. Use only steel shot if you plan to engage in this type of sabbing. There’s no reason to pollute the water with any more lead. Other possible options include: Laser pointers to cause the birds to fly away or higher. Aim for the lead bird. Mirrors may also work. Predator-shaped kites have been used outside of hunting areas before. According to some they may work.

For more info on how to sabotage hunters and protect wildlife check out::
http://americanhuntsabs.org/

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Fast Against Slaughter

fast2014 - 1Today is World Day for Farmed Animals, chosen because it is Gandhi’s birthday. Throughout his life, Gandhi undertook nearly 20 fasts as political and social protest. We are #FastingAgainstSlaughter

Most farmed animals are starved for hours, even days, as they are being transported to slaughter. We are fasting in remembrance and solidarity for their tremendous suffering. Yearly,  65 billion animals are violently abused and killed every second of every day around the world for unnecessary human consumption. The terrors these animals face day after day and night after night is unimaginable and then to be starved of food and water up until they are brutally murdered at the slaughter house is unacceptable and needs to end NOW.

fast2014 - 2Raped, punched, teeth cut, tails cut, branded, heads bashed into cement floors, throats slit, bolt shot in the head, skinned alive, diseased, babies ripped from their mothers wombs as they scream for each other as the baby is dragged away to be slaughtered just days after their birth. Slow growing piglets have their heads bashed in by workers because they are considered “useless.” Male baby chicks ground up alive because they are deemed “useless.” Female ducks on foie gras farms are killed daily because their livers don’t produce a “good enough product” for human consumption. They are suffocated, gassed, strangled or have their necks twisted off. This is all the norm on factory farms and if you believe otherwise or think, “It can’t be that bad,” please know you are very wrong and have been lied to.

fast2014 - 396% of Americans are against animal abuse. Can you imagine how the whole world would change if that 96% stood strong with those values? If you are in the 96% of people who are against animal abuse, today is the day to start standing true to your views. End animal violence now. It starts with you and it’s in your hand. Your dollar is your voice. Make no mistake, if you are eating and drinking and wearing animal bodies or products, you support animal abuse, animal rape, and animal murder. Their blood is on YOUR hands. It’s never been an easier time to make the switch and for more info on switching to a truly compassionate lifestyle check out the links below.

fast2014 - 4These innocent animals are not ours. Their bodies are not ours to eat, to drink, to wear, to experiment on, or to exploit in any way. They are beautifully and uniquely their own with purposes beyond far beyond our greed. They have loving and funny personalities just like the cats and dogs we love so much in our homes. These farm “food” animals are not things, they are not dumb and they are not nerveless. We need to open our eyes and hearts to see them for the incredible beings that they are. Someone, not something. Individuals, sweet and innocent living, sentient beings. Please be a part in stopping this insanity.

fast2014 - 5I’ll finish with a quote from FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement):

“We now have OVER 11 THOUSAND pledges worldwide! Please take a moment to reflect on this number. Sometimes we feel so helpless and alone in making a difference for farmed animals. We are never alone. Together we are raising awareness worldwide on the suffering of these animals. Together we are saying this is wrong and unnecessary. Together we are planting seeds of compassion far and wide. And we’ve only just begun.”

http://dayforanimals.org/

https://www.vegansociety.com/try-vegan/how-go-vegan

http://vegankit.com/be

http://www.veganoutreach.org/guide/

http://www.vegancoach.com/go-vegan.html

 

Eating animals to help animals? We can do better.

Thoughts on the Animal Rescue League of Berks County‘s Ham Dinner fundraiser by one of our members.

happy_campers_206891It strikes a painful nerve when local animal-helping organizations raise money through activities that involve animal suffering, like a ham dinner or a burger festival.

When I see ham on a plate, I see the trail of suffering that began with the birth of the piglet. It follows his short life of confinement, and ends in his fear and slaughter at about 6 months old. It’s taken me a long time to face what I knew was going on and make lifestyle changes to avoid this sanctioned violence.

Not everyone is there yet. But people who work with dogs and cats understand the love of animals and that they can suffer. They just don’t always connect it to animals considered livestock — or maybe they feel the fight against such as massive and powerful industry is futile.

01_14_7---Pot-Bellied-Pig_webMore than once, animal lovers who still eat meat have confided to me, “I know you are right — I just can’t do it.” This means something to me — people are seeing and feeling injustice and moving in the right direction. After all, they could be snickering at my chickpea salad and baiting me with nonsense about protein. And they aren’t.

When you see animal abuse as a social justice issue, you see the full range, from Michael Vick to the suffering on factory farms. But many organizations working to help pets don’t address the same range.

It’s the old argument of animal rights vs. animal welfare. The two movements have much in common — they both say they love animals and give large amounts of time and money to help animals in need. And I think we share more than we don’t share. An example of this is the recent change in factory farming standards Nestlé enacted after Mercy for Animal’s investigation.

Forest-3If we aren’t yet at the point of creating fundraisers without animals as food, how about offering a vegan alternative at every event? A local restaurant, Chen in West Reading, makes an excellent smoky vegetarian ham that is featured in many of its dishes. Veggie hotdogs and burgers are available in almost every grocery store and are much healthier than their animal-based alternatives. I’d be very excited to see this and would tell my larger-than-you-think vegan community.

Would some animal activists be turned off to see and smell meat cooking? Yes. Would some give it a chance? Yes. I believe someday that humans will stop eating sentient beings and will find it strange to imagine a time when animals were raised to be killed. Maybe just maybe we are moving in that direction.

Food for ThoughtIf you feel the same, please contact the Animal Rescue League and encourage them to visit Food for Thought for suggestions on creating fundraisers than are friendly to ALL animal species. Please politely encourage truly cruelty-free, vegan options, void of any animal products. We realize the ARL and other groups are doing the best they can to help the animals in our area with limited resources, and therefore need to have successful fundraisers.

Judd Meinhart, Shelter Director
jmeinhart@berksarl.org
610-373-8830 ext. 121

Ashley Mikulsky, Director of Administration and Development
amikulsky@berksarl.org
610-373-8830 ext. 117

We do not yet have contact information for the Board of Directors, but you can access their names and affiliations here.

Find sample letters here.

A CALL TO FEMINISTS: Dairy and the Subjugation of Women

The thing about dairy is…

I want to talk about what a “rape rack” is again. Some of you may notice I throw the rape word around a lot when I’m talking about animal abuse. Please know that this is very intentional and not a word I take OR use lightly. Its really important to know that “rape rack” is the industry word for the device used to artificially inseminate female cows so that they become pregnant and can eventually produce milk for human consumption. GROSS. And the fact that the industry doesn’t even attempt to hide that it is in fact RAPE is beyond disgusting and disrespectful to these beautiful mamas.

cow impregnationWhen a human mother has a baby, she will continue to produce milk as long as a child is drinking from her breast. Female cows however, can only produce milk for up to one year. So the raping process happens year after year until she is about three or four years old. Once she stops producing “optimum” milk, she is sent to slaughter. Women PLEASE, imagine being born a prisoner, abused daily, raped annually, impregnated, having each of your children stolen from you year after year until you are so weak and sick that they send you to be slaughtered and your body ends up in hotdogs and hamburgers and cat food.

Nothing could be more disrespectful to a mother. She’s done nothing wrong, and then you eat her? Really? Does that sound alright with you? In my prior non vegan life i loved cheese, milk, cream…you name it. If it was dairy I really genuinely enjoyed it. Then I found out where its coming from, who its coming from and the horrors behind the dairy industry. It stopped me dead in my tracks and the more I researched the more I knew that this just wasn’t right.

fem give a damnPeople have argued that feminism and veganism do not have to go hand in hand. My response is this: They NEED to go hand in hand and that is the only point here. Things change, we evolve and grow and learn from our mistakes and we’re usually proven wrong about a lot of things and evolve to a higher, more compassionate lifestyle. The “concrete information” you all seem to stand by is being proven scientifically, medically and morally wrong. Those foundational and ignorant thoughts and ideas are crumbling more and more everyday. Laws being passed to ban wild animals from the circus, fucking sea world getting shut down, dairy sales are down, West Hollywood passed a ban against the selling of fur, the UK, Australia and Croatia have banned fur farming completely, there’s more vegan options than ever before. Stop fighting it and and open your eyes, hearts and minds. Make no mistake their blood is on your hands and maybe you don’t see it but we see it clearly. Do better, be better. Evolve.

As women we need to stand and fight for all of our female sisters. Not just humans. It is hypocritical to call yourself a feminist if you are still ingesting dairy. Whether its cheese, yogurt, milk etc., their rape, abuse and murder is what your dollar is supporting. The line between humans and non-humans is arbitrary. Rape does not apply to humans only. Know that. Get it in your head. Rape is happening on these farms and it should make you very uncomfortable.

I’ll wrap this up with a quote from muh grrrl, the Vegan Feminist. “Challenge the category of the human just like feminists challenged sex and gender. This is all constructed to keep some group in power and it’s disturbing to realize we have the power in this case and we are the ones with privilege. Openly saying rape rack when I talk about cows is one of the most vegan feminist acts I can participate in; I look across an arbitrary boundary and I refuse the suffering of my sisters. Even if they are not your sisters, know that they were violated. Refuse to let anyone think anything less.”

fem violence

7 Ways Eating Meat, Dairy and Eggs Destroys Motherhood

Ethical Theory, Nonhuman Animals, and Feminism

To Be a Feminist is to Be a Vegan

10 Facts the Dairy Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Review of Bethlehem VegFest

Review courtesy Kelly Lehman.

When we arrived at VegFest, it was grey and rainy. As we got closer to the tents I was really happy to see that even though it was raining and damp and chilly, there were still so many people there and everyone had a smile on their face. It was clear that the compassion and love for animals we shared cast out any storm.

Vegan Treats, located in Bethlehem, was one of the first booths. They of course had an amazing display of pure vegan yumminess. Vegan whoopie pies, thick gooey brownies, cookies and mini cakes decorated to the nines.

The next booth we hit up was the Lehigh Valley Vegetarians. They were awesome people and let me put out our flyers on their table. We talked about a number of things including how awesome it would be to host a Veg Fest in Berks County! One day soon I hope.

We walked by a number of cruelty free booths that had make up, clothing and art. As we were walking a member from Mercy for Animals asked if we would like to sign a petition demanding Walmart to end the use of gestation crates in its supplier chain. (See more about this here and sign online here.) After gladly signing we talked with them for awhile, told them about our Dans Foie Gras campaign and that we needed as much help as possible. They promised to help spread the word. I left their booth with great info flyers, and a MFA sticker and pin!

We past by the famous Cinnamon Snail, an awesome mobile vegan restaurant from NYC, and the line was ridiculous. Had to be about 20 people in line the whole time they were there. The scent from the truck was divine.

While i did not get to hear any of the speakers, I was very impressed and delighted to see how many they had lined up. Karen Davis From United Poultry Concerns spoke on “Free-Range Poultry & Eggs: Humane Alternatives to Factory Farm Products?” Matt Frazier, one of my vegan crushes, talked about the No Meat Athlete‘s “Fit, Fast and Happy”. Anne Dinshah, from the American Vegan Society, gave a talk about “Will Veganism Bring You Health, Wealth, and Wisdom?” There were a number of other speakers touching base on “facing our food”, “Climate Change and diet,” “Vegan food options,” incorporating more protein into your diet and many more. There were cooking demos and Flash Mob Yoga. Rescued pigs (one rockin’ sunglasses), and live music all day. This event went off perfectly.

Although it was dreary and rainy, almost everyone I saw had a smile on their face. I was proud and grateful to be there with like minded people whose love for animals and their rights to exist as they should, was overwhelming. I felt so much love and left confident knowing that big changes ARE happening and coming and to be apart of that is nothing short of amazing. Please check out the links to venders websites! Lots of amazing info.

Lehigh Valley Vegetarians

Vegan Treats

Catskill Animal Sanctuary

United Poultry Concerns

Mercy for Animals

American Vegan Society