Categories
Vegan

Annoying Questions & Comments About Being Vegan

  1. Where do you get your protein from?
  2. Why are you vegan?
  3. Don’t you miss cheese?
  4. Don’t you miss bacon?
  5. Are you a strict vegan?
  6. But what about [x food]?
  7. But what would you do if [insert ludicrous hypothetical situation}
  8. But what about [insert something they’re trying to ‘catch you out on’ here]
  9. So you can’t eat chocolate?
  10. So you can’t eat cake?

Then the inevitable comments…

  1. My [friend/friend of a friend] went vegan and was really unhealthy/got fat/got skinny/blah blah
  2. People saying ‘vegan’ as ‘vay-gun’
  3. Eating out must be really tricky
  4. I suppose it must be really hard making sure you have a balanced edit
  5. Some inane comment about how veggie sausages and the like show I really want to eat meat really
  6. I couldn’t go vegan – I’d miss [x thing] too much.
  7. [Some pathetic comment about ‘rabbit food’]
Categories
Vegan

Greyhound racing – why I’ll never respect it

I do not, and will not, ever support or condone greyhound racing. There, I said it.

“Oh, but you’re a greyhound owner, you must love to see them running?”

“Oh, but they’re so happy when they run”

Right. I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while – it’s a subject I’m very strongly opinionated about and one that’s very emotive to me as I’ve had greyhounds in my life for nearly eight years now.

Before I carry on and slate the greyhound industry, let me say that I do understand why going to see dogs racing would be fun, for, I’m guessing, the following reasons:

1) It’s exhilarating and awe-inspiring to see greyhounds run.

2) It makes for a fun night out /social occasion.

3) The fun is added to with the ability to bet on the outcome of the races (and therefore give a buzz from the potential win).

However, none of that makes up for the disgrace that is dog racing.

Go on then, slate the industry

Gladly.

The overall factor for me is that the greyhound industry isn’t about the dogs, it’s not about their health, their happiness, their lives – it’s about them being used as a commodity for the financial gain of the trainers, owners, tracks, and betting operators. Nothing more, nothing less. The dogs serve a purpose, they are stock, means to an end, and if/when they’re no longer causing financial gain, that stock is discarded without remorse or regard for morality, ethics or cruelty.

So what precisely is cruel about the life of a greyhound in the industry? Well, in no particular order:

Tattooing

Greyhounds are given tattoos either in both ears or just one, effectively a serial number. This is cruel to say the least – how can you justify subjecting an animal to that? You can’t, it’s disgusting.

You’re no good for me

Billy

This is my boy Billy. He’s around five now -he’s one of the most loving, affectionate animals I’ve ever met. He’s loyal, sensitive, fun loving and gentle. However, he wasn’t good enough to race (if you’d see him run you’d see why!) – which meant he was kicked out by his trainer as he was of no use (financial gain). As was his sister. Both dogs were destined to be put down but thankfully found homes.

I can’t support an industry that treats animals like this – make no mistake, the trainers/owners etc have no qualms about slaughtering any dog deemed not good enough. Don’t kid yourself they care or have remorse or emotion about it. They don’t.

So this is one end of the process – damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Good enough to race? Look forward to a couple of years of being used for financial gain before being turfed out. Not good enough? Don’t care, get out – get put down or maybe get a home.

This isn’t the process of anyone who cares about greyhounds. It’s not caring, it’s not love, it’s not respect. It’s greed, lack of compassion and selfishness. This isn’t about the interests of the dogs, it’s about making money. If you visit a greyhound race, your entrance fee and wagers support this cruelty. And if you want to support it, then your morals aren’t quite right, in my opinion.

We’re done with you

So, a greyhound that’s good enough to race gets used for a couple of years – probably kept in a crate most of the time, ‘trained’ at the trainers whim, given no ‘puppyhood’, possibly drugged for better/worse performance. They might make the trainer et al a load of money, they might not.

At the end of this process, there is no use for them (with the exception of some male dogs who are deemed such good ‘stock’ that they are used for breeding or extracting semen from). So they’re turfed out. By the hundreds. Some of them find homes, some sit in kennels for years, many are put down. Figures of how many are put down vary and are hard to prove but are estimated to be between 500 and 1000 in the UK alone per year.

Many of the scumbag trainers/owners don’t even want to pay to have the dog put down ‘humanely’, and pay another scumbag to shoot them, or perhaps just drown them personally. Let me stress, these people do NOT care about the greyhound. They don’t love them, this is about money, greed and awful ethics.

The beautiful greyhound in the picture is my girl Misty. Misty has just celebrated her 12th birthday. She’s a very quiet, gentle, laidback yet assertive dog who is loved by children and adults alike. She was a reasonably good racer but of course once her racing ‘career’ was over she was kicked out. She’s one of the lucky ones – she’s had a great life since then and at the moment as I write this is hogging the bed, enjoying her retirement. I can’t imagine for a moment how you can have such a lack of emotion and compassion that you could just take a beautiful animal like this and murder them, just because they wouldn’t be making you money any more. How empty do you have to be as a person to do that? And how can you justify financially contributing to an industry that does this?

Insemination – ugh

Somewhat naively, I didn’t know about this cruel and disgusting element of the industry until recently. I had been researching Misty’s ‘family tree’ – turns out her Dad was somewhat of a greyhound celebrity way back and when. He was put down when he was 10.

So the score is, they use the really good males to harvest semen from, which they can then sell to people wanting to breed from good ‘stock’. Check out this range of greyhound sperm that you can buy. This is just disgusting – I’m no fan of making dogs breed for this industry anyway, but to use artificial insemination methods is just cruel and nasty.

Again, every penny of your money that you put towards this industry supports this crap. And it will until you stop.

But they enjoy racing!

I would never dispute that a greyhound enjoys/loves running. However, the racing industry is about them running when they HAVE to – for a race. Not out of joy or fun or because they want to.

To see a greyhound running for the sheer joy of it is one of the most beautiful things in the world. It’s stunning to watch, especially if you have two or more running as a pack/playing/’racing’.

In any case, the race itself is a tiny, tiny part of their time. Let’s not forget the majority of the time they won’t be doing that, and they won’t be having fun.

Further reading and final thoughts

A simple Google search will enable to easily find the sheer cruelty of this industry. There’s loads of images or videos I could insert here. Have a read of

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/greyhound_racing/facts/greyhound_racing_facts.html#Arent_retired_greyhounds_adopted_What_ha

Which gives some background about the scale of the problem in the USA. It’s huge.

Thankfully, this messed up, greedy, cruel industry is fading, as the BBC reported in January 2013. I’d love to think this is because people are more savvy about the sick industry however it’s more likely to be a sign of the economy – people having less money to spend ‘out’ etc. But either way, the decline is a good thing. I don’t sympathise with anyone that may have lost a job due to this, not one bit.

Retired greyhounds and why they rock

Greyhounds are awesome companions. They’re relaxing to have around (as they love sleep), they’re loyal, kind, great with kids, and loving. I’ve had (including the two now) four greyhounds in my life and I wouldn’t consider another breed now. Not because I dislike other breeds, but once you’ve experienced life with a greyhound you won’t look back.

They’re ‘low maintenance’ dogs and there’s hundreds needing a home – all ages, colours, size etc.

You can help these dogs by

1) Not contributing towards this industry

2) Considering taking in a retired greyhound to your life and give it a loving retirement that it deserves, away from the crap of their previous life. Show them what love is, let them grow and enjoy the bonding and mutual love  for the rest of their lives.

Thanks for reading!

Note: RIP both of those beautiful hounds – Billy lost in 2017, Misty 2015. Always missed and in my heart.

Useful links

http://www.retiredgreyhounds.co.uk/

http://www.hantsgreyrescue.co.uk/

http://www.greyhoundandlurcherrescue.co.uk/

http://www.greyhoundlifeline.co.uk/

http://www.grey2kusa.org/index.php

Categories
Vegan

Random thoughts on being vegan

Those of you that know me will know I’m vegan. I’ve been vegan now since late 2003 (had been veggie before that on and off for a while).

As it’s been so many years now, being vegan is just part of my regular life, it’s normality for me. I don’t really give it any thought (aside from things like checking ingredients and so on). So it’s not something I’ve ever come to re-evaluate or anything. It is what it is – which is to me, a conviction, a belief that I can’t see myself changing in the future.

I won’t go into detail as it’s not the point of this post, but broadly speaking my reasons for being vegan are for the most part ethical, with an element of health too. Now, for me, my decision to be vegan is ‘right’. That is, it’s right for me. However I don’t consider myself to be one of the ‘preaching’ type vegans who see it as important to get down people’s throats about it. Frankly, I don’t really care what your dietary choices are. Whatever they are, they’re ‘right’ for you otherwise you’d choose differently. Sure, in an ideal world of mine I guess everyone would be vegan but hey.
Similarly, I’m an atheist. Whilst I don’t believe for a second in the existence of a god, I have no qualms if you do. In any case neither of us can prove we’re correct 🙂

So I guess that’s where I’m coming from. My choice is ‘right’ in the sense I’m happy with it. Your choice is ‘right’ for you in the sense you’re happy with it. I don’t question other people’s dietary choices.

Getting to the point of the post then, one thing I find rather annoying about being vegan is being routinely asked to justify my choice. This usually rears its head the first time I’m eating in front of someone. It’s 95% the first reaction – “WHY are you vegan?”

Now for me, I find it boring talking about food. I really can’t be arsed and in any case, if we’re out in some kind of restaurant setting, I don’t like the spotlight being on me as I don’t want to sit there trying to enjoy a meal explaining my personal choices and beliefs.

The other thing is, I’m not going to say to someone eating meat/dairy products “WHY are you eating that?”. Because it’s boring and I couldn’t care less.

The hierarchy of questions then typically goes from ‘why’ to either going ‘well what DO you eat?’ or by asking me to justify my choices further.

Admittedly some people are genuinely interested, and not in a negative way, but for the most part I’m made to feel like I’m on the defensive, and it makes me feel quite uncomfortable. This then often descends into people telling me how I don’t get enough protein/B12/blah blah blah, usually as they’re scoffing a plate of chips.

I think of all the ‘Vegan FAQs’, the ‘what DO you eat’ is the single most inane question. Oh and there’s always the token “my friend was vegan for a year and got really ill” crap, as if no meat-eater ever got ill from not having a balanced diet.

Hm what else? Ah, the assumption that for me being vegan I’m in some way ‘going without’, that I miss everything. I don’t at all. I don’t look at meat or a pint of milk and think “mm I could just have some of that.”
And why does everyone assume that I must miss bacon sandwiches? Never understood that one.

Aside from having a moan, what I’m getting at is I don’t like being made to explain my personal choices. Sure, if I was to open up a debate by going “all you meat eaters are murderers” or sending you a video clip of an abbatoir, then fine.
And yes I like food, cooking etc but I have no interest in explaining what I’ve eaten that week. Do you really need to know that I ate Weetabix this morning?

Actually, the real PITAs are the ‘nit pickers’. These are people that just can’t handle the thought of someone being vegan and therefore try to rip apart your beliefs. E.g “what about your shoes?” “what about your belt?” blah blah blah. Or when they see me eating a cake/cookie/whatever, go “is that vegan?” FFS

On the flip side, I’ll freely admit that there are some vegans who are way, way too gung-ho and preachy, and, sorry, I don’t respect that. It’s intrusive and dis-respectful. And also I’ve never known these types of people to ‘convert’ anyone anyway.

Rant over