Monday, December 21, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 46 - Interview with William Paul about nonviolence, the NZ Vegan Society, The World is Vegan if you want it and other things...

Listen HERE

This week I am very pleased to have back as my guest William Paul.  We talk about his experience as a peaceful activist and how about an occurrence where he was challenged on his nonviolence stance while speaking out against violence.  We also talk about the NZ Vegan Society's Big Book of Vegan Products which is a fantastic new resource by this great new NZ Vegan Society.  We discuss the up-and-coming (we hope) SAFE vegan campaign and whether it will actually happen, how it will happen and whether it will it actually be a vegan campaign that we can get behind, among other things.

Also as both William and I have unfortunately been without internet access for a week, coincidentally, we came back online to discover the recent development of a wonderful new resource for vegan advocacy by Gary Francione and the team at The Abolitionist Approach which is based on John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "War is Over if you want it" Times Square Billboard:
The World is Vegan! If you want it.


William Paul on Facebook
William Paul on Twitter
The NZ Vegan Society on Facebook (please join and show your support!)

Please look at all the resources for The World is Vegan! if you want it resources from:
Vincent Guihan at We Other Animals
Adam Kochanowicz at The Vegan News
John Colvin

Please also read this NOTE from Professor Francione about the billboard:

Thanks everyone for all this great work and thanks to William for coming back on the show!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 45 - the responsibility for the individual lies with the individual

Listen HERE

Just articulating some things that I have been trying to come to terms with lately, specifically this desire to see "results" and to claim responsibility for things we really have no right to claim responsibility for.

When someone takes animal rights seriously and goes vegan, it's their "victory" and no one else's.  The benefit is for all, but the credit for that is given to the individual who takes that action.  And alternatively if people resist and turn away, that also lies with them.  Let us pay closer attention to our own actions as individuals and if more of us do that, advocates especially, then I think there will be some wonderful "results".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 44 - Continuing my conversation with Adam Kochanowicz from The Vegan News

Listen HERE

The second half of my conversation with Adam Kochanowicz where we talk about issues and opinions and share experiences as two advocates for abolitionist veganism in this speciesist, welfarist world! Enjoy!

Please check out the interview with Gary Francione at The Vegan News:
All Episodes
Subscribe to The Vegan News Video
Subscribe to The Vegan News Audio
Or watch on YouTube

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 43 - Conversation between myself and Adam Kochanowicz of The Vegan News

Listen HERE

This week I was chatting with Adam Kochanowicz, as we often do, and we thought it would be an interesting experiment to post our conversations about events and about what we think and what we are
doing, and see if anyone else can relate!

Please check out the interview with Gary Francione at The Vegan News:
All Episodes
Subscribe to The Vegan News Video
Subscribe to The Vegan News Audio
Or watch on YouTube

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 42 - How it is the opposite of manly to consume animal products and partake in violence on innocents

Listen HERE

This week I address the silliness of thinking that it is "manly" to consume animal products, specifically "eating meat" because that is one of the most touted myths and one of the biggest misunderstandings of our times, and is another paradigm shift in thinking that we must dismantle and redirect towards obvious truth. Thanks for listening!

Please check out these quotes at Atheist Vegan:
Pro Slavery
Anti Slavery

Thursday, October 29, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 41 - Special guest Corey Wrenn! PhD Student in Sociology at Colorado State University and also the writer for the Roanoke Vegan Examiner

Listen HERE

This week I have a long awaited and well worth the wait interview with Corey Wrenn from the Roanoke Vegan Examiner.  We talk about Professor of Philosophy Bernie Rollins with whom Corey is taking an animal "rights" seminar, and the many challenges involved in being the only actual rights advocate in the room, and that includes the lecturer.  We also discuss student advocacy, the absence of animal issues from the environmental movement. sociology and academia in general,  and discuss what will be involved in Corey's PhD.

Enjoy!  Thanks so much to Corey Wrenn for coming on the show.   You can follow her on Twitter at this link.

Major apologies from me for not checking my SKYPE input and using the built-in mic rather than the headphone mic.

You can play 'guess the frequency!' every time my mic comes in.  Sorry for the hummmmmmmmmm and whhhhhhirrrrrrr. :-)
(lucky I am not getting paid to do this, if I were my boss I would fire me)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 40 - How to be a vegan in a capitalist society? Just kidding, I know nothing about politics

Listen HERE

This week I talk about how as a vegan consumer in a capitalist society I am trying to work as best as I can in the system, as a consumer in my daily life, aside from the main focus of advocating to individuals for a paradigm shift, and opening people's minds up to a fundamentally different way of thinking about all other animals and life on the planet by promoting the abolitionist approach and veganism. I admit I am very uneducated about politics, history, agriculture, sociology, and a myriad of other extremely important subject matters related to vegan advocacy, so I will do my best to educate myself as best I can for the rest of my life, and in the meantime lean heavily on my colleagues and fellow advocates who ARE educated in these things :-)

So this podcast is just some of my personal thoughts, as always, and I do appreciate any advice and constructive criticism. One of the things I touch on is how we can avoid buying from companies that are direct exploiters of animals and their products, i.e non vegan restaurants for example. The truth is, most of us can't. I mean, we can easily choose to avoid some of them (non vegan restaurants for example) but what about the supermarket? What about where we buy our clothing? What about where we buy our fruit and vegetables? My fruit and vege place sells eggs and ice cream bars. Some people are lucky enough to have access and money to buy all their products from purely vegan online suppliers, but I am not one of them.

That is why I always affirm that I personally am part of the problem, which is one of the many reasons I feel such a strong urge to rectify the problem and why make it my personal responsibility to do so as best I can. Please keep in mind, this is nothing at all like some "Vegan Outreach" advocacy that says "oh don't make a fuss and try to be pure, just eat the egg product every now and then so people don't think we are too fanatical". No no no. I am an ethical vegan. I am, however, a human being, an active consumer, and I live in a speciesist society, and whether I like it or not, I am contributing to industries that exploit animals, even when I buy my fruit and veges from the fruit and vege store. BUT we must let the producers know we vegans exist—that there is a legitimate and lucritive demand for vegan products. I am not a supporter of capitalism, I would like to see a better system, but I also live in reality and face truths. Right now, today, I live in a capitalist society and am an active member and consumer in that society whether I like it or not. So in the meantime too, while we are still working for change, we must have a voice. It will grow to a thunderous roar, right now it is a whisper in the grand scheme of things. But that will change. Until it does; don't be shy! Demand vegan! Ask for vegan products. Enquire about vegan products. MENTION vegan products at the very least. Educate sellers and producers about the vegan consumer. Tell them it's a guaranteed sale. That'll prick up their greedy little ears.

Note: I don't consider "prick up their ears" to be a bad animal metaphor. That is because the way I look at it; noting that some lovely animals have ears that can prick up and using it metaphorically for human animals whose ears don't prick up doesn't have anything to do with exploiting the animals whose ears do prick up, so I think this is an acceptable animal metaphor. Thoughts?

There is SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT it is just an inexhaustible subject this animal exploitation, unfortunately. I wish we didn't have to talk about it, but we DO.

This week I mentioned some other podcasts and blogs and I would like to provide those links here, but they are also in my blog link list too.
Firstly I mentioned Gary Francione's latest episode from his Abolitionist Approach Commentary:
A Discussion of Abolitionist Principals

Roger Yates from his On Human Nonhuman Relations podcast:
Dehumanization Processes Part One
Dehumanization Processes Part Two

Vincent Guihan from We Other Animals and Animal Emancipation:
We Other Animals Radio
I must make a correction - the podcast is called We Other Animals Radio not Animal Emancipation. I am sorry!

Sam Tucker from Food for Thought Radio
fftradio podcast on iTunes

And Jordan Wyatt from Jaywontdart's Podcast has a new blog and vegan podcast:
Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals

And this is the link to my favourite vegan restaurant in the whole world (especially since it is right here in Auckland NZ)
Golden Age Vegan Restaurant

This is the video that Randy Sandberg posted:
Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood. It is blood chilling, but watch it! Knowledge is power! This is all part of it too. Thanks Randy, this is a great find.

Finally, I was wrong (in a good way) there ARE other actual physical vegan stores in the world. Here is one:
The Pangea Store in Rockville Maryland.  I am sure there must be others.   Awesome!

Monday, September 21, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 38-Why are we blaming the farmers?

Listen HERE

This week I comment on a breaking story by Greenpeace NZ which has everyone up in arms about how the dairy farmers are importing palm kernels to NZ by the millions of tonnes in order to supplement the feed of the dairy cows.
Thing is, nobody is vegan, so they all eat dairy products. Ummmmm?

These are the articles by the NZ Herald about the story:
Greenpeace Moves Palm Kernel Protest to Port
Greenpeace Defiant over Palm Oil Protest

Here is a link to my Indymedia NZ article (PLEASE feel free to comment! Help! :-)
Why are we blaming the farmers?

Golden Age Vegan Restaurant

This are to Adam Kochanowicz's fantastic resource on Vegan FM:
Vegan FM/Is it Vegan?
Golden Age on Vegan FM listing
you can also see things like ingredients listings , animal testers, alcohols that are vegan etc.

This is a link to Vegan Help on Twitter - if you are on Twitter, join in! It is helping people go vegan!

Finally this is a link to the youtube entry that Stan uploaded for me to use to practise for our next performance (there is a little mistake in there on my part but you will get the idea)

Thanks for listening

Friday, September 11, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 37 - In support of Non Violence

Listen HERE

This episode I talk about my support of non violence and of the abolitionist approach and peaceful non violent vegan education. I give my reasons why, based on my own personal experience and non-expert opinion, and my core beliefs, which is all I can do. In this episode I am specifically talking about some of the things that I have read over the last few weeks in which proponents of violent tactics in the name of animal rights have been getting a lot of attention, and I have read some things that I thought were not only misguided and tactically wrong, but also deeply immoral. Not all those involved are supporters of the extreme physical violence that a couple of writings and advocates are proposing, however it was very distressing to see support of these advocates by anyone at all. I realise that a lot of the really extreme positions come from people who are deeply disturbed by what is going on in our world and are perhaps totally overwhelmed with everything, the horrific amount animal exploitation and who feel desperate. I say they need to snap out of it and help us create a peaceful vegan movement, but of course they don't agree with that, nevertheless I stand firmly in my beliefs, as always.

I also object to people who are trying to confuse the issue by dragging things like Open Rescues into the debate about violence, I think that is muddying the waters and taking the focus of the debate off where it originally began and where it should remain, which was an objection to the hate mongering, propositions of actual physical violence and an escalation in violence in general by some advocates.

Finally I think we must realise that it is important for us to be there for new vegans who may be overwhelmed by their new knowledge, and help them stay sane and positive, because they are our ethical vegan movement and we need them to not lose control, we need them to help us get the ethical vegan movement going, and that is not going to happen if they spiral down into despair and hate.

And now for the good news! These are the podcasts I mentioned in the episode:
Professor Gary L. Francione from Abolitionist Approach:
Abolitionist Approach Commentary
at the iTunes store

Vincent Guihan from We Other Animals: - We Other Animals Radio
at the iTunes store: We Other Animals Radio

And Dr. Roger Yates from On Human-Nonhuman Relations:
On Human-Nonhuman Relations Podcast
at the iTunes store

This is the link to Barbara DeGrande's Veganacious blog

and this is to Corey Wrenn's Vegan Examiner articles, I hope to have Corey on as a guest very soon.
Roanoke Vegan Examiner

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 36 - Follow-up interview with Francis Glass from Animal Liberation Youth Victoria in response to some great listener feedback

Listen HERE

I am very pleased to welcome back Francis Glass, coordinator of Animal Liberation Youth, from Animal Liberation Victoria. In our last interview we talked about non-vegan volunteers handing out literature, and this episode we would like to respond to the comments and concerns that raised about this subject, as it is definitely something that needs to be discussed. Thank you to Karin Hilpisch for your comments!

We also talk about young people who are going vegan and how important they are to our future, and what it is like for a young person who is still living with their parents to go vegan, the resistance some kids get from their families and 13 and 14 year olds dealing with parents who are hostile to veganism and actively try to prevent their children from being vegan. We discuss the different reasons why the parents may be reacting in this way and try to come up with more ideas on ways to help them and their children through that. This is something us independent, adult vegans can't relate to as we control our own home environments and the products that we buy, so I am very grateful to Francis for offering us some insight into that, and for reminding us that it is not so easy for young people living in controlled environments as it is for independent adults.

We also go on to talk about why we promote ethical reasons to go vegan above all other reasons such as health, environment etc, while still stressing that knowledge of these other aspects is essential too.

In my next interview with Francis we will discuss further comments raised about protesting in front of KFC and the like with regard to promoting veganism and not single issue campaigns. We didn't get a chance to cover that this time as we went off to talk about other things (as often happens on this podcast) however please be assured we will be talking about that, as it is also very relevant and valid topic for discussion. Thanks again to listeners for the great feedback and insight and suggestions and thanks to Francis for coming back on the show!

Here is the link to the Vegan Easy Challenge mentioned on the show: link here
This is what ALL the animal groups should be doing.

I mentioned a book written by a teenage vegan called Claire Askew, who I heard interviewed on Vegan Freak Radio. Claire wrote a book for teenage vegans called Generation V, and it is a fantastic resource for teenagers. Listen to the Vegan Freaks interview with Claire here

I also mentioned a quote by Marin Luther King, Jr. which in my usual style I had not committed to memory and so totally screwed up. Please forgive me as always. I will work on that! Here is the quote:

History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
- Marin Luther King, Jr.

UPDATE: If anyone's audio is messed up about halfway through, please re-download. I am so sorry for making anyone download this twice. I totally messed up, and there is some audio from the last interview mixed in by accident. I loaded up the correct file. Please delete the messed up audio and re-download. Sorry!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 35 - Part 2 of my interview with special guest Francis Glass, abolitionist vegan coordinator of Animal Liberation Youth

Listen HERE

Part two of my interview with Francis Glass from Animal Liberation Youth, of Animal Liberation Victoria. We talk about the social conditioning we are up against, the deep rooted moral schizophrenia in our lives as human beings and the profound effect on our psyche and our peace of mind. We talk about young men, or all men, in many cultures who are terribly depressed and repressed because of being pressured into being so unreasonably "tough" and expected to be violent in order to prove their "toughness" (i.e. eat meat etc), and relate this to the violence we tolerate in our lives on a daily basis, violence we can end if we so choose! We emphasize how damaging this perpetual violence is to our world and ourselves, and discuss different methods to open people's minds to the knowledge that they no longer have to struggle with the guilt and the fear and the violence, and they can go vegan. Thank you Francis for coming on the show!

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 34 - Part 1 of my interview with special guest Francis Glass, abolitionist vegan coordinator of Animal Liberation Youth

Listen HERE

Part one of my interview with special guest Francis Glass, an 18 year old abolitionist vegan from Australia,and coordinator of Animal Liberation Youth, which is part of the abolitionist vegan advocacy group Animal Liberation Victoria. We talk about activism, vegan education, the counterproductiveness and elitism of welfare reform, and emphasize the fact that the abolitionist movement is part of the peace movement. You can find information about this abolitionist activism in Australia by going to and
Stay tuned for part two...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 33 - "Pests": Special guest Dr. Roger Yates, who helps me tackle the huge problem of ecological issues caused by our species

Listen HERE

I am very pleased to welcome back to the show Dr. Roger Yates. This is a topic I have been wanting to tackle for the longest time, and I am very glad Dr. Yates agreed to help me. The article we refer to in the the podcast is the following:

Please contact me if you have any comments or questions, this is an extremely complicated subject and I would love some feedback, as always, and I am happy to revisit this in the future.

I am, as always, very grateful to Dr. Yates for his insight and input and help. Thank you Dr. Yates!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 32- Professor Gary L. Francione - why we insist that the abolitionist approach is the right approach.

Listen HERE

I am honoured to have again as my guest Professor Gary L. Francione of The Abolitionist Approach. We talk about the abolitionist approach and why it is fundamentally different from the welfare reformist approach, and we refer to the frequent discussions that occur between the two separate groups of thinkers, which is wonderfully illustrated on the blog My Face is on Fire, in a recent blog post. Please read the post and the ensuing comments to see what Professor Francione is talking about in this interview.

I also very strongly urge everyone to read this wonderful essay A Revolution of the Heart at The Abolitionist Approach which, as well as being wonderful in itself, is pertinent to the aforementioned article and commentary.

Also keep an eye out for "The Animal Rights Debate—Abolition or Regulation?" written by Gary L Francione and R. Garner - to be released from Columbia Press in the coming weeks...A MUST read for ALL involved in non human animal advocacy/activism, no matter what your position on strategy.

Thanks for coming on the show again Professor Francione!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 31 -Part two of my interview with Adam Kochanowicz from The Vegan News!

Listen HERE

Part two of my interview with Adam Kochanowicz from The Vegan News, The National Vegan Examiner and

We continue our talk about activism, abolition versus welfare, and the best news of all - there are vegans EVERYWHERE!

And remember to check out where you can get all you need to make your own Vegan Kiosk! If you have new ideas and modifications to suit different places and needs - please do it, and update us and share this with us too!

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 30 - Special guest Adam Kochanowicz from The Vegan News!

Listen HERE

This week I interview Adam Kochanowicz from The Vegan News! We talk about what Adam found out after he discovered veganism, packed his bags and went to Europe, looking for the animal rights movement, and looking to find out what people meant when they called themselves "animal rights activists" to see what kind of action they were taking. We talk about veganism, abolition, and all that good stuff.
Check out Adam's bio at the National Vegan Examiner, I recommend reading the great articles already written and keeping up with future articles, and please leave comments! Also check out where you can get all you need to make your own Vegan Kiosk!

Friday, July 3, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 29 - "Why Veganism?" by Eva Batt - published in 1964. Wonderful article to give to friends

Listen HERE

This week I read an essay written by Eva Batt, long standing member of the UK Vegan society. It is so well written, I am going to print it out and hand it around as part of my activism. Thanks to Nathan Schneider who has it available on his blog Vegan Abolitionist and to Randy Sandberg who added it to the text page here at Abolitionist Approach

One of the things I loved about the article was this point:
"...veganism has no connection with any political party or system, national or international. Similarly, individual vegans may be deeply religious, perhaps devout Christians or disciples of one of many other faiths and creeds in this world, but this is not a requisite of veganism, which is an everyday, fundamental way of life concerned with living without hurting others. The hereafter may, or may not, solve all our problems; but what we do now certainly affects all those around us..."

That is a wonderful statement is it not? There are many more gems like this in the article. It is worth a read or a listen, and I will be passing it along.


Cool! - as I was uploading the audio, I watched Episode 7 of The Vegan News hosted by Adam Kochanowicz, and the show featured this very same article! Check out the coverage at Vegan FM

UPDATE: Professor Roger Yates left the following comment, and we were trying to get the links to become hyperlinks but I can't figure that out in the comments section either so I am posting the comment here, so you can access the links here:

Hi Elizabeth,

There are a couple of things I’d like to say on this important issue. First, we should remember that we are also vegan pioneers but in different and better circumstances. For example, we have the advantages of the internet and need never feel as isolated as the first vegans probably often did. Being a vegan is easier now than in the 1940s and 1950s (even compared to the 1970s when I became vegan). However, some new vegans are going to find it harder than others and we should help these new pioneers as much as possible, for mainstream animal advocacy neglects the fact that there is a vegan moral baseline to animal rights advocacy.

This brings me to the second point: what are we campaigning for. It seems to me that campaigning to grow the ethical vegan community (the surest means by which we can help other animals at this time) is campaigning for what we WANT as opposed to campaigning for what we DO NOT WANT in the name of politics, or pragmatics, or ‘living in the real world.’

For example, look at this 3-min video (just released this very week) about a cage-free system: Do we want to campaign FOR this sort of thing as many do, or do we want to campaign against by growing the numbers of ethical vegans?

Look at the pictures here: We could say, ‘spot the difference,’ but the picture on the left is an ‘enriched’ battery cage and the other is a standard one. The first will probably have a perch in the back and maybe some ‘nesting material.’ Leaving aside the issue of who is going to monitor this new way of regulating atrocities, do we want to campaign FOR this sort of thing as many do, or do we want to campaign against by increasing the numbers of ethical vegans until we have enough numbers to make some real changes for nonhuman animals?

The real question is where do we put our energy, commitment, time and money. Do we concentrate on what we actually want, or on something else - which we then have to campaign against anew later on. The advocates of ‘cage-free’ (or one big horrible cage) must assume that, later, they will be campaigning against the system they helped to put in place in the first place.

Roger Yates

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 28 - Part two of my interview with Dr. Roger Yates - continuing our talk on why we need more vegans!

Listen HERE

Talking about sincere animal rights and vegan activism and believing in the message. Please contact your local soymilk supplier and ASK THEM WHAT THEY FILTER THE SOYBEANS THROUGH - i.e do they use silk? We are trying to find out, and if they do, we want everyone to write and make a case so they will stop doing that. In the meantime Sarah has a great recipe for homemade soy milk at The Vegan Mentor see Making Soy Milk

We also talk about Animal Rights July which I would love to replicate at a university here in Auckland. Check it out! It looks good. See the link at Roger's blog On Human-Nonhuman Relations

I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did! Thank you Dr. Yates!

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 27 - Part one - Special guest Dr. Roger Yates! Sociologist, animal rights activist and writer.

Listen HERE

In part one of this interview we talk about Dr. Yates early involvement in the beginnings of the animal rights movement in Britain and the changes he has noticed since then till now, his writings and studies as a sociologist with regard to human behaviour, community activism and grass roots movements, and why we need more vegans! I hope you enjoy the interview! Stay tuned for part two.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 26 - Abolition in NZ continued

Listen HERE

This week I talk about some great local activism done by Sam, a NZ Vegan who is 13 years old, who blew me away with his new website, the first real website from New Zealand that gets to the truth of what dairy products really are, using a New Zealand perspective which is so important in our culture, and spreading the word about veganism in a very effective way!
NZ Dairy Cruelty
Thanks Sam! I am very grateful, I can now recommend this site to local people to show them the truth right from their own backyard, and it is a fantastic resource for us who are spreading the word about this cause and to educate people about veganism.
This week I talk a lot about my country as I am trying to bring the vegan abolition message to more people here, and I am looking forward to doing some grass roots activism with my abolitionist colleagues, and I am hoping to be prepared for anything, but I know we will learn as we go along.
I hope to have more guests on the show soon!

Monday, June 8, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Ep. 25 - Abolition in NZ cont'd-my reaction to the factory pigs welfare campaign +My intepretation of the concept animals are persons

Listen HERE

Today I make an announcement, and also finally respond to the hugely publicised campaign by the NZ animal welfare group S.A.F.E to promote "free range" pork consumption. I must admit I really let the side down. I wallowed in a level of self indulgment that is really inexcusable, especially from someone such as myself who claims to be such an activist. I apologise. I didn't write any letters to the papers or participate in any discussions, because I allowed myself to be negative. Well, now I finally made a comment on an animal welfare page (not a local one), maybe it was the wrong place to do it -maybe all the people who read that blog are vegan, I don't know. Here is the article if you want to comment also:
Animal Welfare Examiner

That is the comment I should have left on every NZ paper opinion page and every discussion board across the country while everything was going on, and I didn't. I admit I let everyone down especially all of the poor suffering pigs. The story is still out there though, so I will now be participating - better late than never.
I want to thank all of you who did respond on these opinion boards and to the papers and talk about veganism. For example Bea Elliot wrote in, and she lives in America, where they have so many detrimental welfare campaigns of their own to deal with, and I live here and I didn't write anything, so I am put to shame. No excuses, I let the side down. However, I have addressed the issue in this episode and I welcome comments. I am not trying to turn this podcast into a rant, or into a negative website dedicated to criticising S.A.F.E - in fact I hope to not mention them again - they do what they do, I do what I do. However, it was so highly publicised, and I was so disturbed by it that I needed to get it off my chest, and now I feel so much better. This is really a good way to resolve inner conflict - I recommend starting a blog or podcast! It is worth it. Also, as I told someone recently, we can't let the others do all the work for us. Grass roots means community level, and that is what we need, in all languages, by actual members of those communities in their own words. And that is what grass roots activism is all about. Also, in light of campaigns such as this one, we need it more than ever, so that is what I hope to do in New Zealand. Also, I would like to acknowledge another abolitionist vegan in New Zealand! I hope I am not incorrect in pinning this description on you Bron - but I think you get it! Thanks for keeping in touch, and I am sorry I didn't include you in the tally. Now we are FOUR!
Finally, coincidentally as I was uploading this post, I checked my email and there was a new update from the Abolitionist Approach about an article in which Gary Francione mentions the importance of seeing animals as individuals - this is how I understand it to be when they are described as persons. So I thought it was a good coincidence.
UPDATE: check the comments section of this post to see input from Roger Yates where he also mentions Professor Francione's book Animals As Persons and some quotes to explain some of the concepts as presented in the book.

P.S I am aware that Anthony De Mello passed away many years ago, so although I did talk about him and his writings in the present tense I do know he is no longer alive.

P.P.S The following is the passage I referred to in this episode. Mr. De Mello was primarily concerned with the human condition, was a Jesuit Priest, and was not a vegan, but even as a non-religious vegan I find his writings very helpful. It appears the Krishnamurti is the originator of the quote.

"...The great Krishnamurti put it so well when he said, "the day you teach a child the name of the bird, the child will never see that bird again". How true! The first time the child sees that fluffy (sic), alive, moving object (sic) and you say to him, "Sparrow", then tomorrow when the child sees another fluffy, moving object similar to it he says, "Oh, sparrows. I've seen sparrows. I'm bored by sparrows".

If you don't look at things through your concepts, you'll never be bored. Every single thing is unique. Every sparrow is unlike every other sparrow despite the similarities. It's a great help to have similarities, so we can abstract, so that we can have a concept. It's a great help, from the point of view of communication, education, science. But it's also very misleading and a great hindrance to seeing this concrete individual..." - Awareness, Anthony De Mello

Monday, June 1, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 24 - Abolition in New Zealand

Listen HERE

I am trying to bring the abolitionist movement down here to New Zealand where it doesn't exist at all, and to do that I need to get out in the community and work on my people skills and gear them towards the culture I live in, while at the same time trying to circumvent the wasteful tangents they get led down by the expensive, publicized and highly promoted welfare campaigns that are getting people all hung up on the size of cages and whatnot, as opposed to talking about the real issue. The REAL ISSUE!!!!! It has been a very frustrating couple of weeks down here in New Zealand for anyone who cares about animals and who is trying to open peoples minds up to abolishing animal use and going vegan, rather than patting themselves on the back about how they can be morally superior by going down to their butcher and demanding "happy" meat. If people care enough to be bothered about the treatment of the exploited animals at all, then they care enough to GO VEGAN and end the exploitation, or at the very least they certainly deserve to be talked to directly and honestly about that option. And that is what everyone who wants to help non-human animals should be talking about with people who are expressing any interest at all in the "horrible treatment" or the "welfare" of animals. It is truly a magically uncomplicated solution, it is astonishingly simple and we need to stop confusing the issue. Meanwhile I need to figure out how to talk to people who haven't even begun to think about the issue, and steer them away from thinking about anything but the truth of the matter. It's a never ending process of theory and practise, but how to do it with people who just flat out ignore the entire deal, especially when you are sitting amongst them while they are eating dinner, and all you are thinking and feeling is how can I get the message through? At the very least how I can get them to understand why I am so not enjoying sharing this dinner with them, because of the anguish I am truly feeling for the animals they are eating and feeding to their children? That is quite a tough one for me, I am still figuring that out, but that won't take time away from my jumping on any opportunity I do get to spread the knowledge of this astonishingly simple concept

Thursday, May 28, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 23 - A rare white tiger was killed in New Zealand today. Just want to be a voice for that tiger and all the other animals

Listen HERE

Today there was a story from here in New Zealand that I just had to mention, funny how things closer to home can seem to affect you more - wrongly or rightly I am as prone to that as anyone else. I mourn this tiger and I remind myself that the pig slaughtered in Egypt from swine flu paranoia or the chicken gassed in Canada by KFC or the "free range" hen in Austria being slaughtered at the end of her short tortured life or the rat in the lab in Kentucky or the sable in the fur farm in Russia or the sheep in the slaughterhouse here in New Zealand and all of the millions and millions of equally innocent victims that also died today, in all parts of all places all over the world, and are dying right now by the million are all just as valid as this tiger, who was killed today. I am not trivializing the death of the zookeeper who was fatally injured, but it is certain the loss of his life is receiving plenty of respect and mourners and I am sure they are paying homage to him as we speak. Well, I am paying homage to this tiger and his fellow animals, because I know that not enough people are thinking about them or talking about them, and they need our voices.

Here is the video about Post Traumatic Stress in animals, specifically elephants, which mentions the tragic death of a volunteer at a sanctuary and how the caretaker and elephant involved coped with the tragedy. They didn't kill the elephant - because these people get it. Although of course I don't know if they are vegan. I would love to talk to them about veganism - I think we would have a good chance getting through to people like them. And who knows - they may be vegan?

Monday, May 25, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 22 - VEGANVEGANVEGAN! By hook or by crook we are going to end the stigmatization of this word.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 21 - Why I agree with the Abolitionist Approach with regard to Pets.

Listen HERE

This is a big subject, and I realize there are so many more things I could say than I said, and so many more reasons I could add to the ones I gave, but I hope I at least got it across why I feel the way I do about this issue and why I personally agree that we should not have companion animals or pets anymore than we should have food animals, clothing animals or animals for entertainment or scientific research.
Firstly this is the link to the video from Hurricane Katrina of which I extracted the audio clip that appears in the podcast.

Please access the following links if you are interested in the words that made me think about this issue of companion animals and agree that the possession of companion animals is not morally justifiable and therefore not right. I hope you read it because it is very well written! I hope it makes as much sense to you as it does to me. This whole article is great, the chapter on pets in regard to this specific topic is question number 3.

Also here is a great clip from an interview: scroll down to the interview called:

click on mp3 to hear the clip.

A great article:

Another great article:

The following is a link to a link to a debate in which the arguments presented by Professor Francione make utter and complete logical sense to me, and if they don't make sense to someone else who reads them, then there is no way that this podcast episode will :-)

I would say that the arguments presented in the above debate are the best ones to read if you want to know how you really feel about the issue. I cannot see anyone who successfully refutes Professor Francione's statements, I just see the utter sense, logic and reason in the philosophy. However I am very aware that not everyone agrees, although I have never seen, read or heard anything by someone who doesn't agree that has convinced me otherwise.

P.S. here is a link to the vegan (/vegetarian *sigh*) childrens book! I think it is the first of its kind! Rock on!
That's Why We Don't Eat Animals

P.P.S Adam Kochanowicz's show is called Vegan FM not Vegan TV - sorry! Here is the link (it is also in the link list)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 20 - Part two of the interview with William Paul

Listen HERE

We talk about how easy it is to go vegan and the kinds of questions and opposition that are encountered daily in the life of a vegan and we discuss ideas about how to deal with them. I hope that everyone enjoyed listening and please let us know if you have had a similar experience to that of William's. We would love to hear your story and try to help you in any way we can.
Thank you to William Paul for coming on the show, and for sharing your story.

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 19 - Special guest 15 year old vegan WIlliam Paul talks about the battle he had with his school to be true to his ethics

Listen HERE

Part one of the interview with William Paul, a student at Selwyn College in Auckland, New Zealand, in which he relates the events that occurred the day he informed the school he was an ethical vegan and therefore would not be wearing the footwear dictated by the mandatory school uniform policy. This is a very important issue and I hope William's story inspires other young people not only to go vegan and to stay vegan, but also to demand the respect their decision is entitled to, to teach them how to represent themselves properly in order to be taken seriously by those who have authority over their lives, and to inspire the educational institutions these young people attend to give a student's decision to go vegan the respect and consideration it truly deserves, which is as much respect and consideration as is given to religious students to allow them to be true to their beliefs. We need awareness that veganism is a serious, ethical decision, and has a right to be respected. We need to get through to them, and I think William's is a good example to show how important that is. I hope he is part of the beginning of a new awareness in schools, and this is a great opportunity to capitalize on his unwavering strength in the face of overwhelming opposition. We need to work with the schools, I want their understanding and support, so I am trying to create a positive environment for discussion. I want to help any future students who may face the same reaction, and the more it happens, the more proof we will have that it is an issue that needs to be addressed, with mutual respect and understanding. Also, as a bonus, it creates awareness about veganism and that is always a good thing.
William also talks about his methods of educating the other students about veganism, his views on how young children are influenced, and generally shares his own passionate and well informed views about why veganism is the way to go. He is a very inspiring person and I hope you enjoy the interview.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I am dropping my nickname upon receiving some pretty sound advice. So I will be using my regular name from now on, not my nickname.

Listen HERE

Just want to say I was never trying to hide my identity! I am proud of who I am. I just thought my nickname was unusual and unique and would draw attention, and there are so many Elizabeth Collins out there. I am NOT the Elizabeth Collins that writes/wrote articles for PETA!!!
Anyway, my friends from New York have been calling me Knuckles for as long as I can remember, it is my nickname, but everyone knows my real name because that is how it is shown on Gary Francione's site for example - it was never about hiding my name. But if I ever deal with someone who is looking for a reason to judge or make snap decisions, using my nickname may work against me, and well, you never know. So there you go. You can still call me Knuckles if you like! I don't care either way. But officially, podcast-wise, I'm dropping the moniker.
And I put a photo (another great suggestion from Doug) - it was taken by me on my camera phone in NYC in very early November 2007, only a couple of weeks after I saw Earthlings and went vegan. I had just that minute returned from being away at a wedding that I had promised to go to, and it was a great wedding of two of my closest friends and was beautiful, but in order to attend I had to leave my baby to go to Vegas for three days. This photo was taken minutes after we were reunited, and you can see the relief in her little face. I came back! Can you imagine what it is like for them when we leave them like that? I hope to never have to do it to her again.
Thanks to Doug Hines.

Monday, May 4, 2009

CORRECTION to misinformation. Please forgive me for my error in mixing up names and websites.

Listen HERE

I made an embarrassing mistake in my last episode. Please accept my apologies to Dan Cudahy and Roger Yates for messing up. Roger's website is On Human-Nonhuman Relations:

and Dan's website is called Unpopular Vegan Essays:

I am so sorry for making that mistake. Please check out these great blogs. Forgive me Dan and Roger.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 18 - Work in a non-vegan world; my first vegan speech; and further proof of the effectiveness of peaceful vegan activism

Listen HERE

This week I talk about my personal experiences trying to work and earn a living as a vegan in a non-vegan world. I also talk about an interesting reaction I had (the way I reacted not the other people) upon being given my very first opportunity ever to address a group of relative strangers about veganism.
I also talk about Colleen Patrick-Goudreau with whom many people are already very familiar. So far I have not done any more than go to the iTunes Store and read a few of the 255 reviews, and listen to a couple of minutes of a show, all of which I just did now actually (although I am now of course a subscriber and will be listening to every single episode!). Even without listening any further and just by reading the reviews I know that this is someone I can learn from. I can't wait to hear all the podcasts. I have put a link in the link section to her podcast Food for Thought:
and I also recommend going to the iTunes Store and reading some of the reviews. This is further proof of the effectiveness of peaceful vegan activism. I am grateful to those people who informed me about Colleen's podcast, it is very inspiring, re-affirming and empowering to see such effective vegan activism. I haven't had a real chance to listen yet - I am going off of what I have been told, and the incredible comments left by people about the podcast on the iTunes Store. I look forward to learning from and being inspired by such effective vegan activism.

Monday, April 20, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 17 - Talking about my thoughts on some dreams of the future that I have, but also how important it is to live in reality.

Listen HERE

This Episode I mention how important it is to be in touch with reality no matter how painful it is. I think it is the best way to live, and it also allows us to embrace life, and only by being in touch with the reality of the world we are living in can we be effective in helping to better that world. I talk about the dreams I have which are not fantasies, but rather are about a future that I will probably never get to live long enough to see, which is however, a plausible future, a plausible reality. I wistfully imagine what it would be like being there to help solve the problems that will be need to be solved in a vegan or at least a more vegan world - how to undo the damage to the environment, how to help the surviving domestic animals and provide homes for them for the rest of their natural lives, how to sustain ourselves as ecologically as possible. These are my dreams; my reality is I am here in this utterly non-vegan world, and before we can solve the issues that will arise in a vegan world we must first wake people up to veganism. But I also feel that veganism and ahimsa go so much further than just abolishing the direct use of animals as our renewable resources; there are other ways that we as a species destroy the lives of non-humans for so many other frivolous reasons. We need to learn how to live, we need enlightenment, because our methods of entertaining ourselves as a species are also unnecessary, and are also causing the destruction of the non-humans we share our world with. If you want to know what enlightenment is, watch an animal. They know how to live, and we have a lot to learn from them. Observe how they live, and I don't mean copying their physical lifestyles, I mean watch how they enjoy the moment, something we have forgotten how to do. If we learn to appreciate life by living in reality the way they do we will learn how to live again. And we won't need to "entertain" ourselves with noise polluting machines and virtual worlds and violence and other destructive activities. Noise pollution is one of the most destructive and harmful side effects of our constant search for "entertainment". So we also need to face those truths. But those are my dreams only; my reality is firstly to try to open up people to change the fundamental way we look at all other living things, and that starts with educating people about the basic reasons for veganism, which starts with seeing the moral imperative of abolishing the use of animals as our renewable resources. Then we will be able to lead ourselves to address the other issues we have a duty and a responsibility to be real about.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 16- I think we are at the beginning of something big, we just have to BE that beginning and keep it going

Listen HERE

This week I try to articulate my thoughts about abolition veganism as a movement, as a cause that is becoming reality, because I am starting to think that we are at the beginning of something that may one day, albeit perhaps long after we are gone, be called a movement. The more people I am finding out about who are promoting abolitionist veganism, the more I realize that something has really begun. Something that actually will make a difference, unlike the last 200 years. It's very probable it has begun purely because of one man, Gary Francione; that is often how great movements are begun, but they only get going when people finally pay attention, and get involved, and get behind that person, then it becomes two people, then three then hundreds until it becomes a real grass roots movement. Think of all the great movements in history... However, I am trying to remind myself that firstly, if this IS the beginning of a movement, of a grass roots abolitionist veganism movement, then it is the absolute beginning, and I have to continue doing it whether I get to see any of the fruits of the labours in my lifetime or not. I will do it because it is all I can do. I cannot get hung up on results or tallies, because all I can do is be part of the beginning, and continue for the rest of my life. We are all human beings so we are all part of the problem. None of us is innocent, the only ones who are truly innocent are the animals. So I try also to remember that it is not about me. It is always about them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 15- have heard from other people who have abolitionist vegan blogs! shout outs to all the great people.

Listen HERE

This week I say hi and thank you to people who listened to the Gary Francione interview and other episodes and got in touch with me to offer support and I have provided links to their fantastic websites in my list of links. I reinforce why I am only comfortable with peaceful, abolitionist vegan activism, because otherwise I would not be being true to myself. I talk about how animals, unlike women or human slaves, will never be able to start their own movement or create an agenda or a political party etc etc, obviously, so they will never have a way of helping themselves from this situation that we have placed them all in. It is only up to us to help them, right through to the end.

Monday, March 30, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 14 - Part 2 of the interview with Professor Francione-Peace, Human rights & Animal rights, promoting non-violence in activism

Listen HERE

Part 2 of my interview with Professor Gary Francione in which we continue the discussion of abolitionist veganism as a concept and as a method of activism. We also discuss the importance of the promotion of peace and non-violence in contrast to the troubling violence committed by some animal activists. We talk about the relationship between Human Rights and Animal Rights. We discuss capitalizing on peoples' empathy towards animals, and using that to expose them to the truth of the matter, and Professor Francione illustrates how every person can be a leader and an example in his or her own life. Enjoy! Thank you, Professor Francione.

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 13 -Part 1 with special guest Professor Gary Francione! We discuss vegan abolition & the welfare movement among other things

Listen HERE

This week I have a very special guest on the show, Professor Gary Francione! Anyone who has listened to my podcast knows that I am a huge admirer of Professor Francione. His words and his philosophy of abolition are what inspired me to change my life, he is my favourite speaker on the issues, of course, and is an amazing person to have a discussion with. In Part 1 of the interview I ask Professor Francione to talk about his beginnings as an animal activist, how he developed his theory of abolition and why he does not support the animal welfare methods that are so widely promoted all over the world. I also ask for any advice for people like myself with regard to spreading this message of abolition in a non-violent, non-judgmental yet effective way. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 12 - Elaborating on what I mean about patience and tolerance while engaging in activism.

Listen HERE

This week I want to clarify what I mean when I talk about being patient and tolerant. Unfortunately, at this point in time, we are fighting against something that is actually publicly defended as morally justified, unlike other causes such as fighting against racism or child abuse, and unlike those other causes we do not have the majority opinion, or even 20% or even 10% hell we don't even have 5% of public opinion on our side, so until we get enough of a percentage of people who truly believe we should not be exploiting animals in any way whatsoever, and who see why we are saying it is a question of morality, just like racism and child abuse etc are questions of morality, we have no real power to take action, and I believe the only way we can get that percentage of the population we need to have power, is to educate people with patience and tolerance. We must be careful not to turn people off from ever embracing the idea of veganism, which is simply the abolition of animal use, however at present we are so incredibly outnumbered. Right now, they look around them, and 99% of the world is doing it. If they look around, and only 80% is doing it, well that is much more effective. We need more vegans or we will not be able to make any difference.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 11 - special guest Jordan Wyatt, who talks about protesting, activism and being a young male vegan. Hi to Nancy and Nick!

Listen HERE

This week I have a special guest on the show, Jordan Wyatt, who joins me from the South Island of New Zealand, from the city of Invercargill. We talk about protesting, activism and his experience as a young male vegan. We also talk about how it is to live in a small town or city where there are no resources for vegans for things like personal care products etc. Also a shout out to Nancy and Nick who are listeners who sent me emails all the way from America and Canada. Thanks so much for contacting me and for listening. And thanks to Jordan for coming on the show.
Links to companies that make vegan personal care products:

and to groups that provide information about companies:

This is link to an online store where you can buy Vegan products if you live in New Zealand, and you can go to the physical store in St. Kevins Arcade off Karangahape Road in Auckland. Note: I am not endorsing any welfare campaigns, I am simply endorsing this store and its vegan products.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 10

Listen HERE

This week I talk about what I eat in general, and about supplementing your vegan diet with either vitamin B12 supplements or vitamin B12 fortified foods. I read directly from four sources and I enclose the following links to those sources:

In the episode I mention a nutrition chart that I purchased from an event I went to, and I promised I would put a link to how to buy it. The only place I could find to buy it from online is a UK site. So have a look:

But don't panic. I am sure the NZ Vegetarian Society sells these charts locally. So if you want one and you don't want to order from England, give them a try. Just email them or call them and see if they have them in stock. They are the people who sold me my chart, so I am sure they still do that over here. I hope so!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 9

Listen HERE

In this episode I address the comment left on my blog post Episode 6, and also an email I received (I think from the same person?) that had a similar reaction to my use of the word obese. It is my first negative reaction and it is very enlightening! I updated the blog description of Episode 6 also, to address the same. Thanks to everyone who has provided input, positive and negative, it is all very useful and helpful.
Also in this episode I am very happy to relate a story that confirms my theory that you can never underestimate anyone as to their one day having the desire to learn about the issue of abolitionist veganism, no matter what first impression you give yourself about them. It is elitist to say only a certain type of person is open to the idea, I disagree entirely and that attitude is very limiting. I think every single person on this earth is just as able to embrace the idea of abolitionist veganism as the next.
Even people who have blogs that are extremely anti-vegan (and that is actually their message, which just lets me know we are starting to make an impression - any opposition means we are having an effect and I look at that as positive reinforcement - all publicity is good publicity so it is said) are capable of seeing the logic and truth behind the morality of veganism if they so choose. Anything is possible, I don't write anyone off, but I also don't go chasing down people who are really really shut down to the idea, or violently opposed to the idea; you can waste a lot of time and let people who are more open to hearing about it at that moment miss out on the chance, so that is the way I engage in activism in my life; at the moment I just leave the really anti-veganism people to themselves.

Monday, February 23, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 8

Listen HERE

This episode I speak about the use of animals as entertainment, and also my reaction to a couple of pictures from a "cute" and "entertaining" email that appears to be making the rounds at the moment. As always I talk about how we must change the absolute fundamental way that people see all non-human animals, or we will never change anything.

Monday, February 16, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 7

Listen HERE

This week I added a little new age music to kick things off, it may not be everyone's cup of tea but at least I now have music on my podcast. I talk about the positive aspect of the total moral schizophrenia that we human beings have with regard to our treatment of animals, and try to look at one side of the thinking as being an opportunity to take advantage of.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 6

Listen HERE

This episode I address some issues coming from a male point of view, and try to address one of the common misconceptions about all vegans being super skinny and I name a couple of famous female vegans. (I also want to mention that Martina Navratilova is a vegan and you can check out how buff she is). I will say that one thing you probably will never see is an OBESE vegan, which is different from full figured or large bodied. Obesity is very very unhealthy and I doubt very much you can get obese on a Vegan diet, but I think that is a good thing. I also talk about why I use the word vegan and not vegetarian.
Thanks to Jordan Wyatt for his great input, and thanks to Daiseybitree for her kind review on the iTunes store!

UPDATE 28 February 2009: I would like to update this note, to address the concerns of the comment left on this post. When I talk about obesity as mentioned above, I am specifically talking about the medical condition, which as I already said is different from a large-bodied person; either someone who is naturally large, and including someone who is carrying some excessive weight even over their natural body type. I don't find large people any less attractive than less large people, however I know that people are persecuted in our society for being larger, and therefore may be extremely sensitive to any weight related issue. However, in many societies, the larger you are, the more attractive you are, so it's not about a judgment on looks, I think all people are beautiful, and I personally have many friends who have large bodies, and some of my friends carry extra fat, and they are energetic and healthy and absolutely gorgeous, because it is just natural for them to be bigger bodied and carry some extra fat on their bones. All our bodies have fat, it is natural, some have more, some have less, that's obvious and is nothing to do with beauty, which comes from within anyway.
I was glad to have had the comment left on this post, because I know that whenever you put an idea out there, you run the risk of being misinterpreted and have to be careful to how you present yourself, so it was a very useful thing to point out. I take full responsibility for the presentation of my thoughts, and am grateful for the input. I want to respond the the accusation that I am persecuting larger-bodied people. To clarify; obesity in the context I am using it is the clinical or medical condition, which is not just heavy, or large, or even carrying a certain amount of fat on the body above an individual's ideal weight as per their body type and needs - it goes beyond that, which is specifically the point I am making. I am talking about it as a medical condition just as if I was talking about Diabetes for example.
And I reiterate: I stand by my opinion, that although you will and do see vegans of all shapes and sizes, large, medium, small and extra large, just as you see this in non-vegans in fact; you will never, in my opinion, see an obese vegan, under the medical definition I have described. Of course I am not a doctor; that is my opinion and personal experience only. Nor am I putting down obese people, I understand they are suffering from a medical condition. I simply strongly believe that their condition could be vastly improved, even cured, by switching to a vegan diet. Lastly, I am not saying that eating animal products makes you obese - there are many people who eat animal products who are not obese, obviously. I am simply saying that in the case of people who have a natural tendency towards obesity, or who have medical issues or imbalances causing them to incur actual clinical obesity; I believe this could be prevented from developing by their subsisting on a vegan diet. I hope that clarifies the issue for anyone who may misjudge what I am saying on this blog post. I have enclosed the following description of what I consider to be obesity in the context that I have used it above:

"Obesity is one of the major medical problems in the western world. The clinical definition of obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. The BMI is the body’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the body’s height in meters.

Obesity results when a person ingests more calories than he or she can burn off. If this happens regularly over a period of time, the body will store the extra calories as fat. The body is able to burn off calories as energy needed throughout the day, but if the energy is not burned away, it will be stored as fat.

Every person has his or her own metabolic rate. This is the rate at which calories are used or burned off within the body. People who take a lot of exercise or are employed in strenuous jobs usually have a very high metabolic rate. They require a lot of calories, but burn them off easily. People who do not take a lot of exercise or are involved in jobs such as office work do not need as many calories.

The body stores extra calories as fat as a precaution against times of starvation. In the western world, starvation rarely affects people who eat regularly. If a person continually eats calories that he or she cannot burn off, obesity may occur.

Obesity is very serious health problem. Research has shown that it can shorten life expectancy by at least nine years. In the last two decades, the obesity rate in adults has quadrupled. Obesity can also lead to many other health complications, including infertility, depression, heart disease and stroke.

Being slightly overweight may not affect your health seriously, but when weight reaches levels of obesity, then problems will occur. Everyday activities may become difficult, and irregularities may appear with breathing. Sweating may occur during the simplest tasks, and a persistent feeling of fatigue may result from the extra weight.

Obese people often have problems with regular sleeping patterns. They are also very susceptible to snoring and awaken frequently during the night. Conditions such as arthritis and diabetes may also set in as a result of obesity. Serious problems, such as breast cancer and ovarian disease, have also been linked to obesity.

Obesity is usually caused by a poor diet and lack of exercise, but there are some medical causes for the problem. These are rare, but conditions such as an underactive thyroid or Cushing’s disease may be the cause of obesity. There are also certain medications that add weight when taken, such as steroids and certain antidepressants. Medications such as the contraceptive pill or quitting smoking can also contribute to weight gain."

The above article is from

There are many other articles and opinions on obesity, the above article describes what I consider to be obesity specifically with regard to the amount of excess weight incurred (the BMI index defined) and the illnesses caused by that amount of excess, and therefore my discussion and use of the word relate to that general interpretation, so let's be clear on that - I am not interested in getting into an argument on who and what says this or that about obesity - when I am talking about obesity, I am talking about my understanding of it, which is illustrated by the above article and my interpretation of that, specifically to the amount of BMI involved before the definition obesity is applied, and the various illnesses and suffering of the afflicted. All this talk is simply in effort to illustrate that I am not getting into a discussion on the aesthetics of different body types - that is not relevant to me or to this podcast!

Finally, joint swelling is also suffered by persons with obesity, and is very painful and uncomfortable. I would like to add that I have never heard of Cushing's disease until reading the above, so cannot opine on that particular point or aspect.
Thanks again for the input and for the criticism, it was very useful and I always welcome criticism for without it I cannot grow, yet at the same time stay humble, both of which are necessary to a person if they want to learn anything from life. Thank you for reminding me of how careful I need to be when I voice my thoughts, if I want them to be understood. Understanding is one of the keys to peace, and after all, peace is the aim of all of this.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 5

Listen HERE

In this episode I talk about my first email (cool!) and I talk about activism relating to people who try argue the fact that because we are able to use animals then that therefore justifies using them. I dispute that entirely. Being able to do something is not a moral justification for doing it when there exists a valid alternative (i.e., Veganism). People are able to do all kinds of horrible things, but the fact that they can do them should never be accepted as justification for doing them.  The thing we must emphasize is that we can be vegan, and be healthy and live comfortable lives. That is what is important, so whether meat is healthy or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that it is healthy to be vegan, so we have an alternative to animal exploitation and are therefore are morally obligated to do that. That is a strong argument in favour of abolition. The fact that slave owners were perfectly capable of having slaves and keeping slaves is not an acceptable justification by any means for the existence of the institution of human slavery. The fact is they didn't need to, so almost everyone recognized the immorality of it. It's simple.  Don't waste your time trying to convince people that we can't eat meat, because that is not true, obviously we can. Spend your time showing them that we can be vegan, which is the ethical alternative: we can have a healthy diet free of animals, we can have clothing free of animal products, make-up free of animal products, cleaning products, medicine etc etc. We can have lives free of animal products, and every single Vegan is living proof of that. That is the moral issue, and that is what we should focus on, especially now in the year 2009. Forget the past! We only have today, so let's use it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 4

Listen HERE

I would rather convince one person to go vegan than 1000 people to eat "happy" meat.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 3

Listen HERE

Episode 3 relates the famous case of Margaret Garner, the African American slave who murdered one of her children to prevent them from being placed in slavery, and was therefore tried for "destruction of property" although the Abolitionists attempted to have her recognized as a member of society and have her tried for murder. This is a good example to illustrate the principal of slavery, or property ownership of sentient beings.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 2

Listen HERE

Episode 2 is related to an interview I heard on BBC world here is a link to the article in question, I was unable to find an audio recording of the interview but this article relates to it. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 1

Listen HERE

Welcome! This is my first podcast, it was recorded a few days ago and it took me a while to upload but I am just keeping this post as my way of introducing myself. Happy New Year!