Blog Nine – Boiled dogs and the Clangers!
There’s many, many things I don’t understand about the world today. I’m not referring to really mind-blowingly complicated things that, even if I read up on them I’d still struggle to fathom, like the hadron collider or quantum physics or how a woman’s mind works. No, what I’m referring to is things that aren’t good with the world that, with a little thought and awareness, we could all make a difference with. Things like how the human race, or at least certain parts of the human race, are basically raping and pillaging mother nature.
Now, I’m aware even with those type of things I’d need the backing of celebrities with huge social media followings and possibly a certain Mr Cameron & Ms Merkel to make a difference, so I’ll narrow it down even further and just talk about things that mean animals are suffering unmentionable cruelty and/or face extinction because of us.
I’m not an activist as such. I don’t jump in an inflatable boat and risk my life to put a banner on the side of a whaling ship, although those that do get my respect! I’m not even a vegetarian. In fact, when I learnt that I shared my birthday recently with ‘World meat free day’ I got annoyed. I mean, why can’t we celebrate vegetables and fruit without cutting out meat? Why wasn’t it ‘World Fruit ‘n Veg day’!? That makes more sense to me.
Anyway, I digress. I’ll switch to bullet points to try to be slightly more concise:
- Palm oil: This industry destroys forests, kills endangered species such as orangutans & tigers, contributes directly to climate change and really, really pisses off indigenous people to say the least! Read more here.
Answer: Easy, small but effective thing we can do to help: Don’t buy stuff that contains palm oil, then encourage others to do the same. See, piece of cake isn’t it.
- China: The consumption of shark’s fin soup. Boiling and burning dogs alive at the Yulin dog meat festival. Horrendous fishing techniques that mean everything from dolphins to coral beds all die. Skinning live foxes. Drowning and beating stray dogs and cats. I could go on. If you have a strong stomach and there’s no children peering over your shoulder, Google image search ‘Yulin dog meat festival’. Prepare to be utterly amazed.
Answer: Don’t buy Chinese products that have a by-product of animals being harmed. Another easy one!
- Indoor reared chickens: We’ve ditched the old fashioned ‘Battery chickens’ in this country, but one of the ‘better’ chicken farms rearing indoor birds will still have 15 birds per square meter. And that’s a better one! Think about that. Measure out a meter square on your carpet and then picture 15 chickens in it!
Answer: Don’t buy them!
Hopefully you’re seeing a pattern in what we can do to make a difference. I could go on listing both products and countries that condone or partake in animal cruelty, but I won’t.
Look, I’m not saying you’ll be perfect, even if you try to be. For example, my children like peanut butter on their toast. It wasn’t until we’d used nearly the entire jar of ‘Whole earth’ peanut butter that I realised it had palm oil in it. I got fooled by the brand name!
However, ask questions. Try to think more about the source of the products you consume. Ask the shop owner/butcher/fishmonger/website/etc where the stuff you’re buying is from if you’re not sure. The more we question stuff the more likely it is that people running the businesses think twice about the traceability of what they’re selling.
Also, maybe it’s about time we stopped asking why organic stuff costs more and instead, we started asking why the other stuff is so bloody cheap!?
This brings me on to the thing I hear most in response to all this: ‘I just can’t afford to go organic on everything. It simply comes down to what I can afford’.
Very true. But I’m not suggesting everything you consume should be made by monks, packaged by nuns and brought from a farm shop with straw on the floor that only employs virgins! But just avoid buying things that have directly contributed to an animal suffering unnecessarily or being taken closer to extinction.
Also, if you’d like a tip on how you can feed your family well on organic food without breaking the bank, check this out.
Right, stepping off my soapbox for a moment, let’s tackle the biggest television story in years: THE CLANGERS HAVE RETURNED!!!
I always think a decent children’s programme should stimulate the really little ones, draw the toddlers in and be more than bearable to watch for the parents. Well, tick, tick, tick for these weird, pink, knitted, whistling oddballs and their friends! I’d put it in the same category as In the night garden, in as much as, neither my 1 year old, my 3 year old or indeed I have the faintest idea what’s going on but we all sat there watching it like we’d just smoked something highly illegal!
If only it had a member of Monty Python narrating it!…
Food tip of the week
If you like honey but just buy the basic runny honey, try a decent one for a change. Not necessarily the expensive manuka, just a decent one. Tesco do a ‘Finest’ range. I brought their Orange honey blossom variety, made from Spanish and Mexican bees. It’s no exaggeration to say the difference between this and their ‘Basic’ honey is like the difference between advent calendar chocolate and Green & Blacks! I put it on toast and it actually tasted flowery, sweeter and even fresher (don’t ask me how, but it did?)
Fact of the week
50,000 orangutans have been killed in just the last two decades as a result of deforestation for palm oil production.