10 Aug 2016

SuperMeat: Real meat without the cruelty

Back in January this year, I conducted a survey about lab-grown meat, asking my readers and people across the internet how they felt about this new and controversial development. Perhaps surprisingly, a massive proportion of meat-eaters were enthusiastic about the idea, with 81.9% wanting to try it. 47% of vegetarians and 33% of vegans wanted to try lab-grown flesh, but even those who did not want to try it were still supportive of the idea. Overall, the majority of those surveyed showed overwhelming support for lab-grown meat. But back in January, the prospect of lab-grown meat becoming a household name seemed distant.

"Essentially, SuperMeat is real meat, but it's produced in a lab. This means animals do not need to be farmed and killed for SuperMeat to exist."

Now, SuperMeat has stepped onto the scene, and the concept of a world without factory farms seems closer than ever before. With a month left in their Indiegogo campaign, SuperMeat has raised over $150,000 USD to fund their "meat machine" prototype.

On their Indiegogo page, SuperMeat offers a short overview of their goal:
We were looking for the best way to end animal suffering, but also be realistic about meat eating habits. Together with Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, an award winning biomedical engineer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, we've been developing a system for producing cultured meat. That means growing REAL meat, non GMO and without antibiotics in machines in supermarkets and communities all over the world.
Essentially, SuperMeat is real meat, but it's produced in a lab. This means animals do not need to be farmed and killed for SuperMeat to exist. SuperMeat is eco-friendly and humane. On top of this, its creators believe SuperMeat will help fight world hunger, claiming that by 2050, there won't be enough livestock left to feed the world's 9.6 billion humans - but there will be enough SuperMeat.

The following infographic illustrates how SuperMeat is made:

Only one single chicken is needed to collect the cells, and this chicken will not be killed or harmed in any way.

Because of the way SuperMeat is produced, it will be much cheaper than meat as we know it today. As an added benefit, because SuperMeat is grown under supervised conditions, it will be healthier, too. Most importantly, no animals will suffer for SuperMeat, and the problem of food scarcity for people in underprivileged communities will lessen.

The creators of SuperMeat have a specific timeline set in place. Founded in December 2015, the company plans to build its first prototype in January 2018, begin production in April 2021, and make the product publicly available in July 2021. That's only five years away. A cruelty-free world is so much closer than we could have ever imagined before.

If you would like to support SuperMeat, please share this article or donate to their Indiegogo campaign at this link. You can also follow the project on Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to leave your opinions and ideas about lab-grown meat in the comments below.

23 Jul 2016

The ethics of palm oil: is it vegan?

The topic of palm oil is one that often divides the vegan community and causes heated arguments and discussions. I see it all the time on Facebook. Whenever somebody posts a picture of, for example, Oreos - which are technically vegan, but contain palm oil - you can expect a burst of outrage in the comment section about the ethicality of palm oil. These comments usually end up being deleted.

Technically, palm oil is vegan - but only so long as we follow the standard definition of veganism. According to dictionary.com, a vegan is "a vegetarian who omits all animal products from the diet", and/or "a person who does not use any animal products, as leather or wool." By this definition, palm oil is vegan, since it is plant-based and is not derived from an animal.

But let's look deeper. The dictionary.com definition only scrapes the surface of what veganism is about. Personally, I follow the Vegan Society's definition of veganism: "a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment." In short, veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude exploitation of and cruelty to animals. Veganism is, according to the Vegan Society, about much more than simply eliminating animal-derived ingredients from our diets and clothing choices.

"Palm oil, as we know, is often collected through unethical means, and palm oil production is known to cause damage to the environment and to destroy animal habitats." 

I consider the Vegan Society's definition the most accurate because the founder of the society, Donald Watson, actually coined the term "vegan". Who could be more qualified to define a word than the creator of the word itself?

So, if we follow the Vegan Society's definition, veganism is about, as much as is possible and practicable, making ethical choices in every aspect of our lives. And palm oil, as we know, is often collected through unethical means, and palm oil production is known to cause damage to the environment and to destroy animal habitats. Most commonly, palm oil production is associated with the habitat destruction of endangered orangutans. According to Wikipedia, human activities have caused severe declines in the populations and ranges of both Sumatran and Bornean orangutans. Habitat destruction is one of the three largest threats to both species.

"So, while palm oil is certainly a plant-based food, I personally think that unethically sourced palm oil cannot be included in an ethical diet."

So, while palm oil is certainly a plant-based food, I personally think that unethically sourced palm oil cannot be included in an ethical diet. It's as simple as that. Of course, there are many vegans who do consume palm oil, and while I encourage them to seek out alternatives, I do recognise that different people follow different definitions of "veganism".

If you are interested in cutting out palm oil from your diet, there is a very useful app from Palm Oil Investigations. The app can be downloaded here. Keep in mind that it may not be available in your country yet -- in this case, you may like to donate to Palm Oil Investigations to help them raise funds to expand their app.

One Green Planet offers a very helpful list on their website, found here. The list gives information about vegan brands that use and do not use palm oil. Please, next time you do your grocery shopping, keep this important information in mind.

20 May 2016

Vegan-friendly restaurant review: Montezuma's and E for Ethel

For readers who aren't familiar, Montezuma's is a vegan-friendly Mexican-style restaurant located on Melbourne Street, Adelaide. Back in 2014, I wrote a review for Montezuma's and a neighbouring dessert cafe named Elephant Walk. Recently, Montezuma's changed their menu, opting to add some awesome new plant-based options to please their vegan customers. All vegetarian meals can now be ordered with vegan cheese and/or vegan sour cream. So, of course, I had to go back to review their new additions!

I'll start by mentioning the fantastic customer service. The woman serving me, Cam, was lovely, and was doing a fantastic job of managing the floor on her own. My grandma and I had a great chat with her and she was very helpful in pointing out all of the vegan options, including her own personal recommendations. Thank you very much, Cam!

I had some trouble deciding which meal to get because I'm not used to having so many options to choose from. I'm not complaining, though! I ended up picking an old favourite of mine - the vegetarian Montezuma's Delight. If you're after a vegan option, all you have to do is replace the sour cream and cheese with vegan versions (or just omit them entirely).

I'm not sure what brands of vegan cheese and sour cream are used, but the cheese looked and tasted similar to Daiya and the sour cream was probably Tofutti. Both brands are favourites of mine. I know a lot of vegans don't like Daiya cheese, though, so if you're one of them, the Montezuma's Delight is just as delicious without.

The meal was presented nicely. I love to see a motley of colours on my plate. The Montezuma's salad is the best I've ever tried and I often make my own version at home. It boasts an array of healthy raw veggies, including cauliflower, celery, broccoli, red cabbage, carrot and - the best part - green apple. It's a simple way to add a sweet and fresh crispiness to the salad.

Underneath the salad sits a corn tortilla smothered with frijoles, and it's all topped off with a hearty tomato-based sauce and some black olives.

Taste-wise, my grandma and I both thoroughly enjoyed our meals and will definitely order them again - but we're also keen to try everything else on the menu! The vegan cheese and sour cream were excellent choices and complimented the meals well. The servings were huge and so the food was very filling, but that's what I expect from Montezuma's! The prices are reasonable considering the size of the meals.

Montezuma's isn't a classy, high-brow restaurant with five star-quality meals, but it doesn't need to be. It's simply a fun, well-decorated and affordable place to grab a tasty and filling meal. If you're a vegan, vegetarian or omni looking for a fun place to eat with your family, friends or partner, Montezuma's is my number one recommendation.

On another note, if you like to drink coffee after lunch, there is a nice eco-friendly coffee shop around the corner that Cam showed us. It's hidden away but it's definitely worth going in - they have lots of milk options for vegans as well as some vegan desserts. Their coffee was great! They also sell homemade paintings, toys, sculptures and other little gifts. The cafe is called E for Ethel - check them out on Facebook here.

E for Ethel make great coffee!

If you're reading this, thanks for having me Montezuma's (and E for Ethel) - I'll be back soon (when I'm not too busy with Uni work!)

4 May 2016

Cheese is addictive: how to cut it out for good

For a lot of people trying to transition to veganism, or even just removing dairy from their diet, cutting out cheese is seen as the hardest part of the process. It's one of the most common reasons people give for not switching to veganism and for not giving up dairy. But giving up cheese is so important. More and more now, people are starting to realise how awful dairy production is for cows, for the environment, and for our own bodies. We're simply not designed to consume milk beyond infancy, especially that of another species.

But I love cheese! I can't imagine my life without it! I can't go a day without eating cheese!

I once felt this way, and I know so many others who are facing the same problem. We're accustomed to topping nearly everything we eat with cheese. We can't imagine eating pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads without it. Have you ever wondered why that is?

Well, recent research has found that cheese is addictive. That's why it's so hard to give up. But cheese addiction, like any addiction, is possible to break. And luckily, cheese addiction is one of the easiest to let go of. There are so many alternatives out there to try, but if they're out of your price range, you can make your own fairly cheap.

Saying cheese is addictive is a pretty hefty claim, but there is a scientific basis for this assertion. Of course, for every scientific study released into the realm of journalism, there will be a conflicting scientific study saying the first was totally false. Personal experience, though, has lead me to believe that the cheese certainly feels difficult to give up at first, whatever the reason may be.

Cheese contains something called casomorphins. Casomorphins are protein fragments derived from the digestion of casein, a milk protein commonly found in cheese. According to some sources, casomorphins have addictive properties comparable to those of opiates such as codeine and morphine.

If you're unconvinced about the addictive properties of casomorphins in cheese, consider the high fat content of dairy products. People suffering from food addiction often gravitate towards foods with a very high fat content, such as fried foods, oily food, meat, chocolate and - of course - dairy. According to some studies, high-fat and high-sugar foods are addictive and, when suddenly eliminated from the diet, may evoke depression-like symptoms.

Despite all of these claims about addiction, it's not impossible to remove cheese from your diet. If you are genuinely concerned about your health, our environment, and the welfare of farmed animals, the following advice may help you cut out dairy products for good. And even if the addiction claims are entirely false, it's still true that people find cheese hard to cut from their diets and that dairy just isn't meant for human consumption.

"In western society, cheese is essentially a dietary staple. Tradition, like addiction, can be hard to break - but the availability of vegan cheese alternatives makes things much easier."

The issue of addiction goes hand-in-hand with the issue of tradition. In western society, cheese is essentially a dietary staple. Tradition, like addiction, can be hard to break - but the availability of vegan cheese alternatives makes things much easier.

For those looking to transition from vegetarianism to veganism, I have another useful article on that exact topic, which you can find here. It offers advice for cutting out dairy products, eggs, honey, and other animal products featured in the average vegetarian diet.

Cashews can be used to make delicious, creamy cheese alternatives

But if you're more interested, specifically, in cutting out cheese, here is a list of alternatives you could try. I have included brands purchasable in the three countries (the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia) that make up my blog's main audience.

United States: Chao, Daiya, Tofutti, Go Veggie!, Follow Your Heart

UK: Violife, Vegusto, Sheese, VBites, Tesco Free From

Australia: Daiya, Cheezley, Sheese, Biocheese, Tofutti

Of course, there are many other dairy-free cheese makers out there. If you're looking for other alternatives, Google is your friend!

If you're looking for a healthier cheese alternative, you could always try making your own. Vegan cheese can be made at home with common household ingredients. There's cashew cheese, almond cheese, macadamia cheese - the list goes on. And there is a seemingly endless list of different flavours and types of cheese to try - chilli cheese, Gouda, parmesan, black sesame, nacho cheese, feta, mozzarella, brie, pepper jack, and much more. Why not give them a go?

You can find a list of vegan cheese recipes here.








4 Apr 2016

A medley of delicious and diverse vegan pizza ideas

When I first considered becoming vegan, I was hesitant. I am, and was, a lover of food. I mean, I really, really like to eat good food, and - like many people - I especially like to eat junk every now and then. So, I thought: if I go vegan, I'll miss out on so much. No more chocolate, no more ice cream, no more pizza...

Pfft! How wrong I was. In fact, becoming vegan has driven my love for food even higher. I'm passionate about making my own meals and have come to savour every bite of what I eat. And what's that about pizza? I eat more now than I ever did as a vegetarian! You don't need dairy cheese to make a damn good pizza pie.

So, without further ado, here is a list I've compiled of awesome vegan pizza recipes from all corners of the internet, with a few of my own ideas thrown in. Bon appetite.

A healthy choice

When we think of pizza, the word healthy doesn't often come to mind. We typically associate pizza with lots of cheese, lots of sauce, and lots of fat. But it doesn't have to be this way. A pizza with a wholemeal base topped with piles of veggies is delicious and packed full of vitamins. Try these toppings on for size:

- Homemade marinara sauce (recipe here)
- Spinach
- Onion
- Pineapple
- Broccoli
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Chia Seeds
- Avocado

A not-so-healthy choice

Healthy isn't always the most important thing. Sometimes, delicious takes centre-stage instead. This three-cheese pizza is made with processed cheese and lots of oil, but it tastes too damn good for me to care. Of course, you should probably avoid eating this too often. If health is a concern, leave this one for special occasions.

You can use any three cheeses you like - including homemade if you prefer a healthier option - but here are some suggested brands that are available in Australian supermarkets.

- Daiya mozzarella cheese
- Shredded MyLife Biocheese, cheddar flavour
- Cheezly (various flavours)

This recipe is very simple, but you could always jazz it up a bit. All you need is a standard pizza base, some store-bought marinara sauce (which is usually vegan) and bake it so the three cheeses melt over the top. Feel free to add any other toppings you enjoy.

Simple vegan pizza (from The Minimalist Baker)

Some people just aren't great at cooking. I'm one of them. Some people also don't have access to expensive or exotic ingredients. I'm one of those people, too. If you fit one or both of these definitions, The Minimalist Baker's recipe is right for you. It's easy to prepare and the ingredients are cheap and widely available.

The Minimilast Baker also offers a 1-minute, homemade vegan parmesan cheese recipe, which looks and tastes awesome on the simple vegan pizza.

Check out the recipe here.

Buffalo chickpea pizza (from Vegan Richa)

Just the title of this one makes my mouth water. I've never heard of anything like it before, but I'm always on the lookout for new flavour experiences!

This recipe is a little more complicated than the others, but I'm sure it's worth it. It's perfect for people who love a lot of flavour. This unique pizza is topped with sriracha hot sauce, olive oil, black pepper, Italian herbs, ranch seasoning, celery seeds, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder... the works! If you're looking for a flavour explosion, this is where you'll find it.

Go here for the recipe.

Spicy Indian-style pizza (from Oh Dear Drea)

Here's another flavour-rich option for vegans who love everything hot and spicy! Indian cuisine is one of my favourites, and I'm pretty much addicted to Naan bread, so this pizza sounds absolutely amazing.

The recipe uses non-vegan yoghurt and non-vegan Naan bread, but these can easily be replaced with vegan alternatives. There are a few brands of vegan Naan bread available in supermarkets, but if you can't find anything, you could always make your own. Here's a recipe for vegan Naan bread.

If you can't handle too much spice, don't fret. The pizza uniquely uses mango as a topping, which should offset some of the spiciness.

Read the recipe here.

White wild mushroom pizza (from Chef Chloe)

Mushrooms are my favourite pizza topping ever. If I could afford it, I'd order ten times the amount of mushrooms on my takeaway pizza. But two dollars per extra topping is highway robbery! That's why it's much better to make your own at home!

The concept of wild mushrooms sounds a little fancy, but the recipe is much simpler than it seems. The outcome, though, looks very professional.

Chef Chloe's recipe can be found here.

Roasted veggie & black bean Mexican-style pizza (from Connoisseurus Veg)

Here is another unique and flavoursome recipe for lovers of spice. This recipe boasts blended black beans, a garden of healthy roasted vegetables and tahini nacho cheese. Have a look at the photos on the website - this pizza looks spectacular.

According to the writer, this pizza is like a plate of nachos in pizza form. For takeaway food lovers, I can't think of anything much better. As an extra plus, compared to your average takeaway pizza or nachos, this recipe is healthy and vitamin-rich.

Check out the recipe on the Connoisseurus Veg website.

P.S. Damn, Connoisseurus Veg is a creative name. I wish I'd come up with that.

Banana Split Dessert Pizza (from Breast Cancer Maven)

Once you've finished eating all your savoury, spicy, cheesy pizza, you'll probably be hanging for something a little sweeter. This banana split dessert pizza from Breast Cancer Maven is exactly what you'll need.

Topped with banana, strawberries, chia seeds and a healthy chocolate ganache, berries, coconut shreds, and anything else you think would work, this recipe is perfect for fulfilling those after-dinner dessert cravings. It's gluten-free, too, and fairly healthy if you top it with a medley of fruits.

See the recipe here.


I hope you've enjoyed the options I've presented here. Please let me know if you find any other unique and diverse vegan pizza recipes. I want to try them all!

For now, start cooking :)

22 Feb 2016

Is being vegan enough, or should we be doing more?

Okay - so you're vegan. You don't eat eggs, honey, meat, dairy, or any other animal derivatives, and you don't touch leather, silk, wool or anything in-between. You're making a real difference. You're being smart with your money and choosing to stand against violence. You've chosen the simplest, most effective way to fight against animal cruelty. But are you doing enough? Is there more you could do?

Of course. There's always more, and we should never stop striving to do better.

Vegans are not automatically perfect people. Many try - but, without doubt, there is always more to be done. A person may be vegan, but they may occasionally make unethical choices regardless. Ethical living extends beyond avoiding animal products.

"Vegans are not automatically perfect people. Many try - but, without doubt, there is always more to be done. Ethical living extends beyond avoiding animal products."

Take animal testing, for example. Veganism, by definition, is about rejecting animal exploitation as far as is practicable and possible. So, while a certain beauty product may contain only plant-derived ingredients, it could be animal tested. A better option, in this case, would be to buy an alternative product that is plant-based and not animal tested. This may seem obvious, but it's something new vegans could easily overlook.

There's also the issue of palm oil. While plant-based, and thus vegan by definition, buying products containing uncertified palm oil is not an ethical choice. It's widely known that palm oil production contributes to deforestation and, consequently, the death of thousands of animals. I'm guilty of this myself: because palm oil is often hidden behind names like "vegetable oil", it takes a little extra effort to avoid it. So, sometimes I'm lazy or forgetful and I don't bother to check. I figure it's still vegan, so I buy it. But now, thinking about it, I know I could do better. And from now on, I will.

This is an important thing for vegans to consider. Sometimes, we are so caught up in the concept of being vegan that we forget about or bypass other important ethical considerations. We think: it's vegan, so it must be ethical. But this is not always true.

Avoiding palm oil is easier than ever before with the new app by Palm Oil Investigations. Similar to the vegan barcode scanner, the POI app allows you to scan products to find out if they contain palm oil. So, for me and others like me, there's no excuse to keep supporting deforestation.

And if you are avoiding animal products, palm oil, and animal tested products, there is more still! Let's never stop striving to do better. While veganism helps animals indirectly, we can also make a direct different in the lives of individual animals.

Could you, for example, sponsor a rescued farm animal? Many farm animal sanctuaries around the world offer this service - for a monthly fee, you will support a rescued animal and receive regular updates about their lives. It's a wonderful way to increase your impact. Or, you could make a direct donation to the sanctuary itself to help all of the residents and their caregivers.

If spending money isn't an option, there are other avenues you can take to reach the same goal. If you can't afford a monetary donation, why not donate your time instead? Many rescue sanctuaries are always in need of a helping hand, even if it's only once or twice a month.

If the resources are available, you could also take a rescue animal into your own home - be it a cat or dog, or someone as small as a chicken or rat, you will be making a genuine difference and saving a genuine life. There's no greater feeling in the world than rescuing an innocent being from the edge of death.

"Of course, for those who are not yet vegan, why not take that first step? Veganism is the simplest way to show your support for animals and take a stand against cruelty."

And of course, for those who are not yet vegan, why not take that first step? Veganism is the simplest way to show your support for animals and take a stand against cruelty. Becoming vegan opens your eyes to what goes on behind the scenes and encourages you to find more and more ways to increase your impact. Take veganism as a moral baseline, and improve upon this baseline as you learn new ways to make a difference.

So let's never stop trying. The animals need our help. For some, being vegan is enough; because for some, veganism is the best that can be done. But if we have the opportunity to do more, we should always take it - in doing so, we'll push the world one step further to the ultimate goal of worldwide peace and compassion.

13 Feb 2016

8 films that will make almost anyone consider veganism

If you're already vegan or vegetarian, you have probably heard of or seen many documentaries and other films about animal rights. For that reason, in this list I've included some more obscure films that are equally as effective. I encourage everybody to share these informative documentaries with everybody they know, because there's a good chance that at least one of them will leave an impression. For those with a heart for animals and respect for life, it's impossible to not be affected by the information and/or visuals presented in these films. For those with attention spans on the shorter side, I've also included some shorter, but effective, YouTube clips.

1. Earthlings (2005)

This film is a graphic, disturbing and heart-wrenching journey through hell on earth. It's often described as the most terrifying and sickening horror film ever made - but it's not scary like Saw or The Exorcist. It's scary because all of the violence, cruelty and suffering shown in the film is completely real. These atrocities happen all day, every day, in every country in the world. This film, despite how much we want to look away, pushes us to view reality in its rawest form.

Everybody needs to watch Earthlings, especially those who are not already vegan. For all those people who think cows don't have to die for milk, and that egg production isn't cruel, and that animal farming isn't that bad, tell them to watch Earthlings. Only then will they know the whole truth.

Earthlings is renowned for turning many people vegan - even those who couldn't manage to get through the first ten minutes of it. That's how powerful this film is.

Earthlings is available on Netflix or the Earthlings website.

Many of these films explore how we can work together to put an end to factory farming

2. Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)

For those who aren't yet ready to see the graphic violence shown in Earthlings, Cowspiracy may be a better option. Instead of focusing on the ethical problems associated with meat, dairy and egg production, it focuses on logic and fact. People who want (or need) to know about the environmental problems associated with animal agriculture should watch this film.

The key word in this film is sustainability. With the help of members of various environmental organisations such as Greenpeace, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the Natural Resources Defence Council and the Rainforest Action Network, we learn about the impact of animal agriculture on our environment.

Watch the trailer on YouTube or see the full film on Netflix.

3. Forks Over Knives (2011)

While Earthlings focuses on animal rights and Cowspiracy focuses on sustainability, Forks Over Knives focuses on the dietary aspect of veganism, highlighting the lifestyle's many health benefits. Forks Over Knives includes commentary from biochemical professors and nutritionists who believe many common diseases are strongly connected to animal product consumption. The film links the rise of coronary heart disease, obesity and cancer with the western world's increasing consumption of processed animal-based foods.

Forks Over Knives is not a strictly vegan film, but it does encourage a plant-based diet. You may want to avoid this option if you are more interested in the moral aspect of the vegan lifestyle.

Visit the Forks Over Knives website here.

4. Lucent - Australian Pig Farming: The Inside Story (2014)

This film is for those who argue that animal cruelty is rampant only in less "developed" countries. Instead, Lucent reveals that animal cruelty is apparent even in one of the world's most liveable nations.

Lucent, commonly referred to as "the Australian Earthlings", is a documentary highlighting the horrific treatment of pigs in the farming industry. It includes hand-held and hidden camera footage. It is brutal and violent, but it is real, and we can help put an end to it all.

Lucent is available to watch for free on YouTube.

5. Make It Possible (2012)

For those without an hour or two to spare, Make It Possible is a much shorter, 11-minute option highlighting the horrors of factory farming and encouraging viewers to help end the suffering endured by farm animals around the world.

An initiative of Animals Australia, the film urges viewers to sign its accompanying pledge, which includes four options. You may pledge to stop eating meat, to donate to the cause, to eat fewer animal products, or to stop supporting factory farms.

The Make It Possible campaign has seen support from several Australian celebrities, including Missy Higgins, Judith Lucy, Santo Cilauro, Mick Molloy and Rove McManus.

If you're looking to educate people who say they're not ready to give up meat just yet, this documentary may be the better option, as it supports the idea of taking 'baby steps' to eventually wipe out factory farming altogether.

You can find the Make It Possible website and watch the video here.

6. Gestation Crate Pigs, Locked Up In Hell (2015)

Gestation Crate Pigs, Locked Up In Hell is a clay-animated YouTube video created by then 13-year-old film maker, Kyle Kelleher. Since appearing on YouTube in January 2015, the film has amassed over 206,000 views and 3,680 likes. Despite being animated, it is graphically unsettling, and sends a message that is difficult to ignore.

Kyle narrates throughout the animated sequence, detailing the horrific life of a gestation crate pig from birth to death. It focuses on ensuring people know the truth behind what's on their plate.

This film is a good option for people who can't stomach real blood and violence, but still need to see an accurate depiction of what really goes on behind the scenes.

Watch it on YouTube here.

7. Vegucated (2011)

Vegucated focuses on all aspects of veganism; from the environmental, to the ethical, to the dietary. The documentary follows the lives of three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. The results are interesting and inspiring.

In the film, the participants visit an abandoned slaughterhouse, where they are exposed to the reality of intensive animal farming in the United States. On top of this, the participants choose to broaden their knowledge further by visiting a factory farm in current operation - not surprisingly, what they see drives them to fight for animal rights.

Dr Joel Fuhrman, an American physician, and Professor T. Colin Campbell, an American biochemist, offer their knowledge to viewers, discussing the benefits of a plant-based, whole-foods diet.

You can digitally rent or buy Vegucated here, or see it for free on YouTube.

8. Speciesism: The Movie (2013)

Specisiesm: The Movie, as hinted by its title, focuses on the concept of speciesism; which, according to Wikipedia, involves the assignment or different values or rights to individuals on the basis of their species. The term was coined in 1970 by animal rights advocate Richard D. Ryder.

Political activists and prominent animal rights activists (including Peter Singer, Richard Dawkins, Temple Grandin and Steven Best) come together in this film to tell the world why they're fighting - a unique take not usually seen in other animal rights documentaries.

The creators of Specisism: The Movie promise you'll never see animals (or humans) in the same way after seeing the film.

Check out the film's website here, or watch the trailer on YouTube.


Thank you for reading this list - I hope it has helped you find the best resources to aid you in your fight against animal exploitation.

10 Jan 2016

33% of vegans and 47% of vegetarians want to try lab-grown meat

Recently, I created a poll to find out how vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters respectively feel about lab-grown meat. Would they eat it, and why or why not? I wanted to learn more about lab-grown meat and its potential for future success, and how a person's lifestyle may affect their opinion on this unusual concept. These are the results I found.

Meat-eater responses 

Not surprisingly, the strongest proponents for lab-grown meat were meat-eaters. Of the 150 omnis polled, 81.9% said they would eat lab-grown meat, and 11.4% were unsure. Interestingly enough, 6.7% were opposed to the idea.

Why did meat-eaters say yes?

"It's essentially meat. Why would it be a big issue if I'm a meat-eater anyway?"

"I don't have any revulsion towards it, and it makes more economic, ethical and environmental sense than traditional meat products."

"I don't have any revulsion towards it, and it makes more economic, ethical and environmental sense than traditional meat products."

"If they can make it identical in flavour and cheaper, why not?"

"I like meat but I hate the ethical consequences. Bring on the lab meat!"

"Lab grown meat would allow me to eat tasty, tasty meat without contributing to climate change."

"Saves an animal, gives me meat. Win, win."

"It stands to be far more environmentally efficient, and is ethically superior."

"I'm not a vegetarian but I do recognise that the way we treat our animals is pretty cruel. If I could eat delicious meat without the moral problems, I'd do it in an instant (assuming it tastes good.)"

And why did meat-eaters say no?

"'Animal-flesh product' made me cringe. I rarely eat meat, mainly due to taste and texture."

"I don't think scientists would be able to mimic the flavour of meat from a cow that's eaten different feed or plants, which can give it a unique taste."

"I bet real meat is better for you."

"Not ethical, and I wouldn't trust it."

All of this isn't especially surprising - if somebody is willing to eat naturally produced animal parts, they'd probably be up for the idea of at least trying the exact same thing produced in a lab. It's interesting to note how many omnis mentioned the more ethical and environmentally friendly nature of lab-grown meat. It's good to know that even omnis are concerned about these issues.

Vegan responses

The idea of lab-grown meat has divided the vegan community. While 49.4% of vegans would not eat lab-grown meat, 32.7% would, and 17.9% said they are unsure.

Why did vegans say yes?

"No animals are harmed. Tastes good (probably.)"

"All the flavours, none of the ramifications."

"No cruelty is occurring so if I find something tempting, I see no reason not to try it."

"If there's no animal suffering, I have no problem with it. I probably wouldn't eat meat often, but it would make meals with omnis easier."

"No animals are harmed, so there's no harm in eating it. I wouldn't eat it all the time, but I'd definitely try it and support it, and tell others to try it."

"I became a vegan due to opposition to factory farming. If my meat was never sentient, I'd give it a shot."

"I literally don't see the harm in it, though I suspect I wouldn't like the taste anymore."

"It's not from an animal. No suffering, so why not try?"

"No animals are being hurt. I would still need to check the environmental impact of the new meat."

And why did vegans say no?

"I don't like eating dead animals, why would I eat fake dead animals."

"It's not necessary to grow meat in a lab to feed people."

"Find it gross and I understand that it is still just as unhealthy as real meat in most respects, although perhaps fewer bacterial endotoxins."

"No need, plant-based food is delicious."

"Eating a synthetic imitation of dead animal flesh disturbs me almost as much as non-lab grown meat."

"Meat weirds me out after not eating it for a long time."

"I would encourage those who eat meat currently to eat it, but after going without meat for two years I am disgusted by the idea of eating it again."

"Raised vego so the idea of meat makes me sick (hate mock meats for same reason). Think is good idea for those who physically cannot or will not go vego."

"Unnecessary. Overly processed. Unnatural. Gross."

"The DNA would have to come from a real animal, it would be like eating the clone."

Would you eat meat grown in a lab?

Half of respondents said they wouldn't eat lab-grown meat, and I'm not surprised. Many people avoid meat because of the associated health problems, and on top of this, after not eating meat for a while, it becomes repulsive. I personally wouldn't eat it for this reason - I'm happy with the diet I have now and animal flesh disgusts me. But I'd actively encourage the production and sale of lab-grown meat as an alternative for omnis. So many lives would be saved.

Vegetarian responses

The vegetarian respondents were more unsure of how they felt than the vegans and omnis, with 19.7% of respondents selecting 'unsure' in the survey. Interestingly, the majority of vegetarians said they would indeed eat lab-grown meat, with 46.5% of respondents selecting 'yes'. Only 33.8% of respondents said they wouldn't eat this new alternative, compared to the 49.4% of vegans who said they wouldn't.

Why did vegetarians say yes?

"If the meat can be made ethically and its environmentally friendly I'm all for it."

"As long is there is no suffering on the animal's behalf, I would like to see what it tastes like again."

"No harm to animals. Lower environmental impact."

"If the meat can be made ethically and its environmentally friendly, I'm all for it."

"I don't refrain from eating meat because I think it's not tasty. On the contrary, I miss the taste of meat very much. If I can consume meat from a source that causes little harm to the environment or animals, I'm very enthusiastically 'in'".

"No suffering, no problem!"

"I would love for this to finally be for sale. Sometimes I miss eating meat but I won't buy it because it is cruel. Animals won't be abused and killed so what is not to love?"

"Ethically and morally okay - although unsure about economic viability and resources required."

And why did vegetarians say no?

"The texture of meat is why I don't eat meat."

"Corporations would control the technology and the environmental impact of high tech may be worse."

"I'd be fearful of the negative and unhealthy repercussions that would come from this. Not an ethical issue but rather a 'I don't want it to hurt my health' issue."

"I'd be fearful of the negative and unhealthy repercussions that would come from this. Not an ethical issue but rather a 'I don't want it to hurt my health' issue."

"Don't like the taste of meat."

"I don't eat meat because of health problems. It doesn't matter where it comes from."

"Don't like the thought of eating animal flesh."

"I find meat repulsive."

What does it all mean?

The reasons for eating or not eating lab-grown meat given by the vegetarian respondents are very similar to those given by the vegan respondents. The difference is that significantly more vegetarians are in favour of the idea than vegans. I have a hypothesis about why this is. Most vegetarians don't eat meat because they don't want animals to suffer and die. That's why I first became vegetarian. It doesn't necessarily mean they don't like meat. Many say they enjoy the taste of meat and would happily eat meat if it didn't cause suffering. So when lab-grown meat comes along, you'd assume they'd be all for it - except for the vegos who don't like the taste or texture. Vegans, it seems, are a little different. Many of us are disgusted by what meat actually is and find flesh repulsive. That's why, I think, most vegans won't eat lab-grown meat.

As I said earlier, I wouldn't eat it. It's gross. I can't stand the smell or sight of meat, although I do eat meat alternatives. I just really don't want to eat flesh. But given the information we know so far, I don't have any problems with other people eating lab-grown meat. I wholeheartedly encourage it and I think its production will change the world for the better. So many animal lives will be saved, and humans will be spared the horror of working in slaughterhouses. And 82% of meat-eaters support the idea. How good is that? A future with significantly less animal suffering or exploitation is well within our grasp. And personally, I can't wait.

To see all of the poll responses, click here.