“I recently bought the Beco ball on a rope for my Schnoodle, and he loves it. It feels really well made, and will definitely last him a long time, Thanks Ethical Pets!” – Patrick
One of my favorite podcasts is Science VS, by gimlet media. It’s a science show headed by Wendy Zukerman, who delves into the science of things like vaccines, climate change, essential oils and…. in September this year Veganism!
Here’s what I learned… Continue reading “Science versus Veganism”
We had a wonderful time at Blackpool Vegan & Green Fair today. After an early start and miserable weather, the sun came out and the venue was packed!
There was food and seating downstairs, and a large hall of stalls upstairs. Here are some of our favourite things!
On Saturday I popped in to Manchester’s 100% Vegan diner. My socks were blown so far off I never did find them again….
To put this into perspective, I have spent a bit of time in Berlin while working for the Free Software Foundation Europe. Every time I visit, I come home feeling like I have had a cultural “dressing down” from a city who knows how to “do” Veganism and Ethical Living in a way that makes our efforts look terrifyingly “English” (pale… prudish… “down with that sort of thing”)
It’s not that we are attention seekers… but we do love it when people talk about us! Here is a fab little article about us published recently by the Plastic Is Rubbish team Polythene Pam and Village Boy. They just LOVE our super-sustainable plastic free pet bowls from BecoThings… did you hear they are made from rice husks and bamboo? Now that’s the kind of gossip we like to see spreading! Take a read of what they said below:
The new PAW Report, by PDSA and YouGov, lifts the lid on some of the most concerning pet health and welfare issues facing UK pets today. With sections focusing on Diet, Behavior, Health and Ownership, their is lots to read and talk about. This is our review of Section 1 of the report: Food in Focus.
The statistics which really jumped out at me from this part of the report are that that only 3% of dog owners can identify the ideal healthy shape of a dog when shown a range of images and that 56% of cat owners with an overweight cat believe that their cat’s shape is as it should be. Are you one of them? Despite how many people are unsure about their pets weight, people seem well informed about the consequences of chubby pets – fat related diseases and a shorted life span. Somehow, we have learned that fat is bad, but not what fat looks like: checkout our quiz below to see if you can pick out the pets with a healthy figure.
Another worrying issue is that many Rabbit owners are feeding their bunnies incorrectly: remember, rabbit muesli is just for a treat – bunnies should eat at least their own body size in hay or grass each day for their main course, and then just a little muesli and/or fresh veg for pudding.
Click to see the Paw Report and weight guides for cats and dogs.
Why did Europeans have all the “cargo” – axes, umbrellas, factories and shops, when other cultures, such as those of the Native American Tribes, maintained more traditional lifestyles. How much could this disparity have to do with Animals, and what can we learn from it.
Summarizing 15 years his research about “all of human history” into once sentence, Jared Diamond says: “The differences among the histories of people on different continents is not due to biological differences between the people themselves, but instead down to differences in the continental environments: especially differences in the wild plants and animals that could be domesticated.” He believes that this one sentence summarizes human history.
One example of the effect of geography on development is that, despite California having the lushest farmland in the world, Native Americans never cultivated it – and so never had the benefits of “early and productive agriculture.”
Diamond claims the reason for this is that the native animals in California were Deer and Grizzly Bears – animals not prone to domestication. The vegetation did not lend itself well to domestication either – and so California was never farmed until plants and animals were “imported” from Europe.
While his ideas are disputed, even considered to be unsophisticated, I think is a wonderful lesson for us in what Diamond says.
I have read many times about how tribes from Papua New Guinea and per-colonial America lived in harmony with Nature – without mass farming, a sustainable lifestyle was vital. If Diamonds theory is correct, then it wasn’t genes, religion or lack of imagination that prompted this wonderful way of life: they lived sustainably because they needed to. Their survival depended on it.
Perhaps this shows that we are just as capable of living sustainably – in harmony with the natural world – when our survival depends on it. And it does so now!
Listen to Radio 4’s “The Life Scientific” from 4th Dec 2012 for the full interview
“Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamonds, is available on-line from Foyles (who pay their taxes!!)
Welcome to Ethical Business: Ethical Life – we aim to showcase the people behind some of the amazing Ethical Businesses we have met through running Ethical Pets. This first volume is about Kevin, a friend, customer and all round inspiring guru chap. He runs a great small business called Lakeside Ethical Treats… and he does it all to raise funds for West Midlands Vegan Campaigns! It’s hard to sum up Kevin without gross overuse of words such as “dynamic” and “enthusiastic”. I think he is most simply encapsulated by his answer to the question “how many hours a week do you work”, he replied “Personally I wouldn’t call it work! But it’s got to be over 70 I think.”
When did you start your ethical business and what happened next?
My group Midlands Vegan Campaigns organizes the annual West Midlands Vegan Festival and various other vegan/animal awareness events throughout the year. With the festival costs increasing every year, I spent many months considering how I could raise more funds. It obviously had to be something ethical, but I also wanted to do something that would itself promote Veganism.
The idea came to me at The West Midlands Vegan Festival in October 2010: the festival featured 2 new stallholders, Goody Good Stuff sweets and Moo Free Chocolate. Goody Good Stuff sold out half way through the day and went home, and Moo Free also had an excellent day. Within 2 weeks of the festival, I had ordered a load of stock from both companies and Lakeside Ethical Treats was born!
First of all, we had stalls at various fairs and sanctuary open days in the run up to Christmas 2010 – and then an on-line store was set up too. The ‘shop’ soon started to stock delicious chocolate creme eggs, made by Birmingham based Chocolate Wendy House (consistently our most popular product over the past 2 years). The trial period went extremely well: it was clear the shop had great potential.
Since then the stock range has increased to over 120 lines! I believe that Lakeside Ethical Treats is now the biggest vegan confectionery shop in the world, and it’s without doubt the only vegan sweet shop to be run by volunteers to allow all the profits to go back into vegan awareness events!
The West Midlands Vegan Fair cost over £10,000 to run this year, and while Lakeside Ethical Treats helps to meet this cost, the shop has become about much more than fund-raising. During 2011, our stalls could be found at over 80 events throughout the year, everything from local group meetings, rallies, food fairs and big festivals.
The shop really showcases the vast array of vegan chocolate, sweets and snacks available – therefore promoting Veganism itself..
Describe an average day in the life of you.
My life revolves around vegan/animal rights/environmental campaigning and awareness raising. That’s the way it’s been pretty much since I first got involved over 15 years ago. My life is far from conventional – I admit to being totally and utterly obsessed!
Much of my time is spent organizing vegan/cruelty-free fairs and festivals. For example, taking stall bookings, arranging speakers/cookery demonstrators, updating the website, designing leaflets, promoting the events via magazine adverts, social media, press releases etc.
When orders for chocolates etc come in they need packing and dispatching and I of course have to update the shop website and maintain stock levels, making sure there’s enough stock for the big events.
I’m active in the animal rights movement in various other ways too, for example, I help
coordinate coach transport to national demonstrations. I also run The Redditch Green Fair and I am the moderator for the Redditch Freegle group, which I formed 7 years ago – it now has over 12,000 members!
To top this all off, I am a Green Party activist and Parish Councilor for the village of Feckenham, which is within the borough of Redditch.
What are your ethical principles and how do they guide and motivate you?
Firstly and most importantly, everything I put my name to has got to be cruelty-free and vegan. Environmental friendliness is also critical.
Although I was not fully aware of the animal farming industries until my mid-twenties, compassion and eco-living has dominated my entire life.
This is largely down to my Mother, who was, for example, campaigning against the Canadian seal slaughter way back in the early 1960’s. My best friends have always been the animals around me and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The wonder of animals and the natural world is imprinted within me, just like words through a stick of Blackpool rock.
In this over-consuming mad world, I struggled, at first, to come to terms with the idea of selling products, but eventually I came to the conclusion that food is the most ethical product to sell – particularly when it’s vegan and organic, fair-trade, locally produced etc. Most products from Lakeside Ethical Treats tick several of these boxes.
People will always want to buy sweets and chocolate, so you can’t get much more ethical than Vegan confectionery sold in aid of vegan awareness raising!
Any words of wisdom?
People are more ready than ever to taste the delights of Vegan cuisine and to learn the benefits of plant based diets – many are now changing their diets as a result. A massive 54% of visitors to this year’s West Midlands Vegan Fair were non-vegans!
We need to take advantage of peoples growing curiosity: the time is ripe for compassionate vegans to get more organized and coordinate food fairs and festivals everywhere. Don’t say it can’t be done in your town: look at what has happened in Wolverhampton!
Donald Watson, founder of The Vegan Society and inventor of the word “vegan” said in 1944:
“A common criticism is that the time is not yet ripe for our reform. Can time ever be ripe for any reform unless it is ripened by human determination?”
So, lets get more active and speed up the dawn of a vegan world!!
Come and buy some yummy chocolate from Lakeside Ethical Treats at the Kings Heath, Birmingham Cruelty-Free Christmas Fair – on Sat 15th Dec, 10.30 till 4pm
Ethical Pets will be there too!!
A few words by Debbie, Rosie’s guardian.
My partner Paul & I decided to get a dog because he was in the RAF & was spending many months of the year away. We thought a dog would be good company for me & would also encourage us both out in the beautiful countryside. I wanted to rescue a dog as we felt that there were so many dogs who needed rehoming & we wanted to give one a second chance.
So, the hunt was on!
I found a sad, skinny looking girl on the website of the Bath Cats & Dogs Home. She was underweight & had sore, red & swollen eyes. But those eyes…
We spent time with her, & the decision was made: Rosie was coming home to us!
Her history was vague. She was 2 years old & we were to be her third owners. Her previous owners had taken her to the dogs home telling them she was a stray, but they then proceeded to fill the staff in on her entire medical history!
The first few months were difficult: Rosie had many behavioural problems as a result of not being socialized. She was very sensitive to dietary changes so we had to choose her food carefully. She also displayed some upsetting signs that she had been abused by her previous owners. We would take one step forward & two back: it took patience & time, but now, two years on, Rosie is the most loving, loyal, happy friend we could ask for.
She loves people & has learned how to play gently with other dogs. She is wiggly & always wagging her tail. She also spends almost 22 hours a day sleeping!
I work shifts & Rosie has made it her mission to be attentive to my strange sleeping patterns by always being by my side come day or night, fast asleep on her back, legs in the air snoring like a train!
Rosie is the most loving, loyal, happy friend we could ask for… She is wiggly & always wagging her tail!
Which brings me on to our friends at Ethical Pets! Sadly, Rosie began to suffer from unexpected & unexplained panic attacks. They were so distressing for her & we were exhausted from nights awake with her, trying to calm her down & reassure her. The attacks would last for hours & there seemed to be no way of calming her down.
I was reluctant to medicate her as this was just masking the problem rather than dealing with it & so I began to look for an alternative, natural & ethical solution. This is where I found Ethical Pets & their Mucky Pup Calming and Soothing Massage Oil. It took a few nights to totally kick in but I could see almost immediately that she was starting to relax. By the third night she had begun to present herself for her doggy massage before bed! I had discussed Rosie’s problems at length with Anna who was able to suggest some new products that they had recently discovered. She kindly sent some samples off for us to try.
In our goody bag (along with a yummy vegan doggy treat!) was a Pet Remedy Plug-in Diffuser. Pet Remedy is made with a mixture of herbs that have a natural de-stressing effect on animals that is also non-sedating. I can honestly say we haven’t had any further problems with Rosie’s anxiety: she has returned to the happy, chilled out bed slug we love dearly… & I can’t tell you the relief of getting a good nights sleep ourselves!
Debbie & Rosie x
We love working with other ethical businesses, and have decided to showcase some of the amazing people behind them. We would like firstly to introduce some of the great people we have met since we started up a year ago, and secondly – well, we want to meet even more great people too!
The “Ethical Business, Ethical Life” series will consist of short interviews with people who run their own ethical business: we will ask about how the business got started, what day to day life is like in their office, what motivations them and if they have any advice for people who would like to start up their own ethical business. We are always looking for more new ways to spread the love, and can’t wait to get started with this project! If you would like to nominate a business, just drop us a line by email, on twitter or on facebook.