Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Collage from Vegan Etsy Shops

A little exercise in using Picasa and a celebration of the Vegan Etsy Team
This is just an example of the amazing talent from the Vegan Etsy Team. When in Etsy, search with VeganEtsy as a tag and see what a wonderful assortment of items can be found for vegans (and non-vegans) all made exclusively by Vegans. There's something for everyone.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Starrlight Jewelry - Trendy, Gothic and Fabulous.

A review by MidnightRabbits / Veganessa

One of my favourite shops on Etsy is this fabulous shop called Starrlight Jewelry .
Everything in this shop is Cruelty Free, vegan suitable.
The owner Starr has a wonderful, kind, caring spirit and is very helpful and friendly. She makes beautiful jewelry, gifts and home decor, as well as caring for many homeless cats, and raising funds for worthy animal causes. Certainly a busy lady!

I purchased this stunning necklace, made with black and red beads, and a beautiful black rose cameo. It looks gorgeous on, and I've received many lovely comments about it. I've worn it on 'dressy' occassions, as it goes very well with black clothing, of which I have many! It certainly turned a plain outfit into a glamourous one.

A look at Starrlight Jewelry will show you a good assortment of fashionable, alternative jewelry, in a Gothic/Victorian style. All unique and handmade.

If black is not your colour, then with luck, you may catch a beautiful coloured item such as this multi coloured ring, which would look gorgeous with everything, and could be worn as an evening piece or equally look good in the daytime. Just wear it with confidence, and accept the compliments!

I'm a big fan of spiders, and this brooch is one of my favourites. It's Stylish and exciting.

Starrlight Jewelry has a good assortment of jewelry at reasonable prices. Actually, considering all the time and effort that goes into creating such gorgeous, individual pieces, they are well worth the money. There's Home Decor such as fan/light pulls, to add a touch of elegance (or decadence - depending on your choice) to any room, and who could resist this adorable stich marker. If I was the lucky owner of it, I would just have to wear it as a brooch - sorry Starr - it's far too beautiful to be hidden away with knitting, it needs to be shown off, on a black jumper or wrap!

So next time you are on the internet, feast your eyes, by checking out this wonderful shop, Starrlight Jewelry and treat youself - you know you want to!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas cheer from VeganEtsy shops

With Christmas fast approaching, I browsed through Vegan Etsy team members shops, looking for wonderful christmassy items to decorate a house. Here are some of my favourites:
From Sassandperil
These wonderful Gingerbread House Ornaments.

VeganCraftastic has these adorable Christmas mini stockings - Perfect for holding smaller gifts.

And why not scent your bathroom with this wonderful Christmas soap,from Daisywares , scented with christmas spruce.

These Iced Cookies from SweetVConfections would look lovely as ornaments on a tree, but I bet no-one could resist eating them!

Wonderful festive items from the VeganEtsy team. Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and Winterval.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Post-holiday Relaxation

As fun as the holidays can be, there's no denying a certain stress level. The time after the holidays is perfect for taking a few moments to yourself and just relaxing, and these soothing items from the Vegan Etsy team are just the thing to help with that!

Organic Lavender and Flax Lullaby Pillow by Holistically Heather:

Sleepy Time Luxurious Night Serum from Daisy Wares:

Koala Candle by Kenny Coop

-Kala (Vegancraftastic)

Cuter than a puppy, even.

There's a breed of omnivore which likes to "confront" me about my veganism by telling me that the only reason I don't eat animals is that they're cute. This is entirely untrue - there are many, many reasons not to eat animals without even breaching how amazing the animals themselves are. *However.* Animals are so freaking cute! Exhibit A: Kingsford The Pig.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Eating Animals: Slices of Paradise / Pieces of ____
The sixth chapter in the new book by Jonathan Saffran Foer

This sixth chapter of Foer's book Eating Animals, more than those preceding it, seems to have a theme: differences that matter. This can be an important concept when one talks about animal rights. Many changes could be made to the living conditions of a battery cage hen - she could be given three more square inches of living space, for example. But is this a difference that matters? Or just a thinly veiled attempt by industry to get do-gooders to shut up about animal welfare and go away, without industry having made any real change? This idea ties in nicely with one of my personal mottoes: better is not the same as good.

In this chapter, Foer visits Paradise Locker Meats, a smalltime slaughterhouse doing things in a more "traditional" way than most of the bigger houses these days. Even so, he has a difficult experience.
"It's not just because I'm a city boy that I find this repulsive. Mario and his workers admitted to having difficulty with some of the more gory aspects of slaughter, and I heard that sentiment echoed wherever I could have frank conversations with slaughterhouse workers."
This discomfort is heightened all the more for Foer by the fact that the animals being slaughtered on the day of his visit are hogs - pigs, with their intelligence and particularly gutwrenching squeal (or scream, if you prefer). The visit comes to a head when, upon leaving, the abattoir staff are just dying to share with Foer the end product of their hard labors: a slice of glistening pink ham. Foer wriggles from this predicament by playing the Kosher card (he isn't, but he sure could play one on TV). Awkwardness ensues.

If you're going to discuss pig eating, or to put it nicely "pork", there's no way to avoid the name Smithfield, leading pork producer in the U.S. Run a Google search for "Smithfield Farms pork", and among the first entries (sometimes the very first) you'll find a Rolling Stone article entitled Boss Hog: Pork's Dirty Secret. As have many others, Foer has found this article to be particularly illuminating regarding the manure "lagoons" that go hand in hand with pig factories.

As Foer points out, the pits are filled not only with animal feces but also with "whatever will fit through the slatted floors of the factory farm buildings. This includes but is not limited to: stillborn piglets, afterbirths, dead piglets, vomit, blood, urine, antibiotic syringes, broken bottles of insecticide, hair, pus"... et cetera. No wonder, then, that neighbors get upset when an industrial pig "farm" gets built nearby? The presence of these lagoons shifts from nauseating to enraging when one understands that accidents do happen, and sometimes these cess pools "spill" into nearby lakes and rivers.

Foer goes on to discuss another major concern in the raising of commercial pigs: the gestation crate. This is a contraption which confines a sow, and is generally justified by the excuse that the mother pig may crush her babies if she is allowed to move.
What defenders of such practices don't point out is that at [non-industrial farms], the problem doesn't arise in the first place. Not surprisingly, when farmers select for "motherability" when breeding, and a mother pig's sense of smell is not overpowered by the stench of her own liquefied feces beneath her, and her hearing is not impaired by the clanging of metal cages, and she is given space to investigate where her piglets are and exercise her legs so that she can lie down slowly, she finds it easy enough to avoid crushing her young.
The chapter is concluded with a brief revisitation of the plight of fish. Fish do seem to be different to most everyone - we've all met the "vegetarian" who still eats fish. Perhaps it is the land/water divide that so separates us? Philosophical quandaries aside, there are no numbers kept for how many hundreds of thousands, or millions, or maybe even billions of fish and other sea creatures are caught and consumed each year. They count for so little that we literally don't even count them.

I've always known about that thing called "bycatch" - I'm old enough to remember the craze of dolphin-safe tuna, after all - but this section held a piece of information that actually shocked me. According to Foer and his fact checkers, 80 to 90 percent of the sea creatures caught by industrial fishing operations, even those businesses considered efficient, are thrown back as bycatch! Well, I had to check that out. While I couldn't find a reliable source to mirror those numbers (other than maybe Greenpeace, but I think they're biased?) I did find an FAO report on shrimp trawling that finds an average of 85% . Ouch.

I'm unsure why this section on industrial fishing was tacked to the back of chapter 6; nevertheless, it is most certainly good information to have.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Win a Vegan Craft Sample Bag- 2 ways to win! Giveaway on vegan etsy

Just posted a new giveaway on our facebook page this morning, all you have to do is tell us what your favorite vegan food is!
Yep its that simple, favorite vegan food and you are entered to win a vegan craft sample bag!

Only a couple of days left to enter our other giveaway for a free vegan craft sample bag, we need a design for our bags, yep thats right...check out our blog for details!

Heck, if you dont feel like trying your chances with a giveaway, swing on over to our etsy shop lickety split to grab one of the few sample bags left!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eating Animals: Influence / Speechlessness - the fifth chapter in the new book by Jonathan Safran Foer

In my household growing up, we ate chicken for dinner at least four nights a week. As my mom saw it, she had enough to struggle with without having to think any harder about dinner than "broiled or cacciatore?" This seems to be a common situation in U.S. households - we consume a fairly incredible amount of chicken, or, I should say, number of chickens.

In the fifth chapter of his book Eating Animals, entitled Influence/Speechlessness, Foer focuses on this humble bird, the chicken. And for good reason - as previously discussed, due to the mass quantities in which we reproduce these animals and the fact that the vast majority of them are factory produced, they become an ideal icon for the animal-as-product problem. So just how many do we make, sell, and eat? The USDA doesn't want to talk to us about numbers of beings - that might be acknowledging that they're living creatures after all. But they do tell us this:
The United States is the world's largest poultry producer and the second-largest egg producer and exporter of poultry meat. U.S. poultry meat production totals over 43 billion pounds annually; over four-fifths is broiler meat, most of the remainder is turkey meat, and a small fraction is other chicken meat. The total farm value of U.S. poultry production exceeds $20 billion.
That's not to mention the production of 90 billion eggs per year, give or take. At any rate, the number of chickens raised, slaughtered, sold and consumed in this country is in the billions annually.

And that's just the U.S. What if the rest of the world decided it wanted to be like us with regard to eating those fluffy white birds (more McNuggets, anyone)? According to Foer, whose book was thoroughly fact-checked by people more skilled in research than I:
The global implications of the growth of the factory farm, especially given the problems of food-borne illness, antimicrobial resistance, and potential pandemics, are genuinely terrifying. India's and China's poultry industries have grown somewhere between 5 and 13 percent annually since the 1980s. If India and China started to eat poultry in the same quantities as Americans (twenty-seven to twenty-eight birds annually), they alone would consume as many chickens as the entire world does today. If the world followed America's lead, it would consume over 165 billion chickens annually (even if the world population didn't increase).
It is in this chapter that Foer addresses the inevitable subject of the flu strains shared among humans and other animals, such as Swine Flu / H1N1. There are those who postulate that these viruses capable of species transference all originate in birds. This makes the information that flu vaccines are made by cultivating viral strains inside of fertilized chicken eggs a bit less surprising. No less upsetting, just less surprising. But that is perhaps a separate topic.

For many there is little question that the domestication of birds for food is the spark that has led to various wildfire flu pandemics. The domestication and, more specifically, concentration of food animals has without a doubt caused other public heath concerns, both with regard to food safety (foodborne illness being chief), and in overuse of antibiotics which both renders the drugs useless in humans and creates dangerous (and virulent) new strains of infectious bacteria. Foer notes that in 2004 and again in 2005, major world organizations concerned with food production came together and both times concluded that current methods of animal agriculture posed serious public health concerns.

By this point we've all heard about the conditions in which chickens are raised: beaks clipped, each given less space than a sheet of paper, feet grown around the wire cages which are stacked eight high and hundreds wide, breasts so heavy they can barely walk even if they did have the room, air so heavy with ammonia that it stings the eyes and burns the lungs and nostrils (yours and theirs). This isn't science fiction or the exception to the rule; this is what we now mean when we say chicken. So to me it's really a matter of common sense. Putting aside the ethical and moral implications of supporting such a system, how could it be healthy, or really anything but poison, to consume an animal which spent its life in an environment so toxic?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Welcome new members!

This week we have three new members to welcome! Please take the time to check out these great shops and give them some hearts!

Vegan Etsy Team: A Great Place To Shop Without Having To Ask What Everything Is Made Of!

Here are some of my favorites from todays Vegan Etsy Team snoopings!

The Sophia Headband from Monkey and Squirrel

Robot pins from Vegancraftastic

Sugar Snap Prairie Dress from Earth Groovz

Lilac Scarf from Knits By Nat

Japanese Temari Ball Ornament/Decoration from Crafty Panties

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tis the season, and here's my reason!

I recently started a job at Macys, a cleaning job, I work for an outside company that cleans. Why am I telling readers this? Because it has really given me perspective on the holiday season.

I have never been one for consumption, over consumption, or holiday just flat out isnt my style. But since starting my job at Macys and seeing people fight over possesions, spend $150 on a childs dress and not even look me in the eye because I am a lowly cleaner...I have made a choice. A choice that isnt far off from how things usually go, usually I get something small for Jessi and something small for my grandmother....well, no more!

This year instead of adding to the consumeristic hysteria of mass produced sweat shop items, I will be sponsoring rescued animals at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary for my family and Jessi.

Instead of getting someone something that might just end up in their junk drawer anyway, why not give the gift of life. When you sponsor an animal you insure that animal has food and shelter and necessities for a year of its life, you will also receive a picture and bio of the animal you are sponsoring.

Hopefully someday we can make it out to Colorado to meet all of the animals they have saved, and show love to them all!
Happy Holidays! I hope some of you will choose to make your holiday season cruelty free.

written by Heather of
Holistically Heather
Aunt Flos Pads
Vegan Craft Samples