This category contains 9 posts

I Was Lovin’ It.

New advertisement from the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine advocates vegetarianism.

Why Monbiot is wrong about being wrong about veganism.

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I bet it’s nice to be right every now and then. Good for the self-esteem, at any rate. However I’m not sure where you stand when publicly falsifying your own previous positions. There is a certain degree of comfort in knowing that if the new me wasn’t right, then sure enough the old one was.

This is where British environmentalist George Monbiot now finds himself. Despite previously proclaiming that the ‘only’ ethical stance in the face of coming food and climate crises was veganism, he has recently published an article dramatically titled ‘I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat – but farm it properly’. Continue reading

Why Not?

Guest Post: Christian Vegetarianism: Misconceptions and Common Grounds

by James Morrison

James is a relatively recent graduate of the University of Auckland, who admits to an imprudent admiration of St Francis alongside a prodigious capacity for cognitive dissonance. He is currently researching the history of education law in New Zealand while contemplating matching words with deeds.

I am an amateur rather than a scholar of moral theology and the Bible, but I hope that by commenting on the relation of Christianity to veganism or vegetarianism, I can contribute to a more reasoned discussion of this topic than comes from some quarters whose enthusiasm can obscure accuracy.

The first point that I want to make has to do with ‘animal rights’ and ‘animal welfare’.  Christianity does not support animal rights.  It does support animal welfare.  This may well disappoint the more hardcore vegans and vegetarians. Continue reading

Garth George and the Confused Culture

It’s not often I’m moved to comment on Garth George – for those who are blissfully unfamiliar with his work, he’s a longtime conservative critic for the Herald, who in the past has railed against the decriminalisation of both abortion and homosexuality. Thursday’s Herald included a fascinating editorial in which Mr George commented on the recent 33-dog slaughter in Wellsford, demonstrating a poignant knot that braces much of the globalised Western legal and social culture.

Garth begins his post by enumerating the three things he still cannot get his head around. In his own words:

The first is child abuse, paedophilia and cruelty to domestic animals; the second is male homosexuality; and the third is vegetarianism.

I will refrain from commenting on the second point since this is not the appropriate forum (although I do find the specific phraseology ‘male homosexuality’ fascinating), the first and third of Garth’s big confusions reveal a fascinating contradiction. Interestingly, he spends little time actually commenting on the relative merits or otherwise of vegetarianism or veganism (a distinction he admits ignorance of), and when he meets a member of this strange breed, he, ‘..simply shake[s his] …head in wonder.’ The rest of the editorial is devoted to shaming the perpetrators of some of the more heinous instances of animal cruelty over the recent past. Throughout the post, George makes it clear that he has no practical or comprehensible ethical or philosophical grounding from which this set of arbitrary rules are derived. Continue reading

Being Vegetarian and Believing in Social Justice

Max is a member of SoLVe and a law student at the University of Auckland.  He is heavily involved in debating, and is one of the Auckland University Law Review editors in chief for 2010.

Vegetarians and vegans are often also politically outspoken, socially active, and environmentally conscious.  Of course, not all vegetarians and vegans are like this, and not all of those committed to social justice choose not to eat meat or animal products.  But there is surely a connection between the two strands of thought: the cliché that vegetarians and vegans are ‘leftie greenies’ has a kernel of truth.  It is worth asking why this is, and exploring how the connection influences our beliefs and behaviour.  Understanding the relationship between vegetarian/vegan lifestyles and social justice impulses helps to shed light on both camps of thinking, and may also encourage further crossover and cross-fertilisation between these camps.

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Eating Well During the Holidays!

Ah, holiday time is here, and for most of us, that means a time to feast.   I’ve been feasting even a bit more than usual, as this year’s holiday has also matched up with my 40th birthday – which means it’s been celebrations a-plenty.  At these times – in fact, at all times – good food is essential.  Thankfully, over the past few years, making good vegan food has gotten easier than ever, primarily because of one woman: Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Who is this person?   Well, let’s look at what I’ve been feasting on lately, and it will come into focus.  For my birthday, it was delectable chocolate mocha and also rum and raisin(!) cupcakes.  Both earned rave reviews, but the kudos belonged to Moskowitz, whose amazing book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World was the inspiration.   Of course man cannot live by cupcake alone, so we also had Lemondrop and Chocolate Mint Icebox (with real pieces of mint tucked in) cookies.   Again, these were off-the-chart delicious, and everyone – vegan and non-vegan alike – dug in.  These beauties came from Moskowitz’ latest book, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.

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Some Thoughts on Talking to Non-Vegans

Hello I'm VeganIt is a wonderfully empowering thing to realise the degree of choice that we have in our lives by making informed choices about what we eat. This is usually reflective of a long process of considered thought and it is not uncommon to feel a little special. Indeed, we may feel very wise. This can be a bit much for other people to bear as the proverbial zeal of the converted leads us to find a way to drop our capital-V Veganism into any conversation on any subject.  And, to not know when to drop the subject.

I don’t presume to dispense advice here, nor do I intend a lecture, but there are some thoughts I would like to share about how we can better communicate with our omnivorous brothers and sisters and with each other.

It’s not about your ego.

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Vegan Society Relaunched

On World Vegan Day, it’s great to see that the NZ Vegan Society – not to be confused with the NZ Vegetarian Society – has been relaunched, and plans to start advocating for vegan causes.  Check out the new Vegan Society website and support this initiative.