Imagine if you grew up without access to free education, and then imagine how much you would treasure the opportunity to learn to read. The pupils at Atlas Vegan Community Primary School are so eager to learn that they walk between one and six miles to school. And they have to be there by 7 am!
They’re always glad of their hearty porridge breakfast on arrival, and another meal with beans later in the day. Or at least they are if they get it. The school is often out of funds and, when there’s no money, there’s no food.
Can you imagine walking miles to school, trying to learn your lessons, and then walking miles back home at the end of the day – on an empty stomach? When you’re six, seven, eight years old?
The school, as yet not half-built, is operating on a shoestring and has no consistent income that it can rely on. If I can persuade at least 100 of you to donate just £8.50 ($10) a month, that would cover their monthly running costs, including the teachers’ salaries. Then no one would go hungry, and everyone could learn.
Seven year old Tony, pictured above with cute smile and a plate of rice and beans, loves going to school but finds it very hard to concentrate if he doesn’t get something to eat after his four mile walk from home. Could you spare just £8.50 a month to make sure his hungry brain gets fed? £2.13 a week? 30 pence a day?
My latest article for CounterPunch is provocatively titled, yes. Because while it’s right to improve life for a confined elephant, focusing on a being in permanent captivity makes a problematic case for personhood.
On social media, the elephant personhood case is tagged #FreeHappy. This confuses the humans-in-charge regime with freedom. Moving Happy might be the best we could do under the circumstances, but it wouldn’t create freedom; Happy would remain a refugee. This needs to be said. We need to be serious about freedom if we’re claiming to struggle for it. We must defend other animals’ interests in thriving independently of human supervision before it’s too late.
2022 – this year’s “free range, high welfare” dairy babies
We will not forget. We do not forget that millions of babies like these are born to be killed every year. Just so that humans can drink their mothers’ milk and make it into ice cream and cheese and yogurt. For these unnecessary things, these babies were born and will die. Unnecessary suffering caused by Raystede.
Earlier this year I happened to be walking in this field before there were any animals in it, and I heard one of their mothers crying out. A pitiful, heart-breaking bellow reached me from the unseen farm, maybe half a mile away. Her cry was repeated, over and over, and I knew they must have just taken her baby.
I walked all the way home, another mile or more in the opposite direction, and I could still hear her as I turned the key…
“Today is World Animal Free Research Day. This day highlights the importance of developing animal-free research techniques and protecting animals during scientific studies.
Decapods in Science
Decapods, like crabs and lobsters, are used in science, but because they aren’t protected by laws that monitor experiments, there’s currently no way of ensuring their welfare in labs. They could be used for any experiment, as well as being handled and kept in ways that are harmful to their wellbeing.
We’re working to change this.
Science in Legislation
A law exists called ‘Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act’, also referred to as ‘ASPA’. This piece of legislation regulates the use of animals in science to ensure welfare is considered. Studies using animals that are protected by this law must justify why they are conducting that study, and how they are respecting the welfare of the animals used. It also means the number of animals used must be reported, so there are records to gauge the scale of the issue.
Now that their sentience has been officially recognised, we’re calling for decapods to be added to this law so that they are protected in the same way as other animals during experiments. One of the first things we’ll be doing is arranging a meeting with the Home Office to discuss expanding ASPA to cover decapods too.
We also published a press release with the RSPCA on World Day for Laboratory Animals, calling for the protection of decapods in science. The story was covered by The Guardian and Independent, and Animal Journal.
Make sure to keep up to date with the campaign to see our next steps in getting decapods protected in laws such as ASPA.
“I believe I am not interested to know whether Vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.” Mark Twain in a letter to the London Anti-Vivisection Society, May 26, 1899
Restoring Hope MAY 25 “This cute dog got caught and spent 3 days on a snare. The left hand got damaged and the owner was only applying herbs that finally damaged the hand. The owner lost hope. However, the owner’s son, John heard about LAWCS from his friend and he ran to our office to help their family dog from dying. Our Animal Healthcare Officer immediately went to the village to save the dog. The hand was amputated and after intensive care, the dog has recovered and looks so happy.”
Did you know that May is Get Caught Reading month? Reading is a great way to relax, to take your mind off whatever’s worrying you, or to lose yourself in adventure without leaving your armchair, deckchair or bathtub. I mean, one of the joys of reading is that you can do it pretty much anywhere, no power source required. Well, we’ve got a lot of reading suggestions for you.
If you’re looking for comics and stories of adventure, or ghost stories or fairy tales or hilarious naughtiness, we’ve got you covered! On the other hand, maybe you’d like the picture book about an alien with a funny name, or the one about a furry friend who bakes a cake, or the one about two little piglets on the run. Look no further – we’ve got the best selection of vegan-friendly storybooks around!
Even the seagulls love our books! 😀
Violet’s Vegan Comics – creating funny, enlightening and sometimes action-packed vegan storybooks for readers of all ages, since 2012
Beans on Toast #3 – the comic for 21st century kids – is finally here!
The third issue of this wonderful vegan children’s comic begins just like the first two, with a Marvellous Mildred adventure. This time, in ‘The Terror of Toby Teardrop’ Mildred and the Girl Scout Twins rescue poor little trout, Toby, from another of the Flat-Capped Menace’s dastardly schemes.
There’s also another chapter from the charming diary of a nine year old home-schooler – What me and Jude did while everyone else was at school. And of course there’s an episode of Sherman and Geynes: pretend detectives. This time the imaginative detectives are hot on the trail of a missing book 😮
Of course, no self-respecting vegan comic is complete without a few puzzles and this one’s got a word search, a word scramble, and a challenge to spot the identical fish! But that’s not…
We are proud to be supportingLUV4ALL: Ugandawho are building a vegan school in Kassanda District but we desperately need your help.
Government funded schools in Uganda are few and far between, and their frequently-absent teachers provide poor education. LUV4ALL: Uganda, led by Pastor Musisi Mike, is therefore raising the money to build an independent vegan primary school and provide full-time, good quality, compassionate education to the children of Kassanda District. We believe, as we witness world crises which are completely avoidable, we have to teach our children a better way forward.
Farmed animals in Uganda are completely unprotected. Grazing on whatever they can find in the forests, they are often injured by wild animals and bitten by snakes. Many are so neglected they are almost starved. The cruelty used when taking these animals to slaughter is abhorrent. Cows tied to trucks by their tails on their 67km journey to the abattoir; pigs killed with axes or stabbed through their ears with spears; chickens thrown alive into boiling water to make them easier to pluck. These barbaric and soul-destroying jobs are done by people who have never been to school.
The human population in Uganda suffers many infections from eating and producing animal products. Tape worms are common in children; and zoonotic pathogens like brucellosis frequently infect people. Then there’s bird flu every year, cholera, and sleeping sickness caused by the insects which farmed animals attract.
LUV4ALL:Uganda intends to break this cycle of extreme cruelty, abuse and disease, and teach a new generation of Ugandan children that there is a better way. Our new school will teach children that plant-based diets, which do not offend nature, are the only healthy option. Crops are plentiful and cheap since most African families are growers, and they have no health complications. As well as literacy and numeracy, we will teach the children how to grow their own fruits and vegetables and make healthy meals.
To save children from employment in animal factories and abattoirs, we will also be giving them vocational skills training such as arts and crafts – learning woodwork, basketry, pottery, needlework and so much more.
Atlas vegan school has been operating since 2018 in rented premises but the landowner evicted us this year so the only way we can keep the school open is to build our own. We have so far raised enough money to buy the land and some of the building materials, but we still have a long way to go. We hope that you will donate whatever you can afford to help us provide a better future for our children, our human community, and the beautiful animals with whom we share this world.
This money will fund the construction of classrooms, teachers’ quarters, compost toilets and a school office, as well as school supplies such as stationery. Our need is urgent because the children have nowhere to learn next term until we have built it. We will provide complete transparency by updating our donors of our progress with photographs and videos, and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for your kind donations. God bless you.
With love from Mike and the team at LUV4ALL: Uganda
They can’t do this without you so please donate and share this fantastic appeal to make it happen.
For the animals ❤ For the children ❤ For the future of this planet ❤ Make it happen! 😀
Shepherd is an innovative site to explore if you’re looking for something to read. It’s a new approach which uses authors to recommend their favourite books, thus creating a vast library of recommendations. Whatever you’re interested in, fiction or non-fiction, just type the topic into their search and it will suggest some lists that might interest you. For example, if you search for veganism, it suggests –
The best books about vegan travel
The best vegan health books
The best vegetarian cookbooks for easy and delicious meals
The best and most recent books about yoga and Ayurveda
The best books about conscious plant-based cookery
So you never know what you’re going to find 😀 Each one of the Best Books lists has been written by an author who will recommend their own book and five others by different authors which fit under that heading.
But that’s not all. The search for veganism also triggers suggestions of other bookshelves:
The best books about …
Veganism Japan Minimalism Pizza The Amazon Rainforest
On the other hand, you might search for an author or a specific book. If you search for The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the results give you five different Best Books lists which include it, and suggests bookshelves about The American Frontier, Europe, Jewish History, The Roman Empire, and Preschool. I know why The American Frontier came up, and Preschool, but I wonder why those other subjects did 😀
It can be so hard to find something you want to read because you don’t always know what you’re looking for. Shepherd gets it! Their unique library system gives you access to a diverse range of recommendations that you might not otherwise have discovered.
Jania contacted me recently and asked if we would share her vegan children’s book about a little girl with selective mutism.
With beautiful illustrations by Olin Tri Djasfar, this delightful little rhyming story explains how hard it is for Luna to talk to people outside her own family. Except cows. She feels relaxed and happy, talking to cows.
But when she witnesses the heart-breaking scene of a baby being wrenched from his mother, she determines to find the courage to speak out and tell all her friends about the horror of the dairy industry.
This is such a beautiful story of empathy and courage which shows that, with kindness, everybody wins.
Luna’s Voice is available in paperback on Amazon but you can also read it for free right here 😀
Here is a guest post I wrote in support of Shira Dest’s Project Do Better. My mental capacity is not equal to Shira’s so I find it a lot to take in and have to absorb it slowly. What I do know is this: whatever our abilities, we all have things we can contribute to Shira’s plan. Please do whatever you do well to make the world a safe place for children and animals.
This is the fundamental pillar of Project Do Better. I asked Violet for her thoughts on this topic, and about her children’s books: Violet’s Vegan Comics. She was kind enough to share these thoughts:
Project Do Better
Shira Dest is an ambitious woman and she has an ambitious plan. Some might say an over-ambitious plan. Some might call it impossible. But why should it be impossible? Because most people are uncaring? No. Most people care. Most people would prevent the suffering of a child if they could. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t all children safe? The problem is a society and education system that conditions children to turn a blind eye to the suffering of other animals.
The moral code by which “good” people raise their children is inconsistent. Its contradictions require that children are taught to apply the rules selectively…
Pastor Mike of LUV4ALL: Uganda, as well as inspiring compassion for animals, is also working hard to raise money for a much-needed local school.
Atlas community school is registered and under Free Born Foundation Uganda and they need your support. The school sponsor marginalized children in remote areas of Kassanda district Uganda so they are fundraising to give their children their own school.
They need to fund its day to day activities, as well as provide for other needs of the children such as food, reusable pads for girls, and sponsoring the welfare of the children and teachers.
If you can make a donation, however small, towards their $1000 goal, it will be very gratefully received.