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A project initiated by the HK Council of Early Childhood Education and Services (CECES)

Co-organized by the HK Vegan Association and 1+1 = 11

 

Warning: This document contains images of animal cruelty that readers might find disturbing.

 

This is a general information paper about CECCS’ missions for a health and wellness lifestyle. We are concerned about the world’s heavy demand for animal meat and related products. This is a major cause of many environmental issues that threaten mankind’s survival.

CECES is committed to providing educational information and to organizing a variety of events and workshops to promote a vegan way of life. Veganism is about living a compassionate and sustainable lifestyle that has a positive impact on all people on earth.

In November 2018, the Vegan City Project kicked off its activities with the support of the Central and Western District Office1.  We would like to continue to work with like-minded organizations, or individuals, holding similar goals to achieve a more harmonious and more peaceful world.

In everyday terms, veganism is the abstinence from eating any animal meat, and animal by-products. Strictly speaking, veganism also means refraining from using products made from animal parts, such as fur coats, down duvets, leather handbags, etc.

Veganism is closely related to environmental concerns such as: climate change, water and air pollution, food security, rising population, the degradation of rainforests, health issues, and life sustainability in general.

Animal Welfare

We humans insist on our human rights. Animals are living beings too, but most people would not consider animals as having rights.  Enough research has shown that animals have emotions of happiness, sadness, fear and anxiety, just as people do.  Therefore, animals need to be respected, protected, and be given rights as well.  (Read about sentient beings. 2)

A vegan diet is plant-based.  Therefore, it rejects meat from cattle, poultry, fish, shellfish, and crustaceans.  Vegans also abstain from eating eggs, dairy products such as milk and cheese, and exploiting bees for their honey.

Around the world, many people are demanding an increasingly large amount of animal products, but they do not recognize how this high consumption is having disastrous effects on a monumental global scale, affecting all people and all animals.

The world population at present is 6.7 billion, and will increase to 9 billion by 2050.  If everyone maintains the amount of meat we now eat, we would need 3 planets the size of the Earth to sustain ourselves. 3

Water and land are needed to raise animals.  In order to satisfy people’s ever-growing appetite for meat and other animal products, more and more land needs to be cleared to feed livestock.  Deforestation4 leads to massive soil erosions, scarcity of water, and farmers are relying more heavily on the use of damaging pesticides5 on the crops. In the end, harmful chemically-based pesticides are consumed by both animals and humans.

A vegan diet, on the other hand, is entirely plant-based.  On average it only requires 1/3 of the water and 1/3 of the land for to sustain a plant-based life-style. 6 

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, we kill 56 billion animals for food each year and this figure does not include fish.  The staggering number of animals that supply human needs can only come from industrial factory farming, where great numbers of animals are raised in an unnaturally short period of time before they are slaughtered for their meat.

Factory farming is horribly cruel.  Besides the frightful handling of animals, breeding them brings diseases, such as bird flue, swine flu, BSC7 and MRSA.8 Over half of the antibiotics we manufacture are in fact, given to farm animals and not to humans. 

Overcrowding in filthy sheds is a major cause of animal sicknesses. It is hard for people outside the slaughterhouses to imagine the merciless treatments inflicted upon animals.  These terrible practices are happening in modern times today, and not something that farmers did in the ancient past.

Animal farming goes against nature in all ways.  Baby piglets, chickens, calves and other young animals are deprived of their mother’s care and milk as soon as they are born.  Animals suffer great stress when they are not allowed to raise their young.  Their cages or pens are so confining they cannot root, nest, rest or socialize, all of which are inherent needs in the animals’ nature.

 

Hens

In many parts of the world, laying hens are crammed into tiny cages the size of a piece of office printing paper, and just high enough for a hen to stand up.  In such conditions, they cannot run, fly, or flap their wings, leading to extreme frustration, and physical problems such as bone weakness and osteoporosis.

In the US, 300 million hens are raised annually to lay eggs to satisfy human demands.  Hens spend their first two years living in utter misery.  Chicks are born in incubators and never see their mothers.  Male chicks are selected and thrown into trash bags to suffocate or they are ground up alive.  More than 100 million males chicks die this way every year in the US.  Female chicks have their beaks cut off with a hot blade9 without anaesthetics.

Hen cages are stacked on top of each other so that urine and faeces fall on the cages below. Some dead birds are simply left in their cages as carcasses and not removed.  If these hens survive for the first two years, they are hung upside down to be electrocuted, or thrown into scalding hot water, or have their throats slashed while they are still alive. 10

 

Cows

Factory farmed dairy cows spend their whole lives on hard concrete floors, when lactating cows need to lie down on soft ground to rest.  They can slip and fall if floors are wet with excrement causing painful injuries but they are still left to stand for a large part of their lives.

 

Severe confinement is when cows are tethered by a chain, stanchion metal bars11 or rope tied around the neck.  In these tie stalls cows are restricted in every aspect where they cannot turn even enough to scratch themselves. Dairy cows are injected regularly with growth hormones (rbST) to increase yields.  The milk we drink that is advertised, as being good for us is actually full of hormones and antibiotics.  Cows are impregnated over and over without rest until they are exhausted and then transported, often over long journeys, to be slaughtered.

 

Cow with diseased udders still being milked.

Mastitis is an excruciatingly painful bacterial infection of the udder, affecting almost one third of British dairy cows at any one time. There are over one million cases a year in the UK (Farm Animal Welfare Council, 2009). Routine use of antibiotics has consistently failed to control it.  Milk for human consumption from infected cows can quite legally contain up to 400 million pus cells per litre. Mastitis is the most common disease in dairy cows and a major reason why they are killed so young (GB Cattle Health & Welfare Group, 2012). Mastitis symptoms can be obvious, such as swollen, hard and painful udders and discoloured or clotted milk, which may be invisible to the eye. Bacteria that cause mastitis thrive in dirty, wet bedding and can be transmitted from cow to cow via milking machines. As cows have been bred to produce too much milk, this unnatural strain breaks down udder tissues, allowing bacteria to invade. Consistently unhealthy, her immune system is incapable of fighting disease as vigorously as it should.

The YouTube video entitled “Dairy is Scary” exposes the sad and wicked aspects of dairy farming and has made many young people shun milk. 12

 

Pigs

One billion animals in the world are pigs.  Over 500 million of them live in industrialized systems.  Overcrowding results in sham chewing13 and bar biting.  Such abnormal behaviour is the result of extreme tension, anxiety and depression.    The outcome of these conditions also reduces the pigs’ food intake, leading to hunger and more distress. 

Rampant animal suffering was documented in 58 slaughterhouse facilities visited in Mexico, the world’s leading producers of animal meat, and where the US is the main purchaser

Piglets are taken away at 3-4 weeks where normally they need 13-17 weeks of feeding from their mothers.  Babies have their teeth cut to prevent tit biting or tail docking.14  Males are castrated15 to prevent bore taint.16 All of these procedures are very painful and are done without anaesthesia. Infections soon set-in creating even more health problems. Excessively brutal treatment has been found in some UK farms and elsewhere in the world, where piglets are kicked, smashed against the wall to die in excruciating pain and with severe injuries.

Hogs are pigs made ready for slaughter.  It is not uncommon that electrical prods are used to make them get into crowded transportation or to stun them forcing them into scalding hot water before they are dead to soften their skin and remove their hair.  The frantic squealing and screaming from pigs about to be slaughtered sends clear signals about their treatment at the hands of humans who are both deadened and heartless about the monstrous acts of violence inflicted on animals.

 

Suckling pigs served at banquets and celebrations are ingrained in the culture who give no thought to the vicious lives endured by these animals.

 

CECES Advocates Veganism  

It is not right to cause such intense suffering to any species of animals.  We strive to live in a compassionate world that expresses benevolence towards humans and animals.  Through education, we must spread the notions that veganism entails serious ethical issues, especially in its global, intergenerational, and ecological aspects. 

Each generation lives with what the previous generations left behind. Our children will live with what this generation leaves behind. No longer can we adopt a wait-and-see attitude towards one of the biggest and most chilling consequences of unthinking human consumption of animals.

Animals produce an enormous amount of carbon emissions.17 These have long-term effects.  Central to our concerns must be for children in the coming generations.18  Youngsters must be taught and made aware of the urgency for education, so that they will take action for the sake of their own and their children’s survival.  Some scientists have already predicted our extinction in the next 100 years.19  The World Health Organization sums up the situation clearly. 20

CECES is committed to produce educational materials and information packs from the large body of research available, so more people will join us in the Vegan City campaign to bring about a meat-free community. 

 

Environment Implications

Animal husbandry is directly affecting climate change, which is the biggest global health threat in the 21st century.   It is a bigger problem than heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, HIV, AIDS, vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, respiratory problems, dementia, road injuries, bush fires, drought, floods, and crop failures.  The effects of climate change are varied and many.  

Climate change threatens all of mankind, and no one anywhere in the world can escape its damages.  Human and environmental problems cannot be separated but are linked together and affect each other, and if unabated, will eventually annihilate us, and cause extinction, not only for animals, but also for human beings.  

This alarming threat must be given top priority by both grassroots organizations and world governments and we must do our best to execute solutions.  (Refer to the Paris Agreement). 21

Cattle out-number people in the world.  Agriculture is the third largest contributor of global emissions.  The carbon emissions from animals are 50% methane, 36% nitrate oxide and 14% carbon dioxide, collectively they create dangerous levels of greenhouse warming.  Effluent22 wastes from animals carry harmful bacteria, which contaminate both surface and groundwater.  Fouled water drunk by people can cause hazardous health issues.

The need to raise large numbers of animals brings large-scale conversion of forests and vegetation into farmland. The deforestation of the Amazon, known as the lung of the world, has eradicated great areas of pristine virgin rainforests, which leads to great losses of species.  Livestock farming also causes soil erosion affecting crop yields.   Farmers are using more and more pesticides and artificial fertilizers, which defile the soil and the surrounding environment. 

Soil erosion will be another devastating outcome when an area is completely deforested and there are no trees to anchor fertile soil.

It is estimated that more than 50 billion land animals will be raised and slaughtered for food in the next year.  Most of them will be reared in conditions that cause them to suffer unnecessarily while also harming people and the environment in significant ways. Climate change due to animal farming alone poses multiple risks to health and well-being through increased risk of extreme weather disasters.  These include floods, droughts and heat waves, which have been predicted to increase in occurrence in the coming years.

Scientists warn that California will experience more extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, if global fossil fuel consumption continues unaltered.

'It's dire': farmers battle their worst drought in 100 years

in New South Wales

An obvious way to reduce agriculture emissions is to minimize people’s consumption of meat and dairy products. This would shrink livestock populations and relieve the pressure for growing grain for animal feed and the grain can be used directly to feed humans.  This act would also effectively solve hunger problems for many poorer countries around the world. 

We would then have greater freedom to develop stock-free farming that doesn’t use artificial chemicals, manure, or animal parts such as bone, blood, and fishmeal.  Stock-free farming23 means we will have healthier crops with less weeds, pests, and diseases.   This not only will be of immense value in feeding the poor, but also will create more trees and natural habitat to make for a greater impact to reverse the devastations of climate change.

Health Advantages

There are many health advantages associated with a plant-based lifestyle for human beings.  Plant-based foods do not have saturated fats, which is a major health benefit.  The British NHS recommends taking 5 portions of vegetables and fruits a day.

Other benefits include lowering body mass index, reducing blood pressure; reducing risks for heart disease, diabetes, cancer; and improving longevity.  Vegans often report a clearer mindset, having more energy and a feeling of well-being even when faced with personal life’s challenges.

The public health issue nowadays is that people consuming a regular diet of meat-based food, especially red and processed meat, can experience serious health discomforts.  Additionally, people are dying from antibiotic resistance.  

Industrial livestock farming relies heavily on antibiotics to accelerate animal weight gain and controlling infections.   In the US, 80% of all antibiotics are fed to livestock and not to people.   In this circumstance and in the US alone, 23,000 people die from resistant bacteria every year.   This figure is rising around the world and reaching dangerous threats for both young and old. 24

The United Nations recommends 80-90g of meat intake for people living in high-income countries.   In reality, people in these wealthier counties are eating 200-250g of meat a day, far exceeding the recommended portions.  

We could be saving up to 8 million lives a year worldwide by 2050 if we made the switch to a plant-based diet.   This would naturally lead to related savings in healthcare and at the same time avoid climate change damages of up to $1.5 trillion. 

Vegans and Nutrition

There is no problem for vegans to get their daily nutrition. Markets all over the world offer a rich variety of food that scintillates the palate in their textures and flavours.  These include many types of vegetables, fermented, pickled, curries, and stir-fries.   A vegan diet consists of a variety of fruits and vegetables, pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, etc) whole grains, nuts and seeds. 

 

These foods are easily available, and there are numerous tasty recipes from different countries to show how to make delicious vegan meals.  Many people who have tried such meals say they would gladly convert to being vegan if meals taste so good!

 

 

 

 

Delicious vegan dishes from around the world

It is important to note that vegans and vegetarians alike, need to pay attention to getting enough protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and omega–3 fatty acids.  These can be obtained from many natural and fortified food sources. 

Vegan meals are much cheaper on the whole, and vegan chefs are strongly committed to their art of cooking.  Numerous celebrities and athletes around the world are vegans, and they will testify to their preference for a meatless diet. 25

Prize-winning sports icons insist that their ability to perform at peak endurance, speed, and flexibility, is made possible by a plant-based diet. They say that as vegans, they have all the energy they need and do not miss or want to eat meat. 26

 

Said to be the world’s most popular celebrities, Beyonce and Jay Z, work hard advocating a plant based diet

 

 

 

Len Hin Chun Chui, Hong Kong’s champion body builder with Jessenia Soto and Maritsa Corté are convinced that a vegan diet gives them strength.

Elderly citizens, pregnant women, lactating mothers, and babies from conception to infancy, also benefit from a plant-based diet.  Mothers report their babies do not suffer from colic, a common babyhood condition.

 

Hidden and unnoticed

One tricky point is that many people adopting a vegan diet may not be aware that some of these listed items below are not actually vegan, and in some cases, not even vegetarian.

  • Beeswax and Honey.
  • Casein or Milk By-products.
  • Confectioner's Glaze on Candy.
  • Gelatin and Gelatin Products.
  • Isinglass in Beer and Wine.
  • Cysteine in Bread Products.
  • Whey in Bread and Sweets.

 Nonetheless, the vegan markets have substitute ingredients for all of these.

 

Changing One’s Diet

Different approaches suit different people who wish to become vegans.  Some are born as vegans, some convert to a plant-based diet quickly, while others do so step-by-step.  Whatever is the case, it is laudable that an increasing number of people are mindful of their eating habits, and understand the importance of diet in relation to health.   

 

Different ways for different folks

  • Semi-vegetarians are those people who still eat animal products, but more selectively. Many semi-vegetarians eat chicken and fish but not red meat. 
  • Flexitarians are people who are mostly vegan/vegetarian but who on occasion do eat meat. 
  • Pescatarians are those who avoid meat and poultry but still eat fish and seafood. 
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians are those who skip all meat, fish, and poultry but include dairy and eggs in their diet. 
  • Vegans are those who eat solely a plant-based diet, which is the strictest form of vegetarianism. Vegans do not eat any animal products at all—not even eggs or dairy products.27

 

In Conclusion

Change starts with the individual.   All advocates for a better world must concentrate on changing their own lifestyles.   The quickest, most effective way is to avoid over consumption in general, especially consumption of meat and diary products. 

The world’s resources are finite.  If we do not curtail our habits of over eating, drinking, shopping, and relentlessly chasing after goods and wealth that are out of line with an ecologically friendly philosophy, we will soon deplete our planet’s natural recourses and will be unable to compensate for our losses.

Efforts must be spent on our own education and awareness, while at the same time, building community support and calling for health and welfare enhancing government policies on environmental issues.   We urgently need to: 

  1. Open our minds to making changes in our lifestyles
  2. Reduce carbon emissions
  3. Invest in renewable energy
  4. Prevent deforestation
  5. Reduce shopping, especially for fashions and food
  6. Support developing nations
  7. Learn how to sustain the earth’s resources
  8. Surveil diseases
  9. Pay attention to our responsibilities towards future generations who will live with the legacy we leave behind

 

We wish you a Happy New Year!

Contact:  Sansan Ching, CECES Director, 852 97304475

January 6 2018

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Reference

1 Kick off event CECES

2 Sentient beings

After 2,500 Studies, It's Time to Declare Animal Sentience Proven (Op-Ed) Scientists do have ample, detailed, empirical facts to declare that nonhuman animals are sentient beings, and with each study, there are fewer and fewer skeptics.

Sentient Being Definition: A creature that can suffer and feel pain; mostly animals and humans. Related Terms: Animal. Generally, in law, animal is one with the faculty of sensation and the power to perceive, reason and think.

 3 Making Connections, British MP speaking

 4 Deforestation

This refers to the cutting, clearing, and removal of rainforest or related ecosystems into less bio-diverse ecosystems such as pasture, cropland, or plantations

 5 Pesticides

These are substances that aim to kill insects harmful to plants and animals, but not only are pesticides dangerous to the environment, but they are also hazardous to a person's health. Pesticides are stored in your colon, where they slowly but surely poison the body. Pesticides also have the potential to harm the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system.

 6 Making Connections

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYEOdpH1ulk&list=PL932A35B5E6B896A Making the Connection, British MP speaking

 7 BSC

These are animal and human diseases caused by bacteria, virus and fungi

 8 MRSA is a major issue in human health.  It is a bacterial strain through skin wounds

 9 Hot blades beak cutting

In the UK it is common practice to trim just the tip of the beak, whereas in Europe it is more commonplace to see severe beak trimming occurring, often leaving birds exposed to pain when feeding. Beak trimming is carried out ultimately to protect birds from hurting each other in what is an unnatural commercial environment.

10 Electrocuted

At the slaughterhouse, fully conscious birds are shackled upside down by their legs to a moving conveyor belt. The birds' heads are then dragged  through an electrified saltwater stun bath. Currents shoot through the birds'  skin, breasts, hearts, and leg muscles causing spasms and tremors.

11 Stanchion metal bar

A framework consisting of two or more vertical bars, used to secure cattle in a stall or at a feed trough.

12 Dairy is Scary

13 Sham chewing

Sow stalls increase abnormal behaviour such as sham chewing and bar-biting, indicating severe frustration and stress.   Sows in crates can exhibit behaviour likened to clinical depression.

14 Tail docking

Pigs in industrialized factory farms in the United States usually have their tails cut off, both males and females. Advocates argue that such practice without any pain relief is an abuse to pigs. The docking of pigtails is done because pigs have a natural tendency to chew pig’s tails.

15 Castrate 

Castration is the surgical removal of the two testicles, is a routine management practice for male pigs destined for slaughter. ... The time to castrate a pig is between 1 and 21 days of age. Young pigs are easier to hold or restrain.

16 Bore Taint

It is the offensive odor or taste that can be evident during the cooking or eating of pork or pork products derived from non-castrated male pigs once they reach puberty.

17 How Carbon affect us in the long term – long term effects of fossil fuel burning 

18 Increase infringement of rights of children. what price our future generations will we pay? View point of Lord David Puttnam

19 Prof Frank Fenner Australian predicts extinction in 100 years

20 WHO report Impact of Climate change on health 

21 The Paris Agreement

(French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, starting in the year 2020

On 1 April 2016, the United States and China, which together represent almost 40% of global emissions, issued a joint statement confirming that both countries would sign the Paris Climate Agreement. 175 Parties (174 states and the European Union) signed the agreement on the first date it was open for signature.

22 Effluent wastes (22)

Effluent is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as "wastewater - treated or untreated - that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer, or industrial outfall. Generally refers to wastes discharged into surface waters". ... Effluent only refers to liquid discharge.

23 Stock free farming  

Stock-free organic farming is a system of cultivation that views farms as part of the wider eco-system and excludes artificial chemicals ('agrochemicals': 'pesticides', 'herbicides', 'chemical fertilizers'), livestock manures, animal remains from slaughterhouses, genetically modified material and anything of animal

24 Anti biotic resistance 

25 Vegan athletes 

26 Len Chiu

27 Different phases of veganism

 

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Acknowledgment for the photographs:

 

Germany’s Decision to Affirm Legality of Male Chick Shredding Shines Global Spotlight on Practice A Meat and Dairy Industries

 Animal Cruelty

Cows with Mastitis are in great pain causing them to stand unnaturally.

Caged pigs in China

Unimaginable misery in Mexican slaughter houses

Drought in New South Wales

Deforestation

Soil Erosion

California Experience Extreme Weather Events

Vegan Food Pyramid

Beyonce and Jay Z

Hong Kong body builders

Further Reading/Viewing

What the Health: Documentary on veganism, available on Netflix.

Conspiracy: Documentary on the cattle industry, available on Netflix.

21 Things the Egg Industry Doesn’t Want You to See

Hog Hell:  How Pigs are Raised and Killed for Meat

Hong Kong farmers give antibiotics to healthy chickens ... and raise supervision concerns

Fork over Knives: Documentary on plant based diet

What you eat mattersH.O.P .E

Let us be Heroes

Podcast Dairy Scary by Tim Samuel