To help the bacon and eggs go down easier, many people like to believe that animals do not feel pain, live good lives and are killed humanely. Don’t kid yourself. Goats cry like babies on seeing other goats slaughtered and cows fight for their lives, just as you would if an electric prong was about to go up your arse. Cows, dogs, cats, sheep, pigs all grieve, play, suffer depression, experience joy and happiness, develop friendships and enemies.
Dogs and cats bred for animal testing are no different from your pets – beagles are specifically used because their friendly and gentle nature means they are less likely to bite the hand that hurts them. They may not have many ‘Oh my god, isn’t the universe a big place?’ moments of enlightenment, but plenty of people don’t either. Just like humans, animals anticipate, feel and remember pain, physical and mental. To paraphrase animal behavioural specialist Roger Mugford, animals are ‘very well aware of their own tomorrow’.
Behind the label
In the UK, the ‘Organic’, ‘Free Range’, ‘Red Tractor’ and ‘Lion Quality Mark’ labels are all designed to make the consumer feel better about what they eat, but it’s not so clear-cut. Free range can mean anything from a penthouse suite to inadequate shelter, drainage and grazing. And let’s face it there is no such thing as a free-range abattoir.
The Lion Quality Mark is concerned with food safety but not animal welfare; some 75 per cent of hens producing eggs for this label are battery hens.
The Red Tractor symbol doesn’t exclude intensive farming and battery eggs, and an investigation by Compassion in World Farming said this label was ‘more concerned with creating the image of welfare rather than the reality’.
It’s hard to get straightforward information on cosmetic testing. Companies say ‘We don’t test our product on animals’, but that doesn’t include ingredients. Similarly, ‘We don’t test our ingredients on animals’ doesn’t mean the parent company hasn’t done so. To be sure, only buy products that meet the Humane Cosmetic Standard (HCS), such as the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) rabbit and stars logo.
The Humane Household Products Standard (HHPS) is the only internationally recognised scheme identifying household products not tested on animals. This is the only scheme that requires independent audit of the supply chain and that BUAV recommends.
Shoes to die for
It’s not only the fur trade where animals die for fashion. Angora rabbits object strongly to being shorn, often dying in the process. Sheep suffer pain and stress and leather is not a by-product of the meat industry but an industry all of its own. Cruelty-free shoes and trainers have come a long way from sweaty, naff plastic – see www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk and New Balance vegan and sweatshop-free trainers at www.veganline.com/trainers.htm
Meat is murder for the environment too
Over a lifetime the average meat eater consumes some 2,400 animals. One of the most significant things you can do for the planet, your health and animals is to follow a plant-based diet.
Farm animals are responsible for some 13 billion tonnes of waste each year, polluting soils and rivers, as well as huge amounts of methane and carbon dioxide. It takes 100,000 litres of water to produce a kilo of beef and only 900 litres for a similar amount of wheat.
Dairy cows have the cruellest life of all farm animals – a shock to veggies who believe they are doing the right thing by excluding meat but keeping dairy. Milk is pumped full of antibiotics and, more often than you want to believe, it contains puss from cows suffering mastitis. Switch to Vegetarian Society-approved goat and sheep milk, yoghurt and butter produced by Woodlands Park Farm.
Sheepless in Settle
You don’t think it’s unnatural for sheep to stand motionless in a blizzard? They would much prefer to be in nests and burrows. Sheepdrove Organic Farm must have the happiest sheep on the planet, free to nest, wander through chicory fields, with herb strips for self medication, balanced diet and foraging. Their chickens and pigs are kept in similar luxury – www.sheepdrove.com
Most leading brands of household goods, such as Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Proctor and Gamble, use animal experimentation on dogs, rabbits, pigs, guineas pigs and mice just so our clothes can smell like a ‘spring meadow’ and furniture of lavender.
Try Faithinnature ‘Clear Spring’ brand of cruelty- and phosphate-free, biodegradable products – www.faithinnature.co.uk. The Co-op own-label household products also all meet the HHP standard –
Vitamins and minerals
There is no getting away from animal experimentation in medicines and it’s a similar story for most vitamin and health supplements. Viridian is one of few with strong anti-testing practices – www.viridian-nutrition.com
Glenn Greenwald was interviewed by Amandla Thomas-Johnson over the phone from Brazil. Here is what he had to say on the War on Terror, Trump, and the 'special relationship'
Andrew Dolan on how the left must match the anti-establishment rhetoric of the right, but with a different politics
In the first of a series of interviews with migrants' rights and racial justice activists from the US, Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Peter Pedemonti, co-founder and director of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia
Yasmin Gunaratnam reflects on John Berger’s gut solidarity with the stranger
Charlie Clarke and Heather Mendick discuss how to work through the tensions within Momentum
In 1972 David Widgery wrote about the bitter intensity of love in capitalism
Emma Snaith speaks with directors Emer Mary Morris and Nina Scott about the power of theatre to encourage community resistance to estate demolitions.
Photos from The World Transformed festival in Liverpool, by David Walters
A short story by Kirsten Irving
Nadhira Halim and Andy Edwards report on the range of creative responses to the housing crisis that are providing secure, affordable housing across the UK
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill
Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility
Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports
From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices
How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed
In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design
Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform
Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out
Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris
Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen
Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant
Bike courier Maggie Dewhurst takes on the gig economy… and wins
We spoke to Mags about why she’s ‘biting the hand that feeds her’
Utopia: Daring to dream
Imagining a better world is the first step towards creating one. Ruth Potts introduces our special utopian issue
A better Brexit
The left should not tail-end the establishment Bremoaners, argues Michael Calderbank
News from movements around the world
Compiled by James O’Nions
Podemos: In the Name of the People
'The emergence as a potential party of government is testament both to the richness of Spanish radical culture and the inventiveness of activists such as Errejón' - Jacob Mukherjee reviews Errejón and Mouffe's latest release
Survival Shake! – creative ways to resist the system
Social justice campaigner Sakina Sheikh describes a project to embolden young people through the arts
‘We don’t want to be an afterthought’: inside Momentum Kids
If Momentum is going to meet the challenge of being fully inclusive, a space must be provided for parents, mothers, carers, grandparents and children, write Jessie Hoskin and Natasha Josette
The Kurdish revolution – a report from Rojava
Peter Loo is supporting revolutionary social change in Northern Syria.
How to make your own media
Lorna Stephenson and Adam Cantwell-Corn on running a local media co-op
Book Review: The EU: an Obituary
Tim Holmes takes a look at John Gillingham's polemical history of the EU
Book Review: The End of Jewish Modernity
Author Daniel Lazar reviews Enzo Traverso's The End of Jewish Modernity
Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants
Ida-Sofie Picard introduces Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants – as told to Jenny Nelson
Book review: Angry White People: Coming Face to Face With the British Far-Right
Hilary Aked gets close up with the British far right in Hsiao-Hung Pai's latest release
University should not be a debt factory
Sheldon Ridley spoke to students taking part in their first national demonstration.
Book Review: The Day the Music Died – a Memoir
Sheila Rowbotham reviews the memoirs of BBC director and producer, Tony Garnett.
Power Games: A Political History
Malcolm Maclean reviews Jules Boykoff's Power Games: A Political History