Last week saw peaceful days of action co-ordinated by the ‘Stop the Arms Fair Coalition’ in response to the bi-annual arms fair DSEi (Defence & Security Equipment International) at the London ExCel Centre. DSEi is the world’s largest arms fair and it exists so that arms buyers and sellers can come together, network and make deals.
From ‘Campaign Against the Arms Trade’ (CAAT): ‘DSEi 2013 featured 1,500 exhibitors from around the world displaying arms ranging from rifles to tanks to fighter jets to battleships. They were joined by “trade visitors” and military delegations, including countries involved in conflict and from human rights abusing regimes, as well as those with desperately underfunded development needs.’
On the Sunday 8th September the week of action was kicked off with a demo organised by Occupy London: Occupy vs the Arms Trade. Volunteers from Nottingham-based Veggies, the vegan catering campaign, went down to London on this Sunday to provide food by donation for the peaceful protesters. Veggies has been supporting campaigns for humans, other animals and the environment since 1984.
On Sunday 8th September, Veggies of Nottingham packed up their vegan cakes and samosas and headed down to London to give their support to the hundreds of peaceful protesters campaigning against the immoral and unethical DSEi arms fair.
At least two Nottingham companies had stalls at DSEi. Heckler & Koch and Ergo Computing exhibited their wares to military delegations from around the world. H&K, which is based in the Lenton Lane industrial estate, sells assault rifles and submachine guns to repressive regimes such as those in Bahrain and Egypt.
Campaigners were very happy to see the Veggies team (and their delicious vegan food!) along on the day. The team provided a boost of morale to those that had been out protesting since the early hours of the day and hadn’t had anything to eat. In fact people were so happy to see Veggies that the stall was swamped with those eager to get hold of food by donation and all boxes of food and trays of cake quickly sold out.
People were also very interested in the campaign literature the team had brought along, as human rights and animals rights campaigning is all part of the same struggle against needless suffering and injustice. Animal Aid’s purple poppies, sold to commemorate the many animal victims of war, were available on the day and people donated generously for these.
If you would like to join the friendly Veggies team to campaign against social injustice, animal abuse and enviromental destruction then you can contact them at: email@example.com
Veggies Twitter Account includes news of Veggies Events and other activities, and substantial items from like-minded friends.
As we are busy people, and expect that you are too, we do not tweet too often.
We do not intend to document the trivia of our daily lives!
Likewise we tend not to follow others on twitter who tweet too often.
Twitter co-founder, Biz Stone, went vegan in 2001 after visiting Farm Sanctuary.
Biz Stone is also lobbying for vegetarian meals in school lunches. He sent a letter to Rep. George Miller, chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, writing: “Hundreds of thousands of students across the country don’t eat meat, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. However, these young vegetarians often can’t find healthy, meatless meals in the school cafeteria.”
Biz Stone obviously believes in the power of lunch, because Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters provides free vegan lunches to its employees.
In 1985 Veggies helped establish Nottingham’s Rainbow Centre, later taking on the co-ordination of the running of the space. In 2001 the support generated over the previous decades enabled the purchase of the Sumac Centre, a collectively owned space supporting a wide range of interconnected initiatives, including being the home of Veggies Catering Campaign.
On Satuday 8th December 2012 there is to be a discussion on the future of the Sumac Centre noting, amongst other things, its role as “a meeting place for politically motivated activists, a resource centre and library. Meeting place for vegans and animal rights activists/campaigners and a tool for their propaganda.”
This role hasn’t just happened in isolation.
It is due to Veggies and others being centrally involved in the running of Sumac from 15 years before it even existed. We may feel this role to be carved in stone, and this may well be the case.
However Sumac is simply the sum of its parts so we, as ‘vegans and animal rights activists/campaigners’ must continue to play our part.
If you are free on Saturday 8/12/12 (11am-6pm) please consider supporting the vegan status of the Sumac Centre and its role as a national resource for the animal rights movement.
This Saturday is a Sumac visioning day, a chance for all of you who come to the Sumac Center to bring your excitement, enthusiasm and inspiration in order to help shape the future of the Sumac Centre.
- How is the Sumac used?
Meeting place, tat storage, music venue, peoples kitchen, food bank, a base for lots of varied campaigns/alternative cultures, bike project, fundraiser events, information and awareness raising events, film screenings, autonomous DIY infrastructure, ABC letter writing, gardening club.
- Is this the kind of useage we want to continue?
- What is the current purpose of the Sumac?
A meeting place for politically motivated activists, a resource centre and library. Meeting place for vegans and animal rights activists/campaigners and a tool for their propaganda.
This will include a conversation about whether the sumac is there to engage with the local geographical community or the activist community. It’s a stable part of infrastructure for ‘our movement’.
- Is this the purpose we want to go forward with?
There will be lunch in the middle and we’ll all have a big ole delicous peoples kitchen at the end.
The Sumac Centre is an independent community and activist resource centre. It is made up of a community cafe, social club, library, exhibition space, veggie catering campaign, filmnights, talks, meeting spaces and the residents. The centre is used by various campaign groups and collectives working towards social change and justice for all. Come and visit us!
Wednesday 1st to Monday 6th August Ecological Direct Action without Compromise
Workshops, skill sharing and planning action, plus low-impact living without leaders. Meet people, learn skills, take action.
The Earth First! Summer Gathering is the place where people involved in radical ecological direct action – or those who want to be involved – get together for five days of time and space to talk, walk, share skills, learn, play, rant, find out what’s going on, find out what’s next, live outside, strategise, hang out, incite, laugh and conspire.
The 2012 Earth First Summer Gathering will be held on the first weekend of August.
As ever Veggies will be co-ordinating the d-i-y cafe space and holding cake baking workshops.
The UK Animal Rights Gathering is to a great weekend not to be missed, with talks, discussions and workshops on a wide range of issues and activities related to animal rights campaigning, as well as a chance to relax with like-minded people and socialise and network with other campaigners from all over the UK.
The 2012 Animal Rights Summer Gathering on the second weekend of August.
As ever Veggies will be co-ordinating the catering, running a cafe space and holding vegan cookery workshops. More AR Gathering Details…
“The only thing we disagree with is her time-scale. We know that in Kenya the price of maize has increased by more than 50% since we left at the end of March – two months, never mind two decades. At that time we were paying 2200 Kenyan shillings (about £17) per 90-kilo bag. Now it is 3500 shillings (about £27) and increasing. Beans cost twice as much. Admittedly some of the present increases are due to speculation on the food market but will they come down again? And they come on the top of what had already been a 50% increase in the previous year. Four years ago we could buy maize for less than 1000/- a bag. Imagine how this affects the poor, who already have to spend all the money they have on food. Now they simply haven’t got the money to be able to eat. The rising cost also makes it increasingly difficult for charities like HIPPO to continue to help them.
“Oxfam cites a number of reasons for the impending disaster. The one that they consistently fail to address is the most serious one of all, which is simply that more and more meat is being eaten in the world by more and more people and farm livestock consume about 10 times more food than they produce.
“In fact farm animals should not be considered as food-producers at all since they are overwhelmingly net food consumers.
“The world’s people are eating more animal-based foods every year whilst the world’s population is growing rapidly. Meanwhile the remaining wild areas of the world are rapidly being destroyed to feed farm animals, e.g. the vast clearance of the Amazon rainforest to grow soya for feeding to the cattle, pigs and poultry of Europe, leading to changes in the world climate, especially in the patterns of rainfall. Trees are the ‘pumps’ that recycle water back into the atmosphere.
“HIPPO has been saying this since its foundation in 1999 and some others have been saying it for even longer. But even taken all together we are but a David to the Goliath of the worldwide meat and dairy industry. That is why we are sending you this email, asking you to take its message to heart and to pass it on, please.
“The world as a whole needs to consume less meat. As individuals our best contribution is to eat none at all. We can use the money we save to help the poor!”
Since 1984 Veggies has been pleased to support the work of Vegfam in ‘feeding the the hungry without exploiting animals’.
The fragile environment cannot support two populations – humans and their food animals. Vegfam raises funds to eliminate hunger, thirst, malnutrition, and starvation, helping people in over 40 countries, by financing sustainable, self-supporting plant food projects, fruit and nut tree planting, irrigation and water wells.
We have sponsored and distributed Vegfam fliers and raised funds through a premium on the sales of bottled water and donations from our ‘samosas for social change‘ project.
The success of the day depended on the support of autonomous self-contained teams of volunteers, each with 3 people including one adult confident to explain the ‘political campaign’ status of their stall to anyone official that might ask.
On the Friday cakes, pizza and other food samples were prepared at the Sumac Centre, and each stall kit was sorted out with tables, literature and utensils.
We then gathered at Sumac from 10am on Saturday to tour around the City, dropping off each stall in turn and collecting each one back as and when time, crew or supplies run out. Base camp was at the Old Angel, Stoney Street off Hockley, opposite the end of Broad (Broadway) Street, with a sampling stall nearby.
This is the first time that we have held a march for farmed animals in London, and it was a lively day, in solidarity of the millions of animals killed for meat, dairy and eggs, every day.
Speech by Richard Deboo
“Did you know that in the UK alone, around 1000 million animals are killed for meat, dairy and eggs every year? And, that number does not include the fish that are trawled out of the water in their tonnes. None of this is necessary – we do not need to consume animal products.”
Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler, spoke of the negative human health and environmental impacts of animal farming but declared: ‘My own argument against meat, milk, eggs, fish and all other animal products arises from my knowledge of the vile cruelty that is integral to these animal product industries. I have seen it for myself during numerous visits to farms, markets and slaughterhouses.” [video] More at Animal Aid’s rally report.
In Viva!’s media release, founder and director, Juliet Gellatley, said: “Viva!, together with many supporters, will be at the forefront of the event, calling for a move away from the reliance on livestock farming, for the sake of animals, people and the environment. It is unbelievable in this day and age that such barbaric and outdated practices, under which animals suffer, are allowed to continue.”
In her speech at the rally, she added: “If one person is unkind to an animal it is considered cruelty, but when a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of profit, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are involved, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people”. [video]
Saturday October 2nd saw the National March for Farmed Animals take place in London.
Speeches kicked off at approximately 12.30 and saw Juliet Gellatley of VIVA! give the first, before Andrew Tyler of Animal Aid, Richard Deboo, Louise Wallis, the former president of the Vegan Society and Kevin White, founder of Midlands Vegan Campaigns, who has just been awarded Veggie Achiever Of The Year.
The march itself began around 1.30 and saw animal lovers from around the UK walk up the busy Regent Street, down through Cockspur Street, down Whitehall, along Embankment, finally into Horse Guards Avenue, carrying placards, banners and leaflets, spreading the word to the general public about the cruelty that happens to farmed animals.
At every McDonalds or Steakhouse the marchers stopped to focus on that location for a few minutes, letting them know that they’re far from pleased at the companies for making a living out of the slaughter of animals, chanting ‘Stop the Slaughter, Meat is Murder’. Although what started out as a sunny day eventually saw rain drizzle, it couldn’t dampen the marchers’ passion.
After the two hour long march, a few more speeches took place including one from Chrissy Leyland, one of the founding members of Pogo Cafe, one of our fave vegan cafes (in London), Marion Eaton of F.R.I.E.N.D. Animal Rescue and Patrick of Veggies (vegan catering campaign).
The afternoon concluded with a couple of numbers by Mártin the Livewire, vegan hip-hop / rapper.
Full report and photo gallery by Shari Black Velvet at Save-A-Scream website.
One of the groups featured in the Info Exchange is Regugee Action, a national charity that works with refugees to build new lives in the UK. At the recents Barefoot Festival we took some time out to put together a new exhibition panel for them.