Kind of feels like it’s up to vegans to save the planet, right? Well, even though we’re already more than pulling our weight, there are just a few more things that I want to change about the world, and I think we as vegans need to lead the way. I’m sure most of you are already savvy to these, but just in case:
1. Don’t buy products containing palm oil
Palm oil kind of is vegan, and it kind of is in everything. It’s vegan in the sense that it doesn’t actually come from an animal, but it’s incredibly bad in the sense that it destroys the habitat of orangutans, which are already critically endangered. It would be okay if it was easy to not buy products containing palm oil, but it isn’t. This is partly because they’re so abundant, and partly because it’s labelled as “vegetable oil” a lot of the time, unfortunately. Luckily, there are some sources of sustainable palm oil, though their credibility may be dubious. Head to http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/palm-oil.php for more info, it’s a great resource. And spread the word – it’s amazing how many people still don’t know just how destructive palm oil is.
2. Don’t feed native wildlife
It’s always so tempting; what better way to make friends with a cute little possum than by giving him a nice snack? But feeding native wildlife is usually a big no-no, especially in Australia. Something that’s so simple for us to digest, something like bread, can cause a lot of animals a lot of problems. Many mammals can die from “lumpy jaw”, and many birds, including native ducks, can die from the acid that builds up when they try to digest the bread. When wild animals become tame, they’re also more likely to be hit by cars. It may seem like tough love, but it’s very important.
3. Don’t own pets
I’m sure people won’t like this one, and it’s a tricky one. But pets are so destructive, and our “ownership” of them is really very unnatural. I hate it when I go for a walk in the evening and there are cats everywhere, out stalking native birds and small mammals. I hate seeing big dogs stuck in small yards. I hate seeing birds in cages. I hate it all. I understand that there are responsible pet owners, but it’s still a strange concept. Obviously, going to the cat shelter and buying an abandoned kitty that would otherwise be put down is very different to paying an arm and a leg for a pure-bred, long-haired, short-eared, spotted hamster or whatever. But what are you going to feed your rescued kitty? Sure, there are some vegan cat foods available (check out http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/vegetarian-cats-and-dogs.aspx), but cats and dogs have very different dietary needs to humans, and these don’t work for all animals. I honestly think the world would be a better place without domesticated animals, and if people stopped buying pets then people would stop breeding them. Then we wouldn’t need animal shelters, the ASPCA, and nobody would ever step in dog poop. I know it’s never going to happen, but it’s something to think about.
Rant over. I feel better now. If you made it to the end, well done. And please tell me – what else doesn’t technically fall into the category of “vegan” but still needs our attention?