Veganism and feminism

Over the past couple of years there has been several Facebook posts linking veganism and feminism – indeed, several thinkers have started to blog about it too.

The main thinking behind it is that in the dairy industry, the production of milk involves forced impregnation, forcibly removing a mother’s milk and forcibly removing the baby cow from the mother.

Many even use the word “rape” to describe the act of impregnation. The physical abuse of a cow’s mammary glands also has to be taken into consideration.


Therefore, is it any surprise that some are now saying that you cannot be a true feminist without being a vegan? Obviously, I’m in no position to judge as I’m not female, but I can see the point.

If we follow the generally accepted vegan philosophy that all life is equal and all species are equal, then to see a female creature abused is wrong, and of course, it becomes a feminist issue.

Unwanted male calves are what the veal industry is built around – they wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the dairy industry, so the effects of a vegetarian diet can also be brought into question here. Putting it bluntly, by choosing a vegetarian diet that includes dairy products you are adding to the meat industry by helping to fund the production of veal in the dairy industry.


People in the countryside often tell of cows crying out for their calves after they have been taken away from them – this maternal instinct is natural in most mothers – whatever the species and is a level of connection many meat-eaters – including mums – fail to make.


A dairy cow is re-impregnated every year to keep her profitable, meaning the mother spends six to seven months a year pregnant, producing milk while she is still pregnant – this can hardly be healthy and means that the cow is literally worked to the bone in a cycle of impregnation, milking and the emotional trauma of seeing her offspring taken away. And the process of milking while pregnant causes the cow a great deal of discomfort.

The phrase “a mother’s work is never done” has never been more apt. This may all be a simplification of the issue, but scientists established a long time ago that animals do undergo a grieving process, so the notion of children being taken from mothers can be applied to any animal that is slaughtered of meat too. It is the emotional detachment many people feel towards animals of a different species that allows the meat industry and, indeed, the dairy industry to survive. The fact that many feminists have yet to see their beliefs cross the species barrier is another reason that there’s not outrage over the treatment of an over-worked mother – a mother who produces between 20 and 50 litres of milk a day – 10 times the amount her calf would need – how is this natural or fair on the female? Dairy cows or often worn out with the over-milking at around the age of four or five and they are sent to slaughter. A cow’s natural lifespan is at least 15 years – some can live to be 25.


Feminism rejects the idea of women being abused by men and, in short, that is exactly what happens to a cow – so the dairy industry is very much a feminist issue in my humble opinion.vegan-fem

Dressing vegan style

I remember telling a friend I wanted to buy some vegetarian shoes and he said “but you don’t eat shoes”.

It’s a common misconception that veganism only refers to diet.


Vegans don’t wear animal products either – and it’s becoming increasingly easy to find cruelty-free clothes. I’ve discussed before how most vegans try to avoid using any products connected to the exploitation of animals.

The leather industry is not a byproduct of the meat industry – this is yet another misconception. The cow’s skin makes up 10 per cent of the animal’s profitability, this makes it by far the most lucrative part of the poor creature. So it’s the leather industry that is actually making the meat industry more sustainable. The meat industry is being propped up by the leather industry – the two are closely entwined.

In fact, the softest, more luxurious leather comes from new-born, or even unborn calves. These are often the same calves that are part of the controversial veal industry – part of the meat trade that many omnivores try to avoid. Sometimes unborn calves are used to make up this “luxurious” leather – nice eh?

Other, more exotic animals, are increasingly used to make into leather too. In South Africa, Ostrich skins make up 80 per cent of the bird’s value, making it the main reason they are farmed at all.

The fact that alternatives are readily available means that it really isn’t difficult for vegans to avoid animal skins – even Shoezone on the UK High Street stocks mainly synthetic shoes – although sometimes you have to make sure that glues aren’t animal-based when buying from none vegetarian specific stores.


A couple of years ago, Peta released film of the shocking cruelty suffered by sheep on farms in the US and Australia which produce wool. Don’t forget, the wool belongs to the sheep, not to us. And the cruelty that exists inside many slaughterhouses and farms often goes unseen as these are highly secretive businesses – for good reason – they don’t want you to know the truth.

This is the primary argument of most vegans, animal products are not ours to take. The farming of animals for our use is seen as wrong, we are breeding them and feeding them food that should be grown for human consumption.

The fur industry has always been controversial and wearing furs did become a social taboo, so it seems very off that it is still viewed as OK, in fact, normal, to wear the skin of other animals on a daily basis. People were shocked because animals were killed solely for their skin and fur farming was banned in the UK. But it is still legal to sell fur here, and it is sold – for eye-watering prices. In some social circles fur has been sneaking back into vogue over the past few years – something which has caused outrage among animal rights groups. Thankfully, the silly prices asked for fur will mean it never makes up anything more than a very niche market.

For vegans, ethical fashion has become second nature as awareness of the cruelty involved in leather and wool has become more publicised. In fact, vegans often wear T-shirts promoting their views and many of these are sourced from environmentally-aware companies and companies who do not employ child, or slave labour.

A Polish vegan in the UK

The growth of veganism is a worldwide phenomenon and with my hometown of Peterborough welcoming members of the Eastern European community to live and work here, I decided to interview Polish vegan Artur on what veganism means to him and the cultural differences between being a Polish vegan and being a British vegan.

How long have you been vegan? What made you go vegan?

For me it’s quite hard to answer really. I never was into milk, because I didn’t feel well after drinking it. Than I was seeking the truth and wondering what’s the reason why people eat dogs or cat in some countries and what’s the truth – is it right or not? Is it right to eat cow then? I just asked myself this question. (It is a bit longer story, because previously I had some series of talks with a Buddhist from Sri Lanka, he was not eating the meat of land animals. He was mostly plant-based with fish from time to time. So that made me reconsider many things as well, and also the question came is he right to eat fishes? His thoughts were not representing the acts fully – but he was eating fish only because he didn’t really have the knowledge that he doesn’t need the animal protein to maintain health and longevity).

So at that point, I was eating meat and my thoughts were mostly like, I love animals but not so much to shorten my life. I thought you can’t live healthy life without meat – I knew at that time that meat is full of antibiotics and hormones but I tried to pick “good sources”. So after some time I did my research read some serious studies, involving thousands of people, about the omnivore diet based on fats and proteins of animals and its comparison to the vegan diet and I found that veganism really is preventing many chronic diseases, also cancer, diabetes, and promotes longevity etc. Also that it is full of antioxidants and really good for your body.

Overnight I stopped all kind of meat and eggs, and only from time to time I had cheese. Now I am fully vegan but I don’t really remember exactly the date. It is about 2 years since I stopped meat and eggs than gradually day by day went fully vegan.


Are there many vegetarians and vegans in Poland or among the Polish community in the UK?

I don’t really have any idea about any Polish vegans in UK, all my Polish friends in UK I know are omnivores. I know one polish guy in UK who went vegetarian just to cure himself from cancer as a part of treatment he had, what’s funny is he cured himself and went back to the omnivore diet but he doesn’t eat so much meat now. He also tries to avoid cheese, now he is fine, but his decision was only based on health.


What are the main differences between the vegan foods available in Poland and in the UK?

I can say just about the city I am living here in UK (Peterborough) we don’t have one strictly vegan restaurant. In Poland a comparable size of city has about five restaurants with only vegan food, which is really nice. Still you can eat vegan food in our city in the UK which is very good.  And don’t forget, most vegans are good at cooking so it helps in any kind of situations.


In the UK, Poland is often seen as having a diet that is traditionally centred around meat – is this so?

I can probably say Polish people do eat a lot of meat nowadays, but most of the Earth is eating a lot of meat now. (Only in America from 1950s to 2000 chicken consumption in pounds per person tripled).  Back to Poland. There are some traditional dishes which include meat, but potatoes are their base and they are served with meat so the main source of carbohydrates is still potatoes.


Is it easy to buy vegan food in Poland – are there many shops that sell only vegan food?

I never went to an only vegan food shop in Poland, but most of the bigger shops have vegan sections. But you can still have problems with processed vegan foods like cheese. You can get them in eco-shops in Poland but sometimes it’s not easy, that’s why I think variety of processed vegan foods in UK is bigger.


What is your favourite vegan dish?

I love a lot of vegan foods, but if it must be one: Pizza!


Can you share a Polish vegan recipe with us please? (I really like the dumplings you bought to the food share)

In future I will upload a recipe for vegan dumplings on my YouTube channel because explaining that for me is quite hard and there are many different methods of doing this.

At this time I can send you a link of some other vegan dumplings:

Review – Suma Baked Beans with Lincolnshire Style Meat-Free Sausages

img_3791img_3798Baked beans with vegan sausages in a tin – as soon as I saw these advertised I had to have them. I was like a kid having watched a toy advert before Christmas! So when I saw tins for sale last weekend, I was on them like a cat on a hanging thread, I had to try them as soon as possible.

I resisted the temptation to down the tin there and then and cooked them at home instead. In fact, I had them with a plate of hash browns – very nice – but I’m sure chips or a jacket potato works just as well.

At £1.49 for a 400gram tin, they are great value. I got six mini-sausages and you cook them like “normal” beans.

The sauce isn’t too watery and the beans are not overly seasoned – actually, I added pepper to spice them up a bit as neither they or the sausages are particularly spiced. However, this means that neither the flavour of the beans or the sausages wipes out the taste of the other.

They complement each other well and they are very suitable for children.

The sausages are nice and soft and taste nice and “meaty” – I haven’t eaten meat sausages for 27 years, but they are exactly how my mind remembers tinned sausages cooked on a camping stove tasting. And yes, I can imagine they’ll be fine cold if you’re hungover at a music festival.

I can foresee that these will be a huge hit with vegan and veggie students everywhere. They certainly get the thumbs-up from me.

If you can find them locally, they are available online from

Also, Suma are a workers’ cooperative, so give them a “like” on Facebook –

or visit their website –


A delighful vegan start-up

As the number of vegans rocket, so does the market for vegan products.

Today I interview Katie, the vegan baker behind of the new online vegan stores and lover of all things sweet. Check her out at

What inspired you to start a vegan business? What did you do before?

I used to love baked items such as cake, cookies and chocolate. When I first went vegan there was nothing available in local shops (to my knowledge) so I made it my mission to veganise every traditional baked item I enjoyed. It took about 2 years to get good recipes perfected. I used to work in a non-vegan local cafe, started working part time in the post office and created my vegan business. I started just by advertising on Facebook, but after a few months of lots of big orders and getting over 600 likes on my Facebook page I decided to create a website.


How easy have you found it to get started?

As someone who isn’t great with technology it wasn’t easy! It took about a week to get up and working using fasthosts web domain and hosting site, I used a website template to help me get started.

Tell us about your different products
I sell cupcakes, banana and chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate on top, lemon and raspberry muffins (currently not on my website because I need to get a good picture). I sell slices of my banana, mixed spice and nut loaf (also currently not on website as lack of pictures) I sell cookies, banana and chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread biscuits, choc blocks and shortbread fingers. I sell chocolates, milk, white and dark with different fillings such as honeycomb, fruit and nut, strawberry pieces, raspberry crunch.

Do you have a sweet tooth yourself?

Yes, I do have a very sweet tooth, I always have done, I grew up in the kitchen. I started baking from the age of five.

Veganism is growing in the UK, do you think that businesses like yours that showcase vegan treats help break down barriers and move people away from the “vegan food is boring” stereotype?

Yes, I 100 per cent think that businesses like mine help break the stupid stereotype about vegan food being boring. When people say that I make sure to refuse them a cupcake! I aimed to make my products as similar to dairy products.

What is your own favourite product?

My own favourite product is my choc blocks. It’s a biscuit base with a creamy, rich milk chocolate topping, I then cut them into blocks (hence the name). They are also raw.

Do you just sell online, or do you visit farmers’ markets and vegan fairs? Do you intend to open a physical shop in the future?
At the moment I only sell online but I do plan to start doing vegan festivals and local markets, including some of the busy boot fairs around here. When busy periods come like Halloween, Christmas and other occasions I will be donating £1 from every over to the vegan run retreat animal rescue in High Halden, Ashford. I intent to open a shop in a few years, a bakery, a chocolateir and a vegan tea rooms. Fully vegan of course.

Tell us about your own journey into veganism.

My own journey to veganism? I went veggie while I was still at school about six or seven years ago. I started a petition trying to stop the badger cull from coming to my local area, so I added lots of animal rights activists and vegans to ask them to sign it. I started seeing their posts and videos they were sharing. I went vegan overnight. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t bring myself to cause such pain and sufferings to beings I claimed to love. My family weren’t supportive at first so my Facebook friends because my family and helped me through the very quick transition. I have now been vegan for nearly three years. I will never go back.

What’s next for Katie’s vegan delights?

What’s next for Katie’s vegan delights? Right now I’ll be remaining as just online, however, I will be learning to drive, getting a vehicle and using it to make deliveries and even hopefully cater for more venues (birthdays, weddings).


The vegan 10 commandments

People often accuse vegans of being preachy.

Therefore, I only think it’s fair to live up to the stereotype we are given. So, as the pastor of the Thirteenth Day Evangelist Vegans of Peterborough, I have taken it upon myself to issue the Ten Commandments of the vegan faith for all to adhere to follow.


  1. Thou Shalt not kill: Anything, ever.
    This is the most basic of the vegan commandments. It is the founding principle of veganism, it is the point of veganism and it is the basic philosophy of a compassionate lifestyle. And no we don’t kill plants, they don’t have a central nervous system, you heathen buffoon.
  2. Thou shalt spread the gospel of veganism.
    Yes ,my brothers and sisters, it is our duty to spread compassion wherever we go. Just as carnists bombard us with adverts of the cult of flesh eating, we will respond in kind.
  3. Thou shalt not turn the other cheek to animal abuse.
    Our creatures need you fellow vegans. The planet is under attack from hunters, vivisectionists and butchers and who will speak out for the animals if we don’t?
  4. Thou shalt not steal – the milk and eggs of another species.
    I mean, that’s just perverted right? And stealing baby calves from mummy dairy cow is just sick. We are not thieves and murderers, brothers and sisters, we are members of the higher ordinance of vegans.
  5. Thou shalt honour the father and mother of all living things.
    Don’t make a mother cry by hunting her fox cub, killing her calf or separating a family of sheep – that’s just a weird thing to do.
  6. Thou shalt covet thy fellow vegan’s dinner.
    That’s what Facebook is for my vegan friends – posting pictures of your dinner to make fellow vegans jealous – and hopefully convert a few non-believers in the process.
  7. Thou shalt not bear false witness by saying a product is vegan when it isn’t.
    This just gets people’s hopes up and starts unnecessary online rows – so don’t do it brothers and sisters, it’s just annoying.
  8. Thou shalt not bow to the false Gods of vegetarianism and pescetarianism (not to be confused with Presbyterianism, which is alright).
    Being vegan is the only true compassionate diet – the other two are merely baby steps on the path to divine righteousness.
  9. Thou shalt honour the World Vegan Day
    – by mentioning it in every other post on Facebook relentlessly for two weeks before the day that is, for us, a day like any other day in the compassionate world of veganism. This should not be confused with Meat Free Mondays, which is an evil sent by the great Satan Omnivore to test our resolve.
  10. Thou shalt not commit adultery with a non-vegan.
    I mean, they put dead animals in their mouths – would you really want to kiss that? Hardly attractive now is it?