Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"We are eating our Plastic Waste and It is Toxic"

Becks Gill
Who undertook the Marine Conservation Society Plastic Challenge
Did her degree in Marine Biology and is also well known from the Gardening Club.


She asked at the outset:
What does your MP or TD think about conservation? Is it on their priorities list?
She asked at the end:
What changes will you make, to reduce your use of plastic and support projects globally.

The Marine Conservation Society run 'The Plastic Challenge' which asks that you give up 'single use' plastic for a month. What does 'single use plastic' include? All packaging, straws for starters!
Talk by Becks Gills for The Women's Institute

Litter Picking Abroad

Following a trip that turned into a Litter Picking Holiday for all the famly, there was photographed and witnessed extensive littering on the beaches and in the laybys of Sardina, Sicily, Jakata, Norway and also closer to home, at Didcot train station. It was pointed out that no one place is better than another and it was asked; 'Do you really think Norway left all that litter on their shores? Absolutely not. It is washed up after storms and completely covers the coast, not just occasional items. The UK and Ireland are not visibly a total disaster yet but that is only because we are lucky with the ocean's currents, around the islands. The wide river and estuary, in Jakata, provides the drinking water for 14 million people. Water was not visible anywhere in the picture, under the thick pile of rubbish (and remember that plastic is oil-based and once will have contained food so the bacteria much be even more rife.

Ocean Plastic Pollution

The problem, then the challenge were looked at, in order to balance the horror of the extent of the problem and the challenge that we are presented with to reverse it. Litter has increased 135% since 1984, Plastic use has increased 180% since 1984.
A photo was shown of the Great pacific Garbage Patch. It is 6 times the size of the UK, possibly even the size of North America. It is so thick that a person can walk on it.

Drinking Water Plastic Pollution

83% of all tap water is polluted with plastic. We are eating our plastic waste and it is toxic. 90% of us have plastic in our stomachs.

Biodegradable? Recyclable?

Worldwide, only about 7% of plastic is recycled.
Exposed to air, water, light and heat, plastic does break down but it never biodegrades. The very small particles are still plastic. Micro plastics are called mermaid's tears. It takes 450-1000 years for plastic to degrade. 8 million tons are dumped in ocean each year. 1 in 3 marine species are affected. They mistake the plastic bags for jelly fish and eat them. Fish mistake plastics for food as they still smell like the food that was in it.

The Plastic Challenge - Buy nothing wrapped in plastic for one month!

Do we just need to make better choices? No, it is more than that. Having explored alternatives to plastic-packaged items, it was found that you might have to abstain from some foods as it is impossible to find them without packaging. Like berries for example.

Easy Wins - Easy changes To Make

There are certain things you can do, without too much hassle.
Use soap and not liquid soap
Grate the soap to make soap flakes for washing clothes
Buy glass bottles not plastic
Make your own bread
Use reusable bags, containers, mugs and bottles
And, brilliantly, toilet paper.
Wrapped in paper, like Andrex used to be, the company is called 'Who Gives A Crap'
and they will send you a box. Who Gives A Crap Website

Self Scan in supermarkets, rather than going to a scanned check out.
This provides times to
a) bring your own veg bags and weigh the veg - without feeling like a loon
b) choose not to have something- without feeling like an indecisive loon
c) leave your packaging behind after you've paid - to feel like an activist and push for the shop to sort out the plastic excess themselves, short term and...if we all did it...probably long term, they would deal with it.
The things you might not choose not to have, on further consideration, might include convenience foods, magazines with lots of plastic tat on the cover, you might choose apples over berries and you might buy a longer term razor rather than endless disposable ones.

Not so easy changes

(It's always uncomfortable to talk about femine hygiene products but I have been determined to, since I discovered that all the Always and Tampax use non organic cotton and therefore riddled with glyphosate. And, that they are tested on animals. I mean really, where will it end...apart from in tears).
So Cheeky Wipes are the way to go, I gather. Sanitory towels are made from bamboo. I think the answer is to order some versions and try them. No big commitment to start with but a lifetime of savings, better health and much reduced waste.

Grow your own food. No plastic that way. And really avoid bagged salad. They say that over a third of it is wasted every time, probably because it sweats. Bring back paper bags.

Make your own sweets and treats.
So much nicer and actually nearly all sweets are now wrapped in plastic. Even kit kats that never were in the past!

Change some habits altogether

 For example, look around for new foods. A product called Ebly wheat had been found that comes in a cardboard box, like a cereal. Pasta was nearly impossible to find except sealed in plastic bags, so a change can be made to lasagne. Lasagne sheets are still sold in cardboard packets.

Make your own tofu, vegan cheese, yoghurts and icecream (I just veganized that suggestion as the last thing I want to do is promot dairy or any animal use)

Successes of The Undertaken Challenge

£300 was raised
Changed habits
Got people thinking
Replaced all chemical cleaning products
Litter Picking became a mild and beneficial obsession within the family!!

Current Situation

275,000 tonnes are used in the UK per year
45kg are thrown away per person, into the landfill.
Only one third is sent for recycling

8% of the world's oil is used to make plastic
That includes 4% in the plastic materials and 4% in the energy to manufacture the plastic.

The familiar recommendations are therefore reversed:

REDUCE, then reuse and only then recycle.

Trying to round up the talk on a positive note, which was another challenge again:

Actions Taken To Stop The Plastic Pollution

1. Kenya has introduced the toughest laws to stop companies from producing and using plastic, including 4 years in jail or a 40,000 dollar fine. Ethiopa too.

2. France has banned platic cups, cutlery  and plates. And some free trade groups said that was against the law as presumably they want to sell whatever they want, however destructive.

3. Morocco banned plastic a year ago and 450 tons have been seized already.

4. Scotland has proposed a scheme for returning cans and bottles. It would be brilliant to see that in Ireland, England and Wales too.

Resources To Support A Reduction in Our Use of Plastic

There are resources for making changes - The Joy Of Living Without Plastic - A practical guide - This is a blog spanning a heroic year done, plastic-free.

 Life Without Plastic is another site. Life Without Plastic - Blog and Store

Instead of toothpaste you can get an equivalent from Lush and lots of other wonderful unpackaged, natural, long lasting products.

Request a Plastic Free Aisle and LEAVE YOUR PACKAGING AT THE SHOP!

We can also mention every time we go into a supermarket, that we would like to have a 'plastic-free aisle'. That sounds like a great plan!

Awareness, is it rising or isolated?

It was considered, at the end, whether we are on the edge of something? Like a real sea-change (pardon the pun)
Yes there is greater awareness but it is down to where you put your attention. Becks exploring plastic-free options, on line, was immediately sent countless ads and articles about plastic pollution. My mother, on the other hand was sent ads and articles on embroidery. I am sent a multitude of information about the plight of animals. There is a risk that the information is not being presented in a general way, so there is either a preaching to the converted or a complete disillusionment in front of one's computer while all your neighbours are none the wiser. They are being sold and sent completely different information.

Plastic and Micro Plastic is Carcinogenic

And is plastic carcinogenic? Yes, most plastics are cancer-causing. We've all heard of BPAs - well if you put it in to the search bar of this blog, you will find out more about them. But they are in every level of the food chain. Found in plankton and...brace yourselves...tea bags are coated in plastic. Plastic coated tea bags made with plastic polluted drinking water. No wonder one in twenty Irish people have cancer. Which plastics are most dangerous - Ty Bollinger

Start Your Challenge With A Proper Cup Of Tea

What to do first then? Get a serious filter and get organic tea bags or loose leaved tea. Wait not a moment longer. One recommended to me Nikken support/consultants. The filter is £215 and shipping charge to Ireland is £16.50  This link might take you to their website!

I went to this talk as my first Women's Institute meeting and ON MY BIRTHDAY! Obviously, I had loads of invites to other parties and celebrations but I choose this! It was great and life-changing!! 

Lush have loads of natural ingredient, unwrapped soaps

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dodging the surveillance and poisons of Irish Society

As we are subjected to mass surveillance and mass poisoning by the food, technological and pharmaceutical industries, it may be time to take matters into our own hands.

For me that means leaving all electrical items outside the room I sleep in, getting up early before the madness kicks in and doing a half hour of meditation, half an hour of stretching and an hour of writing - setting your own agenda for what to write about.

The book The Artist's Way says to follow a stream of consciousness or vent your unconscious anxieties. Stephen King got 2000 words done every morning and I think he has had 50 of his books made into films!I Sometimes I'm creative and sometimes I write a letter to an editor somewhere about compassion, peace or justice and see if they'll print it. I gather that they want pieces approximately 38 words long!! Sound bites I suppose. I am not a woman of few words though, so I may struggle to fit their criteria any time soon!!

Then there's surveillance, cover the camera on your laptop as I gather even Facebook is reading your mood and matching it. If you think how dead pan one is, in front of a screen, they're literally bound to send you more depressing stuff!

And don't get me started on food. Eat at least 50% raw - fruit, nuts, salads, julienned vegetables. Put a dressing on. Wash the chemicals and coatings off everything, using something astringent (ike vinegar) or peel it. Only eat the peel of organic produce as that has some of the nutrients in it, none of the toxins and must have been left to ripen naturally, not gassed in some warehouse.

Keep everything plant-based. Where L'oreal says Because You're Worth It!! I would say none of us are worth it, even put together. I feel you have to contribute consciously and with consideration to be worth it. Until then, we cannot justify 'farming' other anialmals.It is not a given that a human life is worth more than a cow's, calf, pig, sheep, lamb or chicken's. I'm glad I brought upt L'oreal. They test their products on thousands of animals, including toxicity test which involves increasing amounts of a substance until it causes blindness, death etc.

Learn how to clear your energy, so you don't get bogged down by external matters, you will always have a point of reference. It might be tricky to achieve but don't spend too much time in built up areas. Going from Harmony Hall, to Dublin, to Valentia, to Dubin, to London, to a Cul de Sac in Suffolk and then Oxford and out into the senses have woken up to differences in water and air quality. Take none of it for granted, particularly your own health and your mental health! Also be happy. As the Desiderata says, 'even with the aridity and disenchantment, it is still a beautiful world' oh yes and 'go placidly amidst the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence' infact, I know the whole thing so I had better stop there!!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Why is Live Export Bad and Who Is Responsible?

 Who Orchestrates The Export and Why

 It is the meat PRODUCERS who control the export of animals, rather than farmers not caring about their animals. Export happens because Larry Goodman limits the amount of 'by product' he will collect from factories, which then limits the amount of cattle that the factory can slaughter.

The factories then refuse to take the farmers' 'finished cattle' apart from in ones and twos. This both increases costs for farmers in keep for animals and gives the producers total control over the price the farmer will get for the animal. Goodman and the Queallys and just a few other producers manage both the factories and the meat plants and they get together every friday to decide how little they can legitimately give farmers for their animals.

FARMERS would unanimously prefer for their animals to be slaughtered close to the farm, with perhaps even a return to mobile units that go to farms, but they can't keep the finished cattle indefinitely. Not least  because they have to be slaughtered before a certain age. This means farmers have to sell them for export. It is the meat producers again who control the transport, export and sales abroad though. Goodman, again, has had long standing deals with Libya, Iran, Iraq and Egypt and in recent years negotiated export to the States and China. Be assured that none of these players are concerned with animal welfare.
You probably wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy but it is nearly the end of every farm animal's story

It is not you or I who is in charge of animal welfare


Who do we really expect animal welfare from? Farmers, slaughterhouse workers, producers, transporters, government vets?


Farmers need animals to grow fat and healthy and have their full complement of tags and be compliant...

Meat Producers

Paramount for producers, on the other hand, is the dead weight. The number crammed into one load, whether they arrive alive or dead. Just for clarity's sake, just focus for a moment on the fact that meat producers are necessarily the furthest removed from an understanding of animals as sentient. Their trade relies 100% on maintaining ignorance.

Humane Slaughter

So what about humane slaughter methods and legislation? To kill all day every day would take the feeling and respect out of any person. CCTV in slaughterhouses (now compulsory in the UK, let's have that here too) records how many workers are so far past caring that violence and torturing are prevalent and commonplace, even before the animals are killed.

Vets as Monitors

Maybe good practice is maintained by veterinary practitioners? They do shifts in the abbatoirs, in the meat plants, do farm inspections and inspect animals in transit at ports etc...BUT!  I always thought that vets were like doctors, trained to identify illnesses and preserve life and quality of life, except in animals rather than people. In fact, large animal veterinary qualifications are now focussed on food industry compliance for farm animals and that is it! Well being; enforcement of the five freedoms animals should be afforded by law; reduced stress in transport etc are not priorities at all. Although, some vets oversee the stunning of pigs before having their throats cut etc, their main work is to do occasional autopsies and check for BSE and other human-effecting  conditions.


Legislation and government? They are not even interested in human health, flagrantly allowing antibiotics, GMO and pesticide-fed animals, chemically preserved meat, hiding research that might show that our animal agriculture is destructive for us, our environment, our air, our water, let alone consider the animals. What are they interested in? Trade deals: selling meat and dairy. Supplying the pharmaceutical, chemical and military.

What Animals Are Exported?

Calves under 31 days old.
'By products' of the massively intensifying dairy industry. They go to Holland and France mainly, to be kept in isolation and darkness to produce veal.
Finished Cattle
Up to two years old that are sent anywhere to be slaughtered anyhow. Different countries do not have laws that say that animals should be stunned before being slaughtered and some have religious guidelines that necessitate the animal bleeding out while conscious. The level of consciousness after being hung up as carcasses, even here, is very high.
Dairy Cows
There may be cows being sold to Saudi for intensive factory dairy farming.
Pigs, sheep and horses
I do not know the figures but there is evidence that stray horses are collected by council contractors (ACS) and transported to the Animal Body Parts factory in Latvia, where the company is actually registered.

Summary of Why

 So the situation is not that Minister Creed should stop it and that farmers should care more, it is a major industry which powerful businesses and the government are financially benefiting from. They need to stop it and think again at that level of promoting non exploitative industries.

Demonstration Against Live Export On Tuesday 26th Dublin Department of Agriculture Organized by Compassion In World Farming and Compassion In Ireland and National Animal Rights Association (NARA)


Slight Possibilities of Change

Tonight I am slightly hopeful that farmers will crack first. I saw on the front of The Farmer's Journal that loads of them lost their subsidies due to non compliance, in terms of tags and environmental problems like run off, which is inevitable. They are being penalized left right and centre and held by the short and curlies, by the vets for jabs and shots and herd tests. Maybe, just maybe, they will realize that the department vets, the producers and the department itself are all in bed together and they should get out and make two major changes - going organic frees them from the pharmaceutical merry go round and going from animals to horticulture, crops and orchards, will give them a major return and several seasons in Ireland's still clement climate.

Join The Debate In The Dail On Tuesday 3rd October 7-9pm

Please farmers wake up. You are the animals' only chance. Stop breeding them and falling for the carrot of loans and upscales. And consumers, stop eating meat, fish, eggs, poultry and drinking dairy. It's easy when you get started. Tomorrow (Sunday 1st) is World Vegetarian Day. Monday 2nd October there is a world wide fast against slaughter. And Tuesday (3rd October) Maureen O'Sullivan TD is talking in the Dail on all sorts of animal matters and wants the public there in the gallery to reinforce that we care what happens!! 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sounds Wrong...But The Far Right will get 94 seats in Germany

Election Results  

Somehow, today, at the German elections, a new party will take 94 seats in the coalition with Angela  Merckel's party and a few others. This new party, I think is called the AFD and senior members recently made a statement that German people should be proud of what was achieved in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. I have just this year been to Auschwitz and Birkenau and the Resistance Museum and really focused on what was done. For Germans, they are ever present pieces of their history that there is massive collective shame about. They are protesting in Berlin as we speak, outside the AFD election aftermath party venue, with what they described as rage and grief in equal measures.

Charter of the United nations 1945

As I watched the news a United Nations poster fell out of a magazine on my my lap. It was the Charter, signed in June 1945, which I thought was important.
We the peoples of the United Nations determined
       to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to   mankind, and
       to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth  of the human person and of nations large and small, and
      to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and otoerh sources of international law can be maintained, and
    to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

and for these ends
    to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
     to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
      to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution  of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
    to emloy international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples,

have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims
    Accordingly, our respective governments, through representatives assembled in the city of San Francisco, who have exhibited their full powers found to be in good and due form, have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish and international organization to be known as the United Nations.

For further information about the United Nations contact:
The United nations Association, 3 Whitehall Court, London, SW1A 2EL or The Movement for the Abolition of War, 11 Venetia Road, London N4 1EJ  0044 20 3397 3019

Peace is The Only Solution

So I'm just thinking that if you feel this Charter has lost some of its commitment and urgency, please write to them and help confirm that we still really want and need peace and we don't believe 'military solutions' work.  We all know that security is not provided by military means either or weapons as deterrents. All these things breed fear, hostility and division. No one benefits. We have the untold sorrow, the loss of faith and dignity, millions of men and women not valued in the least, let alone other animal and plantlife. Breaches of international law are commonplace, there is no justice and respect and no social progress. Practicing tolerance is considered a weakness and liability in government and in individuals. Armed force can never be used 'in the common interest' as it is inevitably waged against someone, a country or leader or group.

But at least there is this statement, it reminds us we've been here before. In a mere 75 years, governments have gone from centralizing the importance of social advancement to consideration of only economics and trade.  

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Magic Accommodation and Farming Partnership Opportunity In Co. Kilkenny


  • Sleveen Farm in Co Kilkenny was built in the late 1800s and members of our family have farmed here for three generations. Our farm nestles in the beautiful landscape of County Kilkenny.

  • The beautiful old farmhouse is traditional in style and has been lovingly restored over the past couple of years. The house includes many amenities including a modern bathroom and large and open kitchen. We also have excellent internet access at the farm.

  • Sleveen is a working farm and there is always work to be done on the farm. We have a mixture of sheep and cattle. There is the possibility of setting up a garden or organic vegetable patch if desired. Apart from the farm animals we have four dogs. Our dogs names are Cody, Socks, Poppy and Glen.

  • Our farm stands 5 kilometres from the nearest village and is within easy driving distance of the Medieval City of Kilkenny which is part of "Ireland's Ancient East ". Visit website . Our farm is a short drive on the motorway to Cork, Kildare, Dublin, Cashel and Blarney. This puts our farm very close to Ireland's most scenic attractions. 

  • We are looking for people to work with us on the farm, either as a sublet or a partnership of some kind. We would like to increase our knowledge from somebody with similar interests as ourselves. We would like somebody intested in nature and the enviroment. There is also the opportunity for a craftperson to open up a business or workshop on the farm. We are a working farm as already stated , but now we would like a change and we would be open to all possibilities. Why not contact us and we can discuss our ideas and thoughts that may be of mutual benefit.

Contact Noel on or 00 353 87 744 5447

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Yemen - Write Up Of A Talk: What's Happening, Why and What We Can Do!

The Yemen Need Us To Write To The United Nations…

just a quick note!

It is the Politics Behind The Reality That Needs To Change

 Petrov and other Sane Actions

There has been some things to celebrate. Firstly, the nuclear weapons ban. It prompted a recognition of the madness of thinking of them as deterrents. We honoured the life of Petrof who died earlier this year. Thirty years ago, he was working in military intelligence and his screens all showed that Russia were under attack and that a nuclear war head was on its way. This meant that they should retaliate right then, if they were going to at all. Remember the ‘4 minute warning’ associated with nuclear war. However, Petrof did not think it was right to send one back and he felt that there was still a chance that there was a technological error. For whichever strong presence of mind he had, he took the unilateral decision not to tell his senior officer. If he had, the world would have been destroyed then.

Arms Trade Treaty

The treaty says that arms should not be sold to any country where there is any risk of them being used in violation of international humanitarian law. There have been 121 breaches of this International Humanitarian Law in Yemen. CAAT – Against the Arms Trade and Transparency International took the British government to court last year for selling arms to Saudi Arabia who are bombing the Yemen. It was a Judiciary Review, rather than a case where a jury might have sat, and for some reason the judge took the decision that selling arms, in this case, was not an ‘extreme action’. Even though it is registered as the worst humanitarian crisis with 20.7 million people in need of humanitarian aid and the worst outbreak of cholera too with over half a million dying of it, due to the unavailability of clean water. For many, people this brought the legal system’s impartiality and independence from government under suspicion.

Saudi Aramco Oil

The Saudi Aramco oil project is about to be floated and Britain wants a bit of the 3 trillion value of it. The City of London, as in the business regulatory forces has said that it can ‘overlook’ some aspects of the project so that we can have a piece of the pie. Money overrides everything else.

The Yemen Tourist Guide - Direct Quote

In the Yemen tourist guide, in 1988, it read ‘The unconscious goal of all civilizations is to create a state of society in which all mankind will be able to live in Harmony’ It was a beautiful country – the Queen Of Sheba came from there – it is also very friendly. It has always been a violent country though with many guns.

Air Raids - How Many and Who Has Been Hit

Timewheel is an organization that has been recording how many air raids there have been in the Yemen, how often, where they’ve hit and who they have hit. The statistics were arranged on a timeline with a little flag marking when cease fires had been agreed. The cease fires did not create even any temporary change in the intensity of bombing.

Hits were divided into
Military              3977
Civilian              1390
Medical                   62
Education            276
Infrastructure     882
Unknown          2159
Media                    12

The hospitals and other buildings paint on their roof massive signs to say they are aid organizations, like Oxfam and Medicine Sans Frontiers but everyone has been targeted. We learnt about ‘Acute Food Insecurity Phases’; minimal, stressed, crisis, emergency and famine.
From April to August 2017
Population:                                        27.4 million
Needing Aid:                                      20.7 million
Females needing protection:             5.5 million
With Cholera:                                    585,527 thousand

Incomes and Bank are Gone

There is food available, massive sacks of grains, rice and flour but incomes have stopped with the collapse of the civil service. That was paying nearly one in every family a wage. The central bank has now collapsed too (this was theirs not the World Bank – which might become interesting if that is what comes down the line to replace it). The central bank were told to move to near the port but many of their employees did not go as their families were threatened, if they did. The investment, the bank had relied on, also did not continue after the bank was forced to move. They have a payroll of 300 million dollars and an income of 200 million. Saudi Arabia unexpectedly put a billion dollars investment into the bank but now they can’t find that money. Corruption is rife. Ships will no longer deliver food (85% was imported until now). Because the central bank is gone, the trade and consignments can no longer be paid for.

Aden Port

The port is now blockaded, by the Saudi’s and Yemen's own president’s coalition. Their president (who is considered the lead of the only legitimate government of a united Yemen) actually lives in Saudi and is not representing the Yemen people in any significant way except perhaps by saying that he must rule the whole country or the war will go on. An all or nothing stance. They all still believe in a ‘military solution’ which might consist of forcing the rebels, on the Saudi border to go back to Iran in the South, although they didn’t actually come from there. Then they intend to move the government back to the capital of Yemen. That does not look likely at the moment.


There is a UN agreement that states that this player, much removed from the situation in Yemen, is the ‘only legitimate government’ which makes all the other players ‘rebels’ and excludes them from negotiations, talks and most notably prevents other countries talking to them. The situation has been over simplified and the UN has tied its own hands. We just need a new UN resolution. Saudi Arabia does want to find a way out of this as it is embarrassing to them to be the richest country in the middle east at war with the poorest country and still not have won. What winning might look like was discussed.

Aid Work and Resourcefulness

Aid work was varied. Bore holes for water had been deepened and existing waterwork cleared up. Small fields of solar panels were installed to run pumps. People must be employed to protect those. They noted the importance of creating demand-driven not supply-driven architecture. One girl had canisters for collecting water that neither fitted under the tap to fill, nor could she lift when they were full. What was the biggest risk, bombing? Others stealing or exploiting the most vulnerable, by stealing what they’d grown or any money they’d made? Actually, it was a third thing: A catastrophic personal event was the biggest risk. This might be a fall where you break a bone, a serious illness or a toothache. There are no resources at all to deal with anything AND it means you can’t work. Charities had started an amputee with a little shop, a family of 3 girls, all under 13, making clothes and a small but valuable sesame seed oil industry. He called this a real opportunity.

A concept of a ‘Theory Of Change’ for Yemen came up. It looked a very bleak situation and the only hope was that ‘time passes and things change’. 

It was said that peace will come from families. It was asked whether we can do anything, such as write to local MPs. Britain was described as the ‘pen holder’ on the Security Council and they have the power to draft a new UN solution, which could bring more parties to the negotiating table. A new stance is needed and more comprehensive (not oversimplified or non existent) coverage,  by the media. It is the worst humanitarian crisi and worst cholera epidemic in the world today, after all. It was asked if donations would help and it was responded that the priority is 1) a new UN solution and 2) to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. 3) Donate to a Yemen Appeal. It would support the very needed work on the ground but it creates minimal real change and improvement. An expression/analogy was used; something like: the aid that charities could offer was just putting an Elastoplast over a very severe wound. 

Why is food insecurity and poverty the responsibility of charities rather than governments?

It was discussed how responsibility for addressing food insecurity has passed to charities and NGOs rather than being a central matter for government. Someone mentioned that bread had been taken off the inflation index recently and housing had been taken off long ago. This suggested that a society’s housing and food needs were now not central to government, leaving only military security and the economy in their remit.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ireland's Fur Farms - Letter to copy and paste a bit of, if possible!

Email addresses: and 
Dear Minister Creed, Vasa Ltd and other fur licensing and 'responsible' bodies,

I noticed, when I looked for contact details on line for the Vasa Ltd that both Una and Micheal Heffernan are registered as having no directorships with companies house and no assetts, when on the previous page they are registered as the directors of Vasa Ltd! And, Vasa Ltd has 8 million net assetts, therefore that much after debts would be paid. I wonder if you could expose where they are hiding that money as they are obviously not paying tax. I also noticed all the other company secretaries and directors had resigned and their profits are down 7.7% . I imagine this means that fur is not wanted so much, consumers and staff, both, don't want to be party to the industry.

I gather that Vasa, one of three remaining fur farms, keep and kill between 50 thousand and 70 thousand mink each year. In addition, you do not ensure they are dead before they are skinned. The animals are not afforded any one of the five freedoms that they should legally have. Farms have animals permanently cramped into cold and dark wire cages, when their natural habitat would be a territory of a mile of riverbank. Their enclosure size is based more upon the length of a worker’s arm than the needs of the animal.
Do not use the argument that fur farms are offering a solution to an over population of mink and they are destructive in the wild. This is a false science as no inbalance in nature requires human interference. Furthermore, although in Canada, they claim that one third of animals in the fur industry are trapped in the wild, I know for definite that it is 0% in Ireland. Every single animal is bred on purpose purely to be exploited here. Even the foxes that are hunted and other animals trapped are left in shreds and wasted.
Please insist that fur farms look at their killing mechanism. There have been reports that they gas the mink in large numbers and that many of them are not dead or even unconscious when skinned. How would you like that yourself? It is my understanding that they have this minimalist approach to make sure the pelt is not damaged in the slaughter and no value lost.
It affects people emotionally as well as physically and financially to be involved in the fur industry. There must be considerable denial amongst your staff to continue the practice and condoning of the practice.
Hundreds of tons of phosphorous are released from fur farms and polluting nearby water sources. Somebody might argue that it is no worse than leather. I would agree but that is an argument against leather rather than for fur farming. Article on Environmental Harms Both are only natural fabrics while they are on the animal they belong to. And the argument that they are just by-products and animals were dead already doesn’t wash either. The industries are each massively profitable in their own right and the animals are deliberately exploited.  
I’m sorry to always be writing about rights and wrongs but you should be bothered that it’s happening not that I picked you up on it. I am asking you to stop. Think of another business plan. Retire. Open a santuary. Atone for your greedy, cruel and ignorant past in some way and do your best for the animals. They are your responsibility not your property.
I would be interested to know if anybody in Ireland buys fur or if the majority is exported. The human mind is good in suppressing uncomfortable thoughts but I don’t think the people of Ireland want such misuse and suffering for animals.
Fur farms, please stop! Animal Welfare aspect of DAFM, please stop them! Agricultural department, please stop licensing them. People, please avoid anything made of fur, even a trim.

Best regards, Frances Micklem, Kilkenny