Monday, 14 January 2019

Vegans. How many are there?

There has been a huge amount of publicity regarding the vegan lifestyle. There doesn't seem to be a day go by without either The Guardian the BBC continuing to promote this lifestyle. But despite this hype how many vegans actually do exist in the UK?

In 2007, Defra revealed the following data in a survey involving 3,618 adults. The survey found that 3% claimed to vegetarian (2% male, 3% female) with 2% claiming to be vegan (3% male, 2% female). The highest number of vegetarians were found in 16-29-year-old females at 7%.

Therefore, the pooled data suggest that 5% of those surveyed identified themselves as vegetarian or vegan.

A full Vegetarian Society data sheet can be found here of the various surveys they looked at regarding this issue between 2005 and 2012.

More recently, a face to face poll undertaken by IPSOS for the Vegan Society in 2016 of 9,933 people 15+ years.

It found the 96.71% of those undertaking the survey ate meat. It found that 3.5% people never ate meat and 0.7% never ate meat and avoid consuming or using any animal products. 

Therefore, if we look at the pooled data from the DEFRA survey cited above there appears not to be a dramatic increase in those who identify themselves as vegan or vegetarian. Moreover, if you look at the true meaning of the word vegan it could be construed that only 0.7% are "real vegans".


Further, we also have the phenomena of people who define themselves as vegan or vegetarian returning to eating animal protein. A US survey in 2014 by the Humane Society found that 84% all those who identify themselves as either vegan or vegetarian return to eating animal protein. Therefore, any claims that veganism is becoming mainstream in the British population could be an exaggeration.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Funeral in Menlo Park or how I learnt to stop worrying and love Facebook.

Facebook logo from Using Facebook as a Weapon

There's a lot of talk today about security both personal and public. With the development of social media this seems to have become even more important. But really how secure are we and, more importantly, in a democracy how much freedom do we actually have or are we allowed to display.

This week I logged on to my Facebook profile only to be met with a message that said they were checking my security and they wanted a photograph of me. They assured me that once they reviewed my photograph it would be deleted and not stored. The whole thing became rather reminiscent of a Len Deighton spy novel or second world war feature film where the train stops at the border and officious men in uniform want to see your papers!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Animal Rights and the Magic of Words

In the popular science fiction programme Doctor Who they presented an episode in 2007 called The Shakespeare Code. The story revolves around extraterrestrial beings called the Carrionites who (in the form of witches) come to Earth during the time of Shakespeare. They derive their power from the potency of words but are defeated by Shakespeare's prose.

In a similar vein, the animal rights industry is very much aware of the power of not just pictures but words particularly when they are emotively loaded. In fact, the animal rights industry and its supporters are very careful to never involve themselves in anything that would tax the critical thinking of the observer. They do not want people to analyse what they are presenting they want to just elicit an emotional response to circumnavigate any logical or rational thinking.  As a colleague once observed they just want to go for a dopamine hit. To the animal rights industry, words are power.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Scottish Government’s proposed ban on wild animals in travelling circuses

The Scottish government has proposed banning wild animals in travelling circuses.  In the same vein as a proposed ban by the British government, they have said that they wish to ban wild animals in circuses based on ethical considerations although this premise has already been open to criticism by at least one academic ethicist.

In the case of a British ban, they chose to go down the ethical route because research by DEFRA in 2007 came to the conclusion that banning circuses with animals could not be undertaken on welfare grounds.  However, in December 2012, the British government decided to introduce legislation which involved the inspection and licensing of circuses with wild animals and any plans for a ban have now faulted.  Likewise, the Welsh assembly investigated a ban on wild animals in circuses.  However, it seems likely that the Welsh assembly will follow the British example of introducing an inspection and licensing scheme.

I have made clear my personal feelings that I would prefer regulation of animals in circuses which a number of countries have undertaken.  Some backgrounds on my position can be found on the blog linked below.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The End of Circuses. The End of Zoos?

    The End of Circuses, The End of Zoos?

 I also find it incredibly depressing how many people within zoo industry (some who regularly contribute to the various forums on social media) seem to be completely in denial about what is going on.

The Scottish Parliament is proposing a ban on wild animals in circuses.  The interesting thing about the proposed Scottish ban is that they wish to undertake this on ethical grounds, not as an issue of animal welfare.   

The British government adopted a similar position because they clearly stated that there were no grounds to ban animals in circuses on welfare grounds because it was not supported by the available scientific evidence.  Nevertheless, the British government propose ban has not taken place and decided to introduce regulation and inspection to ensure the welfare of circus animals in December 2014.  Moreover, it seems that the Welsh assembly is also going to adopt a regulation and inspection process rather than an original plan to ban wild animals in circuses. 

Monday, 4 January 2016

Plans to ban pet keeping move one step nearer?

It is interesting that the Blue Cross animal charity has decided to get into bed with the Born Free Foundation in compiling this research.  The alliance of what were traditional animal welfare groups siding with the animal-rights movement should be of concern to all professional animal keepers.

Many of those who regularly read my personal blog are aware of my concerns at the encroaching mission creep that can be witnessed within the animal-rights movement as regarding the keeping of animals is both in zoos and aquariums and also as pets.  The continuing campaign was recently highlighted again in the ongoing attack on the keeping of various species of animals as pets.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper was among a number of members of the media to cover a story on a report undertaken by the animal welfare group Blue Cross and the animal-rights group The Born Free Foundation called One Click Away.   

Monday, 23 November 2015

Animal-Rights: Entertainment, Education and Money

Whether animals are used in entertainment or educational situations is actually irrelevant to the animals concerned.  They have no way of understanding the reason or context of their life in human care.

Supporters of the animal-rights lobby will use various arguments or position statements that actually have no relevance to any debate or argument involving animal welfare.  One of the rhetorical statements often made, particularly within social media, is that animals are being used for "entertainment" and "financial gain".  This may well be true, but not only is this statement misleading, but it also has nothing to do with animal welfare.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

HSUS: Zoos, Sanctuaries and Accreditation

First, it should be pointed out to The Humane Society of the United States that all zoos and wildlife parks that display wild animals in the UK are accredited. This accreditation is based on the U.K.'s Zoo Licensing Act that was introduced in 1981. This legally obliges all these facilities to be subjected to inspection and licensing on a periodic basis.

Lots of things annoy me but professionally perhaps one of the most irksome things I keep seeing in the discourse between the animal-rights and animal welfare lobby - as regards to zoos - is the animal-rights lobbyists insistence of promoting their sanctuaries are somehow divorced from zoological collections.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Damian Aspinall and a touch of zoochosis

The blog reproduced below was originally published in August 2013. I removed the blog because I felt that maybe I had been a little bit unfair in my criticism of Damian Aspinall.  However, with the recent news of a number of tragic deaths involved in one of his gorilla re-introductions in the Gabon and his continuous claiming of some kind of moral high ground (most recently in a CBS News documentary) I felt it was probably opportune to reinstate this blog

Damian Aspinall is at it again but this time in The Daily Mail.  To hear him speak, you really imagine that this man has morphed into a clone of Will Travers.  Moreover, as soon as someone coins the word 'zoochosis' you know what you are about to read is basically bollocks.  As a disease or condition, 'zoochosis' does not exist. It was actually made up by the Born Free Foundation (Zoo Check) many years ago as an anti-zoo buzzword for their 1993 The Zoochotic Report.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Animals in circuses! Has the Sun Gone Green?


"Circuses are licensed by central government. If you wish to see why and how they are licensed go to the Defra website"

The U.K.'s largest circulation tabloid daily newspaper The Sun could hardly be called a paper that supports the lunatic fringe of the left such as The Green Party. 

However, in a recent article penned by "animal welfare campaigner" Stanley Johnson demonstrates just how this newspaper is not familiar with the tactics of the animal-rights lobbyists. In this instance, the puppet masters are Animal Defenders International (ADI) a group well-known for its manipulation of well-meaning but gullible animal-loving celebrities such as Brian Blessed. Moreover it is no surprise that the appearance of this feature article comes a day before ADI are due yet again to visit 10 Downing Street for yet another celebrity led photo opportunity in its bid to try and ban animals in circuses in Britain.