Veganism - Non-Animal lifestyle

Veganism – Non-Animal lifestyle

Posted on February 04, 2013

A vegetarian is generally referred to as someone who does not eat meat, but who does eat dairy products and eggs. A vegan however, does not eat or wear anything that has required using a animal. Therefore vegans, in addition to abstaining from meat, don’t eat milk or cheese, don’t eat eggs or honey, and don’t wear leather, wool or fur. Most vegans also avoid using products that have been tested on animals.
Most packages of food in Western countries have a list of ingredients, so it is very easy to check to see if a food contains any animal products.

There is a fantastic overview of veganism at the Vegan Society of NSW website.

Excuses For Leather

People have always used leather
People have certainly been using leather for at least 600,000 years but we’ve been having wars and murdering each other just as long. The antiquity of a practice is neither a guarantee of its morality nor a justification for it.

Leather is environmentally friendly

Leather is far from environmentally friendly; its production involves the use of lead, zinc, formaldehyde and cyanide-based products. On the other hand, the synthetic alternatives can be just as bad. Environmentally speaking there is little to choose between them. The big difference is that the leather is a product of the suffering and death of millions upon millions or animals. The ethical choice is clear. But at the same time, every effort must be made to protect the environment. It seems that the best choice, whenever possible, is canvas.

There is no substitute for leather

When people say there is no substitute for leather they are usually referring to their footwear. But there are many alternatives. Canvas, for example, is a natural and hard-wearing material that will see you through most (if not all) of the year. Then there are plastics (even leather shoes usually have plastic soles) and rubber. More recently, advances have been made with waterproof and breathable synthetics like Goretex and there are now companies specialising in using materials that have the appearance and qualities of real leather. Canvas shoes are widely available but some of the newer products are not. Their availability will only increase with demand, so seek them out.

What if I made use of an animal that was already dead?

It is not the eating of meat that is wrong but the killing of animals unnecessarily. As meat eating is unnecessary and generally requires the killing of an animal, it usually follows that meat eating is wrong. If, however, you managed to obtain some meat without killing an animal (or by paying someone else to kill it for you) – for example, by stumbling across an animal that was already dead – then there is no moral objection to your eating it. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that early humans were much more inclined toward scavenging than hunting.

The animal was killed for food not leather

The animal was killed for profit and every last part of it was sold to achieve that profit. It makes no difference which particular parts you buy, the money all goes the same way. The skin actually represents up to 50% of the animal’s ‘value’!!

Dairy is good for you … isn’t it?

“I see TV ads all the time telling me that I need to eat dairy three times a day or I’ll suffer from osteoporosis, and my teeth will fall out.”
Do you believe that? Do you think that these ads are run as a community service announcement? The fact is that these ads are run for one purpose only – to sell more milk. Sure, many people (including doctors) believe this. But this is far from the truth.
If this was truly the case, why is it that the countries with the highest dairy intake, have the highest incidence of osteoporosis? Why is it that the countries with the lowest intake of dairy have the lowest incidence of osteoporosis?
The consumption of animal proteins causes loss of calcium – and the best sources of animal protein are milk and meat. The body will absorb calcium much better from vegetable sources. Magnesium assists in the absorption of calcium. Good sources of magnesium include beans, green leafy vegetables, whole grains and orange juice. Non-dairy sources of calcium include green leafy vegetables, almonds, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, oats, beans, parsley, sesame seeds and tofu.

Interesting dairy facts

■Milk is full of casein. Casein is the main ingredient in adhesives and glues. Have you ever wondered why you’re always full of mucous, and why your children are always crying with ear infections or asthma?
■Dairy cattle are fed antibiotics as a matter of course. Recently, an organisation in the USA called Consumer’s Union tested milk in the New York metropolitan area and found the presence of 52 different antibiotics in milk samples!!
■Milk contains hormones that are fed to cattle.
■In an interesting scientific curiosity, nowhere else in the animal kingdom do two species share a common hormone – except cows and humans share one called IGF-1. Excess IGF-1 has been shown to be an accelerant in the growth of cancer in the human body.
All these facts and much more scientific data can be found on the NotMilk website (www.notmilk,com). We would encourage everyone who cares about their health, who cares about their family, to go to this website and read through it thoroughly. If you are NOT convinced after reading this that dairy is not only unnecessary to good health, but actually highly detrimental to your health, then nothing will convince you.
Remember, we have nothing to gain by telling you this information. The dairy industry has everything to gain by hiding it.

Source: US website www.notmilk.com

“There’s no reason to drink cow’s milk at any time in your life. It was designed for calves, not humans, and we should all stop drinking it today.”-Dr. Frank A. OskiFormer Director of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University
It’s not hard on the cow is it? There are huge number of cows suffering horrendously from overly large udders caused by over-milking, along with many other issues.

What about eggs?

All egg production involves cruelty, one of the reasons for this is because half of all chicks are killed because they are males and hence don’t lay eggs, so economics dictate they don’t live.
Also, all laying hens, regardless of the system they are used in, still undergo the stress of transportation and slaughter when their egg laying declines.

Vegans choose not to eat eggs at all.

Eggs are not essential to a person’s well being, nor are they essential to use as an ingredient in cooking, there are many substitutes for eggs in recipes.
We will look at some of the health myths of eggs and provides alternatives for substituting eggs in recipes.

Eggs and Health

The average egg contains 213 milligrams of cholesterol, entirely in the yolk. This is the most concentrated cholesterol level in any common food.
According to Dr Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in the USA, some people mistakenly believe that since our bodies use cholesterol we need it in our diet. Barnard says that the human body makes plenty of cholesterol for use and there is no need to add any.Barnard says eating even one egg a day can be hazardous to your health, because it raises cholesterol levels substantially. Extra cholesterol added to the human body ends up causing plaque which clogs the arteries. The higher your cholesterol, the more susceptible one is to develop coronary artery disease.
“There is no ‘good cholestererol’ as far as foods are concerned. Simply put, cholesterol in food raises your cholesterol level.” (Food For Life: How the New Four Food Groups can save your life, Neal Barnard, Harmony, 1993).
About 70 percent of the calories in eggs are from fat, and a large portion of that fat is saturated.
Saturated fat is the worse kind of fat. Saturated fat stimulates the liver to make more cholesterol.
Eggs have also been identified as being among the common triggers of arthritis and migraine. In the medical journal, The Lancet of October 12, 1991, researchers gave the results of a carefully controlled study that used a menu designed to avoid foods that trigger arthritis pain. Among the foods the controlled group avoided were eggs and many patients in the control group improved dramatically with pain either diminished gone away, and joint stiffness was no longer the routine morning misery. The same benefit has been seen for migraines.
Eggs can pose other health threats as well. Because eggshells are fragile and porous, eggs are perfect hosts for salmonella. Salmonella poisoning symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever) are very similar to the flu and many people are often unaware they have been infected.

Replacing Eggs

Eggs are often used in baked products because of their binding and leavening properties. But there are many good substitutes for eggs.

Try one of the following next time you prepare a recipe which calls for eggs:

If a recipe calls for just one or two eggs, you can often skip them. Add a couple of extra tablespoons of water for each egg eliminated to balance out the moisture content of the product.
Eggless egg replacers such as Egg-Like, are available in many health food stores and supermarkets (in either the health or cooking sections). Egg replacers are egg-free and are usually in a powdered form. Replace eggs in baking with a mixture of the powdered egg replacer and water according to package directions.
Use one heaped tablespoon of soy flour or cornstarch plus tofu tablespoons of water to replace each egg in a baked product.
Use a quarter of a cup of mashed silken tofu in place of an egg.
In muffins and cookies, 1/2 mashed banana can be used instead of an egg, though it will change the flavour of the recipe somewhat.

*Borrowed from the Vegan Society of NSW website.

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

Recipes from " Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead " film

Here are some of the recipes for smoothies that Joe Cross used in the film

Apple-Pear

1 Apple
2 Pears
1 Piece Ginger (thumb sized)

Carrot-Kale Combo

1 Green Apple
3 handfuls Spinach
6-8 Kale leaves
4 large Carrots
1 Piece Ginger (thumb sized)

Green Lemonade

1 Green Apple
3 handfuls Spinach
6-8 Kale leaves
½ Cucumber
4 Celery Stalks
½ Lemon

All Green

Use as much greens as needed
Romaine Hearts
Kale or Collards
Spinach
2 handfuls Parsley
2-3 Celery Stalks
½ Lemon
1 Piece Ginger (thumb sized)

Apple-Beet-Carrot

1 Apple
2 Beets
3 large Carrots
1 Piece Ginger (thumb sized)
Spinach / Kale – (optional)

Spinach-Fennel-Cucumber

1 Fennel Bulb
1 Cucumber
2-3 Celery Stalks
loads of Spinach

Mean Green

1 Bulk of kale
4 stalks of Celery
1 Cucumber
2 Granny Smith Apples
½ Lemon
Ginger root (thumb sized)

Give in to it for 14 days, and try one of these every day, you will feel and be healthier for it. These are great for energy. Don’t be afraid to change the ingredients to individual taste. Maybe add some super greens powders to them.

Go juice …… you’ll love it!

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

Water, The Spice Of Life!

Life on Earth began in water and evolved from it.

You have personal experience with this dependence each time you seek water fluids to quench your thirst and replenish your body’s water content. The cells inside your body are surrounded by a fluid that is mostly water and your cells themselves range from 70% to 80% in water content. Water is the biological medium here on Earth and the supporter of all life forms.

Water circulates through our body without rest and causes the macromolecules (proteins, enzymes, and genes) and cells in the body to function properly. When information is passed from tissues to tissue, it is water that delivers this information. Water performs not one but many particular tasks, all life supporting or life saving. In a living body, if the circulation of water slows down too much, life ceases. Equally important to both lower and higher organisms, water is the vital generator of life and its supporting force.

Not All Water Is Created Equal.

Our natural water resources are under a great deal of stress, as we battle with an ever changing climate, pollution and the needs of a rapidly growing population. Demand for quality drinking water has never been greater!
Our government has a duty to provide us with water that is safe to drink, however the water quality at the point of consumption may not always be complimentary for our short or long-term health. Contaminants including heavy metals, chemicals such as chlorine, pesticides, bacteria, organic & in-organic compounds all can be present in our drinking water.
Given the importance of water to our wellbeing & every bodily function, we owe it to ourselves to ensure that the water we drink is as pure & fresh as possible!
We don’t all have a natural spring water source in our back yard & purchasing pre-bottled water can be both inconvenient and is prohibitively expensive, both financially and environmentally.

Ten Reasons To Filter Your Tap Water

1. Water filtration can provide better tasting and better smelling drinking water by removing chlorine, chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals and bacterial contaminants.

2. Point-of-use water filters remove lead from drinking water immediately prior to consumption, thus preventing this harmful substance from entering the body.

3. The purchase of a countertop filter results in a source of clean, healthy water that costs much less than expensive bottled water and reduce toxic waste in the environment.

4. Water filters greatly reduce the risk of certain cancers including: rectal cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer by removing chlorine and chlorine byproducts such as Trihalomethanes (THMs) from drinking water.

5. A carbon water filter can selectively remove dangerous contaminants from drinking water while retaining healthy mineral deposits that balance the pH of drinking water.

6. Drinking clean, filtered water protects the body from disease and leads to overall greater health and energy.

7. A water filter provides clean, healthy water for cooking, as well as drinking, at the convenience of tap water.

8. Water filters reduce the risk of gastrointestinal disease by more than 80 percent by removing cryptosporidium, e-coli and giardia from drinking water.

9. Drinking pure water is especially important for children. Water filters provide the healthiest water for children’s developing immune systems.

10. Water filters offer the last line of defence between the body and the over 2100 known toxins that may be present in drinking water.

Just a little information on why good quality water is important to you and your families health.

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

A little about Water filters

*A little bit of information about water filtering products *

Technology Matters

Purification

Most water filters are designed to reduce or remove chlorine and reduce some heavy metals, organic and inorganic chemicals, turbidity, dirt, rust, sediment etc. These contaminants affect the colour, taste and odour of your drinking water and make it unpleasant to drink.

The long-term cumulative effect of these contaminants can be far worse to your health than just affecting the taste and odour of your water. Many of these contaminants have been shown to have clear links to serious illness and diseases including many forms of cancer. Therefore it is of great importance to choose a filter system with the ability to remove as high a percentage of these as possible.

Sterilisation

Sterilisation is the removal of biological life forms commonly found in tap water. Whilst our water supply is treated initially, it is not uncommon for the water to become contaminated again between the time of processing treatment and when it get to you.

Common pathogens found in water:
E.Coli
Giardia
Cryptosporidium
Viruses

These contaminants can have an impact on your health, both immediate and long term. The effects can range from slight discomfort to gastrointestinal illnesses, nausea (vomiting), diarrhea, cramps and other symptoms. Dependent on the age and state of health of the person affected, these pathogens can be very serious & potentially fatal in the case of infants, elderly & immune suppressed. With this in mind it is critical to ensure that when looking at a water filtration system that is has the ability to both remove these contaminants and inhibit (prevent) the propagation of bacteria in the water (Many common filter systems are unable to meet these needs).

Activation

Removing harmful and undesirable substances from your water is a great place to start and many filter systems do an adequate job of this and a few are highly efficient. Removing these contaminants is of paramount importance as already established, however this is only half the job as far as our body’s needs are concerned. Most tap, filtered and bottled water is inadequate for the job required and we are unable to use a great percentage of this water, leaving us without properly hydrating at a cellular level.

Activation is critical to giving the body the water it needs to hydrate properly, without proper hydration our body starts to break down and under perform.

They key points to activating water and benefits are:

Action and Benefit

Adding trace minerals – Minerals are nutrients that support all major organ function, bone density, cell tissue formation and communications.
Slightly alkaline water – Helps to remove waste matter from cell tissues and blood.
Living energetic water – Helps to stimulate cellular activity and regeneration.
Magnetised (structured water) – Helps the water to be absorped into blood stream and cellular tissues, thereby increasing cellular hydration.

Common types of water filters

Ceramic

Ceramic filters are normally a cartridge, style filter. They are used in a bench top or under sink system. Ceramics are comprised of fossil substances, made up of tiny silicon shells. Contaminants are trapped in the pores of the ceramic. These systems are effective but require more maintenance than carbon filters can be more expensive.

Distillation

Water Distillers can create the purest water. Removing the highest levels of contaminants. Unfortunately they are expensive to buy & maintain. Distillers are very limited in their capacity to produce sufficient water in a domestic environment. This is due to the processing time required to produce the filtered water, up to an hour per litre depending on capacity of the system.
In recent years there has been growing awareness of distilled purified water’s effects, which, disturb the balance of minerals in our body. Distilled water is also lifeless & acidic. If you are looking at using a distiller I suggest using a final stage to reintroduce alkalinity, life & nutrients into the water.
It is now understood that dissolved minerals in the water are more beneficial than purified water. Minerals serve an important function in supporting the body’s immune system and metabolism.

R/O Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis process basically draws water through an extremely fine membrane. The membrane acts as an extremely fine filter to create drinkable water. R/O systems are famous for their ability to remove contaminants in very high percentages. The contaminated water is processed to one side of the membrane (This becomes waste water commonly flushed down the drain.) and the purified water to the other side (Tap outlet). R/O systems require a lot of pressure and are slow in production of water. The result is extremely finely filtered water.
The drawbacks to R/O systems are expensive to purchase & maintain. They are prone to bacteria build up if not properly maintained. Similar to Distilled water the outcome is water, which is lifeless, devoid of nutrients & minerals and is acidic in nature. Again this is not what our bodies crave & is not highly effective in the hydration & supplementation of our cells.
Additionally a relatively unknown fact is that R/O systems produce up to 7 litres of wasted water to every single litre of consumable water. I feel that this has been well hidden by companies selling these filter systems & is rarely documented in their information on the systems. I feel very strongly about this issue, being that we live in a time where we must be conscious of our impact on the usage of this precious resource for the sake of our own future & that of generations to come.

Activated Carbon

Made from granulated coconut shell husk that is heat-treated to open up pores, which absorb the contaminants. These systems are the most common & are very reliable. However there is a significant difference in the quality of these systems & the level of contaminants removed as well as lifespan. Carbon filters come in many different styles from portable bottles, Jug filters, Bench top units, tap filters, under sink plumbed in & whole of house systems. Most are easy to install or require no installation, which are becoming more & more popular with today’s increasingly mobile populations. Carbon filters are relatively inexpensive and offer excellent value for money. They are simple to install, relatively economical, and depending on absorption ability, will filter out very high percentages of the most common contaminants.
Some carbon filters are enhanced, by bonding activated nano-silver, which provide antibacterial protection, killing most types of organisms.

UV UltraViolet

UV systems use high frequency light to irradiate water through a glass element. Water passes through the element & is exposed to the light, killing all living organisms.
UV systems are beneficial where the possibility of serious illness occurring from localised water is high, especially from organic matter & excrement in the water. Commonly used in third world countries & for rural properties, which rely on rainwater tanks. Again these systems are expensive & limited in capacity to remove other contaminants, requiring additional stages of filtration such as membrane, carbon or ceramic. UV systems also require elements be replaced at regular intervals to ensure they are effective.

Ioniser

Water ionizers are not designed to be water filters and should not be confused as such. Although most ionizers have on-board water filters, these cartridges simply do not have the capacity to intercept the broad range of contaminants inherent in most water being supplied to homes today. Each water source has distinct characteristics which may or may not include, organic & inorganic substances, heavy metals (lead, copper), nitrate, chlorine, chloramines, fluoride, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, industrial contaminants, arsenic and more.
Water ionizers range in price from just under $1000 to over $4000 they are the most expensive way to filter water. Adding to the cost of the machine, typically the onboard replacement filters can have an ongoing cost of well over $100 per annum.
Water ionisers have become very popular in the western culture with thanks to some clever marketing (Much like bottled water). It has yet to be proven they have long term health benefits and many highly respected physicians, in both mainstream and alternative health have shown as many counter productive health issues as there are productive.
Water ionizers are electrical devices that convert ‘regular’ water into two simultaneous streams of ‘functional’ water, each with distinct benefits and uses.
One stream is alkaline antioxidant water for drinking. The other stream is acid oxidising water for external use.
Ionizers accomplish this by a process called electrolysis. All brands of water ionizers employ this same technology and most, to date are manufactured in Asia.

The purpose of these devices medically speaking is for the neutralisation of stomach acid and they were never designed or intended for domestic use. In most Asian countries, from which they originate it is prohibited to advertise these systems for domestic use as they are recognised as a medical device for short-term use under prescription and professional guidance.

Look on our website for the water filters we stock.

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

We are Killing Our Cats and Dogs

We have a problem in this country.

Hundreds of thousands of healthy and treatable cats and dogs are being abandoned and killed in pounds, shelters and vet clinics each year in Australia and it is preventable.

We have a system that perpetuates a cycle of breeding to excess, impulse purchasing of pets and then quietly killing the surplus, mainly healthy cats and dogs year after year.

250,000 healthy, unwanted cats and dogs are killed in Australian pounds each year.

We killed 57,351 ( Deathrowpets figures ) in New South Wales alone, in 2011.

If your want a pet, try and support a sheltered pet.

They come de-sexed and vet checked.

Adoption solves the problem, one pet at a time.

When we are getting all our pets from adoption outlets and we are no longer supporting puppy factories and backyard cattery’s, we will be one step closer to a better future for our furry best friends.

This is my adopted furry family member, his name is

MONTY

He was 12 years old when we got him.
His old owner had dumped him at the RSPCA because he was too much work.
Well now a year and a half on, he has been no more work than he was the first day he arrived.
He has bonded to us like we have owned him all our lives.
Flown down free of charge from Tweed Heads to Newcastle by Jet Pets, a service RSPCA arranged for us.

I guess they did this because Monty had found a way into their hearts, just like he found a way into ours.

You see a lot of people believe that old pets never bond to their new owners. This is incorrect.

People believe that they are expensive, Monty cost us $45, because he was an older cat.

I would of paid $4500 for him. Most pets come de-sexed and with a complete vet check for around $100 at refuges. They range from young kittens and pups to older pets like Monty.

See Monty came to repair our hearts, he didn’t know it and nor did we at the time, see we had lost our Dudley ….. on xmas day , our eternal gypsy, our little man and we didn’t want another cat, not just yet.

Until i made the mistake of looking at the Adopt a Pet site on the app on my iphone and well Monty was on his last days.
We said yes to have him on Friday and his last day was going to be Monday. He was due to be put to sleep. So in a way, we saved his life, but really he saved a little piece of ours.

He bought a light back to the house that had dark on Xmas day when Dudley left us.

( More to come on Dudley later.)

So please just think …….

Adopt for your next pet, you won’t regret it, and nor will they.

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

Your Dogs Letter

Something to think about…..

Here in australia we put down 250,000 unwanted Pets EVERY YEAR

Dear Mom and Dad,

I died today. You got tired of me and took me to the shelter. They were overcrowded and I drew an unlucky number. I am in a black plastic bag in a landfill now. Some other puppy will get the barely used leash you left. My collar was dirty and too small, but the lady took it off before she sent me to the Rainbow Bridge .

Would I still be at home if I hadn’t chewed your shoe? I didn’t know what it was, but it was leather, and it was on the floor. I was just playing. You forgot to get puppy toys.

Would I still be at home if I had been housebroken? Rubbing my nose in what I did only made me ashamed that I had to go at all. There are books and obedience teachers that would have taught you how to teach me to go to the door.

Would I still be at home if I hadn’t brought fleas into the house? Without anti-flea medicine, I couldn’t get them off of me after you left me in the yard for days.

Would I still be at home if I hadn’t barked? I was only saying, “I’m scared, I’m lonely, I’m here, I’m here! I want to be your best friend.”

Would I still be at home if I had made you happy? Hitting me didn’t make me learn how.

Would I still be at home if you had taken the time to care for me and to teach manners to me? You didn’t pay attention to me after the first week or so, but I spent all my time waiting for you to love me.

I died today.

Love, Your Puppy

I HOPE IT MAKES YOU THINK ….. THAT YOUR NEXT PET CAN BE A RESCUE OR ADOPTED….
AND FOR ALL OF ITS LIFE……. PLEASE STOP THE KILLINGS

This letter was written By: Pet Pardons with edits from UGA …….

Please Note: The Dog in the photo is Felix, he was my much loved Rescue. He was found in a box for free at the back of a takeaway shop. He lived for over 10 years until cancer took him away from this world. He lived a beautiful life on the farm.

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

The Facts Of Animal Testing For Supermarket Products

Testing on animals are scientifically flawed

Animal toxicity tests are crude, subjectively assessed and the results can vary depending upon the species, age, sex and condition of individual animals. One international study that examined the results of rat and mouse LD50 (Lethal Dose 50%) tests for 50 chemicals found that these tests were able to predict toxicity in humans with only 65% accuracy. (1) (see page 17) Dr Robert Sharpe, research chemist, states, “The LD50 for digitoxin in rats is 670 times that in cats, whilst for the antifungal substance antimycin, the LD50 in chickens is 30-80 times greater than in pigeons and mallards. The LD50 of thiourea in the wild Norway rat is 450 times greater than in the Hopkin’s stain of rat.” (2)
Manufacturers are simply asked to conduct whatever tests are appropriate, in their opinion, to establish that their cosmetics or household products are safe. Even the environmental conditions in a laboratory can affect results. The LD50 results for the same chemical can vary widely between different laboratories. It is hardly surprising then to learn that results from animal tests are often difficult to apply to humans. Many substances tested safely on animals have proven to be dangerous to humans and vice versa.

The real reasons

Animal tests were crudely developed as long ago as the 1920s and became commonplace in the 1940s. Scientists are familiar and comfortable with the animal-based techniques they have been using for years. It is always difficult to change the status quo. Companies continue to test on animals for legal protection. Animal testing is designed to protect a manufacturer against legal claims by consumers. The irony is that the defence “we have safety-tested our products on animals” only becomes relevant when that testing fails to detect a potentially dangerous substance and a consumer is injured. There is no actual legal requirement for animal testing. Manufacturers are simply asked to conduct whatever tests are appropriate, in their opinion, to establish that their cosmetics or household products are safe. The use of animals in laboratories is supported by a very large and powerful industry. It includes contract testing laboratories, the suppliers of cages, equipment, animals, and infrastructure. Alternatives to animal testing Today, many cosmetic and household product companies have turned their backs on animal testing and begun taking advantage of the many sophisticated non-animal test methods available, which range from cell and tissue cultures to computerised “structure-activity relationship” models. Human cell culture tests have been found to predict toxicity in humans with much greater accuracy than animal tests.
(1) R. Roggeband et al., “Eye Irritation Responses in Rabbit and Man After Single Applications of Equal Volumes of Undiluted Model Liquid Detergent Products,” Food and Chemical Toxicology, 38 (2000): 727-734. (2) Dr Robert Sharpe, “The Cruel Deception”.

two types of tests most commonly used in australia

LD test

LD stands for Lethal Dose – the dose of a substance that will kill a percentage of the test animals. A single dose of the test substance is usually placed directly into the stomachs of animals via a tube. Different groups of animals are given increasing doses of the test substance to see which dose will kill them. Symptoms of toxic substances include abdominal pain, cramps, convulsions, vomiting (in some species), diarrhoea, paralysis, breathing difficulties and bleeding ulcers. Rats and mice are used, but sometimes dogs and rabbits are also included.

Draize eye irritancy test

The traditional method for testing irritation and damage to the eye is the Draize test. The test substance is placed in the eyes of conscious rabbits, who are either held in stocks or have plastic collars around their neck so that they can’t rub their eyes with their paws. Researchers look for signs of redness, swelling, discharge and ulceration to determine how irritating the substance is. The rabbits are killed at the end of the test. The outer layer of the eye, the cornea, is one of the most sensitive tissues in the body. It is richly supplied with nerve endings, which is why any irritation or damage is extremely painful. Everyone knows how uncomfortable it is to get something like shampoo or onion in the eye. We quickly wash it out. In comparison, the suffering of rabbits is greater, firstly because some of the substances tested are more irritating, and secondly because the rabbits can’t wash their eyes.

Problems with irritancy tests
The first problem with these tests is that they are very, very cruel. Irritation to the skin and especially the eye can be excruciatingly painful. However, the tests are also inaccurate. In one study the same 12 substances were tested for eye irritancy in 24 well-established laboratories. Since the same substances were being tested, using the same method, and the same species of animal, you would expect scores for the degree of eye injury to be similar. On the contrary, scores varied between rabbits in the same laboratory and varied widely between laboratories. Some substances that were rated as most irritating by some laboratories were rated as least irritating by others.
There are a number of differences between rabbit and human eyes:

•rabbits have a third eyelid
•rabbits produce less tear fluid to wash away irritants
•rabbits have a more alkaline eye (human pH 7.1-7.3, rabbit pH 8.2)
•rabbits have a thinner cornea (human 0.51mm, rabbit 0.37mm).
One study compared the results of animal tests using rabbits and monkeys with information regarding accidental human exposure to products. All animal tests, especially the standard Draize test, overestimated how irritating a product was to the human eye.
An experienced toxicologist has concluded: “No single animal species has been found to model exactly for the human eye, either in anatomical terms or in response to irritation”. There are also considerable differences between human and rabbit skin. When 12 substances were tested on human and rabbit skin, results were similar only for the two most irritating products. The remaining ten products were irritating to the rabbits but not the humans. In another study, a range of household products and industrial chemicals were tested on the skin of rabbits, guinea pigs and humans. Only four of the products were non-irritating in all three species. However, 12 products were more irritating in one or both of the animal species than in humans. A further three products were less irritating in one or both animal species than in humans. The researchers concluded: “Neither the rabbit nor the guinea pig provides an accurate model for human skin. The skin responses of these animals differ in both degree and in kind from those of human skin.”

think of these next time you are patting your cat or dog

There are lots of good replacement products, that do not involve testing on animals.
If you are in doubt, look on the packaging, companies are very proud of not testing on animals so they will state it.

However if its not written " not tested on animals " the chances are it is!

Here are some products freely available that are cruelty free, look for them in your local supermarket.

Laundry needs

For the bathroom

For cleaning the house

These are just a small sample of the many brands available, just read the label. Make it cruelty free.

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

Sustainable Living on 1/10th of an acre?

Written By Justin Gardener

In danger of being free.” That’s how Jules Dervaes sums up his journey from a small backyard garden to a super-productive microfarm. It’s a low input, highly efficient urban homestead right next to the metropolis of Los Angeles.

Jules, his son Justin, and his two daughters Anais and Jordanne live in a 1,500 sq. ft. craftsman bungalow on 1/5 of an acre. Here they have a 1/10 acre garden and grow 350 different vegetables, herbs, fruits, and berries. The sustainable plot is complete with chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, and honey bees. For two years in a row they were able to produce 6,000 pounds of food.
Their mission is to live sustainably and simply, and they are doing it. 90% of their vegetarian diet comes from the homestead and 2/3 of their energy comes from solar panels. They make biodiesel fuel with used vegetable oil. Their commitment to reducing consumption extends all the way to a hand-cranked radio. They are highly motivated and have a lot to say about the way things are in the world.

“Government can’t do it and corporations won’t do it,” says Jules in the short film Homegrown Revolution.

With a corporatocracy running the show in Washington and millions of Americans addicted to television and fast food, the Dervaes family provides a model of what can happen if we change our priorities. We don’t have to rely on a centralized industrial system that is poisoning public health and the environment more than ever with pesticide-laden, GMO food. We can get off the couch and start providing for ourselves.

Most of the Dervaes’ food production is for their own consumption, but they do sell excess harvests to local establishments and individuals, and then use that to buy other basics like flour and rice. They are truly one of the most independent family units in the country, with an ever-decreasing environmental impact.

Not only do they provide a model for suburban-style sustainability, but their efforts are beneficial to the community and local schools. The Front Porch Farmstand sells Dervaes’ organic produce to neighbors and restaurant chefs. They offer workshops, film screenings, and exhibits at festivals. They host school field trips at the homestead and offer school visits with their “citified” farm animals.

Read more at REALfarmacy.com

Borrowed from
http://www.realfarmacy.com/urban-homesteaders-produce-6000-pounds-of-food-on-110-acre/#8Ycbt3SHF3RLgfFl.99

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

The Tarkine Debate - Tasmania

I understand that jobs are hard to find Australia wide, and Tasmania even harder ……
I would love to see this country go forward to become the leader in renewable, sustainable industries, after all our scientists led the solar field for decades.
I understand this country is being supported by the mining industry at the moment, after all it provides my income ( at the moment )

Over the life of the Shree Nelson Bay Mine, 30 years, the company forecast to generate only 125 jobs. (2). I realise this is important to one person if you are in the 125, but 25,000 people ( 2010 government figures ) are employed in tourism and 125 jobs is a pretty small contribution of the total 230,000 employed in Tasmania.

I’m just not sure that all the people involved directly with this struggle have read the facts of the proposal, so I have included the link to the permit, that has been submitted to the Tasmania government, for mining in this area.

If you are interested in reading it like i did, this is the direct link

http://epa.tas.gov.au/documents/shree%20-%20nelson%20shree_nelson_bay_river_mine_permit_conditions.pdf (1)

http://pa.tas.gov.au/documents/shree_nelson_bay_river_magnetite_mine_ear.pdf (2)

There are a few things in this proposal I struggle with

  • There is a plan for 10 mines for this region, 8 of them are open pit mines, thats ten new mines proposed for the Tarkine over the next five years.
  • No land has to be rehabilitated unless it has not been used in Mining operations for two years.
  • EPA document says they will mine up to 400,000 tonnes of material for removal every year (1), however their own mine forecasts say that one mine alone is targeting 12 million tonnes over 10 years (2), that doesn’t add up!
    400,000 × 12 = 4.8 million allowed to be mined but they are targeting 12 million.( 2)
  • All water management put in place is to be built to with stand flooding of a 1 in 20 year flood rule, which is bizarre because all other construction in Australia has to comply with 1 in 100 year flooding rule.
  • The Tarkine and these regions are a known breeding area for Masked Owl, Tasmania Devil and Spotted Quolls.

The Tasmanian Masked Owl is considered to be Endangered under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, because of its small population (estimated at about 1330 breeding birds, or 615 pairs) as well as ongoing habitat loss, especially of old-growth forest suitable for breeding.

The Tasmania Devil was listed as vulnerable under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 in 2005 and the Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 in 2006, which means that it is at risk of extinction in the “medium term”.

The Spotted Quoll is listed by the IUCN on the Red List of Threatened Species with the status “near threatened”. The Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage considers the northern subspecies D. m. gracilis as endangered.

So we have three species all under threat and the plan put in place, is if they discover breeding animals they will put a 50m buffer zone around the animals until they have finished breeding …. they wont stop clearing, they will just take a wide berth for a little while, and then cleared the land once they have finished breeding. I might add, that clear felling is done with dozers and chainsaws.

  • All environmental reporting is done on an annual base, once ever 12 months, seems a long time for a potential world heritage listed area don’t you think?
  • The tailings dam for one of the mines, the Shree Nelson Bay site is 40 ha in size, that is a very large body of waste water for a natural forest to have to deal with and that is only one of the 10 mines. Both creeks on the Nelson Bay site run off into the Nelson Bay river within 1 km of the tailing dam. Doesn’t give much chance to monitor run off if things go wrong.

Other Facts

  • Magnetite is used to remove arsenic from a water supply, production of steel, as a thermite, as well as in making of fertilizers. It is the most magnetic of all minerals which occur naturally on Earth. So the demand in steel making, electronics ( Magnets ) and gold production is high.
  • The Tarkine is Australia’s largest remaining single tract of temperate rainforest. It contains approximately 1,800 km² of rainforest and around 400 km² of eucalyptus forest.
  • In December 2009, the Tarkine was listed as a National Heritage Area following an Emergency National Heritage Listing. However on the 8th February 2013 Minister Tony Burke announced that he would reject advice from the Australian Heritage Council that 433,000 hectares should be heritage listed and instead apply a National Heritage Listing only to the 21,000 hectares contained in a 2 km wide section along the coastline. Which strangely enough does not include the mining leases!

I believe this is the area for one of the proposed mine sites, Button grass plains with Mt. Balfour in the background.

Photo from the Tarkine PRO Development GROUP’s facebook page.

I realise there is alot of emotion involved in this debate.

To Be Continued …….

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog

Bat Reach QLD

BatReach was established to help preserve Australia’s unique wildlife.

The main area of care is with arboreal animals.
This includes bats, possums and gliders, however they do accept any orphaned or injured native animal.

Being part of Far North Queensland Wildlife Rescue, various animals can end up in their care and any that they are unable to cater to are passed onto other experienced carers.

Australia has four major species of megabats or flying-fox: the Spectacled, the Black, the Grey-headed and the Little Red.

All of these species are on display during opening hours.

This varies seasonal, so its always best to check with them first to see if they are open.

Admission is by donation.

They are a volunteer run organisation and receive no goverment funding, so rely soley on your support and the work of the volunteers.

Contact BatReach Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre:

c/o BatReach,
PO Box 300, Kuranda,
Queensland 4881, Australia

Phone: +61 0740938858
Email: info@batreach.com
For volunteering information, email volunteer@batreach.com

To visit them in Kuranda, find the top of the Jumrum walk, next to the fire station.
BatReach is located at the bottom of the paved walkway. On the Right.

We at urban gypsy australia believe they do a great job at making our world a better place, so we hope if you are in the Kuranda area of Far North Qld, just out of Cairns, you’ll pay them a visit.
Maybe show your support too.

We decided since we weren’t in the area, and we wanted to show our support, we sponsored a bat.

This is Jimmy

We adopted him nearly a year ago …….

Maybe you could do the same. Find all the info you need at www.batreach.com

Or chat to them through Facebook and see how you can sponsor a bat too.

© 2013 www.urbangypsyaustralia.com – UGA blog