Posted 20 March 2012 by Jesse Permalink | 121 Comments
Easter, chocolate, giveaway, dairy, bobby calves, milk, video
!Easter is just around the corner. If you're as loco for cocoa as me, you're probably already drooling over the idea of a long weekend devouring chocolate. But we couldn't wait that long... We're getting into the spirit of Easter early and are giving away a delicious cruelty-free Easter pack to one Unleashed member now. Read on to find out how this lucky person could be you ;)
While Easter can be a sweet deal for us, it's often a sour deal for animals. But it doesn't have to be. By going dairy-free you can be sure to have an awesome Easter while also being sweet to animals.
Because dairy-free chocolate is amazing!
Don't take my word for it. If you're a chocoholic, you owe it to yourself to try Bonvita Rice Milk Chocolate (they even do white chocolate!). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are loads of other delicious dairy-free chocolates out there.
Then there's this...
Most Aussies don't realise that over 700,000 dairy calves (called 'bobby calves') are killed as 'waste products' in the dairy industry every year. But going dairy-free means chocolate doesn't have to be a death sentence for dairy calves.
You might even be surprised how easy ditching dairy can be. Not only is there a great range of dairy-free chocolates in most supermarkets, we've got the (dairy-free)-cream of the crop in the Unleashed shop, to make it super-easy for you to get the perfect prezzies to put on your own wishlist this Easter!. Check out these goodies:
How amazing are they! And what's even more amazing is you could score one of these for free. Just tell us who you'd most like to share dairy-free chocolate with and why. Leave a comment below, and the best answer will score an 'Easter Chicken Gift Pack', including 2 delicious bonvita rice milk egg packs and an adorable chick adoption.
2nd April 2012 And the winner is ....*em* who plans on using this choccie to start a new dairy-free chocolate addiction in her workplace!
Huge thanks to everyone who entered the comp - what a generous bunch you all are!
Don't be too disappointed if you missed out - remember you can grab dairy-free chocolate in most supermarkets in the health food aisle... See it must be good for us!
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Posted 22 April 2011 by Jane Permalink | 13 Comments
Chickens, eggs, meat, Easter
Whenever Easter is upon us I start thinking of the usual suspects: rabbits and chickens (although what a rabbit has to do with eggs I'm still trying work out!). I've not had a lot to do with bunnies but chooks hold a firm place in my heart, even though they're sometimes referred to as ...well, bird brains!
A study last year proved that chickens are in fact, incredibly clever. So much so that they have different calls for things like food, and because of this females are more likely to choose their mates based on intelligence (ie "how good is he at finding food and then telling me about it?")
I already knew that chooks are pretty special, and this was confirmed during a nutrition assignment I did two years ago at Uni. Each group had 20 day old chicks (10 boys and 10 girls) that had been bred for the meat industry (called broiler chickens). We were to feed them, weigh them, assess their health, etc every day for 6 weeks, even on weekends. I knew what their fate was at the end of the project so I offered to take ours home. I knew I could find homes for 20 chooks and probably even more. But my supervisor told me it was pointless – you see broiler chickens can't live past 7 weeks even if they aren't sent to slaughter.
After years of selective breeding for fast growth, these baby birds were growing at an epic rate right before our eyes. Meat chickens now grow three times faster than normal. By 6 weeks old they are the size of fully grown birds – only they are still babies, chirping and struggling to move their massive bodies using underdeveloped baby legs.
That was a very tough 6 weeks for me. These birds got to know us and were friendly and funny. One girl would even run to the edge of the cage when she saw us coming, so sweet. Number 5 was her name. Isn't that cold? Number 5.
During the project, two of our birds died. One boy had a blocked crop (the part on their throat where the food gets kind of ground up and digested), possibly after he'd accidently swallowed some sawdust from the floor litter, so he kept eating as his crop became huge and his body became malnourished. He was starving and we knew he wouldn't get better without medical treatment. But that would involve putting him on different feeds, which would ruin the project data, God forbid. Eventually a uni worker 'euthanised' him by chopping his head off. Imagine if we euthanised our pets this way! The second boy flipped onto his back while I was refilling the feed one day. His wings flapped frantically, slamming the cage floor as I desperately called for help. Then he just stopped and lay still. His young overworked heart had given out under the immense weight of his mutant body. He was finally at peace, and I stroked him goodbye through tears.
By week 6 of the project, Number 5 didn't run to greet us anymore. She couldn't. She could hardly move at all. Not even to reach the feeders or the water trays which were actually moved up higher and higher to encourage the chicks to stand. But it was just too painful for her. It was almost like the feeder trays were mocking our hungry friend.
The final day was the worst. The girls in my group and I picked up our birds lovingly and held them to us, saying "goodbye" and "sorry" as we moved them into the trays that would be stacked on top of each other on the back of a truck. We sobbed the whole time. It was a sunny day and the birds squinted at the huge ball of fire in the sky that they'd never seen before. They wouldn't see it for long. The truck drove off to the slaughterhouse, with our beautiful clever birds on board, Number 5 wondering where she was off to on this cramped bumpy ride and wondering what kind people would be there when she arrived. Even the sickest birds were on there, weak from hunger, joints aching, some with newly blocked crops. I cried as much as I've ever cried before as white baby bird feathers flew past my face and the truck rattled down the road.
I'd already stopped eating chicken years before this happened. But I decided then and there that I couldn't eat eggs either. Even though our birds weren't layer hens, I knew I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the exploitation of an amazing species I now loved. And that certainly meant no more eggs. (I've since discovered so much horror behind eggs!)
So these new research findings are nothing new to me. Chickens are truly incredible birds full of personality and love. And they are anything but "bird brains"!
If you must decorate an egg this Easter, use papier mache and paint away! Or buy a dairy-free chocolate egg and tie a ribbon around it in tribute to the millions of intelligent chickens that suffer and die for meat and eggs in Australia each year.
You could even symbolically adopt your own baby bird as a reminder that we need to do all we can to help these chickens. I already have. She sits on my desk and I named her Number 5.
Have you had an experience like this before?
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Posted 11 April 2011 by Jane Permalink | 16 Comments
chocolate, Easter, vegan, dairy, calves
It's almost that time again …Chocolate time! Oh, I mean Easter time, yup Easter! But really, chocolate is aaall I can think about this time of year. And since ditching dairy, I've discovered so many delicious and delightful chocolates that I am certainly spoilt for choice!
I know you're dying to hear about them, so without further ado …
Bonvita (Karen's fave by a country mile!) have released little half eggs made from rice milk this year, so creamy and so YUM! You can grab these at Vegan Online.
Constant Craving have also gone all out by encasing their incredible chocolate truffles inside a chocolate egg. And with truffle flavours jaffa, coconut and almond there is certainly one to suit everyone! Order these from The Cruelty Free Shop.
Now my fave - The ever amazing Sweet William has come up with new Easter products this year. Along with the tried and true chocolate bunnies, they also come in a sugar free variety (still just as sweet, I can vouch for that!) and ….this is so exciting …a rice crackle easter bunny! You can order these online too, or just pick them up at your local supermarket.
Also in the supermarket aisle you'll find the Lindt Gold Bunny (in dark chocolate only!), Lindor pouches of dark chocolate eggs and Whittaker's dark chocolate blocks which are great for melting down and making your own little choc bunnies or eggs with.
For those with someone they really wanna treat this Easter (don't forget - that 'someone' can absolutely be YOU!), you can grab a gorgeous plush bunny with his own assortment of dairy-free fun, including Plamil and Rawganic chocolates and those delicious Constant Craving truffles from the Unleashed shop. (Of course all proceeds go towards helping save the Easter bunny's relatives and furry friends.)
Now remember, that there's no reason to limit this amazing choccy goodness to just one time of year. All these chocolatiers (I love that word!) sell their mouth-watering treats all year round. Hip Hooray!
And knowing that no newborn baby calves were harmed in order for me to satisfy my sugar craving just sweetens the deal!
Which choccies are you gonna try this Easter? Have you discovered one I didn't mention? Tell me, so I can stuff my face with it! …I mean, so I can sample it and give you a review ..ahem.
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Posted 20 March 2010 by Karen Permalink | 24 Comments
Easter, Chocolate, Dairy, Cows
I think Easter is a pretty sweet deal -- holidays and a chocolate supply big enough that I have some to spare after a whole week of stuffing my face. Sadly Easter isn't quite such a sweet deal for the cows who have to produce all that milk for dairy Easter eggs. Not only have they been selectively bred to produce a whopping 10 times the amount of milk their calves would naturally need, but to add insult to injury their calves (who are born just to keep the mums producing milk) are taken away from them within 24hours and most are trucked off to slaughter. Hmm... that's enough to kill that sugar high.
But once you know the dirt on dairy, the big question is how to be sweet to yourself and the cows at Easter...? Well let me tell you, this used to be a challenge! But these days there are so many amazing cruelty-free, dairy-free chocolates around that you probably don't need a blog to point them out. But since you're here...
Our top 5 Must-Have-Eat Vegan Easter Treats!
5. Lindt Dark Choc Bunny
Why? 'Cause these cute little guys are smooth, delicious and available pretty much everywhere (Note only the dark bunnies are vegan, but they're the best, anyway ;)).
4. Alpha Chocolate Eggs
Something to get eggxcited about (first and last egg pun, I swear)! Alpha have a range of fine dairy-free chocolates including large and small eggs. Look out for them at DJ's or TheCrueltyFreeShop.
3. Sweet William Chocolate Bunnies
All Sweet William do is make chocolate. And all Sweet William chocolates are vegan! This Easter they've brought out Easter bunny multi-packs available at Coles, Darrell Lea, Franklins, Independent Groceries and Health Food Stores.
2. Vegan Snickers, Bounty, Milky Way and Mars Bar Doppelgangers
These delights are new to Australia and are to die for. If you're lucky your local health/specialty store will stock them, or pick them up from TheCrueltyFreeShop.
1. DIY Vegan Chocolate Treats
My favourite 'cause there's nothing quite like getting your hands dirty and making your own chocolates! Grab a bar (or five) of your favourite dairy-free chocolate*, melt in a bowl sitting in a pot of shallow boiling water, then scoop the melted chocolate into chocolate moulds and place some roasted nuts (macadamias are my fave) in the centres. Cover with sprinkled nuts or desiccated coconut. You don't need to hold out for Easter -- these make great gifts at any time of year actually! *Here are a few of the brands to look out for:
- Whittaker's Dark Chocolate Block (confectionary isle of supermarkets)
- Tropical Source (fair trade, and lots of yummy varieties! At some supermarkets and heath food stores)
- Bonvita Rice Milk Chocolate (also fair trade. Words can't express how amazing Bonvita is. Their white chocolate is incredible. At health food & specialty stores)
- Sweet William (their range of chocolate bars are in most supermarkets. They now have vegan white chocolate bars too!)
So now you know what to get me for Easter :) If you have any favourites to add to the list please comment below!
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Posted 9 April 2009 by Angie Permalink | 10 Comments
Royal Show, easter, rant, pigs, chickens, cows, dairy, factory farming
So Easter is coming and I'm getting pretty excited about all the dairy-free easter eggs, hot-cross buns and faux fish I've stocked my pantry with. But one thing that does really get me worked up at Easter, as a
Sydney-sider, is the Sydney Royal Easter Show! (for those of you from interstate it's the equivalent of the Melbourne Show, Brisbane Ekka, etc...)
As a child I adored the Easter Show. My Dad used to even let me have the day off school so we could beat the weekend crowds. My absolute favourite part was visiting all the farm animals. Combine this with fairy floss, roller coasters and show bags and it was truly kid-heaven.
Despite being a sensitive, animal-loving child, all the cruelty surrounding the housing, transportation and ultimate slaughter of these animals never clicked. And why would it? The show is set up in a magical, fairytale way with all of the cute animals and none of the horrors that they must endure.
First you might go to the nursery stalls where you see happy piglets, chicks and ducklings playing and snuggling up to their mothers. Then in the dairy stalls they explain the "nutritious benefits" of dairy and make the whole milking process seem totally natural. Moving onto the adult pigs, cows and chickens you stop to pat them, make a connection with them and admire their ribbons. Everything is clean, there is lots of space and the animals look healthy and well groomed.
Then in the next room, there's a diagram explaining which cut of meat comes from which part of the animal. It is here that you might feel a moment's guilt at the fact animals are slaughtered, but you think "well, they obviously have happy lives up until the end, and this nutrition panel says I need meat to be healthy... gee, I think I'll go have a dagwood dog". You then walk off, feeling on top of the world, singing "Old McDonald" in your head ... thinking everythings ok.
What they forget to mention is that baby animals are taken from their mothers in factory farms and that they have painful surgical procedures performed without aesthetic in their first fragile days of life.
Nor do they tell us that a mother cow isn't just milk making machine—she is forced to give birth every year to continue lactating, only to have her baby taken away from her and slaughtered.
Oh and of course they don't mention the fact that these animals are a tiny few of the 500 million Animals in Australia who, back on factory farms, are kept in prison-like conditions, denied freedom of movement, that would be illegal if they were a cat or a dog!
No wonder we grow up with a warped and romanticised view of the animal farm, when even as kids we have the wool pulled over our eyes at shows like these!
And don't even get me started on the utter cruelty of the rodeos, and the awful leather and skins shops.
So you won't find me at "The Greatest Show on Earth" this year. I'll be spending time celebrating a cruelty-free Easter with my family, friends and ferrets.
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