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Thread: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and dairy

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    Default How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and dairy

    How can I convince people that it makes no difference?!! Fair enough if they want to use this to justify eating meat, morally. But just because it's organic doesn't mean animals suffer less in the process.
    Can someone point me towards some resources I can show or facts and figures to back me up?

    So sick of people finding ways to excuse the fact they just like meat and want to continue eating it. Just be honest about it!

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I wish I could remember which video I saw that touched on organic milk. It said something about even on organic dairy farms, the cows are still kept pregnant all the time and the male calves are taken away and butchered at 2 days old just like with factory dairy farms. So organic definitely is not cruelty free. At least according to the baby male calves.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I'm not convinced it makes no difference - welfare standards actually are supposed to be higher for organic farming: no caged hens, calves stay with their mothers a bit longer (ETA- I thought, but not mentioned on the sites I looked at) etc. You can read about the standards on the Soil Association website and https://www.gov.uk/browse/business/f...rganic-farming

    However even if they are relatively well treated while they are alive, most still get slaughtered which is obviously not acceptable from a vegan point of view, so you could tell them why you think that's wrong.

    Even if they think that's OK, slaughterhouses don't always do what they're meant to (warning: this article is grisly - Daily Mail report based on Animal Aid investigation) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ink-again.html There is more on the Animal Aid website but the people you're talking to may think that's vegan propaganda whereas the Daily Mail probably isn't.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I haven't ever had a conversation where I needed/the person was open to talk about the organic thing in particular in depth, but here's my ideas...

    If you only want to give a short answer, without a long winded argument or debate (which may be the case if the person is not receptive); a good point to make is that organic mostly refers to the way the food has been treated, rather than the animal. So, like with organic vegetables, it is just about making us more healthy and not "contaminating" the food with things like pesticides for vegetables and antibiotics for animals. Any health benefit for the animal is just a "by-product" of the way they are basically being treated as commodities, and will ultimately die, after living a shortened life. It still doesn't cover any harm that may come to them during the course of their life and death.

    But if you/they are up for a longer discussion, you could point out to them that there is a scheme by the RSPCA called "freedom food" (note it's not "free animals"), which centers on improving the welfare of the animals, and that anything called organic does not automatically have to follow the welfare guidelines given by the RSPCA...

    Then - and this is where the kick is - give them this link: http://www.rspca.org.uk/sciencegroup...mals/standards. Challenge them to click on EVERY different type of animal welfare in the side menu, and read ALL of the pdf's, every last line, for each animal. *(I did this when I was still in the organic-farming-denial-phase and it really worked on me)...

    Then ask them open ended questions, like:

    - Why do you think there needs to be so much complicated and detailed instruction on how to look after these animals?
    - Do you think, given the amount there is to remember, that it's likely that all of these instructions would be followed, with no mistakes made?
    - Do you know that a lot of this isn't even law, and that most farms don't follow RSPCA guidelines, even when they're organic?
    - Did you also know that even "freedom food" farms don't have to do all this immediately to get their "Freedom Food" logo/certification, they just have to work towards it?
    - Do you think, given that time is money; and housing, feed, and vet care is money; that all of the animals' "needs" would really be any farmers true top priority?

    Then you might want to add questions that force them to think about the animals' sentience...

    - Why do you think there are guidelines about emotional issues for the animals, rather than just physical health issues?
    - For instance; why do you think the RSPCA has stated that chickens should not be able to see another chicken being killed during the process of mass slaughter? Is it perhaps because they UNDERSTAND what is happening?
    - Which do you think is better? An intensively farmed cow having her bull calf taken away on the day he is born, or an organically farmed cow having her bull calf taken away 2 months into his life after they have bonded?
    - Do you really think it's better to suffer less, than not at all?
    - Can you imagine any of the same things happening to your pets? What really, is the difference between a parrot and a chicken, or a dog and a pig, or a horse and a cow?

    Then tell them that if they want to eat meat still, then that's their choice, but at least now they will understand why you don't want to, when you have so many other, very tasty options, and can be perfectly healthy without it.

    Not everyone is going to react how we want them to though, so if all else fails, you could just turn it around on them and say; "Have a bit of my organic vegan cupcake - I can guarantee it didn't suffer when it was slaughtered either."

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Quote Peabrain View Post
    organic mostly refers to the way the food has been treated, rather than the animal
    Hmm, I think organic husbandry does have welfare as an objective - see here for example http://www.soilassociation.org/whati...organicanimals Also I think some people would argue that organic standards are higher and/or work better than the RSPCA ones http://www.theecologist.org/green_gr...bels_mean.html

    But the bottom line for me would be that unless you rear and kill animals yourself you don't really know how they are being treated. And that's before you get on to the argument that it's wrong to use animals for our convenience at all.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Real photographic evidence of what goes on with free range and organic farms. Animals castrated and teeth removed without anasthetic so to not contaminate the meat.
    http://www.peacefulprairie.org/humane-myth.html
    Cow's milk can never be obtained without immense cruelty. Dairy cows are forcibly impregnated on what the industry calls the "rape rack" every year. Immediately after giving birth, the mother cow has her calf dragged away from her so that he or she does not drink her milk. The mother cow shows clear signs of mourning her loss including bellowing, hiding in dark places, not eating or drinking, pacing, and more. If the calf is male, he is immediately chained by the neck in a 2-ft wide crate, so small that he can't turn around, stretch his limbs, or lie down comfortably. There he spends his entire short life being fed an anemic diet, just to be slaughtered at only a few months of age for veal. If the calf is female, she is raised to be a dairy cow like her mother.

    Immediately after losing her baby, the mother cow is hooked up to metal milk machines 3 times a day and forced to produce ten times more milk each day than she would in nature. Just 2 to 3 months after giving birth, she is re-impregnated. While in nature a cow would live to 20 years, cows on modern farms are slaughtered at just 3 or 4 years of age to become cheap hamburger meat. More information about the routine abuses of the dairy industry is available at the


    http://thekindlife.com/blog/post/why-organic-dairy-is-still-nasty

    http://freefromharm.org/animal-products-and-ethics/a-comprehensive-analysis-of-the-humane-farming-myth/

    http://www.humanemyth.org/happycows.htm

    100 spent hens, rescued from a "free range" egg facility, began their lives at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary the day they were scheduled for slaughter. When educating yourself or informing others about the horrors of factory farming, please remember these faces, and please remember that "free range" farming is not a "humane" alternative. From the victim's perspective, they are exactly the same thing.
    http://www.humanemyth.org/mediabase/1049.htm
    Harold Brown is a former beef farmer and founder of FarmKind. He is also a subject of the documentary film Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home.

    I was born on an independent family cattle farm in south central Michigan, and I have spent over half of my life in agriculture. I started out as any farm kid does who has grown up around animals. There was an indoctrination involved as to how I should relate to farm animals. My indoctrination started with my parents, then family, then community, our church, 4-H, FFA, a land-grant college, and finally, the reinforcement of advertising on TV and elsewhere that portrayed meat, dairy, and eggs as essential to human wants and nutrition. With these influences, I hardly thought twice about the things I had to do on the farm: driving cattle, castrations, dehorning, and I did my fair share of butchering too. I also worked in the dairy industry for three years. All of these life experiences have been part of a journey that has taken me from thinking about farm animals in the context of animal husbandry and as commodities, to thinking about them as something more.

    I have often heard the word "humane" used in relation to meat, dairy, eggs, and other products like cosmetics. I have always found this curious, because my understanding is that humane means to act with kindness, tenderness, and mercy. I can tell you as a former animal farmer that while it may be true that you can treat a farm animal kindly and show tenderness toward them, mercy is a different matter. In 4-H, I saw many, many young people treat their animals as they would a cat or dog, actually more like a dog because it is kind of hard to lead a cat on a halter. And I saw many young people cry their eyes out when they auctioned off their animals at the end of the county fair. I always wondered about that. Why do we have a double standard?

    As a grown man, after a personal health crisis, I was forced to look at the cause and effect of heart disease in my family. This led me down a path that really pushed me to look at the connections of my lifestyle choices. The process of looking at connections also opened another door in my mind concerning my relationship to the animals I called "food." Opening that door was one of the scariest things I have ever done. I had been programmed throughout my life to think of farm animals in one way, now I needed to find the moral imagination and emotional courage to think about them in another way.

    Eventually I realized that all animals, including humans, exist for their own reasons, with their own interests. This was a profound revelation for me because that nagging little voice in the back of my mind had always, since childhood, told me that I wasn't living to my full, authentic potential, that there was something inherently wrong. All my life I had observed the community that existed in a cow herd, how they grieved for a dead calf or herd mate that had been shot by a deer hunter. I had witnessed the joy a cow experiences when she is let out into a fresh new pasture or calves running and kicking up their heels with each other in the field. I now knew for certain that regardless of the rationalizations I had created, when I killed an animal and saw that light leave their eyes, by extinguishing that divine spark, I had broken a sacred trust.

    Nowadays I ask myself from both the perspective of the old me and the new me, what does humane mean in the way it is being used? The old me says, "That is an odd word to associate with meat, dairy, and eggs, but hey, if it sells more products, why not?" The new me asks, "Back in the day, I could, and did, raise animals with kindness and tenderness, but how did I show them mercy?" Mercy--a unique human trait of refraining from doing harm. I generally think of mercy as a blessing, too. Animals who are destined for an abbreviated life that ends in a violent death now called to my conscience and required me to show up, and where I could, show what little bit of mercy I can. Since I have made this conscious decision to show mercy, my life has been blessed a million, million times over and I have found a deep peace.

    If I was going to be true to myself and live to my full potential I had to reevaluate, think, and choose. I chose life. So no, in my experience, there is no such thing as humane animal products, humane farming practices, humane transport, or humane slaughter.
    Harold Brown

    http://www.humanemyth.org/


    Many organic and free-range farms cram thousands of animals together in sheds or mud-filled lots to increase profits, just as factory farms do, and the animals often suffer through the same mutilations—such as debeaking, dehorning, and castration without painkillers—that occur on factory farms.
    Organically raised chickens on some farms suffer from higher mortality rates than drugged chickens because extremely crowded, filthy housing conditions, coupled with a lack of antibiotics, can lead to even more parasites than are already found in drugged chickens.
    Many "organically raised" cows are sent to factory-farm feedlots to be fattened prior to slaughter, where they are caked with feces and mud. Cows who are fattened on feedlots can still be labeled organic as long as they're given organic feed.
    Cows on organic dairy farms may be kept in sheds or filthy enclosures, where they spend their lives mired in their own waste, enduring the strain of forced yearly pregnancies and having their calves taken away from them. If their udders become infected from frequent milkings, which often happens, many farmers deny them medicine, because if they medicate the animals, they won't be able to sell the milk as organic.

    http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/free-range-organic-meat-myth.aspx

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Miso, I would watch out a bit when arguing from US farming information because I believe "free-range" and "organic" are more rigorously defined in the EU, so that might give your opponents a get-out (assuming they're in Europe). A lot of the arguments probably apply here as well though.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    What kills me, is the calf being taken away. It pains me so much that I contributed to that.
    I don't like to talk too much about the ethics of eating meat as its kind of a losing battle. If I bring up less emotive stuff, facts and practices that seems to be more effective.
    Last edited by misosoup; Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:14 PM.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I think I know what you mean about separating cows and calves - it's so mean, and a lot of people don't even realise it happens. (Same with the stuff about killing male chicks in egg farming - that's news to a lot of people as well.)

    I agree about using non-emotive material. I find when having these discussions it's quite effective to quote information that's provided for farmers on sites like Defra's and the Soil Association's because it's seen as objective. However, some people also react well to discussions about why it's OK to eat a pig but not a dog etc - whereas others won't know what you're talking about, so you need to know your audience :/

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I saw a show, I think it was with Jamie Oliver, and he showed a load of male chicks being gassed and crushsed. I gave up eggs there and then.

    If you go down the moral route it's kind of pointless, like debating religion.

    But when I say about the chicks being gassed and crushed, and how there is no way I can avoid that if I buy eggs. I am still contributing to it. People tend to 'get it' more. But they still don't care about killing animals.

    I tend to go for the angle of how much animals suffer in the process, not that killing is wrong. I've put a few people off KFC.
    Last edited by misosoup; Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:12 PM.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Quote harpy View Post
    Hmm, I think organic husbandry does have welfare as an objective - see here for example http://www.soilassociation.org/whati...organicanimals Also I think some people would argue that organic standards are higher and/or work better than the RSPCA ones http://www.theecologist.org/green_gr...bels_mean.html

    But the bottom line for me would be that unless you rear and kill animals yourself you don't really know how they are being treated. And that's before you get on to the argument that it's wrong to use animals for our convenience at all.
    I thought the soil association was a better standard than most organic standards, but still I didn't mention because it doesn't go far enough imho. But saying that, I don't think anything except veganism goes far enough so maybe I'm more strongly biased against any sort of animal husbandry than I started out being.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Miso & harpy - the cows and calves was what made me go vegan. I was waking up wanting to cry for weeks, with the thought of it.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Yes I think the Soil Association standards are supposed to be higher than the minimum set by the EU, but even the EU standards have some animal welfare criteria written into them and are apparently higher than organic standards elsewhere in that respect http://www.acompassionateworld.org/t...nic-standards/

    However, as you say it's all a bit beside the point from our perspective.

    ETA one angle on the dairy thing which may interest some people is that even some Hindus, by whom eating dairy is traditionally regarded as "venerating" the cow if I understand correctly, are deciding to go vegan in view of the realities of the dairy industry http://www.youngindianvegetarians.co...d_hinduism.htm

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Yeah, when I found out about veganism at first, I was looking into Ahimsa customs and it is interesting that even this may evolve due to the way the modern world has become so industrialised.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Quote Peabrain View Post
    Miso & harpy - the cows and calves was what made me go vegan. I was waking up wanting to cry for weeks, with the thought of it.
    I did too. Even thinking about it now makes me want to cry.
    Last edited by misosoup; Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:13 PM.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Yes, I have parent issues (complicated), and I am also a mother, so i think that is another thing reason it pulls at the heartstrings...

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Even the whole thing of inseminating the cow against her will, is messed up.

    The way they do it. That would be a crime if it were human. Inserting an object into a person against their will, is assault.

    I actually cannot believe that I live on a planet with things like this going on. And how it just ends up in cups of tea and on cereal. Every time I see a bottle of milk I just want to cry.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I know. I can't believe I never knew about it! It's really weird apart from just being incredibly cruel, why do humans even drink another creature's milk? It makes me so glad I'm vegan I don't know how anyone could EVER go back.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I'm glad I know about it because that is one thing nobody can dispute is totally messed up.

    And I imagine this still happens with organic milk.

    It's not just cruel, it's perverse and weird. Can you imagine if we forcibly impregnated women? Milk is definitely a feminist issue.

    I doubt a cow in nature, would get pregnant over and over that way. It's body would know it needs to rest and look after her calf.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I used to be a hardcore milk/cheese/yoghurt addict, but when I found out I was so disgusted I just went completely off of it - full stop (I actually just thought one day "how can cows make so much milk, if I only made it when I had a baby? Do they have babies? What happens to the babies?" so I researched it and found out the horrible truth), but I tell you I felt so sad, angry, and stupid and ashamed. There is NO WAY I will be teaching my children to do it. If they ask for sweets/ice cream/drinks with milk in them, I say it's has cows milk in it, and then immediately point out a different sweet/etc that DOESN'T have the cows milk. I never give two hoots if I'm in a shop and I have to say it in front of other people, as I have no shame whatsoever in knowing I'm opting out of torturing other female creatures and their precious babies. As Alicia Silverstone says, organic or not, it's still nasty!

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    It seems to me that a lot of people I meet who talk about only eating organic meat and dairy are doing it for the "health" reasons. They seem to think that it is better for you than eating non-organic meat. It really is another brilliant scam. Label the product as organic, charge twice the price and make money off of carnivores. There always seems to be a disconnect between the fact that the meat, regardless of it being organic or not, has come from something that was once alive and is now dead flesh packed for consumption. I talk a lot about diet and healthy eating with my clients and I can't go into ethics with them I can only tell them that their condition MAY improve if they "cut back" on animal products. It's really difficult sometimes when I client says things like "Well I got this lean, sodium free organic deli turkey and it's delicious!" I have to bite my tongue a lot at work.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Gosh that must be excruciatingly hard to do! I know what you mean... When I was reading up about the calves of dairy cows, there was bit where they basically said "we're really kind because being organic, we let the mother and baby stay together for 2 seasons"... In other words, they were making out that letting them bond for just 6 months, and then separating them to continue stealing the mother's milk, and fattening and eating her baby was just fine and vastly preferable because "at least they were raised organically - aren't we lovely?"

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I am so glad I watched Earthlings. Otherwise I might have fallen for the organic myth... especially when craving cheese. I admit there are times when I crave omni foods but all I have to do is think about that documentary and the cravings vanish.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    My only craving for omnivore food since I have been vegan was eggs at my two year mark for some strange reason. I did a little research on organic eggs from a "humane" small farm bla bla. The only thing organic means is that the food that is fed to the animals is pesticide, hormone free and more natural to their diet. It doesn't mean the chickens aren't debeaked and without painkillers, or animals aren't caged or kept in crowded less than humane conditions and treated like commodities and nothing more. Even on so called small natural farms where they can roam free (or even just a single family dwelling that keeps them for pets) they are subjected to dangers such as wild fox and other predators unless kept behind some barrier and since their natural instints have been supressed and they are completely dependant on humans they are also defenseless against these natural predators (not to mention their fate is dependant on how long their owners can afford to keep them). They are still slaughtered at the end of the day, and sometimes the more "organic" farms are even worse as far as how they slaughter the animal since they might do it by hand and not machine. Animals are still separated at birth or shortly thereafter and kept from living normal social lives in their flocks or their lives are cut short when they are no longer "useful" or "economical", they are still confined in some way, and still used for something that benefits humans to their own expense. They may not understand or care that they live in such conditions as they might not have the capacity to understand, but they feel the pain of separation from family and confinement, and we know better than to be so cruel and selfish by keeping and breeding animals unnaturally for our benefit under the guise that it benefits them too. I could not justify eating an egg to satisfy a craving knowing what I know now.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I think cravings fall in to two categories:
    a. comfort foods (dairy falls in to this category which is why people crave it)
    b. nutrients - if your body needs a certain nutrient, such as iron, you get a craving for foods you know contain that nutrient

    That's helpful to know for those who are new to being vegan because if we crave an omni food we can figure out why we are craving it and substitute it with a vegan alternative.

    Labeling stuff as organic just confuses things... just like free range does. My uncle raises cows in a field on his farm. They are black Angus cows. He takes care of them and pets them and treats them as if they are pets. And then he sends one off to the slaughter house every so often. He had one heifer that he was quite attached to that was barren. Instead of keeping her and just letting her live out her days, he eventually sent her to the slaughterhouse too.

    It makes me so sad to think about. I petted that cow. She had a personality. My uncle said when the other cows had calves and she didn't, she would rest her head on my uncle's shoulder and moo sadly. But he still had her killed in the end.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Quote Tabbycat View Post
    I think cravings fall in to two categories:
    b. nutrients - if your body needs a certain nutrient, such as iron, you get a craving for foods you know contain that nutrient
    Yes, I have a particular craving that happened after a period of severe illness (I was being sick for weeks and sometimes couldn't even keep water down), where all I could eat and all I wanted to eat, was bananas and sometimes baked potatos. A short time into the phase of having those cravings, but before I had got better, I had had blood tests and been found to have dangerously low Potassium levels, so much so that the doctors wanted me to go to hospital, but I refused as I was a single mother and didn't know what I'd do with my son. Thankfully the bananas helped pull me through and I recovered. Amazing how the body can give you signals isn't it?

    My uncle said when the other cows had calves and she didn't, she would rest her head on my uncle's shoulder and moo sadly. But he still had her killed in the end.
    That made me quite tearful... So sad. Even sadder to think I didn't know/care enough to understand things like that before veganism.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    I crave chocolate a lot. That is one thing I haven't found a good vegan version of. But I can make do with chocolate cake and hot chocolate.
    I've lost my appetite for super creamy foods and I was a bit of a dairy addict. I made oatmeal with soy milk the other day and it was so sickly and creamy, it was gross. But before I used to eat really sickly stuff like chocolate cereal. You tastebuds do adapt after a while.

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    No chocolate, miso ? You must have high standards, there's loads of vegan chocolate. I'm sure we could help you find some to your taste, although it might be kinder not to?

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    Quote misosoup View Post
    I crave chocolate a lot. That is one thing I haven't found a good vegan version of.
    What kind of chocolate do you like, maybe we can help? There's obviously lots of great vegan dark chocolate out there, and I love Sweet William vegan white chocolate. Milk style chocolate I'm not so sure about because I haven't tried many brands.
    Houmous atá ann!

  29. #29
    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Quote misosoup View Post
    How can I convince people that it makes no difference?!!
    1. Embrace the 'organic' principle on the basis that it would make unlimited cheap labour by breeding organic slave races in labour/death camps perfectly acceptable.

    2. Play dumb.

    3. Be amused as they explain to you how raising sentient beings organicaly makes no difference to the fundamental abuse.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    Oh totally! I would love some recommendations. I only like milk chocolate, although I cook with dark.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    To my mind Moo-free and the Organica couverture ones are the most realistic "milk-alike" ones I've tried. You can get both from the Animal Aid online shop, I think. There is a chocolate thread somewhere on here with lots more suggestions.

  32. #32
    Cacique's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to deal when people use the 'organic' myth to justify eating meat and da

    This is the one that my girlfriend and I have found over here in the states, not sure if they have it over in the UK. http://www.tastethedream.com/product...t/2148/493.php

    It's called sweet chocolate dream, and I could have sworn they had the same thing but made with rice milk instead of soy milk but I could be mistaking a different brand. My girlfriend finds dark chocolate bitter when eaten by itself, preferring having preferred milk chocolates. She finds those perfect.

    Good luck on your chocolate hunt!

    P.S.
    If you can't find one, maybe you could find good quality dark chocolate, melt some and add whatever plant milk little by little, pour and cool.

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