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    Industry in Decline: The Slow Death of the Veal Industry

    Industry in Decline: The Slow Death of the Veal Industry

    Barbaric, heinous and absolutely appalling. There really isn't an adjective strong enough to describe the completely torturous acts involved in the Veal industry, but I'll keep going to the top shelf to put into colourful context just how strongly I oppose this industry.

    For those who aren't aware, or those who've spared themselves the in's and out's of just how morally bankrupt the veal industry is, here's a brief - albeit grisly, rundown of what happens behind the scenes so that a small minority can have calf meat on their dinner plate.

    At birth, the majority of male calves are almost immediately separated from their mothers. Not only does this cause an extreme amount of stress on the calf, it also causes depression and stress on the mother. Cattle, if you didn't already know, are extremely social animals - not unlike dogs. They depend on their family unit immensely in the early stages of life to develop the necessary bonds and survival skills they require to live through their natural progressions and life cycle. Male calves are most commonly harvested for veal because they cannot lactate, and therefore aren't able to provide dairy farms with milk.

    Not only are the calves separated from their mothers, they're also separated from their mother's milk. Instead, the calves are fed an artificial and protein rich supplement that provides just the minimum amount of nutrients to keep them alive. After a few weeks, they're usually switched to a corn based diet to help fatten them up in a very short amount of time. During this feeding phase, calves designated for veal consumption live in (even by factory farming standards) some of the absolute worst conditions imaginable. Essentially there are three different types of housing for the veal calves: hutches, stalls and group pens.

    Hutches are small white domes used to isolate the calves from one another. The stated purpose for these domes is to prevent the spread of disease, which is pretty rampant in the veal industry. Not only do the hutches prevent the socialization that young calves crave, it also greatly restricts the mobility of the calf and their ability to absorb nutrients from natural sunlight. Stalls involve the calves being grouped in a row, generally with their head jammed between two steel bars to prevent movement. The lack of muscle development is crucial for the veal meat to be considered tender enough. Finally, in group pens, there is some socialization that occurs between the calves but usually it's for a limited amount of time, as the calves are marked for slaughter by 16 weeks old. No matter how you look at it, the short lives for these calves are filled with nothing but fear, abuse and deprivation.

    So by now you're probably thinking - "Wow, thanks for depressing the heck out of me, not so Groovy Vegans!" And I would be inclined to agree with you, the veal industry and practices should depress anybody who has a compassionate heart. But the tide is turning! Veal consumption rates are bottoming out. Since the mid 70's veal consumption is the United States is down about 76 percent. In addition to people turning away from veal due to the negative health implications, more people are becoming aware of the cruel aspects of the industry, thanks to organizations and individuals shining a light on the realities of veal farming.

    The Humane Farming Association have been vigorously involved in many expose's as well as a National Veal Boycott. Their website offers many amazing statistics that support how activism has put the veal industry in a relative free fall since the 1980's. They also include ways for you to get involved - either through donation, or with information on how to contact legislators to voice your displeasure with the continuation of the veal industry.

    After reading and researching more about the Veal production, you'll likely find yourself feeling a bit down due to the alarming and inhumane ways of this industry, and that's natural. Just remember, battles are won everyday - people are taking notice, younger generations are overwhelmingly rejecting mistakes of past generations, and animal activism is stronger than it's ever been. Veganism and compassion are on the rise and the future is looking more groovy all the time!

    Thanks for reading - and remember to support your local sanctuaries and rescues when you can, and keep the dream of a Cruelty Free Future alive!

    Jesse - The Groovy Vegan




    Get to Know FARRM - Insight into the Big Hearts & Long Days at the Rescue

    Get to Know FARRM - Insight into the Big Hearts & Long Days at the Rescue

    Photo Credit: Living Through The Lens Photography


    Hello again Groovy Vegan friends, thanks for stopping by! Today we have a special treat - an interview that offers some fabulous insight into the day to day operations at the amazing sanctuary Farm Animal Rescue and Rehoming Movement (FARRM).

    For those who may not be familiar, FARRM is located in Central Alberta, Canada close to the town of Wetaskiwin. They offer sanctuary to discarded farm animals who often suffer from medical and behavioural issues. But most importantly they offer love, compassion and companionship to lives that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks. We can't say enough good things about these folks who are willing to take on such a monumental task for the benefit for those lives incapable of defending themselves, but by visiting the rescue and reading the description of what it takes for FARRM to continue on doing what they do, we've developed a true admiration for the dedication and love needed to make the whole thing work. Now without further ado, we're pleased to bring you our Q&A interview with FARRM. Enjoy!

    Please click here to check out their website and help if you can!

    Q: Who makes up the FARRM team of owners, operators and volunteers?

    A: "We have a very small team with only three full time volunteers.
    Melissa - she's the founder and operator - the animals live on her property and she provides the daily care.
    Patricia - she wears many hats - takes care of social media, program operations (volunteers, fundraising, one-off projects, events, etc), and also helps with chores and assorted duties that way.
    Chantele - she also wears many hats - takes care of social media, website, sponsor program, and a lot of administrative tasks as well
    Then we have a volunteer photographer - Sarah from Living Through The Lens - and a graphic designer - Sam from Sams Printz.
    We also have some core volunteers who help with chores on the weekend when their schedules allow."


    Q: What inspired you to found the rescue and undertake this enormous responsibility?

    A: "FARRM started as an initiative to help place the growing number of abandoned and unwanted potbelly pigs. The re-homing network was established in 2013 to meet this need. After great success with that initiative, and with over 100 potbelly pigs rescued and re-homed in under a year, the movement continued to expand and FARRM was officially created. It was all very accidental and it wasn't a purposeful decision to create FARRM."


    Q: How long has the rescue been operational for?

    A: "In 2014 FARRM became FARRM to help all types of farm animals, expanding from the potbelly pig re-homing initiative."

    Q: Briefly take us through an average day at FARRM.

    A: "It's hard to explain an average day because an average day doesn't exist. Sadly, many of our residents are either medically or behaviourally challenging so there is always crisis. Breakfast is always served before 8 am. Every species eats a special diet, with our elderly or sick animals getting special supplements and medication in addition to their food.
    When we arrive at the barn in the morning everyone is waiting for food - ramming the barn door. Everyone is fed in a specific order and feeding takes about 30 minutes. From there, quick chores are done (waters are refilled, floors are swept, and everyone gets a pat on the head). The animals get a mid-day snack - lots of hay! Then standard chores are done (2-3 hours a day). This includes sweeping, poop clean up, changing litter boxes, hauling garbage, etc. - a lot of manual labour.
    Before bed everyone gets a tuck in and cuddles, along with any medications and supplements. Unfortunately, most days are filled with chaos. Nakasha jumps on the window and breaks it. Cooper destroys shelving. Gruff makes a hole in the fence. Annabelle breaks the heating lamp, etc. This doesn't include sick animals who have to be rushed to the vet clinic several times a week - like our frost bite baby goats or Millie, our precious miracle goat who passed away in August. No typical day - countless emails, requests from humans to take their animals because they are moving or no longer want them, emails from donors, volunteers, project check-ins, event planning - the three of us are always doing something and mitigating crisis of one kind or another."

    Q: Explain some of the difficulties operating the rescue that might get overlooked by the average person?

    A: "The life altering grief when an animal passes away. People don't realise that these animals are family. A goat isn't just a goat. A pig isn't just a pig. Every single animal has a name, a story, and a special connection with one of us. To be frank and candid, the average person does not understand how much emotional trauma is experienced when an animal comes in sick or injured, or when an animal passes away from a pre-existing condition.
    Compassion fatigue is real and some days are very very very hard. I'm speaking on behalf of myself, but the loss of Millie for example has left a vast void and hole in my life, in Melissa's life. That hole will never be filled and her loss will be felt forever. We don't just move on when we lose an animal, and because there are so many animals, the loss occurs too often sometimes.
    Similar to that, we don't get to spend all of our time just cuddling the animals. Melissa goes to school and is in a school work placement, Patricia & Chantele work and have their own animals, there isn't enough time in the day most days and most of the time is spent shovelling poop and dealing with logistical duties like vet appointments, emails, fundraising, etc."

    Q: You guys are very creative with getting the community engaged. What are some of the events that take place at FARRM?

    A: "We have a whole bunch of amazing events coming up. Some of which include an art show that will feature art created by our resident animals, and an up close and personal meeting with Cooper and our frost bite goats. We also have yoga with the animals coming back in the Spring, along with our 2nd Annual FARRM Flowers event where participants get to create a flower pot with the animals' help."

    Q: Most importantly, what are some of the best ways for people to get involved or help FARRM now and in the future?

    A: "We are always looking for help painting canvas backgrounds, doing chores on the weekend, and helping with random tasks like transports, etc. Following our Facebook page is the best way to stay engaged."

    There you have it. The strenuous emotional impact of losing a part of the family is something most of us can relate to. The ability to carry on in such a dedicated fashion is a true testament to the limitless compassion and strength of the folks at FARRM. They walk the walk of their ethics and their belief that all animals are deserving of love, and for that they've earned our eternal gratitude and respect.

    We really appreciate you checking this one out. Compassionate people around the world who dedicate their lives to the caring of animals deserve so much recognition and appreciation. If you're able to, follow the link right before the interview portion of this blog to get involved by donating, or check out FARRM's Facebook page for info about their upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. They have it all laid out how you can help them help the animals.

    Thanks again, and Stay Groovy!


    Jesse & Ashley - The Groovy Vegan

    Meagan Duhamel: "Livin' and Winnin' on the Veg"

    Meagan Duhamel:

    As a proud Vegan, Meagan Duhamel is definitely not shy about expressing her passion for living the Vegan lifestyle. Since switching to Veganism in 2008, Duhamel, along with her pairs partner Eric Radford, has enjoyed a triumphant climb up the World Pairs Figure Skating rankings. Her career's work has just culminated with both a Gold and Bronze medal performance at the Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea.

    Duhamel herself attributes the improvement in her results to making the switch to Veganism, which was sort of happy accident. As she explained to CBC Sports in 2016, a Vegan book caught her eye during one of her many trips through an airport.

    "I read it from cover to cover that night – it wasn't very big of a book – and I just thought, 'Wow, that seems so interesting. I woke up the next morning, cleaned out my fridge, and said 'I'm going to learn about whole grains, and fruits and vegetables."

    And just like that, Veganism got it's hooks into an elite athlete looking for a way to separate herself from the competition in a sport that requires an unimaginable amount of training and dedication to even flirt with the idea of standing on an Olympic podium. Ten years since taking up the Vegan mantle, Duhamel is after securing a Silver Medal in the team event at the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi. And now in 2018, at the Winter games in Pyeongchang, she has reached the podium twice, winning a Gold Medal in the team event and a Bronze Medal in the pairs event with partner Eric Radford. In addition to their three Olympic medals, the pair of Duhamel and Radford have also won seven straight Canadian Championships and are two time World Champions.

    That's all pretty impressive, right? But Meagan Duhamel's Vegan journey is not only limited to her desire to be on the cutting edge of her figure skating game. She also pairs her appeal to the Vegan lifestyle, like so many of us do, with compassion. Last February while in South Korea, Duhamel returned to Canada with a plus-two. She rescued a gorgeous and cuddly miniature dachshund mix she named Moo-tae, and yet another furry friend named Sara who was adopted by a separate family back in Canada. Both were rescued from the notorious South Korean dog meat industry.

    The consumption of dog meat in Korea is a centuries old cultural practise that persists to this day, as many Koreans believe that boiled dog meat in a soup dish called Bosintang offers the body virility and medicinal benefits. Although many moderate Korean youth and politicians have spoken out and taken action in opposition to the continuation of the dog meat industry, the fact remains that there are still as many as 20,000 South Korean restaurants offering dog meat on their menu, supplied by two million dogs from roughly 100,000 factory farms across the country. The conditions at these farms, as documented by organisations such as Humane Society International, show heinous abuses including regular beatings, electrocution and boiling dogs alive, as some Koreans still subscribe to the myth that the more the animal is tortured prior to consumption, the more tender the meat will be.

    Even though the process of turning the tide on the Korean dog meat industry toward a future that doesn't include the systematic slaughter of canines may seem overwhelming, progress has been made. Duhamel is not alone in her desire to bring change regarding this bygone indulgence. Duhamel, along with American skier Gus Kenworthy and American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis, have all committed themselves to shining a light on this issue and have used their platform to appear in public service announcements speaking out against these culinary practices and being in favour of discontinuing them.

    Despite the desperate situation of this industry, as well as our own continued abuse and slaughter of innocent beings in the west, Meagan Duhamel and her fellow athletes who've helped rescue several dogs while participating in the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, represent a flicker of light and awareness in the continued fight for a cruelty free future. Meagan is also a shining example that Veganism can be used as a multi-faceted tool to improve ones personal health, wellness and community spirit.

    If you'd like to learn more about the dog meat industry, or find out how you can help, please visit and sign the petition to stop this heinous act or you can make a donation at Both websites contain lots of information on this issue as well.

    Thank you for reading and Stay Groovy!

    Jesse - The Groovy Vegan

    Additional Resources:

    Appealing to the "Animal-Loving Environmentalist" Who's Still Eating Meat

    Appealing to the


    As we quickly approach the 20 year mark in what has been perhaps one of the most tumultuous beginnings to any century in recent human history, we find ourselves as a species divided by a multitude of issues. Wars that rage for decades and transcend a generation, famine and disease that continue to inflict the poorest and most forgotten souls on our planet, and an ever growing consolidation of wealth and resources into the pockets of a very select few at the top, as the rest of the so called "working class" adjusts to longer work hours for more years and less pay compared to previous generations. But as the list of divisive issues seemingly grows endless, there is one gigantic hurdle staring down Humanity that may very well determine the legacy and longevity of our species and planet if we don't take action in a meaningful way. That issue is climate change and the conservation of the environment.

    The ever growing realization that climate change is, and will continue to be, the most crucial issue of the 21st Century is not completely lost on many World leaders. In fact, many former and current heads of States and Religions have rung the alarm bells in recent years including former President of the United States Barack Obama who, in no uncertain terms, made his position on this topic very clear when he stated: "There's one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate." That is the former leader of the free world unequivocally declaring that the biggest issue of this entire century isn't the "War on Terrorism" or immigration, but rather a rapidly changing climate that has such far reaching potential for destruction that it can negatively effect every living organism on Earth.

    As more people around the world slowly come to grips with the magnitude of this situation and begin to seek education on how to alter their lifestyle in a positive way to help reverse this crisis, a major roadblock continues to be the reliance on animal agriculture as a means of feeding ourselves. If you have a chat with most vegans out there about the environment, you might learn very quickly about how closely connected the effects of climate change are with the animal agriculture industry (sorry about that, we're very passionate about this stuff lol). So how do we reach the "but bacon" brigade about how crucial all of our choices are in regards to safeguarding the environment for future generations? Education and the "Teach don't Preach" method of communication!

    We think that most carnists who continue on with this unsustainable lifestyle are still good-natured, caring individuals who have a genuine concern for the future for both themselves and generations to come, but merely lack the necessary education or haven't been exposed to the ever-expanding cache of facts and data that continue to flood wonderful resources like the internet. As Veganism continues to explode in popularity and breaks through the glass ceiling into the mainstream from the "niche" status it still gets designated as in many cultures worldwide, a lot of the education portion will start to sort itself out. And when facts and education rule the day, unfounded preconceptions and stereotypes fade into irrelevance. While that all sounds inspiring heading into the future, we still have a lot to overcome in bringing some enlightenment to those who have no clear understanding of the impact that moving towards a more vegan world can make. So I propose the following, as obvious as some of it may seem:

    A lot of the time the feedback I get when casually discussing veganism with others, whether it be co-workers or friends, is the common "What do you eat? How do you survive? YOU MUST BE STARVING? WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEIN?" It took me awhile, but it eventually occurred to me: Why try to explain how you go about your diet when you can show them! Invite some of your friends and acquaintances over for a cookout and knock their socks off with a total assault on their taste buds. Hit them with your lentil loaf, stagger them with a stupendous vegan caesar salad. Oh it's "burgers" you crave is it? Level their pre-conceived notions with a Beyond Meat veggie burger deluxe! After all, it's the seasoning not the sentient that they crave. You get the idea. The truth is, vegans often eat a wider array of tantalizing treats than the average carnist. Once this door has been opened, so many will be more than willing to walk through it!

    Appeal to their compassion. As I previously mentioned, a beacon of light in the darkness of the current system of animal agriculture is the realization that the overwhelming majority of folks who still participate in this way of life do so basically out of tradition and habit. I did. Until I realized that I have been lied to, all the way from grade school to adulthood, about the "humane" methods by which our food makes it to our plates. There is truly no humane way to kill another being. I also discovered that many major governments have been complicit to, or even worse, partnered with the meat and dairy industries through shameful lobbying to provide misinformation to the masses, in order to both conceal their heinous abuse of animals, while also forcing upon society food that not only makes us sick and puts a horrible strain on the healthcare system, but is in no way necessary in order to achieve a healthy diet. I was also content to live with blinders on. After all, I didn't see the abuse first hand, and I was always told how crucial the consumption of animal products were to a healthy and balanced diet. But now we live in an age of unlimited access to information. It's no longer possible for the meat and dairy industries to hide their horrendous practices with the ease and privacy they are used to. Armed with the access to these resources, share the information and footage taken by the brave souls who have infiltrated slaughter houses all over the world and brought to the light the evil that takes place. If they fancy themselves animal lovers, it'll be impossible for them to go back to supporting this industry after they've been exposed to their crimes.

    Education is the key! As vegans, the likelihood that each of us has been exposed to one of the incredibly powerful documentaries or books on the various subjects of Veganism is grand, but lets not lose sight of who the truly intended target is: Those who are still eating meat, eggs, and dairy. Otherwise the research and reporting done so painstakingly by film makers and authors such as Lee Faulkerson ("Forks Over Knives"-2011), Kip Andersen ("Cowspiracy"-2014, "What the Health"-2017) and Dr. Michael Greger ("How Not To Die") would be nothing but preaching to the choir, even if they advanced the cause and understanding of the issues within the vegan community itself. So have a movie night! Pop some popcorn or bake some pita with your best homemade vegan dip and immerse in an evening of education and understanding. Remember, nobody likes being told how awful their way of living is, and often if you approach the issues with an overly preachy tone it can fall on the deaf ears of even the most compassionate among us. It's just human nature, so let the facts and footage of one of these powerful documentaries do the talking while you and your pals do some eating!

    Try to limit your expectations somewhat. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it's not realistic to assume a person doing a wholesale, 180 degree lifestyle change will happen over night. But if each of us can get just one person to think twice and choose the vegan option even just once a week, or buy cruelty free beauty products or apparel on their next bout of retail therapy, we are moving inch by inch in the right direction. And that direction is towards a world with less cruelty and more compassion for the animals, the planet and future generations. Let's heal together by remembering that Less Harm equals More Harmony!

    Groove on!


    Proposed Changes to Canada's Food Guide

    Proposed Changes to Canada's Food Guide


    Have you heard about the revamp that could be coming to Canada's Food Guide next year? Check out the article we have linked from The Globe and Mail for more details, but below are some of what we consider to be the most important points:


    • "Last month, the department (Health Canada) released its "guiding principles" – a mission statement that outlines the priorities. This document emphasizes a regular diet of "vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods – especially plant-based sources of protein," and explicitly warns against processed foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat."
    • "It also appears to de-emphasize the necessity of animal meats and dairy..."
    • "The Health Canada document also mentions a host of new food concerns – everything from environmental sustainability and animal welfare to the importance of eating local..."
    • "Once thing is clear: The new guide is intended to represent major change. "This is not tweaking, whatsoever," Dr. Hutchinson said."


    These changes could be a huge leap forward in helping the many people who turn to Canada's Food Guide as a guideline for their diets realize that meat and dairy products aren't crucial when it comes to eating healthy.

    We're especially excited about the fact that it includes animal welfare and environmental sustainability as important considerations when it comes to our decisions about what we eat.

    Please take the time to give this article a read, and also go to the Health Canada website to provide your feedback on the proposed changes. They are accepting consultation from the public until July 25th.


    The Globe and Mail article:

    Canada's Food Guide Consultation:


    Always remember, we have the power to bring change simply through the decisions we make to live a more compassionate and ethical lifestyle.

    Ashley - The Groovy Vegan