The RSPCA’s exciting new initiative Choose Wisely puts power back in the hand of the consumer, allowing you to look up cafes and restaurants putting humane food on the menu, with just a click. Melissa Hobbs and Jessica Gray from the RSPCA explain how it works.
Tag Archives | cruelty free
Janene Trickey was one of few reporters on a RSPCA Victoria rescue in January. She recounts what she saw, gives some background on puppy farms, and offers guidance to get a puppy not raised on a farm.
Unable to walk on leads, two smelly dogs with matted fur are carried to a table for examination by Australia’s only forensic veterinarian Rebecca Belousoff.
On 20 January, these dogs, along with 46 other dogs and 21 puppies, were seized from a puppy farm in regional Victoria by RSPCA inspectors. This marked the first time RSPCA Victoria has allowed journalists into their Animal Care Centre. The facility houses animals under protective custody until the legal owners surrender them, or are made to by a court.
By Grace Boglev
If you have a yard and don’t mind a little extra pet care, it’s worth looking into keeping some backyard chickens. Hens are relatively simple and cheap care for, plus they have a range of lifestyle and environmental benefits.
Before you decide to keep chickens, keep in mind that they require consistent attention. Some animal shelters have seen a huge rise in numbers of abandoned chickens from would-be backyard farmers motivated by novelty rather than considered planning. Like all pets, they’re an investment, so make sure you have the time and inclination to give them the lives they deserve.
Eggs are fantastic. A great source of complete protein plus many essential vitamins and minerals, they’re incredibly versatile and an under-appreciated star of the average fridge. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to navigate the ethical concerns that come with the humble egg. As consumers, we can make the choice not to support factory farming, but even navigating the labelling on eggs to avoid cage eggs can be complicated.
One way to know for sure that your eggs come from a safe, caring environment is to raise the hens yourself – it’s not as hard as you might think, and can be very rewarding. Most chooks can be expected to produce around 4 eggs per week, which can really add up if you’ve got a small flock!
Food Waste, Compost and Fertiliser
Chickens will gladly gobble up scraps from your kitchen – vegetable peelings, old bread and leftovers are all fine feed for a chook. Plus, your chook can take this food waste and quickly turn it into fertiliser for your garden – a double win for you.
Chickens will go out of their way to snarf up slugs, snails and other pests in your garden. As long as you keep an eye on them so they don’t damage your plants, they’re a totally natural and highly effective insecticide.
Before You Start
Be sure to contact your local council about keeping chickens – different councils have different regulations concerning how many chickens you’re allowed to keep and the type of housing you must provide them. It’s also possible that you won’t be able to keep a rooster – while chickens are relatively quiet, roosters aren’t!
You can get chickens from a number of sources. The best place for you depends on why you want to keep chickens.
Buying your chickens from local farmers means that you can meet the people who raised your birds, as well as supporting a local business. This will also allow you to choose which type of hens you want – pets, egg layers, for meat or for eggs and meat. Consider looking for stalls selling eggs and hens at your local farmers’ markets. Otherwise, Humane Choice has put together a list of certified farms (though not all farms listed will sell hens, it’s a good way to find local farmers).
If you want to re-home a chicken that has been rescued from a factory farm, there are a number of organisations that can assist you. Animals Australia have listed some adoption organisations in New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania that they approve of. NSW Hen Rescue also have some useful information on how to care for rescue chickens and if they are suitable for you. Most rescue hens are unreliable layers, so if eggs are what you’re after, consider buying a small flock and adding a rescue chicken or two as well.
What You’ll Need
First, you’ll want a reasonably sized yard. Some councils will have regulations about the distance the coop and run must be from the fence.
The coop itself should be secure and warm, protected from the elements and including a nesting box and perch. You’ll also need an enclosed mesh run to protect your chooks from predators. Various state animal welfare legislation says that they must be provided with appropriate food, water and protection, so make sure your coop is of a standard that meets local requirements and your birds have everything they need to flourish and be happy.
Many suppliers of hens will also provide you with a coop, but you can also build one yourself. This set of instructions from Readers Digest Australia tells you how to build a small A-frame chicken coop cheaply, but there are many other sets of instructions available online depending on the size and style of coop you want to build.
Want To Know More?
There’s lots of information available online for raising chickens:
- this flyer from Western Australia’s Department of Agriculture & Food
- this information from Sydney City Council’s Green Villages
- and this FAQ from Suburban Farmer
are all great resources to start with. Happy farming!
Chicken trio, kimll (CC)
Boiled egg over cheese bread toast, Ames Lai (CC)
laying eggs, dolanh (CC)
Back in January, Otter investigated the ethical issues surrounding jewellery. From dirty gold mining to blood diamonds, it turns out shiny trinkets are as good at distracting from their questionable production processes as they are at diverting attention from a bad hair day.
One of the things we recommended was to look out for Fairtrade or recycled materials, to avoid the negative effects of dirty mining practices and ensure the beautiful ornaments you buy aren’t made by exploited workers. We’re always on the lookout for new places to buy sustainable jewellery, and here are three local Australian shops we’ve stumbled upon that don’t sacrifice quality or design when it comes to responsibly-sourced glittery goodies.
Qinnie Wang, founder of Oz Fair Trade, says:
During the Vietnam War, the United States dropped more than 270 million sub-munitions on Laos. It is estimated that more than 30% of these sub-munitions failed to explode, leaving Laos with 80 million undetonated bombs. Since 1973, there have been around 12,000 explosion-related accidents.
Cambodia’s notorious landmine problem is the product of a civil war that spanned three decades and claimed the lives of up to three million people, or one third of the entire population. Today, more than 40,000 people are amputees.
Despite the efforts of the relevant government bodies in both countries, millions of undetonated bombs remain. It is within this context that a new type of product was born: recycled bombshells.
Once detonated, the aluminium and brass in bombs can be melted and made into household objects. Local people started making spoons from bombshells after the war, and they now produce beautiful jewellery, too.
Recycled bombshell products are ethical in three main ways:
• recycle existing material
• provide extra income for land clearance
• provide job opportunities for local people
Spindrift is the creation of artist and jewellery designer Natasha Wakefield, who combs the Northern Beaches of Sydney for pieces of sea glass to use as gems in her collections. Sea glass is the result of tides and sand acting on shards of bottles, windows and parts from wrecked ships, transforming it from jagged and dangerous waste into smooth, frosted treasure.
The sea glass used in Spindrift jewellery is also known as mermaids’ tears, and this romantic provenance is echoed in the designs. The pieces are elegant, understated and slightly melancholy, with the pale, translucent blues of the sea glass complementing lustrous silver metal components. Other pieces use reclaimed wood and small shell fragements.
Spindrift uses recycled silver wherever possible, and is committed to sourcing Fairtrade and sustainable materials.
Adelaide-based designer Katrina Freene makes limited edition earrings, brooches and necklaces from recycled tin trays. A little bit retro and a little bit Australiana, Freene says her design is heavily influenced by her passion for sustainable jewellery as well as memories of her childhood.
The tin trays she uses are an op shop staple, often passed over for being unbearably kitschy. On a large, tea-tray-sized scale this is often true, but the colourful motifs really shine as smaller bits of wearable art. Some pieces incorporate multiple textures, and some are single patterns, like a pair of studs with the detail of a pheasant’s plumage. Part of the charm of this jewellery is the invitation to imagine what the rest of the tray looked like, which makes her pieces both whimsical and engaging.
Posts and earring threads are made of sustainable materials, and Freene tries to avoid manufactured parts as much as possible, preferring to design them herself.
Lisa Edney gives her take on the why and how of cruelty-free beauty products, with tips on what to buy and where to get them.
Are you wanting to make the switch to cruelty free beauty products but don’t know where to start? Or have you ever bought a product believing it to be cruelty free, then found out the label was misleading? Are you unsure about what labels you can trust?
Whether you’re new to cruelty free cosmetics, or have been on the journey for some time, you can find great beauty products that meet your cruelty free hopes – yes, even in your local supermarket! Continue Reading →