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  • 25
  • Jul

11 Places to Find Delicious Vegan Food in Edinburgh

Edinburgh has so much to offer this August – including The Fringe, Europe’s largest arts festival, where you can watch top-notch music and theatre performances and attend literally thousands of comedy shows. And of course, Edinburgh has a rich history that can be explored any time of the year.Luckily for compassionate folk, it’s also a great place to find vegan food!
David Bann
Although its rival Glasgow may have won the title of the UK’s Most Vegan-Friendly City last year, Auld Reekie gives ethical eaters plenty to choose from. The following are some of our top choices in Scotland’s capital: 

  • The Engine Shed: This café, tucked away below Arthur’s Seat, makes for a lovely lunch spot. Housed in an old railway building, it’s run by a social enterprise and makes its own tofu!
  • Kalpna: This South Indian vegetarian restaurant offers meat-free food with a healthy dollop of spice. Especially recommended are the vegan thali and the great value of the all-you-can-eat lunchtime buffet.
  • The Baked Potato Shop: At lunchtime, you’ll often see queues going out the door at this little spud shop in the heart of the Old Town. It’s known for its generous portions and variety of tasty fillings, and it’s probably the only place in the city that sells vegan haggis samosas!
  • Henderson’s: Edinburgh’s original vegetarian restaurant, Henderson’s is still going strong and now has several branches throughout the city. Early birds can turn up at 8 a.m. for breakfast, and throughout the day, it offers a selection of wholesome salads and healthy main dishes.
  • David Bann: For posh nosh in Edinburgh, vegans should make for David Bann. Just a stone’s throw from the Scottish Parliament, this gourmet vegetarian restaurant’s inventive, globally inspired menu has plenty for vegans to enjoy.
  • Forest Cafe: This community-owned vegetarian café is a stalwart of Edinburgh’s alternative scene and offers great staples at budget prices. It’s usually also a reliable source of vegan cake.
  • The Auld Hoose: The perfect spot for those with healthy appetites, this pub is legendary for its enormous vegan nachos and also does a hearty veggie haggis served with traditional neeps and tatties!
  • Filmhouse: Ask to see the vegan menu at this art-house cinema’s café – it includes satisfying options such as chickpea and coconut curry and crispy falafel. If the weather’s dreich, try the soya hot chocolate with vegan marshmallows.
  • The Chocolate Tree: Chocoholics will definitely appreciate this pleasing shop and café in Bruntsfield, which offers delights such as dairy-free hot chocolate, decadent vegan chocolate cake and a range of tempting artisan chocolate bars.
  • Piemaker: For all your pastry-based needs, head to this pie shop on South Bridge or Leith Walk. Vegan items are clearly labelled on the menu and include savoury options such as Thai mushroom pie as well as sweet treats, including apple turnovers and cherry pie.

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Let us know if we’ve missed any gems by leaving a comment below!

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  • 25
  • Jul

These Disgusting Revelations About the UK Chicken Industry Will Confirm Your Worst Fears About Meat

A five-month undercover investigation by The Guardian, published this week, reveals some of the UK chicken industry’s darkest secrets.

Chicken - We Animals

The investigation focussed on meat processing plants that supply some of the UK’s largest supermarkets, including Tesco, M&S and Asda. It found that a shocking two-thirds of fresh retail chicken in the UK is contaminated with campylobacter, a potentially deadly cause of food poisoning. In the UK, approximately 280,000 people a year are thought to become ill from campylobacter (80 per cent of which comes from chicken).

Some of the images and video footage from the investigation – showing mountains of chicken guts piled on bloody factory floors, conveyor belts heaped up with faeces-coated feathers and filthy machinery – are certainly likely to put many people off eating meat.

But the investigation’s findings weren’t just disturbing from the point of view of hygiene. They also provide a chilling glimpse into how chickens are treated and killed before they end up as a pile of offal on a dirty factory floor. The following are some of the upsetting facts:

On the Farm

  • On large-scale industrial farms, as many as 40,000 chickens at a time are raised in “crops”.
  • The birds usually reach slaughter weight (around 1.8kg) in just 42 days.
  • Farms cram as many animals as possible into vast, poorly lit sheds. The Guardian writes:

“To maximise return on capital invested in floor space, it is common practice to overstock sheds with chicks at the beginning of the cycle and then send in teams of catchers to thin out some of the birds so that the rest of the chickens have just enough room to meet regulations on stocking densities as they grow to full slaughter weight”.

  • According to the reporters, this practice of chicken “thinning” leads to the spread of bacteria, because the frightened animals panic and defecate whenever workers enter the densely packed sheds.

The Journey to Death

  • Chickens are packed into crates which are piled on top of one another in lorries and driven to the slaughterhouse. Faeces fall through the gaps in the crates onto the birds at the bottom.
  • Transport is highly stressful for the animals, but it can last for hours. Sometimes they’re even left in the crates overnight.

At the Abattoir 

On abattoir “production lines”, birds are shackled and hung upside down by their feet on a moving conveyor belt which carries them to their death and dismemberment.

  • After they’ve been slaughtered, rubber fingers pull out their feathers and automated metal fists scoop out their guts before their body parts are packaged for the supermarket.
  • Large abattoirs typically run lines at a rate of 185 to 195 birds a minute – killing nearly 12,000 animals an hour. Across Britain, a staggering 17 million chickens are slaughtered each week.

Chickens are sensitive animals with unique personalities. Like us, they dream, sunbathe, live in complex societies and make sacrifices to protect their children – that is, when they have the chance. On intensive farms, they never get the chance to express any of this natural behaviour. All they know is suffering and terror.

Please do your part to stop the suffering of these abused animals by never eating chicken. You could avoid a nasty case of food poisoning at the same time!

Our 30-day pledge is a great way to get started on a compassionate diet:

Take the pledgeImage: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals

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  • 25
  • Jul

This Veggie Athlete Is Tipped for Commonwealth Games Success

This week, thousands of athletes from 71 countries around the world have gathered to test their prowess at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
James Willstrop PETA

Among them is England squash player James Willstrop, who is playing in the men’s singles and doubles competitions this year. A former world number one, James can also boast of holding a gold medal in compassion, thanks to his vegetarian diet!

We caught up with him ahead of this year’s games in Glasgow.

What inspired you to go vegetarian?

I saw videos of animal slaughter, and it was grotesque. It made me sick that anyone could do that to animals. And then we eat them! I vividly remember hearing The Smiths’ song “Meat Is Murder” playing over this footage, and it was a staggering moment. I was knocked completely off balance. Morrissey’s music has been an inspiration to me, and I am listening to his new album avidly at the moment.

Do you have a favourite pre-game meal?

I love sweet potatoes with hummous and olive oil, smothered in toasted pine nuts. Not always easy to find at an event! And I often succumb to Italian food, which is a good source of carbohydrates for busy athletes. Wholemeal linguine with a vegan Alfredo sauce that we make with nutritional yeast, cashew nuts, oils and onions is a favourite. I also love quinoa. We should talk about post-game meals. That’s where it gets even more interesting!

Many top UK athletes – including boxer David Haye, Olympic cyclist Lizzie Armitstead and free-running champion Tim Shieff – are going vegetarian or vegan. Do you think we’re likely to see more meat-free athletes in the future?

I don’t see why not. It’s undoubtedly a very clever way to eat: cleaner, healthier, safer and friendlier. Everything about a meat-free diet makes absolute sense. It’s just difficult for some people to embrace because, sadly, from childhood, people are told that eating meat is what they must do.

What excites you about the Commonwealth Games?

The atmosphere, the attention our sport gets and the incredible luxuries and privileges you get to enjoy as an athlete in the village. The food hall, of course, is a major centrepiece for thousands of hungry athletes (and Glasgow is looking after vegans). I am very excited about the action, too. The venue we are playing squash at is just excellent. It’s an incredible arena.

This year’s Commonwealth Games are taking place in Glasgow, which was recently named the Most Vegan-Friendly City in the UK. Have you had a chance to try any of its vegan eateries?

I have been in Glasgow briefly and have seen two vegan restaurants close to each other: Mono and the 13th Note. So far, I’ve only had a drink and a bit of soup, but what fantastic places they looked to be. Hopefully, there will be time after the games to see more of the city and explore the vegetarian options.


 

Other compassionate athletes to watch out for at the Commonwealth Games include vegetarian Olympic cycling medallist Lizzie Armitstead and Indian pistol shooter Heena Sidhu, who has just teamed up with PETA India for an anti-hunting ad.

To learn more about how to follow in James’ footsteps by choosing a fitness-boosting plant-based diet, order our free vegan starter kit today!

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  • 24
  • Jul

Delicious Summer Recipe – Italian Stuffed Courgettes

Brit actor and singer Victoria Summer, who’s starred in films such as Saving Mr Banks and Dracula Reborn, recently invited us into her kitchen for a vegan cooking demonstration. When the sun is shining, there’s nothing better than fresh, colourful veggies and aromatic herbs for creating a light, flavourful summer dish.

Victoria is a lifelong animal lover and is now also a vegan, refusing to contribute to the suffering and slaughter of animals after researching the cruelty of the meat and dairy industries for herself. Having been raised on a sluggish “meat and potatoes” diet, she was delighted with the improvements she’s seen in her health, including in her digestion, sleep quality and energy levels.

“I feel like it fuels my life. … I’m very busy, I have lots going on in my day and the more energy I can have, the better!”

Here’s Victoria’s recipe for this delicious and healthy summer favourite:

Italian Stuffed Courgettes

CourgettesVictoria Summer vegan cooking video

2 medium-sized courgettes
2 cloves garlic
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup grated vegan cheese (try Vegusto or Veganic)
2 Tbsp chopped  fresh basil

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6.
  • Cut the courgettes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the pulp and seeds, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell (use a spoon for this).
  • Chop up the pulp from the courgettes.
  • Combine the courgette pulp, garlic, tomato, mushrooms, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, olive oil and 1/2 cup of the vegan cheese in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture among the courgette shells.
  • Place the stuffed courgette halves in a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, or until tender.
  • Bake uncovered for 5 minutes more. Top with the fresh basil.

Makes 2 to 4 servings

For more fresh, delicious and compassionate meal ideas, why not check out our vegan starter kit?

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  • 24
  • Jul

Celebrate a Vegan Eid

Whether you’re Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, agnostic or atheist, a vegan diet is an infallible way to get healthy, reduce your carbon footprint and demonstrate compassion for animals. As Anila Muhammad, who is a practicing Muslim and a vegan, explained in a Huffington Post article, “For me a plant-based diet was one way I could bridge the spiritual mandate to protect animals and the environment”.

So, to mark the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, in which food traditionally plays a major role, we thought we’d share a few ideas for festive meat-free recipes:

6 large, firm tomatoes, stemmed
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1–1/2 cups walnuts, finely ground
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chilli paste or cayenne
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground marigold (the type with edible flowers)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup pomegranate paste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp coarse salt

  • Cut the tops off the tomatoes and set aside. Scoop out some of the pulp from the tomatoes and reserve for later use.
  • In a wok or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the coriander and cumin seeds and cook for 10 seconds. Add the onion and stir-fry for 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute longer. Reduce the heat to low.
  • Add the reserved tomato pulp, walnuts, salt, pepper, chilli paste, cinnamon, marigold, parsley, pomegranate paste and sugar and cook for another 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Stuff the tomatoes with the filling and replace their tops. Place side by side in an ovenproof, oiled dish. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle a little coarse salt over each tomato. Place the dish under the broiler until the tomatoes are tender and their tops are slightly burnt yet still hold their shape, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot or cold with bread, soya yogurt, rice, pasta or couscous.

Makes 6 servings

Fried Bean Croquettes

8 oz (225 g) dried chickpeas
8 oz (225 g) fresh or dried broad beans
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 onions, finely chopped
4 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (coriander)
1–2 tsp ground cilantro (coriander)
1 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2–3 Tbsp flour or 1/2 tsp baking powder (if required)
Oil, for deep-frying

  • Soak the dried chickpeas and broad beans overnight, then drain and wash.
  • Grind the chickpeas and beans into a paste and add all the remaining ingredients except the flour and oil. Mix thoroughly and let stand for 30 minutes. If the paste does not hold together, add the flour or baking powder.
  • Form into small flat balls and deep-fry until brown and the crust is crisp. Drain on absorbent paper.

Makes 6 servings

Sweet Ricestock rice

1/2 tsp saffron threads
3 cardamom pods, cracked
2 Tbsp rose water
3 cups water
2 cups long-grain rice, washed
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup date or ordinary syrup
2 Tbsp oil

  • Soak the saffron and cracked cardamom pods in the rose water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Bring the water to a boil and add the rice and salt. Cover and simmer for 6 minutes. Drain well and remove from the pot.
  • Carefully stir the syrup into the drained rice. Swirl the oil around the bottom and sides of the rice pot and add the rice. Sprinkle with the rose water mixture. Place a clean tea towel between the pot and the lid, then steam the rice on very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.

Makes 6 servings

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If you’re celebrating a meat-free Eid and have a recipe to share, please let us know in the comments!

Visit IslamicConcern.com for more information about the connection between Islamic religious practices and animal rights issues.

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  • 24
  • Jul

New ‘PETA-Approved Vegan’ Trainers on the High Street, Courtesy of Esprit!

With the demand for cruelty-free clothing, shoes and accessories greater than ever, international retailer Esprit is ramping up its animal- and eco-friendly credentials by launching a stylish new collection of leather-free trainers for women! The new line even carries a “PETA-Approved Vegan” hanging tag, making it super-easy for shoppers to make sure that their purchases are animal-friendly.Esprit1

Esprit 6 Esprit 5

The new collection is available online as well as at Esprit’s shops in more than 40 countries – including London’s Regent Street flagship store.

We’d like to thank Esprit for setting a wonderful example of sustainable, ethical fashion for retailers around the world to follow.

The leather trade is one of the most damaging industries on the planet, because of its wide-scale abuse and slaughter of animals, the pollution it generates and the damage it causes to human health.

Approximately 1.6 billion cows are killed for their skins each year – 80 per cent in developing countries such as Bangladesh, India and China, where animal welfare laws are either non-existent or not enforced. As a result, these animals usually live and die in the worst possible conditions and may be skinned and dismembered while still conscious. The environmental footprint of animal-free fabrics – regardless of whether they are natural or synthetic – is minor compared to the environmental devastation of factory farming.

There’s no need to support this appalling industry. For more top fashion picks made from ethical animal-free fabrics, check out some of the other companies on our ever-growing PETA-Approved Vegan list.

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  • 23
  • Jul

PHOTOS: Spanish Activists Uncover the Bloody Truth About San Fermín ‘Festivities’

Powerful new photos taken by activists from the Spanish group Tras los Muros tell the distressing story of what happens to bulls at the annual San Fermín festival in Pamplona, Spain, each July. The drunken revellers who chase animals through the city’s streets in the morning may not understand how the festival ends for those same animals.

These photographs bring the full horror to light.

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Horse blindfolded

Before the fight, horses are blindfolded to prevent them from running from the bullring in terror. They’re often injured during the course of the violence.

Lance in bull's back

A picador on horseback plunges a metal lance into a bull’s back. These armed men will twist and gouge the lances into the animal’s flesh to impair his ability to move.

Matador stabs bull

A matador is about to plunge a knife into a bull, who is already exhausted, injured and bleeding.

Matador prepares to mutilate animal

Encouraged by the crowd, the matador prepares to strike the animal again.

Child forced to watch bullfight

A man lifts up a 2-year-old to watch the carnage – despite a recent ruling from the UN that exposure to the violence of bullfights goes against the rights of children.

Injured bull

The spectacle is over – but the bull’s suffering is not.

Bull in pool of his own blood after fight

Still alive, he lies on the ground, bleeding profusely.

Injured bull dragged across floor

He’s dragged across the floor by his feet, leaving a trail of blood.

Crowd watch bull being strung up by his leg

A crowd – including several children – looks on as the bull is hauled up by his foot.

Bull bleeds to death after bullfight

Then his throat will be cut, and he will be left to bleed to death.

That’s the end for this animal – and thousands of others will be killed in the same slow, terrifying and painful way in the name of a “tradition” that most Spanish people don’t want to preserve.

As attendance dwindles at bullfights across Spain, subsidies and tourism pay for much of this bloodshed. But if travel companies put these pictures in their brochures, many more tourists would steer clear of the Running of the Bulls.

We’ve already helped persuade Thomas Cook, Brittany Ferries and STA Travel to stop advertising trips to the San Fermín festival. If you see any other travel companies promoting torture as a “fun” holiday, share these shocking images with them and ask them to stop (and please let us know about it as well).

Photos © Tras Los Muros

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  • 22
  • Jul

Cornwall’s Foodie Festival Has No Taste for Foie Gras

Cornwall’s Port Eliot Festival, which will be held this weekend and is known for fine food, music and literature, has reassured punters that cruelty to ducks and geese will not be on the menu.

Because of the festival’s emphasis on fresh, locally sourced and sustainable food, you’d hardly expect to find foie gras there, given the deeply unethical methods used in its production, which is so cruel that it’s been banned in the UK. To make the “fatty liver pâté”, vast amounts of corn are pumped into the stomachs of birds via a metal pipe several times a day, until their livers become engorged and they are so ill that often they can barely stand up.

Foie gras production harms welfare of ducks and geese

We wrote to the festival organisers just to make sure that this revolting item would not be making an appearance and received this confirmation from a spokesperson:

“foie gras will not be served at the festival or used in any cookery demonstrations on site. We would be pleased if foie gras were banned from sale in the UK”.

We agree! It’s high time that the UK followed in India’s footsteps by banning the importation of foie gras altogether.

Help us make further progress towards a foie gras–free Britain by speaking out if you ever see the repugnant product on sale. Restaurants are removing foie gras from their menus all the time after hearing from concerned customers.

You can also sign our letter to EU leaders asking them to crack down on foie gras production in Europe, which violates the most basic guidelines on animal welfare.

Add your name here: http://petauk.org/eufoiegras

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  • 22
  • Jul

A Royal Robe Fit for a Future King

What do you get a young prince who has it all for his first birthday? Little Prince George will turn 1 this week, and we wanted to mark the occasion by giving him a compassionate gift which celebrates our nation’s love of animals. What could be better than his very own royal robe made with the softest faux fur to keep him snug, courtesy of The Throw Company?

prince george

It’s never been easier to go fur-free, with so many luxurious, high-quality, eco-friendly alternatives hitting the market. Real fur pelts have to be treated with all manner of hazardous chemicals in order to prevent decomposition, and animals on fur farms live in appalling, filthy, cramped conditions. These animals will then be poisoned, bludgeoned, electrocuted or even skinned alive in order to produce coats, cuffs, collars and other accessories for both adults and children. Millions of animals, including minks, foxes and rabbits, are still killed around the world for fur every year.

Prince George’s fur-free robes will put him in the same company with many of Britain’s Lord Mayors and other dignitaries who have updated their traditional robes to include humane faux fur. Here’s hoping he’ll continue to uphold 21st-century values and serve as a compassionate example for future generations. He’s off to a great start!

Although fur farming is banned in the UK, many animals are still suffering and dying on fur farms in Ireland. You can help them by taking action and calling for a ban on all fur production. Sign our letter to Irish Ministers and make your voice heard!

Mink image: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Take Action Now

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  • 18
  • Jul

Eyewitness Investigations Make Waves in the Wool Industry on Two Continents

Sheep maimed, hit and killed for wool

Last week, PETA US released video footage recorded in Australia and the United States showing how sheep are maimed, punched, poked in the eyes and thrown by wool industry workers.

One worker attacked a lamb with a hammer. Another twisted and broke a sheep’s neck during shearing. On dozens of occasions, workers used needle and thread to sew up gaping, bloody wounds on sheep’s bodies – without any painkillers or veterinary assistance.

The undercover exposé has been making waves all around the world. Before these investigations, many consumers had no idea about the cruelty endemic in the wool industry.

The following are some of the things happening now that will prevent sheep from being abused in this way:

  • In both Australia and the US, investigations of the perpetrators are underway.
  • The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia confirmed that the suspects “will be investigated” for potential violations of the New South Wales and South Australia cruelty-to-animals statutes, and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries is investigating the matter in Victoria.
  • In the US, numerous law-enforcement investigations are underway in Colorado and Wyoming, where Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said that the video “is highly concerning and we are taking it very seriously. … If our investigation shows it is warranted, we will file any appropriate criminal charges”.
  • Senior figures from the wool industry have reacted strongly to the video footage.
    The Shearing Contractors’ Association of Australia announced that it is “appalled by the footage” and “applauds the investigation”.
    WoolProducers Australia President Geoff Fisken said the behaviour shown in the video was “unacceptable and unsupportable”.
    An American Sheep Industry Association representative stated, “Rough handling of animals that might result in the injury of a sheep is … unacceptable .… Kicking, throwing and poking the eyes of sheep are also unacceptable practices”.
    The executive director of the Colorado Wool Growers Association joined PETA US’ call for prosecution and said of the video, “Everything about that was wrong”.
    Shearing sheep cruelty video
  • Australian politicians have also expressed outrage. Barnaby Joyce wrote on his website: “There is no doubt these images are disturbing“. Australian Capital Territory Primary Industries Minister Shane Rattenbury added that the video showed “senseless brutality”.
  • PETA and our international affiliates are continuing to raise awareness of how animals are harmed for the sake of fashion, food and other industries – and to help people make kinder choices.PETA sheep expose Australia

What You Can Do

Images: Jo-Anne McArthur / weanimals.org

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