Holiday Season: The Trials, Tribulations and the Opportunities

In episode 27, It’s a mixed bag 🙂 I talk about  a number of topics. How the holiday season can be difficult for vegans but it doesn’t have to be. I share tips about how to survive it and how to help spread veganism at this time. I discuss the massive bee die-off globally and how if we are not vegan, we are participating in this. I speak about other causes of this massive bee die off including GMOs, pesticides,  and honey production and our part in this. I discuss climate change again in relation to animal agriculture and how independent news and individuals from large green organisations virtually ignore animal agriculture’s tremendous contribution and a number of other miscellaneous issues. I talk about generosity.
Empty Words Go vegan

Here’s the full essay by Chris Hedges “Apocalyptic Capitalism“.

Here’s an excerpt:

The animal agriculture industry has, in a staggering act of near total censorship, managed to stifle public discussion about the industry’s complicity in global warming. It is barely mentioned in climate summits. Yet livestock and their byproducts, as Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn point out in their book, “The Sustainability Secret,” and their documentary, “Cowspiracy,” account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51 percent of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Methane and nitrous oxide are rarely mentioned in climate talks, although those two greenhouse gases are, as the authors point out, respectively, 86 times and 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. Cattle, worldwide, they write, produce 150 billion gallons of methane daily. And 65 percent of the nitrous oxide produced by human-related activities is caused by the animal agriculture industry. Water used in fracking, they write, ranges from 70 billion to 140 billion gallons annually. Animal agriculture water consumption, the book notes, ranges from 34 trillion to 76 trillion gallons annually. Raising animals for human consumption takes up to 45 percent of the planet’s land. Ninety-one percent of the deforestation of the Amazon rain forest and up to 80 percent of global rain forest loss are caused by clearing land for the grazing of livestock and growing feed crops for meat and dairy animals. As more and more rain forest disappears, the planet loses one of its primary means to safely sequester carbon dioxide. The animal agriculture industry is, as Andersen and Kuhn write, also a principal cause of species extinction and the creation of more than 95,000 square miles of nitrogen-flooded dead zones in the oceans.

A person who eats a vegan diet, they point out, a diet free of meat, dairy and eggs, saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life every day.

The animal agriculture industry has pushed through “Ag-Gag” laws in many states that criminalize protests, critiques of the industry, and whistleblowing attempts to bring the public’s attention to the staggering destruction wrought on the environment by the business of raising 70 billion land animals every year worldwide to be exploited and consumed by humans. And they have done so, I presume, because defying the animal agriculture industry is as easy as deciding not to put animal products—which have tremendous, scientifically proven health risks—into your mouth.

We have little time left. Those who are despoiling the earth do so for personal gain, believing they can use their privilege to escape the fate that will befall the human species. We may not be able to stop the assault. But we can refuse to abet it. The idols of power and greed, as the biblical prophets warned us, threaten to doom the human race.

Bob Linden on (Listen here) speaks about Syria and how climate change has played a major part in the unrest there.  So if we are not vegan, we are in part participating in the dire situation for Syrians.

Here is the Facebook page “My Face is on Fire” I mention.

Here’s a link to the book I mentioned  “Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach“.

Please read my full disclaimer about external links, organisations, groups, social media pages, individuals etc.

Here’s the excerpt from 3 reasons not to eat honey:

While you may spread a heaping tablespoon of honey on your morning toast without thinking, creating each drop is no small feat. To make one pound of honey, a colony must visit over two million flowers, flying over 55,000 miles, at up to 15 miles per hour to do so. During a bee’s lifetime, she will only make approximately one teaspoon of honey, which is essential to the hive for times when nectar is scarce, such as during winter. At times there may be an excess in the hive, but this amount is difficult to determine and large-scale beekeepers often remove all or most of it and replace it with a sugar or corn syrup substitute. Can you imagine someone removing all the fruit juice from your house and replacing it with fruit-flavored soda? It may still give you energy, but eventually it will probably make you sick.

Another thing to think about while you sit by your beeswax candle and contemplate the lives of these little fellows is that bees must consume approximately eight pounds of honey to produce each pound of wax! And the more we take from them (bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis) the harder these creatures must work and the more bees are needed, which isn’t good news for a population that is dwindling.

When you see a jar of honey, you may think of the sweet cartoon hives depicted in childhood stories such as Winnie the Pooh. But most hives are now confined to large boxes (a completely foreign shape to bees) that are jostled and shipped around the country to pollinate crops and produce honey. This is stressful and confusing to the bees’ natural navigation systems. Along the way, bees are lost and killed, and may spread diseases from one infected hive to another. The practice of bee farming often limits the bees’ diet to monoculture crops (*hint hint* blueberry, clover, lavender honey), introduces large amounts of pesticides into their systems and causes the farmed bees to crowd out the native wild pollinators that may have been otherwise present. Beekeepers (even small-scale backyard beekeepers) will also kill the queens if they feel the hive is in danger of swarming (fleeing their file cabinet shaped homes) or drones* that they deem unnecessary to honey production.

Thanks for listening. 🙂 Please tune in again and please subscribe to my podcast. And if you’re not vegan, it’s much easier than you think. Please start here.


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What? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive didn’t tip you off?

european lobster
Please excuse the sound quality in this episode.
What? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive didn’t tip you off?

Next time we encounter a tank of lobsters at a restaurant or “seafood” shop, we should stop for a few moments to put aside our prejudices and really look at these individuals.

In the lengthy piece “Consider the Lobster” (“Gourmet” magazine 2004) by the late writer David Foster Wallace (who sadly suicided in 2008), he spoke about the ethics of boiling a lobster alive, all for a few moments of palate pleasure and he also spoke about a lobster’s sensory neurons.

He writes:

However stuporous the lobster is from the trip home, for instance, it tends to come alarmingly to life when placed in boiling water. If you’re tilting it from a container into the steaming kettle, the lobster will sometimes try to cling to the container’s sides or even to hook its claws over the kettle’s rim like a person trying to keep from going over the edge of a roof. And worse is when the lobster’s fully immersed. Even if you cover the kettle and turn away, you can usually hear the cover rattling and clanking as the lobster tries to push it off. Or the creature’s claws scraping the sides of the kettle as it thrashes around. The lobster, in other words, behaves very much as you or I would behave if we were plunged into boiling water (with the obvious exception of screaming).15 A blunter way to say this is that the lobster acts as if it’s in terrible pain, causing some cooks to leave the kitchen altogether and to take one of those little lightweight plastic oven timers with them into another room and wait until the whole process is over.

I remember many years ago on a sea cruise I ate a lobster. I was 16 and had never eaten lobster before. The waiter put down the dish with a lobster who had been cut in half. I remember feeling slightly uncomfortable because half his head was on my plate. Major cognitive dissonance. At the same time, my speciesist belief system kicked in and I proceeded to eat this individual and I enjoyed it. But I remember this event very well. Now as a vegan, I shudder to think about it. At times, when I dare think about my past participation in animal use, I am ashamed and guilt-ridden. And I must say while composing this post, having to read Wallace’s descriptions of murdering lobsters literally made me feel nauseous.

This is the torture I put this particular individual through for a few moments of palate pleasure.

David W. Foster continues:

[i]t takes a lot of intellectual gymnastics and behaviorist hairsplitting not to see struggling, thrashing, and lid-clattering as just such pain-behavior. According to marine zoologists, it usually takes lobsters between 35 and 45 seconds to die in boiling water. (No source I could find talked about how long it takes them to die in superheated steam; one rather hopes it’s faster.)

In Maine at their Lobster Festival they boil alive 100 lobsters at a time. The unbearable fear and torture.  maar_august2004_mainelobster608

Today while browsing Twitter, I came across a numerous headlines relating to this particular issue of crustaceans and pain. I have chosen one titled: “Further evidence that crabs and other crustaceans feel pain” I sighed and thought really? What was the giveaway? Desperately trying to avoid being boiled alive by thrashing about trying to push the lid off a boiling pot? These ongoing kinds of (often torturous) studies always astonish and sadden me. The unending experiments apparently trying to determine whether these non-human individuals feel pain. It makes me sigh with despair at our species’ pathetic attempts to rationalize our exploitation of the vulnerable.

Recalling my time as a nurse in a neuro-intensive care unit, many of our patients were in a coma. Although they were unresponsive except for basic simple physical reflexes, as nurses, we would talk to them, tell them what we were about to do e.g wash their face, moisten their mouth etc. We treated them with the same regard we would had they been conscious. We have such regard for our own species, even when they are comatosed, yet we are so invested in using non-human animals as resources, that we cannot even acknowledge the obvious.

If one searches online, there have been numerous scientific articles about lobsters interactions with other lobsters: their sentience, their very fine sensitive hairs on their shell etc. There have been scientific articles about other crustaceans (and fish), their sentience and also their ability to feel pain.

Here’s another excerpt from “Consider the Lobster” by David F Wallace:

There are, of course, other fairly common ways to kill your lobster on-site and so achieve maximum freshness. Some cooks’ practice is to drive a sharp heavy knife point-first into a spot just above the midpoint between the lobster’s eyestalks (more or less where the Third Eye is in human foreheads). This is alleged either to kill the lobster instantly or to render it insensate—and is said at least to eliminate the cowardice involved in throwing a creature into boiling water and then fleeing the room. As far as I can tell from talking to proponents of the knife-in-the-head method, the idea is that it’s more violent but ultimately more merciful, plus that a willingness to exert personal agency and accept responsibility for stabbing the lobster’s head honors the lobster somehow and entitles one to eat it. (There’s often a vague sort of Native American spirituality-of-the-hunt flavor to pro-knife arguments.) But the problem with the knife method is basic biology: Lobsters’ nervous systems operate off not one but several ganglia, a.k.a. nerve bundles, which are sort of wired in series and distributed all along the lobster’s underside, from stem to stern. And disabling only the frontal ganglion does not normally result in quick death or unconsciousness. Another alternative is to put the lobster in cold salt water and then very slowly bring it up to a full boil. Cooks who advocate this method are going mostly on the analogy to a frog, which can supposedly be kept from jumping out of a boiling pot by heating the water incrementally. In order to save a lot of research-summarizing, I’ll simply assure you that the analogy between frogs and lobsters turns out not to hold.

Ultimately, the only certain virtues of the home-lobotomy and slow-heating methods are comparative, because there are even worse/crueler ways people prepare lobster. Time-thrifty cooks sometimes microwave them alive (usually after poking several extra vent holes in the carapace, which is a precaution most shellfish-microwavers learn about the hard way). Live dismemberment, on the other hand, is big in Europe: Some chefs cut the lobster in half before cooking; others like to tear off the claws and tail and toss only these parts in the pot.

And there’s more unhappy news respecting suffering-criterion number one. Lobsters don’t have much in the way of eyesight or hearing, but they do have an exquisite tactile sense, one facilitated by hundreds of thousands of tiny hairs that protrude through their carapace. “Thus,” in the words of T.M. Prudden’s industry classic About Lobster, “it is that although encased in what seems a solid, impenetrable armor, the lobster can receive stimuli and impressions from without as readily as if it possessed a soft and delicate skin.” And lobsters do have nociceptors, (17) as well as invertebrate versions of the prostaglandins and major neurotransmitters via which our own brains register pain.

Lobsters do not, on the other hand, appear to have the equipment for making or absorbing natural opioids like endorphins and enkephalins, which are what more advanced nervous systems use to try to handle intense pain. From this fact, though, one could conclude either that lobsters are maybe even more vulnerable to pain”

Seriously, here’s a little tip off for anyone still questioning whether these individuals feel pain. They do their best to avoid harm. They defend themselves against possible harm. And as I mentioned earlier, they struggle desperately to climb out of a pot of boiling water. I mean seriously! It’s not difficult at all if one is paying the least bit attention to see that crustaceans feel pain and what’s more they are sentient. We just choose not to acknowledge it– just as we choose not to acknowledge that other animals are sentient–so we can continue to exploit and murder them (for convenience and trivial reasons). This failure to acknowledge other species’ basic right not to be used as property is the result of our unrelenting speciesist indoctrination from the time we were born.

And we do it, because we can.

I wish to share with you a few relevant quotes from an excellent blog: UVE Archives which explains speciesism:

Racism and speciesism are both the same wrong of ignoring morally relevant characteristics, such as sentience, in favor of morally irrelevant characteristics, such as species or race membership. Just as racists find it very difficult to see anything wrong with their racism, speciesists find it very difficult to see anything wrong with their speciesism.

Speciesism (like racism, sexism, and heterosexism) is the epistemically irrational prejudice of favoring one or more species over other species without a morally relevant characteristic providing justification. From the standpoint of irrational, unjustified prejudice, ignoring the morally relevant characteristic of intelligence in preventing certain classes of humans from obtaining an education is the same as ignoring the morally relevant characteristic of sentience in exploiting and killing nonhuman animals for food, clothing, research, and entertainment (all of which are unnecessary).

Speciesism is one form of irrational, prejudiced compartmentalization. An example of speciesist compartmentalization is when we pet and love a dog while a pig’s full body and head rotate over a fire pit. Why isn’t it the other way around? Better yet, why don’t we pet and love both the dog and the pig?”

Whether non-human animals express emotions and responses we can recognize or identify with or whether non-humans display “intelligence” like ours is irrelevant as to whether they deserve at least one right — the right not to be used as property. All that matters is sentience. Whether they feel a little pain or a lot of pain, whether they are “like us” or not, the issue is that we have no right to torture and murder other animals. We have no right to use these individuals as resources just because they are from another species.

Finally I would like to share this quote about sentience and speciesism from a blog post titled: “A Matter of Life and Death

We consider killing humans to be wrong regardless of the individual’s cognitive abilities, moral capacity, mental health, sex, race, nationality, age, or sexual orientation. It doesn’t matter whether the person in question is terminally suffering from dementia, psychologically ill, severely retarded or a productive genius – we believe it to be seriously wrong in all cases. If we consider any given case to be particularly egregious, it is often due to the individual’s vulnerability, not to any mental or moral characteristics he or she may possess.

By stark contrast, the majority of us act as if there is absolutely nothing wrong with unnecessarily killing a member of certain other species of sentient beings. But what rational basis do we have for such a discrepancy in our perception? What quality is found in all and only humans that could possibly point to the conclusion that the lives of other animals are unimportant?

Let’s remember this next time we pass by a tank of lobsters in a restaurant. Let’s stop and really look at them. Let’s put aside long held beliefs that they are “things” or “food” and instead, recognize that they love life; that they are individuals and let us remember, they are in this terrible situation because we are not vegan.

Let us stop pretending that other animals’ lives do not matter to them, that it’s acceptable to exploit them as long as we do it “humanely”. Let’s stop pretending that there’s such a thing as non-abusive use of animals, because if we do our research — instead of believing industry and large animals organisations — there is no such thing as “humane” use and even if there were, it would still be unjust. Let’s stop believing our own supremacist notion that we are the ONLY species on the planet that is important and all others are just here for us to use.

Just to give a little perspective. Today 150 million nonhuman sentient individuals–who loved life just as we do, and who are like our nonhuman family members whom we love so much– were tortured and murdered, mostly for our palate pleasure. Many many more sea animals suffered the same fate. When we are not vegan, we are participating in unspeakable acts of violence every day that we eat, wear and use other animals. We are contributing greatly to the planet’s ecological meltdown as 51% of greenhouse gases are from animal use industry according to a 2009 Worldwatch Institute report.

We need to regain our connection to the planet, and recognize our interconnectedness to the millions upon millions of other species who share it with us. Please! Let’s stop our participation in violence and end our self-deception.

Please go vegan. It’s not a hardship. Far from it. Being vegan brings more and more happiness into our lives as time passes. Becoming vegan will be one of the best decisions we make in our lives and it will be a first step to a nonviolent life.

I will leave you with a quote from a wonderful Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh: “We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness”

Thank you for your consideration 🙂

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Abolitionist Advocates, CyberBullying, and The Abolitionist Vegan Movement

Cyberbullying part 2 VTrove
Definition:  “CyberBullying is an action of harming or harassing via information technology networks in a repeated and deliberate manner.”

Cyberbullying is new and gaining momentum. Bullying occurs in person, and the victim knows who the bully is.  Cyberbullying is done through anonymous attacks towards the victim. Cyberbullying can take place on any electronic device such as, a computer or cell phone. It can also take place on bulletin boards where the bully posts believable false messages about the victim.”

This episode 25 (as was Ep 24) is for a specific audience, so if you have not been involved in the abolitionist vegan movement, you might want to skip this one as well. Once again my apologies for the length of this podcast, but I thought if I am going to be specific about these issues and properly address them, I may as well be thorough.

This episode talks specifically about ongoing clandestine targeting campaigns and cyberbullying (and my experience of this as a target) against abolitionists by abolitionists in the abolitionist vegan movement and why it should not be supported and suggestions on what we each need to do to create a supportive and healthy future grassroots movement.

Here are the various pages and sites I have created and / or own: Faint Signals from Vega (a livestream & vlog site created mid 2017), Vegan Trove (Facebook home of my podcast) & (my podcast)

Here’s some others that I use less frequently now:

Abolitionist Vegan Resources , LiveVegan (my first abolitionist page I started in July 2009 which has been adversely affected by Facebook algorithms.), Vegans for Nonviolence ( a mostly human social justice page), and Muslim Lives Matter (a Facebook page highlighting anti-Muslim racism/ Islamophobia, ( my other podcast) and (my blog) and They are all the pages of mine. Please check them out.

Disclaimer:  Please note,  this episode is not an invitation to  vilify anyone (privately or publicly), or to engage in ad hominem attacks on anyone. Nor is it an invitation to get into any arguments. If this takes place as a result of this episode being shared anywhere, I completely reject that behaviour and I ask people to please not engage in it. Thanks for your consideration.

Please join me again and subscribe to my podcast for future updates.
Thanks for listening.



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Abolitionist Advocates and Interpersonal Ethics

oh no she didnt!!

This episode 24 is for a specific audience, so if you have not been involved in the abolitionist vegan movement, you might want to skip this one.  Here it part episode 25 : Abolitionist Advocates, Cyberbullying and The Abolitionist Vegan Movement.

Disclaimer:  Please note, that this episode is not an invitation to  vilify anyone (privately or publicly), or to engage in ad hominem attacks on anyone. Nor is it an invitation to get into any arguments. If this takes place as a result of this episode being shared anywhere, I completely reject that behaviour and I ask people to please not engage in it. Thanks for your consideration.


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VegFest UK London 2015: Abolitionist Vegan Debate Presentations

vegfest 2015 london debate
Abolitionist vegan debate presentations on the problems with single-issue campaigns and how they are holding the “movement” back which was held at VegFest UK London 2015. Enjoy 🙂

Here’s the first part of this podcast

Here is some information to my mention of a “Dorothy Dixer” question.

Vegetarianism as a “gateway” to veganism?

Here’s the full debate on Youtube from London Veg Fest 2015 about single-issue campaigns and whether they take the animal rights movement forwards or backwards. There’s a very strong abolitionist vegan presentation.

Here’s the other debate from London Veg Fest 2015 on whether Ricky Gervais and Beyonce (and other celebrities) are confusing the “Animal Rights” movement.  A very strong abolitionist vegan presentation by Frances McCormack, Alan O’Reilly, and Kate Fitzgibbons.

Here is a link to numerous abolitionist books.

Please read my site disclaimer.

If you’re not vegan, please start here

Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to my podcast. I look forward to your company next time :)

Please join me next time. I look forward to your company.  🙂

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VegFest UK London 2015: Some Thoughts On The Debate About Single-Issue Campaigns

VegfestUKLondon2015I share some thoughts about one debate presentation at VegFest UK London 2015 by Tony Wardle, VIVA! UK about single issue campaigns.

Here’s the full debate on Youtube from London Veg Fest 2015 about single-issue campaigns and whether they take the animal rights movement forwards or backwards. There’s a very strong abolitionist vegan presentation.

Here’s the other debate from London Veg Fest 2015 on whether Ricky Gervais and Beyonce (and other celebrities) are confusing the “Animal Rights” movement.

Here is a link to numerous abolitionist books.

Please read my disclaimer.

If you’re not vegan, please start here

Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to my podcast. I look forward to your company next time 🙂

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Abolitionist Vegan Round-up #1

AVRoundupPlease read my disclaimer about external sites, individuals, organisations, social media sites etc.

The first of many abolitionist vegan round-ups: various quotes and thoughts by various abolitionists on social media.

Here are a few of the resources mentioned:

My Face is on Fire 

How To Go Vegan Podcast

There’s an Elephant in the Room

International Vegan Association

Go Vegan Radio

My own pages – Abolitionist Vegan Resources
and Vegan Trove


Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to this podcast and join my page on Facebook. I look forward to your company again. Till next time, bye for now.



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Shouldn’t Buddhists Embrace Veganism?

Buddhists and Veganism

Of course everyone should embrace veganism. In Episode 20, I ask the question and share some personal experiences with Buddhist organisations. As well I explore the reasons why Buddhists should naturally embrace veganism.

If you’re not vegan, please consider going vegan. It will be one of the best decisions you make in your life and it’s much easier than you think. Here’s a good link to many good vegan resources.

Here are some other resources you might like to check out:

What’s Wrong with Leather?

Why Vegans Don’t Use Silk?

What’s Wrong with Wool?

3 Reasons Not to Eat Honey

What’s wrong with Using Down / Feathers?

What is Pain to a Fish?

What’s wrong with Vegetarianism?

Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to my podcast for future updates and / or join my Facebook page here.  I look forward to your company next time.  🙂

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Is Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) Anti-Vegan?

Is Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) anti-vegan?
(Please excuse some repetition on my part about a third of the way into the episode. Persist through this part as I get back on track after a few minutes 😉 )

This episode discusses this question. My apologies for the length of this episode (1 hr 23 mins). I have shared some audio excerpts and have commented on them. You can find the excerpts at 19.15,  22.58,  23.50, 56.58, 101.05, 105.50,  107.30, 108.40,  111.25, 113.25, 116.20, 117.40, and 119.20.

DxE Wayne Hsiung Fails again

The following quotes are from Wayne Hsiung’s (Direct Action Everywhere) 2009 essay titled “Boycott Veganism”:

“To sum up, veganism, far from helping animals, is a huge problem for the animal rights movement. If we want to stand up for animals, then we should stop calling ourselves vegan; stop asking others to go vegan; and even stop using the word vegan. When asked, we should state that our fight is for equality, justice, and freedom — not for a plant-based diet.”

“In fact, the concept of veganism is harmful to the animal rights movement. And if you are serious about working for animal liberation, the first thing you should boycott is neither meat nor dairy nor eggs. The first thing you should boycott… is veganism.”

Read Wayne Hsiung’s “Boycott Veganism” essay.
DxE Wayne Hsiung Failed





Here’s the Go Vegan Radio Episode referenced in this podcast.

Here’s an essay “Direct Action Everywhere (DxE): Vegan Advocacy is “Harmful to the Animal Rights Movement””

To find out more about Francione’s theory please check out this list of books and please check out this vegan resource.

Thanks for listening. Please tune in again next time and I invite you to subscribe to my podcast. 🙂

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An Abolitionist Vegan Resource

Update June 6 2016: Please note I do not endorse this site “How Do I Go Vegan” or the page associated with this resource.  My reasons are explained in Vegan Trove Episode 24 and Episode 25.  I now have my own vegan resource How To Go Vegan Podcast

In Vegan Trove podcast episode 18, I briefly explore a newly created abolitionist vegan resource : How Do I Go Vegan

Please subscribe to future podcasts here.
You can also join my Facebook page here.

Please read my disclaimer about external sites

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A Little Vegan Trove Podcast