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The Species Barrier #35 Podcast & Show Notes

Episode #35 of The Species Barrier... South African Professor of Philosophy David Benatar, writer of Better To Have Never Been, The Harm of Coming Into Existence joins us to discuss his work. Mistro, musical artist from Norway has a new album out called The Tragedy of Birth and author Jan Smitovicz from America is the writer of revenge novel Orange Rain.

Also in the news discussion, we attended the Premiere of Unity (Long awaited followup to Earthlings) and give our thoughts, World Overshoot Day passes, water and food predicted to run out, The Pope's encyclical covers environmentalism and animal ethics, Beyonce's "veganism",  techno fixes can't save the oceans, Cecil The Lion and it's been made official that humans are driving The Sixth Great Extinction event in geological history.

Before serving, always make sure the Earth is fully cooked.

Listen to The Species Barrier 35 Antinatal Here

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Adopt Don't Breed: Jan has a vasectomy so rest assured his son here is a rescue.
The Species Barrier #35 Show Notes:

David Benatar:  http://www.thecritique.com/articles/we-are-creatures-that-should-not-exist-the-theory-of-anti-natalism/

Mistro:  https://www.facebook.com/mistrohiphop

Jan Smitowicz: https://jansmitowicz.wordpress.com/


Review of Unity, Shaun Monson's follow-up to Earthlings

Unity is Shaun Monson's long awaited sequel to the 2008 film Earthlings. An animal rights staple you have likely heard of, Earthlings, narrated by actor Joaquin Phoenix is now largely seen as the go to film for a reality check in how humans exploit and kill other animals.

We were fortunate enough to attend the World Premiere global event, although the local cinema was sparsely attended. It was notable how this film is much more anthropocentric than it's predecessor, giving only 14 minutes of it's lengthy running time to other animals on this occasion. That said it did offer two affecting, non gory scenes of a bull being led to slaughter and a live fish being consumed as "sushi."

A recurring problem here is the false distinction the film makes between humans and other animals. Ironic given the wish to present Unity. "Plant rights"  are commonly used as an anti-vegan cliche and here it is suggested that their moving towards the sun is a sign of their sentience and often the film maker includes trees in the trio of classifications, alongside humans and (other) animals. This is problematic given that plants aren't sentient, although they are of course host to and important to the survival of sentient beings.

The film relies on a celebrity narrator format, each one (Helen Mirren, Jennifer Aniston etc) taking a few lines. The words are subtitled and the celebrity's photograph is displayed each time. This device proves highly distracting, taking away from the onscreen action. Also it was made clear that the celebrities in question didn't necessarily believe in the content they were reading out, this was a distraction also.

Promo Poster Problems: Humans, animals, trees and celebrities.

Celebrity culture and it's many egos (Michael Jackson, Kanye West and Lady Ga Ga are the examples used) is belittled as shallow and vacuous. This is strange given Unity's reliance on celebrity narrators, the subsequent celebrity Q&A panel and the red carpet premiere in the USA was full of the usual paparazzi and posing.

The subject matter flails around wildly, one minute we are pondering how tiny we are in the Cosmos and the next pseudo-scientific spiritual ideas are being proffered. Baseless statements are made such as observing "the joy of life" in other animals' eyes as they battle for survival. There is also stigma against sharks and their aggression, almost attributing some nefarious intent on their part.

The film contains no mention of veganism as a response to speciesism nor any suggestions on how to achieve the grand ambitions that Shaun clearly possesses. Nor is any time given to the many problems posed by human population growth. A wish to unify 7.4 billion humans (A predicted 11.2 billion and rising in 2100), from distinct cultures on an ever more ecologically degraded planet, with fewer and fewer remaining resources seems to be an empty and toothless fantasy.

As a whole the film was an unsatisfying mishmash of ideas, although it may be of interest to those who would describe themselves as "new age" or otherwise "spiritually" inclined.


Review - Michael House Bed and Breakfast, Cornwall

Marcus and I had the pleasure of staying at Michael House vegan Bed and Breakfast near Tintagel in Cornwall for a night.

We had room one which has a superking sized bed and a bath with an amazing view!

View from the bedroom

They are 100% vegan and as well as being a bed and breakfast they also serve evening meals for guest and non residents. The first people to book an evening meal get to chose the menu which we did. We had sushi for starters, braised tofu for mains and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. The food was delicious and the portions were very generous indeed. I couldn't finish my sticky toffee pudding so the self sacrificing Marcus offered his help! Sadly we were so busy we forgot to take photos of the food, not like me at all!

In the morning, despite still being full from the night before (I am a lightweight!) we had a big breakfast. We had a selection of muesli and fruit followed by cooked breakfast. Marcus had pancakes (I nicked one) which tasted like donuts so you can safely say they were very yummy! I had "The Full Michael" which was a full English breakfast, again it was delicious.

After all that food we decided we really needed a walk and asked Vanessa and Simon if we could borrow the 2 beautiful doggies who live with them, Velvet and Berry. She kindly allowed us and we took them down to the beach which is about a 10-15 minute walk away.
Velvet a Springer x Collie

Berry, a Golden Retriever, loving the water

It was a lovely day and the beach was busy near the middle but became lovely and quiet as we walked further away from the entrance.

Stunning blue sea

We walked back to Michael House and returned two wet and sandy dogs (sorry!) and had to get on our way. We will definitely be back and this time for much longer. It's a great bed and breakfast in a very peaceful and beautiful area of the world and Vanessa and Simon are fantastic hosts. If you go you absolutely must have dinner there, you won't be disappointed.


Samphire Brasserie - Plymouth (Devon, UK)

We have been down in Cornwall cat sitting and thought it would be nice to go to Samphire Brasserie a vegan eatery in Plymouth. We went with Marcus's Dad Brian and Step mum Val who are non vegans.

Samphire Brasserie has recently (as of the 29th April 2015) gone from Vegetarian (with vegan options) to 100% vegan and they're very proud about it. No shying away from their vegan credentials here!

In the main cafe

The menu is pretty damn amazing and it took us ages to choose, I for one just couldn't deal with all these amazing options! The pics below are but a sample of this feast for your eyes.

After a while we chose, a Hawaiian pizza, Nacho Pizza, a Fajita style crepe (chickpeas, veg, sour cream and salsa and a full works (basically a full fry up with tempeh, tomatoes, baked beans, potatoes, sausage and onion rings in place of mushrooms). We also added a side salad and extra chips!

Hawaiian Pizza

Side Salad

The Full Works with Onion Rings

Fajita Crepe

Taco Pizza
The potions were absolutely massive and the food was out of this world, i've never had such an amazing pizza (Hawaiian) and everyone agreed that their food was really, really good.

We were pretty stuffed (had to take home some of the pizzas) but as the lady serving us said "I believe there's another stomach dessert uses" and so we decided to get 2 sweet treats to share there and one to take away. Marcus and I ordered the lotus cookie dough which is hot caramelized biscuit cookie dough topped with vanilla ice cream and squirty cream. Brian and Val had key lime cheesecake. Both were absolutely delicious. We took away another key lime cheesecake.
Hot Caramalized Biscuit Cookie
Key Lime Cheesecake
We cannot recommend Samphire Brasserie highly enough. The place would be brilliant to take non vegans to to show them everything they eat we can eat vegan (and better!).

111 Mayflower Street, PL1 1 SD Plymouth
 01752 263116




The Species Barrier #34 Podcast & Show Notes

Episode 34 of The Species Barrier...we speak with Population Media Center's Director of Issue Advocacy Joseph Bish and Tom Butler of The Deep Ecology Foundation. Both organisations are involved in The Population Speak Out campaign and it's centrepiece book Overdevelopment Overpopulation Overshoot.

Sandra Higgins is back on the show to discuss International Respect for Chickens Month. We also discuss the documentary Virunga, symbolic crossing of the 400ppm level of Carbon Dioxide, the Antarctic ice shelf on course for collapse plus Morrissey and Monbiot weighing in on animal agriculture.

Alice in Wonderland: Eden resident in happier surroundings

Listen to The Species Barrier 34 OVER Here

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The Species Barrier 34 Show Notes:

Population Speak out Campaign: https://populationspeakout.org/
Foundation for Deep Ecology: http://www.deepecology.org/
Population Media Center: https://www.populationmedia.org/
Doris Banham Dog Rescue: http://www.dogsos.co.uk/
Virunga: http://virungamovie.com/
International Respect for Chickens Day: http://www.upc-online.org/respect/
Eden Farm Animal Sanctuary: http://www.edenfarmanimalsanctuary.com/
Monbiot on Chicken Farms: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/19/chicken-welfare-human-health-meat
Monbiot on the fairytale of farming: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2015/may/29/its-time-to-wean-ourselves-off-the-fairytale-version-of-farming
Morrissey on Glastonbury: http://true-to-you.net/morrissey_news_150409_01
Morrissey's open letter to Live Earth: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/read-morrisseys-scathing-open-letter-to-al-gore-and-live-earth-20150429
Larsen B Ice Shelf: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/16/us/antarctica-larsen-b-ice-shelf-to-disappear/
CO2 passes 400ppm: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/06/global-carbon-dioxide-levels-break-400ppm-milestone


The Species Barrier #33 Podcast & Show Notes

  Coming up today… plant based dogs. Domesticated dogs are ever more present in human society and the environmental book 'Time to Eat The Dog?' highlights their meat diets as an ecological ill. How well can they adapt to plant based diets? We speak to Piers Morgan's electoral candidate of choice, vet Andrew Knight. Fellow vegan Carla Gardner is in the studio to discuss her experiences with dogs and various topics pertaining to other animals.

In the news, The Guardian puts it’s emphasis on climate change reporting, date proposed for the start of the Anthropocene epoch, photography book on overpopulation and consumption takes the media by storm, water is the next great crisis and EU removes limits on cows milk production.

Vet Andrew Knight: A vote for plant based dogs.
Listen to The Species Barrier 33 Dogging Here

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The Three Amigos: Carla's Plant Based Pups

The Species Barrier 33 Show Notes:

100 Plant Based dogs:  http://thevegantruth.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/dogs-that-eat-vegan-directory.html

Andrew Knight's website: http://www.vegepets.info/

EU Milk quotas scrapped:

Details on OVER book:  http://www.populationspeakout.org

Anthropocene debate:

Guardian focus on climate change: 

Water the next global crisis: 


Thoughts on documentary film "Becoming Vegan"

We recently had the opportunity to view new, short documentary film Becoming Vegan. Such a topic originating from the local university and featuring two members of the recently revived Veg Soc meant that we would obviously be inclined to check it out.

Given it's status as a student project that was made on a small budget we obviously weren't as keen to assess the production and presentation (perfectly adequate) as much as the message. How would the film portray veganism?

We get off to a very shaky start. A nutritionist is called upon to define veganism, thus perpetuating the idea that we are dealing with a diet rather than an ethic. What was needed is the definition as laid down by The Vegan Society and an expression of the belief that other animals are not ours to exploit.

The presenter (Rachael) will undertake a two week dietary challenge, the nutritionist warns that a sudden change in diet is likely to be felt negatively by the body and after all they do say it takes a month to adjust to any new habit.

We are now in the supermarket aisles and two random microwavable ready meals are held up, one contains milk protein and the other is free of animal products. The later is more costly so our host concludes that "vegan food" is seemingly more expensive. Seriously.

There are constant references to "gluten free" and "wheat free", which along with the difficulty in having to read labels adds to the general feeling of ascetic misery experienced during the experiment.

This is puzzling, either Rachael believes that veganism entails being gluten free or this is a personal choice, either way it should be made clearer. She is intrigued to try "vegan pasta" as opposed to normal pasta. This involves getting a supermarket Free-From brand that she has heard will be chewy due it's lack of gluten. Clearly most standard pastas, whether white or brown are suitable for vegans seeing as wheat is a plant. The occasional exception exists for fresh pastas which may contain egg.

The perceived deprivation continues in the morning when the cereal has to be gluten free also and as such is described as "powdery." Sandwiches for lunch? Of course not, only cereal bars and snacking on fruit as others enjoy their wheat bread. Again, veganism is concerned with products of animal exploitation and wheat avoidance isn't part of the deal.

Cupcakes are handed out from Bailgate's vegan shop, will the public spot the differences to "real" cakes? The assumption being that no eggs and/or dairy clearly renders cupcakes counterfeit. Given the prior warning that these are vegan cakes the public seem hesitant to tuck in (lacking the prerequisite chicken ovulations and bovine mammary secretions to make them optimally palatable) but conclude that they are in fact genuine cakes and perfectly edible.

Unsurprisingly Rachael is feeling lethargic as she goes into calorie deficit. Her previous diet was replete with animal products and cooking a meal without flesh a foreign concept. To conclude she accepts that without the ethical beliefs this lifestyle shift seems superfluous and inconvenient. It is repeated twice that she doesn't "believe in" vegan ethics, presumably content to provide demand for the unnecessary suffering of other sentient beings. As stated earlier by it's definition veganism requires the moral foundation and as such the documentary would have been better titled "Becoming Plant-based".


The Species Barrier #32 Podcast & Show Notes

Episode 32 of The Species Barrier. Comedian, actor, writer and TV presenter Simon Amstell joins us for a chat about fusing his vegan ethics with his comedy. We also speak to members of Frack Free Lincs after their Truth Behind The Dash for Gas screening in Lincoln.

In the news 2014 was the hottest year on record, scientists move the Doomsday Clock forward, journalist Chris Hedges on his veganism and as America is predicted to have it's worst droughts in a 1000 years tens of millions will starve as fertile land turns to dust bowls in China and Africa also.

No Bunny Boiler: Simon is an ethical vegan

Listen to The Species Barrier 32 Laughing Gas Here

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A taste of what's to come? Fracking, USA-style.

The Species Barrier 32 Show Notes:

The Truth Behind The Dash For Gas: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/film/

Frack Free Lincs:  http://frackfreelincs.org/

Buy Nothing Day:  http://www.buynothingday.co.uk/

Rally for Nature:  http://www.lincstrust.org.uk/news/2014/11/18/rally-nature-london-tuesday-9th-december

Cowspiracy:  http://www.cowspiracy.com/

Lincoln University VegSoc: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UOLVegSoc/

Simon Amstell: http://www.simonamstell.co.uk/

2014 was the Warmest Year on Record:

Doomsday Clock moved forward:

Chris Hedges on Veganism: 

Worst US Droughts in 1000 years: 

Dust Bowls threaten Tens of Millions with hunger: 

Coal demand to reach 9 billion tonnes a year by 2019: 


The Species Barrier #31 Podcast & Show Notes

Coming up today we have more analysis on human civilization and the modern environmental movement from American anarchist and primitivist philosopher, author John Zerzan and Paul Kingsnorth writer and co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project.

Kevin White reflects on his recent West Midlands Vegan Festival event and activism in general. We are also joined by Jess Smith project officer at Lincolnshire county councils sustainability team she tells us about their score initiative to reduce energy usage in schools.

Also as human numbers have doubled other vertebrate animals have reduced by half, UK farm land has only 100 more harvests left, human overpopulation would survive wars, disasters and disease, American cold snap caused by climate change and how can grass feeding cattle be worse for the environment than the feed lot system?

JZ: I wanna be Green Anarchy

Listen to The Species Barrier 31 Uncivilised2 Here

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Kingsnorth: A call to apathy and inaction? You moss be kidding!
The Species Barrier 31 Show Notes:

Lincoln's Environmental film schedule:

Carbon Conversations: http://carbonconversations.org/

Midland Vegan Campaigns: http://www.veganmidlands.org.uk/festival/

Lakeside Ethical Treats: http://www.ethical-treats.co.uk/

SCoRE wins gold Apple award: http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/news/lincolnshire-sustainability-project-scores-national-award/124131.article

Non-human vertebrates  halved in the last 40 years:

Wars, Disasters and disease can't arrest overpopulation:

Arctic blast made mor elikely due to climate change: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/11/20/arctic-weather-climate.html
 Only 100 harvests remain in UK farm soil:

Paul Kingsnorth:  http://www.paulkingsnorth.net/

The Dark Mountain Project:  http://dark-mountain.net/

Should we seek to save industrial civilisation:  http://www.monbiot.com/2009/08/18/should-we-seek-to-save-industrial-civilisation/

John Zerzan: http://www.johnzerzan.net/

Anarchy Radio: http://www.johnzerzan.net/radio/

Fact Of The Day: 


The Species Barrier #30 Podcast & Show Notes

Episode 30... we continue our series of critiques of civilization with journalist and co-founder of the Dark Mountain project Paul Kingsnorth and prominent anarcho-primitivist John Zerzan.

Also the imminent collapse of civilization is in the media, contrary to earlier predictions the human population is set to hit 11 billion and beyond if left unchecked and George Monbiot, reflects on both the impossibility of growth and experts stating that humans drove ice age animal extinctions.

Paul Kingsnorth: Back against the wall but not apathetic

Listen to The Species Barrier 30 Uncivilised Here

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John Zerzan: Going down fighting
 The Species Barrier 30 Show Notes:

 Lincoln's Environmental film schedule:

Roxy and her 11 puppies:  https://www.facebook.com/BINpuppies

Bird Walks at Hartsholme: http://www.visitlincolnshire.com/thedms.aspx?dms=3&feature=1000&venue=9320817

Population to hit 11 billion with 70% chance of rising:

We're nearing collapse: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits-to-growth-was-right-new-research-shows-were-nearing-collapse

Collapse is inevitable now 2015-2020: 


Noam Chomsky on the end of history: 

George Monbiot on the impossibility of growth: 

Paul Kingsnorth:  http://www.paulkingsnorth.net/

The Dark Mountain Project:  http://dark-mountain.net/

Should we seek to save industrial civilisation:  http://www.monbiot.com/2009/08/18/should-we-seek-to-save-industrial-civilisation/

Extinctions 1000-10,000 the standard rate: 

Humans have long history of causing extinctions:

Diminuitive monsters of destruction, is this all we are? 

John Zerzan: http://www.johnzerzan.net/

Anarchy Radio: http://www.johnzerzan.net/radio/

Fact Of The Day: http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/energy.html