Popcorn Activism!

Photo courtesy of 97.3 Radio Now via Honk If You're Vegan.

Photo courtesy of 97.3 Radio Now via Honk If You’re Vegan.

Celeste of Honk If You’re Vegan yesterday posted a wonderful idea of using ‘Popcorn Activism’ as a tool to help people become educated on veganism and on the issues surrounding a non vegan lifestyle. It is a gentle form of activism, and Celeste always has in mind the best ways to promote the ’cause’ without isolating those that she wishes to reach.

I admire Celeste’s creativity and enthusiasm for coming up with such a fun term and such a fun practice to spread the word!

There is a stereotype that all vegans are judgmental, narrow minded ‘hippies’ who care less about humans than animals. Of course, vegans with some or all of those credentials exist, but so do non vegans! Quite simply, the majority of us are people who simply want a better world for all who co-exist here.

For me, I share my life with a recently turned ‘meat reducer’ who still every now and again walks into town to get a bacon sandwich fix. That’s his choice. I do of course encourage him to have something else but I don’t slam the door and refuse to talk to him when he tells me nothing else will do! I acknowledge and deeply respect the fact that a man who would otherwise have no intention of reducing or giving up meat is making a big commitment to get on this journey. He is not doing this ‘just for me’, otherwise he would have done that 6 or more years ago, but because over the years he has become more and more educated, seen more and more realities of what meat means for animals and has become much more in touch with our Earth and those that live on it.

Based on this, I see huge importance in sharing Celeste’s idea. Education is not pushy and doesn’t (mostly) cause a disconnect with the majority of humans who live a non-vegan lifestyle. Facts are facts and they simply cannot be argued with, many people see that when they learn from a good, factual vegan resource that is not ‘over-extreme’.

It is a no brainer that in order to gain widespread change, we need to work with those able to make it happen, so sharing a film is a great way to do that. let’s get the corn popping!

So why this whole ‘vegan thing’ anyway?

I could answer that question in a million and one words, but instead, I’ll simply tell you about my four chickens, Isis, Pepper, Lavender and Silkie.

Some of you may remember my chicken Lynxy who disappeared earlier this year. Sadly, a few weeks after her vanishing, her two sisters were taken in the night by, I presume, a fox. It was an awful learning experience for us. We realised (too late) that there was a clump of straw blocking the door groove which had left about half an inch space between the door and the wall of the coop. The door (a horizontal sliding door) had been pushed open. We spent a lot of time blaming ourselves, riddled with guilt that will always linger. But, it was a mistake, that could easily happen and we had to try to use the sad experience as a learning experience to ensure we never let something so simple pass us again.

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I started to look around for chickens that needed homes. I came across an advert for ‘Silkie and Lavender Orpington chicks for sale, need to go, no longer breeding’. That meant one thing to me, they had a time limit and if they didn’t go in time….

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I took four chicks, there were quite a few left but I knew I did not have the facilities for more at that time and it would have been bad practice for me to have taken them all in that knowledge. They were in a nice enclosure and the people seemed friendly, good people but they were unable to continue their business. They were very thorough in their measures to protect their flock from predators and they said they only ate the eggs and never killed them for meat so I felt more reassured that they wouldn’t just kill them all in cold blood. I didn’t tell them I was a vegan so I don’t think they were saying this for my benefit. Anyway, I spread the word about these chicks as much as I could and I know a few people who took some.

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So whilst the new chicks stayed inside to grow up into little chickens. We set to work making the coop extra safe. Now, there are three sturdy, locked doors a fox would have to get through and a base so that he can’t dig under. So far so good.

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Often when people find out I’m a vegan and have chickens, they ask why I have chickens when I don’t even eat their eggs. What’s the point? Well it’s simple, I love them and I think they love me too.

When you have chickens for reasons other than them serving you a purpose, you can connect with them in a whole different way. They don’t owe me anything, they’re just my friends.

When you have gorgeous waddling birds who come running to you when you whistle, who sit on your knee and eat from your hand, who sneaks up on you in the kitchen whilst your cooking or who comes hilariously running through the house at full speed when your sitting watching TV; the idea of them being eaten is just inconceivable.

When you hear your little boy chickens try and crow for the first time and hear how their crowing efforts develops over time from a mere screech into a full on, proud morning song. You just love them.

Chickens apart from other main meat animals are often justified for being eaten because they are ‘just birds’, ‘stupid’, ‘don’t have feelings’ and have we all come across the ‘I only eat things with 2 legs’ ‘chickentarians’? This is so far from the truth. Chickens are social animals, no less sentient than a dog. Intelligence has nothing to do with feeling. Besides they’re not stupid nor boring. They know where home is and they have relationships and social systems (pecking order anyone?). They are so funny to watch, as they work out how to get to a juicy berry high up on a bush, they chase the cats around the garden, they jump up and down on things and make it look like so much fun.

What I love most of all, they are loyal, they never go far.
Please think before you eat a little chicken and please go check out Celeste’s tips on how to partake in Popcorn Activism.

“The hardest thing in accepting vegetarianism or veganism, is that you have to accept that for all of those previous years – you were wrong’. Matthew. Omnivore. My boyfriend. Just now. 

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44 Responses to Popcorn Activism!

  1. That is actually a really powerful quote — I like it.

  2. HeartBound says:

    What a wonderful post. Thank-you! Those chickies are lucky to have such good friends as you and your partner.

  3. I want a little chicky!!!! 🐣 I love this blog post x

    • Poppy says:

      Aww thank you! Little chickys are adorable, and then they’re big chickys and they’re more adorable! 😀 x

      • I hate it when people assume they are stupid or say “but you can’t exactly cuddle one”. My bloke and I feed a pair of collard doves who fly down to the window everyday and they are so sweet.

      • Poppy says:

        Yes I absolutely agree, but in fact if you have the right bond with them and they don’t find it stressful, you can cuddle them!
        Your dove visitors sound lovely, must be such a nice surprise every day! 😀

  4. Oh my gosh Poppy, what a wonderful post!! First of all, thank you for helping me promote Popcorn Activism. I don’t usually ask people to help me promote, but I believe so strongly that if more vegans started showing friends and family members movies like Vegucated that it would have an impact and save lots of animals. And knowing you, I figured you’d be happy to do something to help animals. Thank you so much for your support with this. I really appreciate it!

    Secondly, I love the post you wrote! It was lovely and powerful!! Chickens really do get a bad rap in our society. I have to admit that I’ve never been around chickens, so I don’t know much about them. What you shared here, however; helped me to get a sense of the lovely creatures they are. I think so much of the time we eat animals because we don’t “know” them. We don’t eat dogs because we “know” them, but we eat chickens, pigs and cows because we don’t know them. Maybe everyone should start keeping chickens, and pigs as companions so that we get to know them!!

    Thanks Poppy – you rock girlfriend! Celeste 🙂

    • Poppy says:

      Celeste – thank you for your lovely message, as always.
      It is a pleasure to help you promote Popcorn Activism and I couldn’t agree more that sharing veggie movies can have a huge impact.

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed the chicken story. I really hope one day you get to experience the personality of a happy chicken, I don’t think I could ever be without them now, they bring such an energy to my home.

      It is so true what you say about people eating animals because they don’t know them. They see companion animals like cats and dogs in a different category to a sheep and there is generally a huge disconnect with the animal that food comes from. Mat has been saying to me for years ‘if you got a cow, pig, sheep etc I would instantly stop eating them’. If only space would permit! He says since having chickens he can no longer ‘block’ the reality of the chicken on his plate, he hasn’t eaten chicken since we had chickens so I think you’re right, if we owned them and got to know them, many wouldn’t eat them. On the other hand, where do farmers come in to that? I’ve never got my head around farmers who can send the cows they’ve reared from calves to the abattoir then look forward to eating their rump. Weird.

      Anyway, I really hope your Popcorn Activism spreads. I’m seeing my sisters tomorrow so I’m going to start sharing with them!
      Poppy 😀

  5. gabrielle157 says:

    I’m trying to get my partner to reduce meat… it’s been almost four years, so hopefully sometime soon! 🙂

  6. sophiazerg says:

    Really powerful post, Poppy! I love everything you do for these animals which the majority of society just brushes off, like you said, as ‘just birds’. I’m sure you will have a positive impact on others! My husband is also an omnivore, but I don’t cook any meat at home. When we met, we were both meat eaters, so it’s really refreshing to see his transition as well. He is much healthier and happier!
    Celeste is awesome, this was such a lovely idea and I am definitely going to promote it to my friends and social network! 🙂

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you so much Sophia and I’m really glad you enjoyed reading it!
      Like you, I don’t cook meat at home or ever have it in the house. I was a vegetarian when Mat and I met so he’s always known the deal!!
      It’s really great that your husband is healthier and happier as a result of your turn to vegetarian. Do you feed your son vegetarian too?

      I really hope we can get Celeste’s idea spreading far and wide as I think it is so possible and it’s a fun way to promote vegetarianism!
      😀

      • sophiazerg says:

        Oh yeah, Mat knew the deal then! Hehe.
        When my son was younger, we were all meat eaters. With me becoming vegetarian three years ago, I didn’t expect them both to be on board with my ideals and choices right away. Since then they have both become ‘occasional meat eaters’. It’s been a transition for sure, and I am hoping it will eventually be full on vegetarianism for both of them. With Sonny it is a lot easier, as I (mostly) decide what he eats. 🙂
        I do not cook it at all and they primarily eat only vegetarian (and love it!)
        My husband is a lot more aware of all the health consequences as well as animal treatment. The seed has been planted! 😉

      • Poppy says:

        Yes it sounds like the seed has been planted for sure!

        I absolutely understand the gradual transition for Sonny and your husband. It is the same here with Mat who just isn’t quite ready to make a full commitment because he knows he will crave something one day and then feel he’s failed!

        Eating less meat is a huge thing in itself for health and for animals so it’s really great.

        I’m sure they rarely miss meat with the delicious meals you cook up anyway!
        😀

      • sophiazerg says:

        I can definitely say the same thing about Mat and your cooking! 🙂

      • Poppy says:

        Thank you 😀

  7. Beautiful words, beautiful chickens, and a beautiful soul (yours.) Love all your food posts but this one is particularly profound, wise and my favorite of your posts so far!

    • Poppy says:

      What a wonderful message to receive Lauren, it really touched me and really made my day. Thank you and I am so very pleased that this is your favourite post so far! 😀

  8. May says:

    I try to sound rational and not like a crazed hippy when I explain to people why I became vegan, but I think I sometimes go too far and let people think it was for health reasons which isn’t true! I’m interested in why you don’t eat the eggs from your chickens? If I had the space to keep chickens I’d probably be prepared to eat their eggs as I would know they were happy, healthy and genuinely free range, but of course everyone’s approach is a little different and I’m quite new to this.

    • Poppy says:

      Hi May, thank you for your comment.

      I don’t eat my chickens’ eggs because I am a vegan which means that I don’t consume or use any animal product. If I ate my chickens eggs I would not be a vegan despite their high welfare.

      There are many reasons why. Firstly, I do not need to eat eggs. Secondly, eggs were not designed to be a food source for me but a vessel for offspring. Thirdly, eggs contain cholesterol etc which is bad for health. Fourthly, eating even high welfare eggs promotes the industry which mass produces hybrid hens, often kept in unfavourable conditions and who mince male chicks alive.

      Overall, I am not only a vegan for ethical reasons although that is first and foremost, the health and other benefits also resonate with me. Even as a vegetarian, I always struggled with eggs and would often not touch an egg for a year or more. Cracking an egg to see a bloody membrane was always gross and a reminder that this was designed as the incubator for a chick. Now, I believe animals are not on this planet to serve me a purpose, whether high welfare or not, why should I eat their eggs? No one eats my eggs…

      I hope that clarifies why I don’t eat my chickens’ eggs for you? I’m happy for my partner (or anyone else) to eat them as that is his choice and I am much happier with him eating our chickens’ eggs than those brought from a supermarket!

      Always great to hear from you May!

      Poppy 😀

      • May says:

        That makes a lot of sense; I’ve heard all of those reasons before and was wondering which applied to you! I think the part of me that wants to say “it’s ok to eat eggs from my parents’ chickens because they are well cared for and kept as pets after they stop laying” is simply the part of me that really misses my mum’s home baking and scrambled eggs! But reading your comment has made me realise that actually I do find it an unpleasant idea to eat eggs – obviously my thinking has shifted over the last few months, and they no longer seem like food. In the past I just tried to ignore any blood but my stomach is turning a little just imagining it now.

        I’m glad to have people like you who I can look to for advice and delicious vegan recipes! It makes it a lot easier not to feel alone in this so thank you 🙂

      • Poppy says:

        May, what a lovely message, thank you.

        I am honoured that you consider me as someone to look to for advice and recipes! You are always welcome to ask anything!

        I do understand your longing for your mums cooking! It will ease over time, I never crave anything non vegan now! You will adapt more over time. Also, for scrambled eggs, have you tried scrambled tofu yet? And there’s some new fancy stuff called Vegg that is supposedly very similar to real eggs although I haven’t tried it.

        You are so not alone, please always come by if you need a little encouragement and virtual hand holding!! 😀

      • May says:

        I have heard of Vegg too but I’m dubious… nothing will taste exactly like scrambled fresh eggs in butter, so I think it’s best to focus on all the delicious food I can eat instead! I’m definitely becoming a better cook quite rapidly 🙂

      • Poppy says:

        Yes that’s a good outlook! Vegan foods are delicious! 😀

  9. Really nice post, it’s sad so many people judge animals without knowing them at all!!

  10. Beautiful story! I would never have imagined that chickens were fun – you see, I have never lived in a house! I’m curious though about what you do with the eggs, because I could probably live without meat (I’m in the process) but I just love eggs so much!

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you so much Erika. Yes chickens are super fun!!

      My current flock aren’t yet laying as the girls are too young. My last flock laid though and my partner would usually eat the eggs, they weren’t a hybrid designed to lay every single day so there was probably 2-3 eggs every other day so it was enough for him! If there was ever a collection gathering, I would give them to neighbours, friends and family.

      It’s really great to hear that you are in the process of living without meat. That will make such a huge difference to animals. Going vegetarian is a huge step to take for animal welfare (and your health!) even without going vegan. I would urge you to try and buy high welfare eggs though if you can (I hope that doesn’t sound pushy!)! 😀

      • Oh, definitely! I already buy them! 🙂 I’m trying to go vegetarian but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go vegan because I’m a rather picky eater 😛

      • Poppy says:

        That’s great!
        Veganism is not for everyone and there is no pressure here! I think if you can reduce meat, become vegetarian or even vegan or plant based then great but if not, that’s fine too! I guess I’m lucky that (besides animal products of course) I’m not a picky eater at all! 😀

  11. I loved reading about your chickens, Poppy. They’re family. The thought of them sprinting through the house is just too sweet. I feel the same love, pride, and protective instincts toward the birds that visit our feeders – especially the hummingbirds that spend the summer with us. They have such personalities.

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you so much Annie. I’m really pleased you enjoyed reading about my little birdies. It’s 11pm here and one of my boys, Isis just started crowing!!! Bless him!

      How wonderful that you have hummingbirds with you for the summer. They are beautiful.

      😀

  12. This is a great post. Very thought provoking quote as well.

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  15. anaguarisma says:

    Aww, I think I want chickens now. It must be lovely ❤

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