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Photo by Jay & Mel https://www.flickr.com/photos/49989861 CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo by Jay & Mel https://www.flickr.com/photos/49989861 CC BY-NC 2.0

On November, 2nd Miklós Szatyor, director of the Pécs Zoo in Hungary, who is said to be a “a good hunter”, shot a young wolf dead. The animal had escaped from the zoo the previous day after having jumped a 3-meter-high fence, in spite of the electric wires. Szatyor said he was saddened by the events and added: „The wolf had behaved in an aggressive way. I only had live ammunition on me but anyway, it would not have been worth trying to shoot it with a tranquilizer from such a distance” (i.e. 50 meters). The wolf arrived from Italy less than 24 hours before he got frightened of the noise of the works in the zoo that is still under reconstruction. The animal protection NGO Állatvedő Liga (Animal Protection League) condemned Szatyor’s actions as unjustified and they started a petition demanding the director to step down.

There are many thoughts that come to my mind regarding these news, and none of them are pleasant. For example in what way was the wolf aggressive if Director Szatyor had not been able to get close enough to be able to shoot him with a tranquilizer? How is it possible that Szatyor only had live ammunition on him? I fail to see why he did not take a tranquilizer gun with himself for the search of the escaped animal particularly because I know that wolves are protected under Hungarian legislation. Previous reports stated that the escaped wolf was very tame, however, a few lines below I read that the “local hunting association was present in great numbers”. This is not the first time that a wolf has escaped from the Pécs Zoo. Why didn’t the institution have an action plan for similar cases that would ensure the maximal protection of the safety of the population as well as the life of the escaped animal?

The previous management of the zoo had been dismissed on financial mismanagement and graft charges. The article in the local newspaper BAMA which reports about the investigation that led to the dismissals mentions that there had been unexplained deaths of animals, and that “there have been several cases when animals had been purchased without the basic provisions for their arrivals.” Another article reports that a bear had been shot within his enclosure by hunters, and many other animals, including a tiger, had disappeared. It makes me wonder whether there have been changes in the conditions at all under the new management if a young wolf managed to escape its enclosures within 24 hours after his arrival.

This incident brings into a light an issue which is often overlooked. Is there a need for zoos at all? Raising the question itself touches sensitive cords for many people. We have such sweet childhood memories about our walks in the zoo: about feeding the elephant, watching a baby tiger or a monkey family play. We would like to give similar memories to our children. Furthermore, we have often heard that zoos play an important role in education and in conservation of protected species. But is this really so?

Unfortunately, research that was not financed by zoos, such as the one published in Society and Animals by L. Marino et al. do not support the above claims: they found no evidence that visits to zoos and aquariums would produce long-term positive effects on people’s attitudes toward other animals.

Afterall, just think about it: a child will watch an animal only for a few minutes, behind bars, outside of its natural habitat. What we actually teach children by taking them to zoos is that animals are there for our amusement; our amusement is worth more than their right to be free or to spend their lives with their families. (Because of the animal trade between zoos, the babies very rarely have the chance to stay long with their mothers. The separation and the long transportation to other zoos are highly stressful for them.)

Shooting the escaped wolf in Hungary underlines the fact that in the eyes of the management of zoos saving animals’ lives is not a priority at all. The public was outraged to hear about the recent culling of “surplus” giraffes and lions in Denmark. (Even John Oliver’s comedy show had a word on that). However, it is less well-known that only in Europe over 5,000 animals are euthanized by zoos every year.

Although zoos like to promote themselves as protectors of endangered species, the reality is that only a tiny fraction of animals bred in such facilities are released back to their natural habitat, and those which are freed have very little chance for survival. Even breeding programmes for critically endangered species, such as the giant panda, have failed to fulfil their role to save animals.

So if zoos are not useful for education and neither for conservation, why do they still exist? There is only one reason for their existence and that is profit. For instance, the Hungarian zoo from where the unfortunate wolf escaped is currently being reconstructed for HUF 1.2 billion (USD 4.09 million).

There are much more effective ways to teach children to love animals. For example, Costa Rica permanently closes down its zoos while the new bio diversity museum in Panama presents the local fauna with the aid of giant multimedia screens and lifelike models, without one single animal in captivity. Today’s youth are so much more entertained even by a simple nature film, than by a miserable monkey behind bars. I am convinced that the future zoos will use technology something like this 3D projection.

But why would you want to go to zoos anyway? Even if the decoration is life-like, it will never come up to the animal’s wild habitat. Take your family for a hike in the mountains, bird watching or snorkelling. A visit to a national park or to a farm sanctuary can be a wonderful experience too.

I believe that soon there will be a time when we will all view keeping other animals in captivity with the same condemnation, as we think of the barbarity of the exhibition of humans in zoos. We cannot teach our children for empathy and for the love of animals by financially supporting institutions who make profit from their exploitation.

Vélemény: Farkas a mesében

Picture by Jay & Mel https://www.flickr.com/photos/49989861 CC BY-NC 2.0

Photo by Jay & Mel https://www.flickr.com/photos/49989861 CC BY-NC 2.0

For the English version please click here

Mindenszentek napján Szatyor Miklós, a pécsi állatkert igazgatója, aki „jó vadász hírében áll”, lelőtte a farkast, ami a megelőző nap szökött meg az állatkertből egy 3 méteres, villanypásztorral ellátott kerítés átugrása után. Szatyor úr sajnálkozását fejezte ki és hozzátette: „A farkas agresszíven viselkedett. Csak éles lövedék volt nálam, de ilyen távolságból az altatólövedékkel felesleges is lett volna próbálkozni.” Az Állatvedő Liga indokolatlannak tartja az eljárást, és aláírasgyűjtést inditott az igazgató eltávolítása érdekében.

Sok gondolat felmerül bennem ezzel a hírrel kapcsolatban, és egyik sem kellemes. Például miben merült ki a farkas agressziója, ha nem tudott elég közel kerülni Szatyor úr ahhoz, hogy altatólövedékkel kábítsa el? Hogyan lehetséges az, hogy nem volt altatólövedék Szatyor úrnál? Már csak azért is érthetetlen számomra ez, mert tudom, hogy a farkas hazánkban fokozottan védett, eszmei értéke 250 000 Ft. Korábbi híradásokban szerepelt, hogy a farkas szelíd volt, de néhány sorral később azt olvashattuk, hogy a „helyi vadásztársaság nagy erőkkel vonult fel”. Ez nem az első alkalom, hogy farkas szökik meg a pécsi állatkertből. Hogyhogy nem volt hasonló esetre egy olyan akcióterve az intézménynek, ami a lakosság maximális védelme mellett az állat életenek megőrzését is biztosítja?

A pécsi állatkert előző vezetését gazdasági visszaélések miatt váltották le. A vizsgálatról tudósító BAMA-cikk szűkszavúan megemlít „állatelhullásokat” illetve azt, hogy „olyan állatbeszerzések történtek, amelyek során a fogadás feltételeit nem teremtették meg”. Felmerül a kérdés, hogy vajon mennyiben változtak a feltételek az állatkert új vezetése alatt, ha a kilőtt farkasnak sikerült az állatkertbe érkezése után 24 óran belül megszöknie?

Azt gondolom, hogy ez az eset olyan témákra hívja fel a figyelmet, amelyekről nem igazán illendő a mai Magyarországon beszélni: szükség van-e állatkertekre? Már maga a kérdésfelvetés is érzékenyen érint bennünket, hiszen olyan kedves emlékeink vannak gyermekkorunkból az állatkerti sétakról, az elefántról, az oroszlánról és a majomházból. Szeretnénk, ha gyermekeinknek ugyanezt az élményt megadhatnánk. És egyébként is, az állatkertek „fontos szerepet töltenek be a környezettudatosságra nevelésben és a veszélyeztetett fajok megőrzésében”. De valóban így van ez? Sajnos azok a kutatások, amelyeket nem az állatkertek finanszíroztak, például ez, cáfolják ezeket az állításokat: nincs arra bizonyíték, hogy az állatkertek környezettudatosságra késztetnék a fiatalokat. Elvégre gondoljunk csak bele: egy-egy állatot néhany percig néz a gyerek; természetes környezetéből kiragadva, rácsok mögött. Voltaképpen pont, hogy azt tanítjuk a gyereknek ezzel, hogy az állatok az emberek szórakoztatására léteznek, az, hogy az életüket rabságban, családjuktól elszakítva töltenék, az minket ne érdekeljen. (Az állatok állatkertek közötti cseréje és adásvétele miatt a kicsik legtöbbször csak rövid ideig maradnak anyjukkal).

A farkas kilövése jó példa arra is, hogy az állatok épségének megőrzése egyáltalán nem prioritás a zook vezetőségének szemében, mint ahogyan ezt egy dán állatkert is igen erőteljesen alátámasztotta a „feleslegessé vált” zsiráfok és oroszlánok leölésével. Európában évente 5000 “feleslegessé vált” állatot altatnak el az állatkertek. A feljebb említett tanulmány arra is rámutat, hogy annak ellenére, hogy az állatkertek szeretnek a veszélyeztett fajok védelmezőinek szerepében tetszelegni, a valóság az, hogy a fogságban szaporított állatok csupán elenyésző százalékát engedik vissza természetes élőhelyükre, és a visszaengedett állatok túlélési esélye nagyon kicsi. Még a kihalás szélén álló fajok, mint páldául az óriáspanda megmentése érdekében indult tenyészprogramok sem töltik be szerepüket.

Tehát, ha sem ismeretterjesztésre, sem a védett fajok megőrzésére nem jók az állatkertek, akkor miért van rájuk szükség? A kérdés megválaszolását a kedves olvasóra bízom, segítségül csak egy példát hadd említsek még: a pécsi állatkertet 1,2 milliárd forintos felújítási munkálatok után adták át idén…

A hiedelemmel ellentétben állatkertek nélkül sokkal hatékonyabban lehet a gyerekeket empátiára és az állatok iránti érzékenységre nevelni. Costa Rica például bezárta az összes állatkertjét. Panama legújabb biodiverzitásmúzeuma pedig egyetlen élő állat nélkül, látványos makettek és izgalmas óriási multimédiás kivetítők segítségével mutatja be a helyi faunát. Akár egy egyszerű természetfilm is sokkal inkább leköt egy mai gyereket, mint egy rács mögött szenvedő majom. De nem sokára már a 3D technologiák is bevethetőek lesznek.

Ha valóban az állatok szeretetére akarjuk nevelni gyermekünket, akkor ne támogassuk forintjainkkal az intézményeket, amik fogságbantartásukból, kihasználásukból hasznot húznak. Bízom benne, hogy hamarosan az állatok bezárását és mutogatasát ugyanúgy el fogja ítélni az emberek többsége, mint ahogyan ma már az emberek állatkertben mutogatásával sem értenek egyet.

Az állatok fogságbantartása ellen tiltakozók november 22-én 13:30-kor találkoznak a Pécsi Állatkert előtt. Itt lehet csatlakozni az eseményhez.

Black forest cake

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Thank you so much, A. for all the tips and help with this impressive cake, and thank you TIF for publishing it! I made it for an event at work. It is much easier to make than I expected!

You will need (cake  form Ø 24 cm)

Ingredients:

Cake

400 g flour
270 g sugar
60 g soy flour *
80 g cocoa powder
2 packs of baking powder
120 g of sunflower oil
400 ml soy milk *
1 pinch of salt
150 ml water

For the filling and decoration:

750 ml soy whipped cream **
100 g dark chocolate
1 pack chocolate sprinkles** (granules au cacao/granella al cacao)
1 package chocolate shavings** (copeaux de chocolat/riccioli di cioccolato)
2-3 tablespoons raspberry jam
optional cherry
3 packs of  whip cream fix (raffermisseur pour creme fouettee/consolidante per panna montata) **
1 can of pitted cherries

* Available in health food stores, (for example Votre Sante, Geneva,  Bd Carl-Vogt 28)
**Available  at Migros

Method

Cake:
Mix all ingredients, pour the mixture  into the cake tin and bake at 200 degrees for 45 minutes. When the cake has cooled, cut it horizontally into three layers (Tip: Easier to cut the cake if you bake it the day before. ).

Spread some jam over the first layer of the cake.

For the chocolate cream filling: Whip the 750 ml soy whipped cream with the 3 packs of cream fix. Melt the 100 g chocolate in a pan over warm water. Stir the chocolate into  200 g of the whipped cream.

Spread this over the jam on the first layer. Distribute some of the cherries over the chocolate. The second layer will be filled with 250 g of soy whipped cream. I put some cherries on this layer too. Then place the top layer of the cake over this and spread the remaining whipped cream over the top and the sides. (Leave a little bit for the final decoration). Sprinkle the sides with the dark chocolate sprinkles, and the top with the chocolate shavings.  Decorate the top with soy whipped cream rosettes which you finish with half cherries.  Chill it for few hours. It will make 12 to 16 slices.

Source (in German):

http://www.tier-im-fokus.ch/info-material/tif-topf/schwarzwaeldertorte/

Brussels sprouts soup

One of the best things about autumn is that Brussels sprouts come into season. Here is my fav soup to make with them:

I chop up

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

2-3 carrots

3-4 tomatoes

and any other vegetables that you feel like,

and add

300-500 grams of Brussels sprouts. (I go for the more option normally).

I boil water, add 2 cubes of veg stock and all the vegetables, cook for about 20 minutes. I like to make it a thick soup, a bit like minestrone. You may want to jazz it up with some olive oil, but this is great without that too.

OMG! This is totally amazing! In fact, every raw recipe I have tried so far has been a huge blast for me.

INGREDIENTS:

Sea salt, pepper

4 tbsp olive oil

Topping:

40 g / ¾ cup mushrooms

½ teaspoon soy sauce

1 ½ tbsp lemon juice

260 g tomatoes

40 g / half a cup sundried tomatoes, soaked for 1 hour in warm water

2 teaspoons salt-cured capers, soaked and drained

2 teaspoons agave syroup

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons vinegar

„Cheese”

150 g / 1 cup cashew nuts, soaked for half an hour

2 tbsp chopped onion

fresh basil leaves to decorate

Base:

130 g / 1 cup sunflower seeds, ground (I ground it in my coffee grinder)

120 g oatflakes

5 tbsp warm water (I used more)

5 tbsp ground flaxseeds

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

for 3-4 persons. Taken from Dunja Gulin’s Raw food kitchen, slightly changed. (This author has no problem with eating animals or by-products of their exploitation.).

Clean mushrooms and slice them thinly. Marinate them in the mixture of the soy sauce and lemon juice.

Put the oats and warm water in a bowl and knead for a few minutes. Add the remaining ingredients for the base and knead until the mixture binds together. Cut two 35 cm sheets of baking parchment and place the dough ball in the middle of one. Cover with the other sheet and flatten the dough with a rolling pin into a circel about 26 cm across. Discard the top sheet, transfer to a plate and let stand for 15 minutes.

For the topping, seed the plum tomatoes. Cut 150g / 5 oz. Into very small dices, add a pinch of salt, after a few minutes pat them drz on kitchen paper. Put aside.

Chop the remaining tomatoes, the sun-dried tomatoes and capers and blend in the food processor with the agave, oregano, 1 tbsp oil and 1 teaspoon of the vinegar. This is the best pizza sauce ever!

Drain the cashews well and put them in a food processor with the onion, the remaining lemon juice, vinegar and oil. Blend until smooth.

Spread the pizza sauce over the pizza base. Use a teaspoon to cover the sauce with dollops of cashew mixture. Scatter the reserved diced tomatoes and the marinated mushrooms over the top. Finish with some dried oregano, black pepper, fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. I doubt that it will though:). Thank you for this rawsome recipe, Ms Gulin!

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Yet another Hungarian classic. The recipe seems to be longish, but actually it is a very easy and delicious dish. I took the basic recipe from a cookbook of Napfényes restaurant  (Title: Napfényes receptek 3. If you understand Hungarian, I highly recommend it! This little cheap booklet is full of great tips for beginner vegans about how to substitute non-vegan foods, and the recipes are just amazing!)

INGREDIENTS:

1000 g sauerkraut (soured cabbage; I used raw which I bought in Urban Bio,Geneva)

2 onions, finally chopped

chopped vegetables that you like to make about 300 ml veggie paprika stew (I’ve used 1 tomato and 3 zucchinis)

250 g boiled brown rice (in the pressure cooker it takes only 18 minutes to boil)

250 g seitan, ground

marjoram, thyme, paprika, ground bay leaves, salt, pepper

2-3 cloves of garlic. crushed

oil (traditionally, Hungarian cuisine calls for sunflower oil. I use olive oil.)

sea salt

vegan sour crème/crème fraiche (I’ve used Soyananda, that you can buy in most health stores inGeneva. It is incredibly good!

Veggie paprika stew

Saute the onions in a pan with about 2 tbsp oil. When they are kind of transparent (but not burned), take the pan off the stove, and sprinkle about 1 tbsp paprika on top. Mix. Add the veggies and put them back to medium-law heat. Add a little water to make some sauce. Cook until the veggies are tender. Puree in a blender.

The layering part

Mix the boiled rice, garlic, herbs and seitan. Put the soured cabbage in a sieve to get rid of the excess liquid. (The best is to drink it: it is full of vitamin C and it is so yummy!). Divide it into two parts. The first part goes into an oiled ovenproof dish. Sprinkle paprika and ground bayleaf on top. Next, put the rice-seitan mixture. Then the second layer of cabbage. Finally pour over the veggie paprika stew liquid, and bake it in a preheated oven on medium heat. (I cooked it on 150 degrees Celsius. About 40 minutes, but if you make half the portion, only 20 minutes).

Serve it with Soyananda crème fraiche.

Inspiral, the fab vegan and raw vegan restaurant in London, Camden Lock has the most wonderfully moist brownies that I have ever eaten. I was trying to create something similar. The result was very different from what I had aimed for, but still, it was very yummy. This recipe is for about 6 small portions.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup oil

1 cup maple syrup

¼ cup plant based milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whole meal flour

½ cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

a pinch of salt

½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven for 170 degrees Celsius. Mix the dry ingredients, and then add the liquids. Pour the mixture into muffin forms or into an oiled and floured dish. Bake for about 15-25 minutes, depending on how gooey you like it.

 

One of the highlights of my stay in London was to visit this amazing restaurant. I think it is all vegan, they have icecreams too. The atmosphere is relaxed and lovely. The food portions are gigantic, very good deals and super yummy. With view to the water… I went there twice and tried their lasagne, tiramisu and brownies. All were exceptional! Great raw variety and smoothies too!

Address: 250 Camden High Street

http://www.inspiralled.net

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Ask your grandparents, and most probably they will tell you that when they were young, they did not have meat every day. Maybe once a week, on Sunday. It was not different in Hungary either, and this hearty cole (savoy cabbage) soup must have been one of the meat free dishes they had. I love it in itself, or with a tofu sausage.

You will need:

1 savoy cabbage (cole) (600-800 grams) washed, cut into small chunks

300 grams potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks

1 small onion grated or finely chopped

ground cumin, paprika, marjoram, salt, pepper

2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour

4 tablespoons of olive oil

cold water

Pour hot water over the cabbage to shrink the leaves. Then place it in a pot with the potatoes and water and boil  until soft. (About 25 minutes). In the meanwhile pour oil in a pan over medium heat, saute onion, and slowly add flour, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. Then slowly add cold water, and keep on stirring.You should get a smooth texture without lumps. This is what we will use to thicken the soup. When the cabbage and the potatoes are soft, add this floury mixture and stir well to avoid any lumps. Add salt and herbs to taste. Give it another 10 minutes on the heat. Serve it as a soup or as a main course. 

Pasta with fave beans

I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Rome. While there, many natives told me about their passion for these large green beans. Somehow I never tried them then, but recently our local cooperative has surprised us with large quantities of fave beans, and I finally had the opportunity to try them and I have become a huge fun as well.

You will need:

500 g fave beans (can be less)

pasta for 4 persons (I used penne)

vegetable stock

vegan cheese, grated

ground pepper

extra virgin olive oil

This is how I make them:

I take the beans out of the pod and then take off the outer shell of the beans. It does take some time, but I find it relaxing. You can watch TV in the meantime if it bores you. Cook the beans in the vegetable stock for 20 minutes. Boil the pasta in the meantime, and when it is ready, mix in the beans, add a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil, pepper and salt to taste. I like to grate vegan cheese on top. (Cheddar style Cheezely).

Buon appetito!

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