Vegan blogger blames Aussie fires on 'flesh fetish' meat eaters...
Freelee the Banana Girl has sparked controversy with her direct and insensitive words, but many claim that this is the message we need to be hearing.
Controversial vegan diet and lifestyle blogger, ‘Freelee’ has sparked controversy with a new video that suggests a correlation between the Australian Bush fires and the meat-heavy diets of average Australians.
The main argument of the video addresses the ‘Sausage Sizzle’ fundraiser in Australia, which Freelee considers to be a flawed concept. Like many vegans, Freelee’s question simply is: why must Australians raise money for the fire by selling meat, given that meat has the greatest effect on global warming and so will ultimately make the fires worse?
"let's save some animals!" Even leaving the environmental matter aside the absurdity is clear.
The video is unmistakably emotionally loaded; at one point, Freelee states that the amount of animals burnt to death in the fire is equivalent to ‘the entire world’s population of dogs gone forever… including yours’. As she says this, there is a still shot of a frightened cow stuck behind barbed wire with the fire approaching on screen.
But, it is hard to argue that she hasn’t got a point; scientists are largely in agreement that cutting out meat is the ‘single biggest way’ individuals can reduce their carbon footprint. Handy, when scientists have observed global warming pushing 1.5 degrees celsius for the past few years. Freelee claims that “Each day, a vegan saves 4,100 litres of water, 20 kilos of grain, a 30 square foot of forest and 20lbs of C02 equivalent and one animal's life.” Some might argue that’s worth switching for.
But Freelee’s video is unmistakably blunt. She specifies that she’s ‘not going to sugar coat this for you’, but even so, her claims seem irresponsibly brash: "If you are Australian, and you eat animals and their secretions, then you are a big part of the problem," she says at one point. Those are hard words to hear for many who have fallen victim to the fire, and harder still for those who are trying their best to help.
As a result, many have found these words insulting and insensitive, and quite rightly. In the comment section under the Daily Mail Australia’s reportage, one commenter writes: “I formally refuse to acknowledge anything Leanne Ratcliffe has to say.” Another, quips that, “She's not the ripest one in the bunch.”
Some met the claims with confusion: one commenter from Australia writes, “I don't recall any animals spontaneously combusting and starting a bushfire.” Some might say comments like this demonstrate the tide of education and change still needed before vegan activists can convey their message.
Much to my amusement, when I went to watch the video I was shown a HelloFresh advert of their latest beef recipe. Perhaps this is another indicator of how far Freelee's message is from hitting home.
The advert I got shown before watching was for HelloFresh's new steak dish.
But for many, the video has struck a chord. One commenter wrote under the video itself: “This is genuinely the most inspirational video I’ve ever watched, my eyes literally filled with tears as I realised how much of an impact I’m really making by eating animal products.” Another writes, “'1 billion animals were burned to death so let's go burn more to fundraise', yeah that's productive”. I suppose what else can we expect given that the majority of commenters are subscribers to the vegan blogger?
Freelee’s usual content is a mix of diet and exercise tips and vegan activism and she is a proponent of the rare ‘raw-till-four’ diet. This is a diet in which the user doesn’t eat cooked or heated food until 4pm, to ensure they are eating enough unprocessed and nutritionally complete foodstuffs. This, along with her high sugar vegan diet (Freelee rose to fame as a result of eating over fifty bananas a day and winning the nickname, ‘Banana Girl’) has, according to her ‘saved [her] life’, and now she hope that it can save the planet too.