I’m excited to announce the launch of my new website and vegan video series, VeganBreak.com!
I’m starting Vegan Break as an attempt to make veganism more accessible to the general public. I’ll be making short videos a couple times a week about all things vegan–vegan products, book and cookbook reviews, cooking, health, nutrition, under-reported food news, and much more! Here is the first episode:
If you’re vegan, thinking about going vegan, or just interested in healthy compassionate eating and living, I hope you will enjoy my website and find my videos helpful!
I’m spending thanksgiving alone in Ohio this year, so I’ve had some time to reflect. Thanksgiving is such a beautiful tradition of appreication, family, and delicious food. It breaks my heart to know that some people in this world can’t afford a thanksgiving meal or can’t be with their families on this day. For that reason I’ve started making a point of donating a thanksgiving meal to the hungry every year. But just as heartwrenching is the knowledge that at the center of most thanksgiving tables lies the body of an individual who suffered a life of continual discomfort, pain, and misery just so we can eat her at in the course of one meal. It strikes me as a contradiction to the spirit of Thanksgiving that we take the lives of others in order to celebrate our own, especially when it is possible to have healthful and delicious meals without doing so.
Having a turkey at Thanksgiving is a tradition that we’ve all grown up with, and that we’ve all participated in for a long time, but that few people really think about. We look upon some behaviors and traditions of the past (such as slavery, the treatment of women, the persecution of jews, etc.) with disgust, and wish that people had stopped participating in them. But it is important to notice that injustice is not a thing of the past–it is very much a part of our present day society. We are participants in some of the most intense, widespread, systematic and socially sanctioned suffering ever inflicted by humans on this planet, and that is the production and slaughter of animals for food. It is a horror hidden behind closed doors, and one that will not end until we stop supporting it.
I hope that you take a moment this thanksgiving to reflect, to open your heart to the feelings of others, and to embrace the sense of compassion that I know lies within all of us.
A new book hit the Amazon marketplace today–The Ultimate Vegan Guide is the third published masterpiece of vegan guru Erik Marcus. You may know him from his previous books, Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating, or Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money, but most likely you know him from his blog: www.vegan.com.
This book is the perfect guide to living a compassionate vegan life. Covering subjects ranging from home cooking to dining out to advanced activism, this book may soon become every compassionate person’s survival guide. Erik Marcus explains, “I wrote this book because it’s almost 2009 and our literature still didn’t have a breezy, fun, yet thorough introduction to how to go vegan.” According to the Amazon.com product description,
“YOU could be the world’s next vegan. It’s easy if you know how, and this uniquely helpful book tells you everything you need to know. Every topic related to vegan living is covered, including cooking, nutrition, food shopping, dining out, and much more. You’ll get clear and straight-forward guidance from one of the world’s most respected vegan authors. Going vegan is something you can easily accomplish; let The Ultimate Vegan Guide show you the way.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m sold! Two copies (one for myself and one to keep on hand for the next time someone asks me where I get my protein) should be arriving at my door any day now. I can’t wait!
A couple months ago I posted a blog entry called “A Moment for the Pigs.” It was so popular that I decided to do a similar post focusing on a different animal that is treated as a commodity in our society today.
Meet: The Cow
The question we all need to be asking ourselves is:
Are the more than just a number and an item our plate?
Make the connection. Is it worth it?
They want to live. But it’s not up to them. It’s up to us.
This is a preview for Peacable Kingdom, a movie that is guarenteed to touch your heart–as long as you have one 😉
Sanctuary noun 1. A place of refuge. 2. A shelter from danger or hardship.
Finding sanctuary is not something most Americans think about regularly–the lucky ones of us don’t need to at all. Some of us have found it already, and some are still searching. But for the majority of animals on this earth, farm animals, the idea of sanctuary–a place of shelter, protection, and safety, is but a distant dream.
Farm Sanctuaries are some of the most beautiful places in the world. They rescue animals who lived lives as machines in factories, and were in line to die as products being manufactured. Sanctuaries open their doors to animals who have lived through a more horrific hell than any one of us could begin to imagine, and provide them with peace and freedom from the incessant suffering and pain, both mental and physical, that had plagued their prior lives. Farm Sanctuaries are a glimmer of hope in an ice cold world.
I was given the opportunity to visit Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY this past summer for their annual Hoe Down event, and the animals I met there touched my heart in a way I never knew any creature could. It was my first time meeting a cow, and I nearly lost my breath at their patient, gentle characters. The saying “gentle giant” took on a new meaning, for never before had I experience a creature (or person) as gentle, nor as big, as those cows.
And to think, animals in factory farms don’t even have enough room to turn around.
I was so moved my experience with these incredible animals that our society treats as commodities that I wanted to share my experience. As the president of the Case Animal Rights & Ethics Society (CARES) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, I came back to school this year ready to organize a sanctuary trip for students. I found a closer Sanctuary in Ravenna, Ohio, called Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, and planned a trip there.
The trip was fantastic. We took a 15 person Case van down to Ravenna and got to spend the afternoon with a farm full of incredibly friendly, not to mention playful, eager and nuzzley farm animals. Here’s a little taste of the trip:
These gentle horses were rescued from slaughter. Horses that can no longer be slaughtered in the US are auctioned off and instead shipped to Mexico for slaughter. The whole process, from auction to transport to slaughter, is incredibly traumatic for the horses. What a sad way to treat a spent horse that not only trusts you, but often would do anything for you.
The event was a huge success, and everyone that came had a fantastic and enlightening experience. Yearly trips to the Sanctuary will definitely become a CARES tradition. To all you readers, if you have never been to a Farm Sanctuary, I cannot recommend it enough. I guarantee it will change your life, as it did mine.
You would think working 8 hours on a Saturday would be torturous–and usually it is, but somehow time slipped away from me today. My summer job working at a medical library left me with nothing to do all day. So, being the procrastinator fantastic time manager that I am, I decided to start playing around with Audobe Photoshop and the stock-pile of animal photos I’ve been collecting for some time. The result? See for your self:
Well… it’s definitely clear that I’m a novice, but I actually had a lot of fun making these! And one thing’s for sure…I gained a whole new respect for photoshop users. It’s so much more complicated than I thought!
Online animal advocacy is a great way to spread awareness in your free moments. It’s easy, it’s free, and it can be incredibly effective, especially if we start coordinating and working together!
Many of us have already started using Facebook as a mechanism of spreading awareness about animal issues–be it through groups, causes, posts, etc. There is no doubt that animal rights is leaving quite a mark on Facebook. There are more animal rights groups than I can count, and even vegan groups have accumulated thousands of members! But why stop here? There are hundreds of other social media sites that have yet to be touched by animal advocates. A huge one of these is Digg.com. Have you heard of it? If not, let me introduce you.
Digg.com is a social media news site where individuals create an account (with a user name and profile), submit content (web sites, news articles, videos, etc) and depending on the number of Digg’s the submission receives and how popular it becomes, it could ultimately reach the front page of digg. Now the cool thing is… content on the front page of Digg can reach upwards of 60,000 viewers! This is HUGE publicity for the site/content submitted.
Right now it is difficult for content promoting animal welfare to reach the front page because there are not many animal advocates using Digg! Because of this, animal stories–no matter how quality–don’t become popular.
Now IMAGINE if a bunch of animal advocates started using Digg. If we got just 100 animal advocates to start Digging submissions about animal welfare, these sites would reach thousands. This number (100) may seem intimidating, but consider how many animal advocates regularly dedicate their time to publicising animal issues on Facebook. Consider all the people pouring their efforts into writing and maintaining their own animal rights or vegan blog (there are hundreds, at least). Consider how ridiculously easy it would be for people to take a minute of their day to Digg the animal content. This could happen–we just need to take the initiative to make it happen!
Now there is a crucial factor we must keep in mind: This can only work if all the animal rights people are connected so that animal friendly submissions are brought to everyones attention. How can we do this? First, you should know that there is a “share” function that allows you to “shout” submissions to your Digg friends. Ordinarily, in order to make your content popular you first need to spend months accumulating hundreds of digg friends and shout your submissions to all of them. However, this can be greatly simplified by electing one (or a few) central animal rights digg representatives. All newcomers to Digg should add this individual as a friend. In this way, newcomers with very few friends can submit content and shout it to the central digger who can then shout it to all the other animal rights diggers. At the same time, you will receive shouts about other animal rights content from the central digger (so you don’t have to go sifting through Digg to find it yourself).
OK. If you’ve read this far I’m sure you’re eager to try this out. Here’s how to start:
- Create a Digg.com account/profile here.
- “Friend” the central Animal Rights digg representative (Michiko280) here.
- Start digging! Here is a good article to start with (about Factory Farming). You will receive shouts from Michiko280 when important animal rights content is submitted (usually about once a day).
- Spread the word! If you have animal advocate friends, invite them to join!
That’s a rap! Thanks for reading, and I hope you decide to get involved with this effort.
– Michelle 🙂
Dogs deserve better treatment than this, as do all living sentient beings.
They have no voice, no opposable thumbs, no way to fight for their life back.
It’s time for things to change. It’s time for us to change.
Take a Stand.