Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Favourite Animal Rights/Vegan Podcasts

In order to be the most effective animal advocates as is possible, it's important to regularly remind ourselves of why we went vegan, to network with other vegans, to stay informed about animal issues, and to be inspired to help animals. After all, if we don't work in an animal-related field or have frequent discussions with other vegans, it can be easy to go long periods of time without really thinking about why we went vegan. Regularly networking with other animal activists helps us to exchange ideas, stories, and tips, and to have a sense of community.

One excellent way to stay informed and inspired is to listen to podcasts. Even those of us with busy lifestyles can find the time to listen to a podcast or two, as listening to audio is a great way to pass the time while commuting, exercising, relaxing, washing dishes, and doing other activities that don’t require your undivided attention. (It's best not to have earbuds in while walking, running, biking, or driving on the road, though!) And, unlike when you’re browsing the web, when you’re listening to podcasts you don’t have to worry about getting distracted by annoying comments or accidentally seeing graphic photos of animals on factory farms.
I’ve been listening to several animal rights/vegan podcasts lately. Here are my top 3 favourites:
1) Food for Thought Podcast with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.
I could write a whole article about Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, but in short, Colleen is a vegan advocate who promotes joyful vegan living and compassionate communication. Her podcast, Food for Thought, focuses on a different topic to do with animal rights and/or veganism in each episode. Examples of podcast episode titles include “Traveling to Africa: Planning and Preparing for a Dream Trip” (this was an exciting one), “Advocacy and Adaptation: Fitting In and Living Joyfully in a Non-Vegan World”, and “Animal Word Origins”.
Although of course I don’t agree with everything Colleen says, I do love her message of unapologetic and compassionate vegan living. I’ve listened to about 25 of her podcast episodes so far. They are inspiring and informative!
In addition to creating her own podcast, Colleen also makes videos, writes books and articles, gives speeches, and more! Her podcast and other materials can be found on her website at http://www.joyfulvegan.com/podcast

I'd recommend Food for Thought if you are looking for: information, advice, and inspiration to help you lead a joyful, compassionate, and unapologetic vegan activist lifestyle.
2) The Vegan Option with Ian McDonald.
The Vegan Option is a documentary-style podcast hosted by Ian McDonald. The episodes are so fascinating—and sound so professional—that they are definitely worth a listen! Examples of episodes include the “Vegetarianism: The Story So Far” series (about the history of vegetarianism—it’s very interesting), “Science Fiction and Animals” (which includes a funny Doctor Who parody audio sketch), and the “Veganism in Politics” series (which I look forward to listening to soon). Find his podcast at http://theveganoption.org/category/show/.

I'd recommend The Vegan Option if you are looking for: compelling documentary stories and ideas about animals and veganism in society.
3) Our Hen House Podcast with Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan.
Our Hen House Podcast is a weekly podcast hosted by Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan. The main section of each podcast includes interviews with various animal rights/vegan activists; there’s also an animal rights news segment and a “Rising Anxieties” segment about how the animal industries are taking notice of the animal rights movement. Each episode also includes some commentary and chit-chat. It reminds me of listening to the radio because it has lots of different sections to it. I don’t agree with all of their positions on certain subjects, but I usually really like listening to this podcast. And it provides plenty of inspiration to activists who are looking to do more to help animals. You can find the podcast at http://www.ourhenhouse.org/podcast/. They also have an "Animal Law" podcast and a "Teaching Jasmin How to Cook Vegan" podcast.

I'd recommend Our Hen House if you are looking: to keep updated on the latest goings-on in the animal rights world, and to be inspired to help animals by hearing about what other activists are doing.
Just to let you know, I will be posting this post on my new blog, as well. Have a nice week!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Big Announcement

Hello everyone! Today I have a big announcement to make... I'm starting a new blog! It's called Vegan Forget-Me-Nots, and it's a blog on which I will share my latest activism projects and provide resources for other animal rights/vegan activists.

I felt the need to start a new blog in addition to this one because I wanted to start a more focused "homepage" of sorts for my activism-- one on which people can be easily find videos, posters, and other content that I'm making.

I am still going to keep posting sporadically (as I have been doing) on The Animal Rights Action Site, however. I started writing for this blog when I was 15, and have been keeping at it for nearly the past 5 years! This blog has been a useful place for me to develop my writing skills and spread the word about animal rights, and I'm so glad I have kept with it for so long. I love this blog, so don't worry, it isn't going away!

On Vegan Forget-Me-Nots, I am working on a project called "Reasons To Be Vegan". I'm making (a) video(s) and posters for this, so please check out my new blog and sign up for e-mail updates of new blog posts!

You can find it at http://veganforgetmenots.blogspot.ca/ .

Have a great day!

Copyright C. H. 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ban of Selling Commercially-Bred Dogs and Cats from Ottawa Pet Stores!

Hello everyone,
A while ago, I did a post on how the City of Ottawa was considering banning the sale of commercially-bred dogs, cats, and rabbits from pet stores in Ottawa. Well, now I have some pretty good news-- a new law has been passed! Once it starts being enforced, the only dogs and cats that will be allowed to be sold at Ottawa pet stores will be animals from animal shelters and rescues.
The bad news, however, is that these changes will not come into effect for 5 years. Also, none of the articles I have seen on the subject mention rabbits or other small animals at all, so presumably rabbits and other "pocket pets" will still be sourced from commercial breeders. :(
Still, it's encouraging to know that the regulations are changing surrounding this! :)

Here are a couple of links to articles about this:

Monday, April 11, 2016

Why whether or not one eats meat is not a "personal choice"

Sometimes non-vegans say that vegans shouldn't try to convince others to go vegan, and that "eating meat is a personal choice" that vegans should respect. But is eating animals really a "personal choice"?
I don't think it is. Here's why...
To begin, let's define "personal choice". In this context, a personal choice is a decision that does not harm or seriously affect anyone else, so the individual making the choice has the right to do as they wish, without anyone else intervening.
But eating animals-- and supporting the cruel and exploitative animal industries in general-- does harm others. It harms the animals. Animal agriculture is responsible for the imprisonment, torture, exploitation, and murder of billions of animals every year.
Whether you are a vegan or a non-vegan is technically a choice, but it is not at all personal. It affects others. For this reason, although I respect individuals who eat meat, I do not have patience for the choice to eat meat. I don't try to aggressively push veganism on people, because I respect the personal space of others. However, when people tell me that they eat meat, I don't simply smile and shrug and say "it's a personal choice", either. Instead, I politely mention that veganism isn't as hard as many people make it out to be, and then let them change the subject if they want to. If they do want to engage in conversation about veganism, I am all too happy to talk about it, though!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Amazing Spoken Song

This is an incredibly powerful video. This spoken song was written and performed by M. Edward King, son of a British farmer (his website is http://vegansongs.com/). Please watch it, and then show it/send it to anyone who will watch it! Thanks! I believe that his song has the ability to change hearts and minds, and to markedly shift the way many people think about animals.
For the animals,
(If you'd prefer to see the video on YouTube, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYyjel5VuHg)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

City of Ottawa Considering Restricting Sale of Dogs, Cats, and Rabbits in Pet Stores

Good news! The City of Ottawa (in Ontario, Canada) (a.k.a. my city!) is considering banning the sale of commercially-bred dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores. If these new laws come into place, the only dogs, cats, and rabbits who would be allowed to be sold in pet stores would be animals from non-commercial sources (animal shelters, rescues, humane societies, and maybe even from owners who surrender their pet directly to the pet store). I am very excited to hear this news-- it is long overdue!

This new law will likely help to reduce animal breeding operations (including puppy and kitten mills) and encourage adoption, as well as helping to curb the numbers of animals currently entering, living in, and being euthanized in animal shelters. Besides, animals are not property, and should not be treated commercial "products" to be bought and sold!

Currently, there are only three pet stores in Ottawa that sell dogs, cats, and/or rabbits from commercial breeders, but ending this practice in Ottawa once and for all will be a further "win" for the animals. Commercial breeders would still be able to sell animals in venues other than pet stores, but at least more homeless animals from shelters will be adopted than they otherwise would, and it will be harder for commercial breeders to profit from selling sentient creatures. I would like to see these new regulations extend to ALL animals-- not just dogs, cats, and rabbits-- but this is a step in the right direction, at least!

The City of Ottawa encourages residents to read the document explaining these proposed changes, and then to submit their opinions on the City's website.

Discussion Paper with more information:

Comment Sheet, which can be submitted online:

If you live in or near Ottawa, please take a few minutes to submit your opinion!

For the animals,

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Think of the Animals on Remembrance Day

In November 2013, I wrote a blog post called "Remembering the Animal Victims of War on Remembrance Day", in which I discussed some of the ways that animals have been used in warfare and are still used for modern-day military purposes. I also mentioned Animal Aid's purple poppy campaign, in which people could buy a purple poppy to wear alongside their red poppy on Remembrance Day.
With Remembrance Day 2015 coming up, I'd like to re-visit the issue of war's animal victims. To start with, you can read my 2013 post here: http://theanimalrightsactionsite.blogspot.ca/2013/11/remembering-animal-victims-of-war-on.html.
One part of that post, however, is no longer current-- namely, Animal Aid's purple poppy campaign. Animal Aid is now replacing the purple poppies with purple paw badges instead. Here the reasoning behind the switch, as stated on Animal Aid's website:

"Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler, explains a change of emphasis for our animal victims of war initiative.
When we at Animal Aid launched our purple poppy initiative – to commemorate the animal victims of war – no other organisation seemed to be addressing the issue. Our aim was to make it clear that animals used in warfare are indeed victims, not heroes. They do not give their lives; their lives are taken from them.
But too often the narrative promoted by the media has been one of animals as the valiant servants of people in violent conflict. This is precisely the opposite message to that which we intended. An equivalent situation would be if animal victims of laboratory research were to be presented as brave heroes in the service of human beings – with Animal Aid’s name attached to that idea. Having said that, many of our poppy sellers have worked extraordinarily hard and with great passion on this campaign. Certainly, our message, via their work, has to a degree got through. But the dominant narrative (animal victims of war are heroes who died for us) is so deeply embedded that only a huge effort (costly in every way) can uproot it and lay down something that will benefit the animals. We considered the massive-effort option but decided that Animal Aid’s finite resources are best used on other urgent, more productive campaigns.
We are, therefore, replacing the purple poppy with a purple paw badge that will commemorate all animal victims of human exploitation. It can be worn all year round – at special events or day to day. Rest assured that we will continue to promote our victims-not-heroes message every year in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday (but without the purple poppy), and we will continue to produce our Animals: the hidden victims of war booklet and other resources."

Although I really liked the idea of people wearing purple poppies on Remembrance Day (because it gives people a way to pay respect to animals on that solemn day in particular), I can understand why Animal Aid decided to switch. It's unacceptable to be giving people the message that animals volunteered to give their lives to help humans fight wars, and if that's the message that some people have been thinking after seeing the purple poppies, then maybe it does make sense for Animal Aid to switch to something else. Besides, the purple paw badge can be worn on any occasion-- it's not just for Remembrance Day-- and it is meant to commemorate not solely the animal victims of war, but all animals who are exploited by humans. However, the fact that it can be worn year-round is both a benefit and a problem; since it isn't specific to Remembrance Day, people might be less likely to talk about it, because it isn't for a special occasion. But the badge still does raise awareness about the exploitation of animals, and that's very important, so it's definitely worth buying a badge for yourself!
If you do order a purple paw badge, I commend you for making the effort to raise awareness for the animals. Just make sure to explain to people what the significance of the purple paw badge is-- that it is meant to commemorate the animal victims (not voluntary heroes!) of war.
You can check out Animal Aid's booklet, "Animals: the hidden victims of war", at http://www.animalaid.org.uk/images/pdf/booklets/war.pdf. Perhaps consider printing it off your computer and handing out copies/leaving them out at school or work for people to take!

Summary of some things you can do to help:
  1. Order a Purple Paw Badge from Animal Aid and wear it! (You can see all available accessories at http://www.animalaidshop.org.uk/accessories.)
  2. Print out "Animals: the hidden victims of war" and distribute it!
  3. Write letters to the editor about the use of animals in warfare.
  4. Call in to radio talk shows on or around Remembrance Day to educate people on the animal victims of war.
  5. Do research on whether your country uses animals in the military. If it does, write to the people who are in charge of defence in your country to express your disgust with these practices.
  6. Tell people in your life about how animals were/are used in war.
  7. Post on social media to raise awareness for the Purple Paw Badge campaign!
This Remembrance Day, why not take some time to educate other people about the animal victims of war, and of other forms of human-caused exploitation?

Until next time!