Sunday, October 28, 2012

Be a Foster Parent for a Homeless Animal

Some of you probably aren't able to make any long-term commitments by adopting a pet for the rest of his or her life. I understand-- maybeyou are planning on starting a new job in a year, or a new school, or you simply have only a little bit of stamina. Whatever the reason, though, you should look into being a foster home for  a shelter animal.
Fostering an animal is great because it is a one-time commitment, you can choose how long to keep the animal for (within reason-- you wouldn't be likely to find an animal who needed to be taken in for only a few days!), you don't have to pay for food, litter, or veterinary bills, and you won't be stuck with the animal for the rest of his or her life if it doesn't work out.
Photo Courtesy of the Ottawa Humane Society
You can usually foster an animal from a local humane society or another animal welfare organization. If you live in the Ottawa area, you should consider fostering a rabbit from New Moon Rabbit Rescue or one of many species of animals from the Ottawa Humane Society.
The only problem with fostering an animal is that you are not allowed to adopt the animal who you have fostered. You have to let someone else adopt your new friend-- which can be heartbreaking for many people. As long as you begin fostering with this in mind, though, you should be fine. You'll be doing the animals a favour, too!

I know that this is off-topic, but November is National Novel Writing Month (and this one I didn't make up on the spot, unlike the GIVSC). This is a "contest" (no cash or material prizes, though) in which you have to write a 50,000 word novel in a month! There is also a Young Writer's Program for youth who don't want to write quite so much. I'm writing a YA/sci-fi/old-fashioned/school-story/etc. novel that takes place around 2030. By then, people don't keep pets as much as they used to (in many cities it is outlawed by that time-- and actually, in real-world 2012 pet sale in Los Angeles is outlawed, too!), and "vegetarian" and "vegan" have come to mean the same thing due to the fact that so many people are going vegan (I think; the planning is still in progress). However, it isn't all good-- technology is rampant, stress is high, and there are huge gaps between social groups. I'll let you know when the book is done and published so that you can buy it. ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Was Almost Roadkill, Too!

This week I was riding my bike home from school and got hit by a car. It was partially my fault, admittedly; the driver didn't see me and I assumed that she was going to wait for me to cycle by. Although I didn't get seriously injured (I came away with a slightly discoloured patch on my leg), it did make me think about a number of things, including roadkill.

File:Roadkill kangaroo.jpg
Aww, so sad...
The question I want to ask today is this: should we stop driving cars in order to prevent roadkill? And, if so, how do we do it?
The lady who crashed into me was very apologetic. Would she have been apologetic if she had run over a squirrel? I think she would have, although it is not a social necessity to feel this way in our culture.
A lot of roadkill is the result of speeding, too-- and, of course, the simple solution to that one is simply don't speed. Speeding puts animals in danger, it puts you in danger of crashing or getting a ticket, it puts poor careless cyclists like me in danger, it bothers neighbours, and it puts the environment in danger due to too much pollution. The only thing that speeding does accomplish is lessening your chances of being late for your next appointment or school or work day. You just need to plan ahead of time. It won't always be easy, and sometimes you will be late. But, well, that's life, as they say!
But I'm skirting the question. Cars-- or no cars?
I want to say no cars, due to my environmental concerns, but I've got to look at it from the roadkill perspective, too. Just how many animals are killed when the person is not speeding? I can't find any statistics, but I'm sure that many roadkills happen within the speed limit (especially on highways). If you are concerned about roadkill, drive your car as little as possible-- and carpool with a safe driver at the wheel whenever you can. If you are an open-minded, eco-friendly, animal-friendly, lovely person who always puts others first, stop driving your car altogether! (And if you're not, stop driving it anyway and I'll give you bonus points for going against your stereotype.) :D
You can't always stop yourself from driving over ants with your bicycle tires (believe me, it's pretty dangerous at times, and I should know), but you can try to reduce your impact as much as possible. Similarly, buses may not slow down to prevent the squishing of squirrels, but bus-ing is so much better for the environment that you should take the bus instead of the car anyway.
Here are some things you can do to stop roadkill:
  1. Get your neighbourhood to start an anti-speeding campaign. Some neighbourhoods just need a sign that displays your car's speed as you go by-- others may need more police to hover around. Talk to your neighbours about what would work for you.
  2. Don't get in the car with someone who is known to speed (if you have trouble refusing, just imagine me and my poor little bicycle going along the road at the same time).
  3. Please be careful with your cats-- do you want them to get hit by a car?

Whew. I hope I didn't ramble there. Remember to enter The Great International Vegan Soup Competition before December 1, 2012, by the way!
Oh, and don't worry. I've learned my lesson not to go out in front of cars without getting their permission first. Your lovely blogger isn't dead yet! ;)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

How to Get Your Friends to Go Veg

How many of you out there have some non-vegan friends? I wouldn't be surprised if all of you raised your hands (well, I don't mean actually raise your hands-- you get the point). It's hard to limit yourself to only befriending vegetarians. After all, vegetarianism probably isn't your only interest; you're probably involved in some sports team, writer's group, workplace or school where you all share another common interest.
It's okay to have meat-eating friends-- it's their problem, not yours. However, I still recommend that you try to convince them to go veg, and to generally become active in the animal rights movement.

Here is how you do it...

1) Make sure they know that you're vegetarian/vegan and that you care about animal rights. This will hopefully start to dispell any myths that they might have about us, realizing that you are not a stereotypical vegan (because no one is 100% a stereotype, as far as I'm aware).
2) A bit later, invite them to go out for dinner or to your place for food. Take them to a vegan restaurant or whip up a delicious vegan meal with side dishes. Don't try to convert them on the spot. Don't be too single-minded; just be a friend.

3) After the meal, tell them that if they go vegan, too, you can help them with recipes, product recommendations, nutritional information, animal rights information, etc. in order to help them get started. If they refuse, say that you understand and change the subject. After all, you don't want to ruin the friendship.
4) If they say that they are interested, great! Send them some information on how to get started, but don't be annoying. Otherwise, they'll be frustrated with the whole thing and stop being veg just to shake you off. Once you've gotten them started, let them come to you with their questions, should they have any.

See you next week, and don't forget to enter the Great International Vegan Soup Competition before December 1, 2012!

Photo Courtesy of Gentle Thanksgiving

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Great International Vegan Soup Competition!

Hi everyone! Since today is a holiday (Thanksgiving here in Canada), I figure that it's okay to post on Monday instead of Sunday. I hope you don't mind!

So, what is the Great International Vegan Soup Competition? It's a wonderful contest that The Animal Rights Action Site is holding, starting now.

Here are the rules:
  • You must create a soup recipe completely from scratch. Just experiment, and then try it. If it is good, send it to me by e-mail [rabbit-cat AT] or post it as a comment.
  • The soup recipe MUST be vegan.
  • You must not copy anyone else's soup recipe. I'll be checking the Internet to make sure it wasn't copied.
  • It would be appreciated if your recipe directions were for a small serving. I don't want you to have to waste any if your experimenting goes awry.
  • Entries are no longer accepted after December 1, 2012.
  • I will choose the winner based on how tasty the soup is!
  • PRIZE: TBD! E-mail me your entry with suggestions. If I get at least 5 entries, I'll add a prize! The winner will also get their soup recipe and bio (optional) posted on The Animal Rights Action Site.
Today I made a really cool soup by experimenting. Here is the recipe (you'll have to beat this to have a chance at winning, but my recipe isn't exactly genius anyway, so it won't be too hard):

1/2 cup chopped vegetables (celery, carrot, cucumber)
1 cup legumes (mix of chickpeas and black beans)
sea salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon herbs (nettle, mint, stevia)
hot water

Pour hot water over vegetables in non-plastic bowl. Add legumes. Add sea salt. Add herbs.
Using food processer, slightly blend the food. Don't overdo it, though!
Put in microwave to heat.

It tasted so good! Who knew that animal-friendly food could taste this good? (Well, I did, but that's not the point, now is it?)

Happy soup-making!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Starting an Animal Rights Club-- Part II: In Your Community

Hey everyone! Today I'm going to talk about how to start an animal rights club in your community. I'm really sorry about being late for this post. I was away at the 2012 Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Justice. I had a fantastic time!!!
Here are the steps that I would advise for you to take to start an animal rights club that isn't at school:
  1. Do you have any friends or relatives who would also like to be involved? Ask them first. You should have a backbone of solid members to base the thing around. Also ask around to see if a friend of a friend, or your cousin's girlfriend, might be interested. Meet with these people all together first, and write the club's mission plan. If you have enough members by now, you can skip step 2.
  2. If you can't find anyone using the strategies I have outlined in step 1, skip right to this step: Recruit! Put up posters at your local community centre and coffee shop. On your posters, remember to put a contact number and the details on what the club's about and who is invited. For example, it might be an animal rights club for youth, a vegan mom's club, or a general club that is dedicated to abolishing animal testing.
  3. Have your first meeting. Use the tactics that I have explained in my previous post. Have fun!
Ta-ta! I'll try not to be late with my posting anymore.
By the way, you might want to check Hug A Tree Today, Seriously (my other blog) in the next few days. I'm going to be putting up a very special post within the next few days...!