Pan Fried Chive Gnocchi with Sun-Dried Tomato Coulis: for those days when you want some delish vegan comfort food!
By Maple Spice
This definitely on the make-it-soon list!
A nice article with some great pics from Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals:
Honor All Mothers This Mother’s Day!
By Nathan Runkle
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, making this the perfect time to share the gift of compassion for mothers around the world. This year, consider honoring your mother by helping mothers of all species.
Farmed animals - like all animals - have deep and meaningful relationships with their mothers. For cows, the first few minutes after birth can mark the beginning of a lifelong bond between a mother cow and her calf. Cows carry their young for nine months and they suckle them for nine to twelve months, much like human mothers.
Baby chicks bond so closely with their mothers that scientists call it “imprinting.” Mother hens take their chicks under their wings, providing protection and shelter, and chicks spend their first few weeks learning to scratch for food by watching the techniques of their mothers.
Humans aren’t the only species to learn from and admire their mothers, but we are the only species to deny other animals everything that is natural and important to them. Animal agriculture deprives hens of nesting material and a private space for the intimate act of laying an egg. Pork producers confine mother sows in crates so small they cannot move without scraping against the rails. Dairy cows are robbed of their calves so that their milk can be sold for human consumption.
Fortunately, we all have the power to help mothers confined on factory farms by adopting a kind and compassionate vegan lifestyle. Visit ChooseVeg.com for delicious recipes to honor all mothers this Mother’s Day.
“An elephant awaits performance night at a circus. Women with their children idly chat in the background. Barrie, Canada.” Credit Jo-Anne McArthur (We Animals)
Follow the Coalition for Circus Animal Freedom
Do you want to know the incredible thing about this photo? I was there that day.
I was born and raised in Barrie, Ontario, and the circus had set up its trucks and vans behind my high school. I vividly remember entering my sociology class and seeing my teacher staring out of the window, mesmerized by something she was seeing on the pavement below. We slowly filed into the classroom and joined her at the window, and this is the view we were met with.
This poor elephant was standing below us, tied around two of her ankles to pegs pounded into the ground. She was displaying the stereotypical behaviour that many captive animals develop when denied the opportunity to engage in normal activities; rocking back and forth, eyes lowered. Just slowly swaying. In that moment, I think my heart broke a little bit for her. It was a sweltering hot day, and people all over the city were flocking to the beach, the air-conditioned mall, or resting in the shade in an attempt to beat the heat. And yet here she stood, in the relentless beating rays, denied the refuge of shade, with no water to drink, and no caring eyes to sympathize with her suffering. I had never seen before in person such genuine sadness in a living creature. Several of the other students in my class were visibly bothered by the sight as well, and they voiced their desires to see her set free. I wanted that, too. The more we stared, however, the more helpless we felt. Even if we were to do the unthinkable and cut her chains, where would she go in a city of 100,000 people? It was so painfully obvious that she did not belong here, and that her suffering could so easily be remedied if she was left or returned to the wild where she belonged. But her long-term captivity by humans had left her unable to fend for herself and have the opportunity to live the life that her species was destined for.
It was then that I realized, for the first time, the evil that lurked within the colourful tents and painted faces of the circus. Here behind the walls of the arena that she was to perform in that night, this elephant’s suffering was neatly and conveniently hidden.
All of us in our classroom felt helpless that day. There was nothing we could do to help the abused elephant for whom we felt such pity. Long after we had left our classroom and continued with our daily studies, she would still remain; rocking back and forth, her sad eyes focused on the pavement under her chained feet. Our lives would go on and many of us would forget the sad elephant we saw that day, but for her, the suffering would continue.
Although I couldn’t help the elephant that day, seeing this picture gives me hope. I am no longer a helpless student without a voice; I am an adult with the power to take action against injustices when I see them. Just because I couldn’t help an elephant from days past does not mean that my actions today can’t help the abused, neglected, and forgotten creatures of tomorrow. We all have voices - whether they are expressed in the form of a book, a video, a peaceful protest, a blog post, a piece of music or a poignant painting - and have the freedom to choose how to use them. I choose to use mine to lend a voice to those who do not. Even if it is only in a small way, we can all make a difference. This isn’t the sentimental claim of an idealist; it is a fact. Our actions have consequences, and by exposing the plight of animals that would otherwise suffer in silence, we encourage positive action. We can choose to be part of the problem, letting our apathy smother our true nature of compassion, or we can do our part to respect and care for animals like the sad elephant.
Use your voice to demand change. Compassion can - and should - be the rule for how we treat humans and non-humans alike; not the exception. After all, we are all earthlings.
Today, while perusing my news feed on Facebook, I came across a status update from a local rescue organization that does amazing work with dogs who need to find their forever homes. While I am usually thrilled to see organizations such as this holding fundraisers and trying to raise awareness, their methods, in this case, were at odds with some of the values that I hope an animal welfare group would have. What follows is their status and my response to it.
“We’re at Sear’s again today selling hot dogs and sausages to benefit Precious Paws Rescue! Join us at the Bayfield St. entrance from 11am-3pm for a great lunch. Oh and the best news of the day - Chevy (our heartworm positive dog who is now negative!) is off to his forever home today! His new dad Brady will be joining us at the BBQ to pick up his new forever friend and we know that Chevy is going to be soooo happy!!”
My response to Precious Paws, which I posted on the group’s wall:
Hello there, Precious Paws! I am writing to you as a strong supporter of animal rescue groups and any organization that endeavors to find homes for loving and deserving pets, so naturally I am a big fan of what your organization stands for. When I noticed your most recent status, however, I thought I would make a friendly suggestion for your future fundraising endeavors. For many of us animal-lovers out there, we choose to extend that deep respect, care, and compassion for animals to all manners of creatures - including farm animals. This respect naturally means that we abstain from eating those beings we love and see as deserving of life.
As an organization who obviously shows great compassion to companion animals, for many potential supporters your goals may seem less compelling, as you promote the well-being of one species while serving up another for lunch in its interest. While I am sure that everyone at Precious Paw’s intentions are nothing but the best, perhaps your message of empathy would seem clearer if you were to serve veggie dogs and burgers instead of, or in addition to, animal-based products. There are several inexpensive and delicious options available, and I’m sure many folks would appreciate your efforts to expand compassion for animals into your food choices as well. As a vegan, I know many like-minded people who would love nothing more than to support an organization such as your own, but who would feel uncomfortable volunteering at, or buying products from, an event that revolves around selling meat. Many vegetarians and vegans are some of the most prominent figures in the effort to promote and educate about animal welfare, and they are a growing group who would love to support Precious Paws. By showing that you respect these peoples’ food and lifestyle choices – in the name of compassion for animals – I am certain that you could expand your collection of dedicated supporters.
The dogs at Precious Paws are lucky to have such caring individuals who have their best interests at heart, and I thank you for your dedication to such noble work. I hope you will take my suggestion into consideration, and I wish you all the best in your future work.
I believe that activism, in many cases, can be done kindly and with as little judgement as possible. While there are many well-intentioned people trying their best to make a difference in the lives of animals, sometimes others can point out ways in which they can make their endeavors more successful. Anyone trying to make a difference deserves credit, and I will not deny them that. I do not, and WILL NOT condone the use of animals for food and/or our personal pleasure, but one must learn to pick his/her battles. This battle, I believe, can be done with kindness and education. I could go on at length about this topic, but for now I hope you enjoyed reading about my little foray into activism, however mild it may have been.
All the best, Tumblrs!