Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wite-Out is VEGAN (apparently)

Hello everyone,
Recently I contacted BIC, the creator of the liquid paper Wite-Out, to check if their correction products (including Wite-Out and other correction fluids, correction tapes, correction pens, etc.) are free of animal products and animal testing. Here was their reply:
 
"Thank you for your recent email.
"All BIC correction products do not contain any animal-derived ingredients and the products are not tested on animals.
"Please visit our website for more information on our products at www.bicworld.com.
"Thank you for your inquiry."
 
Please keep in mind that I only asked them about their "correction" products-- I don't know if their regular pens and other things contain animal ingredients. But it certainly is nice to know that Wite-Out is vegan!
Have a nice week! ;)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Maria Daines-- "Rock for the Voiceless"

Happy Monday, everybody!
Today I'd like to introduce you to Maria Daines' music. Maria Daines is a singer and songwriter living in the UK. The songs that she and her guitarist/producer Paul Killington write and perform are all centred around animals and animal welfare/rights. They span a number of genres: rock, country, folk, blues and soul.
You can listen to her music for free on her website: http://www.maria-daines.com/.
Maria Daines and Patch (photo from http://www.puppylovecampaigns.org/support.shtml)
Have a nice day!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The New Movie "Noah" is Animal-Friendly!

Director Darren Aronofsky's new movie "Noah" is coming out in theatres on March 28th, 2014. It's a creative adaptation of the story of Noah's ark from the book of Genesis. You probably already know the story-- two of every animal are taken onto a large boat to be saved from the great flood that God has sent to kill off humanity.
Many movies are filmed using live animals-- and this often has very negative effects for the animals. For example, animals have been harmed in the making of Pirates of the Carribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, The Life of Pi, and the Hobbit, among others. You can read more about this from the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513407/How-Hollywood-animals-repeatedly-harmed-movie-TV-production.html.
Happily, the new movie "Noah" did not use real animals in the filming of the movie at all! All of the animals are computer animations. Not only this, but the storyline of the movie also has a large focus on the importance of caring for animals and the environment. The director, Darren Aronofsky, has even advocated for animal rights in the past, according to Joan Reddi on Ecorazzi.
Here's the trailer:


I'm definitely going to go see it-- are you? ;)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Taking Action for Animals 2014!

Hello everyone,

On June 27-30, 2014, the Humane Society of the United States will be hosting its Taking Action for Animals (TAFA) conference in Washington, D.C. The conference is geared towards animal advocates of all stripes-- from "seasoned advocates to newcomers TAFA has something for everyone." It would be a great opportunity to learn new things, be inspired, network with others, and learn new advocacy skills! The conference homepage is at https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/default.aspx?EventID=1297443. Please check it out!
Image from https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/default.aspx?EventID=1297443.

At the conference, there will be workshops, speakers, an exhibit hall, a movie screening, and even an opportunity to meet U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Monday "Lobby Day"! The full schedule can be seen here: http://takingactionforanimals2014.sched.org/.

It costs only $65.00 (not including accommodations or optional Friday workshops) to attend. For all the details on pricing, please see their "Registration Rates" page: https://classic.regonline.com/custImages/300000/301954/TAFA%202014%20Images/2014TAFARegistrationRates.pdf.

Now, many of you fellow animal-rights people might be thinking, "Hmph! They're probably going to serve lots of meat and spend a lot of time ranting on about "humane" animal farming, etc." That's kind of what I assumed at first, too. But no!-- all the food served by the HSUS will be vegan, and the restaurant at the hotel where the conference takes place will make sure to provide vegan options for the length of the conference. From what I can see on the website, the conference doesn't seem to "take sides" with either animal welfare or animal rights-- it simply is a place where animal advocates can meet up, learn, and make a difference.

If you can make it, it would be a great way to renew your focus on helping animals!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Health Charities That Do and Don't Test on Animals

With Spring just around the corner, many people are registering for upcoming charity running races and starting to train for these events. If that's you, great-- but please, before signing up for an event, consider where the money is going and how it will be used.
There are still many health charities that test on animals as part of their research. These experiments include sensory deprivation, physically hurting the animals, and separating infants from their mothers, among other cruel practices. Not only that, but animal testing doesn't give scientists a good sense of how the human body works anyway, since humans and animals have different body chemistry and physiology. If you were to fundraise for or donate to a health charity that funds tests on animals, you may think that you'd be helping your cause, but in fact, you'd be supporting cruelty to animals and bad science.

Happily, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has set up a Humane Charity Seal of Approval website, which notes which health charities do and don't fund tests on animals. With so many charities listed, you should be able to find charities for each major health condition that are humane-approved. Here are some examples of charities listed on the website:

Charities that DO fund animal testing, according to PCRM:
  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • The American Cancer Society
  • The Alzeimer's Society of Canada
  • and a great deal more...
Charities that DON'T fund animal testing:
  • The Breast Cancer Society
  • Canadian Red Cross
  • The Leukaemia CARE Society (in the UK)
  • and many more!
For the complete list, please go to http://www.humaneseal.org/search.cfm?ap=y.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Animal Rights in Quebec-- Sign the Manifesto!

The Montreal SPCA is calling for the Quebec government to alter its civil code so that animals are no longer defined as "property". According to the website www.AnimalsAreNotObjects.ca,

"Like most people, we believe that animals are not toasters. This view, however, is not shared by our Civil Code. From a legal standpoint, a dog or a cow is no different than a toaster or a chair: all are considered moveable property. Quebec law thus assimilates the act of hurting or abusing an animal to the destruction of property. ... In 2014, it has become urgent to break free from the Civil Code’s categories and to grant animals a legal status that is distinct from that of moveable property, and that takes into account their capacity to feel pleasure and pain – to grant them, in short, the status of sentient being."

You can read more about the issue of animals being legally considered as "property" here: http://animalsarenotobjects.ca/about/, and you can also sign the manifesto on their website. Oh, and if you want to be inspired, just look at the long list of names of people who have already signed it-- teachers, journalists, lawyers, television hosts, scientists, and more: http://animalsarenotobjects.ca/signatures_en/.
You don't have to be a Quebec resident to sign the petition-- I don't live in Quebec, and I've signed it! (For those of you who live outside of Canada, Quebec is a Canadian province.) The signatories come from both Canada and other countries.
Together, we can change the world for the better for the animals. :)

File:2008-06-26 White German Shepherd Dog Posing 2.jpg
Photo found on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2008-06-26_White_German_Shepherd_Dog_Posing_2.jpg by  Ildar Sagdejev

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Ethics of Wearing Fur, Leather, Fake-Fur, and Fake Leather

Is it okay to wear an old fur coat (or leather jacket) if nobody else wants it anymore?
What should you do if your workplace demands that you wear leather boots or some other animal-derived "clothing"?
And is it really okay to wear fake fur, when fake fur is made to look like the coats of dead animals?

These are the questions I'm going to be discussing in today's post! Here are some scenarios in which you might be forced to question your ideas about animal rights and veganism:
  1. You have an old leather jacket at the back of your closet that you bought before you became aware of animal issues. You still like to wear it, but you're worried that you'll be labelled as a hypocrite if you're seen in public with it. What do you do?
    My response: Technically, you're not killing any animals by wearing your old leather jacket. The cow whose skin the jacket is made of has already deceased. I can't see why you'd want to wear it, though-- is it truly "cool" to wear the skin of another dead creature? By wearing this jacket, you're promoting the "fashion" of leather jackets and making the sight of leather jackets a more common thing for people, making them more likely to want to buy their own. You could also be branding yourself as a hypocrite to anyone who knows that you care about animals.
    Out of disgust at the jacket and concern that other people might misunderstand or even follow my example, I would avoid wearing the leather jacket altogether. In fact, I'd probably donate it to a thrift store so that it can at least be used by someone in need. (It would seem a shame to waste it...)
  2. Your workplace requires you to wear a uniform, but that uniform is partially made from fur/leather/down/wool, etc. (such as leather boots, wool hats, or down coats)! What do you do?
    My response: Personally, I would evaluate a situation like this on a case-by-case basis. Let's say you were working as a pilot, and your employer gave you the uniform. You then noticed that the uniform included leather boots. In a situation like this, it would make little sense to quit your job simply because you don't want to wear leather boots, of course. However, you could still try to talk to your employer about why you would rather wear non-animal-derived boots, instead. There's no harm in at least trying to work things out! If you had a job that required you to wear some animal-derived clothing that you found simply unacceptable and the employer refused to budge, then you would have to evaluate your options from there. But ethical veganism isn't about avoiding every little trace of dead animals everywhere you go-- it's more about following the diet and reducing your negative impact while increasing the positive impact you have on the world.
  3. You're coat-shopping, and the only jacket in the colour you like has a fake-fur hood. Do you buy it or go shopping somewhere else?
    My response: I don't approve of fake fur. It isn't made of parts of animals, of course, but it certainly is made to look like it! Why glamorize something that's cruel?
Say No to fox fur - animal-rights Photo
Picture courtesy of http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/animal-rights/images/10464521/title/no-fox-fur-photo
If you would like to know more about the fur industry, please go to http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_cruelty/fur.htm (WARNING: graphic pictures of animal cruelty).

Let me know in the comments section what you would do in these three situations!