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Bonnie’s beloved ducks Brownie and Greenie.

Care of Nelson Carvalho

Bonnie Shulman is a member of the TVA, former eLifelines columnist (Animal Profile of the Month) and a colleague of mine at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). You can easily tell that she’s a vegan by the massive number of Farm Sanctuary posters on her cubicle walls. She’s a frequent donor to that organization and to many other organizations that promote veganism.

Bonnie is well known here in the Communications Division for her veganism and love of animals, particularly ducks. In fact, she tells me that it was after making her first duck friend that she went vegan.

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Bonnie has developed such personal relationships with some of them that she can call them by name, and they respond. Last June, Bonnie rescued a family of ducklings from a well. You can see the video here. She keeps a close eye on the ducks in the High Park Zoo, and noticed a duck who needed special care before the zookeepers did. The Pekin Duck hen was haggard and her feathers were in disarray, suggesting overmating by other residents of the duck pen. Bonnie waited hours to catch one of the zookeepers to alert him to the situation.

She’s written two books about the ducks she’s befriended and who have helped her see animals in a whole new light.

In the winter, Bonnie makes sure that the ducks survive the cold by feeding them duck food that she drives all the way out into the countryside to get. She brings home several 50-lb bags of Mazuri Waterfowl Maintenance at a time and keeps them in her condo. Only a real ducklover would go to such lengths.

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Bonnie’s first duck friend, Ducky.

Bonnie is also a member of Toronto’s renowned Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) and has rescued migratory birds that have flown into downtown buildings. Bonnie sponsors Paco, the smallest donkey at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. The Sanctuary is located just an hour outside of Toronto, near Guelph. Bonnie lives with a cat named Leo, and I know she would love to have little dog too, but her real love is for farm animals, as she tells me that they are the most abused animals in the world. She showed me a video from Mercy for Animals, From Farm to Fridge, which made me understand how true this is.

I am not a vegetarian but thanks to Bonnie’s gentle inspiration, I think more deeply about the food choices I make, and the way the world treats and abuses farm animals.

Want to see photos of the ducks Bonnie watches over in High Park? Bonnie’s Flickr Page