Animal Advocacy

Animal Advocacy: A Photographic Journey with Joanne McArthur

  Care of Dylan Powell I can’t remember the first time I consciously gazed upon a photograph taken by Jo-Anne McArthur, I had unknowingly seen her work for years, but I do remember the first time we met. It was almost a year ago at the Farm Sanctuary Hoe Down in Watkins Glen, New York and Jo-Anne greeted me as if we had been old friends. Her friendliness and openess are two things which you recognize immediately upon meeting her. Jo-Anne’s photographic work has taken her around the globe, working tirelessly for grassroots organizations all the way up to large international organizations. Her work with the project, We Animals, is her attempt to use those skills to bring our relationships with animals to light. To be frank, her work is a nightmare that very few could endure. It regularly includes investigations and forces her to be present in the face of extreme desecration and brutality. For this reason alone, Jo-Anne is a inspiration to me. Back to our first meeting. A highlight of the Hoe Down weekend is the Dance on Saturday night. The People Barn is loaded full of vegans from across North America and Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary… Read More


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Animal Advocacy: Smooth Sailing Into Veganism

  Julia and her happy, healthy family Care of Julia Strub My name is Julia and I’ve been eating a vegan diet since April 4th 2010. Being vegetarian has always appealed to me and I had even made an attempt at lacto-ovo vegetarianism in 2002. Back then I didn’t have the information or support to maintain a vegetarian diet and so I fell back into my old beliefs about how humans needed meat, eggs, and milk to thrive. Several months before switching to veganism in 2010 those beliefs were challenged by a wonderful vegan friend. I was lucky enough to be directed to fantastic books like The China Study, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, and Becoming Vegan. These were life altering books that I highly recommend to any curious omnivore. They gave me an incredible sense of relief knowing that not only was living without animal products possible, but it was IDEAL for human health. Imagine, by simply changing the way you eat you can save animals from suffering and death, AND save yourself from all the diseases of affluence like diabetes, cancer and heart disease! I was ready to ease myself into this new way of… Read More


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Animal Advocacy: Touring Ontario’s Factory Farms

Submitted Anonymously Many vegetarians know about the abhorrent treatment of animals on factory farms. In fact, the treatment of farm animals is so bad that it is the reason many of us adopt vegetarian and vegan diets in the first place. Because we are so horrified by what we hear and read about factory farms, most of us would rather avoid them. Not Sam. In order to learn about the treatment of farm animals firsthand, Sam has been visiting animal farms in Canada so that he can observe how they operate. This is difficult emotionally because Sam’s interest in animal advocacy arises out of empathy for all sentient beings, so it is challenging for him to witness animal suffering. Also, the trips are taxing physically because of how cold the farms are in the dead of winter – on many a night, he shivered to sleep in rooms with no heating. Sam has visited 12 animal farms since he began investigating, half of which were factory farms; the rest were small farms. “These visits have strengthened my resolve to advocate for animals,” he says. What was most surprising to him in all his trips? “The farmers are wonderful people who… Read More


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Animal Advocacy: Ducklover Bonnie (aka: Bonnie Shulman)

  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.   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… Read More


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Animal Advocacy: Toronto Pig Save

Know someone you want to nominate for the Animal Advocacy Profile? Tell us about someone in the community doing inspiring work for animals.   Photo care of Susan Morris Toronto Pig Save: Giving Slaughterhouses Windows Care of Anita Kranjc Nobel laureate John Coetzee has his protagonist in the self-titled novel, Elizabeth Costello, give a university lecture on “The Philosophers and the Animals.” She tells her audience: “‘I was taken on a drive around Waltham this morning. It seems a pleasant enough town. I saw no horrors, no drug-testing laboratories, no factory farms, no abattoirs. Yet I am sure they are here. They must be. They simply do not advertise themselves. They are all around us as I speak, only we do not, in a certain sense, know about them.” The slaughterhouses are here in Toronto, too – downtown and in the outskirts.      Art by Sue Coe   Quality Meat Packers (QMP) is located in the downtown core, off King and Bathurst, at 2 Tecumseh. You get a good panoramic view of the colossal QMP industrial complex if you stand on the hills of Fort York and direct your gaze across the railway lines. Walking with… Read More


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Animal Advocacy: DND Vs. Nigel Osborne

Care of Nigel Osborne The National Post on-line published a story in November 2009 revealing the Department of National Defence (out of a location in Alberta) was using pigs for experiments in an effort to help trauma experts treat wounded soldiers better in a combat theatre. The experiments characterized are varied and include inducing head trauma on pigs to simulate human brain injuries and dismemberment or sudden amputation to simulate limb loss due to IED devices and proximity explosions. Needless to say, a few moments of visualization of such experiments will cause any relatively compassionate person to halt what they are doing for at least a few moments to gather their composure. Outraged (as I often am on issues regarding animal cruelty), I wrote to the Honourable Peter McKay, Minister of Defence for Canada. Unexpectedly, and to his credit, he responded (see below documenting the e-mail exchanges). I have since enlisted PCRM and PETA to provide me the plethora of research information and data supporting the superior alternatives to swine and animal abuse for trauma testing. Once my wife and I are able to collate and digest all the information we will prepare a presentation. Once completed, we… Read More


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Animal Advocacy: Weekly Vigil at Toronto Slaughterhouse

  Visit www.torontopigsave.wordpress.com to learn more about the Toronto Slaughterhouse and get involved. Care of Gwen Dunlop I have been holding a one-woman, Sunday vigil since December 13, 2009, at what I call the Toronto Slaughter House. Its actual name is Toronto Abattoirs Ltd., with “Quality” Meat Packers Ltd. alongside it off Tecumseth St. The shockingly barbaric and primitive holding-compound (as apt a word as I can find) where the pigs are held overnight, is at the end of two driveways off Wellington St. It is at this latter location where I first began this project. Let me just say that for me, the French word “abattoire”, does not do “justice” to what goes on there, because in my opinion, there is neither justice nor mercy where the animals are concerned. And the word “slaughter” suggests violent killing on a massive scale. Given there are one hundred and sixty-four, three-tiered transport trucks making weekly “deliveries” (taken from the Latin word “deliberare”, meaning ironically, to liberate, to set free), the name slaughterhouse calls this very dark and heavily guarded place (with fifteen hundred employees) for what it truly is: a house of killing for which I believe we… Read More


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How to Host a Vegan Challenge

by Marco Pagliarulo The Vegan Challenge (or vegan pledge) is a good way for “veg-curious” people to try a vegan diet for a short time in a fun environment under the guidance of a vegan who already knows the ropes.  One of the barriers to exploring vegan food in our society is the myth that vegan food is weird. A Vegan Challenge is also a great opportunity to dispel that myth. Back in April, I hosted a Vegan Challenge at my workplace (Ontario Ministry of the Environment) where I invited colleagues to adopt a vegan diet for 1 week.  About a dozen coworkers signed on.  This was part of a collective initiative of the Toronto Vegetarian Association (TVA), Toronto Pig Save, and Rabble.ca to encourage people to take the Vegan Challenge during Earth Week. If you are vegan, then you already know that adopting a plant-based diet is a healthy, compassionate, delicious choice that has lighter eco-footprint on the planet. Why not spend a week showcasing this conscientious choice to a few of those around you? Here are some tips to get you started: 1.    Pick a Place Pick a place where you spend time on a regular basis,… Read More


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Animal Advocacy Profile: Camille Labchuk

Making the Personal Political   Interview with Animal Activist: Camille Labchuk Care of Shannon Kornelson and Anna Pippus We know you were a vegetarian before you became vegan. Can you tell us about how you made the leap and why? Is there anything about being vegan that surprised you, either negatively or positively? I became a vegetarian when I was 12, but it wasn’t until years later that I began to hear about veganism and consider the ethical implications of eggs and dairy. I knew I would eventually become a vegan, and I tried it out a few times, but somehow I always lapsed back into old habits. What finally did it for me was travelling to Atlantic Canada to document the commercial seal hunt with an international animal protection organization. Being surrounded for weeks with so many vegan animal activists gave me the push I needed to finally kick bad habits to the curb, and I’ve never looked back.  I’ve never been able to find anything negative about going vegan, but I’ve been surprised by the warmth and generosity of the amazingly supportive vegan community in every city where I’ve ever lived. What is one thing you wish people… Read More


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A Reflection on Agnes Kwasnicka

April 5, 2012 By Barbi Lazarus with assistance from Gregory Wasney It’s days like these that make me wish I had a blog, so that I could spontaneously write to the world about people, events or news that I want to share.  But alas, I don’t have a blog, so please stay with me as I share with you the impact that Agnes Kwasnicka, a cherished TVA volunteer and donor, has had not only on the Toronto Vegetarian Association and on animal activism, but also on me personally in my role as TVA’s donor and volunteer resources coordinator. Agnes and her equally fantastic husband, Greg Wasney, began volunteering with TVA back in the early 2000s, tabling at punk and ska shows on behalf of the organization. But I first met Agnes at a volunteer training session exactly one year ago from the day I am writing this story. As the person responsible for ensuring that TVA outreach events are staffed by friendly, knowledgeable and trustworthy volunteers, it is always an absolute pleasure to meet people like Agnes and Greg who arrive eager to get involved. I can still picture them clearly, coming up to me at the end… Read More


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