Animal Issues

The Inner Life of Animals

  When Peter Wohlleben released his book The Hidden Life of Trees, it changed what many of us see during a walk in the woods. And in much the same way, his new book, The Inner Life of Animals, will likely change the way many of us look at animals. The Inner Life of Animals is a science book that doesn’t read like a science book, likely due to Wohlleben’s personal anecdotes. And while animal lovers might already know some of the facts presented in this book, there is still much for us to to learn. Did you know, for example, that horses feel shame, rats regret bad choices, and butterflies choose the best places to raise their kids? But make no mistake: The Inner Life of Animals isn’t about giving animals human characteristics or personalities. As the author says: “The goal is not to anthropomorphize animals but to help us understand them better. More importantly, these comparisons serve to point out that animals are not dimwitted creatures clearly stuck a level below us on the evolutionary scale, creatures that experience only pale imitations of our rich range of sensations for pain and other such… Read More


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Weekly Link Roundup: Branson, Beauty, and Vegan Nachos from the CBC

by Katie Elliott Check out some veg news that caught our eye this week! Billionaire Richard Branson stated in an email to Bloomberg that he believes “we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone” in the next 30 years. Sounds good to us! Read the full article for more about the billionaire-backed startup Cargill Inc. Boon Burger Bonifides If you haven’t been to Boon Burger yet, this review will definitely convince you that it’s worth the trip. Bring a non-vegan friend, as the review says: “Boon is the land of plenty for vegans and non-vegans alike”. (Hamilton Spectator) Helping Animals Displaced by Harvey Want to help animals affected by Hurricane Harvey? Here are some concrete ways to help displaced pets in Texas. (One Green Planet) Vegan Beauty on the Rise! This Guardian article sheds light on the role that conscious consumers have played in the growing vegan segment of the beauty industry. Find out more about the strides high- and low-end makeup… Read More


Filed under: Animal Issues Food and Restaurant News News Toronto Veg Blog

Veg Out 403: What a Fish Knows author Jonathan Balcombe

On this week’s Veg Out, we present a feature interview with ethologist and New York Times best selling author Jonathan Balcombe. Jeanette, Steve and Jonathan talk all things fishes – from the fascinating stories from his book What a Fish Knows, to personal stories about our interactions with fishes, and what we can do to protect our underwater cousins. Jonathan will be speaking at this year’s Veg Food Fest on Saturday September 9th from noon to 1 pm in the Studio Theatre at Harbourfront Centre. Click to listen!… Read More


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The Killer Whale Who Changed the World

  Care of Florence McCambridge, TVA Volunteer I was introduced to killer whales in the same way that many of you were. The whales were performing at an aquarium, and I was mesmerized from the moment I saw them. Years later I spent an afternoon whale watching during a trip to Vancouver and was fortunate enough to see a killer whale up close in the wild, which was a profound experience that I will never forget. But other than being fascinated from afar, I’ve never really taken the time to learn more about orcas. That’s why I recently decided to read Mark Leiren-Young’s The Killer Whale Who Changed the World, a book I’d heard such good things about it since it was first released last year. And I’m so happy I did because this book taught me a lot. The Killer Whale Who Changed the World tells the story of how we stopped fearing these whales as “killers” and grew to respect them as “orcas”. It started in 1964 when a young killer whale was captured near B.C. and put on display at the Vancouver Aquarium. Crowds flocked to see the whale, who… Read More


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Animal Profile: Pigs

Care of Bonnie Shulman    Photo care of Bonnie Shulman Nobody respects a pig. Just ask President Barack Obama, who famously tried to reduce rival John McCain by saying, “You know, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” Pigs are far more sophisticated than the President realizes. Watch pigs living in peace and freedom on a sanctuary and you’ll find that pigs are tidy, playful, loving and intelligent, worthy of human compassion and respect. Pigs are far from dirty – they are some of the cleanest animals around. When given the room and freedom to decide, pigs choose to be clean and tidy. The reason they roll around in mud during hot weather is to cool off, as they do not have sweat glands. When the wind blows over them, the water from the mud evaporates, thus cooling the pig and acting as a sunscreen. Talk about smart! But we know that pigs are not given the room and freedom to decide how they live. Today, 63 million pigs live in horrific conditions in factory farms. Factory-farming conditions are no better in Canada, which exports more than 8 million live pigs to the U.S. Read More


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Animal Profile: Lobsters and Us

Care of Bonnie Shulman What do the movies Annie Hall and Julie & Julia have in common? Each features a gruesome scene in which a giggling woman struggles at the idea of putting a live lobster in a pot of boiling water, but does so anyways. Formulaic hilarity ensues. Why do people give in to cruelty, when they know full well it’s the wrong choice? Maybe because, in the case of lobsters, they look so “alien” to humans that it’s hard for the Annie Halls of this world to imagine that they perceive the world at all. But they do. Lobsters are living beings and really aren’t so different from us. For example: Like humans, lobsters have a long childhood and an awkward adolescence. Lobsters carry their young for nine months and can live to be over 100 years old. A 2007 study at Belfast’s Queen’s University suggested that crustaceans do feel pain. Pain helps them avoid behaviours that would cause them damage. But lobsters cannot avoid the damaging behaviour of humans. Lobsters live on the muddy bottom of oceans, where they are caught by lobster fishers using baited, one-way traps. Millions of lobster traps line the North American Atlantic… Read More


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Animal Profile: The Life of a Dairy Cow

Care of Bonnie Shulman   Got milk? Pity. If you’ve ever seen documentaries about farm animals like Peaceable Kingdom you’ll already know that cows are emotional animals with strong family bonds. Mother cows care for their calves and even other cows nearby will come over to meet a new calf and help out where they can. Farm Sanctuary, with shelters in New York and California, have endless stories to tell about the cows on their farms, such as Queenie, who escaped from a factory farm and immediatey began conversing with the other cows at the sanctuary. But for dairy cows, the chances to express themselves amongst others of their own species are virtually non-existent. A dairy cow’s life is a continuous cycle of impregnation, birth, and milking to provide one thing only – a constant supply of milk for human consumption and profit. A dairy cow will be milked for 10 months out of the year, including seven months of each of her consecutive nine-month pregnancies. Two to three times a day, seven days a week, she will be attached to an electric milking machine. In her narrow, concrete stall she can do nothing but await the next milking. When… Read More


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Animal Profile: Be Kind to Fish

Care of Bonnie Shulman   Photo care of Farm Sanctuary and Cindy Seigle Since the dawn of time people have been catching and eating fish without giving the fish a second thought, as though they were inanimate objects, as though being drowned in air was not a big deal to the fish. All that desperate flapping of their fins onboard fishing boats – that doesn’t mean a thing to many people. But now, the fish are talking back with more than just their fins. Their voices, mute for thousands of years, are being channelled by Peter Singer, renowned Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. If you haven’t read his essay, “If Fish Could Scream”, then you really should. You can find it here. His thesis is that there is no humane slaughter requirement for wild fish caught and killed at sea, nor for farmed fish. The thing is, humans catch and kill over two trillion fish a year, dumping them on board trawler boats where they suffocate, or impaling them on live-bait hooks. And here’s where it gets really ugly, as if that number wasn’t bad enough. Nervous systems… 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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Pig abuse exposed in MFA Canada investigation

This Saturday, CTV investigative current affairs program W5 broadcast disturbing undercover footage from inside a pig farm in Manitoba that supplies pork to Soebeys, Loblaws, Metro, and Walmart Canada. The footage, released by Mercy for Animals Canada shows pregnant sows crammed into small metal gestation crates without room to turn around, and documents pigs bleeding from open wounds, sows with distended, inflamed bellies, and piglets being slammed on the floor by staff. If you’re interested in moving to a cruelty-free plant-based diet this season, please sign up to try our 7-Day Veggie Challenge – we offer great tips, helpful information about nutrition and vegetarian and vegan meal ideas. For more information about the Mercy for Animals invesigation, including how to take action, please visit pigcruelty.ca. Read More


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