Tag: animal

Scary Movies with an Animal Theme

Don’t worry! I don’t recommend films in which animals are the victims of gruesome violence. So, grab some popcorn, get a pen and paper, and settle into this episode where I share my suggestions for films that are perfect for Halloween — for kids and adult alike. 

Vaccines Are a Bunch of Bull: Animal-Related Words for Diseases and Cures

Animal-Related Words for Diseases and Cures

No, this episode is not about denying the life-saving efficacy of vaccinations; it’s about all the animal-related words we have for diseases and cures, including the word VACCINE, which comes from the Latin word for a cow or bull. It’s just another example of how how deeply rooted animals are in our consciousness, in our history, and in our lives — for better and for worse.

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Why Vegan? Pick a Reason. Any Reason.

Some people choose to stop eating animal flesh and fluids to experience health benefits or to reverse a particular illness or ailment. Some people don’t want to contribute to violence against animals or pay people to work in an industry that desensitizes them to animal suffering and thus to their own compassion.

Aware of the devastating effects of animal agriculture on the environment, some people are moved to help prevent global warming. With precious rainforests disappearing in order to create grazing land for cattle, wild animals being killed at the behest of private ranchers, and precious resources being poured into what is an unsustainable system, eliminating the consumption of animal products is indeed a logical and sensible response. 

So, pick a reason — any reason, and it alone would be reason enough to justify eating an animal-free diet. Whether you care about human rights, food safety, wild animals, the environment, world hunger, farmed animals, or your own health, just a cursory look at these issues demonstrates how intricately linked they are to our consumption of animal-based meat, dairy, and eggs.

Which reason do you choose? 

Does Being Vegan Really Make a Difference?

I think every vegan (and probably vegetarian) has heard some variation of this:⁠

⁠?one person being vegan doesn’t save animals.⁠
?just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean animals aren’t killed.⁠
?the problem is just too large; individual behavioral changes just don’t have an impact.⁠

⁠That’s the big question, right? Why do anything at all when you know that there isn’t a direct correlation between YOUR behavior and an act of violence? ⁠

Why, indeed? ⁠

The answer is…because it’s the right thing to do. ⁠

?As I say in The Joyful Vegan, the world isn’t one big math problem to solve. Even though I can’t quantify the benefits to the animals and our planet, I’m vegan, because I don’t want to contribute to the culture of violence that IS (by design) the meat, dairy, and egg industries. ⁠

I may not be able to save the 9-10 billion land animals brought into this world only to be killed, but I can at least put my head on my pillow each night and know that *I* didn’t consciously partake in something that is anathema to my very being: HURTING ANIMALS.⁠

For me, being vegan is about being⁠

?compassionate⁠
?consistent⁠
?in alignment⁠

After all, what’s the point in having values and principles and ethics if they don’t manifest themselves in our behavior? ⁠

3 Tips for Avoiding Animal Cruelty When Traveling

We may not intend to, but there are so many ways we contribute to animal cruelty and exploitation while we’re traveling (domestically and abroad)! National Geographic published a hugely important article about the rise of attractions around the world that exploit animals for tourists. Three of the recommendations for travelers:

  1. avoid any kind of attraction where you pay to directly interact with wild animals (don’t pay to pet, bathe, get photos with, or touch wild animals). 
  2. make a point to see animals in national parks, protected habitats, refuges,  and ethical safaris that help generate income to protect wild animals and their homes.
  3. support genuine sanctuaries that provide refuge to rescued animals who can no longer survive in the wild. (Do your own research; just because they call themselves a “sanctuary,” it doesn’t mean they are. Always reach out to trusted sources if you’re unsure.)

I talked about exactly all of this in great detail in my podcast episode called Avoiding Animal Cruelty When Traveling to Thailand and Everywhere. 

Sadly, one of the reasons we visited so many animal rescue groups in Thailand is because of how much animal cruelty, wildlife trafficking, and animal exploitation there is in that country, allowed by the government and deeply entrenched in the culture. For instance, elephants used in the tourism/riding and logging industries endure a lifetime of suffering and separation. 

Seeing wildlife in their natural habitat — like the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, lions in Botswana, bison in Yellowstone, or the deer in our own backyards — is heart-stopping, breath-taking, and supports the animals, their habitat, and the local residents. 

Of course, when we travel (either on our own or on the group Joyful Vegan Trips we host), we take care to avoid animal cruelty, and we visit true sanctuaries and protected habitat where the safety and well-being of the animals are the main priority. We take this very seriously and vet our partners very carefully. 

We hosted 54 travelers on two back-to-back trips to Rwanda and we have upcoming trips to … well, see for yourself! I hope you can join us one day to experience the trip of a lifetime—while supporting the care and conservation of the animals whose homes we visit.  

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