Friday, December 16, 2011

You don't need money to make a difference

It's that time of year again when those big animal welfare organisations are asking people to volunteer their time to go out and raise money for them to "help animals"... which actually means trying to enforce laws that give nonhuman slaves better living conditions before they're brutally murdered for their flesh.

I'm tired of seeing SAFE posters everywhere asking people to "Donate to help animals!" or "Join our annual appeal to help animals!"

Well, I'm writing this blog post to tell you that if you want to help animals, if you REALLY want to help animals, you don't need to donate or volunteer for any animal welfare organisation such as SAFE. Just go vegan. And educate people about veganism!

Vegan education is easy, and you don't need a lot (or even any) money to do it. It can be as simple as talking to friends about why you're vegan. Or you can get creative! As I said in my last blog post, whatever you enjoy doing, look for a way to promote vegansim!

I've hosted my own podcast and radio show. I've created my own videos and websites. I blog. I've made animations and graphic designs. I've handed out vegan food to classmates. I've baked vegan cupcakes to hand out at the stall. I've engaged the public in conversations about veganism. I've hand-printed the word "vegan" on clothing I wear. And I've done all this without much money. I'm not a rich person. But that hasn't stopped me.

Imagine what great things SAFE could do if they actually spent their money on peaceful vegan education, promoting JUST veganism. A big organisation like them, educating people about veganism ALL OVER NEW ZEALAND, we'll have loads more people choosing to live nonviolently! If only, if only they would promote veganism! But they are too concerned about losing donators to tell people to do something as "radical" as going vegan. So instead they tell people that "you can love animals and eat them too, just buy free range!"

I urge anyone, anywhere, to advocate for veganism. Those of us who are promoting vegansim unequivocally are the ones who are truly making a difference to the lives of nonhumans. We don't need a lot of money and we don't have to be a part of any organisation to make a difference in the world.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The exciting world of offline activism

I haven't been blogging much lately, but that's doesn't mean I'm getting lazy, no, it just means I've been engaging in a lot more offline activism!

Every Tuesday, providing it's a fine day, the Auckland Abolitionist Vegans Association (AAVA for short) goes out onto Aotea Square armed with a little table, pamphlets, and delicious vegan cupcakes free with a conversation! We've had some great conversations, the cupcakes are a big hit and also an awesome conversation starter "Vegan cupcakes? How can you bake without egg..?"

We have great fun at the stall! It's so great to get out and talk to people face-to-face about veganism. It's much better than talking online, where you can't see the person you're talking to. And I learn so much by talking to people and answering their questions. It helps me become a better activist. I would recommend to anyone to start a vegan stall in their area!

Something else I've started doing - hand printed t-shirt designs! It's a wonderful way to use my artistic talents to promote veganism.. and it gets me off the computer too! :)
Elizabeth wearing one of my "NZ Vegan" shirts
It's so fun and satisfying to see the end product after hours of drawing :) What I do is I create large stencils (just out of paper), print them out, cut little holes along the lines, stencil the holes on using fabric markers, then "connect the dots" and fill everything else in by hand. It's a long, delicate process (the fabric markers are permanent, so one mistake could ruin it!) but a very enjoyable thing for me to do.

I've also done a couple of interviews in the past few weeks with the Roanoke Vegan Examiner and NZ Vegan Podcast. Thanks for having me, Corey and Elizabeth :)

I would encourage anyone to get out there and participate in some form of vegan education. Do a stall, give away vegan baking, hand out pamphlets, create a short film, draw a picture, make a sculpture, whatever you enjoy doing, look for a way to promote veganism.

Peace and love ~

On "Vegan" Celebrities

I recently read an article posted in Stuff about vegan celebrities - "Celebs make veganism sexy".

I have a number of problems with articles such as this. It suggests that veganism is a diet, a trend, a health thing. Celebrities seem to always misrepresent the word "vegan" and what it actually means!

Many celebrities who say they are vegan, aren't really vegan at all. They just follow a plant-based diet, yet still wear leather, wool, eat honey, or promote non-vegan products. Veganism is NOT a diet. It's a rejection of violence towards all sentient beings. It's about respecting their right to life. Far more than "just a diet", it's also about the clothes we wear, the products we buy, the activities we engage in, the places we go, and how we live life. Vegans do their best not to participate in animal exploitation (be that human or nonhuman) by not buying animal products or products tested on animals, not going to places that profit from using other animals (eg zoos and rodeos) and, where possible, buying fair trade products.

The caption for this article is "Vegan Celebrities Leading Diet Trend". I just mentioned above that veganism isn't a diet, and it's also not a trend. Saying something is a "trend" is saying that it will only last a while.. only while it's considered "cool" (or "sexy")... and then when society's had enough of that trend you can go back to eating animal products. But veganism isn't about being "cool". I don't care what people say about my veganism, whether it's "totally awesome" or "a stupid thing", I will never go back to participating in animal exploitation. Why? Because it's not about me. It's about them, the nonhuman animals who are enslaved by humankind to produce products for our pleasure. It should always be about them.

I must also make something clear about a text in this article..
"The group says its latest figures show that about five per cent of American adults are vegetarians - saying they never eat meat, fish, seafood or poultry - and that half of these vegetarians are also vegan, meaning they don't eat dairy or eggs, either. (Strict vegans also don't eat honey.)"
ALL vegans don't eat honey! Honey comes from enslaved bees, whose food that they store for the winter (honey) is stolen from them so that humans can spread it on their toast. If you eat honey, you're not a vegan. You're a pure vegetarian. Just to make that clear. And if you eat honey, I'd recommend trying agave nectar instead!

I'll admit, some celebrities such as Ellen do a good job of showing the public how delicious vegan food can be, which is great. I'll also say that a purely plant-based diet is still better than an omnivorous or vegetarian (including dairy and eggs) diet, and I wouldn't ask them to go back. Just to re-think what it means to be a vegan, to remember who they're doing this for, and to please not misrepresent it! It's not a diet. It's not a fad. It's not a health thing.

It's justice.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Please Adopt Me

I sit here in this cage right now
Wondering where I went wrong
Why have my family left me?
Where have they gone?

I am trapped in this scary place
Not knowing what will happen to me
I see many other dogs in here
All begging to be free.

I have so much love to give
If only someone would give me a chance
Many people pass me by
But they don't give a second glance

I am waiting for someone
Someone like you
To come and free me from this terrible place
If you don't come, I don't know what I would do.

Please, if you're out there
Don't breed, don't buy
Please someone adopt me
I don't want to die.

Billions of healthy animals are killed in shelters simply because they can't find a home. Please adopt. Save a life. It would mean the whole world to that animal. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Promoting Veganism at Unitec

Well - I think it's about time I wrote about how my Pecha Kucha which I mentioned in my previous post went. So here a-goes :)

This assessment was one I wasn't particularly looking forward to. I've never, ever done a speech before. What to say? How to say it? 10 slides. 20 seconds speaking during each slide. 3 minutes 20 for the whole presentation. I wrote a script for myself to memorise and I went over my presentation over and over and over again. Boy was it hard to fit all that I wanted to say into that short amount of time I had to speak! I did a presentation on why I went vegan - my story of the goat farm (If you haven't already heard my story, you can listen to the podcast episode HERE).

It went really well! I had my lines memorised well and didn't stuff up at all, and I felt I really got my message across. Before the presentation, I handed out the Boston Vegan Association pamphlets to my classmates and the teachers. Then after the presentation, I handed out slices of yummy vegan chocolate cake!

3 layer chocolate cake! 

I ate way too much vegan cake that day. I got to finish off all the leftover pieces.. :-)

I like it when I have the opportunity to show people how delicious vegan food can be. Today, our Telling Stories class had a shared lunch. I made spaghetti and chickpea balls -

I made heaps! Very cheap to make, especially when you get a packet of spaghetti free from your raw flatmates :-) I'm happy everyone enjoyed my food. A couple of people brought along some vegetable dishes for me to eat, so that was nice of them. 

My classmates constantly ask me questions about being vegan, which I happily respond to. I'm glad that they're curious about it. Even though I don't think any of them will go vegan any time soon, at least I have them thinking about it. That's the first step. 

I will continue to promote veganism at my school in whatever ways I can. Just to get the message out there. Whether people listen or not, it's up to them. But I will never, ever stop speaking up for the animals. 

Not until every slave has been set free. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Human Rights = Animal Rights

I care about all living beings on this planet. The empathy I have for all animals is very strong, and this includes humans as well as non-humans. I want everyone to be happy, I can't stand seeing someone upset or in pain.

I often see people campaigning against child abuse, for woman's rights, stuff like that. "Violence is not OK", is the message. That's true. Violence towards humans and nonhumans is not OK, and honestly, I don't understand why we don't make the connection. Speciesism?

There is no moral difference between humans and non-humans. War = animal consumption; Murder of innocents. Rape = Dairy industry; Dairy cows artificially inseminated over and over again, in order to continue producing milk. Child abuse = animal abuse; Can you imagine eating a child? The animals who are killed for food are no more than children when they're slaughtered. And don't forget the babies in the egg industry who are ground up alive shortly after being born. Things that would horrify us if they were done to humans are common practice in the animal industry.

Perhaps we look different on the outside, but on the inside we are all the same. We all have a soul, we're all living breathing beings who were put on the earth for our own purposes, not for the purpose of anyone else. Please don't discriminate against other humans and other species.

Human children would probably be tasty and full of protein and iron too, but that doesn't mean we should go around killing and eating children does it? You can get all the nutrients you need on a plant-based diet. It's delicious, easy and healthy.

Please go vegan. It's the least we can do for other animals. If we are to have peace on this Earth, if we want war and violence on humans to stop, we first must stop harming non-humans for our own personal gain. As Isaac Bashevis Singer once said,
"As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together."
Indeed, how can we expect to have peace between humans if we continue to harm innocent beings for the pleasure of our taste buds?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My vegan adventures in Auckland

 Hi all!

 What an adventure the past 5 weeks have been. On the 20th of July, I left the comfort of my family home and ventured off to Auckland on my own to study at Unitec.

 My first week up here, it was great spending time with Jordan Wyatt, Elizabeth Collins and William Paul, my wonderful vegan friends:

@ The Revive Cafe :)

 And going to the National "Animal Rights" Conference with Jordan and William, the vegan food was the best part!

Lunch on the Sunday - Spinach and pesto filo with onion
jam, Teryaki vermicelli noodle salad, Mixed bean salad and
Leek and walnut tart.
 It was great to be in a vegan atmosphere, and I met some new vegan friends at the conference! While I didn't agree with some of the things the speakers talked about, overall it was a great experience.

 This is my first time living away from home, so I'm learning to do my own shopping and cooking. Now that I have to buy everything I eat, it's a big shock how expensive everything is! But I'll survive. Somehow.
I love the location where I live, and I am flatting with a lovely vegan Chinese family, so that's good. I'm glad to be out of the Waikato, no longer having to live close by to an awful place that makes money out of murdering innocent beings simply for the pleasure of human taste buds..

 Unitec started on August 1st. Being home schooled, it's the first time in a long time I've been in a classroom situation. But it's been pretty good. I wish smoking wasn't allowed on campus though. My favourite class is the Thursday class - which is more of the acting side of things, I love being crazy and making funny noises! :-)

 I also went to the vegan potluck dinner in Auckland put on by the NZ Vegan Society, which was awesome! There was so much food! I always eat way too much at vegan potlucks...

 Outside of Unitec at the moment, I'm working with Liz to make a NZ Vegan nutritional pamphlet, and I'm also working on my next Outlook for Someday movie with my flatmate Clare, which is my biggest movie project yet! So keeping busy.

 Unfortunately, I've decided to cancel my radio show Vegan for Life. I wish I could continue it, but I don't have the time to do it anymore. So I'm just going to blog now, for the meantime.

  I love living here, and am looking forward to future adventures of living in Auckland!

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's about them, not me

Many ask me why I'm vegan.

Well I will tell you.

It's not because it's healthier.

That's just an added bonus.

I don't care if vegans do or do not live longer than meat eaters.

And it's not about whether I find it hard or easy.

Or expensive or cheap.

I am vegan not for me, or you.

I am vegan for them.

The billions of innocent creatures who are slaughtered for human pleasure.

I seek to end all animal use.

That is why I am vegan.

It's about them, not me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My new short film and radio show

Hi everyone,

It's been a busy few months for me - I've been working hard on a new animated movie for the Possible Futures Film Contest. It's about a positive possible future, where there's no wars, no violence, no world hunger, a future I'm sure we all want!

It was a very time-consuming animation. First I filmed my sister doing the things in the script. Then I uploaded the films onto Adobe Flash and traced over them. Some were drawn frame-by-frame, others I was rushing on and drew every second frame. I almost didn't get it done on time! But I put in the long hours, worked hard, and managed to get it finished on time, as I always do with my films :-) I really like how the animation turned out.

A still picture from the film.
Click here to watch the film. Voting starts 28th of June!

In other news, the Vegan for Life radio show will be starting soon!

I've been hard at work with that as well. It's starting on Wednesday 29th of June at 3:30pm. I've just put up a website for it -, and you can also "like" Vegan for Life radio on Facebook here.

I enjoy hosting a radio show, and I hope to continue doing it for a while. It's a bit different from doing the VFL podcast, since you're in a radio station, with professional microphones, using professional editing software, and there's no siblings coming in and making noise when you're trying to record!

I love working on new projects. I'm already planning my next exciting project - a documentary this time, but more info on that later on ;-)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nonhumans Used For Entertainment: Animal Actors

I enjoy watching movies with my family. We often have our family movie nights. However, I try not to watch movies with "animal actors". That is, any nonhuman animals who have been trained to star in the movie. I'll explain why in this blog post.

It's wrong to use nonhuman animals for any form of human entertainment. The only animals who should be used for human entertainment is humans! As long as they're willing humans - not people forced to entertain others. The problem with using nonhumans as entertainment is that they are forced to do it. If they had a choice, they would choose not to. After all, it's not in their nature to entertain humans. Who would want to perform tricks in order to entertain another species?

The dogs, cats, and other nonhumans you see in films are slaves, trained to do specific things in the script. They may have to perform the same scene over and over until perfection. Sometimes they may have to pull off crazy stunts. Wild animals trained for movies have to live in cages, away from their natural habitats. They're put into uncomfortable environments. Some may even be zapped with an electric shock in order to force them to do their tricks. Trainers may say they love the animals they use, but in the end, it's all about human entertainment. The nonhumans don't benefit at all from it.

The only way I would see it okay to have other animals in a film, is if they're not forced to do anything. In one of my hobby films "The Tortoise and the Hare", starring Gem the dog, I used footage my sister took of Gem playing around. She didn't know she was being filmed, as far as she knew, it was just a fun game of fetch. The only thing specific to the film's script she had to do was cross the finish line, which she did with the promise of a little scoop of margarine (her favourite treat) on the other side of the finish line :-) However, I doubt any Hollywood movies requiring animal actors would use this approach.

So, with the problems of using nonhumans for live action movies, it would be better to watch animated movies, wouldn't it?

It may not seem to harm other animals, since it's all drawn or computer generated. However - animators do need to study their subjects. This could mean getting an animal into the studio, and having him sit still for hours while the animators study and sketch him. A certain image comes to my head whenever I think about this. A photograph in a book about the making of the Lion King showed a chained lion, a trainer standing by him, and animators gathered around the animal, sketching him. That image haunts me now. The poor lion!

Animators need to find different, creative, non-violent ways of studying other animals. Maybe they could go to a rescue sanctuary to study the animals there. Or go and study them in their natural habitat. Or just do what I do, and guess what they should look like! :-)

In the smart digital age we're in now, we should stop using live nonhumans for movies and - if you really need nonhuman stars in your films - use computer generated 3D animations of them instead. But they should be studied by animators in a method that won't affect them in any way.

The easiest thing to do would be to just not have any other animals in your films at all - and don't support the films that do by buying them (watching them when they come on TV, I think is okay, if you really want to watch a film starring nonhuman slaves..) I have a dream of becoming a director someday, and if I do *ahem* when I do, my films will be as vegan-friendly as I can make them. Maybe I will even start up a vegan film company! As well as being vegan-friendly, I also want to make my films make-up free, if possible. I just don't like the stuff. Everyone is beautiful, just the way they are!

I sure hope that, one day, nonhuman animals will no longer be a slave of the film industry - or any industry for that matter! I'm off to film school next year, my sister's off to animation school in a year or two... here's hoping someday I'll be able to set up a real vegan film company!

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"The Dairy Cow" - Short Story

This was a story I entered into a "short short story" competition on Facebook. I didn't win, but I want to share it with you guys here.

  Her heart aches as she desperately searches and calls for him. It's no use - her precious child has been stolen from her. Never again will she see her baby boy's face, he has been taken away from her so that humans could guzzle the milk, which was rightfully his.

  Every day that passes she casts a glimpse to the area where she last saw her child. Hoping that somehow, by magic, her little angel will come back to her. It's hard to accept that he is gone. A mother's bond with her baby is very strong.

  She is impregnated over and over so that she will continue to produce milk. Each of her babies, stolen away from her. Eventually her body is exhausted. And she is sent to slaughter. An innocent living being, murdered for cheap meat.

  She didn't have a name. She was just a number. A commodity. A slave.

Cows produce milk for the same reason all mammals do - to nourish their young. Milk is for calves, not humans. Go Vegan. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Welcome, Friends!

I've decided to set up a new blog, Peaceful Abolitionist! This blog will follow my thoughts and experiences of being a young vegan living in New Zealand.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is Emmy and I became vegan 4 years ago at the age of 13. I inspired my whole family to give up animal products and go vegan. Here is my podcast episode about going vegan as a teenager.

I've been a nonviolent, caring person all my life. I wouldn't hurt a fly. I remember one day years and years ago, swatting a mosquito who landed on my arm (since, that's what people do to mosquitoes, right?) I felt absolutely terrible for ending her life. From then on, I wouldn't kill insects, at least not on purpose. I saw, and still see, all life as precious. I have high empathy for all animals, including humans. It's just the way I am, and always have been. I'm against all forms of violence and discrimination, and believe that ALL slavery - human and nonhuman - should be abolished. My dream is that one day, humans and nonhumans will coexist peacefully with one another.

This blog is for vegans and non-vegans wishing to know more about veganism. I'll be posting advice, yummy vegan recipes, quotes, my personal stories on being a young vegan in New Zealand, my view on news stories relating to animal rights (welfarism usually, I'm sure there are going to be a lot of those stories..) and more, so stay tuned!

Peace and love to all
~ Emmy