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Here's to dads!

Here's to dads!

Posted 28 August 2015   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: Father's Day, penguins, foxes, frogs, wolves, marmosets

No matter your species, there's some amazing dads out there. If you know a great dad, send him some thanks this Father's Day.

Thanks for all the lifts

Marmoset dads piggyback their kids all over the place.

Photo: Thomas Hoerner/EPA

Thanks for the times you brought me takeaway

Wolf dads will bring back food for mother and pups in the den while they get strong.

Thanks for keeping me warm

Emperor penguin dads carry the incubating egg around on their feet to keep the baby penguin inside toasty warm.

Photo: APL/DCL

Thanks for teaching me important stuff

Red foxes teach their kids to feed themselves by hiding and burying food and encouraging the kits to sniff it out.

And thanks for the hugs

Oreophryne frog dads gently hug their babies to keep them from drying out, and to protect them from insects.

If you know a dad who deserves some thanks you could share this with them for Father's Day.

Lots of animals don't have fathers around and likewise, not all humans will share this day with their dad. My heart goes out to those who find Father's Day tough and I hope that no matter what, everyone finds comfort amongst friends and family this Sunday 6th September.

Header image courtesy of Exclusivepix.

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400 million animals saved!

400 million animals saved!

Posted 11 August 2015   by Amy         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: vegetarian, vegan, why veg, food, recipes

400 million animals! I can't even begin to comprehend what 400 million animals would look like. But that's how many animals were saved from being killed for food in 2014 (in the US alone!) simply by people choosing to eat less meat!

That means millions of animals were spared from a lifetime of suffering in factory farm and having their life cut short in an industrial slaughterhouse.

Whether it be cutting down on meat or cutting it out altogether, eating less animals is a global trend that continues to grow. A new report from the U.S. says that meat consumption has been declining by around 10% every year since 2007!

Are you part of this growing movement? You're awesome. Here's a duckling.

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If you're ready to jump on board the life-saving bandwagon, we've got everything you need right here.

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It can be hard to feel like we're making a difference when we're flying the flag for animals, but this statistic goes to show that we're not alone, and together we're making a HUGE difference for animals.

Imagine if we could double this impact ... or even quadruple it. Well, you can! It's been found that one of the biggest barriers for people to make meat-free choices is not knowing what to eat. By spreading your love of veg food, and showing the people in your life how delicious it can be, you can help break down this barrier. And the best way to do it -- a dinner party :) What's more, by cooking for 3 friends you'll quadruple your impact for animals with that meal.

Action Alert: Host a vegan dinner party!

Here's some of my favourite dinner party recipes that always get gobbled up by guests:

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Basil and rocket pesto pasta
Simple and delicious, just like all of the recipes from Mouthwatering Vegan.

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Tofish and chips
Nothing like a good fry up. And it's even better when it's tofu in the fryer and fish in the sea! fish.gif (Psst! Guess what? Masterfoods Tartare Sauce is vegan.)

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Mushroom hot pot
This is a fun one because guests get a ladle of broth and then make their own soup combo from the selection of veggies, herbs and tofu.

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Chocolate pot
Ok I haven't actually made these yet but they're definitely on the table at my next dinner party. They look so good! (Jamie Oliver has a whole section for vegan recipes on his website.)

Happy cooking! More recipes here.

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Snuggle Coats is bringing fur back ... to the animals!

Snuggle Coats is bringing fur back ... to the animals!

Posted 7 August 2015   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: fur, wildlife, Snuggle Coats, minks

We all know cruelty is not a good look. So what to do with the fur coat we've had since long before a glimpse inside fur farms made us realise that dead animals are not a fashion statement?

Aussie-based Snuggle Coats has found the kindest solution EVER. They're collecting the unwanted fur garments hidden away in the backs of closets and donating them to wildlife rescues to comfort the animals in their care -- turning something tragic into something heart warming :)

Here's some gorgeous pics of rescued animals nestling into Snuggle Coats furs. Prepare to have little cartoon love hearts coming out of your eyes ...

Orphaned flying fox
A young flying fox nestles in a Snuggle Coats fur at Tolga Bat Hospital. Image: Sarah Thorpe. 

Bruce the kangaroo
Bruce the kangaroo relaxes in his Snuggle Coat's fur-lined pouch at Gladstone & District Wildlife Carer's Association.

Baby ringtail possum
A baby ringtail possum keeping cosy and warm at FAWNA (NSW).

Anzac the wombat
4 month old Anzac looks super comfortable in his Snuggle Coat at Wombat Ridge Wildlife Shelter.

Could that baby wombat be any more adorable? Once he has grown, Anzac will be returned to the wild where he can live out the rest of his life in his natural habitat, just like all animals should.

Comforting rescued wildlife is easily our second favourite way to see fur. The first is on it's original owner -- animals.

Curious mink
In the wild, minks live close to streams and lakes where they swim, climb trees, make nests and hunt.

Sadly, millions of animals -- including minks, rabbits, foxes, possums and raccoons -- are still kept in apalling conditions in fur factory farms. They are then electrocuted or gassed for their furs with some even beaten to death or skinned alive.

Is personal taste reason enough to end someone's life?

Mink fur farm
On fur farms, minks are forced to live in small wire cages where they're unable to express their natural desires, which leads to chronic boredom and stress.

Nope.

Thanks to Snuggle Coats, we now have the opportunity to try and make amends for the mistakes of the past, and move towards a kinder world. Find out how you can help give fur back to the animals.

More ways to help:

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What Cecil the lion's death can teach us about empathy

What Cecil the lion's death can teach us about empathy

Posted 30 July 2015   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: Cecil, lions, hunting

The tragic death of one of Zimbabwe's most loved lions – Cecil – has sparked global outrage. And understandably so. It's hard to fathom why anyone would want to kill such an incredible animal. The American dentist who hunted and shot Cecil with a bow and arrow, reportedly paid $55,000 for a permit to kill a lion. Reports say that Cecil was lured out from the protection of the Hwange National Park (where it is illegal to hunt) and killed.

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Cecil's death is undeniably devastating. But it begs the question -- would this story even be told if it had been any other lion who was shot? Approximately 600 lions are killed every year on trophy hunts. In a statement, the hunter who killed Cecil said:

"I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practice responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion."

This lion.

Had he shot any other lion (or any other animal) we might never have heard about it. But Cecil had a name. He had a personality. He was loved.

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Cecil nuzzles a lioness at Hwange National Park.

Does having a name make Cecil's life more valuable? All lions have unique personalities. They have loved ones. They may have cubs, like Cecil did. But their deaths would not make global headlines.

Rightly or wrongly, it is an undeniable trait of human nature that we care more about those we know than about those we barely know. With Cecil, we see on a global scale that even by simply knowing an animal by name, we feel more connected to them. We understand that they are someone. If you've ever given a house spider a name (I know I have) you'll know how something so simple can build a bridge from 'other' to 'friend'.

And if we look at humankind's "best friend" we can see how deep this connection between humans and animals can go. Most of us will have at some point in our lives welcomed an animal into our homes. We will have learned about their likes and dislikes, watched them experience joy and fear and loved them just like a member of the family.

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If you've ever loved a companion animal you'll know that you'd never let anyone hurt them. And it's this love that has dictated the protection our pets have in broader society. In Australia there are legal ramifications for cruelty to dogs and cats that are not afforded to millions of other animals. If someone were to take a dog and cut off his tail without any pain relief, they would face cruelty charges. And yet, this painful procedure is inflicted upon countless piglets in factory farms every single day.

Recently, there was worldwide outrage over the dog eating festival in China. I'm the first to be saddened by the thought of a dog being killed and eaten but perhaps some cultures just don't know dogs like we do? If they did, surely they wouldn't consider them "food." Meanwhile, here at home, countless animals who are really no different to dogs are killed everyday ... to be turned into pork, bacon and ham. Why do we not feel outraged by this?

Dogs and cats have a special place in our society simply because we know them as individuals, we love them and we stand up to protect them. What if we could expand our compassion to the animals who we don't know? Imagine how different the world would be if we stood up to protect all animals?

Just like dogs, pigs have a desire to live, and feel love and have in fact proven to be even smarter than the tail-wagging slobber monkeys we share our homes with. Chickens too each have their own unique personalities, likes and dislikes and the capacity to feel pain.

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Meet Stefa Meet Little Miss Sunshine

Cecil's life mattered not because he was a lion, or because we knew his name. Cecil's life mattered because all lives matter.

Every day we make choices about how we treat individuals who we will never meet -- from what we wear, to what we buy, and most especially what we eat. To create a kinder world, we need only harness the power of our everyday choices to transform the lives of these animals for the better. And we can start today. Take the first step here.

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New doco UNITY has a BIG question to ask ...

New doco UNITY has a BIG question to ask ...

Posted 27 July 2015   by Amy         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: Unity, movie, documentary

This epic documentary is about to hit screens across Australia with an aim to get people to see the world through new eyes. Here's the trailer:

I got to see a preview of UNITY and the message is plain and simple, yet something that we too often forget: We all exist on this earth, we all experience joy and we all suffer. So why do we tend to focus on our differences instead of what unites us? Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past? Or can we open our eyes (and hearts) and learn to truly love ourselves, our planet and our fellow species?

Not the same. But equal.

From the writer and director of EARTHLINGS, UNITY is told by 100 different narrators, including Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston, Dr. Dre, Geoffrey Rush, Selena Gomez, Aaron Paul and Jaoquin Phoenix. With a message that's close to our hearts, we were delighted when Mushroom Pictures asked Animals Australia to partner with them for the launch of UNITY in Australia.

See UNITY on the big screen:

UNITY hits cinemas worldwide on August 12. Sessions are scheduled for VIC, NSW, QLD, SA, WA, ACT and TAS. Click here to find a session time near you.

In Sydney? WIN a double pass!

We're giving away 25 double passes to the Sydney preview of UNITY on August 3. Click here to enter!


PLEASE NOTE: UNITY is a deeply thought provoking film that is not afraid to challenge its audience. It contains images of human and animal suffering that may be confronting for some viewers. It is not suitable for children.

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When the media compared a curious shark to a 1970s horror film

When the media compared a curious shark to a 1970s horror film

Posted 21 July 2015   by Amy         Permalink | 4 Comments

Tags: sharks, Mick Fanning

Unless you've been living in the depths of the South Atlantic Ocean, you'll have noticed that the media is having a field day with surfer Mick Fanning's encounter with a shark on the weekend.

This morning as I was getting my coffee, I caught a glimpse of the Herald Sun and the front page headline read "I BEAT JAWS".

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Legit newspaper cover.

Firstly, let me just say that I'm very glad Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson are safe. Secondly, -- this headline, and much of the media's portrayal of this incident, is shark poo. Here's how the story should have been written up based on the surfer's retelling of what happened:

Shark gets tangled in surfer's leg rope. Surfer pulled out of water unharmed.

Experts who have studied Great White's stalking seals say that when these sharks attack they move at speeds of up to 40 km p/h, coming up quickly and precisely from depths of 8-14 metres below their prey. The shark in this footage with Mick Fanning is seen swimming around on the surface before bumping into the surfer. See for yourself:

There's no doubt that had this shark wanted to he could've seriously hurt Fanning. But sharks are very curious animals and -- surprise, surprise -- they live in the ocean. Surfers are not blind to the fact that they're paddling around in the natural habitat of a wide variety of marine animals, including sharks.

George Burgess of the International Shark Attack File (ISAF) said: "By all appearances, it was a situation where a White shark was coming up for an investigation of the situation. The fact that there was no bite suggests that the animal was simply there to check it out, to see what was going on."

Sadly, however this will still go on record as an incidence of a shark attack as by the ISAF definition a shark attack is any instance where contact between a human and shark was made. Does this seem weird to you? Yesterday a dog touched my hand with his nose. Was that a dog attack?

And on top of that, many media outlets have decided that they'd rather tell this story:

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The problem is that sensationalised stories like this put sharks at risk. Already there are those who want Great White sharks to have their protected status revoked and for more "diligent management" (also known as shark culls) to happen. Only last year, caring Aussies spoke up to protect sharks, resulting in a cull in WA being scrapped, saving the lives of countless sharks. Why? Because sharks are a crucial part of the ocean ecosystem. What's more, there's no evidence to suggest that bloody culls make beaches any safer. In fact, there are many surfers who are amongst the most vocal in their support of protecting sharks.

But while the media goes on a joy ride to demonise sharks, it cheers me up no end to see that at least the internet is thinking about things from the other side of the story:

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If you love sharks, and don't want them to be portrayed as the flesh-hungry beasts of horror movies, you might like to write a letter to the editor of your local paper and share your thoughts. We've got some great tips to get you started.

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We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.