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Proof that stingrays are basically the puppy dogs of the sea

Proof that stingrays are basically the puppy dogs of the sea

Posted 31 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: stingrays, marine animals

This stingray, man. I didn't even know how much I liked stingrays until I saw this. Check out how much he loves a head rub :) (or is he just after food? -- nah I'm going with head rub.)

Ok, fess up, how many times did you watch it?

And in case you're now wondering what a stingray pup looks like, (not even joking, baby stingrays are legit called pups), I've done the research for you:

baby-stingrays.jpg

I'll just give you a minute to wipe the love hearts out of your eyes ...

It's not every day we get to have close encounters with marine animals. But whenever we do, it's clear that just like all animals, they have unique personalities :) (Check out this awesome vid of tourists getting up close to a mother whale and her baby in the wild.)

Have you ever had a close encounter with an animal that has opened your eyes to how made you think differently about them? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

[More cool things about fish]

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5 ways to celebrate Hat Day (formerly known as Melbourne Cup)

5 ways to celebrate Hat Day (formerly known as Melbourne Cup)

Posted 15 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: Melbourne Cup, horse racing, horses, Hat Day

I'm a sucker for a dress up. No doubt about it. But when Melbourne Cup rolls around, and everyone's pulling out their fanciest hat and snazziest bow tie, I'm just over here like:

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Because horse racing is nothing to celebrate. Sadly, a lot of people still don't know the shocking truth about horse racing ... what the industry refers to as 'wastage' ... and I refer to in words that I can't use in a blog. I'm talking about the thousands of horses that are killed every single year simply because they aren't winning races and making money. (Click here to expose the truth for yourself.)

So yeah, not getting dolled up for that BUT pretty much any other reason'll do -- It's a Tuesday? It's the 4th of November? I get a day off while my mates in other states have to work? Yep. Yep. Yep! (Sorry guys). So here's my top tips for how to celebrate November 4 minus the cruelty of horse racing ...

Eastment Street Derby

For all my fellow Melbournites, head down to Northcote for Eastment Street Derby -- "the race that stops a street!" -- an annual billy cart race on Cup Day. Check it:

Yes. Isaac Panaretos gives an awesomely accurate description of the day: "Some people race carts but most people drink long necks and stand in the way. Everyone else goes to the Melbourne Cup to take selfies for their tinder profiles." I know where I'd rather be ;)

[Pic thanks to Asher Floyd.]

'Nup to the Cup' picnic

Our friends at Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) are hosting a picnic at the park opposite Flemington Racecourse.

Check out the FB event here.

Host your own party

Let's be honest, the best bits of Cup Day are the hats and the champagne. (Alcohol free of course!) So host a Hat Day party! Get your mates together, put a fake feather in your hair, clink glasses and if you're the gambling type, here's 10 bets you can make with your friends that you'll never lose :)


Hold a fundraiser for animals

A lot of workplaces and even schools have sweeps on race day or place bets in other ways. Why not convince your work or school mates to put their coin towards helping animals this year instead of supporting cruelty?

You could all pitch in a few dollars, draw a name out of a hat to win a box of chocolates or some other prize, and then donate the rest to a charity of your choice. A donation to the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses would go directly to campaigns to help race horses.

If you're in Adelaide, you're in luck because someone's already organised a NOT the Melbourne Cup fundraising event :) All the deets here.

Spread the word

It's pretty clear that there's heaps of ways to drop the cruelty of racing and still have an awesome day on Nov 4. So let your friends know too by sharing this silly hat cat on facey. Maybe with an invite to your cruelty-free party ;)

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Have a happy Hat Day! Got another good idea for how to celebrate Nov 4 without cruelty? Leave us a comment :)

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Culture minus cruelty = awesome

Culture minus cruelty = awesome

Posted 14 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 3 Comments

Tags: Running of the bulls, bulls, sharks, shark finning, The Dorsal Effect, Oktoberfest, vegan, Vegan Oktoberfest, horse racing, horses, Hat Day

What happens when you take a cultural tradition and take out the animal cruelty? ... You make it waaaaay more awesome, obvs. Check out these 4 cool examples and see if you agree with me :)

Running of the balls

One small Spanish town has said balls to cruelty by recreating an old tradition minus the animal abuse. Many people are shocked to learn that the bulls who are forced to take part in the Running of the Bulls festival will in fact suffer a slow and painful death when they reach the bull ring at the end of the run. But never again in the town of Mataelpino. Check out how they're keeping the tradition alive without harming any animals :)

[Help put a stop to the Running of the Bulls.]

Vegan Oktoberfest

Zomg this year the first ever Vegan Oktoberfest took place in Santa Monica, Calilfornia. I am so going next year.

Vegan Oktoberfest has all the best bits of Oktoberfest -- beer, German culture and quirky outfits -- and none of the worst. In 2012, half a million chickens, 116 whole oxen and 115,000 pork sausages were served up in Munich's beer tents in just 3 weeks. That's a lot of animals lives :(

Thankfully, as Vegan Oktoberfest has shown, it's possible to have all the traditional fun with none of the cruelty! Yay :) Check out the highlights on the Vegan Oktoberfest facebook page and keep an eye out for me at the next one ;)

[Have a cruelty-free feast of your own tonight with one of these yum recipes.]

The Dorsal Effect

Ok this is really cool. The Dorsal Effect encourages more tourists to come to Lombok -- an island in Indonesia -- to give fishermen a way to make money without the cruelty of killing sharks for their fins. Check this out:

WARNING: The first 30 seconds of this is pretty graphic so skip past if you find it upsetting.

How's that for turning cruelty on it's head for a celebration of natural beauty and culture? What's more, locals can see that sharks are worth more to them alive than they are dead. Who's up for a trip to Lombok?

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[You can do your bit to end shark finning by making the pledge to never eat shark fin soup.]

Hat Day

November 4 from now on and forever more will be known as Hat Day. Because hats are awesome! And cruelty is not. Find out how you can take part in Hat Day (formerly known as Melbourne Cup Day) and help protect horses from cruelty simply by having an awesome time :)

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Veg game strong amongst young adults. Cos yolo.

Veg game strong amongst young adults. Cos yolo.

Posted 9 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: vegan, vegetarian, cruelty-free, go veg, food, Spiderman

The proof is in the cruelty-free pudding my friend! Latest stats out of the UK say 1 in 5 peeps aged 16-24 have taken animals off their plate. Yeahh ya did!

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This compares to (a still AWESOME) 1 in 8 for Brits overall. Does that mean that young adults are the kindest of aaaallll the adults? ... It's a leap but I'm going to take it :)

Either way, vegetarians and vegans in Britain are on the rise and my spidey senses tell me that they are here in Aus too. What do you reckon?

FUN FACT: Spiderman himself is vegan. (Well, Tobey Maguire that is.) He stopped eating animals back when he was a super smart, super nice 17 year old :)

spiderman-2.jpg

Does that mean that living cruelty-free helps you become a famous actor/give you super powers? It's a leap but I'm going to take it!

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This news excites me because it shows that more and more young people are stepping up and making their own choices about what they do and don't want to support. As kids, no one ever really asks us what we think about eating animals. It's just assumed that that's what we're going to do.

But of course as we start to get older and learn the truth about the way animals raised for food are treated we have a choice. And 1 in 5 Brits are making the choice and to take animals of their plate :)

One of my favourite quotes is "Put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I'll buy you a new car." (Harvey Diamond).

520-cute-rabbit.jpg

This rabbit can't even believe that that's even a question! And neither can I really. One of my other favourite quotes (I'm in a quotey mood today) is something Lyn White has said: "Since we can live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives without harming those who share this world with us, why on earth wouldn’t we?"

No matter where you are on your cruelty-free journey, I want to thank you for opening your mind and making kind choices. And no matter which age bracket you fall into, you can help Australia beat the Brits (because you know how much we like to beat the Brits) at being kind, and (more importantly) start saving the lives of animals, by making the veg pledge today.

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On that note, imma just leave this here ...

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(Yep it's vegan :) Click here for recipe.)

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Here's what you need to know about live export right now

Here's what you need to know about live export right now

Posted 8 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | 1 Comment

Tags: live export, sheep, Eid

As I write this, our brave live export investigators are returning from the field after documenting one of the darkest times of the year for animals -- the Festival of Sacrifice, or Eid. Tragically, millions of animals are sacrificed during these celebrations across the Middle East and Asia. Hundreds of thousands of animals exported from Australia are among them.

What is the Eid?

The Festival of Sacrifice is a religious holiday honouring the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of devotion to Allah. Seeing Ibrahim's commitment, Allah gave him a lamb to sacrifice in place of his son. So during the Eid, many Muslims today sacrifice an animal and share the meat amongst family, friends and the poor.

But just like many people here don't support the way animals are treated in our own country, many locals in the Middle East are opposed to the cruelty that goes on during the Eid. In fact, some of our investigators are local Muslims who share our goal of a kinder world for animals. And some Islamic leaders have also spoken out, saying that the way animals are being treated does not fit with Islamic teachings.

Why does cruelty occur?

Just as Christmas is a peak time for animal suffering in Australia -- with millions of pigs, turkeys and chickens killed for the Christmas table -- the Festival of Sacrifice is the worst time for animals in the Middle East.

Sadly, whenever animals are slaughtered on masse, cruelty and suffering is bound to occur. For Australian animals who are exported for the Eid this is made even worse -- since most of these stressed out animals aren't used to regular human contact, and the people killing them often have little experience slaughtering animals, and even less experience handling Australian animals. What's it like?

Animals Australia investigators have documented sheep being tied up, shoved into car boots and loaded on to the back of utes. Stressed bulls are tripped with ropes and then have their legs tied together, so that they are helpless to protect themselves. Most of these unfortunate animals then suffer a terrifying death -- their throats cut while fully conscious by men with little or no slaughter experience or by overworked abattoir workers.

The city streets literally run red with the blood of slaughtered animals as they're killed outside houses and on the street itself.

Understandably this is not just a hard time for animals ... it can be extremely confronting for a lot of people too. Alaa Sharshar, the owner of Vegan Kitchen -- Egypt's first vegan restaurant -- told The Guardian that ever since he was a boy he has had to get out of Cairo on the day of the sacrifice.

vegan-kitchen-egypt.jpeg
Alaa Sharshar -- Vegan Kitchen. Photo: Patrick Kingsley for the Guardian

And I can imagine that I would definitely have to do the same after watching this short video of the streets of the Gaza Strip on the first day of Eid. This video gives you a small glimpse of what it would be like to be out on the street during this Festival. But please BE WARNED that you might find it distressing to watch. There's no actual slaughter filmed but there are body parts of animals shown and lots of blood :(

What does it have to do with us?

Australia is the largest live exporter in the world and every year during the Eid hundreds of thousands of Australian animals -- mostly sheep and cattle -- are exported to the Middle East and Asia for sacrifice. Live exporters have seen the shocking cruelty that awaits animals at the other end, but they load them onto ships and send them anyway.

[Ask your MP today to put a stop to this cruel trade.]

What are we doing about it?

While live exports continue Animals Australia will be there documenting and exposing cruelty that occurs, and campaigning for a ban. In the last 2 years, we've made 31 reports of illegal activity in the live export trade and campaigned alongside countless caring people like you to bring an end to live exports for good.

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What can I do?

This trade needs to end. We've seen time and time again that politicians can't promise that rules won't be broken and that animals won't be mistreated. You can help by writing to your MP about the cruelty of the live export trade and asking them to support a ban. Click here to send your political representative a message today.

However, there is another problem here and that is that whenever there is a mass demand for animals to be killed for 'food' -- cruelty occurs. While it may not be happening right in front of us in the streets, animals here in Australia are often roughly handled as they are led to slaughter and if you've ever watched footage from inside an abattoir you'll know the terror animals can experience as they're taken to be killed.

A recent investigation by Aussie Farms into a NSW pig slaughterhouse shows that pigs scream and thrash about in terror as they are lowered into gas chambers -- a process which is described as the most 'humane' slaughter method. Click here to judge for yourself.

The demand for meat in Australia is so high that over a million animals are killed every single day. Every single day! And, like the Eid, many of the holidays we celebrate here centre around a feast and animals can suffer as a result. For example, the number of turkeys killed for meat goes up dramatically in the lead up to Christmas :(

But it doesn't have to be this way. More and more people are making sure no animals are harmed for their food, and reducing the demand for meat, by simply taking animals off their plate. You can make that choice starting today.

pig-pledge-2.jpg

There's heaps of meat-free recipes for you to try out right here. And if you need any tips for a cruelty-free Christmas, I can solidly recommend the festive roast from Suzy Spoons Vegetarian Butcher. Check out the Chrissy feast I had last year:

christmas-feast.jpg

Zomg it was so good. Feel free to tell me how totes jel you are below :)

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Laws couldn't stop this ... so it's up to you!

Laws couldn't stop this ... so it's up to you!

Posted 7 October 2014   by Amy         Permalink | Be the first to comment

Tags: fishing, sharks, shark fin soup, hunting, action, pledge

First, he's hooked and brought to the surface, unable to breathe. Then, his fins are brutally sliced off. Finally, he's tossed back into the ocean like rubbish -- where he'll sink to the bottom, and drown :( It’s a horrific way to die, and the animal who washed up on a Queensland beach on Monday probably suffered this cruel fate.

shark finning

Finning a shark at sea is illegal in Australia but laws are difficult to police. Sharks like this hammerhead are in danger of cruelty because of demand for their fins. These fins are used in shark fin soup, a popular Asian dish that is now available in restaurants throughout Australia.

While shark fins are still allowed to be sold in Australia, more sharks are at risk of suffering this same cruel death. It’s time to BAN the sale of shark fins -- and you can help do it!

Here's three things you can do to help protect sharks from finning:

  1. Sign the pledge to never buy shark fin soup.
  2. Contact your MP and let them know that the only way to protect sharks from finning is by banning the sale of shark fins in Australia.
  3. If you see shark fin soup being sold, take a moment to politely get in touch with the restaurant -- in person, or by sending an e-mail or message via social media -- to ask them to take shark fin off the menu and help protect sharks.

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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.