It was one year ago today that Four Corners aired footage from Animals Australia's first investigation in Indonesia, and shocked the Australian public with the brutal and undeniable cruelty of the live export industry. It's amazing to think just how far we've come in 12 months. Check out what's been achieved...
Hundreds of thousands putting the heat on pollies to stop the trade through emails, letters and phone calls.
A whopping 60,000 media stories about live exports (here and overseas!) in 2011.
Not to mention four historic proposals in Parliament to end live exports.
People power has brought us this far and has made live export an issue no politician can ignore! Together, we've shone a spotlight on this cruel trade! Not only have our efforts forced animal welfare improvements across numerous countries, sheep exports have also dropped to a ten year low, meaning that hundreds of thousands of sheep have been spared from a gruelling journey and brutal slaughter. (Want to see the full checklist of what's been achieved? Click here.)
After the investigation aired, we heard from so many people who made the choice to take animals off their plates. It seems I wasn't the only one getting all choked up watching the heartbreaking story of Tommy the steer, shivering with fear as he awaited his death.
While some victories have been won, the larger campaign to end all live exports from Australia continues. And this is where you can do your part for the animals!
Share the campaign with your friends! It's so simple but so important. Facebook, Twitter, wherever - get the message out there that live exports need to be stopped.
If you're voting age: Tell the PM what you think! She's there to serve Australians, right? So tell her exactly what you want to see done.
Get published! The letters page in the paper is one of the most read sections. Your letter will speak for the millions of young Australians who want an end to live exports.
Gather signatures! Easier than you'd think. Print off a petition to end live exports. Take it to class or to a lecture; the canteen or the cafe and get other people involved.
Thanks to the amazing support of people like you, this campaign has already had a huge impact! With your continued help, the entire ugly trade can be banned for good. What's the next step you're going to take?
To say that I "like" Ben Stiller movies would be pretty much the same as saying that I "like" lasagne. Both being total understatements. Which is why I was psyched to hear that Ben and his family have decided to go vegan!
The star of Zoolander, Dodgeball, Meet the Fockers (and on and on ...) has decided that there is "more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking" and is helping animals (and his own health) by not eating meat or any other animal products. This means that Ben and his family can look forward to probably living longer, and avoiding health problems such as obesity, diabetes ... and much less likely, but much more creepy ... WORMS in their brains!
Ben's wife Christine Taylor is also in acting (and modelling) and she's given the new lifestyle the thumbs up. "It really has changed our energy level. Sometimes you don't realize it until someone says it to you, like, "Your skin looks amazing.'"
With a couple of new movies on the way, I think Ben's gonna be needing that energy to get him through the day. Have you already made the same compassionate choice as Ben, and cut out meat? How did you feel after making the switch? Did you have more energy, or feel better in the mornings?
Meet Olivia. Not only is she absolutely adorable in a way that only bunnies can be, she is also extremely lucky. She was recently rescued from a rabbit factory farm with 300 of her friends, who are probably right now having the mother of all parties at Big Ears Sanctuary.
Olivia has taken to exploring the nooks and crannies of the sanctuary.
Tommy has discovered the joys of burrowing and rolling around in dirt.
Goofy, living up to his name, as he plays with a turkey feather.
Roger is a friendly and inquisitive bunny, eager to meet visitors to the sanctuary.
Free at last! Relaxing in the sun and enjoying grass under their feet for the first time.
Sweetie needed to have an abscess removed from her head, but is recovering well.
Apple: Her leg abscess has kept her indoors. But not for long.
Like all rabbits in factory farms, Olivia was not able to enjoy the simple pleasures of rabbit life such as burrowing and was forced to toilet in the same space that she lived.
Respiratory diseases have been reported to kill as many as 30-50% of rabbits in factory farms in Australia.
Olivia and the other rescued rabbits had been confined in tiny wire cages, similar to the ones battery hens are kept in. In these conditions rabbits suffer from all kinds of health problems and injuries. They're eventually then killed and sold as meat. They're not given the space or opportunity to do rabbit-y things like exploring, making friends, digging, eating fresh grass and annoying Elmer Fudd.
When news spread earlier this year that a rabbit farm in Tasmania was for sale, Big Ears Animal Sanctuary, Radical Rabbit and Freedom for Farmed Rabbits hatched a plan to save the rabbits from slaughter or being sold onto another farm. They teamed up to purchase Olivia and her 300 bunny buddies. Then began the huge task of treating the sick and injured and getting them all to their new home at Big Ears Sanctuary.
Olivia and her floppy-eared friends are now experiencing the great freedom of the outdoors. They're also enjoying nestling into the laps of anyone who visits them. Yep, I'm thinking the same thing as you - what's the absolute quickest way to get myself to Big Ears Sanctuary!?
Factory farmed rabbits in Australia suffer much of the same cruel treatment as their carrot-loving cousins in Europe. Compassion in World Farming (a colleague group of Animals Australia) recently completed their investigation into the reality of rabbit farming across Europe. It doesn't make for pleasant viewing.
While you and your mates perhaps can't scrape together enough dosh to buy up old rabbit farms, you can make a difference to rabbits stuck in the same situation as Olivia was. By being kind to bunnies, rejecting factory-farmed, and choosing cruelty-free alternatives you can help ensure rabbits like Olivia live a natural, happy and full life.
If you think Olivia's story is better than Peter Rabbit's and Brer Rabbit's COMBINED, then you'll probably wanna head straight to this website (www.bigearsanimalsanctuary.com/rabbit-rescue.php) where you will spend the next half hour having your heart melted by adorable photos of fuzzy bunnies. Fact.
Florence, a nurse shark in England, has recently joined the growing movement toward eating cruelty free, and now chooses to chow down on only vegetables. Florence must have good taste as she particularly likes celery, cucumber and lettuce, which sounds suspiciously like what I'll be having for lunch today. Maybe we could organise a lunch date?
Florence made the switch to vegetarian eating after surgery to remove a rusted hook from her jaw. Perhaps she's wised up to the dangers involved in eating meat? (ok... ok... the truth is that Florence will in fact need to start eating meat again to be healthy, but fortunately, you and I definitely don't!) After all, carp have been reported to change their behaviour after an experience with hooks, and trout can remember how to avoid fishing nets months after their first experience with one. And I thought Nemo was pretty smart because he could talk!
Fish experience a whole range of the same sensations that other animals do. A hook in the mouth hurts. Suffocating to death is as awful as it sounds for us. And when fish are brought to the surface too quickly, the change in pressure causes eyes and organs to explode. More and more people are realising the stress and pain caused to fish by recreational and commercial fishing.
The underwater world really is an amazing place. There's sharks who can bark like dogs; tiny creatures that light up whole waves; and fish using rocks to open clam shells. If you want to take a small step to protect some of our marine mates, you don't need to buy them tix to an AC/DC concert (good luck, they sell out in like 8 minutes flat). Just head here to join others in taking a stand against the sale of shark fins in Australia.
I always thought that a turtle's fave thing was finding a strawberry to nom on. But I reckon this turtle north of Townsville would be pretty stoked at the moment, even without a strawberry.
The green sea turtle (who was given the awesome name of "Gary Gungoo") was released back into his sea country after 10 months of rehab north of Townsville. The poor little fella had been found suffering from floating syndrome. This problem occurs when turtles eat the rubbish that people dump into the sea, especially plastics and fishing line. Fortunately, Gary Gungoo was given expert care and is now back in the waters off Queensland. Probably chillin' with Nemo and Dory I'd imagine.
Gary Gungoo (man, I love saying that name) was actually found in an area called Hinchinbrook, where local indigenous groups have stopped hunting turtles. Unfortunately sea turtles and dugongs are still fair game around Queensland, and the cruelty involved is terrible. There's also the worry that hunting is pushing some turtles to the brink of extinction. Who would have thought that these gentle reptiles had it so hard??
Luckily, the new QLD govt has promised to make sure turtles and dugongs are protected by the same cruelty laws as other animals, by the end of their first 100 days in office. They've got about 42 days left to make good on their promise.
It's fantastic to see the traditional owner groups who looked after Gary getting in on the action and leading the way. Hopefully with this kind of compassion it won't be long before Dr. Seuss' Yertle the Turtle becomes fact.
"And the turtles, of course, all the turtles are free.
As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be."
Here's another reason why people would rethink their dinner plans: The NSW Food Authority has just finished a review of all the domestic slaughterhouses in NSW. Guess how many of those places needed to be told to clean up their act?
a) none of them
b) some of them
c) most of them
d) ALL of them!
If you guessed "All of them" ... you were right! Animals were observed being mistreated in every domestic abattoir across the state. The review found that slaughtering staff didn't always know what they were doing (what the...??!) and that some animals were not being stunned properly before being killed. That means they may have still been conscious when their throats were cut :(
The review started after nightmarish footage was taken at Hawkesbury Valley Meat Processors by Animals Australia member society, Animal Liberation. But hey, this is hardly the first shocking footage to come out of a slaughterhouse recently ... remember the pigs being stabbed in the eyes at a Victorian slaughterhouse late last year? If you've already seen it then I'd say you probably do remember it.
The reality is that what goes on in slaughterhouses on a daily basis is ugly -- even when no laws are being broken. And it's so well hidden from public eyes that we can never really be sure how an individual animal on the supermarket shelf was treated. The only way to be certain that animals aren't suffering for our food is also the simplest way: take meat off the menu. The animals will thank you for it ;)
If you tick all those boxes, then add me on facebook, please - I need friends like you!
Someone who fits this description fully is Jose Gonzalez - who made time to chat to Unleashed about why he cut cruelty out of his diet.
Jose is just one of loads of musos who refuse to eat meat. And it's not just hardcore or indie types. Jason Mraz, Missy Higgins, half the Wu-Tang Clan, Joel and Benji Madden - all eat cruelty free! Not to mention the late, great MCA from the Beastie Boys. The music world is full of super-talented, super-kind stars. You don't have to be musical to cut cruelty from your diet though (trust me!).
Jose said that it was "definitely the suffering of the animals that was my concern". How 'bout you? Do you want to take a stand against animal cruelty too? The single most powerful thing you can do to protect animals from abuse is simply pledge not to eat them.
Jose also reckons it was his mates that introduced him to the idea. If you're already a life-saver for the animals, then share this video on your facebook or twitter (or Tumblr, pinterest, etc) to inspire your friends to save lives too. It's a simple way to help animals and your mates.
And if that weren't enough reason to jump for joy, there's more...
The Tassie Minister for Agriculture has also announced that they are going to fast track the phase out of pregnant sow crates. You might remember a couple of years ago they committed to getting rid of these cruel crates by 2017... well now they are promising to have 'em gone for good by the middle of next year!
If you've ever written a letter, shared a campaign video or spoken out for battery hens and mother pigs, then give yourself a pat on the back. You've been a part of making history today!
That's one state down, and just a few more to go (don't worry, the first one's always the hardest)...
Across the rest of Australia mother pigs can still be locked in cramped crates, where they can't even turn around. And get this: an estimated one in every six battery hens lives in chronic pain with a broken bone.
Don't you think it's about time the egg industry voluntarily phased out battery cages?!
Here's the deal.. if you want to help hens and pigs around Australia, there are two important emails you can shoot off asap:
Tell Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL) that the writing is on the wall! Tassie is phasing out battery cages, so it's about time they do the right thing and commit to a voluntary phase out of battery cages. Email AECL here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell Australia Pork Ltd (APL) to hurry up! If Tassie can get rid of pregnant sow crates by next year, why can't the rest of Australia? Email APL here: email@example.com
Once you've sent those off it's time to celebrate!
Being kind to animals isn't a new invention. It's not like ipads or robots. When you speak up for animals, you're walking in the shoes of many amazing and inspiring people. Now, we've teamed up with VeganSneaker.com to give you a chance to step out in cruelty-free style like some of the greats, with these sweet Etiko kicks.
We've got two pairs of sneakers to give away to two lucky Unleashed members!
It may seem obvious, but I'll say it anyway, VeganSneaker.com specialise in selling vegan sneakers from Aussie company Etiko. Etiko's slogan is "Wear No Evil". This means no kids sweating in factories, no ripped off workers without toilet breaks, and no animal products in their shoes!
Some of the greatest minds the world has ever seen have stood up for animals. Albert Einstein for starters. When the German genius wasn't blowing minds with his theory of rela-la-tivi-li-ty (I can't even pronounce it) he was telling the world, "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet".
And what about Gandhi, who said, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated". FYI, I bet Gandhi would have loved a pair of Etikos on his famous Salt March. Just sayin'.
To get your hands on (and feet into) these vegan sneakers we want you to talk the talk. All you have to do is share your favourite quote about animals/activism in the comments. It can be inspiring, thoughtful, funny, anything! (If you don't know any quotes, then google is your friend.)
But wait! There's more! The two winners will also have their entries turned into hot new facebook covers, to help get the idea out there that everyone can treat animals with respect. So stop reading, and start writing! Entries into the comments by June 30th! Good luck!
Angus and Julia Stone - they're family.
Joel and Benji Madden - they're family.
Probably all the guys in One Direction? I dunno, they all kind of look the same to me.
Whatever! The point is -- today is International Day of Families! It's a day to do something nice for your fambam. Pluck mum a flower from the neighbour's yard. Ask dad for one of his hilarious jokes. Don't give your bro a hard time for picking his nose -- if he enjoys doing it, let him do it, just for today. And most importantly - do something nice for the animal members of your family too!
You'd know as well as anyone that your companion animals are valued members of the family. Who's the first to meet you at the door after school? I bet it's the dog, right? And who better than kitty to sit down and watch The Voice with. Our four-legged friends even seem to know when we're in a good mood or when we're not feeling so great, and often pick up on it quicker than our mates!
So this year, for International Day of Families, try to do something so the furry family members (I don't mean your brother) know they really are part of the family. Now, I can hear some of you already - "but it's Tuesday man, I need to save my brain for the rest of the week". So here's some ideas I prepared earlier:
TWO walks in a day!
A new chew toy, with special cruelty-free treats inside.
Plenty of pats and loads of attention.
And trust me on this one ... tell them you love them.
Here's my special mate Gus moments after being told I love him, and moments before launching an attack on my leg.
When the day comes that cats rule this world (and it will happen), maybe they'll think back to how cool you were to them today, and they'll go easy on you. Maybe. Who knows what cats are thinking?
How are you going to spoil your furry family members today? Leave a comment.
As Australians, we love the underdog. We cheer on the unlikely hero, hoping they'll overcome all odds, and get the happy ending they deserve. When I heard of the mass cow breakout in Broome earlier this week, there was part of me that couldn't help but cheer the heroes on.
Of course, I realise that when cows are on the loose their own welfare is at risk. But sadly, where they were headed before they escaped was likely to be much worse. And their dash for freedom was a little reminder that if animals had a choice, there would be no live exports and no slaughterhouses.
Broome is an absolutely beautiful place. Unfortunately it's also a loading port for Australian cattle being sent overseas. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that animals who are exported don't have much to look forward to. The journey is stressful enough, but even that doesn't compare to being slaughtered fully conscious in a country with no animal cruelty laws. (btw, you can help end the trade with just 30 seconds of your time).
Now, cows aren't dumb, so it's no big surprise that some of them made a daring moo-ve (awful pun, sorry) to escape. In a stirring moment, around 50 of the bovine rebels made a break for it! Some dashed inland, some headed to the coast.
This story of animals making a break for freedom is one that occurs many times throughout the year. Sometimes the lucky escapees even get to live full, contented lives on sanctuaries. This particular incident is tinged with sadness though. Of the cows that escaped, 16 headed out to sea, with only seven able to be rescued. The rest drowned.
On the flip side, around 20 of the "Friesian Fighters" (a nice pun for the cow fanciers out there) are still livin' large, roaming the scrublands around Broome! How long they'll be free for is anyone's guess, but I've got my fingers crossed that they never again see the inside of a truck, ship or slaughterhouse.
Maybe the Broome escapees had found inspiration in this song?
n.b. Of course, I'm not suggesting that cows be armed with rifles. That would be ridiculous -- like suggesting that 12 year olds be allowed to go hunting by themselves (or tbh ... at all!). That'd be nuts! Oh wait ...
Winter is approaching so unfortunately it's time to pack away the thongs (under the bed, never to be seen again) and get out the winter warmers. Just in time for the change of seasons is our latest giveaway!
Spicy Brown (the brains behind Tofu Robot) has come up with these cool toe socks designed for feet just like yours, and we've got two pairs up for grabs.
... to school!
... to slide on floors!
... to keep your tootsies warm!
... to tuck your pants into when you're riding your bike! OK, maybe not this one.
If you want to get your hands (and feet, I guess) on these bad boys, then you're going to have to get a little creative. I want you to get your Jay-Z (or Kanye) on and come up with a two-line poem about the wonders of tofu. Post your efforts into the comments below! The two best efforts will win the socks. Pretty simple really. Here's an example:
Roses are red, violets are blue
My stir-fry is pretty much just all fried tofu.
You probably can't do much worse than that so have a crack at it and you could be a winner! Rhymes need to be submitted by the 29th of May.
All this talk about stir fries has made me hungry. Time for lunch I think!
I'll give you a hint - it's THIS Sunday, and it involves the person who probably buys your undies. That's right, Mother's Day is almost here!
I'm going to assume that you spoil your mum every day of the year, but this weekend if you want to really spoil her then consider getting her a gift that will help mums in the animal world too. The money you spend on these gifts is used to help mother cows, hens and pigs, who all too often have their babies taken away and never get the chance to display their natural mothering instincts.
There's a stack of other recipes you might like here, too.
So there you have it. Mother's Day sorted! All you need to do now is make mum a card, wake up in time to make breakfast (11 am isn't going to cut it!) and remember to clean the dishes ... and the free undies will continue to roll in for another year.
I've got an app that makes my phone a flashlight (doesn't work), and one that promises to give me ripped abs (also doesn't work). But finally I found something useful! PetRescue has released an app for iPhones that matches shelter dogs and cats with potential new families. It couldn't come a moment too soon either, with over 200,000 cats and dogs being put down in shelters around Australia every year ... simply because they couldn't be rehomed.
This sensational new app was developed by two NSW based programmers -- Brandon Cowan and Wei Zheng. The impressive thing is that Brandon is just 18 years old! These two guns developed the app entirely free of charge for PetRescue and now you can grab it at the bargain price of ... absolutely nothing! That's right; it's free for you to download. What a couple of legends Brandon and Wei are -- donating their time and energy for our lovable furry friends.
This app really makes my tail wag. I'd encourage any family to adopt rather than buy, so if you, your family or anyone you know is considering it, then make sure they know about this app.
And while we're on the topic - do you know of any other cool apps to help animals? If you've got one in mind, why not talk it up with a comment below!
If you were hosting a party, which of the following things would you probably NOT organise? A guest list, food, music ... or severed pigs heads? It looks like Melbourne company NEUW Jeans decided, "what the heck ... let's get all of 'em!" If you don't believe me then just check out the photos.
I pretty much live in my jeans, but these hipsters have kinda put me off denim somewhat. The dead pigs, partygoers stressing out piglets - for once I'm actually HAPPY I didn't get invited to a party.
Well, the photos pretty much speak for themselves with this one but something just struck me. I wonder if the people at the party had seen the footage of just how terrible things can get at an abattoir. If they had, I doubt they would have been in the mood for much partying.
If you want to let NEUW Jeans know that cruelty is never in fashion -- then leave a comment on their facebook or twitter. **UPDATE** Since posting this blog, it seems that NEUW have not only removed disturbing pics of butchered pigs from facebook, they may also have turned off their public comment feed. So, if you're having trouble leaving them a message, never fear -- click here.
p.s. If you want to see pigs being treated the RIGHT way, then you might want to check out the farm sanctuaries at Edgar's Mission and Brightside. They're the REAL party animals. Har-har-har...
If you're anything like me, then there's probably one thing you like more than scoring a bargain on eBay -- and that's scoring a bargain on eBay ... from a world famous guitarist. And if there's one thing even better than THAT -- it's knowing that some of the money you part with will go towards helping animals!Imagine how stoked I was to hear then that Jona Weinhofen (guitarist in I Killed the Prom Queen and Bring Me the Horizon) is having a massive sale on eBay and slinging some of the money raised towards Animals Australia.
Wherever he travels round the globe, Jona is pretty easy to spot. He's the fella with lots of ink in the vegan cafe. Now once again, if you're anything like me, then your own metal band may not actually get the chance to tour the world (I guess we just weren't that good). But don't stress ...because if you hit up Jona's garage sale you'll at least LOOK like you have. Jona's lead got me thinking -- how easy would it be to have your own garage sale to raise funds for animals?? Plus you get to clear your room of all that gear you don't use anymore. Win-win!
Here's some words from the man himself. "As a devoted vegan and animal lover I have been supporting Animals Australia since 2008 when i did my first photoshoot & campaign with them. Ever since, i have closely followed Lyn White and the team's progress with speaking out on behalf of animals. That's why I'm more than happy for part proceeds from this sale to go towards supporting their latest projects."
If you're wondering about the 2008 campaign Jona is referring to, then check out this video I've dusted off. There's a bit more hair and a bit less ink - but that's definitely still Jona speaking up for the animals!
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.