Late last year, 58 year old Sam Simon, co-creator of ‘The Simpsons’, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This man, along with making me laugh night after night with everyone’s favourite cartoon family, has been doing amazing things for animals all his life.
He became a vegetarian at the age of 19 and vegan in 2005. In 2002 he founded “the grandest dog shelter in the country” complete with waterfalls and manicured lawns. Simon invests millions of dollars in this rescue centre and says that it is money “well spent just for the pleasure it gives me.”
It is so sad to hear that this beautiful man is terminally ill. But his legacy will live forever. He has decided to kick his charity work into high gear and give his millions away to those in need.
When he learned of his diagnosis, Simon says he had a “fun idea.” He bought up a bunch of zoos and circuses just so that he could free the animals within them. He says he just wanted to “see animals walk in grass for the first time.” How amazing is that?
Simon has big plans for where he wants to see the rest of his money go, including a number of animal charities. (There’s a rough breakdown here.)
On behalf of the animals, thank you Sam for helping to make the world a kinder place.
What would you do for animals if you were a millionaire?
So, what do Wolverine and Jack Sparrow have in common?
a) They have beards
b) They carry sharp pointy objects
c) The actors who play them have taken up a vegan diet
d) All of the above
The answer is d) All of the above.
I know! Big news about the beards ;) Oh you want to know about the vegan thing? Well Hugh Jackman recently told Men’s Health magazine that he was in need of a big change after all the red meat he was made to eat to bulk up* for the new Wolverine movie (out next month). “I think after this film I need to be vegan for a while,” Jackman said, “just as my way of giving back to the animals.”
Naww. Well on behalf of the pigs, chickens, cows, sheep and fish -- thanks Hugh! Going veg is the simplest way to start saving the lives of animals. And Johnny Depp has apparently picked up on this too. Rumour has it that he has switched to a vegan diet as well, thanks to motivation from his girlfriend, Amber Heard. Johnny is yet to refuse or deny the rumours but has been raving about losing his paunch – i.e. dropping the kilos. (Just quietly, I lost a bit of paunch too when I became vegan. Then I discovered Mister Nice Guy's cupcakes :/)
Just when you thought Ryan Gosling couldn’t be any more swoon-worthy, he is. Gosling has penned a very moving article for The Globe and Mail calling on the pork industry to stop confining pigs to tiny cages. Or in other words:
RG compares pigs to his beloved best buddy George, pictured with Gosling below. (These two are so cute together that they have a whole tumblr page dedicated to their adorableness.) Ryan says that confining pigs for weeks on end is something that he would never dream of doing to George, "and that no compassionate Canadian would ever do to any animal."
Pigs are getting an awesome rap in the media lately. Just last week, Australia’s former Minister for Trade hollered “Save the pigs!” in an opinion article. “Pigs deserve our attention and care,” says Dr Emerson.
Pigs are individuals, each with their own unique personalities, just like dogs. (My house mate’s dog, Cindy, puts herself to bed at 10.30 pm on the dot every night, and gets real grumpy if you try and talk to her after that.)
Thankfully, people all over Australia are starting to realise that we need to be taking better care of pigs. Make it Possible (our campaign to end factory farming) has just reached the 150,000 pledge mark. More and more people every day are being touched by the plight of pigs (and other factory farmed animals) and pledging to take steps towards a world without factory farming.
If you want to speak up for pigs, like Ryan, then share MakeitPossible.com with your friends. Help us reach 200,000 Aussies pledging to end factory farming!
Meanwhile, who else would you like to see speak up for pigs? And what’s your favourite ‘Hey girl’ meme? Drop me a link in the comments. I’m addicted :)
I'm just as guilty of humming along to Justin Bieber's 'Baby' as the next person, but I am fed up with hearing about this guy's complete disregard for the proper care of companion animals.
If you happen to not be one of Bieber’s nine million followers on Instagram, then you might have missed the brief appearances of several unlucky animals amongst the incessant stream of shirtless selfies. So here’s an overview:
This is Johnson. He is a baby boa constrictor. Back in 2011, he was Bieber’s 'pet' for all of three months before the singer seemingly got bored and auctioned little Johnson off for charity. Interestingly, charitybuzz, who were responsible for the auction, added the disclaimer that "keeping a pet snake is a long-term responsibility." Hmm, clearly this does not apply to floppy haired pop stars.
Johnson was lucky enough to be 'won' by an animal lover who was shocked that Bieber was auctioning off the baby boa. The winning bidder has since donated Johnson to the Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Zoo in Minnesota. "I wanted to make sure the snake would be well taken care of for the rest of his life," he explains.
This is Pac. He was Justin's hamster. Bieber's sparkly-eyed love for Pac lasted approximately two months. Then, Bieber gave Pac away to a random screaming fan after a concert in Atlanta.
The California Hamster Association (CHA) slammed Bieber for this casual handover. "Hamsters are fragile creatures that often succumb quickly to illness and death, especially when faced with sudden environmental change," they said.Three months later, Pac was dead. May he rest in peace.
This is Mally. Some banana-brain thought it would be a good idea to give this baby capuchin to Biebs as a gift for his birthday in March this year. Monkeys are wild animals and should not be kept as pets, particularly not by a travelling celebrity with clearly very little interest in the welfare of animals.
Mally was with Biebs for a whole month (notice a trend here?) before he was abandoned in Germany as Justin was unable to provide the right paperwork to get him on the plane. Bieber was given six weeks to come up with the right paperwork.
Meanwhile, Mally was kept in isolation in a German animal shelter, alone and only 14 weeks old. Poor Mally. Monkeys are naturally very social animals and baby capuchins will normally stay by their mother’s side until they are a year old.
Bieber continued with his tour and the deadline to collect Mally passed by. Finally Mally was put into a German wildlife park where he now lives happily with other monkeys.
(Interestingly, Bieber captioned this picture of Mally "He's like a human." Yea. Good one Biebs. Feeney49 gets it.)
[NOTE: This comment seems to have been removed.]
This is Tuts. (Is anybody else getting exhausted by this list?) She is an adorable ginger Persian kitty. She has been in the 'care' of arguably the world's worst pet owner for a few weeks now. Justin picked her up within what seemed like minutes of Mally being seized by the German wildlife park -- shorter than the time in-between posting half naked selfies on his Instagram.
Tuts looks a little worried doesn’t she? And it’s no wonder, knowing Bieber’s history with companion animals. And also having a picture of herself captioned "Time to die." Hopefully Tuts will have a fate better than Pac’s :(
Mally? Or Mally II?
The latest is that Bieber held up a plane for eight hours in Miami because he wanted to go pick up his monkey from Palm Beach. Can you beliebe it? Whether this is a new monkey, or if somehow Mally has miraculously made it to Florida, my reaction is the same:
This dude is not even responsible enough to mind his temper, let alone an animal of any kind. I sure hope he hasn’t taken Mally away from his furry friends at the wildlife park.
What advice would you like to give to Biebs about taking care of companion animals? (P.S. He’s only a tweet away: twitter.com/justinbieber).
Whether you're a cricket fan or not - there's one reason you should get behind the Australian team this summer. And that reason is Peter Siddle - the anti-factory farming, vegetarian fast bowler. Shove off, Warney ... I've got a new favourite player.
Peter Siddle hails from Victoria and has played for Australia over 50 times. And if you're a cricket fan you'll be interested to know that he is one of only 36 players in the whole history of the game to have ever claimed a Test hattrick! That's impressive. (Also impressive? The amount of cricket jokes in this blog - see how many you can find!)
As well as being a gun fast bowler, Vicious (apparently that's his nickname - how cool is that??) recently became a voice for animals confined and abused in factory farms. While some sportspeople are on telly flogging anything from vitamins to body spray, Peter is explaining clearly why he reckons factory farming just isn't cricket.
Peter was knocked for six after seeing videos of how animals are treated in the food production process. He decided that animals deserved a long innings too, and so went vegetarian. As well as saving lives by not eating animals, Peter is also seeing the benefits with his own health and performance.
Says the man himself: "I'm starting to feel good and everything's going well from it. I'm recovering well and feeling fit and strong out in the middle ... [I'm] a lot leaner, a lot lighter, and feeling a lot more comfortable out on the field ... I tell you one thing, I'm pulling up a lot better the next day, that's for sure."
Whatever sport you follow, or wherever your interests lie, making the decision to go veg is a no-brainer. It's good for your health, good for the planet, and of course - it's great for the animals. You can join Peter in making a kinder world possible by taking the pledge to avoid animal products altogether.
You can show some love for Peter in the comments below. Post a message for him and I'll make sure he gets it!
If you wanted to know the full story about where cage eggs come from - where would you go for the info? A website set up by the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL)? Or would you ask an imaginary green man named Gumby from the 1950s? If you chose the imaginary Gumby, you'd be ... CORRECT!
In case you don't know, Gumby was a plasticine man (thing?) on the telly from the 1950s right through to the 1980s. Him and his mates (including a talking horse and a dinosaur that drives a car) spent each episode getting crazy and generally having a good time. Now believe it or not, but it seems Gumby is more interested in schooling people about the reality of cage eggs than the AECL are! Check out this episode of Gumby where the Blockheads kidnap his friend Tilly (who is a chicken. Yes, Gumby is friends with a chicken - legend.)
Here's what Gumby got right about cage egg production:
Hens will never feel the sun on their feathers.
They're confined to cages their entire lives, with no chance for exercise.
Hens suffer broken bones and lameness after spending their lives in a cramped cage.
If a hen stops laying eggs, she's in serious trouble
The most accurate part comes at the 1.41 minute mark though. When Tilly asks where she is, her caged neighbour replies, "This is hell". Pretty heavy stuff for a kids show!
So how does this match up against what the AECL wants you to know about battery hens? On their website about hen welfare, they've listed all the supposed advantages for chickens confined in battery cages. (Remember, the space each bird gets inside these cages is not much larger than an A4 sheet of paper, and chickens spend their ENTIRE lives in there).
1) "If a bird does become sick, cage-based housing makes it easier to identify and remove birds for treatment." That's a touching thought, but I'm not sure that the sick bird at the end of this video would consider her 'treatment' that helpful. And it's not uncommon for birds to die unnoticed in their cage, leaving their cage mates stuck in a cage with their dead body.
2) "Better protection from in-fighting and cannibalism." The reality is hens have the tips of their beaks sliced off to prevent them from pecking at each other in their cramped cage. Since when was cutting bits and pieces off animals to make them fit cruel systems ok?
3) "Protection from the elements and predators like eagles, snakes, foxes and feral cats." But I want to know who's protecting them from factory farmers! Being doomed to a life sentence in a battery cage is no life. They'll never smell fresh air, or even get to properly stretch their wings.
One fact that neither Gumby or the AECL mention, is what happens to all the male chicks in the egg industry (sadly, not just for cage eggs)...
"Hell" pretty much sums it up :(
The simplest way to make sure you aren't supporting chicken cruelty is to go egg-free (or if not, then at the very least ditch cage eggs). Your body doesn't need eggs any more than it needs plasticine and you can find egg replacers at most big supermarkets. You can do your bit to help hens by pledging to make the battery cage history.
(p.s. Want to know what all the other labels on egg cartons really mean for hens (and chicks)? Then grab this handy chart.)
Now, I'm a massive fan of Lady Gaga's music, and I think that she's got a lot of important things to say. But jeez she makes some shocking decisions when it comes to what she wears. Her latest monster balls-up is wearing fur. As if that's not bad enough - you should hear her bumbling justification for it.
You might remember a couple of Gaga's other fashion crimes. Her meat bikini (blergh-kini?) springs to mind immediately. This time she's draped herself in a fur coat in the middle of the northern summer. She defended herself by saying that while normal people would "see a carcass, I see a museum piece de resistance". She goes on to describe it as an "art piece". Really? It looks more like the carpet a mate of mine used to have in the back of his station wagon.
Look closely at the photo - see the adorable little dog there? If I was that dog ... I'd be freakin' out! After all, millions of dogs are killed each year for their fur. I wonder whether Lady Gaga would have looked at the coat differently if it had been made out of that little guy. A recent segment on Today Tonight showed that fur products being sold here in Australia contain dog and cat fur, even though it's illegal to import.
To make fur clothes, animals are beaten, anally electrocuted, drowned, or poisoned. Some are even skinned alive! When she was criticised for wearing fur, Lady Gaga responded by saying, "I do not support violent, abusive campaigns for ANY CAUSE". It's just a bummer that she DOES seem fine with violence and abuse against animals, I guess.
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?
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.