Every year Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer has the stress-filled job of guiding Santa's sleigh to make sure kids everywhere get their pressies. He's about due for a break don't you think? So here are five animals who could fill in for him with the amazing ability to find their way, no matter where they are.
1. Howie the cat. Howie's Adelaide family left him with caretakers on the Gold Coast when they went travelling. Unfortunately, Howie made a break for it and it was feared that he would never be seen again. Fast forward a year and there's Howie sitting on the doorstep ... in Adelaide. The persistent Persian had travelled over 1500 kms to get home. And didn't use Google Maps once!
2. Loggerhead turtles. As well as having a great name, these turtles also have a great sense of direction. After birth, these guys hit the water and start an epic journey that takes them around the ocean. When they are ready to have their own babies, females return to the same beach where they were born more than 20 years earlier! Think of that next time you forget where you put your keys five minutes ago :P
3. Chica the border collie. A dog playing fetch is pretty cool, but a blind dog playing fetch?? That's awesome. Chica had both eyes surgically removed when she was a pup, but still has the remarkable ability to chase a ball and return it. Check her out in action ...
4. Misele the cat. Determined to help her human-dad when he was admitted to hospital, Misele crossed fields, forests and highways to visit him in hospital. Not only did she find the hospital he was in, she even found the right room! If laughter is the best medicine, then cats would have to be a close second.
5. Piko-chan the lazy parakeet. When Piko-chan got lost one day, rather than trying to find his own way home, he simply squawked out his full address and got his rescuers to drop him off. I like the way you think, Piko-chan! The brainy bird had been taught how to recite his home address in case an emergency like this ever happened.
There you have it - five animals who would be ready to step up so Rudolph can take a break. OK, maybe four - Piko-chan might not be the greatest help in the world. But I bet you could teach him swear words, and that would definitely help create holiday cheer over Xmas lunch!
This Christmas, you can give animals the best present of all - by extending peace and goodwill to ALL, and making your meals cruelty-free. Find out more at the Unleashed Pardon a Pig page. There's even some cool e-cards there you can send out to your friends and family!
Do you want to know what the first moments of freedom look like? Check out this amazing video of 8 lucky turkeys, who were rescued from a factory farm, seeing their new home at Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary for the first time.
Isn't that just gorgeous! And to think these birds started their lives in factory farms. I hate to say it, but these sorts of happy endings don't happen for most birds. Just check out how most turkeys in Australia have to live.. (these photos from Animal Liberation ACT were from a recent investigation at a turkey factory farm):
Like chickens, turkeys in factory farms are crammed into sheds by the thousands and have to live in their own waste for all of their short and miserable lives. Can you believe that the birds served up on Christmas tables across the country this weekend were likely to be less than 17 weeks old when they were killed?! (to put that in perspective, turkeys would naturally live for about 10 years)
I read this amazing story a little while ago about, Lydia, a turkey at Farm Sanctuary in the US, who was nicknamed the 'hugging turkey'. If she saw you sit down, she'd race over and before your bum had even hit the ground she'd be in your lap with her neck stretched over your shoulder for a cuddle.
Surely there's something a little wrong about eating someone who just wants a hug?!
When it comes to Christmas, there's a few traditions you just can't go without. Decorating a tree, pulling bon bons, making the most of the colourful paper hats and lame dad jokes inside said bon bons, wrapping (and unwrapping) presents, wrapping your sisters in tinsel, wearing crazy reindeer antlers on your head before putting them on Grandpa and taking his photo as he snoozes in his chair, searching out the one CD your parents have that is full of Christmas songs to be played over and over again, eating so much great vegan food you have to undo the button on your jeans and have a nap ….I could go on!
And I will! Because there's a new tradition to add to the list, and it's going to catch on like wildfire!
In the United States, the president pardons a turkey each year at Thanks Giving (Lucky turkey! Too bad it's only one!). Here at Unleashed we invite every single Australian to Pardon A Pig for Christmas and leave them off the Chrissy menu!
Quite frankly, there's too many legs of ham sold at Christmas time for my liking, let alone for the liking of the millions of pigs who used to walk around on them!
The suffering of pigs confined in factory farms is immense. From mother pigs being confined to sow stalls and farrowing crates that severely restrict their movement, to piglets having their tails, teeth and testicles sliced off without pain killers, the festive spirit never quite finds it's way to factory farms.
So far thousands of Aussies and celebs have Pardoned A Pig, meaning there'll be a lot more room at the table for kindness and goodwill this year. (And here's some recipes to help fill that cruelty-free space!)
So join in the new tradition and get everyone you know to take part (wake Grandpa up too to make sure he doesn't miss out!). Let's help all animals to feel the kindess and giving spirit of the holiday season!
Oink! Ooh sorry, pardon me! (If I've missed any of the fabulous traditions that make up your Christmas day, list them below!)
It took its sweet time but summer is finally here! Sun, surf, cricket on the beach, festive get togethers and of course, hot hot hot weather!
If you saw that picture of a koala cooling down during a heatwave in Adelaide a few years back, you'll know how important it is to keep cool, and help our pets and surrounding wildlife keep cool too!
So may I introduce the ultimate 10 point Unleashed Summer Survival Guide!
Be Water Wise!Always leave water out for your own animals as well as the sweltering wildlife, and top it up throughout the day (you'll thank me when you see magpies dunking their heads in the waterbowl!) If you have a pool make sure you cover that when you're not home – they are just so inviting at this time of year that animals may decide they wanna have a pool party, which can lead to trouble when they can't get out! (PS If you have a dog, a shell paddle pool is the best Christmas present you can buy!)
Never Ever Leave an Animal in the Car! Not even for 30 seconds. Even on cloudy days, the temperature inside the car will increase very quickly — even with the window down or the air conditioning on. Pets are at severe risk of heat exhaustion and death in this situation, so it's never worth the risk.
Watch out for Snakes! Those slipperies can really thrive when the weather warms up, so if you're walking your furry friends through bushlands or national parks, be extra careful to avoid snakes and make sure you know what to do if one of them manages to nip your pet. Snakes are attracted to the cover of scrub and long grass. If this sounds like your backyard, mow the lawn (or tell your parents to!) and pay attention for symptoms of snakebite — some are less obvious than others.
Pets are Not Presents! Never ever buy an animal as a gift for someone, no matter how big the puppy dog eyes are! People should only get animals for themselves when they are sure they are ready for the commitment of having a pet, and then it should always be from an animal shelter, never a pet shop.
Secure the Perimeter! Before the festivities start, ensure that your yard/house is safe and secure. Many pets can be spooked by loud noises including storms and especially fireworks. An escape proof property means there's no chance of Fido bolting over a fence or through a window and becoming lost or running into traffic. And ensures you don't spend your Christmas day frantically searching the streets!
Keep Decorations Out of Harms Way! When hanging ornaments, lights and tinsel on the tree, ensure they are high enough off the ground so as not to become a choking hazard to pets. We all know how much curious cats love shiny things!
Provide a safe haven! When the house becomes crowded with friends and relatives, shy animals can become nervous and seek solitude. Make sure there is always somewhere quiet, away from people, where your animals can retreat to if they need to. You may also need to join them there for some time out by the end of the day! ;)
Ration Leftovers Wisely! We've all seen the longing eyes of our beloved dogs and cats trying to levitate the food off the table, especially at holiday time. But certain tasty foods are potentially dangerous to dogs or cats and can cause significant damage or even death. While this list is certainly not definitive, some common foods on the Christmas table to avoid feeding your pets include: chocolate, grapes (raisins and sultanas) and nuts (both of which will probably be in your Chrissy pudding), garlic or onion (do you put these in your gravy or stuffing?), sugary candy, yeast (in bread), mushrooms, tomato leaves or stems, anything with caffeine and cooked chicken or turkey bones. Click here for a more extensive list of toxic foods. You should also never give your pets paracetamol, as this can kill the animal not the pain, (besides you may need it yourself for the Boxing Day recovery)! If you suspect your animal may have eaten something that could be harmful, take them to the vet immediately.
Take Them With You! Ask your parents to find pet friendly accommodation if you are planning a trip away. Dr Katrina Warren has a few tried and true pet-friendly holiday spots listed on her website, as well as some very important tips for travelling with pets. If you really can't take your best friend with you, make sure you check out and inspect the best kennels available in your area and book well in advance (they fill up very fast for Christmas time!).
Be Prepared for Wild Activity on the Road! Keep an emergency kit in the car for any unforseen mishaps on the road. As well as food and water for your own animals, make sure you bring extra, along with a blanket and a box in case you come across injured or exhausted wildlife on the road. Save the phone number for the local wildlife rescue service in your phone before you set out.
Let me know if you've got any more tips on how to ensure the festive season is enjoyed by all members of the family!
And for great ideas on having the ultimate cruelty-free Christmas, check out this brand new tradition: Pardon A Pig! Happy Holidays!
This hard hitting radio campaign first hit airwaves 2 years ago and stirred up quite a response! Now, Lucy's back and urging shoppers to spread the Christmas spirit and help free animals from factory farms.
Most of us look forward to Christmas as a time to see family, give (and receive!) presents, and relax. But pigs, chickens and turkeys have little to look forward to at this time of year. The demand for ham, turkey and chicken at Christmas-time, makes the holiday season the peak time of year for animal suffering in Australia. Inside factory farms preparation for Christmas has begun, and that means even more families pulled apart, with piglets taken from their mothers, fattened up and killed; and even more chickens packed into sheds by the thousands and left to marinate in their own waste for their short and miserable 42 days of life. Animals in factory farms don't receive even the simplest gift of kindness, and in their unnatural cramped environment will likely never know what it is to relax.
But enough with the doom and gloom, 'cause all of that can change. All it takes for Christmas to be a peaceful time of year for all is for people to take pigs (and our feathered friends) off their plates and celebrate the festive season with a cruelty-free feast instead. And with any luck, many people who hear Lucy's plea for help will do just that!
If you're like me and haven't even started your xmas shopping yet, you might like the idea of suggestions for presents to take all of the hard work out of it. So here are my top 10 tips for xmas gifts:
Buy a TV Ad (or have one bought for you): Remind your family that Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, and giving kindness to those who are stuck in factory farms. By donating an ad, you can make their Christmas by keeping our ads on television to give animals a voice.
Aesop gift packs: All of Aesop's products are vegan meaning you don't have to worry about your products being used in cruel animal experiments. They have gift packs for both men and women (perfect for Mum and Dad) that range from $30 to $150. This is what my mum's getting for chrissy.
LUSH Handmade Cosmetics: While also on the topic of cosmetics you cannot go past LUSH, one of the coolest and conscious companies around. These guys have decadent smelling hand-made cosmetics, with a great range of vegan options, that are all natural and perfect for gifts for mum, dad, bro or sis. Just find your closest store.
Macbeth's vegan line of shoes: Macbeth shoes are pure style. And a pair of cow friendly kicks is enough to put a spring in anyone's step.
The Cove: One of the biggest animal films of the year, which shone a light on the secretive dolphin slaughter in the small town of Taiji in Japan. Definitely one of the best films I have ever seen. It's very much like Animal Planet meets James Bond. So if you're Dad likes espionage films, then this is definitely for him. Available from JB Hi Fi around Australia.
Sponsor a needy animal: Adopting a family companion is a big decision and one best left to the person who will be looking after him/her. So giving an animal as a present usually isn't a good idea. But that doesn't mean you can't help a needy animal and make your friend or family member fall head over heals in the process. Sponsoring an animal at a sanctuary (such as Edgar's Mission or Brightside Farm Sanctuary) on behalf of a friend/family member will leave the recipient feeling proud that their helping to give a needy animal a home. And that experience can be all the more rewarding if you can visit the sanctuary!
Cook a delicious vegan supper: Remember that old saying "it's the thought that counts?" Well whoever coined the phrase was right. Why not save Mum/Gran the time slaving away in the kitchen this xmas by whipping out your vegan masterchef skills with one of our Christmas recipes. In doing so, you'll give animals the kindest gift of all – not eating them, and show your family how great vegan food is!
Music: Really… who doesn't love music! And of course it's 100% animal friendly. And you could make this gift even more animal friendly (110% animal friendly?) by supporting a band that helps animal **cough Kisschasy cough**. Their new album Seizures is currently at all good music stores.
Tart n Round: These Melbourne based cake pioneers have a range of delicious chocolates, cakes and sweets that would make a great small gift for someone such as in a Kris Kringle/Secret Santa. They are open Thursday 12-6pm so you'd better be quick. If you don't live in Melbourne, just pick up some other vegan treats from a local vegan store in your area.
Stella McCartney perfume: Perfect for mum or your lady friends, Stella McCartney is vegan so you can rest assured that her products aren't tested on animals and that they don't contain any animal by-products. A little bit pricey, but definitely worth what you pay. Available at most Myers around the country.
If you can think of any other last minute Xmas ideas, post your ideas below!
I'm so thrilled! Just think, more than 1 million Aussies saw the truth about Australia's pig industry. Many will have never thought about where pork, bacon and ham come from before. And now they know that animal cruelty laws fail to protect animals raised for food, and that these profit driven animal industries aren't looking out for the wellbeing of their animals – they're looking out for their wallets.
After the show, our office was flooded with phone calls and emails from shocked viewers who had no idea of the routine cruelty of the pork industry. Many of these callers have sworn never to eat pigs again after seeing behind the closed doors of factory farms!
And now's your chance to see the behind the scenes footage of Animals Australia's investigators inside the piggery:
Tis the season to be jolly, no doubt. But as we edge towards Christmas, I couldn't help noticing all of the pet shop windows filled with animals. And this got me thinking that sometimes the best of intentions can have tragic consequences.
Australians love their pets—53% of households have a furry friend. And there's no denying it's easy to fall for those cute little animals in pet store windows … (they don't call them ‘puppy dog eyes' for nothing)! Yet, most people have no idea where these animals come from, or the sad fate that awaits so many of them. So in hoping for a kinder Christmas for animals this year, here are 5 things you should know about giving animals as presents.
Animal shelters and pounds are already beyond capacity with abandoned and orphaned animals. Every year, some 250,000 healthy cats and dogs are killed around Australia, simply because there is no one who will take them in. When people buy animals from backyard breeders or pet stores, they literally destroy the chances of a shelter animal finding a home, and they put money in the pockets of those who are creating the overpopulation problem.
Sadly, most animals in pet stores come from puppy mills—factory-like facilities where animals live in miserable conditions—the mothers are treated as nothing more than breeding machines, until they reach their limit, and usually die. Puppy mills are factory farms for dogs and cats.
Post-Christmas, animal shelters receive more animals than at any other time of year. Why? Because adopting an animal is a lot of responsibility, and many people don't consider the commitment they are making, or that they are obliging someone else to make by giving them an animal. Consider this: Will you have enough time to exercise and train them? Will you have the money to feed them and cover vet bills? Do you have the space? These are important questions, and not easy ones to answer for someone else.
An Unpleasant Surprise:
At some point we've all opened some present and thought “Oh god! What am I going to do with this?”, but unlike that shirt you'll never wear, or that book you'll never read you cannot pack an animal in a box and forget about them. Many people don't have the time, patience or desire to look after an animal. So that cute little fur ball may not give your loved one the pleasant surprise you'd hoped.
Adopt & Desex:
Giving an animal as a gift is never a good idea, unless you've consulted the person who will be looking after the animal first. So if you're certain they tick all the right boxes and they've said they want a furry addition to the family, then here's how to put a smile on someone's dial and save a life: adopt from a shelter. Adopting from a shelter gives a home to an animal in need and helps to reduce pet overpopulation. And be sure to desex—desexing does more good than you can ever imagine. The world doesn't need any more dogs and cats—we need homes for the ones who are already here.
When our good friends at PBS radio station contacted us saying that they were organising a fundraiser on Christmas eve, and they wanted Unleashed to run a table and bbq at the event, we just couldn't resist. In the good spirit of Christmas, we loaded up the car with veggie snags, and goodies and headed to The Arthouse for a night to remember.
Celebrating Christmas is great. Celebrating Christmas with a whole bunch of good mates, vegan food and Trial Kennedy and Capeside thrashin' out the tunes is greater! And to top it off Luke from The Hot Lies donned his chef's hat to help on the barbie.
If you haven't caught Trial Kennedy, then they're a name to remember. These guys are almost as hot as a Christmas day in Aus.
So that was our Chrissy feast. Tell us about yours. What cruelty free goodies did you whip for the Christmas season?
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.