Age is no obstacle for Unleashed member Anastasia. At 12 years old, she's recognised that animals need a voice and she's going to do everything in her power to speak up for them. Here's her story:Â
I have always loved animals. At the age of two I held a tiny dead fly in my hand and refused to put it down because it was ‘pretty’. This love of animals stuck all the way through preschool where I made friends with various bugs in the school grounds, and all the way through primary school, where I bred stick insects and drove my friends nuts with random facts about animals they had never heard of.
Then at the beginning of 2012 I learnt about palm oil and the impact it had on various animals. Did you know that in the last decade 80% of orangutan habitat has been altered or lost? A lot of the rainforest destruction is due to palm oil plantations. Orangutans have been abused and killed due to being in the way of palm oil plantations.
That’s where my passion for animal protection started. I began to research all things about animal rights, from poaching to fur farms. I am most passionate about ending fur farms. I have no idea why I am most passionate about it but to me the thought of animals getting skinned alive all in the name of fashion is disgusting. I wish for a world where all fashion will be ethical.
After watching countless videos, such as Earthlings and Meat the Truth, I was toying with the idea of becoming vegetarian. I finally decided to participate in Meat Free Week. After Meat Free Week, I went back to eating meat but I felt uncomfortable about eating it. I finally decided that I didn’t want to eat animals so I sat down with my mum and told her I would like to be vegetarian. She agreed and all this landed me here -- a 12 year old vegetarian who wants to make a difference.
(Me and my bearded dragon, Rico.)
The hardest part about being vegetarian is that not everyone around you agrees with you. This is where good education can come in handy. If you know your facts, you can answer any question confidently. “Where do you get your protein and iron?, How can you live without meat?, What on earth is a broiler chicken and a bobby calf?”-- these are the types of questions I get on a daily basis, but I love answering them because I know that the information will stay in their head.
I started to blog because I had heard of adults writing blogs about animal protection but never had I heard of a teen writing about animal issues. I wanted to give young people a view from someone their own age. I also started an instagram page just for animal rights. I began to realise that there were so many young people out there who believed that they couldn’t do anything for animals. So many people can’t believe that I am only 12 and a vegetarian. Anyone can be vegetarian/vegan and anyone, no matter how old or young you are, can make a difference for animals. Maybe you are just putting a sticker on your laptop or notebook -- it gets people talking. Maybe you wear a top that has an animal rights quote on it -- anyone could read it and it might just change their thoughts. Maybe it is just one person but that person could tell another, or maybe 5 more people. I might only receive 10 veiws of my blog a day, but that still means 10 people have seen a post about animals that day. :)
Young people can help end animal abuse and if you are thinking of speaking up for animals, I encourage you to help get the message out. Being young doesn’t make you any less important. You can still save animals and change minds. Start making a difference today by taking animals off your plate, finding out more about campaigns for animals, and talking with your friends.
Here's a fun campaign against fur that's sure to raise a few eyebrows. WARNING: it is a little risque, but it's WAY less shocking than the day-to-day cruelty of the fur industry.
International animal protection organisation Four Paws wants you to join their naked parade against fur. BUT WAIT!! Before you start freaking everyone out by taking your clothes off in the school library (again) - the parade is only for little naked avatars that you create at their website. Click the little dude to the left to create your own "Naketar" and join the parade against fashion companies which for some reason are still using fur.
So now the naked part is out of the way - here's Four Fur Facts for you to keep in mind.
1. It's not just exotic animals like lynxes and seal cubs that meet a horrible end before becoming a gross piece of clothing. Every year in China alone over 2 million dogs and cats are killed for their fur. Some still have collars on, which means that they were probably someone's best friend at one point.
2. Across Europe millions of fur-bearing animals are kept in shocking conditions on "fur farms". If you're very brave, you can see what their lives are like for yourself with this footage from Finland.
3. In 2012, Australia became the first country in the world where all major department stores have refused to sell fur! David Jones, Myer, Target, Big W and Kmart have all pledged to be fur-free as of immediately. (That's awesome guys - leather next, hey?)
4. You can join the big stores in going fur-free by taking the pledge to wear your own skin. It's hard to imagine the awful life of an animal in a fur-farm, but it's easy to help them - simply refuse to wear fur, and encourage your friends and family to join you.
What do you think when you see someone wearing fur? And what are your thoughts on faux fur?
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.
There are good ads, there are bad ads, and then there are just downright bizarre ads. This effort from the European Fur Breeders Association definitely comes into the category of bizarre. SPOILER: there's a talking mink lecturing a cow and chicken on why they should be stoked to be killed.
Yeah, riiight. If mink really COULD talk, I'm pretty sure the first thing they'd say would be along the lines of, "What are you doing to us??!!?" (How surprised would you be if I told you that the same crew behind this clip has recently had their other ads banned for being misleading?)
Making terrible ads is not the worst thing fur farms will ever be accused of though. Confining animals to cramped cages, and then electrocuting them or skinning them alive would be top of that list.
Why people still choose to wear fur is beyond me. I can only think there is one reason for it, and that is that they haven't really thought about the cruelty involved in producing clothing with fur. And that's where you can help them AND animals. Here's a little game you can play with people wearing real fur:
You: That's a lovely faux fur coat you're wearing.
Fur wearer: Thanks.
You: I just don't understand why people would wear real fur. The way animals are electrocuted or skinned alive for fur is enough to put you off ever wearing fur again, don't you think?
By making people realise that fur is an epic fashion crime, it will make them think twice about their dodgy fashion decision. You can also let our government know you want to see an end to fur products in Australia with just a few seconds of your time.
Fur belongs on the animals who need it to survive, not on a coat rack. You can make a commitment to living fur-free by pledging to wear your own skin. I'm sure Freddy the Mink will be much happier with that.
What do you think of the EFBA's ads? Share your thoughts!
I always love hearing about how people got into animal rights. For me, it was discovering how animals are raised for food. Lots of people just always loved animals. But how can someone go from being scared of animals to rescuing them and campaigning for them?
That's exactly what happened to New York activist, Eddie Lama. To find out how someone can make such an incredible transformation, check out this great doco (called "The Witness") about his inspiring story.
(Btw, you can watch the full doco online here. So once you've checked out the trailer below, grab some popcorn and a friend to watch the full film! And just be warned that while most of the doco is inspiring and positive, there are a few graphic scenes.)
I don't know about you, but the idea of having a dead animal draped around my shoulders to keep warm, or worse, to make a 'fashion statement', makes me want to recoil in disgust, or more to the point: puke!
On a recent shopping trip I happened to spot a number of rabbit fur vests in shop windows--at least I think they were rabbit fur . But with dog and cat fur often deliberately mislabelled and imported as 'rabbit', you can never be sure.
What is up with this resurgence of fur?! At the recent Melbourne Spring Fashion Week there were a disturbing number of attendees in the crowd wearing this season's "on-trend" of brightly coloured fur.
Even Aussie expat, supermodel Jess Hart has been seen walking around the streets of New York in a fur coat that I'm sure looked much better on the animal it was taken from.
And to top it all off, the latest episode of Australia's Next Top Model again featured fur to the disgust of viewers and even the show's own judges. ANTM copped it last year for the same tasteless faux pas so they have no excuse for not using faux fur this time around.
We know there is nothing fashionable about the cruel slaughter of animals for fur. Fur farms, which often use killing methods such as drowning, anal electrocution and skinning alive are kept in business through the demand for fur coats, gloves, hats, fur trimming at the cost of thousands of animals' lives.
What do you think -- How can we communicate to these "fashionistas" that animals need their fur on their own backs, not ours? With so many cosy cruelty-free outfits at our fingertips, haven't we evolved past killing animals for coats?!
A couple of weeks ago, I was chuffed to see the panel on The Gruen Transfer discussing Animals Australia and RSPCA Australia's very own Ban Live Export television ad!
Not only that but they discussed quite a few ads from different groups on really important topics like fur, battery hens, going veg and an ultra clever ad on the destruction caused by unsustainable palm oil. Check out the discussion - it gets pretty heavy!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on all the ads. Which was your fave? What tactics do you think work better than others and why? Do you have any great ideas for tv commercials that raise awareness for animals?
Have you ever wondered what your dog or your cat would say if they could talk back to you? I'm certain my dog, Kia would tell me she doesn't care if she has her own chair, she'd rather sit in mine! I also have no doubt that as I type this, she is trying to say "Hurry up, let's go outside for a tug of war!"
And what would animals say to each other? I really hope this video is close to the truth ;)
A biologist from the Bahamas might be on her way to discovering what animals really have to say. Denise Herzing has been working with dolphins for years and has devised an amazing way for humans and dolphins to communicate. Using symbols, and a keyboard synthesizer that creates sounds similar to those naturally produced by dolphins, they can actually ask each other for particular objects, like a ball or a scarf. How incredible! And she thinks it's only a matter of time before more complex interactions get started.
Unbelievable but true, a Danish 'fashion' house has decided it's not bad enough that humans wear the skin of another species, but now they want dogs to be wearing another animal's fur over the top of their own!
The company says that "it can easily be worn all year round". Correct me if I'm wrong, but do they not already have a fur coat that they wear all year round?
The company have encouraged their customers to "put the health of the dog before anything else. Situations where it is too hot for the dog to wear fur can occur." It's a shame they don't have the same concern for the health of the animals in fur farms!
Fur is an ugly business! On fur farms foxes, rabbits, minks, cats and even dogs are forced to live in tiny cages, before being killed - often in the most brutal ways imaginable - anal electrocution, drowning, gassing, or even being skinned alive! Anyone who has seen Earthlings will remember the live fox, who had been skinned and left to slowly die in a dumpster,without even the warmth of her own skin for comfort.
Skinning one animal to make another 'more fashionable' takes the cake for being tasteless, cruel and so unnecessary!
Is it just me, or has this fashion house gone mad? wdyt?
Have you heard of mink eyelash extensions? Neither had I until recently. But apparently they're all the rage - or at least that's what the people selling them say. Personally they just make me enraged!
Ok, so you're not likely to catch me with eyelash extensions anyway - mostly, cause I don't think I could pull this look off (and yes that is Johnny Depp). But seriously, there's absolutely nothing attractive about glueing animal fur to your face. Don't get me wrong, I think mink fur is nice - when it's on a mink.
I've noticed that many of the companies selling these extensions boast that they don't kill the minks. According to one site they "harvest" the lashes "by gently brushing live animals." That all sounds well and good, until you realise that must mean that these animals are forced to spend their entire lives on fur farms.
You only have to take a glimpse inside a mink farm to know that it's cruel. Minks are solitary animals who roam over a habitat of several kilometres. Yet in fur farms they are locked in a cage the size of an open newspaper, surrounded by other minks. This is an incredibly stressful environment for them and can even lead to cannibalism and self mutilation. I stumbled across this film about fur farms in Sweden recently (Warning: this is not for the faint hearted!).
Wanting to look beautiful is one thing. But condemning an animal to a life of misery to have longer lashes is an ugly thing for anyone to do. Having said that, sadly the truth is that most people splurging on mink eyelash extensions probably don't even realise what goes into making them. If they did, I'm sure they'd buy synthetic lash extensions instead!
That's my rant off my chest. What silly fashion trends bug you?
Who saw the latest episode of Australia's Next Top Model? The contestants were made to wear fur! Real fur! And the host even had the stupidity to say that fur was making a comeback! What the faux?
This is about as irresponsible as you can get (from a channel that calls itself FOX!), especially when it is clear that the majority of people in the fashion world have no idea where fur comes from and the awful ways in which it gets from an animal's back to their grotesque coats.
I love the feel of my dog's fur under my fingers as I pat her, knowing her fur is right where it should be. But obviously, not all animals are as pampered as my pooch. This is the 21st century and it's amazing that some people are still of the opinion that the rightful place of dogs' fur (or rabbit, raccoon, mink, fox etc) is the outer lining of their coat! These people have blood on their hands!
Did you know that Perth's very own Harmony and Lawson actually want you to believe that the fur they use is 'cruelty-free'?Clearly Harmony Douglas has never ripped it off the back of a living breathing animal herself.
'Cruelty free fur' - it's an oxymoron. So don't ever buy into it if you see it on a label, or you run the risk of being called a moron yourself (not unlike certain hosts on ANTM)!
Thankfully people are staring to wake up. Israel is currently voting on a bill to ban any trade in fur. And there are now so many alternatives to fur, I really can't see why anyone would wear it, even if they do think it looks good (which is another debate altogether!).
Jump onto the ANTM forum and let them know you won't be watching a show that sanctions animal cruelty. You can also make comments on their Facebook page.
Hi! I'm Sim, I'm new to Unleashed and let me just say, the brutal killing of baby seals before they aren't even two weeks old really upsets me!
See, every year the Canadian government allows hundreds of thousands ofbaby seals to be killed by hunters on the ice floes of Canada. It's basically the largest mass killing of marine mammals anywhere in the world. But that's not the worst of it -- the way these seals are killed is absolutely horrific -- clubbed on the head or shot for their pelts -- and due to the carelessness of hunters, some are even skinned alive.
PHOTOS: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Last month Matt.Y had a great idea by suggesting we contact the Vancouver Olympic Committee and asking them to put pressure on the Canadian Government to stop the slaughter. But with the hunt about to start, and the Olympics now over, these seal pups still desperately need our help.
Here in Australia we can do something else to help end this killing. Please sign the petition to show Canada what Aussies think of this cruel slaughter -- and get as many of your friends as you can to also sign.
Most importantly, seals, like all animals killed for their fur, need us to step up and refuse to buy any products with fur on them. If you're with me on this, take the pledge to wear your own skin -- and let the seals keep theirs!
The Winter Olympic Games: It's an event scribbled in bold on every Australian's calendar, counted down to, day-by-day, from the closing ceremony 4 years ago. For 2 weeks straight, Australians sit glued to the television, with little on their mind other than the absolute excitement that is curling, being beamed from the other (and much colder) side of the world.
OK! So maybe it's not! But the location of The Games this year offers us, and more importantly animals, a potentially life saving opportunity.
Last year in Canada, over 60,000 baby harp seals were run-down by sealers and mercilessly bludgeoned to death on the ice, their parents watching on in terror and crying in horror. It's estimated that over 95% of the seals clubbed to death last year were less than 3 months old. These animals will never learn to swim and will never chew on their first solid meal.
PHOTOS: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
So what can we do about it?
Well, just like any major event, the organizers want it to run as smoothly as possible - and the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee is no different. One thing they don't want is for the good reputation of the Winter Olympic Games to be tarnished by this cruellest-of-the-cruel hunt, which already hangs over Canada's international reputation.
The Committee carries a lot of political clout, and with their pressure on the Canadian government, we'll be all the closer to having the seal fur industry right where we want them: off the ice for good!
Please write to the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (email@example.com) and urge them to help bring an immediate end to the seal slaughter by pressuring the Canadian government to end this brutal slaughter for good.
No doubt I’m not alone when I say I like stylish clothes. And one thing I love about faux fashion is that it not only looks hot, it’s a great way to show others that you don’t need to be cruel to be cool (and in fact there’s nothing less attractive than someone draped in the skin of a dead animal!).
One of my fave wardrobe additions of late is my faux leather jacket from Casual Guy (pictured below). When I’m wearing this bad boy and speaking up for animals, I often have people say something like “But you wear leather, don’t you?” and I think BAM! 'time to save lives' and then I respond: “Thanks for asking! Actually no, I don’t wear animal skins. I was horrified when I found out cows that die for leather often have their tails broken and chilli rubbed in their eyes before they are killed. Oh this jacket, it’s fake leather. Have you ever worn fake leather before?”
Here are a few other discoveries I just had to add to my wardrobe:
These 100% non-leather shoes (above) are from Spendless
There's plenty of non-leather belts out there like this Hurley belt made of PVC
If you want something real bad, just keep looking. I wanted one of these jackets for ages, and I finally found a non-wool jacket at Dangerfield.
So how do you strut your hot stuff for the animals? Have you got an awesome tip for compassionate fashion? Leave a comment.
*Ehem!* Well just like the many Australians who like to pretend that Russell Crowe and Crowded House are "fully Oz", today I'm liking the idea that I'm "fully Irish". Alright, alright... so I haven't been there in a while, and I probably can't tell you who the current President of Ireland is*, but the truth is I was born in Ireland, and today I'm going to (soy)milk that for all it's worth. :-) Why..?
'Cause this month the Green party in Ireland has achieved a huuuuge victory for our furry friends - they banned fur farming! Yep, you heard right: Ireland has banned fur farming!! But that's not all - campaigners in Ireland are now setting their sights on banning imports of cruel fur products! Noice Wan!
Fur factory farms are a special type of hell for animals like foxes, raccoons and minks. These and other animals are locked in tiny cages and are often driven insane from the stress and frustration of unnatural confinement. These traumatised animals have been known to gnaw at their own flesh and even cannibalise their cagemates. Those that survive the 'farm' are destined to be anally or vaginally electrocuted, gassed or drowned before having their skin ripped from their small bodies.
Unfortunately almost all fur in Australia is imported from Europe, the U.S. and Asia, where animals are treated just like this. Pretty sickening huh. We hope that other countries wake up and follow Ireland's compassionate lead in realising that animals need their fur more than ugly people do!
Meanwhile, you can help these little guys by signing the pledge to wear your own skin, and don't hesitate to remind any fur wearers where their coat or 'trim' really came from!
Or rather eight seals — which is the number of seal pups that are killed to produce just onefur coat. And come 1st July this year, that's what is destined to happen to 91,000 seal pups on the coast of Namibia.
I only recently discovered just how brutal the annual Namibian seal cull is. People call it the 'cruellest in the world', and there's a good reason why. Most of the seals killed during this brutal slaughter are so young that they are still being nursed by their mothers. The defenceless pups are rounded up and separated from their mothers — and many vomit their mother's milk in fear — before being clubbed to death. Some seals who aren't completely knocked out are then stabbed and "bled out" while they are still fully conscious. Their mothers are left to watch on helplessly. It's one of the most disturbing sights you're likely to ever see (I don't recommend it, but you can find videos here of what has happened during previous 'hunts' if you think you can handle it).
You might be thinking — thank goodness we'd never support something so awful here in Australia! Well, it turns out that it's an Australian company that is directly linked to the annual Namibian slaughter. Last year, Sydney-based fur and skins company, Hatem Yavuz, purchased all of the dead seal pup skins from the cull. All of them!!
That's why we're publicly naming and shaming and demanding that Hatem Yavuz commits to never buying Namibian cape fur seal skins again. Never, ever again. If you think that a seal's fur coat is worth more to the seal than to Hatem Yavuz, then please take 1 minute to send this important message today. The seals need you!
If you pick up this month's Dolly magazine, you might spot a glimpse of our all-time-favourite-Kisschasy-frontman-and-hero-for-animals, Darren Cordeux. Yep. He's at it again. This time round, the outspoken rock star is giving chicks a voice in a full page ad, which begs readers to stop to think about the little guys (or, chickens), who all need our help.
And boy don't they know it. I mean—how's THIS for a chick magnet!?
There's more to this drop dead gorgeous entertainer than you might think. You can hear what else Daz has to say in his exclusive Unleashed video.
Dolly's double page spread on page 40 also highlights the tragic cruelty of fur. Kudos to Dolly for raising such an important issue in its magazine! Animals on fur farms live lives of sheer misery, only to be drowned, gassed—even skinned alive—for their pelts. No wonder The Veronicas are so pissed about it!
Did you see the feature in this month's Dolly? Tell us what you think!
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.