I am fed up with companies needlessly hurting animals for cosmetics and toiletries. Enough is enough. So, I wrote to Unilever and told them why I no longer use their products:
When I think about my childhood, something very strange happens. When I remember my 12th birthday sleepover party, a sweet vanilla scent fills my nostrils. When I think about Friday afternoon P.E. class, the distinct smells of musk and raspberry come flooding back. And when I had my first date, I felt like a Goddess, and smelled like one too.
That’s right, I was an Impulse kid. Your body sprays were so popular when I was growing up that they operated as status symbols, with the person owning the largest collection of fragrances sitting at the top of the popularity ladder.
I am writing to you today having out-grown my rollerblades with the purple shoelaces but having grown into a sense of compassion and ethics as a consumer. Even though I still want to smell like a Spice Girl as much as I ever did, I will not be buying any products made by your company. This is for one reason: your company funds animal testing.
Testing cosmetics and toiletries on animals is banned here in Australia. Don’t you think that’s probably because Australians care about the welfare of animals and realise these tests are cruel and unnecessary? And yet you choose to test your products on animals overseas. When I learned that companies such as yours STILL test on animals, I was floored. Why?
The majority of commonly used ingredients have been safety tested YEARS ago. Not to mention that even brand new ingredients can’t be guaranteed to be safe for human safety when they are tested on animals. And yet product testing still blinds, burns, poisons and kills millions of rabbits, dogs and other animals every year.
"Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals and the answer is: 'Because animals are like us."
"Ask the experimenters why it is morally okay to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us."
"Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction."
--Prof. Charles R. Magel
Now that I'm a little older and wiser, I choose to put my pocket money towards products that use alternatives to animal testing rather than needlessly harming animals. I have found that it is very much possible to smell like a goddess without contributing to animal cruelty and I intend to keep doing so.
I hope that one day you will change your policy on animal testing and join me in the greener pastures where rabbits do not have chemicals rubbed in their eyes and dogs are free from being burned and poisoned.
No longer yours, sincerely,
Is there a product you used to love but have made the switch to a cruelty-free alternative? Why not drop the company a line and tell them why you no longer use their products? Click here to take action against animal testing.
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...
One of the most lasting memories I have of zoos, is going with my highschool. I remember standing in front of the tassie devil enclosure. Most of the enclosure was grassy, including a raised mound in the middle. But around this mound ran a heavily worn dirt track (roughly the same width as a tassie devil) and on this dirt track ran a lone devil. Around and around he went, like a broken record... around and around and ... you get the idea.
At the time, I just thought that all tasmanian devils must be crazy (I'm sure a childhood of Taz cartoons made this explanation seem obvious.). But several years later, when I found out that a life of confinement and lack of stimulation can lead many animals in zoos and circuses to go mad, I realised that a more likely explanation was that not all tassie devils are crazy - just the one I saw in that zoo.
If you've been following the story of the celebrity polar bear, Knut, who died a couple of weeks ago in Berlin Zoo, then you'd know that he also lived a very troubled life. Born in captivity, and rejected by his mother shortly after birth in 2006, he was raised by a human zookeeper. I'm sure this zookeeper did his best to raise Knut well, but let's face it, he was not 2.5m tall with a coat of white fur, and by 2008 there were reports that Knut was knuts, calling him a "publicity addicted psycho".
Fame can do some strange things to people - so can jail. So what can being raised by a human in an unnatural, confined environment, with constant crowds looking on do to a polar bear? Well here's a description from one of his keepers at the zoo: "He actually cries out or whimpers if he sees that there is not a spectator outside his enclosure ready to ooh and ahh at him. When the zoo had to shut because of black ice everywhere, he howled until staff members stood before him and calmed him down." This from an animal that would normally live a more-or-less solitary life in the wild!
A couple of years ago Berlin Zoo ran into financial problems and even considered selling their polar bear celebrity. But ultimately Knut lived out the rest of his short life at Berlin Zoo - confined to an enclosure, never able to roam the vast expanses that his bear buddies in the wild do.
Sadly, I'd say I've learnt more about what life's like for a polar bear from David Attenborough's docos than Knut ever learnt being raised by a man in an enclosure in Berlin. Given the choice, I wouldn't go back to a zoo after seeing the dizzying madness of that tassie devil running in circles. Fortunately, Attenborough and others have made more docos about animals in the wild than any of us are ever likely to manage to watch.
What do you think of wild animals being kept on display in captivity? Leave a comment.
By now you've probably heard the news: On the opening day of Victoria's despicable duck shooting season rescue team member, Julia Symons was shot in the face by a duck shooter. Instead of being able to take care of injured birds callously shot down and left for dead by hunters, Julia had her own injuries to see to.
Poor Julia was rushed to hospital to have 10 pellets removed from her face and hand. She was lucky not to be blinded, or worse! Thankfully Julia will recover; sadly most ducks aren't so fortunate. One in every four birds shot by hunters escape wounded, left to suffer and die slowly from their untended injuries. There's no ambulance for them.
When a hunter pulls the trigger on a shot gun, pellets are literally sprayed out.There is no guarantee what even the most skilled marksman will hit: a native duck, a protected waterbird, endangered species like flying foxes (or even a rescuer!) can become victims of these ducking brutes.
On another note, the boy who reportedly shot Julia was just 14 years old. At 14 you're not even allowed to drive a car, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes or vote -Â so why on earth should you be allowed to fire a deadly weapon? Actually, why should anyone be allowed to shoot animals for fun? Most of Australia has already banned duck hunting because it's cruelty to animals after all.
Hardly makes sense does it? Why are the Premiers of Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia getting away with blood on their hands? For Julia and the ducks, take a moment to ask the governments of these three states to ban duck shooting now!
Shout outs to all the rescue teams out on the water, including CADS, UPROAR, and the Duck Army. Good luck and stay safe guys, and we wish Julia a speedy recovery!
How would you feel if you were injured while protecting animals from cruelty?
What is it with people who are obsessed with bacon? I mean, I'm all for creativity with food... Seeing someone make a flute out of a carrot is very cool. But this obsession with putting bacon in everything is just plain disturbing. Take for example, bacon ice-cream... ICK!
Sure, I used to like bacon - before I realised the piglet on my plate had his tail cut off (cutting through bone), his testicles sliced off, and his teeth snapped down to the marrow (and nerves) inside - all without pain relief. It's hard to tell yourself "but it tastes good" when you know that BLT was an abused animal - especially when you could have a tasty FLT (facon, lettuce and tomato) without any casualty.
Now, I can't help but feel ill when I see some of the putrid products people produce from pigs. You roam the internet a little and you'll notice people have gone batty on bacon. A little while ago, I started a list of things I would never want as a present. Well today I want to add to my un-wishlist all those gastly bacon creations, and every bacon flavoured, scented or look-alike product out there. Here are just a few of those dreadful ideas:
Bacon Tuxedo: Apparently this suit not only looks like bacon, but it has been chemically treated to smell like bacon. So just like real bacon, it probably increases your risk of cancer.
Bacon Mints: If BK Flame was the perfect way to ruin your first date. Then this is guaranteed to ruin your first kiss.
Bacon Bra: I don't think I need to tell you how many ways this is wrong! *shudder*
I could keep going, but I think I've had enough of thinking about dead pigs.
What do you think of this obsession with bacon? Got another 'craze' that bugs you? Leave a comment.
When I think of boxing kangaroos I think of enormous male red roos, fighting each other in truly awe inspiring displays of dominance.
Unfortunately, the words 'boxing kangaroo' make too many people think of the cartoonish image of a roo wearing boxing gloves. In Texas, the Rocky Show Circus has taken this image way too far, by not only making a real kangaroo wear boxing gloves, but also boxing shorts, and then forcing him into an actual boxing ring to spar with people. How demeaning to such a magnificent animal!
Long suffering 'Rocky' the roo, frightened audiences recently by knocking over a woman, crazy enough to get in the ring with him, before trying to mount her. In one news article about the incident, an expert said that Rocky was displaying 'natural' behaviour!
Hmph! If you ask me, there is absolutely nothing natural about a rambunctious roo being kept in captivity!Kangaroos are highly social animals but Rocky never even gets to lay eyes on another hopper. Roos are also shy by nature, yet Rocky is expected to box strangers in front of a crowd. Rocky could reach speeds of up to 70km/hr in the wild, but in this farcical circus, his muscular hind legs, adapted for marvellous jumping, are wasted because of his restrictive environment. It's no surprise that he's showing some frustration.
Too many animals used for human entertainment display abnormal behaviours. A beautiful elephant rocking back and forth in boredom; a massive killer whale swimming round and round in circles in his tank; a caged bird, never allowed to fly, pulling out her feathers ... You get the idea.
Rocky should be in a mob happily bounding around the open plains of Australia. Not wearing a costume in a boxing ring in Texas!
Once you get past the many spelling mistakes on their website, I'm sure you'll agree the Rocky Show Circus actually looks way more exciting when Rocky isn't even on stage! Please click here to send the organisers a message to let them know their circus would be so much better if they cut out the cruelty, and binned the boxing!
...they have humps to carry their drinks in, right?
Try telling that to the organisers of the annual Camel Cup held in July in Alice Springs, who bill a day of camel racing as a fun family event.
Update 04/07/11: Sadly, this silly race is on again in 2011, scheduled to run on Saturday 9th of July
I couldn't help but wonder after stumbling across this spectacle online, who would dream up such a camel crazy idea. I wasn't really surprised to learn that it was two blokes who'd had too much to drink at the pub one night! An intoxicated idea is very rarely a good one!
OK, so the thought of a camel race may be funny, but to actually see it, and the boofhead spectators laughing their heads off at the poor animals, is actually pretty sad.
It's bad enough that people race horses and greyhounds, but now they want to subject docile dromedaries to uncomfortable saddles and lashing whips as well?!
The ridiculous racing event, previously sponsored by Coles[Update 04/07/11: Coles now seem to have seen the light and no longer sponsor the race. Woo!] and XXXX Gold among others, also features dull dudes and dopey damsels vying for the titles of Mr and Miss Camel Cup. I'm not kidding! The guys have to walk like a camel and the girls have to display their knowledge of camel fun facts.
There's also Rickshaw Races, Kids Kamel Kapers and the "hilarious" Honeymoon Handicap ... clearly a plain camel race is not entertaining enough, they feel the need to rob the animals of every single ounce of dignity they have!
I bet if you asked a camel what he thought of The Cup, he'd happily spit in your face!
Oh and here's a fun fact. A camel's hump actually holds fat reserves, not water at all. But I'm sure Miss Camel Cup already knew that!
BK Flame: A body spray by Burger King, which as they describe it captures "the scent of seduction, with a hint of flame broiled meat.". Puke!
That's what I'd call 'date-free deoderant' - for the man who likes to be alone. You know you've hit rock bottom when you stink so bad that smelling like a dead animal from a greasy fast food joint is an improvement! I've got to ask... Girls, do you want your boy to smell like 'flame broiled' animal flesh? I didn't think so!
Personally, the last thing I want is a constant reminder of Hungry Jack's (owned by Burger King), and the fact that the way they treat their animals stinks! Mother pigs in crates so small they can't turn around; piglets having their tales cut off without pain relief; hens in cages where they'll never be able to even stretch their wings... These are just a few of the things that come to mind when I think of Hungry Jack's and just a few of the things I don't want to be thinking about when I'm freshening up for a date.
If you agree that the way Hungry Jack's treats their animals stinks, then sign the petition calling on them to stop caging their animals. You can also print this petition out and get all your mates to sign too.
Every once in a while, I come across something online that just seems too ridiculous to be true (I'm sure you're no stranger to such discoveries either.). Sometimes I think "Whoa! That's awesome!" But today it wasn't one of those days. Today, all I could do was cringe...
And that's when I decided to start an un-wishlist. Just like many people keep a wish list for what they want for their birthday, Christmas, etc this will be the perfect guide for what not to get me! And "Why?" you might ask, would I want to start such a list? The answer is simple, because of a cow-hide covered bath!
I'm sorry, but who in their right mind would ever want to clean themselves in a bath covered by the skin of a slaughtered animal? To me that just seems like a sure-fire way to ensure you step out feeling dirtier than when you got in!
The last thing I want to be thinking about when I climb into the bath is the image of cows being forced to climb into trucks to be shipped off to slaughter. And as I rub in the shampoo, I definitely don't want to be thinking about cows in India having chilli rubbed into their eyes to stop them from collapsing during the long, gruelling walk to slaughter.
Don't get me wrong, I think cow patterns look great (when they're not taken from a skinned corpse). I just don't think that we need to kill cows to decorate bath tubs!
Now on the otherhand, I definitely wouldn't say 'No' to a Cowch! *hint* ;-) This one's just hilariously cool:
But Helga's Cowches win extra points for the fact that not only do proceeds go towards her cow sanctuary, but every one of the Cowches is modeled after a real cow in the sanctuary. Here's Beatrice Cowch and Beatrice cow:
Got any cool or cringe-worthy web-discoveries to share?
I hate to be the bringer of bad news, but another 2 horses were killed in a jumps race over the Easter break - this time in SA. And what was the Racing Minister's response? "Although it's extremely disappointing that we've had the loss that we've had, it doesn't mean that jumps racing should be banned as a result of one incident."
Gah! I don't even know where to begin...
But wait, I suppose he's got a point. We shouldn't just take this one incident into consideration when deciding the fate of jumps racing. We should probably also consider the fact that 11 horses died in jumps races across Victoria and South Australia last year.
Surely they should have worked it out by now: horse + jumps racing = bad idea. Is this so hard to get? You'd think the body count on the track would give it away. They've tried raising the jumps, lowering the jumps, hardening the jumps, softening the jumps. And still horses fall and die. So why not try banning the jumps? Something tells me that might work!
If you're as sick of seeing horses die for the sake of entertainment as I am, thenplease click here to send the Ministers for Racing in Vic and SA a letter to tell them to ban this cruel sport.
Jockeys are up in (short, little) arms at the moment because they are not alowed to whip their horses as often as they want to. Yep — yesterday jockeys in VIC, NSW, QLD and WA walked off the job in protest of new rules that came in last month that restricted the number of times they can whip horses during races.
If you watch the sky news video, you'll see the Australian Jockeys Association complain that it's "unreasonable" to "burden" jockeys with having to count how many times they've hit their horses.
Uhmm ... Unreasonable!?
'Unreasonable' is what you call the standard practice of killing a horse who falls and breaks his leg on track because he is no longer considered 'profitable'.
'Unreasonable' is sending 20,000 horses to knackeries every year to be slaughtered. Their crime? They weren't fast enough :-(
'Unreasonable' is that studies show that race horses often suffer deep, bleeding gastric ulcers when forced to eat a concentrated and unnatural 'race' diet, and that one study showed that 90% of horses have blood in their lungs from over exertion.
'Unreasonable' is leaving a horse to spend up to 22 hours a day isolated in a stall, deprived of social contact and mental stimulation.
'Unreasonable' is allowing jockeys to whip horses at all, when whipping an animal off a racetrack would be illegal! (Do they think it hurts less, if they're in a race...?)
The NSW Shooters Party are presently pushing for changes to animal cruelty laws to legalise 'canned hunts' – where hunters pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of shooting trapped animals, including endangered species. One member of the Shooters Party is a Mr Bob McComb.
Over the last 3 years Dubbo Zoo has sold 24 blackbuck antelope - a seriously endangered species - to Mr McComb. If the Shooters Party's bill passes, then these 24 blackbuck antelope may be the first visitors to Mr McComb's planned 'private game reserve' (ie. canned hunt).
Hmm… where to begin?!
As if it weren't enough that Australia is driving our own native species to extinction faster than the rest of the world, now we need to breed other countries' endangered animals just so they can be shot?
I've heard many a zoo pat themselves on the back for their 'conservation' work, through breeding programs. So when the Dubbo Zoo says these 24 endangered antelope were 'not required' for their collection, and sells them to a hunter, you've got to wonder if they've checked the definition of conservation in a dictionary lately!
Of course, Mr McComb seems to be a little confused about what the word means as well, "I see private game reserves as a very effective way to achieve that conservation". I tell you what … if I were an endangered animal Mr McComb (and the Dubbo Zoo for that matter!) would be the last person I would want to see running to my rescue!
I could rant about this all day, but instead, I'll ask you to join me in writing to Dubbo Zoo to tell them how appalled you are that they would sell any animal (endangered or otherwise) to a hunter.
I think I've just found my new favourite cartoon! This brilliant illustration was sent to us by the insightful and very talented Donn Pattenden (thanks Donn!).
This is one issue that really stirs me up. The meat and dairy industries are huge water guzzlers. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that one glass of milk takes roughly 200 litres of water to produce. That's almost 3 days worth of showers! But that's nothing compared to the 100,000 litres of water that David Pimentel, a water resource specialist, says is required to produce just 1 kilo of beef!
In a country as dry as Australia, this sort of squandering of water just doesn't make sense. I live in Brisbane, where water shortages are a real threat (just like many of our other cities). We've been told to keep our domestic water usage below 140L of water per person per day...
I'm all for water conservation at home. In fact, we've just installed a new rain water tank :-) ... but when 70% of global water usage is for agriculture, it seems like what we eat and drink would be a smart place for us to start looking at how we can save water.
So Easter is coming and I'm getting pretty excited about all the dairy-free easter eggs, hot-cross buns and faux fish I've stocked my pantry with. But one thing that does really get me worked up at Easter, as a
Sydney-sider, is the Sydney Royal Easter Show! (for those of you from interstate it's the equivalent of the Melbourne Show, Brisbane Ekka, etc...)
As a child I adored the Easter Show. My Dad used to even let me have the day off school so we could beat the weekend crowds. My absolute favourite part was visiting all the farm animals. Combine this with fairy floss, roller coasters and show bags and it was truly kid-heaven.
Despite being a sensitive, animal-loving child, all the cruelty surrounding the housing, transportation and ultimate slaughter of these animals never clicked. And why would it? The show is set up in a magical, fairytale way with all of the cute animals and none of the horrors that they must endure.
First you might go to the nursery stalls where you see happy piglets, chicks and ducklings playing and snuggling up to their mothers. Then in the dairy stalls they explain the "nutritious benefits" of dairy and make the whole milking process seem totally natural. Moving onto the adult pigs, cows and chickens you stop to pat them, make a connection with them and admire their ribbons. Everything is clean, there is lots of space and the animals look healthy and well groomed.
Then in the next room, there's a diagram explaining which cut of meat comes from which part of the animal. It is here that you might feel a moment's guilt at the fact animals are slaughtered, but you think "well, they obviously have happy lives up until the end, and this nutrition panel says I need meat to be healthy... gee, I think I'll go have a dagwood dog". You then walk off, feeling on top of the world, singing "Old McDonald" in your head ... thinking everythings ok.
What they forget to mention is that baby animals are taken from their mothers in factory farms and that they have painful surgical procedures performed without aesthetic in their first fragile days of life.
Nor do they tell us that a mother cow isn't just milk making machine—she is forced to give birth every year to continue lactating, only to have her baby taken away from her and slaughtered.
Oh and of course they don't mention the fact that these animals are a tiny few of the 500 million Animals in Australia who, back on factory farms, are kept in prison-like conditions, denied freedom of movement, that would be illegal if they were a cat or a dog!
No wonder we grow up with a warped and romanticised view of the animal farm, when even as kids we have the wool pulled over our eyes at shows like these!
I have to admit, I have a real soft spot for good spoken word. There's something awe inspiring in seeing a room full of people transfixed by words. And Saul Williams takes the cake for razor sharp lyrics with a political bite (check out any of his performances on youtube and you'll see what I mean). There's an intense passion behind his genre-leaping mix of performance poetry, underground hip-hop, rock, drum and bass and anything else that takes his fancy.
Speaking out on everything from workers' rights to the environment to the war in Iraq, Saul's music and activism meld seamlessly. His poetry inspires action and his actions inspire. With lyrical gems like "Quit rhyming about being hardcore. Be heart-core. What else is life worth living for?" how can anyone not dig his music and his message? And to top it off he's vegan!
I recently stumbled across an email Saul sent to his fans and thought I'd share a few of his insights with you all. Saul talks in big ideas and, being a poet, can write like words are going out of style. But his message is worth the read.
Martin Luther King said "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." If you ask me, Saul Williams is definitely alive and kicking. I hope you are too! Anyway, enough babble, here's what the man had to say:
"A story was recently recounted to me of a popular TV chef who chose to raise little piglets on his show to insure that they were fed organic food and not injected with chemicals (as is the practice on most factory farms), all for the sake of fattening them up for their slaughter and another primetime recipe. Yet, the time that this chef spent with these pigs taught him a valuable lesson (more valuable for the pigs, no doubt). What he learned was how intelligent pigs are. In fact, in recent times, it is common knowledge for most that pigs are arguably more intelligent than “mans best friend” and companion, the dog. For our chef, this meant switching gears and realizing that he could not consciously kill this intelligent animal, that it would constitute a murder as brutal as slicing your fluffy pets neck and watching it writhe and bleed to death, or sticking an electric prod up its ass and electrocuting it, if the fur or skin is of value…
I wouldn’t want to make you “lose your lunch”, but these are the common practices perpetuated by the factory farm industry on millions of animals a day, in the name of your breakfast lunch and dinner. And, no, I’m not simply talking about pigs, but also cows, chickens, turkey, horses (that’s right horses. Everyday), and fish. Everyday, our species participates in the mass genocide of other species without care or concern or even questioning whether the violence that we ingest and condone plays any role in our apathetic support of the war machine we have become. How is it that we as human beings can represent both the highest and most developed and lowest and least concerned forms of intelligence of any living species? Are we simply glued to age-old barbaric traditions that cloud our senses and render us inhumane in our dependence on comfort foods and practices?
[W]e all identify with the teachings of Gandhi, the genius of Einstein, the art of Leonardo Da Vinci, Picasso, Rembrandt and the talent and compassion of living artists like Alice Walker, Will Smith, The Mars Volta, Dead Prez, Prince and countless others. Some of us choose to emulate their styles, their fashion, their career choices, but why not their diets?
Perhaps the biggest issue at hand is not what our cars run on, but essentially what do we run on?
I find all animals beautiful, whether it's the majestic African elephant, the playful red squirrel or a lipstick red bummed Baboon, they are all exquisite to me (well, it could be suggested that in polite society baboons wear underpants). For people to announce they love animals whilst tucking into a plate of dead ones is a glaringly obvious contradiction. If you love animals, why would you eat them?
The only things you'll be missing out on a veg diet are things like cancer and heart disease. In the many years I have been vegetarian I have never suffered from the dreaded 'A' (anemia) and being veg has been too easy!
Eat animals, increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, destroy the planet OR be healthy, care for the planet and give true meaning to the phrase 'animal lover'!
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.