I just love seeing a big, burly bloke go all Superman to help an innocent animal, don't you? Well, Damien Mander's story is just that. And it's got buffalos and elephants and snares and rangers and special ops and ... how about I just let him tell you about it:
Wow! What a great question Mander poses to everyone at the end! Now I know, as an Unleashed member, you're brave enough to speak up for animals, so I'd like to pose a different question to you:
What are you going to do this week to make a difference for animals?
Run Cow Run is my new favourite phone game. Sorry Candy Crush Saga, I still love you, but who wouldn't want to save this little cow from being turned into steak, and help her rescue other farm animals?!
The creator of this marvellous (and FREE) app, Oren Bengigi, describes it as the game that the meat industry doesn't want you to know about. We think this game is just great and so we picked the creator's brain about where the idea came from. Turns out, it's based on a true story!
What inspired you to make Run Cow Run?
I saw a YouTube video about a cow called Maxine, who escaped from a slaughterhouse and was rescued by a farm sanctuary. I really liked the story and decided to make a game based on the idea of a cow that runs for her life. I was a vegetarian for 13 years and at that time I decided to become vegan and also started developing the game.
What do you want people to take away from the game?
In most games, players identify with the main character. The message I'm trying to pass on is that animals are not a product - they have feelings and needs. During the game the cow escapes and on the way she can rescue other farm animals (pigs, chickens, ducks and goats). They are locked in cages, just like in real life, but the players have the possibility to save them and lead them to a nearby animal shelter. (They also have the possibility to save animals in real life!)
Most people don't know what it took to produce the food they are eating. The meat and dairy industries are cruel and the only way to stop it is by not eating animal products. Nowadays it is very easy to go vegan, there are lots of tasty alternatives and the food is healthier too.
How has the response been so far?
Most of the players like it and say that the cow is very cute. Some are annoyed when the cow is caught by the farmer, but I can't make the game too easy! Our current game ratings are 4.6 out of 5.0, so there aren't many complaints.
What is the cow's name?
Her name is Maxine. And her number is 269, based on this campaign.
You can start saving farm animals NOW. Download Run Cow Run using the links below. It's FREE! (It's also free to save animals in real life. Here's how.)
It's official: I've got Olympic Fever (or rabies ... I'm waiting for the doc to call with the results)! To help get you in the spirit of the Games, I've put together an international dream team of vegan and vegetarian Olympic athletes. These athletes became stars for their sporting achievements and became heroes for their refusal to eat animals. Now let's introduce the team!
In track and field we have Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses - who have a combined 3 gold medals between them. Oh wait, did I say 3? I meant, 13!! That's right, these guys won more gold medals between the two of them then almost the entire Australian team at the 2008 Games. Moses also set the improbable record of winning 122 races in a row. He didn't lose a single race he started for 9 years, 9 months and 9 days!
Running middle distance is the Flying Finn, Paavo Nurmi who bagged 9 gold medals over three Games. Vegetarian since the age of 12, Paavo has set world records in distances ranging from 1500m all the way up to 20kms, and his 5 gold haul in one Olympics is a track record that still stands.
Over in the pool, we have an Aussie *whistle* *cheer* And not just any Aussie, but the one with the best nickname ever in international sport - Murray Rose ... the Seaweed Streak! Born and raised a vegan, Rose set an amazing 15 world records, and bagged 4 Olympic golds in his stellar career. He claimed very clearly in interviews that it was his vegan lifestyle that helped him achieve such great success.
You don't need to be an Olympian to feel the benefits of cutting meat from your meals, either. People often report fewer pimple problems and glowing skin after going veg; and those looking to shed a few excess kgs might be interested to know that vegetarians have an average body weight up to 20% lower than meat eaters! Even "armchair athletes" can reduce their chances of obesity, diabetes and strokes by being vegetarian (even more true for vegans)!
Keep your eyes open for compassionate competitors at the Games this year (Lizzie Armitstead is one, and she's already won a silver!), and enjoy the events. Check out some of the easy and tasty snacks you can make for in front of the telly here.
CONTENT WARNING: If you're too young to remember when Pokemon first went nuts, or if you're squeamish, you might want to tune out now.
Here's a blog to sink your teeth in to! Umm ... or not. A Serbian chef has released a cookbook/great-conversation-starter on how to cook testicles! Which I assume someone would then actually eat.
"Waiter - there's a hair in my testicle soup! Oh ... no."
I don't want to go into the gory details (because I just ate lunch), but the recipes include a Testicle Pizza, and the book also shows the correct way to "peel a testicle", to help beginner cooks get the balls rolling. Har-har-har.
If you think that's pretty wrong, then you probably don't want to know what goes into meat pies in Australia. (I'll give you a clue - it involves rind, connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels). And don't get me started on hamburgers.
The good news is that it's easy to avoid these mystery meats, and in the process improve your health, help the environment and save animals all at the same time! By going veg, you'll find yourself in the company of people like Leonardo da Vinci, Missy Higgins and the Incredible Hulk! Which would also make a pretty interesting dinner party. Bags sitting next to Missy!
Sportswear giant Puma have scored some big points on the 'animal friendly' score board with news that it's considering giving leather the boot!
In an interview on the weekend, Puma's chairman, Jochen Zeitz said that given the environmental damage caused by raising cattle, "I think eventually we'll have to look at alternative materials, there's no question about it. We should eat less meat, all of us, and we should use less leather, I mean that's reality."
This move would save millions of animals from being abused and killed in the leather industry, not to mention cutting down on greenhouse gases and the toxic chemicals used to preserve dead cow's skin. Hopefully the other big shoe companies will come to the party soon too!
Luckily, Puma isn't the only one in the sporting world that is kicking out cruelty. From sports companies to sports teams ... Last year, the English football team, Forest Green Rovers lived up to the 'green' in their name and went vegetarian! The club announced that "on nutritional advice, it was decided to no longer feed our team red meat for health and performance reasons". But they didn't stop there: "If red meat was not good enough to feed our players, then it wasn't good enough for our staff, fans and visitors too". And so meat pies and hot-dogs were shown the red card, substituted by mushroom pies, polenta chips and felafel wraps.
I don't know if the new menu at the club can take all the credit, but the Rovers improved from 20th in 2011 to finish 10th in the 2012 season (after meat had been cut)! Even if the new menu can't take credit for all the points on the pitch, the players and fans can take heart in knowing that vegetarians are less likely to be obese or have high levels of artery clogging cholesterol, and enjoy a range of other health benefits - simply by choosing not to eat animals.
Ever go to the footy? What do you think of the food on offer at the games? (Apart from the fact that it's overpriced, I mean). What do you think they should be serving?
ps. When you've got a sec, please send Puma a supportive message to let them know that you think getting rid of leather would be a slam dunk for animals and the environment: email@example.com
If you tick all those boxes, then add me on facebook, please - I need friends like you!
Someone who fits this description fully is Jose Gonzalez - who made time to chat to Unleashed about why he cut cruelty out of his diet.
Jose is just one of loads of musos who refuse to eat meat. And it's not just hardcore or indie types. Jason Mraz, Missy Higgins, half the Wu-Tang Clan, Joel and Benji Madden - all eat cruelty free! Not to mention the late, great MCA from the Beastie Boys. The music world is full of super-talented, super-kind stars. You don't have to be musical to cut cruelty from your diet though (trust me!).
Jose said that it was "definitely the suffering of the animals that was my concern". How 'bout you? Do you want to take a stand against animal cruelty too? The single most powerful thing you can do to protect animals from abuse is simply pledge not to eat them.
Jose also reckons it was his mates that introduced him to the idea. If you're already a life-saver for the animals, then share this video on your facebook or twitter (or Tumblr, pinterest, etc) to inspire your friends to save lives too. It's a simple way to help animals and your mates.
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 heard? They're predicting that the current generation of Aussie teenagers will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy. Isn't that disturbing!
The recent study by the Cancer Council and Heart Foundation estimates that 1 in 4 highschool students are overweight or obese - putting them at greater risk of heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses. (btw, this cartoon does a great job of illustrating the problem)
I don't get it! We know the facts and people still eat junk! I mean, we know that unhealthy meat-centric diets have been linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer - our country's top killers. We know that on average vegetarians and vegans are less likely to be overweight or obese, and have a longer life expectancy than meat eaters. We know that most fast food is junk, and is bad for us and the environment. Yet Australia is one of the largest countries in the world (and I'm not talking about the size of our land mass) and it seems we may only be getting larger
Speaking of fast food and junk, this recent ad takes an interesting approach to trying to combat the problem of childhood obesity:
What do you think of the ad? How do you feel about the prediction that the next gen might be the first to live a shorter life? Is this the scariest news you've heard all day? Leave a comment below!
It reads like a news headline doesn't it? No doubt when people realise that the animal products they consume are literally killing them, it will be a headline. Anyway, this is the story of Rocco a meat-lovin' cowboy from Arizona who was literally eating himself into a grave.
Rocco's 53 years old, but had the heart of an 85 year old. He's overweight and severely diabetic.
Rocco appeared on the TV show The Dr. Oz Show with the wish to change his life. After some clinical assessments, Dr. Oz recommended that Rocco should go vegan for 28 days to see how dramatically his health improves.
When The Dr. Oz Show checked in with Rocco after 28 days, it's clear that his health improved dramatically after going vegan. He dropped his waist size by more than 15cm, his glucose count went from 172 to 99, and his good cholesterol (HDL) increased. Just by looking at Rocco, you can see the difference in his life since going vegan.
But this isn't just one instance. There are stories everywhere of people who have gone vegan and experienced improved health (including myself, a reformed McDonaldsCruelty lover). So the proof really is in the (vegan) pudding folks. Next time you see Sam Neill misleading orang-utans on TV about how great meat is, throw a pickle at the screen for me.
Ever heard of someone being paralyzed by their food? I hadn't. Ok, I could imagine it happening if someone slipped on a banana peel ;) But seriously, I wouldn't have thought it possible.
But then I read about Stephanie Smith a 22 year old dance instructor who suffered such severe seizures from eating a hamburger that doctors had to put her in a coma for 9 weeks. And when she woke up, she was paralyzed!
What could Stephanie have possibly eaten to cause that? An 'Angus Beef Patty' contaminated with E. coli a bacteria found in faecal matter (or should I say poo particles). And how would faecal matter end up in food? Take your pick: rubbed onto the meat from dirty skin, from unclean tools, or from an intestine being knicked whilst carving up the corpse.
Granted, not all E. coli is harmful to humans, and Stephanie's reaction was severe, but all the same EEK! And while E. coli contamination may be a gamble, one thing that is a sure bet is increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and strokes. Hmm .. no thanks!
So anyway, if you've got some time to spare, the NY Times article about Stephanie and food safety is very interesting. As is this one by Jonathon Safran Foer (author of Everything is Illuminated) about his experience of becoming vegetarian. They're both long, but they're worth the read.
And if you've still got some time to burn after that, then you probably need to find yourself some friends (yes I know that includes me!). But also, you might like to check out the Larry King Live debate on the safety of eating meat in response to these articles.
Now that oughta keep you out of trouble for a while ;)
Earlier this month I mentioned Jackie O's 'fat bet'. Australia's leading lady of the airwaves had been challenged on air: lose 4 kilos and Kyle Sandilands would donate $5K to her favourite charity, Animals Australia (or, don't and the money goes to a factory farm!).
An absurd bet, you might think (particularly when we all knew Jackie was perfectly proportioned already! Sheesh!!) But absurdities aside, Jackie knuckled down for the animals' sake, worked hard, and held Kyle to his word And the result? Well it was a verrrry close call, but I'm glad to report that despite being 200g short of her target weight, Kyle saw the light and wrote out one big phat cheque to Animals Australia that will be used to expose the cruelty of factory farming!
If you're a 2DayFM listener you're probably aware by now of Kyle's "fat challenge". But if you're not, the self-admittedly rotund co-host of the Kyle and Jackie O show has accused the ever-gorgeous Jackie of being fat! (Yes, it's a topsy turvy world we live in).
It seems that Kyle is so concerned about Jackie's health and belt size that he's issued his vegetarian co-host a challenge: lose 4 Kg and he'll donate $5,000 to her favourite charity: Animals Australia! And if she fails...? Kyle says he'll give the $5,000 to a pig factory farm -- Jackie's worst nightmare!
Now, I don't know where this mic-slinging diva will even find 4 Kg to lose... but if anyone can do it for the pigs, I'm willing to bet that Jackie O can.
The outspoken radio personality and former Big Brother host has already shown her commitment to helping animals by not eating them. She also posted information on her website to inform listeners about the miserable lives of animals trapped in factory farms in Australia. Go Jackie!
Who do you think will win the fat challenge? You can have your say and pass on your encouragement to Jackie on the 2day fm website. :-)
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.