Poor little spotted kiwi! Like all of New Zealand’s national birds, it used to be super-duper endangered. Then the Department of Conservation established new colonies in areas without predators in the ’80s, and the population boomed. But a recent analysis of these colonies reveal a serious problem with the little spotted kiwis. Per Becky Crew at Running Ponies:
[T]he birds upon which all hopes of substantial genetic diversity rested – had never actually bred. They didn’t even produce one chick. Which means that all the little spotted kiwi on the planet, from every population, have come from the five birds that were originally put on Kapiti Island in 1912.
Genetic diversity is vital to a species’ survival. So what are scientists going to do about it? First, further analysis. They might have to revert the little spotted kiwis’ status back to endangered. If only all humanity had left New Zealand alone. We might still have moa!
[Photo of little spotted kiwi chick by Andrew Digby via Running Ponies]
PETA continues its quest to be the weirdest pro-vegan organization on earth—not that there’s a lot of competition, but definitely it’s steep—with PETA Europe’s sexxxxy sexxxxxxxy animals-doin-it video promoting the “bigger sexual appetite” of us vegans.
Maybe it’s spring and all the pigeons out are strutting for each other, but I’m not in immediate hate with this thing. What do you guys think? Puerile and great, or just puerile?
Guys, this is Ajabu, an orphaned elephant rescued just a month ago in Kenya.
Ajabu was just a day or two old when she was spotted all alone in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park on 4th April 2013. When it became apparent that there were no other elephants in the area, a call was put into the DSWT to rescue Ajabu.
Two weeks on and this tiny orphaned elephant is making good and steady progress at the DSWT’s Elephant Nursery in Nairobi National Park. Read the full rescue update on Ajabu and support her future by fostering her at DSWT.
Guys, she’s so little and she has to wear sunblock to protect her baby skin! What a darling. Thank goodness for organizations like the DSWT, who can rescue orphaned elephants and provide for their needs. Keep up with Ajabu and sponsor her and her fellow residents at DSWT online.
Hey bunny-lovers! Celebrate the release of the fifth edition of the House Rabbit Handbook with the House Rabbit Society on Saturday!
Please join us for the release of the fifth edition of the House Rabbit Handbook by author and House Rabbit Society founder Marinell Harriman! Books will be available for purchase ($12.95) and Marinell will be available to sign them. We’ll have vegan snacks available as well as information on getting involved with the House Rabbit Society. We look forward to seeing you!
The party happens on Saturday, May 11, from 1 to 4 p.m. at 148 Broadway in Richmond. For more information, call (510) 970-7575 or visit rabbitcenter.org. Bunny party in Richmond!
Got a tip about an awesome vegan-friendly event? Let us know! We love fun!
Interview! Rory Freedman on her new book, Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals »
New York Times bestselling author Rory Freedman is a living legend in the animal rights/vegan world. After launching a revolution with her Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bastard series, Rory Freedman has continued to work tirelessly to promote animal rights issues in Los Angeles and worldwide. The charismatic animal rights champion and kind-hearted dog mom took time out of her hectic book tour schedule to discuss her wonderful and unique new book, Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals (Running Press).
Vegansaurus: I loved the book! I read it overnight and was really impressed by the depth and feeling you’ve put into this work. How do you consider Beg to be different for readers who may be familiar with the Skinny Bitch series?
Rory Freedman: I think that the good news for fans of Skinny Bitch is it’s the same heart that drove me to write Skinny Bitch that had me writing Beg. I had a spiritual transformation while writing this book, and I’m no longer swearing. The good news is the book is still funny and deep in the way Skinny Bitch is. This language is a lot gentler, for people who might have been offended. Funny.
What inspired you to write Beg?
In Skinny Bitch, I found thousands of people whose lives had been changed and now went vegan. I thought great—now what? Great, these people now know about the animal issues, but will they understand about rodeos, zoos, circuses, animal testing, and other things that cause deaths and misery and torture of millions of animals per year? I thought that people were primed and would get it, so I think it’s a natural follow up for Skinny Bitch. Skinny Bitch is really a vegan manifesto cloaked in a diet book. I wanted to write this book once and for all to document everything that happens to animals.
What can animal lovers learn from Beg?
Researching and writing this book was an important part of my transition from a regular-human animal lover to more aware animal lover. It is about learning each of the ways we can do better for animals. As much as I knew about things in broad strokes, as an animal lover and vegan, I had to ensure details were correct and accurate. It’s always eye-opening to think about things that go on so easily and are so pervasive.
Even still, a lot of people who are dog and cat lovers don’t understand what happens in order for animals to look a certain way we’ve deemed appropriate for breeds. Tail docking and ear cropping, which I discuss in Beg, are examples of this. I didn’t know about this as a child or as a younger adult. Then one day when I was 30 I met a dog that opened my eyes to this. I grew up with a mini schnauzer, and when I was 30 I met a schnauzer that was strange—it had bigger ears than the childhood dog I knew. I didn’t know some had bigger ears, but it turned out they all have bigger ears naturally, it’s just that some when puppy breeders will have the dogs’ ears chopped off or tails dropped off. I stood there astounded when I found this out. I didn’t know what they were talking about. Doberman pinschers normally have floppy ears, but they covet that mean, agressive look in breeders. That will come as a shock to animal lovers.
What are some animal activism tips that might surprise Vegansaurus readers?
I’ve had a transition that’s been happening lately and gradually over many years as an activist and vegan. It’s evolving so I’m becoming a better activist. I am still as passionate, but I am feeling more diplomatic. I’m allowing this journey for many people to come from where they are now from where we’re hoping they’ll end up. Animals are suffering each day. I’m really getting that everyone is on their path and I have to love and accept everyone while on this work, and allow that people will find their own way. By the grace of God I found vegetarianism, animal activism, and veganism when I did. It doesn’t say anything about me. It just works out the way it did. I have to allow that it will be by the grace of God for others to find their own path. It is important to take action while also being loving. The most attractive thing we can be as activists is loving.
The author with her three dogs
Vegetarians and animal lovers often love seeing animals in films and in cute Internet videos/websites. You discuss animals and entertainment at lengh in your book. Care to elaborate?
We’re always being accused of anthropomorphizing animals, of giving animals human qualities we don’t have. Sometimes they’re wrong. We just understand that animals feel pain, like humans do, but as moviegoers, some might be confused when we see a chimp that seems like he or she is smiling in a movie or TV commercial. Chimps don’t smile in the wild. It was something that was new to me when speaking to primatologist while doing research for the book. Chimps have what’s known as a “fear grimace.” Even though it looks like a smile because it seems like our own, they’re actually scared because in the wild when chimps are frightened, they grimace. They don’t do it when they’re happy. There is also no way to provide for them in entertainment the way mother nature could. We can’t provide for their unique needs. We’ve seen time and time again that movie sets are dangerous for animals.
Some of my friends want to adopt pigs (myself included). You have a pretty intense section about pigs and what happens to them on factory farms. Have you ever considered adopting a rescue pig, and how easy is it to adopt?
I’ve never been asked that. Adopting a pig has crossed my mind, but not in my adult years as someone in the animal rights movement. I’ve had dogs now for 12 years. It’s such a big responsibility, it’s so all-encompassing, I can’t imagine adding to my brood right now. I can see the temptation. They’re darling animals. They are so smart and individualistic. I can imagine having one would be great fun and it’d be beautiful for anyone who is committed to taking care of one.
What is the “Beg for Change” campaign?
The Beg for Change Challenge Campaign is an exciting way to get people involved, for vegans and activists and “normies.” You can hashtag #BegForChange and/or share a picture of your adopted dog. You can brush your dog and share a pic after you’ve bushed him or her, you can tag a photo of their pile of hair. Then, we can notice leather or animal skins, and use social media to document what we notice. If you spend 15 minutes on peta.org, you can tell the world what you see that is shocking. You can watch “What skin are you in?” and share your experience. This starts off easy to get people involved and becomes more interesting, challenging, and eye-opening, and activists can spread the world.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, Rory! Thank you for putting this great book out there.
To learn more about Beg and get involved with the Beg for Change Challenge campaign, check out Rory’s website.
Vegans rejoice! U.S. meat consumption has been falling since 2004! »
Per Parke Wilde at U.S. Food Policy blog, we as a country have been eating fewer cows, chicken, and pigs since peak meat-eating in 2004 (chicken-eating peaked in 2006). The vegans are winning! Sort of.
Beef consumption peaked in 2002 and has fallen about 12 percent since then. Pork consumption peaked in about 1999 and has fallen about 11 percent since then. And I had not realized that chicken consumption peaked in about 2006 and has fallen almost 5 percent since then.
Total combined consumption of beef, pork, and chicken peaked in about 2004 and has fallen more than 6 percent since then.
But, Wilde says, it’s probably as much (or more) to do with the recession and the cost of dead animals than it is people’s actual desire to stop eating them. Still, that’s something to be pleased about. If only it were 16 percent instead of 6.
[Photo by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr]
Happy belated Easter from our favorite Pacific Northwest Leporidae, Bells and Nuage! Is there ever a bad time for a bunny video? Of course not.
February marked the first anniversary of the Turlock rescue, “”the largest farmed animal rescue in California history.” Of 50,000 hens who were abandoned to starve for two weeks, 4,460 were saved, and Animal Place brought in 4,100.
This is Turlock the Documentary, and tells the story of the hens and their rescuers. Want to support the hens? Donate to Animal Place—they do truly wonderful work.
Hi, cutie-pie! This little weirdo is a mouse lemur, one of two newly discovered in Madagascar through genetic analysis. Of course as soon as we realized they were alive, we had to declare them endangered, because as people all we goddamn do is slash and burn forests (or create the conditions in which slashing and burning forests is someone else’s only option for survival), but still, here they are. Sorry we’ve been fucking with your life before we even knew you existed, little Microcebus murinus.
Read more about our new lemur friends at Scientific American’s Running Ponies blog.
[photo by David Haring of the Duke Lemur Center via Running Ponies]
It’s time for another installment of ALDF’s “30 Second Animal Law,” this time featuring acclaimed professional cyclist Levi Leipheimer! Hi, Levi! Hi, Levi’s rescued chihuahua, Scooter! Aren’t you two just the cutest things? And you’re absolutely right, puppy mills are the worst. Rescue a dog, save a life!
For more videos of Levi and Scooter, visit ALDF.