Interview: Livia Stone! »
Livia Stone is THE BEST for tons of reasons. I’ll name a few because that’s what this whole “Interview a Veg*n*” thing is about and if I’m anything, it’s somewhat competent at my non-paying blogging job. Livia is a vegan who works in animal welfare and thus, spreading the veg love in a community that loves animals but doesn’t always know that the best way to love them is not to eat them. She is the hospital manager at WildCare Bay Area, the only place to take injured and/or sick wild animals for good quality care in the SF Bay Area (they even take pigeons and mice and skunks!!). Seriously, if you ever find a wild animal in need of help, CALL THEM! She’s also just an awesome friend and the all-around bomb. We love her and you will too or else you are an idiot and shouldn’t be on this site anyway, idiot. Oh also, if she’ll be at the Farm Sanctuary California Hoe Down this Saturday so if you see her, HOLLA!
Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Initially I went veg because I realized I didn’t need to kill or exploit animals to live, but as I learned more—especially about the environmental impact of animal agriculture—I can’t believe anyone who is interested in going “green” doesn’t give up or at least reduce the amount of animal products they consume.
How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
I’ve been vegan for 10 years. I had been vegetarian already for several years, but that impulse was based entirely on compassion. When I started learning about the issues, I knew I needed to do more.
You work in the hospital at Wildcare (one of the beneficiaries of the May 8 SF Vegan Bakesale!) with wounded and sick wildlife; got any amazing/crazy/inspiring stories?
Definitely some crazy stories, usually on a daily basis. Rescuing an animal is often a transformative experience for people—and that’s very inspiring. I see a lot of cruelty and apathy, and so whenever people do the right thing for animals it gives me a little more energy to continue on. I remember one case where a man found an opossum in his garage. He reached into a box without looking, and promptly got bitten by a startled opossum who had found himself a nice place to sleep. The bite wasn’t serious, but the health department is very strict about mammal bites because of the risk of rabies, which is fatal in humans without treatment. Usually, we are forced to euthanize the animal to test for rabies, which drives us nuts because rabies is actually very rare in most species around here. But, of course it’s understandable that the health department wants to keep tabs because we could have an outbreak at any time. This opossum was clearly healthy and acting in normally, so we offered to quarantine as an alternative (which we always do) but since a human was bitten we didn’t have much hope. Going that route means you have to get rabies shots, because you don’t know if you’ve been exposed or not. But the man who was bitten called everyone he could and said he would do whatever it took—he didn’t want the opossum killed for his mistake! We’ve never had anyone do that before. So the opossum got free room and board for a month and was released because he never showed any signs of illness. [Ed.: That’s one of the best stories we’ve ever heard about humans. Usually we are THE WORST! Side note: Was this man cute? Single??]
Any tips on what we should do if we find wounded or sick wildlife?
In the Bay Area, you can always call WildCare and we can help you determine if it is indeed an emergency and who the nearest rehabilitator is: 415-456-SAVE (7283). Many times babies are “kidnapped” by well-meaning people! We can also determine if a reunite is possible in the case of babies.
Often the first impulse is to take an injured animal to a veterinarian, but there’s usually a charge and more importantly, most have no special training for wildlife. At WildCare, we have technicians and wildlife veterinarians who care for our wild patients.
If you find an animal that is obviously injured and you can capture them safely, keep them in a secure box or kennel with air holes. The things to remember are to keep the animal WARM, DARK, and QUIET. Babies especially can get chilled easily; put a heating pad under half of the box. Don’t try to feed or give water—sometimes that can do more harm than good and many species have very specific needs.
Can just anyone foster wild animals? How do we go about doing that?
No. Rehabilitators have lots of permits and conditions that need to be met. It is illegal for members of the public to keep wildlife (you can rescue, though!). If you volunteer at a local wildlife center, you will be able to care for the animals under the center’s permit. Many centers offer training classes to prepare you for foster care.
Do you have any companion animals? Where are they from?
Yes! Roshi the Russian tortoise came into WildCare and needed a forever home, since he’s not from these parts. My cat Brewster is from a shelter in Los Angeles, and Pippie the cat was rescued by my veterinarian after being hit by a car. Pedro and Maggie are Rocket Dogs!
Do you have any super cute photos of animals to share with us?
You can check out WildCare’s website for videos and photos!
What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
Every day I have a new favorite animal! But, I especially adore crows.
Favorite vegan cookbook?
I rarely cook from cookbooks, but one that I have made a ton from is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!
I know you’ve been doing a lot of baking and cooking lately! What’s your favorite vegan dish to make? What about for a vegan bakesale?
Since I’ve discovered Daiya cheese I’ve been making a mean mac ‘n cheese casserole but generally I’m big on making soups from scratch, especially heirloom tomato soup. For bakesales, just about anything from my cupcake cookbook. The carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting recipe is amazing!
Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant?
Cornmeal crusted oyster mushrooms at Millennium!
Favorite vegan restaurant?
You’re going to the Farm Sanctuary California Hoe Down THIS SATURDAY (EVERYONE GO!!!!), who are you most excited to pet/hang out with??
PIGS!!! Love me some pigs. Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web made me vegetarian.
Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
Our gift to Livia: A damned cute pig named Edgar from Pig Peace Sanctuary. Enjoy the cuteness!
*there are more awesome interviews on the site but our search is for shit and hopefully we can fix that soon but who knows, I’m only so good at my “job.”