Category Archives: Around Town

Live vs. Alive

Language and our choice of words is something I’ve blogged about before, and I’ve slowly been trying to eradicate certain phrases from my vocabulary like filthy pig or stupid cow…phrases that I’ve used to complain about someone while also affixing those unflattering attributes to animals (don’t worry: “dumb jag” and “stupid wanker are still very much in my daily lexicon).

While a cow or pig doesn’t know I’m insulting them, that’s not the point.  By using these phrases, I perpetuate a language – and hence a stereotype – that certain animals are stupid, silly, dirty, etc., and it’s one of those subtleties that has seeped into our culture, shaping our view of animals probably more than we realize.  Some may view this as political correctness gone too far but I see it as reclaiming our language to include all.  Take gender roles for example: the word firefighter includes all genders whereas the word firemen only includes males. The word stewardess only implies women in the role but now flight attendant is much more inclusive to all who are in that profession.  It may seem small and insignificant or eye-rollingly petty to some, but change has to begin somewhere and language seems as good a place to start as any; I see no reason why animals cannot be included in the conversation around damaging and inaccurate assumptions and using different language to represent them properly.

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What is an Animal’s Life Worth?

I’m grateful to have other vegans in my life.  It might sound silly but you need support as a vegan. Knowing what animals endure at any given moment and not being able to talk about it with most people can make for some lonely days. Surrounded by constant reminders and references to animals mostly in their deceased form makes for a strange setting once you learn to see them as whole beings.  You need to be able to exhale once and awhile, and to be around others who understand the truth of how animals are treated.

Some animals, like dogs and cats, are beloved by their keepers, housed by loving owners who spend whatever they need to for their pets to be healthy, safe and happy.   Other dogs and cats are discarded if they don’t behave, or fail to meet an expectation they are likely not even aware has been placed upon them. Continue reading

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Happily Ever Esther

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and Julian and I had the much-anticipated opportunity to go and see Esther the Wonder Pig in her new home at Happily Ever Esther Sanctuary in Campbellville, Ontario.  If you’re not sure who Esther is, she is a rescued pig who was thought to be a “mini pig” when couple Derek and Steve first welcomed her into their home.   Even after being informed by a vet that Esther was likely not a mini pig after all due to her docked tail – a sign indicative of today’s animal agriculture practices – they had already fallen in love with her and 670 lbs of not-so-mini-pig later, their lives have changed completely.  Soon after getting Esther, Derek and Steve made the connection between her and what they were eating and went vegan.  Then last year they were able to purchase property in Campbellville and opened a Sanctuary in Esther’s name.  I highly recommend checking out her Facebook page (it’s impossible not to feel better after reading it) and you can also read the post I wrote about her last year. Continue reading

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The Purpose and Privilege of Protest

Yesterday, along with Julian and two of our friends, I participated in my first-ever protest march.  It was the “March to Close All Slaughterhouses” and it not only took place in Toronto and Montreal but also in France, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, England, Turkey, Belgium, Scotland and the U.S.  It’s the third year for the march and approximately 500 people attended in Toronto.  It was well-organized, well-run and, the cause aside for one moment, the experience made me extremely grateful to live in a country where I am free to openly protest in the street.  We post our thoughts, feelings and opinions so automatically now that it’s easy to forget just how privileged we are to be able to do that without fear of arrest, prison or worse. Marching on behalf of animal rights made me aware of my own: I saw those civil liberties in action and it made me realize how important it is to exercise them, especially on behalf of those who have none.  Continue reading

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The Farce is Strong with This One

As a vegan, I believe in active resistance and non-violence.  Sadly, this does not mean I never have a violent thought.  Far from it.  At any given moment there’s an entire fight sequence going on in my head and as much as I strive to be most like Wonder Woman, the reality is I am much closer to being the Hulk. In the words of Bruce Banner from the latest Avengers’ movie when asked what his secret weapon is for being able to control his anger and turn into the Hulk at any given moment: “That’s my secret. I’m always angry.”

There are two particular stores in Toronto that make me want to hulk-out regularly and throw a brick through the window every time I pass them.  I wouldn’t (at least not during working hours when people are in there) but dear god, the urge is strong.  One is called, Bacon Nation, and they also have a food truck in the city that says, “Go Pig or Go Home” splashed across the front and well, fuck them. Continue reading

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Frances Moore Lappé, author of many books but perhaps most famous for her book, Diet for a Small Planet, describes how she felt when first learning about U.S. agriculture in late 1969: “Like the little boy in the fairy tale who cries out, ‘The emperor has no clothes!’” After realizing that, “over half the harvested acreage goes to feed livestock and only a tiny fraction of it gets returned to us in meat on our plate,” she, “could barely believe what I was learning, because it flew so totally in the face of conventional wisdom.”   Continue reading

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