12 Ways You Can Help the Animals in 2011

As animal advocacy nonprofits are in the direct business of helping animals, supporting these organizations (financially and/or as a volunteer) is always an effective way of benefiting the animals.  So we’ll start our list with No. 1) Direct Support and go from there with 11 more ideas for how you can make a difference for the animals in 2011.

2 ~ Stay informed. Read the latest, as well as the classic animal rights and vegan health-related books so you can pass along that knowledge to others. Watch videos & films and share them with others. You might even start a book discussion group. See this article about how one Connecticut town is reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s book, Eating Animals (while the selection for younger readers is Our Farm, by the Animals of Farm Sanctuary). Or host a screening of a powerful film such as The Cove or Peaceable Kingdom at your local library or other community building.

3 ~ Spend time WITH the animals & SHARE your experiences with others. Nothing is quite as powerful as your personal story. Visit animal sanctuaries, roll up your sleeves and volunteer, sponsor an animal, and take lots of photos or video to share online.

Liz Longacre of Your Time Travels meets the elephants! Photo by Jaime Careathers

Let other people see these beautiful animals and hear about your experiences with them.

You could even make your next vacation one that involves helping the animals too. (See Your Time Travels for vacations involving volunteer projects benefiting the animals.) Aside from monetary support, animal sanctuaries often have wish lists. See if one near you needs something you can donate.

4 ~ Commit to sharing a minimum number of animal rights/vegan advocacy books/DVDs this year. It’s a great way to spread the message. Instead of loaning out your books ~ buy copies to give away. You can also donate copies of important books to your local library, coffee shop, hospital, or community center. Check with the publisher ~ they may have special bulk offers for people who are purchasing books for donation.

5 ~ Prepare a vegan meal for a community group or business. Take a delicious vegan lunch and educational materials to your hair salon, parent’s group at school, doctor’s office, fire station, etc.

6 ~ Utilize your personal talents & gifts for the animals! Do an inventory of your skills and gifts and see how you can help the animals in a unique and creative way. Are you an artist? Do you make videos or write music? (See Etsy’s Vegan Etsy Team and Etsy For Animals. Or visit sites such as Our Hen House’s ‘Art of the Animal’ section for news about creative endeavors for the animals.) Maybe you are an up and coming vegan chef? Or maybe you enjoy speaking, coaching, or teaching? Dedicate time in 2011 to using your gifts for the animals! They need YOU! Reach out to others who do what you do and create a supportive network.

7 ~ Have a list of ready-to-share vegan resources (vegan cookbook titles, vegan blog sites, product suggestions, etc.). Concrete resources are critical for someone transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan diet. FARM’s Meatout Mondays is an effective resource as it includes recipes with easy-to-find ingredients, as well as product information, health articles, and inspirational stories. Sites like www.LiveVegan.org, www.TryVeg.com, Healthy Happy Life, and This Just In from VegNews are just a few sites loaded with resources. Offer to help a friend by having a vegan cooking get-together and sharing your recipes and tips.

It’s also important to have resources available for your local restaurants, stores, and cafeterias so that when you ask them to serve vegan options, you can provide them with very specific information. Several sites (i.e. Compassion Over Killing, Mercy For Animals, FARM Underground) have guides available online and manufacturers will often send you flyers to give to your local stores.

8 ~ Join the conversation. Get involved with your favorite organizations, vegan businesses, and vegan/animal rights bloggers on Facebook, Twitter, their blogs, and other social networking sites. Share their information with your network. Drive more people to these great organizations, businesses, & bloggers with your comments and postings. See the FARM Links page for a sampling of animal rights and vegan blogs, organizations, businesses, and more. And don’t forget to join FARM on Facebook and Twitter!

9 ~ Add your voice to the pro-animal blog community. Start your own blog and help spread the word about compassion for all beings and the many benefits of living vegan. If you REALLY get into it, you might consider attending the Vida Vegan Conference, the first ever vegan blogger conference, to be held in Portland in August 2011.

10 ~ Raise awareness in your community with a letter. Write letters to the editor of your local paper regarding animal rights issues, health issues related to consuming animal products, and environmental concerns associated with animal agriculture. Many animal rights organizations have letter-writing programs (such as FARM’s Letters Program) that you can be a part of. You can also speak out for the animals by adding comments to relevant online editorials.

11 ~ Think before you speak! Be thoughtful about what you say, write, and do.  As an animal advocate you are part of an important and well-scrutinized cause. Strive for effective advocacy and ask yourself if your words and actions are more likely to help or hurt the animals.

12 ~ Celebrate success! Celebrating is an important part of any effective venture. Take time to celebrate and acknowledge individuals and organizations working hard on behalf of the animals. Highlight what’s working well and we’re sure to see more of it! Let the world see that important changes are happening NOW for the animals. And don’t forget to acknowledge yourself for the energy and passion you put into making life better for the animals.

Sweet Red asks, "How will YOU help the animals in 2011?" ~ Photo by Cindi A. Saadi

2011 offers us a great opportunity to honor and serve the animals with our time, gifts, talents, energy, and love. How will you help to make 2011 a beautiful & victorious year for the animals?

~ Cindi Saadi for the FARM blog

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Christmas Day at an Animal Sanctuary

Have you ever wondered how the animals at an animal sanctuary spend Christmas Day?

I (Cindi) spoke recently with Terry Cummings, co-founder/director of Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland who gave me a glimpse of what Christmas day is like for the animals at the sanctuary.

To sum it up in just two words….. Peaceful & Treats!

In contrast to Poplar Spring’s busy Thanksgiving celebration where hundreds of people come out to enjoy a vegan feast WITH the turkeys and all the other residents of the sanctuary, Terry said the animals generally enjoy a very quiet Christmas day.

Just as many people look forward to digging into their stocking on Christmas morning, the animals also anxiously await special holiday treats! After all the morning chores (i.e. cleaning & feeding) have been done, Terry and her husband, Dave Hoerauf (co-founder/director), gather together with the farm manager and a merry group of volunteers to head out into the cold and deliver treats to all the animals.

Poplar Spring pals, Bobby & Parker, snuggle up for a nap. Bobby is using Parker as a bit of a pillow! Both are content! Photo by Cindi Saadi

According to Terry, the pigs are not big fans of the cold, and so once they have ventured out to eat and do their business, they run back into the barn where they burrow into the hay and snuggle up next to each other for a nap.

Instead of sugar-plums, the pigs are likely dreaming of apples and that’s just what the jolly crew of Santa’s elves will bring them!

The horses and cows are not nearly as phased by the cold. They will venture out of the barn and wait for their favorite treat. No cookies and coconut milk for them, they want carrots! And lots of carrots they shall have!

The goats and the sheep will also be out enjoying the cold weather. And although the goats enjoy a good carrot, Santa knows what they really want…. PoPcoRn !

Introducing the VERY charming, Rocky the goat! Photo at Poplar Spring by Cindi Saadi (Rocky's biggest fan!)

Like little kids with candy, the goats and sheep will excitedly gobble up popcorn and animal crackers, with, of course, a few carrots on the side!

And what about the chickens and turkeys?  You’re  most likely to find them in the warm barn – especially if there is snow on the ground, which Terry said they do not like to put their feet in!

A delicious combination of corn and grapes is what our feathered friends will get from Santa’s bag!

Truth be told, Opal would prefer HUGS to treats! Photo at Poplar Spring by Cindi Saadi

With their treat bags empty, the Christmas delivery crew will return to the main house where they will warm up with treats for the humans…. hot cider and delicious vegan cookies.

Deb Durant volunteers at Poplar Spring and has enjoyed Christmas day with the animals. In her 2008 blog post, she talks about spending a good part of the day with the pigs (extra belly rubs for the holiday!) and notes that their religion appears to be happiness!

Terry and the sanctuary crew are praying for a snow-free holiday! She welcomes anyone who would like to come out and volunteer on Christmas Day. There will be plenty of joy to share with the animals ~ just like every day! If you are interested, please contact Terry by Dec. 24th by e-mail (info@animalsanctuary.org) or phone 301-428-8128.

Who can resist Chelsea? What a sweet face! Photo taken at Poplar Spring by Cindi Saadi

Animal sanctuaries like Poplar Spring need our support each and every day to continue their vital mission and to give more animals the opportunity to experience peaceful lives.  If you live close to a sanctuary, check into the many ways you can help out on site. If you are not fortunate to live near a sanctuary, find out about offering your financial support. You can sponsor an animal with a monthly donation, or donate whenever you can. Go to www.sanctuaries.org for a listing of animal sanctuaries or do a Google search as newer sanctuaries may not have been added to the list.

The sheep at Poplar Spring enjoy hanging out together. Photo by Cindi Saadi

Many sanctuaries also have gift shops with items ranging from sweatshirts to books, and even calendars featuring the sanctuary residents.  The 2011 Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary calendar is available now (see the preview on www.lulu.com) with photos by Deb Durant. Order 1-9 copies by Dec. 26 and get a 25% discount by entering the coupon code, FLURRY. Order 10 or more copies by Dec. 26 and get a 30% discount with the coupon code, BLIZZARD.

For more about farmed animals and farmed animal sanctuaries, see our recent blog post about the book, Ninety-Five, which features several of the amazing residents of Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.

Here’s to all the sanctuaries and their dedicated staff and volunteers for making life so sweet for these priceless beings.

~ Cindi Saadi for FARM

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Ninety-Five Offers a Rare Journey into the Extraordinary Hearts & Lives of Farmed Animals

Ninety-Five: Meeting America’s Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs
Editors: Marilee Geyer, Diane Leigh, and Windi Wojdak

A Review by Cindi Saadi ~ for the Farm Animal Rights Movement Blog

Meet Justice.   A steer who calms and comforts frightened new residents at the animal sanctuary (Peaceful Prairie in Colorado) where he lives and who has an entourage that oddly enough includes a white swan.

Justice ~ the perfect ambassador for Ninety-Five. Photos of Justice by Windi Wojdak for No Voice Unheard

Justice’s uplifting story is one of courage, healing, and compassion, and is one I will never forget. It is just one of the many moving stories in the book, Ninety-Five: Meeting America’s Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs, edited and published by the nonprofit organization, No Voice Unheard.

We often hear figures cited such as… 58 billion farmed (land) animals are raised and killed each year for human consumption. But the human mind has trouble grasping numbers like 58 billion. And once we start talking in these types of numbers, the value of the individual can get lost. It becomes harder to relate to the individual chicken or pig or cow or goat who is an unfortunate one of the billions.

Meet Peapod & hear his story. Photo by Davida Gypsy Breier for No Voice Unheard

But what if you got to know one of those pigs or chickens or cows or goats? What if you heard about their love stories and friendships? What if you learned about their bravery, compassion, loyalty, and pure will to live? What if you could experience their personalities? How much could this intimate knowledge of the animals alter your perception of the billions? Would they still be just numbers, or would they be individuals with lives that matter?

With the book, Ninety-Five, editors Marilee Geyer, Diane Leigh, and Windi Wojdak set out to help readers get to know farmed animals, like Justice, on a very intimate level. The desire is for people to see what the animals are really like when permitted to live their lives and just be who they are. In addition to cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, ducks, geese, and of course, Justice’s pal, the swan, readers also get an introduction to fish and other farmed sea animals. After all, no voice is unheard.

Meet beautiful Olivia! Can you tell she is not camera shy? Photo by Bob Esposito for No Voice Unheard

The editors carry out the mission of Ninety-Five through a compelling collection of inspirational stories and intoxicating photographs contributed by a variety of individuals with a shared commitment to the animals. From the animal-loving editors, to sanctuary owners, staff, and volunteers, to activists and veterinarians, to still more animal-loving photographers and writers, the energy and compassion of many people (and animals, of course) gives the book a vibrant beauty and a cherished quality.

Although traditional books about farmed animals are critical tools for raising awareness and providing needed information, many are difficult to read, with raw descriptions and images of misery and pain. Although each of the animals in Ninety-Five has been rescued and many have physical and emotional scars from their past experiences, the book is instead filled with healing, hope, bravery, compassion, peace, forgiveness, and love. You WANT to turn the page! You can’t wait to drink in the next big-as-life photo of a gorgeous animal, looking you square in the eyes, and then read his or her unique story.

Bumper lives in peace, thanks to the love of a young girl. Photo by Davida Gypsy Breier for No Voice Unheard

Though important facts and figures are shared in the book, the real power of Ninety-Five is the compassionate, beautiful, and stirring way the message is conveyed by the animals themselves and in a way that leaves you wanting more. The message is revealed through photos that allow you to look into the eyes of these brave and loveable animals and see into their souls. And it’s shared through stories that give you a lucky glimpse into their hearts.

One point made clear by the animals themselves is that the belief that sentience is farmed out of these billions of beings is most definitely not true! From heartwarming to heartbreaking to humorous to uplifting, the stories told are journeys that allow you the honor of experiencing the depth of the animals. The animals in the book serve as ambassadors for the billions of animals not fortunate enough to end up in a loving sanctuary. You are left humbled by their purity, loyalty, forgiveness, peacefulness, and compassion, and are inspired by their courage and love.

Rudy looking adorable! Ready to play... Photo by Davida Gypsy Breier for No Voice Unheard

And if there is any question, the book’s underlying message is right up front, in the title. Although some might think it is the number of animals featured in the book, ninety-five is commonly cited as the average number of animals spared in one year by eating a vegan diet.

I have many favorite stories from the book…. Justice’s is one of them. As is the love story of Louie and Libby, a hen and a rooster whose affection for and commitment to one another is deeply moving. And who could forget Gilly, the hen who serves as the inspiration for the book? Or the sweet sheep, Marcie, whose ability to forgive and trust humans again is inspirational. Or the silly antics of the playful goats like, Jeremy and Lenny. The list goes on – they are ALL my favorites!

And just when you think the book is over, it isn’t! There is a colorful cast party at the end of the book that gives readers yet another opportunity to learn more about each animal in the book. No on is left out. Each animal’s story matters.

Meet Brave Francine! Photo by Davida Gypsy Breier for No Voice Unheard

Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to visit an animal sanctuary, meet the animals in person, and hear their stories from the people who care for them.  Ninety-Five allows more people to experience the animals in a personal, life-affirming way and to see them as sentient souls with lives that matter.

By living a vegan life, we can spare more animals. By supporting sanctuaries we can help them to rescue more animals and to continue to share their stories. By supporting organizations like No Voice Unheard that publish books like Ninety-Five, we can give more people a thought-provoking and compassionate experience of the animals. The book is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind, intimate presentation of farmed animals in all their glory and depth. It’s a long-awaited treasure that should be shared widely and enjoyed often!

Beautiful Bosey the Cow ~ in silhouette....Photo by Derek Goodwin for No Voice Unheard

No Voice Unheard has special pricing offers, including a great package deal for individuals interested in donating copies to libraries, schools, coffee shops, other institutions, and/or policy makers. You may also be interested in their other books, One At A Time: A Week in an American Animal Shelter, by Diane Leigh and Marilee Geyer and Thought to Exist in the Wild: Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos, by Derrick Jensen, photographs by Karen Tweedy-Holmes. Visit No Voice Unheard online or call them at 831-440-9574. You can also reach them by E-mail at info@novoiceunheard.org.

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One woman’s passion for animals becomes a unique travel company

One trip to Thailand, one week of volunteering with rescued elephants, and the life of a corporate attorney was changed forever.

Liz Longacre gets to know a baby elephant in Thailand! Photo by Jaime Careathers

“I realized I wasn’t living the life I should be living and that I wanted to do things that were more in line with this type of experience,” said Liz Longacre of the recently launched Your Time Travels (YTT), a unique travel company she created for everyone who wants to make the world a better place for animals.

Interested in going to Costa Rica, Argentina, St. Martin, or maybe Tanzania? Want to help some sea turtles or an array of other animals while you are there? Or maybe you just want to see the animals in a way that is safe and enjoyable for everyone?  Liz’s company is the one for you! YTT arranges trips consisting of a creative combination of exciting or relaxing vacation activities, meaningful volunteer experiences with animal welfare projects, and responsible ways of enjoying and learning about animals in their natural habitats. You will return refreshed, inspired, and you’ll have plenty of amazing stories to share with others.  YTT also offers vegan/vegetarian vacation planning, travel itineraries focused on US animal sanctuaries, and help with traveling with your own animal companion.

I (Cindi Saadi) recently spoke with Liz to get the real behind-the-scenes scoop about her new adventure. As her clients return, we hope to share some of their experiences here on the FARM blog. (For more about Liz and Your Time Travels, visit www.yourtimetravels.com ~ see additional contact info at end of this article.)

FARM (Cindi): Tell us more about what inspired you to start Your Time Travels.

LIZ: I went to law school without really knowing what I would want to do with my law degree and I ended up going to work for a corporate law firm. I was working 12-14 hour days and was not happy. I knew I wasn’t being true to myself.  In a way, I’m glad I was unfulfilled as it forced me to get to know myself, my passions, and what would really make me happy.

I knew my passion involved animals, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with that. I began packing my limited free time with activities like volunteering at an animal shelter, photography classes, and other activities that spoke to me creatively.

Then I planned our honeymoon trip to Thailand. I have a fascination for elephants and wanted to spend time volunteering at an elephant sanctuary that I had researched.  My husband (then fiancé) Jaime, was on board, albeit a little skeptical.

“After that trip I realized…. I love animals, I love volunteering, and I love travel. I asked myself, ‘How can I take those three things and make a life?'”

Elephants at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. Photo by Liz Longacre

FARM: What was it like volunteering at the elephant sanctuary in Thailand?

LIZ: The abuse of elephants in Thailand is severe and it’s part of their culture. Young elephants endure a horrible process (the pajaan) of breaking their spirits so they can be working animals. They are tied up for several days, beaten, deprived of food and water, and basically tortured so they will obey their trainer. Sanduen “Lek” Chailert, the extremely brave local woman who started the Elephant Nature Park wanted to make a difference for these incredible animals. We were only there for a short time, but we learned so much about what animals go through in the name of tourism.

The nice thing about volunteering with animals is that it is something you can do easily and for a short time and still be of help to the organization. We mainly did maintenance work, such as cleaning the enclosures, preparing foods, and feeding the elephants and several other types of animals, but just being there was incredible. We also met a lot of amazing people from all over the world who had also come to volunteer.

“It was more living than I had done in a long time!”

FARM: Why is this type of service/company so important to you?

LIZ: I love animals and always have. People, myself included, love to be around animals, which is why they are such a large part of tourism. But they are abused and exploited in so many ways. The tourism industry often does not have the animals’ best interests at heart, it’s all about profit. I wanted people to be more aware of how animals are treated in tourism (not to mention the trauma they experience when being captured from the wild). There are better ways to interact with and enjoy the animals, such as through volunteer work. It’s also far more educational to view animals, i.e. dolphins, whales, or safari animals, in their own natural environments versus in captivity.

You can learn so much after just a few days of volunteering and then share that knowledge with others. You may not be saving the world, but it has a great give it forward effect.

Liz & the raccoons in Costa Rica. Photo by volunteers.

FARM: What goes into setting up these various trips?

LIZ: I do a LOT of research to make sure the organizations people will volunteer with are legitimate. I personally volunteered with each organization I launched with. I also researched all of the sight-seeing and vacation attractions for each trip.

FARM: Tell us more about the types of trips you are offering now.

LIZ: Currently we offer trips in Costa Rica, Argentina, and St. Martin. We also offer Safari trips in Tanzania and I am promoting certain cruises, including a yearly vegan cruise.  A Thailand trip will be available soon, as well as resource itinerary guides for visiting U.S. animal sanctuaries. We also arrange hotel stays for people who want to travel with their own pets within the United States. I hope to eventually offer a volunteer trip in India and continually grow from there.

FARM: What are some examples of places where people will volunteer?

LIZ: Currently our volunteer trips include volunteering at wildlife rescue centers, volunteering to protect endangered sea turtles, volunteering at a center that breeds endangered Macaws, and volunteering to help street dogs and cats.  I really want to grow our opportunities for helping street dogs and cats as that is a serious problem in many countries. And of course eventually there will be opportunities at elephant sanctuaries!

FARM: What are other examples of ways people can responsibly enjoy the animals?

LIZ: People can see animals in their natural environments through safari trips. We currently offer safari trips in Tanzania, dolphin and whale watching trips in Costa Rica, and also penguin observation in Argentina.

Liz gets to know Benjamin the kinkajoo

FARM: Does your company also arrange for the “vacation” portion of the trip?

LIZ: Yes, my company offers a WHOLE service with structured trips. You are picked up from the airport and transported to the various locations. You are always with a local guide and using local guides also keeps money in the local communities. They can also take you off the beaten path and offer you opportunities to experience local culture.  And don’t forget, these are VACATIONS too! Part of our service is to arrange for your entire trip, not just the volunteer time. For example, St. Martin is a beautiful island. There are so many things to do and see. You can have a FUN vacation and still help the animals.

FARM: Where do people stay while volunteering?

LIZ: It depends upon each situation. In remote locations, volunteers will stay on site and pay a modest sum for their lodging.  Other places have home-stay arrangements with local residents, adding even more to your entire experience.  In other cases, staying at a hotel is the best option.

Feeding the babies! Photo by Liz Longacre

FARM: What other resources does your company offer?

LIZ: We will be providing itinerary guides for people interested in creating a trip that includes spending time at a US animal sanctuary.  We will also offer resources for people who want to travel with their own animals, as well as guides for vegans & vegetarians in terms of restaurants, bed and breakfast options, etc.

FARM: Who are your trips best suited for?

LIZ: They are for anyone who is interested in helping the animals or enjoying and learning about them in responsible ways. I believe it is important to educate everyone about the animals.

FARM: What part of your work do you enjoy the most?

LIZ: I love that I get to spread a message that is so important to me. I also really enjoyed scouting out these initial volunteer sites. Traveling alone was very empowering. I felt very brave going to remote locations and felt like I was taking control of my life in ways I never had before.

Getting feedback from people who have made changes as a result of things they have learned from my experiences is also amazing. My first client will return soon and I am anxious to hear about her experiences.  The Web site and blog have also been very enjoyable. I love writing and connecting with people.

FARM: What was your path like to becoming a vegan?

LIZ: I have been a vegan for about 10 months and was vegetarian for about 12 years before that. While working at the law firm, I was sort of in a bubble, not exposed to as much information as I should have been. So I did not know a lot about factory farming and didn’t understand why consuming dairy was just as bad as eating meat….until I saw an undercover video and saw the abusive practices that dairy supports. Once I saw one video, I started looking for more. I love animals and wanted to be sure I was not doing anything to cause an animal harm. Once I saw the videos, it was a no-brainer and I became a vegan.

Liz makes yet another adorable friend!

FARM: How does your husband, Jaime, feel about your new business venture?

LIZ: He also has a very strong entrepreneurial spirit and has been extremely supportive. I am very blessed, I could not have done a year of research without his support. I value his advice and consider him to be my “co-counsel” on just about everything. Although he was initially a little skeptical about our Thailand trip, it ended up being one of the best experiences of his life as well, and so he definitely sees the value in this work.

FARM: What’s on tap next for Your Time Travels?

LIZ: My creative juices are really flowing lately and I have lots of ideas for new trips, plus creative projects, such as my own line of vegan travel products.

Come see Benjamin in Costa Rica soon! Photo by Liz Longacre

For more information about Liz and Your Time Travels, visit www.yourtimetravels.com. You can also connect with Liz on her blog, www.yourtimetravels.com/blog.  And you can reach her by e-mail at liz@yourtimetravels.com. You can also find YTT on Facebook.

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Soothe Your Vegan Soul

From commercials with Paula Deen licking her fingers after eating a piece of cooked pig flesh to loud billboards advertising a double-thick, extra-big, something or another 99 cent sandwich that used to be a sweet, innocent animal, the offensive images are endless and very disturbing for a person who is living a vegan life and is aware of the horrible realities for the animals.

Living a vegan life is incredibly satisfying on many levels. You feel at peace as you eat, drink, clean your house, get dressed, etc. You enjoy the health benefits and can celebrate sparing animals and protecting the planet.

But it’s nearly impossible to drive down the road, turn on the TV, attend a party, or go to a restaurant or grocery store without seeing and/or smelling something that, for you, evokes terrible images of animals needlessly suffering and dying. You might feel angry, sickened, sad, or a confusing combination of these. You might have a great sense of despair or feel intense rage.

These feelings are normal, but their regularity emphasizes the need for practicing compassion for yourself, just as you would do for the animals. Studies show that self-compassion helps to buffer us against negative events. And from a strong base of self-compassion, a person can then cultivate, enhance, and extend it to include and embrace others. Self-compassion will help you to continue forward on your journey …. healthier, stronger, and happier. And we need all the good energy out there that we can get.

Taking Care of Yourself IS Vital.

Below are some suggestions for practicing self-compassion & countering all those negative images. The suggestions are simple & not unfamiliar, but the trick is to REALLY DO SOMETHING – REGULARLY that helps you to REFUEL & that SOOTHES YOUR SOUL.

  • Spend time enjoying positive, upbeat animal-related videos, films, music, etc. Have you seen the Why Must We Eat The Animals? music video or just listened to the song? Maybe there is another song or video clip that lifts your spirit and gives you hope? Download it, play it frequently.
  • Visit an animal sanctuary and spend quality time with the animals, or if you can’t visit in person, check out the MANY online videos & photos of well-loved sanctuary animals. In Ciddy Fonteboa’s recent video from Thanksgiving, you can almost hear Lily the turkey purring! Another option is to read stories about the sanctuary animals, such as in the beautiful book, Ninety-Five: Meeting America’s Farmed Animals In Stories and Photographs. (Published by No Voice Unheard) Or check out an animal sanctuary’s blog, such as Peaceful Prairie’s blog that always has touching new stories & photos of the animals.
  • Create a supportive group of like-minded friends with whom you can openly share your feelings and concerns.
  • Expand your reading & movie selections to include inspirational stories, magazines, books, films, etc., animal-related or not. Another book with several inspirational stories: The Missing Peace: The Hidden Power of Our Kinship with Animals (Authors, Tina Volpe & Judy Carman, plus stories submitted by many other names you will recognize!)
  • Do a Google search about art for animals & explore all the beautiful art being created to raise awareness & help animals. One great example is Neil Young’s animal-focused photography. Our Hen House also has a great Art of the Animal page with all the latest buzz.
  • Golf anyone? Spend time engaged in other activities that give you joy and help you to disconnect, i.e. get that guitar out, do some painting or craft work, play some golf, dance, meditate, cook, go surfing, read something for fun, watch a comedy, LAUGH, or visit a special place that lifts your spirit.

Take the time to practice self-compassion so that you are
better able to extend your compassion to others.

****PLEASE share any helpful ideas or experience you
have that may help others.******

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