Friday, March 11, 2011

Who's to Blame?

Over these past few weeks I have watched four friends prepare to fly to Japan, listened to them as they speak at benefits and then seeing them leave has awakened a passion I did not know I was capable of feeling. I have thrown myself into the world that is the Animal Rights Movement.

There are four pivotal things/people that have created this overwhelming need to just do more. Do more than I thought I was able. Do more than expected. Do more and make my mark. Do so much more that the powers that be have to start paying attention and acknowledge there will always be people prepared to fight for equality.


I saw this film in the summer of 2008, though I could not watch it in its entirety. I remember silently screaming while I cried as I tried to keep my eyes on the screen. I went vegan immediately afterwards but due to being in a weak mental state while developing an eating disorder (not associated with veganism whatsoever, that must be made clear) I succumbed to the social pressures around me and sunk back into the all too common attitude of, “I don’t want to care anymore”. Over the next year and a half I went back and forth. Then I found Raw Veganism and was able to properly fuel my mind with the carbohydrates from fruit my body desired. I finally had the ability to say goodbye to my bulimia and focus on what truly matters in life; veganism and doing what I can to save those who are unable to fight back for themselves.

Two weeks ago I sat myself down and loaded this movie once again. I watched it in its entirety. No pausing. No looking away. No closing my eyes this time. It was an hour and a half of hysterical crying while I cradled two very confused kittens to my chest.  Seeing the horror that we as a species inflict on the other beings of this earth is sickening. When I acknowledge this I am never more ashamed to be a human being. As painful as this film is to watch it has allowed me to always have those images in my mind. There is no longer a choice when it comes to animal abuse. Being involved in the consumption or exploitation of animals outside our own species, whether directly or indirectly, is abuse. I will never again be responsible for their pain.

I can only hope that every human being is able to watch Earthlings. You can watch it for free online at

Harley Johnstone (aka Durianrider and )

I can say without a doubt that this man saved my life. Without his absolute faith in my ability to heal myself, in my strength to lead a meaningful and healthy life, I would not be where I am now. Through his message of eating a low fat high carb, fruit based raw vegan diet partnered with adequate intake of water, sunshine, sleep, activity, and joy for life I was able to completely surpass my disordered eating. I was able to heal so many health issues I had forced on my body and come out amazingly revived on the other side.

Not only were my self doubts around health lifted but Harley was also able to convince me that I truly am able to do whatever I want in life. How many times as children are we told we are capable of anything, that we are to be the best we can be, but when it comes down to trying to live our dreams all those around us shoot us down. We are told it’s too extreme, too extravagant, too outlandish and too hard to do and achieve. In reality the mainstream does not want success; they want normality, routine, and monotony. To be anything else would reflect on the boredom and regrets of their own lives.

No longer do I question my dreams. I am now empowered to follow my passion; to help those that cannot help themselves and to spread the word of true health and happiness. I will travel the world, writing and photographing and just getting in there.

Without the charismatic and unwavering faith of Harley, along with all the extraordinary support from the members of the 30BaD team, I would not be the strong person I am.

Following the courage I gained I quickly moved to the west coast of Canada, specifically a little farm on central Vancouver Island. Here I met the oh-so-wonderful and inspiring woman we all know as Marley! During the first week of living out here she sent me an e-mail asking if I would like to come to “Vegan Outreach” with her and Mike. I spent a day mauling this over in my mind. Did I want to do this? Can I do this? I must be too shy, I wouldn’t do it I had decided. The next morning I had a, “what the heck” moment and sent off a reply telling her I’d be there!

I will never regret this decision (I have since discovered that my impulsive decisions always yield the best results). The euphoria I felt as each student took a pamphlet from my hands was, and is, addicting. It may seem silly to leaflet and there are so many negative social connotations with such an action but it honestly feels satisfying to watch the faces of young students as they learn the truth.

Shortly afterwards I was able to attend a small protest against the horse slaughter in Canada. That was the perfect stepping stone for me. It was quiet, very tame compared to what I would soon be exposed to. The next protest shot me forward.

As an Ontario resident for the first 19 years of my life living mostly in a small town I was never exposed to horrors of the animal industry so the first time I saw a full fur coat I reacted instinctively. Everyone would become enraged if they saw their neighbour kick their dog, if someone shot a deer on your front lawn, and of course there would be outrage if someone were to publicly abuse their children. So when I saw for the first time a garment that in order to be manufactured dozens of animals had to be either anally electrocuted or knocked out by carbon monoxide gas then more than likely skinned alive I was able to act instinctively.

I have spent my life trying not to be noticed, to draw as little public attention to myself as possible. I now have a cause and a passion more important than simple vanity and self-consciousness. My absolute fear of raising my voice, of being heard, is forever gone. I can now raise my voice to make everyone around me aware of the cause. I will not be quiet until everyone hears the truth.

Another moment was during a hike, we were both out of breath working our way along the paths up the side of Mnt. Benson and without a second thought made the commitment to help end the Japanese dolphin slaughter.

I have never met a person as inspiring, so passionate and courageous as Marley. I have met many that come close, but she has the ability to convince those around them with her brute honesty (similar to Harley, so one can see the sort of personalities I respond well to).  She has introduced me to the world of Animal Rights, throwing away the notion that our ego is more important than the pain and suffering billions are experiencing every single moment, to grabbing onto a cause and seeing it through. She is still very young and I know she will be living this life forever. There’s no turning back once your blinders are removed.

Gary Yourofsky ( )

Speaking of blinders, this man is brilliant at removing them. He is a lecturer on Animal Rights who travels across America speaking to students and the general public. Several weeks ago I happened across a recording of his amazing hour and ten minute speech of Georgia Tech University. It was the most comprehensive and passionate speech I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. I have been watching it several times a week since and it still stirs up the desire to do more.

There is always something more we can do in our lives. As Gary outlines we all pay lip service to the tragedies in the world. We talk about how terrible the latest natural disaster is. We all buy a ribbon or a bracelet whose colour matches the advertisements of our favourite charity. We all “like” pages on Facebook to let our friends know what we support. And none of this helps. These are not actions, these are not directly stopping what we oppose.

We all have the choice to become, “radically kind or we can continue to be radically cruel”. To create the world we want there has to be action. Sitting around writing letters and peacefully protesting business isn’t going to make change. There has to be action, loud and direct. You can make direct change just with the way you eat, what materials you buy. These are actions.

Whoever listens to this man can no longer have an excuse to continue the exploitation of other species.

“It is not your right, and it is not your freedom to do this to them. You don’t get to have freedom when somebody else doesn’t. That’s a violation”.

I am fighting for freedom and I am fighting for equality. Other species are worth fighting for, speciesism is a rampant disease in human society whose cure is desperately needed.

I will not be living the easy life just to avoid the pain of truth. I intend to be back in Japan year after year to see the end of the small cetacean slaughter. And as sad as it is for those lives lost in this most recent natural event, I can only hope there will be enough property and fiscal damage to those running these cruel industries that they may have to rethink taking to the waters next season.

In friendship,


Nature getting it's own back...

Morning all,

I was woken up at 3am this morning by my mother phoning with news of the quake and tsunami off the coast of Japan. I currently have four friends in hard hit areas so I have been sat infront of the news channel and obsessing over facebook and CNN websites all morning.

I am on Vancouver Island so we're feeling some affects here, but it's calmed down. No longer a tsunami warning for this area. Still high winds and about six foot waves down at the beach but nothing worse than that.

Two of these friends are members here, Tarah and Marley. All of them are Cove Gaurdian activists with Sea Sheperd. News is sparse, painfully so. I received an e-mail from Marley late last night letting me know they (her, Mike, and Carisa) had arrived in the small coastal town of Otsuchi and they were heading out to film the Dalls porpoise slaughter later that day.

The quake hit while they were filming down on the beach. A video was sent out and put online by Suzanne West that put me at ease somewhat. The voices of Carisa and Marley could be heard on the video. I have been playing the first 15 seconds over and over just to hear their voices. They were in seperate cars so Marley's voice was just from over the walkie talkie, asking if she should go up the steep hills because of falling rocks...They were all heading into the hills to stay way from tsunami waves.

This video was from about 14 hours ago now and we are waiting for more news. We are all hoping that the lack of contact is only because of cell phone signals and internet connections being down.

No news yet of Tarah or Scott West. I also did not hear or see Mike in the video but can only hope that if I heard Marley that he would not be far from her.

Please donate what you can to assist them in this situation and spread the message.

Mike, Marley, and Carisa's Blog:

Tarah's Blog:

Sea Shepard Blog (updated yesterday, has images/video of Dall's porpoises being brought in that day)

Keep positive everyone and I will update when I get more news!

The one good part of this natural event is that the cetaceans of the Japanese waters are temporarily safe from the molesters.

In friendship,