Thursday, 10 October 2013

World Animal Day

October 4 is World Animal Day, started in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. Over time it has evolved into a day that celebrates all animals and in a wonderful turn of events, this year it was celebrated in Melbourne in the middle of the CBD at Federation Square, which allowed for a whole lot more attendance and exposure than ever before. Pigs in Fed Square- oh yeah!

Edgar's Mission is the amazing not for profit rescue group behind Melbourne's World Animal Day celebration. These guys are remarkable in that they provide sanctuary for farm animals. You see, 'food' or 'production' animals lie outside of the animal protection legislation (and you already know my feelings on the state of our animal protection legislation), so these critters are basically doomed unless they somehow stumble upon Edgar's Mission. EM rehabilitate everything they can get their hands on from battery farm chickens to stray pigs. Spend some time checking out their webpage

As part of the celebrations, local rescue and animal welfare groups were invited to set up a stall to help raise awareness about the issues facing them and what people can do to help. I tagged along with the Magic Paws team and got to wear this fabulous t-shirt.
Yep, I just put a close-up of my boobies on the internet- Hi Mum.

Here are some pics of our little stall. We shared with another fabulous rescue group Pawsome Friends ('Like' them on Facebook) who work together with Magic Paws in rescuing dogs from country NSW pounds where they have no other option than to euthanise (not as many people available to adopt as in city areas, lower socioeconomic areas and sometimes with less social conscience- although I am generalising hideously).

Mme Magic Paws and a beautiful Pawsome Friends helper

How clever was this idea? Colouring in pictures (courtesy of Pawsome Friends)
 There were actually quite a few people around. It is so lovely to see so many people concerned about animal welfare, days like this give me back some faith in humanity. We often only ever hear about the bad people or the exceptional ones, but general society can be pretty tops too sometimes.

I am by no means across all the issues affecting animals but I consider myself slightly more informed than the average bear. I went for a bit of a wander to see what else was going on and came across a few really interesting displays.

Gateway to hell is where you can find information about this. Essentially what they are trying to draw awareness to is animal testing. There are some major airlines that are complicit with animal testing by transporting the animals between the country they are bred or trapped and the countries that carry out animal experiments. If this is an issue that resonates with you, there is a list of airlines that participate on the website.

Choose Cruelty Free  (CCF) is an organisation that basically produces a list of cosmetics and other household items that are not tested on animals. They have just released a new App which you can download from their website. Just be aware that their printed list and App are only updated every 6 months so if a product you use isn't listed, you should double-check their website.

I use Simplicite skincare, a range of beautiful plant based products that are very gentle, great for sensitive skin, smell good, give great results and last a long time making them quite affordable. I have been using them for as long as I can remember (about 8 years I think) and I knew that when I first read about the range, one of the reasons I decided to try it was that they do not test on animals. After speaking to the CCF representative who assured me that a lot of companies lie about animals testing and the only way to be sure is to check the list she was showing me, I was a bit upset that the company I had been relying on for years was potentially lying to me. A few emails sorted this out quick-smart. Robin from Simplicite responded straight away that they have been accredited by CCF and a quick look at the CCF website (updated regularly) confirmed this. I do strongly urge you to check if you skincare/haircare/cleaning etc products are listed and if not, consider switching to some that are cruelty free.

Animal testing is such a complicated issue, I plan to write more on this in the future, but for stuff like skincare and cleaning products it just makes sense to avoid suffering.

One thing that has really sat with me since World Animal Day is my concern that these wonderful people who are standing up for and informing people about very worthy causes are not representing themselves in the best way possible. It is crucial in educating the public that the representative knows the facts and can answer questions. More than once, when I went up to talk to the people manning the stalls, they were unable to answer my very simple questions or, as in the case with CCF, provided me with incorrect information. I had a conversation with a woman handing out flyers about how dangerous kangaroo meat is, but she couldn't tell me why. Because I am the sort of person I am, I went home and researched the new ideas that had been presented to me but not everybody has the time/energy/resources to do so. An interested person that makes the time to enquire about an issue is showing a willingness to alter their beliefs/behaviour depending on the information they receive. Therefore that information needs to be considered and correct. I love passionate people and passion will drive the message home but the message needs to be loud and clear in the first place. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.......

Incidently, if you want to read more about kangaroo meat, here are some good articles For and Against the industry.

Soi Dog Foundation is extraodinary and a wonderful example of providing good quality information on their project. They do many things to help dog and cat populations in Phuket and Bangkok, the main thing being mass sterilisation and vaccination programs to control populations. They provide healthcare to animals that have been wounded, they help pet owners who cannot afford to treat their animals as well as being involved in shutting down the illegal dog meat trade. They also run adoption programs for the animals they have rehabilitated. If ever you are holidaying in Thailand, please consider becoming a flight volunteer- making overseas adoption significantly cheaper for the adopter by having the animal flown as accompanied baggage, it doesn't cost you anything and imagine how good you will feel! Spend some time on their webpage and make sure you are least read this, the simple direct language and message about what they do really hit home with me.

Rant over.

Now on to some of the fun stuff about the day. One of Magic Paws adoptees, Zappa, came down to visit. How beautiful is he.

I finally tried vegan cupcakes from Mister Nice Guy (at the Edgar's Mission vegan bake sale). They were gobbled before I thought about taking a photo but I am definitely going into store to get some more soon.

I desperately wanted to pat the pig but she spent most of the day resting out of circulation and I kept missing my opportunities. Here is a particularly lovely picture taken by Edgar's Mission


I didn't take Ted with me in the morning because he was untested in public places, but as the day wore on I thought it wouldn't hurt for him to come for a couple of hours so the Bookworm brought him down and he became our mascot.

He was such a good boy, accepting lots of pats from strangers, he was very popular. Everybody loves a cattle dog. And if you want one of your own I know a couple of tops rescue groups who can probably sort you out:)

When it got too hot he hid under the table.

Photo-op with the lady who saved his life

And the lady who spoils him rotten

To dispel a red-head myth, I quite like myself in hot pink

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  1. I love how passionate you are about this. I went to the RSPCA this weekend for their open day and there were lots of other pet rescue places there, it definitely has got me thinking more seriously about adopting considering all the puppies out there who need a good home.
    I also agree that if you are going to advocate for something you need to know your facts - I lose my interest pretty quick when its obvious someone is talking out their...
    Pink definitely suits you :)

    1. Rescue dogs are the best. Do it:)
      And thank you for supporting me re: hot pink.


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