Category: On animals

If Gandhi had PowerPoint

By John Yunker,

Gandhi was a genius at communication. And many of his strategies are still widely emulated by activists today — from plain old leafleting to dramatic nonviolent protests and marches.

I sometimes wonder how Gandhi would have co-opted contemporary tools of communication to spread his message. I imagine he would have had a field day with YouTube and Facebook and Twitter.

And maybe even PowerPoint.

One of the quotes widely attributed to him fits PowerPoint perfectly:

And here are two more of his quotes.



Which makes me wonder who will be the Gandhi of the Twitter generation.


Go Faux

By John Yunker,

The Magellanic penguin colony that I wrote about in The Tourist Trail was very nearly decimated twenty years ago by a Japanese firm that planned to “harvest” the penguins for their skins. The penguin skins were to be used for women’s gloves.

Fortunately, this never came to pass, thanks to the efforts of a handful of local activists who drew attention to the plan.

When I think about the use of fur and leather, I think of the penguins. And how quickly a few hundred thousand birds could have been extinguished for the sake of vanity — and profit.

And I think about the animals that are not in danger of going extinct, that are raised in horrific conditions specifically for their fur and hides, which is just as bad, if not worse. We can make an enormous impact on the lives of animals by simply choosing faux over leather. The fact is, there are excellent alternatives to any leather good, from belts to shoes to wallets.

It’s with this in mind that I am participating in a button contest to encourage people to opt for faux alternatives to leather and fur.

Here’s the button I designed:

I’ve ordered a quantity of these buttons and will include a free button with every purchase of The Tourist Trail from my web site.


  Category: On animals
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The definition of irony

By Midge Raymond,

So, we recently returned from a lovely trip down the coast of California. One of the highlights for me was discovering a lovely vegan wine from Girasole Vineyards of Mendocino.

Here’s the ironic part: While the wine is vegan, the descriptions on the back don’t exactly reflect this. The chardonnay, for example, is said to pair well “with salmon or chicken in a light cream sauce.”

And this I quote directly from back of the pinot noir bottle: “..pairs well with everything from salmon to pork to grilled vegetables. VEGAN.”

And the sangiovese apparently goes very nicely with “pork tenderloin.”

I realize that it may not sound as sexy to write that a wine pairs nicely with tofu or tempeh — but, seriously, if a vineyard really wants to appeal to vegans, “pork tenderloin” isn’t exactly the way to go.

However, what matters here is that it’s a vegan wine, and a yummy one. And I can report the chardonnay does pair well with veggies –it’s crisp and light and delicious, and definitely a wine I’d have again. I’m sure it’s lovely with tofu, too.


  Category: On animals
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Every meal makes a difference

By Midge Raymond,

Here at Ashland Creek Press, we’re delighted to participate in today’s virtual Meatout event, along with so many others who are passionate about their health, the environment, and the well-being of animals. For those unfamiliar with Meatout: It has become the world’s largest annual grassroots diet education campaign, encouraging people to explore a wholesome, nonviolent diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s a fantastic campaign — for so many reasons — and it’s wonderful to see such a great list of participating bloggers offering news, recipes, and inspiration about compassionate choices.

Diet is such a personal choice, and John and I get a lot of questions — some curious, some polite, some defensive — about the way we choose to eat and live. But what’s been especially interesting for us, as writers and editors, is to see the reactions to John’s novel, The Tourist Trail. As soon as it was published, it was clear that the book was having a strong emotional effect on readers — which, of course, is the whole idea of publishing a novel.

We heard from people in the animal-rights community who were glad to have a book that reflected vegans and activists as regular people (rather than hippies or terrorists, which is so often the case).  We also heard from readers who said the book has opened their eyes to the plights of the world’s oceans and its creatures, that it put into human terms a problem that before had been purely theoretical to them — and this was hugely inspiring, to know that the book taught as well as entertained.

Yet still other readers had a different response: They were bothered by the truths that the book revealed: the fact that our oceans are in peril, that innocent animals are being illegally hunted and slaughtered, that our governments still have a long way to go when it comes to animal protection. And this was tough for both of us to hear — and especially to know that people would prefer not to finish the book than to face up to the very real challenges that are facing our planet.

And at the same time, it’s understandable — life can be overwhelming enough without having to worry about the future of the planet — and this is one reason we love Meatout. By simply rethinking one’s diet, a person can have an enormous positive impact on the natural world. For example, every person who gives up meat saves the lives of more than 100 animals a year. And even the little changes count: If every American were to replace just one chicken meal each week with a vegetarian or vegan meal, this would be  the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road.

So we say, give it a try. A few smart and compassionate people you know agree: Albert Einstein once said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” And Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Check out Meatout Monday for a great way to start.