2016 – Animal Activism Year in Review

In the world of animal rights, 2016 has definitely seen some positive changes worldwide. More people are vegan than ever before, and also many vegans have turned to activism to use their voices for animals. It has been my first full year of animal activism, and taking action for animals has became a huge part of my life. Here are some of my proudest achievements from 2016…

Essex Pig Save’s First Vigil

Read about it here.

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This was my first ever save vigil of any kind, and it was in my home county! I have always been a huge supporter of Toronto Pig Save, and was so happy that the Save Movement was expanding to the UK. This was the first of many vigils which went on to occur every month, with a growing team of activists. Our numbers have pretty much doubled since this very first vigil. We were able to bear witness to pigs entering Cheale Meats in Brentwood, Essex, and offer them comfort in any way we could. The next Essex Pig Save vigil will be held on 16th January 2017 – check out the Essex Pig Save Facebook page here for more information.

I Stand with Anita

Read about it here and here.

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This year I got to spend some time with Anita Krajnc and the rest of Toronto Pig Save as I attended a series of vigils in Canada. I also got to cover Anita’s court case, where she was put on trial for feeding water to a pig dying of dehydration. People around the world were horrified that Anita had been charged for simply an act of kindness. The trial talked about a lot more than this one incident, and ended up putting animal agriculture as a whole on trial. The case will be continuing in March 2017. Working with Anita has been a great honour this year, and I look forward to doing a lot more in 2017 to show the world that compassion is not a crime.

Japan – The World is Watching You

Read about it here.

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At the start of this year I took part in the London Against Taiji Dolphin Massacre March. We marched through the streets of London to the Japanese Embassy, using our voices to stand against this barbaric tradition that happens every year in Taiji. Documentaries like Blackfish and The Cove have meant a huge fall in profit for companies such as Seaworld. It’s so important that people know that every time they buy a ticket to a marine park that uses animals for entertainment, or partake in swim with dolphin programmes, they are actively paying for this yearly dolphin slaughter. The workers seek out the ‘Flipper’-like dolphins that have become so popular, while the rest are trapped in the cove to be slaughtered the following morning, and sold as dolphin meat. Many people in Japan don’t even know this is happening. Please don’t be part of it. Boycott Seaworld, marine parks and all swim with dolphin programmes.

Fearman’s ‘Pork’ Show No Mercy

Read about it here.

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Not long after returning from Canada myself, I watched this heartbreaking event live, as it happened, outside Fearman’s ‘Pork’, where I had protested earlier this year. Although the events of that day were completely incomprehensible, the stories of the pigs who died will never be forgotten. The incident gained worldwide media coverage, and people began to question whether eating meat can ever really be humane. A special thanks to all the activists who were at Fearman’s that day, and later organised a candle-lit memorial for all those who suffered such cruelty, all because of human greed.

Vegfest London 2016

Read about it here and on The Vegfest Express.

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In the build up to this year’s Vegfest London, I interviewed some of the speakers appearing at the Vegan Activists Summit – including Kate Strong, Rebecca Fox and Marta Zaraska. I’m so pleased that Vegfest is just getting bigger and better every year. I thought the speakers this year were particularly inspirational, and it was great to listen to such heroes as David Smith MBE talk about how a plant-based diet has changed their lives.

Ink Activism

Read about it here and here.IMG_0050

This year I also got my first ever tattoos which have been great conversation starters, and have also enabled me to visit some of the best vegan tattoo studios! My first was the animal liberation symbol, which I had done at Fifth Dimension in London. My second was the word ‘compassion’ which I had done at James Spooner’s Monocle Tattoo studio in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I do have the tattoo bug now and have heard of some other great vegan tattoo studios which I plan to check out in 2017!

Protesting with Emily from Bite Size Vegan

Read about it here.

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I attended an Essex Pig Save vigil with popular American YouTuber and blogger – Emily from Bite Size Vegan this summer. This was a very hard day as we said goodbye to truck-loads of pigs entering Cheale Meats to be slaughtered. But later on, I went to London to watch Emily’s speech, and my dedication and hope for animals was truly restored. Emily talked about the importance of bearing witness, and not turning away from what is happening to animals, but instead doing all we can to change it. I’m a huge fan of all the work Emily is doing.

Fiona Oakes – For The Animals

Read about it here.

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Also at the start of this year, I got to meet champion marathon runner and all round superhero for animals – Fiona Oakes, along with all the animals at Tower Hill Sanctuary. It was great to hear Fiona’s story and how she has managed to achieve so much for animals. Tower Hill looks after over 400 rescued animals, which is no easy task! She also uses her extreme marathon running (she has run a marathon on every continent, and the North Pole) to promote the vegan lifestyle… destroying the stereotypical view of vegans as ‘weak’.

Other mentionable animal activism achievements this year include attending the first East London Chicken Save vigil, meeting Renee and all the friendly folk at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, Texas, and volunteering at Piebird Farm Sanctuary in Canada. Overall, I’m really pleased with what I have accomplished this year, the world is definitely beginning to wake up to the realities that so many animals are forced to endure at the hands of humans. The Save Movement has grown rapidly in 2016, there are now 24 groups in the UK alone! It seems that ignorance is no longer bliss. I am looking forward to achieving much more for animals in 2017.

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‘Compassion’ Tattoo at Los Angeles Vegan Tattoo Studio

So I’m back from six weeks of travelling Canada and the States, and it was pretty awesome! There are so many highlights which I’ll be writing about over the coming weeks, but one of the things I’m super happy about is finding an all-vegan tattoo studio in Los Angeles!

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Monocle Tattoo is owned by James Spooner and based in North Fairfax Avenue, LA. Even though I was staying in Venice Beach where tattoo shops were on every corner, I wanted to have my tattoo done somewhere that was completely free from animal products. I can’t think of anything worse going into my skin and staying there forever! People don’t often realise that a lot of inks used in tattoo shops aren’t vegan – but luckily there are alternatives. You can either contact your chosen tattoo shop to see if they can use vegan ink, or just choose somewhere completely vegan like I did.

I had my first tattoo done a few months ago, which was a symbol for animal liberation, at an all-vegan tattoo studio in London which you can read about here. For my next one, I wanted something to symbolise my time travelling, during which I got to work with the incredible group Toronto Pig Save and attend save vigils. I also spent a lot of time with Anita Krajnc, Toronto Pig Save co-founder, who was about to go on trial for feeding water to a pig dying of dehydration. You can read about the outcome of this trial here. So the word ‘compassion’ seemed pretty relevant to this, and also something that has become central to my life since becoming vegan.

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Cesar Hernandez did my ‘compassion’ tattoo, and I love it!

So if you’re travelling to Los Angeles and are thinking about getting a tattoo, I would definitely recommend Monocle! Great artists and 100% cruelty-free. Check out their website here.

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Animal Liberation Tattoo at London Vegan Tattoo Studio

On Saturday, I had my first ever tattoo. I looked around and found that some tattoo inks contain animal by-products, so I needed to make sure I went somewhere that used vegan ink. But then I thought, what better place to get a vegan tattoo then London’s one and only vegan tattoo studio?

Fifth Dimension in Shoreditch, London, is exactly that, and it’s great that you can relax knowing that all the products used in the studio are 100% vegan.

Unfortunately, a lot of tattoo inks contain animal by-products. These are found in the glycerine, which is made with animal fat, and some inks even contain elements of bone char. Gross. For more information, check out this article from The Dodo. Luckily, there are a lot of animal-friendly inks out there, such as StarBrite which you can ask for at a tattoo studio, or just choose a completely vegan studio.

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Tattoo by Miran, Fifth Dimension.

I’d wanted this particular tattoo for about a year after coming across the symbol online, then felt even more tempted after visiting LA Ink on my trip to California, which I wrote about here. It means ‘Animal Liberation – Human Liberation’, and as I couldn’t decide which animal to get tattooed on me, I decided to get something that represents them all. Although animal exploitation is something that is still happening all around us, all the time, there are also lots of great changes happening for animals currently. This symbol means being a part of this change, and represents the hope that animals will not have to suffer in the future, as they are now.

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Vegan tattoos are also a great talking point to spread the word about animal rights. Have you got any?

Happy New Year & Welcome to Vegan Boho!

First of all, I’d like to wish everybody a happy new year, and a healthy and compassionate 2016!

In the spirit of new beginnings, I have changed my blog to the new and improved ‘Vegan Boho’. When I started blogging, I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it, I just wanted to write about animal advocacy issues and living life as a vegan. Turns out this worked out pretty well, and now I want to focus on certain topics that I think will (hopefully) be interesting to read about.

My main focus will be on animal rights in the news, animal sanctuaries, vegan fashion & beauty and delicious vegan food, plus any other observations I may encounter along the way.

In 2015, I was lucky enough to write the Sanctuary Spotlight section for vegan news blog Your Daily Vegan. With this coming to an end, I have decided to continue writing about animal sanctuaries on Vegan Boho. I will continue to visit sanctuaries from around the globe – last year I travelled to California to visit ‘Farm Sanctuary’, and I already have some exciting new visits planned for the coming year.

I also love fishing out the latest animal-free clothing and beauty products, which I will be reviewing on Vegan Boho, as well as vegan restaurants and food products. Please see my About Me page to find out how you can contact me to discuss reviewing a product, honestly and informatively.

Finally, why ‘Vegan Boho’? Well I just thought it sounded pretty good… Also, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, someone who can be described as ‘bohemian’ is ‘an artist, literary man, or actor, who leads a free, vagabond, or irregular life, not being particular as to the society he frequents, and despising conventionalities generally.’ I’m actually a woman, but I thought this was a pretty interesting way to relate to veganism and the idea of how using animals for food, clothing, entertainment etc. is widely regarded as ‘the norm’.

I hope my current readers will continue to follow me on my new adventures, and look forward to bringing you all lots of Vegan Boho goodness in 2016!

Jenny

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Vegan Life Magazine Article

I was really pleased to see my article ‘Making The Connection’ about my cat Harry in the December/January edition of Vegan Life Magazine! Harry’s change in behaviour when he lost his brother, another rescued young cat, made me see how animals experience a wide spectrum of feelings and emotions, just the same as humans. Here’s my article:

Making The Connection – My Friend Harry

For my birthday five years ago, I had a very unexpected surprise. My parents insisted I visit a house with them and as I entered, with cats everywhere, I soon discovered that this was the house of a Cat’s Protection Fosterer. I was then introduced to two adorable kittens; my parents had adopted them for my birthday. They were running around the room, completely full of life. I found out that at only a few weeks old, they had been abandoned and left in a caravan park. I couldn’t understand how anyone could do this to such helpless kittens. I named the black and white kitten Marv, and the white and tabby kitten Harry.

As time went on, we really started to see the kittens’ personalities. Marv was a highly affectionate cat, he always wanted attention and loved everybody. However Harry couldn’t have been more different; he didn’t like to be fussed and we wouldn’t dare to pick him up. He didn’t seem to like people at all, in fact, the only thing he seemed to like, was Marv.

Around two years later, things changed for Harry and our whole family. It was a sunny afternoon and Harry and Marv were playing in the garden, but when we called them in, only Harry came back home. The next evening, we received the heartbreaking news that Marv had been hit by a car very close by, and unfortunately, he didn’t survive. We were devastated that this had happened to poor Marv, and couldn’t bear to think what Harry would do without his brother.

That evening, Harry came to join us as we talked about what a lovely cat Marv was. He then sat on my lap, and looked deep into my eyes. It was as though he desperately wanted some sort of explanation, he seemed desperate for comfort. I stroked him and for the first time ever he didn’t run away, he just closed his eyes and curled up in a ball on my lap.

I have always known that animals have their own feelings and emotions, but have never seen it as clearly as with Harry. Abandoned as a kitten, he clung onto his brother for comfort and saw him as his only friend in the world. When he lost him, you could almost feel the pain that Harry was feeling. At the time I was already a vegetarian, but Harry got me thinking about the other pain animals are forced to endure. Dairy cows, for example, have to live with the constant grief of watching helplessly as their babies are taken from them shortly after being born. Just as Harry grieved for his brother, they would for their babies, and they would have to go through this every time they gave birth. I made the connection, and became vegan. I didn’t want to support an industry that caused such suffering for animals.

Today, Harry has completely transformed since the day we first took him home. He is such a loving and affectionate cat. My favourite part of the day is walking down my drive and looking up to see him looking out my window, he then comes running to see me as soon as he hears the key in the door. He is a constant reminder of how sensitive animals are, just like people. His emotions are complex and he has many different moods, exactly the same as animals that are living on factory farms. I hope that more people will make the connection between the animals we share our homes with, and those used for meat or dairy.

 

Vegan Life Magazine December 2014-January 2015 Issue Harry