Daily Walrus - Helping People Help Animals

Vegan Wedding Bells

April 29, 2008

As you can see the Daily Walrus has taken a few weeks off and you deserve an explanation.  Ryan and I are in the midst of planning the best vegan wedding ever!  We still love Wally and are continuing to do our best at helping animals but have been negligent in reminding others to do the same.  I would  like to take a minute to discuss vegan weddings with you in case you are planning a wedding anytime soon.

A vegan wedding is comprised of more than just delicious food, although that is super important.  We are in the middle of selecting a caterer that we feel can represent vegan food well.  We are looking at this as an opportunity to showcase vegan delicacies and hopefully our guests will be impressed and maybe even inspired.  Besides the food we have to be concerned about our attire.  I have finally secured a wedding dress that is not made with silk and we are exploring options for tuxes not made of wool.  In addition, we will be asking our bridal party to wear cruelty-free clothing.

We will be getting back on track with the Daily Walrus now.  You should expect, though, posts every once in a while on vegan weddings since we are becoming experts on the topic. 

And don’t worry, Wally’s grey suit is 100% vegan!


Bring Your Veg*nism to School

April 3, 2008
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Next week for class, I (Jenny) have to compare two research articles on the same topic and discuss the methodology of them in a class presentation (I won’t bore you with the details of this project).  I am using this as an opportunity to teach my classmates about vegetarianism.  I have chosen two articles, which both come to the conclusion that vegetarianism reduces the risk for colorectal cancer.  So while I am blowing their minds with my skills in research methodology, I am also teaching them about the benefits of going vegetarian.  When you are given a class project, try to think of it as a way to teach your teacher and/or your classmates about living a cruelty free life.

Interested in Veganism? Like Cookies? Read Magazines?

March 28, 2008
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If so, head on over to the VegCooking Blog where you can enter to win a prize pack offered by VegNews Magazine.  All you have to do is leave a comment on the page stating why you should be the winner.  The prize includes a tote bag, vegan cookies, and a years subscription to the magazine.  VegNews is a great resource, especially for those new to veganism. 

If you have ever been curious about vegan food, check out the VegCooking Blog for great vegan recipes.  If you aren’t vegan, try one of the recipes out this weekend and we bet you’ll be floored by how great an animal-free meal can be.    

Post Vegetarian/Vegan Info At the Market

March 10, 2008
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One of the cool things about NYC is that there are tons of super markets and corner stores in every neighborhood.  Most of these places have a community bulletin board for people to post announcements and information.  We like to stick information on vegetarianism and veganism in the markets we shop at around our apartment.  You can get free information and materials from PETA by clicking here, or from Mercy For Animals by clicking here.  They will usually send you other well-produced materials you can post as well.   Help out your fellow shoppers by ordering some information and start posting info on healthy, plant-based diets today!

If Prince Fielder Can Go Vegetarian, So Can You

February 22, 2008
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Check out this post from AOL Fanhouse.  Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder has given up meat and is eating a vegetarian diet.  For those who don’t follow baseball, Prince Fielder is an old-school, non-steroid sculpted, home run hitting machine.  Guys who look like him are not the guys you expect to be vegetarian.  He made the decision after reading a book his wife gave him that described the treatment of animals used in food production. 

“After reading that, (meat) just didn’t sound good to me anymore,” Fielder said. “It grossed me out a little bit. It’s not a diet thing or anything like that. I don’t miss it at all.”

Fielder joins an ever-growing list of vegetarian/vegan athletes including ultimate fighter Mac Danzig, NBA baller Salim Stoudamire, and ultramarathoner Scott Jurek.  If these guys can give up animal products and perform at such high levels, so can you.  For more info on going vegetarian, click here.

To learn why you should consider a vegetarian diet, click here.

More on captive audiences…

February 2, 2008

After writing about having the attention of captive audiences through answering machines, I started thinking about other “captives” I have at the moment. One example would be the classes I teach at a couple universities in NJ.  Each week I have the attention of around 120 bright and smiling faces (unless they are sneaking text messages).  But while Professor Bob Torres from Vegan Freaks can get away with wearing t-shirts with vegan slogans in his Sociology classes, I don’t have tenure.  Plus, I try to keep it stylin’ in the classroom with my polyester ties and pleather shoes.

Though I lack the desire to wear short sleeves while I lecture, I make up for it with a big “vegan” sticker on my coffee mugs and water bottles. I also use a web-based course management software program called WebCT (some call it Blackboard) that allows me to post a picture of myself in the “Instructor Information” category. This is where I’ll sport the vegan t-shirt. It’s quiet and not very in-your-face, but every semester a few students from each class ask me about being vegan.  Then I get to spread the good word about cruelty-free eating to lots of attentive, smart, and curious minds (again, unless they are texting – can you tell I hate that?).

What captive audiences do you have? Do you have the opportunity to be in front of (or simply amongst) a group of people regularly? How can you make people take notice of animal issues? Let us know in the comments!

Ask Your Favorite Restaurant to Use Cruelty-Free Cleaning Supplies

January 21, 2008
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Recently Jenny and I were eating at a new vegan restaurant in Brooklyn.  When I went to use the restroom, I noticed that they had cleaning products made by Proctor and Gamble, as well as hand soaps that were tested on animals.  We both found it surprising that a restaurant that catered to vegans would use these products to clean up after us.  

We paid our bill and tip, and returned home.  Jenny sent an e-mail to the contact address listed on their website telling them how much we enjoyed their food and service, but that we found their choice of cleaning products a bit out of step.  She asked them to consider cruelty-free products, like those listed in this guide.  They quickly replied to say that they had not even considered the impact of the cleaning products they used but that they would make the change.  We stopped in for dinner a couple of weeks later and were pleased to find animal-friendly cleaning products in their restrooms. 

 It’s that easy, folks.  The next time you see Clorox, Ivory Soap, Scrubbing Bubbles, Arm & Hammer, or any other cleaners that you suspect may be tested on animals, send an e-mail, make a call, or speak directly to the manager and ask that they reconsider their choice of cleaning products.  If they haven’t made the switch by the next time you visit, wite or call back and let them know that they have lost your business. 

30 Reasons to Stop Eating Meat

January 19, 2008

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) holds a unique position in and out of the animal rights community.  Many outsiders hear the word PETA and instantly dismiss any message associated with it.  Many animal activists openly disassociate themselves from the group for a variety of reasons.  Honestly, we have mixed feelings about the group.  While PETA’s outlandish tactics often distract from their overall message, they are able to draw a ton of media attention to animal cruelty issues.  We disagree with some of their practices, but we agree with the goal.  If it weren’t for PETA, many people interested in vegetarianism or animal rights wouldn’t know where to start.  When we were both (separately) going through our transition to veganism, PETA’s resources were incredibly helpful and informative. 

One thing that can’t be argued is the quality and strength of their materials.  Provided below is a 3 minute video called “Chew On This: 30 Reasons To Go Vegetarian”.  It is powerful.  It is explicit.  It may be difficult to watch.  But if you eat meat, it is important to see what goes on in factory farms.  If you are already vegetarian or vegan, it will reaffirm your decision. 

Ceasing your consumption of meat is the most powerful decision you can make if you truly care about animals.  Your decision will raise eyebrows and people will question your health (often, ironically, as they eat something from a fast food chain).  But by showing that you don’t need to have animals slaughtered and served to you on a platter to live a healthy life, you might cause them to question their beliefs.  When Ryan was in high school, he went on a 3 week trip with a group of students from his hometown.  There was one young woman on the trip who pretty much ate only salads and peanut butter sandwiches the entire time.  Her dedication planted a seed that eventually grew into his decision to go vegetarian at age 24 and vegan at 25.  Thankfully, the meal options of a student on a school trip in 1995 are far from the reality of a vegetarian/vegan diet today.  There are so many delicious options that it is often hard to decide what to eat – a far cry from having to make the limited choice between dead chicken, cow, or pig. 

Ryan hasn’t eaten an animal product in over 5 years.  Jenny has been vegetarian for 12 & 1/2 years, and vegan for almost 9.  Sometimes the attention our food choices draw is annoying.  But then we remember that this attention may plant a seed in someone elses’ mind.  Hopefully one day, one of the many folks that expressed tremendous concern for our protein levels will give vegetarianism a try.  They may find that, like us, they rest a little easier knowing that their subsistence doesn’t rest on the backs, flesh, and bones of animals raised in brutal conditions.               

If you can’t watch the video, much of the info is collected here

If any of this resonates with you, click here to pledge to be vegetarian for 30 days.  goveg.com will send you recipes, ideas, and encouragement while you try it out. 

Click here for a free vegetarian starter guide.      

If you are interested in going vegan, we can’t recommend the book Vegan Freak by Bob and Jenna Torres enough. 

Support your cause while exercising

January 17, 2008
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Hi everyone – it’s Ryan this time.  Having a birthday so close to January 1st has the unusual benefit of being a day to jump-start some of those New Year’s Resolutions that have slowed to a halt (or never got off the ground).  One of my resolutions was, despite the cold Brooklyn mornings, to start running again.  I’m pretty good about running in the summer, but the winter here can be pretty dismal. 

So January 16th provides me with a 2nd chance.  Interestingly, writing this blog with Jenny has given me added motivation to hit the road.  The next time I go for a run, I’ll be wearing a shirt that promoting animal advocacy.  I have a cool “I Heart My Adopted Cat” shirt from the ASPCA that always gets lots of comments.  I’m also going to make a DIY vegan running shirt.  There are lots of folks out there who incorrectly think that a vegan diet, which strictly abstains from animal products, is unhealthy.  It isn’t, and there are plenty of healthy vegans out there to prove it.  There are also many healthy vegan athletes as well (check out Scott Jurek, winner of numerous ultra-marathons).  Tonight I’m going to find a running t-shirt and, using a laundry marker, write a pro-vegan message on it.  Perhaps something simple, like “Vegan” or “Vegan Runner.”  If I’m feeling super bold, maybe I’ll go with “Don’t Eat Meat…” on the front, and “Eat My Dust” on the back (though anyone who knows me will point out that I’m so slow, the only people eating my dust will be the ones standing still and scratching lottery tickets outside of the bodegas). 

Now I’m not really the type to slap a bumper sticker to the car or walk around wearing t-shirts with grandoise statements on them – at least not since high school, anyways.  But I think that doing so while exercising make sense.  People need to know that there are vegan athletes.  People need to be reminded that there are animals in shelters waiting to be adopted.  People need to know that spaying and neutering their pets is a good idea. 

What’s your message?  Whatever it is, spread it around your neighborhood or gym and help inspire others while helping yourself get healthy.         

Spread your message for the price of a stamp

January 6, 2008
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The holidays are over.  Now it’s time to pay the bills and send out those thank you cards.  Why not spread an animal-friendly message with each piece of mail you send?  If you’ve donated money to an animal organization in the past, they probably sent you some address labels as a way to say thanks.  We have a drawer full of stickers with our address and the name of various groups (ASPCA, HSUS, NAVS, etc.) to use when paying bills or mailing letters.  Often these groups will include other stickers with a message like “Have your pets spayed or neutered.”  Each time you head to the mailbox, affix one of these stickers to tell the recipient (as well as all those involved in sorting and delivering the letter) an important message designed to raise awareness.   

Using their labels is easy, but sometimes the slogans can be a little vague (the ASPCA’s “We Are Their Voice” labels, for example).  If you don’t have any pre-made stickers (or if you don’t like their pre-printed message), why not make your own?  Think of a catchy or thought-provoking phrase and print out a sheet of labels with your home printer.  Don’t have any of those Avery mailing labels?  No problem!  Just print out a sheet of paper filled with your message, cut out each line, and tape one to the back of the envelope.  Did you use all your tape wrapping the Chia Pets you gave as holiday gifts?  No worries – just take a pen and WRITE your message on the envelope.  You can use markers or colored pencils to make it stand out.   

There you have it – a simple, free and creative way to spread the word about compassion.  Think of it as an e-mail signature for snail mail.  Let us know what messages YOU are spreading by leaving a comment.  Click on the title of this post and the page will open with a text editor.  It’s as easy as writing “Veganism is Environmentalism”* on an envelope and dropping it in the mail. 

*This is a modified slogan from a t-shirt (available from Herbivore Clothing).


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About author

Hello - we are Jenny and Ryan, a couple living in Brooklyn, New York. We are both busy with school and work but try to take time to do something every day to make the world a better place for animals. Occasionally we may link to outside websites for additional resources, but we do not necessarily endorse all policies of these organizations. Despite the title of our blog, the focus is not only on walruses. So what's with the title? We named this blog after our cat, Wally, aka The Walrus. We are the proud parents of two cats (Wally and Tito) and one dog (Luigi).