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Netflix binge watching


Every now and then I love binge watching a good show on Netflix. I don’t always have the time for it but when I do, Netflix offers so many entertaining shows and movies. But they also have a few good documentaries that helped making my decision to become vegan easier. These are the three that I would recommend anyone to watch. Not only to become vegan but also to learn more about the meat industry and your health.

What the Health
This film follows Kip Andersen as he interviews physicians and other people about diet and health.The synopsis is that serious health problems are a consequence of consuming meat and dairy products, and that a conspiracy exists to cover this up. It was shocking to see how some companies wouldn’t even talk to him or answer a few of his legit questions about consuming meat and dairy.

Forks over Knives

This documentary teaches you about the benefits of a plant-based diet. It made my decision to go plant-based easier and I really believe it helps me to stay healthy.

Fat, Sick & nearly Death

Juicing is something I find very hard to do. But I think to reset your system or to rethink why you eat and what you’re eating it’s the best way to go. And if you need some inspiration watch this documentary.

Dog Oshi dies at Iditarod race

The five-year old female dog Oshi died Saturday at an animal hospital in Anchorage in Alaska. She died from the preliminary diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia, a lung infection. Oshi was a sledge dog from musher Richie Beattie. She passed away during the Iditarod race, an annual sledge dog race in March in Alaska.

After the dogs of Beattie finished the challenging race on Thursday, veterinarians examined Oshi and noticed signs of pneumonia. She was then flown by emergency flight to the nearest animal hospital where she died on Saturday.

Oshi was part of the Wildthingz Dog Musihing team of Richie Beattie and his wife. They train their dogs themselves in Alaska.

At the Iditarot Trail Sled Dog Race a musher, the driver, starts with 14 dogs and needs to finish the race in 8-15 days with at least 5 dogs. The race starts in Anchorage and finishes in Nome. During the race dogs get dropped by their boss, because they’re sick or too tired, and flown back to the the start.

Animal welfare advocates have pointed out the animal cruelty happening at these sledge dog races. Sled Dog Action Coalition: “In this race mushers force their dogs to run 1,000 miles over a grueling terrain. No dog wants to run so far or so fast, or can do it without enduring great suffering. Dog deaths and injuries are common in the Iditarod, and when they are not racing, the dogs live under inhumane conditions.”

In 2016 the documentary Sled Dogs was released about how sled dogs are treated.

Trailer Sled Dogs

In 2019 PETA released an eyewitness video of dogs that were once champions in the brutal race and now suffering, abandoned and alone.

Dogs Endure Pain, Isolation, and Neglect at Iditarod Kennels

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Why Are You Vegan?


For most people nowadays, we spend much of our time online. We are reading article after article, amusing ourselves with endless amounts of personal videos and posts of people we may or may not know, stuck in this infinite void of emptiness. I’ve noticed how bombarded every platform has become with “quick success” schemes, which in return, apparently, provides happiness.

It ranges from your typical “get rich quick” schemes of becoming a wealthy day trader in only seconds, to the next big diet that will change your life in just one week! What’s even more amazing about this, is how quickly these trends fade out and recycle themselves right back in, reconstructed to appear new.

Many of these trends love to take advantage of the content that triggers an emotional response, receiving our attention immediately. Once we direct our attention to that particular subject causing discomfort, we word vomit all over the internet. Just as fast as it grabs us, disagreements fade us out.

One topic I could never get away from was animal cruelty. I would painfully react to seeing a dog being beat by their owner, seeing a video of someone strangling a dog or cat to death for food, large fishing teams killing millions of fish and by-catch, wild animals being poached, hunting selfies, slaughterhouse footage, etc. These footages always left me feeling helpless and filled with rage.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

The crazy thing is, not even an hour after that, those feelings had disappeared from its position in my thought process. I was no longer directly facing that pain and could go about my day accordingly. Reviewing footages would continue, day after day. Utterly oblivious to the disconnect right in front of me. A disconnect that is only a click away.

Safety net of reality
We see these horrifying things and emotion surfaces as pain, sadness, anger or helplessness. The truth is, right behind those feelings is another emotion that saves us from feeling so vulnerable, removing that feeling of pain or sadness and replacing it with, what we think is, the safety net of reality. The reality of “well, it’s already done, and there’s nothing we can do now” or leaving a comment and an emotional response, satisfying your guilt of turning a blind eye, scrolling onto the next thing. Being present triggers the need for numbing in my opinion.

We know there is the truth, but we can skip past those moments that cause us to panic. By skipping past those moments, we can bypass the feeling of guilt. The longer we bypass facing reality, that numbness sets in so deep, we can no longer empathize with pain. It now becomes a part of what we perceive to be the “natural” and “it’s just the way things are” mentality.

Journey into veganism
My family and I began our veganism journey in January 2019 after sitting down and having our typical Netflix movie night. We ordered a pepperoni and extra cheese pizza, with BBQ chicken wings and extra cheesy garlic bread. Not to mention the soda to wash it all down. We started looking through all the new Netflix original movies and couldn’t agree on anything to watch. I remembered I wanted to finish this documentary called “Cowspiracy.”

Once we started watching, we had no idea that this would transpire a complete change in our lifestyle. The statistics of environmental damage from animal agriculture was shocking to us. What surprised my husband the most was how animal agriculture trumps all use of transportation in greenhouse gas emissions, thus learning about the true impact of climate change. We kept looking at each other, thinking “Could this even be possible?” and the most horrifying question “Would our world leaders allow this to happen?”

When the documentary ended, we looked at the pizza in disgust, our kids with concern and each other with shame. At first, we began this journey with the outlook of “we’re doing this for the environmental and health reasons, and of course, the animals,” which soon developed into the question “Why ARE we doing this?”. “And of course, the animals” was the part I couldn’t wrap my head around, stuck in the realm of “well, the slaughter is quick…we have always eaten animals…carnivores eat animals in the wild…what about tribal communities…we can’t save them all”.

Looking for answers
Killing animals was the topic my husband and I would “debate” about because I would always run out of exact reasoning and end up backing my choices solely based on emotions. An emotional barrier, seen as non-credible, dismissed with the simple words of “it’s our choice.” It didn’t and still hasn’t settled with me as the right answer. At first, as many people do when faced with disagreement, I went looking for an answer to justify my choice, but that didn’t make me feel confident to utilize either. I felt stuck and battled with not wanting to contradict myself while feeling ashamed for craving the meals I always ate without question. That’s when I started thinking, “how do people convert overnight flawlessly? There has to be an answer to why I feel so torn…”

I began to dig deep. I purchased a few books, “The Unexpected Truth About Animals” by Lucy Cooke, “Beyond Beliefs” by Melanie Joy, “Eating Animals, Should We Stop?” by Jonathan Safran Foer, “On becoming a biologist” by John Janovy Jr, “Against All Odds, Animal Liberation 1972-1986” by J.J. Roberts, “Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows” by Melanie Joy and so on. I even traveled back into my nutritional book from a college course I took, wondering why we would teach such atrocities with absolute certainty of nutritional value?

The real question was why do we blindly follow edification without question? More specifically, why don’t we question those that we hold to a higher standard? Why not do a little digging and research into what your parents, professor, doctors, political figures, secretaries, CFO’s, COO’s, CEO’s teach? Blind faith has seeped its way into everything, creating this dome developed to contain our questions without overstepping boundaries.

Boundaries created through the company we keep, the music we listen too, the movies we watch, the advertisements, the brands, the trends, social media, and the law. The law has always been that invisible boundary line many people are terrified to cross. The ones that cross those boundaries are labeled “extreme activists,” terrorists” or “a nuisance,” being shamed or put in jail for exposing a reality that would threaten a brand that is protected by the very law built to protect us.

Consuming animals is “natural”?
When I dove into “Eating Animals, Should We Stop?” and “Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows,” I was not only shocked but embarrassed by how I never put effort into understanding the basics of animal agriculture. I never knew how factory farming began and realized that eating animals on a mass scale was not only unnatural but not the “normal” thing to do. Many people cling to the idea that consuming animals is “natural,” creating this conclusion of normality.

“Let’s not forget that Africans were seen “naturally” built to be slaves, and women were “naturally” lesser than men and Jews were “naturally” evil.”

Too extreme? If that crosses your mind, it’s due to the fact you “naturally” believe in the consumption of animals. But wait, if that’s the case, why not eat EVERY animal? Still too extreme?” Now you’re solidifying the fact you do know it’s wrong but won’t stop because you’re relieved by the standard of edible and non-edible, allowing you to believe it’s what we’ve always done, which plays right back into “its natural.”

Then I thought to myself, “How can I blame someone in 1923, who was a small-time chicken farmer, accidentally receiving too many chickens and capitalizing off of that.” It wasn’t even just the thought of luck but the events that transpired after that. By 1928, Herbert Hoover was promising “a chicken in every pot” (Safran Foer 105), now changing the local farming experience into an architectural innovation.

We completely stripped the definition of “farmer” and turned it into a science fest of modifying genetics to produce more food on cheap production costs. Was it that farmers fault or was it the ones who took this outlook of “innovation” as a chance to change the future and profit off of the ease of accessibility and blind consumption?

Mass production of food has directly contributed to a massive problem no one seems to correlate with animal agriculture. We’re talking about corporate corruptions, health issues, viral outbreaks, environmental destruction, biodiversity depletion, destruction of our oceans, poverty, starvation, water shortage, air contamination and so on. How far back will we allow this corruption to redefine wrong as right?

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

After pondering on the information and realizing how much psychology there is behind all of this, I sat down to watch the documentary “Dominion” with my kids. I was only able to get into 10 minutes of watching before pausing it, weeping out-loud. I kept saying “what have we done…what the fuck have we done!”

My son was holding me, crying and wiping my tears, telling me “don’t cry mom, we won’t let them hurt them anymore,” and from his innocence, I cried even more. How could we have been so naive to believe this process was so “humane.” Killing and humane can never coexist in a sentence. Ever. No animal wants to be killed, let alone in a “nice” way so that I can eat it for the taste and texture.

How can people possibly still consume flesh that has no nutritional value to our diet? Studies show that heart disease in the number one killer for humans and yet, we don’t stop to think how that transpires? We’ve become embedded into the very process these poor animals go through. Their lives aren’t the only ones living through an assembly line. The difference is, we have the means to fight back, and still, many people devour the process, dying piece by piece.

My family and I no longer want to consume nor condone such a violent ideology called carnism. The way my husband and I see it is this transition will be flawless for our children. They are now awake and aware, which means more than anything to us.

We can fill the next generation with knowledgeable individuals connected with empathy and compassion for not just their bodies but for the bodies of other living, sentient beings. They will understand the importance of balancing our ecosystem without greed.

The transition for my husband and I have been very emotional. We are now at the point where we are disgusted by the sight and smell of meat, eggs, and dairy. What I would tell anyone wanting to go vegan, is to find your reason why. Don’t just do it because you feel guilty or want to try it out.

Educate yourself on the history and current information on animal agriculture (land and water farming), environmental issues, and global economics. Go out and experience peaceful protests against factorized farming, or go extreme and prolong a slaughter from happening, even try doing a little investigating yourself. You’ll find it hard even to get close to what’s inside those walls. You have to remember, the majority of the footage you see online did not come from casually walking in. They went in with courage, compassion, and a goal, no matter what the consequences may be.

All in all, immerse yourself into truth. It affects so much more than you can ever imagine. We are not naturally born to be violent; it is created and manifests over time. I don’t think it’s too late to make a change and I also don’t believe it will happen overnight. What I do believe is that we have the power in numbers to sway our economy. Supply and demand drive these companies successfully. That can’t happen without you paying into those choices, lending a helping hand directly into what you would never advocate.

For the ones that don’t care, well, it shows in your health and lifestyle. Living with the attitude “it doesn’t directly affect me” is equivalent to digging your own grave and burying yourself alive. To answer the question “Why are we vegan?” is this: We are vegan because we are no longer asleep.

“Any noise in the world can wake a person sleeping, but no noise in the world can wake a person pretending to sleep”
– Jonathan Safran Foer.

Cruelty free beauty brands


I used to love big brands like Chanel, Dior and Shiseido. But I don’t anymore. I find it hard to accept that they want to make us prettier by harming animals. So I’m looking for new brands. Brands that don’t feel the need to harm bunnies and other animals.

A cruelty free beauty product is one that does not contain any animal product or by-product and is not tested on animals. I think it’s important to support these brands that are trying to make us look good but also show us that hurting animals is not necessary at all in 2019.

I can’t wait for this brand to start shipping to Holland. I went crazy on their website (so many nice products I would love to try) but realised when I wanted to pay that they don’t ship to my country. Let’s hope they’ll go international soon. But for now you guys in the United States and Canada are lucky 🙂

A brand from the United States. I was able to order their foundation from a Dutch website and loved it. Their full collection so far is only available in the United States.

This award winning company from Australia has organic cruelty free make up and vegan brushes. Their make up is made of natural ingredients like jojoba, lavender and macadamia oil.

Their lipsticks are made of avocado, castor seeds, orange, elderberry, coconut, candelilla, grapes and vitamin e oil. They use mineral powder to color their lipsticks. The founder Erick Rodriguez is an animal lover from California. 

ELATE Clean Cosmetics
They have everything for your eyes, face and lips in beautiful packaging. A beautiful quote from their founder Melodie Reynolds from Canada: “Putting on mascara, isn’t going to change the world. But, it may change your perception of yourself, just a little, so you can.” 

This post has Amazon affiliate links in it.

Shocking footage released of dairy industry in England

Watching this video hurts and realizing this is more the rule than exception in the dairy industry is just, well just unbelievable. To make milk, animals suffer. Mother cows and their babies have to be separated to make milk. The milk is meant for the calf but us humans just steal it from the mother. It is as simple and as unfair as that. 

I have a hard time when people tell me ‘oh but I just love cheese’ or ‘almond or oat milk’ is not the real thing. I’ll repeat it again: to make the milk and cheese that you love so much, animals suffer. Babies are violently taken away from their mothers. In this footage that was obtained by Surge you see terrible scenes where farmers are punching and kicking calves. And they use pipes and crutches to hit their mother so the mother can’t reach their baby.

It’s absolutely unacceptable that we let this happen in our world. Mama cow is a mother who gives birth to her kid and who just like us, deserves to enjoy happy times with her kid. Just close your eyes and imagine the pain of having your baby ripped away the moment you give birth to her or him.

“Mother cows have an incredibly deep, loving connection to their children, just as we humans do to our children. Once separated from their mothers, female dairy calves face the same fate as their mothers, a life of artificial insemination and stolen children before their life ends at the slaughterhouse”, the team of Surge explains. 

Surge is a grassroots animal rights organization founded by Ed Winters, known online as Earthling Ed.

The Animal Reader is an animal news organization. We want to create compassion for animals by giving them a ‘voice’ on our platform. We need your support to create news stories where animals are the focus. Big or small, it would mean a lot if you could sponsor us.

Three reasons to go vegan


The reason I went vegan is because I find it sad that animals have to suffer for my taste buds. I was a big meat lover but after seeing videos of how animals were being treated, it made less and less sense to still eat meat. So 10 years ago I became vegetarian. And since a few months vegan. Animals were the biggest reason for me to go vegan, but I also believe it has benefitted my health. If you want to go vegan, but are still doubting, here are the three biggest reasons people go vegan.

Many doctors acknowledge the benefits of a plant-based diet. Cutting animal products from your diet benefits your health and can make a major difference when it comes to heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. I do have to say that you’ll notice the benefits when you become a healthy vegan. I will write a post on this later, but when I first turned vegan I didn’t really know what to eat so I had a lot of fries. Not really recommendable for health 🙂 But I got a good vegan cookbook and online you find a lot of healthy and delicious plant-based recipes.

Animal suffering
This is why I turned vegan. It’s just not fair for me to decide a living being has to die so I can eat it. There are so many undercover videos out there of torture and abuse of animals. It’s sickening. It’s not up to us to decide which living being gets eaten and which not. What was the turning point for me was watching all those undercover videos and after seeing them, I could basically not unsee them. The whole meat and dairy industry is just cruel and not necessary.

Saving the planet
I hear more and more people eating less meat for this reason. Basically, showering shorter to save water or flushing less doesn’t do as much as how much water you can save by going vegan. It takes a lot of water to take care of all the animals in the meat industry. You use up to a 100 to 200 times more to raise a pound (!) of beef than to raise a pound of vegetables and fruits. And there are a lot of chemical and harmful gasses like methane and ammonia when animals’s shit. If we start creating vegetable and fruit farms instead of meat, we’d be creating healthier air and waste so much less water.

Photojournalist and animal rights activist Jo-Anne McArthur


First time I heard of Jo-Anne McArthur, a Canadian photographer and animal right activist, was when I saw the documentary The Ghost in our Machine.  The documentary deals with the moral dilemma whether it’s acceptable to use animals for our benefit, whether it’s food, clothes or animal tested goods.

Jo-Anne McArthur, photo by Lesley Marino

It follows Jo-Anne who wants to show the world the true story behind these products for humans. She dedicates her life to tell the truth. She goes to places where most people don’t come like fur farms and dairy factories and makes pictures of animals. Animals that are suffering. 
Her pictures go through to your bone. They are living creatures tormented for our wants and needs. She captures them ‘perfect’.

You see her at big news agencies and advocates that stories about animals suffering should become main stream news. You see how she struggles but keeps going and going.
I was amazed by her. By her love for animals and by her determination to help them. Most people say they find animal cruelty sad, but very few actually try to actively change that. And she does. 

Two years later we met in Rotterdam. And I became an even bigger fan. My biggest question to her back then was ‘How do yo do this? How can you love animals that much and then see them suffering in fur farms, toch them and then having to leave them behind.’ I can’t even watch a video of animal suffering without crying and she sees it in it in real life. 

She told me it is the hardest thing in te world. That she gets nightmares and became very depressed of it. That she goes to farm sanctuaries to find good energy. But also that she has to keep going because she had to keep fighting for these animals. The cruelties happen and the world needs to see them.  The pictures are seen in different media outlets and her book We animal.

Her newest book Captive came out in July. It’s about zoo: “Captive is my contribution to the ongoing mainstream discussion about the ethics of captivity. We lack critical thinking when it comes to facing other species. We face them without seeing them — interactions depicted frequently throughout the book. I’d like the book’s audience to reconsider visiting zoos, and put their support behind efforts that help animals, such as wildlife centers, sanctuaries and in-situ conservation projects.”

==> More information about her book Captive here

==> More information about her book WeAnimals here

Photo: Edgar’s Mission

Vegan activist David Ramsden explains negative peace


“Negative peace, when there’s peace in an area but there is injustice in that area too”, explains vegan activist David Ramsden while talking about why they walked into a Burger King and show what happens to animals. “Everyone is happy in McDonalds or Burger King, but there’s death everywhere. It’s a fake peace, a negative peace.

Eating vegan in Aruba


So I’ve lived three years in Aruba. That’s where I became vegetarian 12 years ago. It was a challenge back then to find good vegetarian options. But all that has changed the past year. 

I went back home a for my dad’s birthday and boy was I surprised by all the vegan option on the island.

Meredith Marin gives a lot of tips on her site. She is trying to get more restaurants to put vegan options on their menu. And making the island more aware. 

Eduardo’s Beach Shack has a big variety of vegan snacks, cakes and drinks. I was in love with their bounties. It’s owned by really friendly people too.

And one thing that made me superhappy is buying products I’ve been wanting to try but haven’t found yet in Holland. At Superfood you can buy Beyond MeatDaiya and Miyoko’s

That last one sells the best vegan cheeses I’ve ever had. Their mozzarella and cream cheese are so good!! Even my non vegan bf didn’t notice the difference. And the best part, the owner, Miyoko Schinner, wrote a book on how to make it yourself.

I also discovered Arubalife Organics. Julienne makes liptints, blushes, face powder and sunscreens. All with natural ingredients. She was very honest about what’s vegan. Nothing is tested on animals but the liptints have beeswax in them. On her website you see all the ingredients per product. I got the face powder, very happy with how it mattifies. 

Luxury feel with Adorn Cosmetics


After 20 years as a makeup artist & salon owner Briony Kennedy launched Adorn Cosmetics in 2009 to meet the demand for a brand that was truly natural and environmentally conscious with a high end, luxe feel. “Adorn was driven by my dislike for waste, frustration of ‘natural’ brands that actually contained toxic ingredients, and powered by personal heartbreak about overseas child labour and testing of beauty products on animals. My vision was to develop an ethical brand that celebrated simplicity and sustainability and empowered women to choose cosmetics that not only made them look good but also feel good.”

Adorn Cosmetics is an Australian privately owned company, dedicated to sourcing where possible its minerals and organic ingredients directly from the Australian earth. “Our eco-luxe cosmetics are made from the finest natural and organic ingredients that protect, nourish and nurture the skin. By keeping our products completely free from skin irritating, cheap bulking fillers such as Talc, Rice Powder, Kaolin Clay and Bismuth Oxychloride, our products are 100% pure and mineral formulations are safe for even the most sensitive of skin.”

Are all products completely vegan?
Yes, our entire range is accredited by The Vegan Society.

Why should more companies become vegan?
I believe the real question is why are brands even using animal by-products or testing on animals, as it’s simply not necessary. Animals should never needlessly suffer for our beauty! I have always loved animals and as a young girl had my own mini menagerie of animals in my backyard. This included two bird aviaries, four guinea pig hutches with about twenty guinea pigs, two mouse houses, goldfish, quail, cats and a dog. I spent most of my days attending to them and rescuing any ‘unwanted’ pets into my little sanctuary at home.

What are the future plans?
Always looking to do things more sustainably and expand more into the overseas market giving consumers worldwide the opportunity to buy ‘guilt free cosmetics’. We also have new product releases for the rest of the year including Brown Mineral & Organic Mascara, Tinted Moisturiser and a BB Cream soon to be launched.