How much do you really love animals?

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Serena Faber Nelson

Styling: Serena Faber-Nelson

Lately I haven’t been feeling good enough.

I love animals. Not just dogs. All animals really. No matter what they look like, how smart they are – I just feel that animals have just as much right to be here as we do. That includes just as much right to safety and happiness as they live their lives.

So every day when I find out a cosmetic I’ve been using has been secretly tested on animals in China, or that the free range eggs I’ve been eating aren’t actually free range after all, I beat myself up. For if I really loved animals wouldn’t I be perfect?

Yet, I’ve since discovered a secret.

Loving animals and living a cruelty free life is a daily work in progress.

Not too long ago I found myself at a city rally against live export. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a rally kind of girl. My voice rarely raises above a murmur (unless there has been copious amounts of champagne involved) and my biceps muscles are far too weak to hold a sign up for hours on end. But I felt so strongly about this issue, that along I went.

Standing in the crowd for a few short minutes I felt strong and purposeful. Maybe we really could make a difference. But minutes later that world started to fall apart. It started with the words “Unless you’re a vegan, you don’t really care about animals.” I knew as soon as those words fell across the crowd, more than half the audience had been lost. As a pescatarian, with my omnivorous husband to my right and my carnivorous Soda at home, this cause had just told us – and all of the surrounding, willing supporters – that our efforts weren’t good enough. Half of the crowd, who thought they were animal lovers, had just been told they didn’t measure up.

I’m the first to say that people who lead vegan lifestyles truly care about animals. Their diligence, dedication and passion for animal welfare inspires me daily. But standing there on that cold, blustery winter’s day, listening to these particular words, I knew that one sentence was doing more damage than good.

The reality is none of us are perfect. We all have different shades of grey when we approach animal welfare issues. In some countries, animals we call pets are considered a food source. To some, ‘fur is murder’ while leather shoes are just a fact of life. The question is, where do YOU draw the line?

I’ve been toying with this question internally for some months now. I still eat fish, still feed Soda meat, don’t even know where I can get more than a few pairs of shoes that don’t include leather, discovered one of my favourite cruelty free companies had resumed testing on animals… Seriously, it’s enough to have me start thinking “maybe I don’t care about animals.” Maybe I’m not good enough.

But today I say enough of that kind of thinking. You don’t have to be perfect to love animals. Yes, admire those who do make an effort to help animals – those who work tirelessly at pet rescues, adhere to strict began diets, or campaign to have laws changed for animals. But don’t count yourself short just because you make smaller contributions or make mistakes.

Trying to set yourself up to completely overhaul your life in any capacity needs to be done slowly and surely. There are no quick fixes. Adopting cruelty free living is the same. Don’t go too hard too soon. Start with buying cosmetics not tested on animals. Reduce the amount of animal products you eat on a weekly basis. Spend an extra half hour with your dog daily.

As you progress, continue to ask yourself on a daily basis how you can help animals. I find this is much easier by thinking of the love I have for Soda. Would I want Soda in a factory farm, or being tested on for a new shampoo? Not so much. So day in and day out I try to do my best to make choices that reflect my values. But as I said it’s a work in progress.

After all, I’m a work in progress. But I’m doing my best every day.

I have to wonder – do you ever feel the same way? That you’re not good enough? That you need to be doing more for animals? How do you lead a cruelty free life? Leave your thoughts and tips below!

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Serena Faber Nelson

Styling: Serena Faber-Nelson

Pick of the Week

Show Comments +Hide Comments -

Comments (35)

35 responses to “How much do you really love animals?”

  1. Serena, my partner Tommy is a vegan, I’m somewhere between a pescatarian and a vegetarian although I try not to eat dairy because I’m lactose intolerant. At any rate, I do not dispute the fact that veganism is really the only ethical option in a speciest world that exploits animals for every single product in every single market known to man (food or not)but the reality is that trying to convince the majority to adopt a vegan diet will only alienate people and discourage any possibility for reform in my opinion. So yes, I agree with you, it’s a process that needs to be taken in slow steps! I truly believe that encouraging mainstream populations to eat a whole lot less meat (like the meatless Tuesday campaign here in the U.S.)can make more of a realistic impact than taking an extremist all-or-nothing approach even though I can understand the urgency in reform! I mean, Imagine if the entire population of your country ate meat twice a week instead of every day as most western cultures do? the demand would plummet to the point where factory farms would revert to traditional farming and that goal seems so far more realistic than striving to convert everyone to veganism in my opinion! In life I have found that concepts of perfection causes distraction! There is no such thing as “real” perfection but there is such a thing as working toward realistic goals as I believe that you are doing! So be proud of that! I’m proud of you and so is Mamma Biscuit! Every little bit of effort you put forth makes a difference within the bigger picture! The act of actually blogging about animal treatment other than domesticated animals is just another step in the right direction on educating and opening a discussion with your readers about a very real problem that causes misery not only for the pain and suffering of the animals we use for food, clothing and products for the home but also the environmental damage as well as our declining health due to bad eating habits! I’m curious, have you read Jonathan Safron Foer’s book, Eating Animals? If not, I highly recommend it! I stopped eating all meat (other than fish) after reading this book. I love how the author discusses the deep rooted cultural ties we have with the food that we eat and how those strong identities discourage change because actually changing feels like denying your own identity! As far as leather consumption is concerned, I love to shop vintage and it feels great to not only reuse what is already produced in regards to clothing and shoes but the actual quality seems better than newly made leather products!

    As far as Mamma Biscuit is concerned, she’s totally vegan! We feed her Natural Balance Vegetarian formula that so happens to be vegan and her weight is perfect and she thrives on it very well! We even replaced her salmon oil with flax seed oil and her coat feels just as luxurious and soft! Regarding treats, we feed her peanut butter treats or raw vegetables which she loves! Her doctor is actually amazed at how healthy she is even after her horrid past LOL Can you believe it, our rescue pug is actually vegan LOL she may be an accidental activist but all of this helps! Thanks for posting about such an important topic that affects animals outside the domestic variety! xoxo

    • Thankyou for such an amazing and informed comment guys!

      I completely agree. I really love the ideas of Meatless Mondays and programs that are all about reduction. As you say if the whole of Australia reduced their meat consumption the effect would be staggering.

      Shopping vintage is such a brilliant idea. My love for animals also ties in with a wish for a less wasteful society – so this ticks both boxes.

      That’s so great about Mamma’s diet. Soda has recently begun eating more and more fresh vegetables, and flaxseed oil too (it’s the best!) Plus – if there was an animal activist you couldn’t say no to it would be Mamma!

      I haven’t read Eating Animals in full. I can remember being in an airport reading it in the bookshop, but then got upset so I couldn’t buy it. I have heard so many great things, so I will just need to push through and read it all.

      Thanks again for such a supportive and informative comment. IT means a lot to know there are people (and pugs!) like you out there. xxx

  2. Beth C says:

    Thank you for this. It’s something I’ve been struggling with too. I stopped eating red meat and (most) pork years ago, but I have yet to make the jump to full vegetarian. I don’t think I could go vegan. I try to adhere to meatless Mondays and buy free-range eggs and poultry.

    And with so many cosmetics companies resuming animal testing, shopping has become a nightmare. So many of my favorite brands have started selling in China. I’ve also read that some clothing billed as faux fur actually contains real fur. How can we know?

    Thanks for reminding me that it’s a process, and we can’t be perfect–we can only do our best.

    • What I always think, is if everyone in the world started meatless Mondays and bought free range, imagine what a difference it would make.

      I’ve too become really focused on researching about cruelty free cosmetics and faux fur. Whereas I used to trust the packaging or the shop assistant, now until I find something definitive from a third party I don’t pass it off as cruelty free. Like you say, it’s getting so much harder!

      Thanks for all you do for animals Beth xx

  3. Sarah Dickerson says:

    Serena, this was a wonderful read! You are such a big supporter of animals, you should never feel bad. I admire you for your passion and drive!

    I too struggle with the same issues. Last year I became a pescatarian and truly loved it. The only thing stopping me from vegetarian was sushi, on occasion. Then I felt the shame of reading vegan/vegetarian blogs for recipes – and some of the things they would write made me feel like my efforts didn’t fully count. That I was a horrible person for not being vegan. It really turned me off.

    Since I dont foster at the moment and rarely have enough spare time to devote to rescues and animal organizations to feel as though I am making a difference, I decided to go full vegetarian. Then a few months later I went almost completely vegan (minus the eggs we get from a local lady in town with her organic hen coop, where hens really do live the “Babe” lifestyle, so I was okay with that).

    But after a few months (just here recently) I cracked… because I love sushi. Its my weak spot. I cracked and I felt so guilty. I didn’t want to label myself anymore. And I felt ashamed because I had already put it out there to the world that I was a vegetarian. Which I thought would keep me strict on myself. But it happened. What shall the world think of me??

    Then I started reading so many other vegan/vegetarian websites that were against the shaming of others who dont quite measure up to a certain status. I LOVE that there are so many others out there that share the same feeling as I do! Do the best you can, eliminate as many animal products as YOU can. You dont have to be perfect, and your efforts DO make a difference. We are all on the same mission here, we should respect and support the efforts of everyone else trying to do their part.

    So whatever I am now.. pescatarian who only eats sushi now and then, and strives to be a vegan, but is not perfect and enjoys eggs from happy healthy hens … whatever you want to label it or not label it. I just say I’m living as cruelty free as I can. No, I don’t wear fur or even faux fur, yes I use organic and cruelty free products, yes I still own leather items and sit in leather car seats everyday, yes I will probably crack in the near future and eat something with cheese on it or grab a Talenti Gelato on a day when I’m feeling blue. But I’m doing my best at this point in my life. I’m healthier than ever and I would like to think I helped a lot of animals this past year and a half. And as long as we have friends that support us then I am okay with that! 🙂


  4. Ms. Attitude says:

    I love coming to your blog. I’ve struggled myself and have found this post vey inspiring. Thank you.

    • My pleasure! I think there are a lot of people who struggle, but I think by accepting you’re not perfect you can then strive to be better which in turn only helps animals. All or nothing is never a good way to go – it can have people abandon good intentions all together.

      But bit by bit we can make a difference. x

  5. Hannah K says:

    Just a thought from a meat-eater: Our dogs see us as the best-versions of ourselves. It doesn’t matter if we slip up and have a sushi roll, or if the blush we’re using was tested on animals. It DOES matter that we try to be the best at whatever our goals are.

    So, if we try our best and think of how our dogs see us…well, then it’s a pretty good day!

    • I understand what you are saying Hannah but it isn’t just dogs who are loyal to humans. Cows look at us the same way. Chickens, sheep, goats …. they all trust and admire humans even when we mistreat them so badly. That is why we love animals, because they truly love us. They are the most loyal thing on this’ planet. So I get what you are saying about we can only be the best that we can be, but I don’t think using dogs in that analogy is any reason to stop ourselves from striving to do better. From trying to stand up for the defenseless.

      • Hannah K says:

        And I understand you. I can only make the analogy as far as I am willing to back it up. We’re not vegan in our househole – but we do subscribe to reduction and we only get our meat from organic, local producers. We’ve seen the animals we eat. So I get it.

        I was just trying to make the point to be our best us – and to your point, the animals we strive to help, see us as our best always.

    • For sure- as long as we are always trying to be better, we inherently grow stronger and slip up less and less. Essentially we forgive ourselves and learn from our mistakes.

      Each step we take towards helping animals is a good thing and I dream of the day I’m as good as my dog thinks I am 🙂

  6. This post is great timing for me. My boyfriend, who is vegan, recently moved in with me. Prior to that, I was mostly a vege-pesca-tarian. While he has put no pressure on me at all to convert to his ways, I’ve been swept up in the amazing food he makes, and we are slowly making our kitchen vegan. I’ve been eating fish and dairy on dining out experiences, but find the more I eat vegan at home the less tasty I find those animal byproducts. As you noted, being vegan doesn’t just stop in the kitchen. I’ve got enormous animal by products in my household, without ever really thinking about it. I’ve got a down coat that keeps me super toasty during our long cold winters. While I don’t see me getting rid of it, I probably won’t buy another one, as I recently saw just what happens to those poor geese. But ultimately, I agree, you have to go at your own pace, and do what is right for you as an individual. While it is good to be kind to yourself, it is also good to be kind to others who you may see as ruthless or uncaring. I think in general people do the best they know how at the time. Talking, sharing, making desirable products, is a great way to educate and hopefully help our furry friends.

    • I think it would be awesome to live with a Vegan who you could learn from as you go! In our house, my husband still eats meat – however since living with me he eats MUCH less and it’s all free range of course – which is partly intentional by him and also just by learning how easy it is to eat less meat.
      Like you say talking and sharing what you know in a kind matter I think makes all the difference in the world. x

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this. And please know, you are not alone in the battle of “enough”. But just by blogging and spreading the message of healthy and positive relationships with animals, you are doing a MAJOR part….more than you may know.

    Thanks for your honesty and sharing you thoughts. This is the kind of stuff that makes you the best advocate you can be 🙂


    • Thanks so much Stephanie! I think ever since starting the blog, my eyes get opened to even more ways I can help. There are so many inspiring people out there! Thanks for such a lovely comment 🙂

  8. Tegan says:

    Thank-you for your thought provoking post. Trying to make ethical choices is a hard, and is definitely a process, and not an end point.

    I have been vegetarian for 15 years, and have been eating a mostly vegan diet for the last 6 months. I got to the point that I was feeling guilty eating dairy and eggs and the food just wasn’t tasty anymore. However, I have my own chickens, and I’m very happy to eat their eggs. I want to buy my own goats in the next few years and, when I do, I’ll happily consume their milk, too.

    The ongoing problem I’ve had is justifying the mostly-raw diet of my dogs. I think that meat is best for them, and I have only recently started trying to buy more ethical meats. I have all but stopped purchasing chicken – I can’t stand the environments they’re produced in. I tend to buy lamb, beef and kangaroo, because I find their production less repulsive, but I know that I am also supporting the trucking of animals in this way. I really can’t stand the transport of animals and would love to somehow stop purchasing transported livestock.

    This kind of thinking shows that ethical, animal-loving lifestyles are a process, and a personal decision. What is consistent is that we’re all trying to do the best we can, and we can only help others make their own ethical choices.

    • Thanks Tegan!

      Two of your points I also think about a lot. I grew up being able to have fresh eggs from chickens. We lived on a property where our chickens were free to roam and housed safely at night (although they liked to perch in the trees as well!), and prob half of them were rescues from factory farms and their laying days were over. So I’ve always wondered if eggs didn’t involve factory farming, killing of baby males etc would eggs be ok for vegans?

      As for animals products for dogs, I do know a number of dogs who eat vegan diets, but it is a hard one. For me Soda still eats meat – it’s actually the only time I buy it. I agree with the transportation of livestock, it’s often a forgotten point in the equation of animal welfare.

      You’re right it is all a process and I hope the steps we make today lead other generations closer to better animal welfare as a norm.

  9. I completely understand where you are coming from and I can relate to what you are feelling. I am sad to hear that you felt alienated by the words said at the rally. Once upon a time it upset me greatly when a vegan would say those very same words but one day, just a couple months ago, everything instantly became clear, just like a fog had been lifted. Veganism is the only life for me.

    As a sufferer of mental illness and someone who battles with having too much compassion for things beyond my control, I finally realised that the suffering of animals IS something I can fix. The average human is responsible for the death of approx 100 animals each year. Reducing the animal products you eat/wear/buy will reduce that number. Being vegan makes that number 0. You shouldn’t feel bad if you can only reduce that by half, but you should know that being vegan isn’t hard at all. The only thing that upsets me now is that I didn’t do it sooner. That I went 26 years not knowing where my money was going.

    In regards to some of the concerns your raised. I have leather in my wardrobe that was purchaed pre-veganism but i decided that throwjng out those items would just further cement that animals died in vain (it is a common misconception that leather is a by-product of the meat industry. Not so. Different bloodlines are used for different purposes). I have decided to continue to use the items i have until they are no longer functioning.

    When it came to clearing my pantry and fridge i was shocked just how many animal by-products (and I am not talking about milk solids) were in my food. EVERYTHING has it. Sugar, vegetarian food, sauces. So i would have had to clear out everything but once again, not wanting those animals to have died in vain and the money already having gone to the evil companies, i decided to donate the food, feed it to my dogs or consume it myself. The hardest part was eating the stuff myself, it made me feel sick now that I know where the ingredients really came from.

    Finally, my dogs still eat meat. They have always been on a kibble only diet but now I am looking into the vegan options and there are many. Once we have finished off the bags we already had I will move them onto vegan food.

    I doubt any of this helped you but I just want you to see it is doable, and yes it is hard work but it is so worth it. I have never felt healthier, I am losing the weight I have been carrying for years, I have energy, and the nightmares that were waking me up in a cold sweat every night have gone. Life has never meant more to me than it does now and as I said, the only thing I regret is not doing it sooner.

    • Thanks Kimmi! I have been watching your transition to veganism and can only applaud you for the change!

      I too think of past times where I’ve looked at others and their treatment of animals and think I could have approached things better, so I’ve been on the other side of the fence too.

      After a number of years now as a pescatarian I feel ready to move to full vegetarianism, however have also learnt to engage and educate rather than push others too soon. I think when people learn more and are able to come to their own conclusions their beliefs stick more and affect their choices daily.

      I’m so glad its all going so well for you!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this post, which hit home for me, too. I notice a range of choices in the comments, so I thought I’d share mine.

    We do eat meat, which puts us in the minority here. We try to eat a healthy, varied and ethical diet — and like you, we worry that our choices aren’t “good enough” for ourselves or for the animals whose products we consume. We choose to eat mostly grains and vegetables, with most protein coming from eggs and cheese, some fish and chicken, and only occasional pork or beef. We try to source all our animal products from ethical producers, and that has been the hard part — much harder than learning what to do with bulgur wheat or how to get my husband to eat the kale.

    How do we justify eating meat, even occasionally? Well, we evolved to eat meat. I don’t despise other meat-eaters, like wolves or cats, and I’m not ashamed of my place in the ecosystem. But it’s my responsibility to be as ethical as I can be.

    Also, I feed my dog meat. It seems to be the healthiest choice for him; he’s part Great Dane, and they need the protein, especially when they’re young (he’s 2). Also, he won’t eat vegetables. He turns up his nose at apples and carrots and pumpkin, but if I leave fish filets thawing on the counter he will take them. It’s the only thing he steals. And we have to lace his kibble with canned food to get him to eat it. Or wait for him to get hungry enough to eat it plain, which we tried — but it turns out that that takes days, and I break before he does. So he eats a can of meat a day, and I am SURE it is not ethically sourced, and I feel guilty every time I pop one open… but not as guilty as I feel when he refuses his plain kibble!

    • Thanks Elizabeth. My husband too eats meat, an so does my dog, so in my household I’m the minority! But like you, we source our meat as ethically as possible. My biggest tips for that would be o buy at farmers markets where you can ask the farmer direct the conditions of his farm, how far the stock travel, how they are slaughtered etc. Then you can make an informed decision – something which is hard to do at the supermarket due to so many inconsistencies in labelling!

      Oh and a tip on dogs eating vegetables, have you ever tried cooking them on a low heat in (low or no salt) stock? Sometimes the flavour helps 🙂

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I have always been an animal lover and it does hurt to see or hear about them being mistreated and abused before they are killed for food or other things.

    I married a hunter. I came from a family of non-hunters and it took me a while to finally understand his point of view on why he hunts. We do eat the venison he harvests – which is better than processed meat from the store since I know where it comes from. Unfortunately, hunters have a bad reputation among people who don’t understand why it’s important to hunt: population control is needed in many areas where deer become too crowded, spreading disease and famine throughout the overcrowded population. It’s more of a mercy kill since it prevents them from suffering from disease and starvation. They also make an effort to shoot once and effectively. They don’t want them in misery from a bad shot.

    After I understood that, I was ok with him hunting. I would like to get to the point where we only eat what he hunts.

    My dog eats dog food made from meat. That’s how dogs were made – to be predators & carnivores. Have you seen their teeth?! 🙂

    Thank you so much for posting this. It definitely has me thinking of what I can do to help animals affected. Please know that I want to do what I can and even if you don’t agree with what my husband does, just know that he is ethical in his hunting.

    • Thanks Elizabeth. Having grown up in country areas, I think there’s a big difference between hunting for food and hunting for sport. I am hugely opposed to any kind of violence dressed up as sport, which makes me against hunting for sport. However hunting for food, while something i would never personally be part of, does have certain merits especially when compared to factory farming etc.

      That’s actually how I became pescatarian! I was a meat eater growing up, but one day I knew I could never willingly kill and animal for food. I decided then that it was unfair to expect others to do it for me and package it up on my plate.

  12. Meghan M. says:

    I just found your blog today and I love it! I have been a vegetarian for the past 17 years since I was 7 years old and I’ve been thinking about becoming a vegan for over a year now. While I have cut back a lot on dairy and eggs it hasn’t been easy and I find myself getting discouraged a lot. I know this post is old, but it really spoke to me and I loved your perspective.
    I think it’s so important that animal lovers work together and support each other- we’re all doing the best we can. It’s a struggle to find non- leather shoes and bags that are cute and sturdy; not to mention non animal tested/ vegan makeup (and deciding if I should get rid of what I already had that was leather). Navigating this is hard, so it only makes sense that we encourage each other to do our own personal best because every bit helps. 🙂 Thanks for posting this.

    • You’re welcome Meghan! Thanks for the lovely comment.
      It is a daily struggle isn’t it. I’m impressed that you made such a wise and committed decision at 7 years old.

      For me I try to make it clear to brands that I want cruelty free options. Like you say it’s so hard to find cruelty free shoes/bags and makeup. companies don’t make it easy. But hopefully bit by bit we’ll make a difference than in time other people won’t even have to worry about it!

  13. Johnny says:

    Hi there.

    Let me just start by saying that what I contribute here is to be read with neutral tones. People often misconstrue my words as insulting because they allow their own insecurities to colour my words. Please understand, I am not here to insult you. I use logic not emotions to make my case. Thank you 🙂 Imagine my words being delivered from a therapist if you like.

    You started with, “Lately I haven’t been feeling good enough.”

    Perhaps you are not “feeling good enough” because you know for yourself that incremental steps are not “good enough” when it comes to ending animal cruelty and further realise that you are just making excuses for yourself based on being beholden to your tastebuds.

    You argue that it is somehow “good enough” to consume less animal products. By that argument, it must also be “good enough” for the spouse abuser to abuse their spouse less often or for the molestor of children to simply molest less children. These are not unfair comparisons. Do your research into what goes on in factory farms, in abbatoirs, in hatcheries, in dairy farms. Organic farming does not apply to eggs, dairy products and meat despite what the labels tell you but let’s say it does for argument’s sake. Even the nice organic folks still KILL animals for meat before the animals have lived out their lives! How is that “humane?” If you think it is, then you obviously must not be too averse to murder of humans either if it is done “humanely” for no reason.

    If you can pounce naked onto a full sized ox, bring it down with your powerful fingernails and bite through their thick hide to their jugular vein with your canines and use your meat eating teeth to chew through the fur, muscle, sinew, organs and flesh right down to the bone, bloodied and raw and demonstrate that you can subsist on such a cholesterol and saturated fat laden diet without getting heart disease or at least some form of cancer, then you can tell me we’re evolved to eat meat. I suggest instead that you do some research into how the human body compares with that of various carnivores, omnivores and herbivores and see what you find. The answer might surprise you.

    If you are currently consuming any animal products for food, you need not suffer by switching to a vegan diet. There are things called “mock meats” these days which not only resemble but also smell, taste and even feel identical to animal flesh. Not all of them do but many of them do, especially those from east Asian countries – yes, even fish and seafood like crab, squid and prawns. Contrary to popular myth, they are not made from chemicals but from plants. If you think animal products are chemical free then you are living in fantasy land. Again, do your research. The best part about “mock meats” is that they provide all of the flavour yet none of the cholesterol or saturated fat that animal products do, so you can get your tastes satisfied without being at risk of heart disease and at a much lower risk of developing any of several forms of cancer. When making the switch to veganism, it is important to recognise if you eat a lot of fatty vegan food such as nuts and seeds, your health can suffer. Just as important, be aware of what foods contain vitamin B12 and vitamin D in particular. (Even meat eaters can run low on these, so don’t even go there). Protein, iron, calcium – you can get all of these in abundance on a vegan diet. When people ask me if I can really get what I need from a vegan diet, I reply, “No. I’ve actually been dead for the last 12 years. The funeral was so sad.”

    Most vegans also do not wear animal products (some will if they already had the garments prior to becoming vegan but even then, many of us do not and those who do, swear to never buy another animal garment again if they need replacement clothes and yes, great imitation leather and faux fur exists. Wool and silk have alternatives also).

    Perhaps this is information overload and your mind may still be struggling to reconcile your love for animals while being against animal cruelty which is to be expected since there is no reconciling the two, so I suggest finding the following online videos for further education: –

    * The documentary “Earthlings”
    * Gary Yourofsky – “The best speech you will ever hear”
    * From the Farm to Your Fridge
    * Glass Walls (Paul McCartney)
    * Any number of lectures from people working for the PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)
    such as Neal Barnard and Milton Mills.

    You may want to look for the words (also online) of Gary L. Francione a.k.a. “the vegan abolitionist” who makes very strong cases for the animal rights movement needing to lift its standards.

    You have my sympathy regarding your inner turmoil but please do research these topics I have suggested. Not only will they provide you with information of which you are obviously still unaware but you will discover the switch to veganism is actually easy! We’re not all into crystals, auras and alternative music either. I’m a peer reviewed science kind of guy myself which is why I have not suggested other otherwise excellent documentaries like Forks Over Knives as other vegans would because its science is vulnerable to some criticism but overall, it is still a great documentary.

    I hope you will soon be able to reconcile your actions with your sense of identity and may it be one based on compassion 🙂

    • Hi Johnny, Thanks for the comment! Earthlings is a heartbreaking but amazing piece and I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone. Thanks for all the other info as well 🙂

      I think for me, it is hard to do everything at once. I know it may sound like a cop out to people who live a vegan life, but I think for so many people incremental steps are the only way they can make a lasting difference. It’s also hard as I think a lot of brands do try to dupe people – my misleading consumers on whether cosmetics are tested, by including real fur in ‘faux’ garments, labelling something as free range etc.

      I recently read an article saying that pig products where found in certain ceramics, household items, plastics etc. I think it can be so daunting for the average person.

      I’m also a believer of giving credit where it’s due. Do I wish everyone could decide to stop eating meat? Sure. However I applaud those who take part in meat free Mondays because I know that if everyone in the world did it, it would make a HUGE difference. It wouldn’t be utopia, but it would mean the world to the animals saved.

      I’ll keep trying to be better, but I won’t set myself up for failure. However I’ll always be thankful for people like yourself encouraging me to be the best I can be for animals.

  14. Johnny says:

    * correction: –
    Love for animals and being against animal cruelty versus still consuming animal products – no reconciling THOSE two. Sorry for the mistype.

  15. Johnny says:

    Sorry. One further point as you are a pescatarian. If it is purely for the omega 3 content, flaxseeds are your new best friend. Check out how much omega 3 (and omega 6 and omega 9) they have compared with fish. No contest.
    Flaxseeds and mock meats besides being better for your health are also better for the health of animals and surprisingly, for the environment given how much damage is done to it in order to supply omnivorous human diets.
    Okay. I’m done now! Promise! Hehehe.

    • Ha ha – no need to apologise!! 🙂

      Thanks for the tip – yes I currently use flaxseed in both ours and Soda’s diets!

      Since I wrote this article, the only time I’ve eaten fish is when out at a restaurant. I’ve moved towards being a full vegetarian and hope to be so from now on. Veganism is a little while away, as a have a lot to learn. But I’ll keep on keeping on! 🙂

  16. Johnny says:

    Hi again, Serena

    Thank you for replying.

    I’ll be brief this time.

    I too like credit where it’s due. Forgive me but Meatless Monday = Meaty Tuesday though Sunday. That’s a dismal score of 1 out of 7. Worse, it’s 6 out of 7 for supporting animal abuse. You don’t get credit for skydiving for putting the parachute on or for hopping on the plane but not actually making the jump. Sorry.

    Your article’s title is “How much do you really love animals?” I guess we have a different definition of “love.” To me love means not being incremental but actually giving it your all, no excuses, no dipping of the toes in the water. It certainly does not equate to love if you are prepared to eat someone’s flesh or wear them or indeed use them in ceramics. Yes, it can be hard if you choose to view it that way. Alternatives however, abound.

    Some labels may indeed be misleading or not forthcoming. However, animal products like dairy, honey, eggs and meat are very plainly labelled as such. Buying them is supporting the abuse of animals. If you “love” animals, you don’t buy these products and you try your darnedest to avoid buying anything else that exploits them. Such exploitation is completely unnecessary.

    Success often comes after many failures. Set yourself up for success. If you fail along the way, that’s okay but at least you’ll not be making excuses.

    Take care.

    • Hi Johnny,

      I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I will always applaud anyone’s decision towards making the world a kinder place for animals.

      Meatless Monday may not mean much to you, and that’s ok. But I think it means a great deal to the animals that are saved. And who knows maybe someone who starts Meatless Mondays will one day make every day meatless.

      For me, it’s all about encouraging the good rather than expecting perfection.

  17. Jessica says:

    I agree with you strongly. For a moment there I read people who are vegan are the only ones who truly care for animals only. The more I read I honestly don’t feel so bad about myself. I am a pescatarian and I’m only 17. Don’t get me wrong I also want to be able to speak up about animals and I try my best to buy cruelty free or vegan products and such. My love for animals is amazing, dogs to cows no matter who they are, they are like us I believe they have the rights as well.

    • Serena Faber Nelson says:

      Hi Jess, you’re already doing so much more at 17 than many others are doing who are far beyond your years. Well done for being such a strong vice and advocate for animals! x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pick of the Week