Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s compassionate living philosophy is propelling plant-based eating into the mainstream and forever changing how we regard animals. Welcome to her website.

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For hundreds of millennia, our ancestors were one weak species in the struggle for survival. With weapons and will, we came to dominate all other species, even many of the predators for whom we were prey. In order to maintain this position, it became essential for us not only to deny our own animal-ness but to also deny non-human animals any emotions, behaviors, or traits that we reserve only for humans.

Thus, the most offensive thing you could call someone is an “animal,” and the quickest way to undermine animal advocates is to accuse them of “anthropomorphism.”

And yet, although it's generally frowned upon to attribute what we consider “human” emotions onto non-human animals – love, joy, or sadness – we don't seem to consider it anthropomorphism when we project NEGATIVE human traits onto animals. We unabashedly characterize rats as smarmy and deceptive; pigs as dirty, fat, slovenly, and gluttonous; snakes as sinister, evil, and manipulative; and cattle, sheep, or any herd animal as stupid.

In other words, if I were to say my cat loves me, I could be accused of...

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As if they were waiting for me and knew I was coming, the deer appeared just as I stepped into the kitchen and looked out the window.

One of the first things we did when we bought this house was to install a much larger window and tear down the old wooden ivy-covered fence that hindered the view of the hillside.

Now, several times a day, I have the pleasure of watching the deer bounding down from the upper part of the hill, the squirrels fearlessly running along the crooked arms of the oak trees, and the occasional foxes and wild turkeys surveying this shady side of our yard.

The momma deer, who I’ve named Ella, and her two quickly growing fawns (Athena and Attica), headed straight for the container of water I keep fresh for them (and whoever else wants to partake). I was close enough to hear their slurps and watch the waterdrops fall from their mouths.

This is just one of the water features I have around our house, and they’re welcome respites for the thirsty critters who’ve made our home their home. (Although it’s probably more accurate to say we’ve...

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As much as I'm happy to debunk myths and stereotypes about what it means to be vegan and an animal advocate, I'm happy to do the same for my beloved city of Oakland.

Oakland is many things, though the media tends to paint it with one single brush resulting in an image that comes out looking pretty distorted. One aspect of Oakland I love is the greenery. The regional park system in the East Bay is incredible and mostly unknown to those outside of the area (including those who live just across the Bay Bridge).

While I take advantage of the hiking trails at least once a week, I also revel in my own urban wildland right in my back, front, and side yards. Working from home, I know the comings and goings of all of the critters (well, generally speaking) who grace our property daily, and I'm amazed I get any work done at all. If I hear the slightest indication that someone is outside my window, I must investigate, and that means my camera is always by my side.

Although the deer make frequent appearances - much to my delight - several foxes are now permanent...

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On a recent trip to Italy, while touring the baths in the preserved city of Pompeii, a woman in my group looked up at a graphical depiction of a boy swimming with a dolphin and declared that the ancient Romans must have loved animals. I conceded that they most likely regarded animals with awe, while reminding her of the grueling chariot races in the Circus Maximus, the gruesome fabricated “hunts” in the Roman Forum, and the egregious animal slaughter that took place in the Colosseum – all for the sake of human enjoyment.

The ancient Romans were, like us, a diverse and complicated people. They were resourceful, intelligent, and innovative. They were also violent, ignorant, and opportunistic. In all these ways – both good and bad – we are the same.

The Colosseum in Rome is a testament to this. Awe-inspiring though it was to stand inside this architectural feat and to contemplate the ingenuity, hubris, and labor that went into its design and construction, it was equally disquieting. Imagining the amount of blood shed, bodies strewn, and lives wasted over the centuries...

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