Ironically it was Stalin who said that one death is a tragedy but one million is a statistic. The methodical killing of Cecil the lion exemplifies this -- not because it was illegal. It was. Not because it was despicable. It was. But because Cecil was seen as an individual; he had an identity. He was given a name.
It’s impossible to wrap our brains around the fact that 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are killed in shelters each year. Or that 10 billion land animals are brought into this world only to be killed every year to feed our appetites. Or that millions of wild animals are hunted and killed -- legally and illegally -- in the United States and around the world -- to satisfy some primitive need to display our human supremacy.
But as these billions of individuals are unnamed, they remain our anonymous victims.
People raised on animal farms or ranches know this all too well. Many are taught not to get close...more
I couldn't make this up if I tried. Well, maybe -- if I REALLY tried, but I didn't have to make it up at all.
As you know (read She Had a Name), we've lost a couple of our young deer in the last month. When I say "our" deer, I mean the precious residents of our neighborhood who eke out a living on the steep ivy-covered hillsides of Oakland.
We've been in this house for three years, and I've seen three different twin births, naming every one of the babies. I've seen the male babies turn into young bucks and push out little antler stumps. I've seen majestic male bucks shed their 6-point antlers and sit in front of my kitchen window -- so close I could reach out and touch him if I dared. I don't. I've seen the females become does.
I have names for everyone. I know who birthed who, who competes with whom, and who has died. Yesterday was a particularly hard day as my fears came to fruition and we found and wrapped the body of a second deer who has died in the last month (that we know of).
One of my...more
Sadly, the feeling of dread I've had about the deer the last couple days came to fruition today. As I arrived home late last night and climbed the 100 steps to our front door, I smelled a terrible odor in the air and knew it was one of the deer. This morning I started investigating and couldn't find anything right away, then had to run to an appointment.
This afternoon, I arrived home to see Atticus outside our kitchen looking fine in every way except for the fact that he was foaming at the mouth. I put a call into one of the amazing wildlife rescuers I know (Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue), who spent time helping me figure out what was going on and then connected me with another wildlife angel who confirmed that there's a virus (adenovirus) decimating many deer populations in CA and elsewhere.
After I hung up the phone, I called my neighbor to ask if I could investigate around his property to find what I knew was a dead body, and after putting out a call on my neighborhood list for help, was joined by another neighbor. After following our noses, we found her. Dead...more
I'm one of those people who moves quietly when wildlife is near so as not to startle them. I think they know this about me. They always seem to trust my presence, and so I often find myself encircled by birds, squirrels, deer, and even skunks who -- even with me within 5 feet of them -- never infect me with their defensive and offensive odor.
Today, as I came back from my run, I decided to just water a few plants down on the street, as well as fill up the little tray of water I keep for wildlife and passing dogs -- whoever wants to partake. As I had the hose on stream aimed toward one of my plants, I could see a small bird nearby who wasn’t startled by my presence. She was a little thing - about the size of a chickadee. I intuited that she wanted water, and I started slowly guiding the stream of water closer to where she was.
She moved forward. I loosened my grip on the nozzle so that the water emanated out like a shower rather than a stream, and she hopped closer to it yet -- even opening her mouth at intervals to catch some drops. We stood like this for a few...more
Fluently speaking another language has always been a dream of mine, but alas, after years of studying Spanish and Italian, I fear I can speak only broken Spa-talian. So much for my dream of spreading my multilingual vegan message.
However, my videos on YouTube have the greatest potential to reach the masses because of the CLOSED CAPTIONING option, enabling the hearing impaired to enjoy my message of compassion -- but also allowing for translations into every language!
Anyone who -- unlike me -- speaks another language (can you sense my envy??) can take the English transcript and translate it into another language. Some videos already have Spanish, French, German, and Slovak! The possibilities are endless for reaching millions of people around the world.
Check out the short video below, then visit my Vegan Point of View videos to begin translating. Every playlist will eventually have the English subtitles to start with (and if you'd like to help caption in...more
The question I get more than any other is “What do you feed your cats?” Many years ago, I produced a podcast episode that addressed this issue but included additional unrelated information. And so, it was time to dedicate an updated episode to this topic, which also includes how dogs do on a vegan diet.more
I never doubted that self-publishing a book would be difficult, but honestly the hardest part is getting it in front of people who want and need the information. The primary advantage of publishing a book with a traditional publisher is their relationship with the distributors who get books in stores. The rest -- the editing, design, binding, printing -- is easy.
I have some distributors waiting in the wings to help me get the paperback into bookstores, but I still have several hundred copies of the gorgeous hardcover. In retrospect, I wish I printed only paperbacks, but I wanted to produce a very special book, especially for those of you who contributed to the fundraising campaign. I unexpectedly had to print a couple thousand more copies of the hardcover to make sure all the funders as well as Amazon got their copies, and I'm eager to clear out of the hardcovers so we can move to the more affordable paperback.
With your help, we can get the book into more hands, which is why I'm offering this...more
Travel with me to southern Italy and France, as I share details of our most recent trip as part of the "Vegan Travel with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau." My intention is to demonstrate how enjoyable it is to eat an abundance of local food, take in the incredible sites, immerse yourself in local culture, customs, and people -- all while adhering to your vegan values. We explore many towns in Provence, horses in the Camargue, ancient Roman ruins, medieval towns of Cilento, vegan restaurants of Paris, and so much more.more
Does Being Vegan Make Me Better? Yes.
But not better than anyone else. Just better than who I used to be.
Several years ago, Barbara King, a contributor to NPR, interviewed me for a piece she was writing about this very topic. Here was my answer to the question: "Do you think you're better than non-vegans?"
"I think most people agree that not committing violence against another – human or nonhuman - is an ethically superior position to hurting someone. For me, I reflect this ethic by being vegan. Contrary to what some people think, being vegan is not an end in itself; it's the means to an end. It's the means through which we can – in our daily lives – reflect our value of not causing harm.
The truth is I feel humbled being vegan rather than superior to those who aren't. I have no cause to be self-righteous. There was a time when I ate animals and made excuses, and I feel grateful to be armed with knowledge and awareness...more