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Animal Rights

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In Germany, rescued cows are finally getting the respect they deserve — and now they’re movie stars, too

Former dairy farmer Jan Gerdes at his sanctuary. Photos provided by Hof Butenland

Jan Gerdes was a third-generation dairy farmer. He took pride in his work, for a while. But then he started to feel torn, about the work that for so long felt perfectly normal, then began to feel the opposite. He was burnt out, and in 2002 Gerdes decided to sell off his herd. But when the day came to send the final twelve cows to slaughter, he just couldn’t do it. Instead, the farmer was compelled to keep the lucky dozen, and offer them refuge at what would become Germany’s first cow retirement home.

“As a dairy farmer I was…


Designers and brands are developing leather alternatives that are better for the animals and the planet

A pineapple with round sunglasses on it, on a white background.
A pineapple with round sunglasses on it, on a white background.
Photo: Heather Ford via Unsplash

Over the years, animal rights activists have pushed the fashion industry to stop using animal products like leather and fur and seek out alternative materials. Unfortunately, most faux leather goods sold today are made from plastic-based fabrics, usually derived from petroleum. Both in manufacturing and disposal, these products are not particularly eco-friendly. On top of that, most plastic-based leathers do not stand up to wear and tear, eventually ending up in landfills where the plastic could take up to 1,000 years to decompose.

Plastic-based vegan leather is not sustainable or environmentally friendly, but neither is “real” leather. Raising animals for…


Relentless photojournalist and animal advocate Jo-Anne McArthur shares what she’s learned about fostering positive change while maintaining emotional wellbeing

Photo of the interview subject, Jo-Anne McArthur, smiling widely on a beach, wearing a navy hoodie
Photo of the interview subject, Jo-Anne McArthur, smiling widely on a beach, wearing a navy hoodie
Jo-Anne McArthur. Photo: Lisa Macintosh

Jo-Anne McArthur has devoted much of her life photographing the exploitation of animals, bearing witness on the front lines of suffering. She has spent weeks and months on meat, fur and bear bile farms, at rodeos, animal markets and marine parks, documenting the lives of animals exploited for food, fashion, entertainment and experimentation.

This energy has manifested in a sprawling body of work, from the feature-length documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine to three books: We Animals, Captive, and the forthcoming HIDDEN: Animals in the Anthropocene. Her photography and writing has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, The…


The heart-melting photography of Andrés López

A photo of a small grey kitten that is missing one eye, wearing orange flowers on their head
A photo of a small grey kitten that is missing one eye, wearing orange flowers on their head
Photos: Andrés López

Many so-called pets don’t have a home, and can spend, weeks, months, or even years waiting for someone to choose them. It can be even more difficult for pets that have been abandoned, abused, or attacked. Despite the immediate reactions to their appearance, it only takes a few seconds to look into their eyes to fall in love completely.

Madrid-based photographer Andrés López wants to melt your heart and inspire you to adopt, so he creates beautiful portraits of animals that are still seeking their forever fam.

I had the chance to talk to Andrés about this project, “Invisibles,”…


Sanctuary Stories

Lola and Phoenix are in for the good life now that they’ve found sanctuary at The Good Place

Two white chickens with bright red head combs stand behind a wire mesh fence.
Two white chickens with bright red head combs stand behind a wire mesh fence.
Lola and Phoenix. Photo: Jessica Scott-Reid

On a quiet highway not far from the longitudinal centre of Canada, a big red barn and a sprawling plot of prairie land offer refuge to an assortment of farmed animals, each saved from some form of human exploitation. It’s simply and aptly named The Good Place, and it’s where two young hens, now named Lola and Phoenix, are learning to feel safe after surviving the unimaginable.

In early July, members of Manitoba’s animal rescue community got a call about a live hen found at local landfill. …


In 2020, there’s no excuse

A black and white photo of a small baseball sized bunny sitting in someone’s outstretched hand
A black and white photo of a small baseball sized bunny sitting in someone’s outstretched hand
Photo: Mohan Khadka via Unsplash

When I was 12 years old, I was given the task of writing a report and doing a presentation on a topic of my choice. I have always loved animals and thought it would be interesting to find out more about animal welfare. When I contacted several different organizations, they were kind enough to reply with all sorts of graphic materials detailing the horrors inflicted on animals by humans. I was thrilled with the help, but devastated. I had no idea how bad it was.

After working on the project, my mother and I both quit eating animals, and we’ve…


Four black-and-white cows frolicking on a grassy field on an overcast day.
Four black-and-white cows frolicking on a grassy field on an overcast day.

From Laurie Lyons-Makaimoku’s photoessay, ‘How Hawai’i Found Sanctuary…


“Courage calls to courage everywhere” -Millicent Fawcett
“Courage calls to courage everywhere” -Millicent Fawcett
Illustration: Tenderly

I’m ending my 5 excuses for being quiet about my vegan ethics

When I was seven, I wanted to be a writer. By 13, I aspired to become a vegan activist. At 27, I’m finally writing, but I’m still figuring out the helping animals part. If you are a fellow animal-lover finding your voice, I hope sharing my story — and how I’m overcoming excuses I made for not doing activism — will help.

Only a small amount of what I’ve written so far has been earnest advocacy for animal rights or welfare. I’ve danced cautiously around animal topics, but I know writing about them is important to me:

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