Before Haytap, the first Turkish animal rights federation, numerous isolated associations had been struggling for years, focusing exclusively on rescuing local stray dogs and cats. Those kind individuals were so exhausted and resource-strapped that they couldn’t catch their breaths and plan far ahead. It took Ahmet Kemal Şenpolat, a lawyer with a broad perspective, long-term commitment and strategic thinking to create a national umbrella federation with national influence and a clear agenda. But change, no matter how needed, can be painful and face opposition. In this case, Şenpolat’s inclination to spend money on countrywide awareness campaigns was sometimes a tough sell to local rescuers who care for hundreds of dogs and can’t always afford to feed them. This is the story of how an important change of focus took place in the Turkish animal advocacy world. [Read more…]
In Tušti narvai [Empty cages], idealism and strategy meet in a successful program of pragmatic activism. This approach has made the nascent organization, founded in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2014, a growing force for animal rights in the Baltics. Tušti narvai has already documented, for instance, the appalling conditions of mink farms to Lithuanians, who were largely unaware these facilities existed and 60% of whom oppose this unethical trade. Working toward a fully vegan world, Tušti narvai celebrates even small steps in that direction. Every person—vegan or not—who responds to increased awareness by refraining from buying fur is a victory. [Read more…]
At The Positive Animal, we often think of the vegans we write about all over the world as superheroes—fighting against the odds, sometimes under dangerous conditions, to save animals and the planet. One super power that almost all vegans develop may not seem world-shaking, but it is. That’s the ability to scan food labels to spot villains like gelatin, whey, skim milk, E120, butter fat and egg whites. In fact, label scanning is a constant battle for vegans who have no other option than purchasing food from mainstream supermarkets. Even superheroes can grow weary, which is why vegans in Wrocław, Poland’s fourth largest city, were thrilled when the city’s first vegan supermarket, Urban Vegan, opened. [Read more…]
Today, September 28, 2016, Brigitte Bardot and thousands of fans around the world are celebrating her 82nd birthday. And make no mistake, the legendary French actress turned animal activist remains a powerful force on the international animal rights stage. BB, as her French fans call her, is still very much in charge of her Foundation’s day-to-day operations and, despite painful bouts of arthritis, spends most of her time, energy and funds making life better for the animals in France and abroad. She is known for her emotional appeals and blunt—some say virulent—advocacy style. You’ll see in our interview that she’s as feisty as ever (pure BB vintage!). She also has some advice for young activists wishing to perform at a high level. [Read more…]
When Oyku Buyukdere isn’t dispensing advice as a positive psychology life coach, she’s busy fostering and rehabilitating “problematic” rescue dogs, volunteering for charity/shelter Haydos, running awareness campaigns to improve animal laws in her country on behalf of Haytap (the Turkish animal rights federation) and curating her popular YouTube channels. Such a hectic schedule hasn’t affected her sense of humor: “I work eight hours a day to earn money so I can put in another eight hours spending that money on rescue efforts.” This energetic vegan credits positive psychology for her sustained happiness and sanity while advocating for animals in a country where dogs are often beaten, shot or even raped. And if that’s not enough, there are security concerns: Since July 2015, terrorist acts have killed hundreds of civilians. In fact, when the March 19 bombings occurred in Istanbul, Oyku was a few blocks away, attending a Haytap conference with fellow members representing animal rights NGOs from all over Turkey.
Berlin is often called the Vegan Capital of the World, and for good reason. There are veg people, restaurants, cafés, shops, fast food trucks and organizations all over the city. Shining a bright light on this vegan scene is Maja, a tour operator with a vegan insider’s view of this vibrant metropolis, deep compassion for her fellow beings and—surprise—a degree in molecular biology! Turns out Maja’s knowledge of the tiniest particles in the body comes in handy when she talks about the effects of food on human health during walking tours that also include plenty of tasting, laughs and fun. Come along with me to meet Maja, and discover some great vegan spots in the German capital. [Read more…]
Here’s a riddle: What has more than 350 vegan products on its shelves, over 5,000 fans on Facebook and is located near the geographical center of Europe?
Answer: Veggo—Lithuania’s very first 100% vegan grocery store. While Veggo, which sells cosmetics, supplements, vitamins and personal hygiene items in addition to food, has an online presence, visiting the real-world store is a treat. Here everyone—shoppers, employees and especially the ethics-driven entrepreneurial owner—is full of positively infectious energy and goodwill. [Read more…]