Sunday, November 29, 2009

Please do not buy fur

It never ceases to amaze me how in these allegedly enlightened times people can still shell out money to wear dead animal carcasses. So vain and shallow and self-centered we truly are when we dress ourselves at the expense of suffering animals. I am also amazed how at conferences people have come up to me and are shocked when they see that rabbits are actually killed for their fur. How did they think this fur was acquired?? Shaved??

My Ruby is a Rex rabbit, the breed used for fur coats. She is almost 8; she came into our lives when she was six months old, the age rabbits are generally killed for their coats. It takes 30 of my Ruby to make one coat. I have seen undercover video taken at European fur farms of rabbits who look just like her being prepared for the kill. The fear alone in their eyes is enough to turn my stomach; seeing them skinned alive is something else.

Please - leave the fur with the original owner. This is 2009. We have better manmade means to keep warm that don't cost so much in pain and suffering.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Grateful Bunny Named Copper

Thanks to the hard work, pleas, phone calls, and great diplomatic skills from hundreds of rabbit lovers across the world, a young agouti rabbit named Copper, about to be put down needlessby by the Tacoma Humane Society,is now living a new life at Rabbit Haven, a rabbit sanctuary in Gig Harbor, Washington. You can view their homepage at

Even now it is hard to know the truth about the reason he was to be killed. Kathleen Olsen, the director of this alleged humane society, told different stories to various people who pleaded for Copper. We were initially told that he bit a volunteer and that was the reason he had to be PTS. I was told by Ms. Olsen via email that Tacoma Humane Society doesn't euthanize for biting. Suddenly the story became he was very ill and that all the vets they had determined he had to die. How ill? This could not be determined. No one could even get to see Copper. Last Sunday he was scheduled to die until last minutes negotiations convinced Ms. Olsen, who (it is alleged) turned down a $45,000 donation from a media group in the UK who wanted to save Copper, that it was in the best interest of Copper to have a chance at a life.

Anyone knowledgable about rabbits knows rabbits only bite when they feel threatened. Rabies very rarely plays a role, as it may be with cats and dogs. If people do not properly approach or handle a rabbit, especially one who has not been neutered, they must expect an aggressive reaction. Many shelter volunteers know only cats and dogs and do not know rabbits or understand their behavior--this lack of experience may have played a part here. But the more troubling aspect to me is that Ms. Olsen, who I hear is paid $100,000 a year for this job, seemed more concerned about her own power status than helping an animal. Is this the kind of person we want running humane societies? My donations will go to places like RabbitHaven and other rescue groups, who have the animals' welfare, not the bottom line or personal pride, at heart.

This Thanksgiving, one little rabbit was pardoned from a terrible fate. He will have a happy life, thanks to the hardworking souls of compassionate people who stood up to save him. Let us continue to work hard to give all rabbits in shelters and rescue groups a happily-ever-after.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Woodstock and Cinnamon

This Thanksgiving these two rabbits are most grateful for each other.
A December-May romance, Woody and Cinn have been together since 2004; he is about 8 years old she is 5. He was once a neglected rabbit living in a tiny cage under a porch, ears infested with ear mites, his body emaciated. She was bought by a young woman at a petstore, barely 2 months old, only to be given up when the girl's boyfriend developed allergies. When they met, it was love at first sight. Woodstock literally flopped for Cinnamon. They have never had a spat. They can't bear to be apart from each other. They are, in sum, the sweetest rabbit couple I know. Anyone who needs couples therapy can learn alot from these guys.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beware Morningstar Meal Starter Crumbles

Much to my disgust, I just learned this product is no longer vegan. For reasons unfathomable to me, Morningstar changed their manufacturing of this product and now the Meal Starter crumbles contain milk and egg whites. I wrote my angry letter tonight. Looks like I am switching to Boca, a company who is going out of their way to veganize their previously vegetarian products.

Remember when companies used to work to KEEP customers? Whatever happened to them?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tofurky or Not Tofurky? That is the question

Once again it is the time of year when a serious food dilemma arises for this new vegan. Standing in Whole Foods the other night, I held in my hands the frozen feast many vegetarians have eaten throughout the years for Thanksgiving. It LOOKS tempting, this glistening ball of tofu, with its warm stuffing tucked inside. And yet I hesitate. The memory of a Tofurky deli meat sandwich once tried at a conference several years ago lingers still. I love food (as is obvious to anyone with eyesight) but after two bites I simply could not ingest that sandwich. I can still recall and shudder at a rubbery oozy taste and the slow twist of my stomach muscles. And yet since that unfortunate experience, I have been adventurous enough to devour Tofurky bratwurst and hot dogs--all yummy and tasty, not even a HINT of rubber. So why do I hesitate at the Tofurky T-Day feast?

Well, for one thing, I would be the only one eating it. That's alot of food, even by my standard. Hubby will not eat anything tofu or ANY meat substitute, for that matter. My rabbits--well, they are vegan, yes, but Tofurky is not their thing (well, maybe my Ruby would try it--she'd eat anything...) No one in my family would EVER consider attempting it. Like most Americans, they believe in the myth that Thanksgiving MUST be celebrated with a dead bird on the table (my words, not theirs.) So what is a solitary vegan supposed to do? Buy it just for me and have leftovers for a month? Can Tofurkey be even saved as leftovers? What if I don't LIKE the Tofurky? That is way too much food to waste.

So once more I put the Tofurky box back into the freezer, resuming my shopping, dilemma unresolved for yet another year. Good thing we made dinner reservations for the big day, I sigh to myself. Still, one of the days, I must meet the challenge of Tofurky. Anyone out there willing to take the challenge with me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kindles, Nooks and Rabbits

You would think the whole concept of the Kindle and, now thanks to Barnes and Noble, the Nook, would thrill someone like myself, who is concerned about the environment. How much greener can you be with a device which holds 1500 books? Think of it—all those paperbacks and hard covers clogging your bookshelves or tucked into milk crates—all magically stored electronically in a thin, easy to care electronic machine. Heck, I could get a whole room back in my house if I invested in this thing. And yet I am very sad, and not just because I am one of those who actually LOVE holding a book, turning and dog-earing pages, scribbling in the margins, getting crumbs stuck in the binder…No, I am thinking about the rabbits.

Yes, I said, the rabbits.

What will my darlings chew on if all my books were to vanish into a hard, metallic slab they can’t even get their teeth into? Where is THEIR joy of shredding pages, nibbling covers (especially on those books one hoped to donate to charity)? Oh sure, you say, they can still have the phone books. But rabbits are fickle. Mine are, anyway. If they could, they would eat all my junk mail (a tempting idea, except the glossy pieces would NOT be good for them). And they do enjoy an occasional novel. Much to my chagrin, I walked into my living room one evening and found that Cocoa had managed to get a hold of a Dean Koontz book I was reading. Cocoa has always preferred horror novels, and he had done such a good job with this book, but I had no choice but give up any hope of reading it. Whole chapters had been torn to bits. So what will my Cocoa do if my future Stephen Kings and Brian Keenes are downloaded into a Nook? And it isn’t just rabbits. What will counter-surfing dogs do if they can’t get a hold of a book to mangle? They will have to go back to sneakers, corn cobs and pantyhose. Not good!!

Some say the Kindle is progress. Without a doubt, it’s a space-saver. For those who travel, there are no more hard decisions to make about what book to bring—just take em all!! Still, I can’t help feeling melancholy that yet another joy in life has been trampled by 21ct century technology. Give me a thick paperback with rabbit chew marks in the corner any day.

The Hoppy Vegan

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Greetings and Salutations!

Though my blog title might hint otherwise, this is NOT a place—as yet anyway—to find yummy vegan dishes. There are many other blogs out there you can stumble on, like I did, to get great recipes or to just drool over lovely photos of vegan meals.

No, you have arrived at a rather strange place. While I am a vegan (I would go as far as saying a struggling vegan), I define myself more as a devoted slave to six beautiful house rabbits who, as you will eventually learn here at The Hoppy Vegan, led me to this positive new lifestyle. At The Hoppy Vegan, you will bear witness to my new journey with food, AND enjoy the adventures of rabbitdom. I emphatically believe that no one has ever lived till they have shared their life with one of these beautiful animals. Anyone can have a cat or a dog—but to share their home with a rabbit is to truly learn about nature and, as I have, learn to look at ALL animals in a new way.

I will not go out of my way to be controversial or provocative, though I should warn you that I have a tendency of unintentionally pissing people off. (Some days all I have to do is say pass the soymilk to do that.) Please take my views, my words, for what they are, and PLEASE don’t go all defensive! Just read, laugh, learn, comment, and keep it all in perspective.

By the way, I’m not just talking to my meat-loving audience either. Do you know why many people think vegans have no sense of humor? That vegans are super-judgmental? Because some are. And many will no doubt get upset if I confess to breaking down and having a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup from the excess Halloween dump a co-worker brought to work (I figured the Reese’s did me the least harm compared to the Hershey bars). To save our sanity, we need to laugh more in a world where animals are so brutally exploited. (By the way, there are good reasons why many vegans devoted to animal rights issues SEEM to have little sense of humor. When you witness the suffering of so many animals in factory farms, in shelters, on the streets, etc. it can really tear at your soul. It’s hard to laugh knowing shelters kill rabbits just because they have no room and no time to adopt them out to good homes. But we can, and actually do, laugh. Need more proof? Check out Dan Piraro of BIZARRO fame, linked here. I aim to keep this blog as lighthearted as I can (and that will be easy to do when you see the photos of the rabbits who have brought such pure joy to my life.). This is not to say I won’t show some serious material—you can bet I will, especially when it concerns my rabbit friends. But I want to smile too. Don’t you?

So let’s get hopping and blogging. (But please - leave the PETA—People Eating Tasty Animals—line out of here. It really isn’t funny—and frankly, it’s OLD.)

Paulette a.k.a. The Hoppy Vegan