Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy International Rabbit Day!

No, this is not a new holiday cooked up by Hallmark to sell more cards. Frankly I wish Hallmark WOULD recognize it and issue forth more cards with rabbits on them. In fact, International Rabbit Day was initially acknowledged by a British animal rights group which apparently no longer exists. Some sources claim the day is the 25th; others the 26th September. My understanding is, IRD is the fourth Sunday of September. Given all that rabbits mean to me, I say give them the whole damn weekend!

Only those of us who have shared our lives with rabbits can truly appreciate the love and joy and wonder that they bring to the world. We try to share our experiences with those who haven't had this priviledge in the hope of bringing understanding of these beautiful creatures to a world which still callously kills rabbits for meat, slaughters them for their fur, and tests every thing under the sun on their eyes and bodies. People do all of that even as they raise their children to believe in the Easter Bunny, eat Trix cereal, and give bunnies to their kids for pets. Talk about mixed messages. And don't even get me started about the despicable values promoted by 4-H clubs.

Rabbits deserve to be cherished, not exploited. They are warm, intelligent, social animals who, despite being prey animals, will, in time, learn to trust and love humans. I still marvel at that, especially when I come across rabbits who have come from either a home of neglect or abuse. Rabbits forgive us! They will let us back into their lives again, let us touch them and embrace them. Would we be so trusting of human beings if we were treated badly? Some cynically may claim that behavior points to stupidity, that rabbits can't learn from past experiences; those of us who know better, say it points to compassion. As a species we can learn alot from rabbits if we could for just some time stop looking at the world with our arrogant human eyes and start looking at it from those of creatures other than ourselves.

Rabbits love us and ask for nothing in return. But let us give them something back. Let's do all we can to make this world a better place for them. Educate people, encourage adoption, discourage the reckless breeding of rabbit mills; volunteer at a local rabbit rescue or advocacy group. Foster a rabbit to see if he/she is the right companion for you. All these steps make a difference. Every rabbit saved counts!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Food, tedious food

You know, sometimes I just get so sick of food.

An odd thing for me to say, not just as a vegan but as someone who used to live to eat, rather than the other way around. I am in one of those moods right now where I am just so sick and tired of planning meals. I feel a constant pressure by the need to put together a perfect meal of protein, carb, green, and I sadly am NOT one of these gifted people, true chefs who can look into their cubbards and make something out of any three ingredients. If I don't have a recipe in front of me, forget it. When it comes to food, I am just not impulsive or creative enough to take a chance and just whip something together.

And sometimes I just want the odd, whatever-is-there-in-the-house-that-is-the-easiest-to-put together meal. I can make do easily some nights with a plate of steamed broccoli with salt and nondairy butter, some bread, and a small spinach salad. Or maybe just some Gardein chicken wings cooked on the stove. Maybe just a cup of Leahey's vegan chicken noodle soup. Unless my hubby is away, I don't have the luxury to do that too often.

I guess what also makes food planning such a chore is the fact that I live in a bi-nutritional (is that the word?) household, by which I mean I am a vegan and my husband is a devout omnivore who also happens to hate most vegetables and ALL faux meat (even apparently brands like Gardein which he has never tried). This rather limits my options, as you can see, and that gets tiring. Some nights I have made two different meals for us, and let me tell you, that gets old very quickly.

I really do love to cook and bake and have many cookbooks to prove it. But I go through times like right now when I am just sick of it all, when just once, I would love to come home, knowing that someone else is cooking dinner tonight (and by this I don't mean take-out--we do a lot of that too.) To be able to sink into a chair and inhale the aromas of food someone else is preparing--THAT to me would be bliss. It is also NOT reality. I just will wait for this mood to pass. In the meantime, I am settling for Imagine Butternut Squash soup and salad tonight (and feeling guilty for being so chintzy about this meal too.) Just don't have the energy--and creative juices--to come up with anything else.

The Hoppy Vegan

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

William Cowper's "Epitaph on a Hare"


[Written March, 1783. Published in The Gentleman's Magazine,
Dec., 1784; afterwards in 1800. A MS. copy is in the British

HERE lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue,
Nor swifter greyhound follow,
Whose foot ne'er tainted morning dew,
Nor ear heard huntsman's Hallo',

Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,
Who, nurs'd with tender care,
And to domestic bounds confin'd,
Was still a wild Jack-hare.

Though duly from my hand he took
His pittance ev'ry night,
He did it with a jealous look,
And, when he could, would bite.

His diet was of wheaten bread,
And milk, and oats, and straw,
Thistles, or lettuces instead,
With sand to scour his maw.

On twigs of hawthorn he regal'd,
On pippins' russet peel;
And, when his juicy salads fail'd,
Slic'd carrot pleas'd him well.

A Turkey carpet was his lawn,
Whereon he lov'd to bound,
To skip and gambol like a fawn,
And swing his rump around.

His frisking was at evening hours,
For then he lost his fear;
But most before approaching show'rs,
Or when a storm drew near.

Eight years and five round-rolling moons
He thus saw steal away,
Dozing out his idle noons,
And ev'ry night at play.

I kept him for his humour's sake,
For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts that made it ache,
And force me to a smile.

But now, beneath this walnut-shade
He finds his long, last home,
And waits in snug concealment laid,
'Till gentler Puss shall come.

He, still more aged, feels the shocks
From which no care can save,
And, partner once of Tiney's box,
Must soon partake his grave.

There has been a lot of sadness these days for a good friend of mine who lost two rabbits in a matter of three weeks, one of whom was 12 years old and the inspiration for Rabbitwise, Inc., the rabbit advocacy group for which I volunteer. I thought this poem by the 18th century poet and hare-lover William Cowper fits the mood right now.

The Hoppy Vegan

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Celebrating the Veg Lifestyle

I LOVE a good festival. I especially love one which celebrates vegan values, love of animals, and good health. The 2nd annual D.C. Vegfest was held today near George Washington University. Sponsored by Compassion Over Killing the Vegetarian Society of D.C., this event brought out even MORE people than last year--and that was estimated to have been around 3000! It was at one point almost literally wall-to-wall people today, and it was so wonderful to see so many interested in vegan options, and eager to sample all the foods. (I only went to the Coconut Bliss ice cream sampling table once, I swear!)

As the representative for RabbitWise, I had great fun donning my rabbit ears and posing with the PETA Carrot (I promise to post photo when uploaded later!). And it is always a joy to talk to people about rabbits--as many who know me know, I can never shut up when talking about my furkids. Of course, there is even at an event like this a character who manages to say the wrong thing. The first person who came up to our table--an Asian-American man wearing a Star Trek tie--asked if RabbitWise stood for eating rabbits. (Could someone please explain to me WHY people say such obnoxious things to those of us who rescue and love rabbits? No one says such crap to dog and cat companions!)

All in all, it really was a beautiful day--how could it not be when one starts the day with a Boston "cream" doughnut from Vegan Treats? This festival proved once again that you can be a foodie and savor delicious food, and be thrilled knowing that no animal had to die in the making of such pleasure. Vive les vegans and the D.C. Veg Fest, and thanks to all who make it possible.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The loss of innocence

Enough said.

Have a happy and cruelty-free Labor Day weekend, everyone.

The Hoppy Vegan