Start writing a post
black and brown turtle on brown tree log

By Liz Cabrera Holtz, Wildlife Campaign Manager.

Florida is scrambling to protect threatened gopher tortoises and burrowing owls from the green iguanas invading their burrows. Red-eared sliders, a turtle with a native range through the Midwest and as far east as West Virginia, are now threatening other turtle species both here and across the world.

And just a few months ago, an escaped venomous zebra snake terrified a Raleigh community and made international headlines. In every case, the wild pet trade is to blame.

Our selfish desire to keep reptiles and other wild animals as pets is jeopardizing local ecosystems and pushing multiple species to the brink of extinction. It's also endangering our health.

Keep reading... Show less
white and brown hens on ground

Written by Joe Loria, Meat Reduction Campaign Manager.

The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a new 3,949-page report that devastatingly concluded we're out of time to prevent the impacts of climate change because it's here now.

The report synthesizes the past eight years of advances in climate science, citing more than 14,000 leading studies.

This stark warning is being hailed as a code red for humanity, with scientists urging world leaders to take swift action to mitigate the impacts of our warming planet. From raging wildfires and record flooding to once-in-a-lifetime weather events happening nearly annually, we're seeing the impacts of climate change today.

Among other things, the report found:

· The global surface temperature was 1.09C higher between 2011-2020 than between 1850-1900.

· The past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850.

· The recent rate of sea-level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901-1971.

So, where does animal welfare come into play here? Our ever-increasing appetite for meat, dairy, and eggs is driving both the climate crisis and the global expansion of low-welfare factory farming.

Overconsumption in the United States has significantly driven the demand for cheap meat, dairy, and eggs, and in turn, is fueling the climate crisis.

Globally, meat production is five times higher than it was 50 years ago. Food production has fundamentally changed to prioritize quantity over quality at the expense of our environment, the climate, animal welfare, and health. Hundreds of billions of animals are raised each year in barren, overcrowded, and cruel conditions to mass-produce meat.

Cows on open land Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash

In addition to causing the suffering of billions of living, feeling beings, this industrialized system depletes our planet's resources via the billions of pounds of feed needed to sustain it and the billions of pounds of manure it generates.

The report emphasizes the damaging impacts of methane, a greenhouse gas that's 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 in a 20-year time frame. While there are many sources of methane, the single largest contributor in the United States and globally is livestock production.

The billions of farmed animals produce an unmanageable volume of waste stored in pits prone to leaks or sprayed onto fields at outrageous rates, leading to contamination of vital water resources.

This manure releases methane into the atmosphere as it breaks down. Unfortunately, attempts to create methane-capture technologies have served only to incentivize further intensification and do not mitigate other air pollutants, exacerbating rather than solving the problem.

The ever-increasing production of mass quantities of livestock feed crops, primarily corn and soy, is a leading cause of deforestation, habitat loss, and water pollution, contributing overwhelmingly to the global emissions as well as the sixth mass extinction we're currently seeing.

The multinational corporations at the helm of food production are focused solely on maximizing profits, hoping to sweep under the rug their role in animal cruelty and rampant greenhouse gas emissions. But our demand for cheap animal protein fuels the fire, causing mass suffering to farmed animals, destroying the environment, and endangering people's health.

Our planet's future depends on us rethinking how we treat all animals and how we raise our food. The time is now to work together and transform the global food system and end cruel and destructive factory farming.

This latest code red warning issued by the IPCC must serve as a wake-up call for world leaders and each of us to take individual action. We all have a part to play by eating less meat, choosing humane and sustainable proteins, and demanding a better life for farmed animals.

Join the global movement of people who are committed to creating a kinder future by signing up for Meating Halfway, a 21-day journey that'll guide you towards eating less meat

adult lion walking beside tree

Written by Edith Kabesiime, Wildlife Campaign Manager.

For many years, South Africa was a role model for wildlife conservation and eco-tourism. But over the last decade, the country has come under the harsh international spotlight because of its inhumane captive lion breeding industry, where lions are bred and raised in captivity for commercial purposes, including canned trophy hunting, cub petting, walking with lion experiences, and trade in lion bones for traditional medicine.

That is why May 2, 2021, was seen as a historical day by many conservation and welfare organizations that have protested South Africa's abhorrent captive lion breeding industry and persistently called for its closure.

Finally, Ms. Barbara Creecy, the Minister at the helm of South Africa's Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), had announced that the government would put an immediate halt to the domestication of lions and the commercial exploitation of captive lions, as well as establish a process to close captive lion facilities.

Following this landmark announcement, DFFE has swung into action and embarked on implementing a plan of action that will guide the industry's closure. Within three months since her announcement, the Minister has publicly released a draft policy position paper and requested public comments.

While the intention to halt the commercial exploitation of captive lions and other iconic species such as elephants, rhinos, and leopards should be applauded, South Africa's new draft position includes an alarming priority. One of its five priority conservation policy interventions is to "re-position South Africa as a destination of choice for legal, humane, regulated, and responsible hunting."

brown lion on green grass field Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash

There is a general consensus that the commercial captive lion industry damages South Africa's reputation, threatens the survival of lions, negatively impacts tourism, risks public health and safety, and disregards the opinions of many communities which spiritually value lions. It was this consensus that led to the recommendation to shut down the captive lion breeding industry.

But if redeeming the country's international reputation as one of the key considerations by the Minister, why would South Africa then take this policy stance that will continue to treat wild animals as mere commodities?

It is common knowledge that the systematic lack of scientific data on the status of wild populations and ineffective managing and monitoring of trade is impairing current sustainability efforts. There are increasing concerns that this default approach to sustainable development and conservation efforts is not tenable.

The risks presented by the so-called "sustainable use" of wildlife - through cruel consumptive practices such as trophy hunting, for example - to animal welfare, biodiversity, and financial security are manifold.

Evidence suggests that the economic benefits gained from trophy hunting are not as significant to the South African economy as they are sometimes portrayed. It is also becoming less economically viable due to negative public perceptions, declining wildlife populations, trophy import bans in consumer markets, airline transportation bans of trophy shipments, and because of a wide range of ethical and ecological controversies featured in published studies in recent years.


brown lion on grass field during daytime Photo by Bhargava Srivari on Unsplash


Shifting away from a reliance on trophy hunting will have its challenges. Still, there is a humane alternative - the growing demand for non-consumptive 'wildlife friendly' tourism, which is already a successful sector in its own right.

In a post-COVID-19 world, the concept of a 'new deal' for wildlife in South Africa provides an ideal, realistic opportunity to generate government funding for responsible tourism management and conservation to safeguard ecosystems better.

If responsibly managed, the development of wildlife-friendly tourism and the removal of the trophy hunting industry has the potential to enhance South Africa's international reputation as a global conservation leader. It would reposition the country as an even more competitive destination of choice for responsible travelers and tour operators.

Moving towards ending the commodification and cruel exploitation of wildlife could be South Africa's ultimate and more ambitious wildlife protection goal. We can no longer reduce wild animals to commodities to be cruelly exploited by humans without regard for their lives or welfare.

South Africa needs to enact environmental policies that protect individual wild animals and allow them the right to live in the wild. Wild animals are sentient beings, and their intrinsic value should be recognized as an essential component in ensuring the survival of species and the protection of the environment. This is the real 'new deal' for wildlife, people and the planet.

people standing on road during daytime
Photo by Leslie Cross on Unsplash

Tova Randolph, World Animal Protection

In America, Independence Day is celebrated as a national holiday on July 4. The first Independence Day was officially organized in Philadelphia, PA on July 4, 1777.

However, the road for all Americans was not easily celebrated, especially for African Americans. January 1, 1863, known as Freedom's Eve, was the initial start of freedom for enslaved people, but not all were considered legally free!

Although watch services were held in churches with the great news of The Emancipation Proclamation, there were still states in the former confederacy such as Texas that upheld the enslavement of Black people.

It was on June 19, 1865, when we were truly emancipated, and that day is now known as Juneteenth/African American Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

This year marks an exciting time in our history— Congress passed the Juneteenth Independence Day Act. Juneteenth will serve as the nation's 12th federal holiday following the addition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

Juneteenth has a profound and much deeper meaning for me than many of my colleagues. I will admit working for an animal welfare organization was a change for me. I did not see many faces that mirrored my own.

Over the past year, we've faced many obstacles in the fight to end systematic racism, pandemic fatigue, police brutality, and just overall fear.

As I write this, I'm awash with emotion.

Although having a day off to celebrate Juneteenth is a start, it is not enough. However, I am encouraged by World Animal Protection's support as we pay homage to freedom and justice for all. Our organization has committed itself to dive deep into the hard and uncomfortable conversations surrounding diversity and inclusivity.

In these conversations and learnings, we begin to shed the layers of our own unconscious biases. We are fully committed to helping to end systemic racism and create equal opportunities for the disenfranchised.

This is how we can help create better lives for animals—by building a team of better people!

We are committed to raising awareness on Black Farmers who help propel our work against factory farming and producing high-welfare meat. We're committed to opening the door to our Black vegan and vegetarian communities for cross-collaboration.

You can donate to Black Farmers Fund where they are committed to creating a more equitable food system.

This Juneteenth, celebrate with us as it is also Black American Music Month. Maybe peruse a record store (for those of us who still frequent ) or visit a streaming service and listen to the sounds of Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, or whomever you like.

This Juneteenth, we also recognize our Black LGBT+ community as June is Pride Month. Please take a moment to think about how we can shine a light on the undervalued, underserved, and often abused members of that community.

How will I celebrate Juneteenth? I plan to visit a couple of museums like The Bedford Stuyvesant Museum of African Art and The Africa Center in Manhattan and take in all its glory, lessons, and reflect on the freedom of my ancestors and break bread with my family. I leave you with the words of my grandmother who believes in educating oneself.

To say can't is a woe to ambition. You can always achieve!

It is our hope you will continue to support our work and celebrate the people behind the scenes who make it all come together as we will respect one another's differences.

dolphin with head sticking out of water during daytime

Written by: Joe Loria, Meat Reduction Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection, US

I was 11 when my family decided to go on a cruise through the Mexican Riveria. It was beautiful, stopping in ports along the Baja Peninsula and the western coast of Mexico. The day before we were expected to dock at Puerto Vallarta, my dad approached my sister and me about an excursion he had booked after seeing it in a brochure in the ship's lobby.

Knowing how much I've always loved animals, he was excited to share that he had signed us up to swim with dolphins.

Keep reading... Show less

Koshari

Photo courtesy of World Animal Protection US

Written by Joe Loria, Meat Reduction Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection, US.

For those who eat little or no meat, dairy, and eggs, avoiding the animal protein-heavy dishes during Ramadan can be difficult. However, there are plenty of delicious plant-based Ramadan recipes that even the biggest meat-lovers will undoubtedly enjoy.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of prayer, self-reflection, fasting, devotion to worship, and helping those less fortunate. Ramadan is celebrated all over the world, and as such, the traditions and meals vary drastically by region. We've included recipes commonly eaten by one of our Egyptian World Animal Protection staffers.

This year, Ramadan begins on April 12 and will last until May 12. For those who eat little or no meat, dairy, and eggs, avoiding the animal protein-heavy dishes during Ramadan can be difficult. However, there are plenty of delicious plant-based Ramadan recipes that even the biggest meat-lovers will undoubtedly enjoy. Here are some of our favorite plant-based recipes, for suhoor and iftar. Ramadan Mubarak!

Koshari - this is the Egyptian national dish


KoshariPhoto courtesy of World Animal Protection US


Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ an onion
  • Optional: 1 Green pepper

Fried Shallots:

  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots

Rice and Pasta:

  • 1 cup of medium grain rice (sushi rice is perfect here)
  • ¾ cup of brown lentils
  • 4 cups of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup of elbow pasta
  • Optional: canned chickpeas

For the sauce, roast the green pepper in the oven for 40 minutes until tender. Remove seeds and green pepper top and puree. Over medium heat, sauté diced onion until translucent. Add tomato paste, coriander, and cumin and cook for roughly 2-3 minutes to cook off the metal flavor of the tomato paste. Add puree tomato sauce and pureed green pepper. Simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the fried shallots, thinly slice the shallots into rings. Try to be as consistent as possible, so the shallots cook evenly. In a saucepan add the shallots and cold vegetable oil. The shallots should be fully submerged, so they fry instead of sauteing. Cook over medium heat for roughly five minutes agitating the shallots slightly so they don't stick together and cook evenly. Don't walk away while doing this because the shallots can urn very easily. Once golden brown, remove from the oil and salt. Remember, the shallots will continue to cook once you remove them from the oil, so remove them when they are still on the pale side.

Rice, add the rice and lentils to pot, and rinse a few times under cold water to remove any excess starch off the rice. Add water and a pinch of salt. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes or until the rice and lentils are fully cooked.

For the pasta, follow box instructions.

Assembly, In a bowl or plate, combine rice and lentils, pasta, chickpeas, add a layer of tomato sauce, and top with a handful of fried shallots. Enjoy!

Macarona bel béchamel (macaroni with béchamel)


Macarona bel béchamel (macaroni with béchamel)Photo courtesy of World Animal Protection US


Bechamel:

  • 1 ½ cups of Earth Balance butter
  • 3 cups of plant-based milk (I use Oatly)
  • 1 cup of flour
  • ¼ cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Impossible beef:

  • 1 package of ground beef alternative (Impossible or Beyond beef)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of Allspice
  • 2 tbsp of neutral oil

Pasta and tomato sauce:

  • 1 package of rigatoni
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1cup of pasta water

For the bechamel, melt the butter in a saucepan, once it's all melted, add the flour stirring constantly and cook for one to two minutes until the flour looks a little toasty. Add in the plant-based milk gradually and whisk constantly until all the milk is incorporated and you have a smooth creamy texture that coats the back of a spoon.

For the plant-based beef, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add the beef, cinnamon, and Allspice. Cook until the beef is browned, and fully cooked through. Off the heat, add ¼ cup of béchamel to the mixture and stir to incorporate. Set to the side.

For the pasta, follow the box instructions to make al dente pasta and subtract two minutes from the cooking time. You don't want the pasta to be fully cooked through since it will bake for a long time in the oven.

For the sauce, in a skillet, over medium heat, add the tomato paste and cook for about two minutes – the goal is to cook off any metal or raw taste in the paste. Add pasta water to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce has thickened to the texture of a traditional pasta sauce. Off the heat, add ¼ cup of the béchamel and the cooked pasta and mix until all the pasta is coated in the sauce.

Assembly, in a baking dish, add a thin layer of the béchamel to coat the bottom. This will prevent the bottom from sticking to the pan. Add all the pasta to the bottom of the pan. Add the beef mixture atop the pasta. Layer the bechamel sauce over the mixture, it should be a thick layer. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. As an optional step, place under the broiler for five minutes to brown the top of béchamel.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes and serve hot.

Eggplant with pomegranate reduction

Eggplant with pomegranate reduction.Photo courtesy of World Animal Protection US


  • 1 large eggplant cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • ½ can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 tablespoon of sumac
  • 3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
  • ¾ cup of olive oil

Generously salt eggplant for 30 minutes prior to cooking. In addition to seasoning the eggplant, this will draw out excess moisture from the eggplant.

Add olive oil to a skillet or cast iron on medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, start browning eggplant in batches, brown the eggplant on all sides for roughly 4-5 minutes for each batch. Remove eggplant from skillet and set aside.

Add more olive oil to the skillet and cook onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Mix in crushed tomatoes, pomegranate molasses, and sumac and bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low. Simmer on low for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until a reduction is formed (the sauce should coat the back of a spoon).

Once desired consistency is achieved, add eggplant and spinach to the pan and cook for two minutes.

Plate over rice and enjoy!

Kofta

KoftaPhoto courtesy of World Animal Protection US


  • 1 package of ground beef alternative (Impossible or Beyond beef)
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 2 tsp of Allspice
  • 1 tsp of Cinnamon
  • ¼ cup of oat milk
  • ½ cup of panko
  • ¼ cup of chopped parsley
  • 4 pinches of salt

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. To test the seasoning, you can take a small portion of the mixture and cook in a skillet for 1-minute.

Separate the mixture and begin forming into meatballs or a 2-inch-long oblong shape. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add a thin layer of olive oil and cook the kofta in batches. It should take 3-4 minutes per side each side should be browned.

Kofta pairs well with any tomato-based dishes or the Eggplant dish listed above.

Baba ghanoush


Baba ghanoushPhoto courtesy of World Animal Protection US


  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup of tahini
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional: a pinch of paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the eggplant in half length-wise, place in a sheet tray, and toss in a thin coat of olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes or until fork-tender. Let the eggplant cool for 10-15 minutes until cooled slightly and remove the eggplant skin. Toss the eggplant skin.

Add the eggplant into a blender or food processer and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and season to taste.

---

Now that you know some of your favorite Ramadan meals can be made plant-based, try them out!

Looking to #EatLessMeat? We'll help you get started when you join Meating Halfway, a 21-day journey that'll guide you towards eating less meat!