I was about 27 years old when I finally took the blinders off and acknowledged my role in what is the animal holocaust known as factory farming. I watched a short film online called Meet your Meat. Looking back I am not sure how I ended up clicking that link, but I guess it was the universe helping steer me towards my future. A couple of years after becoming a vegetarian I asked for the book The Kind Diet for Christmas. I grew up watching Alicia Silverstone in movies and music videos so I was excited to learn of her compassionate lifestyle. How cool to be inspired by someone you already admired? Alicia has a connection with nature and animals. This connection was something I wanted to regain. Naturally I loved her book. Alicia has a way of phrasing things to make you realize how obvious the problems are and how easy the solution is. One of my favorite examples while reading was this:
“I realized that, until I stopped using my dollars to purchase meat or other products that are created through violence or cruelty, the suffering would never end. It wouldn’t stop because I wanted it to. It wouldn’t stop because I wished it would. If I really wanted to end cruelty to animals, I had to boycott it completely.”
Her book and website helped push me towards my current vegan lifestyle and like her I have a very supportive vegan husband.
Since that evening about 4 years ago when I made the decision to cut cruelty out of my life completely, I have dedicated nearly all my time to helping animals. There is always an opportunity to do more and educate someone new. Along with doing my part to educate people about the truths behind the meat and dairy industry and the importance of spaying and neutering pets, (I think I say the phrase Adopt, don’t shop weekly to someone) I am also an ocean conservation activist and marine mammal advocate. As a volunteer for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society I traveled to Taiji, Japan to document the annual dolphin slaughters as part of their Cove Guardian campaign. So many amazing people from around the world participate in this campaign and I was fortunate enough to fundraise money to go twice so far. When I returned from my first visit I knew that I had to do more to fight this slaughter and I knew the fight had to start with the captivity industry.
So I started a campaign called Empty the Tanks Worldwide. It began as an idea to protest all the SeaWorld locations on a single day and quickly grew to include as many captive facilities as possible. On one single day, the whole world can stand together to say NO to the marine mammal captivity industry. In May 2014, we held the 2nd Annual Empty the Tanks Worldwide event and it included 54 locations in 21 countries all taking a stand against keeping dolphins and whales in captivity. Marine mammal captivity has no place in the 21st century. We know how intelligent these animals are. We know their social dynamics, their feedings habits, their swimming ranges, and we know that no artificial setting in a swimming pool can replicate these natural behaviors. I wanted to fight the dolphin slaughters of Taiji from the demand side of the scenario. The slaughters occur for 6 months every single year because of the demand for captive dolphins. They keep the “pretty” ones and kill the rest. It is simple supply and demand. We need to eliminate the demand and therefore give them no reason for the supply.
It’s amazing how inspired people have become because of Empty the Tanks. Just search #emptythetanks on Facebook and you can see the posts and photos from around the world from people who are crying out for a change in the way we treat animals. This dismissal of animals and their rights as beings on this planet is a trend that is fading. Consumption of meat and dairy is down and ticket sales at parks like SeaWorld are dropping. The public is finding their voice and in turn giving one to the animals of our world. All it takes is one person to create a movement of change in our world.
The 3rd Annual Empty the Tanks Worldwide event will take place on Saturday June 6th, 2015. If you would like to host an event in your area please contact me at Rachel@emptythetanksworldwide.com.
Thank you so much Rachel for all that you do. You are wonderful and full hearted! We all love you AND thank you!