Friday, December 17

Goodbye to the Circus

After two weeks of leafleting and holding signs outside the circus, the craziness is winding down. There are only five circus shows left - and we will have them all covered! While I'm so relieved that the demo is behind me, and most of the leafleting too, I think I'm mostly pleased that I won't have to drive past the circus every time I go to Fourways. It hurts my heart every time I see it, and think about those poor animals
The demo made photo of the day in a German newspaper.
While I'm relieved that it'll be over soon, I'm also keenly aware that it is never over for the animals. On Monday they will load the animals into hot trailers and truck them for hours to their next destination. Then the animals will have to perform complicated tricks twice a day, under the constant threat of punishment. For them, it really never ends

For me? I am tabling at the Bryanston Organic Market tomorrow, so stop by to say hello!

To find out more about future campaigns, please email me so we can add you to our activist network. 

Tuesday, December 14

News and Updates

  • This morning Ashley from PETA Asia and I were on Chai FM to talk about our anti-circus campaign. I am so grateful for the opportunity to talk to the public about what really happens to animals who are victims of the entertainment industry.
  • After the interview I went into a nearby shop, where someone saw my PETA tshirt and gave me her contact information so that I can let her know about our next campaign! It's always so fun to meet another activist and vegan.
  • This evening five activists and I leafleted outside the circus so that circus goers know what really goes on! I got to meet some really wonderful people, and we had a very positive response from the public. One of the activists - a first-timer - commented that doing this kind of work "really feeds your soul". I completely agree!
  • I am tabling at the Bryanston Organic Market this Saturday. Come along to get some literature and free stickers, or just to say hi! 
  • Email me if you would like to get involved in work we do in the future. 
  • I just found a really fun game: Super Chick Sisters! No need to ask what I'm doing with the rest of my evening.
  • Have a look at this amazing anti-fur march in Tokyo.
  • PETA has written a letter to Santa.

Sunday, December 12

CLAW Goodwill Christmas Carnival

Every year, the good people at CLAW put on a Carnival for the underprivileged children of Durban Deep, and surrounding areas. For just one day, the Cecil Payne Stadium in Roodepoort is transformed into an exciting fete, with clowns, a wizard, jumping castles, balloons and face-painting! 

My friends and I hosted our own stall, where the 780 children who attended could play fun games and win great prizes! 

We had treasure chests, where the children wore blindfolds and dug for fun prizes: 

A hula hooping contest: 

Musical statues: 

Fortunately, it didn't rain until the Carnival was over! I guess the Universe decided it wouldn't be fair to ruin the day! 

Cora Bailey, founder of CLAW, said: "The kids loved it!! For most of them its the only day out of squalor all year. They start asking about it early in the year. Bus trip, food, games, presents - loads of stuff we take for granted. Its not possible to host a day like this without the help of others." To make a donation to CLAW, click here

Wednesday, December 8

PETA Demo Makes the News!

We also made photo of the day

Anti-Circus Demo 07-12-10

What a fun, fantastic demonstration today! I was so overwhelmed by the turnout. We had over 40 people, which was far more than we expected. Thank you to everyone who came, brought friends, and did such a great job! Thank you also to everyone who dressed up as convicts - and to Pinnacle Digital Solutions for the posters and banner - the visual was fantastic.  

The news outlets who came were the Star, and Fourways Review. There was also a photographer from EPA. Please let me know if you see the demo in any of the media! 

Radio presenters Grant and Anele (5FM) apparently talked about how terrible the circus is, and gave the information about the demo on their show! Some people showed up because they had just heard about the demo on the radio, and decided to join us at the last minute! 

Thursday, December 2

The Circus

A 2008 study by NGO Public Watch found evidence that circus animals are "mistreated". This is not news, really, as animal rights organisations have been asking people to steer clear of the circus for decades. 

Photograph from the Sunday Times
The undercover investigation by Public Watch found elephants "chained by their legs for 19 hours a day; left outside in extreme heat with no shelter; given water only twice a day; and made to urinate on command." Elephants should not have to endure this unnatural lifestyle. 

Photograph from the circus's own website. I wonder what you have to do to an elephant to make him dance?
While acrobats, trapeze artists and clowns thrive on the thrill of performing, and the praise from the crowds, wild animals don't want to perform, or be anywhere near huge crowds! Studies of circuses around the world confirm this. I would love to attend a circus with only human performers - people who are skilled artists demonstrating their own agility - instead of one where animals are made to do tricks! 

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has photographs of "a chimpanzee in an 'extremely emaciated state', and another with broken teeth."
I am concerned about the basic logistics of a circus that performs six days a week, and travels on the seventh. As anyone who drives past the circus can see, the elephants are chained to a trailer when they're not performing. They spend the seventh day driving in a hot trailer to the next venue. This doesn't seem to leave any time to, you know, just be elephants. 

In this very moving video, renowned wildlife rehabilitation expert Karen Trendler talks about the methods that are typically used to make elephants do tricks. 
Brian Boswell and his lions. Photograph from
If you would like information on the Johannesburg anti-circus demo, please email me

Wednesday, December 1

The First of December

I have had some really fun experiences today and I just have to share them.  

First, I went to the Johannesburg Metro Police Department to tell them about next week's circus demo. (Email me for more info.) The first thing they asked was whether the last demo was a success - actually, whether we "won"! I thought this was very sweet! They also told me they would come to protect us from the circus people

While at JMPD, I was approached by representatives of the Golden Triangle Community Crisis Committee (Golcom). They were there to apply for a permit to protest about their right to housing, but wanted to talk to me about PETA. They have concerns about the dogs in their community, who are chained and caged for long periods. It always warms my heart when people who are living in shelters they have built themselves, with no electricity, reach out for help for mistreated dogs! They told me their own dogs sleep indoors, and they don't like to see dogs left outside

I contacted Community Led Animal Welfare, and received a positive response right away! Cora Bailey agreed to speak at the Golcom Community Meeting this Sunday, and take a team into the community next week to help them with their dogs. Please consider donating to CLAW to help with their fantastic work! 

I came home to discover that a friend had dropped off a whole bunch of toys for the stall I am hosting at the CLAW Christmas Carnival (an event that ensures 600 underprivileged children have a fun Christmas!). When I went to yoga, more toys had been collected for the carnival! 

Oh, and I also got to visit some of the happiest rescue animals I have ever seen!

Today set a pretty high standard which tomorrow probably won't meet. 

Monday, November 29

A Wonderful Story!

This dog was abandoned by his owner and left with two other dogs on the property. He was left unchained while the other two dogs were tied up. He scavenged for food each day and brought it to the other two tied-up dogs. He kept them alive for a month before CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare) rescued them! He is an absolute saviour and deserves a second chance at life! Please contact CLAW on 011 763 1638 if you can help him. 

Pictures from the Fur Free SA Demo

Here are some pictures from the Fur Free SA demo this weekend, taken by Tricia Davis of Fur Free SA
Here I am with my dog, Lucy Elizabeth; Kelly-Leigh of Spread the Word; and Matthew. 
Here activists are demonstrating the plight of animals caged and skinned alive for their fur. 

Saturday, November 27

Fur Free SA Demo November 2010

Congratulations to Fur Free SA for a fantastic fur free demo today! The protest featured activists in cages, scantily-clad protesters in red body paint, and a visit by Jeremy Mansfield. The turnout was very impressive, and a lot of press showed up to see!  

The protest drew attention to the cruel fur trade, and coincided with protests all around the world.

Lucy Elizabeth resting after her first demo. 
I took Lucy Elizabeth along, in her handmade "Spare Me, Don't Wear Me" tshirt and her "Pure Rescue" collar. She had a wonderful time! Everyone wanted to pet her, including Jeremy Mansfield, and she loved all the attention! 

Please let us know if you see anything about the protest in the news! 

Thursday, November 25

Happy Fur Free Friday!

It's a fun week full of good karma when you have a Meat Free Monday and a Fur Free Friday! Well, Fur Free Saturday in our case! This Saturday Fur Free SA is going to put on a huge demonstration in Johannesburg. 

Now, I'm NOT going to show you a bunch of awful pictures that will turn your stomach. But they would turn your stomach. The fur industry vaginally and anally electrocutes foxes and chinchillas, clubs seals, and skins dogs alive. It is truly awful, and completely unnecessary. 

Please go Fur Free, for good! You can pledge to stay Fur Free, here. 

Fur is dead. And while we're on the topic, so is leather

"Leather" is just another word for skin. The skins industry supplements the meat industry, it is not a by-product. This means that the animals you wear were not "dead anyway". Leather is a reason for factory farming. Tens of millions of cows and pigs are stunned, hung upside down and bled to death for their skin. This happens after they are raised in very confined quarters (where they don't see the sun and live in their own feces) and transported for hours in hot trucks.

Leather is bad for the environment. Not only is modern-day farming unsustainable, but the treatment and preparation of skin involves large amounts of chemicals that pollute the environment

Leather is not glamorous. Go Leather Free

PETA's really fun "Cruelty Doesn't Fly" video featuring Pamela Anderson is here. There's nothing upsetting in it, and it's really worth watching! Enjoy!

These Puppies Need Homes

Saturday, November 20

Updates and Personal News

  • This week I finished my exams for final year law! I'm so pleased that's done! I haven't completely decided what I am going to do next, but Business School looks very likely! 
  • Next Saturday is the Fur Free SA fur demo. See you there? 
  • This cute pig was rescued by CLAW and is now happy in his new home!

A Rant

This is a travesty. According to News24 a fifteen year old girl was brutally gang raped at school - a place where she is supposed to feel safe - by some of her classmates. The other students did not try to intervene, but rather filmed the attack on their cellphones. 

The police initially did not make any arrests because the students were writing exams. Then they said they did not have evidence it was rape. In the end, they decided to charge the attackers with statutory rape (sex with a minor under 16). Now, this young victim is also being charged with statutory rape, because one of her attackers was only 14!

I am so appalled. Are women going to come forward to report rape when they think they risk being charged too? 

The following organisations which support rape victims really need your support:
People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA)
Rape Crisis Cape Town 

Wednesday, November 10

Happy Tortoise Story

The following is a guest post from Kate Townshend. 
This afternoon the Johannesburg Water Department rang the doorbell to ask whether I have a strange pet which runs like *this* because it went into the plants and they think I must fetch it and take it back inside. Turned out to be a tortoise who was in the garden on our pavement. How bizarre! Anyway, Tortoise is now at FreeMe and will be released next week to go and enjoy the life she was supposed to have. Till then it is fine dining and some relaxation time at FreeMe

You can donate to this fantastic organisation here

Tuesday, November 9

Update on Fur Free Demo plans for 27 November

The good people at Fur Free SA have been hard at work planning the Fur Demo in Johannesburg on 27 November.  Here's an exciting update: Jeremy and Jacqui Mansfield are attending to help take a stand against the cruelty of the fur industry. Someone named Jason Greer will also be there. 

Email Tricia for more information, or to sign up (and give her a few days to get back to you.) They really need all the volunteers they can get! 

"Just because everybody does it doesn't mean it's right, and it takes more strength to defend the weak against the masses than be part of the masses that pick on the weak." -Steve Nash

Please do come, and bring your friends and family! If you need to inspire them, there is more information here. See you there? 

Monday, November 8

Happy Meat Free Monday

A year ago I visited Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary in Maryland, USA with my friends Kelsey and Stacey. We met some wonderful animals who had been rescued from becoming lunch.
Pigs are more intelligent than dogs. 
These beautiful animals are sentient and feeling. They deserve so much more than being killed as soon as they are large enough to be eaten. 
The cutie I am holding is named Harrison, too.
By pledging to go Meat-Free on Mondays, you can save animals like these! You can also win amazing prizes valued at R 40 000. If this is not enough, maybe the following information from Meat Free Monday will change your mind: 
  • Reducing your daily intake of meat by 60% will help reduce excess weight and obesity. 
  • Eating less meat will prevent heart disease, strokes, cancer, and diabetes. 
  • If we were to save just 15% of the total water used to convert animals into meat at the abattoir, then 104000 households could be provided with all their water needs for one year.
  • More than ½ the maize we grow goes to feed "food" animals while 1 child dies every 45 min from malnutrition. 
  • Animal agriculture contributes to the destruction of tropical rainforests, soil erosion, dwindling reserves of fresh water, land, fuel and other resources.
  • 250l of water is needed to produce 1kg wheat, 25 000l of water is required to produce 1kg meat.
  • Protein derived from meat requires 25 times more energy to produce than comparable protein from vegetable sources.
"I held his face and looked into his eyes the way I do with my dog,  Marley." - Stacey
Try to go Meat Free just one day a week: Monday, perhaps? To make your Mondays easier, Fry's Vegetarian produces some amazing meat alternatives which are available at Pick 'n Pay and Checkers! You could also try the Steers Veggie Burger or the Kauai Veggie Wrap - both made with Fry's Vegetarian products. You could also try, you know, good old vegetables! 
This sweetie-pie didn't even get up when Kelsey and I came over to say 'hi'. 
Once you've got Mondays down, why not Go Vegetarian? Check out Vegetarianism in a Nutshell.

P!nk - Raise Your Glass

Friday, November 5

Praise for The Sarah Harrison Chronicles

This email made me very happy! 
Hi there, I have been following your exploits for the last few weeks and think it is reputable what you are trying to achieve.
Somewhere inside every human being we know we are the odd ones out in this world, but still continue with our monotonous day to day existence and never just taking one step back to see what we are doing. Your news making and blog has made me stop and rethink my life and what we are doing to the earth by our continues consumption and waste.
Okay, I'm done showing off now. 

Thank you to everyone who visits and supports this blog!  

Wednesday, November 3

5 Easy Ways to Help Animals Today...or any day

  1. Sign up to join a protest - even if it's your first one! Fur Free SA is holding a demo on 27 November in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. It will be legal, and fun! You can email Anneke for more information.
  2. Put an Animal Rights bumper sticker on your car, laptop, dustbin or diary! Leave your postal address as a comment, or email me and I shall send you some for free.
  3. Join an Animal Rights group like Fur Free SA or Beauty Without Cruelty and a facebook group like Spread the Word or Animal Rights South Africa.
  4. Try Veg for a day! Support Meat Free Monday next week. If you sign up here, you could win some amazing prizes. To make your life easier, try the Steers Veggie Burger or the Kauai Veggie Wrap. They're both from Fry's Vegetarian.
  5. Sign the Petition against KFC

Saturday, October 30

I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur

Spread the Word put on a fantastic, professional "I'd Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur" photoshoot today. The event allowed ordinary South Africans to show it all, to show their support of the Fur Free Campaign. Almost 50 people participated to create adverts like this: 

Well done to everyone brave enough to bare it all for an important cause. While I'd rather go naked than wear fur, I'd actually prefer to do neither. However, I have a lot of respect for everyone who took part. If you didn't get the chance to participate today but would like to star in your own advert, click here. Either way, please pledge not to wear fur

Animals bred and killed for their fur are vaginally and anally electrocuted and skinned alive. There is nothing glamorous about the fur trade.

On a related note, my friends and I went to watch Evita on Friday night at the Montecasino Theatre. It was very good, if not quite the same standard as The Lion King, and Chicago. It was heartwarming to know that none of the fur used in the play was real! Thanks to the efforts of Fur Free the theatre promised to use only faux! The theatre was accordingly given an award, by PETA.  

There will be a (fully-clothed) Fur Free demonstration in Johannesburg on 27 November. Please join us!

Thursday, October 28

Noise Pollution

On 5 November people around the world celebrate a plot by Guido Fawkes to blow up the British Parliament. The importance of saluting someone who tried to kill a bunch of people in another country 400 years ago has always eluded me. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's terrorism! Even more concerning is that people celebrate by letting off fireworks in residential areas, terrorising domestic and wild animals for miles. Terrified birds abandon their nests, dogs jump through closed windows, and cats run through the streets and are hit by cars. The stories are endless

To avoid disaster please keep your dogs and cats inside during the evenings and nights leading up to, and following 5 November. Speak to your vet about a sedative for them, and play soothing music and/or some kind of white noise (such as a fan). Click here for more things you can do for your companion animals. 

Please don't buy fireworks, or set them off anywhere. Boycott events that show fireworks too. 

Monday, October 25

Adopting, Breeding & Buying

I know you didn’t think I was going to wait any longer to add pictures of my perfect dogs! And why are they so perfect? They’re adopted!

Puppies bought at pet shops are very cute, and very sad. They come from puppy mills and backyard breeders, where no money is spent on the dogs’ comfort – or health. Dogs suffer ammonia burns when they are forced to live in their own urine, and the urine from dogs in cages above them leaks down onto them. This abuse is purely for profit. By buying the cute little doggie in the window you are funding this awful cycle.

Breeders, while not as merciless, are still in it for the money. They breed – and overbreed – the best looking dogs at the expense of their health. Dogs from breeders have a variety of inherent problems from allergies to hip dysplasia.

More importantly, anyone who breeds dogs is carelessly ignoring the overpopulation crisis. SPCAs and shelters are overflowing with perfect dogs, because instead of adopting from these shelters, people are buying from pet shops and breeders. Rather save a life – adopt!

Now, about my dogs….

Charlotte Saffron is a very sweet amputee who doesn’t let her disability slow her down!

Silky-Dog Lucy Elizabeth is the most gentle, silky dog you have ever met! She is just too lovely!

 Sir Benjamin is full of energy, and perfectly healthy, at 10 years old!

Charlotte Saffron and Lucy Elizabeth are from Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW), and Benjamin is from Wetnose. The SPCA also has some amazing dogs who need homes! Have a look at the dogs who need loving homes here.

Saturday, October 23

Gareth Cliff's response to the PETA Demo

While the response from the public and media was mostly positive, the response from Gareth Cliff (5FM Radio) was not. I received some rather frantic messages from activists who were very upset by what he had to say. I assume they wanted me to get angry and phone into his show. I did neither.

If I have the right to put activists in cages on the side of the road, members of the media have the right to say what they like about it. I know that by holding demonstrations we attract both praise and criticism. I am grateful for both.

Considering the amount of work we put into the demo, I would be far more concerned if Gareth Cliff didn’t think it was worth mentioning. 

PETA Demo: Kentucky Fried Cruelty

On Tuesday 19 October 2010, we held an anti-KFC protest on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). We featured four PETA activists in cages on the pavement outside a KFC in Randburg, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The protest was held to draw attention to the terrible conditions chickens are kept in at KFC suppliers. Chickens at KFC suppliers have their toes and beaks cut off and are thrown into packed warehouses that are never cleaned. The smell of feces is overwhelming. The birds are fed growth-inducing antibiotics routinely and are bred for maximum meat. Their little legs often become crippled under their own weight. The birds are dumped into scalding hot water – even if they are still conscious – to remove their feathers.

These abuses are unnecessary, and unforgivable.

We held this protest to ask South Africans to boycott KFC until they make some basic humane changes.

The activists were such troopers and didn’t move when it started raining! As fourteen-year-old activist Jamie said, “The chickens can’t leave when they’re uncomfortable.”

The demonstration went very well and got into the Beeld, the Citizen, the Times, and the Randburg Sun.

Many thanks to Ashley and PETA Asia Pacific for all the help and support, and to all the activists who showed up for the demo, and stayed through the rain. 

The Beeld