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Monday, 25 August 2014

An Open Letter to Hope for Wildlife

Dear Hope, 

What can I say, when I moved back home to Nova Scotia and heard of your wonderful organization, I was thrilled that there was a place that had compassionate people who wanted to work to save animals. I borrowed the first 2 seasons of Hope for Wildlife on dvd from the local library and was enthralled watching all of the beautiful creatures NS has. Seeing yourself and your hardworking volunteers saving, nurturing and bringing so many animals back from the brink of death and to witness the day of freedom that was unsure for so many. You gave me hope.

Yesterday was your annual open house. I was extremely excited. I arrived with my two good friends and husband. The crowds were unbelievable. I saw Hope doing interviews and got a bit starstruck, as silly as that may seem. I didn't approach her because I knew there was so much going on.

My friend Sam and I made our way over to the petting zoo. As ethical vegans, we had mixed feelings about this. Thinking of the stress these animals must be under and of course, knowing that these are most likely animals used for someone's own purpose. There were a few goats and a couple sheep. Magnificent creatures. We soaked in their pure goodness, trying to not get overwhelmed by the crowds. Samantha immediately mentioned to me that the sheeps tails were docked. This is a painful procedure, normally done without anesthesia in which they cut the lamb's tails off before 6 months of age.

My biggest notice while with the goats and sheep were just how reactive children are to animals. We are naturally compassionate beings. We are born loving animals and being around them is so thrilling and so exciting for children. I question whether these same children would want to consume the hotdogs and hamburgers being served on the BBQ.

We wandered around, enjoyed seeing the baby squirrels, chipmunk, raccoons and many more beautiful animals.

Then our tummies started growling. What are 4 vegans going to find to eat? You are at an event that is supposed to be raising money for animals yet animals are on the menu? Why is the life of a cow so different than that of the deer you save?

I did, however, notice they had veggie burgers as well. I got excited until I approached one of the people BBQing and was told that "no they can't clean or use a separate grill because they are too busy and don't have time." My immediate response was "then having veggie burgers is pointless." The mass majority of vegans or vegetarians do not want to consume something that is being grilled on the very same grill with animal juices and where pieces of animal flesh were. Thank you for the thought but in the end, it was a pointless gesture.

We moved away from the BBQ, hungry and becoming more and more agitated by the whole event. But the kicker came when we walked up a slope to see a booth lined with fur coats. I stared for several seconds, turned to Sam and said "did I just walk into the Twilight Zone?" I was so disturbed and scared I might start a fight if I approached that I don't know even what exactly they were there for. Searching a little bit online later it seems to me it was for an Inuit center of some sort. How could an event for animals condone allowing fur coats there?

I also witnessed lots of animal pelts on the booth across from the coats and also on a tarot card readers tent. As well as several animal skulls here and there. To me this seems like major disconnect. As a vegan, animal activist and animal lover, seeing these things upset me to the core. You are raising money for animals yet displaying their death everywhere. It made no sense whatsoever to any of us.

We left immediately after this, truly in shock, shaken to the core. My heart ached and all ounce of hope I felt was gone.

So here's what I suggest, Hope and Hope for Wildlife staff, whose hearts I believe are in the right place. If you truly love animals, I challenge you to not only look into veganism but search what happens on family and factory farms every single day. Watch Earthlings, Vegucated (also available on Netflix), Speciesism (there is a free public screening in Halifax on Sept. 30th) and a multitude of other animal films. I ask you to listen to Gary Yourofsky's best speech. Read the many animal and vegan related books on the market. Try some of our local vegan restaurants such as Wild Leek, enVie and Fruition. Come visit Halifax Vegfest on September 20th. Visit my website which has databases for all things vegan My blog also has a Halifax vegan guide which is perfect to get people started who live locally.

Peace begins on your plate. The animals you save are no different than the ones you consume. All animals deserve life and all animals want to live. 

Choose compassion, go vegan!

Ashley Leslie
The Vegan Peach


  1. Ashley, you already know I'm a Hope for Wildlife volunteer, the only one in Cape Breton. I think your blog post was dispassionate and truthful, and as a fellow vegan I would also have been upset to have been denied the basic courtesy of a scraped grill for my veggie burger. Furthermore, I would have been alarmed to find fur coats and animal skulls in a place dedicated to wildlife rescue.

    Hope for Wildlife does good work, and I'm glad to be a part of the effort. But it isn't perfect, and it has to be willing to bear both scrutiny and criticism. You did a fine job of both.

  2. I just want you to know what a weak constitution you really have. You can't even handle an actual conversation about food, diet, agriculture, etc. Instead you resort to censorship to get your way and stroke your ego with everyone else who praises you.

    But would they still praise you if they knew you censor anyone who disagrees with you by blocking their arguments without actually responding to them?

    I find your behavior to be rather disgusting myself, and it tells me exactly what I need to know about you as a person. You're a petty coward, and that's all you'll ever be.

    I hope this strikes some kind of chord with you and come up with the guts to actually defend your position to others. I know I won't be giving you the time of day from now on. You're not worth it.

    1. Aww how nice. No, I block people who are too big of an idiot to grasp anything I say. I don't have time for ridiculous debates. Instead I focus my energy on positive and talking to people who are receptive.


  3. Hello, I've nominated your blog for a Liebster Award. I've been following your blog and I would love it if you're able to post about and answer some of my questions and pass it along! Thanks! Details are on my page.

    1. Shannon you're amazing! I'm honored. Going to check out the post now.

  4. I google "hope for wildlife vegan" and your blog is the first thing that comes up. I read it, and my natural reaction is to be sickened by Hope For Wildlife. Now I'm just disappointed.

    I know I'm late to the party, but it's depressing - people keep telling me I should volunteer for Hope For Wildlife, but I think advocating for veganism is a much better use of my time in terms of helping animals.