Six years ago, I sorted my life out enough that I finally had enough peace of mind that I could do something for someone else. As a little girl my entire bedroom was turned into an animal hospital where I would nurse and love every stuffed animal within sight. By eighteen I realized that my dream of being a vet would never be as I just don’t have that kind of a brain. Many years later when I was at a convention in Toronto I saw an elephant on the convention floor being used as a “prop” for a book promotion. I was sickened at the sight of this beautiful animal so untethered from her natural environment, her family, her real life. I didn’t do anything at the time but my heartbreak at her heartbreak planted a seed to do something.
My first act of advocacy on behalf of elephants was to chase the Canadian Royal circus across the country and harass them by contacting local authorities and press regarding the abuses of the company and the life of circus animals.
My second act was to organize The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos in Vancouver. The GMFER is a global grassroots movement to raise awareness and to advocate to stop the mass extinction of the world’s most iconic wildlife.
It has been a labour of love and learning. I want to do right by the elephant I saw in the convention centre that day long ago.
Through GMFER I met Fran and the crew at Elephanatics. Fran and I organized the first Global March together and soon after I was invited to be a Director for the organization.
This year ( 2018) Elephanatics campaigned to have the Canadian government close the legal trade of ivory in Canada. A letter to Minister Catherine McKenna was backed by 95 national and international signatories including International Fund for Animal Welfare, Humane Society International, Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada, Big Life Foundation, Wildlife Direct and Dr Richard Leakey, to name a few.
The following members of parliament have lent their support to the letter: Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway), Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches-East York) and Fin Donnelly (Port Moody-Coquitlam). Solicitor General, the Honorable Mike Farnworth (Port Coquitlam) and member of the Legislative Assembly, Jane Thornthwaite (North Vancouver-Seymour) also signed.
If anyone ever wonders how they can make a difference I would say “Just do it”. Often we overthink what we do. If I thought for one second what I was getting into I might not have done it. It’s too overwhelming. Fran and I had never organized an event before the first GMFER, and certainly our group had never taken on an advocacy position but between the three of us (Fran, Leanne and I) we are doing the best we can. In the end I want to know that I have given it my best shot. I don’t want to ever say, I did nothing, I just stood by and watched.
So thanks for listening and stopping by.
Please visit elephanatics.org for more info on our current activities.
2 responses to “Elephants”
mob of elephants crossing roads in the two states of india kerala and karnataka
Having “accidentally” (meaning serendipitously) read your message, I, too, am beholden to these magnificent creatures for opening my heart to their beyond-beautiful souls. If all the “if onlys” could be swept from my list of obstacles, I would volunteer myself to the baby elephant rescues in Kenya to care for, sleep with, teach, and love the wee little orphans for their first five years and feel myself to be the most fortunate human ever! Bravo to your efforts!