Category: Europe

Week 48 Food For Life (Slovenia/International)

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This week saw the presentation of the ARIA (The Australian Recording Industry Association Music) Awards, so I thought I would come up with five Top Fives of my own, listed in no particular order…

5 Great Plant Powered Snacks

Popcorn – (cover bottom of pan in a good layer of oil, add kernels when oil is very hot – a kernel will start to spin by itself at this point, add salt now for more even coverage, leave lid askew to release moisture, keep heat up high until fury of popping subsides, immediately remove popcorn from pan before it burns.)

Eda Mame – Young soy beans. Sprinkle defrosted beans in pods with salt, or, cook beans, pod and all, in pepper and garlic.  At end stir through some veg oyster sauce and remove from heat.  In either case you don’t eat the pods but you will still be able to enjoy the seasoning as you eat the beans.

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Peanuts – Roast your own at home under the grill at high heat, or for something different, boil in salted water for about 15mins until soft.  Keeps in fridge for a few days.

Mini Spring rolls, samosas or onion rings – available in supermarket freezer. Lemon served with onion rings is a great sub for calamari.  Best way to cook all fried snacks is on a cafe style sandwich press.

Crispy Mix – Make your own assortment of nuts, pretzels, rice crackers, popcorn, biscuits, dried fruit etc and store in an airtight container for when snack attacks hit.  Middle Eastern grocers have some really great things you can put in.

5 Great Plant Powered Recipes

Mockzarella

http://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/2015/01/23/melty-stretchy-gooey-vegan-mozarella/

Add a sprinkle of turmeric and/or a bit of mustard for more colour/flavour.  This is great on tacos, toasties as a dip or even as a fondue. Yum.

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Pepperoni

http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-pepperoni/

Blend in a handful of diced roasted beetroot for colour.

Roll out on bench with greaseproof paper on top and bottom.  Cook uncovered with bottom paper directly on oven racks. Keep the paper you have removed from top and use it to allow you to flip pepperoni halfway through cooking.

Have on toasted sandos with mockzarella.

Simple but pimped Dhal Tadka

No soaking required.

In pot or pressure cooker boil red split lentils, chopped onion and tomato, grated ginger, salt and turmeric to taste, in enough water to make it quite soupy.  Add some kale or broccoli at end of coking if you like for extra colour.

In a separate pan fry up any or all of peppercorns, coriander/cumin/fenugreek/mustard seeds. Add chilli flakes, sesame seeds, curry leaves – all optional.

Serve dhal, top with fried spices and some macadamia or coconut oil and optional coriander leaves.

Vegetable Manchurian – My Chinese-Indian Love Affair

http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/veg-manchurian-veg-manchurian-gravy/

Gobi manchurian is cauliflower fried and served the same way.  Find it in restaurants that serve dosa or that have a Chinese Indian menu, or make it at home, dry or with ‘gravy’ (sauce).  Ask restaurants if they can leave out ajinomoto (MSG) if they use it.

Use a sandwich press to cook the balls, same with felafel.

Vegan Pho inspired soup

http://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com/2014/12/05/quick-vegan-pho/

I could live on clear soups with lots of yummies packed in.

Here is a link to one recipe, if you want to make your life simple you can use five spice powder in place of the dried spices.  I add in a splash of vegetarian oyster or hoisin sauce or weird and wonderful vegetarian pastes from the asian shop.  Have fun with flavours!

ps it’s pronounced ‘feu’ it comes from the French ‘pot au feu

To me soup like this would not be complete without a couple of pieces of mock meat, but some purist vegos would disagree.  Which brings me to my next list…

5 Shamefully Yummy Mock Meats

Mock mutton/beef chunks.  This one is easily yummier than the real dead thing.  It is usually based on shiitake mushroom stems. Eat it fried in fried rice or add to soups like pho, or curries like rendang.  Easily my fave faux.

mock-mutton

BBQ ‘pork’ – great in stir-fries.  Also look out for vegan char siu buns.  Steam or microwave for a total junk food treat. Usually made from wheat protein aka gluten…not for coeliacs!!

Crispy chicken/duck – this crisps up great on the sanga press.  Serve with vegies and rice and sauce of your choice. This is normally made from beancurd, the ‘skin’ off soy milk.

Pretend prawns – Yes they exist! not as tasty as the real thing, but very cute and much more sustainable.  Made from konjac, a starchy root. I love these in soups too.

‘Fish’ – This is similar in use and manufacture to the chicken/duck…it just has some nori seaweed added for ‘sea flavour’. Not for the faint hearted, some can taste a little too ‘gamey’ for comfort.

All of the above can be found at Vincent Vegetarian if you live in Melbourne.  Regular Asian grocers will often stock some of the other items. Meat eaters might sniff at the fakeness of mock meats…but it is any more unnatural than every single step of modern industrial animal farming?!

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https://ffl.org/

FFLG is the world’s largest food relief organisation.

We support plant-based meal distribution to the disadvantaged, malnourished and victims of disaster (natural or manmade), wherever there is a need in the world.

With a mission to address the root cause of all social issues through teaching spiritual equality in practice and precept, our projects also include health education, eco-farming, schooling, animal rescue and animal care.

Background on the Food for Life Project:

The distribution of sanctified plant-based meals has been and will continue to be an essential part of India’s Vedic culture of hospitality from which Food for Life was born. Since its inception in the early 70’s, Food for Life has tried to liberally distribute pure plant-based meals (prasadam) throughout the world with the aim of creating peace and prosperity. The project started in 1974 after yoga students of Swami Prabhupada became inspired by his plea that “No one within a ten-mile radius of a temple should go hungry!” Today Food for Life is active in over 60 countries.

Up to 2,000,000 meals daily!

With volunteers serving up to 2 million free plant-based meals daily to schools, as well as from mobile vans and to disaster areas. FOOD FOR LIFE is now the largest food relief in the world, eclipsing even the United Nations World Food Programme.

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5 Great Yoga Moves

Downward dog

Triangle poseimages

Bridge Pose

Lying single knee twist.

Helping those less fortunate than yourself, whatever their species

 

5 Great Animal Quotes

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” index2
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”
― Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

“I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

“Some people say they love animals and yet harm them nonetheless; I’m glad those people don’t love me.”
― Marc Bekoff, The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint

“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that have received–only what you have given- a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage.”
― Francis of Assisi 

And of course this whole blog is a really just a list of 52 great charities 🙂

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Week 30 HAYTAP Animal Rights Federation (Turkey)

The skin is removed as a single piece, after the internal organs had been removed, the body was then cut up and shared, and after roasting, was eaten.

roast

The full story:

In the Brisbane area, a native doctor singed the body hair from the body at a large fire, leaving the beard and head hair unburnt, while other members of the group sat around their own fires. 3 other native doctors dance toward the corpse, while each holds a stone knife in his mouth. If of a man, the corpse was placed face down on the ground, women were placed face up. The skin is removed as a single piece, including the fingers, toes, ears, etc. It is then spread on spears near a fire to dry. After the internal organs, including the entrails, had been removed, the body was then cut up and shared, and after roasting, was eaten, except for certain parts, that were destroyed in the fire. Some relatives, mother, widow or sister keep the collected bones. After placing the pelvis in a bag it is used to identify the ‘murderer’.(Roth, 1907: 398-401). The process is finalised by placing the skin and bones in a hollow tree.

http://austhrutime.com/aboriginal_mortuary_rites_cannibalism.htm

I looked this up as I was talking to an historian friend on the weekend and he told me that some Indigenous Australian peoples occasionally consumed human flesh, usually as a part of a ceremony.  And just now, I came across this news article published today:

The grotesque truth that will force you off the Paleo diet

Researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany looked at human remains from Belgium that date back to approximately 40,500 to 45,500 years ago and found evidence of cannibalism among the Neanderthals who lived there.

The team noticed “cut marks, pits, and notches” in the bones, which indicate they had been bitten into by humans. “The remains indicate processes of skinning, cutting up, and extraction of the bone marrow”.

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/original-paleo-diet

The author had ad-libbed her own comments of What the actual f*ck, you guys. and Ewww into the article.

But you don’t even have to go back to ancient times or ‘tribal cultures’ to find socially accepted consumption of human remains…

mumia

Mummia (mummy powder) was being sold in Europe as a medicine from the 1300’s up until the early 1900’s…

A cure for what ails you

Mummy powder was obtained by raiding ancient tombs and plundering the corpses found inside. These could include the most famous mummies in history, Egyptian mummies, or other, less well known corpses. Once the appetite for mummy powder grew, manufacturers took to digging up any old corpse for their supply. Quite literally; any desiccated corpse would do, and buyers really could not tell the difference anyway.

Once the corpse was obtained, it would be ground down into dust. The powder could be mixed with various other substances and was prescribed to treat everything from headaches, stomach ulcers, to tumors. It could be taken orally or used as a plaster or salve. It was so popular that any apothecary worth its salt carried mummy powder.

http://www.oddlyhistorical.com/2014/04/09/mummy-powder-gruesome-cure/

…and could be found an ingredient in paint (mummia brown) as late as the 1960’s.

‘Mummy,’ as a pigment, is inferior to prepared, but superior to raw, asphalt… it is usual to grind up the bones and other parts of the mummy together, so that the resulting powder has more solidity and is less fusible than the asphalt alone would be.

A London colourman informs me that one Egyptian mummy furnishes sufficient material to satisfy the demands of his customers for twenty years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mummia

Mission Brown …now mummy powder free!!

From our current worldview, this all may seem weird/icky…But it seems like it was normal for a lot longer than it has been abnormal.  At least the humans were free range!  We do some absolutely horrible things today in the name of animal agriculture, that should NOT be considered acceptable.

I hope that someday all the ‘ewww…what the actual f*ck, you guys’ things that we now consider normal to do to animals and each other in the name of greed will also someday be banished to a barbaric footnote from the past.

For this to happen, we need

  1. People to stop pretending everything is ok just because social norms say that it is.
  2. People need to start using, rather than ignoring the empathy and moral compass that we were blessed with.  We also need to understand that morality and empathy are by no means limited to humans. Many studies have found animals capable of displaying both, and not only to others of their own kind.
  3. We need to stop thinking that we are superior and our needs matter most.  The selfish individualism of deliberately adopting a high protein diet is an example of putting personal desire over greater good.  The elevation of humans above other species is an artifice created by us, for us.  I don’t believe in karma but I can’t believe so many people who claim to do nothing to try and improve theirs!
  4. ‘Speciesism’ needs to become as unpalatable to caring people as so many other ‘isms’ are.  Hopefully from there, wider change can ripple out.
  5. Animal derived consumables (meat, milk, eggs, leather) etc need to become more of a rarity and less of a ‘default’ choice by mainstream consumers.

Don’t be a Norm.  Change the norm.

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Life. Make it count.

 

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.     Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think we can aim a bit higher than improving just one life!

So tuck into parsnips, not people; corn cobs not cows; lentils not lambs; veggie burgers not veal and peppered broccoli not Peppa Pig.

Peppered broccoli recipe -please ad lib the quantities to requirements-this is based on the famous Singapore Pepper Crab recipe.

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In heated oiled frying pan or sandwich press (my preference), add Broccoli florets, lots of ground pepper (I use high speed blender to mill peppercorns)

When broccoli is cooked, turn off heat and stir in minced garlic and vegetarian oyster or stirfry sauce. Serve with rice.

 

You can also do edamame this way as a snack, you still don’t eat the skins though.

 

roast
http://vegetarian-plus.com/category/vegan-beef/

 

Butt who knows, with the current fad for zombies and skull tattoos…

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http://www.pophangover.com/3686/the-25-ugliest-and-stupidest-tattoos-on-the-internet/

…one day we might go full circle and find ourselves back on the menu again?!

There are 7+ billion of us who will all die one day…that is a lot of bodies to get rid of…and a lot of meat that is going to waste.

We take from the earth in life and don’t even give back in death.  Cremation uses fossil fuels and emits a literal stack of pollution.  Deep burial doesn’t feed the earth.  Maybe in future we could be turned into food for carnivorous animals whose traditional hunting grounds we have usurped?! Or at very least we could be turned into fertiliser.

Promission is a new concept which involves freeze drying the body, which can then be powdered down easily. Plants can grow in this powder, unlike the ashes from cremation.

BUT I also do like those little freeze dried fruits coated in chocolate…hmm…now there’s an idea…!

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Cannibalism, Kiwi style

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haytap

http://www.haytap.org/  (Text below is from Wikipedia. This has been the most difficult charity so far arrange a donation from overseas to.)

HAYTAP rejects the idea of animals as property, and opposes the use of animals in any form: It is against raising animals for their furs,selling them as pets, hunting them and making them a trade commodity. It promotes a vegan diet.

HAYTAP supports the presence of stray animals at a tolerable level and the appropriate prevention of strays.

HAYTAP opposes animal fighting, seal hunting, bullfighting and works to stop the use and abuse of animals in certain display contexts like zoos, circuses, dolphinariums and roadside exhibits.

Through posters, HAYTAP attempts to draw public attention to animal rights issues like abandoned pets, street dogs and cats, roadkill, fur clothing, emotion in animals, anti-hunting and captive animals in zoos, circuses and dolphinariums.

HAYTAP advises municipalities and governments on legislation to improve animal rights. It met Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in February 2011 and obtained his commitment to take action regarding animal rights.

Most people around here sacrifice animals once in a year -fest of sacrificing animals. This is a must for Muslim people who can afford it. The operation -cutting off the animal’s head- is performed mostly in the streets.

My major concern is “how do people think that they have the right to kill and eat a living soul”. It is very likely in the case of militarist structures. How soldiers feel the right to “kill the enemy”.

Here is the complete write up from a Turkish vegetarian.

 

 

Week 28 AnimaNaturalis (Spain)

Everyone knows about Spanish bullfighting.

This week is the running of the bulls in Pamploma.  There is a recent article where you can read about it here.

If you are still unsure whether bullfighting is something you support or not, there is a very well written article here.

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I will leave bullfighting with those links as it is already well known and well documented.  It is propped up by tourism, so if you are tempted to attend, please make sure you go in with full knowledge of what you are supporting.

Sadly, I have been volunteering for years in animal welfare and since I was 15 have carried the heavy knowledge in me that bullfights are not the only brutalising of animals done in Spain (or the world) in the name of entertainment, usually under the guise of ‘cultural tradition’.

How does a recently made up tradition EVER trump the rights of an animal to live free from abuse such as is detailed below?

 

Warning: The following is extremely distressing.

 

http://www.animal-rights-action.com/spanish-festivals.html.

The Pero Palo Festival In Villanueva de la Vera, Spain

Every year, a terrified donkey is violently forced through the streets of the village of Villanueva de la Vera in Spain, surrounded by drunk, rowdy, young men. The men think it is great fun to beat, kick, bite, shove, drag and crush the terrified donkey, as they all laugh as it is done. The animal regularly collapses from exhaustion and fright, only to be forced back to its feet by violence from the mob of drunken men. Guns are fired close to the panicked animal, alcohol is forced down it’s throat and it is ridden by the heaviest men in the village.

The ordeal often leaves the donkey badly injured or crushed to death. After this mental and physical torture has finally ended, the shattered and traumatised donkey is forced in to a trailer and taken away to meet an unknown fate.

Animal charity campaigners, who work at the only donkey sanctuary in Spain, were refused when they asked if their vet could check the donkey over after the festival. A member of the charity, Jose Rodriguez Gil, said “”When I tried to film the donkey I was repeatedly threatened. They knew very well that what they were doing was cruel.”

Toro De La Vega – The Lancing Of The Bull

The Toro De La Vega is a cruel and bloody Spanish festival which takes place in the streets of Tordesillas.

A Bull is chased through the streets and over a bridge in the town by in excess of one hundred men and youths armed with sharp lances. Once over the bridge, the animal is attacked by the men thrusting their lances in to him. The Bull tries desperately to get away from this agonising torture, but the poor animal has lances repeatedly plunged in to him until his flesh is torn so badly, and he is bleeding so heavily, that he can eventually go no further.

On his collapse, his testicles are cut off, often while he is still alive. This is all watched by rowdy and cheering crowds. This spectacle in this Spanish festival is considered suitable entertainment for the whole famly, with many parents taking their children. This horrific tradition was illegal for years, but, incredibly, it was again legalised in 1999!

The Tradition In Spain Of Hanging Spanish Galgos

The Galgo is a Spanish Greyhound used by hunters in Spain. It is traditional in Spain at the end of the hunting season for the hunters to kill their dogs, as they do not want to look after them when it is not hunting season. Sadly, this tradition is still very much alive.

The most traditional way the hunters kill their dogs is by hanging them from a tree. There they die a prolonged, frightening extremely distressing death.

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Fortunately the mindless cruelty of another stupid Spanish festival was outlawed in 2002. Goat-throwing-in-Spain

Celebrated on the fourth Sunday of January, Goat throwing was a festival in Manganeses de la Polvorosa, province of Zamora, Spain where a group of young men threw a live goat from the top of a church, based on local legend. A crowd below would then catch the falling goat with a canvas sheet.

Some survived the fall and some did not. Not much attention is given to the death of this animal, the fiesta began regardless.

The goat was then paraded through the streets on the shoulders of party goers.

(Extracted from http://www.marbella-guide.com/goat-throwing-in-spain/ and Wikipedia)

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This week I am happy to donate to AnimaNaturalis.  God (what God?!!) knows they need it.

In times of need of, most us pray to a God to show us mercy, but here we are, with the power of virtual Gods on this earth, and look how incapable of mercy we are.  What happened to ‘do unto others?’

If anyone wonders why I care so much about animal issues when there is also so much human suffering in the world, let this week’s topic form a large part of my answer to you.

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From Wikipedia, as their site is in Spanish:

AnimaNaturalis is an international non profit animal rights organization whose mission is to “Establish, promote and protect the rights of all animals in Spain and Latin America. These rights include the right to life, liberty, and not to be tortured stop being considered property.”[1] It was founded in March, 2003 by Leonora Esquivel Frías and Francisco Vásquez Neira.[2]

AnimaNaturalis has offices in Spain, as well as several Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Venezuela).[3

AnimaNaturalis speaks out against the use of the animals as food (concerns with industrial farms, industrial fishing and foie gras);[4] in laboratories (animal testing);[5] to wear as clothing (concerns with using fur, leather, silk, wool and feathers);[6] as entertainment (circuses, zoos, aquariums, sports, hunting, and racing);[7] and raises awareness about cruel traditions such as rodeos, bullfighting, cockfighting, and dogfighting.[8]

Companion animal programs include education about issues like keeping pets out of hot cars, the importance of spaying and neutering, and pet adoption.[9] They also raise awareness about the connection between abuse of animals and violence toward humans, including children.[10]

 

Week 21 Rudozem Street Dog Rescue (Bulgaria)

Below is a summary of what I knew about Bulgaria last week:

  1. It is somewhere in Europe and the capital is Sofia.
  2. There is a womble named after it.

bulgaria

I know a bit more this week:

  1. It has a population of 7.4 million people and the world’s oldest known golden treasure was dicovered there. (In the Varna Necropolis in 1972, the items date back to over 4000 years B.C.E)
  2. All the wombles are actually named after places, but Great Uncle Bulgaria came first…

The Wombles of Wimbledon all choose their own names out of Great Uncle Bulgaria’s atlas. Some of them spend a long time looking for a name that suits them, while others just close their eyes and point, and hope for the best!

The Wombles’ names

  

and 

3. There are some very kind hearted people running a dog shelter who, 2 years ago this month, rescued a dog in a horrible state of mange and malnutrition.  They called her Khaleesi after the warrior queen from Game of Thrones.

I thank the animal news website The Dodo  for sharing this story, and so many others.

Khaleesi’s story

Story: On the morning of the 12th May(2014), Tony noticed that someone had posted on the RSDR fan page asking if we could help a dog in another town. The dog was in a terrible state being extremely thin and with severe demodex. There was a link to a news article showing pictures of her and they were asking if someone could catch her and put her to sleep as people were worried that she was diseased.

We know the abuse that even a healthy looking street dog will suffer, getting kicked, chased off and having things thrown at them, so we could imagine what might be happening to this poor dog.  We set off on the 70 km journey only knowing a rough area where she might be.  Two hours later we arrived in the area where the dog was. I suddenly spotted her on the other side of a roundabout and set off towards her whilst Tony was shouting at me because I was oblivious to the traffic. LOL.

Tony called the dog and she came straight over to him. She was cowering as she approached but she was just so desperate for contact. She has to be one of the saddest cases we have seen. She was so thin and had no hair. She was covered in fleas and tick, her ear was torn and her skin was so sore. It also appeared as if a front leg had been broken and healed badly. Tony just picked her up and carried her to the car. If it wasn’t for the fact that we were in a busy town with so many people watching, I think I would have broken down and cried. The poor girl had suffered so much and yet was still so loving and trusting.

On the way home we were thinking of a name for her. We wanted a name that meant something but every name that came to mind, we had already had. We were then thinking of strong female figures because we knew that if she was to make it she had to be strong. I decided to call her Khaleesi after the character from “Game of Thrones”.

We arrived home with her at six that evening. There is no room at the shelter and we wanted to be able to keep checking on her through the night so we took her to the house and put her in the kitchen.

She was given pain meds and antibiotics, wormed, bathed and had a treatment for demodex, ticks and fleas. A lot of the dead skin came off during her bath. Over the next few days it should all come off and then with the treatment she is getting, her hair will start to grow back. She then settled peacefully on her blanket and slept. She was quiet and slept all night.

Khaleesi has a good appetite and despite her abuse and neglect and the discomfort she is in, she is so happy to be around people and manages to wag her tail. She seems to have a deformity in both front legs which could be congenital or through malnutrition so she has extra meds for this. Once she is a bit stronger and in less discomfort from her skin, she will have her front legs x rayed and also full blood works done.

She truly is a beautiful girl. She lets us know when she needs the toilet by standing at the door. After she has done her business outside, she quite happily goes back to the kitchen and her bed.


Under the care of these wonderful people, this gorgeous girl was transformed.

Great Uncle Bulgaria would be proud. 

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He would be very upset by the less kind people who hurt animals though.

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Rudozem Street Dog Rescue

Bulgaria has many street dogs who are often subjected to the most horrendous cruelty. They are kicked, beaten and shot on a regular basis for no other reason than that it provides certain individuals with amusement.  Many of these dogs are injured, in pain, or starving and in the winter there is a high chance that they will freeze to death.  The

Since moving to Bulgaria in 2007, we have rescued many of these dogs.  We sometimes have as many as 200 dogs and cats at the RSDR shelter.

We have adoption teams in other countries and whenever possible, we find loving homes for our dogs. Some have suffered so much abuse that they are unsuitable for adoption and stay with us as permanent residents. Apart from the dogs that we do take in, we try and keep a check on others that are still on the streets or living in the forests, making sure that they are fed and if possible treated for parasites.

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Normal people can achieve extraordinary things…

In August 2007, the Rowles family – Diane and Tony Rowles and their 4 children, 4 dogs and 2 cats decided to make the move to Bulgaria to have a more peaceful life from the busy lifestyle in the UK.  The Rowles bought a family property in the outskirts of Rudozem.

After living in Bulgaria for a few months, the family saw the plight of the street dogs and started feeding and caring for them.  They were shocked by the locals reactions and abuse towards the street dogs. They would see dogs being kicked and spat on, having stones thrown at them and some of the dogs that fed and cared for would be deliberately killed.  They continued to feed the dogs on the streets when they could out of their own money.

In September 2007, their youngest son Luke, befriended a street dog named Ranger, and the dog started following him.  Ranger became the family’s first rescue dog when a man was trying to shoot him.
In following months other  street dogs went home to the Rowles family.

With the continuing number of street dogs needing to be fed on the streets, it was getting harder not to do something, so Rudozem Street Dog Rescue was formed in 2008 and  charity status was applied for.

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What can you do today, to make the world kinder?