How To Live A Better Life : Stories From People Who Lived On Both Sides Of History

There is a better way to live a life

I asked a group of my friends and a group of activist if they would like to share with me, and you the story about how they used to be apart of the mass exploitation of nonhuman animals and how they came to be who they are today. 
If you would also like to share your story feel free to email me at

Vegan Animal Rights Activist Sign


I am 22, began classic English riding lessons at the age of 4. I joined riding centres across East Anglia and wherever else I was allowed to ride on Holiday - I loved it. I 'loved' horses, I loved the feeling of the extended ability they gave (able to go faster and jump etc).

Up until a few months before I went vegan, approximately 2 years ago, I had training in riding/behaviour methods other than traditional English, such as western and natural horsemanship (under a Monty Roberts IHRT). 

Across all of my experiences, even when young, I noticed horses were berated for certain actions. It is clear to me now, that the undesirable behaviour which I never questioned is the horse trying to say "no". Nor did I question why no one was wondering why the horse was saying "no".

Watch any equestrian event and they're there. Ears back, tail swishing, tense faces, chomping at the bit. All these examples are paired with justifications, but they ignore the real reason, because the real reason would mean continuing is wrong and no one wants to have to give up something they enjoy/profit from. (And some people really don't get it, I truly believe they love their horses but just cannot see the situation from the horses perspective.) 

Rejection of directions (stalling at jumps, unwillinging to enter the starting gate) are considered bad behaviour and negative reinforcement/positive punishment are justified in their use to force the horse to perform the desired action. (Whips/kicks to get the horse over the jump/in the starting gate.) 

Horses from birth are commonly conditioned into learned helplessness. This refers to when the horse has an inability to affect their environment and can occur when a horse tries to say no, only to have aversive techniques used to hush their attempts to change their situation. For example a horse may "plant" themselves upon entering the training arena. For whatever reason they do not wish to partake, it is ignored and they're kicked on. The horse increases their "no" and throws a buck, the rider is handed a whip. You get the idea. The reason why the horse doesn't wish to partake is either not questioned or not cared about.

It is when I was working at a riding center that I began to properly question the actions I once perceived to be naughty and I realized we had no right to unnecessarily ask this of horses.

I mare arrived, I loved riding her because she was unlike the other horses, she was interested in her environment and was sensitive to cues. I left and returned a year later to visit. This same mare was "moody", had become one of the worst horses to tack up and had become a "boring" ride. Didn't respond to cues, and had become like the others. 
(This example of my experience may be to some, a normality of trail horses and they're right, however it still relates to all horses.)
And I just looked at her and it hit me. The reasons why, I looked at the other horses, I thought about the ponies I trained on, the show horses I had prepared, the polo ponies, the race horses and my own. 

From that moment, I stopped riding. Wrong! I denied it. My horse had never liked her girth being done up. But her back had been checked, her feet were great, I even got her a fluffy girth cover! She had no reason to not want me to put the saddle on and climb on top- she was being stubborn. And slowly slowly, I couldn't pretend and ignore how I was negatively impacting her life.
I saw the way she had been trained, and how my actions reinforced that training from a new perspective. She had every reason not to want to be ridden - she's not a bike.

Horses, after all, are not here for us. They are not toys, a mean to get trophys, nor any other source of entertainment. They are their own and do not owe us anything - if horses wanted to do the actions/events that we desired, tack would be obsolete.

Check out the most beautiful sculptures that I have ever seen by clicking here: 

Giraffe Sculpture 

Pet Store 

I used to work for a pet store. I was in the grooming salon for many years and during my time I spent a year helping on the sales floor where small animals, fish, birds, and reptiles were sold. We had so many people come in and impulse buy these beautiful creatures, cramming them into the cheapest set ups we sold. Setups that should never have been made or sold for them because they could never be adequate habitats. Staff was always told that if they wanted information about the animals they sold we had to do our own research or just let the customers buy whatever they wanted. If someone wanted to put a goldfish in a bowl we had to let them, many employees didn't know it was wrong or just stopped caring. I don't mean that as in they stopped caring about animals, they just stopped fighting the customers. When you spend 5 or 6 days a week explaining 20 times a day why a parrot cannot live in a hamster cage, getting a write up for denying a sale of 2 guinea pigs to someone with no cage and who is talking about feeding them to snakes, you give up. You love them all while they are there, but the job itself makes you powerless. It becomes draining, turns you into a zombie. Small pets would come in from the retail breeders sick or diseased. Shipped without food or water from states away. Peta uncovered footage from inside a reptile breeder once, so many people think it's fake, but we would see the ones who made it out, and if that was their best, tiny sick babies, of course that video was dead on. Towards the end of my time working there we lost several types of animals we offered for sale, we were told it was because they didn't allow wild caught babies to be sold anymore, but i'm not sure how true it was or if it was only a specific breed or a nevada law, I've still seen many of them sold at other stores regardless. For the most part the rest of the store was good, grooming salons are important for domestic pets like dogs and cats, as is having a place to get things for our companions. Many friends and employees I knew did care greatly for them, but we can't control where they go, to who, how they are cared for. They are sold as easily as pencils. It's a sad twist that people who care so much for them enter into that kind of job thinking they are doing their best for the animals when all it does is hurt them. Animal sales on any kind however should be stopped. Small animal pets should not exist, they are not domesticated, they do not cohabitate in our environments with us, confining them to undersized "bedrooms" of a mock habitat is a cruel way to make them live their entire lives for the sake of looking their direction and few times. Instead of them being allowed to eat naturally it spikes a demand for commercial made animal product diets like frozen mice, fish meal in fish foods, and meat or dairy in small animal foods or treats. I'd like to say I left because of what I'd seen, but I left to become a mother, shortly after I had time to confront what i'd spent 5 years working in, and it has made me sick every day since.


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