There is no greater act than freeing animals, writes Dave Warwak. Life matters to each unique being, whether we realise this simple concept or not.
WALKING the talk is a challenge in today’s world, especially if you’re living in the American Midwest in the very heart of the murdering madness complete with redneck attitudes that promote the God-given right to hunt ’n’ fish in meat ’n’ dairy land.
Knowing that a man is what he does, not what he did, I abandoned Wisconsin and my materialism, creature comforts and even the love of my life, Karen, to be an effective animal rights activist who leads by example. So with a positive outlook and a noble mission, I loaded my U-Haul with my paintings and my companion white shepherd Shela and headed west to Venice Beach, California to do what is right.
The Venice Beach boardwalk is a free-expression zone designed for artists, musicians and activists – a vegan artist’s dream come true since people from all over the world visit Venice, proving my wide-reaching circle of compassion is as open as can be.
During my first few months in California, I released and rescued animals, started a door-to door campaign to educate people about veganism, declared a holy war on the Bugman of Venice, defended free speech and fed the homeless, spoke at City Council meetings, gave lectures at vegan venues, and attended parties and movie screenings in Hollywood where I distributed copies of my book (about $2500 worth) in the hope that someone will pick up my story and have Woody Harrelson play me – the vegan teacher who was fired for incorporating veganism in his art lessons – in a blockbuster smash that saves the world.
I am really digging California. On one of my first days in the land of the free, I went for a walk with Bob Linden of Go Vegan radio around a community lake populated by egrets, herons, geese, ducks and a host of strange birds, many of whom I marvelled at for the first time. This lake area is a bird magnet, and of course such a beautiful lake with such exotic birds draws people, including fishermen and children.
How could two animal rights activists remain silent in such a place while children are taught to murder? We saw ten children fishing with four mothers and a man who must have been a grandpa to one of the children. They had four buckets overloaded with fish gasping for air near the surface of the water. I thought to myself: Silence is complicity, as is tolerance. And here I am with my hero and great friend Bob Linden. It became obvious what I had to do. After all, I try to lead by example and I advocate targeting children, so of course I freed the animals.
There is no greater act than freeing animals. Life matters to each unique being, whether we realise this simple concept or not. And with children and my hero there to witness the great act, I made sure everyone watched, participated and learned. I approached the group and with a smile on my face announced, “These poor fish are gasping for air and have been stolen from their brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers in a hurtful way. I am sure some of you have been hit or hurt or have had someone close to you taken away.” At which point I saw several children, probably from broken homes, feel sadness and empathy. The mothers were speechless. Grandpa was not. The old man informed me that he had a fishing licence. I informed him I had a fishing licence as well.
Then I picked up the nearest bucket and said, “Look children, animals want to be free!” as I poured the bucket into the lake. Feeling strong – invincible really – I was charged up and proceeded to rescue the fish in the remaining three buckets, each time calling for the children to watch, all the while smiling and cheering as they swam away.
As we moved down the shoreline we saw a teenage boy fishing with a bucket of prisoners at his feet. Of course I stopped and talked to the youth. Within two minutes the fine young man, on his own, picked up his bucket of fish and freed them. We both cheered. And as we walked through the park I passed my cards to children and even a few adults. And we talked with people and made many friends. That was a good day.
ONE MORNING I was speaking with the Venice Beach police and through our conversation I discovered there was a turkey a mile down the boardwalk. I immediately ran down there and found a large gathering of people watching a pit bull harass the gentle turkey. I quickly offered up the last of my money, ten dollars, for my feathered friend.
The homeless woman who had a bra tied around the turkey’s neck gladly took the money in exchange for the turkey, while other homeless salivated at the thought of a turkey dinner and made scary remarks. I picked the turkey up, carried her back to where my paintings were displayed on the boardwalk and made some calls. Animal Acres agreed to take on a new family member and a ride was arranged.
While waiting, I held and bonded with my friend. As I was holding her, the “owner” came by my display wanting her back. This man was a chef who told me he was given the turkey to butcher and cook for Thanksgiving. He said he couldn’t bear to murder the poor soul and his roommate threw the turkey by her feet into an alleyway. It later emerged that the chef purchased the turkey for Christmas in hopes of fattening up our friend.
The turkey then escaped and a homeless woman found her, tied a bra around her neck and brought her down to the boardwalk to make some cash. No way in hell was I giving up my new friend to the hands of a corpse-munching chef.
Take a hike, I told him, she’s mine now. Our friend is now safe and will live out her days at Animal Acres where I plan on visiting her. I know she will recognise me and I will see again the beautiful gentle soul I saw that day. You can watch us here: youtube.com/watch?v=KbP9qFCQEno
NOT all is sunny in California as there is a man on the boardwalk selling endangered species encased in plastic. Seeing such a sight, one can’t help but feel remorse for all the lost souls and sheer horror tangled in the beauty of nature and the stark reality of a sick and bizarre graveyard designed to make money.
Children are sent into the killing fields to find anything that moves or shits and then they murder the poor critters and encase them in plastic to be sold for pennies. Another day of abuse, murder and existence. So I painted the robber-of-life encased in plastic and paraded my painting of him in front of his display, warning children and parents not to purchase his sale-priced death in a box.
Thanks to these efforts the disconnected corpse-muncher didn’t make one penny that day, much like the children in the killing fields. The old man called the police on me three times, but I didn’t stop because I was exercising my right to free speech and I am on the side of good. He sicced his pit bull on me and then it was my turn to call the police. After pulling my pants down in front of everyone to show the bite mark on my ass to the paramedics, police and onlookers, I proclaimed, “I will never stop campaigning against evil and until he takes his bad karma off the boardwalk, I will make sure his wallet hurts every day.” Watch me confront the Bugman here: youtube.com/watch?v=gQbEH3ylouc
Stranded for a few weeks with no car or phone can challenge anyone’s activism. I thought to myself, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Democrats and Republicans care enough to go door-to-door with their campaigns. Why don’t vegans care enough about the animals and children to go door-to-door? I soon realised that in order to be the change I want to see in the world, I better start going door-to-door myself.
What a wonderful honest message it really is when you explain, “I am not selling anything and don’t want to use your time, but I think this is important information that is being hidden from people.” Then I leave my flier with them that urges them not to believe others but to check things out themselves. This is the information age. Through the discovery process, one discovers ownership. You can watch me going door-to-door and print copies of my flier at youtube.com/watch?v=kYEEKMu5kNA
I AM currently living light on the Earth and doing full-time activism everywhere I go. Exactly what the animals need me to do. If anyone wishes to donate to my activism it would be very much appreciated, needed and money well spent. I am living, breathing and eating animal rights. I can receive donations via PayPal online. Go to PayPal, click ‘Send money’ option. Enter email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Highlight ‘Services’ and follow the prompts.
It is not a personal choice when you are eating my friends and ruining my world. – Dave Warwak
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