The original version of my article about Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals was published in Feb of 2014, a few months before my fledgling vegan blog got an overhaul and new look thanks to my web designer and way, way before I knew anything about formatting. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it was not a pretty scene – me hammering away at the keyboard, trying to write and add features and pics to my content to make it look interesting and relateable. I would spend hours sweating and swearing, literally speaking. Suffice it say that things have improved somewhat and I am now slowly getting to the task of redoing, updating and categorizing the articles that still look like my old, now defunct blog.
In the three years since, big things have been happening for Jo-Anne McArthur, a most dedicated and hardworking vegan AR advocate and photojournalist who refers to herself as a war photographer. Jo-Anne travels the world documenting and sharing the ongoing and devastating exploitation of other species of animals. This is but a short list of her most recent accomplishments.
Sep 25, 2016
2016 Clements Award – Art Category – awarded by The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.
Jun 19, 2014
The Thinking Vegan and The Pollination Project awarded We Animals with a grant for the purpose of building curriculum for the We Animals Humane Education Programs.
May 16, 2017
What Will Montreal’s Rodeo be Like for the Animals? ~Jo-Anne McArthur
Sep 16, 2015
Interview about We Animals on FAHRENHEIT, Rai Radio 3, Italy’s national public radio.
Sep 1, 2016
Beyond the Sight of Our Daily Lives. Exhibit by DAYS Japan on the subject of animal rights. Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
Mar 29, 2015
We Animals: Examining the Human Relationship with Animals. Michigan University, College of Law.
Stories about women on the Front Lines of Animal Advocacy: in collaboration with Dr. Keri Cronin
Published in 2017
Captive is a book that will challenge our preconceptions about zoos and aquaria, animal welfare, and just what or who it is we think we see when we face the animal.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that I am a huge fan of her body of work which spans the last 20 or so years. Jo-Anne speaks candidly about the great emotional cost to her; the hardest thing she has to do is look through the camera lens into the eyes of those exploited for human wants not needs, knowing that she must leave them behind to a crippling life and brutal death. I encourage everyone to embrace her sense of dedication, to follow and share her work and her photos which tell a story like no other.
Jo-Anne’s photos may be shared at no cost as long as proper credit is given. For this reason, she relies on the help of fellow advocates for financial support. This generosity allows her to continue her work without having to take on unrelated free lance work. Please consider contributing.
The photographs from the We Animals project were taken to help make visible the relationship between humans and non-human animals. These images are donated and made available for any individual or organization wishing to further advocate for animals and raise awareness about their suffering and exploitation. While payment to We Animals in exchange for photo usage is neither expected nor required, consider making a financial contribution to the project if you or your organization are able, as this helps me to continue doing this important work.
Some, not all, entertainment celebrities may come and go with their protestations of veganism based most likely on a misunderstanding of the tenets of the movement, as well as some unnamed personal gain. People like Jo-Anne, who draw no specific attention to their status and who have little to gain financially from their work for other species of animals, are those to whom we should look for guidance and inspiration. Bells and whistles, jokes and sequins will not carry the day for Animal Rights and veganism.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jo-Anne when my husband and I attended a book launch for We Animals. I was at the beginning of my advocacy journey and admit to being starstruck. I purchased a copy of her book and waited patiently in line to have it signed. While waiting, I people-watched the attendees. As is common in Montreal, our city of great diversity, there was all manner of clothing, hair styles and a mix of French and English could be heard over the din of voices debating and supporting nonhuman animal rights.
Jo-Anne was very open, unassuming, sincere and articulate. I applauded her for her dedication and told her how much we loved the movie, The Ghosts in Our Machine. I told her about my belief in a vegan world where people finally understand that there is a way to respect all life on this planet, to be stewards rather than owners, to support rather than to exploit.
At the last minute, I handed to her my unpolished blog site address on a tiny scrap of paper. She very respectfully said that she would take a look at it and tucked the scrap into her pocket. I am very thankful for that. We joined everyone across the street for a plant powered meal and chatted some more with Jo-Anne before heading home. I came away wishing that I had time for more, wishing that I had met more people, but grateful all the same.
Annie’s Vegan View
Support people like Jo-Anne whose life’s work is predicated on the knowledge that other species of animals have an inherent right not to be owned and exploited by humans.
May all beings be happy and free.