Pets don’t get to choose: The moral dilemma

We all know that animal pets are the only beings that dont get to choose when they eat, receive medication, go downstairs, upstairs, sleep on this couch or on the bed, pee in the box or outside, etc.

But at which point do we let them choose?

I recently had the most painful encounter with a beast that stole my heart fourteen years ago. His life was ended with euthanasia due to many threatening complications. Even though he was in no real pain before his death due to heavy amount of pain killers, he hadn’t eaten in a week before his passing. I am still struggling with the decision, that most likely saved him months or maybe weeks of more suffering.

Without getting too personal about this topic. I wish to discuss this issue through the animal welfare realm. However we don’t know the answer until the problem hits us in the face, just like it did for my own.

The moral dilemma questions the idea that pets, as living being with individual freedom should get a chance to live their lives out until they pass from natural causes. However, as pet owners, are we responsible for these decisions?

Would we allow medically assisted suicide to a human suffering due to a treatable illness (metastatic cancer) who would have to undergo multiple treatments?

These are all questions that we should ask ourselves in order to accept euthanasia as ethicists.

In a Psychology today article a man by the name of Elliot Cohen, asks the question “I wouldn’t request euthanasia for a child, so why Bentley?” which discusses the ethics of euthanasia in animals after he had tried multiple treatments for his dogs metastatic oral melanoma.

The debate is indeed a moral dilemma to consider. It is difficult and emotional as these pets become a part of the family. It’s just like losing your closest friend, but one that has seen you in your worst of times and best but never said a word. Never made a judgemental comment at your expense.

Make the call based on the question of is the animal living a qualitative life any longer, or has the disease consumed any possibility of a fulfilling and satisfying life for the animal. If an animal is experiencing considerable suffering but the owner is unwilling to let the animal go, this is commonly seen when the pet becomes a part of the family and there is a guilt of killing the animal too early.

Times have changed and societal views of euthanasia along with them. Whereas before,  owners didn’t blink at the thought of putting down a pet, now many are hesitant to euthanize as they go to great lengths to keep their sick animals alive.

With owners viewing their pets as family members, it becomes a difficult decision that they avoid making, regardless if it will benefit the animal or not.

The conclusion is this: if the animal is too sick to nourish itself and do at least two out of 5 of the usual activities it enjoys then it is time to say goodbye, but euthanizing a healthy animal for mere convenience is purely unethical.





Politically Correct: the animal rights edition

As animal rights advocates, we have a duty to communicate animal rights education through evidence-based and enlightened methods.

What does it mean to be politically correct with respect to animal rights activism?

I recently found myself in a situation where I was unable to decide what to say vs what not to say.  It is often said “be politically correct.” Well, I recently learned that it can be challenging to do that with topics that we care about most.

NOW. think of this blog post as an attempt to try to understand what it means to be politically correct in a non-animal activism friendly environment.

I think it can be helpful to first educate oneself on the issue from both points of view… including the opposition, this means being totally open about learning more about the views of people from the opposite perspective.

before we begin deciphering the two let’s differentiate two terms.

Animal Rights VS Animal Welfare. 

Animal Rights – rights believed to belong to animals to live free from use in medical research, hunting, and other services to humans.

Animal Welfare –Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment

So, how does one ensure to be politically correct when advocating for animal rights?

Accepting the doctrine of animal rights means:

  • No experiments on animals
  • No breeding and killing animals for food or clothes or medicine
  • No use of animals for hard labour
  • No selective breeding for any reason other than the benefit of the animal
  • No hunting
  • No zoos or use of animals in entertainment


For years extremists have been trying to fight the system with violent protests, graphic demonstrations, and other methods that intrude on the lives of others with these methods making people uncomfortable purposefully and pretty much getting nowhere with animal rights advocacy and education.

My argument is that we need more controlled methods of animal rights education to communicate our point across and get people on our side. The only way we are going to do that is through peaceful protests, leafleting, information booths, panels, workshops, expert talks, We have some non-profit animal rights organizations that do just that and successfully educate the public through these types of well-rounded methods.

Having said that, we need to find some ways to stay impartial when discussing this heavy handed topic because for some of us this may be our “life” and everything we work so hard for. I have made up some tips to maintaining a controlled conversation for both parties on this topic

  • Do allow people to speak their minds on the subject
  • Listen carefully and ensure to hear the content of their speech
  • Try to take the “F” out (feelings). Although it may be hard to stop emotions temporarily, it does not mean oppressing your passion towards animal rights advocacy but simply taking out the negative feelings that cause unwanted conflict with others.
  • Refer to real scientific based evidence in regards to vegan/vegetarian life style (i.e. I recently read in [insert name of scholarly journal here] that [insert animal advocacy fact here])
  • IF you know that the information the other party is bringing to the conversation is false or uneducated then don’t react right away. Reacting immediately to emotional triggers can be an immense mistake. Instead, take a few moments to formulate your thoughts and ideas and respond after that time or let them know you understand their opinion but would have to do more research on the subject to comment.
  • No comment is sometimes the best comment. Whether you know lots about the subject at hand or not, the best thing to do is sometimes to stay silent. Some say silence is a sign of intelligence. It does not mean conforming to the other person opinion but simply builds the image that animal advocates can be understanding and well-rounded individuals who are willing to hear other opinions. It makes others want to listen to what we have to say.

Try these useful tips at your next gathering in conversation and I am sure that you will less often feel targeted and stressed.

Thank you readers!


Happy Sunday.


The Glitz and Glamour


There been many discussion on social media about ‘Bell’s Let’s Talk’ Campaign, I decided to put my effort into advocating for mental health awareness and ensure that not just people in my life knew but anybody who ever crosses my path is informed.

Lately through interactions with people, I see that compassion and empathy are rare to find in people. I don’t recall the last time I came a cross a person who genuinely invested effort into an interaction purely out of interest, to learn more about the likes/dislikes, values, and goals in life of another human being.

When was the last time you heard someone say “are you okay?”

This is another potential issue that needs to be explored on behalf of us little people. We may not truly understand it now. But even those living in the glitz and glamour, those known as celebs are still battling/ struggling with the same mental battles that us little people are. They portray it in other ways.

Read between the lines, even G-Eazy’s new up and coming track “Me, myself, and I” is an nexus built as a call for help, or an indirect message to people that something is wrong. That he is tired of “turning up” a slang term known for partying amongst today’s young adults. We may look up to them or look at them as unreachable, but what it comes down to is we are all people. Each one of us is composed of the same basic biological matter.

Yeah, and I don’t like talking to strangers
So get the fuck off me I’m anxious
I’m tryna be cool but I may just go ape shit
Say “fuck y’all” to all of y’all faces

It changes though now that I’m famous
Everyone knows how this lifestyle is dangerous
But I love it the rush is amazing
Celebrate nightly and everyone rages

He touches on the issue of people who simply stay in his life to benefit themselves only. They continue to be present in his life and not because they care about him but just because they have found how to use him for his fame, and money.

It’s clearly stated there. He wants to break off from the world and sulk in his own space.

At this time it is really important to identify who is truly, genuinely and honestly there in your life for YOU, and who is there just to benefit for themselves. Either way, remember, your mental health sits higher than anything else in your life. That new job, the new car, social get togethers, events, classes, work. Put yourself first. Always remember that in the end, you are going to be there for yourself. It IS nice to have a support system, but sometimes you are the only one who has yourself, so as the song goes….

It’s just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
Cause I, got me for life

Talk to someone if you feel like something is wrong.

This is a very important issue to me personally, and also because of important individuals in my life who have been victim to mental health struggles.

Click here for support for youth or adults.

Thanks for reading if you did.

Stay strong

Avital Azarov

Hawaii To Become The First US State To Ban Wild Animals From Performing

Absolutely astounded by these news. Lets hope this sets an example for all other states and Canada while were at it!

Animals SHOULD NOT be exploited for the use of entertainment or performance. They have a right to their own freedom, just like humans. Even though many humans are just as well stripped of these rights the same way. They have a right to live a long, fulfilling life, hunting for prey or running around in the African desserts.

I work towards a world where animals have these rights. Let’s help  them get their rights back, the rights they had before humans. Open your eyes..

I am hopeful. I pray for all species and take one step of action everyday to help preserve their lives, towards making the world a place where elephants will not get shot for roaming the streets and bears can accidentally walk into a residential area without being shot to death, and where rain forests are not being destroyed for non other than greedy reasons of human   The rights they deserve and should not have been stripped of in the first place.

We can help by changing the way the human race thinks, and certain lifestyles we adopt. What we have on our hands is a problem with the human race as a whole, but there is something we can do. Plant that tree, report about the destruction of the  rainforest, get involved in data journalism: give statistics about the deaths of exotic animals, household pets in China that are stolen from their homes, or performing animals who are stolen from their own NATURAL home (dessert, rainforest, jungle) to live a life of misery in a cage or stage.

There are some that care  but not enough of us. Please be one of them. Love exotic animals, they give us the non-physical resources we need to survive, and they are beautiful and complex creatures who are intelligent, mentally conscious and capable of feelings and emotions.

Connect with me, and maybe, we can make a difference.

Source: Hawaii To Become The First US State To Ban Wild Animals From Performing

“Gays are safe in 2014 Olympics” says Putin, activists disagree

A bill in Russia was passed banning “propaganda of non traditional sexual relations” can be a potential act of censorship for the LGBT community. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that gays are welcome in the Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi as long as they don’t spread “gay propaganda” and “leave the children in peace.”

The law prohibits the spread of propaganda among minors; this means the law prohibits speaking to anyone under the age of 18 about homosexuality.

“We have the ban on homosexuality and pedophilia. I want to stress this: propaganda among minors.” Said Putin.  The spread of propaganda among minors and the ban on certain relations are not the same thing according to Putin.

Some activists disagree.

Zach Ruiter, a gay rights activist in Toronto, disagrees with Putin’s claim and says that this is his way of deflecting from the issue and condoning homophobia towards the rest of the community.

“It sends a message to people that they are allowed to do whatever they want, that the state will not protect their rights. “It‘s a lot like Nazism.” Said Ruiter.

The rally that surrounded the State Duma hours before the bill was passed called for much resistance by Orthodox-Christian activists and pro-kremlin youth groups. The young men threw eggs at the activists while shouting homophobic slurs.

According to Ruiter, the fight for gay rights should not be limited to people in Russia. He says that to reach and address the problem we must make changes in our own community.

“Now that we’ve won gay marriage, its almost like the struggle is over. This simulation of queer liberation struggle in gay marriage has weakened our capacity to respond in solidarity.” Said Ruiter.

He says that the LGBT community in Toronto can fight back with persuading large companies to boycott the Olympics thus reaching out to the LGBT community in Russia.

Aeryn Pfaff, a Humber Journalism student says that the real victims are Russian gay youth in the sense that if they come out to their peers, they can be prosecuted for speaking about homosexuality. Pfaff explained that this bill could be seen as an act of censorship.

“As a kid I knew I was gay. Many Russian LGBT youth are the same. All these laws are doing is barring them from being able to find like minded people so that they can be happy.” Said Pfaff.

The absence of some world leaders in the winter Olympics this year will not have an impact on the games according to Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) President Alexander Zhukov.

Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande and Stephen Harper announced their absence in the winter Olympics this year.

Brad Fraser, a Canadian Journalist, says that Obama’s absence is not a boycott of the Olympics, It is rather related to other issues the western parts of the world are having with Russia, according to him.

He says that the best way to send a message to Russia about their law is to remove our participation and support in the games.

“Why are we sending people to compete at all? Why does the world not turn their back on Russia?” Said Fraser.

Animal Welfare of performing animals has become a concern to pet trainer, Yvette Van Veen.

“Entertainment to me is one of the places you’d say is just for fun there shouldn’t be a downside but it’s an industry where there might be evil to true entertainment,” says Yvette Van Veen, a Certified Dog Behavior consultant.

Van Veen has spent 14 years training pets, she is known for training dogs who perform at dog shows. She is also a pets’ reporter for the Toronto Star mainly about animal behaviors and ways to improve relationships between pet owners and their pets.

In a recent article titled ‘Animals used for entertainment should also enjoy the show’  Van Veen mentioned an investigation in Marineland  by the OSPCA that called for accusations about Marineland, a themed amusement and exhibition park. It involved poor water conditions that caused aquatic mammals to suffer from blindness, redness in eyes, and damage to fins and body parts.

Performing animals and mammals struggle to stay alive due to the poor living conditions which results in force used by the trainer.

According to Veen, orders were made by the OSPCA (Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  to examine several marine animals, build better shelters for deer and elk, and install a good water filtration system.

“In Ontario, there’s no where else you can go to see animals like that, but the fact that they treat them poorly compared to their natural habitat is  unacceptable.”  said Julia Vitale, a four year employee at Canada’s Wonderland.

She explained that the mistreatment of performing animals is now on a larger scale and people won’t turn a blind eye on these issues now.

OSPCA Agent Brad Deward, says that animal welfare laws Ontario currently has in place for wildlife such as raccoons, and coyotes.

He discourages citizens from causing any harm to the wildlife and emphasizes that we must learn to live with them.

“We also offer ways  for people to minimize the damage that wildlife might cause to their property.” He said.

The SPCA is an organization dedicated towards animal welfare from sheltering point of view as well as education and enforcement.

They investigate zoos and circuses that come into the city. An officer will be there to inspect how the animals are transported, how they are being kept, and that they are being provided for as required by law.

“It’s heart wrenching to see stories about neglect and no animal should ever have to suffer or be without the necessities of life. its rewarding to be able to help them.” said Deward

Marineland was issued six orders in 2012 by the OSPCA and the investigation is still on going.