Into Africa: Frans Lanting’s profound lessons through photography

Published December 19, 2015 by Jeannette Louise Smith

Franz Lanting_Twilight of the GiantsRecently, I visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to specifically see the Frans Lanting National Geographic Society INTO AFRICA Photography Exhibition.

Although Frans Lanting photography is a testament to the beauty and diversity of African wildlife it is  furthermore and foremost a confirmation and demonstration of:

  • the sentience of and recognizably distinct societies of animals
  • the recognition of non-human animals as equal to the human animal
  • the reciprocal relationship between the human animal, non-human animals, and the Earth
  • the urgency of preservation and conservation from devastation of our planet and natural resources

Every art placard describing the large scale photos and two videos in the exhibit reflects these essential lessons.

For ALL animal and earth activists, our first and immediate task at hand is clear: EDUCATION. Education leads to appreciation. Appreciation leads to understanding. Understanding leads to compassion. And compassion leads to practice.

As I reflect on the exhibit, I am in awe and reverence of how non-human animals can co-exist with one another (discounting natural predatory dangers by evolutionary design). Their ability to communicate with their own species and their ability to communicate with us – if we look, listen, and learn their language – is profoundly moving.

We can be like non-human animals too, if we take the time and put in the effort to listen and learn…before it’s too late.

Frans Lanting’s National Geographic Society INTO AFRICA Photography Exhibition is on view through the summer of 2016 at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Admission is FREE. Read more:

And Visit:

Holy Cow: I am proud to be an ANIMAL

Published November 28, 2015 by Jeannette Louise Smith

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything in regard to animal rights. Reading David Duchovny’s book, Holy Cow, reminded me why I stopped writing: I lost faith in the human animal. Without revealing the gory details, suffice it to say: I am committed to avoiding the Evil Tongue, speaking disparagingly about others and causing hatred.

I could tell you the plot of David Duchovny’s book, Holy Cow, remark about the use of humor and pop culture references in his action packed adventure, but these are just the creative trimmings decorating the most important and compelling aspects of the book.

Ultimately, Duchovny challenges the choices of the human animal, what we have allowed ourselves to become, our resistance to changing our perspective and habits, and our incessant speciesistic outlook and practices – vegans included.

I know humans consider it a grave insult to be called an animal. Well, I would never give a human the fine distinction of being called an animal, because an animal may kill to live but an animal never lives to kill. Humans have to earn the right to be called animals again.”

The most significant and poignant bottom line is – and I will continue to reiterate this until my last breath:

We can only achieve harmony between the human animal and non-human animals, if we achieve harmony amongst, ourselves, our own animal species.

If a cow, turkey, and pig can co-exist, work together to accomplish personal and collective goals (Why a cow, pig, and turkey? Read the book!), the ever-looming question remains: Why can’t the human animal co-exist, collaborate, and achieve the peace we all desire?

The human animal is able to and can cooperate. For whatever reason, which is beyond the psychological scope of this introspection, humans choose not to. Vegans included.

Living a vegan lifestyle extends way beyond our compassion for non-human animals and includes equality, unity, tolerance, understanding, and compassion for ALL of our fellow human animals.

You think I’m crazy? Read the book. Watch the news. Read a newspaper. Deeply study and consider how you treat your own species.

Holy Cow! Self-righteousness leads nowhere – only to dissension and contention.

This is my religion – we’re all animals, perfect animals created in the infinite image and imagination of nature. It’s a life not without pain and competition and suffering, but it can be a life of dignity and mutual respect.”

That goes without saying. That applies to everything and everyone, vegan and non-vegan. As a collective community, all of our vegan and non-vegan efforts and achievements matter.

Now is the time for you and me to “rejoin the animal kingdom and once again be proud to be called animals.”

Click here to visit the HOLY COW Facebook page.

Total Liberation Revolution: Creating a united world animal rights community

Published July 6, 2014 by Jeannette Louise Smith

After reading a brief article titled, The Animal Rights Movement Needs Leadership, by Roland Windsor Vincent who publishes a blog called Armory of the Revolution, some latent and long-brewing thoughts come to mind. Roland Vincent is correct, the World Animal Rights Community needs leadership.

The goal of the World Animal Rights Community is very simple: Total Liberation. The leadership needed is not dictatorial. What is needed is a leaderless leadership that defines and exemplifies the totality of the world animal rights community philosophy through cruelty-free living and action for animals, humans, and the earth.

There is leadership everywhere. From personal experience, the most prominent and effective world animal rights community leaders today include:

  • Remko Ehrhardt, Founder 269Life Netherlands
  • Luke Steele, Director of Campaigns at Anti-Vivisection Coalition (AVC) and Spokesperson of Ban Bloodsports on Ilkley Moor
  • Smaragda Louw, Beauty Without Cruelty (South Africa)
  • IFEEL, Croatian Hip-Hop artist, Vegan, Activist
  • Robert Molenaar, Campaign Leader of Anti Dierproeven Coalitie
  • Jordan Wyatt and Jen Stone, Founders of The Invercargill Vegan Society
  • Walter Bond, Animal Liberation Front Prisoner and Writer

These individuals and their respective organizations epitomize what every individual and animal institution in the world animal rights community should be doing in terms of education, non-violent direct action, and lifestyle. They truly personify compassion and place their fear behind their beliefs in the face of animal suffering and death, as we all should.

This is an issue of Total Equality, what Roland calls, Universal Rights. Therefore, Total Liberation, is all-encompassing to include Human Rights, Animal Rights, and Earth Rights.

What we, the world animal rights community need, is One Voice that speaks for ALL. Total liberation encompasses every known issue. While every country has its specific issues and activists, these issues of equality are universal and bond the world animal rights community together.

Imagine a volunteer group of grassroots representatives, one person from each country worldwide that is active and knowledgeable of the animal issues pertaining to their homeplace. Collectively, these individuals have the capability to define the philosophy and cruelty-free lifestyle of the world animal rights community in a manifesto that reflects total liberation, anti-speciesism, veganism, abolition, non-violent direct action, Animal and Earth Liberation prisoner support, etc.

The primary function of such a collective would simply be: To unite the already active individuals and organizations under one banner and voice in solidarity, without prejudice. This would satisfy Roland Vincent’s idea to centralize the power of thought, (focused philosophical leadership), “define the issues, propose solutions, organize the Left, and foment revolution around the world.”

Every individual effort is necessary to achieve Total Liberation. We must be compassionate, exhibit continuous strength, be unwaveringly supportive of our individual and collective beliefs. We must remain positive and in the minds of the opposition. We must constantly bring new people into the family. The world animal rights community has the potential to be, as Roland Vincent says, “the most influential and important constituency of the political Left.” We will succeed.

This is The Total Liberation Revolution. And now is the time for the Total Liberation Revolution to begin.

This article was originally published July 5, 2014 in Jeannette’s Animal Advocacy column on Because of some technical difficulties in opening the page, it has been reposted here. – Jeannette

Support Ebba Olausson: Vegan in Body and Soul

Published June 14, 2014 by Jeannette Louise Smith

freedomWhat we call the Animal Rights Movement is, with greater reason, a Mixed Culture. This Mixed Culture is a mélange of caring and thinking people, so naturally the intellectual and compassionate architecture appeals to us and others like us.

The Language of the People is like speaking every known dialect. Our melting-pot family, spans the globe in a spectrum of thought and experience that translates into non-violent action. Undoubtedly, intellect, compassion, and kindness are the source of continually admirable heroic actions of communities and individuals.

The backbone trait of our family is sensible and simultaneous, hard-hearted compassion. To achieve abolition, total liberation, we must retain balance in our individual physical and emotional lives and remain Vegan in Body and Soul.

Worldwide, government laws protect commercial animal exploitation, allowing devastation of the earth and the brutality against non-human animals and humans. Laws do not defend the right to life. Laws authorize and regulate death.

Animal legislation does not protect animals to its absolute full, idyllically desired potential. Instead, it garners a false sense of hope and justice for the animals that are abused and killed for human use.

Legislation is incongruous; specific laws safeguard and reward animal exploiters, administering retribution to Liberators of the Earth. In addition to levying punishment in the form of imprisonment, these statutes and rulings stigmatize liberators and portray protectionists as radical, extremist, terrorists.

Extraordinary people, like recently imprisoned, Swedish Vegan Straight Edge Activist and Liberator Ebba Olausson, have made the ultimate, fearless, and courageous sacrifice – their freedom. We OWE our family members, like Ebba, our tangible support.

Ebba, sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for property damage of the fur (mink) industry, deserves your letter and artwork of support. Having been transferred several times, please:

Click here and refer to the Free Ebba facebook page for current updates and her location.

The Common Sense Theory of Total Liberation

Published May 22, 2014 by Jeannette Louise Smith

Dear Friend,

I’m not a philosopher, so – Thank you, in advance, for your patience and letting me share an overview my thoughts:

The discussion of animal rights, animal liberation, or more appropriately total liberation, must begin somewhere and shared with the masses. Theory, discussion, and then action are essential to solving the cumulative world problems.

In absolute agreement with the total rejection of anthropocentrism and speciesism, the Common Sense Theory of Total Liberation completely favors and fosters a combined biocentric and ecocentric view that includes more than inherent value. The Common Sense Theory of Total Liberation encompasses the physical and mental kindness, compassion, love, respect, and appreciation, and connectivity of all living things including the non-animal parts of nature.

The human animal is part of the Universal Ecology and plays multiple roles as the source of destruction, skeptic, idler, and source of improvement-reparation-positive creation. The Common Sense Theory of Total Liberation allows for the individuality of nature and therefore the individuality of the human animal to make the best possible decisions for and live life in harmony with oneself, all of humanity, and the earth.

Nature is not narrow, rigid, and stagnant. The Laws of Nature are diverse, flowing, evolving. There is both predictability and spontaneity. There is no one way of nature. Like the path of nature, no one way of living is completely right or absolutely wrong, all parts are equal.

The Common Sense Theory of Total Liberation does not combat and battle existing evils. Instead, it flourishes from a sense of organic goodness toward direct action without (as much as possible) causing further harm. Please note: While the Common Sense Theory of Total Liberation rejects violence; it is not pacifist, it is non-violent direct action.

Therefore, the Common Sense Theory of Total Liberation allows the nature of the human animal to establish a personal way of living that moves the collective community toward total harmony and is reflective of the mellifluous and diverse quality of nature.

Taking into account real-life circumstances, self-expression, co-expression, and individuality, is the only way to achieve liberation for all. We are not obligated to accept other ways of living – we are obligated to understand the many ways of life in order to find better, smarter ways to change what is incongruent with nature (including man) as a whole.

We do not want to create more separation, more opposition, more problems. It is our responsibility to guide, not control, the creation of an all-inclusive, universal way of living.

Therefore, It is critical to remember to live in your own expression and no one else’s. As individuals, we are unique. Our distinctiveness, not our similarities, is what makes us effective. We can accomplish much as individuals and as sub-collectives of the larger, united collective.

You are knowledgeable to learn and understand all of the issues. You are aware of how to inspire and spark change. You are courageous to change the world. You are smart to recognize, without being told, that life and therefore nature is inextricably connected. Be yourself, think for yourself, act for yourself and the world around you.

In the end, what matters most is your vision, then action.

That pretty much sums it up for me – time to go save the world!

Love, Jeannie

Author Note: These cumulative ideas are explored in-depth in my Animal Advocacy column on

A letter to my inspiration

Published March 29, 2014 by Jeannette Louise Smith

It’s been extremely busy lately. After losing my job in November 2013, I decided to take fate into my own hands and begin my own personal dog walking service. I couldn’t have taken a better chance.

Admittedly, it was rough at first. I was very anxious to get things rolling. Around the holidays was a very difficult time to try and find new clients, but I did what I always do:

I give my heart and soul, my entire being, for everything I do, every single moment of every single day.

I absolutely love the animals in my care. I’ve come to know them so well, they’re my friends and inspiration. I spend a lot of time enjoying their company as well as enjoying nature, observing wildlife, and deeply appreciating the true and simple beauty of life.

In my adventures as an Animal Advocacy Writer for, I also get to meet a lot of animals, learn more about the lives of animals, and study their behavior. This includes the Human Animal.

Every day I am inspired by the people I meet and communicate and collaborate with. There are many people around the world making an extraordinary impact and creating the kind of world we want: a truly passionate and compassionate world.

There are so many places I want to visit and so many people I want to meet! It makes me feel dizzy and delighted thinking about the possibility!

You motivate me, keep me hopeful, and make me feel so ALIVE. Thinking of you day in and day out, I know you are a kind, loving, and caring person.

You are incredible and have made an everlasting and monumental impact on my life like no one has ever done before.

I cannot thank you enough. The only thing I can do is love you…and I do – I love you.

For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

Published June 18, 2013 by Jeannette Louise Smith

Recently, I was emailing a long distance acquaintance and very busy animal rights and welfare advocate and we were talking about what we do to “decompress.”

In my last email, I found myself rambling on about animal issues, realized, and wrote, “I’m rambling and obviously need to decompress.”

For those of my friends who don’t know, my mother just finished her last round of chemotherapy. It has been a very emotional time. She actually started feeling much better after the second treatment.

As I described in my email:

“Decompressing happens when it happens. Walking dogs for a couple hours a day is very relaxing! I feel guilty that I love my job. Photography. Writing in my personal blog, because I can be more personal and emotional in my blog than in my column. Reading both fiction and non-fiction. And film – particularly documentaries and foreign films. Hanging out with my cat, Star, and listening to Swing music.”

Pretty much that’s how my entire days have been going: Work. Decompress. Work. Decompress. Work…

Since I am having these extraordinary and unusual fluctuations of brain power and lack thereof, my mind wandered back in time to a decade old recurring topic that comes up in my life quite frequently again and again, brought to light by the philosopher Shlomo Sher, who is according to Linkedin, currently Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton.

In his early work, Shlomo wrote an article called, “The Myth of the Dedicated Artist.” The work asks several very important questions about how we define ourselves ultimately challenging the reader with the underlying question: Are you a good person?

Shlomo continues his journey into the mind asking the reader what makes you a good person and asks us to consider the difference between “what a person is” and “what a person does.”

Example given by Shlomo: I love Charles Bukowski’s writings, but the man was a prick.

As Shlomo muses about “What impresses me about people as they are?” and speaks about values, compromise, and priorities, I will let it go right here and give you time to think about these things on your own.

With all due respect for my former mentor and spiritual guide of the early 2000s, I just want to end with my one thought:

There is no “underground.” There is no “mainstream.”

United we stand. Divided we fall.

 And in the words of AC/DC: For those about to rock – fire! We salute you!