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Dario’s Art Exhibition

Animalia International was very graciously invited by Dario to the opening of his art exhibition. I guess some of us didn’t know that Dario was into art as well and we were really looking forward to being there at the opening. Matti and Melissa and Isabel, Malena and I eventually made it to the event.

The opening was held at Qulma, a fantastic little restaurant with great food. The art work was a visual interpretation of popular songs. Each one was unique and beautiful.  There were paintings and collages of pictures, all representing the key theme of a song. Dario was kind enough to send me their pictures and I have put them up here for everyone to see. The exhibition is on for two months and I would recommend going there for those that haven’t.

We were treated to a buffet and the food was simply amazing. A special vegan meal was prepared for us. It was a vegetable soup with bread crumbs, nuts and dry fruits for toppings. It was delicious and we just couldn’t help filling our bowls more than once!

We got talking over the food and discussed a bit about our up-coming events. A new podcast on Vegetarianism/veganism is on our list but Dario wouldn’t be around to help us record it until January as he is going back to Lithuania. Matti suggested that a friend of his who owns a studio could help us out with a place and tools for recording. Without you, Dario, it’s impossible to imagine how we can get a working podcast that’s as good as the last one.  We could hopefully send our recording over to you and you could edit it for us when you have the time!  We also discussed about the movie night on 10th of September and the Tallinn trip in October. I hope we get to see new members at both these events.

I loved the exhibition, the food and it was a wonderful occasion to catch up with the AI team. Tina, you were missed. Hoping to see you all again at the movie night!


Animalia International Movie night!

Post summer, Animalia International kicks off with its first exciting event. We invite you all to the screening of the much acclaimed animal liberation movie, “Bold Native”.

“Charlie Cranehill, an animal liberator wanted for domestic terrorism, emerges from the underground to coordinate a nationwide action as his estranged CEO father tries to find him before the FBI does.”


The views and actions in this movie can be regarded as extreme and does not represent Animalia International’s stand on the issue. However, the movie revolves around absolute love for animals and a passionate protest against inflicting unnecessary cruelty and death which, I trust, is inherent in all our hearts.

In addition to the movie, we will discuss about AI’s upcoming events this year which includes a trip to Tallinn in October, translation work for the Animalia English website, launching of our new Animalia International website and Fur Free Friday event in November.
Do select “Attending” on the Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=180347168702584
It will give us an idea of how many to expect.

Located at the center of the city, on the house drinks and great vegan food to supplement an edge of the seat action drama, there can hardly be any reasons to give this a miss. Looking forward to seeing you all!

Siddharth Iyer

Summer weekend with Animalia 19-21.8.2011

Every summer Animalia arranges a short weekend-camp for its members. My first thought about this was: What an advantage! Well, how was it then? What kind of people came to the camp?


Mostly girls or women I should say. We were joking that it almost seemed like we were on a retreat. From Animalia International, there was five of us attending the camp, Tina, Ville,Isabel, Melissa and me. The camp was held in Tuusula by a lake called Rusutjärvi and the accommodation was luxurious, we slept like babies…

The beach. Unfortunately the water was apparently too green to swim in.


Kati telling us about first aid for animals.

The programme was great. On Friday evening we had a cooking-course with Inna Somersalo, known for her vegan cooking-books. Cooking together was a great way to learn to know each other and we also learned to do some new dishes, like for example how to make seitan. I really liked the action in the kitchen! You see, we were quite many and everyone was working on different dishes…

On Saturday Animalia’s new head of communication, Vesa Saarinen  gave a very good speech on how to interact with people in social media. It was really interesting.  There were lots of  speeches and discussions during the camp. For example Kati Pulli, the head of Animalia, told us how Animalia work internationally and there was a lawyer, Minna Ruotsalo who learned us a lot more about the law for animalprotection in Finland.The atmosphere was really open and you could always ask questions, the volunteers were also asked to tell their views on things and visualize about the future. We came up with some new ideas. The municipal-elections are only a year away and we should start working on our campaigns soon…

Maria Halonen, the author of the book 10 askelta parempaan vapaaehtoistoimintaan (10 steps towards better voluntary work ) came to visit the camp on Sunday and gave us nice tips on how we and the whole organisation can improve our work and get more active volunteers.

There were also time for funny, not at all silly, games, sauna and many very nice meals, we even had a bean-party on Saturday where we sung some nice songs with animalfriendly lyrics. The food was done by Ruskanväri, a small vegan catering-business from Tampere. It was DELICIOUS.

A bean-party, not a crab-party!

All in all, it was a great weekend! Best of all was meeting my dear Animalia International friends again. Our blog has been quite silent during the summer but I am sure it will blossom up pretty soon, since it seemed like everyone had a lot on their minds and hearts!


Recommended day trip: Mustasaari

This weekend I visited Mustasaari island, only a short 15min boat ride away from the shores of Taivallahti. The island with its restaurant, small church, beaches and playgrounds belongs to the Lutheran churches of Helsinki and can be visited every summer. This summer (31.5.-21.8.) there are boat rides to the island every day except mondays.

I recommend a visit at lunch time (12-14), when there is a buffet including salad, main course, bread, juice, coffee and dessert for 9€. The kitchen also caters for vegetarians and vegans! The food today was delicious: various salads, freshly baked bread and stuffed zucchini with chick peas, tofu and sundried tomatoes. The best part was the dessert though: vegan korvapuusti, a typically Finnish cinammon pastry, which is just delicious!


AI’s second flea market sale

This post is really late – but better late than never, right? Animalia International went for its second flea market adventure in July and raised a fantastic €330,60  for Animalia!

This time most of the things on sale were donated to Animalia by a woman who left her whole house and belongings to the organisation in her testament. She surely knew that many of her things were very valuable, such as traditional Finnish farm house furniture, hand-crafted baskets, antique kitchenware and porcelain dishes, tea pots, vases, linens, books and a lot more. We only brought along a small array of the things she left to Animalia (other things are being sold online or directly to antique stores), but we all couldn’t help but marvel at all these treasures throughout the day! So did all the flea market costumers and our stand was quite popular! Other things we had on sale included clothes and other items that were donated to us by other people and volunteers, which helped to draw yet another kind of crowd to our stand and raise even more money.

We were lucky with the weather and enjoyed a sunny day out on the market place. Dario, Kasia, Malena and me got a nice sun tan! We also had help from my mum Gisela,  a flea market expert when it comes to porcelain and other such antique things, who kept an eye on us and made sure we wouldn’t sell anything for too cheap! Each costumer of course also got an Animalia leaflet with their purchase and thus was ensured that their money was going to a good cause. All in all, all our customers were positively surprised to hear about our sale for Animalia and some even decided to contribute more by buying an extra piece or two.  Only one customer, upon hearing that his money would go to Animalia, let me know that “in this case, I won’t buy anything here!”. One can only guess why, since he stormed off before giving me a chance to ask.

The funniest part of the day was when we accidentally sold Kasia’s Fiskars scissors. A lady had found them somewhere among our things, and even though we were quite perplexed and wondered where the scissors had come from, we went for it and sold them. LOL! Luckily Kasia returned on time to the stand and we were able to get the scissors back. We had even sold them for way too cheap!

We didn’t sell all of the things during the day and took the rest back to the Animalia office. In addition to that, there are even more things stored at the office waiting to be sold. So there is definitely potential for yet another AI flea market sale! Maybe in September?


A bittersweet reality

It is such a good feeling to come for holiday to my home city, stay with my family, visit my friends, experience  (most of the times)  the warm, gentle,  simple, friendly and happy people that inhabit La Paz, the fresh air, the deep blue winter skies and the  magnificent  bright and shining Sun at 3650 m above sea level.  However confronted with another reality that started as we were driving from the airport into the city center.  I couldn’t stop noticing the amount of street dogs, hungry, dirty, looking nervous and lost, sniffing everywhere searching for something to eat. It breaks my heart. It is not a new sight, it has been like this since I can remember, and it has always hurt and frustrated me.  According to the City Hall of La Paz, they estimate  there are about 455.675 street dogs, I am shocked and close to lose all hope  on how can anyone  help,  care and love  almost half a million dogs.  I have tried most of the time to keep positive and remind myself that hope is never to be lost,  it is hard to keep positive  when one sees  so much indifference, acceptance of cruelty,  meanness towards  none human beings particularly towards “humans best friend”. There are many cultural, socioeconomic, educational factors that could somehow account for all these, but in my eyes and heart they are NO excuse for any citizen, city, country or anyone in the world to accept and continue to pretend this  is OK , “part of life” and let them live in such  misery.

Fortunately I found hope again, even in the worst unimaginable events there is hope and amazing people /organizations willing to make a difference that are working so hard for the welfare of animals and change the multiple uncompassionate ways society has when relating to them.

Take a look
at this links it would be great to make some collaboration, donations or keep in touch. I already contacted them and will continue to support their actions.



Does human basic needs and poverty need to be tackle first for the majority of people in a society in order to start taking action on animal rights? Which is the best possible way to teach and learn compassion, appreciation of any form of life, and new ways of relating to each other and nature despite the cultural baggage, traditions and beliefs? Isn’t it self evident that if one chooses to live in a compassionate way it involves caring for all kind of injustices and disadvantaged beings?  Just some questions for reflection that keep puzzling me and have no simple answer.


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