My niece, Lila Fay, is about 2 weeks old now. In looking for a welcome-to-this-world gift for her (in addition to the “I Love My Aunt and All Her Tattoos” onesie that I couldn’t resist), I came across 22 Reasons, and I can give you about a hundred reasons why this for-profit animal advocacy company has made me giddy.
Run by vegan activist Gigi Glendinning, 22 Reasons features two very special stuffed animal series: Mr. Patient Pachyderm and The Brave Bunnies. In addition to being cute as heck (and, okay, I am keeping one all for myself — sorry, Lila), these two soft stuffed sweeties carry a very big message: “Compassion and Reverence for All.”
The first thing you see when you open your box and gaze upon your new family member (I take my stuffed things very seriously) is a plain brown paper bag with a big beautiful sticker stating the aforementioned message, “Compassion and Reverence for All Animals.” Open that goodie, and you’ll notice a stylish tag delicately tied around your new buddy’s neck saying that 10% of the proceeds form the sale of this toy will be donated to House Rabbit Society (for the bunnies) or Performing Animal Welfare Society (for the elephants).
On the other side of the tag is a story. Here’s the one that came on Lila’s future bunny friend: “Sometimes we have to be brave. This bunny had to be brave when she lived in a small dirty place with bad food and no water. Now she has been rescued and she is happily hopping around in a big yard. She eats organic vegetables and drinks plenty of fresh water. She gets love and attention and she can play all day with other bunnies.”
22 Reasons’ website also boasts stories, giving your youngster or us… oldsters?… the opportunity to virtually meet some rescued rabbits and elephants (and even one very lucky rhino). Throughout the website, there are educational elements being used to enlighten everyone about the egregious practices (such as the use of bullhooks for elephants) that are commonly used by animal exploiters, including circuses and pet stores. But rather than leaving us with despair, the website gives one a sense of hope that, due to the many sanctuaries featured on 22 Reasons, as well as the awareness being raised by these stuffed animals and other advocacy efforts, change for animals is possible.
And I have just learned that change sometimes begins with a stuffed bunny who is about to find a home in little Lila’s crib.