Dog News

Life with Dogs Chats Exclusively with Rory Freedman

by Katherine

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In an exclusive interview for Life with Dogs, Rory Freedman, author of “Beg: A Radical New Way of Regarding Animals,” and co-author of the #1 “New York Times” mega-seller “Skinny B-i-t-c-h,” tells us more about her experiences writing her latest book.

When did you know you wanted to write a book about helping animals?
I had the opportunity to write more books after the success of the Skinny Bitch series. But I didn’t want to write something just for the sake of writing. I wanted to feel called to write something the way I felt called to write Skinny Bitch. After about three years of not writing anything, I felt Beg brewing and percolating.

How long did it take you to write “Beg”?
Between researching, writing, and procrastinating: about a year.

Author Rory Freedman
Rory Freedman

Did you ever think you would become this famous and influential to so many animal lovers?
I don’t think of myself as famous or influential. I think of myself like every other animal lover/loon I know.

In your book you mention that going vegetarian and then vegan have been the best two decisions you have ever made. When did you first go vegetarian, when did you transitioned to veganism and why? Was it difficult for you?
I went vegetarian in college after reading an article about factory farming and slaughterhouses. I ate meat my whole life, but never once considered how living, feeling animals became food. As an animal lover, I just wasn’t okay with cows, chickens, and pigs being treated so horrifically and killed so mercilessly.

I went vegan about ten years later after seeing video footage taken at a dairy. Cows had udders that were so grossly enlarged, they were dragging painfully on the ground. And many of the cows were sick, injured, or lame, and were stumbling and falling. It was devastating. I knew I couldn’t live with contributing to their suffering but that I could live without dairy products.

Did you crave or miss any meat dish when you first went vegetarian/vegan?
All of them! I had eaten meat at every meal prior to going veg. It was definitely a tough transition. But I just kept reminding myself that my “sacrifice” was nothing compared to what the animals had to suffer for humans to eat them. After a while, the cravings subsided and I was thrilled with my new healthy, compassionate lifestyle.

In the book you talk about fostering Lucy and being a foster failure. Have you fostered any other pets after adopting Lucy? If so, how many and was it hard to let them go to their forever homes?
Lucy is my only foster failure. I already had two dogs who I share with an ex-boyfriend. I wasn’t in the market for a third. It was so naive and arrogant of me to think I’d be immune to her charms. She’s so stinking cute; I didn’t stand a chance. After about two or three weeks of fostering her, I realized I’d fallen madly in love with her and that we were supposed to be together. My precious little angel muppet.

What’s your favorite chapter of the book and why?
My favorite chapter is “Let’s Get Spiritual.” I’ve been writing about animals for almost a decade now, and talking about them my whole life. But in the last few years, I’ve been experiencing some beautiful spiritual shifts. It’s fun and exciting to write about something new and different.

What do you tell people that say that they love to help animals but they could never become vegetarians/vegans?
There is so much we can be doing to be better animal lovers. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to make a huge difference. I wrote Beg to give people information, inspiration, and options. Don’t be immobilized thinking you can’t do everything. Start wherever you can.

From all the animal abuse circumstances you mention in your book, and from which many humans profit (puppy mills, animal testing, animal farming, circuses, fur trade, etc…), which one in your opinion should be the first one we should put a complete end to?
It’s hard to prioritize any one issue over another. Suffering is suffering. In Skinny Bitch, I chose to focus on animals killed for food simply because their numbers are the highest. In the United States alone, we kill about ten billion animals every year for human consumption. I know cows, chickens, and pigs might not tug on our heartstrings the ways puppies and kittens do, but industrialized farming is incredibly cruel and prolific.

What do you think the public can do to pressure the government to put an end to puppy mills?
I think in addition to leaning on our elected officials, we need to take responsibility for the problem: we need to stop buying animals from pet stores and educate everyone we know (and even those we don’t know) to do the same.

If you could change the world to be a perfect/friendly world for all animals, what would you change? What would your world be like?
Realistically and logistically, I think the solution has to be a spiritual one. If we could each awaken to our highest self and be truly connected to our inner divinity, we’d make radically different choices regarding animals. In the future, when humanity is enlightened, we won’t need to make any special stipulations for animals because it will be a better world for all beings.