Malena Blanco

Malena Blanco

“In the slaughterhouse there is not only death. There is the birth of this human. So I start to reframe if in reality we should propose ourselves to go back to our animal self. It seems to me that that’s the place of that better world. Be more animals and less humans.”

Malena Blanco is part of VOICOT, an anti-speciesist movement in Argentina that fights for animal liberation. VOICOT began around 2014, first by selling shirts with anti-speciesist art and messages, and in time began to create posters used to cover advertisements that promoted animal industries and products. Now VOICOT also investigates these industries, documenting the ways farmed animals are kept and killed to show people what is kept hidden from view.

“It’s a super painful process,” Malena explains, “because you start with an investigation in a cow slaughterhouse, then in a chicken slaughterhouse, with the egg industry, with the milk industry and everything is a little worse than before.”

Malena’s own journey with animal liberation also began with images like the ones featured in this video. After seeing an animal killed on TV, she asked her mother, who had just placed a piece of meat in front of her, if that meat had also come from a killed animal. In that moment, she realized she didn’t want to eat animals because of her love for them. Now at VOICOT she works so that others may one day arrive at a similar realization.

Video by Angel Giovanni Hoyos

 

 

Miyoko Schinner

Miyoko Schinner

“Why am I making cheese out of cashews and legumes? Because it’s all about the animals. They are entitled to a life of their own, to live life according to their wishes, and that’s a story we want to tell.” ~ Miyoko Schinner

Miyoko Schinner is the founder of the animal sanctuary Rancho Compasión and of Miyoko’s Creamery, a multi-million dollar vegan cheese and butter company.

Vegetarian since the age of twelve and vegan since the mid-1980s, Schinner has dedicated her life to advocating for animals. Her sanctuary, with compassion at the heart of its name and mission, provides a lifelong home for rescued farm animals and strives to change public perception about animals typically viewed as “food.” In the video featured here, see Schinner at the sanctuary as she proudly shows off the “Phenomenally Vegan” tattoo she got on her 60th birthday.

Continuing with her compassion-centered theme, Schinner focused her skills as a chef on bringing compassion to the table with dairy free cheeses, spreads, and butters. Miyoko’s Creamery products are all 100% vegan, lactose free, GMO free, palm-oil free, and cruelty-free. Schinner invented the category of artisan vegan cheese, and she is often referred to as the “Queen of Vegan Cheese” or as the woman on a mission to revolutionize the entire dairy industry. Schinner’s mission to create the creamery of tomorrow also sees today’s independent dairy farmers as allies who can play an essential role. Her company works with them to grow plant milk crops and thus, transition to the prosperous world of plant-based dairy. The Miyoko’s brand promise, reminiscent of her tattoo, is to be “phenomenally vegan in everything we do.”

“From our humble beginnings with four employees in Miyoko’s home kitchen, to a 30,000 sq ft. state-of-the-art facility in Sonoma, we’re leading the way in transforming the future of the creamery. In just a few short years, our products can be found in 1,000’s of stores and our ‘cheese’ wheels are on the road to global distribution in the near future. We’re changing perceptions of vegan food, to inspire people from all walks of life to enjoy a phenomenally vegan lifestyle.” ~ the Miyoko’s Creamery website

In 2021, Schinner’s company continued to attract millions of dollars in capital investments and won a lawsuit to maintain the right to refer to her products as “butter.” With food as a powerful form of activism, the Miyoko’s Creamery mission continues on, striving “to create the blueprint for the animal-free dairy food system of tomorrow, for the urgent salvation of our planet and all that we share it with.”

Video by Henry Hopkins

 

 

Yumin Chen

Yumin Chen

“My job is to do everything, wherever there is animal suffering.”

Directed by Kelly Guerin

Yumin Chen is known by many as one of the most beloved and hard-working animal advocates in Taiwan. With over 25 years of experience, she is a long-time animal advocate and the Director of EAST (Environment & Animal Society of Taiwan). Her work involves inspecting farms to help enforce welfare standards, advising on the development of these standards, leading campaigns against animal cruelty, and petitioning corporations and government bodies to implement anti-cruelty practices.

Dr. Carole Noon

Dr. Carole Noon

Founder of Save the Chimps

We’re at the end of Carole Noon Lane on the grounds of Save the Chimps, a 190-acres sanctuary in the Florida Flatwoods. The grounds here are divided into twelve three-acre islands, one per ‘family.’ Each parcel is outfitted with hurricane-proof concrete dwellings and what look like oversized park playground structures. During our time on the grounds, some of the chimps have taken an interest in our presence and our interviews, watching bemusedly from their far off perches.

This sanctuary would not be here without the tenacity of its founder, Dr. Carole Noon. It doesn’t take long into interviews with friends and staff before a very clear image comes to light – Dr. Noon was a force of nature who would not take no for an answer.

In 1997, the US Air Force was set to ‘retire’ the 141 chimpanzees in its space program. With only $150,000 and no sanctuary to speak of, Dr. Noon submitted a bid to purchase these animals, unsurprisingly, to no avail. Instead, most of the chimps were sold to the Coulson Foundation, a medical research lab in New Mexico. The chimps would be sent to live in isolation in the dungeons of Coulston, suspended in 5’x5’x7’ metal cages while awaiting the next experiment.

And so, Dr. Noon sued the Air Force in 1997. In 2001, after four years of legal battles, the first chimps arrived at their new home in Florida. Dr. Noon succeeded in her mission and spent the final years of her life dedicated to her cause. In 2009, she passed away at her home on the sanctuary grounds.

Dr. Noon’s legacy lives on in the over 250 chimpanzees who have been rescued from research, entertainment, and the exotic pet trade and who now call Save the Chimps their home.

“One thing about Carole is she did not take no for an answer. If someone told her she could not do something, that was the guarantee she was going to make it happen.”

Film and story by Kelly Guerin. Photos by Jo-Anne McArthur. 

Invisible

Invisible

“People need to see it.”

‘INVISIBLE’ follows two undercover investigators, ‘Emily’ and ‘Sarah’ (their names have been changed to protect their identities), on a pig farm investigation in Europe, offering the viewer an unprecedented glimpse into a world that is deliberately and painstakingly covert.

In a ‘double-life’ kept secret from their day jobs and family lives, Emily and Sarah choose to visit and document the stark and often brutal conditions of farms and slaughterhouses to bring attention to the suffering inherent in animal exploitation.

As darkness falls and the investigation unfolds, Emily and Sarah reveal what drives them to leave their loved ones in the night, the emotional impact of documenting animal cruelty first-hand, and how their friendship allows them to continue carrying out such traumatic work in spite of the psychological cost.

Finally, the evidence gathered and the investigation complete, they leave without a trace – invisible.

Directed by Chris Shoebridge

What inspired Chris to tell this story?

“In 2009 I saw undercover slaughter footage for the first time, and it changed the course of my life. This profound shift happened only because an investigator – an anonymous activist who I will never know nor ever be able to thank – risked their safety and freedom to expose the reality of our relationship with animals. Many of us owe a similar debt to undercover investigators, but how often do we think about what they risk, and what they sacrifice? Do we even know what it takes?

 

While I believe we must be mindful to centre the animals in our activism, I believe it is also important to celebrate the work of those whose passion and bravery drive our mission forward. Not just to honour those people but also, hopefully, to inspire such passion and bravery in others.

 

While Emily and Sarah are just two of the invisible women who make our movement possible, this film is a broader ‘thank you’ to every undercover investigator who has taken risks to help animals, and to every woman who has never received the recognition she deserves yet without whom our movement simply could not exist.”

Ondine Sherman

Ondine Sherman

Ondine Sherman is a tireless and trailblazing animal advocate. In 2004, Ondine teamed up with her father Brian Sherman to co-found Voiceless, which has since grown to become one of the most prominent animal protection and animal law organizations in Australia. In addition to Voiceless, Ondine is a full-time mother of three and has published a memoir about her journey with her twins who have disabilities​, as well as three young adult novels with prominent themes of animal activism.

Unbound filmmaker Kelly Guerin visited Ondine at her beautiful home in Israel, surrounded by adoring rescue dogs and former battery chickens. As Ondine is uniquely poised to share insight into balancing activism and motherhood, she shared with Unbound how she has been able to dissolve the seemingly rigid lines between the two, and continue to change the world for animals.

Learn more about Ondine’s work and books.

Filming and editing by Kelly Guerin.