not born to die

 no aquariums


many years ago my husband and i had a saltwater aquarium. he was the aquarium keeper and i fueled the interest. i followed each fish and did all but keep a diary on each one. the most beautiful, soulful fish we had was a naso tang we named sharpé.

i learned that the fishes' growth would adjust to the size of the tank. that is, they would =not grow naturally=. this was contrary to my earlier education from dr. seuss, and of course, it bothered me.

one day we moved and got a larger, 4-ft aquarium. i was so happy for sharpé. he was thrilled too, on the first day he was swimming end to end, swirling and practially doing loop-de-loops.

something happened though. little white specks began forming. soon they covered his whole body with increasing density, over his beautiful eyes, over every inch of him. they were parasites. we learned that the parasites were already in the previous tank, but that environment was stabilized. by moving sharpé, the other fish and rocks without the proper transition, the parasites took over in the new aquarium; we had upset the balance.

we put sharpé in isolation but it was too late. he was writhing in pain toward the end.

i have never forgiven myself for being so blind, and the memory will haunt me for the rest of my life.

we quit keeping an aquarium. sharpé had been only one of many casualties, which led me to the conviction that it was not our right—nor even our privilege—to tamper with those beautiful creatures. and further, we were supporting a terrible industry.

even the big, public aquariums have casualties.

first, humankind with all of its advancement, encroaches on the animals' habitats and the earth itself. we then take the animals out of what's left of that habitat and put them in artificial ones. beyond the sheer lack of respect for the animals, what is fundamentally wrong with that is that we are upsetting the balance, just like my husband and i did with our aquariums.

but we are upsetting the global balance. and our entire globe is writhing in pain.

this globe is where we live. it's what gives us our air to breathe, water to drink and our food to eat. it is not only the animals' habitat we have upset. it's our own. yet we as a whole are not listening. or we're not acting on what we've heard.

the most basic thing each of us can do is to choose a plant-based diet. to learn more about how going vegetarian or vegan helps to restore our planetary balance, please visit .....


want more? please see my page of links.

thank you for whatever you can do.
— renessance


my path to animal advocacy:
spring 2007 i worked very hard to support A.B. 1634, the pet spay/neuter bill. my video and song, "not born to die" are to help that bill, please feel free to email the link to all of your friends. i photographed the animals in that video in one afternoon trip to three shelters. each one is unique and beautiful, yet undoubtedly half of them were euthanized not long after i visited them, simply because they weren't adopted within a quick matter of days. the bill is still on, and we need you to write to your legislators. everything you need to know is at

being involved with that legislation i gained a heightened awareness to so many other animal issues beyond our pets: that of wildlife and farm animals. i read books and articles, looked at videos, and attended an animal rights conference. a voice for many years was calling me to be a vegan, and in august, at last, i followed that calling. "and yet i rise" marks my rite of passage, and refers to animal cruelty on the fronts of factory farming, lab testing, dog abuse, hunting and land management. by the way, going vegan is not as hard as you may think. it's a mindset, and when your mind is ready, your tastebuds go along with. you absolutely can get every nutrient you need as a vegan.

as with my art, i will use music to help animals. while i do sell and donate my art to help animals, i'm not ready to sell the music. that's okay, i'll use it to raise awareness.

not born to die   •   and yet i rise   •   day of the eagle   •   wild horse annie