Shane and Sia, the Barbi Twins, have always been involved with animals but as they became more aware of the cruelties that were happening to animals they determined to dedicate their lives to the safety of all animals. They became very active in local spay and neuter and Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) programs, in protests against animal cruelty, vivisection, zoos, puppy mills, circuses and eventually made hands on efforts to rescue animals left behind during natural disasters. They were involved with helping lobby for animal bills, such as the horse slaughter bill, the pet food safety bill and the cat declaw ban. They are involved with volunteering at shelters and help with adoptions - Adopt Don’t Shop!
They collected friends and colleagues to help in their endeavors and decided to give their animal rights movement a name, Twin Bunnies. The twins are involved in every aspect of both animals rights and animal rescue.
~ Barbi Twins Bio at TwinBunnies.com
Barbi Twins Interview
I was honored to have this opportunity. Sia and Shane are forever doing what they can for the voiceless. Whey they are not out raising awareness for precious animals, they are on the web spreading the word for our fellow Earthlings. If you ever have a chance to see or hear them speak, I highly recommend that you do so. These written words cannot come close to conveying the compassion that is evident in their voices.
Holise:When did you decide to make activism your priority in life?
Barbi Twins: We were born as weirdos. As early as watching The Ten Commandments, we were children and we remember being so bothered by the horses being slaves. We thought, “How can this be a spiritual movie when they are slaves?” Then when the Red Sea opened up and fell on them, we were looking for them to rise up and for God to protect them because they didn’t do anything wrong. And we didn’t see that so we wrote a letter to God saying how upset we were with Him that he was so mean to animals.
We always felt alone in our feelings and we started seeing that we were a little odd because people would always say, “They’re only animals.” We went to the extent of stealing animals from school that we felt needed to be free. We had this thing where we were, kind of, small ALFers. We let them free and we would take them to the park, thinking that was the best thing to do.
As a child we knew what jail was. We think all kids know what jail is and that we punish kids by making them go to a corner and that as an adult you go to jail. We didn’t understand the concept of a cage for an animal, whether it was a zoo or a cage at school. We thought freedom was what an animal should have and not to be a slave for humans. We couldn’t understand that if we got rid of slavery for people, why weren’t we transferring that to animals? We didn’t understand why we [humans] were so arrogant!
When people would watch a circus they thought it was cute, but it’s not cute seeing wild animals do tricks —- like the elephants. It just didn’t look cute to us when they were doing unnatural things. It looked like they were being punished with a whip to do very abnormal stunts. It just didn’t look right and they were in an environment that they weren’t meant to be.
The movie we most related to, though differently than other people, was King Kong. We just thought, “Can’t people see the message here?” We are so selfish that we take an animal, for entertainment and profit, out of it’s environment and place it in an unnatural environment for exploitation and money. Then when it gets upset because it is scared, we shoot the poor thing! We kill it and we think that’s alright even though it’s reacting because it’s frightened. It got to us that people saw that as a monster movie and no one saw the message and thought that maybe we should just leave animals alone, so we always called that “The King Kong Syndrome.”
Holise: How long have you been vegan?
Barbi Twins: We grew up with hippies. It was very easy, when growing up on a ranch and naming your animals, to be a vegetarian. We didn’t become vegan until we met Chris Derose, who heads Last Chance for Animals, in 1989. He was wonderful! He would show us these awful undercover videos, ie. UCLA and at hospitals. We were already fanatical but we didn’t know that was hidden from the public.
In our first book, we shared how we had an eating disorder and how doctors were trying to brainwash us about how we don’t have enough protein, don’t have enough iron and we were anemic. We found that the more greens we had and the more raw foods we had, (that’s why our second book went into raw veganism), that can fix all health problems. We went from vegetarian to vegan to raw vegan. Our second book, “The Eco Anti-Diet,” is about gradually incorporating a raw vegan lifestyle that anyone can do.
Holise: You have been fighting for animal rights. In the process, you constantly see these horrific videos and images. You see some really graphic stuff! I’ll admit that I try not to even look at some of that because it’s so disturbing. How do you deal with it?
Barbi Twins: We used to think, “What kind of person can actually deal with this?” Ken, for example, can’t bring himself to see these things. We questioned ourselves too, on that, of how much is normal. But you know what is really funny? We got to say the reason why —- and we can’t always do it —- we watch it because we feel that the animal has suffered and the more that we feel, the more we feel obligated to contribute [to do something.] We don’t want to choose to be in denial; we want to choose to see the crime totally in its fullest! But because we keep seeing this stuff, we almost feel like we take on the pain of the animals.
The things that got us the most, that was so damaging, was the crush videos with the kittens, the bait videos (with dogs and cats) and the horses being gored to death in Spanish bullfights, where they were galloping away with intestines hanging out—-dying slowly while running for their lives. Those three things were the most damaging and it almost feels like there’s no coming back and we don’t recommend it. But at the same time, we think people that are continuing to choose to contribute to their suffering should see it.
We believe that we definitely, definitely need a movement of compassion! With some people, its like changing their religion. So we can only do this with the youth, trying to establish a culture through the youth with a movement of compassion through humane education.
Holise: What do you think about Sea Shepherd?
Barbi Twins: We gotta say, one of the few organizations that really walk the walk is Sea Shepherd. We can’t really name any other organization that does it all. They are proactive a hundred percent in every which way. That’s why we call Sea Shepherd the Godfather of all animal organizations. You can’t have conservation without animal activism and vice versa. And we laugh at these people called “conservationists,” that have no respect or regard for animals. They actually believe in killing for maintenance and the balancing of nature.
How can you balance out nature when we’re at the top of the food chain and we are unbalancing nature? It’s stupid to say, “Oh, it’s okay to kill more seals because they eat too much salmon.” What! For us? So we can be gluttons and over-breed? We are taking the resources from these animals and endangering them. We are ruining that balance of nature.
Holise: You met Captain Watson. What did you think of him?
Barbi Twins: Captain Watson! You know what’s funny? Just like big movie stars, it’s always the biggest icons that are the most humble, gracious people that we’ve ever met. I can’t even believe that someone of his stature complimented our Eco Anti-Diet book!! The guy is a hero and an icon and he’s not short of complimenting others. Bottom line, he is the most famous Captain that loves and protects our planet and her creatures!
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