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What I Do for Animals? Never Enough!

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What I Do for Animals? Never Enough! by Steve MartindaleLike most of us, Claudine Erlandson didn’t grow up in an animal rights family. She spent her first 20 years in France, where her parents’ restaurant served foie gras, among other customary meat and dairy dishes. But Claudine found her own way, breaking free of the traditions she finds appalling today. She left behind that life in her early 20s, first spending a year in Iran, where she met Jack, who was doing his military service there, helping Iranians map their country. Voila! They will soon celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary! Send your congratulations below in the comments!

What does the 71-year-old Claudine do for animals now? “Never enough!” is how she answers that question, although her energy and accomplishments are an inspiration for us all. Claudine often contributes letters to editors, blog comments, and Internet postings to speak up for animals. She organizes protests at KFC once a week and is contemplating adding a weekly demonstration at McDonalds as well. As for circuses, Claudine says: “I have diligently attended all the demos against Ringling, first in Seattle and now in Everett (a city nearby). Ha! We have chased Ringling out of Seattle after many years of demos!” Yes, street demonstrations do change the world! And every month, she attends meetings with the IACUC—the committee responsible for overseeing animal experiments in laboratories—of the University of Washington to fight animal experimentation in the university’s laboratories. Her international adventures are exciting as well: Claudine recently went to Cameroon to help save the chimpanzees at a sanctuary where she volunteered for six months a few years back.

Claudine has been vegan for 15 years, and vegetarian before that. She found that her healthy diet helped her overcome arthritis, and she is now using Neal Barnard’s vegan approach to treat Jack’s diabetes. She makes wonderful organic catnip balls and is the guardian of six cats and two dogs, Honeyboy and Louis. “They are all spoiled and that’s the way it should be,” she says.

At this point in her life, Claudine says that she has to make the most of every moment she has left to help animals, who continue to suffer so much. “Yet, I feel so good to see all these young people at PETA and elsewhere speaking out against the abuse of animals. Since my first PETA 101 conference in 1990 in D.C., I have seen so many changes for the better and more awareness and help from the public at large and also from police and politicians who unfortunately move too slowly. I cringe when I hear someone say: But they are just animals.”

What I Do for Animals? Never Enough! by Steve MartindaleAside from being a delightful lady, Claudine is one rockin’ activist. Why does she love PETA? “Because it is the very best thing which has ever happened for animals!” Check out her PETA tattoo … and show us yours!

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    Alex says...

    May 8th, 2009, 6:54 am

    Claudine, you are an inspiration to so many of us. Your name often comes up in our Oakland office, when we’re discussing amazing activists we know, amazing supporters, amazing catnip balls :), or just generally amazing people. You are one in a million and I am so honored to know you!! Thanks for doing this great interview!!

    Pamela says...

    May 9th, 2009, 3:45 am

    They are just animals — and so are we. Thank you, Claudine!

    Sherry McGuinn says...

    May 9th, 2009, 10:04 am

    Thank you for everything you do, Claudine. You truly are an inspiration.

    Nancy Pennngton says...

    May 9th, 2009, 12:54 pm

    Claudine does much, much more for animals than anyone I know! She is always willing – even eager to help all animals and the people trying to do the same. Her dedication is such an inspiration and I’m glad young people have her as an example of how to do it.

    Naila M. Sanchez says...

    May 9th, 2009, 2:52 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! You will be proud to know I follow in your footsteps and my boyfriend has become animal-welfare conscious!!!! Go!!!! Let’s spread the word and consciousness!!!!

    LINDA STEVENS says...

    May 11th, 2009, 11:48 am

    HAPPY 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY CLAUDINE !!! YOU ARE TRULY AN ACTIVIST AND HAVE INSPIRED ME OVER THE YEARS…..EVEN SINCE I LEFT THE SEATTLE AREA. SO GREAT SEEING YOUR SMILING FACE ON THE PETA PRIME NEWS. FROM THE EARLY ’80S UNTIL PRESENT DAY WE HAVE BOTH BEEN HUGE PETA SUPPORTERS. KEEP ON KEEPING ON !!!

    kerry says...

    May 11th, 2009, 4:44 pm

    Claudine, I am just so glad there are people like you in the world, and that i had the great fortune to first meet you at the PETA 101 in 1990 and my parents got to meet you at the March for Animals in Washington DC. YOU GO GIRL!!! Ma is having trouble moving around these days, but she still has energy to cook great vegan vittles and spends hours everyday on her computer writing letters and alerts and making sure the rest of us get things done. may we all have your energy at 71 and her energy at 83!!!!

    Justin Prater says...

    May 12th, 2009, 6:38 pm

    I know how you feel Claudine Erlandson. I come from a big meat eating family myself. My eyes were open about the truth about animal cruelty when I was eleven years old. I am now 17 soon to be 18. I have not had meat ever since. At first I felt a little embarassed to tell the truth about my diet at first but no I realize that this is who I am I am to going to be ashamed to tell people that am a animal lover PETA fan. You are a insipation Claudine. GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

    Claudine Erlandson says...

    May 14th, 2009, 6:58 pm

    Your comments humble me and make me teary-eyed. Merci, thank you all, long-time friends and new friends!

    PETA is so great!

    Karen Taggart says...

    May 15th, 2009, 11:46 am

    Thank you Claudine! PETA loves you too :)

    Susan says...

    May 23rd, 2009, 11:16 am

    Right on Claudine! I enjoy the demonstrations that we have worked together. You are a true inspiration!

    Jannette Patterson says...

    May 28th, 2009, 12:58 am

    Claudine! You set the standard for ‘dedication to animal rights’! If only we could replicate you; our day of total animal liberation would be so much nearer! I love you dear friend.
    Jannette

    Carla Bennett says...

    June 21st, 2009, 12:50 pm

    Dear Claudine, Since we first met years ago at a PETA fur demo in Seattle, you have become the sister I never had until now and inspired me immeasurably with your dedication to helping animals in so many, many ways.

    Thank you for always being there for the animals, and also for me, and for sharing not only the tears but the laughter.

    Love always.

    marilyn says...

    November 12th, 2009, 2:59 pm

    Claudine,
    Read about you in PETA Times & see you live in Seattle. I live in Tacoma & am an animal advocate too.. I am curious about “running the circus out of Seattle” & how you accomplished this. Ringling was at ShoWare & Everett I believe in Sept. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Tacoma News Tribune but they did not use it, probably did not want negative statements about animal cruelty in the circus. They have used other letters of mine tho. Email me if you’d like

    Bob says...

    August 2nd, 2010, 5:41 pm

    Bravo, Claudine! You’re an inspiration to everyone who works for animals. Keep up the wonderful work.

    Patty Shenker says...

    August 2nd, 2010, 7:43 pm

    THANK YOU , Claudine! As someone who has also fought for the animals for many yeas, I totally agree with your sentiment of never doing enough for them. Unfortunately, it’s because there is so much to do! Keep up your incredible work; you are making a big difference and DOG BLESS YOU!

    Kitty Jones says...

    August 2nd, 2010, 11:24 pm

    Claudine is one of the sweetest women EVER.
    She never ever stops doing good, i swear ( i’m not sure she even sleeps!)

    Eileen Weintraub says...

    August 4th, 2010, 6:59 pm

    We are so lucky to have Claudine and other great activists in our area – if all the world had more Claudine’s! Look forward to hearing more and more ……..

    elisabeth seffer says...

    November 17th, 2010, 4:04 pm

    there should be more people like this woman. Truly amazing.

    Victoria says...

    April 21st, 2011, 12:40 pm

    You are such an inspiration:) I admire&thank you for all that you’ve done for both the animals&myself:) &&Congratulations on your 50th anniversary! I wish you many more wonderful yrs together:)

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