Loving Nonhuman Animals and Each Other

Posted by Kelly LaToza Levenda, Guest Blogger on August 20, 2012

My husband and I immediately bonded over our love for nonhuman animals. We do many things together, like cook, eat at vegan restaurants–especially in Portland–volunteer at animal protection organizations, participate in vegetarian societies, and spend time with our three rescued companion animals.

Naturally, our love for animals influenced our wedding. We chose to elope in Costa Rica because of the plethora of wildlife there. We stayed in a bungalow in the rainforest, hoping to experience some of Costa Rica’s amazing wildlife ourselves. Our trip did not disappoint. We were able to listen to the howler monkeys’ call at dusk, watch white-faced capuchin monkeys pick and eat mangos, have a picnic near a peccary, watch a family of coatis travel through the forest, explore a bat cave, view a sea turtle while snorkeling, and visit Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary.

Our love for animals also influenced our wedding ceremony itself. Our wedding officiant, Marcelo Galli, runs the only vegetarian association in Costa Rica, Association for the Promotion of Ethical Vegetarianism. This organization promotes a plant-based diet by providing information on ethics, nutrition, environmental impact and recipes for the Costa Rican public through tabling, talks, tastings, and boycotts. Before the ceremony, we had a conversation with Marcelo about animal farming in Costa Rica and ALDF’s work. Marcelo knew that compassion for animals was dear to our hearts and made it a theme running through our ceremony. He held our ceremony papers in a specially made ALDF folder.

It was amazing to see not only the impacts that ALDF has around the world but also the good things that are happening for animals around the world. Because of Marcelo, there is now a voice in Costa Rica spreading the word about compassionate living and kindness to animals. My hope is that ALDF and other animal protection organizations can influence many more people in the years to come.

Kelly LaToza Levenda is a 3L studying Animal Law at Lewis and Clark Law in Portland, Oregon. She loves spending time with her husband, Anthony, their dog, Bernie, and their cats, Mori and Ollie.