The actress who played Luna Lovegood in the 'Harry Potter' movies wants a better life for animals.

As Luna Lovegood in the "Harry Potter" films, Evanna Lynch was quirky, kindhearted, and ever-optimistic.

Sometimes she was picked on for her oddities. But she never became angry.

Now the actress is showing a tougher side.


Photo by Jane Dalton.

She's putting a spotlight on Europe's brutal live animal trade and hoping to persuade European Union chiefs to end it.

An astonishing 3 million animals — mostly cattle but also sheep and pigs — are transported every year from Europe to Turkey, the Middle East, North Africa, Russia, and Ukraine.

On journeys of thousands of miles in trucks and ships, these large but sensitive creatures are deprived of rest, water, food, and bedding, and they are often hit, kicked, or prodded, according to investigators for Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), a U.K.-based animal-welfare group. They are so thirsty that they lick the bars of the filthy, overcrowded trucks in desperation. Investigators have witnessed many of them too young or sick to travel.

Then, after up to two weeks of suffering, they are slaughtered (without first being rendered unconscious) — sometimes even with blunt knives that worsen and prolong their deaths.

Evanna wanted to take action to help stop the animal trade, so she launched a campaign.

CIWF wants the trade in live animals to be replaced by one in meat.

The live animal trade is legal in Europe, but Evanna's hoping to persuade European Union chiefs to outlaw it.

To get people's attention, Evanna and CIWF began circulating a nontraditional petition this fall — one that came as a life-size cow statue.

Photo by Jane Dalton.

She was the first to sign the cow petition, and then it began a tour of seven countries to send a message to European Commission bosses.

Evanna was joined by “Order of the Phoenix" co-star Robbie Jarvis to launch the event in London on Oct. 9.

Photo by Jim Philpott Photography for CIWF, used with permission.

The news spread on Twitter and Facebook as #cowontour.

The 24-year-old Irish actress believes that animals should be treated as humanely as possible.

She's vegan and doesn't eat meat or animal products. Here's what she told me:

"The suffering is completely unnecessary and is easily remedied with a little bit of compassion.

So many people aren't aware this trade goes on — for instance, I'm vegan, but my family eat meat, and when I tell them what goes on, they say, 'It doesn't happen here.' Because people don't realize this horrible practice happens.

It's grotesque but it's the truth. I don't think it would continue if people were aware."



Protest at the European Commission. Photo by Jim Philpott Photography for CIWF, used with permission.

You can see the painful side of the live animal trade in this video (Warning: the content is graphic and includes animal suffering):

The European Commission says it's concerned about animal welfare, and it has held workshops to train slaughterhouse workers in correct practices.

We may think of them as just farm animals. But anyone who has been near a cow, sheep, or pig will know they feel the same things as we do — hunger, thirst, pain, fear, and love.

Yet in this ugly trade, they are treated like mere sacks of potatoes. In this one sculpture lies all the hope of change for a more humane, more grown-up approach to the millions of living, breathing, feeling animals we breed. Their fate, and whether they remain free from suffering, rests on it.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
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This year, we've all experienced a little more stress and anxiety. This is especially true for youth facing homelessness, like Megan and Lionel. Enter Covenant House, an international organization that helps transform and save the lives of more than a million homeless, runaway, and trafficked young people.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is Delivering Smiles this holiday season by donating essential items and fulfilling AmazonSmile Charity Lists for organizations, like Covenant House, that have been impacted this year more than ever. Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a charity of your choice or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

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Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down...in the most delightful way.

There are certain songs from kids' movies that most of us can sing along to, but we often don't know how they originated. Now we have a timely insight into one such song—"A Spoonful of Sugar" from "Mary Poppins."

It's common for parents to try all kinds of tricks to get kids to take medications they don't want to take, but the inspiration for "A Spoonful of Sugar" was much more specific. Jeffrey Sherman, the son and nephew of the Sherman Brothers—the musical duo responsible not just for "Mary Poppins," but a host of Disney films including "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "The Jungle Book," "The Aristocats," as well as the song "It's a Small World After All"—told the story of how "A Spoonful of Sugar" came about on Facebook.

He wrote:

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