Meet The Team: Suzanne Goodwin – Metadata Editor
Suzanne Goodwin – Metadata Editor. Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur
Meet some of the wonderful individuals behind We Animals Media (WAM) in our ‘Meet the Team’ Q&A series. Each month throughout 2023 we’ll be publishing a new behind-the-scenes feature for you to learn about the folks at WAM.
This month we spoke with our Metadata Editor, Suzanne Goodwin.
Hometown and where I live now
We moved a lot when I was a child, starting in the UK and moving between the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. A love of the ocean and mountains led me to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, which is the place I call home.
What’s my background
So many different things! I thought I wanted to be an accountant, but life led me beyond bookkeeping to working with horses, in hospitality and the photography industry, and eventually became a photographer. On the animal advocacy side, I’ve volunteered with animal rights groups and a charity that rescues and re-homes surrendered farmed animals. This eclectic range of experiences has been so instrumental in understanding the many situations depicted in WAM’s visuals.
What I do at We Animals Media (WAM)
I’m a Metadata Editor on WAM’s Stock Team, fact-checking, researching topics, editing/writing captions for contributors’ visuals, and applying some of the other necessary metadata to visuals so our users can find the content they need. The Stock Team draws on their broad knowledge of animal issues, agriculture, fisheries, cultural practices, geography and photography/video to ensure images are described accurately.
What I love about working at WAM
Working with such an incredibly talented and committed team! I am so grateful to work with an organization that shares my personal values and operates with kindness and integrity. Every visual we capture, provide information about and share with the world reveals the plight of animals as they exist in the world. These are stories that need to be told, and it’s gratifying to know the work I do contributes to that happening.
Favourite movie/book (or both)
It feels wrong to list just one, there are so many incredible works out there. In recent memory, a standout book for me is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It completely changed how I perceived the world and the stories we tell ourselves about our beliefs.
Extra crunchy salt and vinegar chips, the more vinegar, the better! I like toast a lot too. I could live on toast.
How I like to spend my leisure time
Observing and walking in nature, in the forest or on a lovely beach, especially one with lots of tidepools. So much of nature, large or small, is beyond our understanding and gazing into the tiny world of a tide pool can be a humbling experience.
Something quirky about me people don’t know
I’ve always loved music and used to take photographs of live band performances for a Vancouver music publication. I photographed everything, pre-digital, on film: punk and grunge to classical guitarists, some very famous and some not. This opened my eyes and ears to the astounding array of music out there to appreciate. My ears still ring to this day.
Favourite farmed animal ethology/behaviour fact
Pigs love belly rubs and have the equivalent intelligence of a human toddler! Pigs are so ill-thought of in society and get so little consideration for the inquisitive and sensitive beings they are. Go to a farmed animal sanctuary and get to know one. You will be forever the better for it.
One WAM image/video that has really stuck with me and why
[Content warning: contains graphic video footage]
WAM has so many compelling and moving images, that it’s hard to narrow it down. If I pick one image, then I feel like I’ve ignored everyone else, and I want all the animals to be seen. One visual I don’t think I will ever forget is a 2022 video clip by photographer Havva Zorlu of a cow bleeding out on a slaughterhouse floor. The cow attempts to vocalize as she dies in pain, fear and confusion. The people nearby just go on about their business around her. It’s so disturbing and telling of the continuing disconnect from animals that persists in our modern world.
At a Turkish “Qurban” slaughterhouse, a dying cow continues to breath and attempts to cry out even though her throat has been cut wide open. As she suffers, emitting rasping and anguished noises, workers around her busily wash away her blood from the slaughterhouse floor. She is being killed as a ritual animal sacrifice, or Qurban, so that her owner may observe the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday traditions. During this four-day holiday, millions of animals are slaughtered in Turkiye alone. Turkiye, 2022. Havva Zorlu / We Animals Media
Another memorable image is a beautiful photograph of a sheep named Arrow by contributor James Gibson. Arrow stands in a field surrounded by golden light. It’s an image that, for me, completely captures Arrow’s elegance and individuality, and I think of it often.