Tag Archives: activism

Circus Down, Compassion Up

Yesterday, on January 14, 2017, Ringling Brothers announced that it will be closing this May. In a statement issued to the public, the circus cited rising operating costs, lack of public interest, and mounting legal fees with animal interests groups as reasons for the closing.  This is great news for the animals who will be freed from the circus and will go to animal sanctuaries for retirement. peta4

Circus profits declined  in recent years for many reasons. The operation dealt with high operating costs, expensive legal battles, and changing public opinions. Large, exotic animals and death-defying stunts made the circus popular in the late 1800’s and the first half of the 1900’s, but in a world of CGI and Video Game Fantasies, the thrill of the circus for many was passe. Ringling Brothers themselves cite populations saturated with amazing programs on television, and animal rights activists– who were merely working to raise awareness about the life of animals behind circus caravan bars.

Continue reading Circus Down, Compassion Up

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Vegan Activist Lexicon- A Conceptual 101

So many ways to help animals. So many arguments that divide vegans, from each other, from vegetarians, and from the mainstream.  And the reasons, all of the reasons, let’s explore some in this introduction to Vegan Concepts through terminology.AR
Animal Rights- The belief, and movement of working for, rights and protections for nonhumans, in specific the right to avoid suffering, the possession of self-hood and the right not to be forced/compulsory consent, and exploitation.  This can include personhood, subject hood, prima facie rights, and abolitionism.

Animal Advocacy- This is similar to animal rights, although advocacy speaks to legal action, petition, or attempting to ban or block laws and practices governed by law that concern animal cruelty.  Top 45 Advocacy Blogs

Animal Welfare- This is the approach that tackles the reduction of harm in incremental amounts, such as “humane” farming practices.  They typically advocate for the reduction of the use of animal products to non-vegans, and the dissemination of more vegan alternatives in the market.  Many vegans believe this approach leads to guilt-absolution of non-vegans, allowing people to believe that their small ethical edits (grass-fed beef, cage-free eggs etc) solve the problem, instead of making a small dent. Animal Welfare Institute

animalliberation22Animal Liberation- The notion that we are not free until all are free.  The complete end of animal use for entertainment, agriculture, consumerism, medical testing, or any human-centered need. Occasionally, Liberation groups take matters into their own hands to liberate animals in captivity, or destroying testing cites, and others specifically work to ban or boycott industries that use captive or exploited animals.  Also, the name of a book by Peter Singer, himself a controversial figure. Animal Liberation Front.

Continue reading Vegan Activist Lexicon- A Conceptual 101

Emissions: Cars vs Cattle?

Conversations about air pollution, carbon footprints, greenhouse gases usually focus on cars/transportation and the nebulous concept of “industry” calling to mind post-industrial brick smoke towers pumping black smoke into the sky for some factory that is as monolithic and ominous at it is cartoonish and NOT the biggest contributor to toxic air pollution.

Several studies on the sources and causes of emissions have been done, like this 2006 study and many responses by agriculture and commentaries have monitored small changes, talking about industry practice reform, such as the independent.

Detractors argue that the 3.5% decrease to observable methane emissions over 8 years is PROOF that the agricultural industry simply needs reforms to correct the issue…ignoring the fact that at 14.5% (whether we agree with this figures or not) still makes livestock the #2 ABOVE transportation, and behind the nebulous “industry”.  methane-vs-co2-graphic-new Continue reading Emissions: Cars vs Cattle?

DXE- Disruption for the Cause

A public place, a restaurant, a grocery store.  These are all places where people gather, and they are also places where decisions get made.  Some of these decisions can effect the rest of someone’s life, and to people working for Animal Rights this fact is very true.

On Saturday January 30th, a group of people self-organized with DXE- Direct Action Everywhere  did several “disruptions” in Washington, DC in order to encourage people to question the choices in what they eat, what they buy, and in general to attempt to break down the denial we all have about what goes into our choices: the human, environmental, and animal costs of consumer goods and our lifestyles.

Using song, calling out facts, and signs, all over the world activists disrupt the daily “ignore what we don’t see” patterns we all fall into, and encourage a deeper investigation to these issues.

Calling out: “Their Bodies,” or “Their eggs” or “Their children” and the response “Not ours”

Calling out: “They have families,” or “They feel pain” and the response “Just like us”

Powerful stuff.  DXE has organized activist efforts all over, connect with them, link above, to find out how you too can get involved raising awareness and advocating for animals who can’t speak up for themselves.

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Plant Pure Nation

One of the best things about going to conferences like IPBNHC is how quickly people can introduce you to new things!  I was very excited to heat about an initiative called Plant Pure Nation:

“a “grassroots,” community-based strategy that engages millions of people everywhere to bring the message of plant-based nutrition to family, friends and neighbors. This effort demonstrates how millions of people working together at the local level can solve a social problem that industry and government have failed to solve.”

Continue reading Plant Pure Nation

Vegan Options at Restaurants Project

My goal: To help all/many more restaurants have at least one vegan option on their menu!

Submit this letter, or modify it for your own uses!

___________________________________

Suzannah Gerber

(412) 901- 1216

contact email

Dear (Restaurant Name Manager/Owner):

Have you considered offering vegan options on your menu?

I am a part-time vegan chef and plant-based diet Medical study researcher and consultant at INOVA, and I would like to offer my assistance to you, at no cost, to help develop vegan options for your menu that integrate stylistically with your restaurant and use all or mostly ingredients you already purchase.  In addition to vegan options, I would be happy to help you consider allergen-sensitive items to accommodate gluten free, soy and nut allergies as well.

Why should you have vegan items on your menu?

Veganism has become very popular over the last few years, and is gaining in popularity.  Celebrities like Beyonce, and politicians like Bill Clinton, publically support the vegan diet.

Plant-based diets help treat health issues such as heart disease, chronic pain, and obesity. Nationwide campaigns such as “Meatless Mondays” speak to an interest in alternative diets.

Vegans and Vegetarians have meat-eating friends and family, and look for restaurants that accommodate everyone.  The choice for a group of 4-6 with 1 vegan is a restaurant with at least one or two vegan options on the menu.

Why is this consultation free?

My goals are to increase the amount of nutritionally balanced vegan food available, and to educate vegans about what locations can serve them.  Personally, I would like more options when I dine out with my non-vegan friends! Also, as a vegan chef, I would love the opportunity to work with restaurants with a variety of needs, culinary techniques, and restrictions, to learn how to make vegan food available to the widest possible audience.

By adding vegan items to your menu, you will open your doors to a new population of customer, a population who will happily promote the existence of your restaurant simply for offering vegan options. I will show you the many vegan websites that list and promote restaurants with vegan options, and personally help your restaurant get onto these lists.

I look forward to discussing adding a tailor-made vegan option to your menu!

Suzannah Gerber

______________

Help others see the bigger picture, one restaurant at a time!

Vegan Lifestyle versus Plant-Based Diet

The vegan community, internally, has divided positions on the Plant-Based diet.

Vegan-for-Everything-VSVegans take a holistic approach to Veganism, as a complete lifestyle.  This includes food choices as well as other commercial consumable goods, and is typically also accompanied by a spectrum of involvement in Animal Rights Activism, Animal Liberation, Environmental Activism, and related political, economic, spiritual, and social pursuits. Also, a fair amount of research and investigation goes into this from documentaries such as Vegucated, Earthlings, and Speciesism to national medical studies, and the ongoing efforts of exposing organizations such as Mercy for Animals.

Vegans abstain, to the best of their knowledge and ability, from any and all animals products (think food but also cosmetics and clothing) and animal industries (think Sea World and also Horse-Drawn Carriages).

Vegans typically identify as Vegans, beyond their diet, and consider this a central or large part of their social identity, as a pervasive philosophy and conscious effort to address the system they protest. Continue reading Vegan Lifestyle versus Plant-Based Diet