Four volunteers and I went to this year’s Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles. It was energizing and productive to connect with others in the movement. Here’s a taste of what we experienced.
Wow, it was such an amazing experience being able connect with so many organizations doing great work in their communities around the world. I really appreciated the opportunity to hear about how others are employing unique and novel strategies to reach underrepresented groups in the vegan movement. I also loved hearing the views and perspectives on animal testing from SAEN‘s Michael Budkie and White Coat Waste Project‘s Justin Goodman since my field of study is so closely related to the biomedical industry. I look forward to my next opportunity to gather and connect with such an astounding group of like-minded and passionate activists.
The Animal Rights National Conference was a great opportunity to hear lots of passionate leaders in the vegan movement. My favorite presentation was given by Melanie Joy who said that although we have no choice in whether we want to be ambassadors for the vegan movement, we can control how we communicate with others about our convictions. Some of her helpful tips included meeting people where they are coming from instead of trying to force them to see your perspective, never shaming others because it will only put up walls, and encouraging people to be as vegan as possible for their lifestyle.
The animal rights conference is a great way to build skills and make connections that help CAA help as many animals as possible. I love that we can meet with groups around the country to share ideas, learn about new approaches, and support each other’s work.
I really enjoyed the chance to connect with folks working to reduce the amount of meat served in cafeterias around the country and the world, including a conversation with two Brazilian activists. I know that we’ll incorporate some of the ideas we heard. The meeting for large vegan event organizers (e.g. veg fests and similar events) sponsored by VegFund was again useful. Friday night’s plenary, moderated by Dawn Moncrief with presentations by Harish Seithu, lauren Ornelas, pattrice jones, and A. Breeze Harper was especially inspiring. I encourage others to download the Food Empowerment Project’s Chocolate List App, and to check out the book The Oxen at the Intersection: A Collision by pattrice jones, which I’ve been reading on my way home.