CAA volunteer Laura Van Zandt is not only a volunteer for Compassionate Action for Animals, but she’s also a host of the popular internet broadcast series One Girl, Two Cities. During the show on September 9, Laura will talk to some key figures about the upcoming Twin Cities Veg Fest, including festival planning committee members Unny Nambudiripad and Shannon Kimball. She’ll also be talking to the folks from The Herbivorous Butcher and Comfort Candy, two vegan food vendors who’ll be showcasing their cruelty-free eats at the festival.
RSVP to the Facebook event, share with your friends, and then tune in to learn all about Twin Cities Veg Fest. Watch it live on the internet broadcast station Sizzlin 99.9. If you aren’t available to listen to the live broadcast, a podcast version will be available on iTunes the next day.
Join us on the evening of Thursday, September 25 at the CAA office to help us assemble our swag bags for attendees. Also, we’ll need assistance loading the equipment to bring to Coffman Memorial Union on Saturday, September 27, the evening before the festival.
On the Day of the Festival
On Sunday, September 28, we’ll need lots of volunteers for the event to run smoothly. You can check out the Twin Cities Veg Fest website for more information on these volunteer positions.
Veg Fest Table
Paid Per View Table
Cooking Demo Helpers
Kids Area Helpers
After the Festival
We’ll need help with data entry and cleaning our office. Help us wrap things up!
All of these volunteer positions offer you an opportunity to be a part of the CAA team. You’ll get to meet others who care about the same issues, and together we can nurture a compassionate community here in the Twin Cities. What’s more, if you volunteer on the day of the festival, you’ll receive a free Twin Cities Veg Fest shirt!
Compassionate Action for Animals recently hosted a tour of Chicken Run Rescue, a chicken sanctuary in Minneapolis. Being on staff for CAA, I went along. Of course, I was also interested in seeing the chickens. I had been to a farm animal sanctuary once before, but it had been a long time since I had been up close and personal with these less familiar species of animals. I live with two cats, and I’m very familiar with their ways. But chickens, cows, turkeys, goats — they’re all entirely different species and represented by a myriad of individuals who are each so fun and fascinating to get to know in person.
At the sanctuary, I got to hold one chicken who stayed on my lap for a few minutes, or at least long enough for this picture to be taken. This little guy, a rooster named Obie, is an “ornamental” or designer chicken, bred to be pretty, funny, or cute. The physical abnormalities bred into him can create health problems that prevent him from being able to survive in the wild. For example, Obie has extra toes and his foot feathers often break, bleed, and get infected.
Holding Obie reminded me of holding one of my cats. They’re about the same size. They’re both soft, though one has feathers and the other has fur. And they’re both warm; their hearts beat just the same. Some like to be held more than others, but, unlike a cat, the chickens don’t exactly jump off your lap; they fly off! (The flapping can be a little startling.)
A few days after the visit to the sanctuary, I was going to post some fun “Throwback Thursday” picture on Facebook, and I found this picture from 1994 of me with my cat So-hi. Yes, I had some of my senior pictures taken with my cat. I remember So-hi as a friend. During my difficult youth when I felt like an outsider in many ways, I felt an unconditional love and acceptance from So-hi that I rarely found elsewhere.
Yet, while I was so fond of my cat So-hi, I was regularly eating chickens, those chickens who, like cats, can feel and have desires. They too have a beating heart and a will to live. I didn’t make this connection until many years later, when I was 24 and my beloved So-hi passed away in a house fire. I felt very sad about her death and would occasionally wake in the middle of the night after dreaming that she was meowing at my bedroom door as she once had.
Not long after, I was cooking for myself and made the connection. Handling the raw chicken flesh, something didn’t feel right. I started to wonder how my cat So-hi was essentially any different from from this chicken I was about to eat. How can I grieve for the death of one but then pay for the death of the other?
In that moment of asking the question, I had a choice. I could strive to answer the question, or I could suppress the question. I chose to answer it, which inevitably led me to moving towards a plant-based diet.
Of course, this part of my story — how I transitioned to going vegan — is a story unto itself. But when I made this connection between the animals I called friends and the animals I called food, I had a compelling impetus for change. Supported by my intention to follow my heart, to live from love, and to be kind, I made my way to making more compassionate food choices.
Today is “Throwback Thursday,” and I look at these pictures side-by-side. The parallels are evident now, but they weren’t always so clear. Twenty years have passed, and my vision of the world has changed dramatically. Over that time, I’ve widened my circle of compassion.
Thankfully, we have more and more resources available to help support our awakening to these parallels between the pets we adore and animals we eat. From farm animal sanctuaries like Chicken Run Rescue to undercover investigations posted on social media, we are surrounded with reminders that all animals, not just our dogs and cats, deserve compassion and respect. Each of them can feel. Each of them has desires. Each of them has a beating heart and a will to live.
This year’s Twin Cities Veg Fest offers a number of moving presentations by both local figures in the movement and visiting speakers from out of town. These presentations cover the gamut from informative seminars on plant-based nutrition to eye-opening discourse on the treatment of animals in religion to moving firsthand accounts of what happens on factory farms.
The speakers include:
Mark Berkson, Ph.D., Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Hamline University
Kristina DeMuth, registered dietician
Erica Meier, Executive Director, Compassion Over Killing
Taylor Radig, former undercover investigator
Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection, Humane Society of the United States
Here’s a bit more about what you can expect from a few of them:
For a glimpse of Paul Shapiro’s talk, listen to our recent podcast interview and learn why he thinks the animal protection movement is winning, what led him to going vegan, and what was the most influential presentation on the subject of farm animal protection that he ever heard.
Professor Mark Berkson, a local leader in the animal advocacy community, will be exploring the attitudes toward and treatment of non-human animals in a number of the world’s major religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.
Former undercover investigator Taylor Radig was the most recent addition to the schedule. Those of us who attended the Animal Rights National Conference last month got to hear Taylor Radig speak about her experience as an undercover investigator filming animal abuse on factory farms. We were profoundly moved by Taylor’s firsthand account of the cruelty she witnessed and thought her powerful story should be shared with our Twin Cities community.
Stayed tuned for blog posts previewing what Kristina DuMuth and Erica Meier will present at the festival.
We are excited to bring these five amazing speakers to Twin Cities Veg Fest this year. Since we expect well over 2,000 people to attend the festival, these presentations will reach many new people with a message of compassion.
The festival is free to attend and will take place on Sunday, September 28, 2014 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
To hear more speakers, register for Their Lives, Our Voices, an animal advocacy conference happening on Saturday, September 27, the day before the festival.
In late June, Compassion Over Killing (COK) released undercover footage showing birds being buried alive at chicken factory farm in North Carolina. Just recently, COK learned that the local authorities have decided not to file charges.
In response this update from authorities, Curt Albright, a resident in North Carolina, started a Change.org petition seeking justice for these birds. It went live on August 6th and has so far received over 140,000 signatures!
Do something today to let the authorities know that this treatment of chickens is unacceptable and that these factory farms should be held accountable for this egregious cruelty.
In this third podcast of a four-part series devoted to Twin Cities Veg Fest 2014, Compassionate Action for Animals’ Executive Director Unny Nambudiripad interviews visiting speaker Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection for the Humane Society of the United States.
In addition to offering a preview of his talk for the festival, Paul reveals why he thinks the animal protection movement is winning, what led him to going vegan, and what was the most influential presentation on the subject of farm animal protection that he ever heard.
Twin Cities Veg Fest 2014 will be held at Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota on Sunday, September 28th, 2014. The festival is free to attend and, in addition to presentations from visiting speakers, includes delicious food samples, a variety of exhibitors, and cooking demos. Join us and celebrate compassion!
Here in Minnesota, we’re having unprecedented summer weather: not so hot and not so humid. Perfect for a backyard barbeque! And how convenient that Compassionate Action for Animals is hosting a barbeque potluck on Friday, August 22nd at the home of Suzy Sorensen, 1099 Lombard Ave in St. Paul from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
If the thought of a barbeque conjures an unappetizing image of charred animal flesh (aka hot dogs and hamburgers), we’ve got good news for you. At our potluck, we’re taking animals off the menu and replacing them with a variety of colorful, flavorful plant-based options. Bring on the Tofurky!
In case you haven’t heard, Seward Cafe may be deemed a vegan’s dream come true. And lucky you, Compassionate Action for Animals is hosting a dine out at this veg-friendly haven on Wednesday, August 13th, 6:30 – 8:30pm.
Choosing from their menu, a person eating a plant-based diet won’t be at a loss for tantalizing dinner options. Their selection of comfort-food classics like burgers, brats, and nachos can all be made vegan. (And let’s not forget about the baked goods. Please, more chocolate chip banana bread!)
Can you believe that our Twin Cities Veg Fest is happening in just less than two months? It’s true. Our third annual festival celebrating compassion is happening on Sunday, September 28th, and we hope to make this year’s the best and biggest one yet. Of course, we want as many people to attend this event as possible. Here are some ways that you can help get them there:
Talk to your friends in person! The best way to get new people to the festival, to have them learn about wonderful plant-based foods, is direct person-to-person conversation.
Use social media! Follow and share our Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest pages. Also, invite your friends to Twin Cities Veg Fest using our Facebook event. Use the the hashtags #TCVegFest2014 and #CelebrateCompassion whenever posting about the festival.
Put up posters! We have four sessions planned. Let us know if you can come. We will provide food.
If you want to put up posters but are not available on those days, email your mailing address to email@example.com, and he will send you a handful of posters and flyers. Alternatively, make an appointment to pick them up at the CAA office.
Subscribe to the our e-newsletter, the Weekly Update, which will include lots of exciting news about the festival in the weeks to come. Forward the emails to your friends, and encourage them to attend.
For University of Minnesota students, in addition to the two on-campus postering sessions listed above, you may also:
Announce the festival at the beginning of class with your professor’s permission. Many professors will let you make a brief plug, but this announcement would be especially suitable for philosophy, nutrition, or environmental classes. Contact us for flyers to give your classmates or if you are not sure about what information to include with the announcement.
You may be wondering how the sale of rabbit flesh warrants protest when so many other equally-sentient animals are tortured, killed, and sold as food everyday. Here are the key points that the House Rabbit Society would like you to consider:
Whole Foods is artificially creating the demand for rabbit flesh by awarding large financial grants to rabbit farmers.
They are sourcing from rabbit farms in Iowa and Missouri, the two states that have passed Ag-gag laws that make it illegal for undercover investigators to document abuse behind factory farm walls.
Rabbits (like poultry) have almost no protections under the law. Farmed rabbits suffer horribly from birth to slaughter.
None of us wants to see an entirely new animal flesh successfully marketed and consumed.
In comparison to some other farmed animals, rabbits are very small in size. As they are so small, many more individuals will die to satisfy a manufactured interest in eating rabbit flesh.
Rabbits are the third most popular companion mammal in the United States and are regularly rescued and sheltered alongside cats and dogs. By creating a culture of violence against rabbits, Whole Foods will make every aspect of helping rabbits in rescues and shelters harder.
Whole Foods is trying to normalize the idea of eating a popular companion animal.
The Rabbit Advocacy Network is organizing a Day of Action for Sunday, August 17th at the Whole Foods Market in St. Paul, 30 Fairview Avenue South, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. You are welcome to attend this peaceful demonstration with the goal of 1) informing customers of this pilot program and 2) urging shoppers to speak up to Whole Foods by filling out comment cards, speaking to management, sending emails, or writing letters. You are also welcome to sign the petition.
This cause presents an opportunity to show rabbit-lovers and Whole Foods shoppers that we don’t draw distinctions between how we treat one species and another, whether they be dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, fishes, cows, pigs, turkeys, or any other sentient being. Widening our circle of compassion beyond those animals that we know, we begin to understand how all are deserving of our kindness.
For more information about the upcoming demonstration at Whole Foods Market, contact Amy Ramnaraine, the local contact for the Rabbit Advocacy Network, at firstname.lastname@example.org.