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Meatless Monday Campaign Update

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This past September, a group of us who are CAA volunteers and also students at the University of Minnesota started a campaign to get more meatless options in the University’s dining halls on Mondays. As the campaign coordinator, I’m reporting on the progress we’ve made toward reaching our goal.

Bringing the campaign to the University of Minnesota would have many benefits. Aside from this ultimate goal, the process of campaigning is also a powerful means of outreach. We are engaging students, faculty, alumni, University departments, student groups, and community members in a conversation about the effects of animals agriculture and the benefits of a Meatless Monday program.

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Activist Training Plans for 2015

TLOV 2014 Attendees

Compassionate Action for Animals launched our conference, Their Lives, Our Voices (TLOV), in 2008. The conference ran through 2010, then went on hiatus until we hosted it in conjunction with Twin Cities Veg Fest in 2013 and 2014. We have decided to discontinue TLOV in 2015, but we have plans for other programs that will offer resources for activists.

There have always been two motivations for hosting TLOV. First, we wanted to bring together animal advocates from across the Midwest to form connections and exchange ideas. As a bonus, we had national figures in the animal advocacy movement participating. However, it was always the networking between activists in the region that has been most important feature of this event for us. We think that Twin Cities Veg Fest can fulfill that purpose just as well since it also attracts advocates from around the region. With this in mind, we will add space and time for networking at our next Twin Cities Veg Fest.

Our other goal for TLOV has been to provide practical training for animal advocates, especially for those who volunteer for CAA. This training has included sessions on leafleting, responding to frequently asked questions, fundraising, organizing events, public speaking, and more. We will continue to offer this sort of education to our volunteers through training sessions that will be scheduled throughout the year. Since these sessions will require less planning and resources to produce than TLOV, they can happen more often and will be free to attend. An added advantage is that the Twin Cities Veg Fest planning committee can focus on improving the festival, rather than also planning for TLOV.

Our first training session is coming up on Saturday, February 21, from 10am to 5pm. We’ll cover a variety of topics, including a basic overview of CAA, humane education presentations, and other activities. We’ll also provide a free vegan lunch as part of the event. See the event listing for more details on how to sign up. We hope to see you there!

Highlights from Twin Cities Veg Fest 2014

Twin Cities Veg Fest was a memorable experience for all involved. Thousands of people came out to attend this festival of compassionate living. They enjoyed an array of delicious vegan food, powerful speaker presentations, informative cooking demos, and a variety of exhibitors. Good times were being had left and right, and all in the name of helping animals.

Check out our video of festival highlights and you can see all of this for yourself. Heck, you might even see yourself in there!

Thank You for Giving for Compassion!

what your donation achieves

Our Give for Compassion campaign was a huge success thanks to all of you!

We first set a goal of raising $7,500. Thanks to the generous contribution of an anonymous donor, that goal was matched 2-for-1, giving us a total of $22,500 to support our work. We made that goal with a few days to spare and then set an additional goal of $1,500, with another 2-for-1 match from another donor, giving us an additional $4,500. Thanks to the contributions of many supporters, we not only met both of these goals, but also surpassed them. Wow!

If you’re wondering what your donation will achieve, check out the image attached to this post. It offers a visual example of how these funds are allocated to support our outreach, education, and community building programs.

Again, thank you for your generous support. With your contribution, we are able to speak out on behalf of farmed animals and build a compassionate community in the Twin Cities and beyond.

There’s still time to give for compassion!

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Great news! Thanks to a generous outpouring of support, we’ve reached our first year-end goal of $7,500 along with an additional stretch goal of $1,500, all with time to spare. (Note that both of these goals were matched 2-for-1!)

Though we’ve reached our goal, the campaign isn’t over yet! If you’d still like to make a contribution, you have until midnight tonight. Give for Compassion today and help support our vital work speaking out for farmed animals.

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Give for compassion today and be a hero for the animals!

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There’s no time like the present to Give for Compassion! We reached our first year-end goal of $7,500 with a couple days to spare. Then, guess what happened! Another generous donor offered a $3,000 2-for-1 match if we can raise an additional $1,500. We have until Wednesday, December 31 at midnight to reach this new goal. That’s less than 48 hours! Give today and help support our vital work speaking out for farmed animals.

The range of our work can be seen in our year-in-review video slideshow. We hope you find these images inspiring and that they remind you of all the great times that we’ve had in the past year and all that’s possible in 2015 and beyond!

Bridges of Respect: Setting a Standard for Humane Education in Minnesota

Students at Como High School sample nondairy milk.

CAA’s humane education program, Bridges of Respect, has been giving presentations in Minnesota schools for more than 10 years. During our presentations, we offer students Tofurky sandwiches on whole grain bread, and they get a taste of how delicious wholesome plant-based food can be. But that’s only the beginning of what our humane education program is giving to the young people in the Twin Cities region.

Here’s an overview of our activities over the past year:

We gave 50 presentations in 2014. Most of these presentations focus on the ways animals are affected by our food choices, but we also incorporate environmental issues. We occasionally present on how animals are used in the entertainment business and in the science industry, and we make a connection between violence toward animals and the violence toward other human beings.

By the end of 2014, we reached about 1,500 students in Minnesota’s high schools and colleges. Students learn about veganism in their health classes and their environmental chemistry classes. We always bring the emotions and intelligence of animals into the conversation when discussing the food industry.

We have conversations about factory farming. We discuss animal agriculture as a whole and show how it has affected our lives. Some students stay after class to talk about it more with us, and some students incorporate what they’ve learned into classroom assignments. They scribble “chooseveg.org” and “vegguide.org” on their notebooks and type them into their smartphones.

We speak with students about the dangerous “ag-gag” laws. We explain how these laws threaten transparency by outlawing images taken of an “animal enterprise,” and how these laws would infringe on our right to free speech.

We are working each day, even when not in the classroom. We train others to give presentations. We prepare food samples, literature, and other resources for students. We also prepare for the presentations and provide the vital follow-up support to students and teachers.

A full foot of snow won’t stop us! The morning after a big snowstorm, several school districts cancelled classes. Until we got a message that our presentation had to be rescheduled, we were ready to trudge through whatever weather to get our message of compassion to students. We are committed!

CAA is currently trying to raise $7,500 by December 31 at midnight. All of these funds are matched 2-for-1. It’s a great time to support CAA’s humane education efforts in the Twin Cities. We have almost reached our fundraising goal, but we need your help to make it the rest of the way. Give for Compassion today!

Pay-Per-View at the U – Winter 2015!

Pay-Per-View At Twin Cities Veg Fest 2014

My name is Claire Erickson, and I’m the new Tabling Coordinator for CAA. I’m a U of M student who is looking forward to meeting new faces and advocating for animals.

In the first few months of 2015, we have the opportunity to host pay-per-view tabling events at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. We hope you will come out to support the cause.

Dates:

Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Location: Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

The pay-per-view program is a great way to help animals. We’ll be paying people one dollar to watch a five-minute video about factory farming. We engage in positive conversations and educate the public. Come out to take action for animals by introducing people to compassionate eating!

For more information or if you would like to volunteer, email me at claire.erickson@exploreveg.org or check out the events on our Facebook page.

How about a Vegan Option at the DQ?

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It’s about time for a nondairy option at the Dairy Queen, don’t you agree? Wouldn’t you just love to take a nostalgic trip to DQ, but this time for the simple joy of a vegan soft serve cone? We sure would!

With nearly 6,000 locations worldwide, Dairy Queen has an opportunity to expand its reach by offering a vegan ice cream option. This new campaign, organized by Nicholas Coughlin, seeks to influence Dairy Queen to do just that.

To make this happen, Dairy Queen needs to hear from YOU! Let them know that a growing number of consumers are looking for vegan options, and that you’re one of them. Some consumers are concerned about their health, some are lactose intolerant, and some just want to make kinder food choices.

Compassionate Action for Animals supports this initiative, as it makes another vegan option available for those moving towards a plant-based diet. We want the marketplace to continue to change to reflect the growing awareness that factory farming is simply not okay. More and more, the public is asking for more humane food options. A nondairy option at the Dairy Queen is an obvious step in that direction.

Chain restaurants such as Chipotle, Subway, and Dunkin’ Donuts have responded to consumer demand and are now offering vegan options. Tell Dairy Queen you think they should follow suit and offer a vegan ice cream option!

 

Musings of a Vegan Shopper: Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese

Vegan Cheese!

Hello to all! This column was born from my desire to share recommendations for vegan products that will simultaneously amuse your taste buds while fostering collective support for a cruelty-free marketplace. I asked, “Why not start a CAA column that sings the praises of such vegan goodness?”  Alas, I was elected to be the bearer of good news. I’ve decided to focus my maiden article on Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese. The holidays are here, it’s time to indulge and impress. These nondairy cheeses are the perfect ticket for you and your guests. May this column be the first of many!

Riddle me this: has a trusted confidant ever navigated you towards such-and-such vegan cheese because it’s to die for? They say you’ll never crave real cheese again and you’ve just gotta try it asap? You take the plunge, plunk down about four clams (or more!) for a package, try a nibble, and exclaim, “Like, wh-a-a-a-a is this? Cheese replacement extraordinaire? I don’t think so!” You let it loiter in your fridge, hoping the opportunity will arise for you to just eat the dang thing and get your money’s worth, but it never does. Attempting to dodge the guilt you feel about wasting four dollars, you try not to let it catch your eye when hunting for other items on the shelf. Eventually, the cheese is simply too moldy and rank to ingest, and you have no other choice but to pitch it. Has this ever happened to you?

I’m here to tell you that Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheese is here to save the day. Not only are these little beauties a delicious dairy-free cheese, but they’re also made locally in Minneapolis! The consistency is similar to goat cheese, thick and creamy, and it can be spread like peanut butter. These nut milk blends have a mild, unobtrusive taste that doesn’t overpower other flavors, making it multifaceted. It comes in four varieties: Plain, Herb, Smoked, and Nacho. I’ve purchased the Plain a few times and had the pleasure of taste testing the Herb and the Nacho. Smoked is the only variety I have yet to sample. The Plain is the most versatile. Add it to pizza, make a mean hoagie with it, or how ‘bout use it as an appetizer accompanying fresh tomatoes and basil drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette? Or perhaps smother it in chutney or cranberry sauce and use it as a dip? The Herb flavor has the ability to shine on its own, gracing the top of a cracker in the buff. The Nacho has a bit of a giddyup factor and is delicious for all y’all who like to kick things up a notch past Minnesota Mild.punkrawk2

I purchased my little bundle of joy at The Wedge. The Plain runs slightly north of $10 for 6 ounces, and the flavored cheeses are a few bucks more. Yes, it’s a luxury item but well worth the price. One caveat: be sure to check the “sell by” date. This product will start to deteriorate not long after, and I’d hate to see you waste your hard-earned money. An unexpected bonus: each cheese wheel comes in a lovely metal tin that’s perfect for upcyclers or crafters who want to give it a second life as a handy-dandy caddy that will hold safety pins, paper clips, cottons balls — heck, you name it!

Cheers to a happy and compassionate lifestyle!

T.H. Waters (aka Tera) is a Minneapolis freelance writer and author of three books, including Letters to Bert. Feel free to send her a jingle jangle at thwaters@verefor.com.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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