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North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies

The 13th Annual North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies will be held at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College from June 20-22. The conference merges academic and activist insight with presentations from scholar-activists and grassroots organizers alike.

If you are in the Twin Cities area this summer then be sure to check out the Conference for Critical Animal Studies at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. The conference is a three-day event that will run June 20-22.

The conference will be packed with speakers, insight from leading animal activists, and presentations from scholars. The theme for this year's conference is Breaking the Silence on Global and Local Intersections of Ethnicity, Spirituality, and Nonhuman Animals, and promises to spur great conversation and insight.

If you are interested in attending you can register here by June 1st for a cost of $40. An updated schedule will be made available as the conference dates get closer, so be sure to check back often or check them out on Facebook.

Farm Sanctuary’s Leafleting Research

Farm Sanctuary has published the results of their research on leafleting.

Farm Sanctuary's study, the first of its kind as far as we know, examines the impact of distributing leaflets on a college campus. Near the beginning of the semester, they leafleted at two large state schools on the East Coast, using a mix of Farm Sanctuary's Something Better leaflet and Vegan Outreach's Compassionate Choices.

Two months later they returned to these schools and surveyed the students who had received the leaflets. Their results showed that 1 out of 50 students who had received a leaflet become vegetarian or pescatarian as a result, and 1 in 14 students said they had significantly reduced their animal product consumption. This is a great result, and validates our long-standing hunch that leafleting is a fantastic form of outreach, especially given its relatively low cost, both in time and money.

That said, this is a small study, so it's too soon to draw any big conclusions. We'd love to see this research repeated at other campuses. Of course, we'll still be leafleting in the mean time! Join us in leafleting with John Oberg from Vegan Outreach on March 10 or during our Minnesota College Leafleting Week from April 15 – 19. Leafleting is fun and easy, and it's a great way to help animals.

Annual Banquet a Success

On April 4th, Compassionate Action for Animals celebrated another year of advocating for animals at our 9th Annual Banquet. The fundraiser raised support for our outreach, education, and community building on behalf of farmed animals.

Over eighty guests attended this year's event, which included a silent auction and reception, a four-course vegan meal, and a presentation about CAA's work.

Following the meal, CAA volunteer Jeff Johnson recapped last year's accomplishments and gave a preview of what's to come. Dave Rolsky announced our Twin Cities Veg Fest fundraising campaign. We'd like to thank those businesses and individuals who donated to the event:

And last, but certainly not least, dozens of dedicated volunteers helped the event to progress smoothly by preparing food, setting up, serving guests, taking pictures, and cleaning. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this year's banquet a huge success!

If you weren't able to attend but would still like to support CAA, you can donate online.

Resource for Twin Cities Vegans

During a recent KFAI interview with Sabrina Crews our own Executive Director, Unny Nambudiripad, along with other local vegan experts talks about the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle and offers up resources for new vegans or the veg-curious.

Our Executive Director, Unny Nambudiripad, recently spoke with KFAI producer Sabrina Crews about the benefits of living a compassionate lifestyle and resources for new vegans in the Twin Cities area or those who are veg-curious.

The five-minute segment also includes input from other local vegan experts such as the program director of the Animal Rights Coalition and the authors of TwinCitiesVegan.com. In the interview they all discuss why you should make the switch to a plant-based diet, misconceptions of veganism, and local veg-friendly resources.

Listen to the interview and be sure to contact us if you have questions or would like more information!

Become a Twin Cities Veg Fest 2013 Supporter!

Twin Cities Veg Fest logo

There are only two days left in our sponsorship campaign. Please help us reach our stretch goals so we can make the festival the best it can be.

By supporting the Twin Cities Veg Fest, you will help us reach new audiences, provide more tasty vegan food, and let us bring great music to the festival. We're going to make the festival even bigger, with more exhibitors, more attendees, and more fun.

And don't forget our great stretch goals. At $2,000 we will increase our advertising budget, bringing in even more attendees to this event. At $2,500 we can start considering some bigger name musicians for the concert. And at $3,000 we will explode some tofu! Yes, you can contribute to a little destruction in the name of a greater cause. With your support, we can make a nice big boom. It'll be like Mythbusters without the science!

Compassionate Action for Animals is hosting our second Twin Cities Veg Fest on October 26th, 2013. The festival will take place from 10am to 4pm at Coffman Memorial Union on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota

Twin Cities Veg Fest is for anyone and everyone – from vegetarians and vegans to omnivores! Attendees learn where their food comes from, how to be a healthy vegetarian or vegan, and why being compassionate benefits everyone. Attendees enjoy free food, insightful speakers, great music, and delicious meals. For this year's festival, we're adding a day of free music to the schedule!

Twin Cities Veg Fest is free to attend. Your generous support is what makes this possible. You can support the Twin Cities Veg Fest by contributing to our Indiegogo campaign!

Why Community Building is Important for Animal Advocacy

It's tempting to think that there is some silver bullet for animal advocacy. With enough research, we'll find that there's just one particular form of outreach that outdoes all others. Then we'll just go ahead and do that until everyone is vegan and no more animals are tortured in factory farms.

Maybe leafleting or online video are the silver bullets for animal advocacy. These are great forms of outreach. Leafleting is low-cost, easy to do, and you can do it at so many places, from concerts to colleges. Online video is powerful, inexpensive to provide, and can even spread virally through social media. What's not to love?

If these things are so great, why does Compassionate Action for Animals do all this other stuff? Why bother with our dineouts and potlucks, with the Twin Cities Veg Fest and VegGuide? Isn't it enough to tell people about the horrors of factory farming? Once they know about this, surely they'll be inspired to change their lives!

While it's true that leafleting and videos can inspire quick and powerful change, there's more to being effective advocates than just giving people that initial push. We live in a society where the vast majority of people eat animals every day. The pressure to conform may be blunt or subtle, but it's always powerful.

Once a person is inspired to move towards plant-based eating they will quickly encounter challenges. Many of these challenges are close to home. Friends and family may be less than accepting. Some will argue that it's not healthy to be vegan. Others may feel disappointed at a perceived rejection of existing traditions. Friends may feel implicitly judged by a change in lifestyle.

It's easy for long-time animal advocates to dismiss this pressure. "Why can't you just do what you know is right? You can take comfort in the knowledge that you're doing the right thing." Can't you?

Of course, this isn't reality. People care what their friends and family think of them. We all want to be accepted. We all want to have good relationships with friends and family. We want our values to be understood and respected. Of course, over time, family and friends will accept a change in values. Many may come to embrace it, but that probably won't happen immediately.

Besides the social issues, there are also real practical problems to overcome. How does someone new to veganism learn what restaurants are vegan-friendly, how to cook tasty vegan food, or what to shop for at the grocery store?

Building a strong and vibrant animal-friendly community helps people who want to help animals. How many people abandon their new diet after just a few weeks or months because of social pressure? How many people go back to eating meat because they don't know where to eat out or how to cook good vegan food?

This is why the community-building efforts we engage in at Compassionate Action for Animals are so important. We provide social events and community for people who care about animals. We provide support for people who are struggling with changes to their values. Our social events at Thanksgiving and other holidays provide a sense of camaraderie and ritual that doesn't involve eating animals.

These social events show attendees that they are not alone in caring about animals. There are other people who share their compassion and are living out their values in the same way. These events are also fun. As an activist organization, when we do outreach, we want to be able to offer more than just a message. When we hand someone a leaflet, we can also have a conversation about all the great activities we offer. And having fun is a great way to energize pepole for future outreach. Outreach can be draining, and social events rejuvenate us, helping prevent burnout.

We also address the practical issues. Our cooking classes teach people how to make delicious vegan foods. The VegGuide site provides world-wide listings of veg-friendly restaurants and grocers. When we have dineouts we can point attendees at the tastiest vegan dishes on the menu.

Ultimately, our community-build efforts go hand in hand with our outreach work in helping people make the lifestyle changes that directly reduce the number of animals suffering on factory farms.

Big Success in Leafleting Day

We handed out more than 5,000 leaflets at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, to encourage compassionate food choices.

The cold and the snow didn't stop us from passing out 5,047 Vegan Outreach leaflets on Monday, March 11! John Oberg joined us as he hands out leaflets at colleges across the country. This is one of the highest number of leaflets ever passed out at a college campus, and we did this even with poor weather!

Do you want to help animals and missed this opportunity? Please join us April 15-19 for Minnesota College Leafleting Week! Dozens of volunteers will spread the word even more widely as we hand out leaflets across the state.

We're hearing from people every day that they are changing their eating habits to help animals as a result of our work. Thanks to everybody who helped out!

The 2013 Winning Chili Recipes are Here!

Perhaps you attended our 2013 chili cook-off and want to recreate your favorite one at home? Or maybe you missed out on the event and want to get a taste of the best? If you answered 'yes' to either then check out the top 3 recipes of the year!

This year's vegan chili cook-off was an intense event with many delicious pots of chili vying for the title of 2013's best vegan chili as determined by the magnificent judges at the event. Some of you who made it to the event may be itching to recreate your favorite pot of chili at home while those of you who missed out are likely suffering from a chili deficiency and are ready to whip some up at home.

Whatever your reason for wanting to make some amazing chili (who are we kidding, no excuse is needed to make vegan chili), we now have the recipes from the top 3 competitors at this year's event ready for you to enjoy in the comfort of your own kitchen!

  • Betsy Born took first place this year and her chili recipe is sure to warm you up on a cold winter night or even a cool spring or fall evening!
  • Jacob Carrigan took second place with his Mexican-inspired chili recipe that will have you wanting to dance the salsa!
  • Third place this year went to Patrick Mullen with his pepper-packed holy moly chili recipe that incorporates a little beer and chocolate for good measure!

We hope you enjoy these chili recipes as much as we did! If you think you can top these be sure to check out the experience of one of or first-time competitors and then be on the lookout for our 2014 competition!

2013 Annual Banquet Auction Items

Check out the items that will be up for auction at our 2013 annual banquet that celebrates 14 years of advocating on the behalf of farm animals!

Join Compassionate Action for Animals at our Annual Banquet, celebrating fourteen years of advocating for animals. The banquet will take place on April 4th from 05:30 PM to 09:00 PM at Cedars Hall, Saint Maron Church, 602 University Ave NE, Minneapolis. The items listed below will be available for bidding at our banquet auction, where all proceeds will go directly to our work at CAA.

Purchase your tickets today!

4th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off Wrap-up

Campus Meeting

More than 200 people sampled vegan chili on March 2 and picked the best in town!

The competition again was fierce at our 4th Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off. The following took the top three places:

  1. Betsy Born
  2. Jacob Carrigan
  3. Pat Mullen

Once again, we had a repeat of two of the top winners — but this time in a different order! Long time Compassionate Action for Animals volunteer and cook Betsy Born won the top prize. She placed 3rd at the first cook-off and was the runner-up the last two years. Jacob Carrigan is a new contestant, who won with his chili dubbed his entry "Unny's delight" after CAA's Executive Director. Pat Mullen is a new name to this list, but he's a member of the same team that won the last two cook-off's. Congrats to all three of them, and thanks to all the contestants who participated.

Prizes for the winning chili contestants included:

In addition to the excellent chili in the competition, we also served several gallons of People's Chili, several pans of bread, Izzy's vegan ice cream, and Way Better Snacks tortilla chips. Thanks to the businesses and individuals for their generous donations and discounts!

Thanks as well to the First Unitarian Society for hosting us in this beautiful location. Finally, thanks to the volunteers who made this event — and all of CAA's animal advocacy work — possible.

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The Ecopolitan

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Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Twin Cities Veg Fest Data Entry Party!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Student Dine-Out: Wally’s Cafe

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Vegan Food Giveaway

Saturday, October 20, 2018

October Dine Out: Eureka Compass Vegan Food