Animal Rights National Conference 2014 Day 1

I spent this past weekend at FARM’s Animal Rights National Conference in Los Angeles. It was AMAZING! I’ll give you a recap of my weekend possibly split into two posts. I couldn’t make it out until Friday evening so I missed a day and a half of wild vegan fun and info but I was able to attend the screening of Cowspiracy. In a nutshell, it about how there are a bunch of eco non profits who talk about saving water, saving the rainforest, saving the planet, but not one addresses the largest problem affecting the earth which is how the massive amount of resources used for cows (for us to eat) is by far the largest problem threatening  our planet. They don’t really address it in the film but it’s really due to the fact that they have financial ties to industries that have the profits of these factory farms in their best interest. It’s a great film and if you carry around reusable bags to take to the market or turn off the water while brushing your teeth you should definitely see this film. I’m going to try to host a screening in the IE soon. More to come on that.

Then I met up with my homegirl, Toni.  I originally met her at a tour of Animal Place, where she works, and a few months back she asked me to write for her website Plant Based on a Budget.  Now we are buddies who bond over our shared love of 90’s hip hop and all things  Beyonce. She introduced me to Rocky who interns at Animal Place and Bobby who volunteers with  Factory Farming  Awareness Coilition

Bobby wasn't super stoked in his pink shirt but was nice enough to high five me for a picture.

Bobby wasn’t super stoked on his pink shirt but was nice enough to high five me for a picture.

Saturday 11:30 I went to a handful of talks. First stop was Vandhana Bala, from Mercy for Animals, and Doll Stanley from In Defense of Animals.

bala and stanley

Bala (L) Stanley (R)

Take away:

  • There are NO Federal laws protecting farmed animals. State animal welfare laws only protect pets. So all the abuse cows, chickens, and pigs suffer is totally illegal to do to a cat or dog but cool for farmed animals. There are NO laws to protect chickens which make up 95% of all animals eaten.
  • Common Farming Exemptions make it possible for factory farms to regulate themselves. If it’s a common practice to throw away and grind up all male chicks (alive), then it’s ok for them to do that (which they sure as hell do). If it’s common practice to use gestation crates on pigs (so the can’t move in their cage AT ALL) then it’s ok because of Common Farming Exceptions.
  • Use local authorities to get things done and do as much work for them as possible. Present a case, footage, and the local laws being broken.
  • Work WITH the authorities and make their job as easy as possible.
  • Collect Evidence to show a pattern of cruelty.
  • Use the media so the public will put pressure on local prosecutors to act. Follow up to make sure things get done and hold people accountable.
  • You are setting a precedent to bring forth  more cases which will help the DA to take action.
  • Always have a vet document any abuse. You are not an expert. It will make your case credible.

12:30 Melanie Joy and Colleen Patrick- Goudreau I LOVE these ladies! I heard Melanie Joy speak a bit back in November and fell in love with her.

Joy (L) Patrick- Goudreau

Joy (L) Patrick- Goudreau

Take away: Joy People Justify Eating meat with 3 N’s Eating meat is: Normal, Natural and Necessary. “Happy Meat” is not a real thing (DUH) but it is the meat industry’s attempt at fighting back the growing vegan presences. Which is also why there have been so many more milk ads and milk ads trashing nut and soy milk. People are drinking planted based milks more and they need to make it look bad. Partrick- Goudreau Here are her 10 stages of going vegan 1. Voracious consumption of information 2. Guilt and Remorse (how could I have been a part of this?! Also trying to be a PERFECT vegan is in this stage) 3. Coming Out as vegan to friends and family 4. Evangelizing 5. Despair and anger when you tell people and they don’t immediately change their habits. The feeling of  “doesn’t anybody care?” We need to have PRODUCTIVE anger. 6. Community and Connection 7. Finding your voice and communicating with others. Learn how to talk to people you dissagree with. Be truthful but also effective and productive in your communications. 8. Expansion of awareness and skills (learning how to cook, garden..) 9. Advocacy- be a part of the solution. 10. Integration So true! Kinda funny to hear we all go through these vegan phases. 3:30 more more more of Colleen Patrick- Goudreau. This talk was about etiology and how we came to use different words for meat and the living animal it came from.


One thing I really liked that she said was how when someone who is vegan talks about animals and thier feelings like, “that cow was so sad to have her calf taken away” people accuse us of anthropomorphizing the animal but when anyone says, something like, “my dog was so sad when I left for work”, or ‘my dog is depressed because the other dog died” no one things twice about it. We feel for our pets but that’s where the compassion ends for most people. To extent that compassion to a cow or pig is somehow strange.   She also talked a lot about how when we want to put down or demean people we call them animals, as if we ourselves are not animals too. We have created an “otherness” in animals and we look at them in terms of what they can do for us, how can we use them. They were hear before us, but we have taken control of them and domesticated them and bred them to have traits that are desirable to us. Another good topic she touched on was that we need to stop calling plant based meat fake, faux, alternative, mock, and imitation. It’s real food made of real plants and grains and we are not doing ourselves any favors when we call it names that make it less appealing. It’s not FAKE food, it’s actual food.  Apparently “meat” used to be a word to describe any food that was not a drink so let’s call our tofu nuggets meat too! Same for plant based milk. It’s just milk. Went to another talk on leadership but walked in late because I really needed Donut Friend.

Donut Friend I really really love you.

Donut Friend I really really love you.

There was a booth of all vegan doughnuts and I went a little crazy.

We all went to dinner at Veggie Grill and I met some cool people and ate a lot. I met Sarah who owns X’s to O’s Vegan Bakery in Albany NY and her husband Linwood who owns Motive, a vegan clothing company. Also met Keegan Kuhn, co-director of Cowspiracy, his gf Shani, Toni’s bestie, Grace and her bf David. Sorry for the blurry/crappy images. Veggie grill was crowded and my lens was not the best!

Sarah and Linwood

Sarah and Linwood

Toni, Rocky, Bobby, Sarah

Toni, Rocky, Bobby, Sarah

Grace, her bf David, Keegan, his gf Shani

Grace, her bf David, Keegan, his gf Shani

After a break to take out my pups I met up with Bobby and a very sleepy Toni at the mixer going on.  Bobby and I made it our nights mission to eat as many mini (FREE) donuts as we possibly could. No complaints here. I also saw a dog pee on a table while it’s owner looked the other way. Good times had by all. Left my camera at home so all pictures with me were stolen from Toni.

3 amigos

Bobby, Me, Toni

Night 1: Great Success!

2 thoughts on “Animal Rights National Conference 2014 Day 1

  1. Pingback: Animal Rights National Conference 2014 Day 2 | Sapling Vegan

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