Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ten Things You Can Do To Help Animals Today

  1. Print out posters advocating for veganism, and put them up on telephone poles and public bulletin boards around your city or University campus. Make sure to be aware of your local postering laws first! You can find printable posters online, or make your own, or order some for free from an animal rights organization.*
  2. Order some leaflets promoting veganism* (or print them off your computer-- have you seen the ones I've designed?). Once you have your leaflets, hand them out to passersby on a busy street corner!
  3. Write a letter to a local grocery store, restaurant, or cafeteria asking them for more vegan options. Remember to give them specific examples of vegan foods that will be used instead of animal products! One thing you could ask for is the new VeganEgg, for example.
  4. Bake vegan treats and give them to your co-workers, classmates, friends, and/or family. Don't forget to tell them that it's vegan!
  5. Order some animal rights stickers to stick on your laptop, wallet, or water bottle.* When you take these items into a public place, people who see them will be reminded of the animal rights and vegan ethic.
  6. Write a Letter to the Editor or an Op-Ed on a recent vegan-related or animal-related issue, particularly if it's something about which the newspaper has recently published a story. Even if your letter doesn't get published, the newspaper staff will still see it and may be influenced by your message in some way.
  7. Get some sidewalk chalk and write pro-vegan messages on the pavement outside (in places where it's legal to do so, of course). Bonus: if you take a photograph of your chalk creation, you can send it in to Vegan Chalk Challenge and they'll post it on their Facebook Page!
  8. Put together a little booklet of your favourite vegan recipes to give to family and friends. Alternatively, you could make the recipes into an e-book, and then send the e-book to people by e-mail and/or post it on Facebook! Bonus: include photographs of the foods in your booklet!
  9. Send a nice note or e-mail to your favourite vegan activists to thank them for the work they do. A thank-you letter can really make someone's day, and encourage them to keep working for animal rights.
  10. The ideas I've given above are just a few ways to inject some activism into your everyday life, but there are also more long-term projects that you can do to help animals. If you have the time and energy for long-term activist projects, why not take some time out of your day today to brainstorm about how to combine your talents, skills, and interests for animal rights? For example, you may wish to start a blog, host a podcast, give presentations at local schools, write a book, start a vegan business or organization, or run vegan cooking classes.

* PETA sends free literature out to activist in North America. Their literature can be seen in their online store. Just send them an e-mail and tell them how many of which materials you'd like, and they will most likely send them to you for free! I'm not a fan of PETA, but some of their literature can be useful to activists, especially since they send it to you for free. I'd recommend their Vegan Starter Kits in particular; in terms of posters, they have these ones; and here are some stickers (for students, for kids, and for everyone) that you could order!
If you'd rather avoid using materials from PETA or if you live outside of North America, there are other organizations that send out free literature in some parts of the world. I prefer PETA's Vegan Starter Kits because they advocate for veganism (and not "flexitarianism"), and because their Vegan Starter Kits are so comprehensive and colourful.

If you're really keen to dive into animal rights activism, you could try doing one of these things every day for ten days! Or, just pick and choose from this list whichever activities you'd like to try. Thank you for working to create a kinder, and more just, world.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2017 Animal Rights and Vegan Conferences!

Every year, several conferences and events for vegan/animal rights activists take place across North America and around the world. These events can provide a forum for activists to network, learn about issues and advocacy strategies, and be inspired to make a difference! Below is a list of some of the animal-rights-related conferences that will be held in 2017. Please note that this is not a complete list, and, as I haven’t been to any of these events in previous years, I can’t say which ones are the best/most worthwhile to attend!

Animal Rights National Conference 2017: According to this conference’s website, the Animal Rights National Conference is the largest and longest-running animal rights gathering—the first one was held in 1981! It is organized by the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM). If you can go to only one conference this year, consider making this the one you go to. Here’s what they say you can expect:

The Animal Rights National Conference is designed for people who wish to improve their animal advocacy skills or simply to network with other animal activists. The Conference offers a number of educational and networking opportunities, including:
  • Sessions on animal advocacy, organizing, tactics, and issues
  • More than 100 speakers from 60 organizations
  • Eyewitness reports on key campaigns
  • 100+ free exhibits
  • Video premieres
  • Newcomer Orientation
  • Nightly networking receptions
  • Awards Banquet on Saturday evening
  • Closing celebration on Sunday evening
  • Post-conference protests on Monday”
When: August 3 – 6
Where: Alexandria, Vermont (just outside of Washington, DC), USA

Vegetarian SummerFest 2017: This is an annual vegan festival and conference. The 2016 conference was jam-packed with world-renowned vegan speakers, cooking classes, fitness classes, vendors, and more!
When: July 5-9, 2017
Where: last year it took place in Pennsylvania.


 
 
International Animal Rights Conference: This conference took place in Luxembourg in September 2016. Their website does not yet mention if there is going to be a 2017 conference, but I speculate it is likely that there will be, as they have had six of these conferences to date.

International Animal Rights Conference 2016 in Luxembourg

 

Conscious Eating 2017 Conference: This conference, hosted by United Poultry Concerns and Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy, will focus on the ethics of eating and the role that religions play in the issue of animal liberation.
When: Saturday, March 11, 2017, 10am-6pm
Where: Berkeley, California, USA
Cost: $15/person (free for students)


The Anti-Fur Society Vegan Conference: This conference is focused on promoting vegan alternatives to fur in clothing.
When: Saturday, April 8, 2017
Where: Manhattan, New York, USA

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine "Food For Life" Training: Interested in getting certified by PCRM to teach healthy vegan cooking in your community? Anyone interested in this can register to attend the next training! This isn't a conference, but I've included it because vegan activists may be interested in it anyway.
When: Wednesday, May 3 - Friday, May 5, 2017
Where: Washington, DC, USA


 
Your local VegFest: Don't forget to find out when your local VegFest will be taking place this year!

There's also:
There is also an animal welfare conference taking place in Ottawa, ON, Canada in 2017. It doesn't look like it's related to animal rights at all, but if you live in Ottawa, it might be good to bring your vegan voice to that conference, to raise awareness! 

The events that I've listed above are the ones that I believe are the most relevant, but you can find a list of some other events at All-Creatures.org, and a list of some major vegan festivals at Vegan.com.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

February Issue of "alive" Magazine is About Being Vegan!

Alive magazine is a Canadian magazine that is supported in part by the Natural Health Products industry. It is available for free in health food stores across Canada, and I used to read it.

I stopped reading alive magazine about a year ago, as I found it disturbing that they had so many animal products in their recipes.

However, today I went to my local health food store and saw the latest issue of alive on the counter. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this month's issue of alive is all about "Being Vegan"! The Guest Editor is Brendan Brazier, a vegan Ironman triathlete, author, and co-founder of the "Vega" health products. And so, for the first time in about a year, I picked up a new copy of the magazine.

Unfortunately, there are still non-vegan advertisements in this issue of the magazine, and I am not going to go back to reading their magazine on a regular basis unless they stop including dead animals in their recipes, but I find it heartening to see that veganism is entering the mainstream more and more.

This issue has tips about vegan substitutions when baking, provides lots of vegan recipes, and includes stories about vegans.


Keep speaking up for the animals, everyone-- I think the logic of veganism is being heard with a greater intensity every year. :)