Inquirer Event Listing for Sunday’s Vegan Garden Party

The public is invited to attend the American Vegan Garden Party on Sunday May 27 2018 from noon to 5 p.m.

Here’s what’s happening and where.

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Kentucky Derby Champions: You Bet They Die

This Saturday, May 5th, brings us the 144th Kentucky Derby, with the Preakness (May 19th) and Belmont Stakes (June 9th) galloping close behind.

Every year, people celebrate Derby Day with parties, mint juleps, and sunbonnets. This year they’ll be marking the tenth anniversary of the end of Eight Belles, raced to death in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Perhaps they’ll recall the two horses who died at the 2016 Preakness in Baltimore. Pramedya’s leg broke. And after winning the first race, Homeboykris collapsed and died before making it back to the barn.

Ten years prior, Barbaro won the 2006 Derby, but shattered a leg in the Preakness, and died soon after. Remember?

Or do we forget because the deaths are so common, so constant? Every year, 500 horses, more or less, die at a racetrack. Every year, spectators will gasp hundreds of times as they see with their own eyes that racing is animal torture.

Full story at Counterpunch.

 

Why Vegan Enterprises Should Get Your Support

To some extent, we’re all caught up in the machine of exploitation. Sometimes I think the financially poor are most likely to work for people without compunctions about selling animals and substances taken from animals, or delivering these items. Fewer resources mean less decision-making power at work.

But in most any job, and regardless of our level of education or income, the tension arises, because the dominator paradigm is everywhere humans operate.
Professional rescuers deal with it too. I know people who take cast-off primates from labs. Often, if the animals are monkeys, a lab will prevent the refuge from naming the lab or talking about what happened there as conditions of the primates’ release. The rescuers acknowledge, and suffer with, their inescapable enabling role.
Every kind of rescue situation (from a household sanctuary to a large nonprofit) has its daily dilemmas. We’re all expected to get used to them. Even though veganism is gaining social recognition, very few roles exist that leave an animal advocate’s ethics unscathed.

 

Turbulence and Refuge

James LaVeck once told me a commitment to a great cause is a solid foundation to build our inner lives upon, and also one virtually guaranteed to bring turbulence into the course of our lives. Our stress may be endless; but at least it’s explicable.
One thing that would help not just manage our tension but actually relieve it would be safety. The refuge of knowing that when we speak out or when we walk away based on principle, we won’t lose the ability to keep a roof overhead or struggle to pay vet bills.
And that brings me to the key reason why vegans need to support vegans.
Sure, vegans need to be in the world and visible in all kinds of regular contexts. No worries. We are, all the time.
But the more identifiable spaces vegans can make for vegan-run work, the more opportunities vegans will have to find surroundings that celebrate our veganism and sustain us not just as producers, but as vegans.

 

Vegan-Focused Enterprises Matter. So Do Vegan-Run Enterprises

If a vegan-owned cleaning service succeeds, for example, the benefits will be several:
  • A vegan-run enterprise will seek ways to avoid toxic chemicals (tested on animals; harsh on the environment; unhealthful for living beings indoors).

  • As the vegan-run undertaking succeeds, it can make increasingly stronger decisions on fair trade and fair compensation for work.

  • The entity could sustain one or more vegans, in a decent work environment, where mutual support and even co-operative work relationships can flourish.

We live in a critical time. Weighed down by humanity’s sheer mass, the human obsession for domesticating other life, and people’s addiction-like consumerism, the biosphere faces climate crisis. It faces an ever-worsening extinction period. Humanity’s prints on Earth saturate the water, seep into the rock sediment, and shrink the horns, antlers, and tusks. The only biosphere we’ve ever known is trapped in the new Anthropocene geological era. We cannot afford to just shut up and sell. We never could.
Many vegans know, but are financially forced to work in places where authentic respect is sidelined, or be economically isolated. Support for vegan-run work is essential. It can diminish our daily fears and tensions, and reinforce our lifetime commitment. It can clear room to enable thought and advocacy from an ever-growing community of vegans.

 

Feel free to link a vegan-run enterprise, including your own, in the comment section.


Image: boat’s lifesaver ring. Found at Wikimedia Commons. Original source: CSIRO

#TimesUp and Nonprofit Boards: LaVeck and Stein Call Out `Domination Games’

Key points to which the movement must now respond.

Read the full essay at HumaneMyth.org

  • Incorporated animal-advocacy groups have hurt individuals, betrayed the public trust, and aggressively suppressed criticism.
  • The higher ranks of the institutional movement hierarchy include people who display an addiction to domination.
  • Sexual harassment is one of the manifestations.
  • As a community, animal advocates need to support victims and  encourage witnesses to speak out.
  • While interns and staffers are treated like meat, the animals, purportedly defended, are systematically betrayed. One Humane Society of the United States VP claimed to raise tens of thousands of pigs “like children” before slaughter.

Board members and others in positions of oversight must dramatically up their game, or, in some cases, step down.

Putting healthier people at the top of the institutional pyramid isn’t the answer, say LaVeck and Stein. It is time to decentralize power and widely share resources and leadership opportunities.

Read the full essay at HumaneMyth.org

#TimesUp in the Animal Charity World

The Humane Society of the United States has just accepted CEO Wayne Pacelle’s resignation.

This followed reporters’ investigations into claims that CEO Wayne Pacelle and (now former) VP of farm animal protection Paul Shapiro have sexually humiliated HSUS staffers.

In the words of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, wider concerns involve a “frat-like ‘bro’ culture” that manipulates and stifles advocacy careers.

Some say the #MeToo problem in advocacy can be fixed with more female leadership. Can it?  Read on.