Vegetarian Summerfest 2017: Workshops I’m Offering

Summer season’s greetings to all! I’m counting down the days to the North American Vegetarian Society’s annual Summerfest, happening Wednesday-Sunday 5-9 July at the University of Pittsburgh – Johnstown campus. This is the closest thing to a “vacation” I do all year. And it’s soul-refreshing to be around vegans who have become supportive and dear friends over the years. 
The full timetable with all of the session descriptions is now available. Below are my three sessions. Should thoughts come to your mind on these topics. . . Please do share what comes to you.
The first one I’m ethically compelled to present: the diet-climate link. The second will be something I’ve never presented before, on an issue most of us face daily. The third brings to Summerfest something we don’t consider nearly enough in the vegan community: Veganism Defined. The brief, beautiful piece from 1951 is prescient, urgently relevant. Its call to stop thwarting evolution couldn’t be more vital, in light of stuff like the Trump administration’s removal of Endangered Species Act protection from the Yellowstone grizzlies, allowing people to stalk and kill them.
Yours for Liberation,
Lee.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get (Animal Products) Out of the Kitchen 

THURSDAY 6 JULY, 10.00 AM

Campus Room

Why do experts disagree on the proportion of climate impact from animal farming? Are any governments or international bodies taking action on meat and dairy, given its climate impact? Do our personal dietary commitments having any significant impact? As an environmental law specialist, I’ll offer an up-to-date analysis, and talk about what our community can do.

I’m Vegan. My Job Is Not. How Do I Reconcile This? 

FRIDAY 7 JULY, 10.00 AM

Campus Room

In a perfect world we could all have vegan careers. In this world, so few of us do. How do we cope with the day-to-day reality? Are there any silver linings in this reality (or any drawbacks to working in vegan environments)? Can a vegan employment sector be stimulated? This will be a brief presentation followed by interactive discussion.

Vegan Dot Connecting – Why It’s So Much More Than a Diet 

SATURDAY 8 JULY, 2.00 PM

University Room

Defining “vegan” through the Vegetarian World Forum in Spring 1951, the Vegan Society in England declared that through the vegan commitment “A great and historic wrong, whose effect upon the course of evolution must have been stupendous, would be righted.” I’ll facilitate a discussion of the broad and deep view of what veganism stands for. 


An eco-friendly tip for those attending Summerfest: Amtrak’s “Pennsylvanian” route goes to Johnstown, PA, and there’s a free, student-driven van service to and from the University of Pittsburgh campus. Please travel by train when you can.
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Jeffrey Masson on Our Fear of Being Eaten

Vegan Place

A young crocodile who utters a distress call will bring immediate help from completely unrelated adult crocodiles, even if it means risking their lives…Obviously this altruism does not extend to us.  Saltwater crocodiles kill approximately one person every year in Australia.  The same is true, more or less, in North America, where between 2000 and 2010, the American alligator killed thirteen people.  In sub-Saharan Africa, however, it is believed that the Nile crocodile kills hundreds (possibly thousands) of people each year.

We are not prey for most supreme predators, but we are for crocodiles it would seem.  They happily consume us.

Read the full post and wish Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson a happy birthday here! (Birthday is the 28th; post timed to catch it in the New Zealand time zone.)


Banner photo from: 

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George D Rodger’s Interview With Donald Watson (December 2002, Unabridged)

Happy World Vegan Day 2014! Happy 70th Anniversary to The Vegan Society!

Vegan Place

Here’s an intriguing retrospective with many fascinating thoughts well worth exploring in detail, from time to time, at Vegan Place. I was delighted to post this piece to the Internet in June 2009, and now re-post it here in celebration of World Vegan Month 2013.

Appreciation to George D Rodger, both for conducting this interview in the first place, and for subsequently permitting me to publish it so that others might read and enjoy it. If you wish to copy this page, please cite the source (this site), show the courtesy of leaving this note intact; and know that while George has offered it to the public sphere, it would be appreciated if you would note its source as George D Rodger, chair of the Vegan Society.  It can be freely quoted, but it is important that Donald’s words not be altered. As George Rodger explains, Donald Watson used the…

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Humanity—It’s a Class Thing

What’s missing from most vegan campaigning? A commitment to defend the interests of animals living on nature’s terms.

Species and Class

By Lee Hall

We live on an extinction-wracked planet. How did we put ourselves in charge of such destruction, and how do we get out of this role? We must take decisive action to respect the space and nutrients needed by other beings, beings whose own experiences of the world matter. But where is this message to be found? For all our scientific knowledge, humans see ourselves as impossibly special, above biological connections with other life, members of a deceptively insular category. When discussing other animals, we avoid the word “genocide”—which meanskilling a tribe. By thinking of extinction as genocide we pull these erasures from the abstract, and press our minds to reckon with them.

We need to discuss conscious beings without always resorting to the duality of “human and animal”; and how real, anyway, are the species boundaries? Dolphins have tiny, leg-like limb buds during their earliest…

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Catelli Brothers: Watching Workers Kill

Is it really a shock to us that many slaughter workers are desensitized to the feelings of the animals they kill? Indeed, how could it be otherwise?

Species and Class

By Lee Hall

Insisting on our right to spy on slaughter doesn’t stop it. In one key sense, it’s a thoroughly conservative stance.

The Asbury Park Press, based in New Jersey, has published a column headlined “Slaughterhouse Says Changes Made” (3 Oct. 2014). The report’s point is immediately obvious. The paper informs us that the Catelli Brothers boss took “swift action” after an undercover video showed abuse of Holstein veal calves.1

Anthony Catelli, president of Catelli Brothers, is also quoted reassuring the public that the plant, in operation for 19 years so far, was designed to follow the humane slaughter methods developed by Professor Temple Grandin. Three workers were fired, and eleven new cameras will watch the rest of them. Essentially, all that has changed is who monitors the employees.

Other than unemployment, what’s next for the punished workers? Not one word in the article is spent on the matter. While a sacked slaughter worker’s fate is…

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