Look at these cuties, they’re available for adoption!http://animalplace.org/adoptable_birds.html
Come and visit, y’all! Theo here is twice as big but still a baby. He would like to meet you. Our next guided tours are May 25th. Sign up today! http://animalplace.org
Representative King of Iowa has added an amendment to the Farm Bill that would essentially nullify state anti-cruelty laws for farmed animals. This is unacceptable - we need your voice! The Humane Society of the United States has an easy to use form for you to contact your representative. Please do it today! https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=6083&s_src=web_hpfs2051413
Each month, interns from around the world join the Animal Place team to help with animal care, advocacy and our vegan garden.
Meet our animal care intern, Kelly! She’s from New Jersey, goes to school in Boston, MA and started her internship on January 1st, 2013.
How did you develop your interest in vegan lifestyle?
I developed my interest for a vegan lifestyle in college. I first became a vegetarian in high school after I learned all about what happens to the animals used for food production. I had watched a lot of videos and read books about vegetarianism and veganism. I always loved animals and did not want to see them suffer just so I could enjoy food. I eventually became an on/off vegan and then a full vegan soon after.
Is there a particular animal on the farm that you connect with?
I feel like a really connect with a lot of the animals here, but if I had to pick one I would have to choose Jude. He is the best turkey boy and really sweet. When I first got here, he was just learning how to gobble and display and it was really fun watching him. He loves belly rubs and will preen your arm and gently try to remove all the dirt from it. He is adorable.
Besides animals, what else are you passionate about?
I’m really passionate about baking, trying different foods, and nature. I also love dancing and spending time with family and friends.
What advice would you give to people interested in transitioning to a vegan diet?
I would advise them to go slow and to try new foods. I think half of the food that I eat now I had never heard of before I went vegetarian and vegan. I was able to experiment with different flavors and eat really great food! I would have to say that going vegan is totally worth it!
Have you learned anything during your internship at Animal Place that you can apply to a future career or in your home life?
I have learned that compassion is key and being vegan really means doing the least harm. I have learned new things from everyone I meet here and all of the animals.
What has been your most memorable experience in the Animal Place internship program?
That’s a difficult question because I have so many memorable experiences. I think some of the most memorable would have to be when Stanley and Theo were integrated, giving the cattle alfalfa, feeding out chicken treats, meeting new people, having turkey poults sit on my lap, giving Lucy belly rubs, and of course the potlucks!
Do you have any advice for anyone interested in the Animal Place internship program?
I would advise them to apply! It’s an amazing experience and great opportunity. The animals are amazing and each has their own great personalities. All of the people here are great and really fun to be around. It’s exciting and new things happen every day. I’m going to miss being here so much!
If you’re interested in learning more about our internship program, please check our website for more details.
Animal Place had some special visitors this month. The 10 Billion Lives Tour took a well-deserved break from their hard work of educating people about the harms of animal farming and spent time with our sanctuary residents.
If you haven’t heard of 10 Billion Lives Tour, make sure to check them out:
“According to USDA reports, nearly 10 billion land animals are raised and killed every year for food in the U.S. alone. Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), is bringing this injustice to the country’s attention by showing the hard-hitting 10 Billion Lives video at college campuses, music festivals and street fairs.
… dedicated staff and volunteers offer passersby $1 to watch the video – an outreach method known as “pay-per-view.” After watching, viewers are encouraged to decrease consumption of animals and work towards a vegan diet. The results speak for themselves - more than 80% of viewers commit to eating fewer animal products!”
Animal Place staff and Interns volunteered with 10 Billion Lives tour in Sacramento, CA.
From left to right: Intern Nicole, Intern Rebecca, Intern and Outreach Coordinator Molly, Animal Caregiver Ciara and Intern Dustin
From left to right: Tour Operator Andy, Animal Place Social Media and Campaigns Coordinator Toni, Tour Assistant Monica
Have there been specific moments of the tour that have been inspiring to you? What has been the most rewarding experience?
Monica: We have inspiring conversations everyday. Sometimes it’s someone who’s given a vegan lifestyle great thought before, but felt discouraged because of certain challenges. I feel rewarded when I can answer questions and make the road clearer.
Andy: Every event, we have conversations with people who are moved by our video. Aside from talking to viewers, some of our volunteers have provided the most inspirational conversations. Just the other day we had a man volunteer with us who had a history of heart disease and his doctor had sent him home to die, but through changing his diet he reversed his heart disease and opened up to the ethical reasons to go vegan .
Tell us about the tour?
Andy: The 10 Billion Lives tour makes use of a form of activism we call “pay per view activism” in which we pay people one dollar each to watch a four minute video that reveals the truth about the horrific treatment of animals in our “food” production system. While pay per view is a relatively new form of outreach, our tour especially stands out because we do it on a grand scale with a 20 foot bus that is equipped with eight monitors on the outside showing the video. Inside of the vehicle are modest living quarters for two people.. We are on the tail end of a six month tour that brings us from Dallas, TX to Seattle, WA where we visit college campuses and a few festivals along the way. I got involved because I’ve been passionate about animal rights for the past five and a half years and I was suited for this rather unique position because I’ve spent much of the last ten years on the road with several bands. I initially came into contact with the FARM team through my vegan clothing company, Compassion Co, which is what put them on my radar. They were an organization who I admired because of their unwavering mission statement, to see the end of the use of animals for food.
Why pay people to watch?
Monica: The plight of animals on farms is an issue many want to ignore. When faced with its reality, people find it difficult to justify their practices. The $1 incentive is a hook to expose otherwise unpleasant and disturbing information with viewers. The majority of people who watch the video make a commitment to eliminate animal products from their diet 1-2 days a week, if not more. Even starting with one day a week, we can save 10 farmed animals a year. I see that as a dollar well spent.
Andy: The dollar is a fantastic incentive to watch the video, especially on a college campus. For our dollar we are able to get the undivided attention of the viewer for the duration of the video and the conversation afterwards, something we couldn’t achieve otherwise if we were paying that dollar for an advertisement or youtube view.
Tina receiving lots of love from 10 Billion Lives Tour Operator Andy
Are you able to gauge the effect of the film? Do you keep in touch with anyone after?
Monica: 80% of people who watch the video pledge to eat fewer animal products. This can mean anywhere from 1-7 days a week. Sometimes viewers tell us immediately after watching that they are ready to go vegan, in which case we like to send them off with resources and tools to make that transition easier. Others explain that it might be challenging to make the change overnight, but we still encourage them to start making those steps. I truly believe the footage speaks for itself. Bearing witness to the reality of the lives and deaths of animals raised for food plants seeds alone. How could you not think about what you saw the next time you sit down for a meal?
What inspired you to become vegan?
Monica: I can’t really pinpoint my “ah-ha” moment. I was vegetarian for 4.5 years before working by-products out of my diet. It wasn’t until I had dinner with an old high school buddy, who is now a dairy farmer, that I realized I wasn’t doing enough. While discussing my reasons for being meat-free, my friend described to me the emotional anguish both mother cow and calf go through when they are separated, a relationship severed so I could selfishly enjoy cheese. The more I learned, the more my decision to go vegan was solidified. I see it as one of the easiest ways to align my values with my actions. I want to practice compassion in all my actions.
Andy: My journey to veganism was a long, slow one. Not so much in my transition to the actual practices, but in the mental process it took to get there. I was exposed to the idea of veganism through a Vegan Outreach leaflet that someone had left on a table at a local show. I didn’t make any changes at that moment but the ideas and imagery stuck with me and sat in the back of my head for several years. It wasn’t until I met a group of vegans who showed me just how easy, healthy and joyful the whole experience could be that I realized I could actually do it.
1o Billion Lives Tour Assistant hanging out with sweet Tina and the girls.
I’m sure you receive a fair share of negative feedback, how do you maintain positivity to continue the 10 billion lives tour?
Monica: At the end of every event, I ask Andy to give me a positive. I hope to foster a conversation where we celebrate the individuals who were greatly moved by our message. We always have a few great stories to share at the end of the day. As for the negative feedback, we’re always trying to learn to be more effective advocates… how to turn those negative conversations into positives. Local activists always keep my spirits up as well. It’s inspiring hearing their personal journeys and seeing their passion shine through when speaking to viewers.
Andy: Being an activist requires us to open ourselves up emotionally, but it may require that we shut down certain emotions preventing us from being effective. It can be draining to think how slow it takes for progress, but I find myself focusing on the task. Through talking with thousands of people about this issue, I’ve realized that most people aren’t necessarily opposed to the idea of veganism or animal rights but that they just haven’t ever been challenged on their views.
What’s your advice to people interested in adopting a vegan lifestyle?
Monica: Keep an open mind. Frankly, my food choices became a whole lot more interesting when I went vegan. I found myself trying food I may have not considered trying. Don’t get overwhelmed and beat yourself up if you find yourself eating something with a hidden ingredient. Find vegan friends! If no one in your support group, whether friend or family is veg, having a person or network to share recipes and meals can be incredibly rewarding. Food is communal after all. There’s a large vegan community online eager to field questions and share the many joys of a vegan lifestyle so you never need to feel alone of disconnected.
Andy: No one is perfect and it is OK to mess up every now and then. Educate yourself as much as possible and then dive right in.