Category Archives: Blog Post

Peter Singer at BU

For those of you who missed Peter Singer’s presentation. Enjoy!

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E-Board Elections and Final Potluck

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Join us this Friday May 3rd for the last potluck of the semester. Each guest is encouraged to bring a dish to share, as well as a friend. Additionally, at the potluck, we will be holding elections for the Executive Board positions. All positions are up for re-election and their requirements are listed below. All members are encourage to run for the positions regardless of prior experience.

Positions Include:

Outreach Coordinator (President) – the job of the Outreach Coordinator is to make sure day-to-day that Boston University is vegan and vegetarian friendly. Simply put, the outreach coordinator acts as a point-person. The Outreach Coordinator is required to plan one event per semester as well as one movie screening per semester. The Outreach Coordinator also moderates the meetings to that they stay relatively structured and on task. This does not mean that they talk the most or dominate the meetings in any way.
Volunteer Coordinator (Vice President) – the job of the Volunteer Coordinator is to make sure we have enough volunteers at leafletting and other events. The Volunteer Coordinator bottom-lines monthly leaflets and oversees their distribution. The Volunteer Coordinator must also plan one event per semester.
Public Relations Coordinator (Secretary) – the PR Coordinator’s tasks include taking minutes at each meeting to be used to write the newsletters, sending out the bi-weekly newsletters to the email list, overseeing the Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as working to advertise our events to account for proper event attendance. The PR Coordinator also drafts press releases as necessary for our events.
Activism Coordinato– the job of the Activism Coordinator is generate our own veg activism alongside other activist groups on campus. This position requires that you plan one event in tandem with another activist group on campus per semester as well as a group trip or community service project.
Financial Coordinator (Treasurer) – the Financial Coordinator plans at least one fundraising event per semester (to donate to whichever organization we collectively choose). They also cooperate with the Allocations Board to provide funding for our events. The Financial coordinator also makes sure that there is food at all of our meeting. The Financial Coordinator also ensures that we have food at all our meetings!
And finally…

The job of every Veg Society Member is to check and balance the E-board members!

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Upcoming Event: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

Join us Friday, April 12th at 6:30pm in Room CAS 211 for an introduction on Carnism. The facebook event can be found here; please feel free to invite friends and family to attend.

This captivating presentation, based on the award-winning book of the same name, is presented by internationally acclaimed speaker Dr. Melanie Joy. In “Why We Love Dogs”, Joy, a social psychologist, explains carnism, the invisible belief system that shapes our perceptions of the meat (and eggs/dairy) we eat, so that we love some animals and eat others without knowing why. Joy describes how carnism, like other isms (sexism, racism, etc.), is most harmful when it is unrecognized; and it is sustained by complex social and psychological mechanisms. Using powerful imagery, thought-provoking analyses, and a compelling narrative, Joy explains the ways in which carnism conditions us to unknowingly act against our core values, our own interests, and the interests of others. By illuminating the invisible mechanisms of carnism, Joy helps viewers become more informed consumers and empowered citizens.

Melanie Joy, Ph.D., Ed.M. is the founder and president of Carnism Awareness & Action Network. Dr. Joy is a Harvard-educated psychologist, professor of psychology and sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, celebrated speaker, and the author of the award-winning primer on carnism “Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows”. She has written a number of articles on psychology, animal protection, and social justice and she has been featured on programs including the BBC, National Public Radio, PBS, ABC Australia, and Good Morning Croatia, and in Slovenia’s Jana, the Austrian Der Standard and the Italian Le Scienze. Dr. Joy has given her critically acclaimed carnism presentation across the United States as well as internationally. Dr. Joy is also the author of Strategic Action for Animals.

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Catholicism and the Vegetarian Life

Catholicism and vegetarianism. Not two words that many believe can be connected and until I became both more involved my faith and more aware of the issues surrounding vegetarianism, I also thought that the two ideologies had no connection. I hope in this blog post to show you why I believe Catholics in particular, should consider switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet. For the sake of this post I will use the words vegetarian/vegetarianism to refer to both vegetarian and vegan diets.

After researching vegetarianism, it is clear that it is a better diet for the environment, it is arguably the most ethical diet, and it is a diet that can promote better health. When examining each of these areas, it is easy to see how a vegetarian diet is a way to live out Catholic values.

Environment: The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) names as one of the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching “Care for God’s Creation”. Also, in Genesis, God gives humanity the responsibility of caring for the Earth and all of its creatures. So, even in our modern world, we are called to protect the planet, and take steps to ensure that our lifestyle respects God’s creation. Vegetarianism is one of the ways that Catholics can ensure they are acting as stewards of creation.

Ethics: God told Adam “I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat” (Genesis 1: 29). God has provided humans with plant-based foods for humans to consume and thrive on. While the Catechism does say we are permitted to eat meat, it also says that animals must be treated humanely to the furthest extent possible. The current abusive factory farming system in place for meat production is a misuse of the responsibility God gave us to care for animals, so Catholics can avoid contributing to this inhumane system by not consuming meat.

Health: In 1 Corinthians, St. Paul says “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Because of this, we must care for our bodies with exercise and a clean diet. With vegetarianism, I know that I am providing my body with pure food, given to me by God, that will help me to thrive to the fullest of my potential.

Social Justice: In a broader sense, vegetarianism can also promote social justice to humans in addition to the kindness it shows animals. Much of the land used to grow feed (grain or soy) for the animals in the factory farming system could instead be used to grow food for the poor and hungry in our world. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus calls his followers to care for those in our society who are unable to provide for themselves. By switching to a vegetarian diet, we can help promote fair use of land to grow crops for those living in poverty, rather than to feed the billions of animals part of the factory farming system.

Especially in this Lenten season, when we are called to live in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable and sacrifice our own desires, adopting a vegetarian diet can be a stepping stone to a more compassionate lifestyle. The small sacrifice of giving up meat makes a tremendous difference and can give us the strength we need to live Christ-centered lives.

In closing, I highly recommend that everyone consider a vegetarian lifestyle, regardless of faith background, but especially for Catholics and Christians as a way to help live out the teachings of the Gospel. I will be praying for everyone who reads this post and if you want to chat more about Catholicism or vegetarianism, feel free to email me at spiersa@bu.edu! God Bless!

Susan is a sophomore in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program at Sargent College. She has been a vegetarian for almost four years.

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The Next Step

Late nights in Mugar often get me to wondering, “When are we going to hit the tipping point for veganism?” An article came out recently describing how truly easy it is to go vegan, even providing a few pointers; when I realized that it was The New York Times purveying this information, I reeled with joy. We’re finally mainstreamin’ it! But if we’re going to continue mainstreamin’ it, ALL of us need to get up and get active for the animals. If that means we start actively writing more blogs posts or letters to editors, that’s what we gotta do. If that means we get commit ourselves to leafleting once or twice a month, then that’s what we gotta do. If that means we work on finding big contributors to the movement, then that’s what we gotta do. Sometimes conversing with the general public is not necessarily our forte – but that simply means that we find out what our strengths are, and start using them to keep the momentum going for the animals. Every minute we sit in front of a television screen is a minute that we could potentially be working actively toward animal liberation. The animals are waiting for us – they have been trying for minutes, hours, days to become free. The baby calves already yell at the top of their lungs while they are dragged away from their mothers. They have only just begun to feel the pain that will live in their hearts forever, separated from their mothers. There is only so much they can do in protest. We are the ones who hold them in cavtivity. It is our turn to fight for them. Please, become active – hone in on your strengths and utilize them for the greater good. In some manner. This group has more events planned this semester than we know what to do with, so come and get involved in one/all of them.

Rachel Atcheson

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February Vegetarian Society Events

We’ve got a load of events coming up, check them out!

Tuesday, February 5: 2013 Kickoff Environmental Coalition Potluck
5-6:30pm at 808 Gallery
Come for the Sustainable Futures/Alternative Visions exhibit to get inspired and stay to share common goals for this semester! Some big ticket items we will discuss include the future of urban gardening at BU, and coordinating a massive Earth Week. We will vote on an inclusive theme and collaborate to pull together more funds to support YOUR events!

Sunday, February 10: Team Veg Boston Running Meet-Up
Morning in Porter Square (details TBA)
This is the third annual Team Vegan Boston! We already have BY FAR our largest team of runners coming together, with over 30 people signed up! We’re very excited to have a big showing at Boston’s Run to Remember on May 26th and to raise even more money than last year to help animals! We’re running to support the work of The Humane League, the most active grassroots animal group in the greater Boston area. While we register with the R2R, we will each have our own personal fundraising page on www.teamveganboston.com and will be raising money separately from the R2R. Come out for the first running meet-up!

Friday February 15: Sunday, February 17: Ivy League Veg Conference
4pm on Friday – 3pm on Sunday at Yale University in New Haven, CT (transportation provided)
On February 15-17, 2013 Yale University will host the second Ivy League conference dedicated to exploring the academic basis for plant-based diets and building a cohesive community of activists and advocates. Speakers: Wayne Pacelle, Dr. Wu, Dr. Greger, Dr. Shepherd, Milton Mills, Gidon Eshel, William Crouch.

Thursday, February 21: Movie Screening of “Bethany’s Story” and Q&A Session with the Director.
6pm in KCB 106
This is an incredibly touching film about one girl’s triumph over debilitating health challenges through her own wisdom and determination.  After becoming paralyzed by a bad reaction to medication, Bethany discovered the answer from one of the simplest, most basic things we do every day.  Learn about this solution and why this has been proven to be so powerful for healing.

Friday, February 22nd: Boston College Outreach Extravaganza
10-2pm on all Boston college campuses
Join up with The Humane League of Boston to make sure your school is leafleted with Vegan Outreach’s “Compassionate Choices” pamphlet. Schools already signed up to leaflet: Boston University, WIT, MassArt, NEU.

BU VEG SOCIETY MEETING INFORMATION:

Meeting days alternate between Tuesday and Wednesdays.

Wednesday, February 6th

Tuesday, February 13th,

Wednesday, February 20th

Etc.


Have questions? Email vegsoc@bu.edu

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Animal Friendly New Years Resolutions

Though the start of the new year has come and gone, many may find themselves in the same boat that I find myself in: struggling to define new years resolutions and putting in place goals that will set the tone for the coming days. Below I have listed a few Animal Friendly New Years Resolutions that I’ve been mulling over, ideas that I think can help make 2013 my best year yet.

  • First and foremost, if you’re not already vegan of vegetarian, consider meat-reduction and switching to delicious milk alternative such as soy, almond and coconut milk. Any way that you can reduce the suffering of animals is a step in the right direction.
  • Consider the ways animal products affect other aspects of your life outside of food. Take into account the things you wear as well, and consider moving from leather to pleather and from wool to cotton.
  • Additionally, research the way in which your food choices may also impact human lives. Just because a food is vegan does not mean it’s exempt from causing suffering.
  • Help spread the word! Though it can be intimidating at first, get out on the street and leaflet. Become an active part of your community and promote compassion by hosting a movie screening or baking yummy animal-friendly foods for friends and family.
  • Ask food establishments to serve more vegetarian and vegan friendly options. As more people across the country turn to vegetarianism and veganism, we can actively make a change in what our dining halls on campus and chain restaurants serve to us by turning in suggestions to suggestion boxes and demanding change.
  • Get involved in an organization such as the Humane Society and volunteer your time at domesticated animal shelters in your area.
  • And finally, make time to visit a Farm Sanctuary to remind yourself why we make the choices that we do.

Feel free to comment below with any other Animal Friendly Resolutions that you may have!

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The Animal Activists’ Handbook

Click through to purchase on AmazonThe Animal Activists’ Handbook (by Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich) holds many useful pockets of truth and pragma amidst some arguably more obvious pieces of advice. I particularly enjoyed reading it because I personally feel as if when I gain more and more earnest conviction for what I believe in, the more my passion can radiate outwards to inspire others. This delightfully quick but very powerful read strengthened my conviction for helping animals in two crucial ways – it reiterated the extent of the suffering which animals are enduring this very moment, but it focused on how this should not be as overwhelming as we initially perceive it to be, because changing hearts and minds is more doable than we might assume.

Perhaps the part of the Handbook which resonated with me the most was the statement that “our lives should be an advertisement for a purpose driven life.” I very much identify with the notion that we should live as if others would follow our example (check out the blogpost I wrote along the lines of this type of philosophy: here) and the Handbook mentions how when trying to get others to do the same with regard to animal welfare, its as basic as helping people to understand that the compassionate choices we vegans and vegetarians hold dear to us are simple extensions of the values we all already hold. It demystifies, de-radicalizes, and eliminates the foreignness associated with eradicating meat from our diet. Since a cruelty-free lifestyle does not require one to “forsake modern life or overthrow a government,” this method of helping others to see that society is designed to conceal the realities of meat, divorcing it from the actual animal, helps people to disassociate veg eating from connotations of extremism, militance, and unfeasibility.

Bruce FriedrichThere would be felony charges if what happens to farm animals happened to dogs and cats. Facts like this, compounded with the realization that the horrible videos we watch are just “discrete representations of continuous suffering” often take us down a dangerous path; I, for one, have often been too abrasive and confrontational with the people closest to me regarding vegetarianism/veganism. I can rationalize by saying my hostility was simply a means to a more ideal end, and I hold the people closest to me to higher standards (which is true and I don’t regret it), but nonetheless, the Animal Activist Handbook highlights the importance of adopting an attitude of empathy instead of succumbing to a combative mindset. This could not be more crucial in today’s society where stubbornness and enmity are all too pervasive and people revel in keeping up their defenses; kindness, understanding, and love are truly the only ways to win. The Handbook details an analysis of Malcom Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” theory, looking into people who turned mere fads into deeply permeating trends, and, not surprisingly, those who held friendly, optimistic demeanors were consistently responsible for said feat. It is easier said than done, but if your motivation is derived from your awe-inspiring potential to make this world a more loving place, it is your obligation to sublimate your anger and disgust – it is your obligation to remain truly positive and hopeful.

Gunita Singh is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences studying political science. She can be reached via email at breakfastclubsandwich@gmail.com.

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Maple Farm Sanctuary Visit

Last weekend, the weekend of November 30th, a handful of members of the BU Veg Society and others from the Boston area community trekked to Maple Farm Sanctuary, an animal sanctuary that provides lifelong homes for animals that have faced abuse and abandonment. The sanctuary is located in Mendon, Massachusetts and lies roughly forty-five minutes west of the Boston University campus. Needless to say, the drive was well worth the wait, and upon our arrival, two volunteers who were eager to show us around the facility and introduce us to the animals greeted us. Founded in 1998, Maple Farm sanctuary lies solely on the generous donations of people who care to provide housing, food, and veterinary services to the non-human animals that need it.farm2

 Our group last weekend was a mix of vegans, vegetarians and omnivores and it is my sincere hope that every one of us gained insight on the unique nature of each and every animal. I hope that everyone was able to see, as we moved through the stalls and met animals such as John the pig, that non-human animals, much like humans, are individuals, each with feelings and personalities.

farm5Personally, I reflected on the way in which individual history shapes the personalities on non-human animals in the same way that our own pasts shape who we are today. In particular, I was reminded that non-human animals too can be subject to mental illness just as we are. I was particularly struck by the story a cow, Cassie, who suffers from extreme agoraphobia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We were informed that she had been kept in the dark for the mass majority of her life and for this reason was incredibly photosensitive. It was only through careful reintroduction to light and cautious sensitivity to Cassie’s history of being abused and maltreated that the selfless volunteers at the sanctuary were able to finally install a window in her stall. Today, Cassie is able to venture from her room for a few minutes at a time and receives music therapy to help calm and sooth her.

While my experience at Maple Farm Sanctuary was certainly exciting and fun, (I had a truly amazing time getting to know everyone and better connecting with those who I have met before) it was also enlightening. My experience at Maple Farm Sanctuary better illuminated the real world consequences of our food choices, while at the same time showing me how a fulfilled life can be lived by the animals that are rescued. Sometimes it is not enough to simply watch a video on factory farming or read a book on speciesism (though these are also crucial to understanding the extent of cruelty against farmed animals); it is also important to visit facilities such as farm sanctuaries because they bring to light the severity of violence in our food system, and the legitimacy of our fight as people who care about the well being of non-human animals.

When you come face-to-face with a creature that has experienced cruelty as a direct result of your personal choices (and the choices of a nation), it can be hard not to feel guilty. But this guilt can be transformative and constructive, aiding you in effecting meaningful change in the lives of animals.

I drifted away from the group towards the end of the tour, as we were wrapping up, to visit the charming and curious llamas in their pen and they rushed overfarm4 to greet me as I approached. They looked at me inquisitively and I stared back at them and something overtook me. The moment was powerful. I could not and cannot possibly conceive of subjecting that beautiful creature, or any creature, to slaughter, simply to satisfy my desires. Though we did not speak with word, those two llamas really brought home the message of why I choose to be vegan and I remain steadfast in my resolve to not treat animals as commodities.

Finally, we must not forget the purpose of farm sanctuaries; they exist solely because factory farming does too. If our food system didn’t work in the way that it does, these centers of refuge would not be necessary. And so, this unfortunate fact reminds me of what I can do to ensure that all animals can live out their days as the animals at Maple Farm Sanctuary do, beginning with my food choices.

If you are further interested in getting involved with the Maple Farm sanctuary, you can submit a donation here or you can become a volunteer here. The sanctuary is always looking for hard-working and compassionate volunteers to help them around the facility with a variety of projects. The Boston University Veg Society hopes to return to the sanctuary in the Spring semester to volunteer our services. You can also visit and like their Facebook and check out their Café Press online store! A portion of the proceeds goes towards supporting the Maple Farm Sanctuary.

Lindsay Crockett is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences studying Biology and WGS studies. She can be reached via email at lmcroc@bu.edu. 

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Looking good y’all

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