For those of you who missed Peter Singer’s presentation. Enjoy!
For those of you who missed Peter Singer’s presentation. Enjoy!
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
Have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
Personally, 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 over 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 email@example.com.
When I discovered that there would be a presentation on intersectionality, I was very, very excited. As a bit of background, I am a woman of colour and a vegan. In all honesty, I have experienced that most events that are geared towards discussing veganism do not interest me, as many of them blatantly disregard the importance of intersectionality and are geared towards a mostly white, neoliberal, upper-middle class audience.
Therefore, Harper’s presentation seemed like a very promising opportunity for a fresh, new perspective on veganism that keeps in mind other equally important oppressive systems such as sexism, classism, and racism.
Harper’s presentation discussed her thesis, which was still a work in progress. I personally thought that her introduction to the presentation could have been better rehearsed, but its content was great nonetheless. Harper’s thesis critiques the work of Queen Afua, writer of the book Sacred Woman, which sees veganism as a way to decolonise one’s self and to “heal the black womb.” Queen Afua speaks of a matriarchal society in Southern Egypt, long before colonization and slavery, where women were seen as sacred, and where the most sacred bond was that of a mother and her child.
This society also had a plant-based diet. In contrast, is the European society of the same era: a violent, patriarchal society. Therefore the question is raised: Why do we look towards European, or otherwise, white, Western cultures, in order to heal the black womb? Why do we look towards the violent, patriarchal culture of the colonisers? Harper explained how during slavery, the black womb was seen as a unit of production, much like a factory that is good for nothing more than breeding slaves. The body of the black woman, therefore, is in need of healing from generations of abuse. For this reason, Queen Afua advocates a return to the vegan diet of matriarchal Southern Egypt.
That said, my main issue with Queen Afua, which was a topic touched on (but not thoroughly enough in my opinion) by Harper is how heteronormative and cis-sexist it is, as well as how it assumes that the black woman is naturally partnered with the black man and returns to the concept of a nuclear family which consists of a black woman, a black man, and their children who are seen as the future of a black nation. As Harper is queer and also in an interracial marriage, I expected her to discuss how problematic this view is, and was disappointed that it wasn’t discussed with more depth.
However, I was very happy that Harper discussed in depth the problem with veganism and classism, which also is not discussed enough by Queen Afua. Being vegan, and being able to live on a healthy vegan diet, is a privilege, as most people do not have access to things such as fresh produce, etc. I was especially happy that Harper advocated food justice movements such as the Food Empowerment Project.Part II
Another very, very important point that I really was thankful that Harper discussed was the concept of “cruelty-free” food. Many foods and products seen as “cruelty-free” are derived at the expense of workers in less developed countries who work in slave-like conditions, and therefore to truly produce “cruelty-free” products, one must also look at the source. This is a topic that in my opinion is usually ignored by most vegan speakers, and for this reason I was very happy that she discussed it.
All in all, I really enjoyed Breeze Harper’s presentation and think that it was a very educational and eye-opening experience for all those who attended.
– Naomi Sianturi
Zoe Weil invites her audience to settle down for an hour and a half in her one-woman performance “My Ongoing Problems with Kindness: Confessions of a MOGO Girl.” As an educator for the Institute for Humane Education with a passion for kindness, Zoe envisions herself as a modern-day superhero. But her performance does not set out to convince you of her perfection.
Her blatant honesty and willingness to confess some of her less than MOst GOod choices appeals to the humanity within us all. Most importantly, if you appreciate vulgarity, Zoe’s confessions will make you laugh uncontrollably. As she points out, drinking the milk of another animal is just as natural as fornicating publicly.
Standing calmly on the carpet beneath her, Zoe confesses, “When you work for the Institute for Humane Education, it does not behoove you to cultivate a reputation as bitch!” Although her main job is as an educator, this performance draws out laugh after laugh. Speaking mainly to a crowd concerned with making MOst GOod choices a part of their decision making, it is quite comforting to be reminded of other’s failures in the pursuit of kindness.
It is impressive to watch one woman boldly narrate her journey in the pursuit of human rights, animals rights, and environmental advocacy. Her educating does not focus entirely on convincing us that vengeance and driving gas guzzling cars are bad. Instead she helps teach us that a MOGO lifestyle is a process. As many of us on the path to consciousness and advocacy can relate, we must realize our mistakes and correct them in order to progress. She even goes so far as to confess her deep, deep obsession with William Shatner and an incident in which she admits, “He was a little alarmed.” Her personal confessions are an invitation for all to join in the cleansing process of advocacy and compassion.
Zoe puts it well when she reminds us that there are people, systems, and attitudes that make understanding and compassion challenging! Humorous stories of teenage “vindictive acts of rage and revenge” are juxtaposed with inspirational comments on her personal initiatives towards MOGO. Her pride in vengeance resonates in you as deeply as her description of the horrendous conditions of veal and egg production.
Zoe’s intentionality with making MOGO choices is complemented well by her courage to call herself out on her own faults. The honesty is refreshing and the comedy is relaxing. Her performance is a great reminder that kindness is the root of activism, not judging people’s mistakes. Her vision of education is more fun than you have ever probably experienced. Rather than the traditional schooling values focusing on preparing you to compete in a global economy, she invites you to enter a world of learning focused on teaching interconnected rights and problem solving.
At the corner of Cambridge and Brighton lies a Boston vegan’s haven. Nestled in Allston, and all on the same block, you will find Grasshopper, a vegan/vegetarian Asian fusion joint, Peace of Pie, vegan and gluten-free pizza, and Fomu: Alternative Ice Cream and Café. On Saturday, October 13th, friends, family and members of the Boston University Vegetarian Society gathered at Grasshopper, not only for lunch, but also to participate in a workshop presented by Farm Sanctuary’s own Nick Cooney, titled “Effective Animal Advocacy 101”.
In 2005, Nick Cooney founded The Humane League, one of the most effective animal advocacy organizations in the country. Currently, Nick is the Compassionate Communities Campaign manager for Farm Sanctuary, and a board member of The Humane League. Nick is also the author of Change Of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change.
For the most part, anyone reading this blog, or attending BU Veg events is already committed to changing the plight of farmed animals through personal eating choices. But what Nick sought to remind us this past weekend was that in addition to practicing the theories of vegetarianism and veganism in our own lives, as vegetarians and vegans we also have an obligation as activists to help others effect meaningful change for animals and to help shape compassionate communities.
It is simply not enough to practice veganism; we must reach beyond ourselves in order to maximize our impact.
So what does effective animal advocacy look like? Nick honed in on some key points starting with the fact that effective change can start in understanding resistance. From day one we are indoctrinated to believe an array of myths about meat and animal products and thus it is understandable that some may be reluctant to change. Remember that when engaging with our friends, family and peers, we do not just aim to change eating habits, but an entire way of life, to alter a worldview.
To be frank, our task is not easy, and tensions may rise as you attempt to engage in purposeful dialogue, but we must accept any step, however small, as a step in the right direction. A person who decides to reduce their red meat intake still creates change in terms of reducing animal suffering.
Nick also touched on the importance of story telling. It is common practice when leafleting or protesting to throw out the numbers. The facts of the livestock industry’s impact on our planet are startling. They are terrifying. But often times, the numbers are not what prompt change in someone’s everyday life. They exclaim, “Oh that’s terrible!” and they move on.
While statistics highlight the breadth of the enormous task of reducing animal suffering that lies before us, unfortunately, people are not necessarily always interested in the numbers. Most people, however, always care about other people. Given that animals are people too, with personalities, thoughts, and feelings, a more effective way of evoking change can come by telling the story of just one animal, by making it personal.
And lastly, Nick noted that attaching a social context to going veg can sometimes be helpful in swaying the opinions of who you are trying to persuade. By no means is “everyone’s doing it” a good reason to become a vegetarian and in turn, an animal activist. However, it can be a starting point.
As more and more people become aware of the impact of meat and animal product consumption on our planet, and on our hearts and minds, the notion that vegetarians and vegans are healthy, conscientious and informed citizens shifts to the forefront of the social stage and going veg becomes accessible.By bringing to attention the fact that “everyone” is going veg, we do not aim to convert vegetarianism and veganism into fads, but instead to demonstrate that the lifestyle is conceivable and worthwhile.
Encouraging us to share vegetarian and vegan foods with non-veg friends, and to leaflet and engage in meaningful dialogue, this past weekend Mr. Cooney provided important insights to what it means to be veg: the needed change isn’t just personal. Instead, our influence on others is our real impact on this world.
Lindsay Crockett is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences studying Biology and Women,Gender and Sexuality. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re more than pleased to announce two of our events for the fall!
First, Gene Baur, the founder of Farm Sanctuary (http://www.farmsanctuary.org), will be speaking in September. “Highlighting milestones over the past 25 years – including landmark legal advances, shifts in public awareness, changes in the marketplace, and growing coverage of farm animal issues by the mainstream media – Gene’s thoughtful and moving presentations set forth the great progress we have achieved by working together and address what each of us can do to help to create a more compassionate society. Gene grounds his message not on accusations or judgments but on facts and research. He appeals to our better selves and explains how we can, and why we must, align our everyday actions with our own values and interests.”
Then, in November, Breeze Harper, author of Sistah Vegan, will be speaking. “What does race have to do with how one practices veganism? Why and how to legacies of colonialism and racism affect one’s vegan philosophies? Breeze Harper’s lecture will analyze the pro-vegan book Sacred Woman, by Queen Afua. Provocative and controversial, Breeze will explore how and why Afua believes that black women in the USA can only truly heal from centuries of racism and colonialism through a vegan diet rooted in pre-colonial Africa.”