All posts by Anika

Activist Willing to Learn

We’ve been planning some great content for the upcoming Animal Activism 101 session April 21, and thought now would be a great time to share some recommended reading. If you are interested in the whys and hows of getting active for animals, or are looking to augment your activism or animal rights knowledge, we recommend three books:

Striking at the Roots CoverStriking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism by by Mark Hawthorne (Dec 20, 2007). This book is perfect for getting a handle on exactly WHAT one can do to spread veganism or fight animal exploitation in ways that truly can work. It covers the basics from leafleting, letter writing, tabling, protests, and outreach all the way through corporate campaigning, multimedia, and direct action.  Mark also offers a great chapter on legal issues and another on caring for yourself as an activist. Each area he provides a success story of the practice in action and solid “how to” information. Make this your first stop from your couch to world changer.

Change of Heart CoverChange of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change by Nick Cooney (Dec 1, 2010). This book answers the questions that so many activists and non-profit folks ask: what is the MOST effective action to take or way to behave to make the most impact. Nick synthesizes research from Behavioral Economics and Psychological disciplines to explain how humans act (both rationally and irrationally) to information and other people. If you really want help animals today and into the future and want to make your demonstrations, letters, outreach, leafleting, fundraising, or blogging more effective and meaningful, pick up this book.

Lifelong Activist Book CoverThe Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way by Hillary Rettig (Nov 15, 2006). This book is for those of you who are getting worn down or discouraged AND for those of you just getting started. Be proactive about your own psychological and emotional health and learn about managing your mission, your fears, and your relationships with others. Don’t let burn out end your efforts to change the world. The world needs you. The animals need you. We need you!

And some even better news: if you life in the Seattle area, can you check out the first two books, for free, from the Vegan Haven lending library (call ahead to see if they are available, they are popular titles). All three are available through the Seattle Public Library system, but are often checked out, so reserve a copy soon! If you want to have your very own copy, so you can write notes and keep them handy, have Left Bank Books, Elliot Bay Book Co, or Vegan Haven order you a copy.

Already read these three? Here are some other titles to consider for your bedside table. Tell us what you think of them or recommend some others for us on Facebook!

  • The Animal Activist’s Handbook: Maximizing Our Positive Impact in Today’s World (2009)
  • For the Prevention of Cruelty: The History and Legacy of Animal Rights Activism in the United States (2006)
  • Muzzling a Movement: The Effects of Anti-Terrorism Law, Money, and Politics on Animal Activism (2010)
  • Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals, and the Sexual Politics of Meat (2013)
  • Strategic Action for Animals: A Handbook on Strategic Movement Building, Organizing, and Activism for Animal Liberation (2008)
  • How to Change the World in 30 Seconds: A Web Warrior’s Guide to Animal Advocacy Online (2013)

“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

You Are An Agent of History

The Bad News:

We humans systematically breed, torture, and brutally kill billions of animals each year for pleasure. We do unspeakable things to our fellow earthlings – creatures with physical and emotional needs similar to ours. Most people’s eyes, hearts, and minds are closed to these horrors. Most of us are complicit and literally pay others to do these atrocious deeds to animals. It is happening right now as you read this. Millions are in pain, suffering, dying without hope in crates, shackles, cages, and boxes all over the world. 98% of human society finds this is acceptable.

The Good News:

Things change. Just in the past 5 years the blinders have started to fall, people from all backgrounds around the world have been moving in droves to a more compassionate and reasonable lifestyle. People have taken to the streets in Italy, Cork, Syracuse, Turkey, and of course, Seattle to speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves. Almost every week you hear of a new influential person who is trying veganism. There are more positive sentiments online around veganism than there are negative. The tide is very slowly turning.

 

What Matters:

Things don’t change without us. We are the problem and the solution. The animals in cages today, and their offspring for generations to come, are counting on YOU AND ME to help them, to do something. There is no magical group working working for their rights and freedom except us. You, me, your mom, you weird cousin, that guy holding a sign by himself in the rain outside the UW Primate Testing Facility. We are their hope. If we don’t tell people what is happening to animals, hearts will remain hard and closed. If we don’t work to change things, they won’t change. The suffering will continue unabated. If we chose being popular over fighting injustice, then we should all despair.

|| OBSERVE || PUBLIC OPINIONS || Animal Rights Protest March || Dame Street || Dublin || Republic of Ireland ||

So What? You matter. Right now, decide to use your talents, energy, and love to work to evolve the human race. Join the groups that will push society into a saner, kinder, and more sustainable future. By helping to open others’ hearts and minds, you’ll open cages. Every animal counts. Every cage matters. The way we are in the world is the root of evil, and we must strike at the roots.

Being vegan means you’ll be on the right side of history. But being an activist means you are an agent of history.

If you aren’t sure how to get started, come to the next NARN open meeting January 13.

 

“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” – Samuel Adams

Time for the Elephants at Woodland Park Zoo

After years of diligent work, the Friends of the Woodland Park Zoo Elephants have still not gotten the zoo to even consider releasing Bamboo, Chai and Watoto to a sanctuary – making it clear that the zoo leadership cares more about revenue than the lives of the elephants themselves.

Elephants are genetically wired to spend up to 20 hours a day roaming across hundreds of miles. At Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ) the elephants must share less than a single acre of outdoor space. Depriving Bamboo, Chai and Watoto of adequate space causes them serious mental and physical harm.

In the wild elephants live in tropical and subtropical regions. Seattle’s cold climate forces the elephants indoors for an unacceptable amount of their lives. Bamboo, Chai and Watoto are locked in small barn stalls, barely able to move, for 16 to 17 hours a day for nearly 7 months of the year.

The elephants suffer from painful arthritis and bouts of colic. Chai and Bamboo endure chronic foot infections—the leading cause of death in zoo elephants—caused by lack of space. A complex social life, critical to elephants’ well being, is denied them and Watoto, the lone African elephant, is frequently kept in solitary confinement. All three elephants display neurotic repetitive behavior caused by high levels of stress and boredom—including pacing, swaying, and head bobbing.

Watoto indoors

Finally someone else has taken notice: The Seattle Times has published a story about the lives that these beautiful creatures face behind our bars: http://seattletimes.com/elephants. The article focuses on the horrific attempts for zoos to create more baby elephants, because they create such huge draws of patrons. More than 100 artificial insemination for the two girls. It also shares how zoos “train” these wild creatures.   Please read the piece and share this story with your friend and family who still support zoos so they can understand the cruelty behind their summer visits. Make sure that you and your family all write letters to the zoo asking them to release the elephants and put the elephants lives ahead of profit.

Now is this time. With this very public article,  the tragedy of captive elephants is revealed, but the zoo must hear from us too. They must become stewards of compassion for animals. Please:

Write to:  Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th Street, Seattle, WA  98103

Email: woodlandparkzoopr@zoo.org and zooinfo@zoo.org

Address letters to:
Dr. Deborah B. Jensen, President and CEO
Bruce Bohmke, Chief Operations Officer
Jamie Creola, VIce President of Education
Dr. Darin Collins, Director of Animal Health
Dr. Nancy Hawkes, General Curator
Valerie Krueger, Director of Finance
David Schaefer, Director of Communications & Public Affairs
Gigi Allianic, Media and Public Relations

Thank you for taking time out of your weekend to make a difference!

We Need Your Vegan Holiday Recipes

Attention all vegan cookers, bakers, chefs, and recipe hounds! We need your amazing recipes for the 2012 annual holiday recipe hand out!

Each year we distribute vegan information, restaurant guides, and vegan holiday recipes to the greater Seattle community. Believe it or not, many people still say that they don’t know what to cook to make their holiday tables cruelty-free – and we just can’t have that, can we?

Join in the fun! Submit your holiday recipe to Rachel by Friday November 16, 2012. The best recipes will be included in the guide AND the author will get a gift certificate to Vegan Haven! (If you have a blog, we’ll include the URL so more folks find your delicious cooking ideas and recipes).

Vegan Table

Tips: 1. Keep is simple with a short list of ingredients. 2. Recipe should be a somewhat traditional  holiday (Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) dish – but don’t be afraid to add a modern twist. 3. Make sure the ingredients are easy to procure without going to specialty stores so our friends that don’t live near Sidecar can still whip up something delicious.

We need a variety of recipes from main dishes, salads, and breads, to sides and drinks, and of course, special deserts – so send those recipes in ASAP and use your vegan cooking skills to spread compassion this holiday season.

Deadline: Nov 16, 2012
Submit:  email Rachel of NARN (Rachel{at}narn.org

But even better – if you want to help hand out vegan information, we’d love your help. We need lots of volunteers. Did you know that leafleting is one of the easiest ways to multiply the impact of the help you do for animals by being vegan? Imagine if just one person chose to go vegan after receiving information from you. That is double your impact. But you could triple or quadruple your veganism! We all had to learn somewhere.

Where is your veganism headed?

We’ve noticed that there are many phases or “faces” of veganism. They aren’t in the same order for everyone, but maybe you recognize yourself in some of these. They can last for 10  days or for 10 years. Sometimes all at once.

  1. I’m vegan! I’m my family thinks I am a freak and I want to be loved so I pretty much never mention it to my grandma, and I downplay any inconveniences and never talk about how others hurt animals around people who aren’t vegan. I don’t use the world vegan often and nobody at my work probably even knows. Veganism is a personal, private choice.
  2. I’m vegan and I want some comfort food! I try to make or eat everything that is labeled vegan. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t eaten a real vegetable in weeks. And I go out to eat with my friends many times a week just to be with like minded people and eat vegan waffles and gravy and cake. Why isn’t everyone vegan? The food is so amazing!
    Redwood Vegan Biscuits and Gravy
    Vegan biscuit, potatoes, sausage from Redwood Sunday brunch. 

  3. I’m vegan and I want omnivores to know that vegans aren’t freaks, and I’m normal, so everyone should know that I am vegan. I’ve got vegan pride. So I talk about how good vegan food is to anyone who will listen. And I tell my co-workers how good it feels to be vegan. And I make vegan food for my family, friends, and anyone who will eat my food and let sing vegan praises. I invite others out to dinner. I eat healthy so that I can be a good vegan role model. I rarely mention the animals at all. Just food. And I do everything else normal so vegans aren’t so scary.
  4. I’m vegan but all of the animal suffering around me still makes me incredibly sad. I want others to discover how easy it is to be vegan. Someone influenced me once, so maybe I can influence others? How can I be supportive and encouraging while also telling the hard truth about how animals suffer in factory farms, laboratories, fur farms, zoos, circuses, and beyond?  I’ll do some vegan outreach at the Fremont Fair. I want a vegan world! Veganism is political!
    Seattle Tilth Fair Sept 8, 2012 - Rachel and Anika
    NARN Board Members doing vegan outreach at the Tilth Festival this summer. 

  5. I’m vegan and I want to help animals right now. I don’t need to fit in anymore. Animals are suffering this very moment and I can’t turn away. I can’t forget them. I want to make a difference. When history is on our side, I want to say that I spoke out. That I made a fuss. That I didn’t let let suffering and tyranny run rampant on my watch. That I tried to do something with my time and talents.

Recognize any of this? Board member Pete is fond of the  slogan: “Silent = Consent.” We don’t consent to the horrors that are perpetrated in the name of human desires. We won’t be silent. Board member Anika’s favorite quote is “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” -  Elie Wiesel. She likes it because it admits that she sometimes feel powerless – but that even if that is the case, she should still speak out against injustice.

If you are feeling more and more inclined to speak out against the ways we torture and needlessly kill animals, NARN is here to support you. We can help you follow your passions, join with others, and make a difference in the lives of animals today. Just email us at info@narn.org.

 

Primate Lib Week 2012: Kick-Off and Letter Writing Party

“We must always take sides.  Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.  Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”  ―    Elie Wiesel

As you know, Oct 6-14, 2012 is National Primate Liberation week. While we aren’t excited that researchers continue to abuse and exploit our close cousins in the name of human health, we are excited to get together to talk about what we can do for these monkeys and future generations of primates.

We plan to kick-off the week  with a great social and information sharing event and letter writing party. If you are vegan and have been thinking of getting more involved, this is the ideal gathering to learn more about NARN and what is possible when a group of people get together to make a difference.

letterforblog

The current president of NARN will speak about what type of primate experiments and financial support come into the NW and we’ll have other guests as well. We’ll also show a trailer for the upcoming documentary screening of Maximum Tolerated Dose, which will screen on Monday evening. Vegan snacks and treats will abound – Violet Sweet Shoppe is even donating some vegan sweets.

NARN will provide some sample letters designed for: a) UW Leaders and Policy Makers b) Those Currently Involved in Primate Research, c) other academics and professors at the UW who would be willing to open up the conversation with their students and colleagues and d) press and media. We will have physical paper and envelopes, and some old stationary and cards too. We can be creative and serious about our cause at the same time.  Children are welcome – as long as they are old enough (or young enough) to see photos of animals in cages and hear open discussion about why it matters. There won’t be anything specifically gory, but use your best discretion. Their letters may end up being some of the most influential.

Bring your laptop if you have one! We have more than 30 different people to write – sending emails and typing is much faster – even if less fun. We’ll have sample letters on a memory stick for you to take and modify – adding your own voice and ideas.

And remember: For every single letter or email that you you write, you’ll be entered into the drawing for this amazing vintage Animal Rights shirt commemorating the liberation of an infant rhesus monkey, not unlike the many infant monkeys that suffer in UW labs today. For more information about the activities for the week RSVP on the Facebook Event Page and for more information about the experiments and abuses in UW labs visit uwkills.wordpress.com.

See you Sunday!

5:30 PM
University Friends Meeting Hall
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle

Free parking, bike racks (and right off the Burke-Gilman trail), and on many bus lines!

 

National Primate Liberation Week: Win a Vintage 1985 Animal Rights Shirt

OK Animal lovers. We you know are you are getting ready to attend some of the National Primate Liberation Week events that we have in store for you. But to make coming out even more fun and rewarding, NARN is giving away an extremely rare and special t-shirt.

DSC04050

This T-shirt, only worn once for this photo session, commemorates the liberation of Britches from a California lab in 1985 by the ALF. Britches story is inspiring and special – and reminds us of the real lives behind the laboratory cages. If you aren’t familiar with Britches, check out the 10 minute mini-movie made about his story and his rescue. The t-shirt is bright white and an XL, so it can be made to fit most sizes either as-is, or with tailoring. Could be made into a patch, or tank, or something else cool too.

Britches Tshirt

How to enter the drawing? Each event that you attend during National Primate Liberation week (kick-off, movie, UW protest, postering, etc) you’ll be entered. And bonus: for every letter you write at the kick-off event, Sunday Oct 7, you’ll be entered too! Please share this awesome drawing with all your vegan and animal loving friends too. We can’t wait to run into someone in Seattle wearing this shirt!

Film Screening: Maximum Tolerated Dose

Maxium Tolerated Dose Movie Poster

 

As part of National Primate Liberation Week, NARN and Seattle ADL will be bringing you a screening of the moving new documentary film, Maximum Tolerated Dose. Equal parts found-footage mash-up, verité investigation, and artful meditation, the film charts the lives of both humans and non-humans who have experienced animal testing first-hand, with hauntingly honest testimony of scientists and lab technicians whose ethics demanded they choose a different path, as well as the simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking stories of animals who have seen both sides of the cage. This film will help us re-ignite the debate about animal testing by bringing these rarely-heard perspectives to the fore.

Please check out the film trailer.

This free event is your opportunity to learn more about animal experimentation in the medical industry, think about the primates and other non-human animals in laboratories right here in our city, and most importantly, invite friends and family who haven’t thought twice about this issue. This meaningful and thoughtful film will leave you inspired by the honest and open conversations about what happens in laboratories. We may even have a special guest speaker! This is not an event to miss

Monday, Oct 8, 2012
7:30-9:30 PM
FREE
Odd Duck Studio – Capitol Hill
1214 10th Avenue Seattle, WA 98122 (near Union and 10th)

 

Bonus: As with all of the National Primate Liberation Week activities, every person who attends this screening will be entered into the drawing for the mega awesome vintage 1985 Animal Rights t-shirt showing the story of Britches, the famous baby macaque monkey rescued by the ALF.

See you there!

 

Amitai Etzioni Says Political Action Will Make You Happy

Some folks may wonder why NARN Board Members, campaign leads, and volunteers do what we do. If you volunteer with us, you may wonder why you do what you do. I mean really. Life is kind of hard. Work is hard. Relationships are hard. Why go out to the streets and be mocked for standing up for animals, when you could be playing World of Warcraft? Why spend the weekend behind a table at a local street fair, in hopes of reducing exploitation of animals for food, when you could be drinking with friends at the beach? Why spend your (very) hard earned money on putting on events, movie screenings, or ad campaigns against animal abusers when you could spend it on train ticket to Portland (yum)?

Well, the first answer, of course, is: to make a difference in the lives of living animals and future generations of our fellow earthlings. But wait. That is not all! Turns out that stepping into the community and standing up against injustice will make you a much happier person too!

World famous scholar and sociologist, Amitai Etzioni, shares his research in this simple, short, personal video. He says that our new iPhones won’t make us happy, but relationships, cultural and intellectual pursuits, and political action will. Check it out:

You Don’t Need to Buy This

If you don’t believe Dr. Etzioni, I think you should take him up on his challenge. Ditch the shopping trip and contact us about volunteering with NARN and see if you aren’t happier for it. We dare you. Email info@narn.org or fill out this form.