Community Profiles

Teaching High School Students Wellness

Thursday, May 7th, 2009
When Marielle Ferreboeuf, Wellness Program Coordinator for the Ida B. Wells High School, contacted Bay Area Vegetarians to give a talk on vegetarianism for the school’s April 2nd Wellness Day, we knew just who to contact! Long-time vegetarian, BAVeg member, and Registered Dietitian Denise Garbinski was happy to take on the job.

Denise, who specializes in plant-based nutrition in her private dietetic practice, gave two 45-minute classes all about vegetarian diets. Reaching approximately 30 students and faculty members, she stressed the benefits of a vegan diet not just for human health but also for the health of animals and the planet.
Her classes were well-received based on the student’s participation and interest in the materials she brought.  Denise said she was grateful for opportunity to promote vegetarianism on behalf of Bay Area Vegetarians.

A big thanks to Denise for her expertise and enthusiasm in accepting this assignment, and to PETA for providing literature.

Carol and The Chicken Man Protest KFC

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Carol organizes the monthly KFC Cruelty Protest in San Jose.  She shares how this started. KFC Cruelty Protest

“After receiving disturbing information from PETA, during March 2003, about how cruelly KFC treated the chickens they serve, I decided to arrange a protest–my first! Only one person showed up! It was Mike Borg. Read the rest of this entry »

Alex Bury

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Alex Bury and Myshkin

Add 3 parts compassion, 1 part coffee, 2 parts advocacy, and you’ve got the recipe for an activist like Chef, PETA staffer, and BAVeg volunteer Alex Bury.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gabe Quash

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Gabe Quash

From watching TV to creating TV, learn how and why Gabe Quash helps the animals.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thea Langsam

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Thea Langsam

Attorney Thea Langsam explains how and why she stands up for activist rights and the animals.

Name: Thea Langsam
Profession: Public interest attorney

City: Oakland
Age: 34
Website: www.altshulerberzon.com

Are you vegetarian or vegan, and for how long? Vegan, 6 years.

What motivated you to make this change? Two things: (1) Learning about the intense, enduring suffering of animals used for dairy and egg production. (2) Becoming friends with a vegan and realizing that she enjoyed her vegan diet, rather than feeling deprived. I decided just to try giving up animal products for a bit and soon realized that I loved it. Really!

What are you working on?

I host a KFC protest in San Francisco for BAVeg once a month. This is a fun, friendly, peaceful way to let people know about KFC cruelty and, more generally, just to raise awareness about animal suffering and food choices. I also serve as Vegan Outreach’s attorney, the organization that publishes Why Vegan, Even If You Like Meat, and similar leaflets that encourage reduction of animal product consumption.

How can others get involved?

Come to a KFC protest. Date, time, location are available at BAVeg’s events page. I bring posters and flyers, all you have to do is show up. Also, join Vegan Outreach’s Adopt-a-College program, handing out leaflets like Why Vegan to college students.

Who/what inspires you to keep going?

I was a vegan for a few years before I took any affirmative action to help animals. What inspired me to do more was a trip to Farm Sanctuary, where I petted turkeys and sheep and realized — just like the dogs and cats I grew up with — that they actually enjoy affection. We also watched the movie Peaceable Kingdom, and there are two scenes in particular that I think about sometimes when I need a little extra inspiration: (1) A scene of a mother cow, frightened and trying to protect her calf, they’re in some sort of padlock area together, a man is yelling, hitting at the mother cow, perhaps with an electric prod, suddenly we realize at the same time the mother figures it out, that this violence was done to get the calf away from his mother, and they’re separated. Cows noticeably mourn when they lose a calf, bellowing for days. That is what milk production is about. (2) A scene of another cow, this one a “downer,” meaning she cannot stand by the time she makes it to the slaughter house. It would cost money to euthanize her, and we see her being pulled, alive and conscious, by a chain around her neck into the scoop of a bulldozer (as I recall the details). Her suffering is more visible than almost any suffering I’ve ever seen. Her head is up, she’s aware, her face looks scared, but worst of all is the shaking, her whole body just uncontrollably shaking.

What advice would you give to an aspiring vegan?

It’s not just about sacrifice. Vegan food is yummy, once you learn how to make and order things you like. When I first stopped eating dairy & eggs, I realized that for years I’d been drowning out the taste of foods like tomato sauce and refried beans with cheese and that tomatoes, beans, etc. have delicious flavors I’d been missing. I really believed that my taste buds were changing, allowing me to appreciate things I never had before. So my advice is to try to see what you can enjoy about veganism, rather than thinking of it as a sacrifice. Of course, just as when you ate animal products, not every meal can be good. Oh, but adding salt always helps!

What advice would you give to an aspiring activist? There are so many different events in the Bay Area, check out a few things and see what you like. The BAVeg events are always friendly, positive experiences you can feel comfortable coming to no matter what your age, personality, experience.

Favorite saying: “Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”

Favorite dessert: Double Rainbow Soy Cream — all the flavors are awesome, but I love the mint chocolate chip.

Favorite recipe:

From Vegan Outreach’s website: Easy Nutritional Yeast Cheese

3/4 C nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 C flour
1 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
2 C water
1/4 C vegan margarine
1 t mustard

Mix dry ingredients in saucepan. Whisk in water. Cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles. Cook an additional 30 sec., remove from heat. Stir in margarine and mustard. (Note: Cheese will thicken as it cools, or you may add water to thin it.)

Ben Davidow

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Ben Davidow

This month Ben shares his story about veganism and helping animals. It’s inspiring for readers of all ages.

Name: Ben Davidow
Profession: Student
City: Palo Alto

Are you vegetarian or vegan, and for how long?
Vegetarian for 10 years and Vegan for 1 year.

What motivated you to become a vegetarian?
I became a vegetarian when I was 8, because I was quiet and stubborn. Let me explain:

I think many people realize at a very young age that hamburgers do not grow on trees ¬– I certainly did. However, unlike most children, I did not ask my parents for an explanation. I was an unusually quiet child and like most things, I kept my new worries about meat to myself. Moreover, I liked my drumsticks, and I did not want to confirm my worst fear: that I was eating animals like Fluffy, a shining Maine Coon and my closest friend.

So I pushed this new bit of knowledge to the back of my consciousness. Yet, it did not sit well with me. After a few months, this new awareness culminated in an incident that each person in my family recalls differently. As I remember it, at a family barbecue my sister and I got in a fight over who would get the last hot dog. Unfortunately for me, I had already had 2, and she was only going on to her second – there was no way I was gonna win. So my brilliant solution was to declare myself a vegetarian!

I look back on my choice to go vegetarian as the most powerful decision of my life. Of course, this is only half of the story; my parents could have rejected my decision from the start. I am evermore grateful for their support. My parents have not cooked meat in the house for 10 years. My sister became a vegetarian several years after I did so now we only fight over veg hot dogs.

What motivated you to go Vegan?

For the next 9 years I still had trouble pronouncing vegan, and I thought those herbivores were pretty strange. When I read Animal Liberation in 7th grade, I embraced the philosophy but avoided the sections about the plight of dairy cows and layer hens. I was simply not ready to learn about all this.

Things changed last year when I decided to write an article on the philosophical debate over animal rights. As my research progressed, the issues became less and less philosophical and more and more practical. One night, I stumbled upon some disturbing footage of factory farms. Reading was bearable, but the images were too much; one month later I became vegan.

I became vegan merely because I was uncomfortable supporting the cruelty I saw. Today, I am vegan for many reasons including my belief that I can help millions of animals by doing so. Making everyday choices that are in tune with my stance against animal suffering serves as a basis for all the other activism I do. Finally, Veganism has gotten me into cooking, introduced me to a community of like-minded people, and new foods – it’s been an adventure!

On March 4, I will celebrate 1 year as a vegan. (according to an online sobriety calculator from AA, that’s 365 days!!!)

What are you working on?

  • Writing about veganism and animal protection: here is my most recent article in my school magazine [link]
  • Making and indulging in vegan food and sharing it with relatives and friends. This month I set out to achieve the perfect vegan chai and the best “cheese” pizza.
  • Leading a group of students at my school in raising awareness about battery cages, and encouraging local retailers to stop selling eggs from caged hens.
  • Getting issues about animal agriculture and humane treatment of animals into my school curriculum.
  • Hosting monthly letter writing parties with BAV at the Bay Leaf Café in Palo Alto.
  • Spending more time with my cat, Puddles.

What advice would you give to an aspiring vegan?

If you are reading this, you are well over half way to becoming a vegan. That’s right, the only hard part in going vegan is opening our minds to the possibility of doing so. Veganism gets a bad rap in our society and its often depicted as a lifestyle of deprivation edging on asceticism. Most vegans I know however, are just as voluptuous as most people (if not more so) and overall pretty ordinary.

Everyone becomes vegan differently, so just do what feels right! Take every chance to meet local vegans and explore plant-based food through BAV events. I learned so much by simply being around other vegans.

What advice would you give to an aspiring activist?

  1. Be Aware: as one of my favorite animal advocates puts it, “As animal activists, we are only as persuasive as we are aware.”
  2. Be Nice: People who directly or indirectly oppress animals are typically normal people like you and me. The second we look at people as evil, we thwart our ability to communicate effectively with them and to resolve the issues.
  3. Be Happy: The first time I saw footage of fur farms in China, I thought to myself, “how can I live a happy life when these minks, raccoons, and dogs are suffering so severely.” I eventually realized though, that more suffering on my part will not in any way relieve the suffering of the animals. In general, if we overwhelm ourselves too much, we may lose our effectiveness as activists. While we will surely will be sad at times, we must focus on the positive. Every one of us can make an immense difference.

Favorite cereal: Nature’s Path Hemp Plus Granola
Favorite brand of cookies: Trader Joe’s vegan Chocolate Chip cookies

Favorite movies: Office Space, Silence of the Lambs, Contact, Rize
Favorite veg websites: Post Punk Kitchen, Vegan.com, Animal Voices

Tammy Lee

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Tammy

She walks the talk and woks her veggies — meet Tammy of Tammy & Chris, the veggie-powered co-founder of Bay Area Vegetarians.

Name: Tammy, of Tammy & Chris

Profession: Information Systems Consultant
Location: San Mateo Coastside
Website: http://BayAreaVeg.org, http://generationV.org

Are you vegetarian or vegan, and for how long?

I became aware of vegetarianism in 1989, and within six months I transitioned to being vegan.

What motivated you to make this change?

My first culinary attempts at veg cooking were, in retrospect, awful, so it definitely wasn’t the food that compelled me to make this lifestyle change. The animals, who are treated so horribly and unconscionably in factory farms, were and continue to be my motivation.

As I’ve learned more about cooking and eating different beans, vegetables, and grains, accumulated a yummy selection of cookbooks and recipes, plus enjoyed living veggie in one of the most veg-friendly areas in the world, my enjoyment of vegan foods is reinforced several times a day. I’ve also learned more about the environmental and social justice impacts of eating animals.

While I had already made the decision to go vegan, it really started when I went to a PETA “AR 101″ workshop in 1990. I had my first wonderful vegan meal; it included tofu lasagna and chocolate cake. Aside from realizing vegan food is great (I just needed the right cookbook), that led to my first advocacy activity; I tabled with new friends to share the message at Earth Day that ‘Vegetarianism is the Single Most Important Thing You Can Do’. PETA remains one of my favorite organizations working for the animals.

What are you working on?

Asking and supporting people to eat veg. More animals are killed every minute for food than any other ab/use of animals. So, I feel my best contribution to reduce animal suffering is by promoting vegetarianism.

Nearly all of my volunteer time is spent promoting veg*nism via Bay Area Vegetarians. As most folks know, Chris and I started SFBAVEG as a mailing list in 2001, it evolved into Bay Area Vegetarians, which we incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) last year.

My most visible role is probably as list owner for SFBAVEG & SFBAVEG-EVENTS. I also co-host a monthly SF dinner with Chris, leaflet with Vegan Outreach’s Adopt-a-College program, manage the Compassionate Living program, and organize a few other events every year, typically a Vegan Food Party and camping trip. I’m also involved with promotion, and other responsibilities, including events & volunteer coordinator, newsletter editor, and food tester at Vegan Food Parties. And, yeah, I do this in my spare time since I have a full-time job elsewhere.

I know one person can achieve significant results, but I always feel the best results happen when we work together. I want Bay Area Vegetarians to be a valuable resource for the existing and aspiring vegetarian and animal rights community, so we can connect and support each other, and work together.

How can others get involved?

This question makes me laugh. People who know me realize that I am always asking people to help, and there are so many ways to get involved with a small, grassroots organization like Bay Area Veg. It can be as simple as organizing a Vegan Food Party, attending a letter writing party or KFC Cruelty Protest, helping us set-up chairs at an event, put out flyers, help promote the group’s activities on Craigslist, etc.

If I haven’t asked you, and you want to get involved, that’s wonderful! Bay Area Veg is always looking for volunteers. I suggest that folks start by attending events and get a feel for the community and what Bay Area Veg does. Come and talk to me about what your interests and ideas are. It’s important for new volunteers to understand Bay Area Veg and what Bay Area Veg does. Otherwise, it can eat a lot of my time to keep talking to potential volunteers who aren’t a good match for who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

There’s also lots of room for new projects and ideas. A good example is the recent ‘Project Tofurky’ that was sparked by one person seeing a plea for turkeys from the Food Bank, finding out they also wanted Tofurkys, sharing it with the community, and others wanting to work together

You can read more about Bay Area Veg and some volunteer opportunities here:
http://www.bayareaveg.org/about.htm
http://www.bayareaveg.org/volunteer.htm

Who/what inspires you to keep going?

My sense of responsibility to the animals, and also seeing how my efforts make a difference. I work very closely with Chris, and we keep each other motivated. I have made many new friends through my volunteer work with Bay Area Veg. I’ve also enjoyed working closely with other dedicated local activists. Learning about what other activists are doing, both locally and nationally, is also very encouraging. Getting direct feedback from individuals how Bay Area Veg or SFBAVEG or our events or the Ultimate Guide, etc. has helped them in being veg*n also keeps me motivated.

What advice would you give to an aspiring vegan?

Take it one step at a time. Go to events, post questions to the online community (SFBAVEG or the Veggie Mentor forum) — basically, meet and connect with others who share your same interests and values towards vegetarianism. And educate yourself so you can feel confident and informed about your choices. See the ‘resources’ section on the BAVeg website.

What advice would you give to an aspiring activist?

Whether its promoting vegetarianism, raising awareness of vivisection, educating about the importance of spay/neuter — what we’re basically trying to do is “sell” people on a course of action that includes compassionate and responsible treatment of animals. So, smile, be friendly, and also respectful of different opinions; remember, most of us weren’t born veg*n either, we evolved.

Favorite sayings: “Perform a death-defying act… Go Vegan!” and “Veg*ns are like magnets. Either we stick together or we repel with equal force.”

Favorite dessert: MaggieMudd’s Peanut Butter Palooka or Tarmack

Favorite restaurants: See “UG Editor’s Choice” – http://www.bayareaveg.org/ug/featured.htm

Favorite recipes: They’ve been highlighted in previous issues of BAVeg News :-)

Favorite TV shows: Grey’s Anatomy, House, Battlestar Galactica, The Shield, Desperate Housewives, Boston Legal (thank you TIVO!)

Favorite Movies: Matrix (first one), Lord of the Rings (all three, particularly Fellowship of the Ring)

Events I’m hosting or co-hosting this month:

01/08 Compassionate Living: Effective Advocacy for Animals – SF
01/27 San Francisco Dinner – SF
01/29 Vegan Food Party – Pacifica
01/31 Adopt a College leafletting – Academy of Arts College, SF

(see BAVeg Event Calendar for details)

Bob Gotch

Saturday, December 3rd, 2005

Bob Gotch

Although his family was vegan before that word even existed, he made his own decision to embrace vegan living. Bob shares his story in this month’s Community Profile.

Name: Bob Gotch
Age: 56
Profession: Administrative / Customer Service / Database Management for county governmental agency
City: Hayward

I was born into a veg family and my parents had become vegan in the early 1940’s, both of them having grown up in traditional meat-eating families. This would have been just slightly before the word was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson in England. My mother and father were admirers of Gandhi’s non-violent movement that brought about India’s independence. They were pacifists, didn’t believe in killing animals for food or clothing, and also believed that a vegan diet was best for health.

My father had had rheumatic fever as a child, which damaged his coronary valves. Since there was nothing being offered by traditional medicine at that time–no bypasses, transplants, etc., he adopted veganism and fasting in part to see if he could improve his health. He still died relatively young of congestive heart failure at 43, and after his death my mother gave in to the pressure of her relatives and friends who didn’t think her children could possibly be healthy without at least eating dairy and eggs. “How are they going to have healthy ones and teeth?”

I can’t recall the number of times I heard my mom say, “Milk is for baby cows, not for humans.” But still, I drank milk and ate cheese with great zest, once I was exposed to its fatty, salty charms. And as a child unaware of the inherent cruelty of the dairy industry that we’re aware of now, I thought that since I wasn’t eating meat, I wasn’t contributing to animal misery.

Families being the most potent cult in existence, I adopted the lifestyle and beliefs of my parents quite meekly, (except for their views on dairy) and as a kid really believed that meat was bad for me, and carefully avoided it at all times, even as the neighborhood kids tried to slip it into something I was about to eat.

Later as a teenager I had meat a few times, as exploration or rebellion, then not again until about age 26, when upon the advice of an old Chinese herbalist/chiropractor/accupuncturist, I ate meat for about 6 weeks. After that experiment I never returned to meat, but continued to eat as a lacto/ovo vegetarian, which continued until I became vegan at World Vegetarian Day in Berkeley in 1996 after listening to talks given by doctors Michael Klaper and John McDougall. By that time I had already cut way back on dairy, wasn’t eating eggs, and made the transition quite easily, even being able to walk by the supermarket free sample displays in the deli section, not feeling any inclination to pick up a toothpick full of squares of various cheeses that I had indulged in so heavily from the ages of 6 to 46.

Vegetarianism has always been a central part of my identity, even when I was exploring outside of that lifestyle. I had a few vegetarian friends along the way, plus my immediate family, but otherwise was not connected to the veg community in the Bay Area until I encountered Das Deveraj’s Bay Area Vegetarian Restaurant Trek group, Howard Dyckoff’s East Bay Vegetarians, San Francisco Vegetarian Society, and later Bay Area Vegetarians.

The Internet has been extremely influential in proving the network of activities and gatherings that are available to us today. As one of BAVEG’s monthly restaurant hosts, at New World Vegetarian Restaurant in Oakland, I can only marvel at what a difference several decades make! I remember when there were no salad bars, something taken for granted these days. And of course the opportunity to have great vegan meals at restaurants such as New World, Golden Lotus, Cha Ya, Millennium, and so many others is a fantastic difference from the fifties, sixties, and seventies to now.

As a kid I always had mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and dogs living with me. Now I choose not to share my home with animals. I love animals, want them to be free of cruelty, abuse and misery, but have no desire to live with them, unlike most of my vegan counterparts.

Looking back on my early introduction to veganism, adoption of lacto/ovo diet despite my parents’ beliefs that dairy and eggs were not meant for the human diet, and then going back to the vegan lifestyle that I was born into, I’m wondering if there could have been anything that anyone could have said, done, exposed me to, that would have made me leave lacto/ovo vegetarianism any more quickly. It’s hard to say, because I really didn’t meet any vegans until just a few years before becoming one in 1996. I think intense lobbying or guilt-tripping on anyone’s part wouldn’t have been successful, and I needed to take the path that I did to return to the vegan lifestyle that I live today which makes so much sense to me now from all three of the major perspectives–animal cruelty/exploitation, health, and environment.

So, for more than fifty years I can recall my mom’s words: We don’t kill animals for food or clothing, milk is for baby calves, not for humans, and hydrogenated oil is bad! She was ahead of her time.

Sara Jotoku

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Sara Jotoku

Mix equal parts of compassion, determination, and willingness to help, and you’ve got the makings of an activist. Meet Sara J and learn how and why she decided to put her compassion in action.


Name: Sara Jotoku
Profession: Technical Writer
City: El Cerrito

Are you vegetarian or vegan, and for how long?
Vegetarian for 10 years, vegan for 5 years.

What motivated you to make this change?
I always hated the idea of animals being killed or mistreated, but it took a while before my feelings translated into the action of giving up meat. Eventually the accumulation of images I had seen and stories I had heard overcame my passivity. Around the time I stopped eating meat, I had become interested in Buddhism, so that was also an influence. I didn’t yet know that animals who produce eggs and milk are abused and killed. Then I read Diet for a New America by John Robbins, and became vegan overnight.

What are you working on?
Since I’m new to animal advocacy, I’m trying to educate myself about factory farming and animal rights by reading and going to hear speakers. For my fledgling activist efforts, I am taking advantage of the wonderful network of people and range of activities offered by Bay Area Vegetarians.

I currently host a monthly Letter Writing Party in Berkeley and a monthly tabling at the Berkeley Farmers Market. I’m setting up a display on vegetarianism at the El Cerrito library for the month of December. I recently started leafleting at Trader Joe’s with Christine Morrissey of East Bay Animal Advocates.

How can others get involved?
If anyone would like to participate in a letter writing party or help with tabling, please RSVP through the Events list on the Bay Area Vegetarians website. I would also encourage others to host an activity, solo or with a team. The more people willing to organize events or contribute new ideas, the more vibrant the whole veg/AR community will be.

Who/what inspires you to keep going?
First, reading about and seeing images of animals in distress. I believe everyone can do something to help – it doesn’t have to be saving the world overnight, just contributing or supporting in some way can make a difference. Second, other activists are very inspiring in their commitment and courage. Third, it’s satisfying knowing you’re trying to help, and seeing signs of progress (e.g. an organization abandoning a cruel practice because of public pressure).

What advice would you give to an aspiring vegan?
Especially in the Bay Area, there’s a tremendous variety of delicious vegan food. There doesn’t need to be any denial or penance in going vegan. Learn the basics of nutrition; one good source is Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating, a new booklet from Vegan Outreach.

What advice would you give to an aspiring activist?
Start at an easy pace so you don’t become overwhelmed. Try an activity, let yourself absorb that, then take another step. Sometimes you’ll have to push yourself outside your comfort zone, but also respect your own rhythm and needs. Let yourself discover what activities are harmonious with your personality.

Favorite website: www.veganoutreach.org

Mat Thomas

Thursday, September 1st, 2005

Mat Thomas

Struggling with being vegan? Or finding your advocacy niche? Learn how Mat Thomas discovered his inner vegan strengths.

Name: Mat Thomas
Profession: writer/editor
City: San Francisco

Age: 35
Website: www.idausa.org

How long I have been vegetarian/vegan:
I’ve been vegetarian 9 years, vegan for 3½ years.

What motivated me to make this change:

I became a vegetarian soon after moving from New York to California: it was a time of major transition for me, and I was wide open to new experiences. I was attending grad school, studying to be a transpersonal psychotherapist, and was assigned to read an interview with John Robbins for a class called Paradigms of Consciousness. I became a vegetarian that day, in July 1996.

Over the next few years, I tried going vegan many times, but I didn’t meet any vegans until I’d already been vegetarian for five years, so change was difficult. I was working as a business proposal writer for a managed behavioral healthcare company, occupying a cubicle in a Financial District skyscraper, when I met my first two vegans (out of 2,500 employees). We’d been going to dinner Friday nights, and their influence facilitated my transformation from conflicted vegetarian into empowered vegan.

Becoming a vegan was one of my delayed responses to 9/11: like many people, I was asking hard questions about the meaning of life, and that’s when the change took hold. I became a vegan in February 2002, after eating a cheese omelet that made me nauseous. I said to myself, “That’s it,” and it was: I just knew then that, from that day forward, I was going to be a vegan for the rest of my life.

How I got started in activism:

Determined to help animals, I began doing activism within weeks of going vegan. Through BAV, I found out what was happening in the Bay Area. I started out by leafleting with other activists (usually accompanied by a TV/VCR showing factory farming videos) because that seemed like entry-level “activism” to me. After a couple of months of this, I got involved with a local grassroots group that was just starting up at the time called Freedom For Animals (FFA). I hit the streets with them on various campaigns, and wrote some flyers using my background in marketing and psychology. I enjoyed seeing “average folks” actually read what I’d written about factory farming issues, and hopefully making more compassionate choices as a result.

I did public outreach on and off for more than two years, but decided to stop because the emotions it raised – grief, anguish, rage – were driving me to despair. Ultimately, I found I could be a more effective advocate by focusing my energies on writing. To prosper, activists must do what they find most personally exciting and motivating: for me, that’s working with language.

The hardest part of being vegan:
Living in a society that engages in a form of speciesist holocaust every moment of every day, and having to interact with those who can’t see the truth or empathize with enslaved animals. The fact is that most non-vegetarians would rather eat the corpse-flesh of a factory-farmed animal than read the words I write to describe that animal’s life and death! In psychological terms, this widespread disconnect from reality is symptomatic of an undiagnosed emotional disorder of epidemic proportions. Yet, killing and eating animals is the norm, so I strive to attain a higher level of sanity in a world where mass murder is considered natural, acceptable and inevitable. I cope by trying to use my voice to move people toward greater sensitivity.

What I am working on:

  • I work for In Defense of Animals (IDA), writing and editing their weekly e-news, action alerts (e.g., Bay Area Events), web content, leaflets, brochures, magazine articles: whatever the organization needs.
  • I’ve written a number of articles for VegNews, and wrote some profiles of companies specializing in vegan travel for the latest issue.
  • I just finished my first article for Satya magazine, which will probably be in the October issue, and have plans for more articles.
  • I write a monthly column for The Animal World, a paper out of Tennessee.
  • I enjoy writing for BAV, and a lot of my stuff is on their website to read or print out for tabling: The Rough Guide to Animal Rights,

    “But You Eat Fish, Don’t You?”, Veg Mentor flyer, BAVeg brochure Check them out

  • • I volunteer for the production crew of Undercover TV, an animal rights television show that broadcasts on over 50 public access stations nationwide, including San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin County, Pacifica and Palo Alto.

How others can get involved (with above):

  • Sign up for IDA’s e-news and action alerts at www.idausa.org.
  • Watch Undercover TV (check www.undercovertv.org for days/times/channels).
  • I’m looking for artists and graphic designers who want to collaborate on advocacy materials (e.g., brochures and booklets) that will reflect a high level of visual/textual integration and eye-catching aesthetic style. E-mail me if you’re interested.

Advice to aspiring activists:
Apply your unique skills and talents to helping animals. If you’re good at something and you love doing it, make that work for yourself and the animals.

Who/what inspires you to keep going?

I share my life and apartment with two incredible cats, Zelda & Jasmine (a.k.a., Jazzie), both adopted from SF Animal Care & Control. One look in their eyes convinces me that seeking to save animals’ lives is among the noblest of callings.