A Resistance to Compassion

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Animals don’t care why people don’t eat and use them. They just want to not be hurt. Mainstreaming veganism is so important. Why do so many people tend to ignore or resist the message of compassion? Read More

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BREAD AND CIRCUSES IN 2017

Stock Show in Colorado 2017 Update

Due to a storm moving through Denver yesterday, the Stock Show Parade was cancelled…a small mercy for the animals usually forced to walk through the heart of downtown as a spectacle for the cheering masses; much like the victims in the days of the Roman coliseum.  Unfortunately, the animals may have been spared yesterday’s frightening experience but they will still be thrown into the middle of the coliseum as fodder for cruel entertainment or sold during the stock show.

Below is a repost of a blog I wrote two years ago.  Sadly, it is still relevant today.

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Written by LaNell Haydon

I stood in the cold shadows of the high rise buildings waiting for the parade to start. Hundreds lined the street waiting.  A wave of excitement moved through the crowd, and I knew the longhorn steers were coming.  Yesterday was the stock show parade, which signaled the start of the rodeo in Denver.

The steers lumbered down the middle of 17th Street, frightened and confused, looking at each other with wide-eyes.  Rustlers rode alongside, yelling commands to keep them in line.  The steers were beautiful, noble animals, and they deserved much better than what they received yesterday, and what is still to come for them.  Over the course of the next couple of weeks, terrified animals, many babies still, will be forced into the center of the coliseum and brutalized for entertainment and for tradition.  Calf roping, steer wrangling, bull riding, all things that should have long ago been left to the history books.  And after which, most will be sent to slaughter.  Hundreds come out to cheer this.

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Our species has always relished the thought of seeing one of our own overpower and terrorize those who are at our mercy; just as many today still go to see the wild animals in the circuses forced into submission by whip and bull hook; or the bullfighting rings of Spain. Not much different than the days of the Roman coliseum where animals were brought in from all parts of the empire and forced to do tricks or massacred, much to the delight of the crowd.  We have not changed much. Bread and circuses.

When I volunteered on a farm sanctuary, I knew the steers as individuals, not “things.” They were kind and gentle.  They did not harm and knew no harm.  Not since their rescue that is.  I wish everyone would let themselves open up to the love of a farm animal living on a sanctuary.  Only then, when they are free to be themselves without fear is one able to truly understand the beauty and intelligence in these animals.  Maybe then we would not so easily cheer on their torment.

VegFest Colorado

VegFest Colorado is almost here!  July 23rd and 24th @ Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

So what’s new?

Rawk Party Saturday Night!  Tres Amigos playing 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s hits. Burgers and dogs with all the fixins plus assorted beverages. The party starts at 6pm. You don’t want to miss it!

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Daytime Musical Artists include the following:

Lipbone Redding

Ambiance Evolution

Shapiro Brothers

Sarah Noah

Bon Amis

Lots of other activities for the whole family at VegFest Colorado.  Check out the schedule of events

RAW Artist Showcase

Terri Jeans Adornments-POSTERWe are happy to sponsor local, vegan artist, Terri Jeans Adornments, at the upcoming RAW showRAW is an invite only showcase for artists, that provides them with an opportunity to exhibit their creations both to the local community and to the world at large.

RAW holds showcases in cities around the world and will not be your average art show. There will be musicians, alternative performers, fashion designers, a runway show, hair artists, food and drink, and more!

We are very excited for Terri and can’t wait to see the show on June 23rd @ Denver City Hall starting at 7pm.  We hope you can join the party!  For tickets ($20), please click here to support Terri Jean’s Adornments.  (tickets cost more at the door on event night).

If you cannot come to the show, but would still like to support Terri Jean’s Adornments at her showcase, please buy a ticket ($20), and send Terri an email letting her know you are supporting her, but cannot attend.  She will send you a piece of jewelry as a thank you, up to double the value of the ticket!

Sweet Magic Bakery Cookies. Handcrafted in Boulder. …NOM NOM NOM!

Vivian Van Natta is the creator of deliciousness at Sweet Magic Bakery in Boulder, and she has whipped up some incredibly tasty vegan, gluten-free cookies.  Vivian has been baking since she was a child, and later as an adult would relax after work by baking cookies by the dozen.

Clearly, she loves to bake and it certainly comes through in her creations.

Vegan Life Colorado was contacted by My Cottage Foods, a Boulder online Farmer’s Market that specializes in local, unique options, to see if we would like to sample some cookies by Sweet Magic Bakery.  After thinking about it for a nanosecond, we said, “Yes!”  And are we ever so glad we did.

We sampled the Cinnamon Spice Molasses cookies and the Orange Zest Sugar cookies.

I am embarrassed to say that once we started eating the cookies, we couldn’t stop and before you knew it they were gone and I never got a picture of them.  I did; however, take this picture of the bags before we dove in.

Sweet Magic Bakery cookies

Sweet Magic Bakery cookies

And as a bonus, I include a picture of us all after dinner savoring the taste of the cookies.

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So here’s my take on Sweet Magic Bakery’s cookies.  The Cinnamon Spice Molasses cookies were a party in my mouth.  Just the right amount of chewy, sugar and spice.  The texture of this cookie is very pleasing.  This is one of the best cookies I’ve eaten.  Here’s the kicker….in addition to being vegan, they are gluten-free!

I think I mentioned the GF thing already, but it can be a challenge to find gluten-free baked goods that are not lacking in texture and taste.  Vivian has clearly spent a lot of time creating some of the best vegan, gluten-free cookies around.

As for the Orange Zest Sugar cookies, they were another melt-in-your-mouth hit.  The cookie starts with a fresh, orange flavor and ends sweet and slightly salty.  Again, a yummy, chewy texture.  And again, you guessed it, vegan and gluten-free.

My advice is to not walk, but run to My Cottage Foods (okay, go to their website here to order) and get your Sweet Magic Bakery cookies.  You will not be disappointed.

by LaNell Haydon

Click to buy Sweet Magic Bakery cookies

We Have Taken Their Power

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by: The Compassionate Denverite

I have a challenge for you. The challenge requires you to name one animal, just one, that is not exploited in any way. What is the meaning of exploitation? The action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work (synonyms: taking advantage, abuse, misuse, and ill-treatment). Take some time to think about it if you like, because in all retrospect, all species are misused, mistreated, and exploited in some fashion.

Our own species has an obsession with conquering others whether it is other human beings or animals. Industries have taken advantage of this fixation and have used it solely to gain profits. Not for conservation efforts, not to educate, but at the forefront, their primary concern is pleasing the shareholders and funneling more money into their pockets. Our obsession with animals has led these creatures to severe cruelty and sometimes irreversible emotional distress. A loss of loved ones, traumatic physical pain, and a lifetime of this cycle only to be repeated again and again to further profits.

Tigers, orcas, elephants, camels, dolphins, cows, chickens, fish, bees, dogs, cats, and hundreds more live in this cycle every second of their lives if they are included in exploitation. Their power is not ours not lock in a cage, dump into a bathtub, or parade around in a coliseum. Their majesty is not ours to slather on our faces, rub in our hair, our outline our eyes. Their splendor is not ours to throw on a grill, stir in our coffee, or fry in a pan. Finally, their beauty is not ours to use a sweetener in our tea, moisturize our body, or use to cure a sore throat. There are plant based options for any manner you seek to nourish your body, enhance features, or use to cure an ailment.

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Let me go back to my original question. Did you think of an animal that isn’t being exploited? Think of all sectors that humans exploit for their benefit, but let me continue on before you make a final decision.

Humans strive to be happy and throughout our lives we are always making changes to reach goals that will enable us to be content and pleased with our efforts. As we are exploiting animals in the manners we are today, we are directly excluding them of the basic rights we give each other. We do not go about our lives and tell or act in ways that deny other human of being happy. Why are we doing that every second of every day to millions upon millions of other species?

We are obsessed with their power, their beauty, their majesty. As humans we do not have all of the traits of these animals and we try to justify our exploitation in endless way.

Industries that market conservation are for profit and this is in order to remain in operation and keep up with maintenance at these facilities. Regarding of all of the safeguarding efforts of zoos and aquariums, why is poaching and hunting still as detrimental as it was decades ago? Shouldn’t these “conservation” efforts be helping animals in the wild too? We can’t keep all exotic animals locked up in cages away from the poachers, but true conservation efforts is looking towards the wrong doing of animal agriculture, because they are responsible for clear cutting the land for animals to live in order to raise livestock and grow food for livestock.

When Marius, a healthy 2 year old giraffe was slaughtered and fed to lions at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark, there was no empathy and “individual wild animals, whether captive or free-roaming, are not deserving of consideration as individuals—only ‘populations’ matter” (Wells, 2014) in the eyes of these establishments.

International policies need to be stronger and governmental officials need to enact laws that strengthen the safety and overall well-being of these animals. Education is the most vital route and for example, people in Asia eating shark fin soup is on the decline because of animal activists taking direct action against this industry and using education to help communities understand the importance of keeping these species thriving in the wild.

Regardless of the species, please remember that “The path of the norm is the path of least resistance; it is the route we take when we’re on auto-pilot and don’t even realize we’re following a course of action that we haven’t consciously chosen” (Joy, 2009). Take the challenge to reduce your exploitation on the creatures that roam this earth with us. Everyone has the capacity to take the path of least resistance, it is simply a matter of making mindful decisions everyday and recognizing that every step leads to greater happiness for yourself and others.

Sources:

Joy, M. (2010). Why we love dogs, eat pigs, and wear cows: An introduction to carnism: The belief system that enables us to eat some animals and not others. San Francisco: Conari Press.

Wells, S. (2014, February 14). Legally brief: no zoo animal is “surplus”. Retrieved

March 21, 2016, from http://aldf.org/blog/legally-brief-zoo-animal/

CURIOUS EYES THAT USED TO SEE

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By Ann Swissdorf

Are you in denial??  When I started to accept that I didn’t need to eat or use animals, and I also accepted that they suffer for something I didn’t need to do in the first place, it was from simply reading articles in a magazine with a little description of what happens. I never thought about it before I read those articles. I don’t know why I never thought about where my “food” came from. Now with the Internet, there are articles galore, with videos and photos. I know they are hard to watch, see, and read about, but what is happening in those photos and videos, is happening to someone who is innocent and can’t resist what is being done to them. The very least we can do is acknowledge what is done to them and not participate in it. Especially when we don’t need to. Why turn a blind eye on purpose? For taste? To avoid social judgment? I don’t understand any of that. I have a lot of friends who are desperate to stop the animals from being put through these horrors so they share graphic photos and videos. They get bashed for that. It does help some people change and stop participating, but some people get defensive instead. They shoot the messenger. I try to not look, because I don’t need to look. I don’t need to look, because I will never participate in the suffering of the innocent again as long as I live, and I will never stop trying to open people’s eyes to it.

A few days ago I happened to get caught by a photo. I couldn’t not look. I had to make a comment. Due to the graphic and disturbing nature of the picture, I am not sharing it here.  But I am sharing my comment. Please hear me:

“That eyeball and eyelashes (on a face I can’t recognize) photo is overwhelming.  Just when I think I’ve seen it all. Humans did that to an innocent, helpless animal. They stood there, they looked at that animal, they did him harm, and they saw the aftermath with their OWN eyes. I can’t imagine a person who can do that. I wish people would stop paying these psychopaths to torture and kill animals. Why can’t they see it? I know some people with those jobs really hate it and just do the job because they think they have no other choice, but it is an outlet for psychopaths as well. Easy access to victims AND they get paid. Crazy what some in the world approve of.”

Curious eyes that used to see, beautiful lashes that used to blink.

 

be the change

The Measure of Mettle

By LaNell Haydon

Colorado’s most barbaric tradition is happening right now.

Animals are being brought into the center of the Denver Coliseum to be terrified, harmed, and sometimes worse, all to the deafening sound of cheers and applause.

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I long for a world where children’s love for animals is not twisted into something as ugly as abuse for entertainment.

I long for a world when women will step into the full power of the feminine and demand protection for all life.

I long for a world when the measure of a man’s mettle is not seen in how violently he can overpower a being who has done him no harm and is completely at his mercy.

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Click HERE to see our calendar of demo events during the next two weeks at the rodeo.

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An Emotional Plague

Emotional Plague Character

Emotional Plague Character

A plague is a highly contagious disease.  An emotional plague, as defined by mental health experts, is characterized by infectious, destructive, emotional reactions that can also incite others to behave likewise.

I had thought to write about the emotional plague infesting our culture which manifests as hostility towards vegans and animal rights activists.  But the emotional plague aimed at quashing activists does not come solely from the general public or authority figures.  It has also infected the activist communities themselves.  It can be seen in the degree to which some activists in the A/R and vegan movement will go in order to ruin and/or control another in the same movement.

It only takes one person to incite others to act in the same destructive manner, thus the plague; and that person has then graduated to be an “emotional plague character” and unfortunately there is no shortage of these “characters” in activism.

The biggest problem in the A/R and vegan movement is that this emotional plague character harms everyone else’s hard work to help animals, the environment, people, and our shared goal for a more compassionate world.  I have been confused by the blind jealously and irrational animosity some individuals and groups display toward others; especially since we are supposed to be working toward peace and compassion for all.

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I have learned that, unfortunately, activist communities are prime targets to attract these emotional plague characters, just as churches are, and political parties, and any organization that has influence on public opinion.  Their jealous and angry energy is released by lashing out at their perceived “enemy” through gossip, slander, or worse.

Some say that success brings out the jealousy in others.  But that is not always the case.  Not everyone is jealous; nor do those who may be jealous always try to tear down their target of envy.  When envy manifests as attack, it seems to be a deeper, internal problem within that person.  These emotional plague characters are terribly unsatisfied with their own lives in some way, so they attack others.  Think about it, if someone is satisfied with their own life, they do not sit around obsessing and gossiping about others.

Is there a solution?  Perhaps.  If emotional plague characters in the movement would just remember why they became activists in the first place and channel their energy into changing what they find so dissatisfactory within their own lives instead of attacking others, then they could be much more positive and effective champions for compassion.  Isn’t that what we all want?  We don’t have to like each other to work toward the same goal.  We are not each other’s enemies.

Written by LaNell Haydon

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