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A Day at the Animal Rights National Conference
Jul16

A Day at the Animal Rights National Conference

Reporting today from the Animal Rights National Conference in Alexandria, Virginia! I’m here today to help out the Compassion Over Killing team, handing out literature and also some simply divine brownies and cookies from the DC vegan bakery Sticky Fingers. The Exhibit Room is packed with cruelty-free goodies — everything from baked goods and vegan dogfood… to cosmetics and fashion… to informative literature and DVDs from various animal rights organizations. A new find today is NYC-based Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, an all-vegan line of air-brush makeup. Their “lip tar” is a semi-matte hybrid of lipstick and lip gloss, and comes in a stunning rainbow of mixable primaries. I talked with a conference attendee earlier who was wearing an electric-blue lip gloss, specifically to confirm that it was, indeed, OCC’s shade called RX. More my style: OCC’s “Something” (pale blue) and “Dangerous” (grey) nail polishes. Thanks to make-up artist and founder David Klasfeld for sending me home with such pretty colors! Another new find: Calico Dragon. Handbag designer Candy Brown has created a line of canvas/cotton tote bags with striking silk-screens. Images of animals are coupled with slogans that, on their own, have a bit of a bite. My personal fave is the large tote with the silkscreen of an elephant: “Whips and Chains Belong in the Bedroom, Not at the Circus.” So sexy and feisty — I love it! Extra props: a portion of profits is donated to animal charities. My treat-yourself of the day: the “Vaute” coat in ultra-vibrant blue (the color totally makes this coat!) by Vaute Couture, proceeds of which go to Farm Sanctuary. Founder Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart was on hand to share her designs with us. Her coats are solely from vegan, eco-conscious materials and produced in her hometown of Chicago. Vaute has been featured in several magazines and on Oprah.com, and worn by plenty of celebs. According to Leanne, actresses Ginnifer Goodwin and Zooey Deschanel have the same blue coat in their closets. Another CoK volunteer purchased a black jacket that has the added flair of vintage buttons. The clothing line, now entering its second season, is expanding to include men’s coats — truly classic designs, with modern touches. Also from Vaute: organic hand-dyed dresses, upcycled windbreakers, and soy-yarn hats and scarves. Beyond the shopping extravaganza, there are events going on all weekend here at the Hilton. Senator Dennis Kucinich opened the conference with a special address; there are screenings of the films The Cove, Skin Trade, and Bold Native; and, throughout the days, there are sessions on a range of topics. For example, the session Challenging Language and Labels. Still saying you’re the “owner”...

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Animal Foster Care
Jun03

Animal Foster Care

Throughout most of my life, anytime someone would mention an animal shelter, the picture that immediately came to mind was a scene straight out of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp: a sassy pup with the voice of Peggy Lee singing the blues, with a bunch of scraggly strays singing backup. And then there’s the moment in the film when, in shadows, the dogs watch as one of them is taken from his holding pen and led down the dark corridor — the reminder that all these dogs were facing imminent death if no one claimed them. Terrifying. And that’s the Disney version of the pound. Last year, I became active in a local initiative for a no-kill community program, and as a result I became more aware of the typical shelter conditions. Today’s shelters are overcrowded and understaffed. The usual holding period for any captured animal is only 3-5 days, and the clock ticks even faster if the shelter is at capacity, or for animals that show any sign of illness or aggression. Ultimately, up to 70% of all captured animals end up euthanized. The new Animal Rescue postage stamps are promoting the adoption of shelter animals; there are countless dogs and cats in desperate need of loving homes. But many of us may not be in a position to adopt a new companion animal. Adoption is a big responsibility, and a commitment that could last upwards of ten or fifteen years. So here’s an easy alternative that literally will save lives. How about offering foster care for an animal? Basically, you’re buying an animal time… the time it takes to find him/her a permanent, loving family. So, even if you have a job that requires considerable travel, or you divide time between two residences, or a long-term commitment isn’t feasible, you can offer your home as a refuge to an animal when the odds are stacked against him. Here are some groups from various cities around the country that coordinate foster care: New York, NY: Animal Care & Control of New York City Brooklyn, NY: Brooklyn Animal Foster Network Tucson, AZ: Tucson Cold Wet Noses and FAIR (we adopted our Galileo from FAIR!) Phoenix, AZ: Phoenix Animal Rescue Portland, OR: Oregon Humane Society Washington DC: Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation St. Louis, MO: Dogs Deserve Better Boston, MA: MSPCA-Angell Orlando, FL: Pet Rescue by Judy Los Angeles, CA: Life 4 Paws If your location is not listed above, please call your local shelter or humane society to find out about organizations in your own neighborhood, or perform a quick “animal foster care” internet search. The decision to...

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