AR2014 Unites and Empowers

“My expectations were already high, but [the conference] blew them away!”

“We loved every minute! Inspiring, energizing, and fun!”

“I came to the conference mostly vegetarian, but left completely vegan.”

P1330187-2

Every Animal Rights National Conference is a success because of the amazing people who attend with their minds open and leave with their hearts full, ready to take action for animals. AR2014 was exceptional in that it brought in the most attendees of any conference before – over 1,300 to be exact. Coupling that with the most speakers we’ve ever had (120+), this was definitely our biggest Animal Rights National Conference yet!

Many of the conference’s highlights occurred during our plenaries. Our most unforgettable plenary was “Tales from the Trenches,” which included first-hand accounts of undercover investigations in slaughterhouses and factory farms. Using no images and no video footage, former investigators TJ Tumasse and Taylor Radig had the audience spellbound by their harrowing experiences in these facilities. Nary a dry eye was to be found in the entire ballroom.

P1340164-2

Our closing plenary, emceed by VegNews’ Colleen Holland, wrapped up our conference on a positive note. “We Are Winning” highlighted all the ways in which our movement is succeeding and making huge changes for animals. We also featured a compilation video featuring clips submitted from activists around the world, including our very own 10 Billion Lives crew, sharing how they are saving animals this summer. It was also during our closing plenary that we had an Animal Rights National Conference first: a couple got engaged surrounded by 1,300 other compassionate folk!

Our Awards Banquet was an amazing event! After a colorful and delicious meal, followed by decadent chocolate cake, banquet guests were treated to a comical magic show from vegan magician, Brandon Scott. We then turned the spotlight and the mic over to some special people who deserved recognition for their contributions to the animal rights movement. We started by bestowing the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award to our very own Dr. Alex Hershaft, founder and President of Farm Animal Rights Movement. The 2014 inductee to the Animal Rights Hall of Fame was Vegan Outreach’s, Jon Camp, the “Million Booklet Man.” Known as The 300 Pound Vegan, NFL linebacker, David Carter accepted the award for Outstanding Vegan Athlete, wisely stating, “You don’t need to take a life to gain muscle.” Eighteen-year-old Andrew Pucetti won the Young Activist Award in recognition of his success in ending classroom dissections and promoting vegan eating. The Henry Spira Grassroots Awards went to dedicated activists, Armaiti May and Judy Carman, for their unpaid work to help animals in their communities.

P1330857-2

P1340123-2

P1340132-2

 

Of course, the biggest highlights of all came from the session rooms and the socials. Learning from seasoned activists, networking with advocates from around the country, and making like-minded friends are priceless moments at the Animal Rights National Conference. It’s what keeps this conference, an enormous undertaking!, going year after year, and it’s what powers our movement forward, day after day. This conference couldn’t happen without our sponsors, volunteers, staff, speakers, donors, or attendees. We are eternally grateful for everyone’s support. We’re all in this together!

We look forward to another amazing conference in 2015, happening at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center July 30th – August 2nd, just outside of Washington, DC. Registration will open in February, so keep up with FARM on our website and social media platforms! 

P1350363-2

For even more AR2014 highlights, please check out our full report here.

Read More

Earth Day 2014: Activists Encourage the Public to Evaluate the Impact Their Food Choices have on the Planet

+Wendy Moore, Earth Day 2014 1_640x339

Vegan Earth Day 2014 was one of our best yet! More than 154 activists from all over North America distributed our new brochures at local events to encourage people to make the environment-diet connection. While most people leafleted, others gave out food samples or held pay-per-view events. Volunteers in 40 states and 3 Canadian provinces participated in Vegan Earth Day this year, distributing nearly 15,000 of our brochures to the public.

(more…)

Read More

Meatout 2014 Reaches Thousands & Sparks Vital Conversation

JenMiguel_468x480

This year marked the 30th celebration of Meatout, an international day of awareness devoted to educating the public on the many benefits of a vegan diet. Every year, the campaign and our activists accomplish numerous feats that never fail to impress; however, Meatout 2014 has been a landmark year. With proclamations from mayors and governors across the United States, national and international media press, a network of passionate animal activists behind us, and a coalition of organizations and businesses with a common mission to spare as many animals as possible, Meatout 2014 undoubtedly changed the diets and minds of thousands.

(more…)

Read More

World Day for Farmed Animals: An International Success!

October 2nd marked the 30th annual World Day for Farmed Animals, bringing worldwide attention to the plight of farmed animals with more than 140 observances throughout nearly three dozen U.S. states, 5 Canada provinces, and 8 countries.

Observances ranged from dramatic and attention-grabbing to traditional educational outreach. Some activists confronted the industry head-on at slaughterhouse demonstrations in over a dozen cities in North America, while others raised awareness through candlelight vigils, memorial services, marches, cage-ins, die-ins, information tables, exhibits, video screenings, leafleting, and feed-ins.

(more…)

Read More

AR2013: A Conference to Remember

With activists coming from across the country and around the world, this year’s Animal Rights National Conference turned out to be the largest and most successful yet!

More than a thousand people attended the conference; which was held just outside of Washington, DC at the Alexandria Hilton Mark Center. Over 100 speakers, from 60 organizations participated in plenary sessions and lead workshops. Speakers included Gary Francione, Jonathan Balcombe, Nick Cooney, Will Tuttle, Melanie Joy, Nathan Runkle, Paul Shapiro, Doll Stanley, Will Potter and Brenda Shoss. This year’s program consisted of 80 sessions on problems, organizing, strategy, and controversial issues.

(more…)

Read More

Largest Slaughterhouse Demo in US History

Over 400 activists joined us outside of the Farmer John slaughterhouse this past Saturday to expose the cruel abuse that goes on inside of the Vernon, California meat processing facility. Those who have ever driven by the plant know too well the foul stench that hangs in the air and the building’s hypocritical murals that depict happy pigs enjoying sunshine and playing in green pastures. There are no happy pigs behind the walls of Farmer John – only dead pigs – Farmer John slaughters 6,000 pigs a day, making it the largest slaughterhouse on the west coast.

The demonstration began with a funeral procession, which included a prop coffin. The march was lead by actors and activists, Elaine Hendrix and Michael Fairman. With so many dedicated activists joining us, it didn’t take long to encircle the entire facility. The mood was somber and many were moved to tears, but a positive feeling of hope radiated from the compassionate crowd. A moment of silence was observed to remember those who have fallen to the greed of animal agribusiness.

During the event, FARM staff and around 90 other activists crossed the street and Occupied McDonald’s. Some held hands, circling the outside of the property, while others, including Elaine Hendrix and Michael Fairman, took over the restaurant, impeding business for a short time.

For three hours, activists from all other the country stood together as one, to speak up for the pigs of Farmer John and for every animal who is trapped within the food industry. Some folks held signs, some chanted, some even took over McDonald’s, but everyone was there to see an end to the needless slaughter of billions of animals.

We would like to thank each and every one of you who came out and joined us, and to all of those who spread the word online. Thank you to Elaine Hendrix, Michael Fairman and Simone Reyes for supporting us. Thank you to the local news stations (KTLA, Univision 34, LA Times) for providing coverage of the event, and to the  police department for ensuring everyone’s safety. To see images from the Farmer John demonstration, please visit our Facebook page.

Read More

Veganism a Part of the Earth Day Message

Another Earth Day has gone by and once again, our results have made a lasting impact! Dozens of activists from all over the country distributed thousands of handouts to local events while our online efforts were just as strong, using all avenues possible to share the vegan message far and wide.

We revamped our Green Your Diet handout which received great acclaim from our activists. While the handout is certainly attractive, the content is what helped change diets. With very convincing information about the correlation between animal agriculture and climate change, there is no doubt our handout made people question if they are making the right dietary choice for the planet.

(more…)

Read More

Meatout a HUGE Success!

Compassionate folks in England take the Meatout pledge.

This year marked the 29th celebration of Meatout, with events taking place across the United States and around the globe. With a fresh new website, band new outreach materials, and hundreds of activists ready to educate the public, this was truly a landmark year.

Thousands took to the streets to gather Meatout pledges, by hosting tabling and leafleting events, while others flocked online to share viral images of their new found commitment to eat vegan for a day with friends and family. The positive feedback we received was overwhelming! Individuals were very excited to try new foods and recipes that they normally wouldn’t try, but they were definitely glad they did – most participates said they would eat animal-free meals more often.

(more…)

Read More

President Obama, Let’s Move Forward for ALL

On Monday, all eyes on were on Washington as our 44th president was sworn into office. Barak Obama’s inauguration speech sounded about the same as his last victory speech and the same as the nation has heard from previous presidents…lots of promises of hope and working together for the common good…to tackle healthcare, climate change, ending a decade of war, and peace and freedom for all.

Well if the president really wanted to start tackling some of these tough issues facing our nation (and the world), he might consider ceasing to endorse big agribusiness (and big oil but that’s another topic for discussion) and ending the war on animals. Reducing America’s demand for animal protein will not only solve violent animal cruelty issues but it would greatly reduce healthcare costs (improving the overall health of the country) and address one of the leading causes of climate change. That would truly be “freedom for ALL.”

(more…)

Read More