Silicon Valley Fall Festival, September 9, 2017
The Cupertino Rotary Club invited us to table at this event, which gave us another opportunity to share our knowledge of how animal agriculture impacts the environment. Most of the folks who stopped at our table were Indians, who were already vegetarian. So we focused on the dairy industry and the humane myth. At one point, we saw a woman approach our table, then stop several feet from the table to look at our signs. When we asked her if she was familiar with the devastating effects that animal agriculture has on the environment, she backed up and walked away. The backing up was perfect body language for “I don’t want to know!” We all got a laugh out of that! Fortunately, most people were receptive to our message. We played the “Name the Vegetable” game with several children and gave out Anne Stafford’s book Dogs On The Beach to each. Surprisingly, few of them could recognize artichokes & brussels sprouts, but they all knew ginger, and a couple even recognized Star Fruit. These were obviously Chinese & Indian kids!
Pictured are Lisa Wade, Adi Tzur, Belle Stafford & Ellen Sweeney
Woodside Pig Scramble Protest, July 4, 2017
This was not a SCCAA sponsored event, but some SCCAA members attended. We believe that pigs should not be subjected to the type of terror that they endure in this event. Piglets are released into a pen, and then a group of children enter, running toward the pigs and chasing them for capture. Pigs are prey animals and likely find this behavior very threatening and terrifying. We teach children that bullying is bad, but this sends the opposite message. Watch the CBS coverage here. Woodside is not the only town that holds pig scrambles, but the event is becoming more & more unpopular with the locals, and is not even sanctioned by the National Rodeo Association, so it should be easily removed from the local rodeo. Committee for a Humane Woodside is the name of the organization that organized the event. They stationed a few folks in town at a busy corner, and the rest at the site entrance. Here is an article in the local paper.
Cupertino Earth Day, April 22, 2017
This was SCCAA’s fourth year of tabling at this event. Typically, the attendees are already environmentally-minded, and so are familiar with the enormous amounts of pollution generated by factory farms. We opened their eyes to the cruelty inherent in “humane” farms and the oxymoron of “humane slaughter”. Most discussions were centered around dairy, with explanations about the exploitation of the females, the fate of the male calves and and the oddity of drinking milk from another species. Several folks were stumped on the “how” of going vegan, so we provided them with literature, recipes and info such as “look into your local vegan meetup groups”. We also had a restaurant board, listing local vegan restaurants. Lots of people snapped pictures of it as they walked by. Children enjoyed the animal and vegan stickers we were giving out.
Pictured are Adi Tzur, Lisa Wade, Paris Harvey & Ellen Sweeney
Anthony Marr, April 14, 2017
We were graced with a very educational presentation by Anthony Marr on How to Debate 100 Hunters …and Win, on one of their stops on their Honeymoon of Hope Tour (H.O.P.E. – Heal Our Planet Earth). Sharing his books, introducing his new wife Shannon Wright, and Drea, their newly adopted boxer, it was a lively and thought provoking conversation. We also had a mock debate.
In 1996, Anthony Marr, founder of the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition, and a lead campaigner of the 28,000 paying-members strong Western Canada Wilderness Committee “WC-squared”, waged a high profile referendum campaign towards banning bear hunting in British Columbia, Canada. This required a volunteer force of at least 2000 volunteers distributed evenly in the 75 electoral districts throughout the huge province (in size comparable to CA+OR+WA). He launched an 8-week, 50-stop road tour throughout which he debated large groups of harassing hunters up to 130 per time over 40 times. He used the hunters to generate over 200 newspaper articles and was physically assaulted, resulting in three fractured facial bones, yet he forced through a 3-year moratorium on grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia.
A special thanks to Steve and Lin Hoffman for opening their doors at the Back Project in Sunnyvale.
Fur Free Friday is an annual, national event on the day after Thanksgiving, marked by protests against establishments that sell fur. Our protest took place at Neiman Marcus, Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto. All day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., activists came and went, holding signs, distributing literature, and engaging with shoppers. Some activists stayed in front of Neiman Marcus the entire time, while others distributed flyers throughout the shopping center. Although it is difficult to change the minds of hard core fur wearers, we explained to several people about the problem with faux fur, which is that although it is labeled as faux, it may be real. Particularly in Asia, clothing manufacturers realize that some people prefer faux, and rather than change their manufacturing process, they change the labels.
As usual, we received a lot more thumbs up and positive comments than snide remarks.
This was the last year for Carol and her sweet dog, Bucky, as they moved out of the area. A big thanks to Carol for all her help over the years!
Earth Day events take place throughout the month of April, and Cupertino squeaked theirs in on the 30th. SCCAA was there tabling and educating people about the environmental devastation of animal agriculture. Nor surprisingly, most everyone we spoke to was aware of the issue. The question is whether or not they are willing to look in the mirror and see who can make a difference. Vegetarians were the most receptive to the vegan message. “I didn’t realize that” was a common response when we told them about dairy farming and the treatment of the cows & calves. But they were willing to take some material, and seemed ready to give veganism a try.
One woman even complimented us on being “nice vegans”. She said she had run into many “mean vegans”, who wouldn’t discuss an issue and were nasty and accusatory. This is one of SCCAA’s core principles – meeting people on common ground. We also engaged some children in discussions of the environmental devastation of animal agriculture and compassion towards farm animals.
Pictured are Adi Tzur, Lori Atkinson & Ellen Sweeney
Fur Free Friday Palo Alto, November 2015
Fur Free Friday is an annual, national event on the day after Thanksgiving, marked by protests against establishments that sell fur. The protest took place at Neiman Marcus at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. All day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., activists came and went, holding signs, distributing literature, and engaging with shoppers. Although it is difficult to change the minds of hard core fur wearers, we explained to several people about the problem with faux fur, which is that although it is labeled as faux, it may be real.
Robert Grillo, October 2015
The Founder & Director or Free From Harm, Robert Grillo, spoke about how popular culture uses a set of fictions to manipulate our beliefs about animals as well as the food choices that stem from those beliefs. The presentation was geared specifically to an animal advocacy audience, explaining how a deepened awareness of these fictions can empower our advocacy.
As an activist, author and speaker, Grillo focuses awareness on the animal’s experience and point of view, drawing on insights from sociology, psychology, popular culture, ethics and social justice to bridge the gap between humans and other animals. As a marketing communications professional for over 20 years, Grillo has worked on large food industry accounts where he gained a behind the scenes perspective on food industry marketing.
In his groundbreaking book, The China Study, and in the recent popular film, Forks Over Knives, Dr. T. Colin Campbell details the overwhelming scientific evidence showing that a whole foods, plant-based diet can prevent and even reverse deadly health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
PlantPure Nation explores the topical issues of the small family farmer, food deserts, modern medicine and the challenges of getting plant-based nutrition included in the political process. The goal of PlantPure is nothing short of a health revolution. Whereas industry and government have contributed to our health care crisis, people working together at the local level can help solve this problem. THIS FILM IS THE START OF THAT PROCESS.
Will Tuttle July 2015
The Proclamation was presented in a City Council ceremony to Kristie Middleton, Judy Lindow, Mike Sage, Steve Shih, and Sherry Shih. Partners who helped in this effort were many: San Jose Cool Cities, South Asian Heart Center, HSUS, PCRM, individuals: like 3 different doctors/dietians, Tzu Chi Foundation, Vegetarian House. SCCAA member Judy Lindow first proposed this project to SCCAA in November 2012. Sierra Club recommended San Jose City Councilmember Ash Kalra, and HSUS got us Kristie Middleton. Councilmember Kalra’s staffmember Stacie Shih was a big help.The effort will now go on as we seek ways to leverage the proclamation to get Meatless Monday programs implemented in the community (school cafeterias, restaurants, etc.). Also, we will proceed to approach other South Bay cities, one by one, to push them to enact their own Meatless Monday resolutions. If you would like to assist in this effort please message SCCAA
Fur Free Friday Palo Alto
Fur Free Friday is an annual, national event on the day after Thanksgiving, marked by protests against establishments that sell fur. Because Burberry moved out of Santana Row, we decided not to hold our protest there. This year we focused on Neiman Marcus at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. All day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., activists came and went, holding signs, distributing literature, and engaging with shoppers.We received lots of encouragement, support and positive comments, including “Oh no, I never buy it.” One customer who went into the store, came out saying she will boycott the store and send an email to their corporate office telling them why. Another customer intended on going into the store, but when she saw our signs, she paused and asked if “they really sell fur in there”. When she was told “yes”, she replied “I guess I’m not going in there then.”
March for Elephants and Rhinos
On October 4th, 2014, people in cities throughout the world marched as one voice to save elephants and rhinos. SCCAA joined with other activists and marched in San Francisco through Chinatown to United Nations Plaza, where an inspiring rally was held.
The countdown to their extinction has begun. Unless action is taken now, we will lose these majestic, highly intelligent, and emotionally sentient creatures FOREVER. More than 35,000 elephants are being killed every year so their tusks can be carved into ivory trinkets. A rhino is slaughtered once every 9-11 hours for its horn. Their only hope for survival lies in an immediate end to the ivory and rhino horn trade (both “legal” and “illegal”) and the chance to recover from decades of mass slaughter.
Presentation Series: Cowspiracy
August 28, 2014
SCCAA had its largest audience to date for the showing of Cowspiracy – almost 200 people packed the first-run theatre! Co-director Keegan Kuhn was in attendance to talk about the making of the film and answer questions.
In this compelling documentary, we followed the journey of co-director Kip Anderson as he tried to make sense of the modern environmental movement. After years of limited driving and changing out light bulbs, he started to sense that there must be more we can do. But when he confronted major environmental organizations with information on the devastating environmental effects of animal agriculture, they ignored his emails and/or dodged his questions.
The documentary contains interviews with Richard Oppenlander, Will Tuttle, Deniz Bolbol and many other experts in the field. It is as eye-opening as “Blackfish” and as inspiring as “An Inconvenient Truth.” A must-see for every environmentalist!
Empty the Tanks protest at Six Flags, Vallejo
May 24th, 2014
Nearly 200 animal activists from the Bay Area and beyond lined the road leading to the Six Flags entrance holding signs, posters and cameras. Some folks were even in costume! A tank is no place for a whale or dolphin, regardless of how well they are treated.
This isn’t a radical movement to release all the captive marine mammals into the wild. Some of these animals might be great candidates for release, but those that are not should be retired into sea pens, where they can enjoy the rest of their days in natural seawater, feeling the waves of the ocean around them. They should not be worked until their last breath is taken and then thrown out like trash and replaced.
These entertainment parks have no place in the 21st century. We know the level of awareness these animals have. We know their social connections, their eating habits, and natural wild behaviors. You cannot breed natural instincts out of an animal in a handful of generations. These are incredibly social, intelligent beings that are being used to make money. It is animal slavery, and it needs to be brought to the general public’s attention.
Tabling at the 4th Annual Green Kids Conference! May 31, 2014
For the 4th year in a row, SCCAA tabled this event and had fun with the kids while leafleting and discussing with the parents. We focused on the environmental devastation caused by animal agriculture. It is quite fun sharing these ideas with the young minds and hearts …and their parents. THE FIRST TIME THIS YEAR.. Assaf, owner of The Flying Falafel, had a 30 minute interactive, funny & thought provoking presentation for the kids and their parents. Using cute stuffed animals and various sized cages, he demonstrated factory farm life, including slaughter. When it was time to slaughter Drew’s chicken, Drew exclaimed, “No, he’s too cute!” Assaf even had buckets of nasty looking liquid to illustrate the animal waste that pollutes our water and land.
Healthy By Choice Not By Chance
May 7th, 2014 – In Sunnyvale, Ms. Linda Middlesworth came and shared her expertise in preparing a very low fat vegan Lasagna, Blueberry Muffins and a mixed Bean Salad. With an overwhelming turnout and delicious fare, this was a wonderful event…chock full of tips and healthy choices.
Linda Middlesworth: Cancer Project, Food for Life Instructor ~ Certified Personal Trainer/Aerobic Instructor, Certified Plant Nutrition, Cornell University
Presentation Series: Forks Over Knives
May 5th 2014 – This movie addresses the urgent, and often times ignored, issue of eating animals and animal products, in regards to our health. The arguments are laid out in a very systematic way that makes the information very easy to understand. The turnout and discussion afterwards made this a very worthwhile event. For most of the audience this information was new, but even those more informed audience members found some extra bit of new information. Highly recommended for anyone concerned with their personal health.
Conscious Eating Conference Berkeley
April 2014 The Conference informed attendees about the true nature of sustainable food choices. There is a growing awareness of food and its relationship to our planet, our community, our health and the animals who share the planet with us. Discussion focused on issues such as backyard chicken-keeping, small-scale farming, eating local, animal-free farming, sanctuary experiences and vegan living as alternatives to the agribusiness model of food production and animals. This year’s Conscious Eating Conference speakers were author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Beyond Meat’s CEO Ethan Brown, founder and president of United Poultry Concerns, Karen Davis, Animal Place’s Marji Beach, Free From Harm’s Robert Grillo and Chicken Run Rescue’s Mary Britton Clouse. It was a fantastic day with delicious vegan food, great presentations and more.
Presentation Series: Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good & Evil
March 2014 Jeffrey Masson, an author famous for his books about animal emotions, has written a book comparing the behavior of humans, especially violent behavior, to that of other animals. He gave a talk and slide presentation of the facts about animal behavior that he has uncovered. He contends that non-human animals rarely kill members of their own species and usually only kill other species for food. As a result of his concern for animals, he became a vegan several years ago, and is opposed to the idea of “humane meat,” contending that there is no such thing.
Presentation Series: Speciesism: The Movie
February 2014 This film took us on an eye-opening and sometimes humorous quest to determine whether humans and non-human animals should be treated differently. The conversations ranged from those with neighbors of pig farms to passers-by on a city street. Although many of those interviewed felt that humans deserved better treatment than non-humans, no one could quite articulate why. Bruce Friedrich, Paul Shapiro, Gary Francione, and others dispelled the speciesist myths.
January 2014 SCCAA members leaflet regularly at farmers markets and events in Silicon Valley. This is part of our vegan educational outreach. The response from the community is overwhelmingly positive. Most people seem very interested in the information that we are providing, and for many, it is the first time they have been made aware of this issue.
Holiday Vegan Bake Sale
December 2013 ~~SCCAA’s fourth annual vegan bake sale raised over $700, which was shared with Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley http://www.wcsv.org/. Attendance was down a bit from last year, most likely due to the bitter cold. But we had a tower heater, which convinced some passersby to stop & take a look. It’s always amusing when people say that they can’t believe it’s all vegan! We also had some gluten-free items. To top off the festivities, Santa took a break from receiving visitors inside the mall to come outside and pose with us. The bake sale is our biggest fund-raiser, enabling us to present movies and speakers throughout the year, as well as funding our on-going educational outreach. Every fall we start lining up bakers, so keep us in mind if you would like to participate. Many of the recipes are featured here: http://www.activistsforanimals.org/resources/2012-bakesale-cookbook.pdf
Melanie Joy: Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows
November 2013 ~~Melanie Joy,PhD, gave a talk and slide presentation discussing the points from her book. The book explores why we, as a culture, are so willing to eat some animals while we’d never consider eating others. As a social psychologist, she says that we are only able to do that through denial, which allows us to ignore the pain and suffering of so many animals. Her entire presentation can be watched online at http://www.carnism.org/carnism-presentation-video. We then had a delicious meal donated by Veggie Grill.
Hope Bohanec: The Ultimate Betrayal – Is There Happy Meat?
October 2013 ~~Hope Bohanec gave a slide presentation illustrating the points from her book, which discusses the recent shift in raising and labeling animals processed for food and the misinformation surrounding this new method of farming. She discussed the fact that there is no humane way to kill an animal that has been raised for food, and she showed pictures of some gruesome attempts that some farmers have made. This seemed to have quite a surprising effect on some of the audience members, as many were unaware of the issue. Afterwards, we enjoyed a raw dessert bar prepared by Bernadette Astrella and had a drawing for free entrees at Veggie Grill.
Presentation Series: Turlock, the movie
September 2013 ~~This documentary film chronicles the story of 50,000 hens left to starve in Turlock, CA in February 2012, after they were abandoned by their owner. ANIMAL PLACE, http://animalplace.org/, a sanctuary for farmed animals, managed to save several thousand in a quickly assembled rescue operation. The film depicts the amazing delight the hens experienced when their feet touched the dirt outside a building for the first time in their lives. It illustrates the abject cruelty of egg production on factory farms. Afterwards we had a talk by director Keegan Kuhn and a representative from ANIMAL PLACE, who answered questions about the experience.
Ringling Brothers Circus came to town
August 2013 Animal activists come together every summer to
protest Ringling Brothers’ use of wild animals in circuses. SCCAA members joined with others in San Jose, Daly City, Oakland and Stockton to protest the cruel confinement and training methods of animals, particularly elephants and tigers. Humanity Through Education has been organizing these protests for over 20 years and both the type and number of animals used in circuses have gone down. Mark your calendars for August, and join with us in San Jose or elsewhere to educate the public of the truth behind the spectacle.
Presentation Series: “Born to Be Wild”
July 2013 ~~This heartwarming film depicts the lives of orphaned & rescued orangutans and elephants in their native environments. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, it was cheered by the audience. Afterward, we showed “No Fun For Elephants”, narrated by Bob Barker. About the tragic lives of circus elephants, it contrasted sharply with the previous film. To wrap up the event, Pat Cuviello spoke about his efforts for the past 20+ years to document animal abuse within circuses and protest against them.
Presentation Series: “Short on Compassion” Short Film Festival
SCCAA continued its popular presentation series with “Short on Compassion,” a selection of short films about various animal issues. After viewing the films the audience enjoyed a delicious vegan dessert bar.
Green Kids 2013
Our third year tabling for the Green Kids conference was an overwhelming success. Crowds of kids with their parents in tow visited the SCCAA table to learn about the many problems caused by animal agriculture. Kids young and old learned about animals by playing the Fur and Feathers trivia game with us. We all dicovered that a cow doesn’t have an upper set of teeth and that a cat can run 30 miles an hour. Everyone knew the correct answer to this true/false question: “We should never leave a dog or a cat in a locked car.” (True, of course!) The lunches served at the event all had a note inside saying that “”Your lunch is 100% vegan because animal agriculture contributes to water pollution, global warming, deforestation, oceanic acidification & environmental degradation.” The notes also displayed the SCCAA logo and website. Once again, Green Kids was a great event for us to talk with all ages of very savvy kids.
Presentation Series: “Peaceable Kingdom” Film
More than 60 people came to SCCAA’s presentation of the award-winning documentary film “Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home” at the BlueLight Cinema in Cupertino. The audience members were deeply touched by the film’s portrayal of several life-long farmers who realized that they could no longer in good conscience rasie animals for food. In the discussion after the movie, one person told us: “Seeing this movie only strengthened my belief that I’ll be a vegan all of my life.” Another person said, “This film was very powerful. The personal stories really bring home the fact that we are related to all animals, as extended family, just as we are to all human beings.”
Meatout 2013 at San Jose State
Meatout 2013 was a huge success! We returned to San Jose State University where the students are always positive and open-minded. We gave away 320 Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders in about an hour. After the food was gone, we stayed to hand out some more leaflets.
The response from the students was enthusiastic: “These are awesome!” “Where can I buy them?” We’ve come to realize how important it is to give away a product that not only tastes great but is also readily available at local grocery stores. It was great to be able to tell the students they can find their new favorite vegan product at Safeway two blocks from campus. One student said, “I wish we had these in the cafeteria; I would definitely order this!”
Presentation Series: Katie Cantrell
SCCAA hosted a talk by Katie Cantrell of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition, titled “Cross-Pollinating Justice: Factory Farming in the Global Food System.” Katie gave the audience an overview of all the issues associated with factory farming – animal suffering, enviromental impact, social justice, and more. A recording of the talk is available here. Many people in the audience were surprised to hear the extent of the problems caused by factory farming. One person said, “Thank you so much for helping to enlighten me! I want to know more and stay in touch.” Another person commented that “This was an excellent presentation. I enjoyed the information on how it crosses so many layers: animal cruelty, environmental issues, public health, and worker abuse.”
Presentation Series: “Vegucated” with Brian Flegel
Omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans attended SCCAA’s recent screening of the award-winning documentary Vegucated, which follows the story of three meat-loving New Yorkers who agree to try a vegan diet for six weeks. The movie presents the many reasons to choose a vegan diet, from animal suffering to human health to environmental impacts.
Brian Flegel, who is one of the three people featured in the movie, spoke after the screening. He reported that he is now 100 percent vegan. Once his eyes had been opened about the issues with consuming animal products, he found it hard to go back to his old diet: “You can’t forget truth.”
One person asked Brian for advice about how to be a vegan when you’re out in public. Brian replied that even little things can make a difference–if you authentically enjoy your vegan restaurant meal, your friends will notice without you saying a word. He encouraged everyone to do what they can to reduce their consumption of animal products, even if they aren’t able to go vegan right away. Brian summarized: “It’s all about minimizing your impact–it’s a process, not perfection.”
Presentation Series: Paul Shapiro of HSUS “Forging Progress for Farm Animals”
On January 27, 2013, SCCAA hosted a talk by Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). An enthusiastic audience listened as Paul described how farmed animal issues are becoming more mainstream, with Oprah, the Dalai Lama, and Pope Benedict all speaking up for farmed animals. Paul emphasized the importance of working to help farmed animals, since so many of them suffer and die unnecessarily–over 10 billion land animals in the U.S. every year. This far exceeds the combined numbers of animals in shelters, experimental labs, circuses, rodeos, and fur farms. Paul showed some statistics on meat consumption in the U.S. From WWII to 2007, meat consumption increased steadily, but since 2007 it has decreased by more than 12 percent. He also discussed how, since 2002, no fewer than nine states have passed bans on abusive farming practices. Paul emphasized the value of progress over purity. Campaigns like Meatless Mondays allow everyone to participate in reducing the suffering of animals, even people who are not yet ready to commit to a vegan diet. The percentage of vegetarians in the U.S. has been holding steady, but the number of so-called flexitarians (people who choose vegetarian for more than half of their meals) is on the rise. Paul summarized with the message that “We are winning. We are making progress in changing the course of history.”
Holiday Vegan Bake Sale
SCCAA’s third annual holiday vegan bake sale was a success, raising $1080 for SCCAA’s educational outreach, as well as for two other local non-profits, the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center in Morgan Hill and Peninsula Catworks in Palo Alto. Twenty-three bakers produced this year’s vegan goodies, including red velvet cupcakes, Mexican wedding cookies, butterfinger cupcakes, cookie bouquets, snickerdoodles, and many more delicious donuts, cakes, cookies, and pies.
Hungry holiday shoppers enjoyed picking out treats to take home, and more than a few items were consumed on the spot. Each customer also received a Compassionate Choices leaflet explaining how animals suffer to produce the milk, butter, cream, and eggs used in non-vegan baked goods. Kids had fun at the gingerbread animal decorating station where they could customize their own cookies. All recipes from the bake sale are available in the 2012 Holiday Vegan Bake Sale cookbook. The cookbook also explains how to veganize your own favorite cookie and cake recipes by replacing the animal ingredients with plant-based equivalents. Additional vegan recipes (from the 2011 bake sale) are available here.
Fur Free Friday
Fur Free Friday is a nationwide event held the day after Thanksgiving to educate people about the cruel treatment of animals killed for their fur. SCCAA organized this year’s events at Santana Row in San Jose and at Neiman Marcus in the Stanford Shopping Center. SCCAA members went into stores at Santana Row to identify the stores that are still selling fur. Neiman Marcus continues to sell fur at all their stores nationwide.
Twenty-seven people showed up to hold signs or hand out leaflets. Reactions from passersby ranged from “You rock!” and “Bless you for doing this.” to “Now I can finally afford fur and you’re telling me not to buy it?” People were shocked to hear that fur-trimmed items from overseas that are labeled as faux fur are often real fur. Manufacturers have realized that many Americans do not want to buy real fur, so they simply mislabel their products. SCCAA members distributed leaflets to shoppers that explained about the mislabeling of fur and the cruel conditions that animals raised for their fur must endure.
Presentation Series: Erik Marcus “The End of Factory Farming: A Perspective for Activists”
On October 20, 2012, the SCCAA Presentation Series continued with a talk by Erik Marcus, the author of “Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, and Money” and other books on vegetarianism and animal agribusiness. Erik discussed his own journey as an animal activist and offered ideas on how to best use social media to reach friends and acquaintances at various levels of awareness about animal issues. Erik recommended that Facebook users limit their posts about the suffering of animals to not more than 10 percent of their total Facebook posts. Erik explained that your Facebook friends are more likely to hear the message if they see you as a well-rounded person with similar interests to theirs, not a one-track fanatic trying to force unwanted advice on them. The evening concluded with a vegan dessert bar, courtesy of the volunteer baking efforts of several SCCAA members.
Presentation Series: Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary
The latest offering in SCCAA’s Presentation Series was a talk by Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, the largest farmed animal rescue and protection organization in the U.S. Gene is the author of the book “Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food.”
Gene inspired the audience with his theories and hopes for the animal protection movement. One woman who was leaving the event venue right before Gene’s talk was so intrigued that she decided to stay for the entire presentation.
Presentation Series: How I Became An Elephant
August 13, 2012
As a part of our on-going presentation series, SCCAA coordinated the South Bay Area premiere of the documentary film How I Became An Elephant. The film details a young girl’s journey from the United States to Thailand, where she connects with Lek, “The Elephant Lady,” in order to learn about the plight of the endangered Asian elephant at the hands of an exploitative entertainment industry.
The donation-based event was held at BlueLight Cinemas in Cupertino and drew a crowd of 65 attendees. The night began with a slideshow presentation by Synthian Sharp, the co-director of the film. After the screening, How I Became An Elephant’s star, Juliette West, gave a short speech of her own. These presentations were followed by a discussion led by local activist Pat Cuviello, who artfully tied the mistreatment of the elephants in Thailand to those who are suffering in the United States at the hands of the Ringling Bros. Circus. We ended the night with a prize drawing for three elephant photographs generously donated by photographer Elia Locardi. One attendee approached us afterwards to thank us for putting on the event. She then asked if she could share the event handouts on her blog, commenting that the mistreatment of elephants is an important issue that needs to be widely addressed.
Green Kids Conference
June 10, 2012
Our second year tabling at the Green Kids Conference was a hit! About 200 kids and their parents attended the conference at Microsoft’s Mountain View campus. Visitors to SCCAA’s table played the Fur & Feathers educational game from Animal Matters. The game asks the kids questions like, “How long does a cow live?” and “How many sounds can a cat make?” Some surprising answers left the kids thinking about where their food comes from. SCCAA handed out food samples, coloring books, and Beanie Babies in return for the right answers. Many kids and their parents were unaware of the connection between animal agriculture and the major environmental issues that are stressing our natural resources today. SCCAA volunteers distributed literature for parents to take home so that the whole family can learn more about how their food choices affect our communities’ health and the planet. The Green Kids conference is organized by a 12-year-old boy, Pavan Raj Gowda, who is a passionate advocate for the environment. SCCAA is looking forward to being a part of this free event again next year.
Cupertino Earth Day Festival
April 21, 2012
On April 21, SCCAA participated in Cupertino Earth Day for the second time. The focus this year was to promote awareness of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act which would end the use of chimpanzees and other great apes in invasive research in the U.S. We asked attendees to write to Senator Barbara Boxer to request her support on this bill. We also handed out brochures to inform the public of other ways they can help to end animal suffering and abuse while having a positive environmental impact.
The majority of SCCAA booth visitors were supportive and immediately wanted to sign postcards in support of the great ape protection bill. Many were surprised to learn that Senator Boxer was on the fence with her support for the bill. A few people were not aware that chimpanzees are used for research in the U.S. One woman exclaimed, “They do that? In this country?” Several visitors told us they would read up on the bill later and then write to Senator Boxer. Earth Day attendees filled out a total of 88 postcards and wrote four letters in support of great ape protections. An additional 34 people took blank postcards to fill out and mail later. One SCCAA volunteer visited the other booths at the Earth Day event and got many event volunteers to fill out postcards. Cupertino Earth Day proved to be a successful event for raising awareness and support for great apes.
Meatout 2012 at San Jose State
April 4, 2012
Eight SCCAA volunteers converged at San Jose State University on April 4 for Meatout 2012. Meatout is an annual event in which activists encourage the public to cut back on the meat in their diets or even give up meat altogether. Meatout often involves giving out free vegan food, and that’s what we did—we cooked and gave away 200 vegan veggie burgers at a barbeque pit on campus. We also gave out 500 samples of Primal Strips vegan jerky. Along with the food, we handed out more than 400 Vegan Outreach pamphlets and many other compassion-oriented flyers.
The mouth-watering aroma of cooking veggie burgers drew crowds of students to the SCCAA event. Up to 20 students waited in line to try the veggie burgers. While they waited, they perused our vegan literature and chatted with each other and us about vegan and vegetarian diets, nutrition, animal farming, and reducing the suffering of animals.
The festive picnic atmosphere helped students feel comfortable exploring new food choices. Many students commented that they enjoyed their delicious plant-based burgers and were considering cutting back on the amount of meat they eat.
Presentation Series: Be Pet Prepared
March 7, 2012
SCCAA kicked off its 2012 Presentation Series with “Be Pet Prepared,” a talk on how to be ready to help your companion animals in a disaster. The presenter was Lisa Towell, a local disaster responder for animals. Attendees received checklists to help them stock their companion animal emergency kits. They also saw demonstrations of animal handling techniques useful for disaster situations. For more information on preparing for disasters if you have companion animals, visit the Humane Society Silicon Valley website. Stay tuned for additional presentations later in 2012. SCCAA is planning movie screenings and guest speakers on a variety of animal-related topics.
Pay Per View at Local Colleges
The pay-per-view program is an extremely effective form of outreach in which people get paid $1 to watch a 4-minute video on factory farming. After watching the video, we answer the viewers’ questions and encourage them to reduce their consumption of animal products or, better yet, start on a path toward a vegan diet.
SCCAA members have been volunteering at locations throughout the bay area including San Jose State University, UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley and several community colleges. At every event, the students have been extremely receptive to the message and most have pledged to boycott the cruelty they’ve seen. It’s hard to imagine a form of outreach more effective than pay-per-view. Please contact us if you would like to participate in future events. For more information on pay-per-view, please visit FARM’s website.
Holiday Vegan Bake Sale
December 17, 2011
SCCAA’s holiday vegan bake sale was a huge success, raising over $1000 for SCCAA and the Food Empowerment Project. Children had fun decorating their own cookies at the gingerbread animal decoration station, and visitors young and old enjoyed the many tasty treats prepared by our fabulous baking volunteers. All the recipes used in the bake sale are available for free in this cookbook. Bake sale customers couldn’t wait to recreate these delicious vegan treats at home.
Fur Free Friday
SCCAA continued its annual tradition of organizing Fur Free Friday events at San Jose’s Santana Row and at the Stanford Shopping Center. Fur Free Friday is a worldwide event that takes place on the day after Thanksgiving, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. It’s a great opportunity to educate people about the cruelty inherent in producing clothing and accessories from animal fur. SCCAA volunteers gave away more than 1500 leaflets explaining the how animals suffer and die for fashion. Over two dozen volunteers protested at Santana Row and about a dozen people came to Neiman Marcus at Stanford. Holiday shoppers were horrifed to learn about the abusive practices of the fur industry. One woman told us, “I had no idea that Neiman Marcus sold fur!” She then went into the store to ask the manager to stop selling products containing fur. Another shopper said, “I can’t believe that animals are actually skinned alive!” One young girl carefully read our signs and then asked her mother, “Do we have any fur at home?” It was great to see how she transformed her concern for the plight of the animals into immediate action.
Leafleting at Foothill College
November 2, 2011
SCCAA members recently leafleted students at Foothill College, giving out over 1600 leaflets in just three hours. The leaflets explained the connection between dietary choices and the cruelty of factory farming. The students were friendly, and we saw many of them start to read their leaflets immediately. Several students asked for information on how to find plant-based foods. One man said, “Wait, does this mean you are opposed to me eating chicken? That’s not going to work!” A SCCAA member asked him how he felt about cruelty to animals. He replied, “Oh, I definitely don’t support that!” After a short discussion, he agreed that he was supporting cruelty with his dining choices, and he said he would think about cutting back on his consumption of meat. Several people thanked us for coming to Foothill to help animals and answer questions. One woman, a vegetarian, commented, “It’s amazing that so many people don’t know about the issues with factory farms.” She took a leaflet to pass on to a friend. Kudos to Lori for organizing this successful event.
Successful Pay Per View at San Jose State
August 29, 2011
SCCAA members recently helped host a Pay Per View event at San Jose State University. Students were offered one dollar in exchange for viewing a four-minute video about animals on factory farms. In just four hours, 259 students watched the video, and 195 of them pledged to go veg for at least one day per week. SCCAA members were on hand to answer questions after students finished watching the video. This Pay Per View event was sponsored by FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement). The video was a condensed version of the Mercy for Animals film “Farm to Fridge,” which shows undercover footage of the cruel conditions on factory farms.
Outreach for Elephants
August 17, 2011
In August 2011, SCCAA members joined other local activists in protesting Ringling Brothers Circus’s abusive treatment of the elephants and other animals in their care. The protest, organized by Humanity Through Education, helped to educate people about the cruel methods used to force wild animals to perform unnatural tricks. Circuses confine animals like elephants and tigers in chains or cages for most of their lives. A former Ringling elephant handler revealed that baby elephants are forcibly separated from their mothers and tied with ropes until they stop fighting to escape. Many circus-goers was horrified to learn about the suffering of the elephants. After reading the signs and leaflets, one woman said, “I had no idea. I’ll never go to the circus again.” One girl, after looking at our signs, asked, “Do they really hurt the elephants?” After we explained about the sharp bullhooks used by the handlers, she assured us that she would look for an animal-free circus next year. (Cirque du Soleil and Circus Vargas are two well-known circuses with no animal acts.) This video includes interviews with some of the circus protestors.
Green Kids Conference
June 18, 2011
SCCAA and the Food Empowerment Project (FEP) recently exhibited at the first annual Green Kids Conference in Mountain View. Organized by an eleven-year-old boy, the conference is dedicated to raising environmental awareness among children. SCCAA members were excited to talk with kids about the environmental impacts of raising animals for food. At the SCCAA/FEP table, kids and their parents learned about the environmental benefits of a vegan diet. They discovered that many of their favorite celebrities support vegan and vegetarian diets, and they found useful information about tasty vegan foods and local vegan restaurants.
Kids received buttons, stickers, Vegetarian Starter Kits, and “Another Inconvenient Truth,” which explains how the livestock industry is a major contributor to some of our most serious environmental problems, such as climate change, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.
Our “Guess the Vegetable” game was a big hit. Kids tried to correctly identify various fruits and vegetables, and their parents were surprised when the kids struggled to name foods that they eat every week. One boy pointed to the potato and identified it as a tomato. After playing the game, both kids and their parents were inspired to find out more about their food and where it comes from.
Vegan Bake Sale
April 30, 2011
On a sunny April Saturday in Willow Glen, SCCAA held a vegan bake sale to benefit theFood Empowerment Project and 13th St. Cat Rescue. Eager customers kept us busy for hours handing out delicious cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and doughnuts. By the afternoon’s end, we had raised $1000 for the two nonprofits! Several people said, “It all looks so good that I don’t know which ones to get!” and then solved the problem by taking home a bagful of assorted goodies. One man thanked us for putting on the sale and said that he had gone vegan two months before: “I decided that if I didn’t want to kill an animal to eat it, then I shouldn’t pay others to kill an animal for me.” Eggs and butter are common ingredients in baked goods, but the chickens and cows who produce them are some of the most cruelly treated of all farmed animals. The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale is an ongoing project to promote delicious, cruelty-free food while raising money for a cause. SCCAA’s first vegan bake sale was a great success, and we’re already planning the next one.
Speaking Up for Elephants
SCCAA members leafleted at screenings of the movie “Water for Elephants” in Campbell to educate moviegoers about the abuses suffered by elephants used in entertainment. The movie features a live elephant who is part of a circus. The SCCAA team handed out leaflets explaining how elephants suffer when they are forced to perform in circuses and films. One high school student took a leaflet and then came back and asked for more so that she could distribute them to her class.
Go Veg for Earth Day
April 9, 2011
SCCAA participated in the Cupertino Earth Day event to spread the word about the environmental impact of meat consumption. SCCAA members passed out “Another Inconvenient Truth” leaflets which explain that meat production is a leading cause of global warming. Animal farming accounts for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, which is one-third more than the total contribution of all cars, trucks, ships, and planes combined. People were surprised to learn that one of the easiest things they can do to reduce their carbon footprint is to cut back on the amount of meat they eat.
Meatout at San Jose State
March 17, 2011
Meatout was a huge success again this year as SCCAA volunteers gave away over 200 veggie burgers and 1,000 pieces of literature to the enthusiastic students of San Jose State. As always, the response from the students was extremely positive. Many were trying a veggie burger for the first time, while others quickly exclaimed, “I love these things!” Most importantly, we were able to get vital information into the hands of well over 1,000 students. No doubt, many of these students will never look at their food the same way again.
Fur Free Friday
November 26, 2010
Fur Free Friday is a nationwide event held the day after Thanksgiving to educate people about the cruel treatment of animals killed for their fur. On November 26, SCCAA members held their second annual Fur Free Friday protest at Santana Row. SCCAA provided signs, leaflets, and buttons to 28 protesters, who handed out more than 1500 leaflets and 50 buttons to the lunchtime shopping crowds. Many people spoke out in support of the protest, and others told us, “I would never buy anything with fur!” Several protesters leafleted outside Burberry’s, a chain store that continues to sell fur. President Obama recently signed the Truth in Fur Labeling Act into law. This law requires that all products containing any fur be labeled with the species of animal and country of origin. This closes a loophole in the previous law where small amounts of fur were not required to be labeled. This change will allow consumers to more easily choose cruelty-free faux over real fur.
Veggie Barbecue at San Jose State
November 16, 2010
A barbecue in mid-November? Absolutely! The weather couldn’t have been nicer as SCCAA teamed up with the San Jose State University Environmental Club to give away 150 veggie burgers and 300 “Why Vegan?” pamphlets. Some students at the barbecue were trying a veggie burger for the first time. Other students were reminded of just how tasty a meat-free burger can be. Everywhere we looked, students were reading their “Why Vegan?” pamphlets and talking about the issues. Some students also expressed interest in the nutritional information and were pleased at what they saw. Perhaps most importantly, they liked the taste! Overall, the event was very successful in introducing students to the plight of farm animals and the health advantages of a vegan diet. Thanks again to VegFund for their generous sponsorship.
Foie Gras Outreach
From April through October 2010, SCCAA members did weekly outreach at Le Papillon in San Jose to oppose the restaurant’s sale of foie gras. SCCAA is pleased to announce that Le Papillon has decided to stop serving foie gras and has removed it from their menu. Foie gras (French for “fatty liver”) is produced by force-feeding ducks until their livers become diseased and enlarged. The metal pipes shoved down the ducks’ throats cause bruises and lacerations. The ducks’ livers may grow to ten times their normal size, causing them tremendous suffering. The ducks are also deprived of access to swimming water, which they need to stay clean and healthy. Le Papillon obtained its foie gras from Sonoma Foie Gras, where some of the birds are so debilitated from the painful force–feeding process that they struggle to walk and breathe normally. California law bans foie gras statewide beginning in 2012.
Vegan Ice Cream Giveaway at San Jose State
September 22, 2010
College students are back on campus for fall semester at San Jose State University, and eight SCCAA members were there to hand them free vegan ice cream sandwiches. Students grabbed 230 “So Delicious” Minis in under an hour, along with “Why Vegan?” leaflets and a list of local vegan restaurants.
Students asked where they could buy these tasty snacks, and were happy to learn that they’re widely available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and other local markets. Many students were surprised that dairy-free ice cream can taste so good. Most dairy cows live in filthy pens, and many suffer constantly from painful udder inflammations. The cows are kept constantly pregnant to maximize milk production, and their male babies are taken from them within a day of their birth to be chained in tiny veal crates. Thank you to the SJSU Environmental Club for their support, and thanks again to VegFund for their sponsorship of this event.
San Jose Gay Pride “Why Vegan?” Leafleting
Several SCCAA members gathered to pass out “Why Vegan?” leaflets to Pride attendees on Saturday, August 21st at Discovery Meadow Park. It was a beautiful day filled with music, vendors, and a fun, friendly crowd. In just two hours, 350 leaflets were handed to Pride enthusiasts, with the message of promoting compassion for all—humans and animals. A young woman replied, “Oh wow, that’s a great message. Thanks for being out here!” Later, a security guard who had received a “Why Vegan?” several minutes earlier approached a SCCAA member expressing shock at the de-beaking and tail-docking practices routinely carried out in the meat industry. All in all, a successful outreach event, and SCCAA looks forward to San Jose Gay Pride 2011!
Vegan Ice Cream Giveaway at De Anza College
June 8, 2010
On a sunny Tuesday in June, several SCCAA members visited the De Anza College campus to give away 200 “So Delicious” vegan ice cream sandwiches. Students recieved a “Why Vegan?” leaflet along with their ice cream. So many students passed the SCCAA event in the center of campus that the coolers were empty in just 55 minutes. Several people said that they were glad to see SCCAA on campus speaking up for animals. Many students wanted to know why dairy products are so cruel. They were surprised to learn that most dairy cows live in filthy pens, often suffering from painful udder inflammations. Male calves of dairy cows are sold to veal farms to be chained in tiny crates. One man, after asking about the issues with dairy, commented: “This ice cream tastes just like dairy ice cream, but without the cruelty!” Thanks again to VegFund for their generous sponsorship.
Meatout 2010 at San Jose State
March 17, 2010
SCCAA members celebrated Meatout 2010 by serving 200 vegan burgers and riblets to students at San Jose State University. Having the event on St. Patrick’s Day gave us the perfect opportunity to talk how going vegan is a great way to “go green.”
Each student received a burger or a riblet sandwich and literature explaining the benefits of a vegan diet for animals, people, and the environment. The students enjoyed the delicious food. They had lots of praise for the riblets, since many of them had never tried this tasty vegan treat before. Several students told us that they had been wanting to try vegan foods and were wondering where they could buy more of the products we served. We explained that veggie burgers and riblets are widely available in local stores. Special thanks to VegFund for sponsoring this successful event.
“Have a Heart” for Valentine’s Day
February 13, 2010
On a sunny Valentine’s Day weekend, SCCAA members gathered in downtown Palo Alto to treat passers-by to free vegan cookies. A “Have a Heart” sign helped people make the connection between being kind to animals and choosing vegan foods. Adults and children alike stopped to pick up the tasty Newman-O’s cookies. The SCCAA group handed out over 500 cookies and over 300 “Why Vegan?” leaflets. Several people stopped to ask questions about vegan diets. SCCAA members explained that dairy and eggs, found in many cookie recipes, are responsible for extreme suffering of cows and chickens on factory farms.
Leafleting at Michael Pollan Event
Over 1600 people turned out for a talk by the author Michael Pollan (“The Omnivore’s Dilemma”) in Campbell in January, 2010. Nine SCCAA members stood outside the auditorium to distribute vegan literature to the waiting crowds. Pollan is a well-known writer on the issues associated with U.S. agribusiness, and recommends that people eat a mostly plant-based diet. Pollan’s fans were very receptive to the vegan literature. The SCCAA group quickly ran out of leaflets, and had to send one member for additional supplies. Hundreds of people were turned away for lack of space, and this gave the SCCAA group an additional chance to had out the pro-animal leaflets and talk to people about the benefits of a vegan diet.
November 27 and December 19, 2009
On two busy holiday shopping days, SCCAA members led protests at Santana Row and the Stanford Shopping Center to inform shoppers about the inherent cruelty of the fur industry. We asked people not to buy fur and to tell Burberry’s and Neiman-Marcus to stop selling fur products.
We gave away hundreds of leaflets and answered questions about why fur and fur trim are so inhumane. One person who took a leaflet came back to tell us: “I wasn’t convinced that there was any problem with fur, but I read your pamphlet and now I agree with you!” Another woman, after reading her leaflet, was so horrified that she gave the leaflet to a Neiman-Marcus store manager. Many passers-by were glad to see us and told us that they would never buy or wear fur. One woman commented: “I can’t believe that people in this day and age still buy anything made of fur!” Animals confined in factory fur farms live out their short lives in tiny cages. Many react to the stress and boredom with frantic pacing and circling and even self-mutilation. They are killed by methods such as anal electrocution, neck breaking, and poisoning, and some are even skinned alive. Other fur-bearing animals are trapped in steel-jaw leghold traps, which have been declared inhumane by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Pets and endangered wildlife are often trapped by accident. Fur labeling laws have loopholes that allow manufacturers to omit mentioning fur trim on clothing labels, so customers may not even be aware they are buying real fur.
Vegan Outreach at Humane Planet Expo
October 4, 2009
On October 4, World Animal Day, SCCAA hosted a booth at the Humane Planet Expo in Palo Alto. We offered free soy jerky, stickers, and literature to Expo attendees, and talked to people about the suffering of animals raised for food. The free soy jerky was gone in less than two hours. One visitor commented, “This looks really good! Can I take some for my family to try also?” Many Expo visitors were already active supporters of humane organizations for cats and dogs, but were surprised to learn about inhumane treatment experienced by cows, chickens, and pigs on factory farms. After looking at some literature, one woman told a SCCAA volunteer, “I’m going to try to go vegan today!” SCCAA members emphasized how important our diet choices are in preventing cruelty to animals. Giving up meat, even if it’s just one day a week, helps reduce the number of animals who suffer and die in factory farms and slaughterhouses. We also talked about how factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to environmental issues like climate change, habitat loss, and water pollution.
Vegan Ice Cream Giveaway: a Success
August 11, 2009
Ice cream that’s cruelty-free and cost-free. Does life get any better than this? On an August afternoon, SCCAA volunteers stood on a moderately trafficked sidewalk in front of San Jose City Hall to hand out vegan ice cream sandwiches. Surpassing our own expectations, we gave out 150 in just 45 minutes! Passers-by eagerly snapped up the free goodies. One man was skeptical. “What’s the catch?” he asked. “The only catch is, we want you to think about going vegan or at least eating less animal products,” said a SCCAA volunteer. The man decided that was a fair bargain and took some vegan literature with his sandwich. Recipients enjoyed these chocolate treats and many expressed interest in buying more in the future, delighted to find they could get the enjoyment of ice cream without supporting dairy industry abuses. Like humans, cows produce milk after giving birth. Factory farms pull baby calves away from their mothers only hours after birth, despite clear evidence of emotional distress. Male babies are quickly shipped off to become veal or beef. Females endure the same life as their mothers: kept in tight confinement, used for milk supply, and then slaughtered by the age of six. (A cow’s natural life span would exceed 20 years.) Last November, California voters overwhelmingly passed Prop. 2, which guarantees more humane treatment for chickens, pigs, and veal calves. Prop. 2’s protections, unfortunately, do not apply to dairy cows, but consumers can vote on this issue every time they buy groceries.