October 2, 2007

Wherein I Talk About the Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:21 pm by nevavegan

What a weekend I had. We spent the last month anxiously looking forward to hearing James LaVeck speak at the Poplar Spring open house, only to have a vet emergency Sunday morning. We got there just as he was wrapping up.

But first things first.

A few days ago, our youngest cat Liam bit his older “brother” Obi, leaving a nasty bloody spot on his back. Obi and Liam love each other, but sometimes they play way too rough. As an apology Liam decided to help Obi groom his wounded back, and between the two of them they completely licked the whole area raw and wouldn’t let it heal. Our solution was to cut the sleeve off an old shirt of Sean’s, cut leg holes in it and have Obi wear it as a shirt. It has been working—his back is healing now. It’s so adorable though, I’m going to have to post a picture of Obi in his little shirt.

Saturday we tried to take Buddy, the foster cat to a new home, but it didn’t work out and so he came back home with us.

Then Melissa, the foster kitten, pulled from the feral colony in our neighborhood pulled out the stitches from her spay. She went to the ER vet and got fitted with an e-collar. She kept getting out of her e-collar and picking at the area more until it looked really scary. After spending all morning (and some of the afternoon) at the vet on Sunday, she got to come home. However it took a friend telling me to tie on the e-collar “harness style” to solve our wily kitty problems. She now cannot get the collar off. Why didn’t the vet help us with that part too? Sean thinks I should call them because maybe it just didn’t occur to them.

By the way, Melissa is still looking for a good home, and she’s just a kitten still. Kittens tend to integrate well into homes with other cats. She’s very friendly and very loving. Just sticking that plug in for her!

Then we went to Poplar Spring, loaded down with apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots for the pigs, and cut up strawberries for the chickens. When I was feeding the strawberries to the birds, the turkeys wanted some too of course, and it was so sad because one of the turkeys had been de-beaked, and she wanted strawberries, but she couldn’t seem to pick them up or hold onto them. I had to more or less mush up the strawberries and slip them into her mouth for her. I wonder how anyone can see stuff like this and still eat animals.

The pigs were so sweet and loved getting their treats. Despite being huge, most took the food very gently from my hands. Other pigs were shy and kept their distance, so I had to throw handfuls of food out into the field for them, where they happily gobbled it up.

Although we sadly missed James LaVeck’s talk, we did get to meet him and Jenny Stein and they gave us a copy of The Witness. I used to live in NYC, so I knew Eddie Lama and even went out to do Fauna Vision with him once, yet I’d never seen the movie. We watched it Sunday night. It both inspired and depressed us. I think one sad aspect of it was thinking how much the movement has changed in the last decade or so. It used to seem like we all had very common goals and the outreach we did was on target and hard hitting. Now I just don’t know.

It’s all given me tons of food for thought. The conversation with James LaVeck and Jenny Stein left me wondering again about my role in this effort: What do I have to contribute and how can I best fulfill that obligation?

Then I got the Taste Better Newsletter in my inbox, where Jason Doucette talked about reading The Earth Is Flat, and how he thinks it’s helpful for both veganism and activism. I want to read the book so I’ll add it to the wish list. One important point he brought up was finding outside help when we need it for our activism. I think in the AR movement in the US there’s a strong (and mostly positive) strain of “I’ll do it myself.” But of course there are times when we all need a helping hand.

For me this was a particularly powerful point because my time is limited, so I want to help, but I want to help in ways that are effective, utilize my particular skills, and fill in areas that others might not cover. That sounds like I’m being difficult and picky, but I reached that conclusion after some considerable floundering.

The wrap up to my weekend was a phone call from my Dad who remarked on our efforts to rescue and help animals “You guys never seem to get anywhere, it’s money and effort, but it doesn’t make much difference.” But when I went home and saw all the faces for whom it made all the difference in the world, Sean reminded me that sometimes it is about the individual. Yes, there are still so many cats out there that need help, but we saved these ones. Is this typical of our culture that people somehow just can’t see animals as individuals? Is that one of the primary things we need to fight?

Anyway, I want to talk about The Witness more in depth, but that will be an entry all by itself.



  1. Gary said,

    Sorry I missed you at the Poplar Spring benefit – I was helping at the chicken / turkey / rabbit barn. It was a great opportunity to educate and advcocate – the animals seem to evoke a wonder and reflection in many people. Including me.

    I think vegan advocates are more united than we think, especially in terms of major goals, and I think sometimes people overplay differences out of frustration or defiance or other psychological reasons. I often most strongly notice our commonalities when I am in a mixed group consisting mostly of non-vegans. The ethical vegans in the group pretty much all want a vegan world as much as possible even though we may each have our ideas about how best to get there; we all have to put up with the same rude remarks, marginalization, lame excuses, entrenched societal ignorance, culture of selfishness, and so forth. We all cry inside and feel despair when confronted with the violence of animal agriculture. We all sense – as James LaVeck put it – the sacredness of places like Poplar Spring, where no animal has to face, or need fear human violence.

  2. Neva Vegan said,

    I did go to the chicken/turkey/rabbit area. Maybe we crossed paths without knowing it.

    You are right that as ethical vegans we have more in common than not.

    However, as I voiced previously, the way that the those in the movement who have money and power on their side, and who promote welfare, actively try to marginalize and isolate anyone who disagrees with them.

  3. jen said,

    that reminds me of that starfish story, you know the one? an old man walks along a beach covered with beached and dying starfish and a boy is throwing the starfish back into the water. “why are you doing that,” the man asks, “it makes no difference what you do, you’ll never be able to save them all.” the little boy holds up one starfish before he throws it in the water and replies, “it matters to this one.”

  4. beforewisdom said,

    I thought LaVeck gave a good speech, but I was annoyed that only a few people were sitting in the chairs set up for it. The majority of the people were behind the podium waiting on line for snacks while he was talking.

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