This June 5-7 is the first-ever, first of its kind, Farmed Animal Conference for activists interested in farmed animal rescue, care, and advocacy. The event is organized by Northern California sanctuary Animal Place and takes place at their 600-acre Grass Valley location, “where the sanctuary is your classroom…and the animals your teachers.”
On the agenda are interactive workshops with the animals, educational presentations from caregivers, animal control officers, and dozens of other interesting human animals from organizations representing a wide swath of advocacy and tactics, such as FARM, DxE, Humane League, and United Poultry Concerns.
Registration is a mere $100, which includes continental breakfast Saturday and Sunday, and unlimited nuzzling of cows, pigs, goats, sheep, turkeys, chickens, and rabbits.
We’ve scoured the agenda and determined the five most compelling reasons to attend this conference.
5. Compassion fatigue expert Patricia Smith
The enormity of the exploitation of animals can drive any activist to despair. In the talk “Self-Care and Compassion Fatigue,” Patricia Smith, a certified compassion fatigue specialist and founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project, will teach you techniques for managing despair, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress syndrome so you can be a more effective activist and have less buzzkill in your life.
4. Do try this at home
Two stellar organizations, one with 30-plus years of grassroots experience, and one that is shaking up the movement, are co-presenting “Campaigning for Farmed Animals,” on achieving maximum impact through grassroots activism. Angie Fitzgerald with FARM’s Compassionate Activist Network (CAN) will cover outreach tactics like organizing film screenings, pay-per-view events, and handing out vegan food samples. Priya Sawhney, DxE’s lead international organizer, will cover direct action including open rescues and creative nonviolent protests.
3. Hello nature, nice to finally meet you
While Animal Place has hosted many events at the sanctuary, this is the first time they are offering campsites to attendees who want to sleep under the stars. If one likes sleeping outside intentionally, as opposed to out of necessity, it doesn’t get much better than the beautiful Sierra Mountain foothills. Campers can partake in a “moon hike,” and early risers can go on a sanctuary stroll to see the botanical sights. (Those who prefer to sleep indoors, and luxuries like running water, will find a list of vegan-friendly accommodations on the conference website.)
2. Officer, that’s not a goat in my back seat, it’s a very ugly dog
Quick: what would you do if you found a calf or chicken on the side of the road? What would you do if you were driving behind a transport truck and suddenly a lamb or a piglet bounced out? In “You Just Rescued a Farmed Animal: Now What?” one of Animal Place’s own expert caregivers, Michelle Miller, will teach you what you need to know to keep a farmed animal safe and healthy. (You’d be surprised how often farmed animals fall off those trucks in front of activists. You should probably be prepared.)
1. All the vegan cheese
Learn how to make artisanal vegan cheese from the undisputed champion cheesemonger herself, Miyoko Schinner, who will teach a class on “Vegan Cheese-Making.” The author of Artisan Vegan Cheese and founder of Miyoko’s Kitchen will personally teach you – yes, you – how to culture and create cheese for the mouth part of your face. If you haven’t tried her cheeses yet, I can’t overstate how delicious and satisfying they are. If you have tried them, then you are painfully aware how easy it is to scarf down $50 worth of aged nuts and herbs, and you should probably take this class so you can save a few bucks by making your own.
For the details, and about 20 more reasons to attend, see http://www.farmedanimalconference.org.