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Episode 187: “Being vegan is a principled refusal to add to the violence of the world, and an intention to be a witness for something better.”

By Jasmin and Mariann — August 10, 2013
Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals. (Jasmin Singer, left, and Mariann Sullivan, right)

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur of We Animals. (Jasmin Singer, left, and Mariann Sullivan, right)

Welcome to the 187th episode of Our Hen House, featuring Gene Baur, Suzanne Pender, Cody Carlson, Kim Heyrman, Susie Coston, Erica Meier, Liz Marshall, Jo-Anne McArthur, Meara, Jay, Tammy Borchert, and Maya Gottfried [transcript of all interviews].

On today’s episode, we come to you from the Farm Sanctuary Country Hoe Down in Watkins Glen, NY, where we will allow you to vicariously experience the festivities for yourself! Join us as we go inside this incredibly special event, and talk to sanctuary movement leaders, activists, and passionate artists who are all working tirelessly to end animal exploitation.

First, animal rights hero Gene Baur and his other half, Suzanne Pender, will tell us about their recent Iron Man competition, and their thoughts on vegan athleticism. Former undercover factory farm investigator Cody Carlson and his partner, model Kim Heyrman, will share their thoughts on hope, PTSD, the animal rights scene in Belgium, and raising a vegan baby. Farm Sanctuary’s National Shelter Director Susie Coston will share her candid feelings about what runs through her head at night, and she’ll tell us if her work on the front-lines makes her all around more angry, or more optimistic, about the future. We’ll also hear from Susie about the story of one very special animal resident. Then, the director of Compassion Over Killing, Erica Meier, will give us the skinny on some successful corporate campaigns that have expanded the scope of veganism in the United States, and she’ll talk about how anyone who wants to change the world for animals can get the job done when it comes to restaurant outreach. We’ll also get an update from filmmaker Liz Marshall about her new documentary, The Ghosts In Our Machine, and you’ll find out how you can help make it an Oscar contender. Liz will also talk about how her artistic career working in social justice eventually led her to animal rights, and she’ll share the story of the darling cow, Fanny – a resident of Farm Sanctuary – who was integral in that process. The human subject of that film, photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur, will also join us, talking about her new book, We Animals, as well as the role she sees the sanctuary movement playing for anyone who wants to change the world for animals. And, perhaps best of all today, we’ll talk with two kids – Meara and Jay – one a lifelong vegan, and one an aspiring vegan – about how they perceive the animal rights movement. As always, kids have a way with words that we grownups could never replicate. Speaking of hope for the future, these are brilliant, kind children. We could all learn a thing or two from their take on the world.

Photo by Cameron Icard

Photo by Cameron Icard

For our review today, Farm Sanctuary’s Tammy Borchert will give us an inside peek into their chic and fabulous store, where message wear has evolved to be a fashion statement as well as a political one. And writer Maya Gottfried will send us off with a poem, written by a donkey resident of Farm Sanctuary. (Yep, you read that correctly.)

Finally today, we’ll turn the tables, and you’ll hear directly from some of the non-human individuals who reside at Farm Sanctuary.

All that, vegan banter, and of course, current events from the world of animal rights.

For a list of the news items we discuss in today’s episode, and then some, take a look at the breaking news ticker at the top of the page, and also check out our list of archived news items.

micYou can listen to our podcast directly on our blog (below!) or you can listen and subscribe on iTunes! Also, if you like what you hear, please rate it on iTunes, and don’t forget to leave us a friendly comment! Of course, we would be thrilled if you would also consider making a donation, or becoming a member of our flock (especially if you’re a regular listener). Any amount is hugely appreciated, and Our Hen House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so it’s tax-deductible! You can also dedicate a podcast episode! Don’t forget – we’re reader and listener supported. Plus, we offer some fantastic thank you gifts for your donations. Thank you for helping us to create quality content, and for helping us to bring you a new, hour-long (and then some) podcast episode each week!

“Being vegan is a principled refusal to add to the violence of the world, and an intention to be a witness for something better.” -Gene Baur


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  1. September 2, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I just wanted to say that the president of Gaia (the animal rights organization from Belgium that Kim Heyrman talks about), Michel Vandenbosch is not in politics. He does give advice to some who are (in the parliament for example). There's also another AR organization in Belgium: bite back(.be). They more grassroots, but nevertheless do great work! And I might add that it was great to hear someone from Belgium on the podcast ;-)

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