SXSW Is for Vegans

This is a great year to be vegan at Austin’s South by Southwest. For those of you who know as little about music as I do, South by Southwest is a huge music festival. Huge. Hundreds of bands from all across the world will be in Austin from March 15 through March 20. And thousands of industry people and fans. Over the years, the festival has grown to include films, media presentations, and panels. For the week of the festival, Austin is dominated by all things music, film, and technology.

One of this year’s panels will feature Lone Star Plate’s own Lazy Smurf talking about vegan activism through blogging. She’ll be joined by Laura Beck from Vegansaurus. They’ll discuss how to spread the vegan message and create community through blogging. Monday, March 14, 3:30 PM, Austin Convention Center, Room 5ABC, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St.
The South by Southwest fun spills over into numerous outside events, including a Compassion Over Killing table with Vegetarian Starter Guides and Easy Vegan Recipe booklets at a to be announced music venue. What goes with vegan pamphlets better than vegan baked goods? The table will also feature a vegan bake sale. COK is still looking for volunteer bakers and people to table. Information about signing up can be found on COK’s website here. Saturday, March 19, noon to 6 PM. Venue TBA.
And finally, Lazy Smurf has the scoop on all the best places to get vegan eats near South by Southwest in her updated vegan guide to SXSW. Breakfast tacos (an Austin institution), food carts, Tex-Mex, late night dining, and the best grab-and-go options.

2011 World Wide Vegan Bake Sale

Image from Sugar Skull
At the end of April and beginning of May, vegans around the world will be hosting bake sales to raise money for their favorite causes and to introduce people to the tastiness of vegan baked goods. This is the third year of the Worldwide Vegan Bakesale. Baketivism is a growing and successful movement, because really, who can resist the charm of a vegan cupcake? Last year, vegan bake sales for Haiti alone raised about $40,000.
Now is the time to find a location for your bake sale, recruit bakers, and choose a charity to support. In 2010, there were Worldwide Vegan Bake Sales in Austin, Houston, Gruene, Richardson, and San Antonio. Let’s double the number of Texas cities with bake sales this year!
Information about hosting a vegan bake sale in your city can be found at WVBS headquarters. Let us know in the comments if you’re planning a bake sale in Texas.

Austin: Save-a-Turkey-Trot

Saturday, November 21
9:00am
Festival Beach
(North Lady Bird Lake Trail and I-35)

Every Thanksgiving across the United States, the local Turkey Trot race is an annual running tradition. Like these venerable races, we want to get people out and exercising and giving thanks for life. Giving thanks for life, we believe, is also having compassion for all living beings. So we say, “Save a Turkey!” Get out and run and walk with us as we spread the message of hope and compassion the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Preregistered entrants are guaranteed a 100% organic race t-shirt.

Overall male and female winners will have a turkey at Farm Sanctuary sponsored in their name.

Local, organic fruits from farmers at Austin Farmers Market will be available to refuel/refresh with. Entrants are encouraged to head over the market after the race to support our local producers!

Register or sign up to volunteer here.

RSVP with the VRA here here.

I’ve got my Thanksgiving turkey! Have you?

I adopted a turkey at Farm Sanctuary. You can do the same here.

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Turkey Myths

Is it true that turkeys are dumb?
There is a tendency for people who eat turkeys, or other animals, to perceive “food animals” as unworthy or undeserving of respect and compassion. One way for people to rationalize their choice to eat animals is to dismiss these beings as dumb. There is even a rumor that turkeys are so dumb that they will look up in the rain and drown. This claim is ridiculous and false. Farm Sanctuary has cared for turkeys for more than 20 years, and when it rains, the turkeys go inside their barn. No one who works at Farm Sanctuary has ever seen a turkey drown in the rain.

Do turkeys really suffer?

Every year, between 250 and 300 million turkeys are bred for slaughter in the U.S. Sadly, these turkeys are not protected under most state anti-cruelty laws, and they are specifically exempt from the federal Humane Slaughter Act. To meet consumer demand for white meat, commercial turkeys have been anatomically manipulated to have abnormally large breasts. As a result, the birds cannot mount and reproduce naturally, and the industry now relies on artificial insemination as the sole means of reproduction. In addition, most factory farmed turkeys, comprising the vast majority of turkeys raised for holiday dinners, endure painful beak and toe mutilations, because they are given only about three-square-feet of space on which to live. Through all of this physical manipulation, the industry has yet to grow an animal who does not feel pain and is not curious, social or friendly.

Thanksgiving Tradition


But Thanksgiving is a tradition – why do we need to change it?

Using a turkey as the centerpiece and symbol of Thanksgiving is a relatively new tradition invented and actively promoted by the poultry industry during the 20th century. Thankfully, humans are not bound by cruel traditions. Just because we’ve done something routinely in the past does not mean that it is automatically right. Traditions must evolve over time in order for our civilization to thrive. We must strive for better, more compassionate ways to interact with one another, and with other animals. Find more information on the history of Thanksgiving here.

What do vegetarians eat for Thanksgiving?
In addition to staple Thanksgiving foods like baked squash, savory stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and cornbread, there is also a growing variety of products that have been developed specifically to take the place of turkey at the Thanksgiving table. One popular product is called “Tofurky,” a meat-free, faux turkey roast made by Turtle Island Foods in Hood River, Oregon. If people want to make something themselves, they can just stuff a squash or pumpkin, instead of a turkey. After all, celebrating a compassionate Thanksgiving entails celebrating ALL life by giving up the broiled bird. Find vegetarian holiday recipes and more here.

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Mercy For Animals Does Dallas

Hey Veg-Heads and Veg-Friends!

Wow—what a fab time to be in Dallas! So many great things are happening in our city—and much more to come! We’re well on our way to making Dallas an urban-green-hip place to live!

So did you guys see what went down at this year’s Chicago Pride Parade?

Well, with the help of seasoned activists Ari Nessel, Nathan Runkle, and the awesome peeps of Mercy For Animals, we’re looking to do the same here in Dallas at the 2009 Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. What a great way to celebrate our diversity and spread the word that “no one is free when others are oppressed.”

Dallas is on the brink of veg-explosion! Places like Spiral Diner and Bliss Raw Café & Elixir Bar have already put us on the veg-map, and it’s only a matter of time before our city is recognized as one of the top veg-friendly hotspots in the nation! Believe it.

But we need your help!

If we want to make some WILD, AWESOME NOISE, it’s time for us to come together as a people and show our support for the animals and for each other!

March with us and help spread the word about our compassionate way of life.

Hit me up at dallasvegan@gmail.com and let me know if we can count on you!

Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade
September 20, 2009
Parade starts at 2:00 pm