Animal advocate events, like FARM’s Animal Rights Conference, are an opportunity to learn new things, network with likeminded people and energize yourself and your activism.
I’m sharing my notes from the conference here on Vegan Soapbox. These are my own notes and not a transcript. The notes below are from a talk given at one of the morning plenary sessions by Colleen Patrick-Goureau of Compassionate Cooks.
She says that peace is a biproduct of the vegan lifestyle.
Burn-out in our movement is common; it’s easy to get angry and why not? Our anger is justified. But to remain a joyful vegan is to understand anger. The root of anger is sorrow.
We can choose to dwell in hope.
When you go vegan you’re often expected to be an expert in so many things and you receive a lot of questions and criticism from others. That can lead to depression or anger or burn-out. Don’t let it!
Our word choices reflect our beliefs. We can shift paradigms by shifting our language.
Remember when dealing with nonvegans that we were once in their shoes. Most vegans were not raised vegan. [This always begs the question for me - as someone who basically grew up vegetarian and who is raising a son vegan, I wonder why this concept is so popular in animal advocacy. Must we remember what it was like to consume animal products in order to find compassion for nonvegans and be able to help them transition? Really?]
Try to find common ground and stand together against violence towards animals rather than against each other.
Give others the benefit of the doubt and expect the best of others. [This is great advice. It really is - for all areas of your life.]
She closed her session by reading the Animal Prayer (PDF is here) and then received a standing ovation. The crowd loved her. Here is the prayer:
A Prayer for Humans on Behalf of Animals
My hope is that we can navigate through this world with the grace and integrity of those who need our protection. May we have the sense of humor and liveliness of the goats; may we have the maternal instincts and protective nature of the hens and the sassiness of the roosters. May we have the gentleness and strength of the cattle, and the wisdom, humility, and serenity of the donkeys. May we appreciate the need for community as do the sheep and choose our companions as carefully as do the rabbits. May we have the faithfulness and commitment to family of the geese, the adaptability and affability of the ducks. May we have the intelligence, loyalty, and affection of the pigs and the inquisitiveness, sensitivity, and playfulness of the turkeys.
My hope is that we learn from the animals what we need to become better people.
UPDATE: see the transcript from this same talk given at Vida Vegan Con. The transcript is up here >>