Even in NYC, Cuddles with Cows and Pigs are but a Day Trip Away! 

It should come as a shock to no one that living in New York City can be stressful. I love New York City and honestly itch to come back after more than two days anywhere else, but there are some things New York City will never be able to provide for me. Fortunately, most of those things can be found but a day trip away be it to the beaches of Fire Island and Cherry Grove or the fresh air of the Hudson Valley.

I was recently reminded of one of my day trips from several years ago to visit the yet to be opened Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary when I saw my friend and fellow vegan activist Rachel Kay's picture with Dylan:

Rachel and Dylan at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary April 2012  Dylan & Rachel December 2011.When I first met Dylan he was still a bottle feeding calf, looking for trouble while ambling around on legs he'd yet to grow into.  My friend Moni and I went to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary to help build fence during a snowy winter day in 2006. Throughout the visit Dylan followed us around providing endless amusement.

Jamie &Dylan at Woodstock in 2006. Also pictured: rescued pigs!It's been years since I've visited a farm animal sanctuary but this year Woodstock opened their guesthouse b&b which strikes me as the perfect excuse to plan a trip in the coming months. (Discounted stay if you volunteer while there!) The past three bookswaps I've hosted with Olivia Lane have benefited Woodstock and I can't say enough about the amazing work these sancturites do rescuing farm animals, educating the public and providing much need connection with the animals us activisits are so determined to protect. Take for example the recent story of an abused pig named Julia rescued recently after being brutaly beaten who gave birth at Farm Sanctuary but 8 hours after rescue to 16 PIGLETS!

Rescued mom Julia and hew new borns July 2012.

It's always amazing to see the before and after pictures of these rescues, and in the case of Julia to watch the response of social media to carrying animal activists to the continuing horror that is factory farming.

Seeing pictures of Dylan as an grown up being cuddled by another loving vegan warmed the heart of this cynical New Yorker and I look forward to my next trip upstate to visit the old man.


Working with the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP)

Beginning in January of this year I started working as a intern of media and communications for the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders. The International Coordinating Team based in NYC is a small team of women making a huge impact working with women in grassroots organizations around the globe. 

The past two weeks has marked the busiest time since I began working with the group as it was the 56th meeting of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women which: 

The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY supports the work of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). By playing an active role in the UN Community the NGO CSW, NY advocates for gender architecture reform at the UN, women’s rights and the advancement of women and girls worldwide. In its work with the NGO Committees on the Status of Women in Geneva and Vienna, the NGO CSW, NY supports the Beijing Platform for Action, UN Security Resolution 1325, the Millennium Development Goals, and CEDAW. 

From participating in a training where the Nobel Peace Price Winner Leymah Gbowee spoke, to sitting in on the European/North American regional NGO caucus and conversation circles I have experienced many new and exciting aspects of the work I've been motivated by for years. Attending our member meeting last week with so many amazing women from around the globe including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, Canada and Nepal was humbling. 

This summer I will be working as a consultant for GNWP on their 1325 Monitoring Report which has been released for the past two years. 


In 2011 I Did Some Things I'm Proud Of:

And here they are in no particular order of importance:

And as per my response to this "leaving things in 2011" post I'm not going to spend too much time worrying about what next for 2012, but instead appreciating these things! Everyone should take the time to appreciate their successes for the year!




10 Gifts for the Lesbian, Vegan, Feminist in Your Life

Here are some suggestions to make gift giving to your lesbian, vegan, feminist friend or partner a little easier!

  1. Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook.  There is a good chance she already has this, but if not she will squee with glee to receive this gift.
  2. A Gift from Babeland. I won't choose for you, but keep an eye open for the items that are labelled vegan including this Sliquid lube. And also, recharable vibes!
  3. A book from The Feminist Press. I personally recommend Witches, Midwives and Nurses but you can dig around and see what suits your lady's fancy.
  4. Sponsor an animal. Help pay for the shelter and care of an animal at a farm sanctuary such as Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Even better, take her to visit the animal!
  5. Membership to Citizen Radio Productions. There are lots of reasons to support these indepedent, witty, informative, feminist, vegan podcasts -  here are a few.
  6. Magazine Subscription. Might I recommend N+1, Harpers or The Nation?
  7. Autostraddle Calandar. Super sexy lesbians in a cofee table style calandar with behind the scenes info on the Autostraddle website. Win!
  8. Teal Cat from The Teal Cat project. This tchotchke supports Trap-Neuter and Release programs and involves, well, a teal cat.
  9. Support the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Maybe by purchasing the "I Heart my 2 Mommies" Dog, Cat or Puppy T-Shirt or Justice tote?
  10. The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For. Alison Bechdel's comic strips are hilarious and clever and addictive so you should just get them all in this collection of all the Dykes to Watch Out For strips.

NYU Panel on Environmental Implications of Factory Farming

Last month I was pleased to attend a panel hosted by NYU Student Animal Leagal Defense Fund & the Environmental Law Society on Ocotber 25th. Panelists included Jonathan Lovvorn of The Humane Society of the United States, Animal Rights lawyer David Wolfson, Kevin Fulton of Fulton Farms, Jennifer Soreson of the National Resources Defense Fund and arguably the star of the night New York Times writer Mark Bittman.


Pigs in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)

Mark Bittman has become a bit of a celeb with many vegans due to his many opinion pieces sensitive to issues of factory farming, and food politics with an awareness of animal issues. The two things Bittman argues as being the most important to addressing factory farming is the outlawing of CAFOs and the taxing of junk food

Shocking to imagine, Sorenson reminded the audience that over 81% of antibiotics are used in feed in the factory farming industry, including pennicillan/tetracyclin which the NRDC has brought a lawsuit against the FDA for approving for commercial use in animal feed.

As a representative of animal slaughter, as "humane" as it may be, it's hard to draw much sympathy for Fulton's viewpoint, though he did argue for the need for transparency on farms. This point was highlighted by Lovvorn of HSUS who spoke of the challenge in even seeing factory farms, let alone legislating factory farming. As a lawyer for the Humane Society of the United States Lovvorn spoke of the lack of ability to legislate factory farms and the only aspect in which CAFOs can really be tackled legally is with nuisance cases

While the event didn't bring any revelations, it was refreshing to hear of all the work both the NRDC and HSUS are doing in addressing the issue. Delicious food for the event was provided by Gobo.