Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Forum at Grand Valley State University

  • What: Forum with Dr. John Vucetich and Michael Markarian GVSU (Keep Michigan Wolves Protected Event)
  • When: Saturday, October 25, 2014 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Where: Grand Valley State University, Cook-Dewitt Center, 1110 Kirkhof Center Allendale, MI 49401
  • Cost: FREE
  • RSVP: Here!

Join Keep Michigan Wolves Protected for a forum about wolves in Michigan. We will discuss the science and the politics behind the wolf hunt.

Dr. Vucetich is an associate professor at Michigan Technological University’s School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science, and serves as co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project, the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world. Dr. Vucetich is also co-director of the Conservation Ethics Group and author of more than 75 scholarly publications on a range of environmental topics, including wolves living in Isle Royale, Yellowstone National Park, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the desert southwest, Canada and Scandinavia.

Michael Markarian is Chief Program and Policy Officer of The HSUS. He also serves as president of The Fund for Animals, an affiliate of The HSUS providing direct care, food, and medical treatment to thousands of animals each year at its wildlife rehabilitation centers and animal sanctuaries.

Additionally, as president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, he oversees the lobbying and political activity of that affiliate. Markarian’s work on animal issues has been featured in newspapers and magazines across the country, and he has appeared on major television networks such as CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, and on NBC’s “Today Show.”

NO to the wolf hunt, NO to the power grab: Vote NO on Proposals 1 and 2!

By Jill Fritz, Director, Keep Michigan Wolves Protected

When Michigan citizens go to vote on November 4, they will find two referendums on the ballot: Proposal 1, to designate wolves as a game species and allow a trophy hunting and trapping season on them, and Proposal 2, to allow an unelected commission to designate wolves as game species—a law passed in 2013 for the sole purpose of circumventing a voter referendum on Proposal 1. Please vote NO on both Proposals 1 and 2 to overturn those laws, restore protections to Michigan’s wolves, and maintain our right as citizens to have a say on important wildlife issues.

Wolves had been shot, trapped and poisoned nearly to the brink of extinction, but had been protected in Michigan for almost 50 years while their population continued to ARJNKA Gray Wolf (Canis lupus), pup looking out from denrecover. But in early 2012, the wolves of the Great Lakes states—Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan—were removed from the federal Endangered Species List and placed under state management. Since then, more than 1,000 wolves have already been killed in aggressive hunting and trapping seasons. Proposal 1 would allow that to continue in Michigan, so we must vote NO on Proposal 1 to overturn it.

In order to frighten legislators and the public into thinking that a wolf hunt was “needed” to protect livestock and human safety, politicians and state officials exaggerated and even fabricated stories about wolf encounters in Michigan. And it was revealed that nearly two-thirds of all wolf/livestock incidents in the U.P. occurred on a single farm, whose owner baited wolves with cattle and deer carcasses. Let’s be clear on this: genuine threats to human safety by wolves are extremely rare—wolves are naturally fearful of humans and avoid them at all costs—and in fact, no physical attack by a wolf on a human has ever occurred in Michigan.

The bottom line is that wolves are being effectively managed in our state. It’s already legal to kill wolves when they attack livestock or dogs. Non-lethal measures, including guard donkeys, dogs and fencing, have also been effective. All told, even before Michigan’s first wolf hunt began last fall (which happened because of the passage of Proposal 2), wolf/livestock conflicts in the U.P. had already reduced by more than 80 percent. Simply put, there is no scientific justification to hunt wolves to address conflicts. A hunt would be driven by a desire for a trophy, or out of fear or hatred, and there is nothing scientific about that.Keywords: stock, Grey Wolf, wild, wildlife

Proposal 2 is a law passed in early 2013, soon after Keep Michigan Wolves Protected turned in its petition signatures to place the first law allowing a wolf hunt on hold, granting the Natural Resources Commission the power to designate wolves as game species to be hunted and trapped for sport. The members of the Natural Resources Commission are not scientists or experts – they are political appointees who are unaccountable to the public and who make decisions largely at the behest of trophy hunting and trapping lobby groups. If Proposal 2 is approved, voters would be left out in the cold because there is no referendum process when it comes to the NRC’s decisions.

A group calling itself “Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management,” backed by trophy hunting, hounding and trapping lobby groups and businesses, submitted an initiative that was rubber-stampeded by the Legislature in August 2014 to secure the authority of the Natural Resources Commission to designate wolves as game and allow future wolf hunts. However, this law is unconstitutional and Keep Michigan Wolves Protected plans to pursue legal action to strike it down. In the meantime, it is essential that Michigan voters exercise their right to protect wildlife by rejecting the two referendums on the November ballot with a NO vote.

The wildlife of Michigan belongs to all of its citizens, not just the big game lobby groups and bureaucrats. When you go to the polls on November 4, you can say NO to the wolf hunt and NO to the power grab by voting NO on Proposals 1 and 2! Please visit www.NoOn1and2.com for more information.

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Christian Perspectives in Science Seminar in Grand Rapids, MI

Christian Perspectives in Science Seminar

Free and Open to the Public

Friday, October 3, 3:30 PM in Science Building room 110

Title:  Food x Faith: Consumptive Choices Could Solve TWO Big Global Problems AND Save Money

Speaker:  David Dornbos, Biology Department, Calvin College

Abstract:

While “Creation Care” is trendy in some elements of “the church,” it certainly does not seem to be mainstream nor is it driving sweeping changes in behaviors of Christian lifestyle. And whether we sense it or not, admit it or not from where we sit, global food security has already been undermined by environmental degradation.  So as global human population swells toward 9 billion, it seems as though we may need to choose between food security and environmental health, intensifying industrial agriculture or developing a new food system model.  Do these need to be choices?  Could consumptive choices, changes in our dietary aesthetic, save us money through lower healthcare costs and protect environmental integrity at local and global scales?

Calvin College Offers Plant-based Diet Course for Adults 50+

Vegan Michigan was excited to learn about this plant-based diet course being offered at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI targeting adults in the 50+ age group. This is the second section of this course to run after the first section was completely filled and numerous participants were interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet after taking the six week course. Below you will find the course information for the fall section and links to register for the course at the bottom. This is an excellent opportunity for those who want to learn more about the benefits and reasons for adopting a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

The Wondrous Benefits of Plant-Based Food Choices

CALL (Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning) Class

Tuesdays from 1:30 p.m. until 2:45 p.m.

September 9 through October 14, 2014

Calvin College – Science Building – Room 010

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

Nothing (not drugs, not exercise, not money) has as much impact on our health as what we eat.  Nothing has as much impact on God’s creation as what we eat.  Many knowledgeable people from Hippocrates (father of medicine) to the Surgeon General and the United Nations have documented these truths.  Yet, these facts remain some of the best-buried secrets.  This course is for those who have the courage to know the facts and for those who would like to use that knowledge to be kinder to their bodies, kinder to the planet, kinder to society and kinder to God’s other creatures.

The course leaders will overview some of the overwhelming scientific data to support eating exclusively plant-based foods.  The impact of food choices on health, environment, sustainability and compassion for God’s other creatures will be covered.  The health myths that have made us the sickest country in the world (even though we spend the most on health care) will also be confronted.  The course will include healthful cooking illustrations and implementation support.

All the course leaders walk the talk.  They do not encourage others to do anything that they do not do themselves.  The information they will share is the basis for some of the ethics that they live by.

STYLE:  presentation and discussion

Aubrey Sykes, Ken Piers, David Koetje, Matt Halteman, Nyna Sykes, leaders

Aubrey Sykes is Professor of Engineering at Calvin College

Ken Piers is Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at Calvin College

David Koetje is Professor of Biology at Calvin College

Matt Halteman is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College

Nyna Sykes is Associate Director of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College

Apply for CALL membership at   http://www.calvin.edu/academic/call/applicat.htm

You must be over 50 years old and the fee is $35.

Then register for the class at http://www.calvin.edu/academic/call/ – clicking on the red box that says “Register>>”, then selecting Class Number 8.  The fee is $20.

Activist Interview: Claire Tamburello

In Michigan, we are lucky to have so many dedicated animal advocates who work every day to bring greater awareness to animal cruelty issues in our state and in the world. We find it especially exciting to see young leaders emerging within our movement such as Claire Tamburello from Caledonia, MI. On August 20, 2014 Claire organized a circus protest in her hometown which had an impressive turn out and engagement from activists all over West Michigan. We were able to interview Claire about her experience advocating for animals in her school and community.

Vegan Michigan: What started you on your vegan ‘journey’ and how has it impacted where you are today?

Claire: I’ve always loved animals- from toads to dogs to elephants, but until the age of eleven, I hadn’t really thought about how my food was made. That changed for the better when I came across PETA’s well known video, “Meet Your Meat”. The video takes an in-depth look at the claireanimal agriculture industry. I found the footage shocking- surely this kind of thing was illegal! I did a bit of research and found the appalling cruelty to animals shown in the film was, in fact, not only legal, but considered the norm. I decided that day to go vegetarian. Over the course of the next year, I came up with numerous reasons as to why I could just never go vegan. It wasn’t as if anyone was pressuring me to go vegan. In fact, I hadn’t met a vegan or even another vegetarian at that point. The excuses were for me. I simply didn’t want to give up the animal products I still ate. One year from the day I went vegetarian, I decided to transition into veganism and haven’t eaten an animal product since. It was way easier than expected, and the transition was made even smoother by plant-based products like Daiya cheese and Boca burgers. It was, by far, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Vegan Michigan: How did you come to be involved with local activism such as planning and organizing the Kelly Miller Circus protest on August 20th in Caledonia?

Claire:  I first became involved with local activism during the 2013 Grand Rapids Walk for Farm Animals. There, I met many animal rights activists and other vegans. We kept in touch through Facebook and have been participating in animal rights events together ever since. Not only have they been notifying me of important protests and rallies, but they’ve also been an amazing support system. It’s like having constant affirmation that what you’re standing up for is a good cause in a world that is set against you. As for the Kelly Miller Circus protest in particular, I was ready to protest- with or without other people- as soon as I learned of the circus and did a bit of research on this circus’s animal cruelty reports.

Vegan Michigan: As a young activist, how do you inspire others to adopt a cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle and have you had any successes doing this?

Claire: I’ve encouraged several of my classmates to go vegan by bringing in animal rights pamphlets with a cruelty-free snack or two attached. I’ve found people respond very positively to vegan outreach material when paired with food. Many other students have expressed their interest in why I’m vegan and even decided to try it out themselves as a result.

Vegan Michigan: What is the number one piece of advice you would give to people considering a vegan diet and lifestyle?

Claire: There will be many people who treat you differently after finding out you are vegan and some who will even view it as a personal attack on their beliefs. These people will try to bring you down, or even mock you for your choices. You can’t let them affect who you are or what you claire2do.

Vegan Michigan: What steps would you recommend to people wanting to get more involved in local animal activism?

Claire: I would check online for local activism groups- Craigslist and Facebook are great ways to find animal rights activists in your area. If there doesn’t happen to be any established group, start your own! You may be surprised by how many people are interested in your cause. Get the word out about your group by tabling, hanging flyers, and posting ads on the internet.

Vegan Michigan: What advice would you give to other young people hoping to be social change agents in their community? What lessons have you learned from your own activism or from watching other activists?

Claire: One of the main lessons I’ve learned is that your fellow activists will not always use tactics you agree with to spread your message. Just remember that you are supporting cause and find a workable compromise. You will also find allies in unexpected places. I’ve had friends who come from families of avid hunters that are interested in going vegan and want to be active in the animal rights community. They may even have an effect on their family members’ beliefs! I would also strongly advise every young person who feels strongly about any particular issue to attend a summer program called Youth Empowered Action (or Y.E.A.) Camp. There, you will learn the skills and attitude essential to becoming an effective activist. To learn more about this camp, you can visit their website at http://yeacamp.org/ .

Animal Rights National Conference 2014

The Animal Rights National Conference 2014, which was held July 10-13 in LA this year, was a huge success! This annual event hosted by the Farm Animal Rights Movement every year helps attendees get informed, get inspired and get active. The huge list of sponsors this year included all the well-known animal rights groups including Mercy for Animals, PETA, A Well Fed World, Compassion Over Killing, Veg Fund, Veg News, Vegan Outreach and many others. Due to controversy within the movement, this was the first year in recent history that PETA rejoined Animal Rights Conference Bannerthe conference. Other individuals who had taken a break from the conference were also represented this year! I was glad to see the organization that had a huge impact on me when I first went veg in the mid-90s to be represented again among the others.

The conference included one night and three whole days jam-packed with breakout sessions and workshops, key note speakers, a special vegan banquet and awards ceremony and ended with an optional lobbying training or protest the morning after the conference concluded. There were free continental breakfast foods and afternoon snacks all of which were vegan with some very unique products that attendees were able to sample.

As a single conference attendee, the choice of which breakout sessions to attend was often challenging with so many inspirational and passionate speakers lined up. There were so many highlights it would be impossible to list them all but this blog will attempt to cover the ones that stood out.

On Thursday evening, “Speciesism: The Movie” by filmmaker Mark Devries was screened  which highlighted the hypocrisy of factory farming along with personal interviews with today’s leading animal rights activists, authors and philosophers. This film would be an excellent tool for introducing the topic of speciesism to an unfamiliar audience as it uses humor and irony to introduce an important yet often ignored topic of how we treat animals used for food.

10516692_720623491308527_4263595631277559874_nOn Friday, Nathan Runkle and Gene Baur hosted a session on Animals Used for Food which answered many questions within this area of animal exploitation. The most interesting and provocative sessions of the day were the ones on Direct Action tactics and especially the session, ‘New Directions For Animal Advocacy’ in which both Nick Cooney and Wayne Hsiung discussed different tactics used to advocate for animal issues. Nick Cooney talked about the sheer numbers and how such campaigns as ‘Meatless Mondays’ affect the greatest number of consumers and have the widest impact. In contrast, Hsiung discussed passionately how direct action or civil disobedience has been the driving force behind all successful social change movements. He compared the animal rights movement to the fight against Jim Crow laws in the south and how it took social disruption such as sitting in a ‘whites only’ area and refusing to leave before real change started to happen. He shared about Direct Actions Everywhere’s grassroots network of protestors that are applying direct action in public spaces which is a much more ‘in your face’ approach to vegan activism.

banner_notfood_animalsThe morning plenary on Saturday was very memorable featuring animal activist and author of Thanking the Monkey, Karen Dawn. She MC’d the session giving compassionate and heart-felt introductions to Farm Sanctuary’s Gene Baur, In Defense of Animal’s Marilyn Kroplick and International Primate Protection League’s Shirley McGreal. Each speaker had a memorable message but especially McGreal as she had extensive history to discuss on the primate protection front and shared recent success stories with the audience.Gene Baur

On Saturday afternoon, one of the most anticipated ‘Rap Sessions’ was a discussion on “Welfare, Abolition and Direct Action” as different and often controversial approaches that different members of the animals rights movement employ. This session allowed conference attendees to speak up and discuss our own feelings about the different approaches. There were certainly strong feelings on both sides of the debate. Those who promote animal welfare reforms believe that reforms are necessary to help animals now and that the world will not go vegan overnight so we need to promote reasonable steps in that direction. Those promoting abolitionist veganism believe that delivering anything less than the fully vegan message is hurting the animal rights movement and that welfare reforms can often convince consumers that ‘happy exploitation’ exists rather than moving them closer to veganism. Direct Action is a method more often applied by abolitionist vegans but Karen Dawn Conference 3involves confrontational protests that force the public to confront the reality of their food choices. This Rap session was led by longtime activist and founder of FARM, Alex Hershaft. Overall, the Animal Rights Conference was one of the few conferences that allowed a fair and balanced discussion and representation of all the different approaches within our movement.

A Joint Session on “Tapping Into Our Compassion” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and Melanie Joy was a packed session. Both women discussed with grace and compassion the state of our movement and how to care for ourselves as individuals. Melanie Joy discussed the culture of carnism and how it infiltrates every aspect of life, how to recognize it and speak up against the dominate culture with compassion. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau discussed the stages that we pass through as new vegans and how we arrive at a balanced and compassionate approach. She spoke independently later that day on “The Root and Power of Joy & PGLanguage” in which a very important point was made. We often refer to vegan meats as ‘fake’ or ‘faux’ and this gives people the impression that we are consuming ‘fake’ vs. ‘real’ food. She made the point that this is no way to attract people to the vegan lifestyle. She suggested only referring to it as ‘plant-based meat’ vs. ‘animal based meat’ or ‘cow’s milk’ and not to be afraid of the words ‘meat’ or ‘milk’ because their language roots do not specify animal origins.

Saturday night ended with a gourmet vegan banquet complete with a triple layer vegan chocolate cake for dessert! Following the banquet was the much anticipated awards ceremony. Many activists were honored during the ceremony including the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award going to Dr. Alex Hershaft, founder and President of Farm Animal Rights Movement. The 2014 inductee to the Animal Rights Hall of Fame was Vegan Outreach’s, Jon Camp, the “Million Booklet Man” for the incredible volume of pamphlets he was able to distribute. David Carter, the 300 Pound Vegan NFL linebacker, accepted the award for Outstanding Vegan Athlete. Andrew Pucetti received the Young Activist Award in recognition of his success in ending classroom dissections and promoting vegan eating. Lastly, the Henry Spira Grassroots Awards went to Armaiti May and Judy Carman, for their unpaid work to help animals in their communities. 

cake      banquet

Sunday morning plenary consisted of two of the most incredible yet hard to listen to speakers. Both TJ Tumasse and Taylor Radig discussed their experiences as undercover investigators exposing abuses and cruel practices on factory farms. It was hard not to be brought to tears by these troubling and deeply personal experiences that were shared by the former investigators. This type of work is certainly not for the faint of heart and even the strongest vegan is deeply affected after witnessing these tragic practices.

In the afternoon, Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy for Animals and Erica Meier, Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing, Erica Meierdiscussed how their organizations focused on designing and advertising our message. They talked about the term Vegetarian vs. Vegan and how the choice to use Vegetarian was intentional as the word is generally better received by the public. However, the literature they distribute contains only vegan related food choices. Erica shared how COK uses cost-effective television air time, often on sites like Hulu, to show their pro-veg commercials and how they allow other organizations to utilize these commercials for free.

The conference concluded on a positive note by highlighting the successes in the animal rights movement and the fact that overall, we are winning! The road may be long and with many obstacles but the numbers don’t lie! More people are adopting a vegan diet and others and consuming less meat and dairy every year.

On Monday, two organized protests were conducted by SEAN (Stop Animal Exploitation Now) and The Bunny Alliance. The first was held at UCLA against animal experimentation that is being conducted at the school. The second was conducted at the airport against Delta Airlines for their continued transportation of animals used in experimentation and testing.  At the SEAN protest, they had a record numbers of protestprotesters due to the conference and founder, Michael Budkie spoke passionately against the primate experimentation. The protest stirred a lot of attention from students who were on campus during the march and sit-in.

Overall, the Animal Rights Conference 2014 was a huge success. The conference allowed for a fair and balanced approach to the movement and room for all viewpoints to be represented peacefully while being united in our common goal of ending animal exploitation. Vegan Michigan will certainly be back next year and can’t wait to see what accomplishments that another year of hard work will bring to the animal rights movement. See you all in 2015!

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