Tuesday, July 21, 2009

AR 2009

<---- This is Nicholas, he lives at the sanctuary where I work and he rules. Just so you know.

This past weekend (Th-Sun, really), I tabled at the Animal Rights conference in Los Angeles for work. I write this knowing most of you are probably not animal rights activist. You may even cringe at the term.

I've always found the acrimony directed at ar folks by dog folks, especially pit bull lovers, to be incredibly bizarre and fascinating. I find it sad too, considering that you would have found zero folks at the conference who hated pit bulls - zero, zilch, nada. And no, PETA was not there. :)

I regret that I did not bring Mina to the event - the hotel, Westin LAX, is dog friendly as is the conference. There were a few pit bulls at the event who got enough love to last twenty years. That's how much ar folks love pit bulls. Seriously, we love them.

For me, the event is a morale booster. I cannot emphasize enough how frustrating it is living in a country that slaughters ten billion land animals annually, another 32 billion sea animals and offers zero protections to these animals. The disconnect and ignorance surrounding who and where our food comes from is, at best, annoying, at worst an appalling ethical crime. Even more disheartening is federal and state legislation that labels protestors who commit not one single act of violence as terrorists. I mean how silly does it sound that the FBI has infiltrated vegan potlucks in search of "terrorists". Less silly is the fact that it has happened.

So it's nice being in a room full of people who get it, who get me. I don't need to wonder if I might say something that will accidentally offend the sensibilities of some meat eater or hunter or trapper or fisherperson. I can proudly state that I am vegan, that slaughtering animals for *our* gustatory pleasure is wrong, that all the ways in which we brutalize and exploit other species is wrong. I don't get weird looks or heavy sighs or invectives hurled my way. That's nice.

It's nice the same way that being in a room full of pit bull guardians is nice. There's a release, a relaxation, a lifting of shoulders. You are not judged, you don't judge, you are just part of a group that gets you and what you are about - even if you don't agree on all things. But pit bulls? Well, you agree on that and that's enough.

If you ever have an opportunity to mingle with "your people", do it. Most of you are pit bull lovers, so maybe find a pit bull meetup group (or start your own) and boost your ego a bit with every positive interaction with people who get you. It's a wonderful feeling to be accepted. :)


PoochesForPeace said...

Sounds nice. As a person who was in the psych field and now in the social work field I have noticed that there are hardly ever men in my classes and place of work. I cant help but wonder if there is a similar trend in animal rights? Just curious!

Brent said...

One thing that always nice about the conferences is being in a room with people that all generally agree with me :) Glad you enjoyed it.

Nicole said...

You make the AR conference sound SO GREAT. Someday maybe I will go. :)

Rinalia said...

There is a definite gender and race bias within the ar movement. More females than males, though this is the first year I think I've seen maybe 60-70% female as opposed to 80-95% female. Still 98% white, which is unfortunate.

Thanks, Brent, I do enjoy preaching to the choir. :)

Nicole, you should definitely go next time! They alternate where they have it, so next year it will be on the east coast, near DC. There's also TAFA but it's a bit more welfarist and an HSUS dog and pony show (bad pun, sorry).

Rebecca said...

Hey, I was just browsing when I found your blog, and I think it's great! I was at AR2009, tabling at Bob Linden's Go Vegan Radio fundraising booth. My boyfriend also tabled, as did the newest addition to our family, our pit bull Rikki. You may remember her white muzzle and stunning blue eyes..? We adopted Rikki 2 months ago from a shelter in Norther California, and she is the doggie love of my life. I miss her fiercely when we are not together, and she is already so bonded to me and my bf. She loves my cats and even loves to lick my rats! Yes, such a mean, vicious dog! ::sigh:: Pit bulls are wonderful, I know I will be adopting another the minute I have the space and money to add another canine family member.

Keep up the wonderful blog!