DECEMBER 29, 2007 12:37 AM

christmas wreaths

A holiday favorite--veganized! I was skeptical of the ricemellowcreme at first, but it turned out well. We never bothered making them the actual wreath-shape (even before we veganized the recipe), much preferring the blob effect with a smattering of cinnamon candy like the hundred eyes of Argus Panoptes.

DECEMBER 27, 2007 12:00 PM

WAKE UP WEEKEND 2008--January 18-19, 2008 in Grand Rapids, MI.*
*All events are free and open to the public; donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to

Save the Date for Wake Up Weekend 2008--a two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Animals & Society Institute, ExtraVEGANza!, Farms Without Harm, G-Rad, Grand Rapids For Animals, Students for Compassionate Living, and VegMichigan.

The success of Wake Up Weekend 2007 emboldened us to raise the bar for this year's festivities, and we're thrilled to announce that there's a blockbuster line-up of speakers and activities coming your way in just under a month. Here's how things are shaping up...


2:30 pm--Animal Advocacy: What, Why, Who, and How?
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College

Learn what animal advocacy is all about from leading figures in the movement. Presentations by Harold Brown (President, Farm Kind), Adam Durand (President, Compassionate Consumers), Christine Gutleben (Director, Humane Society Animals and Religion), Paul Krause (VegMichigan), and Nathan Runkle (Director, Mercy For Animals).

5:30 pm--"Compassionate Comestibles" Vegan Potluck
Commons Annex Lecture Hall, Calvin College

A smorgasbord of delicious vegan favorites hosted by Students for Compassionate Living. What's cooking in your vegan kitchen? Let's find out!

7:30 pm--Inaugural Address, Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series*
Bytwerk Theater, DeVos Communication Center, Calvin College

"A Christian Case for Compassion for Animals," Dr. Stephen H. Webb (Wabash College), author of Good Eating and On God and Dogs: A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals.

*This address is an independent event in a new series of lectures that has been established by a friend of Calvin College. Since the lecture is free and open to the public and likely to be of interest to Wake Up Weekend participants, the College has kindly allowed us to include Professor Webb's lecture on our schedule.


1:00 pm--Diet as Disease Prevention
Nest, 613 Lyon

Get the lowdown on how compassionate eating can help improve your health and ward off illness from Dr. Kerrie Saunders, "Dear Dr. Kerrie" columnist for VegNews Magazine and author of The Vegan Diet as Chronic Disease Prevention.

2:00 pm--Animal Compassion: Reaching Religious Audiences
Nest, 613 Lyon

Participants in this moderated panel discussion will include Brianne Donaldson (Independent Author and Activist), Gracia Fay Ellwood (Editor, The Peaceable Table), Christine Gutleben (Director, Humane Society Animals and Religion), Dr. Kerrie Saunders, and Dr. Stephen H. Webb.

6:00 pm--Vegan Chili Cook-off and Open House
(106), 106 S. Division

Last year's Chili Cook-off brought out 18 entries. Will we break 20 this year? Get ready to doff your chef's toque and step up the burner!

8:00 pm--Art Auction
(106), 106 S. Division

Dust off your bidding paddle and have your checkbooks at the ready, because many of the excellent artists whose generous donations helped us to raise $2200 for Farm Sanctuary and Mercy For Animals at last year's auction will have work on the block again this year. If you'd like to donate work for auction, contact Adam Wolpa at

9:00 pm--Exclusive Sneak Preview: FOWL PLAY
(106), 106 S. Division
A Film By Adam Durand (in collaboration with Mercy For Animals)

The director himself will screen a preliminary version of the film and lead a discussion with the audience afterward. Don't miss this rare opportunity to provide feedback that could influence the final cut!

DECEMBER 25, 2007 9:28 PM

With my extended family, we had a good showing of vegan options.
Applesauce, spinach salad, and tortellini filled with artichoke and cooked with marinara, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms began the meal well.

Still, the best part came with the vegan cheesecake. It tasted nearly identical to the type I ate and long for now. Vegan cream cheese amazes me again, being a key ingredient to this dessert.

Comments (1)

DECEMBER 24, 2007 12:10 AM

This year my family's Christmas meal went totally vegan!

First, we started with vegetables sautéed in ginger, a salad that included artichoke heart and avocado with an onion vinaigrette dressing, and a vegan cheese fondue sauce for dipping bread. The cheese fondue was incredible, mainly thanks to vegan cream cheese, but tempeh bacon, scallions, and mustard intensified the goodness.

After the main course, we had chocolate fondue. Some cacao, soy milk, and sugar made a delicious, albeit non-healthful dessert. Using cherries, bananas, and beer bread to dip, the dessert's richness was irresistible. I think everyone ate far more than stomachs could comfortably hold.

DECEMBER 19, 2007 3:49 PM

Bob Torres on "The Political Economy of Animal Rights"
The Vegan Freak is at it again. In his new book Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights, Bob Torres wields an explosive battery of Marxist and anarchist artillery to level a withering critique of both the capitalism that drives animal exploitation and the conflicted philosophy of animal rights activism that he claims unwittingly entrenches this exploitation. For those who have read previous posts on the recent conflicts between Reformist and Abolitionist approaches to animal advocacy, the alleged inconsistencies in the "New Welfarist" approaches that Torres is criticizing will ring familiar.

The Uninterrogated Assumptions of "New Welfarism"
Says Torres: "Because some new welfarists imagine that talking about human hierarchy over animals and the moral wrong of all animal exploitation is too onerously radical and difficult for the average person to understand, let alone accept, we end up with campaigns, strategies, and tactics that do little more than refocus the efforts of industry to produce products that "caring, ethical" consumers find pleasing. We also end up with so-called "reforms" that even animal rights organizations argue make animal exploitation more profitable. Some activists refer to these reforms as "victories," and they are victories, in a sense: they are victories for the industry." (100) Among the organizations targeted here are PETA and The Humane Society of the United States, groups that, according to Torres, do not even engage, much less challenge, the foundational assumptions upon which the exploitative practices of animal use industries ultimately rest, namely the property status of animals (which paves the way for their commodification), and underlying that, the traditionally accepted hierarchy of human beings over animals.

Veganism as a Baseline
Entitled "You Cannot Buy the Revolution," the final chapter of this provocative read provides an intriguing but somewhat scant set of recommendations for moving forward. First and foremost, Torres maintains, veganism "must be a baseline for the animal rights movement. It is the daily, lived expression of abolition in one's life, and a rejection of the logic of speciesism." As Torres sees it, "vegan education should form the basis of our outreach and activism; in our interactions with people outside the movement, we should discuss why veganism is a viable option. This works in direct contrast to the current animal rights discourse, which promotes "happy meat," "humanely" raised eggs, and organic milk. All of these products rely on exploitation and maintain the relations that will continue to exploit. If we want to eradicate exploitation, we must begin by ending it in our own lives, and encouraging others to do the same." (145) Beyond adopting veganism, Torres recommends that we eschew large, beaurocratic institutions like PETA and HSUS in favor of marshaling the power of the internet and working in "consensus-based affinity groups"--smaller, more flexible collectives of like-minded people that may serve as "models of non-exploitative, non-hierarchical social relationships that highlight mutual aid and conviviality, while also respecting individuality." (148) Sounds a bit like ExtraVEGANza!. Who knew we were a consensus-based affinity group? SNAP!

At Home With Bob Torres
Controversial as its thesis may be, Making A Killing is an intriguing, challenging, and inspiring read, at least in part because of the uniqueness of Torres's voice. As a scholar-activist with a Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University and a professorship at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York, he brings pedagogy and agitation into an unsettling, but potentially invigorating, confluence. Read all about his personal and professional exploits at

Comments (1)

DECEMBER 13, 2007 8:04 PM

Tell Smithfield: "No Christmas Ham!"
This story of unspeakable cruelty to pigs at a major Smithfield supplier in North Carolina was run by FoxNews yesterday. How many more videos like this one (viewer discretion advised) will have to surface before human beings put down their pork chops and call this industry on the carpet? If you've had enough, please visit GoVeg.Com and write an e-letter to Smithfield.

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