Pasadena Humane Society & PSCA "Stand Up for Animals" (Photo - Staff).

      Pasadena Humane Society & PSCA “Stand Up for Animals” (Photo – Staff).

      Apparently the Pasadena Humane Society, the ASPCA and The Stand don’t think of cows, pigs, and chickens as animals.

      By Susan Campisi

      Or at least that’s the impression one gets from the mislabeled “Stand Up for Animals,” a one-day opportunity to eat Three-Pig Sausage, Mama Meatball (made from cow and pig), Buffalo Chicken, or anything else from The Stand’s menu (on S. El Molino Ave.), heavy on animal-based foods, and have 30% of the proceeds donated to PHS and ASPCA. The event speaks to the way many self-identified animal lovers put on blinders to the suffering endured by the billions of animals raised and slaughtered for food every year.

      I wore those blinders for many years

      I understand this cognitive dissonance. I wore those blinders myself for many years. When I adopted my cat Ramona from PHS in 2006, I was a meat eater. I continued to consume animal products as I took in more rescues, including two pit bulls. While caring for these much-maligned dogs, I learned about the cruelty they endure, subjected to dogfighting and neglectful or abusive owners, and became more attuned to animal suffering. Still, I ate meat—and dairy and eggs. It wasn’t until I became aware of ranchers trapping and shooting wolves to allegedly protect their herds that I committed to a meat-free diet. As a wildlife lover, I couldn’t support an industry that killed wild animals or forced them off their land.

      So began my journey to a vegan diet, as gradually I peeled away the blinders that kept me from seeing the suffering of farmed animals. At a backyard birthday party in conversation with a woman who was vegan, I mentioned I’d sworn off meat but still ate dairy. “Dairy is the worst,” she said. I didn’t push for details—not ready to learn the truth I guess—and she didn’t push them on me. But the seed was planted.

      An all-inclusive organization…

      I called PHS last week and asked the Director of Special Events, Rafael Hernandez, why PHS didn’t partner with one of the many vegan-friendly restaurants in Pasadena. He said institutions reach out to them wanting to fundraise, and PHS, as an all-inclusive organization, doesn’t discriminate against establishments that aren’t vegan.

      When judgment creeps into my psyche, I recall my own resistance to the horrifying reality of factory farms until I couldn’t live with the cognitive dissonance—of being an animal lover who contributed to their suffering—any longer.

      Pigs, more intelligent than dogs, trapped in gestation crates; calves on dairy farms torn from their mothers within days of their birth; baby chicks discarded in meat grinders. The truth is, animals endure a life –if you can call it that- of immense suffering on factory farms, not to mention the devastating effects animal agriculture has on the planet.

      How did I ignore the facts for so long? To answer that requires a much longer exploration. Now I only hope the animal lovers at Pasadena Humane Society, the ASPCA and The Stand reflect for a moment on those sentient beings suffering in our country’s deplorable agriculture industry and take steps to stand up for them, too. Consider the seed planted.

      > Want to really Stand Up for Animals?
      Visit the Gentle Barn to fall in love with a cow, pig or chicken. Learn more about how to help animals suffering on factory farms from ASPCA & PETA.

      Susan Campisi is a writer, activist, and UX designer. An animal lover and zero-waste advocate.

      [The article has been updated to add a link – June 13, 2018 11:59 a.m.]


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      1. Patti Nyman says:

        Animal Place’s Food for Thought program works with shelters to help them adopt animal-friendly menu policies for events. We even offer grants for groups that adopt policies and to help host their first vegan event! We have lots of helpful resources like a guide to hosting your first veg event, menu planning ideas, a catering directory, and how to get vegan product donations. We’d love to see Pasadena Humane align their menu with their mission!

      2. Rev. Tera Klein says:

        Susan, thank you for your article, reminding us that support Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA is a good thing, yet we do not want to unintentionally contribute to harming more animals through that support.

        I hope they see this as a calling in to live more in alignment with their own mission, which is stated on their website: Compassion and care for all animals.

      3. M. Valencia says:

        Well said! Thank you to the author Susan Campisi for this articulate, insightful and compassionate piece. And thank you Colorado Boulevard for educating your readers by publishing this piece.

      4. Will Owen says:

        While I understand the apparent conflict between those who refuse to eat animals and a PHS event at which meat is served, we should remember that most of the animals at the shelter are carnivorous, and that many nutrients vital to their needs cannot be obtained from purely vegetable sources. So “standing up for animals” necessarily includes allowing some others to be killed, at least until an economically viable way to convert plant sources to keep all those cats and dogs healthy and happy is invented.

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