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Animal Rights Activist Turns 95

December 20, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Natasha Brenner, a NYC-based animal rights activist, turned 95 on December 16th, and, apart from a few aches and pains, she is a picture of health. Ms. Brenner, a vegetarian since 1992 and vegan since 2012, attributes her longevity to meditation and her plant-based diet. “It was very hard to give up cheese, but my consciousness was raised. It’s just very satisfying to know that you’re not hurting, killing or injuring an animal.”

During her career, Ms. Brenner worked in copy editing, public relations and real estate investing. In recent years, however, she has dedicated herself exclusively to animal rights. Over the past decade, Ms. Brenner and her husband Noah, who died in 2014, participated in weekly protests and rallies to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets of midtown Manhattan.

Natasha Brenner educates tourists about the cruelty of NYC’s horse-drawn carriage trade.

While her participation in the street protests has declined in the past two years, she continues to be advocate online. “I’m on the computer every day doing animal actions and petitions.”

Animal rights activist Natasha Brenner turns 95

While Brenner admits that she is “amazed” that she is “still here,” her friends and family are not at all surprised. “She’s as sharp today as the day I met her five years ago,” said Mickey Kramer, a friend of Brenner, who is a mere 48 years younger. “And you should see her play ping pong… amazing.”

Animal rights activist Natasha Brenner celebrates her 95th birthday with friends and family

When asked what she wants for her birthday, Brenner took a bite of her mango chick’n and said, “for all animals to be treated with respect and kindness.” And, without missing a beat, she added, “and to be six inches taller.”


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ThanksLiving Celebration

November 15, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

On November 13th, several hundred people traveled to Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in High Falls, New York for the annual ThanksLiving celebration during which guests have the privilege of feeding rescued turkeys before feasting on a four course vegan meal.

Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, a shelter for rescued cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, sheep, goats, and rabbits, gives visitors the chance to come “face-to-face with the animals they may only know as dinner and learn about the devastating effects of modern-day agribusiness on the animals, the environment and human health.”

Feeding the turkeys at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary is an annual ThanksLiving ritual

Feeding the turkeys at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary is an annual ThanksLiving ritual

Terri, a popular vegan restaurant with three locations in NYC, catered the 2016 ThanksLiving celebration and donated the food.

Main course: Butter roasted Blackbird seitan, Grandma Terri's classic stuffing, rosemary garlic whipped potatoes, Port shiitake mushroom gravy, lemon-sauteed green beans with almond slivers, citrus cranberry sauce

Main course: Butter roasted Blackbird seitan, Grandma Terri’s classic stuffing, rosemary garlic whipped potatoes, Port shiitake mushroom gravy, lemon-sauteed green beans with almond slivers, citrus cranberry sauce

Your Turn

Please visit Woodstock Farm Sanctuary to learn more about the sanctuary and how to transition to a cruelty-free diet.

2016 ThanksLiving celebration at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

2016 ThanksLiving celebration at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary


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The Yom Kippur Massacre of 2016 (VIDEO)

October 31, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Before Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, New York, partake in a sacrificial ritual called Kaporos. During Kaporos, practitioners swing a live chicken around their heads while saying a prayer to transfer their sins to the animal, who is then slaughtered. In 2016, hundreds of animal rights activists disrupted the massacre.

Slaughtering animals on public streets is illegal, as it violates 15 city and state health, sanitation and animal cruelty laws, but NYC’s elected officials and the agencies that report to them, including the NYPD and Department of Health, turn a blind eye because the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities that partake in the ritual vote in blocs. NY-based attorney Nora Constance Marino is suing the City of New York on behalf of local residents and the advocacy group The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos for failing to enforce both city and state laws.

Shimon Shuchat, who was born into the Hassidic community but has since left, encourages a Kaporos practitioner to swing coins instead of live chickens.

Shimon Shuchat, who was born into the Hasidic community but has since left, encourages a Kaporos practitioner to swing coins instead of live chickens.

Animal rights activists in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Jerusalem, cities with large populations of ultra-Orthodox Jews, are  campaigning to ban Kaporos.


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In NYC, Hundreds Stage Dramatic Memorial Service for Animals (VIDEO)

September 23, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

It was a sight that stopped hurried New Yorkers in their tracks — hundreds of people, many cradling the bodies of dead animals, staging a memorial service for the billions animals who are killed each year by humans.

Photo: Gunars Elmuts

National Animal Rights Day ceremony in NYC (Photo: Gunars Elmuts)

Established by “Our Planet. Theirs Too.” in 2011, The National Animal Rights Day (NARD), which is observed in cities in the U.S. and Canada, “gives a voice to all animals and raises awareness for their rights, until all animals are free from enslavement and their rights are established and protected by law.”

Following is a short video of the NARD memorial ceremony in NYC:

Two of the  NYC organizers, Michael Dolling and Alfre Amin, traveled on multiple occasions from NYC to live animal auctions in Pennsylvania where they collected the bodies of dead animals who had been thrown into dumpsters.

NARD organizers retrieved animal bodies at live animal auctions in New Holland, PA

NARD NYC organizers retrieved animal bodies at live animal auctions in New Holland, PA (photo: Michael Dolling)

According to Dolling, “We hold the bodies of animals because it is a powerful way to expose the truth. These animals are ghosts in the machine of animal agriculture, hidden away from the world. I found many of these animals thrown away like trash in dead piles and in dumpsters, and I believe that they deserved more then that. We clean them, hold them, love them, wrap them up and place flowers on top of them in this very respectful and beautiful ceremony. They were never shown respect in life, so it is our obligation to give them that love and respect after death. In this ceremony, they represent the billions of animals slaughtered each year who suffer and die due to human greed.”

After the ceremony, which included the reading of the Declaration of Animal Rights, singer/songwriter Vanessa Dawson debuted “Be Their Voice,” which is the song used in the video. Throughout the afternoon, other musicians and speakers took to the stage, and food vendors served plant-based fare to participants and the hundreds of onlookers in Union Square.

Vanessa Dawson debuts "Be Their Voice" at NARD (photo: Bernard Jones, Jr.)

Vanessa Dawson debuts “Be Their Voice” at NARD (photo: Bernard Jones, Jr.)

Your Turn

Please visit National Animal Rights Day for more information.


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Catskill Animal Sanctuary Hosts 15th Anniversary “Shindig” in Upstate New York

September 18, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

On September 17th, about 1,500 people traveled to upstate New York to attend Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s (CAS) annual “shindig,” a day long celebration with rescued animals, live bands, cooking demonstrations, vegan food vendors, speakers and hayrides.

According to Kathy Stevens, the founder of CAS, sanctuaries enable visitors who aren’t already vegan to “connect the dots between their lifestyle choices and the suffering of these beautiful animals.” She asserts that people must “understand that our choice to eat animals condemns countless beings to an unthinkable level of torture, fear and terror.”

Attendees bond with farm animals at Catskill Animal Sanctuary's 15th Anniversary Shindig

Attendees bond with farm animals at Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s 15th Anniversary Shindig

By inviting many vegan food vendors to the shindig, Stevens demonstrates that adopting a diet free of animals is hardly a sacrifice, given how delicious vegan food in 2016.  And while not all vegan food is health food, a plant-based diet, Stevens asserts, is better for our health and for the planet, as animal agriculture “is the primary cause of the global devastation we’re experiencing.”

catskill-animal-sanctuary-food

At least a dozen vegan food vendors lined the roads within the sanctuary.

Your Turn

Please visit Catskill Animal Sanctuary to learn more about and support the organization’s life-saving work.


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