New Jersey Vegfest
A sold out festival on behalf of the vegan message?
This packed event, held at the Morristown, New Jersey Hyatt Hotel on October 2nd, 2016, was a reminder to me that this movement is far from a fad…it’s a real turning away from society’s thoughtless use and abuse of animals to a culture of mercy and respect for other creatures.
This gives me great hope in where we’re heading with regards to animal rights.
It also showcased delicious food and drink, and medical doctors spoke of how illnesses are often reversed and cured by a plant-based diet (no news to me, but no doubt still news to many).
And there were film screenings that were so moving and inspiring they couldn’t help but turn heads and hearts towards this powerful message.
In one film (Vegan Every Day Stories) a woman spoke of her experience filming inside a slaughterhouse and her description of the suffering and horror there had me fighting back tears–there wasn’t a sound in the room as she recounted her story and the unthinkable cruelty she found there.
She told of watching cows having their limbs hacked off while still fully conscious and aware, being skinned alive and choking to death on their own blood, and of her bonding with one beautiful pure white cow who pleaded with her to rescue her from her terrible fate, which she couldn’t do.
I’ve known for decades how miserable and cruel slaughterhouses are, but I was once again traumatized and haunted by the firsthand story, and I had a hard time sleeping last night.
But I do my best to focus on the hope and the inspiration in the many stories of people awakening to a new way of living, including the profile of a Texan woman who made sure her husband’s several generation beef cattle ranch was turned into a cattle sanctuary (Rowdy Girl Sanctuary). I was aware of Renee King from Facebook, having helped support her dream of creating a safe haven for the cows she came to love.
In fact, while watching the film, I was reminded of how long I’ve been involved in the movement when I recognized most of the people profiled, but there were some people, like the South American man who had been a troubled youth struggling with a drug addiction and other destructive behaviors, who were new to me and gave me even more hope for this movement: he became an amazing vegan athlete and someone who wasn’t afraid to tell his macho fellow countrymen (who mocked him) that he “went vegan for the animals”!
Check out this powerful film:
One of the speakers at the event, Liz Dee of Smarties Candy Company & Baleine & Bjorn Capital LLC (yes, smarties are vegan haha), talked about how big money is turning towards investment in the vegan food sector, not because they care about human health or animal well being, but because there is profit to be made!
This might have been the best news of the entire event, because, as my dear dad used to say, if you want to know what’s really going on in the world, “follow the money”. 🙂
P.S. The volunteers at the event were all a delight, and it’s always interesting to me to hear of the stories behind how and why they became vegan…this man, Phillip Langer, was a perfect example of the fact that it’s never too late to become a champion for animals, your health, and the planet:
“I’m officially signed up as a volunteer working the mid-morning shift at the Vegfest. I’m an 18 month Vegan for life. At the Climate March in NYC in September of 2014, a friend brought my attention to veganism and the affect of animal agriculture on our environment. A few months later I saw the first twenty minutes of Earthlings and was instantly vegan.
I have and will continue to support vegan businesses and promote the healthiest lifestyle for ourselves, our animal friends, and the environment. I’m a regular at Skylands Sanctuary and visit my local vegan restaurants along the Jersey Shore and in NYC. I was a volunteer coordinator at Garden State Greenfest a few years ago and handled Q & A and microphones for Ed Begley Jr., Phil Radford of Greenpeace and singer/songwriter Tom Chapin. I have thirty years of business management experience and will help in whatever capacity I can be helpful. I recently attended The Vegan Beer and Foodfest at the Rose Bowl and am sure we’ll have a similarly happy, hungry, smiling, empathetic and loving crowd. Whatever help I can provide, I will.”