vegansaurus!

12/21/2010

GIVE! Vegansaurus’ favorite charitable organizations  »

Your Vegansaurus loves giving! Especially with the internet, it is as easy to give money to an organization doing awesome work that you can’t do as it is to buy a bunch of hot-stuff underpants (for example. Nothing’s on my mind!), and really, do you need fancy new things more than people need to learn to read, or elderly animals need rescue and support? OF COURSE NOT, YOU MONSTERS.

In between the Christmas-present-buying and cookie-inhaling, let’s get spirit-of-the-season-y and donate to some extremely worthy charities. Charities don’t care whether you celebrate a religious holiday in December! They want your money, maybe your time, nothing else. So, as we finally put an end to 2010, annus horribilis, Vegansaurus offers you a short list of charities we especially love.

We each chose one local and one inter/national group, which was difficult! They all accept monetary donations online; all you have to do is choose an amount and your method of payment, and BAM, you’ve helped. Give $10, give $100, whatever you can—it’s so easy and so wonderful, and it makes you feel like $10 million.

Brianna Kaufman
My mom is on the board of directors for this wonderful organization called Haven Hills that provides immediate shelter for victims of domestic violence as well as longer-term transitional housing programs, a 24-hour hotline, counseling, etc. It’s something that both my mother and I really believe in, and since the financial crisis the organization has been struggling a lot and unfortunately might have to cut back on some services.  It’s located in Los Angeles. Donate here.

In Defense of Animals is an animal welfare advocacy organization that campaigns against animal cruelty worldwide. One of their causes that is especially close to my heart is their marine conservation campaign against the senseless dolphin slaughter in Japan. You may recognize this conservationist effort as the impetus behind the “controversial”/mind-blowing movie The Cove. Currently, all donations up to $100,00 made here will be matched. Otherwise, donate here.

Jonas Madden-Connor
Rocket Dog Rescue is where Hazel’s from and Laura is vice president and so I love them. It’s a fine and venerable institution and the dogs! They are cute! Donate here.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition helps make biking in the city safer and more accessible. Bikes and veganism go together like Laura and beauty [Ed.: they’re always like this!]. Donate here.

Jordan Pattern
Home At Last Animal Rescue is a local animal-rescue that rescues animals from shelters where they’re likely to be euthanized. That means that they have a lot of older animals or ones with behavior problems. My husband and I adopted our dear problem cat, Lucy, from Home At Last, and they were a pleasure to work with. Lucy, who is so shy she spent her first month with us hiding under our bathtub, only emerging when we were asleep, needed someone to advocate for her and make sure she got a loving home, and Home At Last did that for her. I know I’m grateful! Donate here.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund do great work. They are a group of lawyers, legal professionals, law students, and volunteers who use the law to improve animals’—and animal activists’—lives. Some examples of the good work the ALDF has done includes filing a petition to prevent the permit renewal of a truck stop that kept a live tiger in inhumane conditions; filing a suit against BP to prevent the burning of live sea turtles as part of the BP spill clean-up efforts; petitioning the Department of Transportation to require airlines to report on the deaths of companion animals who fly as cargo; providing scholarships and internship opportunities to law students interested in animal law; and filing countless legal briefs in cases involving animal cruelty or the unfair prosecution of animal rights activists. Donate here.

Laura Beck
The Southern Poverty Law Center basically uses legal jujitsu to fight for everything good and against everything bad, and are super effective. basically, they go into areas where it’s still all mississippi burning (figuratively and literally) and attempt to set shit straight. Also, they’re matching donations up to $800,000 through the end of the year, so do it up! Donate here.

There are lots of really great rescued farm animal sanctuaries to choose from but this year, Harvest Home Sanctuary will get my dough. They’re superheroes; I can’t believe how much they do with so little. Plus, it’s in Stockton, so it’s close enough to visit and cuddle those cute-ass animals! Donate here.

Maria Diaz
The Women’s Community Clinic in San Francisco offers what is perhaps the Holy Grail: free health care for uninsured women delivered by a team of fantastic female practitioners. They focus on gynecological health but also have acupuncture and counseling for you hippies and sad girls. Donate here.

I know there’s controversy about micro-loans, but personally I think it’s a great idea and I love lending money to small businesses in developing nations through Kiva. It takes a very small amount to become a lender—the minimum is $25—and it’s so rewarding to get reports of how the business is doing. Some vegan suggestions: A Cambodian lady grows soybeans and produces tofu; an Ecuadorean man grows cocoa beans; a Lebanese man runs a coffee shop; a group of eight Ugandan people sell bananas. Find a partner here.

Meave Gallagher
I nominate Save A Bunny: you know I love a bun! They’re local, so their ambassadors get to go to all the awesome events, like VegFest, which is where I petted my first rabbit. Like cats and dogs, rabbits have unique personalities and make wonderful companion animals; like cats and dogs, rabbits are very frequently impulse-bought and quickly abandoned, making them the third most frequently euthanized animals at shelters. SaveABunny rescues rabbits from death rows all over the Bay and places them in loving homes. If you can’t adopt me a bunny for Christmas, help out some of their biggest supporters. Donate here.

Room to Read works in developing countries—so far, seven countries in Southeast Asia, and two in southern Africa—to establish libraries, and publish children’s books by local writers and illustrators in their local languages. They build schools, and focus especially on helping girls successfully complete secondary education. Vegansaurus: we love animals, food, and literacy. Reading is the best! And all kids deserve access to great books. Donate Here.

My ma gives to Opportunity House; she likes that it offers homeless people in her town both shelter and the chance to change their lives. Donate here.

Megan Rascal
Founded in SF in 2002 by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia (the name AND the address!) is a nonprofit program that helps kids with writing! Writing is very important! Plus, San Francisco’s 826, the OG, has a Pirate Supply Store! ARRRR you paying with cash or credit? (Ha!) I know 826 is super-awesome because it is my friend Lizzy’s favorite charity and Lizzy is a genius and probably our future ambassador to China. I wish I was kidding! Lizzy, come home! The program has proven very popular and now there are 826s in eight different cites, so we can donate on the national level, or locally in San Francisco and New York.

I like Born Free USA because I HATE circuses and I LOVE elephants! The circus abuses elephants who are the super-sweetest, awesomest animals ever. They are family animals but the circus takes the babies when they are just two years old; in the wild, they aren’t even weaned until they’re four to six years old, but the younger they are, the easier they are to bully and beat into submission. You can read more about how great elephants are and how they shouldn’t be held in captivity in my previous posts here, here and here. Donate to the elephant defense fund or the organization in general; I’ll be happy with either!

We give money out of love, guilt, hope, terror, habit—not for recognition or praise, of course. We love you if you give $1 to one place, $50 to all of these organizations, and if you’re just too broke, send this link to all your friends and family with money to spare. Add your own favorite charities to this list in the comments! Thank you for being caring, thoughtful activists. We’d cover all of you with baby animals and delicious vegan baked goods if we could. And kisses, big wet grateful kisses. Happy winter holidays, everyone!

[photo by Lawrence OP!]

07/27/2010

Animal-free circuses don’t blow!  »

I recently wrote a lil’ rant about how much I hate circuses and I damn near broke Vegansaur Steve’s heart! As he points out:

It really sucks that “circus” automatically makes people think of animals, because there’s a lot of really great circus performance here in SF (along with Circus Center if you want to become a circus freak yourself) and none of it has anything to do with animals.

He’s right, there are some great animal-free circuses! And like he mentions, some animal-free circus schools too. The SPCA, Humane Society, PETA, and Born Free USA all have lists of animal-free circuses! Like Steve mentioned, in San Francisco there’s the Circus Center, where you can take classes and be a clown! There’s also a drop-in trapeze class. A DROP-IN TRAPEZE CLASS! I assume there’s a prerequisite but still, you can roll up and be like, “I wanna fly, motherfuckers!” The Circus Center is also home to the New Pickle Circus, formerly the Pickle Family Circus, founded in San Francisco in 1974. Bonus: The Circus Center is having some sort of showcase at the end of August! You should totally go and send me pictures!

There are also some smaller circus acts in the area that can be hired for fundraisers and other events like The Earth Circus in Half Moon Bay. There’s another one based out of 522 Haight St., Circus Finelli. I love this description from PETA: “Four unruly women clowns present a Slavic, slapstick cabaret with daring comedy and dangerous cutlery.” There are more schools too, like Trapeze Arts and the Kinetic Arts Center, both in Oakland. More proof Oakland is full of circus freaks. Just kidding! No I’m not!

[flyer from The Circus Center’s website]

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