by Barbara DeGrande
It has been two years since the idea for Animal Rights & Rescue originated. It was my 63rd birthday when I decided to see if there were any other vegan activists out there that might want to leaflet with me. Six months seemed like a reasonable amount of time to test the waters, so I began a Meetup group, paid the first six months of fees, and waited to see what might happen. I was fully prepared to close it down if no one joined but decided it was worth the effort to see who might come aboard.
To my surprise, a dozen people signed up for our very first meetup – and then not a single person showed up due a light snow in the morning. But it at least indicated there might be others who shared a concern for animals in the north Texas area, so we tried again. That first meeting had only four people, but three of them are still aboard. We recently passed 100 members on our Meetup site and plan to expand over the coming years.
Here is what we have done so far:
Calendar Year 2012
12/29/12 Planned, Vegan Cooking Class and Lasagna Dinner
November: Planned, Serenity Springs work party/potluck
11/6/2012 Second Anniversary ARRNT
11/3/2012 2nd Anniversary / World Vegan Month celebration Loving Hut
11/1/2012 World Vegan Day at UTA
10/21/2012 Texas State Veggie Fair
10/2/2012 World Day for Farm Animals at UTA
9/2/2012 Papaya Garden Vegan Buffet
8/19/2012 Peaceable Kingdom and Ice Cream Social
8/4/2012 Loving Hut 4 pm
7/21/2012 Meetup at Spiral Diner in Dallas
7/11/2012 Employee Health Fair / Medco
7/7/2012 Meetup at Loving Hut, reopened
6/28/2012 Green Day Employee Health Fair / Medco
6/17/2012 Potluck and One Lucky Elephant Film Viewing and Outreach
6/12/2012 Leafleting Compassionate Choices at El Centro College cancelled by MFA
6/2/2012 Last Chance for Loving Hut Meetup and Red Letter Day for Dolphins
5/5/2012 Cinco de Mayo Mexican Potluck and My Life As A Turkey Film Viewing
4/22/2012 Earth Day in Oak Cliff
3/20/2012 Meatout with Vegan Club at UTA
3/3/2012 Garage Sale Benefit
2/26/2012 Vegan Support for Occupy House (cancelled by Occupy House)
2/3/2012 Loving Hut Kick Off Meeting
Calendar Year 2011
12/10/11 Loving Hut meetup
11/5/2011 Film Viewing and Discussion
10/29/2011 Disaster Training, Red Rover, North Richland Hills
10/23/2011 Veggie State Fair
10/01/2011 Leafleting at Krogers in Arlington
9/10/2011 Garage Sale Benefit
8/21/2011 Loving Hut Meetup
7/23/2011 Leafleting at Central Market
6/5/2011 Potluck and Planning Meeting
5/15/2011 Vegan Luncheon and Will Tuttle Workshop
5/7/2011 Garage Sale Benefit
4/3/2011 Loving Hut Meetup
3/13/2011 Metroplex Animal Coalition Adoption Event
2/20/2011 Kick Off Meeting, Take Two
1/09/2011 Kick Off Meeting
11/6/2010 Opened Meetup group – Animal Rights & Rescue of North Texas
At the two year mark, we have not only survived — we are growing stronger. In the past month alone, we participated in three tabling events. We have collaborated with many other groups including: Vegan Club UTA, Metroplex Animal Coalition, Occupy Dallas, Mercy for Animals, Farm Animal Reform Movement. We recently connected with several other groups and plan to work with Animal Connection of Texas and Animal Rescue Corps over the next year.
The impact we may have in the north Texas area and beyond is limited only by the energy of those who care enough to step forward. If you are an ARRNT member, thank you for joining forces with us. If you follow us, thank you for your interest. We would not have made it without you!
We recently had an explanation of our group, our commitments, reasons to go vegan, and a list of online resources printed up in halfsheet form for distributing throughout the community. Here is what our promotional sheets say:
We view animals as fellow earthlings and are working to educate others about our amazing neighbors on this planet, to increase respect and understanding between all living beings, and to be advocates for peace and justice.
- Maintain an attitude of respect for all forms of life, regardless of species.
- Maintain respect for the rights of animals to live their own lives and not to be exploited. As such, we support the abolition of animal exploitation rather than the regulation of exploitation.
- Maintain veganism as the baseline for protecting animals from exploitation. By providing creative vegan education, we hope to teach respect towards all animals.
- Maintain an attitude of non-violence and peace in our relations with others, whether human or non-human animals.
- Maintain an anti-oppression stance, since we know that all oppression is interrelated.
- Maintain a group that supports the lives of local animals through rescue trainings; shelter, sanctuary, wildlife, and habitat support; and community education and outreach.
HUNGER: A plant-based diet requires less resources and would help feed the world’s starving people.
POLLUTION: Raising livestock destroys our waterways, pollutes the soil and air, and diminishes our quality of life.
DISEASE: Eating animals has been linked to degenerative diseases such as heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
VIOLENCE: The extreme cruelty and violence that is inherent in using animals damages the human spirit and increases violence in the world.
What You Can Do!
- Adopt a vegan lifestyle. This will prevent thousands of animals from lives of suffering.
- Avoid the circus, rodeo, zoo, or aquarium for entertainment. Many animals are subjected to horrible lives of confinement and premature death for our momentary pleasure.
- Adopt, do not buy, if you want to live with an animal. Avoid support for animal breeding while animals are dying in shelters.
- Volunteer at your local shelter and encourage them to adopt the No Kill philosophy.
- Make certain you have made disaster plans for any animals living with or near you.
- Help us to spread the word!
Or contact us by email: ARRNTx@gmail.com. We are also on Facebook, Twitter (@ARRNorthTexas) and maintain a blog on the web (ARRNT.com).
I was recently interviewed on OHNR by Dr. Roger Yates of Dublin. Dr. Yates has been one of the vegan pioneers and a mentor to me, helping me learn many things about animal rights. I felt honored to be on an OHNR podcast and was pleased to be able to highlight ARRNT and our work in educating others to respect and understand all animals.
Here is the podcast.
Dr. Yates is the former Press Officer for an animal liberation organization and brought up the important point of promoting our group. Dr. Yates is a true vegan pioneer and has much to teach us all about avoiding burnout and staying in the game.
While we went online in November of 2010, our group began meeting in early 2011. We now have over sixty members supportive of our mission statement, with 165 followers on Twitter (@ARRNorthTexas) and over 250 on our Facebook page. We started this blog, started developing a Speaker’s Bureau, and began developing partnerships with other animal advocacy groups. We even took on a wager with a fellow animal rights group, St. Louis Animal Rights Team (START), who gave us a sound beating. Many of our members are also members of other advocacy groups, so we are expanding our networking for animals, too. Here are a few of the things that happened in the past year:
ARRNT in 2011
- We hosted two fundraisers and opened a non-profit bank account
- We received a grant from VegFund to help pay our Meetup dot com dues
- We registered as a non-profit DBA as ARRNT and Animal Rights & Rescue of North Texas in Tarrant County
- We purchased a banner, leaflets, business cards.
- We selected a full color logo, had tee shirts printed, and used our logo for our on-line presence
- We attended the State Veggie Fair
- We attended and helped host a luncheon and workshop given by Will Tuttle of The World Peace Diet
- We participated in two leafleting events
- We began holding Executive Committee Meetings and establishing goals
- We hosted two potlucks and three meetups at a local vegan restaurant
- We participated in rescue training in North Richland Hills
- We hosted a film showing and discussion about activism
- We contacted many businesses and governmental entities regarding our presence, met the leaders of other animal advocacy groups, and looked for possible venues for future tabling and outreach
The first two years of a new group, especially an advocacy group, are often primarily building membership and a sense of community. We have been fortunate to have many dedicated individuals on board and have already began to work towards our advocacy goals while still increasing our sphere of influence online. With a full complement of plans for the coming year, things are sure to get more exciting and productive in 2012 — stay tuned!
Our name signifies two ideas: animal rights, and animal rescue. Our purpose is to increase respect for all animals, regardless of species, in the North Texas area and to become rescue ready to help them individually in case of a natural or human-caused disaster. Most of the animals suffering and dying do so because of human-caused actions. Our lust for their flesh, skin, fur, and bodily secretions makes these vulnerable animals prey to the whims of a dominant species – us! By far, more animals are harmed, tormented, and killed for food than in any other single way. The deforestation, predator kills (such as wolves), round ups of wild horses and burros, murder of orangutans due to habitat destruction; all of these practices are exacerbated by our lust for herd animal flesh. And millions of humans are dying due to the impractical and unsustainable manner in which the bulk of humanity tries to feed itself.
Rights, Utilitarianism, and Welfarism
Often, people will cite a large animal advocacy group such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or The Humane Society of the United States when they hear the term, “animal rights,” yet neither of these groups earns the title. While PETA does use the term, they reveal they are not rightists, but rather utilitarians. HSUS is a welfare organization that is not working to liberate animals, but to reduce their suffering. They often partner with animal agriculture to improve methods of treatment of animals, but do not object to their use by humans at all.
Animal Rights and Respecting Others
What do we mean by Animal Rights? We mean respecting the rights of individual animals to life and liberty . It means acknowledging that their lives mean as much to them as ours do to us. It means not using animals for our own purposes, but respecting them for their intrinsic value. It is a contract between human beings about how we view our relationship and responsibility to vulnerable others. Recent research continues to illluminate the complexity of animal intelligence, sentience, social relationships, empathy, and moral judgement. Whether or not they look like us or we are able to understand their way of communication and expression, other animals are part of the same world to which we humans belong. Respecting other animals only leads to a better, more harmonious life for all living things.
Who Shall We Rescue?
Someone asked, when our group was brand new, who we wanted to rescue? It is a good question, with a very big answer: we want to rescue ALL animals from the attitude of speciesism in which they are dominated and exploited. But our name refers to local disaster rescue as well as towards a commitment to educate our community to connect the dots — all exploitation is related. Our primary task is education in order to save animal lives and further respect and understanding between all species. We want to be rescue ready for hands-on help for often-forgotten animals as well as to have a community presence educating the public about the inherent worth of animals and the significance of veganism. If you have not already, please join us!