Tomorrow: Poplar Spring Thanksgiving with the Turkeys

This Saturday is the annual Poplar Spring Thanksgiving with the Turkeys.  It’s a gigantic vegan potluck with hundreds of attendees.  And, of course, the turkeys get their fair shake at this celebration, eating first on tables covered with grapes and other snacks.  They’re even nice about it and let the chickens join in on the fun.

If you’re in the DC/MD area, try to make it.  It’s a mere $10 suggested donation (kids under 16 are free).  And, of course, bring a vegan dish to share!

Poplar Spring Thanksgiving with the Turkeys
November 22, 2008, noon-4pm
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Poplar Spring Thanksgiving with the Turkeys 2006

Poplar Spring on NBC4

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NBC4 in Washington, DC is featuring a really nice video featuring Poplar Spring sanctuary.  It’s primarily a review of Karen Dawn’s new book Thanking the Monkey (Really?  That’s the title?  And with a peeled banana on the front cover?), but it’s shot at Poplar Spring and features some great footage of the animals.  I thought the tone of this piece was particularly noteworthy, especially in contrast to the local FOX affiliates’s patronizing animal feature last month.  The NBC 4 piece doesn’t attempt any goofy wordplay, respectfully presents the issues, and even makes mention that “cage-free doesn’t mean cruelty-free.”

Of course, the sole comment on the story is completely trollish:

(August 12, 2008 11:32 PM)

What a waste. Those animals could feed homeless people and other hungry humans. These animal "rights" activists should be ashamed of themselves. There’s a place in this world for ALL of God’s creatures — right next to the beans and mashed potatoes.

I submitted a reply, which hasn’t been approved yet:

You know what else could be used to feed homeless people and other hungry humans?  Money spent on pointless wars.

Compassion for animals and compassion for humans aren’t mutually exclusive.

I know, I know, don’t feed the trolls.  And the “pointless war” thing is kind of played out, but at its most basic level, it’s still true, no?

In addition, the station’s blog entry received its own trollish comment:

Alexandria, VA

I can’t believe that in this day and age some people are still working for the “rights” of animals. My goodness — have they run out of CONSTRUCTIVE things to do? Next thing you know they’ll want legal rights for potted plants. This is what happens when overprivileged brats lose focus in life and forgot what’s truly important: watching out for the welfare of PEOPLE.

I replied to this one as well:

It’s always funny to me how people like Adam seem to assume that a person’s belief in animal rights somehow means they’re anti-human. Animal rights and human rights are inextricably connected, as they recognize (rather than ignore or capitalize on) the suffering of “the other.”

I’ve found that those that accuse others of “wasting” time on “unconstructive” things like animal rights really aren’t doing much of anything to advance any cause other than their desire to hear themselves talk.

Anyway, I’m happy to see Poplar Spring get such good coverage on local news.  And it sounds like Karen Dawn’s book has that Skinny Bitch mainstream appeal that will get new people thinking and talking about animal issues.

(For those in the DC area, two dates to mark on your calendars: First, on Monday August 18 from 5-8:30pm, Karen Dawn will be doing a signing for her book at the sanctuary. Then, on Sunday August 31, Great Sage restaurant will be donating 10% of the day’s profits to the sanctuary.  Go get some tasty eats and support the farm.)

Poplar Spring Video

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Thanks to Deb for mentioning this great video shot at Poplar Spring last year. It definitely catches the essence of what I love about the farm:

Farm animal sanctuaries

Since I became vegetarian nearly three-and-a-half years ago, I’ve done as much as I can to learn about my diet and its affect on animals, the environment, and my health. I feel like I’ve gotten to a pretty good point where I’m “nearly vegan” and though that’s good, I wanted to contribute even more directly to animal welfare in a way that wasn’t as self-focused. A few months ago, I started to volunteer at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. I’m still just a beginner when it comes to farm work, but I’ve learned so much from Terry, Dave, and all the great volunteers and employees at Poplar Spring. I’ve learned the best way to carry a lamb, how best to pick up a piglet, what can happen if horses and mules eat too much grass during the springtime, and why young pigs need suntan lotion. I’ve also seen first hand how farm animals have very individual personalities, just like dogs and cats, which has deepened my resolve for being vegetarian.

It’s certainly not the most glamorous work in the world, but I look forward to it each and every time I go. It’s very rewarding to know I’m directly affecting animals that have been victims of the pain, torture, and neglect associated with food production, ritual sacrifice, and even animal hoarding. Something I’ve found is that not many people realize that sanctuaries for farm animals even exist. Heck, I didn’t know until a couple of years ago. And with Poplar Spring, I was living within 40 minutes of it for three-and-a-half years before I stumbled upon it by accident through the VegDC site.

I did a little searching and couldn’t come across a single good resource for finding out about farm sanctuaries, so I’m going to begin work on a directory and can use your help. Please comment here or contact me if you know of any farm sanctuaries in your area or would like to help on the technical side of building the directory. I think that being able to spend time with farm animals really helps put a face on food and is something that every ethical vegetarian should attempt to do at some point in their journey.

(If you’d like to see some pictures I’ve taken at Poplar Spring, see the two photo galleries on my personal site. And, of course, don’t forget the feature article here about the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY.)