Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Animal Activist Forum 2016 Day 1

This weekend just gone, I attended the annual Animal Activist Forum. This was my second time attending. Last year I visited Melbourne for it, but this year it was at the Gold Coast. This meant that I could drive from home each day to attend. I'm going to go through the talks that I went through, as well as the food (it was all provided!). CW: There will be some references to some distressing things, and be careful before clicking on any links. There were three talks going on at a time, so I had to pick carefully between some great speakers. I'm splitting this into two posts, though there aren't as many food photos as usual.

But to start off, some cupcakes! This beautiful array of cupcakes were available for purchase during the day, for if you needed a sugar hit. I didn't have one, but they look gorgeous.

Cupcakes at Animal Activist Forum

The first talk I attended was by Michael Webermann from FARM, speaking via Skype, on 'Moving the masses towards compassionate vegan eating'. This was a great talk (and included a surprise visit from his puppy), which included some great information on how to best attract new vegans and also how to prevent recidivism.

Then it was time for morning tea! The forum had a few sponsors providing food for us. Morning tea included Fry's nuggets, lots of fresh fruit, doughnut holes, dried fruit, soy crisps and gingernuts! Excuse the reaching hands in the first photo, vegans be hungry!

Fry's and Fruit Morning Tea at Animal Activist Forum

Morning Tea at Animal Activist Forum

My next talk was by political scientist and academic Peter Chen, and was called 'Lessons from history for animal activisits'. Peter was a very entertaining and engaging speaker. I discovered that pre-WW1, Australia had a burgeoning vegetarian and animal rights scene, that just vanished. He also discussed different campaigns from the past, and how lessons learned can inform future campaigns.

Then it was on to Chris Delforce from Aussie Farms (CW, Aussie Farms has disturbing videos). Chris is responsible for a huge amount of undercover footage coming to light of the horrific treatment that goes on in piggeries, hatcheries and other 'production animal' places. His talk was 'An update on the Aussie Farms initiative: Combating the myth that it doesn't happen here'. Too often Australians dismiss vegan concerns with 'that doesn't happen here', but the footage that Chris has managed to obtain proves that it does. He also has put together the Thousand Eyes video (CW: graphic images in video), that is used as a pay-per-view initiative all over Australia.

I have to say, I wasn't feeling too hungry after the footage in his talk. But lunch was provided, and with only 45 minutes for break it was eaten quickly! Lunch was provided by The Cardamom Pod. It included a kofta ball, some curry and rice, and a tofu and spinach salad. The curry was a bit on the spicy side, so thankfully they had soy milk out on the tea and coffee stations to help cool us down!

Cardamom Pod Lunch at Animal Activist Forum

The first talk after lunch was 'David vs. Goliath: The story of SAFE's campaign against NZ's sacred cow of dairy' by Mandy Carter (from SAFE). I didn't realise that dairy was such a major industry in New Zealand, nor that they export their milk all over the world. The campaign run by SAFE (including undercover footage collected by Farm Watch) has threatened the industry so much that they are trying to revoke their charity status.

The next talk was titled 'Sustainable Activism: Developing resilience of heart and mind (meditation for vegan activists)', by Tamasin Ramsay. Self care and prevention of burn out is so important in the activist community, so I was really hoping that this would be a helpful talk. Unfortunately it was mostly a tale about Tamasin's life, which was interesting but not really practical. It did end with a short meditation.

Afternoon tea was a selection of sweet things! More doughnut holes, chocolate chip cookies and Leda's choculence (aka vegan Tim Tams). Nothing like an afternoon sugar rush!

Afternoon Tea at Animal Activist Forum

The final talk of the day that I went to was by Anna Ludvik and called 'Domestic violence and animal abuse - International perspectives and intersectionality'. Anna is the founder of Lucy's Project, a foundation that aims to help human and animal victims of domestic violence by encouraging safe shelters for both people and animals. Keeping families together, and hopefully preventing people from feeling like they cannot leave an abusive situation because there is nowhere safe for their animals.

The first day was harrowing, though very thought provoking. To sustain me on the drive to Brisbane, I stopped by Kuan Yin Tea House in Southport and picked up a Taro Soy Milk Bubble Tea... aka cookie drink!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Sahara spent all evening yesterday tucked up in the pink fluffy bed. I had to go and get her out of it to take her up to proper bed!


  1. Sahara is so sweet in her little bed! The pink really suits her!

    1. It's actually Dim Sim's bed, but Sahara is a naughty bed stealer. ;)

  2. Lots of tough topics! But thank goddess for all those sweets!

    1. Was great that they provided the food! Though nothing can live up to the VVC food!!!

  3. This sounds like a really interesting event with good variety of topics. Look forward to hearing about day 2!

    1. There were other talks I wish I could have gone to, but had to choose. But a great spread, though would have liked a bit more on intersectionality.

  4. What a fantastic event, the talks sound great and the food looks brilliant.

    1. I'm really glad that we have something like this here in Australia.

  5. How on earth did you not have a cupcake???
    Surprise puppy visits sound pretty great =)
    It sounds like a good forum. Good talks and good food. I really admire you for going to the talks, I find those types of talks really hard to listen to. I feel like as I'm already vegan, I don't really need to keep educated and hear about the difficult things, but I know that's not true...

    1. They were there so early in the morning, I couldn't face one. And then I had so much other food, I was too full. To be honest... I am a little over cupcakes... *gasp*