Emotional day 2 at Portland VegFest

Standard

Read about Inspiring day 1 at Portland VegFest

Day 2 at Portland VegFest

Got home about an hour ago, caught up with hubby, loved on all of the animals, and unpacked. Really need to get a good night’s sleep before work tomorrow.

Today was another whirlwind of activity. Even though we knew it would make us late to the first session, we started out with a fantastic vegan brunch at Sweatpea. The biscuits and gravy were fantastic, mostly due to the tall, fluffy, and buttery biscuits, which were equally good with the berry topping. It was crowded, so we had to squeeze in at a table with strangers, which led to some interesting {if at times awkward} conversation.

We then caught the latter half of a presentation by Richard Heitsch, MD—he’s a northwest vegan doctor and I really liked his style. I then ran back to the hotel to check out, and back to the conference just in time to sit in on Juliette West’s screening of the documentary in progress, How I became an Elephant. Juliette, who was 14 when filming the documentary and I think is now 15, traveled to Thailand to help expose the tortures that captive elephants undergo there. Even the “rough-cut” we viewed was very upsetting and I was trying not to sob in this room full of 100s of people, seeing how those poor elephants were beaten, the babies taken from their mothers and “broken,” many many elephants exhibiting stereotypical behaviors and post traumatic stress. It’s a powerful documentary which will help expose these practices to the world. We sat down with Juliette for a few minutes afterwards and recorded an interview, which I’m sure will appear in an upcoming show.

I describe today as an emotional day, because I already had the upsetting picture of that poor little monkey in my head from the rescue video yesterday, whose eyes had been roughly sewn shut shortly after birth, and equipment either implanted into or strapped onto his head that played deafening sounds 24 hours a day. The poor little thing had never had any affection, and as they were cradling it in their hands it was sucking its fingers just like a human baby. I’m so sad and angry that this senseless torture happens in our university medical labs. And it’s so discouraging to see that on the other side of the world another type of torture against helpless baby elephants and enslaved adults is happening.

Coincidentally, or maybe not, a protest against the circus had been going on for days at the arena only a few blocks away. Those elephants and other circus animals don’t have it any better than the Thai elephants. We skipped some of the conference (including a couple of talks I was looking forward to) to go help with the protest for a few hours. It was a great experience and helped to channel the hopelessness I was feeling into action. By the time we got back, we’d missed the last session as well, but I had some time to go through most of the rest of the exhibit hall.

All in all, a great VegFest. I met so many new caring, compassionate people from different advocacy groups that I hadn’t known of or been in touch with before. I really feel like I’m making some worthwhile and maybe lifelong connections.

Advertisements