Animal Rights Collective Blog


Volunteer Day & Tour @ Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary by christine

Join us and Compassion for Animals as we volunteer to help care for the rescued animals at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary.

VOLUNTEER…ENJOY A PICNIC LUNCH…MEET THE ANIMALS…

or all of the above!

Sunday August 28, 2011

Compassion for Animals is organizing a combination “volunteer day” and guided tour at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. Please sign up for either event or both by RSVPing to info@compassion4animals.org.

Volunteering starts at 9am, and the tour starts at 1pm; there will be a lunch break in the middle. The tour can accommodate up to 40 people—bring your friends! Details below.

We’re especially interested in attracting people who have never been to this wonderful, peaceful place—but anyone can sign up!

Poplar Spring is a 400-acre oasis near Poolesville, Maryland, about 45 minutes from DC. The residents of Poplar Spring are 200 “farm animals” rescued from abuse, neglect, abandonment, and cruelty. Their stories are often heartbreaking, but their resilience and recovery—and the compassion they’ve received from caring humans—is inspiring.

Come meet the chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits, and other animals who live freely at Poplar Spring. You may be amazed at some of their personalities.

Volunteers:

There are lots of chores to be done at the sanctuary, and on the weekends they’re done by volunteers. We’ll spread hay, clean barns, refill water bowls, brush horses, and—yes—shovel poop. It usually takes about three hours to get all the tasks done.

Volunteers may want to bring an extra pair of shoes and socks, and maybe an extra shirt, as well as a pair of work or gardening gloves. You may also want to bring some water, although you can buy bottled water at the sanctuary.

Although we’ve helped out at Poplar Spring for years and have never seen any accidents, and you’ll be led by experienced, safety-conscious sanctuary directors and volunteers, the sanctuary does ask that first-time volunteers fill out this volunteer application form AND waiver form (both are necessary); you can either mail them back to Poplar Spring or bring them with you when you show up. The work is not particularly strenuous; it is more like house-cleaning than aerobics. Volunteers on any given day may range from teenagers to those drawing Social Security; you can participate at your own pace. The environment at Poplar Spring is very friendly and supportive. Volunteers under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

You’ll likely get a chance to rub a pig’s belly, hold a chicken, and pet turkeys, goats, and other animals. Very cool stuff. But please do so under supervision, as the long-time volunteers and sanctuary directors will have useful tips and will know which animals like (or do not like) that sort of interaction. If you’ll also be taking the tour, there will also be opportunities to interact with the animals then.

Note: We have to limit the number of volunteers for sanctuary chores to about 10, so it’s important that you RSVP.

Lunch:

People volunteering or taking the tour are invited to bring a vegan (no animal ingredients) picnic lunch. We’ll eat lunch from the time we finish the morning chores until 1 pm. Compassion for Animals will bring some vegan food to share, including desserts. There are picnic tables, as well as wash-up facilities and a place to buy water and iced tea on the grounds. So here’s the schedule:

9 AM-noon — Sanctuary Cleanup

Noon-1 PM — Lunch

1-2PM — Guided Tour

.

Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary

15200 Mt. Nebo Rd.

Poolesville, Maryland 20837

[map and directions]

When you arrive, open the gate to drive in, then close the gate behind you. Drive about a mile along the gravel road until you get near the end and can see some of the buildings on the property. We’ll gather there. You can park your vehicle on the grass by the side of the road.

We can probably arrange some carpooling. Let us know if that’s something you’d be interested in.

RSVP: info@compassion4animals.org

We hope to see you there! 




GMU Coverage of Animal Rights Course by christine

Classes We Love: Course Explores Animal Rights Movement

By Jason Jacks on July 18, 2011

from “The Mason Spirit”

In one grainy movie clip, cows are shocked with electric prods to get them onto a truck. In another, stressed-out chickens are thrown into small crates as they’re being prepared for a trip to the slaughterhouse.

Gaining knowledge is not always for the squeamish, as is sometimes the case in one of Mason’s summer courses: Animal Rights and Humane Education.

Image: Paul Gorski teaches a new class about animal rights. (Photo by Nicolas Tan)

As the name suggests, the class explores—sometimes through difficult-to-watch films like the one described above—the movement to protect the other members of the animal kingdom. This is the first time the class is being offered at Mason.

Taught by Paul Gorski, an assistant professor of integrated studies in New Century College, the class touches on the testing of products on animals, the use of animals in entertainment, veganism, and animal fighting, as well as how animals are treated at large factory farms.

“I don’t see my role as preparing activists,” says Gorski, who is teaching the class as a section of NCLC 395 Special Topics in Experiential Learning. “I just see [animal rights] as a conversation in society that people are really interested in.”

This intensive two-week class is split into two sections. The first week takes place mostly in the classroom and includes guest speakers and field trips. During the second week, students spend much of their time working on class projects and meeting with Gorski online.

So far this summer, the class has visited a Maryland sanctuary for farm animals. There were also plans to attend the Taking Action for Animals conference in Washington, D.C.

During one recent class, a representative from the Humane Society of the United States spoke about the brutal conditions some farm animals endure and the increasingly popular trend of “Meatless Mondays,” where consumers forgo meat for one day a week.

On the same day, students also watched “Meet Your Meat,” a short film narrated by actor Alec Baldwin filled with hard-to-watch clips of the maltreatment of animals at some unnamed factory farms.

“I want to go home and throw everything out of my refrigerator,” one student says moments after watching the film.

Katie Isaacman, a senior majoring in integrated studies and a member of the class, has been a vegetarian since age 6. She says she avoids meat for ethical reasons, as she is a strong believer in animal rights.

“It was tough to watch,” she says of the film. “But it’s important to show people what is going on.”

A social justice scholar, much of Gorski’s previous scholarly work has focused on the more human-centric topics of gender, poverty, and racism. He is the founder of www.EdChange.org, a coalition of educators and activists who develop free social justice resources.

To prepare himself for teaching the animal rights class, he read extensively on the subject and took courses on animal protection offered by the Humane Society.

He says classes dedicated solely to animal rights are rare at universities. Those that do offer similar courses, he explains, usually do so through their philosophy departments.

He hopes his class will at least “incite interest” in students to continue studying animal rights.

“I think this class will put animal rights as a potential field of study on the radar screens of some students,” he says.

And if it goes a step further and spurs some into becoming full-fledged animal rights activists, then, “that would be great, too,” he says.