Fighting back against industrialized agriculture through labor action, consumer information, and environmental activism.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Meeting Minutes

Present: Owen, Clair, Carli, Debbie, Jeffrey, Nathan, Hannah, Maria, Andrea

First meeting of the semester!

On the Agenda: Introductions, presentation (Debbie) on industrialized agrictulture, reading selection for next week, new members packet, set meeting time, cage-free egg campaign update, brainstorming.

  • We need to discuss publicity for cage-free eggs at Trillium. Someone is going to write an op-ed or a guest column for the daily sun. Unfortunately, we have no connections to the daily sun. Also: we will do some tabling to spread the word. We also have the Wegmans Cruelty documentary to use. It's good; if anyone wants a copy let me know.

  • We have at least two potential speakers for this semester who have expressed interest in coming to Cornell: Harold Brown of farm sanctuary and Dr. Michael Greger, former president of CCAD. Harold Brown will talk about whatever subject we give him.

  • We could do a campaign around the Smithfield Corporation. Their huge and they abuse animals and workers. They also have a fairly active campaign to unionize.

  • The readings for the next meeting will be:
    1. An excerpt from Carol J. Adams' "The Sexual Politics of Meat."
    2. A testimonial from a former Smithfield employee.
    3. "What's the Beef and Who Pays."

  • We voted to split into working groups or committees around tactics. This is still an open discussion, as one of our campaigns seems to split between labor and consumer. The three committees are:
    1. Labor
    2. Consumer
    3. Environmental

Next meeting:
Proposed Agenda:
  • Vote on the agenda
  • Sequentially talk about the readings 10 minutes maximum for each:
    • Clair kicks off Carol Adams reading
    • Nathan kicks off Smithfield worker testimonial
    • Debbie kicks off "What's the Beef"
  • Break into working groups for ten to fifteen minutes to brainstorm.
  • Within each working group, choose one person to report back on ideas.
  • Set and vote on agenda and readings for next week.

Time & Place:

Friday, August 25, 2006

Last planning meeting! 8/23/2006

Present: Carli, Clair, Nathan, Owen!

  • Worked on new member's packet

  • Talked about the dining meeting regarding cage free eggs at Trillium

  • Discussed 'name change' statement

  • Discussed posters, publicity, etc. for the first meeting

  • Set agenda for first meeting

  • Fired note taker.

Sorry. My head is POUNDING. Perhaps someone could augment this post with actual information...


Monday, August 07, 2006

Name Change! Meeting Report Back for 8/6/2006

Roughly, the Minutes

Present: Clair, Carli, Nathan
On the agenda: name change, working on the constitution, group registration, planning for the first meeting

  • Name change: We have changed our name. We are now Animal Advocates for Agricultural Reform (AAAR). It's short and catchy, and it makes for an excellent conversational gambit in encouraging the question "What kind of agricultural reform?" It also means that we have to know our stuff.

  • Constitution: Notably, we have changed all occurences of CCAD to AAAR. Also, we have worked in farm labor and the environment. We have defined 'active membership' to mean those who attend at least 2/3 of the meetings; these are the voting members of the group. We have used the concept of "active membership" in place of "president", "vice president", and "treasurer" wherever possible. We will review the changes within the first few weeks of the semester.

  • Registration: we have registered with the SAO as AAAR. We must wait until the registration form is processed before we can register for web space.

  • First meeting: we have one more planning meeting on Wednesday the 23rd of August. Additionally, we will produce (via email correspondence) a succinct pamphlet or quarter card to advertise for our first meeting. It will be distributed during move in. Also, I'm up for chalking Ho Plaza and North Campus—send me an email if you wanna help out with any of this stuff. If I remember correctly, the first 'open' meeting is going to be on the 6th of September, at a location TBA. I should probably confirm that before I start telling people about it...

Perspective on this change of focus (Nathan M):

If we are to take the issue of animal oppression seriously, we must do more than simply talk about fur, foie gras, cosmetic testing, and other issues that are easy to distance from one's self. We must deal with the tacitly accepted brutality of industrial farming toward animals, workers, and the environment. Here we will encounter a machine with a great deal more momentum and organization than anything our movement can currently compete with. Furthermore, we will find that no matter how much disgust with which we regard this system, we will find it inextricably tied to our own existence; we can not simply wash our hands of it by saying "Not on my plate/Not in my back yard."

Many animal rights/welfare activists (including myself) choose to abstain from eating animal products. For many of us, it is a personal statement of commitment to the cause. While this may be good for the soul (or conscience, if you prefer), it is ineffective activism. For when we finish our 5-dollar hummus and seitan sandwiches, we drive home in our bio-diesel cars, we tacitly shake our heads in disgust at poor kids eating school lunches made out of "spent hens" and at men and women working in dangerous slaughterhouses for minimum wage or less. Simply: a culture that systematically and brutally crushes the lives of animals is a culture that crushes the spirit of humanity, and we are a part of that culture.

Within this group, we should focus on a more comprehensive view of animal oppression that includes the closely related issues of labor exploitation and environmental degredation. This more comprehensive analysis will not only give us more credibility, but will also help us to understand the context for and causes of the exploitation of animals. Externally, we should forge alliances and build solidarity with groups who deal with related issues: these groups will be exceedingly receptive to our cause, and will welcome and reciprocate our support. Manifestly, we should publish a newsletter that puts our analysis into action and reports on the plight of domesticated animals, human laborers, and the destruction of the natural world without putting the blame on those who are victims of the same system. We should support farm-labor movements that demand dignity, safety, and adequate compensation for workers; and we should push for sustainable practices in farming, especially where current practices are immediately harming animals and human beings.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Some discussion topic ideas for this semester/reading packet:

  • Something on food sovereignty (Vandana Shiva)
  • Anything by Temple Grandin
  • the Animal Enterprise Protection Act/analysis of SHAC tactics
  • Research the environmental impact of various forms (plant and animal) of industrial farming
  • Excerpt from Carol J Adams on slaughterhouse labor conditions

Everyone! Post some more ideas!

N "too much iced tea!" M

Monday, July 17, 2006

Summer Meeting report back

Hello friends of CCAD:

Clair and I have met twice in the last two weeks to discuss re-organizing CCAD. We went through the massively awesome CCAD archives for inspiration. Here are some of the ideas we came up with:

1. We should re-write the liberator (or whatever it's going to be called) constitution to. I have drafted one loosely based on the AnimaLife constitution from the archive. Major changes include:

a. the Liberator will be a newsletter will be a outlet for the political expression of the Cornell Coalition for Animal Defense as opposed to "a forum for the rights of animals."
b. the editorial board of the Liberator will be defined by the active membership of CCAD as opposed to a single editor who selects the next editor, as is the case in the old constitution.
c. the Liberator will be distributed every other week at locations that have yet to be decided. Liberator distribution will be included in the definition of CCAD "active membership."
d. the Liberator will be produced (1 or 2?) times a semester, with an "updates" insert when necessary.
e. Contributions are still open, but anonymous contributions will not be accepted.
f. Liberator should include a "where we stand" section in every issue; this section will reflect to-be-established points of unity within the group.

The main idea is to make the Liberator more credible and more central to our group's activites

2. We will be producing a new member's packet for incoming members. This will include the current contitution, the best of the literature we have, and a document that Clair and I are in the process of creating. If two of the group's members having complete control over the production of the new member's packet strikes you as a little un-democratic, you can think of it as "bootstrap democracy" heh... or call me with your ideas. I sent my phone number out in the first "summer meeting" email. As soon as everyone gets back in town, we will review the packet and vote on ammendments to it. And also we will get rid of all end of sentence prepositions and loose conjunctions from it.

3. We have set aside some of the better literature for a CCAD re-write. We will do some independent fact checking and updating to our collection of literature.

4. We discussed the somewhat lofty idea of a upstate NY conference of animal rights and animal welfare groups to help coordinate our efforts. The end goal of such a conference would be to establish a wider representative coalition of animal welfare and animal rights groups that could mobilize more effictively than individual groups.

5. We discussed sending out statements of solidarity to various (to be decided) progressive groups on campus indicating our willingness to collaborate on events that are in keeping with the animal rights/animal welfare. I've also been considering the idea of formal alliances to be defined

6. We briefly talked about meeting with David Skorton to discuss dining issues, animal research issues, and more generally about the aims of our group.

7. We talked again about the importance of internal education in our group; we also talked about the importance of structured meetings and documentation for achival.

This is going to be a great semester; we intend to make CCAD a more democratic and more effective group by getting MAD ORGANIZED, which in fact, is our new name. It's an acronym. Just kidding. Anyway... I look forward to seeing all of you soon. Be excited!

What I would like to see is a fusion of working class struggle and animal welfare work. Agricultural workers are some of the most downtrodden laborers in the United States. We have had racist guest worker programs since the beginning of World War I to give us a steady supply of cheap labor to produce cheap food. Industrial farming is a hazard to the health of most working class people. Whether it takes the form of run-off, dangerous jobs, or unhealthy food, the working class is selectively burdened. The need for cheap food does not justify guest worker programs, low wages, union busting, slavery, animal oppression, or the strip mining of the environment. As activists we must do more than distance ourselves from the blame for these evils; we must build a class oriented comprehensive struggle to fight all of the above. In saying this, I do not intend to alienate middle class elements from the struggle; I'm merely making the point that consumer politics is only half the battle, and that labor struggles and the fight against animal oppression are not opposed, but one and the same.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Capturing Caged Hens on Video Brings a Charge of Burglary - New York Times

Capturing Caged Hens on Video Brings a Charge of Burglary - New York Times
Hey guys. Ryan just sent this to the ARA UNY list--It's an article about the Wegmans Cruelty documentary in the New York Times.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Wegmans Cruelty Showing

Wednesday, March 8th: Compassionate Consumers presents "Wegmans Cruelty"

7pm, Warren Hall 131

Please attend this event! Warren Hall is the one on the North side of the Ag Quad. CCAD will be providing free vegan food. Additionally, we will have a followup meeting on Thursday to discuss what we can do to get humanely produced eggs on campus.