Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Planning ahead

Vegetarians interested in animal rights might enjoy "Becoming the Change," the 22nd annual Compassionate Living Festival, which will be held Oct. 5-7 in Durham.

This year's festival will feature such speakers as Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society; panel discussions on such topics as companion animals and civil liberties; a "Vegan Chic" showcase hosted by Josh Hooten of Herbivore Clothing and author Rory Freedman; exhibits and a bookshop; and five vegan meals.

Registration is due by Sept. 21. It costs $139 a person through Aug. 31, and $169 after that. The festival is produced by the Culture and Animals Foundation, and the Animals and Society Institute, with support from several other groups.

Years ago, I attended some of the Compassionate Living Festivals when it was possible to register for a single day or for individual lectures. That does not appear to be an option this year, unfortunately.

Even if you can't make it to the festival, the Culture and Animals Foundation may be of interest. It was founded in 1985 by Tom Regan - a professor emeritus of philosophy at N.C. State University and author of the influential book The Case for Animal Rights - and his wife, Nancy.

The foundation says that it "exists to expand our understanding and appreciation of animals - improving the ways in which they are treated and their standing in human society."

"Through cultural studies, history, and philosophy, we explore our relationship with animals.

"Through arts and letters - poetry, dance, fiction, painting, theater, sculpture, music - we celebrate our unity.

"In seeing and understanding kindred animals, we see and understand a part of ourselves."

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