"The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men." Alice Walker, American author

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Minutes of our meeting Sunday February 19, 2012


Countryside Animal Friends (local chapter of the UU Animal Ministry)
MINUTES for Sunday, February 19, 2012

Four people attended, including myself, Belinda Robinson.  

We discussed:

I. The Great Backyard Bird Count is this weekend through tomorrow, Feb. 20. For more details and how to participate, see their website: www.birdsource.org/gbbc/

II.Belinda announced the CAF blog – www.countrysideanimalfriends.blogspot.com
and the CAF Facebook page – www.facebook.com/CountrysideAnimalFriends

The blog and FB page will be used to share information with the group, Countryside's congregation, and the community. We will share info about our own events, Green Sanctuary events, other local events involving animal welfare issues. These will include educational events, protests, petitions to sign, etc.
Please check the blog and FB page regularly – as well as the Sunday newsletter and Focus – to learn about ongoing events and meetings for Countryside Animal Friends.
  1. Belinda is seeking someone to co-coordinate CAF. Please let her know if you're interested!!

A. Suburban Vegetarian Meetup group will have a Vegan Bake Sale at Atherton Hall on March 25, 2012, during both coffee hours. 
 Half of the proceeds will go to CAF, as we are sponsoring the sale.

B. The four of us in attendance discussed where the proceeds should be donated. We all agreed that $100.00 should go toward paying CAF's annual dues to the UU Animal Ministry, so we do not have to ask CCUU for the money. We decided to have a poll/vote on where the rest of the money – after paying the dues – should go. The nominees we came up with are: NAVS (National Anti-Vivisection Society); http://www.navs.org/site/PageServer?pagename=index
or Young at Heart, an organization in Palatine that aids senior dogs and cats in being placed in homes. http://yahpetrescue.com/

I will take a poll on these two options also on the Facebook Page; as well as on the blog. Please give your input!!! I would like to decide by Tuesday, as Kathy Jones needs this info to advertise the sale on the Worldwide Vegan Bake sale website.

  1. Earth Day Event, April 22
    This is two months away, but we will focus on the Meatless Monday campaign for our info table on Earth Day at CCUU. We will hand out brochures for Meatless Monday, brochures about CAF and UUAM; and coupons for popular meatless “convenience” foods. We also plan to hand out a couple of samples of these convenience foods but this is still in the planning stage... We will also have a few recipe cards for simple meatless recipes...

Belinda's reasons for focusing on Meatless Monday this year are for two reasons -
  1. M.M. Encourages meat reduction in the diet, thereby decreasing the need for CAFOs and factory farming situations, where farm animals are often abused and neglected.
  2. M.M. also has positive environmental consequences – raising both pastured animals and animals on CAFOs can have devastating effects on the soil and water.
  3. The UUA gave an official statement on Ethical Eating this year, and I (Belinda) feel that M.M campaign fits in nicely with both animal welfare issues AND the Ethical Eating statement. (The statement is found on the UUA pagehttp://www.uua.org/statements/statements/185320.shtml
    , and on the UUAM page – www.uuam.org)

  1. Finally, it was discussed how we, CAF, wish to be perceived by the congregation. Two of us felt that there may be too much emphasis on food and diet and vegetarianism – two of us did not even realize this was an issue. :). However, after discussing it, all four of us agreed that it may be detrimental to our causes and efforts as an “Animal Ministry” group to “turn off” those who are not vegetarian – and don't necessarily plan to be.

So, now this personal note, if I may -

When the group was started by Erv Toth and myself, it was NOT intended to be a group solely for vegetarians. We had always envisoned the group exploring a wide range of animals and their issues – farm animals, domestic companion animals, wildlife, captive animals in zoos and exhibits, etc.

Erv has stepped down since then as co-coordinator for the group, but I would like to continue in that spirit of welcoming ANYONE and EVERYONE interested in helping animals, in whatever way they can bring.

**So, for the record – Countryside Animal Friends is NOT a group solely for vegetarians. Although there are, in fact, many veg*ns in the group, there are also omnivores in the group, and our choices – as long as they are thoughtful and based on compassion – should be respected.

That being said, my one request is that the food at the metings be vegetarian, out of respect for the veg*ns in the group. (We also have a couple of folks who are allergic to gluten, if you're thinking of bringing food to a future meeting.)

CAF will, however, as long as I am coordinator, recognize that there are producers of animal products that coincide with the ethics and beliefs of omnivores who want to be compassionate consumers. As a vegetarian, I, for one, respect these choices, and hope that the other veg*ns in the group can too. Vice versa, I hope that the omnivores in the group recognize and respect that some of us wish to refrain from animal products altogether.

Finally, I agree that focusing on one issue – the plight of farm animals – while it's timely and important, may be short and narrow-sighted; and we should, and WILL, focus on other issues, equally important, such as Wildlife Conservation, Homelessness and Overpopulation of Companion Animals, and Captive Animals in zoos and exhibits.

(We will still do Meatless Monday for the Earth Day table though, for the reasons stated above. Also, I think MM is a place where we can all come together, no matter what our diet..)
I would like to do a different topic each year for Earth Day, if need be. If you have an idea for next year, let me know!! It should tie in with environmental concerns, per Earth Day.)

If you've read this all the way through, thank you!! And I hope to meet more of you in the future!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Great Backyard Bird Count, February 17 - 20, 2012

Saturday, February 17, will kick off the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, "an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent.".



It is sponsored in part by the Cornell Ornithology Lab and the National Audubon Society.  This year will mark the 15th year of the event.

There is an event scheduled tomorrow at Crabtree Nature Center, but it is currently full.
To participate at home, however, simply click on the link above for detailed information about keeping count of different species of birds in your backyard for as little as 15 minutes - or for as long as you like from February 17 though February 20.  The results of your count need to be submitted to The Great Backyard Birdcount's website by March 5, 2012.

The data from all submissions will help scientists and conservationists learn where certain bird species are, throughout the country. 

Happy Bird Watching - and counting!!  



Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feral Cats and TNR..

This is an interesting - and personable, if you will - blog about feral cats in the Chicago area, and the TNR (Trap, Neuter Release) program implemented by some agencies and individuals. 

Cats in My Yard