Category Archives: Animal Issues

March 31- César Chávez Day


By Jessika Lauren

Kindness and compassion towards all living beings is a mark of a civilized society. … Racism, economic deprival, dog fighting and cock fighting, bullfighting and rodeos are all cut from the same defective fabric: violence. Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves.” — César Chávez

César Chávez Day (March 31) marks the annual celebration of the civil rights leader’s birth and his tireless efforts in leading the historic nonviolent movement for farmworkers’ rights, while motivating campesinos and supporters alike to commit themselves to social, economic, and civil rights activism. Chávez’s legacy continues to educate, inspire, and empower people from all walks of life.

Inspired by the principles of nonviolence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Chávez succeeded through peaceful tactics such as boycotts, pickets, strikes, and fasting. In early 1968, in an effort to rededicate the farmworker movement to nonviolence, Chávez embarked on his famous 25-day fast, subsequently becoming a strict vegetarian and remaining one for the rest of his life.

Although it’s less widely known, Chávez was passionate about animal rights and vegetarianism. Marc Grossman, Chávez’s longtime press secretary, speechwriter, and personal aide, told PETA Latino, “César was a devoted proselytizer; I think he took almost as much personal satisfaction from converting people to vegetarianism as trade unionism.”

On César Chávez Day, many people pay tribute to his legacy with a day of service to the community. There are countless opportunities to be of service in your community as well as to be a voice for animals. You can help bring about a more just and compassionate world by volunteering at an animal shelter, starting a community garden, or educating people by sharing leaflets and other materials on animal and human rights issues.

I became a vegetarian after realizing that animals feel afraid, cold, hungry and unhappy like we do. I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings.”
— César Chávez

Most importantly, consider choosing a vegan diet, which honors Chávez’s commitment to nonviolence to all beings. If you’re already vegan, cook a plant-based meal for coworkers, friends, or family and discuss with them the benefits of going vegan. And pause to think about where your food comes from and to appreciate the fruits of the labor of farmworkers, who make possible the abundance of fresh produce that nourishes us.

Chávez’s nonviolent approach to activism is as relevant today as it was during his lifetime. We can pay tribute to him on this day and every day by working to protect the rights of all beings, including animals. Whenever we speak up against the oppression of animals who are suffering on factory farms, in laboratories, at the end of a chain, or in a circus or rodeo, we honor his commitment to social justice, welfare, and compassion.

The underlying principle behind Chávez’s motto—”¡Sí, se puede!” (“Yes, we can!”)—in response to injustice is never to give up. If we truly want to honor his inspirational life, we need to carry on his values by continuing to educate the public about the unjust ways in which animals are exploited, while remaining active in the struggle to protect their rights. Together, we can make a difference for all animals.

Peeps! It’s Easter! … and an April update …


April – March 29, 2015.

But first, an update ….

Meow, meow, insulin, meow! WOW!

By Rosalie Tirella

Rosalie’s April will be celebrating Easter – happy and cute – with Rose this spring! April, almost 14 years old, very much a senior kitty, was diagnosed with diabetes a month ago, and her future seemed uncertain. But Rose couldn’t let April go … she so loves April’s blatant adorableness! Her huge oven mitt double paws, the way she begs for a smidgen of butter at the breakfast table … the way she comes when she’s called and knows NO – two commands Jett, Rose’s husky mix, has yet to master. Plus, April was Rose’s late mom’s cat, and you all know how deeply Rose loved her late mom. Why, the late Mrs. Tirella is practically Rose’s muse!

Thank God for the always ugly and depressing Wal-Mart! Rose pushed for a good insulin deal with the veterinarian and gets April’s insulin cheapo at the Wal-Mart pharmacy. Plus a box-load of syringes! The squeamish Rose has donned her Florence Nightingale cap and learned how to give the subcutaneous shot to April, who’s oblivious to the prick of the needle if she’s busy eating a plate full of that horrible, messy canned cat food that she needs to eat now and that Rose always avoided because dry cat food is so muss-free and canned cat food is so icky …. Now Rose needs to buy Friskies canned mariners plate, salmon surprise, poultry platter, ocean surprise and all the other cans of doctored up cow puss pockets/ waste. For years!

It was funny. The day Rose was to give April her first insulin shot, she rang up InCity Times writer and Worcester City Councilor at Large candidate Ron O’Clair and asked him to come over for moral support.  She had never given anyone a needle! She was afraid she’d accidentally kill her cat!

Well, the always true blue pal Ron came down from Main South, with a new boarder from the rooming house he manages: a huge guy from Boston, built like a small tank. ROCKY.

“Hi! This is Rocky!” shouted Ron to Rose as he and Rocky barged into Rose’s home, all solicitous good cheer. It was only 11 p.m.

“Rocky?” Rose said.

“Rocky!” Ron said. “He used to be a body guard!  Whitey Bulger killed his brother! Then his other brother killed himself over the fact!”

Ron said this as if you would say: HAPPY SPRING! LET’S HAVE SOME LEMONADE!

Rose looked at the huge, quiet Rocky. She made note of his big, misshapen head, the large skull ring on his fat finger, his pug Irish sad face … and her heart broke.

“Rocky knows all about diabetes! ” Ron bellowed.

Rose looked upset…

Rocky reassured her. He said, sweetly, to Rose: “My grandmother was a diabetic. I used to give her her shots. … Here, let me …”

Rose had had a long day. She didn’t even think she could draw the insulin out of the little bottle. Her hand was shaking so as she held the syringe!

“Ok,” she said to Rocky, not knowing where to turn but turning to him. “Let me draw the insulin first.”

Rose gently rocked the little bottle of insulin, cold from being refrigerated, so as to not create air bubbles in the medicine. Just like the vet said. Then she put the needle in the little bottle, put it all upside down, and pulled the syringe’s little plunger down to the third little black line/calibration on the syringe. There!  Two units of insulin! Just what the doctor ordered!

She gave the needle to the hulking Rocky who, ever so gingerly, while Ron held April on the dining room table, lifted April’s skin between her shoulder blades and quick as lightening put the needle in her skin and depressed the plunger, giving April her maiden insulin shot!


Rose put April down in front of a big dish of canned cat food.

While April was eating, Rocky went over to her and gently massaged the spot he had pricked with the needle. “Massage it in … ” he said, giving April a nice little rub down with his massive, tattoo-covered fingers.

Rose smiled at Rocky’s gentleness. She looked at Rocky and thought: he’s had a hard run, his whole life, this street guy. In recovery now. His granny’s best boy! Rose wondered if Rocky could read. He seemed like a huge, big kid. Someone who might follow someone bad, if shown a little kindness. She wondered if maybe Rocky had boxed, like so many in the Winterhill gang or in its periphery, and had not liked it one bit. Who had he had to punch to protect his guy? It was his job, after all.

“THANK YOU, ROCKY!” Rose said, shaking herself out of her thoughts and smiling.  “Thank you!” And she gave Rocky a BIG HUG! She held on for awhile! And she gave Ronny a hug, too!

Then the big guys left her big inner city apartment and noisily made their way down the stairs into the cold night.

The next day Rose bought a chocolate Easter bunny, a colorful ceramic breakfast bowl, spoons and some instant oatmeal and put it all in a colorful gift bag for Rocky. An Easter thank-you gift for her new friend!

Rose will be giving April  her insulin shot 2 x a day – for the rest of April’s life. She thinks it is GREAT that April got her first shot under such extraordinarily special circumstances.

Happy Easter, April!



We can’t wait to hit our friend/family Easter feast (with plenty of vegan options, of course) this Sunday!

Need some ideas for your Easter spread? Here are some bread and dessert recipes from The New York Times – the greatest newspaper on the planet!

To see more recipes … CLICK HERE! – R. T.