We are a non-profit organization dedicated to improving life on our planet by educating the public about the benefits of adopting a plant-based lifestyle. We promote compassion toward animals, the environment, and humanity by choosing to live cruelty-free. Adopting a plant-based diet makes perfect sense for many reasons. Vegetarians and vegans enjoy great health, inner peace, and a strong connection with the earth and the environment. We come from all walks of life and all areas of the world. We are all ages, colors, and cultures. Regardless of your reason for your interest in vegetarianism, we invite you to explore our site, contact us, attend our dinners and meet nationally and internationally known vegetarians, get involved and join our society. See for yourself how going vegetarian or vegan truly is the best thing you can do for yourself, the animals, and the earth.
VSEP Compassionate Thanksgiving Dinner
Harold Brown is a former beef and dairy farmer. He was born on a cattle farm in Michigan and spent over half his life in agriculture. After a personal health crisis forced him to confront the incidence of heart disease in his family, he went vegan. His vegan diet led him to reexamine all of his previous assumptions about eating animals, and he soon experienced a profound conviction that exploiting and killing animals for food is immoral. Harold has been a speaker at a number of vegetarian festivals including the North American Vegetarian Society’s Vegetarian Summerfest and FARM’s annual animal rights conference. He was outreach coordinator for Farm Sanctuary and was featured in the documentary film Peaceable Kingdom. He is the founder of the organization FarmKind.org.
Saturday Nov 10th, 6:00 pm
The Radisson El Paso Airport, 1770 Airway Blvd. (Atrium Tower Entrance, located on the south side of the building)
- Cost: $22 members, $22 students with ID, $24 non-members, $10 children under 12.`
- Paid reservations are due Tuesday, November 6. Make reservations and pay online or call 877-3030.
- MENU: Salad Served with Vegan Dressing; Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Celery, Onion and Sage; Mashed Potatoes with Vegan Butter and Mushroom Gravy; Green Beans with Slivered Almonds; Cranberry Relish; Pumpkin Pudding
*To reserve and pay with PayPal or a credit card go click on Events – Pay Online. After you complete the payment, please e-mail the names of those attending to VSoEP@aol.com. We need to have all the names of our guests as well as who the students and children are.
IN MEMORY OF OUR DEAR MEMBER
(April 21, 1971 – April 2, 2018)
first published in the Voice for All Animals newsletter January 1996
By Steve Best
UTEP student Tima Velarde was having an experience we can all relate to — trying to find some decent vegetarian fare at a carnivore’s restaurant. The place was Landry’s Seafood House, and on her way out the door she spotted an enormous lobster imprisoned in a glass cage, its huge claws taped tightly shut, completely immobile, a pitiful giant.
Appalled at this spectacle of cruelty, Tima decided the lobster had to be freed. Upon talking with the kitchen manager, she found out that the lobster had been shipped recently from Massachusetts and had not been fed since its arrival. She was told the lobster weighed 13 pounds and was 56 years old (but, according to PETA, a lobster lives seven years for every pound, which could make him 91 years old). Going for the market price of $200.00, unable to be cooked for lack of a large enough pot, the manager nicely offered to sell the lobster to Tima for only $85.00. Tima named him “Sebastian,” gathered up money she did not have, and set out to repatriate Sebastian to where he belongs — the ocean waters.
You may already know that lobsters are remarkable animals. They can live to be up to 150 years old, they can make seasonal journeys up to 100 miles long, they carry their young for nine months, and like dolphins they have a complicated set of communication signals to establish social relationships. Although they evolved over 100 million years ago, and can navigate ocean currents adeptly, only .01% survive the world’s most dangerous predator, the human being. In the United States alone, over 20 million are killed each year.
Lobsters indeed are sentient beings and their nervous system does not allow them to go into shock. So, when placed in a pot of boiling water fully conscious as they claw pitifully at the sides of the pot, the suffer intensely for three long minutes until they die, ready for the graveyard of the dinner plate.
Tima knew she could not save all the lobsters, but she decided at least she could save Sebastian. She contacted Sukie Sargent who called Tucson animal rights activist Roberta Wright, who had experience in lobster liberation, successfully stopping Reay’s, a chain store, from selling them. Roberta referred her to Ofelya Rotunda, a PETA contact in New Hampshire, who has experience in releasing lobsters back into the ocean off the coast of Maine. Sukie also spoke with Tracy Reiman, PETA’s International Grass Roots Campaign Coordinator, who faxed her detailed instructions about how to handle shipping a lobster through the mail, provided a list of national media contact, and herself notified CNN and 20/20.
But, much would have to be done in the meantime. Sukie immediately faxed press releases for the event of freeing Sebastian to local and national news She arranged to have Sebastian released on Wednesday January 17. Unfortunately, this was the day of the huge dust storm that blew through El Paso. Worried that the plane would not leave that day, Sukie postponed Sebastian’s release until Thursday, 6 p.m., and sent out a new batch of faxes to the media.
And there were other problems. Nate, the cook at Landry’s assured Sukie that he had the proper boxes to ship Sebastian, but when Sukie arrived on Thursday at 1 p.m., she found that he did not have a top to the box. Sukie frantically began a search for a proper cover to the box, and shortly before 6 p.m. found something that would fit enough cutting and pasting.
At the designated time, Tima and a small group representing Voice For All Animals met with channels 7 and 26 at Landry’s as Sebastian was gently lifted from his prison and placed snugly into the box that would carry him home. His small eyes looked up at the group and sparkled, almost as if he knew he was in loving, fork-free hands.
But Sebastian was not yet out of troubled waters. Although Federal Express initially told Sukie there would be no problem putting a live lobster through the mail, she was told at the office on Airport Blvd. that no pets could be shipped! Well, Sebastian was no one’s pet and once Sukie assured the manager that no one expected a guarantee Sebastian would make the journey alive and well (they could only promise that he would get a rough ride from automated machinery), he was on his was, with “This way up! “ and “Good Luck, Sebastian!” written all over the box in a large black print.
That night we watched the TV report on Sebastian. Our hearts warmed at the thought the he was on his way home, due to arrive in New Hampshire the next morning. But we worried about his safety and said a prayer to the lobster God. The next afternoon, Sukie got the good news from Ofelya: Sebastian had arrived and was in good shape. Ofelya discovered that Sebastian in fact weighed 15 pounds, making him 105 years old!. Ofelya did not have a cooler large enough to fit him comfortable, so she transferred him to the cardboard box that he was shipped in and with a CNN crew made the hour-long drive to Maine, where it is illegal to capture lobsters of Sebastian’s size.
Unfortunately, when Ofelya, CNN, and Sebastian arrived in Maine, there was a storm coming and the waves were pounding the rocks. After some time, Ofelya found a safe place to release Sebastian, and she watched him bob in and out of the water, before finally swimming under the waves, home free!
At this very moment, Sebastian is likely eating and happily scuttling around, socializing with other lobsters, moving his great claws and body freely. Though CNN’s coverage of the story on Tuesday, January 23, and though the upcoming 20/20 story on this same issue, millions of people will come to know Sebastian and, hopefully become more conscious and compassionate in their relation to our brothers and sisters of the animal kingdom.
Until all lobsters, are free, until all animals are free, we must continue to act compassionately at every possible opportunity. We can all learn from Tima’s example who not only expressed outrage at the abuse of animals, but undertook decisive action. Tima, we all thank you, and most of all so does Sebastian.
El Paso Best of Veg 2017 – Announcing the Winners!
For the past 5 years VSEP and EP VegSnob have held a Best of Veg – El Paso contest among our local eateries.
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Veg News Items
VSEP is participating in the Amazon Smile program! If you shop online at Amazon, 0.5% of your eligible Amazon purchases will be donated to VSEP. All you have to do is visit smile.amazon.com and start shopping!
Need Cooking Inspiration or Vegan Friendly Material?
It’s at your public library!
They have many vegan cookbooks in both print and ebook formats. You can also download free digital copies of Vegetarian Times and other magazines.
Visit your nearest branch or elpasolibrary.org for more information.
From the Prez
Veg Society turned 25 years old this year and we plan to celebrate!
As part of our 25th year anniversary conversations, the Board of VSEP decided to undergo a name change to better reflect that our organization welcomes all to a plant-based diet…vegans, vegetarians, and those interested in adopting a veg diet. Look for our beautiful new logos created by Kristal Linney and our new shortened name!
We just hosted our first Training the Chefs event. This event was funded in part by our grant from The Pollination Project and in kind donations from the Humane Society of the US, La Semilla Food Center in Anthony, NM, and the Culinary School at El Paso Community College (EPCC). Wanda White, chef trainer from the Humane Society of the US, will lead the training sessions in the beautiful training facilities at EPCC. Representatives from several hospitals, El Paso Independent School District, local restaurants, and others will learn the latest in plant-based cooking for large events. We are very excited about this initiative and hope to offer additional customized trainings to other types of chefs in the next few years. So stay tuned to learn more about how this event was received and to learn more about future events.
We hope you will join us for some of our other events this fall. A full listing of events is available on our website, vsep.org. I want to highlight our annual Compassionate Thanksgiving Dinner to be held on November 10th featuring a presentation by Harold Brown, a former beef and dairy farmer who went vegan and founded the organization FarmKind.org. Many of us remember his moving cameo in the movie “Peaceable Kingdom” which was shown at a Veg Society Compassionate Thanksgiving Dinner several years ago. If you haven’t seen it, you should! *We will be offering an early bird registration special for this dinner to encourage, so watch for the announcement with the first call for reservations.
This fall, we are also hosting a restaurant hopper at the Queen’s Table, a potluck at Hal and Pat’s home, and visiting the Opportunity Center to provide a warm vegan meal to our friends at the shelter. Check out all of these events and more on our calendar of events at vsep.org. As always, all are welcome to attend our board meetings that will be held on the 3rd Mondays of the month this fall (except for Oct, when the meeting is Oct 22).
Save the date for our annual holiday potluck on Dec 1st at the my home and for our booth at the Hal Marcus Gallery’s Happy Hippie Holidaze on Dec 15th.
Have a safe, healthy, and compassionate fall,
P.S. Have some extra time this fall, volunteer with VSEP! See our open positions by going to vsep.org and clicking on the VSEP leadership link.
Roman and Adriana Wilcox believe that every human has the right to good, clean, hearty food. Their belief and the classic Bob Marley song “One Love” helped create One Grub Community. The One Grub Community call themselves El Paso’s first meatless merchants, selling planted-based vegan food and strive to provide peace, love and grub. They’re a part of a small vegan community that’s growing in El Paso. “Food is a right, not a luxury. Access to healthy food is a human right and (Roman) shows…