All posts by Amy Meyer

12-year-old Organizes Fundraiser for UARC

When she wasn’t busy running (and beating the boys) in track tournaments, volunteering at the Humane Society of Utah, or building solar panels and helping stray dogs on a Navajo reservation, 12-year-old Addie spent her time this summer organizing a fundraiser for UARC.

Addie called UARC to tell us she wanted to do a fundraiser, and asked more about our mission. She loves animals, and was anxious to help. Before we knew it, Addie called 48 businesses and secured several donations from places like Megaplex and the Utah Grizzlies. She created packages from the donations, and organized an opportunity drawing outside of Harmon’s in Taylorsville. Not only did she raise $145 for UARC that day, she also likely saved one dog’s life, who was inside a shopper’s car on the 95-degree day. Addie knew exactly what to do and called Animal Services, who came out and helped the dog.

I had the privilege of meeting Addie when she delivered the money she raised. As someone who has organized countless silent auctions, I am blown away at Addie’s commitment and success at running this fundraiser completely on her own initiative and without any additional support from us. I’ve never met a more organized, compassionate, go-getter. And she’s only 12.

We can all follow Addie’s inspirational example by volunteering. Whether it’s organizing a fundraiser, walking the dogs at a local shelter, helping UARC at SLC VegFest, or cleaning up a trail, we can all do more to make the world a better place.

Thank you, Addie, for all that you do to help animals!

Saving Chickens One Vegan Order at a Time

Unless you’re gluten-free, you’ve probably tried some version of Cali’s Natural Foods’ “Tender Tigers”. These vegan wings aren’t just available at Sage’s, Vertical Diner, and Vertical Pizza, they’re at several restaurants across the valley like Piper Down, Ice Haüs, The Green Pig, Funk N Dive, The Garage on Beck, and Trolley Wing Company. Which got us thinking, just how much Tender Tiger is being eaten in SLC? The answer, we learned from owner Ian Brandt, is an average of 550 pounds every week. Let’s break that down.

 

We hate talking dead body parts, so in brief, it costs one bird’s life for only four pieces of chicken wings 1http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2015/01/30/wings-for-the-super-bowl-and-what-happens-to-the-rest-of-the-bird/. Factory Farms breed chickens to grow so large so quickly that their bodies often fail before they leave the crowded warehouses, and those who make it are only 5-7 weeks old when they are thrown onto transport trucks and hauled to the slaughterhouse2https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/chickens/. Two birds suffer and die needlessly for just one serving of wings. But onto the good news!

 

With local Tender Tigers from Cali’s alone, 67 chickens are saved every week by people choosing to order vegan instead of chicken wings. That’s nearly 3,500 chickens each year, and with awards like PETA’s Top 10 Wings in the Country, it’s bound to only grow from hereAnd with vegan options like Tender Tigers showing up in menus in restaurants that serve meat, some patrons are surely choosing to replace meat with cruelty-free versions of familiar foods, sparing animals at every meal.

 

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of depressing images and stories about the many ways animals suffer in our society. But together, with our simple consumer choices, we are making a difference. Think of the 67 chickens who didn’t have to die for wings cravings in Salt Lake City this week.

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UARC Volunteers Serve Vegan Dinner to Teens at Youth Resource Center

On Saturday evening, a group of ten UARC volunteers cooked and served a vegan dinner at the Youth Resource Center.  Operated by Volunteers of America, the Youth Resource Center is a safe place for youth ages 15-22 years of age who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. They provide emergency overnight shelter, services and case management. Each year they serve 800+ teens through this facility.

Being able to help out my community by feeding the less fortunate compassionate & healthy food is a great opportunity I’ll never pass up.
– Leigh Harris, volunteer

plate of vegan sloppy joes, pasta salad, and watermelon

It was a win-win for everyone – teens enjoyed a healthy vegan meal, while volunteers learned how to cook new vegan recipes and met other like-minded individuals. We prepared to serve 50 individuals vegan sloppy joe’s, pasta salad, and watermelon.

I think reaching out to people and showing them how delicious food can be without animal products is fantastic. It was my first time at the youth center, which had a profound affect on me. The kids were great and I can’t wait to serve them again soon. 
– Michelle Johnson, volunteer

Staying within our $100 budget while serving fresh vegan dinner proved easy, with cheap fresh produce plentiful at Rancho Market and quality vegan buns and TVP for the sloppy joe’s found at Smith’s Marketplace.  Cooking vegan is not just healthy and delicious – it’s affordable too!

giant pot of vegan sloppy joes made with TVP

I was a little worried the kids wouldn’t care for our vegan Sloppy Joe’s, but judging from all the clean plates, I think they were a great success!
– Shawn Harris, volunteer

The sloppy joe’s recipe came from the New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, a vegan classic. See the recipe here and try it yourself! We recommend substituting ketchup for half of the tomato sauce, and adding minced garlic.

volunteers chop veggies in kitchen at youth resource center salt lake city

I have never met a more compassionate and dedicated group of volunteers. They jumped right in to dicing pounds of vegetables and fruit, cooking sloppy joe’s, and scrubbing dishes. As soon as a task was realized, someone was on it. Their hard work paid off as soon as the kids, who were anxiously awaiting to eat what they could smell for the last two hours, started coming back for seconds.
– Amy Meyer, UARC Board Member

UARC will continue to serve vegan dinner at the Youth Resource Center once a month. You can support our work by donating to UARC to cover food costs, or sign up to join the next volunteer group.

 

Get Involved

 

Volunteer with UARC

Are you passionate about helping animals, people, and the environment? Take your commitment to the next level and become a UARC volunteer! UARC volunteers help with a variety of projects including:

  • Handing out literature and talking to people about living vegan at tabling events (farmers markets, outside concerts, etc.)
  • Cooking and serving vegan meals to youth at risk of, or currently experiencing homelessness in our community.
  • Participate in protests or demonstrations as the need arises.
  • Making SLC VegFest a huge success!

Please click the button below to view more details and to sign up for a volunteer shift. Together, we can bring more compassion to our community.

Click to View Our SignUps on SignUp.com

UARC Presents SLC VegFest 2016

UARC is excited to present SLC VegFest, a FREE event open to the public, on September 10th, 2016.

At SLC VegFest, Utahns will learn how we can save up to 100 animals each year, significantly lessen our impact on the environment, and improve our overall health by simply leaving animal products off our plates.

passion flourThe event will feature delicious vegan food from local restaurants, expert speakers, a kids area, fitness zone, and lively entertainment to create a fun and welcoming environment. There will also be stations staffed with volunteer vegan experts on a variety of topics to answer questions and provide support. We are currently accepting applications for speakers, entertainers, volunteers, exhibitors and vendors. Learn more and apply today at www.slcveg.com.  
 
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SLC VegFest brings together local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals committed to creating a more compassionate, sustainable, and healthy community. With free admission, we are able to reach a wider audience, but are faced with many expenses. If you value the opportunities SLC VegFest brings to our community, please consider our sponsorship opportunities and become a UARC member

Saving water? Stop eating animals

Proclaiming that water conservation should be “one of Utah’s core ethics,” the Utah Division of Water Resources recently kicked off a nine-step pledge called “H2Oath.”

However, even if all nine suggestions were widely adopted, it will barely make a dent in the state’s water use because they fail to address the state’s biggest waster: agriculture. In fact, because agriculture consumes 82 percent of Utah’s water, the goal of a 25 percent reduction in water use is actually a statistical impossibility.

The vast majority of the water used for agriculture in Utah is used to produce hay and corn to feed farm animals. The “water footprint” of a beef hamburger is 15 times that of a veggie burger, and peer-reviewed studies have shown that a shift towards a plant-based diet would reduce society’s water use by an astonishing 36 percent.

This is a much bigger bang for your buck than reducing our “average shower time by one minute.” If you care about preserving our precious water resources, you can make the largest impact by going vegan, and the Division of Water Resources should start explicitly stating so.

Amy Meyer

Utah Animal Rights Coalition

Salt Lake Tribune: Letter: Saving water? Stop eating animals (May 14, 2016)

 

Meat Is Sucking Utah Dry, “H2Oath” Should Urge Veganism

Earlier this week, the Utah Division of Water Resources announced a new initiative called “H2Oath”, a “pledge” that Utahns can take to help conserve water. The pledge includes promises to change individual behavior in nine different ways, like only running the dishwasher when it is full, letting our lawns grow longer, and reducing “average shower time by at least 1 minute per shower.” 

We may wish that solving our state’s water crisis was as easy as changing our use of household appliances or taking shorter showers, but the statistics tell a different story.

According to a legislative audit, 82% of Utah’s water supply is used for agriculture. Because all nine of the H2Oath’s suggested action steps only deal with the remaining 18%, the state’s goal of reducing water use by 25% is actually a mathematic impossibility. Even if we stopped taking showers altogether, threw out our dishwashers, and completely xeriscaped all of our lawns and gardens, we would still be unable to reduce our state’s water use by 25%.

So what is the best way to reduce our agricultural use of water? Let’s take a look at where most of this water is being consumed. U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that more than 86% of Utah’s irrigated land is currently used to grow hay and corn for farm animals.

This means that Utah is wasting enormous amounts of water to grow crops that we don’t even eat to support a diet that is unnecessary, unsustainable, cruel to animals, and bad for our health. No single action on an individual level would have as great of an impact on conserving water than going vegan. Even if Americans gave up meat just one day a week, it would save an amount of water equivalent to the entire flow of the Colorado River over an entire year.

You don’t have to take UARC’s word for it. Leading experts in the field of water conservation are now beginning to sound the alarm on the meat industry. University of Twente Professor Arjen Hoekstra invented the concept of the “water footprint.” He is considered one of the world’s leading experts on water conservation. He has co-authored several studies that have demonstrated how eating meat wastes water.  One study found that the “water footprint” of a beef hamburger is 15-times that of a veggie burger. Another study concluded that a shift towards a vegetarian diet would reduce society’s “water footprint” by an astonishing 36%. No matter how you measure it, animal products have the largest water footprint of all agricultural products.

WF_per_calorie_protein_and_fat2
Source:  Mekonnen MM, Hoekstra AY. The green, blue and grey water footprint of crops and derived crop products. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci Discuss. 2011;8(1):763-809.

You can save an equivalent amount of water by either reducing your shower by one minute for the next 191 showers, or forgoing a single quarter-pound cheeseburger.

If you care about preserving our precious water resources, you can make the biggest impact by shunning animal products. The Utah Division of Water Resources should start explicitly stating so and encourage Utah residents to go vegan. If we continue to put our head in the sand and ignore the agricultural sector, which uses the vast majority of our water resources, Utah’s efforts to conserve water are doomed to fail.