The 3rd Annual Cotton Branch Family Sunday Fun Day is coming up quick, (May 7th, 2017 to be exact)! This is the public’s chance to come and see what Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary is all about! Visitors are welcomed by an amazing picnic with yummy plant-based burgers, hot dogs, Josh’s homemade chili, (which definitely CANNOT be missed), and slaw! Of course, the picnic will finish off with some fantastic desserts. After filling the bellies of visitors, it’ll be time to meet the residents of Cotton Branch!
Not every activity in life involves a lesson, but everyone that visits Cotton Branch for Family Sunday Fun Day can expect to learn a few things, even if learning a lesson or two is the last thing that any visitor would expect to happen. When visiting the sanctuary, one can expect to at least learn the following:
- Compassion: Many people that are visiting the sanctuary have a boat-load of compassion for animals. Usually, that is why people are visiting in the first place. If this is a person’s first time visiting Cotton Branch and coming face to face with farm animals, it’ll change his or her world. By world, meaning, way of thinking about farm animals. Usually, people have interacted with dogs and cats before, but not necessarily a farm animal. A visitor will quickly learn how these animals are sentient beings that have feelings just as humans do. Meeting with these animals is enough to make anyone’s heart fill with love and compassion.
- The Truth: When visitors meet the residents at Cotton Branch and hear their stories, waves of sadness and happiness will occur. Stories of rescue and rehabilitation are just that: they begin sad and end usually happy, with worry sometimes in the middle. If visitors don’t already consume a plant-based diet, they will leave adopting the lifestyle, (or at least considering it). Coming to Cotton Branch puts a face to the food a visitor may have eaten his or her entire life. When this happens in person, it’s a bit of a shocker. This is if the picnic held before hand wasn’t already convincing that plant-based food is the bomb!
- How Hard Cotton Branch Works: During Family Sunday Fun Day, visitors will quickly see all that the staff of Cotton Branch does to keep the sanctuary going. Between taking care of the residents’ needs, (feeding, building shelters, cleaning, etc.), educating the community, rescuing and transporting animals, and outreach, there isn’t much down time. The small, but compassionate and mighty, staff of Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary continues to make it happen. Seeing the work of Cotton Branch in person will help visitors really put the efforts of the dedicated staff and volunteers into perspective.
- How You Can Make the Difference: Family Sunday Fun Day will leave visitors wanting to come back for more and get involved. Cotton Branch is always looking for assistance from volunteers! There is always something to do at Cotton Branch, whether it’s morning feeding time or someone to help clean, (yep, scoop poop). If someone doesn’t live in town, they can help spread the word about Cotton Branch, advocate for animals, join the transport team, or even donate! With as little as one dollar, a world of difference can be made in the life of a resident at Cotton Branch! There is always a way to be active, and when people leave Fun Day, they will certainly want to start being active for animals and have ideas how to do so!
Families that come to spend the day at Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary for Family Sunday Fun Day will have the time of their lives, while learning small lessons with a huge impact along the way. It isn’t too late to register for this truly amazing event! Click here to find out how your family can attend!
It’s time for Easter again, but instead of filling your Easter baskets with cruelty this year, there are lots of great dairy, egg and gelatin free treats that you can choose instead. In case you’re not aware of why it’s best to avoid dairy, here is some information on the dairy industry.
Calves are ripped from their mothers as babies because the cow milk has to be given to humans. Cows are impregnated repeatedly throughout their lives so that they can make milk that humans drink. At least 65 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Dairy milk doesn’t make your bones stronger, in fact it causes osteoporosis. Dairy milk can cause other diseases as well. Cow milk belongs to cows not to humans. We need to stop taking it from them. There are many great supplements and replacements.
Here are six of my favorite Easter treats that are cruelty free.
1. Lindt Dark Chocolate Bunny
2. Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans Original Flavor
3. Sour Patch Bunnies
4. YumEarth Organics Gummy Bears
5. Charms Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails
6. Rescue Chocolate Bars
I hope the Easter Bunny fills your basket with kindness instead of cruelty this year! - Drake Hair
Aloha, avocado and pineapple-y goodness! If you are looking forward to summer, give this kind smoothie a shot! It'll curve your craving until summer arrives. It's even toddler approved! This recipe makes one smoothie.
3/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup pineapple chunks
1/4 cup mango chunks
1/8 cup organic kale
1/2 of an avocado
Cut up your fruits and veggies and add to a blender, (kale, pineapple, mango and top it off with the avocado).
Pour your pineapple juice over the fruits and vegetables.
Blend until creamy, (thank the avocado for the creaminess)!
Juice from one lemon
Garlic powder (1/2 Tbsp)
Lawry’s seasoned salt (1 Tbsp)
Ground black pepper (to taste)
Asparagus (1 lb. washed with tips trimmed off)
Non-dairy butter (1 stick or ½ cup melted) (Earth Balance brand is a personal favorite)
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheet with tin foil.
Wash, trim, and dry asparagus. Spread asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet.
Drizzle asparagus with juice from one lemon.
Season asparagus with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Top asparagus off with non-dairy butter.
Place in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Take out and enjoy!
This is the season of giving for so many people around the world. A beautiful time of year; a celebration of life, love, family, and friends. Many take this time to give back to those in need, and to organizations helping the less fortunate in their communities.
Something important I always like to look at, before giving, is where the money goes. Many national organizations have much smaller portions of their donations going to help their cause than they do going to pay their CEOs and advertising costs.
I wish I could say this is not true of some of the well known animal advocacy organizations and sanctuaries, but I cannot; for some, not even half of the money given by their donors goes to animal rescue, or animal care.
Another thing I like to know is that no one is left out when it comes to who an organization employees or helps. Many discriminate against people of other faiths, orientations, genders, and gender identities to name a few. Helping people means helping all who suffer, not just the ones like us, or who agree with us. Helping animals means helping all who suffer, not just the cute ones and ones who make good stories.
I always thought I looked closely at any non-profit I gave to, until I began volunteering regularly with one. Now I look at everything! I want to know that if directors are being paid, the organization is generating enough money to fully fulfill their mission, and the pay is a small amount of the total taken in. I want to know that when they are paying someone, it's the best and brightest, and that this paid person has generated more funds to help many more people or animals. I want to know that the paid positions are there for providing care, assistance, and maintenance to keep people and animals comfortable and safe. I want to know that there is no discrimination within the organization in hiring practices, treatment of employees, and care given to others. I want to know that any animal rights/rescue organization I support is helping those in the most danger; and that would be farm animals, as they make up 98% of the animals killed in the US every year.
While some organizations simply say no to helping when they are at capacity, or have nothing left to give others; Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary says, “we may not be able to help immediately, but let us help find you someone who can!” When other organizations jump in without preparation, taking massive donations, then taking in more animals than they even have available shelter; Cotton Branch takes only those for whom we have room, but we still help find shelter, care, and placement for those we can't take in. See the number one commitment at Cotton Branch is to the residents in our care; we also realize our commitment to the greater good of helping those who feel abandoned by other rescues and sanctuaries when their requests for help are rejected, ignored, or simply left unanswered.
We are working with other sanctuaries and rescues to help them implement this same process within their networks, after all, who wants to say no? We have some amazing partners at sanctuaries in Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and New York who have helped with transport, foster, and placement. This is what it is about: saving animals. We all must work together to accomplish this goal!
This holiday season I ask you to give to Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary because we are a transparent, welcoming, grassroots, feet on the ground, volunteer ran 501(c)(3) organization who not only care for nearly 200 permanent residents, but have also saved, through transport and placement, 150 additional animals in need this year!
I wish each of you a wonderful season, and great 2017!
Looking for some amazing reads to add to your child’s library that will inspire him or her to be kind to all sentient beings, but are great family reads as well? Look no further than this list! The following books will not only inspire kindness toward animals and the environment, but to other humans as well. There’s nothing better than an excellent story with a kind message! Don’t forget to click on the titles to lead you to the place where you can pick up these books!
- Santa’s First Vegan Christmas by Robin Raven
- The Invisible Boy by Patrice Barton
- Libby Finds Vegan Sanctuary by Julia Feliz Brueck
- How to Eat a Rainbow: Magical Raw Vegan Recipes for Kids! by Ellie and Sabrina Bedford
- Eco Babies Wear Green by Michelle Sinclair Colman
- Lena of Vegitopia and the Mystery of the Missing Animals by Sybil Severin
- Animals Have Feelings, Too!: Exploring Emotions From A to Z Paperback by Karen Lee Stevens
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- We All Sing With The Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene
- Dave Loves Chickens by Carlos Patino
- Dave Loves Pigs by Carlos Patino
- V is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind by Ruby Roth
- The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids: 60 Easy Plant-Based Recipes Kids Can Make to Stay Healthy and Save the Earth by Ruby Roth
- If I Ran the Rainforest by Bonnie Worth
- That's Why We Don't Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things by Ruby Roth
- Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals
- Vegan is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action by Ruby Roth
- Gardening with Children by Monika Hannemann, Patricia Hulse, Brian Johnson, Barbara Kurland, and Tracey Patterson
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- Don’t Throw That Away! By Laura Bergen
- Pole Dog by Tres Seymour
- Kids Can Save the Animals: 101 Easy Things to Do by Ingrid Newkirk
Is there a kind book on your shelf that didn’t make this list? Please share the kindness! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know!
Happy Thanksliving, EVERYONE, (all beings included)!!!
Are you looking for a last minute, kind recipe for tomorrow's feast? Can you think of a better way to spread love, kindness, and compassion than making an amazing, cruelty-free, PEANUT BUTTER PIE? I don't think so!
Check out my family's recipe below for a quick, (you have to freeze the pie overnight or for a few hours, but prep is quick), easy way to make the most delicious, rich, peanut butter pie on the planet without using any animal products at all. Trust me, you might not want to share this with anyone else.
2/3 cup of crunchy peanut butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (try Tofutti cream cheese!)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (use almond, cashew or coconut milk)
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 (8 ounce) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed (coconut cream whipped topping from The Minimalist Baker works wonders! or if you don't want to make it, hop to a store that carries So Delicious Dairy-Free Whip!)
1 (6 or 9 ounce) ready graham cracker piecrust
Step 1: Mix up the ingredients! Put the peanut butter, cream cheese, milk, and powdered sugar into a bowl and blend it all together using a hand mixer, (or blender but make sure not to liquefy your ingredients). Blend until the texture is creamy, but there are still some chunks of the peanuts in there. After blended, fold in the whipped topping.
Step 2: Pour the ingredients into your pie crusts!
Step 3: Freeze, (put the pies in your freezer), for a few hours or overnight.
No bake, no hassle, decadent peanut butter pie. To eat, just run warm water over a knife, cut your piece, and experience the rich ecstasy that it has to offer you!
YAY! Is it officially autumn and Halloween is quickly approaching, (it’s in 11 days to be exact). Not that I’m counting or anything, (OK, guilty as charged). Halloween is my favorite holiday and autumn is my favorite time of the year, so it is almost expected that I have a countdown going. A question that frequently comes up, (whether it’s Halloween or not), is what a person on a kind diet eats, let alone what candy can be eaten, (i.e. what awesome parents let kids go door to door asking for or adults stock up on at the grocery store for themselves to hide in the cabinet from their kids). Either way, people always question what kinds of goodies kind eaters can actually eat. No kid wants to get a bunch of candy made from crunched up bugs, (carmine), bone char, or gelatin, (made from boiling cow and pig bone, skin, tendons, and ligaments). Yep, these ingredients are actually in a lot of candies. YUCK! Dairy is also a common allergen and a cow’s body secretions meant for a baby cow. Those things don’t seem too kind to me.
There is some good news though! A truck load of different kinds of sweets and candy are actually vegan! Having trouble figuring out which types of kind goodies to give to those trick or treaters or just stash away in your cabinet for when you get a sweet craving? Check out this handy dandy list of kind candy to devour this Halloween:
- Charms Blow Pops
- Swedish Fish
- Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Bars
- Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks
- Jolly Ranchers, (hard candy)
- Mamba Fruit Chews
- Now and Later
- Sour Patch Kids
- Ring Pops
**In different countries and regions, some of the above products might contain gelatin or other additives that might not be so friendly. When it doubt, always check the package for animal byproducts, such as carmine, gelatin, dairy, (including casein and whey), etc. For more candies and food that are kinder than others, check out these goodies HERE and HERE. In the meantime, grab some Oreos or Fritos and sit back and check out these sites, (yep, most Oreos and Fritos are vegan too).
Those familiar with Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary know that there is a resident, (the only one of his kind at the sanctuary), Freckles, the great cow. I have written about Freckles before and had the biggest honor of meeting him. He’s sweet kind and gentle. He followed my son and me along the fence as we toured Cotton Branch, visiting its residents and handing out apples as treats along the way. I always knew cows were amazing creatures and it was my dream to meet one. This day made that dream come true. Freckles, along with the other residents at Cotton Branch, just further confirmed my values that all creatures that walk this planet are sentient beings and should be treated as equals.
Want to know some reasons why cows are the coolest? Check out the list below and visit Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary today and see for yourself! Not only will your mind and heart be opened by some of the most amazing people and animals on the planet, but you will forever be changed, (in the best way I promise!).
- Just like us, cows form really close relationships with certain cows, dislike others, and can even hold grudges for years, (really sounds like some humans, huh?). They are also extremely social and do not like to spend time alone.
- Mother cows are not only devoted mothers, but care highly for their young and have been known to walk miles to find them.
- Cows have an excellent sense of smell! They can smell something more than five miles away.
- Cows are curious and can be found investigating things that they do not know much about.
- Did you know that cows can hear better than humans? They actually hear lower and higher frequencies than us!
- Cows love music and have been known to sway or congregate for a good “concert.” Check it out!
- Cows have panoramic vision (up to 360 degrees)! Oh, and they are also red-green colorblind.
- Mother cows have the same gestation period as humans. They carry their babies for 9 months in their womb.
- Cows get excited and act proud when they solve problems, (i.e. brainwaves show excitement, they jump in the air, and their heartrate went up).
- Cows can live for more than 20 years! Sadly, their sweet lives are taken way too soon in the meat and dairy industry, (i.e. cows in the meat industry are lucky to see their second birthday).
**Facts were shared by loving caregivers and from the following links. For more information about the above facts or to read more cool facts, please visit:
We All Need Humane Education: 10 Things You Can Do Today to Learn How to Make the World a Better Place
1. Have a humane educator come and speak at/to your school, scout group meeting, special event, or even plan a field trip!! Request a representative from Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary come to your classroom or even schedule a trip to the sanctuary! Cotton Branch has teamed up with the Humane League- Charlotte and offers well-rounded and very educational, humane education talks on how to eat kind, why it's important, and how to change the world for farm animals! Check it out here and contact Josh today to schedule a humane education presentation!
2. Shop locally! This not only helps your community, but it also allows you to meet your local produce farmers and see where your food comes from, as well as see what they do to help the environment.
3. Volunteer at an animal shelter, rescue, or sanctuary! When you work with the animals, whether it's during feeding time, building shelters, walking dogs, socializing with pigs, you learn about these animals and get to know them. It makes you think twice before wanting to eat meat or buy a dog from a pet store or breeder.
4. Plant a garden! When you plant a garden, you not only eat healthier, but you help the planet! Whether you have a plot of land or flowers in a pot, (even a windowsill herb garden), it all counts! Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, will thank you!
5. Get schooled on animal overpopulation from a veterinarian, animal shelter worker, or a humane educator. There are thousands of animals in shelters right now, including farm sanctuaries, looking for their forever homes. Adopt, don't shop!
6. Reduce, reuse, and recycle, (and refuse)! Everything can be used again, and if it can't, there is usually a product out there that you can buy instead of the disposable variety and you’ll be able to reuse it over and over again. For example, instead of using plastic straws, refuse them, (politely!), when you’re buying a drink in public and bring/buy a stainless steel straw instead. Try to not use plastic as well, (a lot of it isn't actually recyclable). Make sure to check labels on the bottom of the product to see if it can be recycled in your area.
7. Compost those food scraps! Apple cores, banana peels, wood chips, grass clippings, fallen leaves, sticks, cardboard, newspaper, vegetable scraps, and more! Most food is compostable and doesn't need to be in the trash, but instead in a compost bin! Even if you don't garden, composting is a great way to reduce trash that goes in landfills, (and no, it unfortunately doesn't really compost very well at the landfill when it's with all of that other trash that can't be composted). Foods that don’t compost well and will just attract wildlife include: dairy products and meat, (but if we are eating kind, we won't have these products to even dispose of).
8. Eat a kind diet! For the animals, the planet, and yourself, steer clear of animal products. Animals suffer immensely when they are exploited (not just for food, but in the name of entertainment, the clothing industry, animal experimentation, etc.). Not only do animals suffer, but so do the planet and our bodies. Forests are being cleared to make room for "cattle grazing", oceans are being depleted because of overfishing, farm animal feces contaminate ground water, raising animals for meat has a huge carbon footprint, and the list goes on. Than what is there to eat? Check out the following links for some tips, yummy recipes and information on how to transition to eating kind!
9. Volunteer your time to help those in need! A big part of humane education is learning to be kind to others, not just the animals and the environment, but other humans. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, become a foster parent, start a clothing drive: the list of activities to help one another goes on and on.
10. Share a meal! Share a meal with friends, family, neighbors or even strangers! Start a kind potluck group and share yummy, veg recipes! If you want, try to schedule a volunteer day at Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary and bring some of those delicious veggies/fruits to share with the animals, (they'll definitely enjoy just as much as you)!