A Practical Peacemaker Ponders . . .
Two weeks ago I blogged in this space about "The Story of Chickens," a project sponsored by the Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas (KU). This so-called "art" exhibit called for the display of five chickens in a moveable coop at several locations in Lawrence, Kansas; the chickens were then to be slaughtered in public and served at a community potluck. I am happy to write today that the project has been substantially altered because local animal cruelty law does not permit slaughter within Lawrence city limits. No chickens will be displayed or slaughtered; the project has been reduced to the display of an empty coop and a concluding dinner. For details, see the news release from United Poultry Concerns
and yesterday's article in the Kansas City Star
In the midst of rejoicing about this, I noticed that a number of Lantern authors had become involved in actively opposing this project, helping to publicize it and urging others to join the outcry. Karen Davis, president of United Poultry Concerns, sent out an alert on Feb. 8 bringing it to the attention of animal activists nationwide and writing powerful letters to the sponsors. She, JoAnn Farb, and I were interviewed and quoted by the Kansas City Star
in articles on Feb. 18 and yesterday. Keith Akers notified activists in Colorado and wrote to Rocket Grants, the project sponsor; I wrote to the Spencer Museum. Actively involved at the local level was Judy Carman who, along with a KU professor who also opposed the project, met with the artist, Amber Hansen, for a lengthy meeting Monday. Judy succeeded in persuading Hansen to include vegan dishes at the project's concluding dinner; Judy and the professor will be allowed to speak at that event. Local artists may display works there and Judy is encouraging the display of art supporting veganism. She also gave Hansen a variety of vegan literature. Bravo, Judy! More actions by these and perhaps other Lantern authors may have taken place without my being aware of them.
According to a Rocket Grants statement, Hansen's "intention throughout the project has been to engage regional residents in dialogue about the relationship between humans and the food we consume." She certainly succeeded, so to my mind she is a winner in this too.
Lantern authors are not only writing books about compassion, but taking active roles promoting it in the real world. See some of their books below.