Welcome Bradley to Sage Mountain!

By: Bradley

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Bradley. I’m a two year old steer now residing at Sage Mountain. I sometimes go by Mr. Bradley or “B”Rad, but mostly Bradley. The truth is, I think I should be called Sir Bradley as I am the new sire, king, alpha, head honcho, maybe some would say “bully” of Sage Mountain. That’s right. I took me a little time to figure out this place, but once I did, watch out. Sorry Wilma Jean. There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Sheriff Bradley??

My story begins in a similar fashion to my new sheep friends here at Sage. Just like Jesse, Martin, and Sammie, when I was born my mom wasn’t able to take care of me. Being so young and not having a mother was very scary and at the time I didn’t know if I was going to make it. Luckily for me, help came along the way in the form of the great kids at Discovery Ranch in Northern Utah. They fed me, gave me shelter, and cared for me while I got back to health and started growing into a young steer. I was so grateful for all the great people at Discovery Ranch but knew my time there was coming to an end. As some of you may know, in most situations steers like me are taken to the auction and sold off to other ranches or feed lots. After a few months to a year, we are then shipped off to slaughter and become a steak or hamburger. For some reason or another, the kids at the ranch became attached to me and wanted a different fate. I first heard rumors around the ranch that there were plans for me to head to Texas but those plans were scuttled when a horrible hurricane hit and the ranch that I was going to go to was severely damaged and could no longer take me in. Winter was setting in and time was running out because the ranch was making plans for a new group of calves to come in and didn’t have room for me. However, before I knew it, the crew from Sage Mountain in Park City came to rescue me and take me to my forever home in January of 2018.

It’s been almost a month being at Sage Mountain and I’ve had some time to reflect on my prior life. I wish I could have told those great kids that I was no different from the other steers and that we didn’t have to be sold off at auction, that we are all individuals and have emotions such as fear and happiness just like they do, that humans don’t have to eat us and live longer, healthier lives if they didn’t eat animals like us. I wish I could have told them that they can stop this cycle and change this world making it better for humans, the planet and of course the animals. Since I can’t go back to the ranch and tell them directly, I ask you to please spread the word. Please tell those kids, in fact, tell all kids, adults, and anyone that will listen that this idea of humans eating animals like me has to stop. I promise this will be the most powerful message for the future of our planet and our society.

As for me, I will spend my days at Sage Mountain exploring, playing, eating and bossing Wilma and Pony around. Most of all I get to be a steer just like I was meant to do.

Meet Kasper: The Generation of Hope

By: Jessica Rasekhi

      Kasper has been raised on a plant powered diet ever since the day he was born and he has learned that he doesn’t need to eat animals to live a healthy and happy life. He has also been taught from a young age that all of his fellow animals on planet Earth are creatures that feel happiness, sadness and love…just like he does…and should be treated with kindness and respect. He loves being around all types of animals, but he has always loved pigs!  Among his stuffed animal “pig friends” are all names of pigs that he has chosen that have impacted his life in a positive way: Esther from “Esther the Wonder Pig” at Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary.  Wilbur from “Charlotte’s Web” and last, but not least, his two “local favorites” Wilma Jean and Ponyboy from Sage Mountain.  He chose all of the names himself and he will continue to be a young advocate for all animals and hopefully inspire others to do the same!

   Kasper and his pig friends, Ponyboy, Wilma Jean, Wilbur and Esther

“I like pigs because they are really talented and funny! They have a good snorty, sniffing nose and they remind me of my Boston Terrier dog, Domino. I love pigs!” – Kasper, 5 yrs old

  Kasper visits Ponyboy and Wilma Jean at the sanctuary

  We can not get enough of Kasper and his gigantic heart and sweet smile!


Welcome Home, Sammie and Martin

Sammie’s story begins in the mountains of Northern Utah near Victory Ranch. Sammie was separated from the herd at a very young age and was left to fend for herself throughout the long snowy winter of 2017. One of the local residents named Peggy Grubbs discovered Sammie one day near a snowshoe trail and quickly bonded with her. Over the course of the winter Peggy snowshoed 6 miles every day, many times in knee deep snow, to bring Sammie food so she could make it through winter. When a break in the weather finally arrived in mid February and with help from the local community, Sammie was finally rescued from high mountains and taken to a foster home nearby. For more details on Sammie’s amazing story please click here.

Today Sammie is adjusting to life at Sage Mountain. Her days are filled with grazing and playing with her friends Jesse, Ponyboy, and Wilma Jean.  Sometimes Sammie would rather hang out with the pigs in their shelter instead of her own during the heat of the day and couldn’t be happier. Sammie now gets to spend the rest of her life with all the other residents of Sage Mountain where she won’t be alone or ever worry about her next meal.

Sammie has become a wonderful mother figure for Jesse and our other newest arrival, baby Martin. Martin is a young male lamb that has a similar story to Jesse. Martin was born in the spring of 2017 and was part of a grazing herd on the west side of Utah Lake in Utah County. For some reason or another Martin’s mother rejected him and he was left alone on the range without the nourishment he needed to grow into an adult sheep. The same foster family that took in Sammie reached out to the sheep herder and asked if he would be willing to let them adopt Martin. Since Martin was what the industry calls a “bummer” lamb and is of “no use” and has little to no value the sheep herder agreed to the adoption. It is so unfortunate that so many animals are considered worthy only if they can be used by humans in some way for profit. If not, they are often discarded, neglected, or killed.

Since arriving to his permanent home at Sage Mountain, Martin has been learning the ropes and getting along great with all the other animals including Maggie, our German Shepard. It seems as though Maggie understands her job is to protect Martin and she takes great pride in her new role. Martin, just like the rest of the animals at Sage Mountain, will live out the rest of his life and will always be cherished as someone and not something.

Ponyboy, My Story

By: Ponyboy

I will have to say that it’s been a whirlwind since Johnny and I broke free from our captors in Riverside County, California. See, what many of you don’t know is that this was a planned getaway from the beginning and not some spontaneous guy’s night out romp.

Let me help paint the picture with some of the few details that I remember from that evening. You will have to cut me some slack as I was only 3 months old at the time and my memories are vague. I’m sure many of you would also have a hard time remembering what you were doing at that age. I can assure you that planning a daring escape was not in the cards. In fact, our lives were meant to be doomed from the beginning.

Johnny and I were being raised in what humans would call a backyard butcher situation. What that basically means is that we lived in cramped quarters where our humans would raise and grossly over feed us until we were ready to be turned into lamb chops and bacon. Now, let me stop there for a minute as I have an issue with this. At what point do I become bacon? When your species dies you don’t transform into another thing or food item. Apparently Johnny and I transform into something completely different. I’m not bacon. I’m a pig and a damned smart one at that. When it’s time for me to go I will become a deceased pig and not this “bacon” thing.

Many humans know for some reason or another that we pigs are intelligent creatures. This is not by chance but by hard work and numerous sleepless nights studying. In my studies as a young piglet I noticed that when humans would consume my deceased fellow friends, or “bacon”, that those humans would then become sick with chronic disease such as heart disease. So let me get this straight, humans kill pigs like me and then we turn around and kill them with the number one killer of all humans, heart disease.

As Johnny and I laid there realizing how counterproductive this all was, or as Johnny would say “batshit crazy” (Johnny had a way with words), we realized we wanted to do something about it before it was too late. So for a few weeks we  contrived a plan to break out of our tiny quarters and make our move. The daughter of our captor would not be the best at locking our gate after coming into feed us in the evenings. After a few times of seeing this we knew that we had to make our move and make our move we did. It was a breezy September evening and Johnny and I bolted. We ran and ran until we couldn’t run anymore. Then we ran some more. Then we walked. We walked miles and miles through farmland and neighborhoods until we were just couldn’t go anymore. Sometime around midday the next day some strangers stopped us and coaxed us into a truck. We realized this was animal control and figured that it was better than where we were before so we decided to get off our feet for a while. After a few days at the animal control facility, the workers there didn’t have the necessary means to hold us much longer and placed a call to Farm Sanctuary in Acton, CA to ask if they would take Johnny and I. This is where things made a huge turn for us. Farm Sanctuary is the largest farm animal welfare group in the country and through a miracle picked us to come to their home. Johnny and I knew that from here on out were not going to become bacon and lamb chops or contribute to the number one killer of humans.

this is Johnny and I at Farm Sanctuary

As we grew up at Farm Sanctuary I realized I was becoming a lot bigger than Johnny and needed some more space. It was at this time two people from Utah (wherever that is) representing Sage Mountain came to visit me. They said they had tons of space and would love for me to come and live there. After a few months, vet visits, and a short stay in Northern California, I was ready to take a road trip with my new girlfriend Wilma Jean to Utah. I won’t say much about Wilma Jean here as apparently she had a blog written about her a little bit ago. I’m still trying to wrap my big ears around this as I met the Sage Mountain team first and should have been the first blog. I will let it slide as to not hurt Wilma Jean’s feelings and not to mention I don’t want to upset her. She outweighs me by 100 lbs and can give me the business at anytime she so desires.

Maggie and I nose to nose

Exploring with Wilma Jean at Sage Mountain(I have definitely filled out some)

Since being here I have made new friends especially with Maggie the German Shepherd. She follows me around all day and won’t leave me alone. I have told her numerous times that I have a girlfriend but it doesn’t seem to stop her. I look forward to more animal friends arriving at Sage Mountain during the spring and summer months.

I get to wake up to amazing sunrises, lots of space, sometimes snow cover (still getting used to that), and usually Wilma Jean snuggled next to me. Here I explore, dig, chew, bathe, get muddy, get muddy some more, eat, sleep, receive belly rubs and treats, and am adored by my humans.  I get to be a pig here and that’s all I ever wanted. I will continue to be a voice for all my animal friends out there and  be the change I seek in this world.

one of my favorite times of the day

Oink Oink


Artists of life

Practice 1: Loving kindness and compassion~ self

By: Lauren Lockey

How do we stay balanced, focused, compassionate, open, and kind during such dark times? It feels as though the world is shattering all around us and everything has become more chaotic and broken. The work begins with the self.

When I woke Friday to news that the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed inspection reports  from its website about the treatment of animals at thousands of research laboratories, zoos, dog breeding operations and other facilities, I felt my heart sink. How much worse can it get? We are moving backwards! Anxiety took over and I thought I would lose my way.  I shut off my phone and computer and went south for three days.


At the turn of the new year I made a commitment to keep striving to be a better human which included unconditional love and laughter, keeping my family and tribe close, worrying less, breathing more, letting go of all I can’t control, judging less, listening more, etc.. We must cherish, love, and be kind to ourselves  before we can give that to anyone else right?! When I am balanced and at peace within myself, then I can move forward with more wisdom and love for all those around me. No matter where I am I can cultivate loving kindness and be happy for others.  Not to say this doesn’t have it’s challenges.  I am an extremely passionate person and when I get into conversations about issues I care about I can become tunnel visioned. Those are the times I have to stop and listen, breathe and look for something I can learn from the other person. This does not mean we don’t stand up and fight for what we believe in. However, truly making an effort to understand the other side will only make us better because we then gather information and become more effective. It may sound strange but we are all child like deep down and when I think of it that way there is an innocence I can speak to. And there are times when silence and leading by example is the best option for change. Remember Rosa Parks sitting silently in the front of the bus?


This blog is one of four practices in a blog series I will cover over the next few months.  I will also thread different yoga postures throughout each practice. This first practice, which is the longest and most in depth of them all,  touches on ways to be kind and compassionate to ourselves. This is the reason I began teaching yoga roughly 18 years ago. My dream was to teach adults and children throughout the world to raise awareness about animal rights. I thought if we can learn to be kind and powerful within ourselves, then we can only be kind and compassionate to others..I hope you find these tips/postures helpful for they help me on my own journey in becoming an artist of life.  Feel free to add your own! Remember this is a practice so there is plenty of room to fall and get back up.


  • The journey matters more than the destination: Be patient with yourself

Where are we trying to get to and what is the rush? Keep your vision but enjoy each and every moment because we are literally here for a spec of time. Take time to learn and educate yourself but let go of control or some expected outcome. All this does is create worry and anxiety which does absolutely nothing positive for us right?! In fact, worry and anxiety can often be paralyzing. Speaking from present experience here.. The universe does have a way of supplying us with exactly what we need!


  • Breathe: 

On a typical day, we only breathe into the top half of our lungs. We are such busybodies running around, planning, going here and there that we forget to breathe deeply. Think of your breath as nourishment  for each and every cell of the body and mind. In yoga classes, we focus on the breath first because without that, there is no connection of body and mind. When you feel stress or anxiety floating in, stop and take 5 deep breaths. Feel your lungs expand and then visualize all stress leaving the body as you exhale. It’s sometimes that simple!


  • Limit screen time: includes television, cell phones, and computers.

According to CNN, Americans devote more than 10 hours a day to screen time! Yes we have to work on these devices and I am all for reading the news and communicating but I never feel awesome after I sit in front of a screen or look at my cell phone.  I typically feel empty, depressed, tired, annoyed, or angry. Not really the path to loving kindness huh?! This includes social media like face book and instagram. It can be helpful for organizations sharing news and stories but I found myself wanting to tune out so I would sit for 20 minutes and scroll through other peoples’ lives! Time can be better spent  reaching out to those people, working on a project, or simply just being. Set a screen limit for yourself and your family, then follow it. I am forced to be more efficient in my work now because I want to spend less time on screens! It’s more important to “like” and  be “liked” out there than it is on a screen! Pick up the phone and plan a date with a friend(s). Will you look back on your life and say “damn I wish I would have spent more time on my cell phone or computer”? My guess is no!


  • Don’t talk shit about other people: or like a Buddha quote I read years ago on someone’s wall,  “imagine excrement coming out of the mouth when you or someone else speaks poorly about others.”

When we speak ill of others it creates negative energy and distance. I can’t imagine anyone feels good after the conversation because ultimately our goal is to be our highest selves and this doesn’t fit the bill. It immediately causes people to project onto others they could otherwise form meaningful relationships with. When we hear these things, we tend to judge the person being talked about. Usually when we speak negative of others, we are only projecting what we may not like about ourselves. If you are around others speaking poorly of someone, change the subject. When we are balanced and confident, we have no reason to speak poorly of others because we genuinely want them to be loved and happy.


  • Be aware of thoughts and judgments you tell yourself: meditation

I have become much more aware of my thoughts and judgments through my meditation practice. This can be very helpful in letting go of those thoughts and replacing them with new ones.  These judgments usually come from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Meditation allows us to be our own witness so we can be more fully aware and present with all we do. Not that you have to love washing dishes or doing other daily tasks but these  things become more enjoyable because you are present. Again, it comes back to the question, “where are we trying to get to”? It has been so wonderful to be back in my practice of 10 minutes a day. I prefer evening time before I go to bed.  Some prefer the mornings but I urge you to try it. Start with 5 minutes and build from there. Create a welcoming space in your house where you feel relaxed and focused. Sit on a cushion or pillow with an upright spine and close your eyes.  Just like yoga, your main focus is your breath.  Years ago I used to visualize a horse running back and forth across an open field for my inhale and exhale.. Another visual is a door opening and closing with your inhale and exhale. With my students I offer the choice to also tell themselves in their mind( and I will even say out loud) “I breathe in, I breathe out.” Create a mantra for yourself with positive affirmations. Notice how you feel afterwards and throughout the rest of your day..Make it a habit. This quote is on post its around my house,

     “Worry does not empty tomorrow of it’s troubles, it empties today of it’s strengths”. Corrie Ten Boom


  • Smile, look up and laugh often!

Let yourself go, laugh by yourself or with others! Life is too short to take everything seriously. Get outside and connect with the earth because we all live here together. Hike, ride a bike, go for a walk, and look up! Feel grateful that we are able to spend time on this beautiful planet. We get to experience new places, smells, colors, and sensations. Take time to look at the moon and stars because we are just a flicker in time. Animals are teachers and healers. Make time for them and protect them. Without my family of animal friends I would be a lost soul! One thing that you absolutely can not do without smiling is DANCING! Last concert I went to was Michael Franti during Sundance and all the troubles of the world went away for a few hours..Surround yourself with all sorts of people with different back rounds and cultures. Find your tribe and keep them close! Take time out and plan fun adventures or dates and shake your booty!


  • Eat healthy: nourish yourself mindfully

When stressed or anxious, we tend to make unhealthy choices,  overeat or not eat enough. When you feel yourself reaching for unhealthy foods, stop and take 5 breaths. Ask yourself, “is this truly what I need right now?” “What void I am trying to fill?” What may taste good in the moment, we regret later..However, don’t judge yourself because we all make mistakes and learn from them. Indulging every so often is perfectly fine! The greatest practice is being mindful and present while you eat. Actually sit down at the table with your family and eat a healthy whole food vegan meal. Make an effort to chew your food and enjoy the taste of something salty or sweet. Be mindful of when you feel full and honor that. Wait 10 minutes and if still hungry, eat more. Greens, grains, beans, seeds, and colorful veggies are filled with antioxidants and healing qualities..Fill your kitchen with those foods and stay hydrated!


  • Follow your passion: and learn something new

What do you feel deeply about? What makes your heart feel that strong or barely controllable emotion? Follow it because it matters. Passion makes one feel alive and without it life can seem redundant. Passion gives us a reason to write our own story. If you haven’t found it or even if you have, make an effort to learn something new! Challenge yourself and change up your routine. I learned to play the drums when I was a teenager and then stopped unfortunately( I could probably be the drummer for some famous rock band right now. Ha! 🙂 )but I recently made the effort to pick it up again and it challenges  a whole different part of my brain and I love it! Just an example but following your passion and learning new things makes life more rich for sure!


  • Gratitude: loving kindness

List 3 things you are grateful for every day. This can be either out loud to your loved ones or to yourself. Give yourself thanks and gratitude for all you are and do. The first part of a loving kindness visualization I do with my students goes like this:

~while in Sivasana, take a deep breath in and pause with full lungs for 3 seconds, then exhale through the mouth. Do that 3 times.

~ visualize yourself in your own sanctuary of peace whether its the beach, the forest, etc..

~ See yourself in your mind’s eye looking into your own eyes. Tell yourself, “may you be happy, healthy, and at peace”.


I hope you found these tips helpful. Please feel free to comment on this page or reach out to me with any questions or practices of your own in becoming an artist of life!

I look forward to practice 2: Loving Kindness and Compassion: family, tribe, those close to us

Lauren Lockey




A Higher Intelligence

By: Lauren Lockey

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with someone about a particular experience he had while visiting a park near by his family’s home. He witnessed a person picking up a young duckling and chucking him across the park like a football. I proceeded to ask if he did anything about it or tried to help in any way. He answered that he felt bad for the animal but continued to say, “do you know how small a duck’s brain is? Not the smartest in the bunch!”                         ” So that makes it okay?” I asked. If the duck had a large brain and was “smarter” then he wouldn’t be thrown across the field?

This question comes up a lot for me.  While I am always fascinated learning about the science behind the cognitive abilities of non human animals ranging from chimpanzees to elephants to pigs to chickens,  does it matter when it comes to the most important aspect all human and non human animals share? That being the simple desire to live and be free from suffering. We all want to love and be loved. We all want to make our own choices. We want to take care of our families and friends and be social. We want to be happy and feel joyous. Are humans the only ones deserving of that and what gives us the right to take that away or do what we please with those whom we deem “less intelligent?” And if higher intelligence is what matters, are humans at the top? Because I am not sure confining, using, or slaughtering animals is intelligent when it comes to the negative impact it has on everything around us and our own health.  You can not help wonder whether our intelligence is overrated! Perhaps our non human animal friends are truly the intelligent ones as they take only what they need and live in harmony and balance with the planet. The ranges of intelligence will vary according to species. No, a chicken or rat isn’t going to drive a car, go vote, or create some app for iphones. BUT they do have jobs, tasks, and knowledge within their daily lives that works and allows for growth within their communities and families. The definition of intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.  I would add to that, “within any given species”.

OR is it that we honestly believe that all nonhuman animals are here FOR us and not WITH us?  I think we can all agree that the young duckling was most likely minding his own business being a duck. I think we can also agree he had no interest, nor does anyone for that matter, in being thrown across the field to then be injured and scared for his life. So why then? Why do non human animals, no matter their level of intelligence, continue to be caged, abused, eaten, experimented on, used, and worn by our species? Can we shift our perception just slightly and get out of the way so others can live their lives freely? Isn’t that what we want for ourselves?

Again, I am simply asking questions with the ultimate hope that you, readers, will share your thoughts. Maybe it requires uncoiling where we came from and where we picked up our beliefs. Because perhaps a higher intelligence comes from the ability to live in harmony with the planet without intentionally harming others, to take care of ourselves and each other.

Tillikum, the Orca the documentary “Blackfish” was based on, just died after 30 years in captivity. He was ripped from the wild and his mother at just 2 years old. Why? For entertainment and profit at Seaworld.  Orcas stay with family and friends for life in their natural habitat. Tilly was kept in solitary confinement for the majority of his life except for when he was forced to do tricks and entertain the public. Very similar to those animals confined in the circus and at the Zoo.  When he passed, he had scratches all along his body and his teeth were worn down from biting the cages out of frustration.


Another Orca named Granny is also presumed dead but at 105 years old. She lived and died with freedom unlike Tilly who was never given the chance even after science continued to back up how abusive it is to keep these animals in solitary confinement.


Luckily the documentary “Blackfish” opened our eyes to profits made from captivity and abuse and  fortunately less and less people are buying tickets to Seaworld.  More people are becoming aware that non human animals are tortured, abused, used, and slaughtered more than any other being ever in the history of mankind.

All over the world animals are suffering from human hands whether it’s for flesh, product, entertainment, ivory and skins, fur, testing, feathers, religion and ceremony. These animals range in intelligence. They speak languages that we can’t even understand. However, what is most important is that they share the ability to feel pain and suffer immensely.

So let’s take a moment, step back and observe how we treat others, what we project to be intelligent and what we can learn from those around us. Listen and observe more,  uncoil belief systems, and let others live in their own right, their own intelligence, and perhaps we can learn something. A way that brings more peace, more love, and ultimately a collective higher intelligence.

Here’s to the animals and all they teach us! Patience, forgiveness, simplicity, love, joy, and intelligence. Let’s honor them more, help an individual in need, and make the world a little better for all.




A New Year’s Present

By: David Swartz

This New Year I made the resolution to be more present in life. I’m not even sure what that entails but I must admit it does sound good. With this blog I’m going to try to touch on a few points of what it means to be more present and what steps to take in order to accomplish it.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a friend’s book and read a couple of chapters of what I would call a self empowerment book. In the first few pages there was a statement that went something like this, “Those who are anxious or worried are thinking about the future and those that are depressed or sad are living in the past.” I thought that was a pretty good way to sum up how many of us live on a day to day basis..

Why do we put so much emphasis on the past and the future when all we have is the present? Is this the way the human mind works? Do animals live more in the present? I’m pretty sure my canine companions aren’t thinking about how upset they made me by eating the dead animal carcass earlier in the day and then going to do the same thing that evening. I can’t tell you how many times I have to raise my voice at them to get them come to me. At first they come in with heads hung low then minutes later go back to doing the same thing forgetting completely what just happened. As annoying as this is at times, it makes me wonder if  we can learn something from their ability to be present. Plus, it’s hard to be too frustrated with these faces..


At least in modern society I believe humans have a huge problem with living in the present. Here in our country and in many other western nations there is a tendency to have a lot of outside pressure starting from an earlier age such as the need to get good grades in school, get into college or get a good job, get a raise or promotion at that job, find a spouse, buy a house, start a family. No wonder many of us walk around anxious or depressed for most of our lives. If we are lucky to live long enough and be fortunate enough, it isn’t until our later years in life until we finally have time to relax. Why should we have to wait until retirement until we can take a breather and enjoy life?

And, the problem is getting worse.

In the last decade or so we now have the ability to have all of the electronic information in this world at our fingertips with the ability to contact anyone anywhere with the touch of a button. For all the convenience the modern smart phone has brought us, it has made us even more anxious and depressed. I will admit that I do not have a Facebook, Instagram, or a Twitter account, and if you tried to call me, most of the time my phone is on silent so I won’t hear it. There is no living in the present when posting every detail of your day to a website while looking at all the details of everyone else’s day. Eventually the day will be over before any actual living is done.

So starting this New Year I would like to be more present. When I’m out skiing, biking, hiking, or doing whatever for that matter, I will try to look up more. Looking up at the sky is a great way to make time stop and let all the meaningless chatter in our life subside for a few moments. When in the company of friends and family, I will try even harder to really listen to them about their issues and be there for them when needed. While being present, no project or task is too difficult or overwhelming. The day becomes exciting the possibilities become endless.

Happy New Year

May 2017 bring peace and stillness to all earthlings.



Raising Compassion

By: Mandy Parry


              Last year my 7 year old son came home from school looking dejected. He pulled out a worksheet he was given for homework. The instructions were to draw a line from the farm animal to the thing it “gives”. This week his 1st grade class was learning about farm animals. The curriculum didn’t bother to mention how the animals look, sound, think or live outside of exploitation. Instead it only focused on how a cow “gives” milk, a hen “gives” eggs and a pig “gives” pork. Give is a funny word to use because it’s as if the animal was asked and had first right of refusal or they have a choice in the matter. The reality is that they have no choice. These things are not only taken, the sentient beings they are taken from, endure a life of suffering..

            I expected to run into a time when my son and I would have deep conversations about veganism but not in 1st grade. To my surprise he already understood what was wrong with these teachings. He’s been to farm sanctuaries and has a better understanding than I assumed he did. What a relief. He continued to bring home worksheets along the same lines. I was upset that this type of thinking was being ingrained into young minds. I went to the school and talked to his teacher but she didn’t see my concern. She went on to say this was standard curriculum from the district and she couldn’t change it if she wanted to. As disappointed as I was to hear that, I’m grateful this gave my son and I a chance to discuss farm life in greater detail.


              My family and I became vegan a little over 2 years ago. My husband and I decided we didn’t want to contribute to violence against animals and we studied some amazing health benefits from plant-based diets. The switch was easy, but we worried how the kids would adjust. What I didn’t consider is how compassion in children is so innate. They get it better than most adults and before we knew it we had re-placed calf growth fluid (milk) with almond milk, cheese by delicious Follow Your Heart, and beans or lentils in place of meat. Contrary to some beliefs, we didn’t starve and in fact our pallets developed a new appreciation for foods we used to eat sparingly. Not only do we find ourselves getting sick less often, but our recovery time is quicker. Our kids come in contact with kids with viruses at school often and rarely do they contract the illness. Their immune systems kick ass! Same goes for working out and being athletic. My recovery time reduced though I’m getting older.



               In my experience the most powerful tool to raising compassionate children is to lead by example. They watch as I volunteer at animal sanctuaries and rescues. They come with me when I go to protests. They see my passion and love for all beings. Even though we haven’t always been vegan we never supported animals used for entertainment. My husband and I never felt right going to circuses, zoos or aquariums so that wasn’t a shock for them. Now I watch as my children explain to others why we don’t support the animal entertainment industry. My daughter has a Dr. Suess book where a cartoon girl is riding a rhino. Each time we read it she says “Momma, it’s so sad that she’s riding that rhino. Animals don’t like to be treated like that”. My son comes home upset because kids were stepping on bugs at school and he couldn’t get them to stop. What so many adults are unable to see, children just know. I hope they never lose that. I want them to question everything and refrain from following the status quo.


I know there may come a time when they decide to step away from veganism. To say this possibility doesn’t terrify me would be a lie but I want them to find their own voice and passion for veganism. What I can do is be the example and hope what they have learned is what they already know in their hearts – compassion.


               Another great tool for raising vegan kids is finding community. It can be lonely without it. I was amazed at the amount of support I found online and in my hometown. Our first discovery was Esther the Wonder Pig and Ziggy the Traveling Piggy. I was able to show my kids videos of beautiful animals living free from harm. We love watching the videos on The Dodo and Peta Kids has some great information too. We were able to find a community of local vegans that put on holiday parties, potlucks and meet-ups. Being around like-minded people with children that have answers to your questions and an understanding for the hardships you face is incredible. It’s one thing to go vegan yourself, but when it comes to raising vegan kids everyone has an opinion. I personally have extended family that thinks we’re “too extreme” because we don’t share their views on animal exploitation. It’s not always easy, but it is definitely worth it. It’s not even as close to difficult when you consider the challenges the animals face being raised for food.

For Christmas this year I have my eye on a few new books that teach about compassion. One of them is “V is for Vegan,” which goes through the alphabet giving the why’s and how’s of veganism. The other, “Santa’s First Vegan Christmas,” is a story about a fun-loving reindeer who meets Santa and shows him how we can all be kinder to animals. Kindness is a gift we can never give or get enough of.

“It is vital that when educating our children’s brains that we do not neglect to educate their hearts.”

Dalai Lama

Remember Me: I am You

By: Lauren Lockey

A few days ago I stood  in front of the mirror, naked in the flesh with the desire to FEEL the rawness of my own heart. I needed to be with it. Be myself, with me.  With tears rolling down my face and my heart aching for all the injustices in the world now amplified with my fear of our soon to be president elect, I struggled. I asked myself how and why? The questions rolled through my head. I thought of my 5 young nieces and what this meant for them as young women. What will this mean for young men and their view of power? Will minorities be alienated even more? Will the lives of  animals  matter even less? Will mother earth and her signs of depletion be denied even more than before? The oppressed now significantly more oppressed? Our country and our world divided, depressed, and enraged?

I reminded myself that the people of our country spoke and whether we are celebrating or running for the hills we MUST remember one thing, authenticity. The transparency and alignment to what is. For me that means never apologizing again for being  an emotional feeling being who has the capacity and desire to empathize with others. Yes I wear my heart on my sleeve but is that a bad thing?!  Perhaps that is what has been lacking this whole time. Our ability to empathize, feel compassion, and then take action. Do something!  That is what made this election more devastating AND more motivating than in years past.

The last few weeks have been rough  to say the least.  My work and perhaps my rent for inhabiting this beautiful planet is speaking up for a large percentage of the oppressed, animals.  Everywhere I look they are either being exploited, used, abused, or eaten by humans. Men in orange vests surrounded the outer limits of my property looking for their next victim. 300 cows with number tags in their ears stared through my windows every morning because they knew I wouldn’t harm them. I observed and spent time with them and learned that they have daily joys and fears. They communicate, form very strong friendships, and share the responsibilities of watching over their young. The bond between a mother and her calf is absolutely beautiful. So of course I feel tremendous sadness when that bond was broken after only a few weeks. I watched them  get rounded up and separated. Their cries were heartbreaking. Next stop? Feedlot then slaughter. A trust broken and families torn apart.




I  bore witness to pigs in a transport truck that was pulled over. Their bodies crammed  so tightly together that they couldn’t move. Some frothing at the mouth because they were so dehydrated. Their breathing heavy from fear and exhaustion. I voiced to them that I was sorry for what we had done to them and that I will do everything I possibly can to stop it. I pet their ears and peered into the slots of the truck while I told them I loved them. Tears welled up in my eyes and at that moment, the driver returned and confronted me while saying “yup they will be bacon and pork chops tomorrow!” Right there and then I ask myself “how did we get here?” “What happened to empathy?” Is this lack of connection why the US is considered the most depressed country in the world?  In my opinion empathy may be the only way forward.

I studied all the blemishes on my body, the lines in my face and  felt proud and empowered. It takes tremendous strength to carry the weight and sadness of the world. Let’s be honest, we messed up as humans. True power comes from recognizing that and moving forward from a place of empathy and compassion. I picked my stomach up off the bathroom floor and re-membered who I am. A woman who feels deeply.