Speaking To Us Without Words–Art and Animals Posted on May 4, 2013 by Diana Webster of Humane Advisor
Patty Shenker Founds the Animal Advocacy Museum to Touch Our Hearts
She’s petite, elegant, and beautiful but the power of Patty Shenker’s advocacy for animals makes her larger than life. Recently she has taken her advocacy visual by co-founding theAnimal Advocacy Museum, located in Pasadena, CA. The first exhibition (open until late May 2013) includes many pieces from Patty’s personal art collection, notably the work of artist Sue Coe, whose works are powerful, iconic statements against animal cruelty.
Currently on Exhibit at the Animal Advocacy Museum, Pasadena, CA
Advocating against animal cruelty became the raison d’être for Patty after her transition to vegetarianism over 40 years ago opened her eyes to the horrific abuses of slaughter houses and farmed animals. “In 1970, I decided to work for peace, and demonstrating peace to me meant accepting no violence at all towards any living being so I became a vegetarian, then vegan,” Patty said in our recent interview at one of L.A.’s most popular vegan restaurants. “After I realized how our culture has accepted cruelty to animals to satisfy our need for food, entertainment, and as beasts of burden, I knew that I’d found my life’s work to speak out for animals and change these injustices.”
Since then she has worked tirelessly, supporting animal rescue and advocacy with her own money and time. For example, in 1990, when she learned that the South Central Shelter in Los Angeles killed the most animals, she mounted a free spay/neuter program for the area, providing free transportation by herself, and fixed nearly a thousand pets. “My father instilled in me a sense of responsibility for the underdog. He came to America as an immigrant and became a criminal defense attorney to fight for justice for those who were innocent. Now I fight for the most innocent creatures of all—animals used and abused by humans,” Patty said.
From a Dream to Reality—A Museum Celebrating Animal Advocacy
Patty shared with me that it had always been her dream to create a place where works of animal advocacy art could be exhibited. Especially after she heard that there was a museum for the meat product in a can, Spam! After sharing this with her good friend and fellow activist, Prabhat Gautam, they decided to take action and make it happen. Thus, theAnimal Advocacy Museum was born. Currently located in a wing of the Throop Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, the Museum is quickly becoming a mecca for Angelenos who care about animals. After a star-studded launch party in March that brought together the best and the brightest from the local animal advocacy scene, the Museum continues to welcome visitors interested in the art exhibition and has also started hosting animal welfare/vegan lectures and educational events. The Museum is currently open Thursdays and Saturdays from 11am-4pm at 280 S. Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. For more information, check out the Museum website(http://www.animaladvocacymuseum.com/) and make sure to spread the word and “like” the Museum on Facebook.
Finally! An Animal Tourist Attraction that Promotes Their Humane Treatment
As this is a blog about tourism and animal welfare, I asked Patty if there were any plans to add the Animal Advocacy Museum as a tourist destination in Los Angeles. She said not yet, but that she would add it the list of ideas to promote the Museum. Imagine animal advocates from around the world adding the Museum as a stop on their trip to Hollywood and Southern California! WOW! Ms. Humane Advisor likes this idea! What a wonderful addition to an already exciting travel destination known for being the top media center in the world. By adding the Animal Advocacy Museum to tourist “must-see” travel plan checklists, the local tourism industry could support the great work being done to raise awareness of animal rights. Are you listening, Los Angeles Visitors Bureau?
My Heroes Have Always Been Animal Advocates
During our talk, I asked Patty who were her heroes. She gave it some thought and came up with a few names of people that she had the greatest respect for. But ultimately, she settled on another answer. She said, “Everyone who helps, rescues, fosters, speaks out for and fights for the animals are my heroes. We are all needed to end this horrific treatment of our fellow earthlings and I am comforted everyday to know that there are animal heroes everywhere in the world now. They all are my heroes!” Spoken like a true hero, who having been in the trenches herself, knows how hard it is to keep doing this often heart wrenching work, every day in any way, for animals, without losing hope. So for all of you animal advocates out there–animal rescuers and fosterers, nonprofit leaders and grunt workers, animal lobbyists, and anyone else who has put animal welfare at the top of their agenda, often at great personal costs, your work is recognized, appreciated, and admired!
Patty’s Top Five Ways to Help Animals
No interview with this dynamic spokesperson for animal rights would be complete without getting her input on how we can all make a difference for animals starting right now. Patty’s top five ways to help animals are:
- Go Vegan. Period. Bottom line. If you can’t go vegan, start with vegetarianism but with the ultimate goal of becoming vegan. Vegan also means no leather or suede, no silk and no fur! It’s easier than you think and means the world to the animals who suffer for all these products.
- Shop Aware. Make a conscious decision to not buy products that are tested on animals or impact animal habitats, such as products containing palm oil.
- Adopt, Don’t Shop or Breed Your Pets. With over 5 million healthy, adoptable dogs being euthanized every year in the U.S. alone, give a rescue dog or cat a chance at a new life and adopt.
- Never Support Entertainment that Uses, Therefore, Abuses Animals. We all grew up going to circuses, zoos, and amusement parks where animals were part of the show. But behind the scenes, these animals often endure lives of abject misery and suffering. Just say NO!
- Be a Political Animal. Here’s your chance to speak up to let our government officials know that there are voters out there that care about animals. Write letters. Lobby. Vote Humane.
To hear more from Patty, please check out her awesome blog, Patty’s Perch, where she shares her insights on animal welfare and how you, too, can be a powerful advocate for animals! With her work, she’s set an amazing example for all of us. What an honor it is to know her.
Patty Shenker Blog: www.pattyshenker.com
Animal Advocacy Museum: www.animaladvocacymuseum.com/
I just had to share this poster as it lists all the companies owned by the very evil company, Monsanto, based in my home town of St. Louis, Missouri. Not surprisingly, Monsanto plays a huge role in the imminent extinctions of the orangutans, the pygmy elephants and the Sumatran tigers, as I see many of the companies listed are involved in the deforestation of the Indonesian forest for palm oil, as well as the poor farm animals being fed their poisonous & deadly rBGH for more milk production! Years ago, they tucked away their own research into the Bovine Growth hormone (rBGH)- when the research concluded that the cows given this hormone died prematurely with bones as “brittle as potato chips”. They are truly one of our Mother Earth’s biggest enemies. Please boycott these companies- for the animals, for the health of humans & for our magnificent planet! As the Dalai Lama so eloquently said- “Morally speaking, we should be concerned for our whole environment.”Uncategorized | Comment (0)
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” —Max DePree
On February 16, 2013, I lost a good friend; the wild animals, both captive and in the wild, lost a great friend. Pat Derby, co-founder of Performing Animal Welfare Society and ARK 2000 Sanctuary, passed away after a long battle with cancer. She will be sorely missed, not only by her human admirers but by the myriad animals she took in and cared for throughout the years and the ones still in need of her ferocious voice and tenacity.
Photo above (Pat Derby & Ed Stewart with their baby, 71!)Animal Issues | Comment (0)
For the past 6 years, a German shepherd called Capitán has slept next to the grave of his owner every night at 6pm. His owner, Miguel Guzmán died in 2006. Capitán, the dog, disappeared while the family attended the funeral services. A week later relatives of Guzmán were visiting the cemetery when they were astounded to find the dog next to the owner’s grave. The cemetery director says that the dog comes around each night at 6pm, and has done so for the past 6 years.Animal Issues | Comment (0)
The question of Do Elephants Really Paint? has & continues to be in debate. What is not debatable is that elephants do not paint in nature & they are “disciplined” to do this trick, which is what it is- another trick, just like doing headstands or riding bikes. Please do not support this abuse, any more than going to a circus or riding an elephant. People really need to stop being so mesmerized by elephants to the extent that we lose sight of their natural lives. Really just think about it! Elephants don’t naturally paint, do tricks or carry heavy loads. Let these incredibly sensitive, family-oriented, near extinction pachyderms just live in the wild, for those lucky enough, and in sanctuaries like Derby’s PAWS for those who have been enslaved & cannot go back to the wild! I know you will get educated with this article & i urge you to see the touching documentary, The Eyes of Thailand! TRUMPETS FOR CARING ABOUT THE ELEPHANTS! Continue reading »Uncategorized | Comment (0)
Los Angeles City Council is considering a ban on the use of bullhooks which would seem to end the use of elephants on city property. The Committee listened to people from both sides of the debate and came back suggesting that Animal Services look into not only a ban on bullhooks but a ban on exotic animals in traveling shows, which makes so much more sense as it encompasses ALL the wild animals and a ban on bullhooks doesn’t stop their using electric prods, whips, chains or other “guides” they feel they need to use. Animal Services brought them a comprhensive evaluation of both proposals. Now City Council must decide which proposal to take. I ask all Los Angelenos to please contact your city council member & urge the complete ban. This is what i said that day at the committee meeting but as you will read, I encourage the broader, more effective ban on all wild animals as i could not speak just for the elephants. They all suffer; they all are enslaved; they all deserve better! Contact Animal Defenders International for more info about this proposal & how to reach your city council member- www.ad-international.org. TRUMPETS & ROARS FOR HELPING! Continue reading »Animal Issues | Comment (0)
I went to City Council in downtown Los Angeles this week to speak about puppy mills. The compassionate councilman, Paul Koretz, has introduced an ordinance to ban the sale of dogs, cats & rabbits in pet stores in our City of Angels. Pet stores sell puppy mill pets; that is an undeniable fact- so if we stop the pet stores from supplying them, the demand goes down & the people who run these disgraceful operations will suffer, finally, and we will eventually close them down. It does allow for these pet stores to show & sell shelter pets which is becoming the humane move with pet stores. One pet store owner in Glendale learned about the horrors of puppy mills & turned his store into one that helps the shelter animals find homes and he has been so successful that he is adding another store. I felt compelled to go to this meeting to talk about my personal experience with puupy mills as i have gone on three legal puppy mill raids with Animal Rescue Corps in 2011. You are only give 2 minutes so this is brief but honest.
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I have been very involved in trying to get the elephants out of the LA Zoo for many years. In fact, just a few years ago, City Council of Los angeles had to decide whether to go ahead with the $42 Million remodel of the elephant exhibit, which remains completely inadequate for these pachyderms. In fact, when Councilman Tony Cardenas decided to challenge the zoo’s plans, based on the zoo’s inadequacies to accomodating elephants living in captivity & their premature deaths due to it, he asked me if I would make a promise to donate $100,000. for Billy’s transport & housing at the PAWS Sanctuary in Northern California should the council decide to shut the exhibit down. I said I would as I was mostly interested in helping any of these poor animals suffering in and around this country. But even before this debate was heard in Los Angeles City Council, Pat Derby & Ed Stewart called me to see if i would donate that pledge before Billy’s arrival to accommodate Ned, a very young, emaciated Asian elephant who was confiscated from circus trainer Lance Ramos for Ramos’ failure to comply with the Animal Welfare Act. Continue reading »Animal Issues | Comment (0)
“After repeated cycles of forced impregnations, painful births, relentless milkings, and crushing bereavements, their spirit gives, their bodies wither, their milk dries up. At the age when, in nature, a female cow would barely enter adulthood, the life of a dairy cow is over. When her milk ‘production’ declines, she and her other ‘spent’ herd mates are trucked off to slaughter. Some are pregnant. All are still lactating. As they are shoved towards death, they drip milk onto the killing floor… All dairy operations, including Organic, exist solely by doing to millions of defenseless females the worst thing anyone can do to a mother. Dairy consumers support this practice with their purchases.” Continue reading »Uncategorized | Comment (0)