My Speech after Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at Worldfest- Los Angeles, Ca. May 20, 2012
I am so honored & humbled to be getting this incredible award as I look out and see so many friends out here who have helped me work for the animals. I share this honor with you all & dedicate this award to all of the advocates around the world. We all know that, to paraphrase Scotlund, alone we can do very little but together we can & are accomplishing a lot. I want to thank my dear friend, Scotlund Haisley, for his kind words about me. I can only hope to live up to them. Scotlund is a fairly new friend but he has definitely made me a better activist by working with him and his organization, Animal Rescue Corps. He is an inspiring leader who shows care & concern for all of us (2 & 4 leggers) on his ARC’s mission and has an amazing core team. It consists of Tim Woodward, Michael Cunningham, Elaine Hendricks, Karla Goodson, Chris Hoar and Ady Gil- along with many rescue groups, veterinarians & volunteers throughout this country & Canada. Coming from the #1 puppy mill state of Misery, I mean Missouri, it was about time I saw some puppy mills and saved some of those unfortunate dogs. Scotlund & ARC gave me that opportunity. It was painful to see the horrific conditions these dogs are forced to live in and to see those we didn’t reach in time but there is no greater joy and satisfaction than actually saving animals- removing from this hell (or any other for that matter) and seeing them come around & find loving, forever homes. Please make sure to visit ARC’s booth today & become an ARC angel. I thank you, scotlund, for helping me be a more effective advocate for animals and for your friendship, which means so much to me.I also want to thank the WorldFest crew for this honor – Billy Hulting, Jill Hahn, Andrea Gullo, Kim Kaspari, Susan Weingarten and Prabhat Gautam and all the volunteers. As you can imagine, putting this one day festival together is no easy feat. They will probably take next week off but come June, they’ll be starting to plan for WorldFest 2013. Thank you for all your work and giving all of us such a fun, inspiring day. And of course for this incredible honor!
I also have to thank my family- Doug & Julia Stoll, for loving me and for always being “my advocates”. When Doug & I fell in love, I had one small dog & 2 cats. Now, we have 6 dogs, one foster dog and 16 cats so I really have changed the game a bit & I love you both for accepting that I need to save these lives and for not complaining too much. I love you both deeply. I also have to thank my parents because they taught me a most important lesson- that a happy life is a helping one. My father fled Russia because of the persecution to Jews and he dedicated his life to “defending the innocent”. That is what we all are doing too- defending the innocent. He would tell me to help the underdog; I just took him literally. Also, a big shout out to Bill Crockett, my dear friend & lawyer who helped me with a lot of my work for animals and Masako Maxwell for her computer genius; i couldn’t do a lot of things without her help.
I do want to say a few words about food since this is a vegan festival. For those who aren’t vegan yet, I understand; it took me 31 years after becoming vegetarian to go vegan so I am not judging you. But I implore you to make that change and for help, go to Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres, which I co-founded, and meet the sweet cows who were destined to become veal, the endearing egg-laying chickens, ducks & geese the comical pigs and the darling sheep and goats- who are so much more than the meals that most people see them as. I believe they are the best at changing people’s minds & diets. As I say in the Veg Monologues, playing to a sold-out crowd tomorrow night at Doomies to a sold out audience, I could no longer deny that, not only is there violence in killing but there is also violence in living & we all know that the life of a factory farmed animal is a hell that is hard to comprehend. But there is one vegan food that really isn’t vegan as it is killing many species & our beautiful planet and that’s- PALM OIL! This cheap, unhealthy oil is in many of our vegan foods and products and it is also an unenvironmental biofuel. Deforestation for palm oil is causing the imminent extinction of our cousins, the amazing orangutans, the pygmy elephants, the Sumatran tigers, and so many other incredible species as well as displacing indigenous people & causing serious global warming. Rainforests are the lungs of our planet &, just as our bodies cannot live without our lungs, neither can our planet! I went to Borneo to meet the orphaned orangutans I had been helping & I was so struck by them; to me, they are so much like us but with one big difference- their innocence is intact. Orangutans have been on this earth for millions of years and in just about fifty years of finding & studying them, the human species is about to wipe them off this planet. I also beg you to not buy into the sustainable myth which is much like the myths of free-range chickens, cage free eggs & happy cows. Please watch YouTube’s The Sustainabilty Lie as it clearly shows how this sustainability is a “green wash pack of lies.” I have to do all I can to save them and the others and I beg you to please give up palm oil and help educate others & do whatever you can to make sure this catastrophe doesn’t happen. This is a global tragedy unfolding before our eyes and we must stop it!
The truth is animal rights is about human wrongs. I believe that there is enough suffering in this world without us humans creating more. We truly are peace warriors. We, animal advocates, are joined by peace & compassion and yet we fight a war everyday, not a battle but a war. A war where millions of animals are tortured and killed daily, a war where greed & profit win over sentient beings, a war where normal people participate in it daily without even a second thought. I know you are probably like me in wishing you could take a break from this war but the truth is this war is with us always. With the ability, through the social network, to see & share globally what happens to animals, it is often excruciating and deeply disturbing on one hand but it also unites & empowers us as a global community.
We are making progress on many fronts and I have seen this movement grow stronger & more effective in the many years I have been in it. I am grateful to each of you for caring, for choosing a life of helping the most innocent but I implore each of you to pace yourselves, take care of yourselves and do enjoy your life. Have fun, have sex, have love & support, be love & support and make sure that the anger and depression doesn’t consume you; if you do, the animal abusers will have won. We must teach and model the compassion we so want to see for the animals. Please don’t burn out because we all know that the animals need each & every one of us and believe me, history will be on our side.
So in closing, I dedicate this award to all of you advocates here & everywhere in the world and promise to continue to fight along with you all for justice for animals. Thank you again; I promise I will work hard to be deserving of this honor. Dog bless you all!
- What’s Wrong With Palm Oil
- My Trip to Borneo and the Orangutans
- Speaking To Us Without Words–Art and Animals Posted on May 4, 2013 by Diana Webster of Humane Advisor
- Are Girl Scout Cookies Killing Orangutans?!
- BOYCOTT MONSANTO!