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Autumn 2009 - Act•ionLine

by Dustin Garrett Rhodes | Autumn 2009

Cheers and Jeers


2048 Cheers to Fran Costigan, author of More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally and instructor of Vegan Baking Boot Camp, for sweetening up Vegetarian Summerfest by preparing a customized version of “Chocolate Cake to Live For” that pleased approximately 300 guests at a wedding ceremony for J.C. and Rae, two educators who met at the annual conference.

The cake was made of organic, fairly traded ingredients, and was 100% gluten- and soy-free, so everyone could enjoy it. The three-layered confection had a whipped coconut milk filling and frosting. B ittersweet chocolate ganache was spread over the top to anchor a scene with animals as cake toppers, with a chiffonade of mint as grass.

That’s not all. Fran made a variety of desserts for Summerfest, including raw, gluten-free brownies, and held cooking demonstrations too. Fran thanked t he wonderful people at Theo Chocolate for donating chocolate for Summerfest. Wholesome Sweeteners donated sweeteners for Fran’s baking demonstration.

Fran Costigan , the Diva of Alternative Desserts, shows you how to be one yourself, with sample recipes and the whole cookbook available for purchase: On Twitter? Find Fran at

Cheers to Amtrak for offering passengers the “Vegan Gardenburger” in its dining car. Yes, it’s a microwaved snack food: not exactly The Best of Vegan Cooking. Still, those of us taking the train to Summerfest didn’t have to worry about whether we’d find something to keep us filled; Amtrak had two vegan selections. You can send thanks to Amtrak, order ahead, or suggest more vegan offerings, by contacting: 1-800-USA-RAIL. An online form can be found at:

Cheers to acclaimed classical pianist Soyeon Lee for continuing to promote environmental awareness. The case to Lee’s latest compact disk, Re!nvented, is made entirely out of recycled snack bags—keeping them out of landfills. Compact disk cases are generally made of plastic cases that break easily and are difficult to recycle. To learn more about Soyeon Lee’s artistry and activism, please visit

Cheers to Jozsef Vamosi, a Fairfax, Virginia resident who stopped along a stretch of the Fairfax County Parkway to protect the lives of eleven geese who were attempting to cross the busy road. Vamosi was able to peacefully stop traffic —allowing all 11 geese to cross the road unharmed. Vamosi’s courageous act potentially spared the lives of human and non-human animals.  For his heroic act, Vamosi was given a ticket for jaywalking. Here at Friends of Animals, we applaud everyday acts of kindness toward animals.  Vamosi, who’s a licensed general contractor, owns Woodini Enterprises, a business that specializes in bathroom and kitchen remodeling, custom homes, and building arts. If you reside in Virginia and have general contracting needs, please contact Woodini Enterprises at:

Phone: 703-691-0195
Mobile : 571-338-6866

Cheers to Bonney Brown, Executive Director of the Nevada Humane Society , for guiding Washoe County, Nevada to a save rate of 93% for dogs, 90% for cats -- despite an intake rate more than twice the national average 1. Brown says “people are the heart and soul of any organization, so we set out to find a team of managers and staff members who are committed to the organization’s mission and goals, share our lifesaving values, and have a strong work ethic.” And over the past two years, the volunteer ranks increased from 30 to more than 1,300 area residents.

They converted retail store space for pet adoptions, and eliminated several traditional humane education projects in order to focus on getting the community immediately involved in saving lives. Brown adds, “All of us are subtly influenced by labels, so...the Intake Room became Admissions, Kennel Attendants became Animal Caregivers, and Office Assistants became Adoption Counselors. On the other side, we didn’t want to hide behind euphemisms and we never want to forget the gravity of ending an animal’s life, so we stopped using the word euthanasia and began calling it killing.”

Brown resolved to make the shelter a welcoming place. Volunteers walk dogs wearing “Adopt Me” vests throughout the shelter. The cats in a group room like to lounge on the countertops -- at just the right height for people to play with or brush them. Holiday decorations, activities, and refreshments encourage visitors to spend a bit of extra time.

Low-cost and free spay/neuter services comprise a key part of any successful no-kill community plan and Brown actively promotes this, including free neutering for feral cats. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR), Brown reports, “is very cost effective and immensely popular with the public...If such a program doesn’t exist in your community, one needs to be started. Once feral cats end up in a shelter, it is usually a death sentence for them. Yet a recent survey showed that 81% of the public would rather see cats live out their lives outdoors than be rounded up and killed.”

The Nevada Humane Society, located at 2825 Longley Lane, Suite B, Reno, NV 89502, will happy share their Animal Help Desk Handbook with other organizations that want to establish such a program for their community.

Telephone: 775-856-2000


Jeers to Men’s Journal Magazine for their recent feature “Gourmet Blood Sports: How to Kill and Cook a Wild Boar.” Write to Men’s Journal magazine and let them know this is unacceptable.

E-mail: or send to
Men’s Journal
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104-0298
Facsimile: 212-484-3433

Jeers to New York City’s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for deciding, in June 2009, to round up and gas at least 2,000 resident Canada Geese during their molting season while they are unable to fly, in parks and areas surrounding New York City airports -- all at the expense of taxpayers.  This action was portrayed as a way to make air travel safer. But non-lethal methods such as sound devices are the best assurances to that geese will not be attracted to areas where they can pose a hazard to aircraft engines; moreover, short of killing every bird who flies, there is no way to be absolutely sure a bird will never be ingested into an engine. 

Contact Mayor Bloomberg, and denounce this violent policy, through:
City Hall, New York, NY 10007
Telephone: 212-NEW-YORK (or simply dial 311 from inside the City).
Facsimile: 212-312-0700

Jeers to Australian fashion designer Alannah Hill , who inexplicably claimed that rabbit fur isn’t really fur: "I don't use fur," claims Hill. "I've used rabbit on collars and a tiny bit on some cuffs, but to me that's not using fur." 2

Fur trim and fur collars are made from the hides of animals; it’s not a question of how much. Animals should not be a fashion accessory.

61 Church Street , Abbotsford Victoria 3067, Australia
Telephone: 61-3-9429-0000

  • 1. This success came to our attention through Nathan Winograd. A full summary is available online at
  • 2. Quoted from “ Fashion Designers Bring Back Real Fur for Winter” in Queensland, Australia’s Sunday Courier Mail of 19 Jul. 2009.
Dustin Garrett Rhodes

Act•ionLine Autumn 2009

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