Jasmin Singer Has A Few Reasons To Smile...

Jasmin with her beloved dog Rose
Below, enjoy a guest post by activist and vegan superhero Jasmin Singer, responding to KMIV's favorite question, "What are YOUR reasons to smile?".  In addition to being a rockstar for farmed animals everywhere, Jasmin is the executive director and co-founder of Our Hen House, a central clearinghouse for all kinds of ideas and opportunities to create change for animals. As OHH's website reads: 

"Our Hen House produces resources that you can use in order to find your own way to change the world for animals. Using video, audio, interviews, reviews, and the written word, it provides daily updates on what you need to create change. No matter what your niche is, Our Hen House aims to give you what you need to be part of a new world for animals."

To learn more about this kiss-worthy lady, check out her Our Hen House bio Take it away, Jasmin! 

Remember that feeling you had when you learned about the horror of what is happening to animals behind closed doors? If you were like me, your initial thought was, “How could I not have known?” And I’d bet my tofu scramble that your next one was, “What am I going to do about it?” 

The goal of Our Hen House is to help you answer that question. I co-founded Our Hen House in January 2010 with my partner, animal rights law professor Mariann Sullivan, to act as a multi-media hive of opportunities for change. We have a daily blog, a weekly podcast, and a video production unit. We believe that changemakers come in all shapes and sizes – artists, grassroots activists, academics, lawyers, students, business moguls, media darlings, etc. – and it is our goal to help anyone who cares about animals find their niche, their own personal recipe to change the world for animals. Our style is indefatigably positive, and no matter what your interests, Our Hen House aims to give you what you need.

With the weather getting toastier, I feel newly recharged to step up my own animal activism. And based on the overwhelming attendance at some of the NYC activist events I’ve recently attended, I’m not the only one. In honor of springtime, I have handpicked my top 10 favorite inspiring activist stories we’ve featured on Our Hen House - in other words, Our Hen House's top ten  "Reasons to Smile" for April. I've also shared a round-up of our recent podcast episodes. Of course, given the multitude of changemaking avenues, narrowing it down feels a bit like Sophie’s choice, so be sure to visit Our Hen House daily, and join our Facebook and Twitter families, too.

Our Hen House's Top Ten Reasons to Smile for April:
1. Our Hen House Launches “The Gay Animal Series”: For the launch of our Gay Animal series, we created a video featuring Mercy for Animals’ Executive Director, Nathan Runkle, exploring the interconnections between gay rights and animal rights. This kind of advocacy – bridging social justice movements – is integral to creating social change.  

2. New Vegan Stock Photo Site: Calling Photographers and Advertisers!: Activists Chris and Crystal Tate have created a vegan stock photo website  anyone can use for their blogs or printed material. They are also seeking photographs and vegan advertisers. I love their entrepreneurial spirit. A source for vegan photographs was a tool that animal activists sorely needed, and they have filled that void beautifully.

3. Change the World for Pit Bulls: As the proud human companion to a sweet pit bull, I know all too well that the myths surrounding these precious creatures are unfounded and cruel. A new film, Guilty ‘Til Proven Innocent, exposes the dark underbelly of breed discriminatory laws.

4. Writing for Animal Rights: As part of Our Hen House’s “Changemaking Series,” I have been working with Mercy for Animals to give workshops on activism. The last one, Writing for Animal Rights, was live-streamed, and the video is now available, along with links to the documents I distributed at the talk, summarizing the main points. 

5. YEA Camp: Yeah, I Wanna Go: The only problem with YEA Camp is that it was not around when I was a tyke. It’s a summer camp for kids who want to change the world.

6. “Animals Are Outside Today”: Artist Colleen Plumb has a cutting-edge, cerebral way of combining her talent as a photographer with her clear passion for animals. Her current exhibit, “Animals Are Outside Today,” is not only moving, but succeeds in speaking the truth about animals in one of the most profound ways possible: the arts.
7. Easy-Peasy Restaurant Outreach: The changemakers over at Compassion Over Killing are offering free restaurant manager cards that highlight the growing demand for vegan food, encouraging establishments to expand their menus in a compassionate direction. This is a no-brainer for anyone who wants an easy way to advocate veganism. 
8. Political Animals: Instead of just complaining about what elected officials are doing, and failing to do, about animal issues, two animal lovers in Canada decided to run for office. Perhaps this kind of political animal activism is something more of us should consider?  
9. Studying Human-Animal Relations, In Person AND ONLINE!!: Canisius College in Buffalo, New York is among one of the most recent universities to add a program in human-animal relations. Lucky for us, they even offer a graduate program that is mostly based online. Acadamic outreach for animals is A-Okay with us.
10. A Vegan Art Show in New York City (and Beyond?): Metropolitan Community Church of New York is hosting an art show this fall featuring animal and vegan-themed works by creative vegans. If you’re in NYC, submit your work, but if you’re not, consider organizing a similar show in your area that not only brings together community, but also raises awareness – and potentially funds – for animal issues.

Photo © Lauren Krohn
In addition to blogging every day, we at Our Hen House also produce one-hour weekly podcasts. Here are the four most recent episodes. Remember, you can easily listen on our website, or subscribe for free on iTunes
Our Hen House Podcast Round-Up:
Episode 67 – Featuring Joe Cross, filmmaker of Fat Sick & Nearly Dead
Episode 66 – Featuring James McWilliams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly 
Episode 65 – Featuring Delci Winders of PETA and Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary
Episode 64 – Featuring Jane Velez-Mitchell, host of CNN’s Headline News show, Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell
At Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

One of my all-time favorite quotes was also the title of our 67th podcast episode. Émile Zola said, 

The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous.” 

Though that certainly resonates with me, and as you can see from the ample opportunities outlined above (and the hundreds more on our website), appearing ridiculous isn’t even a prerequisite for getting involved with changing the world for animals anymore, since literally anyone can do it in a way that is both fulfilling and fun. I don’t know about you, but putting a positive spin on the absolute despair inherent in animal exploitation, and empowering ourselves to change the world in creative ways, gives me gusto.
Want to learn more about this amazing activist and Our Hen House? Visit www.ourhenhouse.org to learn more.  


Myra Wolf said…
I love reading all I can about Jasmin..she is just all around beautiful!!!
dirtyduck said…
“The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous.”

:) exactly
CurlyLocks said…
Great reasons to smile! :)
ki said…