Conscious Eating Conference

February 24th, 2012 by Webmaster


In Defense of Animals co-hosted the first annual Conscious Eating Conference at the University of California, Berkeley on February 18, 2012. Seven expert speakers from across the United States offered presentations on “sustainable”, “humane” and “local” alternatives to animal products. Participants were treated to an organic, vegan continental breakfast including tasty cinnamon buns, and delicious organic, vegan tamales for lunch.

Speakers included James McWilliams, author of four books on food and agriculture including Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, Lauren Ornelas -founder of the Food Empowerment Project, Richard Oppenlander, author of Comfortably Unaware: Global Depletion and Food Choice Responsibility, Vasile Stanescu, a PhD candidate at Stanford University and co-senior editor of the Critical Animal Studies Book Series, and Karen Davis, the founder and president of United Poultry Concerns. All offered expert opinions on how a plant-based diet is truly the most sustainable and humane. A closing panel discussion featured all the speakers and ended with an interactive question and answer. Check out the photos of this historic event.

Every day, food is an integral part of our lives. We celebrate with it, socialize around it, and shove it down when we don’t have time to think about it. With the Earth’s population topping 7 billion, our food choices are having a profound impact on our planet, and not only for the future. There are detrimental effects present now. Our food also affects billions of animals caught in an ever increasingly mechanistic system of farming.

The Conscious Eating Conference explored these issues and analyzed the alternatives. Berkeley was the prime location, with “local” butcher shops opening up down the street from vegan restaurants. We hope that the information presented will help answer questions and make informed dietary decisions.

Thanks to the four sponsoring groups that worked so hard with IDA to make this happen – United Poultry Concerns, Food Empowerment Project, and Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy. We hope to do it again next year!