SF/SPCA teaches veggie living

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2000:

SAN FRANCISCO––In New York, the American SPCA magazine touts “free range” beef and poultry products. In Minneapolis, activists are begging the Humane Society of Hennepin County to at least offer vegetarian options alongside the hot dogs at an annual “Walk for Animals.”

In San Francisco, however, the San Francisco SPCA hosts regular workshops in vegetarian living: what to eat, how to cook it, and how to cope with any problems.

Each of the three workshops held so far drew just over 50 participants.

“The class materials are also available free through our web site,” SF/SPCA advocacy and law coordinator Nathan Winograd told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “We have been offering the materials since September 1999, and send out approximately 20 per month.”

Participants have included more-orless equal numbers of people interested in vegetarianism for health reasons and ethical reasons, according to Winograd, and have also been “evenly split between part-time vegetarians who wanted to make a full commitment, and non-vegetarians wanting to include more vegetarian food in their diets.”

Humane societies typically avoid addressing meat-eating as “controversial.”

Acknowledged Winograd, “We did receive one complaint from a supporter that we are getting into ‘radical’ issues, but we heard a lot more when we tackled the live markets issue [in Chinatown]. Overall the response has been positive. The workshops have been featured on ‘Dining Out with Gene Burns,’ a high-profile food program here on KGO Radio, which is the top-rated talk radio station in the San Francisco Bay area.”

Affirming the SF/SPCA vegetarian policy with a written statement was among society president Ed Sayres’ first acts upon succeeding former president Richard Avanzino in late 1998. Avanzino is now executive director of Maddie’s Fund.

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