All speaker presentations will be held in the Mississipi Room on the 3rd floor of Coffman Memorial Union.
10:30am – Christine Coughlin – If not us, who?
Factory farming causes tremendous animal suffering. Those of us who have concerns about the treatment of animals on farms must speak up. If we don’t, who will?
Enacting laws that protect animals has the potential to significantly reduce animal suffering on a large scale, and the animal protection movement in MN is building its political power. However, agribusiness is intent upon doing things as it always has, and is doing what it can to keep its practices hidden from the general public. Learn about political challenges, victories, and most of all, how you can speak up to positively affect the lives of animals in Minnesota.
Christine Coughlin is founder and president of Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting all animals by promoting humane legislation and legislators in MN. She has been active in the field since 2002, conducting grassroots campaigns on animal issues and working to elect humane legislators to office. She has served on two policy task forces working on animal issues for the City of Minneapolis, is a founding member of the Speak Up for MN Dogs and Cats Coalition, a volunteer Humane Educator with Bridges of Respect, a member of the MN Alliance for Family and Animal Safety, has volunteered with the Minneapolis municipal animal shelter and the (former) St. Paul Humane Society for Companion Animals, and regularly speaks on animal issues in Minnesota.
11:30 – Suzy Sorensen – Compassionate Eating: Getting Started
Making the change to compassionate eating is simple and convenient! If you are interested in moving to plant-based eating, or have recently made the change, here is an opportunity to learn how easy it can be to “veganize” favorite meals, put together a balanced plate, and get the nutrition you need. This introductory session will provide information and tips for transitioning to plant-based eating.
Suzy Sorensen RD, LD, CDE is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator specializing in plant-based nutrition. She owns Move2Veg Nutrition Counseling serving long-term vegetarians and vegans, as well as those simply interested in moving toward a healthier eating style.
After 30+ years of standard American diet, a scuba trip for lobster hunting introduced Suzy to the fantastic lives of underwater creatures.
This up close and personal view of the rich lives of animals began her journey to vegetarianism and, eventually, veganism. As she became active in the Twin Cities veg community, Suzy recognized a need for accurate vegetarian & vegan nutrition information. Move2Veg is an opportunity to support those who want to meet their nutritional needs through plant-based eating.
Suzy also serves at the MN State Coordinator for the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group promoting health and well-being based on the latest nutritional research.
12:30 – Nathan Runkle – Inspiring Compassion: Putting Our Ethics on the Table
Did you know chickens could count, pigs are smarter than dogs, or that cows have best friends? Learn about the hidden lives of “food” animals, and the even more hidden realities of industrial animal agriculture. Get informed. Be inspired. And find out how you can make small changes in your daily life that add up to big changes for animals.
Nathan Runkle is the founder and executive director of Mercy For Animals. Raised on a farm in rural Ohio, Nathan has long had a deep connection with farmed animals. After a local farmed animal abuse case involving a piglet slammed headfirst into a concrete floor during an agriculture project at a nearby high school, Nathan founded Mercy For Animals to give “food” animals a much-needed advocate in his local community.
Since founding Mercy For Animals over a decade ago, Nathan has overseen the organization’s growth into a leading national force in the prevention of cruelty to farmed animals and promotion of compassionate food choices and policies.
A nationally recognized speaker on animal advocacy, factory farming, and veganism, Nathan has presented at colleges, conferences, and many other forums from coast to coast.
Through his work with MFA, Nathan has been an outspoken advocate for animal rights, featured in hundreds of newspaper, television, and radio interviews, including on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, 20/20, CNN, and National Public Radio, and in USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune.
Nathan works closely with MFA’s diverse group of members, supporters, and employees to oversee, develop, and fulfill objectives within the organization’s four areas of focus: education, legal advocacy, corporate outreach, and undercover investigations.
Nathan has worked alongside elected officials, corporate executives, heads of international organizations, professors, farmers, celebrities, and film producers to pass landmark farmed animal protection legislation, raise public awareness about vegetarianism, and implement animal welfare policy changes.
VegNews magazine has recognized both Mercy For Animals and Nathan for making substantial contributions to the vegetarian movement, naming Nathan one of the “25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians” and one of the country’s “Top 20 Activists Under 30 Years Old,” and twice naming MFA “Non-Profit of the Year.” In 2009, at the age of 25, Nathan became the youngest person ever inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame.
1:30 – Nick Cooney – Someone, Not Something: Who Farm Animals Are, And Why They Matter
Did you know that pigs can play video games, and mother hens teach their chicks to count to ten? Meet some of Farm Sanctuary’s most amazing residents, and learn about how you can be a more effective advocate for farm animals everywhere.
Nick Cooney is the founder of The Humane League and is Compassionate Communities Manager for Farm Sanctuary. He is also the author of Change Of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change. Nick’s work for animals has been covered by Time magazine, CNN, National Public Radio, and hundreds of other media outlets. He also blogs for Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities Campaign.
2:30 – Jeff Johnson – The Ethics of Eating Animals
In this talk we will explore ways our ordinary ethical concepts can be brought to bear on the issue of eating animals, we will discuss a few of the prominent positions and arguments philosophers have offered on both sides of the ethical issue of eating animals, and we will critically examine some of the common defenses offered in favor of eating animals.
Jeff Johnson is an assistant professor of philosophy at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, where he regularly teaches courses on animal ethics and on the ethics of eating animals in particular. Jeff also volunteers for and serves on the board of directors of Compassionate Action for Animals.