A Distinctive Style Magazine

Issue 13

Culture, music, art, creativity, photography, environmental awareness, new fashion, celebrity interviews, motion video, organic eating, holistic health

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Page 27 of 77

W ith increasing interest I read as Kathy Stevens and her co-worker Julie rescue Norman the Turkey from her (yes, her) certain fate at the dinner table. The turkey is a symbol of the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s staff and volunteers’ passion for animals. Kathy has a heart wrench ing understanding of the emotions animals go through; she knows their pain, their fear, their sadness, and ultimately (and because of her), their happiness. Found at a Radio Station “(frozen) turkey bowling event,” Norman was spared from among the hoards of freshly slaughtered birds being sold out of a poultry farm’s gen- eral store simply because Kathy and Julie couldn’t bear to see this turkey suffer (of fear, mostly) further. This is An- imal Camp, Stevens’ second book about CAS, in which Kathy discovers the secrets of animal personalities. Are skeptics right to accuse Stevens of being Anthro- pomorphic? Is she making the emotions of animals out to be more than they can possibly be? Though it would ap- pear her ultimate intention is to sway the reader into a realization that perhaps the killing and eating of animals is unnecessary and cruel, it is also to let us into her world, to present us with her world as she sees it, to share her perceptions of the creatures she comes across (and adores) as Founder and Director of an Animal Sanctuary. If that’s Anthropomorphism, so be it. Every writer is try- ing to tell the reader something and every writer knows that even if they only reach one person, at least they did that. Lastly, every writer has the freedom to influence her reader using whatever means she deems necessary. Though her book certainly draws the reader in and stirs compassion for animals, Stevens is extremely proactive in her mission to spread compassion toward all living creatures, even beyond the written word. She and her Staff give tours at the farm, hold Vegan Cooking Classes (Compassionate Cuisine) and have created Summer Camps for children. As Stevens says, “The combination of allowing children to have lengthy and meaningful in- teractions with pigs, cows and chickens combined with working in an organic garden and learning to prepare their own vegan lunches I believe works on all kinds of levels – not only to heighten compassion and help chil- dren to connect the dots, but also to empower them to make kind choices.” Children aren’t the only ones to become “inspired” (as Kathy puts it) to feel compassion toward animals and to become Vegetarians. Kathy is proud to have created Catskill Animal Sanctuary “not just as a haven for ani- mals, but as a place for people to come and be inspired to change.” Stevens asserts that adults make their way up the CAS driveway for whatever reason, whether it’s simply because they love cats and dogs and want to spread their horizons to farm animals or because they’ve read the book or are looking for a last push toward Veg- etarianism, and they’re often compelled by CAS’s “larger- than-life animal personalities” just as the children are. They often want to know “Okay. I give. Now what do I do?” It’s no wonder Stevens and her staff at CAS inspire love and compassion in so many. Even those who could be her harshest critics don’t greet her with backlash for what might be perceived as vilifying pork producers and the like. Stevens says that because she speaks “from a place of love and always without anger, a lot of the rage that might otherwise be directed at me is softened. If there ever is backlash, I’d simply do what I always do: speak with love, but speak the truth. To do so disarms many of our most strident critics.” In Animal Camp, her

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