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Could local meeting be start of animal lobby in Colorado?

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Animals rights is an ever-popular topic in US pop culture. Many celebrities in recent years have associated themselves with the aggressive animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA. But in Denver, a local movement is underway to start a political lobby for animals that has no direct connection to popular national groups like PETA. The Colorado Animal ACTion Network will host a lobbying meeting tomorrow night at Whole Foods at 2735 E 1st Ave in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood.

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The Animal ACTion Network is being joined by the Colorado chapter of the Humane Society of the United States, and Jacquelyn Pyun, who is director of HSUS Colorado, will be teaching a lesson on how to affectively lobby for animal rights and for legislating changes to support animals. Also participating in the informative discussion will be Heather Carpenter, HSUS national director of State Grass Roots campaigns.

At least 12 guests have said they will attend the event, which will take place upstairs in the community room at the Whole Foods store. The room holds many more people and has been a gathering site for numerous vegan-oriented discussions attended by people as far away as Brighton and Colorado Springs, including presentations by the popular vegan doctor Connie Sanchez of California. Nearly 500 people belong the Colorado Animal Action Network and well over 1,100 belong to the Denver-based vegan Social Group “A Vegan Life”.

Small animal advocacy groups are now becoming prominent around the nation, and many people who join vegan social groups as they change diets for health reasons tend to grow sympathetic to animal rights movements even if they don’t directly participate in popular protests, although many do. Recent protests against Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus was supported by both Denver-based groups, as well as by advocacy groups in Boulder, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, where sizable groups are already well established who often send members to demonstrations in Denver.

Meetups.com shows animal rights groups established through their website network in various cities throughout the entire US, and that groups are just as large in states that would be seen on the political spectrum as being more meat-friendly. These states include Colorado, Nebraska and Iowa, where a sizable portion of the nation’s meat is either produced or processed. Like the various groups of vegans and animal activists in Colorado, groups elsewhere in the nation are growing. The groups are largely local and disconnected from one another, but share increasingly-popular ideas that could be the basis for a new political lobby that could affect the outcomes of elections and popular legislation in the future.

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