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Denver-future US animal rights hub?

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In a city that seems best-known for beef, Broncos and the National Western Stock Show, Denver continues to show signs of being friendly to animal welfare and could be becoming a hot spot for this growing trend in the US. Animal welfare activists have found momentum with the area’s growing demand for natural foods, which has helped put the spotlight on the cruelty of “factory farming” as activists protest against monoculture/GMO food giants like Monsanto.

Denver’s vegan community continues to grow and three different social groups host regular meetings of all types-from formal protests against fur and factory farming to potluck dinners with guest speakers and restaurant outings. They also host film presentations that continue to succeed in packing sizable theaters. On Friday, March 28, the three groups will host the film “The Ghosts In Our Machinein Denver at DU. The film which exposes many animal cruelty issues of factory farming.

The largest local group, A Vegan Life, will also host the continuously-popular vegan awareness film “Forks Over Knives” at the SIE Film Center in Denver on April 3. Forks Over Knives is best known for giving medical evidence to support plant-based diets through actual cases where people made the switch to improve health, but also sheds light on the issues of animal cruelty and environmental issues. The film has an iconic status with famous vegan activists such as feminist Author Carol J. Adams and author and Professor Dr. Melanie Joy, PhD.

Joy is currently working Germany and part of an effort in Europe to support a growing vegan movement there. She also recently worked in Belgium and Spain on the same campaigns. When Joy was building support for her organization-Carnism Awareness Action Network-she gave a major presentation in Golden at Colorado Veg Fest, a popular event that has bigger attendance every year. The Denver area Veg Fest is one of many that now occur in the US. Only about four percent of Americans officially call themselves vegans or vegetarians, according to recent polls. Some polls say less are, but the idea is ever-popular and far more are interested.

Denver is also a hot spot for the quiet movement against declawing of domestic cats. Last fall’s presentation of the Paw Project movie, which gives medical explanations of why declawing permanently injures the animals and changes their behavior for the worse, was shown to a sold-out crowd at the SIE Film Center, a theater near downtown Denver. If the Denver declawing movement succeeds, it would make Colorado the first US state to ban declawing at the state level.

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