Greetings y’all from sweltering Waelder, Texas! I hope your summer has been a good one.
I have just returned from the AVA Summit (Animal Vegan Advocacy) in Los Angeles where I gave a talk entitled “Christian Vegan Advocacy” which generated tons of buzz.
The AVA Summit is the flagship conference for the animal and vegan advocacy movement. About 1,000 participants and 80 expert speakers focused on systemic change with a wide range of tactics, strategies and approaches towards a shared vision of animals no longer being part of our food system.
The best way for me to describe my experience is to say that AVA is becoming the hub for vegans, animal rights groups and companies. to be seen and heard. One can experience the totality of who we are as a movement at a single summit. There’s so much to do, so many people to meet, and so many connections to make.. The AVA Summit is an opportunity for you and the animals waiting to happen!
Here’s a link to the talk I presented:
Michelle Celestino, Renee, Jennifer Stojkovic, Jane Velez-Mitchell
Cow House Blessing Event
If you were able to join us for yoga with the cows at sunrise, you’re probably still buzzing! On July 1st we celebrated the new Cow House and all who gave to the Time To Thrive Campaign to build it.
The day began with yoga and meditation joined by curious herd members. From sacred sound blessings to artistic expressions of art, music and poetry to delicious vegan food, the day was truly special. Everybody was in a relaxed space with no pressure to “do” anything other than bask in the company of the animals and like minded people.
We have so much gratitude for our guests, volunteers, artists and providers of food including stew from Food Healers, baked goodness by A Blu Doodle and vegan jerky by All Y’alls Foods.
Over the past three months, we’ve launched several campaigns to support Rowdy Girl’s animal residents with the Vet Care Fund. Thank you all who participated. Here are the results:
The Selena (our newest cow) Campaign to raise $1,200 surpassed the goal with $1,772 raised.
Bovines Prana and Pearly, Leo the sheep and Sealy the turkey were also Vet Care ambassadors in Q2. Our goal for the year is $3,500 and to date we’ve raised $1,709.
Another Drought Relief Campaign is underway to ensure we have sufficient funds in reserve for hay and nutritional cubes. The drought is creating hay shortages and price increases, and pastures are bone dry. The response has been heartening with new people joining and others giving one-time gifts. We have a ways to go but know with your help we’ll get through this.
Funding Beyond Our Membership
In an effort to diversify revenue streams and take advantage of government funding that is available, we’ve applied to the Farm Services Agency and have actually been successful! Why should only cattle ranchers get emergency relief and not vegan ranches where animals are protected?
We had a visit by a member of the USDA to discuss drought funding for pastures, improved ground water flow and new infrastructure to grow grass more efficiently. The outcome was positive with the possibility of funding in 2024.
Rowdy Girl Impact Tour
A new chapter for Rowdy Girl Sanctuary is being written and it’s called the Rowdy Girl Impact Tour (RGIT). We have two major new media projects underway: the documentary film, Rowdy Girl, and a book entitled The Secret Diary of a Cattle Rancher’s Wife to be published soon. RGIT includes film screenings and book talks with a focus on locations the animal rights movement has not been successful in reaching.
The ultimate objective of the RGIT is to disrupt the way people have been programmed by their culture and religion.
Both media projects are centered on Renee’s own transition to veganism and her genesis as founder of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary. Given Renee’s unique background as a Christian vegan, yoga teacher, country music singer and Texas rancher’s wife, the film and book projects will have broad appeal, including more conservative audiences.
We’ve been invited to three major film festivals this fall. Stay tuned for dates and locations for film screenings and book events.
🐮Selena, a Charlolais heifer
Selena is part of our Families Choosing Compassion program. FCC is our answer to the animal agriculture school systems of normalized violence. FFA and 4H programs teach children that farm animals are “projects” that can win them prize money, ribbons and status as they climb the ladder of educational achievement toward becoming another cog in the wheel of Big Ag. Selena’s former caretaker and her family can visit Selena whenever they please and rest easy knowing their beloved heifer will live at Rowdy Girl where she’ll be showered with love.
🐰Bun Bun the rabbit
Bun Bun is a 3-year-old rabbit who spent two years as a class pet in a first grade classroom. He would spend weekdays at school where he had his own space with a house, lots of enrichment, a litter box, and he was able to free range the classroom visiting with students. On weekends and long breaks, he would go home to his family’s house where he had an equally good life. However, the family was unable to keep him. Bun Bun is an extremely social rabbit and loves head scratches and being brushed on his back. He can jump very high and will sit on your lap in chairs or get up on desks when you aren’t paying attention. He gets to roam around the office here at Rowdy Girl all day long. He’s the first one to greet you when you walk in the door in the morning and will start to run around the office to get out all his “zoomies.”
🐔Three new chickens
These darling ladies were surrendered by a young owner who was unable to keep them and found the only takers would have slaughtered them.
We would love to hear your naming suggestions! Get creative and watch for the upcoming contest to be announced soon.
Speaking of members, did we mention that y’all are the heartbeat of the sanctuary?
Our membership goal for 2023 is 800 members giving an average of $30.00 each month. Sanctuary operations cost us $25,000 every month and that’s without any extreme weather or unforeseen disaster like lightning striking our tractor earlier this year.
At the time of this publication, we have more than 600 monthly members!
Meet one of our Proud Members Lisa Cassell. A five-year member now, Lisa showed up on her motorcycle one day back at our Angleton, Texas location.
Here’s Lisa’s Why:
I became a member of Rowdy Girl Sanctuary after I participated in Mayfest there in 2018. I actually rode my motorbike down from Dallas/Fort Worth. I was very touched and impressed with Renee and Tommy’s story. And it is quite a story. She changed not only her own heart, but his and now countless others especially through her Rancher Advocacy Program. It is really something to see former chicken ranchers watch in horror as their animals are prepared for slaughter. They literally say they can’t believe they participated in such cruelty. Farms are for growing mushrooms, not animals. I have supported her and her amazing team since then, especially through Hurricane Harvey, which I know caused not only destruction to the sanctuary but it also took a toll on the people who support the sanctuary emotionally and physically. It was amazing to see people come together to get all the animals to safety. And now, hopefully the new location will not suffer the same and give Renee and Tommy and all the employees and volunteers less to worry about. I am very proud to be on her team.
Please support Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, but more importantly, please stop eating animals and animal products. If you want to see this planet heal, that is the way to do it.
Education & Legislation
Agriculture Fairness Alliance
Renee traveled to Washington, DC last month with the Agriculture Fairness Alliance to be a voice for farmed animals as politicians prepare to pass the Farm Bill. This time she was accompanied by Impossible Foods founder Pat Brown.
Like most Americans, you’ve probably not heard of this massive omnibus bill, which Congress reauthorizes every five or so years, yet it impacts us every day. It literally shapes our food system–from subsidizing factory farms to funding food and nutrition programs, and it is why a salad costs more than a Big Mac.
One of the most powerful actions you can take as an individual is to add your name to the Vegan Voter Hub which sends a message to lawmakers and politicians that lets them know you will vote with animals’ well-being in mind.
Recent Media Attention
Plant Based News featured an article entitled Why This Texas Beef Cattle Ranch Transformed Into A Vegan Sanctuary.
Plan Your Trip to Rowdy Girl Sanctuary Today!
We love to welcome guests so they can experience the beautiful energy created by our animal residents living their lives peacefully.
Tours are an important part of raising awareness about our food system and creating a ripple of compassion that will keep spreading.
Book your tour here. We would love y’all to visit!
Sunrise the rooster and Amelia the chicken sadly passed in June. We will miss Sunrise’s early morning wakeup calls and Amelia’s sweet personality despite her unnatural proportions from being bred as a “broiler” to grow extremely large in a very short amount of time.
Event & Podcast Appearance Updates
Renee was featured on Our Hen House podcast. Our Hen House was founded in 2010 by activist and author Jasmin Singer, and lawyer and animal law professor Mariann Sullivan. They have more than 42,000 followers and produce upbeat yet hard-hitting podcasts that amplify the voices of people who are working to change the world for animals, offering listeners accurate information and inspiration to create positive change.
Whole Food Plant Based Potluck at First Methodist Church, Seguin
Renee will tell her story as guest speaker at this free event for the community.
Date: Thursday, August 24th
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: 710 N. Austin St., Seguin, TX
Feel free to bring a vegan dish to share!
For more information, contact: email@example.com
Whole Planet Spirituality Retreat
Renee will be the keynote speaker at the Whole Planet Spirituality Retreat in Kansas City, Missouri on October 19-22. The retreat’s theme is Peace Begins with Me and will be three days of inspiration, renewal and collaboration to co-create a world that works for all beings on the planet.
Living the Rowdy Girl Life
BAKERY WE LOVE
A Blu Doodle
This Houston startup by Amber Fontnette is a seriously good vegan bakery! Amber has been incredibly generous with her delicious cookies and cupcakes, most recently at the Cow House Blessing. You can enjoy this goodness too as A Blu Doodle ships!
RECIPES WE LOVE
Our latest Zucchini Date Muffins from One Green Planet are super easy and ridiculously yummy. We like to have them with our coffee in the morning when we head out to check on the animals. Inspired by the What the Health Cookbook.
Save the Date!
Tommy Sonnen has a birthday coming up and y’all are invited to his virtual birthday party on Saturday, August 26th! Watch your inbox for your invitation soon.