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Veganism: The Noble Way of Living

Food Empowerment Project: The Power in Food Choices – with 'lauren' Ornelas (vegan), Part 1 of 3

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Today, it is our great honor to bring you the extraordinary Ms. lauren Ornelas, a veteran social justice advocate of 35 years in California, USA. Her nonprofit organization Food Empowerment Project (FEP), which she founded in 2007, has done monumental work to help some of the most underprivileged and downtrodden of society.

“I initially went vegetarian when I was in elementary school, in the 70s, seeing the cows in the fields – I grew up in Texas – and immediately just kind of saw them as a family. And, I started just to realize that I didn't want to consume cows anymore because I didn't want to be a part of separating their families.” “I think it simply is that I loved animals. It's like nothing else, but just simply loving them. And that seems really maybe simplistic, but it's the truth. I just loved animals and I just couldn't imagine being responsible for hurting them.”

In 1992, while attending St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, Lauren founded the St. Edwards Animals Rights Society, an animal rights group which later became Action for Animals, an organization that is still active today. “I had gotten arrested a lot of times for the animals, and that spanned from things such as protesting fur and protesting the circus or protesting animals used in research. But I think the ones that really hit me the hardest are the investigations I've done for animals that are raised and killed for food.” “I went into one of the farms and investigated, and a lot of the turkeys were sick. They were shivering, they were so ill, but they were still so absolutely curious. They would still come up and peek at my camera and tap on it with their beaks, that even though they were ill and they were crowded and it was filthy, they still had that part of them, that was eternally curious about what was going on around them. And so it was heartbreaking, as all these investigations are, and at the same time, the beauty of the animals still was there.”

Supreme Master Ching Hai: “Joyfully present the Shining World Compassion Award to lauren Ornelas, plus US $10,000 for the Food Empowerment Project as a humble token of support for your noble work empowering the underprivileged, with all love, respect, and gratitude. May you enjoy ever more success and may Heaven bless you abundantly always.”

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