We have a great line up of speakers for this year’s festival! Speakers will be in the President’s Room on the 3rd floor of Coffman Memorial Union, except for Marco Antonio Regil, who will be in the Coffman Theater on the 1st floor.

Mike Wolf

Saturday, 11:30am in the President’s Room

Mike Wolf

The Importance of Undercover Investigations

Mike will relate how he got involved in animal advocacy and what it’s like to work undercover, and will tell the story of a boar he met while working in the field. He’ll review the results of Compassion Over Killing’s recent investigations, which include Foster Farms (and the myth of “humane” meat), Quality Pork Processors (and what HIMP is), and Tyson (and what boning is). Mike will conclude with a positive message for the future of animal advocacy.

About Mike

Mike Wolf spent several years working as an undercover investigator with a focus on animal agriculture. His investigations of hog farm suppliers to companies such as Smithfield and Hormel have resulted in dozens of criminal cruelty charges. His cases have been featured in several national media outlets as well as multiple books written on the topic.

Mike joined Compassion Over Killing in 2014 as the Investigations Manager, and he oversees investigative efforts into meat, dairy, and egg facilities. This includes the viral 2015 investigation into Quality Pork Processors, a pig slaughter plant that exclusively supplies Hormel. He also has a strong passion for vegan fitness, and hopes to show how easy it is to gain vegan muscle as a member of PlantBuilt’s Powerlifting team.

Mistress Ginger

Saturday, 12:30pm in the President’s Room

Mistress Ginger

Compassion with a Fan Kick

Mistress Ginger shows you how to infuse a little more compassion into your snazzle-frazzle life. You can be YOU and still embrace a world of kind choices, one high-heeled step at a time. Ginger serves up inspiration by the boatload, with a bevy of stories, a sprinkling of songs, and, oh yes, the occasional fan kick.

Along with this presentation on Saturday, the Mistress will be available throughout the weekend to autograph copies of her cookbook, Mistress Ginger Cooks!: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone. She’ll also be selling her famed Gingersnatch Cookies. Come and get ‘em!

About Mistress Ginger

Mistress Ginger is just your typical quadruple threat diva: singer, dancer, actress, and vegan know-it-all. When she’s not dazzling audiences with the latest Junkyard Theater cabaret production, she can be found cooking up tantalizing vegan meals for one or more of her many lovers. She has fueled herself with a vegan diet since 2002, and she wrote a cookbook to share her vegan pearls of wisdom with the world at large. Mistress Ginger Cooks!: Everyday Vegan Food for Everyone was published in 2014 has wowed the critics with its high-heeled brand of plant-based cookery. The Star Tribune says, “We’ve never thought it possible to use the words ‘vegan’ and ‘glamour’ in the same sentence, until now…” Find it on Amazon or get autographed copies from the Mistress herself.

Learn more about Mistress Ginger at mistressgingercooks.com and on Facebook.

Mark Berkson

Saturday, 1:30pm in the President’s Room

Mark Berkson

What’s in a Name?: Religious & Philosophical Reflections

Mark will draw on East and South Asian religious traditions to look deeply into the three words in the name “Compassionate Action for Animals.” We will discuss the importance of cultivating compassion; the connection between compassion and action; and the animals toward whom we have compassion and for whom we act. What can we know about non-human animals? In what philosophical and legal categories should they be put? Is there a hierarchy among them that is relevant to how we treat them? Are they bearers of rights? And can some non-human animals be considered persons?

The talk, which will be followed by discussion, will draw on a number of religious and philosophical traditions, including Buddhism, Confucianism, and Jainism.

About Mark

Mark Berkson, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion at Hamline University. He teaches courses in Asian religions (including the Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist and Hindu traditions), Islam, and comparative religion. Mark received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in Religious Studies, his M.A. from Stanford University in East Asian Studies, and his B.A. from Princeton University. Mark’s scholarly work has addressed topics such as religion and non-human animals; Confucian, Buddhist and Daoist thought; death and dying; and interfaith dialogue. His work has been published in numerous books and journals. He has released two DVD/book projects with The Great Courses: Cultivating Literacy for Religion (2012) and Death, Dying and the Afterlife: Lessons from World Cultures (2016).

Suzy Sorensen

Saturday, 2:30pm in the President’s Room

Suzy Sorensen

Healthy Habits for Healthy Vegans

Knowing a little about vegan nutrition can help you develop healthy eating habits to feel your best and be a great role model for compassionate living! If you’re ready to move to plant-based eating, or already there but could use a refresher, this is your chance to gather tips, tools, and strategies to plan simple, balanced vegan meals without breaking the bank.

About Suzy

Suzy is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who is passionate about plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Certificate of Training in Vegetarian Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and has served at the state and national level for the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group.

As a dietitian choosing plant-based eating for compassionate reasons, Suzy recognizes the need for accurate vegetarian and vegan nutrition information in a world of information overload. Six years ago, she opened her own business, Move2Veg Nutrition Counseling, as an opportunity to support those who want to meet their nutritional needs through plant-based eating. You can also follow Move2Veg on Facebook!

Marco Antonio Regil

Sunday, 11:30am in the Coffman Theater

From Carnivore to Vegan

Marco Antonio RegilNine years ago, Marco suffered from chronic gastritis, colitis, and esophagitis, while doing international campaigns for companies such as McDonald’s, Nestle, and PepsiCo. After adopting a plant-based diet, Marco became a healthy and happy vegan who no longer relies on prescription drugs. Join Marco as he describes his evolution from heavy meat-eater to healthy vegan, and how his decision to change helped give him more energy and a renewed sense of purpose in life.

About Marco

Marco Antonio Regil has been an entertainer since he first discovered radio at the age of 14, and is now the most trusted TV Personality in Mexico, according to Reader’s Digest. Marco is a constant fixture in Latin households as the host of the Spanish version of Family Feud, The Price is Right, and Mexico’s hit show, Generation Gap (Recuerda y Gana). He has become a central figure in America’s emerging Spanish-language entertainment industry.

Marco is also a passionate vegan and animal rights advocate. He participates in numerous forums across the country, promoting healthy living and the compassionate treatment of animals. A devoted supporter of PETA, Mercy for Animals, Humane Society International, and Animal Heroes, Marco is a sought-after public speaker who educates and inspires people on the wonderful health and environmental benefits of maintaining a plant-based diet.

Pamela Ziemann

Sunday, 1:30pm in the President’s Room

Pamela Ziemann

Alice Cooper vs. The Dairy Princess

Pamela Ziemann will share a 15-minute show of one of her most embarrassing moments as she reluctantly entered the 1976 Dairy Princess Contest to win her Dad’s approval. That same night, she missed her hero Alice Cooper singing “I’m 18, I’ve gotta get away!” Learn how Pamela finally got away from indoctrinated food choices and started expressing her own values. After the performance, she’ll invite a few participants on stage to demonstrate fun and powerful improv techniques to help you speak your vegan truth while building healthy relationships. Join us for a mix of live theater and practical communication skills you can start using today!

About Pamela

Pamela Ziemann is a Solo Performance Artist and Educator dedicated to helping people share the vegan message in an effective and inspiring way. She’s the author of “Can You be a Vegan and Still Have Friends… over for Dinner?” and the award-winning book “Giving Voice to Your Cause.” She overcame a debilitating fear of public speaking and is now facilitating groups internationally in the area of confidence-building and public speaking. Her website is PamelaZiemann.com.

Jeff Johnson

Sunday, 2:30pm in the President’s Room

Jeff Johnson

The Ethics of Standard Practices in Factory Farms

It’s shocking to learn about standard practices in animal agriculture. Undercover investigations, for example, reveal that animals have their beaks, tails, and testicles cut off or seared off without any pain relief. For nearly their entire pregnancy, mother pigs are kept in cages so small that they can’t turn around. Chickens who lay eggs are kept in cages so small that they are each afforded less than an iPad’s worth of space in which to live out their lives. Eager to make us feel at ease with these practices, the animal agriculture industry suggests we shouldn’t worry much about them since producers do what they do with an interest in promoting the welfare of the animals. These claims are designed to offer us (and the industry) what we might call “moral cover”—we’re meant to be assured that really everything is alright because these practices are being done for the sake of the animals. In this talk Jeff explores whether the industry’s attempt to offer moral cover is successful.

About Jeff

Jeff Johnson is an associate professor of philosophy at St. Catherine University in Saint Paul, where he regularly teaches courses that touch on food ethics and on the ethics of eating animals in particular. Jeff also volunteers for and serves on the board of directors of Compassionate Action for Animals.