Catskill Animal Sanctuary Shindig features live music, vegan cooking demos


Natalia Clavier

The 15th annual Shindig at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary (CAS) will be held this Saturday, September 17 on the grounds of the 110-acre refuge for animals that have been rescued from cruelty, neglect and abandonment. As always, a slew of these animal friends will be on hand to be appropriately greeted. They are, after all, the reason for the Sanctuary’s existence. Since 2001, CAS has opened its doors to more than 4,000 of them in the past 15 years.

Shindig promises to be a great day for human visitors, too, with live music from Natalia Clavier of Thievery Corporation, cooking demos, vendors, food trucks, guest speakers and hayrides planned. From 12 noon to 1 p.m., Dr. Milton Mills will speak on “Diet & Health: Transitioning from the ‘Standard American Diet’ to ‘Food that’s Good for the Body & Soul.’” In this presentation, Dr. Mills discusses the causes of major chronic diseases in Western countries and how a plant-based diet can help prevent, ameliorate and, in some cases, cure these ailments. Learn about how plant-based living improves longevity and quality of life in our later years.

A panel discussion, “Using Film to Create a More Compassionate and Sustainable World,” starts at 1:15 p.m. with directors Mark Devries (Speciesism: The Movie) and Donny Moss (Blinders: The Truth behind the Tradition) and sustainability expert Demosthenes Maratos (Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret). Learn how film educates and inspires people to protect our planet and animals around the world. Watch selected clips as speakers share their motivation and insights around making or participating in these groundbreaking films. A question-and-answer session will follow.


At 2:45 p.m., meet photographer Jo-Anne McArthur for a presentation, “We Animals: Stories of Love and Liberation.” McArthur shares stories about human relationships with animals around the globe, be it with the animals that we use as food and fashion, entertainment or research, as well as the animals that we revere, rescue and love. Difficult photos will be shared, but the emphasis of the presentation is on the amazing and joyful work taking place worldwide to help animals.

At 4 p.m., “Street Action for Animals” is an in-depth look at the challenges that animal rights champions face in New York and how they achieved a few of their successes. Meet special guest speakers Rina Deych (Alliance to End Chicken Kaporos), Nora Marino (Animal Cruelty Exposure Fund), John Di Leonardo (PETA) and Jaime Lee (National Animal Rights Day), and learn what you can do for the cause.

Kathy Stevens, CAS executive director and co-founder (with Jesse Moore), will complete the programming with “Why Your Choices Matter!” In the face of animal suffering, people still feel powerless and don’t know what they can do. Be inspired by Stevens’ presentation on the many ways that you can make a profound difference in the lives of our fellow beings.

Offsite parking is available at Central Hudson at 2001 Ulster Avenue. Shuttles will bring visitors back and forth all day. Several free spots at the Sanctuary are designated for persons with disabilities with a hangtag, on a first-come basis.