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Lessons Learned at CARE Conference 2022

Written by Vegan Hacktivists Team | September 6, 2022

It’s been a week since the Conference on Animal Rights in Europe (CARE) wrapped up in Warsaw, Poland! This year’s edition was a hybrid event, combining a three-day event with online access. Hosted by Anima International, CARE is an international conference aimed at connecting and inspiring animal rights groups across Europe. Through workshops and networking opportunities, people came together to exchange ideas and strategies that would best establish the path forward for the animal rights movement.

This year, we at Vegan Hacktivists were lucky to be able to send three members of our leadership team: Stephan, David, and Malina! As our communications lead, Malina gave a lightning talk about how our organization leverages data and technology for the movement. In her talk, she contextualized the role of technology in social movements, highlighted some of our hallmark projects, and announced the launch of our research study.

There were a plethora of speakers covering topics ranging from effective altruism to organizational culture to becoming better activists. In an effort to impart what we’ve learned, here are our key takeaways, highlights, hot takes, and lessons learned from our team members and other attendees! It is by no means a comprehensive recap of the conference, but we hope that you enjoy this knowledge and perspective sharing nevertheless.

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Malina, Tessa, Stephan, and Ana on day one of CARE

Overall experience:

  • My experience at CARE is something I will be thinking about for a long time, recapping for my team at home, and reminiscing on with the new friends I was able to meet in-person. It’s clear to me that in-person gatherings like at CARE are so important to helping all of us further our work both through professional connections, but also to spark our enthusiasm and help us feel connected to the people we are working alongside for a cause so important to each of us. From the people and talks, I walked away with overflowing inspiration and motivation. —Tessa Graham, Animal Advocacy Coordinator, The Pollination Project

  • As my first time attending an animal rights conference, I didn’t know what to expect. I was blown away by the sheer amount of knowledge and experience I'd gain in just a few days! From the amazing talks and workshops to the casual lunches and afterparties, I was delighted to meet (for the first time!) friends and people I’ve worked with, as well as make new friends. In sharing space with other passionate advocates in the movement, every minute was a teaching moment for me. —David van Beveren, Vegan Hacktivists

  • Attending the CARE Conference was a wonderful whirlwind of networking, learning, and sharing. I was honored to be joined by Sentient Media founder Mikko Järvenpää and board member David Coman-Hidy. The blend of talks I watched introduced me to new campaign ideas, how to apply better negotiation tactics, and the importance of being a strong, supportive leader. This was my first in person conference since January 2020 and emerging from behind my computer was invigorating and exhausting in equal measure, but meeting people I’ve been collaborating with for over two years was overwhelmingly inspiring and fun. I can’t wait for more in person conferences and look forward to continuing important conversations and acting on ideas that were sparked at CARE 2022. —Ana Bradley, Executive Director, Sentient Media

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Malina delivering a lightning talk about VH projects

Talks and workshops:

  • One of the most memorable talks was a remote interview with Princeton professor, moral philosopher, and author Peter Singer. At age 76, he has seen much of the movement shifted: some things are disheartening (the rise of meat consumption in Asia), and others he finds promising (food innovation and the power of political organizing). Singer shared so much practical wisdom and reserved optimism, and I’m eager to get my hands on the latest edition of his seminal book, Animal Liberation, which he’s currently revising. —Malina Tran, Vegan Hacktivists

  • This year's addition of the lightning talks was really interesting! One that particularly stood out to me was the one by Karolina Centkowska from Anima International Poland. I loved hearing from a local animal rights organization, and learning how they have been working together with medical professionals to promote a plant-based diet to doctors and patients. —Stephan de Vries, Vegan Hacktivists

  • Two talks left a lasting effect on me, and I was thrilled to bring back what I’ve learned to the team and apply them to VH. The first was from Jennifer Barckley of The Humane League, who inspired me through her recount of the organization's successful branding strategy. At VH, we offer design services because we understand how it can truly elevate organizations—and Jennifer’s talk demonstrated just that. The second talk was from our newest advisor, Andrea Gunn, who focused on leadership development to strengthen our movement. Her talk especially lighted a spark in me to further professionalize, rethink our strategy, and embrace growth by investing in our individual team members. —David van Beveren, Vegan Hacktivists

  • I was especially excited to get to see Carolina Galvani’s talk about her impressive progress with Sinergia Animal. She didn’t focus on all of the technical steps but, rather, the importance of continuously working on building a strong team, fueled by inclusion, good leadership, and opportunities for growth. It was wonderful to have her unique perspective from outside Europe as well to offer more context to the movement and new ideas. I also really enjoyed all of the lightning talks! Hearing about all of the fantastic ideas coming from fairly new organizations was so inspiring! —Tessa Graham, Animal Advocacy Coordinator, The Pollination Project

  • Alevtyna Kozachok and Olena Baran shared accounts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its implications for animals and veganism. It was so heartbreaking to learn about the abandonment of animals due to evacuation, Russia destroying critical food sources, and how the war stymied the growth of the vegan food sector (a huge plant-based conference was originally slated this year in Ukraine). But it was also uplifting to see how Ukrainian soldiers bonded with animals and how one elderly woman evacuated her village of Mariupol with her beloved rooster, Tosha. —Malina Tran, Vegan Hacktivists

It was clear to all of us that connecting with others, people and animals alike, is critical to not only sustaining our work, but our own humanity. With the world opening up again, we are excited to participate in in-person events and conferences in the future. They give us the opportunity to meet value-aligned people, share our resources and ideas, and ultimately play a role in shaping the animal protection movement. Keep an eye out for upcoming events we’ll be attending!

About the Author
Vegan Hacktivists Team

We are a mission-driven tech organization focused on building data-driven, disruptive, and innovative projects to help see an end to animal exploitation.