By Nicole Rivard

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges, who is now a contributor to the progressive, will headline the eighth annual Veggie Pride Parade and Rally on Sunday, March 29, in Union Square Park in New York City. Also speaking following the parade are Friends of Animals’ campaigns director Edita Birnkrant and local civil rights attorney Yetta Kurland, as well as a long list of leaders and activists from the veggie world.

Birnkrant will talk to attendees about the importance of activism for animals beyond just adopting a plant-based lifestyle. 

“In New York state and beyond, there are critical wildlife and domestic animal issues that need our collective actions—from saving mute swans in New York and banning horse-drawn carriages and other industries that exploit animals for entertainment in NYC to changing policies for all urban wildlife and getting politically active to help change laws to protect animals.”

Birnkrant will also detail why “free-range, cage-free, grass-fed and humanely-raised” labels for animal products are fraudulent and are in fact responsible for the mass killings of wildlife around the country including wild horses, bison, wolves, coyotes and other species. 

“Being vegan is the best choice for the environment, for animals and for our health, but there’s much more we can do to change the world for animals beyond being vegan,” Birnkrant said. 

Marchers are encouraged to dress up in costumes and wear sign boards announcing their pride in their veggie-based lifestyle. Local restaurants, veg groups and veg everything will be represented with banners and chants. The parade will include animal-rights activists, environmentalists and people simply concerned with their health—all gathered to express their veggie pride.

The procession begins at noon in the Old Meat Packing District (where 9th Ave. & Gansevoort St. intersect). It culminates in a festival offering music and vegan food in the north end of Union Square. More than three dozen exhibitors, including Friends of Animals, will be on hand. Friends of Animals will be selling vegan cookbooks and passing out Vegan Starter Guides and NYC Vegan Restaurant Guides among other pro-animal materials.

Throughout the afternoon, individuals will also be encouraged to speak their mind at the Soapbox Testimonial Station. Other activists will beckon passersby to receive a dollar in return for watching a pro-veg video (Pay-per-view). At 2 p.m., a costume contest will take place.

Organizer Pamela Rice feels this year’s event will be the best ever. 

“I’m hoping that at this event people will see vegans and vegetarians come out of the shadows, once and for all,” Rice said.

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