Saturday, December 24, 2011

Everyday Direct Action

 I've been thinking a great deal about an interaction I had with a co-worker recently. She had spotted a stray kitten in the alley behind our workplace. She was upset about the kitten's plight, tears starting to fill her eyes. I asked her why she wasn't doing something. She looked at me and said she couldn't

I walked over and picked up the small kitten and put him in my car. I walked back to my co-worker, and questioned why she felt she couldn't help. I received no answer and noticed the kitten's mother. I walked over and picked her up and placed her in my car. I brought them into my home as fosters, knowing that to do otherwise would have meant ignoring their suffering. That was what I felt I couldn't do. 

To be honest, at the time of this interaction, I was furious. The more I think about it, though, I'm left feeling simply perplexed. There is an assumption on many people's parts that participating in direct action means living in an occupied park, getting arrested, and protesting en masse. Or liberating captive and exploited animals from puppy mills, laboratories, fur farms, and slaughterhouses. But those are just some forms of direct action. Direct action is also helping a lost dog get home, educating friends about adopting from a shelter, fostering a litter of kittens, donating your skills to an organization, providing a curious co-worker with a copy of "Why Vegan," or even baking dog cookies for a fundraiser. No action is too small, and all of it is "direct action."

Every single person is capable of some level of direct action. The most critical thing to understand is that each person has the power to help and to create change. 

My coworker thought she couldn't help, so she didn't. The only things stopping her were her own fears and uncertainties. Taking the mother cat and kitten into foster and getting them medical care was a direct action I was able to manage. Helping them meant not only ensuring their immediate safety and comfort, but by getting the mother spayed and the kitten neutered (eventually), future suffering has also been alleviated - what is done today has immediate relief, but stopping suffering before it starts is even better. 

Two weeks ago the kitten went to his new family. This past Friday, the mother cat went to her new family. She was adopted by that co-worker who couldn't help a few short weeks ago. From couldn't to will is a short step, but often people need help to understand their own power. 

If everyone took that short step, even just once, imagine the suffering we could alleviate. We're not asking for a year-end donation. We're asking you to consider taking that short step, or to help others to do so, hopefully all-year long. 

Why not you? Why not now? 

Peace and compassion from all of us at No Voice Unheard. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ninety-Five Named One of the 10 Best Vegan Books of 2011

Ninety-Five has been named one of the 10 Best Vegan Books of 2011 by VegNews!

"Much like The Exultant Ark, Ninety-Five matches heart-melting photos with heart-warming prose, in this case former farmed animals now living the life of sanctuary. Each animal has a name, and a story, and it just doesn’t get any better. You will find yourself leafing through Ninety-Five often, sharing each vignette with everyone you know."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finding Teachable Moments During the Holidays

This time of year can be frustrating for many of us, but it can also offer teachable moments. It is easy to yell at co-workers who walk past a homeless cat and kitten in an alley, claiming they want to help but there is nothing they can do. It is harder, but more effective to explain why that kind of thinking is of part of the problem. How, as individuals, we are all capable of helping in some fashion. Those teachable conversations are difficult and one of the reasons we publish educational books. This situation happened to me (Davida) last week and once the cats were taken into a foster home and had received much needed medical care, I brought in copies of One at a Time to share with my co-workers. The book does a much better job explaining not only the plights of unwanted animals, but also how individuals can help, than I ever could. Our goal in publishing One at a Time is to change the way people think about shelter and unwanted animals and create positive change for them.

Likewise, with the holidays, family and workplace gatherings abound and many of us are questioned about why we choose not to eat animals. There are plenty of books touting the health benefits and why too much protein is actually bad for you. However, for many of us our own health benefits are not the reason we became vegetarian (no, that's just karma in action). Instead, we understand that to eat a turkey at Thanksgiving a life must be taken. This conversation can often turn hostile around the dinner table, with accusations of familial rejection and cross-accusations of murder. Those conversations are never teachable or productive. We prefer to introduce people to Amelia, Melvin, Aubrey, Ariala, and Rhosyln, turkeys who have distinct personalities, loves, and needs. These are the lives we seek to spare. Ninety-Five makes that conversation easier.

In the interest of taking difficult conversations and turning them into productive, teachable moments this holiday season, we have a special offer - buy One at a Time: A Week in an American Animal Shelter and Ninety-Five: Meeting America's Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs together for just $24.95. This is $10 off the combined retail price.

We also offer Giving Packages - a set of 5 books at 40% off the cover price - to give as gifts or donations to schools, libraries, coffee houses, community centers or any place where our books can reach the public. Other recipients might include teachers, clergy, legislators and policy makers, community leaders, celebrities, activists in other fields and anyone who can effect social change.

As a special offer to our newsletter readers, we are offering an assortment of free stickers with any book purchase. Please use the code "Stickers" in the special instructions box on our online order form. Please let us know if you want specific stickers, which can be viewed on our online order form.

Thank you for all that you do for the animals, and our best to you for a happy - and teachable - holiday season.

For the animals,
Diane, Marilee, Windi, and Davida

Monday, October 10, 2011

Veg Fests Galore!

We wish we had the ability to do nothing but travel the country attending veg fests! Although the fair season is almost over, there are still some great events coming up... 

It does our hearts good to see veg*anism being promoted in such fun, creative ways, and we send our thanks to the good folks involved in organizing them for their hard work, and for advocating for the animals. To help, we're donating copies of our book Ninety-Five: Meeting America's Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs for raffles and contest prizes.

If you're in the area of one of these wonderful veg fests, we recommend attending, eating yourself silly, and having fun while helping to promote a compassionate lifestyle.

10/15 - The Tampa Bay Veg Fest ( ) is presented by Florida Voices for Animals in honor of World Farm Animals Day (

10/22 - The Florida Veg Fest (, includes speakers, activities, music and of course food! Our donated books will benefit Florida animal rescue groups who will be part of the Fest's Animal Haven, featuring animal sanctuaries, animal rescue groups, dogs and cats for adoption, information on caring for companion animals, feeding dogs and cats a vegetarian diet, the importance of spaying and neutering, caring for feral cats, and more!

10/23 - The Texas State Veggie Fair (, opens with a premier of the new film Vegucated, directed by our friend Marisa Miller Wolfson. The fair also features a vegan fried food contest... yum! We're ready to travel all the way to Texas just for this!

10/29 & 10/30 - The 16th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival ( includes free food sampling, grocery and natural foods store exhibits, food producers and new products, cooking demonstrations by noted chefs, book and cookbook publishers and authors, top national speakers, children's activities, and more.

11/5 - The Northeast Florida Veg Fest in Jacksonville ( will include healthy and sustainable foods, cooking demonstrations, live music, speakers and movie screenings. (Boy, those folks in Florida are really vegging it up, huh? This is Florida's third veg fest in October!)

11/5 - Chicago VeganMania ( gets our vote for the best veg fest name, and will include a vegan food court, live music, speakers and workshops, kids' activities and a presentation by vegan body builders! Yow!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Be a Part of "Vegucated"

One of our favorite non-profit organizations is Kind Green Planet , who is dedicated to educating people about healthy, humane, eco-friendly living. They take a decidedly different approach, saying "We believe that sustainable change happens incrementally, and we understand that any kind of change can be daunting for people at first. So we celebrate the small victories in everyone's evolution, and we appreciate the value of laughter along the way."

Kind Green Planet has a program called "Vegan at Heart", a free e-mail coaching program for people who are vegan at heart but not necessarily in practice. As a subscriber, you receive one vegan "mission" in your inbox every day for 30 days, then once a week after that. The missions take 1 to 10 minutes to complete, are fun and help you discover things you never knew about, and they're always upbeat and supportive. We highly recommend this wonderful service - check it out at:    

Now, Kind Green Planet has launched another project, a documentary titled "Vegucated." They describe it as "guerrilla-style documentary that follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks and learn what it's all about." Check out the trailer - it looks like it's going to be a fantastic film:  

No Voice Unheard is supporting the film thru Kickstarter, a site that helps creative people raise funds for their creative projects. You check out the Vegucated project there at:  

Vegan at Heart needs to raise $20,000 to finish the film, and they're almost there. If you're moved by the trailer, as we were, we hope you'll help!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Honoring Our Friends on this Memorial Day

One of the hardest parts about working on Ninety-Five has been finding out that some of the animals that touched our hearts have passed away. On this Memorial Day we'd like to honor them and their caregivers. The only thing harder than providing the daily care these rescued animals need is seeing them through their (often premature) final days. This is our way of paying tribute and recognizing their part in helping all of us better understand and support farmed animals. This is part of their legacy.

In November of last year, Ian, a turkey from Peaceful Prairie passed away after finally finding love and friendship with a hen named Simone. (You can read more here.)  
Ian © 2010 Joanna Lucas

Amelia, whose charms earned her an essay in Ninety-Five, passed away in March. She became a resident at United Poultry Concerns (UPC) in 2007, when she was surrendered by a local farmer. She was still quite young when we first met her in May of 2008. On subsequent visits she had matured and had a nest in a quiet part of the yard. According Karen Davis, her caregiver, she died peacefully. Her legs had been giving her trouble and went out altogether. She lost her mobility and will to live. She inspired us, but we also came to think of her as a friend.  

Another friend from United Poultry Concerns was Mr. Frizzle, a rather dashing rooster. He was found as a bedraggled stray in 2007 and made his way to UPC, where he flourished. He lived in the yard there with a flock of tiny Thumbelina hens. He had battled a respiratory infection the last few years and over the weekend of April 2nd, he finally succumbed to it. His portrait can be seen around the DC area on bus ads.  
Mr Frizzle
Mr. Frizzle

On April 22nd, Opal, a turkey from Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, died in her sleep. She arrived at the sanctuary in 2004 and was seven when she passed away, which is very old for a turkey. She was lucky from the start, when she literally escaped from a slaughterhouse, just as two vegan women were driving by. They rescued her and brought her to Poplar Spring where she charmed visitors and volunteers alike.    

We urge you to support your local and national sanctuaries and help them provide animals like Ian, Amelia, Mr. Frizzle, and Opal with the care and love they deserve.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ninety-Five Wins IPPY Gold Award

On Monday night, No Voice Unheard was honored with an IPPY Gold Medal in the Pets/Animals category for Ninety-Five: Meeting America's Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs

This year's Independent Book Publisher Awards (IPPY) attracted 3,907 entries, and the medalists represented books published in 45 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, seven Canadian provinces, and seven countries overseas. Launched in 1996 as the first unaffiliated awards program open exclusively to independent, university, and self-published titles, the IPPY Awards contest celebrated its 15th anniversary this year at a gala celebration in New York on Monday, May 23rd. Winners in 69 national and 22 regional categories received gold, silver and bronze awards.

We were honored to be able to tell their stories and are doubly honored to accept this award on behalf of Gilly, Libby & Louie, Olivia, Justice, Lucas and their caregivers. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ninety-Five is a Gold Medal IPPY Winner!

Ninety-Five has won a Gold Medal in the Animals/Pets category for the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY)!

We are thrilled and want to thank every contributor for helping to make this happen.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nine Next Steps to Ending America's Homeless Animal Tragedy

As many of you know, 3 - 4 million animals enter shelters every year in our country; only half of them leave alive.  An animal dies in a shelter every nine seconds.

What can you do? The answers are simple, yet profound. Although the homeless animal problem in America is heartbreaking, there is also hope: this problem can be solved and everyone can help. In the actions you take and the decisions you make about companion animals, you will have an impact.

Moreover, solving this problem offers us the chance to become better people and to express the very best of our humanity. We believe this issue can be a stepping stone toward an expanding circle of compassion and action, and toward creating a society that is just and caring to all living beings - beginning with the precious ones "right in our own backyards."

Once you've learned about the issue, these are the next steps that, one at a time, will help bring an end to America's homeless animal tragedy. We offer them to you in gratitude for your concern, and in hope.  As always, please help us spread this info far and wide, by forwarding to your friends, family and acquaintances; please also ask them to sign up for our email list for future updates.


Nine Next Steps to Ending America's Homeless Animal Tragedy

1) Be Heroic.
Adopt your next animal companion from a shelter or rescue group. You will be saving an animal whose life literally depends on getting a new home.

2) Be Committed.
Know the commitment when you bring an animal into your family, and follow through on it. Your animal companion is utterly dependent on you for his health and well-being. Commit to providing the care he needs, to working through any problems, and to being his guardian for his entire life.

3) Be Smart.
Before you adopt an animal, take the time to learn so you can make a good choice. Different types of animals and breeds have different needs - make sure you know enough to choose an animal who will be compatible with you and your lifestyle.

4) Be Responsible.
There are already more animals than homes available. Spay or neuter your animals so they don't add even more to the staggering animal overpopulation problem.

5) Be Identified.
Millions of animals become lost each year and never make it back home. Make sure your animal is always carrying your contact information, via an ID tag (which is visible and easy for anyone to use) and a microchip (which is permanent).    

6) Be Prepared.
Make plans now for your animals' care should something happen to you. Many animals are in
shelters because their guardians did not make such arrangements.

7) Be a Role Model.
Always demonstrate responsible and loving animal care, so that others will want to do the same.

8) Be a Supporter.
Volunteer, donate, and support your local animal shelter or rescue group, especially their programs that educate the community and prevent animals from becoming homeless and even needing to be in the shelter. These programs save lives.

9) Be a Teacher.
Many good-hearted people simply don't know about the homeless animal tragedy in this country, and would help if only they understood how their actions impacted the situation. Help spread the word; speak up and speak out for homeless animals.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Striking at the Roots of Suffering

The mission of No Voice Unheard, "is to promote an ethic of compassion and respect for all living beings and the planet we share, and encourage a deeper awareness of the effects our actions have on the lives and existence of animals, the environment, and our fellow human beings."  We don't simply want to rescue individual animals, although that is a crucial part of it, we want to strike at the root of the suffering. To effect change before an animal finds himself in need of rescue because of the actions of a human being. 

All of us at NVU have been and are involved in direct action rescues as individuals, but as an organization we desire to create lasting change and prevent suffering by publishing books that have the power to create social change. We seek to educate the general public and give activists tools to use. 

In the past month we have watched as Borders stopped paying its vendors, Barnes & Noble fired their small press buyer and almost 50 other staffers, and even our own distributor let most of its sales force go. And we've felt the impact on our latest book, Ninety-Five: Meeting America's Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs.  Since its release last year, we've found it harder than ever to get exposure for the book and get it onto bookstore shelves where it can reach readers.  Perhaps our expectations are a bit high, but we are so proud of this book and the people and sanctuaries we worked with to help tell the stories of Justice, Lucas, Willy, Jeremy and Lenny, Olivia and so many other beautiful creatures. 

So here we are, plagued with doubt about the state of the publishing industry and our present and future within it, filled with more questions than answers. Then on Friday Diane and Davida went on "The Signal", an NRP radio program. We simply talked about the books, the animals we met working on it, and why they inspired us so. 

The day the interview aired we received the following email :

I have been a vegetarian since the age of 18 (now 45) when I learned of how beef, pork, etc. were processed. I was disgusted! I still, was always concerned about eggs and milk and although I never researched it I lowered my consumption and go on and off eating both. After hearing today's program and how chickens are kept I decided I'm OFF eggs! The same with the cows and how milk is produced... I'm OFF milk! 

How could I, or anyone not be aware of what is going on?? I understand the world would never be vegan or vegetarian, but there is SO much waste and inhumane treatment. 

My dream, my "if I ever win the lottery" wish would be to start a sanctuary here on the East Coast and to educate people of how we are killing the animals, our planet, and ourselves with all the toxins these animals are eating and injected with. 

I can go on and I'm not telling you anything you don't know. What I do want to tell you is "THANK YOU" for what you do and represent. I too believe ALL animals have emotions and it kills me that we torture and abuse them. 

I'm looking forward to purchasing many copies of "Ninety-Five" for myself and to share with my clients.
Despite our fears and doubts, this is why we publish. What we do can and does make a difference. If just one person goes vegan after reading Ninety-Five it means that we helped 95 animals (that year alone). That is striking at the root of suffering. 

We will do the best we can to adapt to the ever-changing publishing industry. We'll also continue to evaluate the best strategies we can use as a publisher to reach, educate, and move people. We know we can make a difference. We know we already have. 

Thank you for your support of our work and for what you do to strike at the roots of suffering. 

For the animals,
Diane, Marilee, Windi, and Davida

P.S. One of the ways you can help is to share our message with your circle of friends and family. The more people who read and use our books as a voice for the animals, the stronger our books become. Again, we thank you for your help and your good work.

1st Annual Baltimore VegFest 2011 at UMBC

The Animal Awareness Project and The UMBC Vegetarians are hosting the 1st Annual Baltimore VegFest at UMBC Campus this spring!

They still have some vendor/non profit spaces available - so if your organization or company would like to table or be a sponsor please contact them at:

Date: Sat April 30th
Time: 11:00- 3:00 pm
Location: Erickson Field on UMBC Campus Baltimore, MD

FREE to Public and FREE Parking!

Speakers for VegFest:
  • Bruce Friedrich of PETA
  • Harold Brown - former beef farmer turned animal activist
  • Plus an amazing vegan cooking demo by Alka Chandra of PETA

Exhibitors at Baltimore VegFest:
  • Vegan Outreach
  • Compassion Over Killing
  • The Humane Society of The United States
  • Mercy For Animals
  • FARM
  • The Animal Awareness Project
  • The Humane League of Philly
  • PETA
  • PETA 2
  • The Yabba Pot
  • Emily's Desserts
  • No Voice Unheard
  • VegTerps
  • Dirty Carrots Vegan Bakery
  • Animal Advocates
  • Compassion For Animals
  • Green Earth Travel
  • EarthSave Baltimore
  • Students for Environmental Awareness
  • The UMBC Vegetarians
  • Coconut Bliss Vegan IceCream
  • Farm Sanctuary
  • Lucky Dog Rescue
  • For The Animals Sanctuary
  • Brad's Raw Chips
  • and many many more TBA!!!!!!!

Website Address:
Facebook Event Page:!/event.php?eid=168562183180383
Join the Facebook Fan Page:!/pages/Baltimore-Vegfest-2011/147393468645769

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A new year - and a new decade!

Dear Friends,

A new year - and a new decade! - are upon us, and we look forward with hope.  We remain committed to creating a voice for the homeless animals waiting in shelters, their lives at risk; the imprisoned animals in zoos, never knowing how it feels to be free; and in the largest numbers, the billions of farmed animals raised and killed for the plate. Our hearts are with all of these animals, and we strive to end the conditions responsible for their suffering.
We believe books are a critical way to reach the "mainstream" public with information about animal-related issues, and even more so, that beautiful, moving books have the power to touch people's minds and hearts and to create change. The feedback we receive confirms it...

"Your beautiful book  Ninety-Five arrived and all work stopped as we marveled tearfully at the pages and pages of animals and their stories. After 10-12 years of vegetarianism (and then 'falling off' for several years) I have just completed 6 weeks of veganism!  As spring came on this year and the sun and flowers began, I found the needed inspiration. I am thrilled about your book."

"A few years ago I bought one copy of One At a Time, and I consider it one of the most important books I've ever read.  Now, I volunteer at a local shelter on Saturday and Sunday mornings...I KNOW I'm making a difference... I've also had the chance to adopt some the older cats with medical needs and give them a 'retirement home'... I just want to say thank made a difference in my life and in the lives of several cats..."
"I was always of the mindset that if a zoo treats it's animals well, then they are OK to be visited. However, after reading an excerpt (from Thought to Exist in the Wild) in this month's Sun Magazine, I now realize that a zoo is all about the control that we as humans have over the animals in the zoo. I cannot support the imprisonment of wild animals any longer."

If you have not yet seen our 2010 wrap-up, we invite you to do so here.  This newsletter contains highlights of our activities during the past year; it also includes ideas for using our books to educate your friends, family and communities. Please join us in spreading the message of compassion and respect for animals in the upcoming year!
For the animals,
Diane, Marilee, Windi, and Davida

PS Please join our email list!