Online Summit



Due to technical problems with the online summit on January 18, 2020, we have rescheduled the event to Saturday, 25 January 2020 from 1:00pm – 5:15pm EASTERN TIME.

Please mark your calendars! We will send registration information to those who registered for the original event, and we will post the link on this site and social media.

Humane Hoax Online Summit 
January 25, 2020 (rescheduled date)

1:00 – 1:15 pm – Introduction with hosts Hope Bohanec & Justin Van Kleeck

1:15 – 2:00 pm – “Living In Goatlandia: Stories of ‘Humane’ Farmed Animal Rescue” with Deborah Blum, Goatlandia Sanctuary

2:10 – 2:55 pm – “Humane Myths and Media: The Reproduction of Speciesism in Mainstream News” with Lisa Barca, Professor at Arizona State University

3:05 – 3:50 pm – “Honor Killing: Spiritual Bypass in DIY Slaughter” with Cogen Bohanec, PhD Candidate

4:00 – 4:45 pm – “The Sustainable Animal Agriculture Hoax Exposed” with Sailesh Rao, Climate Healers

4:55 – 5:15 pm – Wrap-Up and Taking Action: What can we do to further expose the Humane Hoax?


Lisa Barca: Humane Myths and Media: The Reproduction of Speciesism in Mainstream News”

In accordance with its tendency to promote the status quo and values that align with consumerism and capitalist profit-making, mainstream media play a major role in championing the “humane” exploitation of nonhuman beings (and animal-product consumption generally). This presentation analyzes excerpts from high-profile news outlets such as the New York Times and NPR to show how speciesist ideology and the objectification of nonhuman animals is perpetuated in mass-media sources. It also offers recommendations for journalists and others writing about nonhuman animals.

Lisa Barca is a lecturer in the honors college at Arizona State University, where she teaches humanities and seminars on the ethics of humans’ relationships with other animals. Her current research critiques representations of veganism and nonhuman animals used for food in journalistic media, exposing how speciesist ideology and the commercial interests underlying capitalistic media obscure truthful representations of animals and those committed to protecting their interests. She holds a Ph.D. in romance languages and literatures and has published on topics ranging from modernist poetry to news media coverage of gender-based violence. She is a contributor to the volume Meatsplaining: The Meat Industry and the Rhetoric of Denial, forthcoming from Sydney University Press, and her writing appears in academic journals, anthologies, and popular publications such as Ms. Magazine. She also writes and sings alternative rock songs on animal rights and related topics with her band Scarlet Rescue, whose debut EP, “Animals and Other People,” was released in October 2019.

Cogen Bohanec: “Honor Killing: Spiritual Bypass in DIY Slaughter”

The term “Spiritual Bypass” is generally taken by psychotherapists to refer to ways that people use an appeal to spirituality to rationalize their avoidance of dealing with psychological issues. However, in the field of ethics and theology (aka “theo-ethics”), the connotative range of the term “Spiritual Bypass” might be broadened to include how people appeal to spirituality to justify unethical behavior or a lack of care for things that are not of the spiritual world, including (but not limited to) animals and the environment.

Increasingly people are turning to “do it yourself” (DIY) or “backyard slaughter,” that is, the killing of an animal oneself before consumption, for what they perceive as a more humane experience and often attach “spiritual” motivations and explanations. The result is a sort of spiritual “doublespeak” where by spiritual language is used to obscure the inherently violent nature of the act of taking an animal’s life. Unlike political doublespeak (the original meaning of the term coined by Orwell) that is intended to deceive others, spiritual doublespeak is employed to deceive oneself. Spiritual doublespeak allows the butcher to be the caregiver, the murder to be the savior, and the perpetrator to bypass the cognitive dissonance, philosophical contradiction, and irrational and untenable theology that lies within the executioner.

Cogen Bohanec is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Center for Dharma Studies (CDS) at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, CA. He holds a MA in Buddhist Studies from the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) at GTU. His dissertation work is on systematic Hindu theo-ethics, with an emphasis on environmental ethics and Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. He is an adjunct professor in Sanskrit at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, and also teaches World Religions, Dharma Studies, and Classical Humanities at American River College in Sacramento. Cogen has spent nearly two decades studying, practicing and teaching a variety of Eastern Religions (Yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, etc.). He has studied and translated Sanskrit literature for over eight years academically, with over five years at UC Berkeley, and has studied both Yoga and Sanskrit in India. He is the co-author of The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat? with his wife Hope Bohanec, with whom he has collaborated for fifteen years in the Animal Rights Movement.


Deborah Blum: “Living In Goatlandia: Stories of ‘Humane’ Farmed Animal Rescue”

From goats rescued off small-scale goat dairy farms to pigs saved from backyard slaughter, every resident at Goatlandia has a story. And most of their stories expose the terrible truth behind small-scale, “humane” animal farming, showing that there is no humane way to commodify sentient beings bodies and make a profit. Deb Blum has dedicated herself to creating a loving home for dozens of permanent residents and helps rescue hundreds more from the all too common fires now in Northern California. Join Deb and hear about her powerful hands-on work exposing the Humane Hoax.

Deborah Blum is the founder and Executive Director at Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary in Santa Rosa. Deborah has lived an exciting life with varied careers having been a fashion designer, a commercial pilot, and a restaurateur, but moved to Santa Rosa to fulfill her dream of living with goats and enjoying a more relaxed, country lifestyle. After becoming vegan in 2012, she decided to rescue more animals; in particular, other farmed animals including chickens, sheeps, ducks and pigs. What started as a passion grew into a non profit rescue and education organization that also does vegan catering and food events, animal therapy, and much more. Goatlandia is a sanctuary and non-profit that is a happy forever home to 29 goats, 7 pigs, 50 chickens, 4 sheep, 3 ducks, and 3 dogs. Goatlandia has recently partnered with two young and talented organic farmers on a new venture. The three of them, along with Deborah’s new husband, just purchased a new property in Sebastopol where they will create a larger sanctuary and a working organic vegetable farm.

Sailesh Rao: “The Sustainable Animal Agriculture Hoax Exposed”

In this presentation, we examine the various “sustainable,” “organic,” “symbiotic” ways that have been devised to exploit animals and show why they are fundamentally worse than the brutal ways of modern, industrial agriculture, including debunking the locavore obsession with grass-fed and “regenerative” grazing. In short, this presentation will illuminate the truism that there is no right way to do the wrong thing.

Sailesh Rao is the Founder and Executive Director of Climate Healers, a non-profit dedicated towards healing the Earth’s climate. A systems specialist with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, Dr. Rao worked on the internet communications infrastructure for twenty years after graduation. In 2006, he switched careers and became deeply immersed, full time, in solving the environmental crises affecting humanity. Dr. Rao is the author of two books, Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies and Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis, and an Executive Producer of four documentaries, The Human Experiment (2013), Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014), What The Health (2017), and A Prayer for Compassion (2019). Dr. Rao has promised his granddaughter, Kimaya, that the world will be largely Vegan before she turns 16 in 2026, so that people will stop eating her relatives, the animals. He has faith that humanity will transform to keep his pinky promise to Kimaya, not just for ethical reasons, but also out of sheer ecological necessity.