Update: Animal Advocate at Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Dharma Voices for Animals presented to Spirit Rock our petition for an Animal Advocate along with the names of 280 people who signed our petition. DVA requested that Spirit Rock create an Animal Advocate position on its soon to be formed Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC), which will report to the Board. Although Spirit Rock will not be creating that position, as a result of our efforts it did make a number of significant animal-friendly additions to the ESC Mission Statement, which are underlined below. The changes broaden the scope of responsibility of the ESC in relation to animals and also add criteria for membership on the committee. The kitchen is also working to incorporate some additional language into its Mission Statement which will help increase the awareness of animal suffering.

Environmental Sustainability Committee

Using Buddhist values of living in harmony with the earth and all living beings, Spirit Rock will maintain a sustainability program for re-using, recycling, reducing and conserving in all aspects of our operations as well as educating our staff and yogis on our sustainable practices. The Environmental Sustainability Committee will be responsible for creating and maintaining policies and procedures to ensure that SRMC reduces consumption, waste and pollution; reuses and recycles where feasible; conserves energy, water, and other natural resources; complies with local and national environmental regulations; strives to buy, sell, and use animal friendly and environmentally friendly products; considers the impact on animal welfare in all our actions and policies; hires and works with environmentally aware vendors; Members of this committee will be selected for their experience and desire to improve and continue SRMC’s sustainable practices. Criterion for membership still being defined, but will include:

At all times we will seek to have members on this committee who are both knowledgeable and concerned about issues of animal welfare and who can advise the group of the impact of our choices and actions on the safety and welfare of animals.

Our next step is to ensure that DVA officers and members are selected to sit on the ESC. If you are interested, please let us know. Although we are disappointed that there will be no formal Animal Advocate, we hope the language in the ESC Mission Statement and eventually the Kitchen Mission Statement will begin a process of significantly decreasing the suffering animals experience as a result of Spirit Rock policies and decisions. We deeply appreciate each of the 280 people who signed our petition. We will be carefully monitoring the situation, will keep our members informed, and will take action when necessary.