We connect with Albany VegFest speaker, Patrick Battuello to talk about his journey into the work that he does today for the animals:
Q: What is your going-vegan story?
A: I went vegetarian (practically overnight) after reading Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation in early 2002. From there, I read more, most notably Gary Francione’s Introduction to Animal Rights, and eventually became vegan later that same year.
Q: Tell us about your transition from pizzeria owner to Founder of Horseracing Wrongs.
A: In 2004, my family’s four-generation restaurant, Little Anthony’s, became the first Capital Region eatery to offer a dedicated vegan menu – pizzas, calzones, subs, pasta dishes, appetizers, baked goods. In 2007, I opened Food For Thought, the first all-vegan cafe in upstate NY. (I have also co-owned – with Nicole Arciello – an all-vegan catering company and an all-vegan bakery, Imagine Desserts.) After Food For Thought closed in 2008, I was looking for another outlet for my advocacy. At the time, the Times Union blog-page was rapidly becoming the most-read section of the online edition. Noticing there was no animal-rights presence there (or in any other mainstream NY paper), and fully appreciative of the Times Union’s massive reach, I decided to pitch the idea to the department head; he went for it.
While writing the TU blog, I was researching for a prospective post on horseracing; I found a dearth of information. As it turned out, no one – no individual, no organization, not PETA, not the HSUS – was taking on this industry full bore, documenting the everyday cruelty and killing. So I decided to step into that void, and thus, in 2013, Horseracing Wrongs was born. Since, we have grown by leaps and bounds. In addition to widespread media coverage – The Washington Post, USA Today, The Guardian, HBO’s “Real Sports,” CNN, among many others – we are currently sponsoring protests at 24 tracks in 17 states, with our 2019 Belmont Stakes’ demonstration garnering over 150 activists – the single largest protest at a racetrack anywhere, ever. I have also given talks at Skidmore College and Albany Law School, and most recently, testified before two committees of the NYS Senate.
Sensibilities toward animal exploitation, most especially regarding entertainment, are rapidly evolving; the winds are blowing in but one direction. While I cannot speculate as to when, I have no doubt that our goal – to eradicate horseracing in the United States – will be achieved.
Patrick will be speaking at Albany VegFest on Sunday, September 8th, at 3:30pm on the topic of The Evil of Horseracing; The Wisdom of Single-Issue Campaigns.
Learn more about Patrick and Horseracing wrongs at horseracingwrongs.org.