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October 9, 2009

NYC Turns Out for Animals on The Myriad, All Creatures Tour

The HSUS's Christine Gutleben reports from The Myriad bus on the coast-to-coast All Creatures tour

The Humane Society of the United States

by Christine Gutleben

Wednesday night, Tyrone Wells and The Myriad performed to a sold-out show at the Highline Ballroom, ironically located in the Meatpacking District of New York City. Patrick Kwan, The HSUS New York state director, joined me and hundreds of concert-goers at the show. 

"New York City really turned out for the animals when they came to rock with The Myriad on Wednesday," said Kwan. "The crowd had so much energy, and we talked to so many people afterward who are ready to make this world a better place for animals in every facet of what we do."

Several audience members approached us after the show, each wanting to get involved in animal protection. A fashion student expressed her commitment to more humane choices in her future line of work. A music industry executive shared his excitement upon watching a T.V. segment about our work with NFL player and former dogfighter Michael Vick. A waitress at the venue said she wants to spend her days building spay/neuter awareness. It's humbling to be approached by individuals with very full lives who want to make time to help animals. 

Toward the end of the evening, a man with the build of a grizzly bear approached me wearing an HSUS anti-fur pin. He wanted to purchase a tour t-shirt and asked for instructions on how to text-in. (Anyone can sign up for mobile alerts on animal protection issues.) The work of The HSUS touches so many different kinds of people—something I expect to see more of as we move across the country.

On the road en route to Pittsburgh on Friday, Steven Tracy, The Myriad's guitarist, talked about the tour. "It has been so great." He said that while advocacy has "always been something that has been on our hearts" as a band, it is "something very special and exciting for us" to put that advocacy into action on the All Creatures tour.

"A lot of practical things can be done to help animals that don't take a lot of effort"

Tracy also reflected on a conversation he had last night in Rochester, at the Water Street Music Hall, with a woman who struggled with factory-farming issues.

"People are surprised to find out what really goes on, that this is not the '50s." He gave her a copy of Eating Mercifully, and they discussed the issues. Tracy said the woman realized the issues were not really polarizing. "A lot of practical things can be done to help animals that don't take a lot of effort," he said.

Tracy will pass his time on the tour bus today fiddling with his portable key board and working out arrangements for tonight's show at the Hard Rock Cafe. Some days on the long road trips, he relaxes by listening to contemporary bluegrass and folk music on his iPod. "It's different from day to day," he said. "Today is a little bit of work."

Tracy also said he doesn't mind having me, the only woman with the band, along for the trip. "Everyone's on their best behavior," he joked. His tone more serious, Tracy said, "We talk a lot about the (HSUS) cause. It's educational for everyone here." Next stop: Chicago.

Karen L. Allanach, HSUS associate director of faith outreach, contributed to this story.

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