About Us

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Evolotus principals Gary Smith and Kezia Jauron have decades of experience in advertising, marketing, and public relations for a range of clients and products. They left the profitable world of corporate high-tech PR to create Evolotus in 2006. Evolotus and its clients share the same goal: to get the word out about a particular product or service in a way that serves the client as well as the world at large. (www.evolotuspr.com)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Congratulations to us!

Today we received the news that Evolotus was named "Vegan Business of the Year" for the U.S. region in the annual Vegan of the Year awards. We were thrilled to be included and we agree: it's been an outstanding year!

Our fellow winner this year is the wonderful Cynthia King Vegan Ballet Slippers - the only cruelty-free dance shoe on the market. Check them out here.

For the complete list of winners, including activists, athletes, filmmakers, and more, dance on over to http://vegansarecool.com/awards/.

Monday, June 25, 2012

'Vegan Is Love' Sparks Controversy, Discussion

In the process of getting coverage for Ruby Roth's new book, Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action, Evolotus was able to spark discussions in major media about animal rights and the ethics of veganism.

The coverage the book received ranged from major media outlets like NBC, FOX and ABC to gossip blogs and mommy blogs. Below is a list of some of the major media outlets that covered Ruby's new book.

NBC Today Show

CNN Part 1 and Part 2

Perez Hilton

NBC Today Show's Matt Lauer wondered if the title itself suggested that "if you're not a vegan, it's about hate?" Child psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein told FOX News it was "the most disturbing children's book I've ever seen," and even Perez Hilton weighed in to ask "Would [you] read this book to your child??"
Parents discussed the book's suitability for their own children, and experts including nutritionists and psychologists were called on to oppose or advocate for the book. We asked members of the media to judge for themselves whether the criticism was warranted, or whether parents should be offering its ethical and environmental message to the next generation - a generation that, let's be frank, will be charged with cleaning up our messes.

Vegan is Love
also received coverage from a number of women's magazines such as Glamour and Redbook, along with parenting sites and family magazines like Parents, Parenthood and CafĂ© mom. 
Vegan is Love
sparked debate about veganism and whether teaching a child about the horrors that animals endure is appropriate.

Though there was controversy surrounding the book, others received it with an open mind and shared both sides of the story. Many quoted the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), whose official position is that a well balanced vegan diet is appropriate for all life stages and provides health benefits. Others published the claims of registered dieticians who said the book may scare children into being vegan and cause them to be malnourished.

Throughout the launch of the book, the topic of animal rights and veganism was brought up in the media, and even when the book was presented as some crazy idea, Ruby held her own and did a great job in interviews. More people were exposed to the idea of veganism, the exploitation of animals, and the impact on the planet.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Freegle News

Apologies for the lapse in posting news, but it's for a very good reason. Last Thanksgiving, Beagle Freedom Project rescued 40 beagles from an animal testing laboratory in Spain. The lab was going out of business and 72 dogs were about to be killed. Local activists were able to find homes throughout Europe for 32 of them, and the 40 who remained traveled to Los Angeles (where they were shortly followed by 3 more beagles who had been living in a kennel awaiting homes after being released by a university laboratory).

Evolotus was able to secure major media for this rescue, and after fostering eight (!) beagles in our own home, we adopted Frederick and Douglass, named after the abolitionist and former slave.

Interestingly enough many news outlets linked to an older video from our June rescue, which then got more than three million views on YouTube. Here is some of the news coverage about the Thanksgiving rescue.

NBC Nightly News (this also aired on the Today Show)
CBS News
Los Angeles Daily News
Huffington Post
Time Magazine
Inside Edition
NBC Los Angeles
NBC Nonstop News
ABC Los Angeles
Torrance Daily Breeze

Honestly there was such an outpouring of media and support, it was overwhelming - there were too many articles to list, and so many wonderful things happening, from the Ellen DeGeneres show tweeting about the rescue to the strong support of the local yoga community including dear Kathryn Budig, a world-class teacher based here in Los Angeles, as well as other yogis who put together fundraising classes and products such as ToeSox yoga socks.

Another exciting development for Beagle Freedom Project was that fashion designer James Perse heard about the rescue, reached out to help, and then installed window displays in all his stores promoting Beagle Freedom Project. He also made a limited-edition t-shirt that raised funds for us - I'd link to it, but they sold out quickly. Friends in New York, Las Vegas, and all over Los Angeles saw the striking displays that told the story of the rescue. (At the time James developed the concept and design, we were expecting 41 dogs from Spain, but at the last minute our Spanish contacts were able to place one more in a home there.)
James Perse store, Beverly Hills, Calif.
In one of my favorite features on our growing beagle family, Darwin's dad Richard told The Advocate, "To the team of people dedicated to stopping such cruel acts on animals, I can't thank them enough for enriching my life with the knowledge that I can be a part of this movement and for knowing that Darwin and other animals around the world will have a chance of being who they were born to be."

As an example of how media inspires more media, the photo spread of our LGBT adopters was so touching, our friends Mariann Sullivan and Jasmin Singer discussed the intersection of gay rights and animal rights in this very personal Our Hen House article. Freddie and Douglass were excited to meet them on their last trip to California, and the article on their site features our adorable Douggie.
It's been five months since the rescue, and today, Freddie and Douglass are happy healthy dogs who enjoy going on walks, napping, belly rubs, eating cookies, playing with squeaky toys, and chewing on sticks. Freddie is incredibly affectionate but still nervous around new people. Douglass is very calm, easygoing, and social with guests. Wherever we go, people remember their story. They are ambassadors for cruelty-free living who are making a difference in the world. 

As I write, two of their wonderful beagle brothers are looking for new homes. To foster or adopt, please visit the Beagle Freedom Project website for the applications.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Top 10 Animal Rights News Stories of 2011

Can you stand another year-end list?

Below are what we believe were the ten biggest news stories of 2011 for animal rights initiatives. While some of these generated massive amounts of ink and airtime, a few were important stories that flew under the radar. A few have importance to the animal rights community, while others are more notable for their impact on the animal-eating/using/wearing public.   
(Yes, we know that top 10 lists are generally in “countdown” form from tenth place to first place. However, we’ve started with number one, in case readers get bored before they get to the end.)    
1. Mercy For Animals’ undercover investigation into E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas, received so much press and public attention it actually impacted the market price of cattle futures. One of the nation’s best investigators gained employment at E6, where he observed and recorded workers bashing in the skulls of calves with hammers and pickaxes, among other horrors. (The facility specializes in raising female calves until they are old enough to be impregnated and turned into milk machines.) The American Veterinary Medical Association, not known for opposing agribusiness, even issued a statement condemning E6’s behavior. For a short time, the undercover video was banned by YouTube – a bad PR move on their part – and news of the ban reached the sizable audience of consumer tech websites, so the video received even more views. For many Americans, watching this footage was the first time they had ever considered the cruelty inherent in dairy products.     
2. West Hollywood became the first fur-free city in the U.S. and one of only a handful in the world. This small independent city, surrounded on all sides by Los Angeles like Vatican City is by Rome, voted in September to ban the sale of fur apparel after a time interval to allow retailers to phase out inventory. “Fur Free WeHo” received national media attention. Although largely a symbolic gesture in terms of its impact on fur-bearing animals, the legislation drafted will serve as a model for other communities. Similar campaigns are already underway.    
3. Congress introduced the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA), now HR 3359, which would effectively shut down traveling circuses such as Ringling Bros. in the U.S. Animal Defenders International led the charge after successful circus bans in other countries, with assistance from experts from the Performing Animal Welfare Society, exotic animal veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson, philanthropist Bob Barker, and actress/activist Jorja Fox, all of whom testified before Capitol Hill staffers in early November. The announcement of the bill received huge media coverage and offered a platform for ADI to discuss the ethics of animal circuses.     
4. Beagle Freedom Project’s rescue of 40 beagles from an animal testing laboratory in Spain (soon joined by three more) was the third rescue by the group. Coverage on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams two nights in a row, as well as the Today Show, catapulted the group to national and international attention. In the process, people worldwide learned for the first time about the horrors of animal testing, and were motivated to shop cruelty-free. The video of BFP’s second rescue in June of this year racked up over three million YouTube views because of the interest in the rescue.    
5. Another investigation by Mercy For Animals into Sparboe Egg, the fourth largest egg producer and a key supplier to McDonald’s, resulted in what was undoubtedly the biggest economic hit to a factory farm in history when the fast-food chain, and several other major retail customers, cut ties with Sparboe. To add insult to injury, MFA filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for Sparboe’s false and misleading claims about its animal care standards.     
6. Stop Animal Exploitation Now released a comprehensive report on the use of non-human primates in federally regulated animal testing labs in October. The report, based on USDA documentation, included the little-known “exemptions” to welfare laws that mean animals can be deprived of enrichment, food, and water; that permit severe confinement; that deny anesthesia for procedures; and that even allow cages to go weeks without cleaning. Although this story did not receive nearly enough attention from news media, SAEN’s research into the issue was validated when in December the National Institutes of Health announced that it would temporarily stop funding chimpanzee research, and Harvard University’s primate lab was found committing five violations of the Animal Welfare Act.    
7. Compassion Over Killing announced a class-action lawsuit on behalf of consumers alleging a price-fixing scheme by dairy industry trade groups representing 70 percent of the market. The suit relies on the common practice of “dairy herd retirement” in which cows are killed, thus reducing dairy supplies and inflating prices. This is another story that received little major media attention, and we hope that developments in the case will allow it to come into the spotlight in 2012.    
8. HSUS announced it would end state-based campaigns for egg-laying hens in favor of working with agribusiness trade group United Egg Producers, and UEP agreed to dump battery cages in 18 years and replace them with “enriched colony cages” featuring tiny perches and plastic strips for nesting. The agreement struck a blow to animal rights organizations such as United Poultry Concerns, the leading advocacy group for hens, who said “Unfortunately, victories for organizations do not necessarily translate into victory for animals, and this is how we view the current deal. We dissent from the view that HSUS’s agreement with United Egg Producers is ‘a step in the right direction.’ We will continue to educate our members and the public to understand that the only true way to animal welfare – to animals faring well – lies in eliminating the demand for animal products in favor of vegan food.”     
9. The 11-minute video “Farm to Fridge,” narrated by actor James Cromwell, hit with a bang in Spring 2011. The compilation of footage included pigs, egg-laying hens, chickens, turkeys, dairy cows, beef cows, and fish. It was a wake-up call for omnivores all over the world, and was viewed online by millions. Mercy For Animals also sponsored a 42-city, 12,000-mile tour where “Farm to Fridge” was shown on giant TV screens on a specially designed truck that parked in conspicuous areas like shopping and dining districts. The tour earned massive press coverage in each city, from TV news to college papers and everything in between. The success of the tour and of “Farm to Fridge” has inspired numerous “pay per view” events where people are offered a few dollars to watch a video about where their food comes from.     
10. Humane Research Council released its research report Humane Trends, after compiling years of data across 25 different categories to evaluate the status of animal protection in the U.S. Although not a top public or media story by any means, the information, like all HRC’s work, is illuminating and of value to activists. Incidentally, the U.S. received a score of 34 out of a possible 100 for its treatment of animals based on data on companion animals, farm animals, wildlife, and animals used in science and entertainment. HRC also released an illuminating report on all USDA food recalls of animal products from 2006-2010 that should be of great interest to food safety advocates.     
Evolotus was proud to play a role in earning media coverage for clients such as Mercy For Animals, Animal Defenders International, Beagle Freedom Project and Fur-Free West Hollywood in 2011.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ADI, Bob Barker, Jorja Fox launch circus bill

Although we've kept it quiet until recently, we've been honored to work on federal legislation to stop animal circuses with the team from Animal Defenders International (ADI), the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), legendary philanthropist Bob Barker, and "CSI" star and activist Jorja Fox.

Yesterday in a news conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) announced the bill, known as the Traveling Exotic Animal Protection Act (TEAPA). More than 35 media outlets attended the event. Below are highlights of the editorial coverage.

We feel a special responsibility not only to animals, but to other activists, to see this bill become law. We know people who have poured their time and resources into raising awareness about the cruelty and exploitation of the circus; we know people who have put themselves in enormous danger working undercover in circuses to document exactly how wild animals are forced to perform. We know people who have grown so jaded by the animal rights movement that circuses are one of the only issues - or the only issue - they remain passionate about.

You can follow this campaign, take action, and find out more at the Break the Chain website or Facebook page.

Time Magazine
Los Angeles Times
Washington Post
Washington Examiner
Los Angeles Daily News
Huffington Post
Fox News
Mother Jones
Local ABC News

Here is an outstanding photo from the press conference:

Here is a short video of some of Bob Barker's remarks.

Bob Barker addresses Congress from Animal Defenders on Vimeo.

And here is the video ADI showed to media and congressional staffers:

ADI: Congressional Video from Animal Defenders on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not a bad day at the office

Picked up three magazines at the health food store, and found our client, the film Yogawoman, in two out of three. Only one cover, though (still from the film):

Thursday, September 22, 2011

PR drives mobile donations

A new study on mobile giving reveals that of respondents who have made a text-to-give donation, 68 percent were inspired to donate by a television or radio news mention.

"Perhaps the most important observation based on these numbers, charities must support their text‑to‑give campaigns with cross-channel marketing activities that include television, radio, print media, events, and viral, word-of-mouth promotions," says the article on Nonprofit Technology Network's website here. "These activities drive greater response to a charity's call to action to donate."

While the rules applying to text-to-give campaigns are prohibitive for smaller organizations, there are still several ways to implement mobile strategies, according to our colleagues at Mobile Matters, a firm specializing in mobile fundraising for health and animal protection nonprofits. If your organization cannot receive texted donations, you can still create a mobile campaign, build a database of supporters' mobile phone numbers, send action alerts, send petitions and polls, and ask for phoned-in credit card pledges.

We look forward to any opportunity to work on projects that combine media/PR outreach with mobile campaigns. People are receptive to mobile giving, and forward-thinking nonprofits need to consider how they can combine it with their current PR strategies.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BUST magazine review of Yogawoman

BUST is a magazine that offers "an uncensored view on the female experience and tells the truth about women's lives and presents a female perspective on pop culture."

This review by writer Casey Krosser includes some wonderful quotes: "the most joyful documentary I’ve ever seen," "the film radiates such positive energy, you can’t help but be moved," and "In the film, many of the yoga teachers discussed how yoga can unite communities, and it seems like this film could also do just that."

See the review here

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Newsletter worth getting: ACC&D

The Alliance for Contraceptives in Cats & Dogs has some interesting news about a new permanent non-surgical sterilant for male dogs. This alternative to neutering, if successful, will save time and money, and allow shelters and rescue groups to sterilize more animals and prevent more unwanted animals. The manufacturer plans to begin training in November and the product is expected to be available in February.

For the complete newsletter click here. To learn more about ACC&D see www.acc-d.org.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

At War with the Internets

When a nonprofit client gets a sizable donation, or a for-profit client gets a sizable sales order, I try to ask how the donor or buyer heard about the client. Very rarely do I get a clear answer. If I’m lucky the answer is “they saw it on the news.” If I’m unlucky it’s “on the internet” or more recently, “on Facebook.”

The ongoing search for publicity involves legitimate mass media outlets – newspapers, magazines, websites, television, radio – as well as content generated by individuals. Individually generated content today includes bloggers, tweeters, podcasters, tumblrs, flickrs, and no doubt by the time you read this, another Next Big Web Thing.

A great deal of public-generated content is a result of news media content. Bloggers see something in the news they want to share with the world. Their analysis or commentary about what they’ve seen gives added value to their followers, and many blogs are collections of re-posted content the blogger found interesting and relevant. But without that initial media hit, there would be nothing for the blogger to analyze or curate. Of course we include influential bloggers in our PR outreach, and the lines between blog and online publication are blurrier than ever. However, this type of content-inspired-by-content is one of the more obvious hallmarks of a blog. (With rare exceptions, a media outlet does not consider coverage in another media outlet to be newsworthy.)

Social media content similarly derives from news media. People frequently share magazine articles and broadcast news clips with their social networks. In a campaign earlier this year, one article about our client was shared more than 1,200 times on Facebook alone. Rather than posting the client’s website with the comment “check out this great org,” people posted and reposted the link to the article itself. PR generated the article; individuals shared it with others on their social sites.

My war with the internets comes from the confusion these content trails can create. When a donor tells my client they heard about the organization “on Facebook” or “on the internet,” there’s no way of tracking what they may have seen and whether it came from PR efforts. It’s possible my client hears “on Facebook” and wonders whether their promotional dollars would be better spent on social media instead of a hardworking public relations agency. “I read about you on a blog” doesn’t say much either, and might cause a client to consider hiring a marketing intern to post spammy comments on blogs.

But if someone says “I heard about what you do on a blog that linked to a Time Magazine article,” or “my Facebook friend posted a story from her local TV news in Florida,” the content trail is identified.

There’s a mistaken belief that social and viral media success come from grassroots publicity, a small-d democratic internet. On the contrary, there’s a good chance that grassroots effort isn’t real grass, it’s astroturf that is a result of strategic PR.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Newsletter worth getting: FARM

Newsletter du jour: FARM

FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) is a national nonprofit founded over 20 years ago, working to end the use of animals for food through public education and grassroots activism.

In today's newsletter: World Farm Animal Day October 2, free copies of Farm to Fridge courtesy of Mercy for Animals, and an invitation for small nonprofits to submit proposals for a FARM Sabina Fund grant.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Prevention magazine on Yogawoman

The October issue of Prevention magazine (circulation just under 3 million) devoted a half page to the documentary Yogawoman:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Huffington Post on MFA's undercover investigation

Thanks to Joe Satran for covering the Iowa Select investigation:

Iowa Select Farms Pig Abuse: Animal Rights Group Releases Gruesome Undercover Footage

Time Magazine on MFA's undercover investigation

Time's Alexandra Silver covers MFA's Iowa Select investigation:

"Consumers watching the video can take little comfort from the idea that these are the doings of one bad company and that the meat produced there represents just an isolated part of the market."

and notably:

"In a nifty bit of moral jiu-jitsu, [company spokesman Howard Hill] also turns the blame back on the MFA investigator. Quoted in the company's official statement, he complains that, 'videotaping abuse instead of reporting it is indefensible.' In other words: Why didn't you stop us?"

For the story "Animal Cruelty: Could a Barbaric Pig-Handling Video Hurt Major Grocery Chains?" click here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

NBC Los Angeles: 2 Stories on Beagle Freedom Project

Their site does not permit me to embed the video, but NBC Los Angeles aired a wonderful story on the rescue of nine laboratory beagles, which can be viewed and read here:

Laboratory Beagles Arrive for Adoption

The network took additional footage from the release, which is here:

Later, anchor Colleen Williams had founder Shannon Keith and Malcolm (whom we fostered) in her studio for her show. That clip is here:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

KTLA News: Dogs Rescued from Research Lab Need New Homes

Local reporter Mary Beth ("MB") McDade did a great job with her story on the release of nine beagles from a research lab. We particularly appreciated that this station showed the wonderful fosters who had waited so patiently!


KCAL Los Angeles on Beagle Freedom Project

The local media has been incredibly supportive of our Beagle Freedom Project rescues. Here is just one of the four stations' stories:

Rescued Beagles Getting A New Leash On Life

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

KALW San Francisco: Do slaughterhouse videos influence you?

Rose Aguilar, host of Your Call on San Francisco's NPR station KALW, had Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy For Animals, on her show along with Grist's Tom Laskawy.

"Do slaughterhouse videos change your opinion of how animals should be treated? On the next Your Call, we'll have a conversation about undercover investigations into how animals are slaughtered for food. Have you been influenced by amateur videos and how? Join us live at 10 or send us an email at feedback@yourcallradio.org. There have been efforts in many states to make these videos illegal. What do these videos reveal about how we treat animals? And should they be legislated? It's Your Call, with Rose Aguilar and you."

To listen to the show click here. For Tom's article on the subject click here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

‘Ag-gag’ bills face tough row to hoe

Grist continues to be a friend to animals with Tom Laskawy's piece on the "ag gag" bills sweeping many states throughout the nation. If passed, undercover investigations such as those conducted by Mercy For Animals, which often expose crimes against animals, would themselves be criminal acts and the cycle of concealment would be continued.

‘Ag-gag’ bills face tough row to hoe

A few days after this article was published, Tom was kind enough to appear with MFA's executive director Nathan Runkle on San Francisco's NPR station KALW on the show Your Call with Rose Aguilar. That show is available in the archive here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grist's Tom Philpott: "animal abuse is rampant"

Grist's Tom Philpott covers the E6 Cattle investigation by Mercy For Animals in Meat Wagon: Undercover video shows sick calves getting brains bashed in with pickax, and more:

"There's no reason to assume this operation is any kind of outlier...To employ a fashionable cliché, animal abuse is a feature, not a bug, of factory farming."

It's very gratifying that Grist, which covers environmental news, is putting more effort into exposing animal abuse in the food system. Animal advocates need to speak frankly to this audience about the impact of their food choices. 

Wall Street Journal: Mercy For Animals investigation impacts price of cattle futures

Lester Aldrich of the Wall Street Journal covered the abuse at E6 Cattle company in Hart, Texas:

"The video, which has been posted to the internet, pressured live-cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Traders were concerned its graphic nature would cause a pullback in consumer demand for beef.

"The video helped to push June futures down 1.3% to $1.1565 a pound after the contract hit a two-week high earlier in the trading day"

Texas Sheriff Investigates Animal-Cruelty Video Rattling Cattle Market

It is ironic that the impact was credited to a predicted reduction in demand for beef, since E6 is a facility that raises dairy cattle. Perhaps the analysts don't think the consumer knows the difference between dairy cows and beef cows?

Later, we learned that it's probable this market dip resulted in fewer calves being born into lives of misery on factory farms - another MFA victory, albeit a much quieter one.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Houston Press on Mercy For Animals "Farm to Fridge" tour

Animal-Mutilation Film Screens Tonight Near Rice U.
"Just in case the online version of Farm to Fridge - The Truth Behind Meat Production wasn't enough for you, go check out the animal-abuse document[ary] on giant screens tonight."

Coverage like this helped draw crowds to the video events held on busy streets, shopping and dining districts, exposing thousands of people to the truth about where their food comes from.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

CBS Los Angeles on Mercy For Animals "Farm to Fridge" tour

Many thanks to CBS 2 weekend anchor and reporter Rob Schmitt  and the whole crew for this fantastic story on MFA's "Farm to Fridge" tour.

Animal Rights Group Sets Up Big Screen TVs To Shock And Awe Meat Eaters


Thanks as well for all the comments and shares, which tell the media that stories like these are appreciated.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish/The Atlantic

 Beagle Habilitation

Andrew Sullivan is a beagle lover. Who knew? I suppose his caricature gives him away.