By Lori Stultz
The issues surrounding modern farming and the inexcusable degree of suffering that farmed animals endure during their all-too-short lives is information that we, as animal activists, want to spread far and wide. However, we don’t just want to spread the message–we want to spread this information well and effectively.
There are many different ways to raise awareness about farmed animals. And since every person is different, there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to activism. For example, here at Vegan Outreach, our preferred form of activism is leafleting on college campuses, at concert venues, etc.
We recognize, though, that personality differences and environment play a large role in all activists’ efforts. There are many ways that activists can go about effectively raising awareness of animal-related issues, so we’ve compiled a list of outreach methods that we’ve found to be effective:
- Put a reference in your email address, or place a quote or banner in your email signature.
- Wear a T-shirt or another piece of clothing that says “vegan” or “vegetarian.” Many people will ask about what you’re wearing, and this creates opportunities to educate others. Stickers placed on laptops, phones, tablets, and/or iPads have a similar effect.
- Write letters to the editor in response to recent, related stories. Contact local, sympathetic blogs or other publications and ask if you can write an article for them. Tell a story tailored to the audience that gives the reader a way to identify with you.
- Display information in public areas. For example, ask if you can hang up booklets at health-food stores, restaurants, and libraries and on college campus bulletin boards. Leaving a few booklets on magazine tables in waiting rooms is another great way of disseminating information.
- Contact local restaurants and ask to work with them to increase vegan options on their menu.
- Host a get-together and provide simple tasty vegan food. Serve easily prepared foods (e.g., pasta, potatoes, beans, casseroles) with different sauces, perhaps with a new food as an appetizer (e.g., salted edamame, sweet potato fries, etc.). If you serve vegan meats, provide standard condiments (mustard, pickles, etc.).
- Join or start a local vegan/vegetarian meetup group. Many people will be significantly helped by some support structure—shopping and dining guides, potlucks, etc. The group can write guest columns, seek out speaking engagements in schools and clubs, host cooking classes, work with local schools and restaurants to increase vegan options, show documentaries, etc. There is really no limit to what the group can take on.
The best part about these activism efforts is that they can be done simultaneously and continuously, making activists’ efforts that much more effective.
Inspired? Let us help you! For literature, recipe ideas, apparel, and stickers, check out our website, where you’ll also find information on modern farming and vegan nutrition. Whatever way you choose to go about your activism, thank you for speaking up for animals!