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Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization dedicated to
reducing the suffering of farmed animals
by promoting informed, ethical eating.

Donations to VO are fully tax-deductible.
VO’s tax identification no. is #86-0736818.

Vegan Outreach
POB 1916, Davis, CA 95617-1916



Vegan Outreach Enewsletter  •  August 19, 2002


Requests and News


We appreciate everyone who made a special donation in response to our request last week. We hope to minimize the amount of time we don't have copies of Why Vegan available to distribute.


National Day of Leafleting

Thanks to Animal Rights International for their sponsorship!
The sign-up form for the September 17 event is online; the deadline is September 3.

Feedlot Perils Outpace Regulation, Sierra Club Says

"The rapid growth of huge animal feedlots and slaughterhouses in the 1990's has outpaced the power of state and federal regulators to keep them operating safely and cleanly, leading to polluted rivers and lakes, meat recalls and workplace injuries, a Sierra Club report says.

"In its first effort to catalog the environmental, health and safety records of the feedlots and packing plants owned by corporations, the Sierra Club reported these findings from a study of state and federal records for the 1980's and 90's: The slaughterhouses produced 134 million pounds of contaminated or possibly contaminated meat....

"Worried that new regulations would impose new expenses, the large corporations lobbied for and won eligibility for money from the new farm bill to clean up animal wastewater.

"Ed Hopkins, author of the Sierra Club's study, said, 'That's why we opposed the new farm bill, because it makes the American taxpayer subsidize these huge animal factories and clean up their mess.'"


55,000 Chickens Suffocate without Ventilation


Egg production advances provide opportunities

Special to Poultry Times

"The greater risk, and perhaps the most daunting challenge facing Ohio's egg producers today, comes not from regulatory bodies, but from the threats of environmental and animal extremists. These groups, with not-so-hidden agendas of advocating a vegetarian lifestyle and shutting down large farm operations altogether, pose the most significant threat to our industry.

"While in the past these extremists limited their activities to letter-writing campaigns or demonstrations, today their tactics include organizing break-ins at local farms, stealing birds and obtaining illegal video inside egg production facilities. These acts are far from harmless. They not only risk the well being of our flocks, but also place egg consumers at risk by creating a biosecurity breach where infectious disease can be spread."


Watchdogs oppose ban on photos of farms

"Adamson also questions why the Bellflower megadairy, expected to be the largest livestock farm in Illinois that he estimates to be two-thirds completed, is even needed.

"'Why do we need something so big when we've already got a surplus of milk?' he asked."



I got a pamphlet at the Warped Tour, and the things in it were so disturbing. I could never eat meat again; even if I wanted to, I would feel too guilty. The look on the pig's face will haunt me forever – there's nothing the poor things can do to get away! All they wan to do is run, be free, be pigs! Man, [forget] those people for doing that. They'll pay for it someday. How can anyone live with themselves after killing innocent creatures for no reason but greed. Please send me more booklets to share.
CB, Newport News, VA, 8/11/02

I was given one of your brochures, Why Vegan?, by a friend of mine. After reading it and viewing the pictures, I became sick to my stomach. I can't even look at chicken and not think about the way they are treated. I no longer eat meat. I am trying to stop eating other animal products as well.
RM, Lexington, SC, 8/10/02

The Earth Club here at Grossmont College started about 5 years ago as an environmental group. Since I became faculty advisor 3 years ago, its animal-rights component has evolved. We have a animal-rights bulletin board with a Why Vegan holder, a library display, and soon, a cafeteria display. So we have plenty of demand for Why Vegans. Not all of our members are vegan, or even vegetarian, but our club philosophy is that it's hard to be a meat-eating environmentalist, considering that the Union of Concerned Scientists ranks the meat industry as the second most polluting, behind transportation.
MW, El Cajon, CA, 8/4/02

Regarding the issue of veganism being considered a religion: Definitely NOT!
1) If veganism is considered a religion, that automatically excludes Christians, Muslims and a number of other religious people who are only allowed to belong to ONE religion at a time. On the other hand, if veganism is NOT considered a religion, then anyone can be choose to be vegan, since it does not conflict with their religious beliefs of only having one religion; and,
2) Many people have become turned off of all religion, and if veganism was considered a religion, those people would automatically be turned off of veganism too, without considering what veganism was really about.
ML, Brock University, ON, 8/13/02


Reclaiming “Vegan” for the Animals

I'm not a vegan for two reasons. One, it's too hard, especially when one is eating out or at friends' houses. And two, with a few exceptions, most of the vegans I've met, both here and in England, have been awful people. Small-minded, bigoted, myopic, and over-zealous. The only difference between them and born-again Christians is the religion. So why would I want to belong to a club made up of such dreadful members?
Recently received over email

—Matt Ball, with Anne Green

As part of a conversation regarding the nature of veganism, we recently received a request to participate in a boycott of JetBlue Airlines (because of their leather seats), saying, in part, that "we won't sit on leather." This is our response:

We believe the issue is more complicated than simple avoidance or ablution. Sitting on the leather seats doesn't harm an animal, but avoiding JetBlue could cause suffering. If, for example, I could fly somewhere on JetBlue for $50 less than on any other airline, that is an additional $50 I can use to print hundreds of copies of Why Vegan. Since most people in a position to distribute large quantities of Why Vegans can't afford to pay for them, each of us has to constantly work to make sure these booklets can be available to the ever-increasing pool of activists.

More importantly, making an issue of the seat material indicates to people that veganism is about personal purity – a religion, to quote your previous email.

We disagree that having a "spectrum" of vegans, including "extremists," is better for advocacy. It has been our experience that people are actively looking for a reason to ignore their connection to cruelty to animals – the underlying message of veganism. Veganism already has far FAR more than its fair share of fanatics (and let's be honest – nutcases). Fostering – even tolerating – the extremist / religion view makes it easy for the vast majority of people to dismiss veganism, thus leading to more suffering. Playing up the extremist quotes and views of AR / vegans is certainly what the "other side" believes is the most effective way to undermine our efforts.

Previously, you wrote about negative reactions you get, with people decrying your "fanaticism," and advocating "moderation." "I can't be 'moderately' cruel," is your response.

Actually, you are moderately cruel. Everyone is. It is not possible to exist without causing suffering and death. Instead of denying this, or thinking that some arbitrarily chosen level of cruelty is acceptable, we should work to do the most active good that we can. We need to start with a fundamental understanding of the purpose of veganism.

Sometimes, in an effort to promote "solidarity" and "tolerance" – or just to avoid the wrath of the vengeful fringe who scream the loudest – we don't have the fortitude to disavow those who wrap their personal agenda in the flag of "for the animals," even if they are undermining the spread of vegetarianism. Although we can't change the mind of a fundamentalist, we don't have to let them define veganism by volume alone.

We are vegan because we want to make a better world, right? We must match our revulsion towards cruelty to animals with a focus on suffering. We can't continue to give others a reason to ignore the main issue. We need to reclaim "vegan" from the food fetishists, the misanthropes, the cultists. We need to disentagle "vegan" from any specific political, religious, or social view. We need "vegan" to mean opposing cruelty to animals – something everyone can understand and embrace.

Being able to speak for the animals is the bottom line. Period. That I sit on leather seats, or that my ticket payment pays the salary of an omnivore, or that animal products are in the steel and rubber of the plane, etc. – these aren't the issue. All that is important is making the animals' case to everyone.

There is so very much more that we could each be doing to speak for the animals and lessen suffering. We can't afford to make the message of veganism about anything other than suffering, and we can't afford to spend our time and resources on anything other than straightforward advocacy. The animals deserve no less.


Every Donation Prevents Suffering

Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals by promoting informed, ethical eating.

All donations are tax-deductible.

Vegan Outreach

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