Updates and News
Through the first two months of 2003, Vegan Outreach has filled orders for
nearly 110,000 copies of Why Vegan and Vegetarian
Living! This pace could increase with the onset
of warmer weather and events like The Great American Meatout, Leaflet Your
School Day, Earth Day, and various musical tours.
Also in February, we set a new weekly record of over 600 requests for the Vegan
To avoid running out of booklets, please consider supporting Vegan Outreach.
You can donate securely
online, or send a check to Vegan Outreach | 211 Indian Dr. | Pittsburgh,
I'm going to need a lot more Why Vegans. I'm
taking Gary Yourofsky around Minnesota to various colleges and universities,
and we intend to leaflet at each campus. Additionally, we will be tabling
(with our truck in there too) at the Pet Expo next weekend for two full days
and would like to display your materials there, too.
LP, Minneapolis, 2/24/03
Great American Meatout and Distribute
Your Old Why Vegans!
We are pleased to announce that the first ever Distribute Your Old
Why Vegans Day will be held March 20, 2003. This corresponds
with The Great American Meatout.
If you still have copies of the purple Why Vegan, take the time on
March 20th to stock displays at libraries, health food stores, restaurants,
coffee shops, bookstores, etc. You can also leaflet at colleges and high schools!
If you don't have old copies of Why Vegan but plan on taking part
in a Meatout event in your area, please order your materials
| Meatout | Leaflet
Your Local School Day | Brochure
At the local Acquire the Fire event, my wife and I
handed out all the Why Vegans we had – over 500! People were very
enthusiastic about our information.
SP, Sarasota, FL, 2/24/03
As of this writing, KQED is running a poll on if we should all be vegetarians
(lower middle of the page). If you can ignore the bogus anti-veg propaganda,
you can add your vote.
More on Laying Hens
Compassion Over Killing's investigations were part of a local news report,
while a San Diego paper describes the use of wood chippers for discarding birds.
Play (transcript) | COK
ISE Website | Wood
Chippers | Tyson
"Buried within the $397 billion spending bill passed last night by Congress
is a provision that would permit livestock producers to certify and label meat
as "organic" even if the animals had been fed partly or entirely on
conventional rather than organic grain.
"Under the provision, if the Agriculture Department certifies that organic
feed is commercially available only at more than twice the price of conventional
feed, then the department cannot enforce regulations requiring that livestock
labeled organically raised be fed only organic feed."
We're happy to add Moo Shoes to our Affiliate
I was planning on attending the Animal Rights Convention,
as I did last year. However, my friends approached me and told me that Bonnaroo
– a weekend-long outdoor music festival – will be taking place in June as
well. My fiancé, who attended the conference last year as a guest (which
led to him becoming vegan), told me that while it was great to be around a
ton of like-minded folks, it is more worthwhile to be around unlike-minded
folks and help them to become like-minded. This Bonnaroo festival will house
about 70,000 people over the weekend. My fiance and friends agreed that if
I go, they will set up a table with me and pass out literature about veganism.
I think that this is a better decision, not just because the Dead are headlining,
but because all of these young "hippies" will be there. 70,000 college-age
"environmentalists" in one place at one time. Admittedly, not all
Deadheads are open to veganism, but many claim to be pro-good, so this is
a great venue for these materials. I was wondering how many Why Vegans
you can spare and what the cost would look like. I know it costs a lot to
produce these brochures, which is why I'm inquiring now. I may be able to
raise some money, but I have a hectic schedule and was hoping to get a decent
amount without needing to raise funds.
VO's Response: We would be happy to send you many copies of
Why Vegan and Vegetarian Living as you think you can use. As long as
we have them on hand, we want to be able to get them out to more people! We
ask for donations as that is the only way we can print more, but, other than
a record of some level of donation (to avoid fraud), we don't require any specific
I have to say that as the Why Vegans progress
into newer editions, I believe they are losing some of the major arguments
that should be made. I believe that whoever writes the Why Vegans
has associated with only vegans and animal rights activists way too long and
can not relate to the average joe shmo carnivore. The problem with the new
Why Vegan is that it approaches the issue as if you were talking
to animal rights activists and not the general American public.
I have some Why Vegans from many years ago
when they were in only black and white and I thought that it was absolutely
convincing. As they have developed into more colorful booklets I feel they
have lost the key arguments that were made in the original one. You have to
understand that the general American public doesn't care about animals suffering,
they care about themselves and the human race. I think approaching the issue
from a human-interest stand point is the best way to win over the public.
The old issues of Why Vegan touch on the environmentalist aspect,
and how factory farming uses up natural resources, but the new one completely
misses out on it.
Also, the new Why Vegan leaves out the argument
about how wasteful factory farming is with food and grain, how we could feed
thousands of people from starving countries with the grain we feed food-animals.
I feel your organization has become very detached from the non-vegan public
and has been around vegan/AR activists so long that you don't know how carnivores
even think anymore. Please, consider rewriting the Why Vegan to include
these important issues, otherwise I don't see it being successful at turning
the average meat eater, off the street, into a vegan. For now, I will distribute
the old versions of Why Vegan, I believe it makes a far more convincing
argument for veganism.
We try to keep Vegan Outreach relevant – our members are often in public,
leafleting, giving talks, etc., so we have a lot of feedback from our target
audience(s) from which to base our decisions. In addition, we have sent out
hundreds of “follow-up” surveys to people who requested information
about veganism, including during the months leading up to the production of
the latest version (during which time we also consulted with a marketing firm).
In general, what we put in is based on all these considerations, as well as
the fact that the booklet must be inviting, readable, and short enough to be
produced and distributed in a cost-effective fashion.
We have no illusions that we can produce a booklet (or book, or movie) that
will change everyone. Of course, what is convincing to one person means nothing
to another. However, to take one example, our experience has been that the “environmental
argument” is singularly ineffective at getting people to actually
change their habits. Vegan Outreach's directors have spoken with thousands
of people around the country, and personally leafleted tens of thousands.
When debating whether to keep the environmental section of Why Vegan,
we decided that using that space to tell the stories about pig farming and egg-laying
hens would convince many more people to become vegan. Our experience is that
very few people change their diet because of the environmental reasons. Unsurprisingly,
non-vegetarians prefer to see environmental arguments, because such
arguments are less threatening. But we do not recall speaking with a single
person who was totally indifferent to the arguments presented on pp 2-9 of Why
Vegan, but found "the environmental argument" compelling enough
to stop buying all animal products.
Another aspect of this is the lack of solid evidence or direct connection for
many of the claims made by vegan advocates. One person going vegan in the US
does not feed another starving person in another country (or even a
hungry person in this country). It might sound good to claim that going vegan
feeds starving humans (or that a burger causes x square feet of rainforest to
be cleared), but it is our belief that oversimplifications and distortions only
hurt our cause in the long run.
Again: we can’t fit every argument that someone might find compelling
into one booklet that can be printed and distributed at low cost, still be readable,
etc. For different audiences, though, we have Vegetarian Living, which
has a different ordering and weighting of arguments (including resource use
and the ecological impacts of factory farms). We hope that activists will use
what is most likely to be read and considered by their potential audience, rather
than what they, personally, find most compelling.
Of course, there are other considerations – making society aware of animal
cruelty such that they might support legislative change, compared to health
arguments that lead to more consumption of chicken and fish, etc. We are doing
the best we can.
Thanks for writing "Anger, Humor and Advocacy."
My biggest problem has been was my self-righteousness: it felt just as wrong
as eating meat. I'm smarter than that, but feelings can get very dicey. What
helps for me also is reading/listening to Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr–-namely
his sermons, most notably "Love Your Enemies."
You are just so right, especially about how it'd be pretty hard to spread
veganism when all others see is a radical, miserable, reclusive person. I
wholeheartedly find veganism exciting, not depressing, and challenging in
a fun and not difficult way.
Anyways, your article will be kept on my fridge and it will be reread many
times. I felt my anger dissipating while reading it! Compassion is the key.
It is common for ex-vegetarians to claim they stopped being vegetarian because
they didn't like the self-righteousness or superior feeling they had towards
non-vegetarians. But instead of going back to eating animals, just stop feeling
superior. For a discussion of ex-vegetarians that touches on this, here is a
book review of "To Eat Flesh They are Willing. Are Their Spirits Weak?"
When I saw the horrifying scene of the pig being skinned
in Why Vegan, my determination to become vegan exploded. I haven’t
consumed an animal product since. My fiance has gone vegan as well.
SZ, Hackettstown, NJ, 2/25/03
I just wanted to let you know that your Why Vegan
booklet inspired me to become vegan. Thank you so much. I feel like I am really
helping to end animal suffering. I want to help out in any way I can!
AW, Washington, IN, 2/24/03
Last night I attended a speaking event at Virginia
Tech in Blacksburg, VA featuring UK ALF Press Officer Robin Webb. There was
a table set up with vegan cookies and tons of literature on all issues of
Animal Rights. I was glad to see that there were copies of Why Vegan?
available on the table. As I looked around the room, I noticed that most everyone
had a copy of your wonderful brochure and if they were reading anything, that
was the one that most caught their attention. I just wanted to say thank you
for all the hard work Vegan Outreach does with education and helping your
fellow Vegan activists spread the word. You're doing an excellent job!
TH, Clifton Forge, VA, 2/21/03
At least six of my friends have become vegetarian or
vegan as a result of your Why Vegan booklets. Please send me a box
AS, Canton, MI, AS, 2/18/03
My students and I would like to thank you very much
for your very prompt and generous response. Your brochures have had a very
sobering effect on all who've had the chance to examine them. Although my
purpose is to teach my class how to communicate effectively through the written
word, there's no denying the truth of the maxim that a picture says a thousand
Please also accept our gratitude for your very
worthwhile endeavors. Hopefully, we'll be able to change some attitudes toward
animals in this part of the country.
RM, San Fernando High School, San Fernando, CA, 2/8/03
Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals by promoting informed, ethical eating.
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