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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  •  February 28, 2003


Updates and News

Blazing Distribution!

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 Starter Pack.

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, PA 15238-1222

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 today.

Order Materials | Meatout | Leaflet Your Local School Day | Brochure Holders

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


Internet Poll

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.

Fowl Play (transcript) | COK ISE Website | Wood Chippers | Tyson Worker


Organic Standards Undermined

"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."


New Affiliate

We're happy to add Moo Shoes to our Affiliate Program!


Mail Bag

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 payment.


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.
ER, 2/21/03

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 Satya 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 to distribute!
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 words.
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


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

POB 30865, Tucson, AZ 85751-0865