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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

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Vegan Outreach Enewsletter  •  February 1, 2006

 

Notes from Vegan Outreach

Jon Camp's First Week in the South

Thanks to volunteer help and donor support, the first week of my southern leafleting tour was a smashing success! Six schools (James Madison U, UNC Greensboro, UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, NC State, and E. Carolina U) were leafleted, and a total of 5,684 students were given an Even If You Like Meat booklet in of just five days. Based on the quite constant feedback I received while leafleting, I have no doubt that this work informed a great many of today's youth about the desperate plight of farmed animals.

Next week, I will be leafleting the University of West Georgia, Auburn U, and various colleges throughout southern Louisiana. If you would like to join me for any of these days, or if you'd like me to give a talk about outreach to your local group, please email jon (at) veganoutreach.org. Thanks!

 

Excerpts from Why Not Change the Laws?

People often complain that what Vegan Outreach does is too slow. It is, of course, natural to want to pass laws protecting farmed animals or banning factory farms; going vegetarian and doing person-to-person outreach seems far too slow.

Having been involved in all forms of animal advocacy for more than 15 years, we believe that, at this point in the U.S., very few compassionate individuals or organizations are in a position to affect farmed animals at any level of legislation. Modern animal agriculture is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the U.S. government runs on money. When laws are passed, they are usually inadequate and aren't enforced.

For example, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act doesn't apply to birds, who represent the majority of animals slaughtered in the U.S. Even for mammals, there are few inspectors, and abuse is rampant (see, for example, this story from the Washington Post).

State legislation also has its problems. The Florida ballot initiative that banned the practice of housing pregnant pigs in small crates cost animal protection groups millions of dollars and affected only two farms -- one of which moved to North Carolina.

Campaigns targeting companies have had more success. PETA has succeeded in forcing McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy’s to agree to buy meat from producers that follow certain animal welfare guidelines. It’s not clear, though, how well these guidelines are enforced; Gail Eisnitz, author of Slaughterhouse, reported that inspections of slaughterhouses supplying McDonald's are often staged, and rarely catch even the most overt cruelty (see this statement).

Perhaps the most important factor to consider when dealing with welfare reforms is that the government and big business will manipulate public perception through misleading claims. See this expose on the "Animal Care Certified" label which was given to eggs coming from the extremely inhumane conditions; see also this for how the term "free range" can mean just about anything.

If there is to be any significant change -- either through legislation or demand-driven reforms -- there will need to be much more widespread awareness among consumers and voters. The more people we can reach with detailed information, the more compassionate people will choose cruelty-free options, and speak on behalf of the animals who suffer so terribly, unseen and unheard, in today's factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses.

Although we wish there were a faster way, we believe that at this time, creating more awareness, and persuading more people to become vegetarian and vegan, will do the most good for animals in the long run.

—Matt Ball | full article

 

Notes from Our Members

Today at UCLA, I distributed 1,960 Even If You Like Meat booklets, several AML and GCFE, between 7am–4pm.
     University Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had a “Vegan Outreach Event,” with tables set up in the campus center, giving out EIs, Why Vegans, and various other literature. I was there as the Vegan Outreach representative. There was a band and they gave away vegan snacks, vegan cookies and vegan soy ice cream. I set up a table but wandered about campus for much of the time. I saw the students walking at some distance away, finishing their ice cream, throwing out the packaging into the overflowing trash cans, but carefully holding onto the literature. USETA is a great group of students with a philosophy of activism virtually identical to that of Vegan Outreach.
      At the end of the day I offered a young lady an EI. She took it and broke into tears. She said she was a vegetarian but she couldn’t look at the pamphlet. She wanted to know what she could do. I walked her over to the table, gave her a GCFE and an AML and introduced her to the USETA students.
-Stewart Solomon, 1/23/06

Here are three early exchanges that I had with people while I was leafleting the Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz concert early:
      #1: One woman said that she got a pamphlet from me at the last concert, that it really disturbed her, and that she would like more information. I gave her a GCFE.

#2: One guy looked at the cover, and quickly handed the pamphlet back to me. But then he said, "On second thought, go ahead and give me your spiel. Why should I go vegan?"
      "You would cause less animal suffering."
      "Go on. Tell me more."
      "Well, that's pretty much it. Eating meat causes death and suffering to animals. If you don't want animals to suffer or die, then you can go vegetarian."
      "Keep going. I'm listening."
      "Animals feel pain and suffering just as we do, and they value their lives just as we value ours."
      "Don't stop. I want to hear your whole spiel."
      "I don't have a spiel. I just hand people pamphlets."
      As it turns out, this guy has been inside slaughterhouses, and he has slaughtered his own animals. However, he told me that what I said makes sense, and he took a Why Vegan. He also told me that I am a good salesman, which I vigorously denied. I think I am too honest to be a good salesman. He continued to insist that I was.
       He also said that although he doesn't like vegans, he does like me because I'm a nice guy.

#3: Two women told me that they are animal lovers but that they can't give up beef. I told them about how it is not "all or nothing," and that if I could pick one animal for them to give up eating, it would be chickens. Chickens are the worst treated farm animal, and because chickens are smaller, many more die per meal.
       They were surprised, saying that they thought the worst treated farm animals were veal, and that they have given up eating veal. I replied that the reason activists in the past have focused on veal calves is because they thought that the public is more likely to care about baby cows than about chickens. I went into more detail about chickens, I gave them a GCFE, and again emphasized that they don't have to go 100% vegetarian in order to reduce the animal suffering we are causing.

And then the concert finally ended, and the mass leafleting commenced. At this point, any exchanges have to be limited to three seconds or less, though this is the part of the evening which has over 95% of the impact.
-Eugene Khutoryansky, Houston, TX, 1/24/06

 

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