|Enewsletter • January 31, 2007|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Activists Beat the Cold!
Despite cold temperatures, Adopt a College activists handed out 21,782 booklets last week, with the current total over 40,000 for the semester -- well ahead of last year's pace!
One Last Request for Housing
Thanks so much to everyone who has offered to house VO leafleters throughout this Spring semester. We now need to find housing for just a few more regions.
Victor Tsou (here leafleting at Tufts; photo by Jenna Calabrese) needs housing in or near Auburn, Mobile, Montgomery, and Troy, AL; Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Little Rock, AR; Manhattan, KS; Lafayette, LA; Hattiesburg, Starkville, University, MS; and Memphis, TN.
Jodi Chemes and Dean Stanford need housing in or near Tallahassee and Jacksonsville, FL as well as Valdosta, GA
If you would be willing to house any of these courteous, dedicated activists, please email info (at) veganoutreach (dot) org. Thank you!
The Arc Makes a Visible Turn
Grassroots, person-to-person educational efforts to expose the realities of factory farming strikes many people as too slow. Unseen people going vegetarian across the country don't provide a viscerally-satisfying victory.
But occasionally, we are given a glimpse of the future, where we can actually see the arc of history bend toward justice. This happened last week, when Smithfield Foods, the largest supplier of pork in the U.S., announced that it will phase out gestation crates (WSJ; MSNBC).
Of course, having one supplier gradually reduce the suffering of some animals is not the ultimate goal. We are working for the day when people eat vegetarian meats rather than animal flesh. Nevertheless, Smithfiled's decision -- reached not because of any specific activist campaign or legislative pressure -- is profound because of the future it reveals.
Although Smithfield says they will take 10 years to accomplish this (and longer for their contractors), this is much faster than it would take via state-by-state ballot initiatives (not to mention the expense and efforts required for each ballot initiative). Even more importantly, the nation's largest pork producer has now said that gestation crates are neither necessary, nor desirable, undercutting any arguments against future and further bans.
As pointed out in the Economist's 1995 cover story "Also a Part of Creation," once you admit that animals' interests matter, there is no firm stopping point on the 'slippery' slope: "Unless you are willing to make an arbitrary distinction between one level of cruelty and another, you soon arrive at the conclusion that humans have no business harming animals except on the most urgent necessity." Thus, vegetarianism is, ultimately, the only firm, logical conclusion.
While creating many new vegetarians, our efforts to distribute thousands of booklets every day to new individuals are also helping to create a backlash against factory farming. Modern animal agriculture cannot stand the light of exposure. It is both encouraging and inevitable that, as we reveal the realities of factory farms to the public, our ultimate goal of total abolition will be preceded by the incremental abolition of worst abuses.
Last week, we saw the latest visible step to a compassionate society. Every day, we are taking the next steps.
Pig photos by Farm Sanctuary; Ellen Green leafleting by Matt Ball.
VO Joins Friendster and VegSpace
Product of the Week
Marty Foster: My favorite soap is Kirk's Original Coco Castile. It's cheaper than most vegan soaps (about $1 for a 4 oz. bar) and is available at many grocery stores (for a list, check out kirksnatural.com). It lathers really well in hard water, lasts a long time and has no discernable fragrance. This product carries the leaping bunny symbol, which confirms no animal testing.
Feedback from Our Members
out 450 booklets at
two alternative country shows. I
really enjoyed it, and got a good
response from many people. It's
such a satisfying feeling, handing
out this information. And I love
it when people tell me they're already
vegan or vegetarian.
at the University of Georgia
was one of my favorite days of outreach
ever. Two people from my talk there
the night before joined Wendy Moore
and me to leaflet. We all came across
many vegetarians and vegans. One
man came up to Wendy to say how
moved he was by the booklet and
how he really wanted to help out.
He might get involved with the local
group, Speak Out For Species. And
yet another man came up to tell
me that he was a devout Christian
and deeply moved by the booklet.
He said that he thought receiving
this booklet was an act from God.
A young woman came up from the UGA
TV station and arranged to interview
me. She came back a bit later, videotaped
me leafleting for about 15 minutes,
and then interviewed me.
and am constantly inspired by your
humble, compassionate, and most
of all reasonable approach to saving
animals from their terrible fate.
tour last week, I
leafleted at four colleges and handed
out 5,100 booklets, starting out
with 35 hours without sleep, but
it was well worth it! Kudos to VO's
financial supporters, since I could
not afford the booklets for this
trip! I'm taking a couple more days
off for next week to leaflet prior
to Valentine's Day.
visited your website
for the first time, and was honestly
expecting a hysterical, "flatten
the tires of every cattle truck
you see" sort of approach.
I was very pleasantly surprised
to find an inclusive, responsible
dialog about how best to live in
a way that represents an individual's
own moral and ethical beliefs.