|Enewsletter • February 17, 2010|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Thanks to You, Lives are Changing Every Day!
Not Snow, Nor Sleet, Nor Blustery Winds will keep Adopt a College activists from taking the animals’ case directly to thousands and thousands of new people every week! Despite horrible weather throughout much of the country this winter, leafleters have handed booklets directly to 119,022 students at 177 colleges already in 2010! Non-college leafleting has been hot in the cold, too, with 13,123 people leafleted so far this year.
Congratulations to all the dedicated leafleters who are doing this effective and necessary work every day! And thanks to all the donors who make this possible, including everyone who contributed to the Valentine’s Day matching challenge. Because of your generosity, VO raised $5,969 of the $6,000 opportunity – every one of your donations mattered and will help create real change for the animals! Also, thanks to everyone who made last Friday’s dance in Berkeley such a fun event.
Interview of the Week: Why Does Vegan Outreach…?
Excerpts from a January 2010 interview by Fuente Vegana with Vegan Outreach’s cofounder and executive director, Matt Ball:
If your main goal is to reduce animal product consumption overall, why don’t you use health and environmental arguments?
Our main goal isn’t to reduce consumption, it is to lessen suffering. For many decades, groups and individuals thought they could trick people into making compassionate choices. But the “health argument” and various environmental arguments have led to many people switching from eating a few large animals to many smaller – and more intensively raised – animals like chickens. This has led to a great deal more suffering.
We focus on the animals because they matter. If we are going to reduce the animals’ suffering, we need people to recognize and consider their suffering. The ethical case for vegetarianism is simple, straightforward, and indisputable.
In your advocacy you usually don’t mention the “basics of why vegan”: that no matter HOW eggs are produced, there will be useless male chicks.… Why do you leave this out?
In his interview with Erik Marcus, Jonathan Safran Foer makes two key points:
These are central to Vegan Outreach’s approach: not justifying our own views or cataloging all cruelty, but creating as much real change as possible in a society where eating an actual chicken leg is rarely even questioned. “Rights,” “veganism,” and other human constructs are irrelevant – all that matters is reducing as much suffering as possible.
Why do you think it is necessary to tell people that opposing cruelty to animals is not an “all-or-nothing proposition”? I’m sure many vegans feel it is wrong to say that it is “OK” to “only eat LESS meat, eggs or dairy.”
It isn’t our goal to document all cruelties and injustices in the world. We aren’t out to say what is or isn’t “OK.” We don’t seek to explain or justify our views, or celebrate veganism.
We are not the point – maximum change for the animals is what matters. The key to this is recognizing that only meat eaters are in a position to save animals from the horrors of factory farms, so their mindset and motivations are what matters.
Vegan Outreach is all about getting results. Not about theory, or to say what is wrong, or which words philosophers prefer. But what experience shows, what psychologists and marketers have found works. The bottom line is simple – more change, fewer animals suffering.
Notes from Our Members
productive day at Ohlone College.
One vegan remarked that she had found a discarded
leaflet on my last visit and really liked the
approach we took in encouraging veganism in
a way that isn’t “all or nothing.”
A woman told me she had gone veg as a result
of the pamphlets and our conversation last semester.
She told me she had started by cutting her meat
[consumption] in half, then three quarters,
and so on. She said she felt great both physically
and emotionally. So great to see this working
right before my eyes!
for sending me the booklets. This
will be my first time leafleting, and I was
kind of nervous. But after reading Matt’s Animal
Activist’s Handbook, I’m really excited!
It is such an inspiring book and it gave me
so much good advice.
at the College of Charleston were
once again crazy over Syba (our canine companion).
It was great because people would stop to pet
her and I would hand out the Compassionate
Choices. A student came up to me saying
that she had been vegan for two years. After
receiving a CC and a Guide,
she is now convinced and returning to veganism.
day at Bethume-Cook College
– an African American, never-before-leafleted
school. Phil and I met several vegetarians and
had a lot of talks and laughs. One very large
vegetarian took lit to share with his classmates.
high acceptance rate at San Luis
Obispo High School. Right at the start, one
young woman said she recently became a vegetarian
after receiving a leaflet. I congratulated her
for making the change and gave her a Guide.
After leafleting, our outreach continued when
Roshanne (Bakhtiary) and I stopped for coffee.
After inquiring about vegan options, the barista
told us that he used to be a vegan. I asked
why he stopped and he could not give a reason.
I encouraged him to consider veganism again.
He acknowledged he had compassion for animals
and said he’d give it another try.
to leaflet the University of Central
Missouri with Leah Wagner. I had a faculty member
tell me he supported the cause and was glad
to see us there. A young student told me he
was doing a presentation on factory farming
so I gave him a few extras and directed him
to some good websites. It’s nice to hear
that college students are talking about this.
I attended this exact school a little over four
years ago, and I don’t recall anyone talking
about the nasty politics of food production.
stopped at a light, a Gaithersburg
High School student jumped out of her truck,
ran over to get a booklet, and then ran back,
making it on time. Another yelled out the window,
“My boyfriend’s a vegan!”
I heard similar comments today at Montgomery
College – Germantown. This is catching
on, friends. We need to continue to just do
our best to represent the animals in a positive,
productive manner – as opposed to giving
in to impatience and frustration – as
change truly is in motion. Thanks to all of
you – leafleters and donors – who
are creating this change!