|Enewsletter • October 26, 2011|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Holy Chicken, Batman!
It’s still October but Adopt a College activists have already reached way over half a million students this term!
524,450 at 539 schools!
Congratulations to every leafleter and donor who’s made this happen. Together, we’re changing the world, every single day!
Would you like to be a part of this, even if you aren’t able to leaflet? Watch this space next week for a great opportunity!
Link of the Week: Interview with Ginny
Though you are a registered dietician, you have written in the past that the best argument for veganism is the ethical/animal argument. Why don’t you believe that the health argument should be the driver?
I think it’s great if people want to talk about the health benefits of eating more plant foods and fewer animal foods. Unfortunately, though, we have no data to show that you need to go 100 percent animal-free in order to be healthy. So there really isn’t a “health argument” for a vegan diet, let alone a vegan lifestyle.
This means that if we want to promote veganism for personal gain or health benefits, we need to overstate the findings and tweak the science. And what does it say about our movement if we’re advocating for animals by using a not-quite-honest or not-quite-scientifically-supportable message?
Some might say that we should appeal to every possible motivation in getting people to stop eating animals, and that’s a tempting argument. I’d probably buy it if I thought it would work. But I don’t see that advocacy built on a shaky factual foundation or on precepts that are ever-changing can prevail in the long run.
No one knows what the exact “ideal” diet for humans is, or if there is any single diet that fits that definition. I talk with my colleagues frequently about new research and whether we need to reassess some of our recommendations or advice based on the latest findings – because ideas about the best way to eat are forever changing. Who knows what the research will be showing 40 years from now? But an ethic of justice doesn’t change. The argument in favor of animal rights today will be the same in 40 years. So why not stick with the argument that is 100 percent unassailable, the one that we never have to scramble to defend in light of new findings?
In addition, I think there is a real problem in shifting the focus of veganism away from an ethic of justice for animals toward more anthropocentric concerns. It actually reinforces the idea that our food and lifestyle choices should be all about us – a belief that lies at the center of animal exploitation.
From “Your Daily Dose of Vegan Outreach!” & Jack Norris RD Blogs
Product of the Week
Notes from Our Members
of questions today at the Community
College of Baltimore County. For example: Did
I think it was right to push my beliefs on others?
For this one, I drew on something Eugene had
mentioned before: when we confine animals, truck
them to slaughter, and kill them, we are imposing
our beliefs on them, and very violently so.
By comparison, offering another individual a
booklet is laughably mild. I’ve always liked
the Howard Zinn quote, “You can’t be neutral
on a moving train.” The status quo isn’t
neutral; it’s been established by people and
deliberate actions. There’s nothing wrong with
questioning and challenging this – it is the
only way we’ve ever made progress.
and I reached nearly 4,000 students at
the University of Iowa and Iowa State. At both
schools we met vegans and veggies, and students
who are moving that way. Only a couple of students
challenged us; many others who were polite,
curious, or supportive. A professor of animal
science even thanked us for our work, and said
he thinks factory farming is terrible. A few
different students told me that receiving our
literature in the past had prompted them to
the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign,
a junior in animal sciences stopped and told
me she was increasingly disturbed by what she
was learning and seeing in modern animal agriculture.
I let her know that I, too, was in UIUC’s College
of Agriculture when I started at this school
way back in 1989, but being bothered by what
modern farming does to animals led me to the
animal protection work I do now. I mentioned
that most people do not work in the field of
their degrees, but that having that degree might
make her a real asset to animal protection due
to her understanding and expertise in the field.
She eagerly accepted a Guide
at Fullerton College always deliver!
Yvonne had a guy come back with his leaflet,
thank her for informing people, and ask what
the best way to switch his family’s diets would
be. She Guided him and he thanked her.
I had conversations like that too; e.g., one
young man said he’d started to cry in class.
I handed him a hanky shaped like a Guide.
able to reach way more students at
the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire with Sen’s
help! One woman refused a leaflet saying, “No
way! I can’t even eat chicken anymore because
of that thing. I’m serious.”
by Miami Dade College briefly.
One student said being veg was expensive. I
gave her lots of tips on ways to make it economical:
fewer meat substitutes and packaged products;
more beans, rice, pasta, veggies, potatoes, and fruit
in season. I also suggested including the value
of just feeling better about making better choices
that affect other beings who are less fortunate.
She agreed and said she would try.
(who got involved after being
leafleted previously), Mara, and I had great
interactions at Mercer Community College. Three
different dudes thanked us for being out there.
Burly manly men, so that was nice to see. On
the other end of campus, Mara gave a student
the booklet and boom, he stopped dead in his
tracks three feet behind her and read the entire
leaflet transfixed. She gave him a Guide.
Another student enthusiastically told us, that
was it, he was going vegan.
at Plymouth was great because
of the super nice students. After I handed leaflets
to two guys, one of them stopped suddenly, pointed
at me, and then (I thought I might hear negative
words) slowly and enthusiastically said, “I… LOVE… YOU!” His
friend smiled widely, pointed at the leaflet and exclaimed,
“We were just talking about this stuff!”
They thanked me and walked away while looking
through their leaflets. A woman asked if I am
vegan. When I replied yes, she enthusiastically
said, “I LOVE you! Keep up the good work!”
Later in the day she walked by and said, “How’s
my favorite person doing?” Shortly before
I left, a woman who was wearing a sweatshirt
with the words “I am not a freak; I am
a vegan” stopped to show me the shirt and
give me a hug! I’m feeling the love today!!
Diane, Jessica, and I reached
over 1,600 students last week at Evergreen Valley
College. Lots of great conversations and meaningful
interactions; seemed like we met every student
on campus! Lori and I then went to Branham High
School, where we encountered super receptive
students. We met a very excited vegetarian who
had just decided a week ago to change.