|Enewsletter • September 12, 2012|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
All-Time Record Day!
John Oberg reports: “Epic day of outreach! At the University of Minnesota, alongside leafleting badasses Fred Tyler, Jeff Johnson, Jenna Cameron, Derek Ritchison, Ben Collins, and Ben Bockover, we set an all-time record for the amount of leaflets given out at a college campus, anywhere in the country. Collectively, we distributed 7,600 Vegan Outreach booklets and heard many students say how impacted they were, including Dan (right) who was handed a booklet last semester and has since reduced the amount of meat he eats for the very reasons listed in the booklet. Great day!”
Note that John personally set an all-time record for the most students reached by one person in a day: he handed out 5,188 Even If You Like Meat booklets and 41 Guides! Wow!
“Optimal” Veganism vs. the Animals
In a recent blog post, Jack (right) noted this important distinction:
“[Neither] Matt nor I care about veganism as anything more than a tool for protecting animals and the environment.”
It is true: we only care about what will help the most animals / prevent the most suffering. Period. Vegans can debate among themselves what they find to be the optimal diet for them, but this is, at best, irrelevant for the animals.
This is because the vast, vast, vast majority of people don’t make their food choices based on what is nutritionally optimal for them. They eat what they like, what is familiar and convenient, and what their social circle eats. And this won’t change – it is ingrained human nature. Instead of complaining about human nature, Vegan Outreach focuses on helping animals in the way that has the greatest impact for the animals – appealing to another aspect of human nature: revulsion at cruelty to animals.
Understanding human nature shows that we are actually hurting animals by insisting one particular diet is “the healthiest” (raw, low-fat whole foods, etc.). Promoting our “optimal” diet cuts off the majority of people from ever considering taking steps that will help animals (as well as reinforcing the idea that we should only do what we think is in our best interest).
Of course, it is understandable to want to optimize our own personal diet. We also understand wanting to believe and trumpet anything and everything that seems to make our veganism sound good.
But if we want to do our best to help animals, then we must understand and reach out to people where they are, rather than preach at them from where we want them to be.
Notes from Our Members
Carrie, Norma, Estela, Stewart,
Josh, John, Phil, Sacha, The Humane League,
and I reached 13,000 rockers at the Ventura
Warped Tour stop! Tooooo much fun! These events
get better every year. Attendees at these shows
are SO RIPE for this information. One person
went vegan on the spot, and numerous others
said they were headed in that direction. Can’t
say enough great things about this crew!
Warped Tour stops were amazing!
and I encountered an amazing crowd
at the Stern Grove Festival! The majority of
people reacted favorably. A few people stopped
to tell us they were working on going veg, and
we met some veg / vegans who thanked us for spreading
the word. The crowd was incredibly smiley and
friendly; very, very few booklets ended up in
the nearby recycling bin. Such an excellent
use of time.
many positive encounters at the
San Luis Obispo Pride Fest! A few examples: