|Enewsletter • October 2, 2013|
Note from Vegan Outreach
From Radical Pragmatism: A VO Manifesto
Vegan Outreach doesn’t seek to promote a particular diet or dogma. We’re only seeking to lessen suffering. And in this – recognizing the diversity of people and the frailties of human psychology in order to do our absolute best for the animals – we are radical, hard-core pragmatists.
Of course, it is easy to think, “I’m vegan for the animals, therefore everyone should be vegan for the animals!” And if everyone were as thoughtful, courageous, and dedicated as VO members, then of course our approach would be different – and our task much, much easier!
But go to your school’s food court, or head over to Disneyland – there aren’t bunches of people exactly like us. There are lots of good, ethical people around, but they aren’t currently willing to stand out from the crowd. Those are the people we have to reach if, to use Jack Norris’ phrase, we are going to create a vegan world, as opposed to protecting the purity of our vegan club.
It is perhaps our biggest problem: we are often more concerned that our message meets our current personal standards, rather than using the optimal message to reach those who can help animals: non-vegans.
I used to be driven by words and dogma; I used to think we couldn’t give people an “out” or an “excuse” to eat animals by talking about anything other than absolute veganism. Really, though, people don’t need an “out” to eat animals – they already eat animals.
Indeed, by presenting a seemingly unachievable standard, we actually give people an “out” to ignore the animals’ plight outright.
Insisting on conveying our current conscience isn’t the best way to help animals. Our experience over the past quarter century has shown this.
We know it is far easier to get ten people to eat half as many animals, compared to convincing two people to go immediately and fully vegan. More importantly – the animals are far better off in the former case, especially when we continue to provide realistic and pragmatic support so those people can continue to evolve.
These are all lessons we’ve learned over the years. It took time and courage to learn that we could help animals much more by not insisting people immediately adopt the entirety of our current, personal world view. We can only do our best for the animals when we work with people where they are, and try our best to get them to take the first step.
—Matt Ball, Executive Director | Full article.
Notes from Our Members
received your Even If You Like Meat…You Can Help End This Cruelty
booklet (actually my daughter was given this
book while on a college campus). I think so
many people get discouraged because they have
a hard time sticking with a vegan lifestyle,
so I thought this book was very relevant because
even if someone still eats some meat at least
they could cut back, and then maybe eventually
they would make the switch to a vegan lifestyle.
and I set a huge new record at
USC – Yvonne apparently means “born to
leaflet” in Greek and I believe it – such
a great leafleter and person, a real joy to
work with for the animals! We reached 3,300
students in blazing heat – watched people read
as they walked, others read the entire booklet
sitting on benches. Talked with some of them,
and others thanked us for being there. Highlight
was Gabby [above, with Yvonne LeGrice], who now wants to go vegan.
conversations at Northern Virginia
Community College. For example, I talked to
an older guy whose daughter attends UVA. His
daughter watched Food, Inc. and was
aware that there was a problem with modern animal
agriculture, but didn’t know the specifics.
He said the VO booklet was a tough read, but
agreed that it’s an issue everyone should know
about. He now wants to reduce his meat consumption
and try some meatless meals. If his daughter
didn’t get a booklet from me or Jon, he will
pass it along to her!
Valley College has some new vegans today!
Brittany and I reached nearly 2,400 students.
Quite a few said they are working on going vegan,
and two students are interested in leafleting!
many good comments at CUNY Borough
of Manhattan Community College today!
to Madison Area Technical College early was
key – I reached my first 1,000
students in less than 2 hours. Reached a total
of 1,677 during the day. Great take rate, students
were very friendly, and met a number of vegans.
One Guide went to a man who is in the
process of cutting back on his meat consumption.
Judith, Beverly, and I reached 2,211 students
at Stony Brook University. Great encounters
– so many vegetarians and vegans and people
who now want to go vegan! Met a student who
said he has been vegetarian since he received
a booklet from me last semester! Talked with
Valentine about nutrition concerns. We met 11
people who want to join the newly formed SBU