India News: Making the best out of the challenging times

Most of our work is remote these days, and our team is making the best out of these challenging times. I’m writing to share some of the positive changes and highlights that are giving me hope

Remote College Outreach


We’ve kept our outreach going during the lockdown in creative ways by collaborating with colleges and engaging with students through phone calls, webinars, and emails. Over 3,000 students from 21 colleges signed up for 10 Weeks to Vegan during the lockdown!


Campaign Successes


Here are some of our latest victories:

  • Hetero, a leading pharmaceutical company in India, will now serve meat-free meals to their employees every day to reduce their environmental footprint! Once fully rolled out to all locations, over 2 million meals will be meat-free every year.
  • After working with us, Veggie Champ, a leading manufacturer, and supplier of mock meat in India, has veganised their mock meat range by removing milk solids from their products.
  • DY Patil University School of Hospitality and Tourism Studies, will serve vegan food on Fridays. This initiative will prepare future chefs to create vegan menus and help reduce the environmental footprint at the institutional level.


    Introducing Richa Mehta


    This month, I’m moving into a new position at Vegan Outreach, and I’m excited to share that my colleague, Richa Mehta, is taking over as Director of Programs, India.

    Richa has many years of experience with animal and environmental protection nonprofits. She has been instrumental in the success of our Green Tuesday Initiative and has done extensive in-person outreach in India.

    We need your help to keep the momentum going for the rest of the year. Please donate today for animals in India!

    Warmly,

    Aneeha Patwardhan
    Director of Programs, India


  • Impact of 10 Weeks to Vegan

    Background

    10 Weeks to Vegan is a weekly email series from Vegan Outreach containing tips, recipes, and resources for those interested in learning more about animal-free eating. We’ve adapted versions for several different countries worldwide.

    To assess the effectiveness of our program, we surveyed United States, Mexico, and India 10 Weeks to Vegan participants before and after they began the email series. In order to evaluate long-term change, we sent out a follow-up survey to those in the United States for whom it has been ≥6 months since completing the series.

    The pre-test was emailed to participants within a week after they signed up for 10 Weeks to Vegan. We sent the post-test approximately two weeks after people finished the entire 10 Weeks to Vegan series. To encourage participation, we offered two randomly chosen participants per month a $50, $300 peso, or 1,500 INR, respectively, Amazon gift card.

    Response Rate

    • US pre-test: 7%
    • US post-test: 15.5% of those who took the pre-test
    • US ≥6-months post-series follow-up: 30% of those who took the post-test
    • Mexico pre-test: 10.5%
    • Mexico post-test: 10% of those who took the pre-test
    • India pre-test: 3%
    • India post-test: 10.5% of those who took the pre-test

    Methodology

    We evaluated responses from participants who received 10 Weeks to Vegan, took both the pre-test and the post-test, and reported reading at least one email. In total, we evaluated responses from 500 US participants, 105 Mexico participants, and 63 India participants.

    We asked people how often they eat various animal and plant products. The pre-test asks how often participants ate various animal products in the last month and the post-test asks how often in the last week. We follow the food intake questions with a question about whether they identify as a meat-eater, vegetarian, or vegan.

    We considered those who moved from being a meat-eater to vegetarian or vegan, or from being a vegetarian to vegan, as a positive change. We classified those who moved in the reverse direction (vegan to vegetarian or meat-eater, or vegetarian to meat-eater) as a negative change. However,  anyone whose self-identity was vegetarian or vegan at the pre-test and moved in a negative direction at post-test was cross-checked to see if their diet frequency showed otherwise. We counted the net changes for our total conversion figures.

    For people who, based on food intake, misclassified themselves as a vegetarian or vegan in the identity question at pre-test and then reverted to a meat-eater or vegetarian at posttest, we didn’t count their reversal as a net negative. In these cases, we assume that they didn’t understand the definition of “vegetarian” or “vegan” at pre-test but then learned the definition during the series. The conversion rates would be inaccurate if we considered such people as having reverted simply because they learned the definition.

    We further adjusted the results to reflect findings from the control group in our past Leafleting Effectiveness Study (LES). The LES asked the same food intake question as our 10 Weeks to Vegan surveys. We found that those in our control group had a conversion rate of 1.6%. Because we would have used this same methodology if we had a control group for our 10 Weeks to Vegan surveys, we subtracted the 1.6% rate from all our net conversion rates to arrive at the final, adjusted rates shown in the table below.

    Additionally, we compared the results of those who signed up in-person versus online. In-person sources primarily came from those who signed up through public outreach on college campuses or local events. Online signups came from those who signed up via an online ad or through our website.

    We determined p-values using a McNemar test comparing non-vegans at pre-test to total conversions at post-test.

    Results

    The adjusted conversion rates in the table above show what percentage of participants moved in a positive direction—either from meat-eater to vegetarian or vegan, or from vegetarian to vegan. In all but one instance, those who signed up online showed the greatest change.

    All findings for the United States 10 Weeks to Vegan were statistically significant. All but the in-person diet frequency results for Mexico were statistically significant. Because the pool of respondents from India was relatively small, the findings didn’t reach statistical significance.

    Follow-up Results

    We followed up with 143 US participants 6 months or longer after they’d completed 10 Weeks to Vegan. The results were very encouraging. There was no statistically meaningful recidivism between the time that they completed the post-test and the follow-up survey.

    There was a slight improvement in in-person outreach and a slight decrease in online. The differences between the two were only statistically significant for the self-identity question.

    Below are the results from the initial pre-test to the ≥6-month follow-up survey.

    Based on this data, it appears that our work is having a lasting effect.

    Reasons For Signing Up

    Most participants cited multiple reasons for signing up for 10 Weeks to Vegan. Their motivations for signing up for the program fell into a few main categories:

    • Health
    • Help with transitioning to veganism
    • Recipes
    • Insight into veganism
    • Animal welfare
    • Environment
    • Reduce animal product consumption

    Summary

    This research indicates that Vegan Outreach’s 10 Weeks to Vegan series is having a great deal of success in motivating and helping people to become vegetarian and vegan.


    2 million+ meals made meat-free

    Hetero

    Hetero, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in India, will now serve meat-free meals to their employees every day to reduce their environmental footprint. Once fully rolled out to all locations, over 2 million meals will be made meat-free every year. Vegan Outreach worked with the company to implement this sustainable food policy as part of its Green Tuesday Initiative campaign and will also organize employee awareness sessions on animal agriculture and its environmental impact.

    This change will make a big impact by reducing the suffering of animals in India. This sustainable food policy will also contribute to the wellness of employees and helps the environment.
    Animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors of human-made greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, water pollution, and air pollution. Worldwide, meat and dairy production uses 83% of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    Help us reach even more institutions. Please donate today to support our work in India.


    Spring 2020 Outreach Coordinators Who Inspired Us

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to put our public outreach on hold. Still, we’re keeping our focus on the end game–a future where animals are no longer killed for food—and we aim to meet our goal of 80,000 signups for our 10 Weeks to Vegan program for the first half of 2020.

    Before college campuses shut down, the outreach coordinators below inspired us with how many signups they received!

    Saurabh Sonkar

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 5,514
    • Booklets handed out: 5,563
    • VR views: 962

    Irving Martinez

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 3,340
    • Booklets handed out: 5,485
    • VR views: 301

    Richa Mehta

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 3,194
    • Booklets handed out: 4,576
    • VR views: 2,055

    Brent Ratkovich


    “We’re all doing this work to inspire and empower people to go vegan. We all take on the important responsibility of being the educators and bringing the inspiration to the students and the public in general. That inspiration can go both ways—a few moments can light a fire and make you feel like you can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 2,941
    • Booklets handed out: 1,433

    Perla Anerol


    “I’ve had several interactions with people who immediately rejected 10 Weeks to Vegan because they weren’t vegan and because they like meat. However, it’s so nice when they finally sign up after I explain that the goal is precisely for people like them to discover delicious and nutritious dishes that do not involve hurting animals.”

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 2,394
    • Booklets handed out: 4,710

    Ben Gardner

    • 10 Weeks to vegan signups: 2,374
    • Booklets handed out: 7,193
    • VR views: 205

    Ethan Blake

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 2,086
    • Booklets handed out: 5,528
    • VR views: 85

    Astha Gupta

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 1,877
    • Booklets handed out: 2,574
    • VR views: 448

    Brian Chavez

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 1,805
    • Booklets handed out: 3,946

    Abhishek Dubey

    • 10 Weeks to Vegan signups: 1,731
    • Booklets handed out: 1,115

    Thank you to all the above community outreach coordinators as well as the many we didn’t list who also contributed substantially to signing up over 60,000 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan so far in 2020!


    India News: Sharing some good memories of 2020

    It’s been a challenging year for the Vegan Outreach India team. In the last three months, our staff has faced many tough situations—violent riots over the Citizenship Amendment Act, government-imposed internet shutdowns and now the coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide lockdown.

    Despite the hardships, we’ve continued to work towards our goal of ending the suffering of animals raised for food. Join me in looking back on some of the best moments from the last quarter.


    11,769 Students signed up for 10 Weeks to Vegan


    In just three months, we helped 11,769 students get started with their vegan journey. Our team travelled across the country showing videos, giving presentations, and talking to students at college campuses.

    We also set a VO world-record along the way by signing up 666 students for 10 Weeks to Vegan in a single day!


    Outreach at Youth Events


    We participated in many college festivals and youth events this year and educated the students about compassionate living. Many students thanked us for being there and pledged to reduce their use of animal products.

    Some of the best events were at colleges in Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Varanasi where we not only reached thousands of students but also met students who have been vegan since meeting us at their campus last year!


    Looking Forward


    While we’ve paused public events to keep our staff and community safe, we’re continuing our outreach online. The India team is engaging with students, employees, and vegfest attendees via email, phone calls, webinars, and social media to help them make the transition to vegan eating.

    We’re already seeing good results and many people have told us that they’re rethinking their lifestyle choices.

    Thank you so much for enabling this important work.

    We need your support now more than ever to continue speaking up for animals. Please consider supporting some of the India team members!


    Donate Now!


    Warmly,

    Aneeha Patwardhan
    Director of Programs, India


    Study Finds Veg•ns More Likely to Stick with Diet

    A new study investigating diets and the factors that influence whether people keep to them has been released (1). In a study published in the journal Nutrients, the authors compare a variety of diets in an effort to determine whether people tend to stick to certain types of diets over others and which factors, if any, help or hinder them in doing so. In particular, they examine the potential impact of personality, mental health, and motivations for dietary choices.

    The authors included five types of diets in their study—vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free, and weight loss. They selected a group of 292 participants already following one of these diets and asked them about what helps them maintain a diet and occasions when they struggled to do so. The participants were then also given questionnaires about their demographics, personalities, mental health, dietary motivations, and adherence to their diets.

    Ultimately, vegans and vegetarians, respectively, were found to be the most likely to stick to their diets, with those following paleo, gluten-free, and weight loss diets more likely to stray. Veg*ns also reported having less trouble in keeping to their dietary choices and were more likely to view their diets as self-expression rather than a task requiring restriction or willpower.

    Perhaps surprisingly, from a number of factors that included depression and disordered eating, self-control, age, gender, ethnicity and many more, only four were found to have a significant impact in the final analysis. Self-efficacy and social identification with one’s dietary group (which were positive predictors of adherence), and mood and weight control (which were negative predictors). In other words, people who saw their diet as an important and positive part of their identity and were confident in their ability to stick with it were more likely to remain on that diet, while those motivated by a desire to lose weight (notably, as contrasted with a desire to become healthier) and those who eat for emotional reasons were less likely to remain on their diets.

    While some considerations, such as the number and diversity of its participants, limit the potential inferences and applications of this exploratory study, it does have a number of interesting implications. For example, the authors suggest that the importance of motivations of dietary choices for the adherence to diets is currently under-appreciated, and that thinking of diets in individualistic terms, rather than conceptualizing them as part of a broader context, contribute to straying from them. Above all, though, it points to the potential of people “find[ing] positive ways to self-define in terms of their dietary patterns” to make a change for good.

    References

    1. Cruwys T, Norwood R, Chachay VS, Ntontis E, Sheffield J. “An Important Part of Who I am”: The Predictors of Dietary Adherence among Weight-Loss, Vegetarian, Vegan, Paleo, and Gluten-Free Dietary Groups. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 1;12(4).


    Staying the Course in Troubled Times

    by Jack Norris, Executive Director

    Throughout our history, Vegan Outreach has faced many tough situations challenging our ability to do public outreach—9/11, the Great Recession, and an onslaught of blizzards, hurricanes, and heatwaves. Through it all, VO has kept our focus on the end game–bringing about an end to killing animals for food.

    In addition to these society-wide disruptions, there’s been an endless flow of urgent animal issues that could have consumed all of our time and resources. But we knew that the spread of veganism is critical to ending this flow of animal tragedies. So, literally, come snow, wind, or high water we’ve been on the front lines spreading animal-free eating and bringing new advocates into the animal rights movement.

    Now the front lines are being disrupted again—we’re facing a global epidemic that is making public outreach challenging to say the least.

    Our outreach staff has been courageous these last few weeks as they continue to speak for the animals on college campuses and at other events. But the situation on the ground is becoming more tenuous by the day. Colleges are rapidly moving to online classes and large public events are being canceled. This situation shows no sign of abating anytime soon and we might be facing obstacles for months, if not a year or more.

    Vegan Outreach didn’t forget about farmed animals in 2001 or in 2008, and we won’t forget about farmed animals during these tough times—we’ll adapt our outreach.

    We currently have a prolific, cost-effective online ad campaign for 10 Weeks to Vegan and Get Healthy guided challenges, and in recent months, we’ve expanded our online support for the thousands of people a month who sign up for these challenges.

    Our surveys show that online 10 Weeks to Vegan outreach is extremely effective—based on people’s food intake, 10 Weeks to Vegan results in a 29.4% conversion of participants to vegetarian or vegan (see Impact of 10 Weeks to Vegan for more info).

    As community and college outreach faces increasing challenges, we at Vegan Outreach are brainstorming effective ways to spread veganism while also protecting our staff.

    We want our donors, who pay for everything we do, to know what we’re doing with their money and what’s going on behind the scenes. If you’re one of the wonderful people who has invested in Vegan Outreach—thank you. Your funds will continue creating new vegans every single day.

    We’re still in the early stages of planning, but want you to know that we’ll be keeping you informed about how we’re adapting our tactics to this quickly-developing situation.

    We hope that you are staying safe and healthy during this time.


    India News: Here’s How We Helped Animals in 2019

    In 2019, we did this and more for animals in India:

    • Our team visited over 300 colleges collectively reaching over 450,000 students with the vegan message!
    • We helped over 21,000 people sign up for 10 Weeks to Vegan and get started with vegan eating.
    • 15 institutions implemented dairy- and meat-reduction food policies and increased vegan options in their cafeterias.


    Outreach Highlights


    Over 15,000 students experienced life on factory farms through virtual reality videos and 29,850 students attended classroom presentations.

    Some of the best moments during outreach are when we meet students who’ve gone vegan after reading a Vegan Outreach leaflet or watching a video. Our team met many such students this year and some of them have started volunteering with us too!

    Millions of Meals Veganized


    In 2019, we launched Green Tuesday Initiative, a campaign to help institutions reduce their environmental footprint by making changes in the food they serve.

    Here are some of our latest victories:

    • Gautam Buddha University, a large public university in Noida, reduced the use of paneer (cottage cheese) in their cafeteria by 66% and veganized 960,000 meals.
    • Several colleges and corporate offices, such as Vardhaman College of Engineering and Uneecops, implemented meatless days.
    • Read about our past victories here.


    We need your help to keep the momentum going in 2020. Please donate today for animals in India!


    Warmly,

    Aneeha Patwardhan
    Director of Programs, India


    Outreach Coordinators Who Inspired Us This Fall

    Our community outreach coordinators work tirelessly to engage and educate the public about veganism. At the time of this writing, they had signed up over 100,000 people to our 10 Weeks to Vegan in 2019 (in addition to over 40,000 more online)!

    Their work is incredible—but tough! We’re happy to celebrate them and the message of compassion they spread. Below are our top 10 most prolific outreach coordinators as of early December. Let’s take a look at the great work they accomplished this fall!

    Brian Chavez


    Brian started doing outreach with Vegan Outreach in 2017 and has traveled all over the U.S. to spread veganism. He uses his unique style to have meaningful conversations with students about veganism, and as a result, obtained 5,597 10 Weeks to Vegan signups this fall. This semester, he set the US record for the number of signups in one day—348! He also handed out 13,354 booklets at 42 different campuses!

    Saurabh Sonkar


    Saurabh holds multiple outreach records. He holds the world record for virtual reality views in a single day and at a single event, and was this semester’s top leafleter in India, handing out 18,070 booklets! On top of that, he signed up 3,882 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan.

    Miguel Marron


    Miguel received a Vegan Outreach booklet at his college, then started an animal rights club, volunteered for Vegan Outreach, and is now an employee. He recently celebrated his 15th “veganniversary,” and we’re celebrating that he signed up 3,735 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan and handed out 11,014 booklets in the northwestern U.S. this semester!

    Ethan Blake


    Ethan’s past volunteering for Vegan Outreach led to several of Vegan Outreach’s biggest days showing virtual reality videos to students. Now employed as our Midwest Community Outreach Coordinator, Ethan continues to impress us with his dedication. This semester, he got 3,247 10 Weeks to Vegan signups and gave out 9,978 booklets at 53 different colleges!

    Emmanuel Marquez


    In addition to supporting outreach by numerous volunteers in Mexico, Emmanuel showed virtual reality videos to 653 people—bringing his total to more than 6,500 over the past two years! He also signed up 3,201 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan!

    Perla Anerol


    Perla reached more than 80,000 people in just her first year of working with Vegan Outreach. Now in her second year, she continues to engage thousands of students in central Mexico. This fall, she received 3,101 10 Weeks to Vegan signups and handed out 8,560 booklets.

    Ben Gardner


    Ben joined Vegan Outreach this semester and quickly wowed us with his hard work. His extensive experience in project management and community organizing makes it no surprise that he gave 5,593 booklets at 38 schools and got 3,019 10 Weeks to Vegan signups this semester!

    Aravindan V


    Aravindan has the second highest 10 Weeks to Vegan signups world record for a college campus in one day, giving four presentations to over 600 students and receiving 471 signups! In total this semester, he got 2,756 signups and gave out 8,207 booklets.

    Ben Umholtz


    Ben visited 36 colleges, among other events, this fall in the greater Ohio area, signing up 2,680 people for 10 Weeks to Vegan!

    Sam Tucker


    Active in various grassroots efforts from a young age, Sam massively ramped up our reach in Australia and New Zealand over the previous four years. He’s reached 400,000 students in his time with VO. As he’ll soon be returning to school, this was Sam’s final semester with Vegan Outreach—he distributed 9,355 booklets and received 2,477 10 Weeks to Vegan signups. We’ll greatly miss Sam and thank him for his incredible dedication!

    A big thank you to all of Vegan Outreach’s supporters—who directly fuel our work—outreach coordinators, volunteers, and donors alike! Because of you, many animals will be spared a life of suffering.

    If you want to honor these activists and see Vegan Outreach do even more for animals next year, please consider making a donation by December 31st. It will be matched dollar-for-dollar for twice the impact!


    Vegan Advocacy in India



    Since 2016, Vegan Outreach has been working to end violence toward farmed animals in India. With the demand for meat and dairy rising in the country, we’ve been working to educate the masses on more compassionate food choices.

    Starting with an international expansion tour, the India team has now grown to 7 staff and a country-wide volunteer network. From outreach and education programs in colleges to institutional campaigns, read on to know more about how we’re helping animals in India.

    Inspiring thousands of students to go vegan

    Vegan Outreach’s dedicated staff and volunteers conduct outreach programs at over 300 colleges and high school campuses each year, as well as at festivals, fairs, and conventions in 18 states.

    Our Adopt A College program involves interactive classroom presentations, showing virtual reality videos, and tabling with our persuasive booklets to raise awareness about the suffering of animals raised for food. We focus on reaching the people who are motivated enough to make changes now—of which there are always many in our target audience of college students.

    Support for making changes

    We conduct outreach with the aim of signing people up for our 10 Weeks to Vegan guided challenge. Everyone who signs up receives weekly emails or WhatsApp messages with easy recipes, product recommendations, nutrition information, and lots of motivation. The content is tailored for an Indian audience and available in both English and Hindi.

    We also offer a free mentorship program for those who need one-on-one support in making the transition.

    Institutional dairy and meat reduction campaigns

    In addition to in-person outreach, Vegan Outreach also runs the Green Tuesday Initiative, a campaign to help companies, universities, schools, and hostels reduce their environmental footprint by making small changes in the food they serve.

    So far, we’ve helped 12 educational institutions and corporate offices in India implement more sustainable food policies and reduce large quantities of animal products from their menus. Some of our recent victories include Gautam Buddha University reducing its use of dairy by 66% and Zostel, Asia’s largest branded chain of backpacker’s hostels, adding vegan menus at 8 locations in India and Nepal.

    Read more about our latest campaign successes here.

    Our impact in numbers

    By steadily increasing the number of vegans we’re laying the groundwork to more quickly reach a tipping point. Here’s our success in numbers:

    • 601 colleges and high schools visited in 18 states.
    • 52,496 students attended classroom presentations.
    • 17,114 people watched virtual reality videos.
    • 1,368,580 people reached with informative vegan leaflets.
    • 12 universities, corporate offices, and hostels joined the Green Tuesday Initiative.

    Excited to join the movement? Here’s how.

    Our work is possible because of generous supporters. Make a donation today to help animals in India!

    We also need dedicated volunteers to help us reach more students and community members to spare more animals from suffering. With just a few hours of your time, you can change several dozen students’ lives forever. Sign up via our Volunteer Form.