Keeping up with our series of activist profiles, today we’ll meet Vegan Outreach’s Christopher Shapard. He’s been leafleting college campuses—and braving the cold temperatures—in Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Utah.
Chris has shown some serious dedication this spring, leafleting 20 schools and distributing over 10,000 booklets! Let’s get to know him a little bit better!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Park City, UT. I’m currently living in Salt Lake City after a brief hiatus away from Utah.
What got you interested in animal rights and veganism?
I’ve always felt a strong sense of empathy for others, animals and humans alike. I started to connect the dots with my food choices in high school, but didn’t make a big change until I started college and read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. That book cleared up all the jumbled thoughts in my head, and it pushed me to become vegetarian.
After college, I felt my core values weren’t being fulfilled in the marketing world, so I decided to act on them completely. I applied for an internship with PETA and hesitantly embraced veganism at the same time. It turned out to be the best decision of my life. Since then my journey has been transformative and amazing.
How did you get involved with Vegan Outreach and leafleting?
I did some leafleting during my time at PETA, and I was introduced to Vegan Outreach and some other animal activists at that time. Once I returned to Salt Lake City to work with the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (FFAC), I was connected with the Vegan Outreach team and asked to help with leafleting in the region!
Do you have a favorite leafleting moment to share?
One recent moment that comes to mind was at a smaller college in northern Utah. There was a religious group who’d traveled from their church in Mobile, AL to “have a dialogue” with some of the other religious groups on campus. Members from the Alabama group approached me throughout the day, and I had several interesting conversations! I spoke with a woman who was mostly vegetarian, and she got really excited when she realized why I was there. She launched into a small lecture to her peers on the ways veganism fits into the Christian worldview—I barely had to say anything! I directed her to some good resources and she was ecstatic.
What do you do for fun when you’re not leafleting?
I ski in the winter, and bike, hike, and golf when the weather permits. I mess around on my acoustic guitar just enough to keep me sane, and cook and bake as often as I can—which sadly isn’t much these days. I watch films at the local indie theater and I enjoy watching documentaries on Netflix. I like reading, listening to music, and getting together with other vegans and activists.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add about leafleting?
I applaud everyone who has done one or more leafleting tours. It takes a lot of stamina to go out there again and again, and it’s not always an easy role to play!
Can you tell us one of your favorite vegan products to share with our readers?