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Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3)
nonprofit organization dedicated to
reducing the suffering of farmed animals
by promoting informed, ethical eating.

Donations to VO are fully tax-deductible.
VO’s tax identification no. is 86-0736818.

Vegan Outreach
POB 1916, Davis, CA 95617-1916

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Enewsletter

Vegan Outreach Enewsletter  •  June 12, 2002

 

Thank you for sending the carton of Why Vegan. I am distributing them at L.A.'s most popular yoga studio, and at Santa Monica's Sunday Farmers Market. At the studio, about 300 people a day have the opportunity to take a copy. At the Market, about 3,000 people pass by the table. Between them, it took only a short time for the 300 copies of Why Vegan to disappear.
     I really feel we are reaching a receptive audience of potential vegans.
JR, Venice, CA, 5/31/02

Announcements & News

COK's First TV Ad

Starting on May 27th, 2002, COK's first TV ad has appeared on D.C.'s CBS affiliate (channel 9) between 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. The ad ran each weeknight for two weeks.

This may be the first time in the United States that an explicitly pro-vegan ad showing factory-farmed animals has appeared on a major network during such a high-viewership time slot.

 

Trouble on the Farm

"Scum and foam were piled so high on the surface of streams and ponds in the rural Illinois area neighboring the Inwood Dairy that it looked like snow. According to Karen Hudson, a local family farmer and activist with FARM (Families Against Rural Messes), "The air pollution was so severe the neighbors were forced to tear their carpet out, and burn candles to keep the stench at bay–at night they had to spray perfume in their bedrooms.... The odor was not merely a manure odor," Hudson added. "It had a septic and the decaying smell of a dead body. It could be smelled several miles away–I know because I live 4.5 miles from it. That is why we renamed our state from Illinois, Land of Lincoln, to Illinois, Land of Stinkin'."

 

The Relationship between Consumption of Animal Products and Risk of Chronic Diseases: A Critical Review

From the Summary:

"The effects of animal products on risk of chronic diseases are an area of considerable controversy. ... [I]international correlations between per capita food consumption and disease rates are seriously confounded by other lifestyle factors associated with economic affluence. ... One of the most comprehensive correlational studies conducted within a country is the China-Oxford-Cornell study.... These correlations, although informative and valuable in many ways, cannot be used to establish causal relationships between dietary factors and disease risk. The limitations of geographical correlations were precisely stated by Drs Doll and Peto:

Trustworthy epidemiological evidence, it should be noted, always requires demonstration that a relationship holds for individuals (or perhaps small groups) within a large population as well as between large population groups. Correlation between the incidence of cancer in whole towns or whole countries and, for example, the consumption of particular items of food can, at most, provide hypotheses for investigation by other means. Attempts to separate the roles of causative and of confounding factors by statistical techniques of multiple regression analysis have been made often, but evidence obtained in this way is, at best, of only marginal value.

"Indeed, some of the correlations produced from the China-Oxford-Cornell study are peculiar and probably incorrect. For example, esophageal cancer had no clear association with smoking, and had a negative correlation with daily alcohol intake. These results are clearly contradictory to the well-established findings from studies of individuals that both smoking and alcohol use are strong risk factors for esophageal cancer. In addition, the study did not find a clear association between meat consumption and risk of heart disease or major cancers."

 

Activists seize AMI offices in protest of 'corporate monopoly' of factory farms

"As many as several hundred family farm protestors, who were in the Washington, D.C. for a national activist group's national convention, temporarily commandeered the offices of the American Meat Institute in Arlington, Va., to protest the trade group's alleged support of corporate factory farms that are "monopolizing the meat industry."

"The activists, led by members of group National People's Action, charged that AMI was a target because the trade group led the fight against a farm bill amendment to that would have banned packer ownership or control of livestock. Additionally, the protestors carried signs objecting to environmental pollution related to confined animal feeding operations, which are currently being targeted for regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency."

 

Thanks a million for the Why Vegans. We handed out over 200 at the University Music Festival. Every Friday, we're doing "Meet Your Meat" video showings on the sidewalk downtown, and handing out more then. Anyplace we can think of, we display them.
JC, Lawrence, KS, 6/3/02

 

Christian Vegetarian Table

 

Where Does Bacon Come From?

More insight from The Onion.

 

Sent to another group:
"I just wanted to tell you that the presentation went great! Thanks for letting me borrow that "Meet Your Meat" video. Three people went veg. and 1 went vegan after seeing it! Then today this guy came up to me and said, "last night, I was about to eat this hamburger but then I thought about that video and what you said yesterday, and I just couldn't do it. I am gonna try to stop eating meat." I also handed out all of the "Meet Your Meat" DVDs, and pretty much everyone took [Why Vegan] and vegan starter kit flyers."
LW, Seattle, WA, 6/8/02

 

Should We Reference Large Corporations in Our Literature?
Setting Priorities

-Matt Ball

A woman I know is hesitant to pass out Why Vegans because one of the suggested places for vegan food is Taco Bell. As you may know, there is currently a boycott of Taco Bell …

I am familiar with some of the arguments against Taco Bell, just as I am familiar with the arguments against the BK Veggie. I know of many (but not nearly all) of the other various boycotts as well. There is no hard and fast rule at Vegan Outreach to explain why we endorse Taco Bell, except that we believe that reducing the exploitation of animals is our first priority.

This may seem hypocritical or inconsistent (i.e., "Mustn't we do everything we can for a better world?"), but there are people who have arguments / boycotts against basically everything (I've heard some regarding entirely vegan companies). It would be fine if we were close to a socialist, small-company world, but we're not. A prominent activist once claimed that animal liberation cannot occur until capitalism is overthrown. If that is the case, there would be no hope for the animals.

Ignoring the issue of 'multinationals / free trade / exploitation,' given our current society, veganism won't advance without it being convenient. This will mean vegan options are widespread, and, almost by definition, this means the production of vegan items will be embraced by multinationals.

[Update, November 8, 2004: Jon Camp adds:

Vegan Outreach's main goal is to reduce suffering. It is our opinion that today's animal agribusiness is responsible for a quantity and intensity of suffering that is virtually impossible to parallel. We think the best way to reduce this suffering is by encouraging more and more individuals to eat vegan fare. The more vegan options that are available, the easier veganism will seem to many. Moreover, the more individuals eating vegan fare, the less that animals will suffer on factory farms.

As you may know, fairly recently, White Wave (which produces Silk soymilk) was bought out by Dean Foods. Dean is probably best known as being a producer of milk products. While some vegans saw this buyout as a high time to boycott Dean, others saw this differently. For instance, because of this takeover, Dean has been able to barrage consumers with TV and print ads for soy foods that White Wave might not have been able to afford on their own. Therefore, Dean's role in this has increased the availability and consumption of vegan foods, most likely decreasing the overall amount of animal suffering.

It is our opinion that we can't be perfect. Just about everything we purchase – if we trace its origins far enough back – is in some form linked to suffering, corruption or such. Vegan Outreach's goal is to estimate what causes the greatest level of suffering and then to figure out a pragmatic means of actually decreasing this. At this present moment, we think that promoting the wide range of currently available vegan options does more good for reducing suffering than only promoting companies that pass some form of an ethical bar.]

There are many horrible injustices being perpetrated against humans in the world today. However, I would contend that only a few of them warrant being compared to the exploitation of farmed animals. Ignoring the scale (tens of billions a year), there is absolutely no choice in the matter for those exploited, such explicit and inherent violence, widespread sadism, and, ultimately, slaughter.

Perhaps the biggest difference between human and non-human exploitation today is that so few people care even the slightest bit for the animals' plight. For this reason, I think it is an overarching strategic good for groups dedicated first and foremost to the animals' interest.

Another "strategic" argument is often made that we should be building bridges to others of supposedly "like minds," such as those concerned with human rights issues. This argument has been made for years and pursued by many, if not most, animal advocates. This can seem obvious, because many of the activists in our movement do care about the other issues. However, in terms of being an ally or even a receptive audience, other "progressive" movements have not proven to be fertile grounds for concern about the suffering of animals (e.g., the conclusion of "E! Magazine's" stories on vegetarianism was that we should drop our divisive and controversial (!) focus on the animals, and instead focus on (human) health and (human) environmental arguments, as though no group has tried this approach).

This historic unwillingness to look beyond their species, combined with their small numbers, inclines me not to tailor our literature to these groups at the cost of undermining the case for veganism (e.g., convenience). I hope that people who read Why Vegan will eat fewer animals, eventually go vegan, and read more about other progressive causes. Personally, I also hope that they adopt my views on other topics as well. But the most important message remains that of animal suffering, which is so overwhelmingly vast, so … absurd … in its cause, and so simple, relatively speaking, to end.

 

Every Donation Prevents Suffering

Vegan Outreach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the suffering of farmed animals by promoting informed, ethical eating.

All donations are tax-deductible.

Vegan Outreach

POB 30865, Tucson, AZ 85751-0865