|Enewsletter • September 17, 2002|
Requests and News
Happy National Day of Leafleting!!
Best of luck to everyone who is taking part in Vegan Outreach and Viva's semiannual National Day of Leafleting today! (If you want inspiration, you can see other pictures.)
Please send us a report of your event, and any pictures you take. You can contact us over email, or send to:
While it will be ~6 months till the next National Day of Leafleting, World Farm Animals Day is fast approaching. Organized by FARM and co-sponsored by Vegan Outreach, PETA, IDA, Farm Sanctuary, and API. When you register, part of your Action Kit will be copies of a special WFAD Why Vegan!!
Meet Your Meat News
The latest 2-hour tabling edition of MYM now includes letterbox captions, to explain the footage. Also, Vegan Outreach has a limited supply of the straight, 12-minute version of Meet Your Meat, which we are carrying for only $2. Whenever it is possible to show video images, this is the most powerful advocacy tool available to speak for the animals.
You can order MYM from the Vegan Outreach catalog.
Request for Food Pictures
Do you have any great pictures of vegan food that you would like Vegan Outreach to use in our publications? If so, please contact us!
Request for Events
For our end-of-the-fiscal year report, and to qualify to take part in next year's Combined Federal Campaign, we need to document our services in fifteen states. We already have listings for CA, CO, DE, GA, IL, LA, MD, MA, MN, NY, OR, PA, VA, and WA. If you distributed copies of Vegan Outreach's literature between July 1, 2001, and June 30, 2002 in a different state, please email us with a summary. It can take the form similar to the following:
Animal Rights Van Offers Graphic Videos
"Images of carves forced into veal pens, chicks having their beaks cut off, a cow hanging alive with its throat slit – all were on show for passers-by to view as an animal rights van came through Kamloops earlier this week.
"Anthony Marr, a spokesman for Heal Our Planet Earth Global Eco Org, said he set up Tuesday night at Victoria Street and Third Avenue, showing graphic videos of factory farming, grizzly bear hunting and fur trapping on a 54-inch television.
"The TV is housed in a trailer behind the recreational vehicle that will be home to Marr and Kelowna dietitian Brenda Davis, along with her 14-year-old son, when they tour 37 U.S. states and four Canadian Provinces between January and June next year.
"'Factory farming hits home more because most people eat meat. They tend not to want to look at it. It is emotional, if people love animals, and believe in compassion for animals.'
"An opponent of the B.C. grizzly hunt for years, Marr said the factory farm footage affected him personally when he saw it. 'I used to eat meat until 1999 when I saw similar footage.'"
DawnWatch on Articles in The Nation
by Karen Dawn
The September 16 issue of The Nation (on newsstands now) has a cover story by Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser. The story is headed "Bad Meat." Also noted on the cover is a related story by Karen Olsson entitled "The Shame of Meatpacking."
Schlosser's story, covering pages 6 and 7, uses the July recall of "almost 19 million pounds of beef potentially contaminated with E. coli O157:H7" as the basis for a discussion of the power yielded by the beef industry at the expense of public safety. He says,
"Anyone who eats meat these days should be deeply
concerned about what our meatpacking companies now have the freedom
Schlosser tells us that, "It would be an understatement to say that the Bush Administration has been friendly toward the big meatpackers."
The public is also appalled and outraged when they learn about the treatment of animals at slaughterhouses. Schlosser does not discuss that issue but he tells us about interviews with workers in which conditions that affect the animals (perhaps most of all) are mentioned :
"For years they have complained about excessive line speeds. The same factors often responsible for injuries in a slaughterhouse can also lead to food safety problems. When workers work too fast, they tend to make mistakes, harming themselves or inadvertently contaminating the meat."
That speed and those mistakes lead to horrendous animal
cruelty - animals being cut up or thrown into scalding water while
still conscious. Karen Olsson touches (barely) on that issue in her
Shame of Meatpacking (p. 11). She tells us that, "Workers
went public with a videotape showing cattle being slaughtered alive,
animal-rights groups were outraged and the state launched an investigation."
Her focus, however, is on the high injury rate to workers and the
difficult working conditions. One feels compassion for the plant
workers who we learn have few choices and thus work at an extremely
unpleasant job. They are almost all migrants who do not speak English
and who are thus unable to fight effectively for better conditions.
However, their sad lot is certainly better than that of the nonhumans
who visit the plants.
For those who would like to read more on that issue, The Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine has a nice web page explaining "The Politics of Food."
"This week saw the launch of an exciting new website aimed at educating and providing support for teenagers who have decided to adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Vegetarian Teen Online Magazine (www.vegetarianteen.com) also offers parents advice and information regarding the healthful, life-giving diet their children have chosen. Since much of the site's content is 'by teens, for teens,' it is also a place where young people can publish their thoughts and experiences relating to vegetarianism. "
"Pigs and chickens are more intelligent than most people believe, scientists said Wednesday. Chickens can learn from each other and are encouraged by example, and pigs use subtle social behavior and signal their competitive strength to rivals, researchers from the University of Bristol in southern England told a science conference.
"'There are hidden depths to chickens,' said Professor Christine Nichol who has studied their behavior.
"'Our results suggest that pigs can develop quite sophisticated social competitive behavior, similar to that seen in some primate species,' Dr. Mike Mendl told the British Association for the Advancement of Science festival."
out almost a thousand(!) pamphlets during Brock University's Orientation-week,
and have many people interested in joining the club. We almost
ran out of pamphlets during Orientation Week, but I just today
received 600 more pamphlets from you, thanks! Next week (the first
week of school), we will also have a table set up in the hall,
and should be able to hand out a lot more pamphlets. We will soon
have given out more than 2,000 pamphlets in the last 12 months
at Brock University here in Ontario, Canada ... that's almost 1/6th
of Brock's population.
I cant begin to thank you enough for
your publications. As you know, it is often easy for the average
skeptic to write off compassion folk as anti-social, no-life jobless
wastes of space. So it is quite a relief to read facts! You are
truly one organization with sincere dedication to the cause.
Your articles have helped me a lot in being
vegan. Your group makes me feel better about being vegan, and keeps
me pumped about what I am doing.
I recently became a vegetarian after reading
Why Vegan. You have changed my life, and now I want to affect
the lives of others. You guys are amazing – keep up the good work!
by Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D., CVA medical director
Nearly all veg. advocates have had the frustrating experience of hearing someone declare, "God made animals for people. We're supposed to eat animals." Many find it hard to have sympathy for Christianity after hearing that. While I will not attempt to show that, on balance, Christianity has benefited animals, I do think that the faith is potentially very sympathetic to animal protectionism. Furthermore, if we fail to reach out to the Christian community, we "write off" a very large segment of American society.
Christianity and Animal Welfare
The Bible describes the Garden of Eden as vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30),
and the prophet Isaiah envisioned a similarly peaceful end of time,
when the Messiah will come and "the wolf shall lie with the
lamb" and "the lion shall eat straw like the ox" and
"they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain."
(Isaiah 11:6-9) Veganism is clearly a biblical ideal. Furthermore,
there are many passages (mostly in the Hebrew Scriptures) that oppose
cruelty to animals and praise compassion for animals.
Reaching out to Christians
I don't think an animal rights/animal liberation position readily derives from Christian tradition, but a strong case against factory farming and any unnecessary killing of animals receives powerful support. That many Christians fail to see this should not prompt animal-friendly Christians to leave their churches. Rather, they should persistently and respectfully encourage their church communities to study and reflect on what the Christian faith teaches about humankind's proper relationship to nonhuman Creation.
Many animal advocates, frustrated by Christianitys humanocentric tendencies, may find the Christian faith altogether unappealing. Nevertheless, I urge them, when distributing veg. literature, to also offer materials aimed at Christian audiences. In Cleveland, Vegetarian Advocates primarily distributes Vegan Outreach's Vegetarian Living, and many people who visit our tables are interested in the Christian Vegetarian Association's pamphlet What Would Jesus Eat Today? Most Christians find the CVA pamphlet very compelling, while many Christians are unmoved by animal rights or other secular arguments. Sometimes, Christians challenge the pamphlet's content, and these Christians are simply advised to contact the CVA.