|Enewsletter • November 21, 2005|
issue sponsored by DownBound:
Thanksgiving can be a hard time for vegetarians. Not only has the "true" meaning of the holiday (denoted right in the name!) seemingly been lost, the holiday often appears to be only about gorging oneself on the flesh of a factory-farmed bird -- an intelligent individual who suffered through her few months of life, crammed into a filthy building with thousands of others, having grown so fast that she is often lame.
Yet just as we don't allow the "norms" of society to pressure us into supporting today's animal agriculture, we don't have to let the actions of others prevent us from giving thanks.
And there is much to be thankful for! I am grateful to be involved with an organization that has such thoughtful, dedicated members. In the past twelve months, Vegan Outreach volunteers have requested almost 800,000 booklets to distribute. The Adopt a College program has passed 425,000 booklets, with more than 150,000 handed directly to students this semester alone!
And in the
past week we have reached a new
We know -- from feedback received here at the office, comments received by leafleters, etc. -- that these booklets have a profound impact on the individuals who receive them. Given that the average American consumes about three dozen factory-farmed birds and mammals each year -- thousands over the course of a lifetime -- if only a small percentage of people receiving a booklet alter their eating habits, many hundreds of millions of animals have been spared a horribly cruel fate.
Even those who don't go vegetarian are much more understanding of animal issues, and more tolerant of those who do make compassionate choices. Indeed, the word "vegan" (which needed an explanation back when Vegan Outreach started) is commonly used today, and is, more and more, associated with thoughtful compassion; the term "factory farmed" is now understood to mean "cruel."
I am truly thankful to be working with you -- individuals dedicated to the absolutely vital work of person-to-person education. These efforts may not seem as "glamorous" as big, media-receiving actions, and the plight of the unseen animals suffering in today's factory farms may not appear as "urgent" as high-profile, high-visibility cases, but your efforts and support are accomplishing the necessary work of striking at the root of animal exploitation and unnecessary suffering.
This week, I'd like to share with
you a larger-than-normal portion
of the feedback we have received
in the past few days. I hope it
will leave you proud, inspired,
hopeful, and, of course, thankful.
Today, I distributed
600 copies of Even
If You Like Meat at Temple
U, and 300 copies at La Salle U
(both in Philadelphia). Temple students
were very interested, and some mentioned
that they had received booklets
during previous leafletings -- one
even mentioned having it pinned
up on his wall. Several students
said they were in the process of
going vegetarian, and one expressed
an interest in distributing Vegan
Outreach materials herself. Temple's
security guard head even sat in
his car reading the booklet for
15 minutes with his partner before
approaching me to discuss the vegan
food options for students at Temple.
Leafleting at La Salle also went
well -- there were fewer students
to leaflet, but several said that
they had had enough and would not
be eating meat any more.
This was a big week
and we handed out another 300 EIs
at the University of Guelph (for
a total of 600 this week). People
were really supportive and accepting.
This is very promising, because
the campus is starting to become
flooded with your literature. Instead
of becoming sick of campus activists,
people are starting to take notice
of us and are becoming more interested
in our message.
I just read your article
Humor & Advocacy"
-- wow! That really helped me see
more clearly and rationally some
of the conflicting motives, feelings,
and issues that I've been grappling
with. If only all vegans (&
other advocates) would read that!
(at right; who took the week off
of work to leaflet with me) and
I handed out over 1,600 copies of
Even If You Like Meat at
UNC Charlotte today. Between us,
a total of 7,671 EI booklets
(and a number of Guides
were given out in VA, NC, and SC
colleges within the last 5 days.