|Enewsletter • February 1, 2006|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Jon Camp's First Week in the South
Thanks to volunteer help and donor support, the first week of my southern leafleting tour was a smashing success! Six schools (James Madison U, UNC Greensboro, UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, NC State, and E. Carolina U) were leafleted, and a total of 5,684 students were given an Even If You Like Meat booklet in of just five days. Based on the quite constant feedback I received while leafleting, I have no doubt that this work informed a great many of today's youth about the desperate plight of farmed animals.
Next week, I will be leafleting the University of West Georgia, Auburn U, and various colleges throughout southern Louisiana. If you would like to join me for any of these days, or if you'd like me to give a talk about outreach to your local group, please email jon (at) veganoutreach.org. Thanks!
Excerpts from Why Not Change the Laws?
People often complain that what Vegan Outreach does is too slow. It is, of course, natural to want to pass laws protecting farmed animals or banning factory farms; going vegetarian and doing person-to-person outreach seems far too slow.
Having been involved in all forms of animal advocacy for more than 15 years, we believe that, at this point in the U.S., very few compassionate individuals or organizations are in a position to affect farmed animals at any level of legislation. Modern animal agriculture is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and the U.S. government runs on money. When laws are passed, they are usually inadequate and aren't enforced.
For example, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act doesn't apply to birds, who represent the majority of animals slaughtered in the U.S. Even for mammals, there are few inspectors, and abuse is rampant (see, for example, this story from the Washington Post).
State legislation also has its problems. The Florida ballot initiative that banned the practice of housing pregnant pigs in small crates cost animal protection groups millions of dollars and affected only two farms -- one of which moved to North Carolina.
Campaigns targeting companies have had more success. PETA has succeeded in forcing McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy’s to agree to buy meat from producers that follow certain animal welfare guidelines. It’s not clear, though, how well these guidelines are enforced; Gail Eisnitz, author of Slaughterhouse, reported that inspections of slaughterhouses supplying McDonald's are often staged, and rarely catch even the most overt cruelty (see this statement).
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when dealing with welfare reforms is that the government and big business will manipulate public perception through misleading claims. See this expose on the "Animal Care Certified" label which was given to eggs coming from the extremely inhumane conditions; see also this for how the term "free range" can mean just about anything.
If there is to be any significant change -- either through legislation or demand-driven reforms -- there will need to be much more widespread awareness among consumers and voters. The more people we can reach with detailed information, the more compassionate people will choose cruelty-free options, and speak on behalf of the animals who suffer so terribly, unseen and unheard, in today's factory farms and industrial slaughterhouses.
Although we wish there were a faster way, we believe that at this time, creating more awareness, and persuading more people to become vegetarian and vegan, will do the most good for animals in the long run.
-Matt Ball | full article
Notes from Our Members
Today at UCLA,
I distributed 1,960 Even If
You Like Meat booklets, several
are three early exchanges that
I had with people while I was leafleting
the Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz
#2: One guy looked at the cover,
and quickly handed the pamphlet
back to me. But then he said, "On
second thought, go ahead and give
me your spiel. Why should I go vegan?"