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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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Vegan Outreach Enewsletter  •  December 12, 2007

 

True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Humanity's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect humankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.
-Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

 

This issues is sponsored by Vegetarian Shoes and Bags

Notes from Vegan Outreach

On Being Fully Human

People often seek to rationalize eating animals with the claim that humans are "superior" to these other animals. But what is the real nature of this "superiority"? From a recent Time Magazine cover story:

"We're a species that is capable of almost dumbfounding kindness.... And at the same time, we slaughter one another.... That we're also the lowest, cruelest, most blood-drenched species is our shame -- and our paradox.

"The deeper that science drills into the substrata of behavior, the harder it becomes to preserve the vanity that we are unique among Earth's creatures. We're the only species with language, we told ourselves -- until gorillas and chimps mastered sign language. We're the only one that uses tools then -- but that's if you don't count otters smashing mollusks with rocks or apes stripping leaves from twigs and using them to fish for termites.

"What does, or ought to, separate us then is our highly developed sense of morality, a primal understanding of good and bad, of right and wrong, of what it means to suffer not only our own pain--something anything with a rudimentary nervous system can do--but also the pain of others. That quality is the distilled essence of what it means to be human."

Each of us chooses what will be our essence -- and legacy.

It is easy to accept ignorance -- simply refuse to question the blood-drenched status quo and unquestioningly accept the prejudices of our parents and peers. As the saying goes, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Like many others, we could turn away from the realities of modern agribusiness, and pay others to serve us the fruits of systematic brutality.

Or we can choose real freedom -- the kind that comes with knowledge and responsibility.

Only by embracing our inherent ethics, and extending it to all fellow feeling beings, can we be fully human. Only through a mindful existence, embodied by compassionate choices, can we realize our fullest potential.

 

Lists of the Week

VRG just compiled and posted a veggie-friendly children's book list (pdf), and The Vegetarian Site has the Top 20 Vegan Gifts under $20.

Send your nominees for Product of the Week to info (at) veganoutreach (dot) org; previous products can be found here.

 

Notes from Our Members

In Oct '06 my girlfriend was handed Even If You Like Meat at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I was instantly intrigued with the message "just cutting one's meat consumption in half would help." Such a minimal self-sacrifice would be worth trying. Within a week of trying meatless meals, I was so shocked at how easy it was that I decided to eliminate meat entirely. What started as an experiment in simply halving my meat consumption, resulted in my instantly becoming a vegetarian. I've been vegetarian for over a year.
      The winning message of "even if you continue to eat meat, reducing your meat consumption would help spare the suffering" is what prompted me to change my own practices. Since then I have tried to pass on that message to other people I know and meet.
      Next I am curious to explore a vegan lifestyle.
-MZ, 12/9/07

Drew Wilson leaflets at Holy Cross; photo by Mike Benedetti.

At Benson High School, the kids were shocked by the leaflets. They talked about them with their friends, they shoved them in their friends' faces, they made their friends come up to me to get their own copies, and a lot of them screamed as they looked at the leaflet!
-RI, 12/8/07

At UC San Diego, one of a trio of 60+ year-old professors asked me for a leaflet stating, "What you have probably is not for my demographic." Then after reading the cover, "Oh, it is definitely for our demographic!" Each professor took one plus three more for "some colleagues" and an A Meaningful Life. Another bio professor wants me to give a talk at his HERO seminar about people making a difference in environmental causes.
-Stewart Solomon, 11/28/07

Leafleting at the Dane Cook Comedy Show today, I met a guy who worked at the Warped Tour in San Antonio last year. He said that he saw a lot of people decide to become vegetarian at that concert because of the Why Vegans we distributed.
-Eugene Khutoryansky, 12/7/07

At Laney College, I leafleted a group of three students. I heard the male student say to the female who refused the Even If, "You should read that booklet. It will really make you want to cut down your meat consumption. That's what it did for me." When I handed an Even If to one student he said, "Oh yeah. I've seen this. It's a really good booklet. I got 4 or 5 of my friends to stop eating meat with it."
-Miranda Robbins, 12/5/07

Miranda leaflets at DeAnza College; photo by Victor Tsou.

At CSU Fresno, a professor cheered as she received the Even If. When she passed by a second time during a later class change, she offered to distribute the lit in her classroom. A student walking by pointed at the Even If and said, "You know, that book really got to me," while another said, "That's a really good book. My brother works in one of those slaughterhouses. Before I read this, I didn't think much about it. But now, I can't see how anyone could possibly do this to the animals." He then went on to make the connection between the suffering of farmed animals and people who are suffering. We both agreed that no one deserves to suffer regardless of the form they inhabit.
-Victor Tsou, 11/29/07

At the University of Virginia, one man talked about how it was pretty much impossible for a vegetarian to get an adequate supply of B12 through totally "natural" means. I mentioned that I got to the university today by car, that I communicate with most people through email, and that I see nothing wrong with getting my B12 through fortified foods and supplementation. I mentioned that I'm fine not living a totally "natural" life given how the world is, and I (he interrupts me), "just do what you can to reduce the amount of suffering." I told him that was exactly right. He really liked this approach.
-Jon Camp, 12/4/07

 

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