|Enewsletter • October 12, 2011|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Link of the Week: Animals, Not Arguments
When I went vegan 20+ years ago, a common theme was to “win an argument with a meat eater.” Every topic was fair game, and every question or theory – no matter how tangential or absurd – was argued fanatically.
I fell into this trap, too, parroting the most outrageous claims about impotence, water usage, etc. It took me a long time to realize the point isn’t to show how many claims I had memorized, or to glorify my veganism, or to “defeat” a meat eater.
Rather, the bottom line is to help animals by helping more people make informed, compassionate choices.
However, many dubious “pro-veg” claims continue to float around today, undermining effective advocacy for the animals.
For example, some vegans feel the need to claim that veganism is “natural” (whatever that might mean). To this end, the vegan diet (as though there is a single vegan diet) has to be perfect in and of itself, no planning required, and no supplements.
This leads to one of the most harmful claims: that we don’t need to worry about particular nutrients, especially vitamin B12.
Jack Norris (right) has worked against this for as long as Vegan Outreach has existed. If you aren’t familiar with Jack’s research on B12, please be sure to check out this post, links therein, and new posts (listed below).…
Still, many activists think, “If one argument for vegetarianism is good, then ten are better, and 100 are even better!”
But this is actually the opposite of how human psychology works. An argument for significant change isn’t strengthened by volume. Rather, any case for change is a chain – only as strong as its weakest link. Every additional argument offered to a non-vegetarian both dilutes and distracts from the strongest argument for making compassionate choices.…
The question we must each ask is: Will we work for the animals in the world as it is? Each of us can make a real, significant difference. But we can’t afford to make my past mistakes or try to win an argument. Rather, we must focus on the animals.
From “Your Daily Dose of Vegan Outreach!” & Jack Norris RD Blogs
Product of the Week
Jennifer: “Annie’s Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks say vegan right on the box, and 100% Vitamin C.”
Notes from Our Members
though I started the day feeling
blue, I was cheered almost immediately at Irvine
Valley College. As if scripted, a young couple
walking and reading their leaflets gave me a
thumbs up. The guy’s chin quivered as he thanked
me. Was thanked by numerous people, hugged four
times, inspired at least two former vegans to
come back, gave the finishing touches to a young
girl entertaining vegetarianism, and heard “Help
animals? Hell yes I will… I love animals”
more times than I can count. And smashed the
former record at this school.
the University of Colorado’s Freshmen
Welcome, I went back to my bike for more leaflets
and saw six or so students taking a group picture
by the sign on the back of my bike, which reads,
“Be kind to animals…Please don’t eat
them.” As they were walking away I heard
them say something about everyone in their house
dedicated folks joined Jeff and me
to leaflet Phoenix’s First Friday Art Walk,
where we reached 3,387 interested people. We
met soooo many vegetarians – handed out 60
and seven AMLs.
One guy told us he’s been vegan since getting
a booklet at Arizona State three months ago.
take rate at Oak Park River Forest
High School was excellent; nearly every student
replied with “Yes! I love to help animals”
to my “Info to help animals” line.
I was super pumped up after leafleting, and
can’t wait to go again.
dinner, I leafleted Yale’s giant
Morality class as the students filed in. During
the class, the professor asked people to raise
their hands if they forgo eating things they
would otherwise, out of concern for the suffering
of nonhuman animals. Some 10% of the class of
600 raised their hands.
tabled at Montgomery College’s student
activities fair, and leafleted next to the table.
The school’s main table was giving free hot
dogs to the students; this year, there was a
veggie dog option, and there were none left
by the end!
1,480 students at North Carolina
Wesleyan College and East Carolina University.
One student said she was vegetarian for years,
but went back to eating meat because of gluten
allergies. I informed her of Jack’s
blog, gave her a Guide, and told
her I have vegan friends who are gluten free.
Returning during the next class, she thanked
me for being on campus and is now returning
and I blew out the old record
at Central Connecticut State, reaching 1,314
students, and giving out many dozens of Guides to vegetarians. Two students want to get involved
leafleting. Had some good conversations; e.g.,
after reading the literature, had at least six
people pledge to reduce their consumption of
animals/products by half.
crowd at Richard Stockton College,
where Mara and I reached 1,000 progressive suburbanites.
Saw lots reading cover to cover. Had a nice
bro-down yesterday, a large football player
asked me, “What’s with this crazy vegan
thing, break it down.” I started, “The
word vegan, my brother, is just another word
for love, combined with intelligence.”
We parted friends after 10 minutes and he said
he would read the pamphlet and eat more plant-
superstar leafleter Paulette joined
me for a quick leafleting at Millennium Park.
I had a nice conversation with a Christian and,
among other things, we discussed how Jesus would
feel if he saw how the animals were treated
in today’s modern factory farms. We both agreed
that he would be horrified. He seemed to think
deeply on this point.
group of people gathered to watch
three seals being released back to the ocean,
so I decided to leaflet the crowd!
was amazing, as Jeni, Vic, Lori
and I reached 4,564 students at Mission College
and San Jose State – awesome take rate, awesome
conversations. We met a ton of interested folks
including one young lady, Julia, who has been
vegan for a year since getting a brochure. Vic
got the contact info of a young lady who wants
to get involved. One person said they were going
veg on the spot!