|Enewsletter • April 17, 2013|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Activist Profile: Rachel Shockey
What was your most positive leafleting experience?
I’ve leafleted a few Pride parades, and it has been my favorite venue so far. The atmosphere is one of excitement, love, acceptance, and solidarity. Also everyone is friendly and open to getting a leaflet. It’s so great to spend the day leafleting with other activists and supporting the LGBT community, two causes that I love and support.
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
I would say that I was also hesitant to leaflet at first. But after making myself get out there, I was excited to see the positive responses and know I was making a difference for farm animals. I would also encourage them to get out of their comfort zone.
Excerpts from The Essence of Earth Day
[T]rue ethics aren’t a question of what “we want.” We can be thoughtful individuals and go beyond personal preferences, feel-good campaigns, and vilification of faceless others. We can each recognize that sayings and slogans are superficial; intentions and ideology are irrelevant.
What matters isn’t this rock we call Earth. What matters are the sentient beings who call this rock home. We can’t care about “the environment” as though it is somehow an ethically relevant entity in and of itself. Rather, what matters are the impacts our choices have for our fellow feeling beings.
All creatures – not just wild or endangered animals – desire to live free from suffering and exploitation. Cruelty is wrong, whether the victim is an eagle or a chicken, a wolf or a pig. The rest is just noise and obfuscation.
Veganism is a statement against “we want.” Veganism is the embodiment of a consistent, universal ethic. Veganism is a real choice with real consequences – a way to oppose and actively reduce violence, and truly make the world a better place for all. When we choose to live consistently and ethically as a vegan, at the end of the day, we can look in the mirror, knowing we are good people making choices that won’t lead to more suffering for our fellow feeling beings.
But we know that being vegan is only the beginning. Those of us who are already vegan have many further opportunities to make the world a better place. Even if our food choices aren’t directly causing animals to be slaughtered, our other choices – optimizing our example, time, and resources to have the greatest impact – have consequences even more important than what we eat.
This is why we are so honored to work with everyone who is a part of Vegan Outreach, where, in the best possible sense, every day is Earth Day.
Product of the Week
Rachel: “Sweetriot’s pure 70% dark chocolate with kickin’ coconut chocolate bar. It’s vegan, organic, fair-trade certified, and my favorite sweet treat.”
Notes from Our Members
The students at Miami Dade College
were eager to get booklets. Time
and again, students kept coming back to grab
one after passing by; many smiles and thank
yous, and a number of times students also thanking
me for doing what we do. Several great conversations
ensued – including two extended conversations
en español. The highlight for me was
a student who came back to me exclaiming, “This
changed my life!” while proudly holding
up her booklet. There we have it: proof positive
that the work we’re doing is making a difference.
I love Palm Beach Atlantic University!
Too many conversations and great
comments to list! Several professors and administrators
took literature and two stopped to say that
they would be talking about these issues to
their students. One skateboarder scooted back
to take a booklet. He said he totally agreed,
and ended our conversation saying, “God
bless you for doing this.”
Lots of good conversations with students at Bakersfield College, including Cynthia [above, center], who recently wrote a report about the food system and is ready to make a change! Claudia [above, left], whose aunt had recently undergone open-heart surgery, said her mother’s been urging her to get healthy. She wanted to change her diet, but just didn’t know how! Now she’s ready to cut back on meat drastically – maybe even go
vegan – because “the way they treat the animals is terrible.” And a man in a cowboy
hat scoffed at the booklet in the morning,
yet came back in the afternoon to tell me about
a restaurant downtown where “you would
think you were eating meat, but it was all soy!”
Cobie set a new personal record,
and we reached over 1,500 students
at the University of Oregon! Productive conversations,
too. One guy [right] who had accepted a booklet came
by later and asked me why I do this. We had a good conversation
and he agreed that the animals are treated horribly
and that it is an important issue and said he
would eat less meat. Cobie met someone whose
friend tried going vegan but only lasted a week.
Cobie gave him a Guide
for her and pointed out it is good to cut back
on animal foods.
Purdue, an ag science instructor was
dismayed that his effort to dismiss me for having
never been on a farm was disrupted, because
I had been taught dairy farming as a child.
One need not be a dairy child to know about
modern farming, as most knowledge today comes
to us not from direct experience – which often
compromises our ability to be honest about the
action in question anyway – but from third
party and ideally credible sources.
Bunches of vegetarians and
good conversations at CUNY Brooklyn, including
one person who said he’d definitely be able
to cut down on his meat consumption, a lot who
said “it’s so sad,” and when I was
leaving the last person I gave a leaflet to
said, “You know, I’m truly with you on
this – it’s so sad the way they treat the animals.”
Great day with Dave [Doctor, right] at the University of Virginia. We reached over 2,400 students and had lots of positive conversations. For
example, a woman came back to us and said she
is now considering going vegan.
Despite the wind and cold, awesome interactions at Texas State! Rachel and I met Carrie [below, left], who came up to tell us that handing out booklets really does affect people; she went veg since getting a booklet at a science convention in Houston in 2006. Long conversation while I leafleted with a seminary student interested in going veg after getting a booklet. Talked with two friends [below, center] who were seriously discussing going veg. One student [below, right] wants to try going vegan after reading a booklet. Many mentioned getting a leaflet in a previous semester – the word is out. Another student wanted to be a humane officer; I told her how I used to rescue dogs in Philly but someone pointed out 99% of abused animals are farmed animals, etc. She left saying she would eat less meat, and happily took a Guide. Score! Also met an animal ethics professor who already had VO lit, and the president of a progressive student group who thanked us for being out there and took a handful to show others.
After a great day
at Baylor, Rachel and I had an amazing time
at McLennan Community College, with a number
of in-depth conversations. During one of them,
a student said, “I will always eat meat.”
Ten minutes later, he pulled friends over, saying,
“You got to listen to this guy!” While
talking to these six students, a cop asked me
to leave, and they asked the cop to leave! “We
got your back,” they told me. It really
made my day.
Matt, Jill, and I had a fun time
at the San Luis Obispo farmers’ market! Lots of interested people.
A vegan couple visiting from Portland thanked
us for spreading the message. They got buttons
and an AML,
so hopefully they’ll be doing vegan outreach
in Portland. Matt had a good discussion with
three college students who wanted literature
because their English professor is having them
discuss the ethics of eating animals.
Killer day at New Mexico State! Met a ton of new / recent vegans and vegetarians, and had other great interactions:
Spoke with Chris, an awesome dude with a vegan tattoo on the back of his calf. He went vegan a year ago after driving through Oklahoma and coming across a slaughterhouse and then just driving into it. He was chased out, but said he did a ton of research when he got back home; he and his wife then went vegan and now they want to get involved.