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Vegan Outreach ENEWSLETTER  •  JAN. 22, 2014
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Pig in gestation crate
Photo: Mercy For Animals Canada (CC BY 2.0)

Alex on Animal Advocacy for All

Part of a post to a Bay Area discussion group.

I have been vegan for almost 20 years. I can’t wait to try the new vegan option at Chipotle!

We need to realize that Chipotle does not, actually, need us. Billion dollar companies don’t need a few hundred thousand vegans who may eat their new dish once a year. And we may think we’re strong in number here in the Bay Area, but when you travel all over the country, like Vegan Outreach leafleters do, you are reminded that we live in a tiny little bubble of delicious veganism.

But try going to Iowa and passing out 5,000 veg leaflets in the freezing cold. Interested students may still not even know what vegan is. If they ask you for local vegan options, what are you going to say? Hand them a list of the 20 great vegan restaurants in downtown Iowa City? No, you’re going to tell them about Chipotle.

One of the most powerful things we can do for animals is to happily join non-vegans in a familiar (to them) non-vegan restaurant. (I highly recommend reading these four short paragraphs.) When we order the vegan option with a big smile, without any fuss or complaints, we’re acting as advocates for animals.

I find it doubtful that a pig crammed in a tiny crate – or hanging in a slaughterhouse – would want us to complain to Chipotle that their new vegan dish wasn’t pure enough. I think she would want us to support the new dish and get all of our meat-eating friends to try it. If mainstream America starts eating that dish, millions of pigs could be spared a life of intense suffering.

—Alex Bury | Full article.

 

Chickens in broiler house
Photo: EBAA

From Vegan Outreach’s Blog

 

Speciesism

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For a limited time, you can get 50% off Speciesism: The Movie by using the coupon code veganoutreach at checkout. Scientific American’s Michael Shermer calls it “brilliant and compelling…the best of the animal rights documentaries.”

Please submit your nominees for product of the week via this page; previous entries here.

 

Recent Feedback

Yvonne was great at East Los Angeles College! She put on an absolute show, like watching a human Tetris game unfold, spinning and bouncing to get everybody as they came from several directions over a wide area. It was really more akin to dancing than anything else. I love everyone who leaflets and volunteers and is part of VO, but Yvonne is my number 1.

Melissa at ELAC Freddy at ELAC

     Saw so many reading the booklet, it was just exhilarating. Met Freddy [above, right], who now wants to go veg. Also met Melissa [above, left], an honors student, who wants to go veg and had numerous questions. After getting a booklet from Yvonne, I overheard a student say, “I got one of these last year and was vegan for 8 months.” I encouraged her to get back on the wagon and gave some culinary pointers. Another woman was just beginning to transition to a veg diet and was stoked to get a Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating.

Krystin Elize at Mesa

     Epic day at Mesa College! Berenice [Weber, below] and Krystin [Elize, above] are new leafleters but pumped to leaflet more. Saw many reading as they walked. Jonathan [below, right] though stopped and came back and said he wants to go veg after reading the booklet. He got a Guide, and I wished him well.

Berenice Weber at Mesa Jonathan at Mesa

     Also met a farmer who started in on gestation crates. I finished his sentence for him: all the piglets will be killed if we don’t confine the pigs. That let him in that this was not my first time. Then asked him that if the practice was not cruel, why are countries and states banning the practice? And the public supporting these bans? And a few other choice questions. Silence. We then had a bro down about his military service, and left fair friends and hopefully he had some food for thought, and saw that not all animal people are fundamentalists.
     Congrats to Steve Erlsten for all his new records! This movement, and particularly leafleting, seems to attract some of the best and brightest. Glad I am on the team with all these selfless and bright folks.
—Vic Sjodin, 10/30/13

Miles at SFSU
Lauren at WWU

Monday’s highlight was overhearing one vegan student use the booklet as a conversation starter with a friend, talking about a restaurant that serves a variety of vegan meats.
     It was great to have Diane with me at Stanford yesterday! The students who accepted a booklet seemed genuinely interested. I had a memorable exchange with a woman who appreciated the reminder of why she is vegan.
     Diane helped make up for time lost in traffic today at San Francisco State! Miles [right] came back after class to say that if I’m trying to make him go vegetarian, it’s working. We talked about animal cruelty and vegan options, and he was excited to look through his new Guide. Another Guide went to a student who thought bodybuilders couldn’t be vegan; he said he would look at VeganBodybuilding.com.
—Steve Erlsten, 10/30/13

Amazing day of outreach at Western Washington University today – I reached over 1,800 students! I heard from several vegetarians and vegans. I ran into Lauren [right], who is vegan and wants to get active. I gave her the A Meaningful Life booklet and my email address. I also exchanged emails with two other people who want to get active; one who was doing a project on animal activism and another woman who writes children’s books about having compassion towards animals!
—Rachel Shippee, 10/30/13

Sarah, Jen, and I quickly reached 370 people at Barktober Fest. Very high acceptance rate, positive energy, and quite a few younger people.
—Vlad Konstantinov, 10/26/13

Phil Letten at EMU
Phil Letten (above) and John Oberg (below) leaflet EMU.
John Oberg at EMU

Phil and I reached over 2,100 students at Eastern Michigan University – students were very receptive! One student said, “This is why I’m vegetarian!” Another told us how awesome it was that we were out there; another said it’s terrible what we’re doing to animals.
—John Oberg (below, left), 10/30/13

Record day at Tulane – reached over 1,000 students. Had a very constructive conversation with a pregnant woman who had previously been vegetarian. Met an awesome vegan professor who teaches philosophy and political theory regarding food systems. He is also the faculty advisor for the veggie group on campus and he is happy to see a greater number of vegans and vegetarians at Tulane.
     Fantastic day at the University of Southern Mississippi, where I reached more than 1,800 students (a new record by 600+). Talked to a student who was anemic and I told her all about taking iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods in order to boost absorption rates. Would have reached even more, but had to head to Jackson State. Highlight there was a police officer who said he had tried going vegetarian before and failed. But after talking with me, he was going to give it a try again. He now felt like he would stay vegetarian if he did it incrementally.
—Dawn Ratcliffe, 10/29/13

I reached 1,100 students at SUNY Oswego. I spoke with a professor there at the library, who told me that he’s appalled by factory farms and has significantly reduced his meat consumption. He’d grown up on a farm, and can’t stand to see the conditions animals endure on today’s giant factory farms. Met veg and vegan students who thanked me for my work, even had requests for an extra leaflet for friends and roommates!

Student at Waterloo
Above is one of the 1,300 students who received a Compassionate Choices from Chris Guinn and John Sakars at the University of Waterloo in October.

     At the University of Rochester, I spoke to two different professors. The first initially didn’t take a booklet, but I saw her a little bit later and she’d changed her mind. She asked me if it was “propaganda.” I explained to her that the booklet simply presented information about conditions on factory farms, and all the information presented therein was firmly rooted in fact, and the photos were all real photos from farms in the U.S. The other professor was really cool. She was incredibly enthused – talking to her was definitely my day-maker. She was happy to have the booklet as a reference, she said it was good timing that she saw me because she wanted to talk to her family about their meat consumption with Thanksgiving coming up soon.
     At Rochester Institute of Technology, I met a professor who was really happy to see me leafleting. She’s vegan and requested extra Even If You Like Meat booklets and Guides for her students. I’ve had this happen at a number of schools this semester, always awesome!
     Had a pretty good day at Syracuse today despite some really crummy weather. It was pouring all morning and I had only reached about 250 students after close to 3 hours and was feeling discouraged. Fortunately things picked up and we were able to reach more than a thousand students. Nice to have help from local activists Amber and Miles, the veg club here is great! I had a great conversation with a student who was curious what I ate and how I got substantial protein in my diet. I told him about sources of plant protein, and we chatted about pro athletes who are vegan. I gave him a Guide. He asked if I missed meat, and I told him that I don’t anymore – now, the idea just grosses me out. I told him about all the awesome foods I eat now that I’d never even known about prior to being vegan. It was a nice positive interaction on a cold rainy day!
—Chris Guinn, 10/31/13

Katie Jarl at UH
Katie Jarl hands out Compassionate Choices at the University of Houston.

In just 3 hours we were able to beat the record for Muhlenberg College! A ton of folks said that they loved animals – I love when folks say that! Then we headed over to Moravian College, and we beat that record too! The students here were so receptive, I didn’t get a single decline. I was smiling so much because I was just so happy!
     At Rowan University, the three of us were joined by a student who remembered us from last semester. After reading the entire booklet in class, one student came back. She was shocked by what she had learned, and Claire pointed out how to get more information. We reached 1,625 students in just 2.5 hours!
—Rachel Atcheson, 10/31/13

Brian Pietrzycki and Mikael Nielsen at Columbia

A costumed Mercy For Animals team took to Columbia College for our Halloween leafleting event. The students greeted us enthusiastically, many exclaiming their support when learning of our message. Spoke with a young student who had expressed an interest in going veg after his athlete brother went vegan a year prior and had his performance greatly benefit as a result. He left with the knowledge and determination to make the transition. The Disco King and the Caped Crusader [Mikael Nielsen and Brian Pietrzycki, above] were interviewed by Carlie, a vegan student at Columbia who is doing a project – we were delighted to help her out.
—Mikael, Madeleine, Cat, Jennifer, and Brian, 10/30/13

Excited to be back leafleting. The kids at the Paramore concert who took the booklets hung on to them; we saw almost no waste. Heard from over a dozen people already veg, which was encouraging. A very worthwhile event.
—Jon and Darina Bockman, 10/23/13

Kassy Ortega and Joe at Montgomery
Kassy Ortega and student leafleter Joe provide a voice for the animals at Montgomery College.

At Campbell University, one student thanked me for leafleting. She had stopped being vegetarian due to iron deficiency and was told by her doctor to eat meat to get enough iron. I explained that studies show that iron deficiency is no more likely for vegetarians and vegans than for meat eaters. I gave her a Guide and told her about consuming vitamin C with iron-rich foods to maximize absorption. She wanted to try going vegetarian again. A staff member said that she has worked at a hog farm and chicken farm owned by Tyson, and that the horrible pictures in the booklet were accurate.
     Another student asked me what the best reason to go vegan is. I said that, for me, it’s about not causing unnecessary suffering and death to animals. I explained that since we can be healthy without eating animal products, we can prevent needless harm to animals by choosing plant foods. He was silent for a few seconds thinking about it and said, “That’s a good answer. Probably the best answer I’ve ever heard.”
—Brandon Becker, 10/28/13

Katya at UVA
Kassy sends this photo of UVA student Katya: “She will be going all-the-way vegan very soon!”

Long, beautiful, and effective day at the University of Virginia. Rebecca joined me around 12:45, and I am so glad she came! She is so charming, hilarious – and most of all passionate. Students seemed to love her!
     She is part of a study at UVA where she comes every couple of months to be tested by grad students. One of the tests required her to write a complete sentence. Her sentence: “Veganism rocks!” That sentence sparked a conversation with one of the grad students. Turns out, last spring that grad student been handed a Vegan Outreach booklet on campus, went home, read it, cried, and has been vegetarian ever since! And now her sister is also vegetarian! Insane. Rebecca said the student asked her in disbelief: “How can people know this and not change?” More lives changed by Vegan Outreach!
—Kassy Ortega, 10/29/13

 


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