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Activist Profile: Chris Guinn

Chris Guinn at UTM
Photo courtesy of Alex Greenwood.

October 23, 2013

Continuing our series of activist profiles, we talk with Chris Guinn. Chris, currently leafleting in Canada, has handed a VO booklet to more than 28,000 individuals!

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I grew up in Scituate, a small rural town in northern Rhode Island. I moved to Boston for college about 6 years ago and the city has been my home ever since. I love Boston but I’m excited to call the open road my home for a while.

What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?

I love listening to and playing music, going to hardcore shows with my friends is always a blast. I like to work out at the gym and I strive to live healthy and maintain my fitness. I really enjoy cooking and going out to eat with friends, anything food-centric is good by me. I also like watching hockey, go Bruins!

Who has been / is a major influence in your life and why?

My brother and father. Activists like Jon Camp, Nick Cooney, and David Coman-Hidy for getting me involved in the movement and inspiring me to better my own activism. Peter Singer for penning Animal Liberation. Hip-Hop duo Dead Prez. The Buddha. The late Carl Sagan.

How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?

I went vegan almost 4 years ago after reading Singer’s Animal Liberation in a philosophy class. Soon after David Coman-Hidy, one of my closest friends from college, opened The Humane League’s Boston office and started their first cage-free egg campaign at Emerson College, where I was still studying as an undergraduate. I volunteered with Dave collecting signatures and talking to my classmates. That was my first taste of activism and it felt good knowing that I was making a difference for animals. Afterwards I started looking into other ways to help the movement.

What made you decide to start leafleting? / Why do you leaflet?

Dave from The Humane League introduced me to leafleting. I continue to go leafleting because I know that it makes a difference for the animals we fight for. An afternoon of leafleting can feel so rewarding. I believe that most people are compassionate, but the vast majority of meat eaters are simply ignorant to the realities of animal agriculture and factory farming. I see it as our obligation as vegans to hit the streets and educate them, and leaflets are definitely one of the best ways to do just that!

What was your most positive leafleting experience?

Earlier this summer I took my younger brother Adrian leafleting for the first time with a group of friends. It was great to see him dip his toes into the world of activism, he had a blast and did a great job, it was a rewarding experience for both of us. Watching him evolve from a stubborn meat eater to a compassionate vegan has been awesome, I’m tremendously proud of him.

What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?

Everyone has to start somewhere. As someone who is naturally introverted, my first leafleting experience made me a little anxious. I wasn’t really too comfortable approaching strangers and didn’t really feel confident conversing with them, but I quickly found leafleting to be a very comfortable thing for me after getting out there just a couple of times. Understanding the difference leafleting makes for animals, I grew to love it. Every time I leaflet, I walk away with a feeling of accomplishment – it’s rewarding when you know you’ve made an impact. An hour of your free time once a week can mean a big difference for animals suffering on factory farms. If you really think leafleting really isn’t for you, you can make a donation!