Activist Profile: Fred Tyler
June 17, 2010
Continuing our series of activist profiles, we meet the Man Up North, Fred Tyler. All over the northern reaches of the U.S., Fred has reached 85,932 individuals (and counting!) with Vegan Outreach booklets!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
Originally from New Mexico, I moved around a lot growing up. For about the past ten years, I have been in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.
What are your favorite things to do outside of leafleting?
I like biking, camping, reading, photography, gardening, rock climbing, and of course, cooking and eating vegan food. I always try to travel to new places and meet new people.
How long have you been involved in animal rights and how did you get interested?
I got a Why Vegan? pamphlet in the summer of 1996. At that point, I had never heard about factory farming, or thought about where my food was coming from. After reading the Why Vegan?, I knew I had to change. I didn’t want to support such an abusive industry. Over the course of the next month, I kept eliminating animal products from my diet until I was confident in calling myself vegan. I have been involved with several AR groups ever since.
What made you decide to start leafleting?
I knew firsthand that the leaflets were effective, and I wanted other people to learn the truth. At first, I just distributed them through displays in cafes and libraries or to friends and family. When I got involved with Compassionate Action for Animals in Minnesota, I did a lot of concert leafleting. When VO started the Adopt a College program, I joined in as my schedule allowed. I saw that it was a great demographic and people were generally receptive. When I was presented with an opportunity to do more of this important work, I jumped on it.
What was your most positive leafleting experience and why?
There isn’t just one. It is something that happens regularly. People tell me that they are vegetarian or vegan because of a VO leaflet they got in the past. When I hear this, it reminds me that our work is making a real difference for the animals and it gives me the energy to continue.
What would you say to individuals hesitant about leafleting?
I would suggest that people start with a partner if they can. I still get a little nervous at new schools when I don’t know the best spots or how the students will react. Usually, it quickly goes away and I feel at ease, confident that I can make a difference. It only takes one leaflet to change someone’s life. So, get out there and hand out that first leaflet. Then when you see how easy it is, hand out another, and another, and so on.