to Be Vegan" by Zoe Weil
Photo By:Annie & Neil Hornish
How do we motivate people to make more compassionate choices?
Take the contest between the sun and the wind to see which one
can get a person to take her coat off. The wind blows and blusters
but the person simply wraps her coat tighter, whereas the sun
simply SHINES, and finally the person removes her coat under the
sun's warmth. In the contest between the forest fire and the campfire,
people flee from the forest fire but are drawn to the campfire.
When we are the sun and the campfire, people will want to join
us. To get people to want to be vegan, we must be the best person
we can be - warm, loving, and kind. Our judgment should be against
injustice, not against people.
As a humane educator, I want to turn students on, not off, to
educate not indoctrinate. A humane educator inspires others by
providing accurate information, teaching critical thinking, and
inspiring the 3 R's: Reverence (the emotion), Respect (the attitude),
and Responsibility (the action).
We can help students come to their own conclusions, for example,
by showing them the "happy hen - pretty farm" logos
on egg cartons versus photos and video of how the hens really
live. Have them stand barefoot on a plastic crate for 20 minutes
and imagine if they had to stand that way for a year. Have them
examine the cost to the environment of producing a hamburger versus
a veggie burger with this question: which one harms less? In asking
to address a classroom, I let teachers know my bias: living a
life that causes the least harm.
Effective Vegan Advocacy on a Tight Budget"
by Paul Shapiro
Photo By:Annie & Neil Hornish
I hope animal advocates will allocate a lot more resources to
farmed animal issues because 99 percent of exploited animals are
dying to be eaten. Here are some things I've learned about
practical advocacy. Nothing is cheaper than teaching
by example. Since we are the ambassadors for animals and people
don't separate the message from the messenger, we need to be and
look like the kind of people other people will want to be and
look like - "he looks great and he's vegan!"
I used to say I would "die" for animals but wasn't
even willing to wear a nice shirt for animals - my identity was
more important to me than being an effective advocate. To be effective
we need to be as close to other people as we can. Lecturing on
diglycerides to people who are gnawing on an animal's leg bone,
giving them lists of 100 ingredients to boycott, is not effective.
We should applaud people for even small steps, which for them
may be big steps, like being vegetarian 3 days a week or choosing
a "free-range" egg over a battery-hen's egg. Imagine
if we could bring each person down from consuming 300 eggs a year
to 200 - what a downturn for the egg industry! At the same time,
we should not encourage people to substitute one animal for another
- that's not progress. Here's a list of some of the cheapest,
easiest ways to promote veganism:
Leafleting on busy street corners and campuses.
- Letters to the editor and op-eds.
- Library displays including free literature: many
libraries are delighted to have attractive free
- Feed-Ins - choose a place to feed people
delicious vegan "chicken nuggets," say, and
bring the box.
- Restaurant Outreach: going to restaurants and
getting one or more vegan meals on the menu;
getting your local deli to carry mock turkey
and ham; getting the meat distributor to carry
mock meats to receptive outlets. These are all
things that COK has done, and does, success-
fully in Washington DC. It works better than
picketing the meat distributor.
- Put videos on cable access: it's usually free and
It's important to show people exactly what happens to animals
as a result of meat, dairy, and egg consumption. Even if we don't
do undercover investigations ourselves, we should use the footage
that COK and other groups provide. We must show people
that meat means misery. The least we can do is to bear
witness. As I lie in my comfortable bed at night, I think of the
hens on wire mesh floors with no comfort ever. People should know
exactly why we are so adamant about standing up for animals.
Should Animal Advocates Support a 'Humane' Animal-Based
Diet?" by Karen Davis
Photo By:Annie & Neil Hornish
Imagine if suddenly there were no more animal products and people
had to eat the delicious vegan food we had for lunch today - people
would be happy!
Vegan advocates are faced with media promotion of chicken and
fish farming "to alleviate poverty and feed the world."
We're faced with media promotion of diet books with lots of salads,
whole grain products AND meat linked to images of healthy-looking
"South Beach" glamour. Even progressive publications
like The Nation urge readers to view solutions to low-income people's
dietary inadequacies as a meat, dairy and egg-based solution.
Animal advocates should read movement literature but we should
also read outside our movement to see how the rest of the world
is thinking in order to shape our message more effectively in
terms of that thinking, and to write letters to the editor in
order to move farmed-animal and vegan issues into mainstream discourse
- something that is starting to happen because of our clamor.
A problem with supporting "alternative" animal products
(organic, "free-range," etc.) is that it can lead people
to feel so morally satisfied they won't even bother to try vegan
food. An environmental conference I recently attended served nothing
vegan, and the litany of "animal stewardship" was invoked
like scripture. If people are willing to invest time and money
in "organic" meats, antibacterial kitchen sprays, and
so on, let's encourage these people to invest in, say, a vegan
cooking class. Most important is to be confident and positive.
When I travel I wear my "Stick Up for Chickens!" button
and somebody always asks "what does that mean?" This
opens up a discussion and gives me a chance to hand the person
a brochure. From my experience I believe people are open to our