Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beyond Words!


Just sent to all the members of Team Vegan.

  Yeeee-haw! 

Anyone who has checked the Team Vegan site lately will have noticed that you have done it!!

Team Vegan rose to the challenge, and will be able to put all matching money to work for the animals! 

Dozens of you have stepped up in the past week, doubling their money's impact for the animals. $99,468.50 to create real, lasting change in our society! 

As though to emphasize this, we just got a phone call here from someone in Portland who said, "I got your booklet, and you've made me a vegetarian. Thanks so much for the information. Thank you."  

Let me repeat: You Totally Rock! 

Group barbaric yalp!

-Matt

Friday, July 30, 2010

Last Hours for Matching Challenge!



Team Takoma Park's Jon Camp met Tae and Jeff (left) and Judy (right) at this year's TAFA -- just a few of the countless folks who stopped eating animals after receiving a Vegan Outreach booklet, and then went on to get active for the animals!

Want to learn more about this work? Check out this week's Friday video!

If you believe in this work, please help us meet Team Vegan's matching goal. The opportunity to double your donation ends tomorrow, so please head over to the Team Vegan page, make a donation to Jon's page, or another member, or the general fund.

As Erik Marcus says here, "I doubt there’s another animal protection group that compares to Vegan Outreach in terms of doing massive outreach where it’s needed most."

You can expand this work with your support!

Thanks so much!!

-Matt

Please promote this post & help VO help animals.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can You Make a Difference?


Asking for donations at the start of a recent This American Life podcast, host Ira Glass tells listeners they can ignore his request and the show will still be there for them in the future.

This isn't the case with Vegan Outreach's work for the animals.

As we saw in the December 16 Enewsletter (booklet distribution chart at right), the number of new people reached by activists – and thus the number of new vegetarians providing the animals a voice – depends on your contributions.

There is simply no way to get to the goal we all share – a compassionate world where animals are respected as individuals – except to convince more and more people to change their diets.

And this can't happen by dictate or law – it has to happen from the ground up, person-by-person.

Vegan Outreach is committed to bringing about this change as quickly as possible. Activists across the continent are out there, every day, working to inform as many new people as possible about the hidden barbarism of modern agribusiness and the meaningful steps everyone can take to help end this crelty.


As we point out in yesterday's Enewsletter, these are the last few days of the Team Vegan matching opportunity, where your contributions will be doubled, dollar-for-dollar, having an even greater impact for the animals!

If you've contributed already – thanks so much!  We'll continue to do our best to make your contribution have the greatest impact possible.

If you've not had a chance, please consider making a contribution to a member of the team or to the team in general.


And please keep Vegan Outreach in mind for the future. Creating fundamental change in society is a long-term project, and we all need to work together. Your support – now and in the future – will determine how many people learn of the animals' plight and discover what they can do to bring about a better world for all.

Thanks so much!


Please consider promoting this post.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Four Days, $5,700 To Go!



So far, individuals from the UK to India have donated $90,754 to the Team Vegan matching challenge!

That means we have about $5,700 to go to put all the matching money to work for the animals!

You can read more details, and see feedback, in today's Enewsletter. Erik's post is also worth a read.

This opportunity ends Saturday!

Please help us reach more people by doubling your donation, dollar-for-dollar. You can make a secure, tax-deductible donation to a member of the Team, or to Team Vegan as a whole.

Thanks so much!

Please pass this post along. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Direct Impact


On Friday, I was talking on the phone with a Vegan Outreach donor, and we were discussing why they contribute to VO. 


One point I found particularly insightful was that giving to Vegan Outreach directly impacts the number of new people who receive booklets. They like knowing their contributions really will expand outreach, resulting in more people learning the realities of modern agribusiness, as well as being presented with an honest, compelling case for making informed, compassionate choices.


And this week, your donations will free up Team Vegan matching money, doubling your dollars' impact! We're about $5,400 away from putting all the money to work for the animals.


Can you help? It's easy!

Just head over to the team page and make a secure contribution to a team member, or to the general donation fund. Or you can send a check or money order to:
Vegan Outreach | POB 30865 | Tucson, AZ 85751-0865
All checks dated before August 1 will count toward the matching challenge!
Thank you so much – your contribution to Team Vegan will change the world!
 -Matt
Please consider promoting this post. Thanks!

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Who here thinks that is enough?"


By Anne Green and Matt Ball, in Boulder and Denver earlier this month:


My name is Anne Green, and I’m Vegan Outreach’s Director of Operations and Development. How many people here are familiar with Vegan Outreach?

For those who aren’t familiar with Vegan Outreach, our purpose is, simply, to reduce the amount of suffering in the world as much as possible.

Well, thanks for coming!


Specifically, we work to reduce suffering by distributing our illustrated and documented booklets to new people, especially young people. By showing people the hidden realities of modern agribusiness, we provide the animals a voice, allow people to make informed, ethical choices, and create real, fundamental, lasting change.
[Read full post]

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rotating the Universe


Less than a week left to put the Team Vegan matching money to work for the animals. Please help however you can!


We often hear from people who are frustrated that a family member doesn't care about animals. It reminded us of this 2006 feedback from Stewart:

Here is a portion of a conversation I had last week at Cal State Los Angeles:

      Guy: Well, is this against animal cruelty, or eating meat? I mean, I wouldn't shoot my dog or anything, but...
      Me: Why not? Why wouldn't you shoot your dog? (he looked at me in surprise) Would you cut off your dogs toes, as is done to turkeys? (I know this sounds confrontational, but it wasn't. The conversation had a very friendly tone.)
      No.
      Would you castrate a dog without anesthetics, as is done to pigs and cows?
      No. But I just eat meat; I'm not causing any of this.
      Whether you kill someone or hire someone to kill someone, you're just as guilty. Just food for thought.    

He insisted on shaking my hand as we parted ways. Moral of the story: When people say dumb things, we should just take it in the spirit that it is offered. If they rattle us, then they win. If we take it with a grain of salt, then that is all it is.

      On another note: Matt Ball's "How Vegan Is Enough" lecture at AR2005 was refreshing. I almost didn't go because I was afraid the answer would be that there was no limit to how vegan one should be, that it might be some fire and brimstone speech with someone reciting the entire encyclopedia of animal products. Many people hear about all of these trace animal products and think veganism is beyond impossible. 
      My free-range / organic ovo-lacto wife absolutely loves Vegan Outreach, because of your focus on preventing suffering and non-obsession with trace animal products. It’s making her journey much easier.
      I remember when one person asked how he could convince his brother to go vegan -- he’d been at it for years and years to no avail and basically felt like a failure. If he couldn't convert his own brother, he thought, how could he affect anyone else? Matt told him to forget about his brother, that his brother wouldn't turn vegan to spite him, if for no other reason. Matt told him to go to a college campus, a concert, a record store, and hand out literature: "Some of them will read it, become vegetarian or vegan, and you will have saved thousands of lives." I took great comfort in that remark -- it was as if a huge burden was suddenly lifted from my shoulders.

      I remembered that talk earlier today. I was very tired and my back hurt, but I was able to distribute 750 Even Ifs at Pasadena City College. On the drive home I started thinking about an old riddle: How many physicists does it take to change a light bulb?
      Two. One to hold the bulb and one to rotate the universe.
      I think that holding the light bulb is easy, and rotating the universe is sometimes difficult. However, that light bulb must be changed.
-Stewart Solomon, 2/22/06


Please consider promoting this post. Thanks so much!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Vegan.com Food Posts, Plus: One Week


Erik is always on the lookout for what vegan fare is a hit with non-vegans. The latest is this vegan chicken-and-cheese pita.

And for those in the "If it ain't fried, it ain't food" camp, Erik passes along this vegan tempura by Robots for Magnolia.


Also, please note that we have just one week left to put the Team Vegan matching money to work for the animals. 

Please help any way you can. Thanks!

-Matt

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Infinite Capacity


Cleveland Amory once commented that people have an infinite capacity to rationalize, especially when it comes to something we want to eat.

Here is another perfect example (warning: very frustrating). And, as is generally the case, "concern" for the environment leads to more factory farmed chickens:

[T]he goal will have to be producing the most meat at the lowest environmental cost. That means fewer free-range cattle and sheep grazing in bucolic pastures and more animals, especially chickens, packed into feedlots or high-density enclosures.

Vegans tend to note those who say they went veg for environmental (or health) concerns, but ignore the people who eat more chickens. As discussed previously, even if an argument is somewhat effective at getting some people to go veg, if it leads to other people substituting chickens for cattle, many, many more animals suffer.

In the end, we shouldn't judge an argument by how compelling we think it should be, but on the bottom line impact it has for the animals.


-Matt

Please consider promoting this post. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Help Turn Matching into New Vegetarians!


Team Vegan is in the homestretch now!

These are the final days of the matching challenge, when you can double your donation, and put more of the matching money to work for the animals. More donations, more booklets, more new vegetarians!

You can read more in today's Enewsletter, or you can go right to the Team Vegan site, make a tax-deductible donation to a team member, or to the general fund.

Or you can send a check to: Vegan Outreach | PO Box 30865 | Tucson, AZ 85751
All checks dated before August 1 will be doubled!

Please help today! We'll be sure to do our best to make sure your contribution -- doubled, dollar-for-dollar! -- has the maximum impact!

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Animal Rights on the March


At Time: New Laws Take Movement Mainstream.


And two recent pieces of feedback; via email:

Our event went really well! Myself and a few friends ended up passing out the whole lot of booklets in 4 days. Vegan Outreach changed my life many years ago and I can't imagine what I'd be like if I hadn't received the Why Vegan.
--WG, 7/17/10

 And in the mail today:

While strolling in Chicago, I accepted a booklet from one of your volunteers. Now, I'm determined to go vegan!
--PP, 7/5/10


-Matt

Monday, July 19, 2010

Follow-Up of the Day: How Vegan


As a follow-up to Jo Tyler's great post, here is one of Vegan Outreach's very first essays: How Vegan -- Ingredients vs. Results.

For those who haven't seen it before, I hope you find it useful!

-Matt

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vegetarian Quote Contest -- With Prizes!


From our friends at TheVegetarianSite.com:

We want your best vegetarian or animal rights-related quote for publication on the front page of our website! Each of the best three quotes (as chosen by us) will appear as our Quote of the Month.  But there's more: The winners get to go on a shopping spree at our extensive online vegan store.

Details here. Remember, July is a great month to shop at TheVegetarianSite.com!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Girth of a Nation -- Plus Bonus Link!


In this post on the efficacy of "the health argument" in reducing suffering, I discuss the rise of obesity in the US. Via Matthew Yglesias, the Robert Wood Foundation reports the latest statistics:

Adult obesity rates increased in 28 states in the past year, and declined only in the District of Columbia (D.C.), according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010, a report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). More than two-thirds of states (38) have adult obesity rates above 25 percent. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent.

Another statistic: The thinnest state today is fatter than the fattest state in 1991 -- fewer than 20 years ago!

Please also see also this post: Calculating Optimal Advocacy for All Animals.


Bonus link: On Facebook? Check out this new app from the immensely talented and dedicated Mark Middleton!

-Matt


Please consider promoting this post. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inreach vs. Outreach


Jo Tyler has a great post on her site, which she's graciously agreed to let us reproduce:

Lately, I've gotten sidetracked. I've allowed myself to be lured into lengthy, fruitless debates about the importance of "personal ethical consistency" in veganism. My feeling is that the goal of personal ethical consistency is at best unattainable, and at worst, an exercise in self-absorption. That is to say, an excercise in Vegan "In"reach as opposed to Vegan "Out"reach. 

Those who make personal ethical consistency their main priority can find themselves caught in a spiral of paralyzing (and often unproductive) self-reflection. Unfortunately, this can also lead some to start policing other vegans with regards to everything ranging from their chosen method of advocacy to their decisions on where they draw the line regarding unavoidable animal byproducts. Of course "unavoidable" is a subjective term. As most vegans are well aware, animal byproducts are used in a multitude of everyday, common items - ranging from drywall and refrigeration, to books, magazines, printed labels and printer toners, to car tires, film, fertilizers, sugar, and even municipal water.  

I trust that vegans will avoid all obvious animal products and that we will each do our individual best to avoid byproducts, hidden ingredients, manufacturing processes that utilize animal byproducts and so on. But we all draw the line somewhere...and it's unlikely that everyone will draw the line in the same place. So, does it make sense to spend time critiquing and judging one another? Is a vegan who has decided (arbitrarily? conveniently?) that it's acceptable to purchase magazines (which are often coated with gelatin) but quizzes waiters about the manufacturing process of the sugar contained in their ketchup somehow "more vegan" than someone who does the reverse? It's easy to see how this can quickly devolve into a contest of personal virtue - and an unproductive focus on the self.  

Tragically, we live in a culture built upon the exploitation and use of animals, and as a result, it's next to impossible to live without using some product or service that has ties to animal exploitation to some degree. Does that mean we shouldn't try to avoid what we can? Of course not. But let's just not lose focus of what really matters.  

I recently read All On Fire, a biography of William Lloyd Garrison. I found myself thinking how grateful I am that anti-slavery activists didn't get sidetracked by judging one another and obsessing over which of their suits were made of cotton picked by slaves, or whether the chairs they sat on, or pulpits they spoke from were made from wood chopped by slave labor. I'm glad they didn't refuse to travel to give speeches and spread the abolitionist message because of the racist policies of trains and ships. And that their meetings focused on how to end slavery and did not devolve into a worry-fest over the origins of their pens and ink. I can only imagine what an impediment that would have made to their progress!  Did their lack of focus on those matters make them less "ethically-consistent"? Possibly. But thankfully personal ethical consistency wasn't their goal. Thankfully they kept their attention focused on what really mattered: the abolition of slavery.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Darina, Joe, and Jon at Warped, St. Louis


'Twas some awesome outreach to a very receptive crowd -- we reached nearly 4,000 enthusiastic concert-goers.  Kudos to Nick for the idea of a cover featuring WT bands (which seems to increase the acceptance rate) and for getting us wristbands to leaflet.  Joe got kissed on the cheek by a concertgoer, and three separate individuals mentioned being veg as a result of getting a booklet at last year's show.
--Darina and Jon

Monday, July 12, 2010

Question of the Day: Unity?


John asks:

Do you find it frustrating that there are so many different beliefs within the animal welfare/vegan movement? Should we strive towards unity?

As you know, Vegan Outreach isn't concerned with abstractions, philosophy, or labels. We are all about concrete results -- we seek to reduce as much suffering as possible. We’re happy to work with anyone and everyone who shares this goal. If people have different goals, that is fine – we wish them all the best with their efforts! 

Since meat-eaters are the only ones in a position to save more animals, our limited time is best spent reaching out to meat eaters with proven effective techniques, rather than debating with fellow vegans. There is so much constructive outreach to be done!


Please consider promoting this post. Thanks!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Al Gore Confronted


Eric Deardorff challenges Al Gore to live up to his group's stated principles.

This interviewer asks the same thing in a more formal setting.

His appearance on SNL showed he does get it, to some extent. But the "less red meat" (many more smaller animals) reaction, which is very common, leads to much, much more suffering.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Terminated!


Or, to quote Paul, "Booyah!"

"Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB 1437, a bill that will require all whole eggs sold in California by 2015 (when Prop 2 takes effect) to come from hens who can stand up, lie down, turn around, and fully extend their limbs. In other words: cage-free."

Progress, piece by piece.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

VO's Ongoing Quest for Results


As many of your know, the essay A Meaningful Life, lays out Vegan Outreach's guiding principles -- the fundamental "whys" behind our efforts.

But anyone who has read Jack's History of VO knows we haven't always had the same views and approach.

In "Letter to a Young Matt," I discuss some of my personal evolution, from worrying about words and ideology to a singular and pragmatic focus on reducing as much suffering as possible. Some of the questions that arose from these essays form the basis of this "Why Does VO..." interview.

Other examples of Vegan Outreach's evolution include the launch of Adopt a College and the evolution of our booklets; see, for instance, the 2004 announcement for Even If You Like Meat.

Regardless of the latest theory or internet debate, Vegan Outreach will continue to spend our limited time and resources working toward our bottom line: reducing as much suffering as possible.

We are honored to work with so many amazing activists and donors who share our goal. We will continue to be out there, every day, creating real, lasting change.


-Matt


Please consider promoting this post. Thanks so much!

Monday, July 5, 2010

TV Tonite: Animal Rights


Erik points out:

Jane Velez-Mitchell will be devoting the full hour of her show tonight to examining a variety of animal rights issues. Exciting and probably unprecedented stuff: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a major news channel devote an entire hour to animal rights.

Let’s hope the show’s ratings are high enough to convince TV executives to green light more such shows on the topic. Tonight’s show airs at 7:00 PM ET and 4:00 PM PT.

At right, Jane (center) takes a break from leafleting with Twila Hoyle and Jack Norris.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Funnies, July 4, 2010



Here is a classic comic (full resolution; featured here).

And to echo Ezra Klein, I don't know why I find Ninja Cat so amusing, but I do.

Happy 4th!

-Matt

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Animals Matter


Jon reports from Grayslake, IL:

After Rachel and I reached 350 students at the College of Lake County, I stopped at the local Noodles and Company.  I asked the cashier, a young woman probably around 18 years old, what the vegan option was.  She responded, "Are you vegan?"  I confessed that I was.  "OMG!  That is so awesome!," she replied.  It turns out that she had once been vegan.  After eating, I went up and gave her a Compassionate Choices and a Guide, and told her that if she wanted to consider adding more vegan meals into her life, that the information included in the booklets would be helpful, that it was from the group that I worked for.  Her response was something along the lines of "OMG, this is SOOO cool!  I get your e-newsletter!" and then went on to show all of her co-workers.  


And you know how agribusiness says it is in their financial interest to value their animals? Well, not so much.

-Matt

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Night Lites, July 2, 2010


Brian passes along this recent feedback:

Today in Toronto, I received your Even if you like Meat booklet. I was really impressed. Please mail me your Guide and I will be vegetarian.

Nick Cooney reports:

Warped Tour has started well for our crew. We've reached 44,200 people for our first five dates, from New Mexico to California. Lots of positive interactions!


In other news, July is an excellent month to shop at The Vegetarian Site.


And since it is 103 here in Tucson, here is a funny video about Christmas and Winter Solstice (audio-only version; lyrics and chords) by vegetarian Dar Williams.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Beyond Self-Interest: Vegan for the Animals


We've discussed some of the problems with using "the health argument" to promote veganism, including how easily it can lead to many, many more animals suffering.

Another issue is that by promoting self-interest, we don't help bend the arc of history towards justice, but rather, further reinforce selfishness.

Indeed, if we're only concerned with our personal interests, we can be taken in by modern agribusiness' propaganda.

Ginny Messina, Tracy H of Digging through the Dirt, and, of course, Erik Marcus take apart the latest. (Don't drink soymilk while reading Erik, unless you want it coming out your nose.)

Cattle, on average, do suffer much less than birds and pigs. But the idea that animals must be comfortable to gain weight ... well, I'll leave it to the industry to destroy that fantasy:

Bernard Rollin, PhD, explains that it is "more economically efficient to put a greater number of birds into each cage, accepting lower productivity per bird but greater productivity per cage…individual animals may ‘produce,’ for example gain weight, in part because they are immobile, yet suffer because of the inability to move… Chickens are cheap, cages are expensive." National Hog Farmer suggests that "Crowding pigs pays" in an article recommending space be reduced from 8 to 6 square feet per pig.

(For more on "happy meat," please see the Polyface section here.)

-Matt

Please consider promoting this post. Thanks!
.