Monday, January 31, 2011

Measuring VO

Today's link:

The Possible Metrics

...The bottom line is that we do this work because our years of experience (as discussed in our history) has shown these efforts to have the maximum impact, in terms of reducing suffering in the world. We also believe it is the work that is necessary to create a truly different world.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Stephen gives his take on Taco Bell's "beefy" problems.

In the same episode, Brian Greene mentions being vegan.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Protein ... And a Tease!

Ginny has a great post up about protein -- definitely worth a read.

And it lets the cat out of the bag on Jack's big project.

Shame on you, Jack, for keeping a cat in a bag!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Google Translate

Lauren has put a link to Google Translate in the upper right corner here (and at the bottom of the site map).

Obviously, these translations are nowhere near perfect. But adding this option will save people from having to do translations of any more of our pages, and allow many more people to access the site's content. Most importantly, people can browse the entire site in the translated language, getting the very latest versions of the pages, Enewsletters, etc.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Nikki Story from Santa Monica Community College

Yvonne and I met this beautiful soul after we had packed up to leave. We made eye contact and I ran over to her with a leaflet to "help animals." Within minutes she was crying, and later wrote me:

I'm happy I met you -- total Providence! Lately, I was thinking I was eating too much meat and if I should eat meat at all, but was in a mindless loop. After our talk and viewing the pamphlets, I became disgusted by meat due to animal cruelty. Ironically, my mom prepared beef that night; upon seeing and smelling it, I wanted to vomit. Funny thing is I ruined her dinner after recalling our discussion -- she's on board too! 

It's shopping day tomorrow and we're excited to go vegan!

Co-workers asked what was I reading and I told them, then lightly asked their opinions on animal cruelty. They all agreed that commercial farms are wrong and even expressed shame or guilt in their attitudes. Their general response was, "Being vegetarian is hard," but I was able to refute that.

Right, a different SMCC student who, that same day, told Nikki, "You guys made me quit eating meat."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vegans Take America


Via, NPR had this On Point episode, "Vegans Take America" (direct listen link).


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Only Wanting a Fair Fight

Following up on yesterday's comment on Chipotle "testing" a vegetarian meat, Stewart offers this first-hand experience:

Chipotle's Garden Blend was delicious, yet doomed for failure from the start.  They offered it at several locations, yet never put in on their menu.  There was a single plain black and white flyer off to the side that might not catch your eye.  These last several months, they took the flyer down.  And since the Gardein looks just like chicken, most people just saw the trough as just another trough of chicken, not even questioning what that would be.  The only people who ordered it were those of us that knew about it VO or Peta and frequent Chipotle.  I'm not sure why they wouldn't give it a fair test.  

Chipotle has an online contact form, if you wanted to offer your feedback.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Local Requests (CA, CO, DC, NY)

The more convenient being vegan is, the more people will go vegan. You can help by supporting vegan products in mainstream businesses.

Chipotle will be discontinuing the Gardein-based Garden Blend at some of their Los Angeles restaurants. It is still available at the following test locations:

  • 919 Pearl St., Boulder, CO (303) 544-9383     
  • 371 E. Alameda, Denver, CO   (303) 733-1331 ‎     
  • 1629 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC  (202) 387-8261      
  • 149 8th Ave (between W17th and W18th)., New York, NY 10011-5107 (212) 620-4015     
  • 5754 Lindero Canyon Rd., Westlake Village, CA  (818) 597-1603     
  • 5430 Topanga Canyon Blvd. Woodland Hills, CA  (818) 710-0466  

If you live near any of these locations, please be sure to order the Garden Blend. (And if you go to other LA locations, such as those listed here, please ask about it, to show there is demand.)


Monday, January 17, 2011

Cooney on Psychology Research and Booklet Titles

Last week, we mentioned Nick Cooney's new book, Change of Heart, where he reviews psychology and sociology research, and applies the results to advocacy.

Nick has kindly agreed to pull together the relevant research into this article on leafleting, where he concludes:

Who knew leafleting could be so complicated? Yet if we want to create as much behavior change as possible, in order to reduce as much suffering as possible, we need to think carefully about the message we use. Do we just want to express our own beliefs, or do we want to use the message that is most likely to persuade others?

Be sure to read the entire article!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Feedback and Link

Three fourth-grade friends recently ordered booklets. Along with a request for more booklets, they just sent along this note:

We presented these booklets to our class and they agreed to cut down on meat! So we are doing very well. 

 Also: Fox shoots hunter.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Hip-Hop Video

Jon, who keeps his finger on the pulse of hip-hop, noted this "She's a Vegan" video:


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Change of Heart

Nick Cooney, head of The Humane League, has a new book out -- Change of Heart -- reviewing current research in psychology and sociology as it applies to efforts to change the world for the better.

We're still working through the book, but a quick skim -- and having worked with Nick for years -- shows it is a tremendous resource for people who want to be maximally effective in their efforts.

When confronted by some of the injustices in the world, is easy to be motivated by anger, and fall into the futile cycle of "Do something, do anything." Nick clearly understands this, and offers people out of the trap of angry activism. With his book, we can each be more effective in our efforts.

Nick has even written up a piece about the application of recent research to one aspect of VO's work; we'll be linking to that next week.

*One slight disagreement with Erik -- I don't think you need to read multiple books before reading Nick's. For instance, I (obviously) think it is a good co-read with The Animal Activist's Handbook.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Catching Up On Links

Along with details of Jon Camp's Spring Tour, today's Enewsletter has lots of links that are worth reading. Three I'd like to emphasize:

If you have a favorite link (or have one we haven't seen), let us know at our Facebook page.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Introvert's View of Leafleting

I don't like approaching people I don't know. In fact, I have trouble with people in general. I'm an introvert and find social interaction to be exhausting.... My sister is one of those people and has spent the past few years touring with musical acts and talking to kids and teenagers about animal rights. That sounds terrifying to me....

As scary as leafleting may seem, it really is one of the quickest and most effective ways to spread your message. Give it a go once. Worst case scenario you decide not to do it again, but my bet is that you'll be happy to have done it and be looking forward to doing it again.

Please read the full post!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Glimpse of the Future

Every once in a while, we'll hear from someone who believes society must undergo a much greater transformation than just not eating animals (generally, they mean that everyone must change to be / think like the specific vegan making the claim).

But as we lay out here, that isn't how the new world will come about:

...With our efforts, de facto animal liberation could be achieved with a whimper, not a bang. Change will not come by revolution, but through person-by-person outreach progressing hand-in-hand with advances in technology, leading slowly but inexorably to a new norm that, to most people, hardly seems different. But an unfathomable amount of suffering will be prevented.

And here is another glimpse of that future: Europe's first vegetarian butcher opens for business.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Interesting, but Ultimately Irrelevant

FDA Reveals Antibiotic Use in Livestock

Mercury Cancels Brain Benefits of Fish Oil

Obviously, these aren't facts that argue for veganism; you can find animals raised without antibiotics, as well as low-mercury fish.

As always, we must focus on the animals, not on arguments that seem to justify our personal choices.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

More Catching Up

Just as we fell behind on Jack's posts during December, we also fell behind on Ginny's.

She, too, has put up some great stuff lately!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Video: JSF at Google

“Why is taste, the crudest of our senses, exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other senses?”
-Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer at Google

(Not embedded, since it is rather long.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In Case You Didn't See This

Vegan diets becoming more popular, more mainstream

(Also at CBS and other places)

Two quick comments:

"While Kraft Foods reports that it shipped out more Boca Original Vegan Burger Patties and Boca Ground Crumbles last year, the increase was a modest 1 percent."

My understanding is that Kraft has been unable to keep up with demand, due in part to production problems. It has certainly seemed that way here -- there currently aren't any of the vegan patties at the local grocery store (and haven't been for many weeks). Also, Costco says the jumbo Boca burgers they used to carry have been discontinued, despite, as they told me, being one of their best sellers.
(Update: a reader comments that Boca isn't the only supplier of vegan foods, and thus isn't the measure of the vegan market. As more people go vegan, more companies will supply vegan foods. IOW, the market can grow without one particular company growing.)

More importantly: as Jack emphasizes, veganism doesn't spread itself. There are more vegans -- and more mainstreaming of veganism -- because of our conscious and concerted efforts.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fallen Behind

With end-of-year craziness, we've fallen behind on links to Jack's latest news.

Be sure to catch up!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Vegan Power!

Quick shout-out to longtime leafleter Dan Kuzma (#24 in red), who not only met his goal of finishing the Bartram 100 Mile race in less than 24 hours (an unbelievable 19:24!), but actually won the entire race!

That's right -- won the 100 mile race!

Watch out, Scott Jurek!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Buried ... But Not In Snow!

We are buried here at the office in donations from our amazing members! Because of you, the matching challenge was a smashing success!

(There is snow around, though! Yikes!)

We're slowly working our way through all the online and postal mail donations, but already, we're almost at 600 donors who contributed to expand our work together!

Thanks again, and have a great New Year!