Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let Us Now Praise Nikki (Again)

Check it out — Nikki has now handed a booklet to over 300,000 individuals!! (Over half of these were just in the 2010-11 school year.)

Bonus interview:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sizzling Summer!

Thought the heatwaves across the country were caused by global warming?

Au contraire!

Vegan Outreach activists have been burning it up this summer, seeking out concerts, festivals, walk-a-thons, and any other location where they can find interested people.

As of August 28, activists have reached 530,105 individuals at these various summer venues.

That's right, over half-a-million new people!

Warped Tour leafleting has also set amazing new records. Initial numbers from our leafleters put WT outreach at 331,882 – nearly as many as 2010's summer overall total (360,577).
Last week at the College of Alameda, Brian met Caitlin,
who has been vegan since getting a VO booklet at Warped 2010.
Old hands were joined by a slew of new leafleters, making every WT stop a life-changing – and life-saving – event for countless new people! Requests for Vegan Outreach's Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating have poured in via texts, messages, and on-line!

Congratulations to the amazing activists who have been on fire for the animals!

A sample from the latest batch of Guide requests:

I was at Warped and someone happened to be handing out brochures. It was pure luck that I put it in my bag. When I got home, I read it, and now I am really looking forward to this!
—CF, Sun City, AZ, 8/8/11

I was walking out of Warped and I was handed a booklet. I always thought it would be interesting to try being a vegan and after doing some research, now's the time.
—JT, Litchfield, IL, 8/4/11
More new compassionate folks!

Someone gave me a booklet outside of a concert. Thank you for making me aware about what's going on.
—VM, Belton, TX, 7/25/11

I got your booklet at the Warped Tour. It was truly inspiring.
—SG, Kingsport, TN, 7/29/11

At the Marysville Warped stop, Kitty, Crystal, Jeni, John, Lauren,
Brian, Vic, and Anthony celebrate reaching over 7,500 new people.
Warped Tour! I realized I can be cruelty free. I'm ready!
—BP, Salt Lake City, 8/8/11

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More Progress

Wednesday, Paul pointed out that the number of chickens to be slaughtered is expected to be down significantly. Today, he passes this along:

  • Cattle slaughter down 5 percent from July 2010.
  • Hog slaughter down 4 percent from July 2010.
  • Sheep slaughter [was] 16 percent below last year.

Cutting demand to zero: Brian passes along this picture of a
new vegetarian at the Marysville, CA Warped Tour stop.

PS -- Our thoughts are with everyone on the East coast. Stay safe.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

More on Cattle and Chickens

On Tuesday, we reproduced Ginny's great post about keeping the animals in mind when choosing what information to promote.

Although bad news for red meat, in terms of health impacts, leads to a net increase in suffering, there isn't always an inverse relationship. Paul points to this Kansas State study that found that coverage of cruelty to farm animals, including cattle, ended up reducing demand for all meat products, not just beef:

In particular, this study found increased media attention caused a reallocation of expenditures to nonmeat food rather than reallocating expenditure across competing meat products.

Accordingly, all three evaluated livestock and meat industries stand to lose if total meat expenditure is reduced as consumers obtain increasing amounts of media information regarding animal well-being and handling issues. More narrowly, if consumers make budget adjustments in favor of nonmeat products, the aggregate meat market loses the ability to internally compete for those funds.

Bottom line: Exposing cruelty can help all animals.
[Update: Kansas study link now corrected; thanks, Bea.]

Ankur Patel reaches out for the animals at College of the Canyons.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lower Demand, Fewer Slaughtered

Via Paul: "Broiler meat stocks are up due to lower demand.... In the second half of 2011, the number of broilers slaughtered is expected to be down significantly..."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Don't Hurt Chickens

This post from Ginny is so important that we asked to be allowed to reproduce it in full.

Bad news for red meat is bad news for chickens

Red meat has a bad PR problem. Two recent meta-analyses—one published in 2009 and one in 2011—linked red meat consumption to increased colon cancer risk. In May, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund reaffirmed conclusions from an earlier comprehensive report, saying that the evidence for a relationship between red meat and colon cancer is “convincing.”

And it’s not just cancer; a study published just last week found that adults who consume 4 ounces of red meat per day have a 20 percent increased risk for developing diabetes.

The evidence strongly suggests that it’s a good idea for everyone to reduce their intake of red and processed meats. But from the animals’ perspective, this is not necessarily great news. That’s because many of these studies find that other animal foods—which can easily replace red meat in the diet—don’t carry the same risks. There is no compelling body of evidence to suggest that eating white meat raises cancer risk and, some research suggests that replacing red meat with white meat lowers risk. (This is not to say that white meat is itself protective or has any particular health benefits. It’s probably neutral and therefore lowers risk when it replaces harmful red meat.)

People are likely to react to news about the dangers of red and processed meats by replacing these foods with other meats—from fish and chickens—and in the process cause suffering to many, many more animals.

Assuming that one steer provides around 450 pounds of meat, a person eating a pound of beef per week would be responsible for the death of one steer every 8 ½ years or so. Replace that pound of beef a week with a pound of chicken (assuming that the average chicken yields 2 pounds of meat) and the number of animals killed would be about 220 chickens over the same time period. In fact, even if the health-conscious, meat-shunning consumer chose to reduce her meat intake by 75 percent—eating just 4 ounces of meat per week and getting all of it as chicken flesh—she would still be responsible for the death of more than 50 birds over that 8 ½ year period.

And not only do more animals die when people replace red meat with chicken in their diet, but chickens and other birds live and die under conditions that are horrible even by the usual horrible standards of modern farming.

Red and processed meat consumption is a serious public health concern, and people need to know about the importance of reducing these foods in their diets. But publicizing every new study about the hazards of red meat doesn’t promote veganism; it promotes animal suffering. A message about a vegan ethic, on the other hand, is a double win. It helps reduce animal suffering while also encouraging people to eliminate hazardous foods from their diets.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Many of you already know our great friend, Dr. Michael Greger, through his amazing and tireless work for the animals.

For those of us who just can't get enough, today marks the official launch of Dr. Greger's incredible! He already has hundreds of videos online, and will be adding a video a day for a year!

If anyone doesn't know Dr. Greger (how is that possible??), you can see SuperVegan's post, as well as Our Hen House's.

You can also subscribe to Nutrition Facts daily video feed or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

Along with Jack's book and work, Dr. Greger can make us much more effective advocates for the animals!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Clinton, Jon, and Vic

Nikki spies another life being changed
at Mt San Antonio College.
Bill Clinton: A Target Audience of One.

Interview with Vic.

What Jon does in his spare time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feedback Friday

From a member who had been nervous about leafleting:

I read your activist's handbook, listened to a couple of your interviews, and read a few of your essays and they totally inspired me to try and just go for it. Thank you so much!

And from someone who had initially ordered Why Vegans, after they read Nick Cooney's review of the relevant psychological research:

Another member of my Vegan group mentioned ordering Compassionate Choices in order have a more palatable booklet available (I'm less eager to employ cuteness in my own vegan outreach than she is) but I guess it didn't really sink in 'til now that even a small advantage in overcoming emotional resistance is worthwhile... I like the overall feel of Why Vegan, but go ahead and change [the order to] Compssionate Choices and Even If You Like Meat.

Nikki sends this picture of a Long Beach
Community College student engrossed
in learning the truth.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Progress

Our pal Paul sends along this excerpt from a meat industry journal:

College students are putting a high priority on the food choices and dining programs offered, even when choosing which school to attend, according to Technomic.

Technomic's College and University Consumer Trend Report showed 44 percent of college students polled indicated that their school's dining program was at least somewhat important in deciding where to enroll.

The survey showed 21 percent of students limit their consumption of meat by sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet, eating only certain types of meat, or eating meat only occasionally.

More than one in five! And Inside Higher Ed has this article, Southern Veganism:

Next week, the University of North Texas will open the nation's first strictly vegan cafeteria.

"In recent years, we have seen a trend of vegan, vegetarian, calorie-conscious, fat-conscious, whole grain, gluten-free and locally sourced food requests," Aramark said.

Most colleges that start up special menus find that vegan foods fare much better than they would have expected, said Huling of PETA.

Kevin Olliff helps create more progress at the San Diego Warped Tour.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Miscellany

Please help us pick the best feedback over at our Facebook page.

Long-time VO members Gerry and Sue are hard-core soft-hearts.

And in today's Enewsletter, I love this story:

What a day! Happy and appreciative people at Grossmont College, with good constructive conversations. One young lady came back with her copy of Compassionate Choices saying, “Thank you for this. I’m done, and going vegan right now.” And another student came back saying, “I want to go veg but don’t know where to start. What should I do?” BAM!
     More good interactions and comments at Cuyamaca College! Met a chef who doesn’t eat meat because “it’s insane” and said, “Every time you come here, you make me cry.” She was very excited to hear about alternatives to eggs in baking. She also said her daughter got a VO booklet somewhere and it made her vegan!
—Nikki Benoit, 6/29/11

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday Links

Germany’s Strongest Man Is A Vegetarian

Long-time VO member Marisa Miller Wolfson interviewed about her film Get Vegucated.

Want to make your own video? Head over to Vegan Milk Revolution.

Ellen (no, not that Ellen) has a new vegan site!

From the Los Angeles area Warped Tour stop, Nikki reports:
Not only did Lauren commit to cutting animals outta her diet, but she also said,
"It's not enuff to say it's not cool, can I help?"!!!!
She and her friend took 100 and hit the crowd!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Animal Visuals Already Did It

Friday, we linked to the Scientific American post, "Want to Kill Fewer Animals?"

Regular readers know our good friend Mark Middleton had done this analysis previously, with more rigor and detail, at his amazing AnimalVisuals site.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday Video, a Day Late

Via Ellen: Jesse the Jack Russell Terrier is back, and he’s got a brand new slew of useful dog tricks to show off.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bruce's Friday Link

Via Bruce, a great post at Scientific American. VO's focus in chart form!
You can register to leave a comment.

Click for larger version.
Note the last paragraph -- another example of the environmental argument leading to more suffering (as discussed here).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paul Thursday Links

Our pal Paul points to this article, which notes a "16% increase in vegetarian & vegan options on restaurant menus," and has this insightful quote: "I'm very skeptical of a restaurant chain ever succeeding based strictly on health benefits," McGinty said. "It's all about flavor, great taste and fun food."

Paul also points out this from the Cattle Network: "Younger consumers are highly interested in vegetarian burger options, with 23 percent of consumers between the ages of 18–34 saying it is important for vegetarian burgers to be available on restaurant menus."

Leslie Patterson leaflets a Tigers fan outside Chicago's Art Institute,
while another gentleman studies his copy of Compassionate Choices.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A New World, If We Build It

One of the hardest things about being an activist is having perspective. On most days, no visible progress is made; bad things, heard over and over, seem to get worse, and can wear down even the strongest soul. Since we've been working for the animals, we've known many people who get involved, are "completely dedicated," and then burn out -- often spectacularly -- because those around them haven't shared their passion and/or were unwilling to change.

It is so easy to make the pessimists' case -- I'm sure every single vegan has felt short-term frustration. And, of course, our society has had nitpickers and nay-sayers -- about abolition, women's sufferage, etc. -- throughout history.

What is harder is to have both perspective and a realistic, systematic plan for bringing about real, if long-term, change. It took me many years to come to this realization, and we've talked about it in AML. But these two essays address it more specifically:

If you've ever felt pessimistic about the future, please read these short pieces.

Thanks so much!


Above, Jeni Haines changes lives, and thus the future, at San Francisco State. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Feedback and Pictures Thursday

Steve corrects my math:

I love the message of your August 3rd Enewsletter, but you're understating the value of Jack's book. Your math is wrong. If you could increase the number of permanent vegetarians from 25% to 100% of initial converts, that would be four times as many vegetarians, not three times.

Ron writes:

That is amazing that VO has produced 15 million booklets!  Also that it is translating into the huge increase in numbers of vegetarians and vegans is really encouraging.  And which shows how the steady, patient, one person at a time approach is really paying off.  

Jon and Aaron pass along these recent Tweets:

those pamphlets they hand out at warped make me wanna be vegan omg

reading the booklets on animal cruelty that i got from Warped. going vegan starting now

Alexandra Paul chattin it up with Santa Monica kids!

Allison Back and pal model new Team Vegan shirt.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday Review

Today's Enewsletter is speeding through the intertubes, so be sure to look for it!

Via Jon, Jonathan Balcombe recently had this to say about VO:

The Vegan Outreach team serve as a vital cog in the rapidly expanding vegan movement. Smart, smiling, happy, healthy and fit people on university campuses handing out a colorful booklet carefully designed to inform but not offend–it’s a winning formula. The sky’s the limit. Their ultimate success will come when there will no longer be any demand for their booklets, because everyone has already read it and changed their lives.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nutrition Tuesday

Over at Jack's blog, he has updates on Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12 analogues, and DHA.

And after I posted yesterday (and thanks to everyone who "Liked" the post, here and on Facebook), I came across this from Lana Smithson:

Today at the Michael Franti concert .... I  heard from a woman who said she had been a vegetarian but developed a severe B12 deficiency. She said she would prefer to be vegetarian and to raise her three children veg, but the deficiency really scared her, and her doctors (plural) told her she must eat meat (which she now does). I told her about Jack's website and she seemed interested to check it out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Take on Why Jack’s Book Matters

Full article, and links, here. Excerpt:

...Jack’s experience is backed up in this new Psychology Today article, which indicates 75% of people who go vegetarian in the U.S. eventually go back to eating animals. 75%! In other words, if everyone who went vegetarian had stayed vegetarian, there would be three times more vegetarians in the US today! (A similar survey in the UK also showed more former vegetarians than current vegetarians there as well.)

And what is the leading cause of people going back to eating animals? The existence of “happy meat”? Ha! Peer pressure? Nope. Missing the taste? Not even close.

You guessed it – the leading reason most vegetarians go back to eating animals is because they didn’t feel healthy....

[T]he facts are clear. The biggest impacts that health concerns have on diet are: 1. Eating many, many more smaller animals, and 2. Causing people to stop being vegetarian and go back to eating animals....

[T]he way to have the biggest impact for the animals is simple:

1. Focus on the animals as the irrefutable bottom line: Buying meat, eggs, and dairy causes unnecessary suffering; we can each choose not to cause this suffering.

2. Provide people with honest, thorough, evidence-based information so they can change their diet and maintain that change.

The latter is why Jack and Ginny’s book – and their work in general – is of vital importance.

It is an absolute moral imperative that we learn and present the reality of vegan nutrition, so we can stop throwing away 75% of our efforts. The animals deserve no less.