Monday, July 30, 2012

More Warped Feedback

Just received:

I am 16 and live in Philadelphia, PA. After attending the Vans Warped Tour and receiving your booklet, I am now going to be vegan. I am very interested in helping your organization. Please do not take me for a young child who won't be of much help. I am extremely dedicated to helping the animals and very interested in becoming active in a the movement to stop animal cruelty in farming, meat factories, and slaughterhouses. I would really appreciate if you could include me in your movement in any way.

Above, another learns the truth; below, Will @ Warped.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good Review of Pollan's In Defense of Food

Via Jack, Adam Merberg of the site, Say what, Michael Pollan?, has a very interesting review of Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food. Full review here; excerpt:

…Pollan’s prose is so lively that most readers won’t want to stop and give things a closer look. However, the reader who does bother to check the details sees that In Defense of Food is not a credible work of nonfiction. Pollan twists facts and misrepresents the way science works in the course of assembling exaggerated, false, and contradictory narratives.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jack at the Dinner Table

Nick passes along this great summary: The Lone Vegan At The Dinner Table - A Survivor's Guide

It reminds me of a story Jack told years ago, where he was in a "dinner table" situation. Someone asked, "Why don't you eat dairy?" Jack replied with a question: "Why do you think I don't eat meat?"

"Well, I guess you don't want animals to be killed."

Jack: "You are absolutely right. The same is true of dairy -- the male calves are killed almost immediately for veal, and the Mom cow is killed as soon as her production goes down."

In this way, not only does Jack avoid dominating the conversation and/or "preaching," but the person asking the question is both affirmed ("You are absolutely right") and answering their own question. Harder, then, for them to disagree!

Above: Sally at Warped; below, Lesley and Nathan.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

JC Back in Action!

Seen here with Lesley.
Jay, Jon, Lesley, Pauline, John; Warped Baltimore

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Is Warped / Three-fer

Our good friend Harish passed along this article, for everyone who doesn't know what the Warped Tour is and why VO focuses on outreach there.

John sends this pic of three booklets being studied at the NYC Warped stop
(click for larger).

Monday, July 23, 2012

AAH in 400 Words

VO has been invited to contribute a 400 word essay to a new electronic resource for new activists. Here's my first attempt to distill The Animal Activist's Handbook to that size:

Those successful in making the world a better place know almost everyone cares most about those closest to them. Even those who look beyond species spend a majority of resources on cats and dogs, endangered species, or campaigns focused on high-profile animals.

However, if we want to have the biggest impact in the world, we need to focus on the bottom line: reducing as much suffering as possible. Two guiding principles maximize the amount of good we accomplish:

1. Rather than focusing on what personally moves us, strive solely to alleviate as much suffering as possible.
2. Recognize that when we choose to do one thing, we are choosing not to do another. Instead of choosing to “do something, do anything,” we must pursue what will likely lead to the greatest reduction in suffering.

Promoting ethical eating follows directly from these guiding principles. No particular philosophy or lifestyle has any value in and of itself. Rather, promoting cruelty-free eating allows us to alleviate as much suffering as possible for three reasons:

1. ~99 of every 100 animals we kill in the US are slaughtered for human consumption.
2. These animals endure horrible cruelties. Indeed, every year, hundreds of millions of animals – many times more than the number killed for fur, in shelters, and in laboratories combined – don’t even make it to slaughter. They actually suffer to death.
3. Everyone eats, making decisions daily that affect farmed animals. Informing and inspiring new people to open their hearts and minds to making compassionate choices leads to many fewer animals suffering.

Everyone we meet is a potential victory! We don’t need to form a group or change a law; we can each make a huge difference every day!

To be optimally effective, we must seek to open hearts and minds, not show how much we know. Honest advocacy focused entirely on the animals is far more effective than a laundry list of pro-veg claims. Similarly, we must focus on getting people to consider their first step toward compassion, rather than arguing for our current philosophy / diet. Most non-vegetarians tune out when told to go vegan, but may consider starting to make changes like Meatless Mondays and/or eating fewer chickens.

If we are to alleviate as much suffering as possible, we need to maximize our impact. Thoughtful individual advocacy allows us to have an immediate and profound influence every single day!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Other Sherlock

One of the stars of Team Vegan 2011, Sherlock sports his 2012 jersey.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

18 Million, One at a Time

VO recently sent out our 18,000,000th booklet. Thanks and congratulations to all the donors and leafleters who made this possible!

John sends this story of four of those booklets:

Katherine, Julia, Lisa, and Jessica said the booklet made them sad. I offered the idea that they make me sad too, but that we don't hand them out to make people sad; we hand them out to help you make the connection between the food you eat and how it directly impacts the lives of hundreds of animals. They were all excited about ordering a Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating, and Jessica specifically said that she's going to become vegetarian right now!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yet More Links!

Today's Enewsletter is zipping through the intertubes toward an inbox near you, but in the meantime, here are a few more links:

Aaron Simpson Defends Arian Foster’s Veganism

How the world works above the grassroots level: FAO Yields to Meat Industry Pressure on Climate Change

Jack updates B12 info

LG Panos updates VO's video page with the latest investigations

Mikael snapped this pics at the Chicago Warped Tour stop.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Few Guide Requests

Brian sends along some of the comments accompanying the latest batch of online requests for the Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating:

I was given a booklet while attending the N.Y.C Pride March last Sunday. This booklet has REALLY opened my eyes, thank you SO much. I would love to help make sure other people are aware of the treatment of animals. PLEASE let me know how I can help.
—RB, 7/4

I've received the Cruelty Sucks! booklet at a couple Warped tours, but this past Warped I attended (2012 in Ventura), I noticed the free Guide offer on the back. I would love to try to be a vegan although I know it will be difficult. Anyways, I love how informative and inspiring Vegan Outreach is, thank you so much!
TE, 6/27
John snapped this at the NJ Warped stop.
They gave me a booklet at Warped tour and I read it and I was like OMG.
—MP, 6/24

I was getting out of a subway in NYC and a nice gentlemen handed me a pamphlet. I appreciated how he said thank you after I took the pamphlet from him. Very nice courteous people who aren't trying to shove information down my throat without me wanting it.
—RN, 7/3

I received the pamphlet, Cruelty Sucks! at Warped Tour, and I'm so glad I did!
—MM, 7/10

I went to Warped tour and some dude handed a booklet on how they treat the animals in slaughterhouses and it just broke my heart.  
—MB, 7/2

Monday, July 16, 2012

excerpts from Belief on the Right Side of History

Full article.

-Matt Ball

Most people think a concern for animals is limited to liberals. But this isn't necessarily the case....

I am a good example. I was raised in a conservative religious family, went to religious schools all the way through high school....

Three events changed my outlook.

The first was when I was in high school – an older cousin I had admired left our church and joined the Bahai religion.... Obviously, my first reaction was to simply dismiss my cousin as misguided.... But in the back of my mind, I wondered.

The second event was reading the book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, by Daniel Goldhagen. This book disproved the common myth that the Nazi's extermination of Jews, gypsies, atheists, and others were done without the support of the German people. In reality, the Germans knew what was going on, and, except for a relatively small proportion of the population, supported it.

Now I had always been horrified by slavery in our country.... But Goldhagen's book about Germany showed something more – a society that turned on its fellow citizens and methodically exterminated them.

Obviously, the normal reaction is to assume that I would have been a part of the Underground Railroad, protected the Anne Franks of the world, etc. But … really? Did I really, honestly think that I would have gone against the overwhelming majority of my society? If I had been raised in a slave-holding household in a slave-holding society, would I really have stood up? Did I honestly think I would have been different from nearly everyone else?

And if all these millions could fully believe things that, today, are so obviously absurd and repulsive, well, how could I assume everything I currently believed was absolutely right? ... Even if I'm not chaining up a slave, or leading my fellow citizens to the gas chambers, isn't it possible – even probable – that I am at least tacitly supporting another horror – one that future generations will also look upon with bewilderment?

The answer came my first year of college, when my vegetarian roommate introduced me to the horrors of modern agribusiness....

As uncomfortable as his stories of how animals were treated on farms – the brandings, the debeakings, the tail-dockings, the confinement, etc. – I justified eating animals by saying that – they were just animals.

But the stories did bother me ... [for example,] a description from the New York Times:

“The American laying hen passes her brief span piled together with a half-dozen other hens in a wire cage whose floor a single page of this paper could carpet. Every natural instinct of this animal is thwarted, leading to a range of behavioral ‘vices’ that can include cannibalizing her cagemates and rubbing her body against the wire mesh until it is featherless and bleeding.… [T]he 5% or so of hens hens that can’t bear it and simply die is built into the cost of production.…”

This last point is important – if you look at the statistics, hundreds of millions of animals die before going to slaughter, just like 1 in 20 battery hens. Just think about that – hundreds of millions die before even being shipped to slaughter.

I assume my dilemma at this point is clear. Obviously, I considered myself a good person – an ethical, kind, and thoughtful human being. And yet, here I was – supporting what is clearly a modern-day atrocity. “Our own worst nightmare” is how the New York Times describes modern agribusiness … and I was giving this nightmare my money to continue to tail dock, debeak, confine, forcibly impregnate, brand, de-horn, and otherwise brutalize these thinking, feeling creatures.

What about the argument, “They're only animals”? Having seen this phrase used to justify slavery and the Nazi's “Final Solution,” I certainly didn't want to be uttering the phrase “just animals.” I had [seen] just how easily the vast majority of people went along with the prejudice of their day – to believe whatever they were taught without question, no matter what the consequences.

So I knew I couldn't simply accept the line, “They’re just animals.”

Here is where I should tell you about the great breakthrough, where I went from unquestioningly accepting society's norm to animal advocate. But it didn't happen that way.

I did go vegetarian for a bit late in my freshman year, but after a while, I convinced myself I was starving on the dorm's beans and Capt'n Crunch. To my lasting shame, I went back to eating animals … just like all my friends and family.

But I couldn't stop thinking about what it meant to eat meat. Even if they were “just animals,” my choices caused them to suffer, suffer terribly and die horribly. My choices deprived them of the life they wanted to live. My choices created this unnecessary suffering – the choices I was consciously making, every day.

The next year, I was living off campus, entirely responsible for my own food choices. And one day, I was looking into the mirror, and the thought just came to me: “How can I consider myself a good person if I continue to eat animals?”

I had no answer....

We each have to ask the question: Will we accept what our society dictates today, or will we write our own story? Will we rationalize the status quo or thoughtfully make our own decisions?

Slowly – very slowly – I came to realize there are more important things in life than accepting the status quo and taking the easiest path. Choosing the road less traveled does not necessitate denial and deprivation. Making our lives a part of something real, something larger than ourselves … this expands our life’s narrative, enriches our existence, and allows for real meaning and lasting happiness.

History shows that questioning society is necessary in all times, and today, choosing not to eat animals makes a public, powerful, ethical statement – not just about the lives of animals, but about the nature of our character. It shows that we are honestly striving to be truly good, thoughtful people.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Even More Links

Our good pal Harish offers some perspective on the size of AR groups vs. modern ag. Good luck finding VO there!

Bored with veg meat? Slate takes on tofu and tempeh.

Fresh Air talks about the meat industry.

And as a follow-up to his Omega-3 post, Jack reviews a new study of Omega-6s.

Yvonne helps open eyes at Warped.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pittsburgh! Call Security!

John O sends pics from the Pittsburgh stop of the Warped Tour:

And, in keeping with this theme, from Cleveland:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Joementum at Indy Warped

Pamela, Sacha, John, Joe, Vic, Jeni, Karah, Mary, Nathan, Jennifer, Wendy

Thinks leafleting Warped isn't fun? Joe begs to differ!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Meanwhile, in CA....

Even though the Warped Tour crew gets all the summer glory, Nikki (above) is still hard at work. She sends the pictures below from Santa Monica College. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kansas City, Hey Hey Hey!

John O sends some more pics from the Warped Tour.

Maria went vegetarian after getting a booklet from us two years ago.

Madison also went veg a year ago as a result of getting a booklet from us last year!

Even Sir Paul honors all the Warped leafleters!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Good News, Bad News

As always, bad news for beef is bad news for the chickens; via Paul: McDonald’s: more chicken on the menu. (Keep in mind that not only are chickens much more intensively raised, but also, hundreds are killed to supply the same amount of meat as one beef cattle.)

And here, Jack honestly evaluates all the evidence about fish oil and heart disease.

But our good pal Josh helps bend the arc toward an industry-wide ban on gestation crates -- today, Oscar Mayer! And he also notes one of the best players in the NFL is publicly vegan.

Linda reports: I was able to give 200 Compassionate Choices today in a short time at FIU. They happened to have an orientation day going on so it was pretty busy. Spoke with one student, Robert, who was really happy to get the booklet. He took my contact info and I'm hoping he will leaflet in the future. Also spoke to Bianca and Victor (above) and they said that they love animals. They also took my info after we spoke about the possibility of them starting a club -- maybe with Robert!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

More Warped Tour

John Oberg (above, with Stewart Solomon) reports from the Houston stop:

Current tour stats: 121,697 leaflets at 12 shows between 53 different leafleters with 9 different hosts. Warped Tour is one of the best things to happen to animals in a long time. And let's not forget about the great work that other pro-animal groups on WT are doing -- FARM, peta2, and AFA. We all have each other's backs and it feels damn good to be in this movement.

More John O:
"Such an amazing night of outreach --
including getting a hug from a girl who said,
'Thank you so much for this.
I received one last year at Warped Tour and have been vegetarian ever since!'"

Andy and Nicole make the animals' case!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weekend Funny: Don't Mess w/ the Vegan Police!

Dr Greger notes this hysterical scene from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World:

Or watch here.

Sorry -- it is now blocked! Search "Scott Pilgrim Vegan" on YouTube.


Friday, July 6, 2012

St. Louis Story

John Oberg saves the day:

"Today I had one of the my most meaningful moments of the [Warped] tour. A group of three girls were walking by and I overheard one say, 'I got this before and went vegetarian right after!' I stopped them and asked her [middle, below] if she was still vegetarian. She said no, so I asked why, to which she replied that she accidentally ate chicken once and felt like she could no longer be a vegetarian because of this one slip. I explained how vegetarianism wasn't about purity and that I've accidentally ate non-vegan in the past and didn't let it stop me from continuing on with my ethical commitment. She instantly said she would go vegetarian from this point on. At the end of the conversation, she said, 'Thank you for changing my life!'"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

John-O Reports from San Antonio-O

"What an epic night of outreach! The Warped crowd was super friendly and appreciative. We met many vegetarians and vegans, and heard, "This is so sad, it makes me want to be vegetarian."

"Huuuge thanks to Alan (MFA Dallas' campaign coordinator for the summer) for bringing two star interns. Without the MFA crew there, we would've reached thousands fewer people. The teamwork between people from different organizations throughout Warped Tour has been incredible."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Message from Jon

I just wanted to again thank you for donating to Team Vegan! ... In total, $255,742 [and counting -ed] was raised for Vegan Outreach, thanks to the generosity of you and other supporters.

As you might know, I spend a big chunk of each year traveling the country for VO, doing outreach on college campuses. One of the most common experiences I encounter is when individuals walk up to me (or any other VO leafleter) and say that they are now vegetarian or vegan as a result of VO's past leafleting. And we continue to get hundreds of veg starter pack requests every month -- many of these from students who got a booklet on campus. As a result of our outreach, the number of eyes being opened to the animals' plight and the number of animals being spared from prolonged misery is vast. Change is happening every day and you are making it happen.

I'm always so heartened when I think of what is involved in a donation. It's someone saying, "I have this. I could use it to do something for myself, but I'm going to use it to ensure that others suffer less and lead a better quality of life." It's the ultimate in human goodness, and it makes it hard for me to be too cynical about the world when I know that people like you exist.

Thanks again for playing such an important role in Vegan Outreach's work! There would be no leaflets, leafleters, or success stories without you. I'm excited to put your donations to use this upcoming year and ensure that they go as far as possible for the animals. Thank you once again!

Sincerely, Jon

Monday, July 2, 2012

Science Fiction Becoming Fact

Fake meat: is science fiction on the verge of becoming fact?

Money quote: ‘I have zero interest in making a new food for vegans,’ says molecular biologist Patrick Brown. ‘I’m making a food for people who want meat.’

Or, as we've said before, "People who currently eat animals are the only ones in a position to make changes that help reduce suffering. Therefore, the information in our booklets and on our main website is primarily aimed at meat-eaters who might be willing and able to consider making changes. There is no point in showing people the revolting hidden horrors of modern agribusiness if the alternative seems unappealing and/or so strange as to be beyond consideration."

PETA has extended their prize to further incentivize animal-free meat.