Friday, August 31, 2012

NSFW Friday Video

Not work-safe, and definitely not for everyone. But in honor of our amazing researcher and designer and resident head-banger (right), Vegan Black Metal Chef makes Pad Thai.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 1 for John O

After a little under three years of volunteering, today is Day #1 being officially employed by Vegan Outreach. It's safe to say that there is absolutely nothing I'd rather be doing in this world than engaging in some of the most effective outreach I possibly can, while getting the opportunity to explore the continent, interact with the public, and meet/hang out with some of the coolest people in the entire world. I love VO and the whole family of leafleters, volunteers, hosts, and donors.

As for today, I set a new personal record of 2,761 booklets handed out to students at Winona State. I got in early and stayed until the 3:00 class change. The Winona students were very receptive and I was thanked numerous times for being out there in the sun (which unfortunately led to me having one of the worst farmer's tans in my life). Heard lines such as "Keep up the good work!" and "It's a good handout, I didn't know most of the stuff in there."

-John Oberg

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Even More News

Paul S sends the review of Paul R's animal welfare record.

Slate reviews non-dairy ice cream.

Ginny's take on mentoring.

Mikael sends this picture of Elizabeth providing the animals a voice:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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 suffrage, 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, Myriam is about to celebrate her one-year anniversary of being a veg at UCSD. Hat-tip Nikki! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Irvine Goes BOOM!

A part of Nikki's report from Irvine Valley College:

Amir....this kat comes back to me with the booklet saying, "What do I do to help?" I say, "Help me leaflet." He says, "Ok. What else?" I say "Stop eating the animals and their parts." "Of course, that's done as of the second I glanced through that booklet. This is disgusting. And horrible." And he's a natural leafleter! He'll be joining me at many more colleges going forward.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bubble for a First-Time Leafleter!

Gianna McCardell hands out her second leaflet as
Brooke Andris supplies moral support.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Joe's Insight Into Human Nature

Joe captures it well:

History has shown that the health argument is a way to drastically increase the number of animals who suffer and die for human consumption. Although we might advocate for low fat vegan diets under the belief that this would yield optimal health results, people have a way of doing the least, not the most, that they can to address a problem. In this case, leading to people consuming more lower fat chicken, turkey and fishes in place of beef, thus skyrocketing the number of animals who suffer and die for food. While our intentions would be good, the way it plays out in the real world can be and have been disastrous for animals.

Letter from Texas

I would like to thank you for opening my eyes to the horrifying things happening to animals behind our backs. I'm 13 years old and now I'm living a life of cruelty-free eating. I was horrified at the stories told in these booklets!

When I turned veg, I thought doors would close, but actually they opened. I'm spreading the word and I'm teaching people that living meat-free is not the hardest thing in the world. My goal is to spread the word and make people understand that animals are dying each day and we can save them. So I promise to help you with your cause, to raise awareness and open other people's eyes like you did mine.

Again, I thank you for showing me a new world!

-MM, Ferris, TX

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From Soon-to-See Nikki

From Madam Benoit: "Cynthia got a booklet 2 years ago at OCC - vegan on the spot. She veganized her boyfriend AND his parental units."

Monday, August 20, 2012

Casey, pt. 1

Have fallen behind on Casey's pics from NYC. Here's batch one from the past month.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Guide Requests

Brian sends a sampling of comments from our online Guide request form:

We picked up your booklet in a restaurant.  We have been on a plant based diet for 3 years but recently we've been slipping back.  I read this pamphlet and sat down and sobbed.  This has restored my conviction to go back to our 100% vegan diet.  My heart is breaking over how cruel we humans can be. 

I visited Warped tour for the first time and I was walking around to different venues and saw your booklet to stop animal cruelty, and I wanted to be a part of it. 

I went to Warped tour 2012 this weekend, and I've decide to become a full vegan! I think your Guide will help me out as a beginner, and show my family why I'm doing this.

I was at Warped tour and someone handed me one and I read about it and now working on being a vegan!

Warped tour 2011 handed out your booklets and it really moved me, so I thought about it for a bit and I'm finally choosing a vegan diet. 

Because of your booklet, my family and I will not eat meat.  Would like to know how to go about getting booklets to hand out. 

At the warped tour I realized how bad the animals are treated. I didn't want to be a part of it because it's wrong, because animals suffer so much every day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meaning Comes from Action

An old friend wrote today with frustrations about the extreme claims and demands of various folks in her local veg community. It reminded me of a discussion I had with the folks at Vegan Mainstream about the potential pitfalls of acting as though “community” is required to be a successful vegan:

“This is why we emphasize the importance of both breaking the vegan stereotype and, more importantly, being an active voice for the animals. We want people to be a part of the world not as a vegan per se, but as an effective advocate for justice. Sustainability comes from being part of the progress of the moral arc of the universe — rather than part of a closed, self-reinforcing club. The “Meaningful” in “A Meaningful Life” comes from the actions we take and the lives we change, not the potlucks we attend or the angry posts we write about honey.”

Or, as Jack put it long ago, “We want a vegan world, not a vegan club.”


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Calculating Optimal Advocacy for All Animals

Previously, we touched on the hazards of using the health argument, as it often leads to many, many more fishes and chickens being consumed.

According to USDA data, it takes more than 200 chickens to provide the same amount of meat as one steer. So everyone who gives up beef for chicken causes hundreds more animals to be raised and slaughtered (and chickens generally have much worse lives than cattle*). This is why there are literally billions more animals suffering intensely on U.S. factory farms and being butchered in industrial slaughterhouses today than 20 years ago.

To put it another way: the impact of many, many vegetarians will be offset by just one person who gives up eating mammals and replaces even some of those meals with chickens and fishes.

Regardless of how we think people should react to the information we present, as the animals' voice, we simply must avoid making arguments that can possibly lead anyone to eat more animals.

  *Independent of living conditions, chickens destined to be slaughtered for their meat have been genetically manipulated to grow so fast that their lives are terrible; from the "Enter the Chicken Shed," pdf, an excerpt from The Way We Eat: "Professor John Webster, of the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Science, has said: 'Broilers are the only livestock that are in chronic pain for the last 20% of their lives. They don't move around, not because they are overstocked, but because it hurts their joints so much.' Sometimes vertebrae snap, causing paralysis. Paralyzed birds, or birds whose legs have collapsed, cannot get to food or water, and – because the growers don’t bother to, or don’t have time to, check on individuals birds – die of thirst or starvation. Unable to avoid more aggressive birds in the crowded sheds, they may also be pecked to death." Photo from COK's

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Link of the Day: How the Health Argument Fails Veganism

By Ginny. Excerpts:

The ethical argument for veganism pertains to everyone, but health arguments target a very specific population. In a trailer for the book The Engine 2 Diet, one person who went through “the program,” is no longer on it, because “she doesn’t need to be.” That is—like many omnivores—she is in good health and sees absolutely no reason why she should be vegan....

The health argument isn’t unique. People who are focused only on the health aspects of a vegan diet are more likely to be enticed by other dietary philosophies that make promises about improved health. For ethical vegans, there is no comparable or alternative way of eating and living. The counter-argument to all of this, of course, is that getting people to go vegan for any reason is a good thing. It reduces animal use and it helps shift paradigms about food choices—which can eventually open minds to the issue of animal liberation. I’m in favor of most efforts and campaigns that do those things. But here is the problem with using the health argument in this way—it’s that there isn’t any health argument for veganism.

There is, of course, a pretty good argument for eating more plants (lots more plants) and less animal food, but no one has shown that you must eat a 100 percent plant diet in order to be healthy. So to make an argument for a 100% vegan diet based on health benefits alone, we have no choice but to stretch the truth. We have to overstate the benefits of vegan diets, and sometimes minimize or dismiss the risks. And as soon as we stray from the actual facts, our advocacy is on shaky ground.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gone, but Not Forgotten

Warped Tour maybe be over, but we have a backlog of pictures. Here, Karen James, followed by another reader at the same stop:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ginny's Back!

Ginny Messina -- one of the most honest and thoughtful vegans around -- has several new blog posts:

New Research on Weight Control, Vegetarian Diets and Eating Disorders

The Plant-Powered Diet and Best Resources for Vegans

From the latter, I wanted to note this key quote:

I peruse a lot of popular nutrition books and it seems like the key to success is to make extravagant claims, gloss over how complex the research is, and assure readers that you know the one and only diet to prevent all disease and ensure permanent (and easy!) weight loss.

We vegans (and the animals!) are fortunate to have Ginny and her honest and thorough work!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


EM said: "I laughed so hard I cried."

Colbert "defends" Steve King.

Perhaps the best Colbert segment ever.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yet Another

Nikki sends along this picture of Henny, vegan for eight months after being handed a booklet!

PS -- great to see everyone at AR2012!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Link of the Day: Letter to a Young Matt

The tagline for the blog says: "We're dedicated to reducing suffering as much as possible. Care more about results than words? Want a vegan world, not a vegan club?"

But as I explain here, this wasn't always the case for me!


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Kid Rocker!

Christopher Mucke rocks it for the animals at Warped's Atlanta stop!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012