Dear Animal Lovers, Animal Advocates, Animal Rescuers:
Happy New Year everyone! It’s great to be back safe and sound. The internship at Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres in Acton, California was a heartwarming and heartening experience.
One of the best events was a webinar Nick Cooney and Bruce Friedrich presented via concall on the last week at the farm. They run Farm Sanctuary’s “Compassionate Communities Campaign“ http://ccc.farmsanctuary.org/. The presentation was on advocacy for farm animals going forward and a concomitant plant based diet. I tried to capture as much as I could – with their permission, below are my notes.
– To spare these individual farm animals a lifetime of suffering.
– By not eating any meat at all, over the course of a year, you save 31 animals.
– If you reduce meat consumption by only half, you save an approximate 14 animals per year.
Why not? Reasons people don’t go vegan: taste, convenience, overwhelmed, negative perception
How? Note: how to consume less (meat/dairy) is as important as why.
– One of the most important things to convey is that animals are individuals: they are someone, not something:
– Vegetarian or vegan advocacy will spare the greatest number of them.
– Capitalize not just on doing “good” but how to “do the most good”.
– Put your limited time, money, and energy towards the greatest effort.
– Focus on the day to day, quote Warren Buffett “as looking for one foot hurdles – not ten foot hurdles”. The people around us are the one foot hurdles.
– Keep an hour a week for advocacy: distribute vegetarian starter guides, leaflets, etc., where you can (available through http://ccc.farmsanctuary.org/ ) in places like yoga studios, coffee shops, etc.
– People are hard to convince. It’s a “numbers game”. Get to the general public, don’t worry about friends and family. You may reach hundreds of people and out of that number, a small number will change. So the more people we reach, the greater the impact.
– The most critical point is that we need to move towards the greatest reduction in numbers: we can reach dozens, or we can reach hundreds, or we can reach thousands.
Tools to be more effective and persuasive:
– Get a foot in the door on the subject.
– Use the animals’ stories versus using statistics. Stories are twice as effective as stats.
– Use more compassion and less guilt/judgment with your human friends.
– Social norms are more effective for change: share with human friends how vegetarianism and veganism are popular, healthy, growing trends.
– Encourage less meat consumption, even by 10%. Don’t shoot for perfection.
– Focus on commonalities – compassion for animals, wanting to adopt healthier lifestyle. Leverage similarities you have with them.
– Promote “plant based diet”.
– Leave “other” issues off the table, seek commonalities.
– Encourage small behavioural changes.
– Tell them “what’s in it for them”, how any positive change in diet is in line with who they are, and the values they hold.
– Encourage them to bring their actions in line with their values; talk to them about the environmental social justice climate.
– Be a positive example.
– Teach/share how to find veg foods, how to cook, prepare & plan. Join or start a club/internet group, promote on social media.
Highest predictor for change? Help them believe they can do it.
Check out the Compassionate Communities Campaign here – surf their info – they’ve got some great stuff:
Or, join the Compassionate Communities Campaign itself and get updates:
The time on the farm with my friends the animals was absolutely priceless. It was really hard work – harder than anything I’ve ever done. But to be in those yards all day, witnessing the antics, seeing the individual attributes, hearing the stories of each and every last one of them, and actually helping them, well, there’s no better feeling.
There is only one way to describe what it was like to hold Harry’s head in my arms, smell his fur, stare into his deep brown eyes, to hold Ramona in my hands and talk to her, to stroke Violet’s head resting in my lap, to help Russell get up and walk out of his barn, to stare at Jimmy and Macy curled up together in their yard, to witness Papa Ed caretaking the youngsters, to listen to the turkey girls sing: it was just true love.
Back to the real world. C4P is back to publishing the weekly newsletter, which then gets posted here as a blog. Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and support. Anyone with questions on interning at Farm Sanctuary don’t hesitate to consider it, don’t hesitate to call me.