Campus events always seem to be the most productive outreach events we have. World Vegan Day was no exception. We meet witih dozens of students, offer vegan food to hundreds of people, and show Pay Per View to many others. Literature is usually passed out to thousands of people on campus, allowing us to reach many Texans. Best of all, most of the people we meet seem very receptive to the information we have to share.
Join us for our next UTA campus outreach on 3/20/2013, to support the worldwide Meatout Event. Ours will be: Take the Vegan Pledge!
On October 21, 2012, Animal Rights & Rescue proudly joined forces with Dallas Vegan and the Texas State Veggie Fair organizers to participate in one of the greatest annual vegan events in DFW. Every year seems to top the prior year, thanks to the hard work of the organizers and sponsors. Kudos to James Scott and his TSVF crew who have been willing to take on such a huge task.
Reverchon Park: a Perfect Location for TSVF 2012
Reverchon Park in Dallas was the chosen venue and it was nearly perfect. The location afforded enough room for the music to play in the background, so the vendors could hear people that approached our booths. The indoors was not as crowded this year and offered climate-controlled temperatures for speakers and audiences. There was only a brief wait for the restrooms, and plenty of shade to keep us cool. The weather was even on our side (remember the mud puddles and early AM electrical storm last year?). There was plenty of free parking across from the park, and the unloading was super easy for the vendors. Best of all, there were numerous food vendors with too many selections to imagine. Char tried the ice cream sandwiches from Cool Haus and while pricey, she said it was well worth it. I saw other ARRNT members trying tacos, corn dogs, and lots of free samples. Ken Botts was a judge at the fried food competition – he had his socks blown off by the fried Frito Pie from what I hear!
Vegan Thanks to Participants and Helpers!
Thanks to Ellie, Millie, Dana and Marianne for helping staff the booth, and to everyone who attended and helped make it a very special event. We networked with several other groups: ARC (Animal Rescue Corps) is going to help us become contingent rescuers until we can get rescue trained. Some of their members have also been trained by Red Rover, as our group has. Animal Connection of Texas, our neighbors during the Fair, said they would like to collaborate on an event with us, too. We also had 30 people sign up to join us and each one was emailed an individual note with information about our group. We also were given over $100 in donations ($120), including the purchase of one tee shirt. One young man came by and dropped $40 in our donation jar – we wanted to track him down and offer him a tee shirt but couldn’t find him. Thank you kind sir!
A special thank you to Char Duncan, our Vice President. Since this author was fighting off bronchitis and also had a migraine, there is no way the event could have taken place without her. She had already done double duty the day before at Paws in the Park, a River Legacy event to benefit local shelter animals run by Friends of Arlington Animal Services. Thanks, Char, for being such a trusted friend to animals — and to ARRNT!
We recently had an explanation of our group, our commitments, reasons to go vegan, and a list of online resources printed up in halfsheet form for distributing throughout the community. Here is what our promotional sheets say:
We view animals as fellow earthlings and are working to educate others about our amazing neighbors on this planet, to increase respect and understanding between all living beings, and to be advocates for peace and justice.
- Maintain an attitude of respect for all forms of life, regardless of species.
- Maintain respect for the rights of animals to live their own lives and not to be exploited. As such, we support the abolition of animal exploitation rather than the regulation of exploitation.
- Maintain veganism as the baseline for protecting animals from exploitation. By providing creative vegan education, we hope to teach respect towards all animals.
- Maintain an attitude of non-violence and peace in our relations with others, whether human or non-human animals.
- Maintain an anti-oppression stance, since we know that all oppression is interrelated.
- Maintain a group that supports the lives of local animals through rescue trainings; shelter, sanctuary, wildlife, and habitat support; and community education and outreach.
HUNGER: A plant-based diet requires less resources and would help feed the world’s starving people.
POLLUTION: Raising livestock destroys our waterways, pollutes the soil and air, and diminishes our quality of life.
DISEASE: Eating animals has been linked to degenerative diseases such as heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
VIOLENCE: The extreme cruelty and violence that is inherent in using animals damages the human spirit and increases violence in the world.
What You Can Do!
- Adopt a vegan lifestyle. This will prevent thousands of animals from lives of suffering.
- Avoid the circus, rodeo, zoo, or aquarium for entertainment. Many animals are subjected to horrible lives of confinement and premature death for our momentary pleasure.
- Adopt, do not buy, if you want to live with an animal. Avoid support for animal breeding while animals are dying in shelters.
- Volunteer at your local shelter and encourage them to adopt the No Kill philosophy.
- Make certain you have made disaster plans for any animals living with or near you.
- Help us to spread the word!
Or contact us by email: ARRNTx@gmail.com. We are also on Facebook, Twitter (@ARRNorthTexas) and maintain a blog on the web (ARRNT.com).
July 12th found Animal Rights & Rescue in the middle of a very busy Employee Health Fair. The Fort Worth branch of a local company had a series of tables set up, a large recycling display, and hundreds of employees who attended the fair and walked past the ARRNT table. Since this was a corporate affair, we were allowed to bring vegan food to share. Nothing quite draws a crowd to your table like free food! We had lemon tarts and lemon bars, along with three kinds of Field Roast Sausage: Chipotle, Italian and Apple Sage. Most everyone was eager to try our plant-based, cholesterol-free offerings, and all but one or two seemed to really be surprised at how much they enjoyed the flavor, taste and texture. One person mentioned that there was “something missing” from the lemon tarts. Indeed there was something missing — cruelty! (Thanks to Margaret for that connection!!)
Giving Back With Kindness
Only one person became challenging, stating she was from “PETA – People for Eating Tasty Animals,” and, tried to antagonize us. “I am not from the PETA you support.” We explained we did not support People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals but were an independent organization. Later, this same person came back, engaged us in conversation, tried the Field Roast sausage and admitted it was pretty good! It was a good reminder to never give back in kind, but to always give kindness back. One never knows what will stay in another person’s heart.
Our books and DVDs (from Compassionate Cooks) were taken early in the day, and more flyers and brochures were taken than at any other event. So many employees seemed interested in animals and rescue, but were not too certain about drawing the connections with their consumer choices. Since our table was right next to the Water Conservation table of the county water district, our graphic showing the water usage of one vegan meal versus one omnivorous meal was fortunate placement.
Planting Seeds, Changing Hearts
Corporate events are a great way to reach out into the community, to network with other service providers, and to become more visible in the DFW area. Many people took our new informational sheet about ARRNT as well as booklets about animal rights and veganism. These events allow us to answer questions, present resources and offer giveaways to people. If you have not been to a tabling event, it is a wonderful way to plant seeds of peace and help our neighbors live a healthier, kinder life. And most of all, they help us get the word out about other animals!
We have already scheduled three more corporate events for calendar year 2013.
I was recently interviewed on OHNR by Dr. Roger Yates of Dublin. Dr. Yates has been one of the vegan pioneers and a mentor to me, helping me learn many things about animal rights. I felt honored to be on an OHNR podcast and was pleased to be able to highlight ARRNT and our work in educating others to respect and understand all animals.
Here is the podcast.
Dr. Yates is the former Press Officer for an animal liberation organization and brought up the important point of promoting our group. Dr. Yates is a true vegan pioneer and has much to teach us all about avoiding burnout and staying in the game.
ARRNT was recently invited to participate in an employee Green Day festival which took place June 28, 2012. The event was indoors, with all tables, setup and supplies provided for us. We were even provided with two bottles of water and a coupon for lunch (although there was nothing available for vegans at this facility). The hosts were very hospitable and helped us take our outreach materials to our car at day’s end. While the number of participants was light, they informed us that their next festival, in Fort Worth in July, will be much better attended.
What We Heard
This was not only a great networking opportunity, it also afforded us a glimpse into Texas thinking. Some of the statements we heard:
“But we need to get calcium for our bones, don’t we?”
“I heard the mother cows crying for their calves all night; I never forgot that. Then I became a mother and it really hit me.”
“I am not going vegan. What else ya got?”
“So, are you for animals or are you vegans?”
“I have a rescued cat.”
“I wouldn’t know what to cook”
Do you know of any classes on how to transition to veganism?”
As in past tabling events, we gave out many informational sheets and found a new home for a vegan cookbook, My Sweet Vegan. Two women were excited to see the possibilities and begin thinking of new ways to get their families on board plant-based eating.
Englarging the Tent
Many folks seem to realize that companion animals like cats and dogs are individuals with distinct personalities. Most struggled to consider that other animals, ones with which they are unfamiliar, may be similarly individualistic. But most listened, asked questions, and picked up brochures such as Respecting Animals by Boston Vegan Association.
Some were shocked to hear about the decimation of marine life, the pollution caused by animal agriculture, or the sensitivity of other animals. Because the facility was indoors, there was no problem with wind, temperature, or sound. This allowed us to really concentrate of answering questions. Nearly everyone that came by took at least a few brochures.
Premiering, and possibly the most popular information sheet taken was our new promotional flyer for our own group. It includes our commitments, reasons for going vegan, suggestions of action anyone can take, and links for further information as well as ARRNT contact information.
Setting the Stage for Change
We will be allowed to bring vegan goodies to the July event, which always seems to draw a crowd and change attitudes about vegan food. Anyone willing to donate vegan brownies, vegan cookies, of volunteer at the event, please sign up on our Meetup page.
This year’s business fairs are only prelude for what is to follow. Establishing these important, positive connections will allow us to be more effective in changing things for other animals. Don’t miss it – join our efforts!
by Adam Little
Hello there ARRNT and fellow supporters! I’d like to take a moment and speak with you about what you can do, as individuals, to benefit other animals today! Activist groups should be encouraged because of the camraderie and cooperation they bring, but it is, of course, always still important to realize the power of one! Similar to groups, individual advocates are capable of educating others at local, national, and international levels.
Recognizing Advocacy Opportunities
When speaking with friends, famliy, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. there are no doubt times when the subject of “veganism” or “animal rights” will come up. This is the perfect time to educate others. Generally, I believe it is best that we not “preach” the message and instead let the person or persons your talking with “steer” the conservation so as to make them feel comfortable and become overall more receptive to our message. Of course, when asked straight out “why are you vegan” or “why you support x” I believe it is beneficial to remain truthful, which your audience will be appreciate, even if they do have an aversion to certain topics such as the “ethical argument” of veganism.
Outreach to Strangers
They don’t have to be people you know either! Go out and buy some leaflets and other reading material, and hit the streets! Generally, it is best to find outlets that are closer to what we believe in such as natural food stores or farmer’s markets. Always be careful though, and be sure to leave when an employee or manager asks you to leave. You getting arrested in this instance will not help other animals in any way.
Personal discussions are great, but what about that great mass of people we may never reach? How can we possibly, as individuals, sway that average and anonymous Joe or Jane on the street? There are certainly a lot of ways to approach this, but the one I find to be the most effective is “stealth” advocacy. Stealth advocacy can mean many things, but mostly it entails grabbing a leaflet or poster and slipping them into places where people may find them. You can do this at work (although be discreet), your local library, city hall, dentist, restaurant, etc. This is a great way to reach a great sum of people in a short amount of time. It is also fantastic for those “shy” activists among us!
Finally, I’d like to talk about what I believe is the most important tool for individual advocates. The internet! The internet is a great resource and outlet for reaching a large number of people at a national and international level. And cheaply too! Facebook, twitter, and online public forums in particular are your best friends when attempting this endeavor. They make it easy and appropriate to bring up topics on social justice and promptly debate them. You might be interested in Dr. Roger Yate’s view on this matter!
Remember: Be respectful, coherent and, in some situations (depending on your audience), simplistic and to the point. For the sake of your mental health, you may want to adopt the “post and flee” approach in which you merely supply some information, move on, and let onlookers judge for themselves. Some of these people are simply relentless and going point by point with them doesn’t always help.
What Works for You?
As always, we appreciate those of you who deeply care about these issues, and seek to extend the moral paradigm past the limited scope of “humanity.” As individual advocates, I truly believe you make up some of the greatest people on this planet. Thanks for reading. Comments and discussion are always appreciated!