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.
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!
October found four activists ready to take the plunge into activism with a jaunt into leafleting. For our destination, since we had no problems leafleting at a market in the past, we selected a north Arlington market destination. Attending were Sharky, Adam, Millie and Barb. Sharky and Adam were both great leafleters, polite and effective in engaging with the public. Sharky was enthusiastic enough to keep up us going when this organizer was ready to call it a day. Millie came for the first time and arrived willing to work – way to go crew!
Successful Day Despite Being Shooed Away!
We were asked to leave Kroger after about 75 minutes in front of their store, and promptly did so. We then went down the road to Whole Foods. I had some reservations about leafleting there as it is not the type of store to allow much flexibility for such activities. Sure enough, we were asked to leave within a few minutes. But, not before educating people about the dairy industry. One man was shocked to learn that calves die in the dairy industry, and most people at least took the flyer and looked at it briefly. We reached about 175 people on this leafleting event.
What is a Good Leafleting Venue?
It is most difficult to find a venue for leafleting in our area. Since it seems troublesome to store managers, perhaps we need to find events where we will be less likely to have to leave so soon. As everyone goes about their daily ventures, please apprise us of any possible locations that are public in nature and will not impact a proprietor. We also discussed others ways to get the information into the hands of more north Texas citizens. We want to help our neighbors, not become nuisances!
Vegan Lunch Following Activism
The gentlemen continued their adventure by going to lunch. Last we heard, it was between Loving Hut and Freebirds. Rumor has it that Freebirds has done volunteer work for the local animal shelter and is a vegan friendly place with a cooperative attitude. We will await feedback from the guys–anyone leave them some leaflets?