Because animals do not communicate in a human language, their pain is ignored. At a basic level within the larger scheme of speciesism, this is one primary reason and it really is as abhorrent as that. Humans do know what pain sounds and looks like, but because other animals cannot verbalize, they are brutalized. It's an unconscionable condition that humans impose pain, terror, and murder, pretending to somehow not know that animals are suffering and crying out for their very lives. Vegans are the only humans of the belief that this and all animal exploitation is wrong, and nothing short of abolishment is acceptable. This begs the question, in becoming vegan is it necessary to use your voice and be an activist? No. It isn't a requirement. Will using your voice and combining activism with your veganism help the animals even more? Absolutely. Should you as a vegan be an activist? Without a doubt, yes, and here's why...
Most people love animals and would never harm them with their own hands. In fact most would try to protect animals if harm was being done in proximity to them. Yet societal conditioning is so pervasive, these same individuals pay regularly for goods and services that are a direct result of animal cruelty and murder. Veganism is the only way of life that allows individuals to actually live their love for animals, as anything less than veganism necessitates funding their abuse and death. In spreading the vegan message and bringing light to the atrocities in using animals, our ability to help others to live in alignment with their values creates change for the animals and creates a more peaceful, loving world. No one can do better until they know better. Awakening can only occur with awareness, and it is literally in our hands as vegans to spread the word. Those consuming animals as well as those profiteering, will not make a case for abolishing animal use. Inherently vegans are the only ones equipped to spread this message, and being a small segment of the population thus far must use as many voices as possible.
What if one doesn't feel comfortable speaking outt? There are many means one can use. What helped me to begin approaching people directly in my daily interactions was remembering that no matter how uncomfortable I may be, it would never equal the discomfort the animals experience 24/7. In reality though, it is far easier to speak out than you may think and looking back I cannot recall a single time discomfort materialized.
If you don't feel comfortable initiating in your advocacy just yet, there are various conversation starters that are easy and effective. I always wear something in plain view that has a vegan message. This prompts those who may be curious about veganism that you would have no way to identify to begin the conversation, and more often than not that occurs. I have various shirts, hats, pins, jewelry, fabric grocery bags, mobile phone cases, all with a vegan message. You can arm yourself with pamphlets and literature to share, and many organizations supply them for the cost of shipping alone. Having your own cards, stickers and literature printed or printing them yourself allows you to personalize your message. As an example, I use my business cards to highlight the abuse in animal agriculture and it proves a great conversation starter.
Following are helpful links to order and print outreach materials:
There are also volunteer opportunities for outreach with animal rights organizations:
Online advocacy and outreach is another effective and super important method due to the ability to impact a larger audience. When I began online advocacy, I started with my Facebook account. I was having moderate results there but felt I could do better. Being tied to an office eight hours a day however, my outreach was largely limited to the internet. I then at the end of 2015 went back to an account I created but had never used on Twitter. I was tentative due to the per-post character limit, however found the format there allowed for posting an even greater volume of information overall. I also found advocating there produced much greater results. On average I receive 3-5 messages per week from individuals indicating interest in going vegan, and I then spend time both via email and phone getting them acclimated. I currently mentor 14 brand new vegans, and it's always so promising to see their surprise at just how easy going vegan is.
Within one year also I was shocked by receiving a message from Onalytica, a relationship influencer management company, that I ranked as the #1 individual influencer on Twitter in Animal 'Welfare' per their study. The term 'Welfare,' entitling their report was confusing to me as my message is always one of abolishing use, but it was merely used as a catch-all term by Onalytica (see the above chart). The report follows, and is a great resource to connect with 100 individuals and 100 organizations on Twitter for inspiration and information to share :
Your passion as a vegan to save the animals makes a crucial difference. Social media is a powerful tool in our arsenal, and it couldn't be more convenient to use. We all have our mobile devices with us, and even if one is limited in real-time, using Hootsuite and other apps provides a scheduling function. Using your passion to speak out does have impact, and this challenge will take all of us with passion put to use by whatever means we can.
(Easy recipe using vegan chick'n strips here.)
Food can also be an effective advocacy tool. Everyone eats, and many times people simply think that vegan food will not taste good. We know that valuing the taste of a meal over an entire life is not right. When others see their taste buds will still be satisfied however, it is no longer even a 'logical' selfish justification.
Share vegan food with everyone! Look for occasions and events to impact a crowd with vegan products and recipes. People often mistakenly think a change to eating vegan will be difficult, and unfortunately will not pursue it on their own. When they can experience first hand they are not sacrificing flavor or familiar textures and dishes, they are more apt to respond positively to the rest of your message. I have countless stories where I have found success leading with food with family, friends and coworkers.
There are other means of advocacy too which are vitally important including protests and bearing witness that will be featured in subsequent posts in The Vegan Voice series. I will also be featuring other activists and organizations for a look at additional effective means of advocacy we all can use.
As independent activists often times with limited time or resources, it is valuable also that we help each other. We all have areas of expertise that we may be able to donate in being of service this way. I have my own virtual assisting business and donate time in helping other independent vegan activists with organizing events, promotion, social media and travel. If there's something you think I may be able to assist you with please reach out.
In my life nothing that has meant more to me than knowing being driven by my passion to abolish animal use, my voice is having some impact. It is important to know that as a vegan nobody's involvement in helping animals is more important than yours. Your empathy, love and passion is the driving force in making this world the loving place for all animals that it should be, and with our vegan voice, together we can do this.
For more helpful links to share in your advocacy on myths surrounding animal agriculture and on going vegan, jump over to my Spread The Word blog post.