On August 21 and 22 marked the return of Seattle Hempfest, the largest cannabis policy reform event in the world. Now in its 18th year, the “protestival” attracts tens of thousands of people each day to listen to Hempfest’s reform messages amidst a festival atmosphere marked by music on multiple stages and numerous vendors. The picture-perfect day in a park setting overlooking the blue waters of Elliot Bay and backed by the sun-glistened downtown Seattle skyline meant this year’s Hempfest was one of the busiest in recent memory.
NARN was right in the thick of it, spreading the message of extending compassion and self-determination to non-human animals, with a booth well-staffed by many talented and determined volunteer activists like Franziska, Isa, Ted, Rabbit, Chuck, Meredith, Nick, Dominique, Claudine, Shelly, Pete, Margaret, Michael & Wil. In the course of two days, we were able to distribute a personal record amount of vegan literature, restaurant guides and starter kits (over 2500!) to provide Hempfest attendees with the tools they need to transition to an animal-product-free lifestyle.
Thanks to our volunteers for the hard work they did in making this event a huge success!
Thanks to our fabulous and dedicated activists, NARN distributed over 2,000 Veg Restaurant Guides and Gudies to Cruelty Free Living at the Folklife Festival, the U-District Street Fair and the Furry 5k benefit for Seattle Animal Shelter.
At the NARN table, we had signs for our free Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant Guides and many people excitedly came to us asking: “where is that Vegan Guide? I want the vegan restaurant guide!” It’s always nice to know we’re helping people find delicious, cruelty-free dining options in Seattle – and helping animals in turn.
Other passersby were excited to see the Free Veg Starter Kits, or to have the opportunity to pick up information for their son/daughter/niece/friend that has been a vegetarian or just turned vegan. And of course, the kids always love free stickers!
We also parted with a good number of animal services guides, particularly at the Furry 5k. What a great way to reach people who already love their companion animals! Mark also ran the course in a jersey that read “Vegan Athlete” and NARN’s logo, then carried a sign for VegSeattle through the finish!
It is very rewarding to have people thank us for being out there, and to feel as though we are providing a valuable service. It’s also a lot of fun to hang out with others devoted to promoting compassion for all animals.
This weekend, the fun continues at the Fremont Fair, where NARN will have a table in front of PCC. Come say hello!
The NARN table at Vegfest supplied many people with information about factory farming, the myth of “free range” eggs, and how milk actually doesn’t do a body good. People’s responses ranged from shy-but-curious, to those passionately making a beeline over to our table to sign up to get involved in helping animals.
There were lots of folks asking how they could make the transition from vegetarian to vegan, to which our friendly volunteers shared their own tips and personal stories. This, along with all the free food samples, made Vegfest another fun event this year!
It was an icy evening, but it felt good to raise awareness about the animal cruelty inherent in the fur industry.
The symphony is traditionally a place where people wear fur, especially on New Year’s Eve. So a bunch of us gathered at Benaroya Hall for a silent vigil before going out to party.
A teenage kid with puffy, half-closed bloodshot eyes ambles up to our table. He spies the free stickers we have out.
“‘Whoa, wha–? Milk’s got pus in it? For real? But doesn’t milk taste, like, SO GOOD, dude? Heh heh, I don’t even CARE if it’s got pus in it, yo!”
The rest of his friends crowd around, looking at our literature. One guy takes a look at Bailee and me, then says, “But what do you do for protein? Is it really a myth that you can’t get enough protein if you don’t eat meat? I mean, you both look pretty healthy and everything.”
So that’s an opening to talk about how it’s really possible to care about animal suffering AND be happy and healthy at the same time. For these kids, maybe they’ve always thought they couldn’t do anything to help the tortured animals who die for their food. And maybe they’ve never met vegans who were happy to answer their questions about how they go about leaving factory farming behind.
Lots of people helped out at the NARN table at Hempfest. Rachel (above), Mark (left), Bryan (below), Patty, Carrie, Claudine, Rabbit, Andy, Jason, Andre, Bailee, and David handed out over a thousand Why Vegan? pamphlets. It was a real success in spreading the cruelty-free lifestyle message.
The Block Party was crammed with hipster kids in funked-out punker clothes, the girls Pat Benatar look-alikes and the guys cracking sardonic jokes to look cool and sophisticated for their friends. I’ve never seen so many aviator sunglasses in my life. New volunteer Fernando (photo below) from the Seattle Animal Rights Meetup and NARN members Jenn, Anna and David were rockin the scene on Broadway & Pine, handing out Veg Restaurant Guides to concert-goers. There were less “I like meat!” comments this time, and these primarily came from the girls for some reason.
Mostly what I heard were things like “SWEET! I totally NEED one of these!” which always makes ya feel good to be out there spreading the good news about a cruelty-free lifestyle. There were also a few surprised looks, but I think that’s because people didn’t see a connection between a music fest and veg restaurant guides. That’s alright–we still gave out a ton of ‘em. And I didn’t spot a single pamphlet thrown on the ground. Kids were folding them into the back pockets of their tight jeans, or even standing in line looking through the Why Vegan? pamphlets and lamenting the sad state of pigs in cages. It was a good day to be out there flyin’ the flag for animals.
My name is David, and I’m a new NARN Board member. I’m interested in outreaching people who want to activate the compassionate nature within them and do something effective to alleviate the institutionalized exploitation of animals. From my training as a social worker, I believe supporting people who have chosen a vegan way of life fosters a sense of community, and thereby encourages a blossoming of enthusiasm for animal rights activism. I know that this has been the case for my own development as an activist. It can be pretty intimidating to jump right into activism, especially if you are a new vegan struggling in isolation within a meat-eating society. My thrust within NARN is to provide people a way of turning compassion into action for suffering animals.
I’ve organized a new Seattle Animal Rights Meetup. It’s a group where animal rights activists & vegans can meet each other, exchange ideas, and learn how to end animal cruelty. If being vegan or animal rights is new to you, come learn what it’s all about and meet new compassionate friends! We get together monthly at a delicious vegan restaurant to discuss animal rights philosophy, activism, and current events. Everyone is welcome!
And the first discussion was great! Some good people who are brand new to the animal rights scene came out for delicious vegan food and compelling discussion, and we all made new compassionate friends along the way. 10 people, including Natalie, Elizabeth, Amber, Bryan, and Mark came. As Elizabeth said, “It was a relief to be surrounded by a group of people who understand my beliefs.” And Natalie said, “Welcoming, open people attended. Respectful sharing and conversation took place.” We tackled these questions:
♦ What can we do in a meat-eating society to alleviate the suffering of animals? What kinds of activism are most effective?
♥ When we say “animal rights,” what exactly do we mean? What’s the ultimate goal? Total abolition of all animal exploitation, or more humane slaughter?
♣ How do you personally keep from resenting the meat-eaters you know? How do you explain your stance against animal cruelty to friends and family?