Does the idea of vegan leafleting make you uncomfortable? Hate telling people what to do? Don’t want to be an inconvenient vegan? You aren’t some zealot after all. But what if you knew that just an hour of leafleting would save 12 animals from the horror of factory farming? That is twelve individuals who would be spared a short lifetime of torture, fear, neglect, and death. Twelve. For 60 minutes of your time.(1)
We know that people need to see/hear something on average of seven times before noticing it and we may need to hear something many different ways before understanding how it fits in with our lives. We also know that many, many, many people still don’t know what animals go through to become food and likely never think about the suffering and death behind their food choices. Add to this that people need to be in the right mind-set to take in counter-couture information, and it makes saving animals through adopting a vegan diet seem daunting.
Photos from Vegan Out Reach (http://www.veganoutreach.org/)
But. Do you remember why you became vegan? Whether you were influenced by someone in your life, something you read, or even something you discovered on your own, you likely came into contact with pro-vegan or pro-animal information many times before that moment without totally registering it. And having these memories probably helped build your overall education of animal exploitation and your response to that knowledge. Literature, websites, posters, videos, social media posts, essays, classes, leaflets and conversations with peers typically all help people discover, adopt, and maintain a more compassionate lifestyle. But that doesn’t happen magically. Caring, dedicated, and hopeful people have to create and distribute that information.
This is where you and leafleting come in. As Matt Ball, founder of Vegan Outreach explains, “For example, of you provide booklets to sixty new people tomorrow and just one decides to go vegetarian, you will have changed that person’s life forever. More importantly, you’ll have saved, with just a small investment of time or money, as many animals as you’ll save with every food choice you make during the rest of your life!” That is doubling your life impact in one day. Every person who adopts a vegetarian or vegan diet will save about one hundred animals each year(2).
Although it is difficult measure just how many people will reduce their meat consumption or go veg from one hour of leafleting, there are recent studies done on vegan leafleting on college campuses that can give us a hint. In a study by the Humane League and Compassionate Communities, they found:
- About 1 out of every 50 students who received a leaflet indicated they became vegetarian or pescatarian as a result.
- 7% of students (1 in 14) said they now eat “a lot less” chicken, a lot fewer eggs, and a lot less dairy as a result of getting the leaflet.
- 6% eat a lot less fish.
- 12% eat a lot less red meat.
And about 1 in 5 students said they shared the leaflet with someone else who then began to eat less meat.(3) The average audience may not be as receptive as college students, but even if they were half as receptive, leafleting still has a huge bang for its buck and for your time. Check out this great pamphlet by Mall Ball, “A Meaningful Life” for some additional inspiration.
You don’t have to do it alone. Join NARN on Saturday July 13, 2013 at 11:00 am for a quick introduction to leafleting best practices and then head out with a few other people to the West Seattle Summer Fest. RSVP on Facebook or email rachel [at] narn.org for more information. And if you are reading this post after July 13, just be sure to follow the NARN Facebook Page or subscribe to our newsletter to find out about future leafleting outings. And of course, you don’t have to wait for us – the power of leafleting is that it can be done by one person, anytime, anywhere.
Doing vegan outreach is not like religious proselytizing. You aren’t trying to convert anyone to any belief. You only giving them factual information that they might not otherwise have. Free information. Free recipes. Some inspiration. You don’t have to argue, convince, or cajole. Be open to conversation and remember to be compassionate towards human animals too.
More Resources for You!
(1) Farm Sanctuary, Leaflet, http://ccc.farmsanctuary.org/promote-veg-eating/leaflet/ (2012).
(2) Mark Hawthorne, Striking at the Roots: A Practical Guide to Animal Activism (O-Books, 2008), 23.
(3) Nick Cooney, The Powerful Impact of College Leafleting (Part 1), http://ccc.farmsanctuary.org/the-powerful-impact-of-college-leafleting-part-1/ (Jan, 2012).