Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
Transcript of Leigh-Chantelle's Live ARZone Guest Chat
9 June 2012
6pm US Eastern Time
11pm UK Time
10 June 2012
8am Australian Eastern Standard Time
(Part 1 may be found HERE)
In next year’s Australian federal election, there will be a Brisbane based vegan nominating as an independent Senate candidate. He will be running an entirely electronic campaign, with no paper handouts/throwouts. His environmental platform talks about the use of solar and wind farms etc. Have you considered not using paper in your advocacy, and will you be supporting this candidate, in the upcoming election?
I didn’t know there was a Brisbane vegan nominating themselves for the Senate until I received these questions. I’m going to break my response into two parts: Green Earth Group and Politics.
Green Earth Group
Some people don’t have computers and some don’t have mobile devices. Sometimes I have to change or re-direct my tactics towards the most effective ways of engaging with others. Green Earth Group tries to spread the message to people who are not like me in various ways. We have video viewings, letter writing, food outreach as well as leafleting and outreach. http://greenearthday.net/events/events/84-green-earth-group-events-for-2012.html
We have put on two successful all-vegan festivals, we attend various events and hold market stalls to spread the message and encourage more paid members. We also have had great success with the Green Earth Group handouts I’ve created including All About ‘Zines, Letter Writing Tips, Food Outreach, Forks Over Knives: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.378203488861205.110788.115802095101347&type=3
We used to not leaflet for the environmental reasons but a lot of people still prefer to have something that they can hold, some people don’t have access to online materials, and leafleting is still a very effective way to spread the vegan message in quite an easy way. Fill a bag with vegan brochures and hand them out the next time you’re in the City or at the train station or somewhere with a high traffic area.
The reason I changed my mind with my views on leafleting was after I found out that Nathan Runkle had gone vegan from a “Why Vegan?” leaflet he was given. Nathan has gone on to form Mercy for Animals and they have done so much that I think is great vegan outreach, especially in regards to their undercover work and the “Farm to Fridge” campaign. If I/Green Earth Group can inspire one person to be vegan who ends up doing even half of what Nathan has done, then that’s grand and that’s why I support leafleting.
Green Earth Group just printed our last Members Magazine this month. You can View here: http://www.issuu.com/greenearthgroup and Download here: http://greenearthday.net/shop.html from tomorrow. We have always had the PDF downloads on our shop that non-members can buy for AU$2. This is a step towards our online magazine which is one of our mid-long term goals. The short-term goal is to launch our new GreenEarthGroup.org website with various regular writers and contributors providing content on all things green. If you’re interested in writing for Green Earth Group get in contact with me.
The majority of our paid Members are under 55. Not to be ageist, but for those who are over 55 a large percentage of them do not have access to email, the Internet or mobile devices. But most importantly, they do not WANT to have access to them. So obviously the print medium still works for people like this, but it is fast slowing down. The print vs online dilemma is an ongoing issue for many groups and businesses.
I support anyone who is using their skills and expertise to help the animals and market veganism more into the mainstream. Teachers who provide a positive example of veganism to their students, Lawyers who are working with legislations that exists and Politicians who are trying to create new legislations that better help our animal friends. I personally support MPs and Senators who are involved in the community and who I’ve seen get their hand dirty on a variety of issues from various groups in the community. So, someone who will benefit the community, who has proven over time that they help the community, who’s in the game to give back to the community and not for the acclaim, then yes, I would support them. Not just because they are vegan.
As an Independent candidate, it’s quite hard to get into the Senate without major Party support and the preference deals Parties are able to make. In case my overseas friends don’t know, Australian people vote for Parties not People. Plus a candidate would need solid Networks across the State and a huge campaigning budget. Even some high-profile Queenslanders would have a hard time getting the 300 000 votes needed to get a seat in the Senate. Most Independents get about 15 000 or less.
Also, though I commend the paperless campaign goal, the majority of voters have no idea until they get to the voting booths who they will actually vote for – until they get that piece of campaign material. From a marketing perspective, the paperless campaign also depends on your target demographic. Not everyone has access to the Internet, emails or mobile devices – or wants to eg many people over 55. Good luck and great question!
Carolyn is up with the next question.
The Green Earth Group has held showings of movies such as “Crude”, which was focused on the impact of crude oil on the planet, and the movie “Dive”, about dumpster diving, which condoned consumption of animal products. Are these two movies aligned with your own beliefs, and if not, what is your goal in showing these movies?
Green Earth Group was created primarily to focus on educating the mainstream to environmental issues. It is NOT a vegan group. There are a lot of vegans who come along to our events, who volunteer and who are paid members, but not as a rule. We screen quite a varied selection of videos that you can see here:http://greenearthday.net/events/events/84-green-earth-group-events-for-2012.html As I said above, in the initial question, I am just as passionate about pollution, clean water, human rights, multinational power (“Crude”) and overconsumption and waste (“Dive”) as I am about veganism and animal rights.
I believe that all of these things are just as important as the other – some don’t agree with me on this – that’s their prerogative.
There are a lot of things I could pick apart if I wanted to. I try very hard to see the positive aspects in all situations and even though some of the parts in some of the documentaries we screen I may not agree with, I do agree more so with the fact of providing education. My goal therefore would be to educate others to as many issues that exist and for others to make up their own minds. Don’t let mainstream media, multinational corporations or even me (!!) tell you what to do. Trust your instincts and your heart to do what is right every time.
Billy will ask the next question, thanks, Billy!
You’re known as an environmentalist and you work on issues and initiatives such as Earth Hour. Do you think that animal rights advocates are involved enough in the environmental movement? Do you think that the general public assumes that environmentalists and animal rights advocates always share the same goals?
I do hope that all movements will be more open to other avenues of activism. A lot of vegans and Animal Rights Activists don’t tend to work well with/in other movements. I know a lot of vegans who don’t want to be associated with the “hippy” culture of the environmental movement. I know a lot of environmental people who don’t want to be associated with the “anarchists”, “health freaks” and/or antagonists in the vegan movement. I think the mainstream public sees a lot of these movements as similar if not the same due to (if nothing else) the going against the grain of the mainstream views. Sometimes it’s hard to be involved in other groups and open up to other ways of thinking, but I do think it’s essential to move forward, as in my opinion they’re all connected.
Thanks LC! Prof. Gier has the next question I believe.
Before we ask Leigh-Chantelle her last pre-registered question, I’d like to remind ARZone members that we encourage you to feel free to ask Leigh-Chantelle any questions in the following open session. Just let me or Carolyn know, so we may introduce your question.
Now, the question: It may be old news now, but some time ago there was quite a furore in Australia over the slaughter of Australian cows in Indonesia. What good, if any, for other animals has come about as a result of all the news coverage and publicity, and do you support Animals Australia and the RSPCA’s campaign to end this live export and send frozen bodies overseas instead?
This was a massive media event in Australia. The day after this programme was screened on our free to air TV station, the most popular hashtag (#) on Twitter was related to live trade. Letters pages in newspapers, talkback radio stations and even our parliament were in overdrive.
The programme was even repeated a few days after for those who had missed it the first time.
Animals Australia created the media event based around their own content (the footage) and then utilised their websites and information online to further educate people about the matter.
The advertising afterwards by Animals Australia and RSPCA targeted our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and used this as a lobbying tool, which got her attention. It caused a LOT of havoc for the livestock industry. A lot of people shared this programme and the information. A lot of people spoke about something they knew nothing about before. A lot of people cared about this issue and I saw a lot of people on Social Media websites say they were now vegan.
Groups need to get their topic into the public eye. Animals Australia did this. Once something relating to the use and abuse of our animal friends is in the public eye, it’s up to every one of us to use this to argue our facts about veganism and promote the changes we so desperately need.
May I ask a follow-up please?
Do you support the Animals Australia/RSPCA campaign asking for the cows in this expose to be killed on Australian soil, and sent, frozen, overseas?
I support veganism and the promotion of a vegan diet and lifestyle through various forms of outreach and advocacy.
Thank you for your reply, and for your detailed and insightful responses to these questions today, Leigh-Chantelle! I’d like now to open the chat up and invite all members to address Leigh-Chantelle, by letting Tim or myself know of your intention. First question for this open session is from Billy Lovci, thanks, Billy!
Of all the folks you've been in contact with and interviewed, what group or individual inspires you the most?
I personally really just love being around people who are doing things and not just talking about the way others are doing things wrong, so a lot of the people I'm drawn to are people who are inspiring with their actions. The interviews where neither of us took ourselves seriously are also great. I can't really choose a favourite - you'll have to help:http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBFCF05CBAFCE7FB6&feature=plcp that was the link for my US interview and here's the AU ones: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEA211C7CBD836A7D&feature=plcp
I really don't particularly like EVERY aspect of any group to be honest, but I like great tactics and outreach from various groups: Mercy For Animals, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and in Australia, I just love Patty Mark and her dedicated team at Animal Liberation Victoria.
I'll have a look at the videos and nominate my favorites in the comments of the transcript.
Thanks - so Carolyn is up with the next question.
Thanks, Billy. I agree LC, I think Patty Mark and ALV are amazing too! This is a question from an ARZone member: As a feminist vegan, how would you compare the effectiveness, in terms of impact and notice ability, of your outreach events when compared to the stunts such as PeTA’s lettuce ladies, their new XXX adult site and other such tactics from PeTA?
I guess it depends on your target audience and on what you're trying to promote. I prefer outreach, advertising and videos more about the Cause not the Conversation. Most people know that sexism sells in our mainstream society. But I do prefer tactics that are classy, clever and don’t push one cause over other causes.
I do know that PETA sends out a huge amount of vegan information due to people who visit their websites. I do hope that the people who they are trying to target get the right message. I'm personally unsure of what it is a lot of times... Maybe it's: The more offensive, the higher probability there is of something going viral. Maybe. Is it okay to me? No. I don't really like to compare anything or anyone as I don't think that helps. But, I guess when our Green Earth Group volunteers dressed up as animals and I was Bo Peep for World Farm Animal Day, there was a lot more interaction than simply just handing out brochures.
Here's the pics if you're interested:
Thanks! Tim Gier would like to ask a question next. Thanks, Tim.
I saw that you posted some great photos of other animals with captions in a series you call “Love us by not eating us”. Some activists claim that we need to show people the gruesome reality in the slaughterhouses and battery cages if we’re going to get them to change. I’m guessing that you don’t believe that. What’s your position on the kinds of materials we ought to be presenting.to the general public?
Thanks, Tim. Yes the art pieces I submitted for Paper Girl (see question 2 above) I also scanned and uploaded to FaceBook.http://vivalavegan.net/community/updates/221-love-us-by-not-eating-us-how-to-create-art-for-marketing.html I had a great response from this and there's some others coming soon. I really wanted to link the gorgeous photos of the animals with basic facts relating to humans and a call to action. eg. a photo of a pig would have “Pigs are very similar to dogs as they are incredibly intelligent, friendly and loyal.” And “Love us by not Eating Us” and they are also t-shirts: http://skreened.com/vivalavegan Clothing Outreach is also very effective - just ask our friend Gary Smith!
I spoke about this at the Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR about how to keep things positive as much as you can. But obviously there's some footage and imagery that we want others to see.
So, I suggested that you show the heavy stuff and follow it up with a "How You can Help" section so that people don't feel completely overwhelmed and miserable. Rather ready to use the anger to help our animal friends. Some examples would be to share a video or photo of a rescued pig - if you've just shared some undercover footage/photos - and a link to some animal sanctuaries that you can visit, volunteer at and support.
Thank you! There's a farmed animal rescue nearby here that has a lot of success connecting people to other animals in ways they haven't thought of before. I think you're right about how we ought to approach people.
I think it's a very effective way of getting people to meet and connect to others. A lot of people - including vegans - have never actually met a "farm" animal before!
Thanks, Leigh-Chantelle! The last question for today is also from an ARZone member, here it is:
Do you support the Australian Government’s Carbon Tax/Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Energy_Bill_2011] that is going to start on 01 July, and do you think it will have any impact on the way that people use polluting resources? For those on tight budgets, will they continue doing what they are doing, basically robbing Peter to pay Paul, by going without in other areas.
I definitely agree that large businesses/industries should pay for "balancing" somewhat the destruction they create. Is this going to be effective though?
At present the media seems to be focused on scare tactics to put people off a serious debate without emotions involved. It's the "hippy" greenies –vs- the "real" workers and I don't think that helps at all. I'm really worried for my State of Queensland after our last election. Our new Premier is quite intent on destroying almost all of the great environmental habitats - that are great for tourism - at the expense of industry. It's very concerning. I personally don't think that the industries and the big corporations who cause the most destruction and emissions will be affected. I'd like to see how it will realistically change for average people. Time will tell I guess.
I think a lot of us know that by changing to a vegan diet and lifestyle that we can help the environment a lot more than the other things we're told to do: use less water when you shower, change your light globes for more energy efficient ones etc. But it's a hard one. I think you need to focus on the purse strings.
Thanks, Leigh-Chantelle! This concludes the chat for today, and I’d like to thank you, on behalf of ARZone, for taking time out from your busy schedule to be here today (and for getting up so early on a Sunday morning!) Are there any links you’d like to share with us before we finish today?
It's been my pleasure, I was so looking forward to being involved! Thank you so much to Carolyn, Tim, Jason, Billy and especially Kate for the transcript.
Thanks to everyone for the wonderful questions!
Animal Rights Zone:
Thanks for being here, Leigh-Chantelle!
Here's my Links:
Maynard S. Clark:
Stay in touch, Leigh-Chantelle! :-)
That's me done. Enjoy the rest of your day for my AU friends and sleep well for my US & UK friends
Kate Go Vegan:
You're such an inspiration to so many. Thanks and well done for doing what you do. :)
Thanks, LC! :)
Yes, thank you.
:) thanks mate
Thank you :)
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