Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Transcript of Rob Jackson's Live ARZone Guest Chat

Transcript of Rob Jackson’s Live ARZone Guest Chat

27 August 2011

6pm US Eastern Time

11pm UK Time

28 August 2011

8am Australian Eastern Standard Time

 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

ARZone would like to welcome Rob Jackson as today’s Live Chat Guest.

 

Rob Jackson is a vegan educator and advocate residing in the UK who has been vegan for 12 years. Rob worked as the Education Officer with The Vegan Society for four years, up until May 2011, where he worked with young people to raise awareness of veganism as a response to some of the world’s greatest problems, whilst delivering hundreds of talks in a variety of settings.

 

Rob has recently started his own local group, Moseley Vegans that has grown rapidly in popularity since the start of the year. He currently volunteers as Farm List Coordinator with the Vegan-Organic Network and has previously spent two years working on a vegan-organic farm as well as volunteering at a number of other similar places short term.

 

Rob studied Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence at The University of Birmingham from 2001 – 2005, which he feels has informed a good deal of his approach in general.

Rob welcomes the opportunity to engage ARZone members today on a range of issues.

 

Would you please join with me in Rob to ARZone?

 

Welcome, Rob!

 

Jason Ward:

Hi Rob!!

 

Will:

hiya

 

Sadia:

Hello, Mr. Jackson!  How do you do? A delight to have your company with us today, welcome.

 

Jason Ward:

Welcome

 

Brooke Cameron:

Hi Rob! Thanks for being here!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thanks for being here, Rob!

 

Melanie Baker:

:-)

 

Lisa Viger:

Hi Rob! :-)

 

Sky:

Hello

 

Rob Jackson:

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening.  Thanks for receiving me ARZone.

 

Suzanne Barker:

Welcome Rob

 

Ben Hornby:

Hey, Rob

 

Maynard S. Clark:

:-)

 

María José Sanchez Saez:

Hello/ Hola  Rob,

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Rob will be responding to his pre-registered questions first, and then we’ll open the chat up for all members to engage him.

 

Rob Jackson:

Great stuff!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Please refrain from interrupting Rob during his first session, and feel free to send a private message to an admin if you wish to address him at any time, by clicking on their name in the list and selecting “private chat”.

 

First up with a question for Rob today is Roger Yates, thanks, Roger.


Roger Yates:

It is irritating that young minds one wants to reach with an animal rights message are probably not “ready” for the truth about what we do to other animals, apart from the opposition that would come from parents and teachers. What’s your experience of educating younger children (5-12) and what do you feel comfortable saying to them?

 

Rob Jackson:

There's quite a lot packed into that question I think, so I'm going to tackle it in parts.  This is long!  It is worth mentioning though, that I've found that veganism is a subject that fascinates young minds.

 

First, I haven't worked with children in that age group very often, so don't have a great deal of experience.  One of the reasons for not targeting that group is, as you say, an apprehension that they are not 'ready' for the message. However, when I have worked with younger children I do feel that there are things you can say, and ways of saying them, that can get the message across – we do not always have to mention 'animal rights' or 'what we do to animals' in any great detail.

 

Second, when you work with a group you are often given specific topics to speak about – you have to honour this with the person who invited you, or you lose respect, peer-to-peer recommendations and the possibility of being invited back. I always make a point of getting them very clear about what they are expecting (to the point of running lesson plans past them) – that way there are no surprises.  But you can always slip a succinct 'animal rights' message in there somewhere.

 

Third, you have to tailor your content and delivery to every audience - taking into account the inviter's requests, but also the audience's ages, ability, background, setting, and a host of other variables. Especially for young people, you have to think about how you are going to keep them entertained.  This usually takes the form of activities - an hour lecture is not going to inspire them to engage.

 

Fourth, when working with young people if you are seen as being in anyway coercive, forceful or upsetting you will be pulled up on it by the adults present,  and there's always a chance that parents will complain (I have never had this happen).

 

Fifth, young people aren't often in a position to make such 'life changing' decisions for themselves.  This is even more of a reason to go gentle with them.  But having them understand the basics is a good start. So, I decided to take the approach of normalising veganism, rather than 'converting' people. 

 

The argument for veganism is so compelling it doesn't need to be forced – anyway, manipulating young people would be too easy, and doubtfully sustainable. We often think of 'a talk' being a speaker at the front with a PowerPoint and a script, with the sole purpose of convincing us of a point of view.  We need something much more engaging and fun than that. My approach with children of younger ages is to get them involved in an activity that happens to include veganism somehow.  This is easy really, with food being the most obvious route in.

 

Perhaps providing unusual fruits or vegetables to taste, conducting a simple recipe workshop, or playing a game about nutrition – teachers love these and you have every opportunity to talk about what vegan means and why people are vegan. I think regardless of the age group of the audience these kinds of techniques can be so valuable. 

 

You can then use my standard routine for getting veganism in like this: “My name's Rob and I'm vegan.  Who's heard of vegans?”  (a few will usually put their hands up – if no one does, you can say “Has anyone heard of vegetarians?”). “Great, so who thinks they know what vegan (or vegetarian - if you have to!) means?”  A few will leave their hands up.  “Excellent!  Does anyone want to say what they think vegan (or vegetarian) means?”  A few will put their hands down. Already you have made this a game, you're interacting with the audience and getting them to think for themselves.  You pick someone “OK, so what do you think vegan (or vegetarian) means?” They will usually have a rough idea about what vegan means, but will often think it is only about food, a kind of dietary preference.  If so you can correct them, if they give a more accurate definition you can agree with them. But, immediately you have the opportunity to impress the central aspect of veganism – that it is not some whim or fad, or solely concerned with what we eat, but rather it informs the way we live our lives. You can explain that yes vegans don't eat meat, but they also avoid milk and eggs, honey, leather, wool, silk and fur.  And that they're against animal testing, don't visit zoos or animal circuses, or bet on animals. That vegans believe that it's wrong to use animals.  That's palatable without being emotionally coercive.  You're letting the audience know the details of veganism, and the extent of animal exploitation, in a rather intriguing way. and breath!  Ah!  There's a bit more to come!

 

Roger Yates:

:-D

 

Rob Jackson:

The next part progresses this.  You check that the audience has understood “So, does that make sense?  Vegans try to avoid using animals for any reason.  It's something they want to do because they don't think it's fair to the animals.”  Then, “So, why do you think someone might choose to be vegan?”  You're back into the game, waiting for their input.  Their answers determine your responses, and you can give as little or as much detail as the audience will appreciate. Perhaps rather than 'revealing the truth' we can instead show a path to it?  So, using this approach, it is less about what you are comfortable saying to young people and more about what their current level of understanding is.

 

Roger Yates:

A follow-up, please

 

Rob Jackson:

Go ahead

 

Roger Yates:

Thanks - and thanks for that great answer. I've done work for the Irish Animal Education Trust and I think we did as you suggest - find ways and means. We did a "categories game" when the children put nonhuman animals into different groups - and then we moved them around to show how animal use differs with culture. I think the details of this are in Paul Vogels transcript if anyone wants to have a look. Thanks again. Next up is Jason Ward... Jay....

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks Roger. Would you please explain what vegan-organic growing is and how it might be different from non-vegan growing?

 

Rob Jackson:

There's a vegan trade off between non-organic production (erroneously called 'conventional'!) that uses pesticides and organic production that relies on animal exploitation (in the form of manure, fish, blood, hoof and horn). One big objection I've heard of veganism is that we wouldn't be able to grow crops without using animal wastes.  Vegan-organic growing disproves that by using no animal inputs.  And it also avoids manufactured chemical inputs too.

 

The basis of the system is a renewed reliance on age-old techniques such as mixed cropping, crop rotation, green manures, companion planting and habitat management - combined with permaculture principles it makes for a very robust system. You can read more here http://www.veganorganic.net/, http://www.stockfreeorganic.net/, http://www.goveganic.net/ and watch a short video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7RlPSk4t-Y Unfortunately, crops grown like this are not widely available (yet!) but the Vegan-Organic Network have developed a set of standards that growers can apply for, allowing them to use their 'mark', hoping to popularise the method.

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks Rob - next up is Mel Baker- please go ahead when you are ready Mel.

 

Melanie Baker:

Thanks Jason. Hi Rob :-) My question is not dissimiliar to Roger’s but wants to explore your work in the schools a little more.

 

Rob Jackson:

Cool

 

Melanie Baker:

Are you able to give us an overview of the process from start to finish? Such as how did the Vegan Society approach schools to do outreach, how receptive where they, what was the sales pitch, content of the lectures, what age students, were they shocked at what they learnt?

 

Rob Jackson:

Hi Mel.  This could be another long one!

 

Melanie Baker:

:-)

 

Rob Jackson:

I think I've addressed some of the points in a previous answer, so I'll try and focus more on the mechanics of organisation, rather than the style of approach. 

 

My usual targets were secondary schools (11-16 years old). The overview of the process: We would send information out to schools and teachers by post, by email, even by phone call.  These communications give a brief overview of what we offer along with it's applicability to the taught curriculum. A combination of approaches needs to be used to reinforce your visibility with teachers – there is a lot competing for their attention, so you have to be persistent.  We also ask young people and parents to let their teachers know we're available.

 

Once we have a teacher's attention they contact us to find out more or to arrange a visit.  I always put a big emphasis on drawing out what they are looking for us to do, and discussing ways to achieve that.  When everyone is happy, we make a booking The sales pitch is really about reassuring the teachers that what we want to do is to help them deliver their teaching objectives.  This is done initially by only selecting appropriate subjects as targets, such as Food Technology or Citizenship. Veganism is such a broad subject it can fit into almost any subject, but your choice of target affects your approach – choosing to focus on whatever aspects will get you the most 'leverage'. I found that, once in, teachers and students were universally very receptive. 

 

As I outlined my approach earlier, the way I speak about veganism is to draw people into the discussion, rather than to force information on them. Getting young people to engage is the secret, and there are lots of techniques for doing that.  Occasionally you will get 'trouble makers' but they are usually easy enough to deal with if you treat them with respect and stand your ground.

 

Some young people have indeed been very shocked. I've heard that some of them have had to leave the room while watching a video we'd presented. Others have been more vocal, with things like “That shouldn't be allowed!”. Others are too cool for school.  But sometimes it's the quiet ones that are thinking - just because they aren't shouting up doesn't mean they aren't forming an opinion.

 

I've been told by teachers that discussions have gone into their next lessons.My aim is not to shock.  It's quite pleasing to give someone a 'wake up call', but often their revulsion only allows them to hide their awareness of reality even deeper, to resist future information on the subject.  We have to focus on 'opening up'. I developed a system of offering themed visits: sessions on nutrition, the environment, cookery, ethics.  This way we give the teachers something they want, but we also have something to hang our message on, a reason to talk about veganism.

 

Melanie Baker:

Thanks Rob. May I ask about a couple of your answers?

 

Rob Jackson:

Of course

 

Melanie Baker:

Are the teachers not concerned you are coming in with an agenda and what videos got the reactions you described? Done and thanks

 

Rob Jackson:

Thanks Mel. I think teachers know you have an agenda. That's why I am clear about what that agenda is - that I want people to find out about veganism, to understand what it means, to consider some of the implications and consequences. I am not out to 'convert' their students.  Everyone that goes into a school has an agenda - they even have the army in there trying to recruit! Truth or Dairy has some quite graphic footage - but it was the part about young chicks being mascerated that was most distressing I seem to remember.  The teachers weren't especially concerned about it - they know that some students are sensitive.

 

Melanie Baker:

Thank you Rob!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! Barbara DeGrande would like to ask the next question, thanks, Barbara.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thank you, Carolyn.

You were criticized in Gary Francione's The Abolitionist Approach blog for not mentioning the word vegan in your review of his book, The Animal Rights Debate: Abolition or Regulation?, thus missing the point of the book he wrote with Robert Garner. How do you respond to this criticism?


Rob Jackson:

The review was in the magazine of The Vegan Society, called The Vegan, which features the word vegan on every page, and every article is about veganism. I'm confident that when I characterised Francione's approach as concluding that 'any kind of animal use is prohibited' readers knew that meant veganism. It seemed to me, as I wrote in the review, that the point of the book was to expose the differences between the arguments of the 'abolitionists' and the 'welfarists', which was adequately done, but no consensus was achieved.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thanks Rob!

 

Rob Jackson:

:-)

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Next up is Mel Baker. Mel

 

Rob Jackson:

Hello again Mel

 

Melanie Baker:

Hi again Rob. Of the children you spoke with during your time with The Vegan Society, do you think or know if many would have made genuine changes from what they learnt? And, do you know if anyone else is doing such work in schools?

 

Rob Jackson:

I don't know – as I've said expecting 'conversions' (especially in schools) is, I feel, the wrong approach.  The most we can do is get them engaged and let them know where to find more information and support. What I do know is that every child I've spoken with has understood specifically that veganism is an ideological position, the reasons why someone might be attracted to it and the next steps they can take if they are interested in getting involved. I would hand out a feedback card at the end of each session to see what the young people have picked up, or if any questions remain and always been pleased about the level of understanding. A few have said there and then that they want to become vegan, but I have no way to keep in touch (child protection laws don't allow it!) so can't follow up.

 

I remind them that they need to talk with their parents and that we can give support. I've had teachers report that discussions about what I've delivered have continued in subsequent classes so I think it is sticking with some people.  When I've gone back to schools, students remember me and why I was there. I've heard it said that it can take up to seven mentions of an idea before someone starts to assimilate it and become properly responsive – with young people you will often be only the first time they have heard what veganism is really all about. For some people tasting, or even thinking about, vegan food is enough of a first step.  For others we can make specific requests, such as “how about trying a vegan lunch everyday this week?” or “Why don't you sign up for The Vegan Society pledge?”

 

What I am really pleased to see is that there currently seems to be a big focus within the movement on effective communication, using social marketing techniques and psychology of behaviour change to inform campaign messages. I hope we can all become more successful advocates taking these ideas on board. There are other groups doing work with schools, the most active in the UK are Animal Aid and Viva!.

 

Melanie Baker:

I love the idea of the feedback card...I also respect your approach. If your work in schools is anything like the support you gave me when I 1st transitioned you would have left a positive and lasting mark on the students you met. Thank you Rob.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! The next question is to be asked by Ben Hornby. Thanks, Ben.

 

Ben Hornby:

Thanks, Carolyn. Hi Rob!

 

Rob Jackson:

Hi Ben!

 

Ben Hornby:

What lessons from your work with school children, if any, translate into things you’ve applied when speaking and interacting with adults?

 

Rob Jackson:

I think some of this is probably apparent from previous questions, but I think the main thing I've picked up are. You can be honest and upfront about things if you use a good approach.  I can give a very succinct definition of what veganism means and why people become vegan, and most people are fascinated by the very concept. Don't expect to be gaining 'conversions' at every talk you give. Most people won't want to admit that what you have said has made them change their views. 

 

This doesn't mean they aren't thinking about it. Everyone's at different stages in their personal development – for some it will strike a chord and giving them sign posts to where to find more information or get support is, I feel, as much as I can do. Always leave time for plenty of questions. Letting people ask questions, and responding not only with an answer, but in a way that builds rapport with the audience can help you to get a message across that they are interested in. You have to be prepared to improvise. Questions can come right out of the blue sometimes!

 

But as long as you are exposing a basic understanding of whatever philosophy you are operating with, a sensible explanation will usually flow. And don't forget to do your homework.  Just because you are speaking about ethical theories doesn't mean someone won't challenge you with “but soya is carcinogenic!” You have to be prepared to answer the same old questions over and over again too! I see a lot of vegans getting really frustrated that someone's asked them “where do you get your protein?” or “what about plants?”. . . again! If someone's asking you a question, yes they might be trying to be a pain, but you still have a chance to educate them, and everyone else listening, so take it in your stride. 

 

Patience is very important. If people are very resistant or even disruptive, then that's probably their issue, so don't take it personally! Quite often you can answer really silly questions in such a way as to get them thinking more deeply about what they mean.

 

Ben Hornby:

Thanks Rob. I absolutely agree that most people won't admit that they've received the message positively because of their defenses.

 

Rob Jackson:

Indeed! Funny people, aren't they?

 

Ben Hornby:

They can be!

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks again Rob - Brooke Cameron has the next question - go ahead Brooke.

 

Brooke Cameron:

Thanks, Jay! Hi Rob, you’ve recently attended the London Vegan Festival, which is always a huge event. Do you have an opinion on vegan events like this in general, particularly in regard to their potential to reach those who are not vegan or vegetarian?


Rob Jackson:

Hi Brooke! They're brilliant.  Surveys show that a lot of non-vegans do attend. They are also social events for existing vegans - there are plenty of people I look forward to seeing there. The emphasis needs to be on advertising events to non-vegans though. I know that in my local area there has often been a big point made, especially for free-food fairs, that these events aren't primarily for existing vegans, so don't come expecting a free nosh up!  But do bring your non-vegan friends and family! I wonder what an alternative view might be?  Do you have an opinion Brooke?

 

Brooke Cameron:

Thanks, Rob. I notice there's a video of you performing at the LVF here in ARZone. Nice job!

 

Rob Jackson:

Who put that there?

 

Roger Yates:

Me!

 

Rob Jackson:

Thanks Roger!  Is it me playing my guitar on a stage?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

It is, Rob!

 

Jason Ward:

Carolyn Bailey is up next with a question from Tim Gier who couldn't make it today - Go ahead Carolyn

 

Rob Jackson:

Cool

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Tim's question for you Rob is this: Some people might argue that conventional agricultural practices are necessary if we are going to continue producing enough food. Do you regard vegan-organic growing as something that can “scale-up” in order to feed the entire world?

 

Rob Jackson:

My short answer is yes. Long answer is that this is only a feeling – no really large scale experiments have been done. The evidence that does exist  points to well managed vegan-organic systems being sustainable, robust and productive. Factor in things like agroforestry and permaculture and things start looking even better.

 

Politics is the main barrier to feeding the world – we already have enough, but it's not being shared well.  We're not 'feeding the entire world' now. Looking into the future, 'conventional' farming methods are not sustainable long term, and the general feeling is that we should investigate and install methods now, that are going to be easier to maintain. Here are some links http://www.efrc.com/ http://www.agroforestry.co.uk/ http://www.permaculture.org.uk/ http://www.tolhurstorganic.co.uk/ http://www.growbiointensive.org/ http://www.mclveganway.org.uk/

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! Roger Yates has another question for you now. Thanks, Roger.

 

Roger Yates:

Thanks Carolyn. What’s your view of the future for growing systems like aeroponics and aquaponics?

 

Rob Jackson:

Don't have strong views on them really.  I'm sure they are very suitable to some circumstances, but what's wrong with good old fashioned dirt? I guess my main concern would be that producing the feed is probably going to be inefficient – not a good use of resources. But this is not really a vegan or 'animal rights' issue. Do you have a view yourself Roger? Anyone else?

 

Roger Yates:

Follow-up please....

 

Rob Jackson:

Of course

 

Roger Yates:

I think the issue is connected to veganism in the sense that veganism still harms other animals. If we can work out how to not use the habit of animals, then we may do less harm. Did The Vegan Society ever look into these issues?

 

Rob Jackson:

Do I understand you correctly - you mean to suggest we should move away from any outdoor growing at all?

 

Roger Yates:

No - I don't think that's possible. but vegans are obviously motivated to find ways of not harming others in the production of their food.

 

Rob Jackson:

By moving to vegan-organic farming and vegan eating (let alone other plant-based resources) we can save on the current use of land - meaning there's an opportunity to return some to 'the wild'. As I mentioned - medium free growing requires nutrients to be manufactured - not sure where they would come from? No The Vegan Society didn't look at this in detail as far as I know. In my opinion, 'harm' is happening everywhere - I'm more concerned with exploitation myself.

 

Roger Yates:

Thanks.


Rob Jackson:

We could discuss further in the open round

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thanks Rob.  Next up his Jason Ward, asking a question on behalf of Louise Wallis. Jay..... 

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks Barbara. Hi Rob. I know you're interested in comedy, have done stand-up yourself and even cracked a few vegan jokes (about your nuts). I think it's brilliant you do this and that the vegan community could benefit from more humour, given the heavy and distressing subject matter we deal with. I also worry we can come across as a bit po-faced and unable to laugh at ourselves. What do you think - does humour and comedy have an important role to play in the future?

 

Rob Jackson:

I think humour is essential! But I love comedy! I recognise that this isn't everyone's cup of tea.  One of my key realisations is that different people respond to different things differently – meaning there is no one-size fits all best method. I also believe that 'it's not what you say, it's how you say it' that makes the most difference to how receptive your audience is. 

 

We need lots of different methods of getting this message across. Although contemporary celebrities often get a lot of flak in the animal rights community for trying, and failing, to be vegan, I do think that fame can be used to achieve mouthpiece status, and that can be useful. Comedians especially are able to disseminate 'core truths' - again, under the radar. If you've got them laughing, you've got them! I wish I could say I was successful at this - I've got a long way to go yet! It seems comedy (and music, but also poetry, novels, films, art!) are great tools for getting a message across – create something people want to listen to, get their attention, then use that to mean something!

 

But I'm a long way from my goals. I'm working on a short comedy routine about veganism, but it's far from perfect. Other vegan comedians are doing it so much better!  Check out Jamie Kilstein http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tvmm0-NSzE (swear warning!) for a great example. 

 

Veganism can be quite heavy – there are a lot of negative sides to finding about the truth – but humour is a natural human response to these things.  Denying the humour of reality will cause some to distrust you, some to avoid you. But you have to choose the things you make jokes about – not everything is tasteful enough to allow you to still make your points. Comedy is so flexible though because you can almost always get away with 'just joking'!

 

For me this is an aspect of 'mainstreaming' veganism – making it a part of the popular culture, getting people familiar with the ideas, talking about it, considering it for themselves. Everyone has Google now, they can easily get more information.

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks Rob

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! This concludes the pre-registered questions for today, and I’d like to thank you sincerely for the time you’ve given us in replying to these questions. By the way, there's also a video of your stand up comedy on ARZone too!

 

Rob Jackson:

No worries, hope it's been useful.

 

Yes, I know, Roger has just pointed that out - how embarrasing!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I’d like to open the chat up now to any members who wish to ask further questions of Rob and ask that you please send a private message to me if you wish to do so, by clicking on my name and selecting “private chat”. Thanks.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

First up in the open session is Barbara DeGrande. Go ahead, Barb, thanks.


Rob Jackson:

Thanks - now we get to the really exciting part!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

I noted that the vegan community, Mosely Vegans, you are developing is primarily social and supportive in nature, rather than educational or activist.  Would you please explain the importance of such groups and why you chose to develop that type of vegan group?

 

Rob Jackson:

My intentions with Moseley Vegans has always been to develop it into a more 'active' group over time. I think it's important at this stage to let the core group of people materialise and for them to bond and trust each other. I get the feeling that if I'd started with an 'activist' group I wouldn't have got much interest - and anyway it holds little appeal for me. Activism has become a shorthand for 'shouting in the streets' and that's not what I want to do. We are having a large event here on Monday - it's a Bank Holiday - so we're having a picnic in a local park. I've tried to make this into outreach - we are going to have banners saying 'Vegan Picnic' so that anyone can come over and talk to us. I'd also like to move onto doing film showings, food tastings and discussions, as well as street stalls, and a restaurant campaign to encourage all eateries in our area to offer vegan dishes. Social groups have their function too - not everyone has the time or inclination for outreach, giving them a space to meet other vegans is really useful and many people have expressed how happy they are to be part of the group. If they can be given confidence to become vegan or to be 'outward' about their veganism, then that's a good thing I think.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Thanks Rob. That is very helpful information. I just started a group a few months back and it does take time to gather a cohesive group. Thank you!

 

Rob Jackson:

Yeah, it's all about meeting people where they are and supporting and encouraging them I reckon. We have about 80 members now, but only a dozen or so are regularly active.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! Luna Hughes would like to ask the next question. Thanks, Luna.

 

Luna Hughes:

Rob, do you share your own journey towards veganism in your educational efforts? Could you say something about it?

 

Rob Jackson:

I do sometimes, yeah - often I'll wait until I'm asked though - so thanks for the question!  Do you want me to tell you my story, or talk about how useful telling your story can be?

 

Luna Hughes:

Okay

 

Rob Jackson:

Which part Luna?

 

Luna Hughes:

I don't know, I just like stories. 

:-)

 

Rob Jackson:

Ok, my vegan story:

 

Luna Hughes:

YAY!

 

Rob Jackson:

When I was very young I loved meat. At around the age of 8 my Mom told me about how she had been vegetarian before I was born - this is how I found out what meat was! She had managed it for around a year, but been defeated by a sausage sandwich at a party!  At the time it seemed like a challenge - I thought, I can give up meat for longer than that! Over the years I developed a sense that eating meat wasn't right. We grew up with animals, we had cats, dogs, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, fish - I knew they all felt like I did, all had personalities. I wanted to not eat meat at all - but was persuaded by my grandparents that it wouldn't be safe - I would have to eat some chicken and fish at least once a week for protein.

 

By the time I reached college I met someone else in the same position, and my brother has always been on board. The internet was just coming of age and we started looking into how eggs and milk were produced. That's when I found out about veganism and that it was safe for me to give up animal products completely. I also had quite strong ideals around self sufficiency at the time, and wanted to consume nothing I couldn't produce myself. I knew I'd never be able to kill an animal - so it made sense to remove products of animal exploitation from my life. 

 

Because there were three of us it seemed easy - we supported each other. I made a firm point with my grandparents and from then on instead of having chicken for Sunday dinner we had chick peas! A few more years pass and I get more involved with finding out all about production methods and the importance of veganism just became more and more obvious. There are so many supporting arguments it just makes so much sense. 10 years after I became vegan my Mom came to see a talk I was giving at the West Midlands Vegan Festival and decided, along with her partner, that they wanted to be vegan too!

 

Sadia:

:-)

 

Luna Hughes:

Thanks very much for that, I can certainly relate, I lived with grandparents when I was younger. they come from a different generation, depression era etc.

 

Rob Jackson:

I think for older people who grew up during the war food was so scarce and rationing, makes it hard for them to get on board.  But some do.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! Mel Baker has another question but is away for a moment, so I'll ask it for her. 

 

Rob Jackson:

Cool

 

Carolyn Bailey:

You dont seem to post alot about animal rights or veganism on Facebook. Is this because you do not view it as an arena to highlight these matters and/or are you you seeking balance there because you are tackling these subjects elsewhere?

 

Rob Jackson:

I'm not really sure Facebook is the place to 'post lots' about any one thing. The whole atmosphere is of short, sharp bursts and variety. I see some people posting constantly and fear that all their non-vegan friends have blocked their posts. They don't seem to be getting anything but agreement anyway. I will post when there is something I think is especially worthy, like an event, or an article.  But I try and reserve so that it's not overdone. Quality over quantity I hope! 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob!

 

Rob Jackson:

I like trolling other people’s posts and chipping in more!

 

Roger Yates:

Next up is Matt Bowen with a question - Matt...

 

Matt Bowen:

Thank you. Rob, do you have any suggestions for those of us engaged in vegan advocacy and education? Thank you!

 

Rob Jackson:

Ooh, that's quite expansive!

 

Matt Bowen:

:-)

 

Rob Jackson:

I think only to reiterate my points from before and to add that everyone already thinks they are doing the right/best thing. Don't be hard on people - do them a favour. I helped write this http://www.vegansociety.com/resources/get-active.aspx  which might give you some ideas about the kinds of things you can do. Keep up to date with information about effective communication techniques. Don't try and 'win every point'. Look into Nonviolent Communication. Remember that every interaction is just practice for the next. Don't be hard on yourself!

 

Matt Bowen:

Great advice, thank you, Rob!

 

Rob Jackson:

:-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, again, Rob! Next up is Will. When you're ready, thanks, Will.

 

Will:

vegans fight likes cats and dogs. like 'the' abolitionist pancakes attack everyone.is this because they are down at heart and dont think we'll get anywhere? are they thinking we cant win?

 

Rob Jackson:

I think there's a perception within the movement that all this stuff is dangerous, divisive, pessimistic, whatever. I tend to see it as healthy. I'm sure every social movement has had this. People are at liberty to think they are right and to try to convince others. What they want to do is come up with a method that works, but as I've said, it's different strokes for different folks.  Some stuff will work for you, some stuff won't. Use what you think will be effective.

 

Will:

i mean do they fight cos they think they are not winning? people wont be vegan i mean.

 

Rob Jackson:

No, I think they argue because they are trying to get to a conclusion about what is the best approach. But there is no one size fits all method. Many of these people are academics and it's just the way that arguments are developed. There is a big cross over in social movements between theory and theorists and practicality and pragmatism - that causes conflict, but it's to be expected.

 

Will:

ta rob

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob. Kate would like to ask the next question but is busy transcribing, so Jason Ward will ask on her behalf. Thanks, Jay!

 

Jason Ward:

Hi Rob. My question is this. Given that animals are sentient and plants are insentient. If we could be reasonably confident of not causing harm to anyone, would you advocate killing carnivorous plants?

 

Rob Jackson:

I've seen you ask this question before!  It's a good one.

 

Kate Go Vegan:

Thanks. I'm glad you like it. :-)

 

Rob Jackson:

I think it quite clearly exposes a fundamental aspect of veganism, at least the way I understand it.  For me veganism is not about reducing harm - harm exists everywhere. Harm is useful - it is how progress is made, from evolution (survival of the fittest) to personal growth. It's more about exploitation for me. Harm is important because we use it as a measure to decide what is sentient, and therefore capable of being exploited. But it's the exploitation that's the really bad thing. So, no I wouldn't destroy carnivorous plants.

 

Kate Go Vegan:

Thanks. I find that an interesting answer. It seems we disagree. I think we have an obligation to try to minimise harm whenever possible. :-)

 

Rob Jackson:

That's OK, we can disagree!

 

Kate Go Vegan:

Yes we can. :-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! Lisa Viger would like to ask a question now. If there are any more questions for Rob, please let me know. Thanks, Lisa.

 

Rob Jackson:

More questions!

 

Lisa Viger:

Hi Rob, thanks for being here. I'm in the US and market garden just over a half acre veganically and it's a fantastic way to grow food. It's not mainstream by any stretch, but I noticed Whole Foods is starting to carry veganic items every so often. How large are the vegan organic operations in the UK and how much consumer interest does veganic produce have there at this point?

 

Rob Jackson:

Vegan-Organic operations are small-ish and regionalised. Tolhurst is supplying around 400 families a week I believe. Consumer interest is low I think, even within the vegan community - not many people know about the issues and the rest have got used to compromise because of the low availability. The Vegan Society carries articles in every issue. The Vegan-Organic network could probably give you a much more specific answer than that! Are you in touch with http://www.goveganic.net/ ?

 

Lisa Viger:

Excellent. Thank you. Excellent chat, too, btw. I'll definitely look at The Vegan Society articles & the goveganic website.

 

Rob Jackson:

:-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! Maynard S. Clark would like to ask the last question for today next. Thanks, Maynard.


Maynard S. Clark:
Rob, how could other nations set up prototypes for The Vegan Society in their nations? It seems to be a national model, and the USA and Canada don't have that (though one could say that NAVS is the national organization for the USA)? Canada has tried to set up a consortium, but many European and African nations are much smaller.

 

Rob Jackson:

There is an American Vegan Society http://www.americanvegan.org/

 

Maynard S. Clark:

And NAVS is all vegan, but AVS doesn't really do what TVS in UK does. But it is active and productive.

 

Rob Jackson:

Most national groups have started as a smaller regional groups I believe and grown from there.  The Vegan Society has an International Coordinator that can help with support, information and contacts. You can look here for some information http://www.vegansociety.com/around-the-world.aspx  And there is also http://www.ivu.org/ and http://www.euroveg.eu/  

 

Maynard S. Clark:

Thanks, Rob, you've already answered my question about working with IVU - International Vegetarian Union - www.IVU.org Thank you very much.

 

Rob Jackson:

YES!

 

Maynard S. Clark:

I'm impressed; I didn't know TVS was helping to build national orgs

 

Rob Jackson:

Not something I am involved with myself - but get in touch with them, I'm sure they will do whatever they can.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Rob, one of our members would like to ask if you define carnivorous plants as sentient. Thanks!

 

Rob Jackson:

I wouldn't no

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob! Thanks for your informative and insightful responses today. And for the time you've given us today. We sincerely appreciate it!

 

Roger Yates:

Thanks Rob

 

Brooke Cameron:

Thanks for a great chat Rob!

 

Jason Ward:

Thanks Rob for your time here today - you ROCKED!!!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Very helpful, thanks for your time, Rob!!

 

Will:

cheers

 

Sky:

Thanks!!!!

 

Matt Bowen:

Thanks Rob

 

Maynard S. Clark:

:-)  TUVM, Rob

 

Stacey Rakic:

Thank you!

 

Lisa Viger:

Thanks Rob!

 

Rob Jackson:

Thanks for having me - if anyone wants to keep in touch add me https://www.facebook.com/veganjackson (if you've tried to add me before - send me a message so I know who you are, I'm a little bit selective!)

 

Lynne Yates:

Thank you!

 

Sadia:

Absolute gratitude Mr. Jackson. Thank you so much for your time :-)

 

Rob Jackson:

I love discussing effectiveness though, so would be happy to chat any time. See you all around! :-)(

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Rob!

 

 

 

ARZone exists to promote rational discussion about our relations with other animals and about issues within the animal advocacy movement. Please continue the debate after “chats” by starting a forum discussion or making a point under a transcript.

 

 

 

Views: 346

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of Animal Rights Zone to add comments!

Join Animal Rights Zone

Comment by Arild Tornes on August 28, 2011 at 23:55
He seems like a great vegan advocate! I wonder if the website of Moseley Vegans is safe, when I go there I get a warning from my McAfee Site Advisor saying "suspicious area". It's this URL:
www.moseley.vegangroup.co.uk/

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

ARZone Podcasts!

Please visit this webpage to subscribe to ARZone podcasts using iTunes

or

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Follow ARZone!

Please follow ARZone on:

Twitter

Google+

Pinterest

A place for animal advocates to gather and discuss issues, exchange ideas, and share information.

Creative Commons License
Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) by ARZone is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.arzone.ning.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.arzone.ning.com.

Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) Disclaimer

Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) is an animal rights site. As such, it is the position of ARZone that it is only by ending completely the use of other animal as things can we fulfill our moral obligations to them.

Please read the full site disclosure here.

Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) Mission Statement

Animal Rights Zone (ARZone) exists to help educate vegans and non-vegans alike about the obligations human beings have toward all other animals.

Please read the full mission statement here.

Members

Events

Badge

Loading…

© 2017   Created by Animal Rights Zone.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

Google+