Animal Rights Zone

Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism

Transcript of Second ARZone Member's Workshop

Transcript of Second ARZone Member’s Workshop

16 April 2011

6pm US Eastern Time

11pm UK Time and

17 April 2011

8am Australian Eastern Standard Time

 

 

Carolyn Bailey::

ARZone is pleased to present the second in our series of Member Workshops.

 

ARZone aims to host our Member Workshops as an opportunity to involve all members in a conversation about issues and opinions raised in previous Guest Q&A sessions, in order to think critically about those questions and answers, to involve all members in open dialogue, to explore certain issues more fully, and to consider the ways we can all become more informed and better advocates for other animals.

 

Rather than feature a guest, ARZone workshops are conducted as open forum discussions for ARZone members, facilitated by the site admins.

 

The proposed topic for today’s session is “Vegan Education - What is it, How do we do it, How do we know whether it works?”

 

Thank you for joining us today to share your thoughts on how best to bring the vegan message to those who aren’t already vegan, to tell us the obstacles you may have found in doing outreach, and tell us about your successes in overcoming them.

 

Please feel free to add comment at any time today. We’d like to encourage free and open dialogue from all members.

 

We’d like to begin today by focusing on topics from our most recent guest chats, starting with Prof. Oscar Horta: who spoke of the educative value of a campaign against bullfighting.

 

Tim Gier: would like to begin today’s discussion, please go ahead when you’re ready, Tim.

 

Tim Gier:

Thanks Carolyn, I’d like to begin by summarizing what Prof. Horta said in his ARZone chat. Basically, he said that while some so-called “single-issue campaigns (SIC’s),” such as the one in Spain recently to end bullfighting,  may give the general public the impression that bullfighting is more of a problem than other kinds of use of nonhuman animals, he thinks that such campaigns could be opportunities to educate the public about speciesism and veganism.   He notes particularly that every advocate can use the publicity caused by these types of campaigns to bring attention to the broader issues involved.  What do you think? Do SIC’s have value from the standpoint of “ripening” the public to the ideas of animal rights?

 

Mangus O’Shales

Doesn't just about anything we can do to make people think differently about animals help?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

There is a danger that SICs may drain resources better put towards vegan education and possibly allow the public to focus on issues that do not cause them to make any changes.

 

Ben Hornby:

Does educating people about bull fighting necessarily also educate them about their food choices and other issues though?

 

Sharron Woodward

I have never understood the dislike for SIC. Every little change, positive change, is a step in the right direction.  If we don't protest the bullfighting, the bullfighting goes on.  Holding a demo against fur doesn't mean you accept leather.

 

Tim Gier:

Anything Mangus? I'd say no.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

No but it might confuse the public....

 

Tim Gier:

Well, Prof. Horta is here, but I think what he was saying is that if we were to use a campaign about bullfighting to make a specific claim about speciesism, then it might have value.

 

Oscar Horta:

Yes

 

Lisa Viger

Maybe. I know after the Conklin video I talked to lots of people who thought that the one person was the problem, rather than the idea of exploiting animals. It almost made them feel better ... "Well, I drink milk, but I'm not like THAT guy."

 

Tim Gier:

Lisa, that's the reaction my brother had to that video too.

 

Oscar Horta:

Can I clarify my point?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Please do, Oscar

 

Oscar Horta:

Thanks! Because later I'll have to leave. Well, I do agree with what you said above regarding confusion. I think that an antibullfighting or antifur or anti-some particular exploitation campaign  will certainly further a bit the idea that animals need to be considered, but it may confuse a lot the issue, people will think that respecting animals means not using them in THAT particular way. So I don't think that such campaigns are good tools to prepare the public for antispeciesism or veganism  but if you attend some TV debate on fur or bullfighting and all you do is discuss about antispeciesism and actually point out that there's no difference between killing animals in bullfights or for food or anything else well, I think that's defending antispeciesism and veganism in a very good way.  So I think SIC's are useful when they are carried out in order to do this.

 

Kate Go Vegan

Thanks Oscar :-D

 

Sky

Thanks Oscar

 

Oscar Horta:

thank you!

 

Greg McFarlane:

So does that mean we can take part in SICs, but not lead them?

 

Tim Gier:

Thanks Oscar! I agree with the thrust of your position, but it does seem to me that a person could efffectively join a campaign against bullfighting but make clear anti-speciesist claims

 

Sky 

So, SIC's can be useful but they are risky?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Oscar. I agree with you. I think it's possible to organise a single issue event as you speak of, which would be in accordance with abolitionist theory

 

Tim Gier:

I agree with Carolyn, someone please make a note of this.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Hah!

 

Tim Gier:

:-)

In essence, wouldn't a campaign against eating other animals, absent the larger context, be a single issue campaign?

 

Roger Yates:

However, I agree with Gary Francione that a circus visit is an opportunity to talk about animal use in general with that as the "hook" if you will.

 

Sky:

Roger - doesn't that depend on what's written on the leaflets/posters? Being practical about it.

 

Brooke Cameron:

I also agree with that, Roger. I had a lengthy conversation with Dan Cudahy on FB a few months ago in which we discussed a circus protest and the suitability of doing vegan education there. Dan also agreed that a SIC which incorporated vegan education was acceptable and in accordance with abolition.

 

Mangus O’Shales

Francione also seemed to accept that a single issue campaign against horses pulling carriages in Philadelphia was not such a terrible thing, given the context of the entire campaign.

 

Roger Yates:

Hi Sky. I think it does. From a sociological POV, the claims-making is all important. Why not a series of leaflets: "Against Animal Use - Circuses" etc?

 

Sky

You mean and others like against all animal abuse - vivisection?

 

Roger Yates:

Yes, a series of such literature - all of which are CLEAR that the animal advocate opposes all animal use.

 

Greg McFarlane:

The point of this chat is "vegan education".  Are SICs the best way to do this?

 

Tim Gier:

Greg, are public campaigns about "animal issues" part of what amounts to education?

 

SIC's also may not really demand much of the public.... Most people probably don't go to bullfights, or to circuses either, so there's little cost involved in being opposed to them

 

Roger Yates::

I guess the "safest" thing is not to organise a SIC since they can be misinterpreted.

 

Sharron Woodward

Why play it safe?  I think we must do what we can when we can.  I think telling the public that the bullfighting is wrong (& subsequently change is made) is great for the bulls in the arena.They don't care if it is a SIC do they?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think the problem some people have with SICs, Sharron, is that the focus is on one species and tends to elevate that species above all others in the eyes of some campaigning and the general public.

 

Sharron Woodward Does that matter in the first instance Carolyn?  The focus is on those animals at that time. I don't see that it is disloyal to hens in battery cages to protest the circus.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I've attended some campaigns where those campaigning and even organising see nothing wrong with stopping at KFC on the way home for dinner. That seems ridiculously hypocritical to me.

 

Sharron Woodward

I have been to horse racing protests where we stopped at a vegan restaurant to talk about our next action.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I understand not all who attend or support SICs would do that, it's just an example

 

Tim Gier:

But, being opposed to bullfights might make a person feel as though they were "doing their part for the animals". It's like giving one can of vegetables to the Christmas food drive, thinking that you're solving the hunger problem

 

Greg McFarlane:

Tim, yes, part of it.  But I have very limited resources, and I'd like to know what is the best way to help the animals.  I would get exhausted if I spent my time supporting all the SICs. There are just so many!

 

Lorna Devious:

You have many people that are against vivsectors or hunting but still go out and eat meat, in my eyes they are no better.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree, Lorna.

 

Sky

I think Lorna is spot on

 

Tim Gier:

That's right Lorna, just as there are people who run sanctuaries and still eat other animals. There is a huge disconnect.

 

Lorna Devious:

I agree TIm

 

Will:

Don’t most people know we are vegans against everything??

 

Barbara DeGrande:

History says these campaigns are not wildly successful....

 

Oscar Horta:

One argument I'd like to present is the fact that there's a discussion already going on on particular issues having to do with the use of animals. A number of animal defense groups do activism against fur, vivisection, bullfighting, etc. Their arguments are not antispeciesist and they don't link the oppostion to those forms of exploitation with veganism.  It would be good to oppose this by taking advantage of the fact that such debates exist by saying: the problem with fur, bullfighting, etc. is not that it is cruel ,etc  but that it's speciesist, just as using animals in any other ways is.

 

Tim Gier:

So, Oscar, your point is that advocates can use the shortcomings of a campaign against bullfighting as a way to expain the actual problem?

 

Kate Go Vegan 

I agree Oscar. :-)

 

Oscar Horta:

Yep. And by doing so we avoid other people confusing the public even more about that.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Absolutely agree, Oscar

 

Tim Gier:

Agreed.

 

Will:

i agree more than anyone else, Oscar

 

Oscar Horta:

Nope, I agree even more! :-D


Brooke Cameron:

I agree infinity, Oscar!

 

Roger Yates:

You would!

 

Greg McFarlane::

So, apart from taking part in other peoples SICs, what are other great ways for vegan education?

 

Lorna Devious:

There is a lot of focus on the fur and bullfighting campaigns etc, There just isn't enough awareness out there for the meat industry, shouldn't that be the main focus?

 

Tim Gier: 

Greg, I agree with you that there are so many SIC's and not so much time, and we do need to focus our efforts where they will best make a difference

 

Roger Yates:

Hi Lorna - I think there is a real question mark about why so many animal advocates focus on vivisection more than anything else.

 

I think it could be that vivisection"looks" like torture more than other forms of animal use.

 

Lorna Devious:

I focus on vivsectors but that isn't my only focus, i focus on all animal abuse

 

Mangus O’Shales:

They cut open cats, dogs and monkeys, so it's easy for people to get behind stopping it 

 

Sharron Woodward:

People are less likely to know about what happens in laboratories than say an abattoir.  People are ignorant about how their cosmetics & their medicines start. Anti viv work is courageous & valuable

 

Roger Yates:

Sharron - you really think that's true?

 

Mangus O’Shales:

People relate to cats, dogs and monkeys more than chicken, pigs and cows

 

Tim Gier:

How do we actually help people make the connection (that animal use is wrong)??

 

Sky:

Tim - to answer your point, isn't it good veganism is becoming the moral baseline?

 

Tim Gier: 

Sky, it's getting people to see that veganism is a moral imperative that is the challenge, just saying that it is over and over again won't change anyone's mind, I don't think. Yes I do.  Any person that takes time out of their day to fight for the well being &/or life of an animal is courageous. Be that anti viv direct action or vegan education.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

But does it work?

 

Lorna Devious:

If people are not willing to open their eyes to the abuse these animals go through, then don't you think it is time that we opened them. 

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think many people will always be unwilling to open their eyes to the exploitation in the world.

 

Sharron Woodward

So can't we open just one of their eyes? To, say, battery cages or circuses?  Isn't a little better than none

 

Lorna Devious:

How many times a day do people watch on TV the happy cow advert?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That's because many people are indoctrinated throughout their lives and believe there is nothing "abnormal" with their actions, Lorna, in my opinion.

 

Sharron Woodward

Talk to me about those problems.  I am absolutely stuck in understanding the resistance to SIC.  I am not saying that circuses should put their animals in bigger cages, or that free range is better.  I believe in abolition but happy to do it one animal/species at a time if that is how it has to be done

 

Barbara DeGrande:

It is plucking at the leaves rather than the root of the tree (or problems) and so far these have not worked.

 

Mangus O’Shales

That's the argument for incremental "welfare reforms" Sharron, and there are lots of people who agree with that approach, or some variation of it. It's not without its problems though.

 

Lisa Viger

If saying veganism is a moral imperative over and over worked, I'd have changed a lot more minds by now, Tim.  

 

Mangus O’Shales

Yes Lisa, it is frustrating.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Most people here in Australia would agree with you, Sharron. I think it is more productive to concentrate on the bigger picture, and worry that it's counter-productive to elevate any species above others.

 

To attend a dolphin protest and believe you have "done your bit" "for the animals", drive home and pick up some KFC on the way home, and go back to exploiting other animals until the next dolphin protest just doesn't make sense to me.

 

Lorna Devious:

I agree Carolyn, the problem we will always face, we are fighting an industry that has the money to back itself up, and that is why we now have more adverts on TV. But when was there last an advert on TV for veganism?

 

Mangus O’Shales

Lorna, that's an excellent point.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

It can be very difficult, Lorna. I agree

 

Greg McFarlane:

The question is that the best way for vegan education.  I think there are many other ways.  My main focus is on normalising the word "vegan" and educating people that it is healthy.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Normalizing it is so important, Greg!

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree, Greg

 

Tim Gier: The next aspect of vegan education was touched on by Kari Bagnall in her chat. She notes that when she first became an advocate for other animals that she was in many ways ignorant about the facts.  She is thankful for all those “mentors” who guided her along the way, by encouraging her growth, as opposed to just telling her that she was wrong. What do you think? As advocates for veganism and the liberation of other animals, should we be more concerned with showing others the errors of their ways, or should we be positive examples, acting more like guides along their way? -done-

 

Barbara DeGrande:

We need to reach those who are eating and using animals.

 

Mangus O’Shales

You get more sugar than you do with vinegar

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I don't see anything beneficial in continuing to insult others or tell them how disagreeable their actions are to you. I find it unfortunate to see this happen time and time again amongst vegans and advocates.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

We can debate without being disagreeable....

 

Tim Gier:

Roger, you often talk about "ripening"-- does that idea fit in here?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

We all make mistakes and we'll all continue to make mistakes. It happens. Having someone positively correct those mistakes is hugely helpful, but being told we're wrong doesn't help much at all

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Agree and we need to learn on our timetable, not others....

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree, Barb

 

Sadia Rajput

I agree, Barb and Carolyn!

 

Roger Yates:

Hi Tim - I think part of the issue is recognising that animal advocates have also been socialised within the ideology of animal welfarism. This means, I think, that many animal advocates often "slide" into welfarism because that is the dominant paradigm, this means that, although we think of "ripening up" as animal advocates talking to the public, it means also that we need to to talk to each other too.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Absolutely, talk TO each other, not at or about.

 

Lisa Viger

I agree, Roger & Carolyn.

 

Roger Yates:

This is part of general social movement reflexivity. I agree with Barbara that we should try to be respectful while we do it.  not always easy!!

 

Tim Gier:

I have to say, there's a fine line between thinking critically about another's position and being critical of another personally.  it's too easy to cross that line, and I think that is what Kari was getting at.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

If we acknowledge we are fallible, then it allows us the flexibility to change our positions as we learn and grow and so can others. 

 

Sky

We need to understand that people see the same things diffently.

 

Mangus O’Shales

Well that's what everyone was asking before, isn't it? What words do we use to help others make the connection?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Very true, Barb. I think most of us are able to be flexible and reasonable in regards to our positions.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

First, don't we have to see what the other person is about.  I like what Colleen Patrick-Goudreau said, talk to the other person, share your story because no one can say it isn't true, then ask them questions.

 

Roger Yates:

Barb - I think the tension here is due to the fact that we are all passionate about opposing animal harm. If we think that others’ campaigns are harming nonhuman animals, then we are bound to be extremely critical of them.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

The person or the campaign?

 

Roger Yates:

The campaign

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree with that Roger, but because we THINK others' campaigns are harming other animals doesn't necessarily mean they are

 

Tim Gier:

Okay, this is problematic, I am in agreement with Carolyn again

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Tim, stop that!

 

Tim Gier:

:-)

 

Brooke Cameron:

Those who are unwilling to make attempts to see what others are about are missing out on improving their understanding of their own positions

 

Tim Gier:

It's two questions then, isn't it? How do we talk within the movement, and how do we talk to the 98% of the world that isn't in the movement?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Let's spend 98% of the time on the 98%!

 

Tim Gier:

Would it be better to forget about what others in the movement are doing and just get on with gettting our message out?

 

Tim Gier:

Yes Barbara!!

 

Will:

Don’t some people question whether there is a movement??? as in one movement?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Movement or not, there is a lot of work to be done.

 

Roger Yates:

Yes, Will:, that is true. Some argue that we are in error talking about "the movement."

 

Mangus O’Shales

Who cares about the movement? Let's just get more people to go vegan

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Earlier Greg said we need to normalize the word vegan. That is one of the tasks at hand, certainly. Normative means more acceptable.

 

Tim Gier: 

Well, let's look at what Will Tuttle said, okay?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

That's always Ok, Tim!

 

Please remember that we value the opinions of all ARZone members, so please feel free to jump in at any time with any questions or comments.

 

Tim Gier:

Will Tuttle spoke about how veganism is being examined now by some religious groups and how veganism is becoming to be seen as more mainstream by the media, perhaps because celebrities are adopting some parts of a vegan lifestyle.  When we consider that many of these more mainstream embraces of veganism are often something less than actually vegan (veganist!) and that they often have more to do with the celebrities goals of health and beauty,  should we as advocates welcome this new higher profile, or should we be critical of these institutions and celebrities for taking the wrong approach? Does the higher profile, even if it is mistaken, make things better?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Ask Acorn...

 

Will:

What’s that?

 

Greg Mcarlane: 

I think these celebrities serve a fantastic purpose in vegan eduction.  People can not be expected to eat a vegan diet if they think their body "needs" meat.  By celebrities eating vegan shows to the world that health is not a reason to not go vegan.

 

Lisa Viger:

Just this week, it came to light that VegNews were using photos of real meat to illustrate their vegan recipes, they have a high profile and lots of celeb connections, but overall, did they help?

 

Sharron Woodward:

Who determines what is the wrong approach?

 

Brooke Cameron: 

Gary Francione!

 

Roger Yates:

Brooke!

 

Sharron Woodward:

How nice for Gary Francione!

 

Brooke Cameron:

Roger!

 

Tim Gier:

Seriously Sharron, that is an excellent question.

 

Sharron Woodward:

Why did you have to preface that with a 'seriously'.  :-!

 

Tim Gier:

I thought Brooke was joking.

 

Brooke Cameron:

I was joking, of course.

 

Greg McFarlane:

An organism's primary purpose is to survive and reproduce.  A common misconception is that you have to eat meat to survive. Vegan celebrities help dispell that myth and then that allows people's natural compassion to come forward.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree with you, Greg. One positive thing about celebrities starting a vegan diet is that it educates the public that a vegan diet is safe and the body functions just as well, if not better, eating a vegan diet

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think that also gives a misunderstanding of the term "vegan" though.

 

Tim Gier:

Being vegan means more than not eating other animals, but it seems that if people accept that they can survive without eating other animals, because they see people like Mike Tyson as vegans, then doesn't that get our "foot in the door" with them?

 

Greg McFarlane:

Eating a vegan diet is a step towards veganism.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

What about when they fail...like Natalie Portman?

 

Lisa Viger:

I do think showing people a vegan diet is safe and healthy (and tasty) is of the utmost importance. Otherwise, people will believe that it's something they can't even attempt right from the start.

 

Ben Hornby:

I think if people are interesting in ethical veganism, that's a great way to introduce them further to it

 

Tim Gier: 

I agree with you Lisa, there is a problem if people think that "going vegan" is just too big a step.

 

Ben Hornby:

Isn't that where some people go vegetarian first though, and use it as a "stepping stone"?

 

Valentine Vance:

I’m not vegan.... yet

 

Tim Gier:

Most of us were not vegans at one time Valentine:

 

Valentine Vance:

I know it is gradual.. i wouldnt be able to just BE vegan in one day, but i have been a veggie for about 8 years now

 

Tim Gier:

I like to think that there are two kinds of people, vegans and potential vegans. I think M Butterflies Katz actually came up with that one!!

 

Valentine Vance:

hahaha... exactly, that is a nice way to put it

 

Roger Yates:

I think we are getting ino complex areas here. For example, when Donald Watson and the other vegan pioneers went vegan, others said they woud be dead in weeks. I think Watson was willing "to pay the price" to do what was right, but to sell that as an idea is a hard sell.

 

Valentine Vance:

i have converted 2 people so far to veggies. :-)

You have to have a higher moral passion for all living things to understand the idea, i think

 

Tim Gier: 

So, Valentine, if you don't mind me asking, what is holding you back from being vegan now?

 

Valentine Vance:

It’s so very easy for us of course to get "it" but most people just dont want to.. what they dont know kind of thing  i cannot get off dairy.

 

Sharron Woodward:

I know a man who went on a vegan diet 5 years ago for health & body building.  Two years ago he started looking at veganism on the net & discovered animal rights.  Now he is a vegan. I am not sure it matters how we get to it as long as we get to it.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think that's a great story, Sharron. I would love to hear that it happens more and more.

 

Valentine Vance:

Agree Sharron. Eventually I will get there too  i dont drink milk.. but i love cheese and yogurt and eggs.

 

Lisa Viger:

We don't have to sell that idea anymore, Rog. Vegan food tastes good and is healthy, vegan shoes look good and are comfortable. I think we just need to spread the good news. :-)

 

Roger Yates:

Hi Valentine. Some people suggest that dairy products are addictive.

 

Valentine Vance:

hello Roger

 

Valentine Vance:

i dont buy any animal wear products, fur, leather.. etc..   oh i know.. very. Milk i stopped a while ago but i might as well because i still eat dairy.. I’m trying..

 

Sharron Woodward:

I was vegetarian for 26 years, blissfully & ignorantly so. I saw a dairy video & fell into a deep black hole. I was shattered. Yummy vegan cheese & vegan yoghurt is the go.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I had huge problems with cheese too, Valentine. I understand it can be very difficult.

 

Roger Yates:

Hi Valentine - how are you?

 

Valentine Vance:

Im good..

 

Roger Yates:

:-)

 

Valentine Vance:

i tried the vegan cheese and it was yuck.. and yoghurt, i didnt know they had that

 

Lisa Viger:

Valentine, i know another vegan who had a terrible time stopping dairy. He did stop eventually. Learning how cheese was made helped.

 

Valentine Vance:

im slowly cutting it out tho

 

Carolyn Bailey:

There is great vegan cheese out there, but I actually find I don't eat much of that these days. I agree with Roger about it being addictive.

 

Valentine Vance:

eeeeee.... i know too.....

 

Sharron Woodward:

Good luck Valentine. You're on the right path.......

 

Valentine Vance:

i live in a large household and most everything i eat i buy but there are quite a few meals that are not vegan  thank you, i know i am... and i am tryin to convert the rest of the house. :-)

 

Tim Gier:

My daughter is deathly allergic to mushrooms, she can't even eat food that has been prepared on the same equipment. So when I finally decided to become vegan, I just told myself that I was allergic to cheese. 

 

Valentine Vance:

i want to know what the answer is when someone tells me that if they didnt slaughter the animals the population would be out of control....

 

Tim Gier:

The answer is the animals will not be born in the first place.

 

Sharron Woodward:

They are created to die Valentine - If they weren't used by humans they wouldn't be born.

 

Valentine Vance

Oh, the thing is.. i WAS allergic to dairy when i was a baby, goats milk.. i guess i adapted, but i could go back to thinking i am seriously allergic! :-D  Aww, Tim.. ya know I never thought about that. And deer.. my dad is a huge hunter, makes me so sad.. but he LOVES them and thinks they are beautiful, then bam.. kills them, i dont understand that. He says he is helping control the population  and they eat rabbit, squirrel.. ack

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think most hunters say that to justify their actions

 

Valentine Vance:

people like him will  NEVER stop

 

Barbara DeGrande:

What helped you to think differently, Valentine?

 

Valentine Vance:

Him, the love I have for animals is so much that i couldn’t imagine killing them, i had a pet cow growing up, Zutu.. i lead her around the house when i was little, had her for about 6 years

 

Tim Gier:

I believe that every person has the potential for change

 

Valentine Vance:

My father had a ranch, one day I came over and he lifted up the freezer in the back and the whole top layer of meat was labeled Zutu.. that has stuck with me for so long, i was devastated i couldn’t provide for myself yet. It killed me, i thought she was MINE... i didn’t know

 

Debbie:

I have talked with a few people online and offline about veganism, and alot of people don’t have confidence or self esteem to go vegan. I have told them they need to give themselves credit

 

Valentine Vance:

thank you all xoxox

 

Carolyn Bailey:

:-)

 

Sharron Woodward:

I think stalls are great.  I am a member of Animal Lib here in NSW  & our local branch has stalls at festivals & the like & people are genuinely curious about veganism.

 

Valentine Vance:

and yes Debbie.. i will get there too.. prolly tomorrow :-P

 

Tim Gier:

Thank you Valentine!

 

Sadjar Rajput:

Good luck Valentine! And hey am new vegan as well( almost a year old) :-)

 

Valentine Vance:

yay!!! congrats and thanks :-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Always feel free to ask any questions, Valentine.

 

Tim Gier:

The next question is about our use of language specifically. In her chat, Mary Martin notes that while we, as advocates, may see the value in defining ourselves with terms like “abolitionist” and in defining others as “corpse-munchers” we, as advocates, aren’t really supposed to be talking to ourselves, or even each other. We are supposed to be talking to those people who have yet to accept that speciesism is wrong and that veganism is right. Making a similar point to the one Matt Ball made in his chat, Mary says that what matters isn’t what we call ourselves, but how we see and interact with others. So we need to choose our words carefully. What do you think?

 

Roger Yates:

This is an extremely complex issue, Tim.

 

Valentine Vance:

When you tell others, what do you say, I am vegan, or I am an animal activist...

 

Roger Yates:

I think it does matter what we call ourselves - when we interact with others, we also interact with others "in the movement."

 

Tim Gier:

I say I am vegan

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I also say I am vegan

 

Valentine Vance:

ok

 

Tim Gier:

Because I believe that nonhuman animals have the same rights to life, liberty and bodily integrity as I do

 

Valentine Vance:

agree.

 

Will:

i say im a vulcan

 

Valentine Vance:

my beliefs are weird.... and i think they are weird for eating flesh!

 

Ben Hornby:

I used to say I was an advocate for animals, but I don't think that really explains my philosophy. Someone like Pete Bethune, for example, may call himself an animal advocate, yet he still eats animals. I find that hypocritical.

 

Valentine Vance:

haha I can kind of understand that... kind of, how would you explain yourself..

 

Ben Hornby:

As a vegan, and I'm happy to explain that I am vegan because I respect the rights of other animals to their lives, bodies and freedom.

 

Valentine Vance:

Most people just think im over the top, and have been de-friended for my posts, and i still dont say i am an advocate, im just passionate and understand that all life has the right to live I like that Ben.. and yes, it would hurt the idea if you consume meat and say you are an advocate..

 

Tim Gier

That's a good point Ben, do you think it hurts "vegan education" overall when people do what Bethune does?

 

Ben Hornby:

Yeah, I think people like Pete Bethune allow others to believe that it's OK to defend one species (turtles) while eating other ocean animals. How is that helping anyone?

 

Mangus O’Shales:

I don't think most people care about "welfare" and "abolition" but I do think people probably won't be listening to the person who calls them a "corpse-muncher"

 

Valentine Vance:

I do agree, yes it is a bit hypocritical

 

Tim Gier:

Yes, I agree, it's the SIC thing again.

 

Ben Hornby:

Yep, exactly

 

Alex Richards:

I missed the first part, so maybe this has already been talked about, but how do you respond when people, quite angrily and defensively most times, use terms such as vegangelical, or dismiss veganism as nothing more than a cult or a religion. If this has already been discussed, just let me know, and I'll read the transcript later.

 

Sharron Woodward:

I think calling someone a corpse muncher is just an expression of absolute powerlessness & grief at what we know & see as vegans.  Our distress & anger shows in many forms

 

Brooke Cameron:

I agree, Sharron.

 

Valentine Vance: Vance:

I missed that part too... never heard of it being a cult. Interesting. I will read the transcript if it hasnt.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

I would wonder who is doing the calling and why.......

 

Tim Gier:

We haven't discussed that Alex, so it would be good to talk about it.

 

Alex Richards:

It happened to me when I was commenting on an article online. The calmer and more rational I tried to be, the angrier this person became.

 

Tim Gier:

Alex, why do you think people react as that person did?

 

Alex Richards:

Because they are desperately wanting not to have to look at what they are really doing.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

How did you respond, Alex?

 

Alex Richards:

I kept replying calmly for a while, then eventually stopped participating as it wasn't going anywhere.

 

Tim Gier:

I think that when we talk with potential vegans, we are, in a way, holding up a mirror for them to see themselves in. If we can find ways to get them to see the good they could do, rather than the harm they are doing, we might make a difference.

 

Greg McFarlane:

That's beautiful Tim.

 

Alex Richards:

Well said, Tim.

 

Tim Gier:

Most folks fear change. Change when we want to is hard, when we don't want to......

 

Thank you

 

Alex Richards:::

That's for sure, Barbara... :-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Absolutely, Barb.

 

Roger Yates:

I agree Barbara - a profound statement to be sure.

 

Tim Gier:

I agree Barbara, most people don't want to confront their own wrongdoings, especially when everything they've been told since birth is that what they are doing isn't wrong.

 

Barbara DeGrande:

One of the things I heard when working with folks with addictions is that their culture would pull them back in - even more so here.

 

David Turchick:

Hello all! I totally agree with Tim and Carolyn, veganism is by definition respecting animals, so that's what we are. Talking about abolitionism and welfarism to the general public is not the best choice of subject (unless what *they* say leads the conversation to the issue and ways of trying to defend animals).

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Hi David! I think that's the thing, it's all about what "they" bring up and ask about

 

Tim Gier:

Hi David, I think you're right and I'm not even sure that we need to talk about the rights of other animals in order to help people begin to understand that other animals deserve our respect. Mylan Engels Jr (a philosphy professor) makes the case that talking about rights or interests just complicates things beyond what is necessary.

 

David Turchick:

Hmm... I really do talk a lot about rights... Is there a link on that you could share with us Tim?

 

Tim Gier:

Sure, here's a link to a .pdf of an essay Engels wrote: http://goo.gl/BSUW 

 

The final question for today relates to what PeTA co-founder Alex Pacheco referred to as “stupid human tricks” in comparison to undercover investigations. Alex’s point is that “undercover investigations, criminal and civil litigation, legislation and of course public education,” end actual cases of abuse and raise awareness in the general public about what is wrong with human exploitation of nonhumans. In contrast, he says “By "stupid human tricks", I mean pure P.R. stunts, which have little to no tangible value for animals. But stunts are cheap, fast, and easy, and most off all, they make headlines.”  Has PeTA made a mistake and sacrificed the actual interests of nonhuman individuals for the sake of publicity and (perhaps) fundraising? When it comes to raising awareness in the public, should we think that anything goes?

 

Alex Richards:

I don't think anything-goes is the best approach, regardless of how much publicity  or donations it may generate. I think some of the tricks do more harm than good.  But at the same time, the undercover investigations can be invaluable. I think PETA is sexist and does lots of stupid things they ought not to do.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I agree, Alex. I find it embarrassing when people associate me with PeTA when they hear I spend time advocating for other animals. I think some of their tacky stunts are detrimental and draw the absolute wrong attention to themselves and other advocates.

 

The work that Alex Pacheco did for PeTA when he was there though was very important. I think Alex is a wonderful advocate and really does put others above himself

 

Tim Gier:

PeTA obviously has done lots of good things to raise awareness, but that doesn't let them off the hook for the silly stunts they pull now. I'd like to see them go back to what Pacheco was doing.

 

Alex Richards:

I was impressed with Alex, too, and would definitely like to see PETA dial back to their beginnings.

 

Sadia Rajput:

Agreeing Tim!

 

Barbara DeGrande:

Yes!

 

Roger Yates:

: -)

 

Tim Gier:

Does anyone have any vegan education success stories that they'd like to share?

 

Valentine Vance: Vance: 

not yet :-D

 

David Turchick:

Tim, thanks for the link. I would have to give Engel's article a better read. But he does seem to focus on arguments other than animal rights - I really don't do that. I talk about respect, the moral basic right we're all asking for.

 

Alex Richards:

Not yet, here. How about yourself, Tim?

 

Tim Gier:

David, I do the same thing, but I do wonder sometimes if I make my job harder for myself by talking about rights.

 

Lisa Viger:

I don't have any stories of instant vegan epiphanies I can take credit for, but I've worked with people over time who've eventually become vegan. I hope I helped them some.

 

Alex Richards:

That's great, Lisa.

 

Tim Gier:

Alex, there is one I can remember. I met a person online (through twitter) who was a vegetarian but had never thought about what was wrong with eggs & dairy. She told me that after reading something I had written.... that she stopped eating eggs & dairy.  I thought that was pretty cool

 

Alex Richards:

Nice!

 

Lisa Viger:

very cool


Sadia Rajput:

And me Tim, on facebook, you have helped me bake my first vegan cake ! Am forever grateful for that .Yes pretty cool!

 

Lisa Viger:

Yay for vegan cake :-)

 

David Turchick:

I think I fall into the same category as Lisa (although I do recall people wanting to change immediately - but the timing is really not so important). Tim, I use a lot "respect", but rights is about the same... That's how Prof. Regan would put it.

 

Tim Gier:

I agree David, talking about "respect" is like talking about "rights" and Tom Regan makes that connection especially well.

 

Tim Gier:

Yay for Sadia :-)

 

Sharron Woodward:

I think you have done veganism a huge service Tim. You have guided me over the past year & have been valuable in my journey (as has Carolyn)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Sharron! :-)

 

Tim Gier:

Thank you Sharron!

 

Brooke Cameron:

You're my hero, Tim! I’m such a fan!

 

Lisa Viger:

Well, Tim, I was vegan before I found your blog, but you've really helped me understand the theory behind it. Your blog has helped me, too, Roger. And AZone and Carolyn has made me feel welcome, which is great :-) So TY all

 

Carolyn Bailey:

Thanks, Lisa!

 

Tim Gier:

Thank you Lisa :-)

 

Greg McFarlane:

I'm hoping to make lots of vegans at the Sydney Vegan Expo in two weeks.  We hope to draw in a variety of people, people interested in yoga, health, environment, etc and then swamp them with vegan information throughout the day.

 

Tim Gier:

How many attendees are you expecting Greg?

 

Greg McFarlane:

About 2000. We usually get 1000, but we are putting a huge effort into publicity this year.

 

David Turchick:

2000!!! Congratulations Greg!

 

Tim Gier:

Wow, that's great Greg! I'll be very interested to hear how it all works out.

http://sydneyveganexpo.com.au/

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I hear you have an exceptional international guest speaker too, Greg

 

Greg McFarlane:

Yes :-)  - we are still looking for people who could record a talk on video and send it to us to show there.  Any takers?

 

Brooke Cameron:

Who is the exceptional international guest speaker?

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I think one of the key speakers, via video or Skype is Roger Yates:, Brooke. Woooo!!

 

Will:

Roger who?

 

Barbara DeGrande:

:-)

 

Roger Yates:

Please!

 

Sadia Rajput:

:-) Awsome! Dr. Yates!

 

Ben Hornby:

Woooo, I live in Sydney. I'll definitely have to attend just to see Professor Yates speak!

 

David Turchick:

Greg, I ran this online survey "Ethics and Animals" two years ago, it has some interesting (I hope) conclusions for activism (but maybe very general, such as rights vs. consequences and stuff). I've presented it at the Intl Vegan Festival we had.

 

Greg McFarlane:

Thanks David, please email me at info@vegansocietynsw.com and we can discuss.  Would that be by video?

 

David Turchick:

In Rio in 2009 (and other places here in Brazil). Take a look at ethiquest.wordpress.com if you're interested. If you like the subject, I could probably record a talk on it.

 

Alex Richards:

Will there be recordings of speakers/presenters that can be accessed later online?

 

Lisa Viger:

Oh, that would be great. Are you going to YouTube it?

 

Roger Yates:

It's all free folks (quoting Spike Milligan.)

 

Greg McFarlane:

This is what I meant by normalising "vegan".  We Will: have a range of activities at the Expo - cooking demos, kids zone, entertainment, serious talks, stalls, etc.  All with the vegan name behind it.

 

Alex, we are hoping to record the talks at the Expo for later Internet access.

 

Tim Gier:

That sounds like good vegan education to me Greg!

 

David Turchick:

Peace!

 

Lisa Viger:

I run across a lot of folks who are already onto a vegan or mostly vegan diet.What do you think would be the most effective message to get health vegans interested in actual veganism? How to best explain the difference?

 

Tim Gier:

Lisa, that's a tough one. I wish I could give you a simple answer.

 

Leah:

I have a simple answer: don't change the message at all. I started out as a health vegan. Health vegans just need to hear the same ethical argument as everyone else.

 

Roger Yates:

For me, this is an issue of people doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

 

Tim Gier:

The art of persuasion is just that, an art - it is not a science. What I try to do is get people to come to see my arguments on their own terms.

 

Carolyn Bailey:

I'd like to remind everyone that next week’s chat guest will be David Pearce

 

David is a British philosopher who is most famous for advocating the idea that there is a strong moral imperative for humans to work toward the abolition of suffering in all sentient beings.

 

Alex Richards:::

This David Pearce? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Pearce_%28philosopher%29

 

Roger Yates:

no - the other one :-)

 

Alex Richards:

:-)

 

Carolyn Bailey:

David is also the co-founder of The World Trans-Humanist Association.

 

Kate:

Yes that's his wikipage. I'm sure you'll all agree it's bound to be another very interesting chat. :-)

 

Will:

Trans what? Wot does it mean?

 

Sky:

Will - it means a humanist who travels by train

 

Sadia Rajput:

Indeed it would be interesting:-) Philosophers! :-) I have heard they are pretty smart folks.

 

Alex Richards:

Yes, should be interesting. From Wiki: "...Pearce details how he believes the abolition of suffering can be accomplished through modern technologies and mainly through genetic engineering..."

 

Tim Gier: 

If you aren't familiar with David Pearce's work, here is an interview you might want to read: http://arzone.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-abolitionist-project-by

 

Leah:

Here's another http://www.hedweb.com/hedethic/vanity-fair.html

 

 

***********

 

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.

 

 

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Comment by Mary Martin, PhD on April 17, 2011 at 21:53
Great! Arild recently translated it into Norwegian and made a couple of changes (e.g., added some Norway-specific information) and we used the same layout. The animal rights group there uses it and has also posted it on its site at: http://www.vegansamfunnet.no/kritisk-tenkning/
Comment by Mary Martin, PhD on April 17, 2011 at 20:30

Hi all,

Because you raised the topic of pamphlets about use, I wanted to link to "Thinking Critically About The Animals We Use." I find it's a great conversation starter, it anticipates the flow of questions, it's not threatening and doesn't put people on the defensive. I created it largely for my own purposes, so it might not suit yours, but at least it's a starting point for thinking about what you'd do/not do in a set of pamphlets on use.  http://www.animalperson.net/animal_person/2011/01/ch-ch-ch-changes....

I actually have great success with vegan education, but for the most part I do it with people I know and can follow up with and support. So my reach is very small, even though it's successful (read: people go vegan).

As for what we call ourselves, I say "vegan," and then I explain that I don't use/kill animals unless I absolutely must (say, a drug tested on animals b/c they all are if they're FDA approved). I also make two important points: 1) it's not just about food; and 2) no one is claiming to be 100% vegan ("yeah, but you live in a house and drive a car, yada, yada, yada"). I used to call myself an abolitionist vegan, and vegan is tough enough for most people. Abolitionist is completely alien and doesn't help me reach them. I want my language to be as easy for them to grasp as possible. With that said, I don't sanitize and use words like euthanasia (if it's not) or culling or carcass (I do say corpse). There's an arbitrary/subjective line separating words that are accurate and the average person can handle (corpse) from words that are accurate and repulse/upset people to the point that they get defensive (corpse muncher). If they introduce something into the conversation that I wouldn't, fine (maybe they've heard of abolitionists, who knows?) Finally, there's the matter of how much you want to challenge them and how much of a challenge they can take before shutting down. And you have no idea if you don't know the person (and if you do, and you're not paying careful attention, you might still have no idea), therefore erring on the conservative side, for me, is the strategy of choice, because I'm limiting how offensive I might sound. Others, obviously, disagree.

Sorry for the long comment. I wanted to participate live but I have house guests and we were at a vegan, raw restaurant talking about ways to make easy vegan meals in advance for the week and the significant downside of palm oil. Progress. Slower than I want, but progress.

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