Campaign Update: Changing the Way People View and Treat Farm Animals

By Nick Cooney

April 10, 2013

One of the key pillars of Farm Sanctuary’s mission is to change the way people view and treat farm animals. Another key pillar is to promote a compassionate vegan lifestyle.

Compassionate Communities was created to do both of these as efficiently as possible. Occasionally in this blog we share updates about what our volunteers are doing around the country to change hearts and change diets. This week, we share a few examples of the feedback we get from those whose hearts and diets have changed as a result of the Compassionate Communities Campaign.

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“I found [your
Something Better leaflet] on a cafeteria table and decided to become vegetarian after reading through it. I think that is a good way to raise awareness without being intrusive…I would like a stack of maybe 50 so I can pass it around our school campus.”
        – DongNi Zhang

 

“Its been almost 6 months since I first saw your video and I almost immediately became a vegetarian after that. It was the thing that really made me change my opinion on meat…It has been really easy for me to change into a meat-free diet and instead of missing eating meat, it kind of disgusts me now knowing whats behind a hamburger or a chicken cutlet.”
        – Anna Segarra

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“I am taking meat out of my diet. Thank you so much again, I love animals and I would hate for them to be slaughtered for the sake of my taste buds! I cannot wait until I get my meat-free meal guide. God bless you!”
       
– Abby Baca

 

“Im a 15 year old girl who never imagined to go vegetarian; however after seeing how horribly these animals are being treated I could never see myself going back.”
        – Louella Dent

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“Since I saw your video my life changed. I have been almost 4 months without meat and I have been feeling pretty good and confident about my decision. I thought it was going to be harder but so far it has been a lovely journey for me.”
        – Daniela De Los Rios

 

“This video is the reason I am now vegan! Thats all it takes to change minds and hearts to become vegan is to see truth of what’s on our plates … I have also joined some local animal rights and vegan groups here in Phoenix AZ. Every voice will help open eyes and save lives! Bless you and your work!”
   
    – Angel Cullen

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“I’m happy to tell you that I no longer eat meat since the first day I saw your video! If you have a farm nearby that might need some help with the animals I can help any weekend, and I will be very happy to do so.”
       
– Diana Pais

 

“I had heard that this type of behavior was common throughout the industry. But I just couldn’t believe that our fellow human beings could be that cruel. Obviously I was wrong…God forgive them. And I am going to try to become meat-free in my diet.”
        – Mike Onofrietti

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“This is going to change my life. I have been flirting with becoming a vegetarian for years but have hesitated … Thank you so much! PS, I am 82 years old but plan to live to be 102 because I am in excellent health.”
        – Eloise Peterson

 

“This is so sad, I am not eating meat anymore, because animals are just like humans, and if they’re suffering, then I’m not eating meat.”
        – Brandy-Latisha Lee

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“Great work by the way … I have now been a full vegan for 2 months!”
        – Aly MacNeill-Weir

 

 

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2012: Compassion In Action

By Nick Cooney

January 1, 2013

Looking back over the past twelve months, what can we say but “thank you!” Thank you for helping to make Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities Campaign a success. Thank you for helping to spare tens of thousands of farm animals from a lifetime of misery. Before we dive into a new year of advocacy, let’s take a quick look back on 2012 and what we, together, achieved for animals.

The Campaign kicked off in March of 2012 with the launch of our groundbreaking compassionatecommunities.org website. For the first time ever, farm animal advocates now have a one-stop shop for learning how to carry out effective veg advocacy programs in their community. With how-to videos and guides and a library of some of the most thought-provoking essays and videos around, it’s no wonder thousands of grassroots advocates in the U.S. and abroad joined the Campaign in the months that followed.

Meanwhile, the Compassionate Communities blog dug into the latest research to provide eye-opening advice for animal advocates. We discussed why the phrase “meat-free” may be better than “vegetarian”; looked at who former vegetarians are and why we lost them; busted the myths that are told inside the vegan bubble; showed the neuroscience behind caring vegetarians; and took a data-based look at the impact of welfare reforms on vegan advocacy.

As Compassionate Communities volunteers got active, local veg dining guides, both printed and online, began popping up around the country. Residents of cities like Pittsburgh and Rochester, among many others, now have an easy way to find veg food near them, and local activists and grassroots groups have a great resource to direct the public to.

The summer of 2012 saw the launch of our snazzy new 16-page veg advocacy booklet, Something Better. Over the course of the year, Compassionate Communities volunteers distributed more than 265,000 copies of Something Better and other literature to people around the country, bringing Farm Sanctuary and its animal ambassadors to a wide audience of people across the country. This included over 55,000 vegetarian starter guides distributed through businesses and newsstand racks, as well as nearly 200,000 booklets handed out at colleges, festivals, and on busy city streets.

In the fall, we hit the road for our Compassionate Communities tour, traveling to 11 key cities around the country to rally grassroots advocacy efforts. Hundreds of local animal advocates came out for our workshops on effective veg advocacy and signed up to get active for farm animals. Many joined us for hard-hitting outreach events, from the beaches of Florida to the universities of Portland to the cold streets of Boston.

In November, Compassionate Communities launched its hard-hitting new video, What Came Before. The 10-minute film short, narrated by TV and movie star Steve-O, introduces viewers to individual animals rescued by Farm Sanctuary, exposes the cruel realities of factory farming, and strikes a hopeful note by pointing out the benefits of a meat-free diet. In its first two months, more than 180,000 viewers saw the cruel reality of What Came Before, with many leaving heartfelt messages or comments about how the video inspired them to go vegetarian.

Thanks to the support of our donors, Compassionate Communities also launched a massive online advertising campaign to bring What Came Before and resources on vegan eating to the computer screens of hundreds of thousands of young women around the country.

All told, Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities Campaign was able to directly reach nearly half a million people in 2012 with printed literature or video on the cruelties of factory farming and the benefits of vegan eating, inspiring dietary change and saving the lives of farm animals. Your involvement and support have spared tens of thousands of individuals like “The Doctor” from a lifetime of misery.

On behalf of all of us at Farm Sanctuary, have a Happy New Year! We look forward to working with you in 2012 to achieve even more for animals!

 

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The Summer Outreach Challenge is in full effect

By Nick Cooney

July 24, 2012

Kudos to the 60 volunteers who have signed up for the Summer Outreach Challenge and are each aiming to reach 1,000 people this summer with booklets or videos about farm animal cruelty and healthy plant-based eating:

Jessica Spain, Anne Kennedy, Audrey Fotouhi, Katie Moore, Robin Skov, Brandi Duffy, Barbera Thumann-Calderaro, Virginia Hanrahan, Desi Harpe, Dawn Nichols, Dennis Akpan, Don Blackowiak, Eileen Persichetti, Kamal Prasad, Emmaly Beck, Gail Mayer, Renee Gallaway, Gina Esposito, Greg Brumfield, Jolene Olson, Jen Manzari, Judi Megarity, Jonathan Hussain, Karen James, Kimberly Floyd, Laney Hopper, Laura Lyons, Shauna Saling, Malik McLean, Marilyn Nusbaum, Linda Marcovici, Maria Alexandre, Megan Della Fave, Meredith Hemphill, Michelle Brown, Milena Esherick, Myleme Montplaisir, Heather Stadther, Pam Driggs, Pamela Coleman, Patricia Massari, Patricia Haddock, Sarah, Piper Crussell, Ryan Wychowanec, Carla Wilson, Sarah Woodcock, Sherri Hendricks, Sherry Liu, Sarah Shaffer, Sue Bruzzese, Steve Small, Susan Earnest, Silvana Singer, Hilary, Tina Horowitz, Virigina Fitt, Wendy Cliggott, Victoria, Denise Anderson, and Hussein Mourtada.

On behalf of the animals at Farm Sanctuary, and farm animals across the country, thank you! June was our most successful month yet with more than 25,000 leaflets and starter guides distributed!

Challenge participants and other Compassionate Communities volunteers had this to say about their recent work for animals:

“Thank you so very much for sending me the Compassionate Choices leaflets and the Guide to Meat Free Meals. My family started handing them out immediately. My daughter took some to school to pass out to her classmates; I took them to work and passed them out to everybody, and gave one to my hairdresser as I have been discussing this with her for weeks.” –Brenda Lyon

“It was a beautiful day, and I think the turnout was probably their best ever!  I had about 170 people stop by my table…Cute story for Gene:  I had a copy of his book displayed, and one woman said she read it after it literally fell on her head at the library!  Her husband also read it, and it was the impetus for them going vegetarian.” –Susan Jones

“Just want to give you a status report for Central Valley Animal Liberation. We are well on our way to meeting the Summer Outreach Challenge…Grand total: 750 [leaflets distributed so far].” Jonathan Hussain

“My parents have always been indiscriminate carnivores. I used to think that I could simply lead by example, but when I realized that my dining/living habits weren’t really changing their hearts or minds, I sent them two very passionate emails. Yesterday, my dad emailed me back to say that my arguments were very compelling and because of them, he and my mom are going to phase meat out of their diet! Hooray! I’m looking forward to handing out leaflets and making starter kits available – hopefully we can reach even more people.” Meg York

 

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Take the summer outreach challenge

by Nick Cooney

May 29, 2012

The weather is warm, the days are long, and there’s no better time to get active to help farm animals. That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of the Compassionate Communities Summer Outreach Challenge!

Because you care about animals, we challenge you to educate 1,000 people about the cruelties of factory farming between June 1 and August 31. You can pass out leaflets, distribute vegetarian starter guides, show animal cruelty video, or mix and match!

In addition to sparing many animals a lifetime of misery, there are personal benefits to taking on this challenge. We’ll send you our “Proud Vegetarian” bumper sticker just for signing on, acknowledge your work on Farm Sanctuary’s Compassionate Communities website, and once you meet the goal you’ll be eligible to win free merchandise and other special prizes!

Email us now at activist@farmsanctuary.org to take the Challenge, then read on to see what other Compassionate Communities volunteers have been doing.

Local Vegan Eating Gets Easier

Finding vegan-friendly restaurants and grocery stores just got easier in a number of cities, thanks to Compassionate Communities volunteers who have created local veg dining guides using our print or online templates!

Christin Bummer notes, “And… we’re up! I was able to put the site together after work this afternoon. Your instructions were tremendous and made it super easy…Check it out! http://www.vegpittsburgh.com

Guides have also been created for Rochester, State College (print), and New Hampshire (great work Eric Koll, Denise Goodman, and Tom Derosa). Many more guides are on the way – why not add your city to the list!

Veg Outreach Rocks Earth Day

We were blown away with the number of volunteers who distributed vegetarian starter guides and leaflets at Earth Day events across the country. Pranav Merchant, who distributed leaflets at a large festival in Los Angeles, noted “Last week’s Earth Day went quite well. A good number of people came to the table and I got to explain what Farm Sanctuary does and to hand out a good deal of fliers.”

Thanks to all who used Earth Day opportunities to reach the public with information on veg eating! Many upcoming summer festivals would also be great places to distribute this information, including pride parades, environmental festivals, arts festivals, and large concerts, so we hope you’ll stay active!  Do you need help finding events nearby where you can conduct veg outreach?  Drop us a note at activist@farmsanctuary.org and we’ll make some recommendations.

Numbers Continue To Rise

Compassionate Communities volunteer animal activist distributes literatureGreat work! You’ve continued to reach more and more people with the cruel realities of factory farming and the benefits of eating vegan! In the past six weeks Compassionate Communities volunteers have distributed 20,000 leaflets and veg starter guides, creating dozens of new vegetarians, vegans and meat-reducers and sparing hundreds if not thousands of animals from a lifetime of suffering! New vegan social groups have also been created to support current vegetarians and vegans.

Barbara Thumann writes, “Several parents in Little Ferry waiting for their kids to get out of grammar school on Friday received [leaflets]…One guy was even reading a book by Kathy Freston (vegan) who said he was “thinking about it” – i guess which meant going vegan, perhaps your leaflet will seal the deal.”

Erika Hirsch, seen above, has been out distributing veg literature at a farmers market every other week.  Her dedication can inspire us all to adopt our own outreach routine that we can keep going all summer long!

 

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CCC volunteers hit the streets

By Nick Cooney

April 17, 2012

Just one month has gone by since the Compassionate Communities Campaign was launched, and we could not be happier! Volunteers are hitting the streets to educate the public about the cruelties of factory farming and the benefits of vegan eating, leaving a trail of compassion in their wake.

Volunteer Erika Hirsch is distributing vegetarian literature every other week at a farmer’s market in San Luis Obispo, CA. She noted that “Many people stopped by and some wanted to talk about health, environment or animals. Some people just wanted to say ‘good job’ and other people inquired about how to make dietary changes.” For each person who reduces the amount of meat they eat, dozens of farm animals will be spared a lifetime of suffering.

Constance Li and other students at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ passed out vegetarian leaflets on campus along with free food samples. The group followed three rules that every animal advocate should take to heart:  “Smile, validate everyone’s opinions (if they feel like you listened to them, they will return the favor), and compliment people.”

Christina Perkins’ vegan social group in Maine is attracting both vegetarians and current meat-eaters. Christina notes, “All commented on how delicious the food was and the restaurant staff is now quite competent in cooking a vegan meal even on short notice. And just as important, they take pride in that. All in the midst of a not-so-veg-friendly blue collar mill town in Maine.”

Susan Earnest has been handing out leaflets about factory farming and vegetarian eating on her lunch break in Pittsburgh, PA. She’s even recruited some friends to help her create new vegetarians in the Steel City.

Compassionate Communities volunteers have distributed over 20,000 pieces of vegetarian literature in the past month. In doing so, they have created dozens of new vegetarians and spared thousands of farm animals a lifetime of misery on factory farms. Volunteers have also shared video of farm animal cruelty with thousands of people, started vegan social groups, and begun working on local veg dining guides.

Please make a commitment to get active for farm animals! Email us to order vegetarian literature or to get started with a Compassionate Communities program. The animals will thank you, and so will we!

 

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A humble welcome

By Nick Cooney

March 20, 2012 

Okay, so we’re not really breaking new ground by saying that it would be a good thing to make our communities more compassionate towards animals. And this certainly isn’t the first time that an animal protection organization has helped people who care about farm animals (that’s you!) get active. And as a matter of fact, we didn’t invent a single one of the veg advocacy or veg community building programs we’re promoting on this site.

But that really gets to the heart of what Compassionate Communities is all about. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. What we are doing, though, is creating a one-stop shop where anyone who wants to help farm animals can come to learn what to do, learn how to do it, get the support they need to get started, and continue to sharpen their advocacy skills over time. We think that’s pretty cool, and we hope that in the coming years Compassionate Communities will help grassroots animal advocates become increasingly effective in their work.

It doesn’t matter to us where you live, or how you got to this site. It doesn’t matter to us if you’re part of an animal protection group, or if you’re just an individual who wants to help end the terrible cruelty done to farm animals. We just want to help you do the absolutely most effective things you can do to help farm animals.

Why do we consider these programs to be the most effective forms of veg advocacy and veg community building? Because hour for hour, and dollar for dollar, the veg advocacy programs promoted here have been shown to be the most effective forms of outreach that any individual advocate (like you!) can easily do.

We hope that you’ll get active with one of these programs! If you just watch, read, and take action on your own, great. But we hope you’ll sign up with Compassionate Communities so that we can provide you physical resources and guidance, keep you updated with unique blog content on how to be a better advocate for animals, and share your achievements and experiences with the rest of the community.

That’s it for now. Feel free to email us at activist@farmsanctuary.org if you have any questions. You can also join us right now by clicking the “Sign Up” box above. We can’t wait to work with you to make your community a more compassionate one!

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