Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 1:44 pm Post subject: Book on AR activism
Hello, Bay Area Veggies. I am developing a book on animal activism and I would love to have your input.
What models of activism do you think are the most and least effective -- and why? What do you tell people new to the movement when they ask, "OK, I'm vegan. Now what can I do for animals?" What books do you recommend they read?
Also, how do you think the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act will impact the movement?
Joined: 06 Dec 2002 Posts: 1162 Location: San Mateo coastside
Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 10:06 am Post subject:
I saw your post and have been mulling over answers ... I think there's a lot more that could be said than what I am going to say, but I'll consider this a starting point and may update my answer later.
What models of activism do you think are the most and least effective -- and why?
I think I first need to say that people need to understand themselves and what their best skills/strengths are. In the long run, I feel I'm most effective when I'm doing the type of advocacy that I am most comfortable/most effective at. I do feel that I do need to "stretch" myself to keep acquiring or practicing different skills, too.
The best model of activism is when people are actually engaged in activism. Not just talking about it, but doing it. I think the most effective is outreach in the form of leafleting and tabling, or essentially any type of opportunity that educates on some facet in support of animal rights. What's great is that leafleting can be a very spontaneous activity, and effective even with small increments of time.
I think typically it works best when people are focused on one aspect of education. For me, I typically work on raising awareness of how animals are treated in factory farms and information on veganism. I am a huge supporter of Vegan Outreach's model and practical perspective - http://veganoutreach.org -- It's really all about reducing animal suffering.
It is always good, I think, when doing activism to invite others to join you. For example, someone may not have enough energy to organize it but they will attend and support it. Two people can typically give out twice as much information as one person.
I also want to add a caveat that it's always important to analyze what we're doing and how we're doing, and gauge whether it's an effective use of our time.
For me, activism isn't effective when the people involved aren't on the same page and there's internal conflict and chaos that detracts from the advocacy itself.
And, one more thing: I consider the cost of the outreach effort in measuring its effectiveness. Leafleting is a very inexpensive form of advocacy - all that is involved is the cost of literature, whereas other forms of activism do have fees associated, like tabling space, or running commericals or having a program on TV.
For people with specialized skills, documentaries are an excellent outreach tool as is a regular public access program on TV or even on radio.
What do you tell people new to the movement when they ask, "OK, I'm vegan. Now what can I do for animals?"
I always advise people to become educated on the issues, so they can be knowledgeable & informed about the issues.
And then I tell them to get involved. In the Bay Area, we're fortunate to have several active local organizations. With Bay Area Veg, I am always a huge fan of having more advocacy type events; I always encourage people to organize the type of activities they would like to see happen.
Additionaly, if one group isn't a good fit, try another group.
What books do you recommend they read?
My personal favorites are
Pig Who Sang to the Moon - reading about the emotional world of animals was definitely very enriching to my understanding of why factory farming is so appalling.
Fast Food Nation - not veg per se, but interesting background
Living Among Meat Eaters - good advice about communicating with non-veg people
Food Revolution - the name says it all
Is your book going to appear in print format or be distributed online? Just thinking that unfortunately it is a narrow market for a book on AR activism.
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