I was recently listening to the Our Hen House podcast (surprise, surprise), and Jasmin and Mariann were interviewing Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of PETA. Ingrid is a role model of mine and I greatly admire the work that she’s done in the animal rights world, so I was super excited to hear her talking with my two favorite hens.
Ingrid said something during the interview that struck a chord with me. She said, “It does no good if we just change ourselves…You change yourself, that’s grand, but then the obligation is [to] make up for all those years or times when you did something unthinkingly, not having a clue it was hurting animals. Go out and make sure you show somebody else, in fact as many people as you possibly can…that there are things that are vital for them to do and what is happening to animals.”
Ingrid so passionately and eloquently expressed in the podcast how I’ve felt since becoming vegan – I feel that I owe it to the innocent animals to do right by them, after wronging them for so many years.
When I became vegan, I immediately started getting involved with various organizations including Georgia Animal Rights and Protection, PETA, Vegan Outreach and Mercy For Animals, and over the past few months, I’ve dedicated my days off of work to help serve the animals.
In October, my husband and I volunteered for Vegan Outreach and handed out a total of 150 leaflets about factory farming to Colorado College students. The students were very receptive to taking the leaflets, and hopefully it helped change at least one person’s mind about eating less meat and going veg. Here’s a picture of the hubby leafleting – he’s such a natural!
In November, I volunteered for Mercy For Animals by holding a paid-per-view event. Paid-per-view is where you pay people a dollar to watch a four-minute video on factory farming. Here’s the full version of the video in case you’re interested in what we were showing.
In order to make this event possible, I partnered with a few folks in the community: Colorado College student Jackson Foster (also host of the podcast titled Plantriotic) was able to reserve the table and space for us at Colorado College; and Tinya Duffey, founder and lead organizer of the Vegan Society of Colorado Springs, provided the equipment, DVDs and signage for the event. Jackson also recruited a couple of amazing Colorado College students to volunteer and help out at the table. And, last but certainly not least, my husband volunteered and helped debrief the viewers – not an easy task at all due to the fact that people are usually in shock after watching the video, and some even get defensive.
Forty one students watched the video in its entirety and we had some really incredible conversations with them about how they can reduce the suffering that they saw in the video. If you wound up watching the video above for the first time and you’d like a vegetarian starter kit, you can visit this website and they’ll send you a free copy.
Also in November, I participated in the Fur-Free Friday protest. Every year on Black Friday, people all over the nation go to their local shopping malls and protest the sale of fur, wool, leather and any materials made from animals.
Quick sidenote: Even after I went vegan, I used to think wool was OK to wear because sheep need haircuts, right? Wrong. Here are the results of an undercover investigation that shows the reality of where wool comes from.
So, I joined several other local activists to protest the sale of animal fur. Surprisingly we got a lot of people honking, yelling out their windows to us that what we were doing was awesome. The world really is changing!
If any of this type of outreach sounds interesting to you and you’d like to get more involved, visit any of the following websites (or get in touch with your local groups) and they can help you get started!
I’d like to sign off with one of my favorite quotes that constantly reminds me of why I need to speak up for the voiceless and make this world a better place for animals.