Videos: Powerful Tools

Even the meat industry groups know the truth:
"Video is one of the most powerful tools used by animal rights groups and other activist organizations, according to the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. Disturbing images, whether legitimate, staged or misleading, evoke strong emotions and are effective in using rare instances of abuse to defame an entire industry."
Quote source: Dairy Herd Management (link)

Critical Examination of Vegan Education Efficacy

Vegan education is an important component of animal advocacy. We KNOW that vegan education helps convince people to respect animals and to go vegan. There are countless tales of vegans who decided to make a change in their consumption practices after viewing Meet Your Meat or after receiving a Why Vegan leaflet.

But when we do vegan education - such as leafletting, sharing videos, holding cooking classes, hosting vegan food fairs and the like - we ought to make sure we're doing the most effective kind of vegan education. We should choose the right words, the right images, the right food items, the right location, the right audience... the right pieces of the puzzle.
We want to make a difference, not just spin our wheels.

With this in mind, I've come up with a few ways to determine the efficacy of vegan education programs. These ideas are by no means the only ways to determine how effective specific vegan education campaigns are. Moreover, I don't want to imply that no one has done this in the past. I simply want to promote effective animal advocacy.

Ideas for how to critically examine the effectiveness of vegan education:
  • Conduct marketing surveys asking pamphlet recipients how persuasive the pamphlets are. For example, test out a few different pamphlets and ask people which ones are best.
  • Perform studies that analyze the behavior of people. For example, before receiving a pamphlet count how many people choose a food item labeled "vegan." After receiving a pamphlet, count how many people choose the vegan item.
  • Show various videos that promote the vegan message and take surveys afterwards to see which ones people react to most strongly.
  • Survey current vegans to ask what specific triggers inspired them to go vegan.

Small Steps Lead To Big Steps

One concept of the step-by-step method of "selling compassion":
"while there is a deep philosophical gulf between animal welfare and animal rights, psychologically and politically there is a continuum. That means on the one hand that it is at least possible, if not probable, that a person develops psychologically from animal use via animal welfare to animal rights. And secondly it proves that it is at least possible – even if we haven’t provided data of its likelihood yet – that a society develops politically from animal usage via animal welfare to animal rights. [...]

"Can animal industries be made to completely disappear by step for step victories, which bring incremental reforms?

"From a purely theoretical point of view, the psychological-political continuity from animal use via animal welfare to animal rights suggests that indeed it is possible. A society without any restrictions on animal use sees non-human animals as commodities for the benefit of humankind without any ethical value. Such a society will not have any empathy and compassion for animals. The historic example of Austria before the first animal laws serves as a good example of such a society.

"Historically, from that starting point, slowly compassion, animal welfare and animal laws developed. At this stage, ethical vegetarianism could get a foothold at the end of the 19th century. Slowly, the first ideas of animal rights developed and from the 1980s onwards, there is a lively and thriving animal rights movement. The ideology of animal rights and the animal rights movement have their psychological and political roots in animal welfare.

"Similarly, the development of single people generally advances from compassion and animal welfare feelings, which might have led to less consumption of animal products (probably rather of the free range variety), to vegetarianism and eventually to the full animal rights vision and veganism. Psychologically, compassion and animal welfare form the basis for animal rights too."

from: Abolitionism versus Reformism

Meet your Meat on the Street

This is a video of animal advocacy/ selling compassion.
They showed PETA's "Meet your Meat" and handed out Vegan Outreach literature.

Meet Your Meat:
Vegan Outreach:

The Power of Compassion

Scene from Death on a Factory Farm:

Evidence that undercover videos about factory farming persuade the public to change their meat-consumption habits and go vegetarian or vegan: The manipulative responses from the meat industry to try to persuade the public in the opposite direction.

The industry acknowledges the power of natural, human empathy for animals evoked through video education. The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST), recently published a report that stated:
"Public perceptions [...] of welfare issues have the potential to dramatically impact swine production if governments, the swine industry, or consumers react to these issues by outlawing housing systems or by boycotting pork. In determining whether or not the welfare of sows is compromised, individuals and lawmakers may act emotively [...]" [emphasis added]
Although the meat industry admits that factory farming methods are common (see their own video that shows factory farms) they are trying to manipulate their image by distorting the terminology. Here are some examples:
  • What normal people call "factory farms," they call "climate controlled buildings," "barns," "indoor facilities," "industrial farm animal production"
  • What normal people call "cages" or "crates," they call "individual accommodations," "housing systems"
  • What normal people call "antibiotics" or "hormones," they call "FDA approved medications"

Photo of sows confined in narrow crates unable to turn around as published, with description "sows resting and eating in individual gestation accommodations," in CAST report.
Image credit: Egebjerg International A/S.

Moreover, the meat industry is stalling.

Factory farms have existed for decades and even though there is clear evidence that factory farms are cruel, dangerous, and destructive:
"[Industrial farm animal production] systems are largely unregulated, and many practices common to this method of production threaten public health, the environment, animal health and well-being, and rural communities. The use of antibiotics in animals without a diagnosed illness, the mismanagement of the large volumes of farm waste, and the treatment of animals in intensive operations are all of deep concern." ~ The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production "Final Report: Putting Meat on The Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America" [emphasis added]
Despite this well-documented research that makes the specific recommendation to change the meat industry by increasing legal restrictions, the meat industry rebels against any such restrictions. For example, the CAST report cited at the beginning of this article states:
"[M]ore large-scale, on-farm, multidisciplinary, scientifically robust research and development is needed before rigid regulations—which would increase production costs [...]" [emphasis added]
The evident stalling and manipulation by the meat industry can easily be interpreted as a declaration that the meat industry cares more about profit than about animal welfare, public health, or environmental damage.


Today is Meatout...


Meatout is truly 'selling compassion.' Here's the description:
The occasion is Meatout, the world's largest and oldest annual grassroots diet education campaign. This year is the 25th annual observance! Every spring, thousands of caring Meatout supporters educate their communities and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to pledge to "kick the meat habit (at least for a day) and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains."

This year's theme is "Change Your Diet - Change the World!"
So while plenty of people will be vegetarian or vegan FOR THE DAY... just how many full-time vegans are there?

“The available research puts the figure [of vegans] at around 1% of the USA population.”

That may not sound like a lot, but it translates into MILLIONS of vegans worldwide.

“Nearly one-quarter of Americans say that they sometimes go meatless at restaurants” … “10% of consumers say they largely follow vegetarian-inclined diets and 5% more are ‘definitely interested’ in shifting to vegetarian-based diets in the future.”

“'Meat reducers,' 'semi-vegetarians,' vegetarians, and vegans are growing segments of consumers. [...] The USDA estimates show declines in red meat consumption. [and...] One in four U.S. adults (25%) is a ‘moderate’ meat consumer who currently consumes meat with ‘about half’ of his or her meals.”

Use Metaphors!

"Researchers Pradeep Sopory and James P. Dillard (2002) conducted a meta-analytic review of the empirical research on metaphor and persuasion. They concluded that messages containing metaphors produce somewhat greater attitude change than do communications without metaphors."
Source: The Dynamics of Persuasion by Richard M. Perloff

A while ago I wrote an article at Vegan Soapbox. I felt that the piece was persuasive and compelling, but now I know why. Here is a bit from that piece:
My friend, showing me the cut he received on his face, said he thought they wanted his leather jacket. As he told me this, I thought about how the stitching on his leather jacket resembled the stitches on his face. Skin is skin.

Two Ways To Change

There are two ways to change: quickly or slowly.

This goes for individuals as well as societies.
  • Some people go vegan quickly (a few) others do it slowly (the majority).
  • Social trends regarding animals tend to change slowly, then there's a tipping point (critical mass) where it changes quickly.

Gradual social change regarding animal testing:

Gradual social change regarding fur:

These images are from Gallup polls.
Here is the link:

Power Tools

"One of the most powerful tools animal rights activists have is the video footage shot inside places like poorly run dog kennels, animal testing facilities and factory farms, used as grim evidence of the brutality that can take place."
Source: TIME

TIME is right, video footage changes minds and changes laws.
For example:

Consumer Trends: Veganism & Meat Reduction


A new research report found that veganism is growing in popularity:

  • “Meat reducers,” “semi-vegetarians,” vegetarians, and vegans are growing segments of consumers.

  • The USDA estimates show declines in red meat consumption.

  • One in four U.S. adults (25%) is a “moderate” meat consumer who currently consumes meat with “about half” of his or her meals.

  • Roughly one in eight adults (13%) is a “semi-vegetarian” who currently eats meat with fewer than half of his or her meals.

  • Older consumers are more likely to be reducing meat as a component of moving toward a healthier diet.

  • Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of ethical issues and skeptical of food safety.

However, there some bad news:

  • 61% of survey respondents currently consume meat with “every” meal (14%) or with “most” meals (47%).

  • There have been increases in both chicken and fish consumption.

Overall, the trend is clear: meat is out, plants are in.


thanks go to:

To be posted at Vegan Soapbox soon.)