So you’ve turned vegan, you feel healthier, your conscious is clear, and the world looks terribly different. Now what? For many of us, waking up to the realities of animal agriculture sparks a fire in us to help the animals, as well as the earth. When we can see so clearly the injustice that is happening around the world, it can be hard to just accept it. Psychologically painful to just sit by while it continues. Uncomfortable to witness day in and day out. That’s where vegan activism comes in.
Effective activism, like veganism in general, strikes this problem at its root - the consumers. By educating consumers (just as we were educated in one way or another) about veganism, we have the greatest likelihood of creating change. People can’t do better if they don’t know better. With Carnism in place, many people haven’t even considered the where & the how in regards to animal products getting here, let alone why we consume & use animals in general.
In this guide we’ll take you through some of the most effective forms of advocacy, with styles suitable for activists of all stages, novice to advanced.
One of the easiest ways to spread the information is with documentaries. The film makers have already done the heavy-lifting, answering many common questions that non-vegans have about veganism, and creating an engaging environment while doing so. Whether shared on social media, or played in person, these videos can have a major influence - many of us have turned vegan from these videos alone. Below we’ve listed some of the best that we’ve come across -
While documentaries are fantastic, activism isn’t limited to video;
When activism is brought up in conversation, many people tend to associate it with lots of yelling, getting arrested, confrontation, etc. And while these are definitely some forms of activism, they are not the only forms that can be utilized. Here are some simple things you can do to spread the message:
This one may slip some people’s minds, but wearing clothing with a vegan message can actually have an impact. Imagine if someone isn’t vegan, and perhaps doesn’t care to look into it, but sees more and more people walking around with vegan shirts on. This person is much more likely to be curious as to why everyone is excited about veganism and thus ends up asking questions, researching, etc. There’s so many different shirts out there, and we just happen to have a sassy one.
Bumper stickers can follow the same logic as clothing. Someone is sitting in traffic, looking around, waiting for the light to turn green, and there it is. Directly in front of them is a sticker that says "The Future Is Vegan." They haven’t thought much about it before but now its right in front of them. What if they see another one at another light? And another one after that? Well now its everywhere, they might as well see what its all about!
Probably the greatest tool of our time, much of veganism’s growth is undoubtedly attributed to the use of social media. There’s so many different things you can try with social media, and we’ve talked to a few people who have used different strategies on different platforms. Upon going vegan, some people like to start only posting vegan-related topics on their personal page, others create a separate “vegan account,” and others like to post about it every now and then.
One interesting thing we found is that, keeping our typical posts on our personal instagram pages (mostly non-vegan followers), and adding in Animal Rights posts or stories every now and then was more effective than going all out on (like we have with our personal pages on separate platforms). People were more receptive and a few of them DM’ed us from the beginning asking questions about it! Of course there’s other platforms (starting a YouTube channel, simply sharing videos on Facebook) and so many possibilities. If you’d like to be active on social media the best advice we can give is to try out different strategies and see what works for you & your personality!
Some activism may be most effective in the place of purchase: the grocery store, etc. While products of violence line the shelves, at least with tote bags like this you can partake in some subtle activism while getting your shopping done. Not only do they help reduce waste, but the “Animals Are Not Ingredients” print gets the point across at the time & place where other people are making purchasing decisions. Hopefully it persuades them to make compassionate purchases!
A classic form of outreach that is still very effective! We like to order information guides from organizations like Vegan Outreach to use. There’s a bunch of cool ways people are tabling now by offering incentives. For example, someone could advertise in a park “Free Cupcake if you watch this 5 minute video” whilst displaying factory farm footage on a computer, having resources with more information available on the table, and giving the participant a vegan cupcake afterwards. This can be very effective as the person participating has seen the shocking footage, learned more with the information, and then realizes that vegan food is actually good! Now-a-days people even bring VR headsets to these events so that others can have a visual that is closer to that of the animal’s actual experience.
This one has become somewhat of a social media favorite. It’s important to note that the legality is questionable depending on what you do with the stickers, but there’s so many messages you can send with sticker placements! Some people put vegan messages on animal products in an effort to educate people before they purchase. Some of the more general messages can be placed anywhere; bus stops, parks, crosswalk poles, you name it!
Considering how much veganism has grown over the last couple of years, it is no surprise that there are animal rights marches all over the world now! And they are becoming more and more frequent! This excites us a lot as marches are a very direct way of legitimizing the movement to others. Non-vegans see people physically come out en masse to support animal rights, and it sends a clear message as to why this is an urgent and important issue our world is facing. Its a fairly energizing event and we love to bring our Go Vegan Banner to hold up whilst marching!
Even something as simple as everyday conversations can have an impact on people. With a task as simple as grocery shopping; the cashier may ask about a vegan substitute that is being purchased, which then leads to a conversation about veganism. The exchange may be brief but it definitely plants a seed!
While traditional forms of activism can be super effective, some of the best activists have created change by thinking outside of the box! Just think of examples like James Aspey’s 365 Day Vow of Silence - this was something no one had done before and became a massive success! Even 4+ years after the vow of silence he is still getting interviewed about it on daytime television and radio shows. While things like this take thought and a lot of time, they can definitely be worth it if your goal is to spread the message!
Street activism, a form of direct outreach, has grown exponentially in the last 2-3 years. One of the most popular forms of outreach is participating in a Cube of Truth with Anonymous for The Voiceless. Participants wear black clothes and vendetta masks, form a cube in a public space, some hold signs, and some hold screens with factory farm footage. This homogeneous formation creates an aspect of curiosity, drawing the public to the outside of the cube. A few volunteers walk around the outside of the cube, answering people’s questions, discussing the footage, using the socratic method, and often giving a challenge22.com card to those who are interested.
Another form of street activism is chalktivism. Simple, positive messages can bring people to question why we use animals. See some examples here.
Luckily, just as veganism grows, so do the number of vegan organizations! Below We’ve listed a few organizations that utilize activism - if you’d like to join or organize an event, the information to do so is often on their websites and facebook pages!
Direct Action Everywhere - https://www.directactioneverywhere.com/
Anonymous For The Voiceless - https://www.anonymousforthevoiceless.org/
The Save Movement - http://thesavemovement.org/
The Humane League - https://thehumaneleague.org/
Animal Equality - https://www.animalequality.net/
Animal Liberation (Australia) - https://www.alv.org.au/
Mercy For Animals - https://mercyforanimals.org/
Friends Not Food (UK) - https://www.facebook.com/friendsnotfoodUK/
Thanks for reading through this resource! There are so many forms of activism and they are certainly not limited to this guide. While having conversations with others can be frustrating, the best way to build your confidence is through education. Having the right information to help others along their path can be very fulfilling! Here at All Around Vegan we love to experience multiple forms of activism by sending our subscribers different resources every month in hopes of helping them find a type that fits them best! If you’d like to experience along with us just click here.
A common line often heard by vegans is “what difference does one person going vegan make?” And yes, from a vegan perspective, it can sometimes seem like the overwhelming numbers of meat-eaters make it that one person going vegan is merely a drop in the ocean.