In Part One of this article, I looked at some of the minuses that are realistically hindering, if not damaging the movement. In Part 2. I put forward some ideas and concepts.
Having come from a marketing background, a few years ago, I know that there is nothing more satisfying than formulating a plan to help sell a product that is efficacious and cost-attractive to both the producer and the consumer. Taking this further, veganism is a “product” that is both efficacious and cost-attractive. We all know that it can be beneficial to our general health, the animal kingdom and the planet. With veganism, we have a product that can just about sell it self (or it should), because ultimately it will be the saviour of this much-abused planet – doesn't get much better. Unfortunately though, at present, veganism finds itself in some nasty quicksand and it needs to get out quickly.
As I stated in Part 1, at the very best the vegan movement in 2014 is standing still and going backwards at the very worst. We need to step up to the mark.
In the meantime - the death toll rises.
According to some experts, meat production is expected to increase worldwide in 2014. And there is every reason to believe this is happening.
Look at these figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Livestock slaughtering trend movements for February 2014:
The number of cattle slaughtered increased by 1% to 751,000 head
Calf slaughterings increased by 2% to 65,100 head
Sheep slaughterings increased by 4% to 879,000 head The number of lambs slaughtered remained steady at 1.9 million head
Pig slaughterings remained steady at 399,000 head
(These statistics are based on a monthly collection from abattoirs and other major slaughtering establishments and include estimates of animals slaughtered by country butchers and other small slaughtering establishments.)
Veganism the “product”, is not “selling” fast enough. (Though there are now more vegans than ever!) Equally, the vegan “salespeople” are mired in disagreement (and frustration and confusion) in determining how best to “sell” veganism.
We desperately need to focus on what we want to do and where we want to go as a movement.
To the Plan... if you follow these steps (or let me know, if you think of more), we may just head down that long vegan road with more intellectual agility and pace.
STEP 1: Decide what you want to be. You are either pro welfarist or pro abolitionist. There is no in between. You are one or the other. If you try to do both, not only are you fooling yourself
but you are also doing a great disservice to the movement's overall progress.
The New Welfarism is not about non-violence, it's about economics and helping to promote “happy” and “humane” meat. Abolitionism, is about non-violence and promoting ethical veganism.
Either way you decide.
STEP 2: Be an independent activist or form your own group if you are a people person. These days, too many groups have too many hidden agendas and too many vested interests. Deal with people you trust so you can be true to your beliefs. If you must join one of the bigger groups, check their bona fides and what they are all about.
STEP 3: With your self or your new group, create a mission statement. What do you want to achieve?
STEP 4: Do you want to be an online activist or a street activist or both?
You decide, based on your personality and the time you have available.
STEP 5: If you want to solely work at being an online activist, with mission statement in hand step forth and create a “presence”. Webpage, blog, podcasts, vlogs. Interact on social media: G+, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, etc. Heartily support those who are of the same mindset – this also includes those vegan icons who have put in the hard yards for many years.
STEP 6: Thoroughly research any information you are presenting online. It's the ethical and professional way to do it.
STEP 7: If you want to concentrate on face-to-face activism, again do your research. Have your answers ready for all those curly questions.
STEP 8: If you are so inclined, we need more political involvement – we need more vegan politicians - if we are going to achieve long-term goals.
STEP 9: Economic activism. Do not support those companies (and organisations) that are directly or indirectly involved with animal exploitation or slaughter. You know the ones. And if you don't know – research.
And a thoughtful, contentious question, is: Do you support and/or patronise an exploitative company that adds vegan choices to it's product range?
For me, no.
STEP 10: Share comments, letters, articles, photos, videos with local, national and international media. At best, they may use your material; at the very worst, maybe not. Keep trying.
STEP 11: Support and donate to your local sanctuaries, if you have them in your area.
STEP 12: There are so many talented and creative people out there. As a movement some of our material needs a makeover. New graphics, new pics, new quotes, new poetry. The sky is the limit. You know that veganism is a great product, tell the world.
STEP 13: Protests and graphic imagery. Been guilty of both. There is a time and a place for both – must be used judiciously. Though, if used incorrectly, has a negative effect.
STEP 14: Shouting this out...WE NEED TO MEASURE OUR CAMPAIGN SUCCESSES OR FAILURES TO SEE WHAT DOES AND DOESN'T WORK! Hit and miss isn't going to win the vegan war. Slacktavism doesn't wash.
STEP 15: To be successful we need to stop pissing into the wind. Single Issue Campaigns are not only an exercise in futility they are morally unjustifiable. No animal is worth more than another. The longest running Single Issue Campaign in animal right's history, anti-fur, has been an abject failure. The fur industry is going stronger than ever. Sales have doubled in the U.K. over the past five years – it's a $13 billion dollar industry.
(And isn't it odd that you very rarely see the word “vegan” mentioned in Single Issue Campaigns?)
No. Will say it again and again... we need a Structural Campaign. That is, a campaign that is totally focused on the promotion and the promulgation of ethical veganism. That is a lofty ideal, but it is our only hope. We need a few more million vegans to pick up the baton, run like hell and lead by example!
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve.”
~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Economy (Chapter 1-E)
Many thanks to all those who took the time to send me positive comments.
(Coming up in June “The Vegan Social Media Crisis!” Your thoughts and ideas welcome.)
Jim Campbell is a vegan/abolitionist of 16 years. Android fan boy. Music aficionado. and would-be iconoclast.
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