Q&A with Vegan Outreach

Written by Kajsa IngelssonJanuary 2, 2020

2019 sure was the year where animal agriculture came bursting out from the closed farm doors. It’s impossible to have a conversation about sustainability OR the awakening of human consciousness and compassion without touching the subject. I got in touch with the organization Vegan Outreach to find out how they are working towards a more peaceful world by ending speciesism and promoting compassion.

Tell us a bit about the beginning, the when and why of your organization! 

Founded in 1993, Vegan Outreach is a nonprofit organization working to end violence towards animals. We seek a future when sentient animals are no longer exploited as commodities. We promote a vegan lifestyle which means to live without using animal products.

Vegan Outreach focuses on reaching the people who are motivated enough to make changes now—of which there are always many in our target audience who just need some additional encouragement. By steadily increasing the number of vegans we’re laying the groundwork to more quickly reach a tipping point. 

What are some of your methods to reach people?

Our primary method of outreach is to sign people up for our guided vegan challenges, 10 Weeks to Vegan and Get Healthy—at colleges, high schools, and festivals. While based in the United States, we’re very active in Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, India, and most recently Kenya.

There’s a lot of talk about 2019 being the year of sustainability. Now, in my eyes you cannot talk about sustainability without touching animal agriculture. Is this “trend” something that you have been feeling?


Yes, it seems that there has been a large increase in interest in vegan eating due to concerns about the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. Joseph Poore, Environmental Science Researcher at University of Oxford says, “A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.

 
How many persons have you reached so far this year?

In 2019, we’ve signed up over 100,000 people for our guided challenges by way of community outreach and we’ve signed up another 40,000 online. We also reach people through handing out our booklets such as What is Speciesism and Compassionate Athlete—1.2 million people in 2019. We also showed virtual reality videos of how animals are treated on modern farms and in slaughterhouses to over 28,000 people in 2019.


Just to paint a (bloody) picture, how many land and sea animals are estimated to be slaughtered every year?


It’s in the tens of billions, but I’m not sure of an exact number and it would depend on what you include as an animal. 


What are the most common question you get?


Where do you get your protein?” was the biggest question I received back in 1993 when Vegan Outreach started, and it’s still the biggest question I get today. The answer is that it’s not difficult to get enough protein while eating vegan as long as you eat a varied diet that includes legume products, which are beans, peas, peanuts, and soyfoods. 


Can you do a quick rundown on the programs and help you are offering new vegans? Will you also accept vegetarians? 


Our programs are designed for non-vegans, whether someone is a meat-eater or lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and we also welcome new vegans who want more tips. 


10 Weeks to Vegan is a ten-week guided challenge of one email per week showing the participant how to replace a group of animal products along with other tips on how to conveniently eat vegan. Get Healthy is a 30-day challenge where people receive information on a whole-foods, plant-based diet. 


Both challenges have a companion Facebook group with help provided by experienced vegans and a registered dietitian. We also have a free vegan mentor program for people looking for more individual attention.


How can people get involved and show support to the cause?

We’re always looking for volunteers to help with our community outreach through tabling and other forms of activism, please see more details on our Make a difference for animals page. And we also always need donors to support our work—you can donate to Vegan Outreach here


Tell us your top three tips on how to become a green eco-warrior!


Going vegan is probably the easiest way for most people to make the largest impact through consumer choices. Beyond that, it greatly depends on your individual circumstances.