I did some tabling at the Takoma Park Street Festival today. The festival was fun, the people were open to the literature for the most part, and I felt like we gave out quite a bit of literature.
One guy stopped at the table, sweaty from riding his bike there, and said that he’d been a vegetarian for a while and felt like he should go vegan, but had a hard time giving up the final animal products. We had a good conversation, and maybe, just maybe, he will give it a try, at least for a few weeks at first.
Another woman stopped by and brought up “I’ve heard that animals are killed in plant agriculture,” which I’ve heard also, but the statistics I’ve read are completely unreliable. While I have no doubt that some animals do die during plant agriculture, just as animals die on the sides of roads, and through the poisons we deposit in the environment, the fences we build, the ground we pave, to use that as an argument against going vegan is ludicrous. As if more animals die in plant agriculture than by eating the animals themselves? I think not. And that would also ignore the USFWS that goes out and traps and shoots the many animals, such as foxes, cats, dogs, and birds, who are seen as “interfering” with animal agriculture.
She then talked about eating roadkill, (FRESH roadkill, of course) and I admit I had a hard time taking her seriously. Roadkill? Well, Carl Hiassen did have a character who survived (if not well) on roadkill, and I would definitely rather people go for that as opposed to hunting or buying meat from slaughtered animals, but…roadkill? Really? If nothing else, it is not a sustainable option for everyone, if that is what she was trying to get at. However if she had stuck around, I’d have given her directions to where she could find some reasonably fresh roadkill.
I’d have loved to see if she’d follow through on it. My bet would be that she’d have excuses for why she wouldn’t do that either.
There were lots of kids who stopped by with supportive parents, kids who were either vegetarian or “thinking about it”, and I am not sure if I was more impressed by the kids (by which I mean people I estimated to be 12 and younger) for thinking about it (and doing it) or the parents for being supportive of it. There was one who was told by her doctor that she couldn’t go vegetarian until she was 14. We know how educated doctors are in nutrition: not at all unless they have specifically studied nutrition. We gave her some resources to look up, some ideas of foods she could use for protein.
I am never sure how effective any tactics are, but going on the theory that most people are presented with the issues more than once before they are fully open to veganism, I figure tabling and leafleting are easy ways to get information directly into the hands of people. Tabling gives additional opportunities for conversations, where more can be brought up, questions answered, and that door opened a little more.
I approached one man, stereotyping him (despite myself) as someone who probably wouldn’t even acknowledge me as he refused to take the litereature. Yet he not only took it readily, I saw him reading it a few minutes later. Was the door unlocked? Was it opened fully? Maybe some day I’ll find out.