Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Takoma Park Street Festival

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.

chelsea and ferdinand

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13 responses to “Takoma Park Street Festival

  1. Becci October 8, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Yeah, animals are killed when crops are harvested. That’s why we should try to harvest as few crops as possible. And in a world where it takes 8-20 pounds of grain to make a pound of beef or pork (depending on who you ask) and 2.5 for a pound of chicken, the best way to do that is to go vegan.

    I hate the “oh yeah, well, animals are killed when harvesting plants” excuse. It’s so lazy and stupid. Hopefully you’ve never hit a person with your car, but you might eventually. Does that mean you should just stop trying to hit people?

  2. Deb October 8, 2007 at 9:12 am

    That’s another good point about the animals-killed-while-harvesting. I have used that point of logic before, and I have also used it on the people who insist that we should consider that plants *could* have feelings, that just because current technology doesn’t allow us to measure it…I seem to remember a conversation last year with a young man who thought that if I was to get him to consider animals as having sentience, that I should be open to plants being a sentient alien species!

    And I agree, it has always been asked by the people who want an excuse to not try at all.

  3. Mary Martin October 8, 2007 at 11:20 am

    That picture is phenomenal! The plant people drive me bananas. And I’m open to all kinds of definitions of consciousness and indeed plants might have some sort of consciousness and might be part of the larger consciousness we’re all part of. But does that mean that I shouldn’t work to stop the flagrant physical and emotional torture that I KNOW occurs each day to sentient beings? Of course not. Excuses, excuses . . . .

  4. Deb October 8, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks, I love watching the goats play like that!

    The plant people are trying to “trip us up” just like others who examine us for any perceived imperfection (as if perfection is reasonable or achievable anyway), which they will then use as permission for themselves to make no effort at all, and to keep their mind as closed as possible to the welfare of others.

    Not that I’m cynical or anything!

  5. leindiemeister October 8, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Tabling sounds like fun! In fact…we have a senior project this year that we need to do to graduate; maybe I could volunteer to do that at a few events and get my hours in and still be interested. The subject of my project has stumped me for a while, actually. I resent that people use that plant excuse, though when I hear it, it’s mostly sympathizers being sarcastic. That’s also a part of the broader argument that one person going vegetarian or one person going vegan isn’t going to make a difference, which also sufficiently manages to make me angry.

    Ahh, and I love that photograph!

  6. Deb October 8, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Tabling is pretty fun, actually! It is easier in most ways than leafleting, since people are walking by or approaching, and it is sort of expected that you’ll be potentially engaging them. And since you need to do a senior project, sounds perfect! Depending on what your senior project requires of time/effort for you, you could even create your own literature to give out, though that alone can be a bigger project than you might expect! Maybe have a pamphlet for those questions that people insist on asking, as if they’re either clever or original! 😉

    If you need any help from afar, don’t be afraid to ask! There might be groups in your area who could assist too, and there are also groups that are really good about providing literature for free. Though obviously the best/easiest for you is if there are events where there are already people tabling, and you can join in for a shift or two.

    I think it is really cool that you are thinking about doing this as your senior project!

    And thanks on the pic. 🙂

  7. Seb October 9, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    That picture is so cute!

    I’ve been asked the question on roadkill too, and the thing about animals (insects, in my case) who die for plant food. I replied, that’s one more reason to go vegan as plant food is fed to farm animals and veganism requires far less cultivation.

  8. rich October 9, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    The amazing thing is I have had kids as young as six or seven ask about the plants. I wonder if it is kids be inquisitive or a result of there parents modeling behaviors. I think it is the first since how many kids have overheard their parents having the dumb plant argument?

  9. Deb October 9, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks Seb!

    The roadkill question is so weird to me, and so desperate somehow. Are people really running around scooping up roadkill? I just can’t imagine…

    Rich, I think that they’ve heard that question at some point in the past. Maybe not their parents, but chances are they’ve heard someone making these stupid arguments to vegans or about veganism (even if there are no vegans present). I just can’t imagine how it comes about otherwise! The collective unconscious of stupid questions to ask vegans…

    Though maybe if they’re young enough they don’t know about what causes us to be able to feel pain, maybe it really is just them being curious!

  10. Seb October 12, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve been thinking that photos like yours would be great for my local vegetarian society’s printed newsletter and I just noticed that you’ve set a nice Creative Commons license on your photos and that full sizes can be downloaded by replacing -S with -L or -O in the photo’s URL. You *ROCK* Deb!

  11. Deb October 12, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    I’ve changed a lot of my galleries to only allow up to L sizes, but yes, just give me credit and I’m happy enough that they can be used! If you let me know which ones you are using, I can make sure my watermark gets on any that might not have it yet, too. I’d love to see a copy of the newsletter when it is finished, if possible too. 🙂

  12. Seb October 13, 2007 at 4:53 am

    Oh yes, I will definitely let you know and check with you first, make sure credit is given and send you a copy if that happens :-). It might take a while or even not happen at all, just an idea at the mo, but it would sure look beautiful in place of their usual cliparts!

  13. Deb October 13, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Sounds good Seb! Thanks for letting me know too. I’ve been surprised in the past! Also, if you have specific kinds of pictures you’d like, I have a lot more, and can always take more to get what you’d be interested in. (It’s a fun challenge for me, in general.)

    But I know exactly what you mean about having ideas that might or might not happen! I’ve been talking about and working on a calendar for poplar spring animal sanctuary for a year! Might really happen this time though!

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