snippets from cok.net
Each year, 99 percent of the animals killed in the United States die to be eaten. Even if we were to completely abolish every other form of animal exploitation, we would have helped the lives of only 1 percent of the animals in the country. Needless to say, the interests of each individual animal-whether mistreated by circuses, the fur industry, vivisection, factory farming, or any other abusive industry-are important, and we know that some people become vegetarian after learning about rodeos, animal testing, or other non-farmed animal issues. However, the numbers speak loudly: By encouraging people to become vegetarian, we help to alleviate far more suffering for far more animals than by spending our time in any other way.
Perhaps more importantly, unlike other forms of animal abuse-mainly the hunting, fur, vivisection, and animals in entertainment industries-virtually everyone in the country is responsible for the suffering of farmed animals. Advocating for farmed animals is not a case of stopping a small minority of people (like hunters, vivisectors, or fur-wearers) from treating animals cruelly. Rather, it is about transforming the views and habits of nearly everyone.
Simple and Effective Leafleting Tips
1. Always look professional and clean-cut. Even if this means dressing in a way you wouldn't ordinarily dream of, it's important not to give passersby a reason to quickly dismiss you and the vegetarian message. Promoting compassion to animals sometimes requires sacrifice from each of us, and changing our appearance for public outreach is a minor-but important-one to make. Keep in mind that since we're trying to legitimize vegetarianism, we need to appeal to the "average" person. Activists have found that the general public is much more open to considering becoming vegetarian if we look as mainstream as our message of compassion should be.
2. While leafleting, try to be outgoing and friendly. Many people may just walk past unless you approach them in a positive and pleasant manner. A simple smile can have a dramatic effect on how people perceive you and serve as an encouraging invitation to take a brochure.
3. If you have a conversation with someone make sure to stay focused. It's fine to have a quick conversation about the weather, the football season, or some neutral topic to connect with the person with whom you're speaking. But try to avoid a spirited discussion on abortion, the death penalty, or any topic other than animal abuse. Never lose sight of why you're there: to expose the misery endured by farmed animals and to promote vegetarianism as an easy, immediate solution.
4. Don't engage with hostile people. Be careful to pick your battles. A good conversation with a person clearly interested in the issues is worth having. A lengthy discussion with someone only interested in hurling "what ifs" at you is not worth having. If someone yells at you, talks in a belittling manner, or tries to provoke you into a heated debate, it is best to either ignore the person, if possible, or just to say, "Thanks very much for your comments. I have to get back to leafleting now." We know it's tough to just turn away and ignore people, but trust us: If you talk with them, they will only become more belligerent, and you will not change their minds. Additionally, no matter how nice you are, the impression people passing by will get is one of you being the instigator, since you're the one asking people to change their habits. The focus will be placed negatively on you, rather than on animal suffering.
5. Be very polite and make it easy for them to take the literature. When we refer to people as "ma'am" or "sir" and say "thank you" or "have a great day" to those who take literature, we are seen as well-mannered, well-meaning individuals concerned about alleviating suffering, rather than "radical militants" who the public is all-too-eager to dismiss. Also, try to place the leaflet directly in front of the passing person's stomach so it's easier for them to take the brochure from you if they choose.
What to Say
Since we don't want people to simply throw away the literature, it's best to let passersby know what the brochure is about before they take it. Simply saying, Can I offer you a brochure on vegetarian eating? seems to work well.
When talking about being vegetarian, make sure not to complicate the issue, if at all possible. Most everyone already opposes animal cruelty, so it follows that we should focus on how factory farms and slaughterhouses abuse animals, rather than deliver an abstract argument about violations of animals' rights.
While you engage people in conversation about the intense suffering of the animals we eat, be certain to tell each one how we can take a stand against that cruelty by becoming vegetarian, effectively helping to make the world a better place for all of us with every bite we take.
Where to Leaflet
The best places to leaflet are public areas with high foot traffic. Our favorite locations are:
outside of subway, train, or bus stations (especially during rush hour)
on college campuses (though, if you're not a student, you may be asked to leave)
near high schools around lunchtime or just before or after school
outside of major events like concerts, exhibitions, and sports games (preferably as people are leaving)
When leafleting, it's very helpful to recognize that not everyone will be as receptive to becoming vegetarian as others. Because of this, it makes sense to focus greater effort on those you feel may be more interested in learning about cruelty-free eating. Typically, college and high school students seem to be the most open-minded to the message of compassion. As well, younger people tend to be much less set in their ways and more willing to question societal norms, such as the idea that animals exist to serve humans. It's also important to recognize that younger people have an entire lifetime of eating meat, eggs, and dairy products ahead of them, making it even more critical to expose them to the cruelty suffered by farmed animals.
Does this mean we should only distribute literature to young people? Of course not. Usually, when you're leafleting, you'll be able to give brochures to hundreds of people and withholding leaflets to those outside a specified age bracket isn't suggested. However, we may want to pick areas that are frequented by younger people to maximize the effectiveness of our time and effort.