In January 2018, I became a member of the Oxford Vegan Action group. I still remember the first time I went to one of their Outreaches – it was a very cold day in January and I forgot to bring gloves. Ouch.
Last Sunday wasn’t that cold. In fact, the sun was shining and everybody was in a happy mood. But before I start telling about the people we’ve reached out to, I’ll shortly tell what the Oxford Vegan Action’s Outreach is all about.
The Oxford Vegan Action’s Outreach is a peaceful demonstration, we hold placards, hand out leaflets, and play graphic footage to create public awareness of what animals go through to end up on our plates. We carry a peaceful message of Veganism.
I think the last sentence, “We carry a peaceful message of Veganism”, is beautifully encouraging people like me to stand up for animal rights. As you might know, I’m not really the kind of person to share violent images and videos of abused animals. I acknowledge the fact that these images are needed to create awareness – for example, I didn’t know that male chicks went through the shredder! But I believe that a more friendly approach can help as well.
So how does a day at the Outreach look like? Well, last time I was only able to stay for a couple of hours, but still I think I was able to inspire some people. Usually I grab a placard – my “favorite” being the one explaining the dairy industry – and I stand beside the road, handing out leaflets and talking to people about veganism. I haven’t encountered very angry people yet – sometimes a farmer will come and tell us that he does love his animals, but I rather leave them be – but most people seem to be interested, even shocked and determined to at least give veganism a chance.
This time, we even had chalk so that we could draw some vegan slogans on the ground. Of course most of it will be gone now, but I hope the texts still linger in passer-by’s minds.
The best thing about the Outreach is, in my opinion, that everyone’s welcome. And because of that, we are the living proof that vegans don’t have to follow the stereotype of a vegan. We’re not clothed in rags, we don’t stink (mostly because we use vegan deodorant), we can have dreadlocks or beautiful long hair (yeah I’m talking about you, Sabira), grey, blonde, brunette, purple, green, red… We are young, old, male, female or whatever is in between. And no. We’re not unhealthy. We take our B12 but so should you – did you know that even meat eaters can get a B12 deficiency?
We see that there’s a lot of injustice in this world and choose to do something about it. And that’s what I love about the Outreach. It’s for everyone. Come to the vegan side, we’ve got… well, substitutions for all animal products that taste even better!