One of the hardest things to take when you are vegan for the animals is when people who love — truly love — dogs and cats eat other animals. We all know it happens all the time. We all know that some of these dog- and cat-lovers literally devote their lives to saving animals. So how can they not get it? And if we can’t convince these devoted, passionate animal lovers that pigs and chickens and cows matter, how can we ever convince anyone else?
The short answer to that quandary is that maybe we can convince them. Maybe we need to try harder, and work smarter, to get our message across. In fact, one organization that tries harder and works smarter than most, Animal Place, has been working on this issue for a while and has some promising news to share. Their Food for Thought project is specifically designed to reach dog and cat lovers by helping “SPCAs, humane societies, and similar rescue organizations adopt an animal-friendly menu policy for their shelter-sponsored events.” A recent survey conducted by Animal Place revealed that 29% of the California humane societies and SPCAs surveyed had a vegetarian-only policy for their sponsored events, and that a whopping 49% were “either interested in or had their curiosity piqued to create an animal-friendly menu policy. In other words, a majority of shelters – 78% – already have in place an animal-friendly policy or are receptive to creating one.”
Think of what a huge impact these shelters could have! When local supporters go to an event to show their support for the dogs and cats of their community, and are fed animal-free food, they are, without any proselytizing or preaching, introduced to the radical concept that all animals matter. The messaging is clear, without anyone saying a word. (Just as the messaging is clear when those same shelters serve up dead pigs and chickens — they are saying you can think of yourself as an animal lover, even as you eat them.)
Animal Place can’t do this all by themselves. And that is why they have, wisely, created all the tools anyone needs to reach out to their local shelter to help them create an animal-friendly policy. I hope that some of you, especially if you’re active with your local shelter, will consider taking on the task of making sure all the food served at their events is free of dead animals. This is the kind of change that truly has an enormous potential for widespread impact.