Our most common targeted outreach tactics include distributing educational leaflets and free vegan food samples, offering incentives to view a mini-documentary about standard industry practices on farms, and presenting classroom lectures. Our most prominent and ambitious undertaking is the three-pronged 10 Billion Lives Tour which travels to campuses and concerts across the US, showing our documentary to hundreds of thousands of youth and garnering substantial media attention.
Our public outreach efforts promote widespread acceptance of veganism by publishing supportive letters to the editor and by placing billboards and bus display cards in major metropolitan areas. Occasionally, we seek to capture media attention through dramatic displays at animal industry or government sites. Our Meatout, World Day for Farmed Animals, and Vegan Earth Day programs combine the two awareness-raising approaches by engaging tens of thousands of individuals each year as well seeking media attention with billboards, gubernatorial proclamations and dramatic protests. We are expanding these efforts abroad, as western agribusiness interests seek to export factory farming practices and grow the demand for their products in developing countries.
FARM understands that teaching individuals the truth about animal agriculture is only a first step towards building a kinder world. Animals need us to make meaningful changes to the way we think, eat, and live – and they need a network of advocates to take these changes beyond just their own lives. As such, we are devoting a growing amount of our efforts toward assisting people to transition toward an animal-free diet through our vegan support programs and in mobilizing potential activists to become more committed to the cause of animal rights through movement-building programs.
Our vegan support programs assist individuals in making incremental but lasting changes on the path to a fully vegan diet and lifestyle. For over ten years we have offered weekly support to vegan pledgers in the form of an e-newsletter complete with a recipe, resource or review, and inspirational story. In 2012, after learning that an estimated 75% of attempted vegetarians reverted back to meat-eating, we expanded our suite of resources to include the Live Vegan website and accompanying printed materials, and 8-week emailed starter guide, and periodic supportive emails demonstrating the impact that their commitment is making.
To better understand the needs of aspiring vegans, we financially supported and helped consult on the massive, scientifically-conducted study of 10,000 current and former vegetarians and vegans, which found that up to 88% of attempted vegetarians revert to meat-eating and that new vegetarians and vegans need immediate support, should transition in stages, and fare best within vegan community and when they are motivated to be vegan by multiple variables. We conducted in-person detailed surveys of several hundred college campus pledgers immediately after they made their commitment to explore vegan eating, to determine what specific resources young people most need to maintain their vegan diets.
Because convenience and cost are so often cited as concerns by potential vegans – especially in college – FARM also supports and occasionally instigates campaigns to expand vegan offerings on college campuses, at popular chain restaurants, and from major producers of consumer foods. By removing as many barriers as possible to adopting and maintaining a vegan diet, FARM seeks to build a larger community dedicated to animals.
Among those committed to animal rights, FARM’s movement-building programs retain activists, keep our efforts on a strategic track, and fight repressive legislation. Every year we organize the Animal Rights National Conference, bringing together well over 1,000 advocates to learn new advocacy tactics, develop leadership skills, discuss controversial issues, and network with each other. Our Compassionate Activist Network and Sabina Fund provide funding and useful tools to activists in the US and abroad, respectively. Lastly, through founding and funding the Equal Justice Alliance, FARM is working to overturn the repressive Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and is successfully preventing anti-whistleblower “ag-gag” bills from being enacted as law.
FARM’s bottom line is simple: preventing as many animals as possible from ever being hidden from view, bred for misery, confined and tortured, and ultimately killed for profit. Educating people and changing their outlook and eating habits forever are worthy causes, but our constituents are the animals themselves, and we take a results-centered approach to ensuring that our work makes the biggest possible impact.
Fortunately, the data consistently reaffirms that power of the individual to make relatively small changes that have a huge impact. In the U.S., a growing number of vegans, vegetarians, and part-time vegetarians (or “flexitarians”) have led to the first consistent drop in both per-person and total animal consumption since the end of World War II. This reduction of animal consumption has immediate results: the number of animals slaughtered each year is on a downward trend as well (particularly in years when chicken and fish consumption drops, as these animals are smaller, produce less meat per animal, and ultimately drive the total number of animals killed). FARM’s outreach and vegan support programs are a measurable part of this trend.