Effective Vegan Advocacy two-day workshops in Australia

Would you like to be a more effective vegan advocate? Would you like to be a stronger voice for all animals? Then these upcoming "Effective Vegan Advocacy" two-day workshops run by the Centre for Vegan Advocacy might be of interest. They will be held in Brisbane (22 to 23 February), Sydney (25 to 26 February) and Melbourne (4 to 5 March).

The workshops will be led by Dr Melanie Joy and Tobias Leenaert. Dr Melanie Joy is a psychologist, speaker and author of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. Tobias Leenaert is an animal advocate and author at the Vegan Strategist blog.

The workshops aim to empower vegan advocates and organisations and provide participants with tools to improve their impact for animals.

The workshops are also an opportunity to network with others, as well as to gain insight from the trainers.

You can get some idea of what will be in the workshops by viewing Toward Rational, Authentic Food Choices by Melanie Joy and reading Speaking Truth to Power by Melanie Joy.

Topics covered by the workshops include effective communication, normalizing veganism, strategic vegan outreach and sustainable activism. Lunch and snacks will be provided. The workshops have been brought to Australia by Animals Australia.


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  • Rico Nascence
    commented 2017-03-18 10:54:57 +1100
    Hi Smiley, what’s vegan, like any other word/concept, is a matter of definition rather than opinion. Many people follow the “if we say it’s like this, it is”, which is like saying, “If i walk over that cliff, i’ll fly.” That is, wishing doesn’t make it so.

    If we make our opinions the primary determiner of words/concepts then words and ideas lose their meaning (potential chaos). The current definition of veganism says in part that it "seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

    While this tells us what veganism ‘does’ it doesn’t explcitly tell us ‘why’ – although, based on this, it would be a stretch to argue that vegans avoid exploitation only because, say, they think animal use is inefficient. In any case, the early history of The Vegan Society provides the context: their moving force was being against animal use.

    The source of B12 is microoganisms: whether that’s in an animal’s gut – so you get it second hand if you eat the animal – or in a vat.

    It would be impossible to live in an urban area – and difficult in most areas of the ’sticks’, even in poor countries – without using transport systems and products made in factories. Phones, clothes, cars, tvs, radios, lights, computers etc

    Unless you live on the land, without electricity, grow your own food, make your own clothes, use fire for light etc, objecting to industrial development doesn’t line up.

    Veganism, by definition, is imperfect – “as far as possible and practicable.” So it doesn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater because, for example, we don’t all eat veganic food or use plastic that contains animal products.

    You could apply similar reasoning to your case. Unless you can make a strong argument that vitamin B12 tablets are worse than all the other products of industrial society i’m guessing you use, i’d say your choice is clear: take the tablets and don’t let your health suffer.
  • Smiley Grinner
    commented 2017-03-16 17:50:43 +1100
    G’day Rico. Thanks for the link, interesting article indeed.

    I don’t agree with your statement that veganism necessarily means “you oppose animal use”, for many it is a choice rather than a cause. My son marched in Melbourne on the weekend in the shut down the slaughterhouse protest, along with several hundred others. Yet there are many thousands of Vegans in Melbourne, perhaps tens of thousands. So it would seem that only a fraction of a percent actively “oppose” animal use.

    Apropos the ethical vs dietary decision makers in the Yates article, an organic co-op I set up 10 years ago or so had around 400 members over the 4 years I operated it, and apart from myself and my partner there was only 1 other member who ate sustainable produce for ethical reasons. Every other person was into organics for personal health reasons. Over time though, exposure to information available at the co-op meant that there was a shift in focus by many members to include ethics in their choice to continue to purchase organic food.

    Now unlike veganism, you can be fully organic (as far as I know I’m the only one left in Australia), mostly organic or a bit organic, so “falling off the wagon” isn’t the same sort of moral dilemma for most that it would be for me.

    But back to veganism, I moved from not eating any farmed animal products for about a decade to fully vegan around 5 years ago, however I’m facing the same sort of moral crisis described by Tobias. I need a reliable natural source of B12, but there is no such thing in the plant kingdom. (I’m aware that heaps of sites make all sorts of claims, but they are all bullshit. Unless I’m going to eat a specific variety of Nori by the bucketful.) I refuse to take western medication like B12 supplements, as this is unsustainable in that it requires a factory and processing plant and transport system not to mention the chemicals used to extract B12 from the bacterial secretions in the vats. So do I catch a fish on a lure now and again as the least harmful animal source, or do I allow my health to deteriorate?

    For the vast majority of vegans who couldn’t give a stuff about the environment and the effect of conventional planet raping agriculture this isn’t an issue. They eat any old crap as long as the word vegan appears somewhere on the plastic packet, they pop the supplement pills they are advised to, and to hell with where the food and pills came from. But for an ethical eater caring for animal and environmental rights equally I seem left with no choice but to let my health suffer. Which isn’t sustainable either.

    As this issue is very real and immediate for me, I’d welcome your views as someone who both researches widely and cares about the ethics of veganism.
  • Rico Nascence
    commented 2017-03-07 08:30:20 +1100
  • Rico Nascence
    commented 2017-02-24 08:45:29 +1100
    Hi Smiley, the Humane Society of the US puts on all vegan spreads, but that doesn’t make them a vegan organisation. If the RSPCA put on all vegan spreads, that wouldn’t make them vegan either, because they still support animal use.

    Veganism is about not using animals.

    As such, you can’t promote it alongside vegetarianism – not vegan – flexitarianism – not vegan – measures to reduce your consumption of animal products – not vegan – or to improve animal use – also not vegan. You oppose animal use, not facilitate it.

    Tobias is a well known promotor of all these things – none of which are vegan. At the very least, Melanie Joy also supports animal welfare. But her association with Tobias strongly suggests she also supports the rest.
  • Smiley Grinner
    commented 2017-02-23 13:57:56 +1100
    Hey Rico, where did you get your info? The organisers claim that all food will be vegan, and the focus seems to be towards vegan advocacy. Mind you, I’m used to hypocrisy across the board in the world of counter culture. I’m also an environmentalist, so I don’t eat non organic food which leaves me out of eating at pretty well every event organised by the environment movement in Oz.
  • Rico Nascence
    commented 2017-02-23 09:30:11 +1100
    It’s one thing to have an event called ‘Effective Reduceatarian Advocacy’, another to misrepresent it as vegan. This is a nonvegan event, by a nonvegan organisation, founded by a nonvegan, brought to Australia by a nonvegan organisation. Unfortunately, another example of how little the word vegan in Vegan Australia means.