Help and Guidance
Be the most effective vegan advocate you can be: Jamie Harris
Words by Jamie Harris, London Effective Animal Altruism
When thinking about the incomprehensible scale of suffering that factory farmed animals experience, it is tempting to drop whatever you’re doing and try to dive right into some activism. Often, experienced activists encourage an approach of getting out there and doing whatever you can. But if we are motivated to address factory farming, we should seek to make the biggest and most effective difference that we can. And with just a little thought and planning, we can dramatically increase our impact.
Image Source: https://80000hours.org/career-guide/
Those who want to become the most effective advocates should plan their activism carefully. For many people, this will mean using their talents to help animals directly by working for effective charities and non-profits, but this is not the case for everyone. Some might work in industry, to make animal products more successful and accessible; others might try to maximise the amount of money they earn, so that they can donate to effective non-profits; others still might advocate for animals in academia, journalism or in government. The best resource for working out how to use your career to do as much good as you can is the 80,000 Hours careers guide.
But let’s not overstate the need for completeness in your planning; you certainly don’t have to wait until you’ve worked out all the answers before getting involved in activism. In fact, trying out lots of different types of activism is a good way to explore what your own strengths are.
The best types of volunteering and activism are those which utilise your skill sets best, and which contribute towards the most effective intervention. A good way to do this is to start volunteering for effective charities; but make sure you let them know about what you’re good at and how you think you might be able to help! If you’re not sure what makes a charity effective, then read these reviews, and think about these ongoing debates within animal advocacy.
CEVA training, Manchester 2017
But there are also plenty of ways to get involved in some relatively unskilled and easy activism, which can nevertheless have a huge impact. The most impactful tasks are not necessarily those which come first to mind. Writing letters to put pressure on a company to make a huge welfare commitment, in line with campaigns by The Humane League, or conducting online research to support ProVeg’s corporate outreach, might spare more animals from lives in factory farming than more obvious and explicit forms of vegan advocacy. But it may be that rather than do the work yourself, you are better placed to donate to effective non-profits so that they can do it themselves! This is especially important, given that animal advocacy is constrained more by lack of funds than by lack of activists and effort.
Approaching activism with a strategic and critical perspective doesn’t mean delaying action indefinitely. The problems of factory farming are as neglected as they are horrifyingly intense and so cannot be ignored. But each individual human is capable of affecting hundreds of thousands of animal lives. If your main obstacle is motivating yourself to take action, then do whatever will motivate you best; watch documentaries on Netflix or Youtube, or visit a sanctuary. But whatever you do, don’t give up on the animals. They are relying us to get active for them – and to get active effectively!
For those looking to supercharge their advocacy:
Internationally renowned vegan advocacy course delivered by CEVA is coming back to the UK for the second time!
This two day course is just £40 and could drastically boost your advocacy!
Want to volunteer with ProVeg UK?
Great! We are always looking for volunteers to take on large and small tasks. For more information please get in touch with Amy Odene, our volunteer coordinator.