Manchester Vegan Outreach is MAA's fortnightly activism event. Every other Sunday afternoon, we set up a stall on Market Street and get busy advocating veganism.
To join us at this event, please have a read through the information below, and if there's anything you're unsure about, send us a message. Other than that, all you need to do to get involved is come along!
Goals of Manchester Vegan Outreach:
- To help the public view veganism as easy, delicious and achievable through friendly discussions and simple, educational resources.
- To genuinely listen, understand and empathise respectfully with members of the public (remembering we were once non-vegans too), allowing us to engage them in meaningful conversation.
- Communicating clearly and unapologetically about the ethics of animal use and the importance of veganism in creating a better future for all beings.
- To showcase veganism in a positive manner by keeping our table attractive and engaging, provoking curiosity from the public allowing us to engage them further.
What type of food should I bring?
We greatly appreciate vegan food samples brought by activists, but please don't worry if you are unable to do so.
Lots of members of the public say they want to go vegan but love cheese and meat, so please bring tasty, accessible alternatives to cheese and meat or home baked goodies that look delicious to help the public overcome their concerns that vegan food is limiting or bland. Many people struggle with change, and showing the public that they can go vegan and still enjoy many of the things they currently do allows veganism to become achievable in their eyes. You may wish to bring, for example:
- Pizza bagels
- Pitta pizza
- Sausage rolls
- Cheese and crackers
- Plant milks
Please don't bring crisps or any food that's likely to blow away in a gust of wind!
What can I do to help?
Please help in any way you feel comfortable with, this could include:
- Arriving early to help bring our equipment to Market Street.
- Bringing vegan food samples.
- Holding a placard.
- Giving out leaflets.
- Tidying the table (making it look presentable and enticing to the public).
- Engaging in friendly discussions with the public.
- Preparing and replenishing the food samples (e.g. cutting up cheese to put on crackers).
- Taking high-quality photos for our social media.
What should I say to the public?
Approaching members of the public can be nerve-racking to begin with. Feel free to listen to other activists engaging with the public whilst you're gaining confidence. Most importantly, connect with members of the public in a genuine, respectful but honest, informative way, the same way you would have liked to have been spoken to when you were first interested in veganism. A good few opening questions to the public could be:
- "Are you interested in becoming vegan?"
- "What's motivated your interest in becoming vegan?"
- "How can we help you go vegan?"
For more tips check out 'Motivational Methods for Vegan Advocacy' by Casey T Taft. A few tips from this book include:
- Assume the public are compassionate people who care about animals rather than the enemy.
- Make the goal of the conversation to listen and understand the other person rather than win an argument to prove you are right and they are wrong.
- Show you are listening through paraphrasing their concerns and asking open ended questions to find out more about their situation.
- Discuss what the possible pros and cons would be if they were to go vegan and rectify any misconceptions.
- Talk about your personal journey from eating animals to becoming vegan (this will prevent defensiveness).
- Be clear that reducing meat or being vegetarian still contributes towards hurting animals. Emphasise veganism as the end goal.
- Refrain from communicating passively (fearing to upset non vegans by withholding information about animals) or aggressively (making non vegan feel shame so they tune out the message altogether).
- Strive to be assertive, by validating their concerns but not agreeing with them, clearly stating the facts of animal use in a respectful manner.
- Be encouraging and hopeful for their prospect for change. Let them know that you believe that they can do it.
Where can I share my ideas?
We have a public group and private chat on Facebook, or you're welcome to attend our meetings in person.
Criticism is essential to improve our events, however, we ask that these are communicated in a respectful manner. It's important everyone feels valued and welcomed so all our focus and energy can be used on improving our event to help animals.
Can I help the group in a different way?
We aim to continually reflect upon and improve our event. If you have a skill you could use to help with our event, we'd love to hear about it, e.g. graphic design for new leaflets, photography, videography etc.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask someone at the event or send us a message.
Please look after yourself and others. Burn out can creep up unexpectedly. Activists can sometimes develop strong feelings of powerlessness to completely end animal cruelty. Our personal wellbeing is crucial for healthy, effective activism. We need to be able to remain calm but assertive and show non-vegans that we’re fully rational, compassionate people who want to end violence towards animals. Please take regular breaks from activism and please talk to someone you trust if you need help, or reach out to 'Counselling for Social Change'.