In March, I went to the NY Vegetarian Food Festival with a friend who stopped eating meat for Lent last year. Noticing the Mercy for Animals paid-per-view campaign booth, I warned her that they’d ask her to watch some graphic footage of what happens to farm animals raised for food. I think that anyone who still eats animals should see what happens to them on their way to a dinner plate, but I wanted to give her a heads up since she was in a public place.
But then she did something that I still think is pretty badass. She said, “Maybe I need to see it,” went up to the booth and watched.


MFA Paid Per View Campaign

What she saw (a shortened version of the James Cromwell-narrated Farm to Fridge) horrified her. I watched her reaction to what she was watching as I discussed the importance of this campaign with an MFA volunteer whose husband went vegetarian after watching the same video. I firmly believe that the undercover footage used by MFA must be seen and the Ag-gag bills being introduced need to be fought.

A few months later, the same friend and I marched in the Veggie Pride Parade… as fate would have it, with MFA. They asked us to leaflet. I’ll admit that leafleting, putting myself out there like that, is not my thing. But my friend? She was a rock star, passing out the literature and even falling out of line to chase down spectators on the streets.

My friend isn’t vegan yet, but she’s moving towards it. It took me a year and a half to transition after I read Skinny Bitch, so I understand that it’s not an instant shift for everyone. What I’ve learned since my friend stopped eating meat and started attending vegan events with me is that there are lots of little moments that are equally effective when it comes to the vegan movement.

Some of us might never need to see undercover footage, but for others it’s a game-changer. Some of us might never need to meet an individual ambassador at a farm sanctuary, but for others it makes all the difference. Some of us might never need to know how to cook a vegan meal, but for others it could save their lives. Some of us come to veganism based on one moment, one event. Others need a lot of little moments to get here.

We don’t all get to where we’re going by taking the same path. I get that single-issue campaigns and intentional omission of the word “vegan” is frustrating. I understand why some think it harms the movement and excuses people from taking the next step. But I also see that it can effect change in the right direction, that it can get people thinking about why they need to stop using animals in all ways. As much as people frustrate me, I think we can give them a little credit and believe that some critical thinking will lead them to that moral baseline we keep talking about. It’s a non-vegan world – one filled with years of being told we should eat and use products without every asking why. A lot of little moments – the ones that give us permission to ask that very question – are going to lead us to a vegan world.