Here are some basic steps for participating in this year's observance of World Day for Farmed Animals. Note that the number of participants required varies from 1 to 100.
- Select an activity from the list we provide below
- Consult with others and determine activity, time, and location
- Register event with us and request handouts, if needed
- Prepare detailed action plan, listing steps, dates, and responsibilities
- Obtain any permits, if required
- Recruit volunteers, if needed
- Promote event on social media
- Obtain any videos, props, food samples, or other materials needed
- Conduct event
- Post photos on social media and send copies to email@example.com
Here's one activity that requires a minimum of planning, participants, and time commitment. Just order a bunch of handouts from us or another animal organization, and distribute in a high-traffic area.
And here are some suggestions for making it even better:
- Pick an area that's heavily trafficked, like a festival, concert, college campus, or downtown lunch plaza
- Choose a time when people are not too busy, like lunch hour, or on their way to a sporting event or concert
- Most jurisdictions do not require a permit, if you are on public property and not impeding the flow of traffic
- Dress like your audience, or business casual, preferably with a T-shirt that carries your message
- Get a buddy to handle folks going in the other direction and for emotional support
- Mount a couple of posters 20 feet in front of you, to reduce the chance of your handouts ending in a waste basket
- Engage the next person coming down with eye contact and a smile and hold the handout in your outstretched hand
- Say something friendly and/or helpful, like hi there, or for the animals
- People follow example of those before them, so you need to be a bit more assertive with the first person in each new wave
- If people attempt to engage you in absorbing conversations, offer to meet with them at another time
- Note that any adverse remark is about that person having a bad day - not about you
Video screenings of factory farming and slaughterhouse footage in high traffic areas accompanied with leafleting is on of the most powerful things you can do. It not only forces the audience to see what happens behind closed doors which touches upon their emotions, but it educates them.
Some things you will need:
- Find a popular public area where people congregate
- Order Literature to hand out
- Select a video to screen, we recommend FARM's 10 Billion Lives video
- Get equipment, using your laptop works but you can also use TV screens
- After watching, people usually have questions, be ready to talk to them about what they are seeing and help them on their path to compassion
Tabling is the next step up, because it allows folks to pick up additional handouts, ask questions, and perhaps even sample some delicious plant-based foods. Tables are typically set up as part of a festival or other organized event. Otherwise, you would need a permit.
Here are are suggestions for successful tabling:
- Make it attractive by using a table cover, a banner identifying your organization, and several colorful posters
- Add an intriguing element, like an interesting video that's not too graphic, or a hand puzzle from Amazon.com
- Keep the table top uncluttered, perhaps with a couple piles of handouts, a sign-up sheet or laptop, and a plate of vegan sweets
- If you are selling T-shirts, place a hanger rack next to your table and make sure you can accept credit cards and make change
- Engage passersby with eye contact, a smile, and a wave, or even an invitation to visit your table, if the prospect looks likely
- Keep conversations brief and keep an eye out for the next prospect who may be discouraged by your being tied up
- If you expect to be be pretty busy, get a buddy to help
Vigils are definitely the most popular type of public observance. They offer a strong declaration of our position. A permit from local authorities is generally required.
They involve four elements:
- Suitable target and timing
- Signs and props
- Posting on social media
There are two types of targets: symbolic and popular.
Symbolic targets are slaughterhouses, headquarters of meat companies, and USDA offices, where the vigil is likely to be seen only by people who are part of the offensive system and unlikely to be swayed. Vigils at symbolic targets have two audiences: the participants, who get to see up close and personal what they are working on all year, and their Facebook friends and followers, when the photos get posted. A slaughterhouse vigil may even attract a local reporter or TV crew.
Popular vigils take place where the people are, like rush-hour commuting routes, county fairs, or animal shows. In all cases, timing should be dictated by maximum exposure and availability of participants.
Unlike leafleting and tabling, vigils require at least a half dozen participants. You can increase your visibility by having each participant hold two signs and spreading them out. Black clothing is recommended to lend a somber tenor to the event.
Signs and Props
Signs and banners should be professionally printed to reflect the forethought and gravity of the event. They should avoid racist and other offensive symbolism. Here are some examples:
- "Stop the Slaughter - Go Vegan!"
- "Save some lives, theirs and ours"
- "Thou shall not kill!"
- "Non-violence begins at breakfast"
- "If you pet a dog, don't eat a pig!"
- "Love animals - don't eat them!"
For popular vigils at commuter routes, signs should be large enough to be read from passing cars. They should be arranged in some logical order, perhaps starting with a banner announcing World Day for Farmed Animals and ending with a contact URL, and at least 20 feet apart, again to be read from passing cars.
Chanting of slogans, with the aid of megaphones, serves to accentuate the vigil and to annoy the target audience. This is not appropriate for commuter routes. Black clothing, a realistic-looking cardboard coffin, or "bloody" aprons add drama. Candles are particularly poignant for vigils after dusk.
Perhaps the biggest impact of most vigils is on the friends and followers of the participants when photos are posted on Facebook and other social media. People who are open to a vegan lifestyle may be sufficiently impressed by their friend's demonstrated strength of purpose to make the switch. Donors are impressed as well.
Marches are basically moving vigils, so most of the guidance for vigils applies here as well. The two exceptions are numbers and route.
A credible march requires a minimum of 100 participants. This is why they are more popular in countries where people are more available. A car caravan can get away with a dozen cars decorated with signs and honking horns.
A march route should preferably include both symbolic and popular targets and avoid high-traffic areas.
The key purpose of street theater is to dramatize sufficiently our activity to attract traditional media. Of course, photos should be posted on social media as well. Each scene should be accompanied by prominent signage noting the occasion and explaining the action. A permit from local authorities is generally required.
Almost anything that is intriguing, unusual, and inoffensive works. Here are some activities we have conducted in the past:
- People in animal costumes being chased and slaughtered by a "butcher" wearing a "bloody" apron
- People with minimal flesh-colored clothing covered in "blood" and displayed in cellophane containers as in a meat counter
- Several people crammed in a cage, to dramatize the condition of animals
- Dozens of people clad in black, spread on the ground pretending to be dead
- Dozens of people clad in uniform color and arranged in precise formation holding up signs or bodies of dead animals
Useful props include black clothing, animal costumes, "bloody" face/body makeup, "bloody" aprons, simulated hatchets, simulated coffins, candles, somber music.
An extreme form of street theater, which attracts traditional media, is civil disobedience, a public act that is illegal, but doesn't hurt anyone. It usually involves intervention by law enforcement authorities and possibly arrests, court appearances, and fines. Past examples include:
- Placing our bodies in the path of trucks carrying animals to slaughter
- Blocking the entrance to the Department of Agriculture, or other office associated with animal slaughter
- Occupying the office of the Secretary of Agriculture, or other prominent official associated with animal slaughter
- Blocking the meat counter at a supermarket with explanatory signs and chants
We certainly don't counsel anyone to break the law, but we are willing to answer inquiries about our past experience with this tactic.
Displays, including billboards, banner drops, public exhibits, and video screenings are good ways get public attention without involving other participants.
Billboards require purchasing space for at least one month from local or national billboard companies. Prices will vary with size and location of the board. We can provide the art. Because of their size, elevation, and seeming permanence, billboards confer an air of authority and public acceptance to our message.
Banner drops are usually made from overpasses over busy highways. They should be affixed to the inside of the typical chain-link fence to prevent their dropping on the roadway below and causing an accident. If they are placed before dawn, they are typically removed by local police by the end of the morning rush hour.
Large photographs of factory farm and slaughterhouse scenes can be placed on easels in a public square, or in a community building like a library or student union.
A screening of Cowspiracy or other full length video can be scheduled and promoted at a public library or student union. One of the 4-min videos, like 10 Billion Lives or Beyond the Lies, can be set to loop in a public venue.
Fast Against Slaughter Pledge
Please do this, even if you are unable to do anything else for this year's observance.
- Take a look at what some others have done here
- Sign our pledge form
- Make a sign noting why you will fast for the animals on October 2nd - World Day for Farmed Animals
- Take photo of yourself holding the sign
- Post photo on your favorite social media in mid-September and send a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Feel free to refer people to our Abuses section, for additional persuasion