An animal activists' handbook
16. about the AUTHORS
... and finally a word of warning ...
The vast majority of people who get involved in campaigning work are genuine, honest and compassionate. Unfortunately, for every ten of these genuine people you meet, there is likely to be one person whose motives are not as honourable.
We have personal experience of people who get involved in animal rights purely for their own benefit. The problem is, it takes a while to get to know someone properly and a person can join a local group and take advantage of your trust, then leave before you discover the damage they've done.
We have heard of instances when money and equipment has "gone missing" from stalls and offices. Large 0898 phone bills were run up by a campaigner who was "dog sitting" for another campaigner, and vehicle offences have been committed by drivers of vehicles bought for group use.
There are also people who join groups purely as a method of gaining an instant circle of friends, pretend to be vegetarian or even vegan, then drop out of the group suddenly after falling out with someone else there. Such people can be vindictive, spreading rumours and setting people up against each other.
It's important to be careful, but not too careful. Mistrust and paranoia can be just as damaging to the stability of your group as dishonest members. Just take precautions when new members join, confirm their addresses and don't encourage them to fund raise by themselves or give them access to money or equipment belonging to the group until you 've got to know them better.
There is another kind of potential troublemaker who is more of a nuisance than a danger, the disruptive, angry, but genuinely committed vegan who is always trying to start arguments with other group members. They don't seem to understand that persuasion gets people up and active but patronising just gets up their nose. Usually this type is after attention and can be controlled by the group sticking together if he or she tries to intimidate quieter members. (After a divorce and being sacked and a few years of therapy some of them change into really nice people. But there again, some don't !)
The very significant successes of the animal rights movement have happened because many diverse groups of people are prepared to work together, putting aside personal differences in the name of unity.
You will be amazed at what a small number of committed people can achieve. But don't just take our word for it ....
About the authors of this book
Ronny was born in the early 1970s. She has lived and campaigned in various parts of Britain, gaining 'on the streets' experience in working with lots of local groups. Ronny has helped organise national campaigns and demonstrations, and is very involved in the work of Veggies Catering Campaign. She believes that an active network of local groups and inspired individuals is the best way to spread information about animal abuse. Ronny lives in Derbyshire and writes the Scoffer series of vegan cookbooks. She is currently working on a history of Veggies.
Alex was born at the start of the 1960s. He currently lives in London, but has campaigned throughout Britain, France and Poland. He co-founded the French group AIDA and worked for a year at Vival He is a member of the Vegan Society Council, edited the newsletter of Vegans International and writes regularly for The Vegan.
Alex founded a company, 'Vegetarian Guides' several years ago. He wrote The Vegan Guide to Paris, The Hippy Cookbook, How to write a Vegan Book and co-wrote Vegetarian London, Vegetarian France, Vegetarian Europe and Vegetarian Britain. He believes world veganization will be achieved by empowering local activists with first class campaigning materials. He speaks several languages and spends half the year backpacking in Europe distributing subversive vegan literature to activists, training, sparking alliances between groups and having loads of fun. His writing workshops at vegan festivals have resulted in many new books.
With grateful thanks to the following people and groups for help or inspiration:
Animal Rights Coalition News: Neil Lea
London Animal Action
McLibel Support Campaign: Dan Mills
Des Murphy & co vegan solicitors, Brighton
PeTA Europe: Toni Vernelli
The Vegetarian Society
Veggies: Patrick Smith
Viva!: Juliet Gellatley, Tony Wardle
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AGAINST CRUELTY - An Activists Handbook
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