One of the most important things I could possibly accomplish is to help other animal activists think in larger terms, and develop more substantial ambitions. If you’re going to take action for animals, you might as well choose tasks that will affect as many animals as possible.
We’ve got ten billion animals raised and slaughtered each year in the United States, and only a few thousand activists working on their behalf. That means that if we’re going to do more than scratch the surface of the problem, we need as many activists as possible to develop large ambitions. Getting clear about your ambitions is one of the most important parts of activism, since it’s really hard to make a huge difference without first setting appropriate goals.
So let me offer a concept that can help you think in larger terms. When it comes to money, there’s a simple yardstick that people use to measure success: you know you’re hitting the big time when you become a millionaire.
Well, it turns out that the millionaire concept is equally usefully to aspiring activists: just as anyone can decide to accumulate a million dollars, any activist can aspire to save a million animals.
I know at first blush the idea of saving so many animals may sound impossible. But the fact is that there are dozens and dozens of activists out there who’ve done it, and you can too. I’ve got a number of friends who are multimillionaires when it comes to keeping animals from harm.
There’s Stewart Solomon, for instance, a father and schoolteacher who makes time every week to visit college campuses and pass out Vegan Outreach literature. There’s Mahi Klosterhalfen, an activist who is convincing supermarkets and universities across Germany to stop purchasing eggs from battery henhouses. There’s Jennifer Fearing, who uses her training as an economist to evaluate and exploit weaknesses in America’s factory farming industry.
These are all people who are helping animals on an enormous scale; they’ve undoubtedly each blown well past the “millionaire” mark when it comes to helping animals. But what’s surprising is how achievable it is to become this sort of millionaire. All you need to do is to get about 500 young people to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Since each 20-year-old will likely eat another 2000 chickens and other farmed animals over the course of his or her life, that works out to about a million animals for every 500 young people who change their diets.
I’ll be writing a lot in the future about different ways you can reach the million-animal mark. But for now, I just hope you’ll be excited about setting some big personal goals for protecting animals.
How many animals would you like to save? Why not add a zero to the end of that number?