You might find it hard to believe, but at Ball State on Wednesday, September 20, One Step co-founder Joe Espinoa handed an advocacy booklet to person #600,000!
600,000 may be hard to believe, but it’s true: Joe is the leading volunteer leafleter of all time!
Leslie Patterson rightfully refers to Joe as a hero. Joe replies to One Step’s supporters:
“None would be possible without your support putting booklets in my hand, so you are the heroes.”
Can you spare just one moment and honor the decades Joe has dedicated to helping animals?
A special donation would let Joe know you share his dedication to making a real difference for animals. Anything you can give would mean a lot of Joe, and allow him to have the booklets needed to reach 600,000 more!
We've noted before that vastly more chickens suffer to death – even before being taken to slaughter – than are killed in labs, for fur, and in shelters combined.
Another way of looking at the situation in the US every year is that about as many chickens suffer to death before slaughter as the total number of cows and pigs are killed combined.
Yet another way of thinking about it is that the average person in the US consumes about 25 factory farmed land animals every year.
If you can convince someone to totally give up beef, pork, veal, and lamb (reducing red meat is the most common dietary change), as well as dairy, and replace all that only with plant-based foods, the average person would still consume about 25 animals.
But if you can convince someone to just stop eating birds, they would be responsible for the death of fewer than one land animal a year – no matter what they ate instead.
We can, of course, continue to demand our view of perfection, and nothing less. However, that approach has left animals worse off than ever before. At One Step, we believe we owe it to animals to rethink.
So much has been going on lately – it is hard to keep up! A few things you might have missed but will definitely enjoy:
“But Why Chickens?”
...as many birds suffer to death even before getting to the slaughterhouse as all the cows and pigs killed combined.
“A Hero in My Eyes”
Over the past three days off from his regular job as a social worker, Joe leafleted for 19 hours handing out almost 4000 booklets for One Step For Animals.
Per-capita animal consumption is at an all-time high....
What do we do now?
Chickens just want ... belly rubs!
And someone has been busy with One Step's posters!
Please be sure to share our Facebook posts and our blog posts!
Thanks so very much – your dedication is reaching millions and making a huge difference!
At One Step, we often get questions about why we focus on chickens.
On the one hand, people write with arguments about how terrible red meat is for the environment or human health. Our bottom line isn’t to save the Earth (which is impossible). We care only about reducing suffering as much as possible. In this realm, anything said against red meat leads to significantly more suffering. As Ginny Messina pointed out, Bad news for red meat is bad news for chickens … and for suffering.
The numbers are pretty staggering. The average person in the US will be responsible for the slaughter of about 26 factory-farmed land animals this year. If you could convince them to give up all beef, pork, and dairy, they still would be responsible for the slaughter of over 25 animals.
It isn’t all about numbers, though. It is also about the actual suffering. And here the picture gets even bleaker. For example, according to Harish Sethu, about as many birds suffer to death even before getting to the slaughterhouse as all the cows and pigs killed combined.
Just think about that.
It is no wonder that when Veterinary Professor John Webster said that modern poultry production is “in both magnitude and severity, the single most severe example of man’s inhumanity to another sentient animal.”
Combined with the numbers and the cruelty is opportunity. Given the audience most likely to change, what potential change would have the greatest impact? In this case, the answer is again chickens.
And although some measures of aquatic animals killed are extremely large, the suffering caused and opportunity bring us back to focusing on chickens. (Much more on the question of fish in this blog post, and discussed in this podcast.)
To learn more about One Step, please read this. Thanks so much!
A number of people have suggested that One Step take a different approach: praising and promoting veganism while emphasizing the importance of concern for chicken.
This advice makes a lot of sense. The most fundamental rule of fundraising is that people give when the organization makes them feel good.
Pointing out that per person consumption of animals is at an all-time high is depressing.
Pointing out that vegans are viewed more negatively than any group other than drug addicts is depressing.
Why would anyone give to One Step, when they could give to a group that will tell them vegans are awesome and veganism is “winning”?
Consider how certain politicians who are supported by Fox News maintain a minimum level of support, no matter what happens. People who watch Fox News only hear the most partisan spin - they never hear the actual facts.
It is a comfortable cocoon - constant praise and positive feedback.
But what drives One Step is not being popular or making potential donors feel good. What motivates us every day is reducing suffering as much as possible.
We believe that only by being honest and facing the facts can we actually have an impact in the real world.
Those of us who run One Step don't claim to have all the answers. For example, we believe that reform work and supply-side work is vitally important.
But we do believe that the only way to be effective is to give up on being "Liked" and instead be honest. That is One Step's fundamental core.
If you agree, please consider joining and expanding this work. Thanks!
You will like this audio interview ARZone did with One Step’s President, Matt Ball.
It was a follow-up to the discussion surrounding the Vox video and CBC interview.
Have you ever wondered about the impact of One Step’s campaigns?
At any moment, One Step is running many different campaigns, with both positive images and negative, as well as different wording and target audiences. We are constantly iterating, testing, and optimizing to make sure each one is being maximally effective.
The above recent ad is a good example. In the last 30 days, this single ad was seen 312,947 times and clicked on 20,330 times. The total budget for this time was $2,306.05, meaning each click to the video was $0.11.
To be highly conservative in our estimates of impact, we can assume each view of the ad and each view of the video had absolutely no impact. Assume that only the 626 people who saw the ad, and then clicked and watched the video, and then clicked to download the Guide actually made any change. Assume that they only stopped eating chickens, and only for five years on average.
With all those conservative assumptions, in just one month, just one of our many campaigns saved 71,990 chickens from the brutality of factory farms. That works out to:
$0.03 per chicken saved.
You can change the assumptions all you like. Assume only half of the people who see the ad, watch the video, and click for the Guide stop eating chickens. And they only stay with this change for six months on average. This is still only $0.64 per chicken saved.
Given that every dollar you donate is truly doubled, your actual cost of saving a chicken is half that, whatever assumptions you choose.
We appreciate your support of this work more than we can say. You can know we will continue to do our best to give you the greatest return on your donations every day. Thank You So Much!
Matt Ball, President
This year, the average person will eat more animals than ever before.
It is time to consider the facts in our advocacy for animals.
Co-founder and President, One Step for Animals
You might have noticed the schism between advocates for veganism and advocates for animals. There is a significant divide between those for whom veganism is the end, and those who see veganism merely as one possible tool – a means to the end of reducing animal suffering.
For the first group, the judgment (of news, advocacy, messaging) is: “Does this support my personal vegan worldview?” For many years, that was me.
For the other, the question is: “What do the facts tell us is the best way to actually help animals here and now?” For this group, our personal views and the reactions of vegans don’t matter. All that matters is what will reach new people, create positive change, and reduce suffering.
The Stark Facts about Suffering
After many years in the vegan advocacy camp, the only metric I care about now is the amount of suffering in the world. Thus, I care first and foremost about the facts. Sadly, the facts are stark:
If you take away only one thing from this essay, please remember this: Per-capita consumption of animals is at an all-time high and heading higher.
Even if you strongly disagree with everything below, keep in mind that after decades of effort and many hundreds of millions of dollars, animals are worse off today than ever before. Anything we do or say needs to take this into account.
The Public’s View of “Vegan”
The objective facts on the flip side are equally stark.
In 2015, research at the University of Arizona's Eller School found that the general public thinks veganism is impossible and vegans are annoying (to put it mildly). This more recent survey found that vegans are viewed more negatively than atheists, immigrants, homosexuals, and asexuals. The only group viewed more negatively than vegans are drug addicts.
Even the simple act of labeling a product “vegan” can cause its sales to drop by 70%.
Of course, if all we care about is pushing our personal views – our “moral baseline” – regardless of consequences, then the public’s attitude toward veganism and vegans is irrelevant. We will continue pushing the pure vegan message knowing full well that the brand is seriously damaged and that the vast majority of the populace will reject our message without consideration. We can say how wrong the public is and how unfair it is to be judged based on the actions of a few, but our complaints and protestations won’t change the facts on the ground.
I completely understand being frustrated when judged unfairly. I used to care deeply about people’s attitudes towards vegans and veganism – because I thought this attitude reflected on me!
But how vegans are perceived is no longer my concern. For me, the only thing that matters is what will actually reduce suffering. As seen here, recognizing the above facts really pays off in actually reaching new people.
Being Guided by the Numbers
If we can let go of our desire for “Likes” and personal validation (a difficult prospect for me), we can reconsider our approach to advocacy and judge it in terms of real-world impacts for animals. We can set aside definitions and dogma and strive to reverse the trend of ever-increasing suffering. If we really want to reduce animal suffering, there are four more facts we should consider:
This last fact has direct and profound implications for our efforts. For example, most advocates see their vegan diet as best for water usage (or global warming, or heart disease). But almost everyone who actually cares about water usage (or climate change or heart disease) sees only that chicken is much much better than beef.
This is true on just about every measure – chicken is noticeably less bad in terms of environmental impact or health consequences.
This applies even to people’s ethical considerations. With our natural affinity for fellow mammals, most people think that eating chickens is morally “better.” Very few people realize just how wonderful chickens are, or that they are each unique individuals.
All of the above has led to more animals suffering than ever before – both in absolute and even per-capita terms. That is the single fact we simply must recognize, accept, and address. I believe it is at best foolish, and quite probably immoral, to simply double down and continue to do the same things that have left the animals worse off than ever before.
One Step’s Simple Mission
Given these facts, One Step for Animals’ mission is two-fold:
The average person in the US is responsible for the factory farming and slaughtering of more than two dozen land animals per year. If we can convince someone simply to stop eating birds, that number would be less than one!
Isn't that amazing?
Beyond just numbers, though, we want our advocacy to be psychologically sound. We know a “big ask” is far less likely to lead to any change at all. (And we also know that people who go veg overnight are more likely to go back to eating animals.) Rather than trying to imagine leaping all the way to veganism, simply taking a break from eating chicken is a vastly more achievable and sustainable step.
Regardless of your ultimate goal – from a world of improved treatment of animals to a world where all animals are granted rights – the One Step approach is for you. Our fact-based, numbers-focused, psychologically-sound harm reduction is a powerful way to boycott the worst cruelty and reduce suffering right now. It is also a realistic means of moving from our current world – where animals are worse off than ever before – to a world where animals are no longer viewed as food.
If you agree, please join us today!
In 2015, Joe Espinosa wrote the following about One Step's Director of Operations, Anne Green.
How many people have altered the course of a major social movement, yet almost no one knows them?
Back in the early 90s, the animal advocacy movement in the US focused almost exclusively on fur and vivisection (as noted by The Economist in 1995). FARM did Meatout once a year, and Farm Sanctuary had some rescued animals in upstate New York. But even though ~99% of animals killed each year are slaughtered to be eaten, relatively speaking, almost no time or resources went into advocating for farmed animals or promoting compassionate diets.
In 1993, Anne Green and two others founded an organization dedicated to focusing on the greatest area of suffering with the greatest potential for advancement: working to expose and end factory farming. Although her co-founders went on to fame, few people realize none of their work would have been possible without Dr. Green’s financial underwriting and organizational efforts. As is far too often the case, the woman behind the scenes has been left out of the history books. No one knew that she bought the car used for the first college leafleting tour. No one knew that when one of her co-founders left activism to go to chiropractic school, Anne kept building the organization behind the scenes, so that when he changed his mind, he could come back and pursue personal projects while working for the organization.
And when, after fourteen years, the group needed her to work full time, Dr. Green left her job in academia, despite the fact she had achieved the pinnacle of her profession: full professor, winner of Carnegie Mellon’s top teaching prize, and President of the national organization for her field. Carnegie Mellon offered to make her Dean if she stayed! But it was more important to her to focus directly on helping as many animals as possible.
Her co-founders were inducted into the Animal Rights Hall of Fame a decade ago, honored for the organization’s work: having eloquently and powerfully made the case for focused, maximum-impact advocacy, and having altered the course of animal advocacy forever. As always, Anne stood in the background. No one knew her co-founders wouldn’t have been there without her. And few know that she has continued to work, all day, every day, behind the scenes, never seeking glory, never seeking power, never seeking popularity, but always striving to help animals as much as possible.
Noting that per-capita animal consumption is at an all-time high, one of your fellow One Step supporters offers this:
For the duration of this piece, I’ll put aside the question of what’s the single optimal message to the general public for reducing farm animal suffering.
Instead, I’ll focus on “What is the best message I can promote right now, given the current state of groups doing work in this area?” That is, assume existing groups continue to promote meat reduction, vegetarian transitions, and vegan advocacy.
Studies like Dr. Harish Sethu’s Counting Animals blog post show the average meat-eating American kills the most land animals with their chicken consumption: 23.7 chickens vs 1.3 for all other land animals combined. Chickens are one of the smallest animals on factory farms. Being smaller means many more individuals suffer and die for the same number of meals.
In addition to quantity, broiler chickens on factory farms are subjected to immense cruelty.
So what if Americans stopped eating chicken, as urged by One Step’s compelling message? If they substituted plant-based chik'n, they’d take their average from 25 to 1.3 land animals per year. (If they stopped eating all birds, they would be responsible for the death of fewer than one animal every year.) And even if they substituted with pork, the average would still be fewer than 2 land animals per year.
Dropping the average American’s land animal consumption to 1.3 per year is the equivalent of making all Americans vegan for 11+ months per year.
This angle, largely unprioritized by other groups, is why I support One Step For Animals.
Another reason is that it is an incredibly efficient organization, run by 3 people with oodles of cred: Joe Espinsoa, the #1 volunteer leafletterof all time; Anne Green, one of the hardest workers I know; and Matt Ball, a father of our movement's focus on farm animals.
So other groups out there, please continue doing the great work you’re known for. And supporters, please continue to support them. But if you would like to contribute to an important opportunity for farm animals, largely unprioritized by other groups, please click here.