Leafleting and Lessons at the Paul McCartney Concert

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Leafleting and Lessons at the Paul McCartney Concert

On Sunday, November 25th, Liberation BC and 12 dedicated volunteers braved a frosty evening outside gate A at BC Place Stadium to speak out for animals.  Beneath a larger-than-life screen playing music and film footage from McCartney and Beatles concerts throughout the years, all 17 of us spread into the crowd of thousands of people waiting outside for the show to begin. Tanya, Jane, and Carissa held up signs which featured McCartney quotes about animals such as the well-known  “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”  (We’d all gotten together and made them at earlier this month at volunteer night.) Other signs hung from the legendary Terry Fox statue. Geoff, Darren, Kasun, Gillian, Shahla, Samareh, Jason, and the entire board of directors handed out Vegan Outreach leaflets and McCartney’s “Glass Walls” DVDs from PETA.  And everybody wanted photos with Lex and Marv in their cow costumes!

cow costumes at concert

The cows were a big hit!

woman hugging cow

See what I mean?

Everybody loved them.

women with cow

Aaand one more.

At first the crowd was not very receptive and we all had to adjust our approaches.  But the powerful influence Paul McCartney has over his fans soon became evident, because many people who were prepared to pass on taking a leaflet changed their minds when they made the connection between their hero and compassion for animals.  Eventually we got into a good rhythm and managed to give out thousands of leaflets. And even those who did not take leaflets were exposed to the many powerful quotes on our signs.

Carissa and Sophie

Carissa and Sophie changing hearts and minds.

Many people took a look at the cover of the leaflets and chose not to take one.  Some who took a leaflet came back and returned it, and other leaflets ended up on the ground or surrounding benches.  While this kind of thing can be–and was–a little discouraging, it’s always important to look for the positive in terms of how we help animals.  As John Oberg from Vegan Outreach taught us when he was in town in October, people who look at the leaflets and refuse to take one or even throw theirs away have been exposed to powerful images of animal suffering, even if just for a split second.  These images cannot be erased and there is always a chance that the seed has been planted firmly enough to live on in their hearts and minds.

Darren and Lex

Darren and Lex pointing the way.

Leafleting at any time can seem a little intimidating but the decision to leaflet at the Paul McCartney concert presented a couple of challenges.  For one thing, people going to a concert might not really be in the mood to think about social justice and secondly, some might say this demographic is just not as open to animal rights issues.  But it was an opportunity we knew we couldn’t pass up, and being not too far from that demographic myself, I know it is possible for an old dog to learn some new tricks.  As long as we could connect our message to their beloved idol, we would have a chance to reach these McCartney fans and make a difference for animals.

Gillian with sign.

Gillian braving the cold.

At the end of the evening everyone had positive stories to report:  people who had asked questions or came back for an extra leaflet or two for a friend, people who had just made the connection between Paul McCartney and animal rights, and people who glanced at the leaflets but claimed they just couldn’t look at the horrible pictures because it made them so sad.  I only heard one negative comment from a guy who told one of our cows to “get a life.”  I think an appropriate response from the cow might have been ‘”That’s what I’m trying to do!”

As the Beatles said, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”.  Sunday night was a great night for activists to come together and celebrate a great contributor to animal rights.  Everyone worked – as always it was an honour to work together with such strongly committed people.

group shot at end of night

Three cheers for volunteers!


5 Comments

Jane

November 29, 2012 at 11:36 am

Yes MC in the end, after a lot of rejection and mixed receptions, there were undoubtedly people who were affected by this outreach. Support was shown also with the high fives and thumbs up !! The cows were amazing and really lightened things up. Always great to learn new lessons and what approaches will work. Thank you Lib BC !!

Dave Anderson

November 29, 2012 at 11:39 am

Great job!!! No, it’s not easy work saving lives, but, it’s worth every second when just one person stops eating animals because of what you have done. I too have leafleted at many events and found many different responses to the information presented but, I know, some change right then and others change with time. The fact is, the movement is growing. When I did it I mostly stood alone but you have a nucleus from which to build and you are doing great things despite the few negative responses.

cheers,
Dave Anderson
Denman Island

Sofi

November 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I think what you’re doing is really important and I really appreciate that you’re out there. I am so thankful someone was brave enough to speak up because I never would have known enough to turn veg without it. The negativity or weirdness you experienced has nothing to do with you or your cause. I love this quote:
Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.

Many many thanks 🙂

Alison C.

November 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I think this was a fantastic opportunity for outreach and am so glad you did it. (wish I could have been there) You had the opportunity for fans of Paul to make the connection between him, his lifestyle, and their own lifestyles, and, in the realm of all the outreach we do to the public, it was a unique chance to expose the message of animal rights to such a huge crowd who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to have been reached this way. Good job!

Alissa

December 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Sad I couldn’t make it! You all rocked it!! I love the creative thinking that led to this event. Hope to see more events like this. 🙂

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