The Pet Lover Show at Tradex.
Category : Uncategorized
After a busy week of amazing animal advocacy activities around Vancouver- Valentine’s events by Animal Voices and Mercy For Animals, our own screening of ‘Meat the Truth‘, the Friday Chicken Vigil, the fur protest and veg tabling, we topped it off by taking part in the Pet Lover Show at the Tradex Convention Centre in Abottsford on February 15 and 16. We feel that this is an important crowd to target – since they already love some animals, maybe it isn’t be too much of a stretch to get them to extend their compassion to others. More than 13000 people attended the show over 2 days. As they arrived, they were given a ‘goody’ bag filled with coupons and information from various vendors. 3000 of those bags contained a Vegan Outreach booklet – Even if You Like Meat, Compassionate Choices, or Why Vegan?. The bags were stuffed the night before by girl guides. After dropping off the booklets, I couldn’t help but overhear the girls talking about them – they sure were different from the other materials going in the bags!
Our table was set up with our usual information and items for sale but for this show, everyone who passed by was offered our ‘Extend Your Compassion‘ leaflet inviting them to make the connection between those animals we love and those we allow to suffer enroute to becoming food. We had no trouble attracting people to our booth thanks to Stanley and Daisy, the vegan dogs! Stanley, a German Shepherd cross, rescued from the pound 10 years ago, invited everyone to throw his frisbee for him! And most people were happy to oblige! Daisy, the whippet, another rescue – from my next door neighbour who was going to return her to the breeder, was snuggled and kissed by nearly everyone who walked by! By stopping to see the dogs, people became interested in who we were and what we were all about. Our famous Liberation BC cow also did her best to attract people to our booth, even salsa dancing to get their attention! As usual, the bowl of free stickers was a big hit with the kids! Being set up on a corner, we were able to hang 3 ‘Why Love One But Eat the Other’ posters on the side, away from the main action making it easier for people to read them in privacy.
Other booths at the show ranged from sellers of pet food and gear to breeders and clubs as well as a few non pet related booths. It was hard to walk by the raw food vendors, the leather vendors, the caged birds and reptiles, the cat breeders’ show, and seeing people wearing fur without feeling discouraged but it was also heartening to see other animal advocacy groups like the Fur Bearer Defenders, Katie’s Place Cat rescue, STOP UBC Animal Research, Greyhaven and a reptile rescue group working the crowd as well! It was also rewarding to have many positive conversations with visitors to our table. Very few people were surprised to hear our message. Most nodded sheepishly and with some sadness and gave the dogs a pat as they checked out the information on our table or asked questions. Many people took the PCRM Vegetarian Starter Kit, always a good sign! One woman was moved to tears when she heard for the first time what life is like for a dairy cow when her baby is taken away from her. It was encouraging to see the reactions of individuals, as they were interacting with our dogs, when they thought about why we love them so much and have no compassion for those who are used for food. One woman from a booth selling raw meat, came to let us know that she did not believe all animals are equal. Some are for pets and some are for food. That’s the way she was raised. We responded respectfully and let her know that our main concern was to stop the suffering of all animals. She clearly believed that they didn’t suffer but when she agreed that they were afraid at the time of slaughter she seemed to understand that to us, that was suffering. Later I went down to her booth and thanked her for coming over to talk to us. I told her that I believe it’s important to understand each other and to keep the lines of communication open and that I thought she was brave to come over by herself and face the 4 of us. She thanked me and said that she does see where we’re coming from – she’s been in a slaughterhouse.
All in all it was a very productive and encouraging weekend. We worked hard! No one got by our booth without knowing who we were and being offered our leaflet – we gave out 1500. Whether working at the coat check, answering questions, handing out V-dog samples and leaflets, or engaging the crowd in the cow suit, our team worked non-stop inviting the public to consider extending the compassion they have for cats and dogs and other companion animals to those who are treated as commodities. Thanks so much to Sandra, Farhad, Darren, Sophie, Jane, Amira, Willow, Andrea, Stanley, and Daisy for giving up your weekend to speak out for animals!!