One of the most important challenges of the vegan community is to make more people aware of the terrible abuses of industry and our behavioral habits towards animals.
It seems that one effective way to do this is to take humans to sanctuaries, where they have the opportunity to interact with farm animals, since in everyday life it is difficult to have contact with any of these species, which means that their lives and needs end up being ignored.
A survey carried out by Faunalytics (survey link), after a series of visits to both the New York and California sites of the renowned Farm Sanctuary (page link), showed that people who visited the sanctuary came away motivated to make changes in their lives so that they would no longer contribute to animal abuse.
The survey was conducted anonymously with people who attended several guided tours of the sanctuary. It was a very brief interview with only a few questions that helped to define whether people’s intentions were affected by their experience.
A total of 1230 people participated, and the questions were asked at the beginning and at the end of the visit. For example, it was first determined which diets people had before the tour, whether they were vegetarian, omnivorous or vegan.
It was also defined which products were most consumed by these people, especially if they were of animal origin. Finally, they were asked about their reasons for going on the tour.
During the session, they were educated about the industries’ methods of abusing each type of animal they saw, and they were allowed close and controlled interaction with several of them, so that they could have a complete experience.
Many people were unaware of the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses or mass production farms. However, their response was not just horror, as is often the case when we are exposed to this information, because the way in which it was done was based on respect for the lives of the rescued animals, leading people to see the sensitivity of the animals.
At the end, they were given a completely plant-based meal, as well as a class on nutrition that included only plant-based foods. It was done in a non-invasive way, which all the people who went through the experience were grateful for.
After going through the whole process, people finally decided whether they wanted to answer a short survey about their decisions after learning about it.
The vast majority responded that they were indeed serious about changing their habits. While a significant percentage intended to go vegan after going through this journey, it is worth noting that most of the people who did go vegan did not want to change their habits.
Another large percentage of participants decided that they were going to abandon certain animal products, the results of which varied, with some focusing on dairy products, while others decided to abandon red meat.
One of the difficulties in measuring the results was the follow-up of the people, although at the time they expressed their dissatisfaction with the mistreatment of animals, there is no way of knowing if they really continued with the same intention of abandoning these habits. Besides, it is impossible to know for how long they will maintain their decision.
However, the important thing to bear in mind is that what they wanted to prove was achieved, it is evident that going through a sanctuary immediately affects the perception of humans, they lead them to reflect on their own actions and that is something to bear in mind.
If possible, all sanctuaries should take this same process and improve it, so that more people can understand how terrible it is to be a farm animal in this world. So that they can feel for themselves that no one deserves to have this kind of treatment.