There are many great organizations that are helping to advance veganism. I love them all, and I especially love the people behind these organizations. Even if I don’t always agree with their tactics, I have a very deep respect for their motives.
One organization that I feel every vegan needs to know about is PCRM – the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. PCRM is run by 1. medical professionals and 2. people who work in politics. Here is why this mix of people is so impactful: The medical doctors and researchers understand scientifically why animals should not be used in research, and what good models can be used in in their place that are as good – or better – at getting research results that are truly applicable to humans and medical research. They also understand how a healthy vegan diet can reverse diabetes, heart disease, and even affect autoimmune disorders, and are studying these conditions (using sound research methodologies) with a vegan diet. The people who are working on the political side of this organization understand who is who on Capitol Hill, how to network in Washington DC, and how to get legislation passed. I think this last piece is crucial if we ever want to enact sweeping change. For example, we can try to convince our friends, one-by-one, the importance of feeding their children healthfully (and cringe when we see their kids popping chicken nuggets into their mouths just a few days later), or we can support organizations like PCRM who have the scientific data and the political know-how to march into DC and pass legislation to clean up the school lunch program. Or, instead of conducting “extreme activism” and breaking into research labs at medical schools and setting all the animals free, we can support organizations like PCRM who can march into DC and demand that medical schools quit testing on animals (which are nothing like humans) and start using human models of anatomy and disease instead, which are far more relevant and humane.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t advocate at a personal one-on-one level – that is still important, and there is nothing like one-on-one conversations with someone we trust to get us to see things differently. However, to make sweeping changes, we usually either need such a huge groundswell from the people that they eventually enact change from a grassroots effort, or we need the government to change their laws and enforce change.
In addition to all their medical research and political work, PCRM also has a great outreach program to the public. They have a 21 Day Vegan Kickstart program in several languages around the world, where they teach people how to live healthier through a low-fat vegan diet. They also have cooking classes called “Food for Life” where people like you and me are trained to teach vegan cooking classes in our communities! If this interests you, you can sign up to get trained and become a Food for Life instructor for your area – in fact, the next instructor’s class is in late June.
There is much, much more to PCRM than I am writing here in this short blog, but they really are worth checking out. I do not let anyone pay me or “encourage” me to blog about their products or organizations, so anything you see me write about here, you know I am writing about because I am a true believer. To learn more, go to www.PCRM.org. If you have an organization that you feel should be recognized as well, make a comment below!
With Love and Ahimsa,