Olde York Street Fair

Posted in: Activism


We attended our very first Mother’s Day street fair and it was a great success for the animals! We had our first sunny day in weeks and it was absolutely perfect out. It was so nice out that thousands of people attended this year, which is great since in recent years attendance had been dropping.

Right after we got there and started setting our tent up people began coming over to see what we were all about. Their reactions were surprisingly kind and open-minded which set the tone for the entire day. John even had his “Free Hugs” sign there and some folks grabbed a hug including a miniature horse named Sebastian! As the day went on more and more people visited our table. So many people spun the prize wheel that we ran out of prizes and had to restock halfway through. In addition, pay-per-view (PPV) was very successful.

PPV is a program in which we pay people to watch videos of the reality of animal agriculture. We pay viewers a dollar to watch a four-minute tablet video (courtesy of Mercy for Animals) as well as a virtual reality video (thanks to Animal Equality) and take a brief survey. The survey before the video asks questions that get viewers thinking about what they are about to watch; “Do you know anything about factory farming?”, “Do you think the animals raised for food live happy lives?”.  The survey after the video tries to determine their reaction from the video: “Were you surprised by the footage in the video?”, “Will you eat less or no animal products now?”. The PPV is the main way we show what we’re advocating against and it almost always has a positive outcome.

After seeing the video over 50% of people say they will definitely go vegan and almost 95% of people saying they will try to remove animal products from their consumption. After watching, people are astonished and thankful. There are often people in tears while watching the cruelty the animals face and many get angry that they did not know it was going on. While we provide information to a lot of viewers, there is always one or two that say the video did not impact them.

One gentleman in particular did not care for the video. When answering the post-viewing survey he answered “I don’t know” to the question asking “Do you think the animals in this video lived happy lives”. His explanation was that he could not possibly know whether an animal is happy or not, they’re just dumb animals and probably can’t be happy. However, he answered “no” to the very next question which asked, “Would you like your dog or cat companion to be treated like the animals in this video”. He continued to explain that dogs are different than farmed animals and have feelings. While we all know that there is no difference in the sentience of a dog compared to a cow or pig, this gentleman believed there was. He left the experience saying that he would never consider eating less animal products. Do I think this interaction was a failure?

Of course not! As animal advocates our mission is to stand up for the animals against all odds. We gave this gentleman factual information that he did not have before meeting us. Who knows, he may begin to consider farmed animals differently in the future because of our conversation. We interacted with hundreds of individuals at the York Street Fair which means we planted hundreds of seeds that have potential to save thousands of animals.

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