Ben & Jerry’s has held their marketing event Free Cone Day every spring since 1979—this year it fell on Tuesday, April 12. At nearly every store location, they attracted the usual lines down the block and served thousands of people free ice cream cones. Unfortunately, what is a fun day for many people is just another day of torment for the animals in the dairy and egg industries.
We know three things about those people in line for Free Cone Day: they consume dairy, they want something for free, and they like ice cream. Armed with several gallons of vegan ice cream, FARM staff and volunteers were able to distribute over 4,000 cones along with thousands of handouts explaining the horror that farmed animals endure for products like ice cream to be made.
San Francisco’s event was greeted with sunny skies, so the cones flew off the serving trays for six hours straight. Twenty volunteers scooped and passed out the cones to customers waiting in line for Ben & Jerry’s. Unfortunately Washington, DC was hit with heavy rain, but with a canopy, great work from FARM Underground’s Adam Ortberg, and some dedicated volunteers the event still went smoothly. People lined up in the rain at FARM’s table to try a vegan cone even after waiting in line at Ben & Jerry’s!
For many people, this was the first time trying non-dairy ice cream. Most said it tasted the same or better than the dairy version being given away inside and swore to buy vegan ice cream next time they’re at the store.
Ben & Jerry’s paid special attention to promoting their new Fair Trade flavors. While Fair Trade is great, we made sure people knew that dairy is never fair for the cows. After reading the literature and watching our video display on the cruelties of the dairy and egg industries, we even had a few people swear to go vegan on the spot!
The events were made possible by generous donations from Coconut Bliss and Turtle Mountain—both of which have fantastic vegan and cruelty-free options in the freezer aisle. The San Francisco event also served some of the hemp-based Tempt, another delicious non-dairy treat. Another special thanks to all the volunteers who made these events a success, including staff members from PETA and In Defense of Animals and volunteers from Open The Cages Alliance.
Look out for a video recap of these two events in the coming days, in the meantime check out the photo album on Facebook.
Would you like to help organize a similar event in your city next year? Since these two went so well, we’ll likely want to get them going in other cities next time. Get in touch!