When Andy (truck tour operator) and I (Amanda, tour assistant) told our friends that we would be bringing the 10 Billion Lives program all around Texas, we were usually met with pity laughs or dropped jaws. Everyone seemed to picture us going into a “Meat Country” war zone. On the contrary, our several weeks in Texas proved that the Lone Star state is full of surprises. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes compassion toward animals.
Every school we visited yielded overwhelmingly positive reactions to our powerful 4-minute video about the treatment of animals on farms. Our week in San Antonio will go down as one of my favorite weeks on this tour. We spent time at San Antonio College and Northwest Vista College. Each day of outreach brought high numbers of viewers. In fact, at Northwest Vista we reached our highest number of viewers of the Spring 2014 tour in one day with 287 viewers!
Everyone we spoke to was shocked by the way animals raised for food are treated and were open to making changes to contribute less to their suffering. Andy had a long conversation with an older student who questioned the impact of changing his own diet. The very next day, he came back to see us and said he made a vegetarian stir-fry that “tasted just as good as anything with meat,” and that he was excited to try more vegan meals. I spoke to several students with small children at home who made the connection between the way they eat and the values they want to instill in their children.
“We have pet birds at home and we love our birds. We would never put them through what chickens – their cousins! – go through,” said a father. “How can I teach my daughters about compassion and kindness to everyone if we’re putting animals through this?” That viewer was excited to take a Cruelty Free Eating Guide and we even brainstormed some meal ideas that his kids would enjoy, too.
We also had multiple people see us a day or two after watching our video and return the dollar, saying they didn’t feel right keeping it and they’d rather donate it back and help more animals. Andy and I were impressed by how many people were clearly thinking deeply about our message, long after they left the truck.
Stay tuned for Part Two of our Texas recap, where we highlight our very special last stop in the Lone Star state, as well as some of the amazing vegan food we found all around the state!