happy third birthday tavs

happy third birthday tavs

By Lauren-Elizabeth McGrath

April 2, 2016

Three years ago, after careful examination of the animal rights movement and the kinds of voices that were missing from it, serious consideration turned into true action. Out of this, The Advocacy of Veganism Society was born, an entirely volunteer-run organization that has devoted itself to ending all animal use, and the advancement of vegan principles. TAVS seeks to “galvanize and facilitate an organized grassroots movement of veganism around the world that reflects our recognition of the moral personhood of nonhuman animals,” as described in their mission statement. As an organization that promotes nonviolent, creative, vegan education, what is it about TAVS that makes it so special, and why does TAVS deserve your support and celebration on this third anniversary?

Take a look at the very core of who TAVS is. In global and grassroots vegan movements, it’s expected that the biggest names in animal rights leadership belong to those who are male-identified, or white. Sarah K. Woodcock, the founder and executive director of TAVS, is a Korean-American woman who is more than happy to shake up your perceptions of the typical vegan leader. Of course, having a woman of color in a position of leadership in an organization isn’t all that makes an organization truly progressive and forward-thinking. It’s vital, on this path to a truly vegan world, that identities are not only recognized and respected, but celebrated as diverse contributors to the animal rights movement. This commitment to recognizing power structures and tearing them down, for all beings, is the very heart of TAVS, as they are proudly pro-intersectional and unafraid to take on the status quo that exists in both the animal rights movement and our broader society. TAVS refuses to settle for the minimum of what many of us have been taught to expect out of progressive vegan advocacy, and is intentional in the way that they present the necessity of veganism while acknowledging the diverse backgrounds that so many activists come from.

TAVS is incredibly proud to offer vegan education resources to anyone and everyone who is vegan, regardless of age, income, or ability level. Providing these unequivocal resources is made possible by vegan donors to TAVS. Activist and advocacy work, as TAVS recognizes it, is not only for those in privileged positions who can champion animal rights with convenience and ease. From coloring pages for children at vegan events to good old-fashioned leafleting on campus, TAVS creates and provides materials for all vegan activists, and no matter which walk of life that person is coming from, they will find support and encouragement for their efforts.

Perhaps one of the most important elements of the work that TAVS does is the refusal to compromise advocacy efforts by ‘watering down’ a message of veganism, and asks that donors and participants within the movement do the same in turn. There is no promotion of vegetarianism, or any kind of variation on the concept of “veg friendly” within campaigns, because TAVS understands, and promotes, veganism as the moral minimum. In fact, TAVS only accepts donations from those who have made the decision to live out their lives as vegans. There is a pervasive idea from many organizations that making a donation to an animal rights group negates the individual need to go vegan, yet TAVS recognizes this faulty logic and demands only the best from supporters. While maintaining such high standards greatly diminishes the number of donations that are made annually, it ensures that TAVS is able to operate using only the efforts of individuals who are serious in their efforts to eliminate all animal use from both their personal lives and the entire world.

I hope you’ll join the vegan activists from all over the world in congratulating TAVS on their third anniversary. Whether you have been a long-time supporter of TAVS or this is your first time learning about the work that is done here, please consider making a donation and voicing support for the grassroots effort that is being made to not only spread a message of just and necessary veganism, but to cultivate a culture within the animal rights movement of anti-oppression for all beings.

To support TAVS’ critically important work, please make a monthly or one-time donation to TAVS with PayPal or by mail by visiting their Donate to TAVS page.