Educational Exhibits: Putting Vegetarianism on Display
It was an educational exhibit on factory farming at an Earth Day event in Dayton, Ohio that prompted Nathan Runkle to begin his journey toward vegetarianism.
Free brochures at the exhibit, detailing the harsh realities of factory farming - pigs locked in two-feet wide metal stalls, hens crammed in tiny cages, and day-old calves locked by their necks inside narrow, wooden crates – opened his eyes to society's brutal treatment of farmed animals.
Four years later Nathan founded Mercy For Animals.
Today, Mercy For Animals brings educational exhibits to large events throughout the country including festivals, concerts, gay pride events, student conferences, and similar gatherings.
MFA exhibits combine factual information with striking visuals to explain why farmed animals deserve our protection and show how our food choices can prevent needless cruelty.
For example, many of our exhibits incorporate educational panels, such as our "Meet Your Meat" panel, featuring images of healthy and free-roaming pigs, cows and chickens juxtaposed with factory-farmed animals crowded into tiny, filthy cages and stalls.
Our "Eating For Life" panel illustrates the delicious and colorful vegetarian food options widely available in many grocery stores.
Our "Eating Green" panel describes the devastating environmental impact of animal agriculture – including inefficient use of natural resources, air and water pollution, and a leading cause of global warming.
In addition to the educational displays, MFA volunteers provide educational literature and pamphlets to exhibit visitors to help raise their awareness of the compassionate action of a vegetarian diet. MFA volunteers are also always on hand to answer questions and show the positive and friendly faces of vegetarianism.
Take Action: Erect an Animal Rights Exhibit in Your Community
Setting up a pro-vegetarian educational exhibit in your community is a superb way to promote compassionate food choices. Here are some easy tips to get started:
Find the ideal location. Most community festivals, college campuses, Earth Day events, gay pride festivals, art and county fairs, and musical concerts allow representatives of non-profit organizations to set up educational exhibits. While some events offer free exhibit space, others charge fees - typically ranging from $100 - $500. Busy metropolitan downtown intersections, particularly outside public transportation stops, are also ideal locations for exhibits. Check local ordinances first, as a permit is likely required.
Order literature. Mercy For Animals offers various educational pamphlets, ideal for distributing at your exhibit.
Because most exhibit visitors will only leave with one or two pieces of literature, it's important to present only a limited number of publications – ensuring that each person walks away with the most thorough, well-researched, compelling and helpful information available.
Seeing is believing. Adding a video component to your exhibit will dramatically increase your effectiveness. Consider including a small TV or laptop on your exhibit table to air factory farm and slaughterhouse footage (at appropriate events). This visual element will literally stop passersby in their tracks and will be your most power tool in exposing farmed animal abuse while opening the hearts and minds of those individuals visiting the exhibit.
Check with the festival organizer to ensure that you will have access to electricity and that video displays are permitted at the event.
Make the display eye-catching. At large festivals, or on bustling street corners, you're always competing for attention. It's important that your exhibit be well organized, professional, colorful and eye-catching. Consider having MFA's three exhibit banners produced for your next event.
Click on the links below to download the banners in high resolution format:
Collect sign-up information. Having a simple sign-up sheet at your booth, where interested individuals can provide their names and email addresses, is an important way to keep sympathetic people informed and up-to-date on local and national animal protection issues. Add these individuals to the email list of your local animal rights organization. If you are not involved with a local organization, you can simply mail the sign-up sheets to MFA's headquarters and we will send them free literature and updates.
Clean up, and thank the organizer. At the conclusion of your exhibit, always clean up your surrounding space – leaving it in better condition than when you arrived. Always thank the festival organizers, venue host, or permit provider for allowing you to exhibit.
Other Ways to Help
Want to take further action for animals? Here are more ways to get involved:
Staff an MFA exhibit. If you live in an area where MFA is active on a grassroots level, consider joining us at an upcoming educational exhibit. Volunteers are always needed to help staff exhibits – talking with passersby about vegetarianism, distributing literature, selling merchandise and setting-up and taking down the exhibit. Click here to browse upcoming volunteer opportunities. Staffing a table and helping with an exhibit is fun, easy and rewarding.
Become an MFA intern. Put your compassion into action with an MFA internship. Internship opportunities are available year-round at our offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Columbus, Ohio and Dallas, Texas. Click here for additional information and an internship application.
Donate now! Make a tax-deductible contribution to support Mercy For Animals' life-saving work on behalf of the most abused and neglected creatures on earth: farmed animals. Click here for information on joining MFA's monthly giving club, and click here for information on joining The Hope Society.