The Liberation Pledge


The pledge is simple:

one | Publicly refuse to eat animals - live vegan.

two | Negotiate vegan tables.

three | Encourage others to take the pledge.

WHAT

What if your most important challenge as an animal activist takes place not at a protest or politician’s office, but at your family’s dinner table? How would you approach your strongest relationships if you truly believed they were the most valuable resource you have to create change? To explore this idea that our own family and friend circles offer untapped potential for animal freedom, the Liberation Pledge was born.

Often when dining with others, we are forced to confront a disturbing reality: the body of a victim of violence on the dinner table, that friends and family don’t seem to notice. The Liberation Pledge exists to provide a framework for how to remain in integrity with ourselves and our loved ones in these moments.

Pledge to show respect for yourself and for animals not only by living vegan yourself, but by negotiating a vegan table when you eat with others. You probably already choose animal-free foods each time you eat, right? If so, make a habit of asking others to do the same, each and every time you are invited to a group meal. It’s okay if you don’t get everything you’re asking for every time! Be proud of your commitment to animal rights—be open, honest, and outright. Wear a fork bracelet as a symbol of this pledge, and to show support for others who have taken it as well.


WHY

It’s no secret that using animals for food is inherently violent, even when the industry uses messaging touting it as humane. Many people who eat animals admit that they actively try not to think about what it takes to turn animals into meat.

Most people eat animals because most other people eat animals. It feels normal to do so, and people fear social backlash if they abstain. The Liberation Pledge is a way to turn this dynamic on its head, creating social norms and social pressure not to eat animals instead. Practicing the Pledge energizes our interpersonal relationships. It expands the number of opportunities that we have to invite others into our world—a world where animals’ suffering matters, and consuming them is unnecessary.

Negotiating animal-free tables, and publicly displaying your commitment with a fork bracelet, is a powerful way to do this.


ORIGINS

The Pledge was started in 2015 by organizers with Direct Action Everywhere. They were inspired by pledges made by campaigners against Chinese footbinding in the 19th century and the quick transition away from it by nearly all of Chinese society.


WHAT'S THE FORK?

Many taking the #LiberationPledge also make and wear a fork bracelet—a fork bent to fit around a wrist.

By bending a fork into a symbol of nonviolence, we reclaim a tool that is, indirectly, the single tool most responsible for the immense suffering animals endure. Effectively, we aim to “beat swords into plowshares.”

Want to learn more about the origins of this symbol? See our FAQ. Want to make your own? See our resources section.


GETTING STARTED

1. Join the community of people taking the pledge.

2. Make a fork bracelet. Make it, wear it, and post an image of it online with the #LiberationPledge tag.

3. Reach out. Talk to friends or family members who might be used to eating animals around you, and let them know how it feels to you. Make a request that they abstain around you, or else make plans to see them when they’re not eating animals.

4. Offer. Suggest an alternative vegan meal, or place to eat, that does not use animals’ bodies. Be willing to do a little more work to make this possible, such as cooking or planning.

5. Share to social media. Tag your posts with #LiberationPledge. Feel free to use our sample public announcement.

6. Stay strong. Stay firm and nonviolent in the face of conflict, refer to our resources, and seek out community support on our group if you’re not sure what to do.


RESOURCES

New to navigating the Liberation Pledge? Here are some suggestions that may help.

1 - Make a flexible request. Consider what kinds of arrangements would and wouldn’t work for you. Emphasize the ways you’re flexible, instead of the ways you’re not.

2 - Offer an alternative meal. Suggest an alternative meal that leaves everyone feeling welcome and included. There are many online resources for preparing animal-free meals.

3 - Suggest an alternative arrangement. If the meal hosts insist on eating animals at the meal, you can arrange to visit before or after the meal, perhaps over animal-free snacks, appetizers, or dessert.

4 - Make the first invitation. Whether a holiday meal or a get-together with colleagues, it helps when you can be the one to host or make the initial proposal. Movies, games, happy hours, and other activities offer day-to-day alternatives, and you can also arrange separate holiday gatherings not involving animals.

5 - Make the request about the relationship. To understand your request, your family only needs to accept that in your reality, animals are sentient and what’s happening to them is terrifying and heartbreaking. They don’t have to accept that this is objectively true. By explicitly putting aside who’s right, you can allow the request to live in your connection without it requiring the examination of psychological defense mechanisms around eating animals. You can talk to the loved one who cares about you and doesn’t want to cause you unnecessary suffering, without requiring that they take a stance against animal suffering. Yet, in the process of helping you out, they are likely to gain more familiarity with pro-animal principles, thus accomplishing the purpose of the Liberation Pledge.

6 - Consider coming to the event and leaving while animals are being eaten. For a holiday or personal gathering, consider joining your friends and/or family and then stepping out of the room when animals' bodies are being eaten or on display. This can protect both your relationships and your sense of integrity and safety.


MAKING A LIBERATION BAND

Making a liberation band by yourself is simple and requires only a few basic tools. Forks can be sharp, so make sure you handle them with care.

1 - Find a fork. A cheaper, flimsier fork is best. You'll need something easy to bend.

2 - Find some tools. You'll need two pairs of pliers. In a pinch, an adjustable wrench/spanner could work.

3 - Bend like hell. With a pair of pliers carefully gripping either end, bend the fork into a bracelet.


SAMPLE ANNOUNCEMENT

“Many of you know that I’ve been involved in animal rights for a long time, but I think few know how difficult it is for me when animals are being eaten when I’m around. It’s impossible for me to be fully present with people I love when I know that there’s an animal on the table who didn’t want to die. I’ve realized that people don’t want me to suffer like this, and are probably more willing to accommodate me than I’ve given them credit for. I’ve decided to start asking for what I need in these situations and figuring out a way to have vegan tables even when I’m with non-vegan friends or family. Please reach out to me if you have concerns about this, and I look forward to talking to people individually about it as it comes up.”

SAMPLE SCRIPT

Hello _____!

I am really looking forward to [your event]! I wanted to check in about the food. It’s pretty difficult for me to be around animals being eaten, given what I’ve seen in my animal rights work. How would it be for you to consider a plant-based menu for this one? I would love to help cook and plan if so. If not, I would love to get together for [snacks/hanging out/drinks] or another meal another time. Let me know what you think!

SAMPLE DIALOGUES

Below are some of the most common remarks (and suggested responses) you may encounter as a result of your pledge.

"You should respect our personal choices."

"I’m hearing that this feels like it’s not respecting you and your choices. I wish it didn’t come across like this. I really want to find a way we can both feel good about our get-togethers and I just wouldn’t feel okay if I ended up coming to dinner when there are animals there. Is there a time that would work for you to do something else?”

"You care more about animals than me."

"It breaks my heart to hear that, because I care about you so much, and I don’t want to do anything that communicates something else. I also know myself, and I know that I wouldn’t be able to be present with you if you were eating animals. I so want our time together to be meaningful and nice for everyone. What comes up hearing that?”

WHY TAKE THE PLEDGE

The Liberation Pledge is an empowering way to change the norms around eating animals using the strength of our closest social relationships, while at the same time deepening those relationships. The Liberation Pledge empowers people who care about animals to transform their personal veganism into an active stance against violence.

What can I do if I cannot get out of a work meeting where people will be eating animals?

We should always strive to negotiate a meaningful accommodation to live up to the pledge while understanding that there may be some situations where it is especially difficult to avoid being around people eating animals' bodies, particularly at work. There exists an online forum where you can ask questions, solicit advice, and get support.

WHY THE FORK

By the early 1990s, AIDS was on its way to becoming the single largest killer of young people in the US, yet it remained an unacknowledged epidemic.

But one day, activists created an iconic symbol—the humble red ribbon, typically pinned prominently on lapels.

This eye-catching ribbon generated curiosity, prompted discussion, and so publicly displayed people’s passion for combating AIDS that it rapidly transformed a once-taboo topic into something people were proud to support openly.

As allies multiplied, the ribbon became a rallying point for a movement no one could silence.

We too can wield creative symbolism’s power to advocate for animals.

We encourage all taking the #LiberationPledge to make and wear a liberation band—a fork bent to fit around a wrist.

By transforming the fork into a symbol of nonviolence, we reclaim the everyday tool most responsible for the immense suffering animals endure. The liberation band "beats swords into plowshares" and powerfully symbolizes our commitment to justice for all beings.


HELP

I am struggling. Where can I get support?

The Liberation Pledge has a group of people willing to listen, discuss, and give advice.

Additionally, our team is looking forward to hearing from you. Please write to: info「Ⓐ」liberationpledge.com

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