Here you will find answers to questions we've been asked. If you have a question that is not answered here, please send me an email and I'll do my best to answer you in a timely matter and may include the info on this page.
Latest update: January 22, 2009
How old must one be to join S.M.A.R.T.'s Meetup group?
- While we happen to believe that someone of any age can work on behalf of animals, Meetup requires anyone who registers for an account to be 18, so we must require it as well. Further, since animal rights can be a very touchy issue -especially with parents- even though S.M.A.R.T. does not engage in illegal activity, we must insist that members be 18 or over for our own protection.
Do you have to be a vegetarian to join this group?
If someone under 18 would like to be included in periodic emails announcing S.M.A.R.T. events, they may sign up through GoSmart.org. Obviously, if there is an event that a minor would like to attend, they should definitely get permission from their parents. No matter what the age of the demonstrator, S.M.A.R.T. cannot be held liable or responsible for any incidents that occur at demos.
- Well, no, but it would be wonderful if you had an open mind about -becoming- one (or even going completely vegan some day)! We understand that all walks of life can do certain things to help animals and end certain suffering, but we think that once you join S.M.A.R.T. and learn more about the horrors of factory farming and the atrocities committed against animals raised for food, you won't be able to help but to cease eating them! You'll likely evolve into a vegetarian or vegan just from seeing the difference a compassionate diet can make- a difference that benefits the animals, our planet AND yourself!
What do you do at events?
- It depends on the event, really. Meetings give us a time to discuss recent happenings in the news, plan for demonstrations and campaigns, and generally connect with others who share our passions. Leafleting events and demos are usually located in busy downtown areas or at a specific venue of an event. For example, a leafleting event may take place on a busy street-corner of downtown Birmingham, where we'll hand literature to passersby -OR- we could engage in a sign-holding protest in front of a local KFC or furrier, or at a venue at which cruelty is about to occur (for example, the rodeo or circus). Your best bet is to check the events page and click on a specific event and read the details. If you ever have any questions you are welcomed and encouraged to get in touch!
Do I have to come to events to be a member?
What if I arrive and don't see anyone else?
- Yes and no. We do ask (and need!) members to come to at least one event every few months, but we won't delete someone if they are staying in touch and actively working on behalf of animals. You can read more by visiting the
'out with dues, in with mandatory participation' page.
We would like all members to participate, and do so often! There truly is something to be said about strength in numbers; a crowd of 20 will attract much
more attention for a cause than a small group of 6 or 7. Please consider attending and helping out! If you'd like to get to know us first, come to a meeting or come to an event simply to say hello and then join us next time! You are also encouraged to join in on the Message Board. It is a great place to learn, educate, and
plan future events.
- Were you careful to read the event listing thoroughly? Many times we schedule a specific meeting place elsewhere than where the demo takes place. If you did check the event and you are at the right location, did you let someone know you were considering attending? It is imperative that you let us know to expect you. RSVP'ing in the events section not only helps us to know how many signs we'll need to bring, but allows us to send last minute reminders or updates about location or time changes, etc. Last minute alerts only go out to those who have responded YES, so if you think there's a chance you may attend an event, RSVP as such to stay informed!
Do you ever throw paint on fur coats?
- Well, no.... that would be illegal. We do our best in staying friendly with the public and police and have actually met some REALLY supportive people (citizens AND police officers) and have had some great conversations! You may be surprised to learn just how many officers sympathize with us and support our endeavors.
What should I do if I don't have the answers to someone's questions?
S.M.A.R.T. likes to consider itself a kind, educational voice for animals. Our main goal is to educate, so even at sign-holding protests, we're trying to get informative literature into the hands of as many people as possible.
- Learning about the issue you are there to represent as an activist is always a good thing to do, but if someone stumps you, there is absolutely no shame in finding the organizer of the event or another activist to help you out of a jam. Simply let the person with whom you're speaking know that you're not quite sure how to respond and would like to get some help answering them.
What if we get heckled?
- Sometimes it's hard to bite one's tongue when passersby are rude- I know this first hand. However, it's usually best to ignore the person, or respond with, 'Thanks, have a nice day!' If the person really keeps at it, you are more than welcome to address the situation. For example, when I hear shouts of, 'That person is wearing leather shoes!' though my first response is to shoot back, 'There's this cool new thing called VINYL. You should check it out," I've found it best to simply say, 'No, they're vinyl, but I'm glad you relate the wearing of animals' skins to cruelty to animals.' When someone snaps, 'Forget about the animals, you should be helping children!' it's easy to say, "Well, what have YOU done for children, lately?!' however, simply saying something like, 'We work against cruelty to ALL animals, humans included,' seems to do the same trick.
What happens if someone becomes confrontational?
- Though we've been fortunate and blatant hostility rarely occurs, there are several routes which can be taken- all of which have your own safety and keeping the peace in mind. First, get someone else's attention, whether it be the organizer of the event, another demonstrator, or everyone around. You do not have to deal with it alone! Politely explain to the aggressive person that you are there to peacefully raise awareness about cruelty to animals and that you don't wish to argue. If they persist, simply ignore them. Walk away and try not to let them upset you. You have every right, if you feel the person is a danger to you or others, to call the police. Note that if I am the organizer of the particular event, I already have most police departments numbers programmed into my cell phone. If it's a precinct for which I don't happen to have a number, or I am not there, 911 is always an option and will be able to connect anyone to the proper precinct based on the location. For this reason, always note the major cross-streets of the demo location. Having a camera trained on the offender usually does quite a bit to calm them down- if for no other reason than their fear of us having evidence against them, it works!