Why doesn’t the Humane Party print up t-shirts?

Promoting veganism, abolitionism, and the U.S.’s ethics- and science-based political party is a necessary component of the animal emancipation, rights, and liberation movement. But such promotion must be done in a way that has no or minimal environmental impact. This approach is the essence of leadership by example—what’s often referred to as “being the change.”  And leadership by example is a core principle of the HP.

Avoid printing of any kind

Each new postcard, business card, hat, t-shirt, or other printed item has an environmental impact.  Thus, creation of physical promotional materials should be avoided altogether or kept to a bare minimum.

T-shirt analysis

In 2010, the HP briefly experimented with making a few t-shirts (a total of about ten) and one hat (see examples below), and these items were extremely well received.  Almost every new HP supporter wants a Humane Party t-shirt.  And wearing a Humane Party t-shirt to the grocery store will often prompt inquiries about the movement, the party, and where to get a Humane Party t-shirt!

But the environmental impact of t-shirts weighed against their product-lifetime value in promoting the message makes them less viable than other options, particularly, the re-use / upcycling option described below.  Here are some reasons that t-shirts are not ideal:

  • T-shirts have a limited scope of wearability.  For example, a t-shirt cannot be worn to a formal dinner, business networking event, or other event where reasonably formal attire is required.  A t-shirt cannot be worn over a tuxedo, suit, business outfit, or dress.  (Buttons, discussed below, perform better on this issue because they can be worn with almost anything.)
  • T-shirts have a limited share-ability.  A t-shirt has a set size, which fits some people and not others. (Buttons, discussed below, perform better on this issue also, because they can be worn by almost anyone.)
  • T-shirts have a limited duration of wearability.  With each use and wash, a t-shirt fades and degrades until it eventually may becomes unattractive or unusable.

Best option: re-use or “upcycle” your existing clothing instead of buying new clothing

For people who would like to wear a t-shirt or other item that has the Humane Party logo or other vegan, abolitionist symbol, the HP recommends re-using or “upcycling” your existing clothing rather than buying new clothing.  For instance, with a small amount of work and an X-Acto knife, you can cut out a stencil for yourself and then use the stencil and some fabric dye to stencil the emblem on your existing shirt, jeans, hat, bag, or other item.

stencil example
stencil example

If you’re not handy with such tools, you can download the Humane Party stencil and have it 3-D printed at your local library.  You can then use this stencil over and over to place the Humane Party logo on everything you’d like.  You can even use your stencil on larger items, such as posters and banners, for vegan-themed events, such as the Veggie Pride Parade.

Other options: button

Another choice is a button or pin.  The wearability scope and duration of a button appears to be higher than that of a t-shirt.  For instance, a button can go with all outfits (formal, casual, whatever); can be attached to hats, backpacks, cloth furniture, or almost anything else; can be worn by anyone of any size; and can look shiny and new after 1000 uses.  Buttons also have a long tradition of usage specifically in the political sphere.

Humane Party buttons
Humane Party buttons

What to do with existing t-shirts

If you’ve already got an animal rights t-shirt, yes, wear it all the time!  And as described above, you can also upcycle it by stenciling, drawing, or writing “Humane Party” somewhere on your existing t-shirts or other clothing items so as to repurpose them into HP promotional materials.

Future

Whether clothing or any other item, the creation of new products—rather than re-use of existing products—should only be undertaken after all other options have been shown to be infeasible through an analysis that addresses issues such as:

  • resources and materials used to make the item (e.g., water, land, fertilizer), which must be vegan and cruelty-free
  • processes used in making the item (e.g., made in U.S.A., workers who are paid well, free from so-called “pesticides”)
  • upcycle or recycle-ability (e.g., zero-landfill impact) of the item after it has served the original purpose

Use the “Three-Yes Test” as a brief introduction to this analysis.

The best choice is to re-use or upcycle products or go without a product rather than to print up new materials.  The second-best choice is to use only those printed materials that prove to have the highest value-to-impact ratio.

Example Humane Party t-shirt
Experimental Humane Party t-shirt
hat
Experimental HP hat (printed in 2010)