Promoting veganism, abolitionism, and the vegan, abolitionist political party is necessary to achieving the political and legislative victories to which the Humane Party is committed. But each action that the Humane Party takes must be evaluated according to the values that the HP espouses. This approach is the essence of leadership by example—what’s often referred to as “being the change”.
Avoiding printing of any kind
As the “Resources” page of the HP website states, the Humane Party discourages the use of paper or other printing materials of any kind. Each printed postcard, business card, hat, t-shirt, or other printed item has an environmental impact. Thus, creation of physical promotional material should be avoided whenever possible.
While the HP did briefly experiment with making a few t-shirts (about ten shirts, back in 2009-10), the environmental impact of t-shirts weighed against their product-lifetime value in promoting the message makes them undesirable vis-a-vis other options at this point in the analysis.
T-shirts have a limited scope and duration of a wearability. For example, a t-shirt cannot be worn to a formal dinner, business networking event, or other event where reasonably formal attire is appropriate. A t-shirt cannot be worn over a tuxedo, suit, business outfit, or dress. A t-shirt has a size, which fits some people and not others. And with each use and wash, a t-shirt fades and degrades until it eventually becomes rather unattractive.
Other options, such as buttons
A better choice is something like a button. While buttons are by no means perfect, the wearability scope and duration of a button appears to be higher than that of a t-shirt. For instance, a button can:
- fit with a variety of outfits (suit, dress, whatever) and settings (formal, casual, whatever);
- be attached to hats, handbags, backpacks, cloth furniture, or almost anything else;
- be worn by anyone of any size (i.e., “one size fits all”); and
- can look shiny and new after beingworn 1000 times.
Buttons also have a long tradition of usage specifically in the political sphere. For reasons such as these, the HP has chosen to use buttons instead of t-shirts, hats, or other printed wearable items.
Upcycling: What to do with your existing t-shirts
If you’ve already got a t-shirt that promotes veganism, animal rights, or other ethical message, yes, please wear it all the time!
Meanwhile, you can also draw or write “Humane Party” somewhere on your existing t-shirts or other clothing items so as to repurpose them into HP promotional materials.
If a Humane Party volunteer steps forward with a comprehensive, compelling plan to make t-shirts, perhaps t-shirts could emerge as a viable choice for the HP in the future. But that plan would need to address issues such as the resources and materials used to make the shirt and processes used in making the shirt.
Until then, the best choice is to not use printed materials at all. The second-best choice is to use only those printed materials that prove to have the highest value-to-impact ratio and otherwise meet HP criteria.