049 - Meat made from labradors? Meet Elwood’s Organic Dog Meat
What happens when you parody animal farmers. Molly Elwood started Elwood’s Organic Dog Meat after trying to come up with an idea for a vegan bumper sticker. We’re all familiar with the slogan ‘why love one type of animal but eat another?’, Molly decided to take that one step further and launch a website that parodied family-owned meat farms, but replacing cows and pigs with labradors and spaniels to highlight the hypocrisy.
Now, don’t worry – Elwood’s isn’t real! But not everyone realises that straight away. Non-vegans are horrified at the idea that someone would farm dogs for meat but Molly’s skill at parodying the posts that animal farmers make on social media means a lot of people have been taken along for the ride. However, behind Elwood’s is an amazing vegan awareness campaign and once people have read to the end of Molly’s website, they uncover the true message and are often left facing their own hypocrisy.
Elwood’s Organic Dog Meat has become a social media sensation, picking up nearly 30,000 followers on Facebook within just a couple of months of launching. In this episode, David talks to Molly to find out how she did it and what the reaction has been from the people who got taken in.
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Hello and welcome to episode forty-nine of The Vegan Business Tribe Podcast with myself David Pannell, co-founder of Vegan Business Tribe. And if you have a vegan business, or are thinking of starting one, then Vegan Business Tribe is here to support and inspire you not just to build a vegan business, but to build a SUCCESSFUL vegan business.
And we are one episode away from the big five-oh, can you believe nearly 50 episodes in? And thank you to those who sent in ideas for what we could do to celebrate episode 50, and I’m pleased to announce that next week we’ll actually be using our 50th episode to answer a question I have been getting asked more and more recently – which is how do you actually launch your own podcast. So next week I am going to be joined by three vegan podcasting rockstars to get their advice on not just launching your own podcast but also their tips on keeping it going and keeping it fresh. So, first, I’ll be joined by the original vegan business podcaster, Katrina Fox, from the Vegan Business Talk Podcast and the new Conversations with Vegan Women Leaders Podcast. And it’s really exciting to have Katrina on because it was actually her podcast that I binged listened to when Lisa and I were looking at launching OUR first vegan business, well before Vegan Business Tribe, and now we like to think we can call Katrina a good friend so it’s brilliant she’ll be part of our podcasting legends panel. But we’ll also be joined by Jim Moore from the very entertaining Bloody Vegans Podcast, a podcast made by vegans for vegans and the veg-curious, and Vegan Business Tribe member Hayley Akins from the Motion Hatch Podcast, which is a niche industry podcast that doesn’t actually lead with veganism but she still managed to plant plenty of vegan seeds along the way. Now all these shows are well into triple figures with their episode numbers, so I will very much be the baby of the group, but if you have been thinking about launching your own podcast or you want some tips from people who have put out hundreds of episodes to find out how they do it week-in-week-out, then it’s going to be a special hour and a half episode where we come together to talk about all things vegan podcasting. Just look out for it next week on episode 50.
And as always, whenever we do a panel or an interview we usually record a video version too and add that to the Vegan Business Tribe website. Because don’t forget, if you just listen to this podcast then you are missing out on probably 90% of everything that goes on at Vegan Business Tribe. So if you want to be part of our amazing community, and to get access to all our courses, our events and networking then go take a look at veganbusinesstribe.com and click on the big ‘join’ button on the homepage to see everything you get as a member. And it’s through the support of our members that we can keep recording this podcast every week, keeping putting together our courses and running our events and everything else we do to champion and support vegan businesses – so if you want to help us on our mission then your support would really make a difference to a lot of other vegan businesses too.
And this week, we’ve also got something a bit different for you, because can I ask – have you ever thought about eating dog meat? And no, I don’t mean meat that is fed to dogs, but meat made from dogs. Now, to most people (not just vegans) that’s a horrific idea. But if those dogs are raised to be eaten, and are said to be ‘organically’ farmed and ‘ethically’ slaughtered, then how is that different to eating a pig or a cow? So today I am bringing you an interview I did with Molly Elwood, who is the owner of Elwood’s Organic Dog Meat – a small family farm in the US that produces meat from organically farmed dogs, mainly labradors but with some spaniels and pitbulls too. Now, don’t worry, before you hit stop in disgust – Elwood’s isn’t a real farm, it is just a parody! But because of Molly’s skill of mimicking the kinds of posts that animal farmers make on social media a lot of people have been taken along for the ride. But behind Elwood’s is an amazing vegan awareness campaign – and once these non-vegans who were first outraged have read to the end of her website, they uncover the true message behind the website and are often left facing their own hypocrisy.
Now, it is a great bit of vegan campaigning, but the reason I wanted to talk to Molly is because Elwood’s has become a sensation on Facebook especially, picking up nearly 30,000 followers in just under two months since launching. And when Molly talks about how she hit that number of followers, you realise that it’s not down to clever tricks and tips, it’s also not down to spending all day every day just putting out content – Molly actually has a full-time job doing something completely different – but it’s because she has created something remarkable that once you find out about it, you just have to tell other people. And that should be at the centre of the success of any business.
OK, we recorded this interview over Zoom, so if you want to watch the video version of it too then you can also head over to the Vegan Business Tribe website and find it in our latest content. Now, over to the interview.
[…Interview with Molly from Elwood’s Organic Dog Meat…]
Now hopefully you found that interview as interesting to listen to as I did to carry it out, because Molly is an amazing person and even though at the moment she only has a pretend business, she’s doing something that many real businesses fail to do – and that is building an engaged audience and then figuring out just what it is that audience actually want. And that part about her audience actually doing a lot of the hard work for her, that’s what happens when you build up your own tribe of invested people in your mission.
OK, so that’s it for this episode. As I said at the start: make sure you come back to celebrate episode 50 next week with our vegan podcasting rockstar panel to find out how to launch and run your own podcast – and it is genuinely going to be a brilliant session with some amazing guests. Also if you want to help support the work we do at Vegan Business Tribe, not just this podcast but with all the work we do supporting vegan businesses, then do go take a look at the website where you can join for just £12.99 a month – which as I always say is about what it costs each month if you buy a cup of coffee a week from your local coffee shop.
And if you have enjoyed this episode, and I know you have because you are still listening at the end, then please do consider giving us a 5-star review if you’re listening on something like iTunes, or at the very least hit subscribe or give us a thumbs up or whatever your platform allows you to do – because all that interaction costs nothing but a moment of time but it lets the podcast platforms know that people are enjoying listening to us so that they suggest us to more people.
So, thank you so much for your time, make sure to go check out Elwood’s on Facebook, and maybe even share the page with a few of your non-vegan friends to see how outraged they are at the thought of eating dogs, and I will see you on the next one!