March 29th, 2012 by Gary Smith
Large animal protection organizations are famous for their attention-getting, eyebrow-raising campaigns – but shaming overweight people in hopes of getting them to go vegan should never be accepted by our movement.
In the latest example, people are shamed for being fat, and told that vegans are thin (and obnoxious). Not only is it offensive to non-vegans who are overweight, but it is also offensive to vegans who are not thin.
Being vegan does not necessarily equal being thin. Vegans come in all shapes and sizes. Some vegans care about their health and weight, others do not. Some vegans will never be thin, no matter how low-fat, clean, pure, oil-free, sugar-free, salt-free and raw their diets are. And even if it did equate to being thin, how is shaming others for the size and shape of their bodies going to endear them to our cause? How is bashing overweight people going to help animals?
These types of campaigns make all of us look bad. They make us look like we are not compassionate and empathetic. They focus on looks and vanity, instead of the ethics of eating a vegan diet. They also make us look desperate. The ethics and facts are on our side, why would we attack overweight people and spread disinformation?
Eating a vegan diet does not guarantee any health benefits, body size, sexual prowess or any other magical superpower. Being vegan only means that you have chosen not to support the exploitation and murder of other animals. That’s it. That’s the special prize behind curtain number three.
I am not so naïve to think the only reason the world isn’t vegan is because of our “tone” or attitude, but fat-shaming is low and beneath us. Vegan outreach and education can and must do better.