People aren’t vegan because of YOU

By on June 29, 2013

There seems to be a consensus amongst vegans that the reason our friends, family members and society at large haven’t gone vegan is because of us. The chatter is we just haven’t been friendly enough, our tone is too harsh, judgmental, angry, we aren’t inclusive enough, we shouldn’t use the word vegan because it is off-putting, etc. We just haven’t bent over backwards enough to reward non-vegans for participating in Meatless Mondays, buying happy meat, giving up red meat, or for being kind enough to listen to our sad plea on behalf of nonhuman animals.

The reality is that people aren’t vegan because they benefit and enjoy participating in the exploitation of nonhumans. They enjoy a good steak, love their leather loafers, have fun at Sea World, betting on horse races, wearing makeup tested on animals, prefer to buy the purebred dog they always wanted.

I’m not talking about non-vegans who have not heard the vegan message or philosophy yet, but the people in our lives and the people whom we advocate to. They know – and don’t really care. They aren’t waiting for the perfect tone or more love-and-light from animal rights activists, they just don’t care. Maybe someday they will, but not because you’ve pet them enough.

It’s as if we have internalized the negative reactions from non-vegans and are now blaming ourselves – it’s our fault, our problem, our issue. We are internalizing a victim mentality. It doesn’t benefit anyone, human or nonhuman, to weaken our position, weaken our message, weaken ourselves.

Of course I am not advocating yelling, attacking or being an asshole to those around us. As gratifying as that may be sometimes, it’s not going to make new vegans. What I advocate is speaking the truth about how nonhumans are being exploited and brutalized, in a forthright, sincere, truthful, factual manner. We should be proud, confident and powerful in our delivery of the message. Taking the ethical position demands we not apologize for representing billions of nonhumans who are dying every day for pleasure, taste, and tradition.

We cannot allow non-vegans to define who we are – “angry,” “militant,” “reactionary,” “judgmental,” and so on. We cannot allow their desire to continue participating in the violence against animals to weaken who we are, to water down the message and philosophy of veganism. Most of their reactions and resistance are a desire to deny their participation, a desire to live a life unexamined, when it comes to nonhumans. Most of all, we don’t benefit from attacking fellow vegans because they aren’t love-and-light enough.

Comments

  1. Casey
    June 29, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Well said, Gary.

  2. lixza
    June 29, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    You describe me perfectly, I always get frustrated and sad when the people around me (family, friends, co-workers etc) don’t care about what I have to say about veganism, and continue eating meat and consuming everything without any care in the world.
    I have tried everything, I even offer myself to show them for a week how to make the transition to a vegan diet, I offered to go shopping with them and I was even willing to cook for them vegan food for the whole week and they said “NO”. I must say I was never the “angry” vegan but now I have given up and every time they make a stupid comment or say how much they love meat I just go off on their arse and they think I’m playing but I am not I’m sick and tired of people not caring I just wish they could see what we Vegans see every time we look at animals, nature, and the world.
    I don’t want to be the “angry” Vegan but I feel like I’m becoming one and I don’t like it, but I’m losing my hope in mankind and I don’t know how to deal with it anymore. I’m emotionally tired.

    • kathy pomicter
      July 6, 2015

      Leave a Reply

      Yes, I understand your frustration….I have been promoting our animal cause for 30 years. This article made me feel better about myself, and it was what I always believed….most do not care. We are not to blame ourselves….they are just too selfish. We are not to find fault with ourselves or others in the animal movement ….who promotes it better, not like what this group or organization does, etc. My advise is to just educate in the way you feel comfortable with, e-mails, talking, sharing literature, facebook, twitter, etc. I find it is a waste of time to condemn others and it is a waste of energy…..just do your thing and know you are helping the animals and we are educating….maybe we won’t see results today, but years from now….I have seen so many changes in 30 years of activism, so try not to blame yourselves and pass our compassionate on to others. If we look at the negative side of people ignoring us, we can get depressed, so ignore what others say, and just do it your way….in your comfort zone.

    • Dawn
      July 9, 2015

      Leave a Reply

      I understand how you feel…

    • Trisha
      July 10, 2015

      Leave a Reply

      Hi Lixza
      I understand your feelings…
      I am just sooo glad you remain
      being true to yourself and the
      care of animals by staying a vegan…
      I’ve been super angry
      I’ve been emotionally tired
      Felt really alone being a vegan
      before facebook where I can at
      least connect online with others
      I learned best I could FEEL is good
      about myself for being a vegan
      The ignorant comments and questions
      and objections continue
      They always will
      Hang in there
      Together we are not alone
      I just try and stay fresh and keep my
      emotions fresh to Encourage by
      cooking really yummy things and
      bring them along to dinners
      It opens a conversation and educates
      meat eaters to give a vegan dish a try
      It shows them it isn’t tasteless or boring
      it is their tastebuds”’
      first that appeal to them as most people
      still believe animals are killed humanely and
      that I and you and all Pro animal welfare groups
      exxagerate the cruelty even though we know we don’t…
      I believe we are sensitive people
      that is why we get emotionally worn out
      I like that it also made us who we are
      caring compassionate Vegans

  3. Gluten Free Vegan Journey
    June 29, 2013

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    Very well said. KUDOS!!

  4. Bronwyn
    June 29, 2013

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    Very well said, thank you for that

  5. Kiara
    June 30, 2013

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    Lovely! Beautifully written.

  6. Magdalena
    June 30, 2013

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    Hello, thank you so much for this article! I have a big problems with people around me. I live in the Czech republic, where most of traditional food is based on meat and everyone is pushing me to eat it. When I don’t eat it and I say my reasons, they’re telling me such a things like “If you didn’t read about it, you wouldn’t care about it”… Some of them are agressive and they feel attacked by me! If I write or speak about veganism or vegetarians, hurting and killing animals, they’re always angry or they laugh and say “You should eat stones then!”
    The people just don’t understand and they DON’T WANT TO. I’m so sad because they’re so heartless! And when I created a website for like-minded people who love animals and who are vegans, there is always one or more stupid humans who writes there: “Mmm, I love meat and I eat it right now” or who is attacking us by his own opinions. I just don’t know what to do. I’m not about to convince them to be vegans too, but I would like them to know about the animals and their suffering. They don’t care, just as you wrote. Or maybe they are just afraid of changing something. I don’t know… Sometimes it seems hopeless, whatever I say or write.

    • Liz
      July 10, 2017

      Leave a Reply

      Hi Magdelena, When I started being vegetarian 48 years ago I met with the same response in Canada. Attacked for my choice, fear from meat eaters just all the things you describe. I did not know anyone else in the world was vegetarian.
      But your way and mine, Magdelena is the right way and now in Canada we have many vegan restaurants, veggie burgers, vegan cheese, the milk industry is failing. But the best is the young people who look to me for guidance and validation that they can live a long term healthy vegan life. Focus on young people, maybe you are one, and over time your way will become widely accepted and eventually predominant. Stay the course. You are doing the right thing keep your focus on that and do not focus on negative people.
      All the Best,
      Liz

  7. Christiane Bailey
    June 30, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Excellent piece. “It’s as if we have internalized the negative reactions from non-vegans and are now blaming ourselves – it’s our fault, our problem, our issue. We are internalizing a victim mentality.”

  8. Natalie
    July 1, 2013

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    Well written. I’m more of a sad vegan than an angry one. I feel sad that the people around me just don’t “get” it.

  9. Ray
    July 3, 2013

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    I always “Attack” from a different angle, “Logic”. I always ask do you eat your chicken raw ? do you eat raw steak ? Why not ? Oh, I know because you are herbivore. We have no long sharp canine teeth. Our intestines and teeth look like horse and cow’s teeth. If the food is good, why burn it ? If not, burn and then eat it ? No thank you.

  10. Sven
    July 4, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Thanks! … I needed that … V-hugs 🙂

  11. Cloud
    July 4, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    It isn’t just non-vegans that have expectations. On the Vegan Support Group on Facebook vegans are forever telling vegans how to act in order to convert others. Be nicer, more gentle, “See you ran her off and we could have changed her.” Bottom line It’s hard for me as an ethical vegan, when the blinders come off to see we are surrounded with people that don’t care about the millions of innocent animals being unnecessarily slaughtered every moment. What to do about that and how to live with that is going to always be a struggle.

  12. K
    July 4, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I love what you wrote about putting ourselves in the role of victim. And love the conversation about it. In my observation, preaching is an old way that doesn’t work anymore… for any facet of life. Nor should it. It’s no different than wanting to shut the door on a Jehovah’s Witness who wants everyone else to follow their same path to God. It’s not going to happen.

    I think we must let go of the idea that we’re going to change everyone. I think perhaps the way consciousness does shift, is by observation over time. Friends and family see how much you like it. That you’re going to a cool raw vegan potluck party. That you are healthy. That the food tastes good. People change when it’s fun and joyous… not when they feel bad about themselves. This approach opens our minds to what is possible, so it doesn’t seem so weird over time. But we must also realise, it goes two ways. Who are we to say veganism is “the way”?

  13. Bryce Holywell
    July 4, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Lixza, dont stress and get angry cos you are only hurting yourself. What you gotta realise is that we live in a HIGHLY brainwashed society, the brainwashes NEVER give up promoting bad health and murder, so why should you let them win and give up on trying to convert your family and friends to the true human diet we were and still are designed to eat, if you give up on them, then you are giving up on the animals who are counting on people like us to save them from this cruel world, DONT GIVE UP, find your positive wellbeing, and calmly forever offer your healthier, selfless diet to them. 😀 I can feel your pain, just never give up on hope, they are all counting on us to “brainwash” them back to the long lost truth. Peace

  14. Ana Letícia
    July 17, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    The truth is, in fact, that they don’t care. Most people don’t care… But I would say that each one of you should never stop ‘delivering our message’. Before going vegan, I was a vegetarian for 15 years, thinking that I was doing nothing wrong to our planet and the animals. Watching a single Facebook video posted by PETA made me see that what I was doing was as wrong as what the meat-eaters were doing, and I became vegan a week after that. So, for the people that really care, information is VERY important, and that’s why we should never quit. I tend to compare veganism to the “Matrix” trilogy… once you are no longer ignorant, you can choose to pretend you still are, or you can change…

  15. Karla Smith
    July 19, 2013

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    I was a vegetarian for a long time before I became vegan, I come from a vegetarian family and never really saw animals as food, I am the only one so far to become vegan.

    For so many years I thought about becoming vegan, I can’t tolerate cows milk anyway so its not like I was getting a lot of dairy but I did love my cheese, to the point of addiction actually. I had a few vegan weeks to see how it went but just couldn’t do it. I knew there were reasons to go vegan and I did care, I really did, its just that the addiction really had a hold of me. Luckily I have 2 vegan friends, one suggested I try the alternatives, I didn’t like them but it did encourage me to cut down the amount of cheese I ate. I changed to goat and sheeps cheese and ate very little cheddar, I know that goat and sheep products are potentially just as bad but they must be less addictive because from there on it became easier to find out the truth. Once I knew the truth that was that but you must understand that I wasn’t under the power of addiction by then.

    There seems to be a general consensus that people want to exploit animals but I don’t see that is what people are thinking. Some don’t even see it as exploitation for a start, some are addicted and some think its hard. Very few of them are going out with the intention of harming anything and because everyone else is doing it they think its ok, most people generally don’t think deeply enough to be able to work out for themselves that its any different.

    I truly believe that to change attitudes you need to go deep within society, being vegan is easy but even I was put off because I thought it was hard. There is also the idea that vegan food is for vegans, that somehow people feel that we and they would be missing out by eating it. We all know that it isn’t. For other people it seems to be habit. We have beef stew on a monday and that’s that. Its so complicated and everyone is different.

    Yes there are people who are happy to exploit animals knowing the facts, there are people who justify their actions by saying that the animals wouldn’t exist if we didn’t exploit them, others think its ok as long as its humane without realising that slaughter is not humane.

    I have known people change instantly when hearing the truth, others don’t, the reason that not everyone changes is that not everyone is the same and what works for one may not work for another but somehow the myths at the heart of society need to be broken before anything can change.

  16. Butterflies
    August 6, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Very nice!!!

    going to go share in our new group to discuss this:
    Veganism IS an ethical stance beyond diet (on facebook)

    Thank-you, good blog!

    • Trisha
      July 10, 2015

      Leave a Reply

      Hi
      I wanted to say
      Wow
      yes
      Veganism is an Ethical stance beyond Diet

      Loved it
      Great explanation without preaching!
      Thanks for that

  17. Diane
    August 8, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I still can’t help but disagree because personally I was put off converting from vegetarian to veganism for many years because I didn’t like the “aggressive” look of the vegans and animal rights activists I came across… they didn’t seem ultra compassionate to me…. but then I met a loving gentle compassionate person who told me that they couldn’t do harm to anyone or any animal and they showed me how the dairy industry and egg industry involved torture and I immediately wanted to become a vegan.. but when someone shortly after shouted at me for wearing an old pair of leather shoes that I had had for years before converting it made me feel that I could never be truly vegan so perhaps it wasn’t worth trying… but then I thought about the torture again and realised I had to keep trying for the sake of love. but anger is not an attractive look on anybody…even vegans. I admire MLK more than Malcolm X though I understand they both wanted the same outcome…. one was driven by love and the other by anger.

  18. Chimi Rinzy Dema
    August 11, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Gary i loved it. I was surfing the net of why people aren’t vegan and came across your article. i’m not a vegan but trying to become one. i want to ask you a question though, What do you think are the odds of a whole country turning vegan?(Buddhist country to be specific) i’m thinking about holding a survey and actually doing research on this topic.

  19. Adam K.
    August 17, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Thank you for this article. I am from small country called Czech Republic where everyone has been taught from birth that meat and dairy are good. I even lost some friends when i went vegan because of this and my family is looking at me like I am some sort of insane lunatic. I had seen some of the slaughterhauses here even in states to know its worth it to be a vegan, but its still nice to read a article about others facing the same problems.

  20. tobias leenaert
    September 30, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I understand the frustration with our rethoric being considered inappropriate (aggressive, accusing…) while we have so many good arguments on our side.
    At the same time, i’m always sad to read articles like these, which to mee seem full of prejudices and negativity against/about non-vegans, and full of the need to be right and to speak our minds/tell the truth rather than see what has actual impact for the animals. It all sounds very righteous and combative, but imho it does not result in animals being helped.
    Let’s just listen to others, communicate with them, see where there is common ground. If they accuse us, that’s their business. Let us just try to be the best communicators we can be, and accept that people need time to change, in a world where animal products are so omniprescent and the world is so invested in them.

  21. Jenna
    October 24, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Thank you for this, it came at a perfect time for me. I am incredibly frustrated because I’m a poor, disabled woman and do not have the means or ability to really “make a difference” in terms of adoption or donations or physically doing things to help the animals, so all I can do is choose to abstain and to be vegan. It is very, very hard to listen to the ridiculous reasons why people eat meat, including “might is right” — basically, whoever’s the strongest (mightiest) is the one making the decisions and is the most powerful (right). As if this is some sort of excuse. My parents drive me batty and I have many friends who constantly say “Mmmm bacon” and things like that, and if I were to stop talking to everyone who did that, I would be completely alone in life. So I look to the internet for strength and support and am happy when I find good things to read. Oh yes, I should also “stop watching those videos” because they make me upset. What about the animals and what they feel? Guaranteed having your throat sliced open or being boiled alive is more uncomfortable than just watching it. Not watching it isn’t going to solve anything. Dummies.

  22. Debby Sunshine
    October 24, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    Great article! Unfortunately, you are describing my life. The people in my life simply choose to live for themselves, and don’t seem to give one hoot about the world they live in, or the animals. I was a trial lawyer for many years, so I feel that I am able to communicate calmly and effectively. Bottom line: nobody cares! So sad.

  23. Susan TenBrink
    December 14, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I eat meat but I also advocate animal rights and have defended their cause many times….personally.

    But I guess you would call me a middle of the road and I think many people are like me. Life is a balance as per the natural cycle meat is a food source.

    The problem today is not the natural cycle but the exploitation of it for pleasure and profit.

    If people would only take what they need, not want, but need and respect the gift they are receiving I don’t think the world would be such a mess today. And that pertains to all aspects of life, fuel, square footage, money, material items, ect.

  24. Colin
    February 1, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    “lixza Says:
    June 29th, 2013 at 1:53 pm
    I don’t want to be the “angry” Vegan but I feel like I’m becoming one and I don’t like it, but I’m losing my hope in mankind and I don’t know how to deal with it anymore. I’m emotionally tired.”

    “Magdalena Says:
    June 30th, 2013 at 12:13 pm
    And when I created a website for like-minded people who love animals and who are vegans, there is always one or more stupid humans who writes there: “Mmm, I love meat and I eat it right now” or who is attacking us by his own opinions. I just don’t know what to do. I’m not about to convince them to be vegans too, but I would like them to know about the animals and their suffering. They don’t care, just as you wrote. Or maybe they are just afraid of changing something. I don’t know… Sometimes it seems hopeless, whatever I say or write.”

    “Natalie Says:
    July 1st, 2013 at 5:50 pm
    Well written. I’m more of a sad vegan than an angry one. I feel sad that the people around me just don’t “get” it.”

    “Debby Sunshine Says:
    October 24th, 2013 at 8:35 pm
    Great article! Unfortunately, you are describing my life. The people in my life simply choose to live for themselves, and don’t seem to give one hoot about the world they live in, or the animals. I was a trial lawyer for many years, so I feel that I am able to communicate calmly and effectively. Bottom line: nobody cares! So sad.”

    If you guys need help with advocating Veganism, please check out this page:

    http://abolitionistvegansociety.org/tavs-initiatives/tavs-advocacy/

    And come join us here:

    https://www.facebook.com/abolitionistapproach

    Me and the people I talk to on a daily basis can make educating people about Veganism a bit easier and more enjoyable for you.

    “K Says:
    July 4th, 2013 at 8:31 am
    I think we must let go of the idea that we’re going to change everyone. I think perhaps the way consciousness does shift, is by observation over time. Friends and family see how much you like it. That you’re going to a cool raw vegan potluck party. That you are healthy. That the food tastes good. People change when it’s fun and joyous… not when they feel bad about themselves. This approach opens our minds to what is possible, so it doesn’t seem so weird over time. But we must also realise, it goes two ways. Who are we to say veganism is “the way”?”

    This is a bad idea. Veganism is the way because Veganism is not a diet. It’s a fundamental question of our moral responsibility to sentient nonhuman beings. The answer to a moral question is never “avoid the question.”

    “Chimi Rinzy Dema Says:
    August 11th, 2013 at 9:37 am
    Gary i loved it. I was surfing the net of why people aren’t vegan and came across your article. i’m not a vegan but trying to become one. i want to ask you a question though, What do you think are the odds of a whole country turning vegan?(Buddhist country to be specific) i’m thinking about holding a survey and actually doing research on this topic.”

    I can’t presume to know about a Buddhist country, but I believe Israel is the closest and will probably be the first.

    “tobias leenaert Says:
    September 30th, 2013 at 4:03 am
    I understand the frustration with our rethoric being considered inappropriate (aggressive, accusing…) while we have so many good arguments on our side.
    At the same time, i’m always sad to read articles like these, which to mee seem full of prejudices and negativity against/about non-vegans, and full of the need to be right and to speak our minds/tell the truth rather than see what has actual impact for the animals. It all sounds very righteous and combative, but imho it does not result in animals being helped.
    Let’s just listen to others, communicate with them, see where there is common ground. If they accuse us, that’s their business. Let us just try to be the best communicators we can be, and accept that people need time to change, in a world where animal products are so omniprescent and the world is so invested in them.”

    While it’s true that we should strive to never attack a person, I believe it’s also true that we should never stop attacking an illogical or erroneous argument. But one ting we should never do is tell non-Vegans that it’s morally acceptable for them to take as long as they want to transition to Veganism. They will decide how long it takes on their own. It’s not our moral responsibility to tell them to do that. Our responsibility is to tell them how easy and wonderful Veganism is, because it’s the truth.

    “Jenna Says:
    October 24th, 2013 at 9:01 am
    Thank you for this, it came at a perfect time for me. I am incredibly frustrated because I’m a poor, disabled woman and do not have the means or ability to really “make a difference” in terms of adoption or donations or physically doing things to help the animals, so all I can do is choose to abstain and to be vegan.”

    What you are doing is without a doubt the most powerful form of animal activism already. If you’re interested in doing more, you may be able to pursue creative, nonviolent Vegan education. PM me on Facebook if you’re interested:

    https://www.facebook.com/squeezeplay

    “Susan TenBrink Says:
    December 14th, 2013 at 7:19 pm
    “Life is a balance as per the natural cycle meat is a food source.” The problem with this argument is that you don’t use that to explain why humans using other humans as a food source is good, right?

    Do you think it’s wrong to inflict unnecessary suffering and death on animals? The thing is, 100% of the suffering and death inflicted by humans on animals is completely unnecessary (99.99% of that is solely for food). If we think it’s wrong, then to continue to inflict that unnecessary suffering and death is immoral. If it’s immoral, the only logical solution is to immediately become a Vegan.

    The word “meat” is a euphemism. “Meat” is actually the dead flesh of a once living animal, that had the ability to feel the same physical sensations and certainly at least some of the same emotions that humans feel. That means that the animal is what we call sentient.

    The basis for Veganism is that we have a moral responsibility not to exploit any sentient being exclusively as a resource and that they are nonhuman persons instead of chattel property.

    “I eat meat but I also advocate animal rights and have defended their cause many times….personally.”

    Then let’s take a minute to think about that logically.

    The average meat-eater is directly responsible for the deaths of around 9000 animals in their lifetime. This means that no matter how you defend their cause, you will always be responsible for more deaths than the number of animals you could possibly save. What sense does it make to save some animals while doing violence to other animals? So by going Vegan, you match your actions to your beliefs.

    “The problem today is not the natural cycle but the exploitation of it for pleasure and profit.”

    The term “natural cycle” is meaningless in the context of humans killing animals. First of all, not only do we have absolutely no need to consume or exploit animals, according to science itself, but it does us incredible amounts of harm, both medically and environmentally. Second, nonhuman predators have no choice, humans do have a choice. We have the ability to decide not to kill. If it’s unnecessary, why do we still choose to do it except for the pleasure of the taste, amusement, profit or convenience?

    “If people would only take what they need, not want, but need and respect the gift they are receiving I don’t think the world would be such a mess today. And that pertains to all aspects of life, fuel, square footage, money, material items, ect.”

    Exactly why killing animals is immoral.

  25. Lynn
    February 8, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    The truth is, sometimes people are not vegan because they prefer to eat things from animals. But other times, they were run off by self-righteous, judgemental vegans. I understand what it is like to see and know of the suffering farm animals go through, and to be frustrated that others can’t also see. I feel that way when I see videos and pictures of aborted babies being torn limb from limb, tiny fingers all bloody, and I feel frustrated that people seem intent on continuing to do it. Living beings that feel pain and cannot speak for themselves, be they animal or human, do not deserve to suffer.

  26. Richelle
    October 4, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    The other day my sister’s reasoning was that veganism is so restrictive and extreme. She said there’s so many good things to eat and she doesn’t want to restrict herself. But she is overweight and has ongoing health problems. I just roll my eyes and feel powerless because she’s so blinded to the truth. She won’t let me tell her anything about animal cruelty.

  27. Julie
    November 28, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    Gary,
    Somehow I am just reading this for the first time and I want to thank you!
    I recently had a hateful, horrible exchange on social media with a nitwit regarding veganism and religion (I know, I know, I should’ve probably kept my mouth shut) and I felt SO badly that I was a terrible ambassador for the animals. It plagued me.
    This article that you wrote means so much to me. I know that I can only do so much. I will speak the truth, answer questions, share insight but I won’t engage in combative arguments with people who aren’t even interested in non human animals, our planet or themselves. Thank you!

  28. Ligeia and Mindy
    December 9, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    Thank you for writing this post. We find it very hard sometimes to not take it personally when a family member who we have just told about the horrors of the treatment of pigs, for example, and even told our horrible experience at a pig slaughter house, only to hear them order ribs at a restaurant that same evening. We have caught ourselves internalizing this and looking at ourselves as victims – perhaps we are thinking of ourselves as the pigs themselves? Either way, we appreciate the reminder that victimizing ourselves does not help others become vegan.

  29. Naoma
    December 10, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    This was perfect for me, at the perfect time!

    My sister has been vegetarian for years; and even being so close to her, I could never relate to her food choices. Not until I stumbled across and was iinspired by a film, and then another…and so many good people (like yourself) spreading the word and educating people on veganism.

    I’ve been vegan for 1-1/2 years now, and I’m frustrated that so many are still so ignorant…but I have to remember that I lived so ignorantly for so long…and I live with the guilt of my lifetime of choices up until a year and a half ago.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for understanding and providing support for us frustrated vegans!

  30. Randy
    April 16, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    I know this isn’t going to be popular, but I don’t agree with your analysis. It’s self-defeating and purpose-defeating. I think a lot more people care about animal welfare than you give them credit. And it really is often a matter of tone.

    People shut you out when you condemn them without reservation, and when you do not try to understand why they do what they do. Remember that WE HUMANS are ANIMALS, and if your mission is compassion toward animals, then have compassion and understanding for HUMANS as well. Find out WHY people do what they do, and don’t rush to the conclusion that they are morally inferior.

    Find what we all have in common, and don’t dwell on the differences. Discuss eating meat with a non-vegan without anger. Ask questions without loaded language. Try to learn from them. Showing an interest in someone will help them feel comfortable showing an interest in you. Learning about someone’s beliefs might encourage them to learn about yours. Judging someone and making that judgment known, on the other hand, will do just the opposite.

    We ALL have shortcomings. We ALL have weaknesses. We ALL have ignorance.

  31. Joachim Kübler
    June 11, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    Gary,
    thanks so much for this article.
    Maybe we have to remind that veganism isn’t a religion with ten commandments or something like that. In last consequence people decide themselves to become vegan – and nobody else.

    Joachim

  32. vegangsterARNP
    June 27, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    exactly. people have control over their behaviors. not us. it’s all excuses and justifications. nothing more. it is always that if they argue back and blame a vegan’s attitude. they have the internet at their fingertips. what they don’t have is the desire and a hell of a lot of guilt.

  33. Sasha
    September 14, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    Beautifully written, I love it. And you’re spot on 🙂

  34. Lyra
    September 15, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    I totally agree with you here: “What I advocate is speaking the truth about how nonhumans are being exploited and brutalized, in a forthright, sincere, truthful, factual manner. We should be proud, confident and powerful in our delivery of the message.” That is exactly what I believe too. Having said that, everyone will agree that depending on HOW we convey a message, we might be more or less successful in achieving the expected results. So I do see the point in studying all we can on psychology of behaviour changing, on marketing techniques and try to use those tools to be as good advocates for the animals as we can. I would not call that “bending” ourselves. I prefer to call that a passionate and dedicated way to do our activism, where we try to make sure to reach as many people as possible.

  35. Roberto
    April 24, 2016

    Leave a Reply

    “They know – and don’t really care. They aren’t waiting for the perfect tone or more love-and-light from animal rights activists, they just don’t care.”

    Shame that no one in 3 years called the author out for making a generalization about folks who think differently, but maybe that’s not the point of this exercise. But aren’t generalizations considered…. wrong?

    So, you are incorrect. Many of us have loved ones who are hard core vegans. And on top of that, atleast in my case, he, is easily the smartest person I know. I, along with most of my family, have thought long and hard on the matter. The plain truth is not that we are uncaring, thoughtless or ignorant. It is as simple as we hear you, but we disagree.

    We generally tolerate his boorish behavior BECAUSE we understand the specifics of his arguments and his sincerity. He is as evangelical because in his heart, he believes he is not only stopping animal suffering, but also human suffering. I’m polite to born again Christians for the same reason.

    But no matter how right he may convince himself he is, I am a rational, thinking person who can form his own opinions, and I am as confident in my conclusions as he is with his. Naturally, I won’t lay them out in a CJ, but I just wish he’d understand that and get over it, because, for chrissake, I want to keep having a brother.

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