The Thinking Vegan Pop Quiz: How do you deal with family?

By on July 20, 2011

Like this? Share this!

One of the most difficult things for vegans and activists is to experience the continuing exploitation of nonhuman animals by our family members and those closest to us. How do you deal with this? How do you find peace, if at all?

 

Laura Robeson

I don’t, and I’m envious of those that do/can.

 

Kezia Jauron

I make a point of hosting all family gatherings and holidays, and that includes providing all the food. My family understands that if they want to spend a holiday with me, it will be at my house and according to my values. They happily eat what I cook and only rarely do I experience any disrespect in my own home. It happens, of course, but it’s not too often. It may not be the same as “finding peace” with their use of animals, but at least I generally feel satisfied that I’m doing what I can to minimize my exposure to their unethical and regressive choices.

 

Holly Goheavy

As much as my family struggles with me- I struggle with them. I do not participate in family gatherings, although I have offered numerous times to host (or at least prepare the food). They can’t let go of their dietary ways, and I refuse to be joyous around the carcass of a tortured animal. I only have the power to change myself, and my attitude. I am done trying to win them over. I don’t want to be the angry activist- yet I find the most frustration with those closest to me. I need to maintain serenity and balance in my life, so I can only lead by example. This in itself offers some peace.

 

Caitlin Feener

Great quiz question. I suffer from this every single day. Looking forward to reading people’s responses.

 

Adele McCarville

I find it very difficult too, thanks for posting this!

 

Angela McArdle

I stay hopeful that the ones I am close to will eventually have a change of heart. I hope that my informed and compassionate choices will continue to be a good example for them

 

Curran Beard

I am completely estranged. They are well-educated and yet eat the absolute worst diets ~ hamburgers, hot dogs, bologna, and asst. mystery meats ~ heart disease, cancer, diabetes … and they don’t want to hear it or read the recommended books. A brick wall

 

Elmarie Ward

Very difficult. Have to cook it as well. Breaks my heart for so many reasons. Drove behind a truck full of sheep on it’s way to an abattoir today I started crying. Feel so powerless all I could do was pray for them.

 

Patricia Becker-Spellman

Being peace loving by nature, I will raise awareness then leave it up to the individual to decide. People get so defensive about their food choices! I have to cook non-plants for my family as well, and though I don’t preach about my cruelty free choices, I calmly reiterate them while family and friends choose to eat animals and their products. I also pledge to the soul of the animal I am preparing (which is less and less because it literally makes me sick) to make a difference each and every day. I predict that my kitchen will be cruelty free far sooner than any one here thinks. ♥

 

Melissa Fowler

I watch those in my life who still partake in animal products and I know that they are impacted by my choices. They eat less meat, drink less milk and question their food more. I keep in mind that my path is just that, mine, and that sometimes people need to come to terms with new things rather slowly.

 

Caitlin Feener

One of the ways I deal with this is to constantly tell myself, “You used to be just like them at one point.” I definitely have not found peace yet. While being around people cooking meat is hard enough, there’s even more pain in witnessing the leftovers go down the drain of the sink—talk about a metaphor for the lives we take for granted. However I know that my influence provokes change, even if it’s the smallest thing, and I hope that will continue to grow over the years.

 

Lila Bale

This is a great question! I have grown up in a vego family but my partner ate meat right up to couple of months ago. I think 8years of me giving him info on a daily basis paid off! And i do believe that me being healthy shows others that this is the way to go

 

Lucille Falcone

When the topic comes up – I tell them of what it took for me to go vegan – the struggle with changing my diet. I start with non-vegan topics – like the harm colas do the body and processed food additives. I keep with “try a little at a time” It’s better than nothing. Even one chicken less a week on 100 tables means something…

 

Tracy Sampson-Flitcraft

I lead by example, in a very non-militant way. I educate through words, and they see my compassionate and dedication towards animals. I always told myself, that the more I educate, they more they will understand. 2 days ago my dear husband informed me that he was interested in beginning to “eat like me”. My heart stopped, and it was a moment that I really can’t explain. He’s getting it and feeling it. Through me and my actions, and my words – BUT FOR HIS OWN REASONS, which is so very important, it has to be because the person feels strongly about it, or they will just go back to the killing of innocent beings. I judge no one for their actions and love people and family however, I certainly do strive to educate and inflict my love for living creatures on people. Besides I ate animals for most of my life without giving it a second thought. Not because I didn’t care, but because my eyes were not opened to exactly what I was contributing too. I literally, had a life changing moment when I went Vegan. I want someone else to experience that too, and I hope it continues throughout my family because of my journey. So, short answer slow, persistent education.

 

Elisa Johnson

A big outlet for me is Facebook- where i can post everything vegan & pro-animal- where I at least feel like I am doing something active on a daily basis- where i can at least get everything out that i want to say, even if nobody listens. I get it off my chest as respectfully as i can. I also cope by enjoying the company of other vegans online and in real life (my husband & sister & real life vegan friends). Misery loves company! And I volunteer at a goat rescue, further therapy because i can love on the animals and recharge my batteries.

 

Samantha Ann Mitchell

Unfortunately I am the only vegan among my family and friends; I have shared with them my reasons for going vegan and encouraged them to watch “Earthlings” or similar documentaries. Some of them actually agree with me but don’t act on it, and others ridicule (sadly those are the ones who have watched films showing the atrocities of the slaughterhouse but choose to ignore it), but I feel better that I did hopefully plant a seed of questioning. In the meantime, I focus on, when I eat with them or such, eating delicious and exciting foods to show them that I’m not limited to just “sticks and bark” although I do try to avoid being with them during meal times because seeing dead animals being ruthlessly consumed bothers me. But I prevent discouragement by constantly reading vegan and animal rights books and websites, and I have made friends with a few fellow vegans through Facebook as well.

 

Diane Gandee Sorbi

I choose to think of everyone as pre-vegan, rather than non-vegan. I try to remember the time when I wasn’t vegan, and thought I never would be. I have to believe there is hope.

 

Cris Kelly

Being totally honest, I believe vegans are more enlightened than non-vegans. And with this, I am able to accept non-vegans for where they are in their life/growth. I am always open and willing to discuss and assist folks who want to transition. Those who don’t, I feel quite sad for them and the animals

 

Donald Wisch

I concur with Diane and Cris. I was also once there and so my family is now. Without saying anything, our actions rub off on them little by little… wearing away the blinders they have on which they may not even know they are wearing. Actions speak so much louder than words. Great post Gary… thank you for this and so much more.

 

B.R.

I’ve struggled with it, and i probably still do. however, I’ve found it to be a waste of time to dwell on it and let it get me down, which is something I participate in unknowingly; I now actively try not to go there. it detracts from the focus and the vision of the future, which I believe is inevitably going to be a kinder, compassionate one. the more time and energy I invest in that vision, the better. when I’m at my best, the vision keeps me going, and I’m able to veer past the rest.

Sometimes it seems such a strong current to swim against (that we’re still a marginal part of the total population) but it’s remarkable to me that I’m vegan. My veganism alone saves approximately a hundred lives a year. so whenever someone “tells” me that it’s impossible and it’ll never happen, I think of myself and how I’m doing it.

When it comes to my loved ones who are not yet embracing of the compassionate life: I truly believe that they’ll get there, but in the meantime, be patient with them. It’s hard when it’s in your face, or antagonistic (some are, and I find those individuals easier to interact with than the blasé ones who sort of float through everything), but remaining positive and loving and healthy makes an impression. And even if you don’t get to see them make the compassionate change (through veganism), it’s still better to remain positive through it, both for yourself and for the world. Also, non-vegans often display many different varieties of compassion and kindness. Though it might not be consistent in all respects, it’s still wonderful that the spark is there. If you catch a glimpse of that spark, stick to them like glue. Extend patience and love and encouragement. Once they feel safe and supported, they’ll ask questions. And it all starts there.

 

Mark Woodworth

I have no peace. My family and friends know damned well that they are wrong, and that they can’t prove otherwise. They’ve learned to avoid the battle, and I’ve learned to avoid the holidays along with them.

 

Barbara Moran-Blanco

Battling constantly with my husband…wish I had the answer. 🙁

 

Leila Shakti Rai

I cannot tolerate the visual of any animal in captivity…human or otherwise. Why are we called over-sensitive? Why aren’t others called desensitized or numb?

Like this? Share this!

Comments

  1. Kait Leonard
    July 20, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Hi Gary, What a great topic. Like so many others who have responded to this, I don’t deal with this issue well at all. My best friend will not budge an inch and doesn’t care at all about animals. It has hurt our relationship, though I try to accept him for who he is… I’m not even sure what that means. It hurts. I find that more and more I simply spend less and less time with people who exploit animals, and that means family and friends as well as everyone else. The pain is just too much for me. While I wish we could all find positive ways to deal with these people, it is comforting to see that I’m not alone in my response. I thought it was just me having such trouble handling this issue. Thank you!

  2. Kait Leonard
    July 20, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Hi Gary, What a great topic. Like so many others who have responded to this, I don’t deal with this issue well at all. My best friend will not budge an inch and doesn’t care at all about animals. It has hurt our relationship, though I try to accept him for who he is… I’m not even sure what that means. It hurts. I find that more and more I simply spend less and less time with people who exploit animals, and that means family and friends as well as everyone else. The pain is just too much for me. While I wish we could all find positive ways to deal with these people, it is comforting to see that I’m not alone in my response. I thought it was just me having such trouble handling this issue. Thank you!

  3. veganrax
    July 20, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    This issue drives me to distraction. I often feel ‘if i can’t change those closest to me what can i do’. I’m a vegan, and anyone who comes into my home only gets a vegetarian diet (including my partner and children). I hope that in time they’ll choose veganism but i think its easier for them to write it off if we push. Example is the only way. I guess I don’t have much faith in humans – certainly not this generation but I do have hopes for the next generation. Education of the young is the way to ultimately sway society I HOPE!!!

  4. Lauren
    July 20, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I don’t. My family couldn’t care less. I stopped eating meat when I was 8 and never not once where any special arrangements made for me. If dinner was steak, I didn’t get dinner that night.

  5. Lauren
    July 20, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I don’t. My family couldn’t care less. I stopped eating meat when I was 8 and never not once where any special arrangements made for me. If dinner was steak, I didn’t get dinner that night.

  6. Erin Elizabeth
    July 20, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Lucille hit the nail on the head. I realized long ago (especially when I preached veganism and was so angry at those who weren’t!) that my family is not going vegan. My parents (officially of this weekend) are now both in their 70’s. So instead of wasting my time telling them why they should be vegan I have encouraged them to eat less meat. As Lucille said “Even one chicken less a week on 100 tables means something…” end of quote.

    A well known vegan said to me that we can waste time talking til’ we’re blue in the face and encourage 1 or 2% of people to go vegan only saving one percent of the animals or we can encourage people to eat less meat (MUCH more likely!) and if you get 100 people to eat half the meat you save 50% instead of 1%

    I know my view is not going to be popular here.

    But for 20 years I went ON AND ON AND ON about veganism and maybe changed 1% or 2% tops (even less when it came to family!)

    NOW I am fortunate to have a platform and be in the raw vegan world/community with my job/videos/conferences (and family now even listens!) and encourage them to do meatless days, more vegan meals, and cut it down by 50%. You might think I gave up the fight or whatever but guess what? I save more animals than talking blue in the face for 20 long years while animals died and now actually make a DIFFERENCE 🙂

    Erin

  7. Erin Elizabeth
    July 20, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Lucille hit the nail on the head. I realized long ago (especially when I preached veganism and was so angry at those who weren’t!) that my family is not going vegan. My parents (officially of this weekend) are now both in their 70’s. So instead of wasting my time telling them why they should be vegan I have encouraged them to eat less meat. As Lucille said “Even one chicken less a week on 100 tables means something…” end of quote.

    A well known vegan said to me that we can waste time talking til’ we’re blue in the face and encourage 1 or 2% of people to go vegan only saving one percent of the animals or we can encourage people to eat less meat (MUCH more likely!) and if you get 100 people to eat half the meat you save 50% instead of 1%

    I know my view is not going to be popular here.

    But for 20 years I went ON AND ON AND ON about veganism and maybe changed 1% or 2% tops (even less when it came to family!)

    NOW I am fortunate to have a platform and be in the raw vegan world/community with my job/videos/conferences (and family now even listens!) and encourage them to do meatless days, more vegan meals, and cut it down by 50%. You might think I gave up the fight or whatever but guess what? I save more animals than talking blue in the face for 20 long years while animals died and now actually make a DIFFERENCE 🙂

    Erin

  8. Grace Veira
    July 21, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Its hard to find peace and I try not to let my anger get in the way of how strongly I feel about what can only logically be called an injustice. I feel I have a moral obligation to my animal brothers and sisters to be their voice, advocate and protector.
    I don’t start the discussion with anyone, but if the question is asked or a statement is made I freely voice my opinion as is my right to do so. I have lost some friends and have offended some but always keep in with the facts and don’t make it a personal attack on the individual.
    I host dinners and family functions where I only provide the most delicious vegan food. I decline invitations for any gathering where animals are on the menu. For me my values take precedent over ‘fitting in’ or being popular (be it friends or family).
    I do post and blog and spread as much information as possible. I do ‘call’ those out when they make silly claims about spirituality or being a so called animal lover and ask that they explain how those statements can be true if they can so easily dismiss and make a mockery of the suffering of so many innocents.
    My goal in life is for a more peaceful world and I will dedicate myself to this until the day that I die.

  9. Bethany
    July 21, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I really enjoyed reading all of these responses. Thanks.

  10. Bethany
    July 21, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I really enjoyed reading all of these responses. Thanks.

  11. Noni
    August 17, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I know this is an older post but I came across it while trying to figure out how to deal with this issue since I recently became vegan. Instead of telling my family to buy less meat and eggs, I told them to at least buy it from local sources that she can verify where the animals live and how they were raised and slaughtered. Telling people who are going to continue to eat meat how to avoid factory farmed animals and eggs while still getting what they want seems to be the best I can do for now. I do live in an area where obtaining local organic food is easier than some places.

  12. Noni
    August 17, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I know this is an older post but I came across it while trying to figure out how to deal with this issue since I recently became vegan. Instead of telling my family to buy less meat and eggs, I told them to at least buy it from local sources that she can verify where the animals live and how they were raised and slaughtered. Telling people who are going to continue to eat meat how to avoid factory farmed animals and eggs while still getting what they want seems to be the best I can do for now. I do live in an area where obtaining local organic food is easier than some places.

  13. Noni
    August 17, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Okay, so I just went to the Humane myth link and now I will stop telling them do that I guess! (see above)

  14. Noni
    August 17, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Okay, so I just went to the Humane myth link and now I will stop telling them do that I guess! (see above)

Leave a Reply


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*