Saturday, March 21, 2009

Drawing the line when promoting veganism

I came across this article on going vegan instead of just vegetarian.
In the article, the author describes how animal rights have changed from being animal-centered to human-centered. I thought this is pretty true, some animal rights groups are now supporting the meat industries on to employ more "humane" way of slaughter, scientists to come up with humane lab-grown meat, less cruel way of raising animals by free range etc. These are means of convenience for people, not animals actually.

Sometimes I feel this "softer", grey, approach is more realistic because the whole world would not go vegan, so we should be practical and support better welfare for animals. "But animal rights is not animal welfare" say those with the idealist mindset. Forget about "humane killing" and "less cruelty", you are either white or black, vegan or animal-cruelty supporter.

When we promote veganism where do we draw the line? Which approach do we use?

It is most difficult to keep friends and at the same time use the black and white approach. Some friends may eventually turn vegan with this approach, yes. But a large majority will be turned off (though you may gain applause from vegans), so we may end up backfiring our efforts. To use the softer approach however, may result in the person becoming someone who is contented with his or her lifestyle as an "I don't eat meat but only fish" person, or a vegetarian who is close-eared to any suggestions on moving onto a vegan lifestyle.

My suggestion on the solution is, we have to stick firmly to the black and white principle - because the ultimate goal is that animals will not be exploited. But at the start we can use the soft approach, if the person is receptive we can move on slowly to the black and white approach. At times, we have to know when to inject some hard approach while using the soft, and vice versa. This is though, not an easy thing to accomplish and easier said than done. Always keep in mind to go along with the situation and know when to pull and release the string - like flying a kite.

1 comment:

Alicia (Vegan Guinea Pig) said...

Interesting perspective. I think it really goes on a person to person basis. Someone's motivation, ethics and culture going into it play a huge role. For me the health aspect of veganism, and the fact that consuming dairy products is so unnatural was what persuaded me to make the change from vegetarian to vegan. Within 2 or 3 months I gathered tons of literature, starting reading several books, forums, blogs, etc. and became a huge advocate for the animal rights and environmental reasons for becoming vegan as well. I think what is most important is that a person finds the right reason for them to go vegan and stay vegan. For me the animal rights, environmental and health reasons are all what will keep me vegan as all 3 of those things are paramountly important to me. But the health argument is what made me go vegan. You just never know which argument is going to work for someone, so I recommend presenting veganism from all sides. Something, hopefully, is bound to stick.

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