The Flaming Vegan

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Vegucating The World
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Vegucating The World

I like that word "vegucation": I believe it is the name of a fairly recent film, where some omnivores tried out a vegetarian diet for a time. I haven't seen it, but if anyone has, do let me know what you thought of it! We need to spread the word about veganism, therefore we need to "vegucate" people. How best to do that though? That is the question.

Like so many others, I have adopted veganism because I see it as the most ethical way to live my life: I see it as following a moral imperative, based on compassion and damage limitation. Naturally I wish the whole world would go vegan, although I am realistic enough to know it is never likely to happen in my lifetime, if it happens at all. I don't mean to sound defeatist though, as the movement is definitely growing: this website is proof of that! There is still so far to go though. It's hard not to get upset, angry and frustrated at human callousness and ruthlessness, the way animals are routinely treated for food, clothing, etc, is sickening, and the most worrying aspect is that for most of the world it is considered the acceptable norm. We vegans/vegetarians/animal rights activists are the minority, and the "weird" ones, the "extremists"! But why should that be? Because we object to the suffering and killing of billions of other living creatures around the world, because we feel their pain? I often wonder what kind of a world this is, how sick and messed-up it must be, that so many people can be completely heartlessly unconcerned with their fellow creatures. Never mind other species, a lot of humans are not even concerned with their own species! So it's no wonder that they ruthlessly oppress those who have no voices and are in no position to defend themselves.

But what can we actually do about it? As I say, I sometimes despair, but then I see so much evidence of how veganism and animal rights is a growing worldwide trend, and that gives me hope. I think maybe the best way to "vegucate" carnivores is to lead by example; just live your life the way you think fit, be the sort of person people can respect,  don't try to actively convert family and friends or impose your views on them, as this causes animosity. People don't like being told what to do, having the views of others forced on them, or made to feel guilty. So the best approach is a subtle, subversive one. I have noticed that one very effective way to influence people seems to be through their stomachs and palates: give them tasty vegan food, and let them make their own minds up. Friends of mine have said the same thing. It seems to be that once people realise they are not missing out on delicious food by going vegan, they are much more willing to convert.

Obviously activism is very important too; vegan outreach, demonstrations, protests, petitions, and campaigning to change the law. I do all of those as well, as much as I can, but I try not to get upset and angry about the way a lot of people respond: often you get  either complete indifference or outright hostility. It is important to try not to let that get you down though, to try to remain calm, positive and patient, because all the time we are planting the seeds of change, even though it may take a long time for them to actually germinate and bear fruit. (I thought it would be appropriate to end on a nice vegan metaphor there!)

Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)

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  1. Carolyn
    Vote #2 that play on words "vegucating."
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  2. pftsusan
    Vote #3. I think that it is better to preach because in preaching, you show the way rather than tell someone else what to do. This is a very good read, too.
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  3. Veganara
    Thank you both for the votes and comments. You think preaching is the way to go Susan? you mean pointing out the reasons why you support this cause, and letting someone make their own mind up? I agree with you about that.
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  4. Virtually Homemade
    Virtually Homemade
    Great post - voted:)
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    1. Tatterhood
      It is really difficult for me NOT to get upset about it when people listen politely, and then say things like, "Well, I am entitled to my opinion, and you are entitled to yours." Where's the entitlement? And it's not an opinion. It's based on factual evidence. I'm finding it harder and harder to tolerate folks who say that their choice to eat meat, dairy or eggs should be honored in some way?! Really?! There's nothing honorable about it at all. Voted!
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      1. Veganara
        Thanks Tatterhood, and everyone. How can we not get upset when people say "It's your choice to be vegan, and my choice to eat animals." It's just as if they were saying "It's your choice not to abuse children, but it's OK for me to do it if I want to!" Total disconnect.
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