Another post today about vegans.
I have so much to say and I don't even know where to begin!
A fanatical vegan group called 269 staged a demonstration in Tel Aviv, Israel, vandalizing fountains, dying the water red, and leaving deceased/amputated animal heads around for people to see. This was an attempt to "show" the people of Israel (and the world) the "truth" about eating meat.
I'm not going to link it because I don't want to give them any more of a boost than this post might anyway.
Here's the thing: this type of behavior does NOTHING to help them achieve the goal of people not killing and eating animals! Nothing.
In fact, instead of getting people to stop and think about what it means to eat meat, which is what they are trying to accomplish, they make everyday people think they are crazy in the head and lack good judgement.
Parts of the vegan movement are becoming fanatical with fringe groups performing acts that not only dilute the message, but in fact turn people off from being vegan. It is like fanatical religious groups that think killing other people is a good way to get people to convert to their beliefs.
The way to get the message across is not by being fanatical.
Those that make the most impact are those that walk their talk, not that vandalize and act out. A holier than thou approach will not help the cause. They are telling the people they want to change that they are murderers. I'm not really sure that telling me I'm a murderer is going to get me to join the group and take up those beliefs, especially if I think I might be forced to act out in this way or face being labeled a "bad vegan" who doesn't care enough for the animals.
If one choose not to eat animal products or wear animal products or purchase animal products: GREAT! Good for you! But don't try to shame and harass me for not making the same choices as you do. The more they try to use negative tactics the harder most people will dig in their heels. It is counter intuitive to the overall goal.
The movement would be better served by working with people, kindly, to educate them. You are working against thousands of years of human evolution and belief systems (just like the religious groups). The majority of the populations across the planet, for THOUSANDS of years, have consumed animals of one type or another.
The rebuttal might be that we are more enlightened now, or with big-agribusiness we don't need to eat animals for food. Perhaps this is true, but it doesn't change the fact that PEOPLE don't like change. PEOPLE don't like being shamed and told how horrible they are.
Basic psychology. If you want people do to something you praise them, give them positive reinforcement, make them feel good about their choices and decisions. You don't call them names and berate them for having a different thought process than you do.
Sure you try to educate them about why you believe the way you do, you try to show them, in kind ways, how their choice affects others, but bashing them over the head isn't the best way to get them to see your point of view.
I mean, come on, I have strong views about the food industry. I post quite a bit about being anti-Monsanto, anti-GMO and have a pretty big issue with factory farms, but you don't see me shaming people about what they choose to eat. I try to *educate* them, give them information they can then process and perhaps use to make alternate decisions.
Vegans, if you want to make a change in this world, fanaticism isn't the way to go. Work with the governments, the farms, the farmers, and the people to make changes. Work with organizations and health care providers and researchers to show the benefits of a plant based diet and educate the populace.
Really and truly, very few people are going to suddenly stop eating meat because they see a dead animal head in a bloody fountain. Even if they do stop, it is likely to be short lived.
Here's a story before I go: when I was about 10 or 12 years old I declared I was never eating meat again. Why? Well, my brother was involved in 4-H, raising sheep. His sheep were named ML 1, ML 2, and so forth. What does the ML stand for? Market Lamb.
I didn't really grasp what that meant until one day, the last day of the fair, when after a week of showing the animals, there is an auction. At the auction, bidders bid on the lamb, pennies per pound to start and moving up from there. The "best" lambs (the most well formed for their meat) get the highest prices. The kid that raised the lamb gets the money, so a 65 pound lamb that sells for 80 cents nets the kid about $55. (These are just numbers, I can't remember actual weights or prices).
Immediately after the bidding is done for a particular sheep it is taken out of the ring and loaded up a chute into a waiting truck. The truck is kind of hidden behind a big door. I had been to the fair many times, had been through many auctions, but never really grasped what was happening after the sheep was loaded into the chute.
The lambs were taken away and slaughtered, and then the meat was given to the person that "bought" the lamb in the auction. At the age of 10 or 12 I suddenly realized that the fuzzy creature we had been caring for, walking, combing, cleaning and prettifying for showing was going off to be killed. I was appalled! It wasn't fair! I cried and cried.
I never stopped eating meat.
I do believe that factory farming is an appalling, horrific practice, bad for the animals and the people that eat those animals. I have already said I believe a (more) plant based diet is better for most people and animals. I don't disagree that being vegan, choosing to not eat animal products, is a good decision for many people.
What I have a problem with is the way in which this fringe group of militant vegans goes about trying to get other people to change their minds. I am under no disillusion about what goes on with animals that end up on people's plates. I understand they live horrible lives.
I have made choices because of that about the types of meat I eat, and where I get it from (local!). I am not ready or willing to stop eating meat at this point in my life. I don't have to justify why. But I can tell you that no amount of gory pictures or acts of vandalism are going to get me any closer to decreasing the amount of meat I consume, or eliminating animal products completely from my diet. If and when I do that, it will be based on my own schedule, life, beliefs and needs.
Interesting: isn't that how most of you became vegans? Small realizations, small steps away from animal products, a process...
I think very few people just up and decide one day to stop eating/buying/using any and all animal products "cold turkey" and from that day forward are vegan. Most stories I hear and people I talk to about their food choices share the *process* of lowering their meat intake, eliminating certain types of meats or animal products, going back and forth a bit, and eventually, over time, YEARS in some cases, they have transitioned to a way of life that does not include animal products.
You don't want to eat meat. Wonderful! Excellent! I applaud you.
However, I resist completely your efforts to shame me, and the world, into not eating meat by attacking me, "lesser" vegans and omnivores, and by committing acts of fanaticism.