Ask The Readers – Do You Feel Like a Preachy Vegan?

I remember when I first became vegan, one of my main concerns was becoming a “preachy vegan”.

You know.

The ones that get disgusted at the sight of their peers eating animal products. The ones who are sharing PETA footage on their Facebook feed everyday. The ones who write Earthlings.com on every public building in sight.

BUT.

As I discover more information about animal liberation, I’m starting to understand why people feel the need to express themselves this way. Truly understanding veganism, makes you angry at the human race in general.

As Gary Yourofsky says in this interview;

Gary Yourofsky

In fact we do nothing but harm the natural resources that we have. We have progressed and developed purely for our own benefit.

So yes, whilst it’s true that we’re not doing much to help the environment, the risk for any vegan is feeling like they are a better person than a person who is not. And this type of energy leads to tension between vegans and non-vegans, and quite frankly, leads to more resistance and little results.

So on one side of the spectrum, you have advocates like Gary, who are calling humans out every day. He’s effective in questioning human values and comparing veganism to the holocaust, slavery and discrimination. He uses graphic language like, raping, animal flesh, puss, slitting throats, chickens ass. He’s not interested in positioning the health or environment benefits of veganism. He wants you to feel shit about yourself, to the point where you make some drastic changes.

Then you have people like Kirs Carr, who inspire people through the health benefits of plant-based living. She uses food, health and lifestyle as a vehicle to get people to make positive change. But whilst her advocacy is not as in-your-face as Gary’s, don’t be fooled that she isn’t trying to use her media platform to get people to become vegans. As she eloquently says in her interview with Jonathan Fields, when he asked her about legacy;

Kris Carr

Noticed how she said saving animals first?

From what I’ve seen, the latter is a more effective way to get people to live vegan lifestyles. But that’s just my opinion.

So that’s what I want to get your feedback on.

As a vegan, do you have internal battles about how you want to express yourself to others? Are you the more conservative type or do you have no problem calling people out?

And for those who are not vegan, what kind of communication are you likely to be more receptive to?

I’m interested to see where you stand on how to deliver this message. Post your response in the comments below so we can get a conversation going.

Image source: Flickr

16 comments… add one
  • Patrizia 05/06/2015 Reply

    I do both things: call people out (in a gentle, never pushing way) and also inspire by example.

  • Thaisa 05/06/2015 Reply

    I’m not a vegan yet, I’m consuming less and less animal based products. But (call me egoistic, annoying, etc) I do this solely to myself. So I can have a better health. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals (specially dogs) more than people, but they’re not the top concern on my mind. I’m well aware of all bad stuff animal product market brings too. As for preaching, I’m too introspect for such and I don’t think I can make up one’s mind. People should realize things for themselves, not be shocked or forced to do something.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic Thaisa – we appreciate your honesty.

  • Jackson 06/06/2015 Reply

    I have no problem calling out society, but when it comes to calling out individuals, especially those close to me, I find it very difficult.

    Unless someone I know well directly engages me in a confrontation I won’t call them out, but I’ll call out animal exploitation all day and just hope that people will make the connection. I was taught by a wise Jedi vegan not to alienate people. I might try something else in the future.

    • Love your approach Jackson! Never thought about it that way in terms of society vs individuals. Thanks for sharing!

  • Rosanna 09/06/2015 Reply

    What an interesting post.. what is flabbergasting to me is that people can still eat meat once they become aware of the suffering and mistreatment that farm animals have to go thru for humans. To top it off, how this affects our health and environment. I had this experience in my own home, when my own family (brothers and sisters in law) after watching Cowspiracy, have not reduced or eliminated animal products from their diets. I wished I had this kind of information back when I was in my 20s .. My question is, why don’t they trying eating cats or dogs? If they can’t then why eat cows, pigs, turkey, chickens? I used to eat animal products and can say I was somehow addicted to cheese and ham.. but once I explored the world behind animal farming, I couldn’t do it anymore.. It was a switch that went off that will never turn on again! I do preach as much as I can to try to open other people’s eyes.. that may happen today or a year from now, but the information needs to be available otherwise we become complacent because we don’t want to bother…

    • I 100% agree with you Rosanna. This information needs to be readily available to the public, more so than what we’re bombarded with in the media. I suppose the question is how we deliver this information? Personally, I’ve not been receptive to the in-your-face approach of any advocacy or cause as I’m naturally pretty stubborn (I think most people can relate). But when I come across some interesting information upon my own accord, that’s when I’m likely to make change. It’s definitely an interesting conversation. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  • I love this article, and really needed this read. I used to practically wear “I’m a vegan” on my forehead years ago, but now, I don’t even think people around me now know that I’m a vegan, they just think I’m “super-healthy”. I’m vegan, but do slip up at times–really just to “fit in” and make others feel comfortable (try being in a foreign country and turning down their food, yikes!)… But you do almost get disgusted with people and the ignorance regarding this lifestyle, that obeys all laws of nature. We are the weird ones? Really?

    • Hello, thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed the article! It’s an interesting topic – whether to wear veganism loud and proud, representing defenceless animals. Or to take the more subtle approach, choosing to inspire others through health. It sounds like you’ve experienced both paths and have found a balance. And yes, I also get frustrated at the ignorance of others. Having said that, I was once that ignorant and I understand that it takes a huge mental shift to make positive change. So all you can do is encourage people to start that conversation with themselves. Only then will they begin questioning what is “normal”.

  • Colleen 10/02/2016 Reply

    Respect. Respecting each other’s choices. I have had this argument many times with other strong activist vegans who are often the pushy ones that people stereotype us into. We who are already vegan, for whatever reason be it health, ethical or a combination of both have a much higher level of consciousness and understanding of the reasons for Our choice to be vegan. We have been on a different journey, and we will not win by pushing our experiences on our journey onto others. It’s like when you tell a teen they can’t do something…….they rebel. Just be at peace with your own decision and lightly but gently every now and then explain that to those around you!

    • Well said Colleen! Couldn’t of said it better myself. People often want to know why you’re vegan, and in that situation, it’s a great opportunity to share your reasons. Other than that, like you said, we just need to respect each other’s choices. Thank you for sharing.

  • Anna 24/05/2016 Reply

    I will never make anyone wrong for their food choices and have had several people tell me how much more effective that has been in allowing them to having their minds open. But I do use the term Vegan about myself if it comes up naturally in conversation (as in for example: we have to work through lunch and are ordering in, what would you like?) because I feel people need to know there are Vegans all around them, especially people who maybe don’t look like the old-fashioned stereotype. I think it’s extremely important to normalize Veganism. The fascinating thing is of course that although I will just mention “Vegan” in passing, I can’t tell you how many people engage me in conversation about it, to the point that I have to change the subject at times because I don’t want to seem like someone who crams it down peoples throat (and since I’m the one with the uncomfortable information, the backlash will go against me, not the person who asked). One of the most effective things I have ever done though was to make a screensaver on my laptop of Esther the Wonder Pig sleeping in a blanket on the couch. Since we always have our laptops with us at work people will see Esther and without fail start a conversation about pigs. And I don’t have to say a word to get it started! Of course you get the bad bacon “jokes” at times, but I ignore them and I know multiple people who no longer eat pork or bacon just because of my screen saver. Go Esther!!

    • Hi Anna, thank you for taking the time to share some of your experiences. I think it’s great that you let people know that you’re vegan. We used to shy away from it because we wanted to avoid confrontation – but now, like yourself we see is as an opportunity.

      Also nice subtle idea about the screensaver.

  • Rachel 10/08/2017 Reply

    In AA we talk about “attraction rather than promotion” and I think that’s very fitting to this conversation as well. I just recently switched to a vegan diet and still feel uncomfortable saying that word around acquaintances I don’t know that well. I’m afraid of being judged, or afraid of seeming pushy even just by mentioning it. But I can say that these past few weeks I’ve been open about what I eat, where I eat, and how I prepare it and have been able to engage in some low pressure conversations about it. By letting people come to me, I feel comfortable sharing my experience – it’s exactly what I needed when I started going vegan.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Rachel. We too remember that feeling, to the point where we would sometimes avoid interactions. I’m glad you’ve found a way to engage with others about your values by letting them come to you.

Leave a Comment

Top