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 Post subject: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:38 am 
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I've been vegan over a year now and I feel like I'm ready to take on more of an activist role in the community but even just chatting to acquaintances of mine, staying positive and sane while talking about what animals go through is really difficult. For example, today I had this exchange with a friend:
Him: Happy Thanksgiving folks! My beautiful wife is cooking up a delicious thanksgiving feast today: roast turkey with herb and garlic glaze, cranberry sauce, roast vegetables, and a pumpkin chiffon pie for dessert! Hope everyone is having a good day today!

Him, later, in response to the Farm Sanctuary turkey video: These videos are disturbing to watch, even though I know this disgusting behaviour continues. It's cruel and unnecessary...The 'debeaking' is horrific. Though, I'd like to see the same principle applied to sex offenders....I despise the cruel treatment of animals, and I honestly don't understand how people can do the things they do. It truly is horrible.

Me: Oh, so you visited the farm and hung out there for a while so you could see how it was treated [the turkey]? Cool.

Him: I don't understand what you mean.

I know I should see this as a positive thing as I probably got him thinking about his food a bit more and shared some informative links which he seemed to read, so I guess maybe I at least planted a seed in his mind, but oh god, it's so hard to stay focused when people just really can't see that they are contradicting themselves by saying they despise such treatment of animals, then passively at least, taking part in it.

Also today at work, another guy, when talking about palm oil's effect on orangutan populations, "I'm more of a humanist", meaning to say that he values what humans gain over what animals suffer. I mean, part of me wants to accept this as a legitimate point of view, at least he has blatantly accepted that we exploit animals and has basically labeled himself as a speciesist, but a stronger part in me just wants to do anything to change his mind.

I'm barely involved in activism yet and I still find it so challenging to keep having these conversations everyday. I know they sink in with some people at that's all that counts but sometimes I just don't have the strength to sit through another 'mmm steak, oh yeah, I hate animal cruelty' conversation. HOW DO YOU GUYS DO IT!

Does any of this make sense?

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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:43 am 
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I hear ya. I found myself baited into a conversation earlier this week with someone I work with. She loves to push my buttons, and I should know better.

She was telling another person at work that they were "depriving" their children by not serving them turkey for Thanksgiving. And then she said something about how "all they do" is strangle the bird. I immediately went into a "No, they don't, actually" rant about what actually happens to turkeys. This was met by someone else saying "survival of the fittest" and me running to the bathroom to compose myself.

I look at the long-term vegans around here and on podcasts I listen to as examples of how to stay positive and still be an activist. I can't say I'm there yet, but I hope to someday get there!

In short, you are not alone. Hang in there!

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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:58 am 
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It's hard because people want you to be the raving crazy vegan. If you try to inform you are preaching. With other aspects of my life, with things I do differently (parenting, advocacy about diabetes) I try remain calm, while the person doesn't-it shows others who may be in the right while they start spouting off the usual offenses. When they are done with their blablabla I note their inconsistencies and change the subject or walk away-probably some childhood thing I still do where I have to get the last word in.
But I'm still bitter about a radio show that I did a few months ago where a caller called in after I was off the air and stated some stupid crepe about my kids disease, I wasn't there to tell the truth so I came to my friends who get it and bitched to them! Which is kinda what we do here I guess.

I watched modern marvels lastnight and it was about "domesticated" turkeys vs wild turkeys. I can't believe anyone buys the crepe about how super awesome it is that they have been made so they can't fly or mate-but they are fatter and get fatter quicker. They skipped over the slaughter and said "they are humanely slaughtered". My father in law raises them as pets (weird cause he is not vegan and hunts deer), it was interesting to me because I did not know they looked so different. I still haven't regained my appetite.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:00 am 
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I spoke with a long-term activist recently (he works for Farm Sanctuary), and he had some good advice.

This is a huge issue, and you can't expect changes right away. The things we fight for might not show results for ten years, maybe the effects of our activism don't come to full bloom in our lifetime. Sucks, but it's true. So you have to be patient, keep calm, and be a shining example of how veganism is possible and that it can be a happy and fulfilling choice.

Farm sanctuary guy told me that the best we can really hope for at this point is for more people to cut back their consumption - meatless mondays and so forth.

The best activism is just to be a happy, healthy vegan and talk about the issues honestly and plainly when they come up, I think.

Sorry you got baited, Daria. That is going to be my entire Thanksgiving with my aunts and uncles.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:06 am 
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Daria wrote:
This was met by someone else saying "survival of the fittest" and me running to the bathroom to compose myself.

Sometimes I just think of what a dumb thing that is to say because it makes my imagination wander and then I wonder if people who shoot other people just shrug their shoulders and say, "sorry you only had a knife, dude, but, you know, survival of the fittest."

Sorry, that sort of derailed the whole animal activist thing, but I hate that argument.
I take the "even one meatless day a week helps" approach.

Onward, kind activists.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:57 am 
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I wrote a post on vegan burnout for my no-longer-defunct-we'll-see-how-long-that-lasts blog: www.toovegantofunction.wordpress.com

You may or may not find it helpful.

I think the main thing is you have to know when to walk away and just not spend any more energy on a losing battle. If someone doesn't want to hear what you have to say, it's okay to agree to disagree and leave it at that. You don't have to win over everyone right now.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 12:44 pm 
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Veglicious wrote:
I've been vegan over a year now and I feel like I'm ready to take on more of an activist role in the community but even just chatting to acquaintances of mine, staying positive and sane while talking about what animals go through is really difficult. For example, today I had this exchange with a friend:
Him: Happy Thanksgiving folks! My beautiful wife is cooking up a delicious thanksgiving feast today: roast turkey with herb and garlic glaze, cranberry sauce, roast vegetables, and a pumpkin chiffon pie for dessert! Hope everyone is having a good day today!

Him, later, in response to the Farm Sanctuary turkey video: These videos are disturbing to watch, even though I know this disgusting behaviour continues. It's cruel and unnecessary...The 'debeaking' is horrific. Though, I'd like to see the same principle applied to sex offenders....I despise the cruel treatment of animals, and I honestly don't understand how people can do the things they do. It truly is horrible.

Me: Oh, so you visited the farm and hung out there for a while so you could see how it was treated [the turkey]? Cool.

Him: I don't understand what you mean.

I know I should see this as a positive thing as I probably got him thinking about his food a bit more and shared some informative links which he seemed to read, so I guess maybe I at least planted a seed in his mind, but oh god, it's so hard to stay focused when people just really can't see that they are contradicting themselves by saying they despise such treatment of animals, then passively at least, taking part in it.

Also today at work, another guy, when talking about palm oil's effect on orangutan populations, "I'm more of a humanist", meaning to say that he values what humans gain over what animals suffer. I mean, part of me wants to accept this as a legitimate point of view, at least he has blatantly accepted that we exploit animals and has basically labeled himself as a speciesist, but a stronger part in me just wants to do anything to change his mind.

I'm barely involved in activism yet and I still find it so challenging to keep having these conversations everyday. I know they sink in with some people at that's all that counts but sometimes I just don't have the strength to sit through another 'mmm steak, oh yeah, I hate animal cruelty' conversation. HOW DO YOU GUYS DO IT!

Does any of this make sense?


I know exactly what you mean. I really want to get more active but am not sure how to reach people. I find that just by being vegan myself people feel judged or that I am being preachy without even talking about veganism. People seem to already be on the defensive. Maybe deep down they feel bad about their choices? I wish we lived closer together or I would invite you to go distribute leaflets with me or something!


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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:48 pm 
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No matter what, stay positive, stay calm, and don't get personal. I've gotten into arguments over veganism that derailed into "Well, god gave me dominion over the animals" as the other parties argument because I was getting too defensive. We can convince more people we aren't crazy if we don't get riled up when we discuss what we believe. Don't feed the trolls!

Also, on the survival of the fittest thing... is it still survival of the fittest if we domesticated them to be that way? I hate that term.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:51 pm 
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silverlining wrote:
I spoke with a long-term activist recently (he works for Farm Sanctuary), and he had some good advice.

This is a huge issue, and you can't expect changes right away. The things we fight for might not show results for ten years, maybe the effects of our activism don't come to full bloom in our lifetime. Sucks, but it's true. So you have to be patient, keep calm, and be a shining example of how veganism is possible and that it can be a happy and fulfilling choice.

Farm sanctuary guy told me that the best we can really hope for at this point is for more people to cut back their consumption - meatless mondays and so forth.

The best activism is just to be a happy, healthy vegan and talk about the issues honestly and plainly when they come up, I think.

Sorry you got baited, Daria. That is going to be my entire Thanksgiving with my aunts and uncles.

Who was it? I've heard lots of good activism tips from FS too.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:16 pm 
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I've been vegan for three years and vegetarian for three years before that, and my approach to AR activism has gone through many evolutions in that timespan. In my experience, setting a positive example has gotten me farther than engaging in conversations about ethics and showing slaughterhouse videos. Those forms of activism hold an important place in animal rights, they just didn't work for me- I got defensive, hurt, and just plain disappointed in people. I've found that being a joyful vegan and making good, vegan food accessible to those around me has made a big difference. I've influenced a few people to go vegan, and many more to cut back on animal products by representing veganism as fun and accessible. Some people aren't ready to have their hearts and minds opened to the idea of animal rights; that's okay. We just do the best we can as activists to spread the word for the animals that can't spread the word themselves.
Big hugs, Veglicious, and congrats on hitting the one year mark! : )
<3

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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:27 pm 
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I know it goes against everything you're going for, but I really believe that the best form of activism you can participate in is to simply lead by example.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you remain an upbeat voice for the animals?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:03 pm 
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i think it's helpful if you just have a plateful/container full of awesome vegan food, and you sit there and eat it around other people and they say, "oh that smells really good/looks really good, what is it?" then you tell them what you made, and give them the recipe, and they're like "OMGWUT IT DOESN'T HAVE ANIMALS IN IT!?!?!111?!" and that gets them thinking that vegan food can be tasty and healthy.

some people are so ignorant, though, it's almost difficult to believe. like i know vegetarians who wear leather jackets. they're vegetarian because they don't think animals should be killed for food, but it's okay to be killed for clothing...? and other people they just haven't a clue, because they've grown up thinking milk and eggs and meat are healthy for you, because the dairy and meat industry sponsors that stupid food pyramid that they show you in elementary school. like yesterday i was talking about my african stew, talking about th eingredients and this girl said "well you HAVE to have peanut butter" and i said "i don't have to eat it..." and she said "well it's a good substitute."

...so then i was thinking about the use of the word "substitute"...the idea that something meaty MUST be in your diet. yeah, we need protein and iron and calcium, but what if meat was a substitute for chickpeas? it's like we all have to follow the template of meat+potatoes, and anything else is secondary.

i think language is effective, and eating good food in front of people, and bringing it to potlucks/parties, etc.

i also find it very frustrating to remain calm and not become annoyed because some people just want to give me a hard time and i don't know, everyone is different, and it's fine, but fork, man....

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