Dear activist: it’s not your way or the highway

Advocate, Business person, Scientist FTW

Have you read or heard an animal activist say that veganism or vegetarianism don’t matter because first and foremost, it’s got to be PO-LI-TI-CAL?

Have you had vegans tell you that REAL, TRUE VEGANISM is all about activism, demonstrations and being loud while the choices we make at the shops hardly matter at all?

Look, as much as I value animal advocacy, I can also appreciate the value of making better, individual choices when you can. Yet at the same time, while I appreciate the value of leading by example and being a quiet and friendly vegan or vegetarian, I am telling you that plenty of activists have been doing valuable work with real consequences for the animals and the environment.

This article, OPINION: Shopping Isn’t Activism — The Vegan Community Needs Less Consumerism And More Compassion was posted at Friendly and Pragmatic Vegans and Vegetarians on Facebook yesterday.

In a nutshell, it is arguing that we must not simply change a few habits, we must indeed change the way we look at animals. Instead of promoting animal friendly products and celebrating when big companies have new vegan options, we should promote ideas and encourage others to question the way society considers animals.

Here is my take on it:

I’ll put it bluntly: it is all too simplistic. Indeed, is it not basic psychology that for anyone to change their mind on something, having already made a small step in this direction will help tremendously?

We need more animal friendly products, venues, options and we need the biggest and most mainstream successful companies to offer vegetarian and vegan options. It helps normalise these choices. It helps people take the necessary small first step forward. It helps reduce the number of animals killed, especially when we’re talking about alternatives to chicken — as it takes up to 280 chickens to produce the same amount of meals as one cow and as they are typically produced in ways which involve the most suffering.

Promoting ways which help people go beyond a meatless dish a week is important and ought to be welcome. Encouraging everyone to question the way they think of animals is important and animal activists play a crucial role.

Another crucial role is played by business.

And yet another huge role is to be played by every company and advocacy group pushing cultured meat.

Useful links on the matter:

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A logical, friendly and pragmatic approach to animal advocacy.

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