Is Your Vegan Activism Effective Or Just Counterproductive?
Like every other topic that could potentially start a debate, there are ways to approach it that could keep people open to the idea you’re trying to convey, and there are ways to approach it that will push them away from the idea. This is why vegans often have a reputation of being “extreme.” To people who aren’t familiar with the lifestyle, it can very easily seem like an overwhelming amount of change, and with vegan “activists” that are hateful and go to extreme measures to get their point across, it can completely turn people off to the idea of being a vegan.
Being kind, articulate, and respectful is the best way to go about your activism. If you are rude and hateful, people aren’t going to listen to any points you might make, even if they make sense. For example, if someone uses the same argument you’ve heard a million times, (“but bacon, though!”) don’t let it get a rise out of you. Instead of calling them selfish for valuing taste over the lives of animals, say something along the lines of “I love the taste of bacon too! You actually don’t have to eat animals to get the same taste.” Recommend them your favorite vegan bacon.
Most vegans were not raised that way. A lot of us were raised eating the same things, and had to learn the truth about animal agriculture at some point. Everyone learns new things at a different pace. This may be an entirely new idea to the person you’re talking to. You want to leave them with a good impression and be as helpful as possible, because even if they don’t decide to immediately go vegan, you’re opening the door and they may think about it later. Being hateful and giving someone a bad first impression of veganism may turn them off to it forever because they will associate veganism with that first experience they had where the vegan they spoke to was extremely condescending and mean. Activism has to be heard in order for it to be effective. Don’t waste time with heated arguments about veganism, because once it escalates to that, you’re just arguing with someone who is already set on their way of thinking. Effective activism is important, but it has to be done right to reach people.