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#421 Old 06-05-2013, 06:20 PM
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That is just confusing.


I'm sorry.

 

There's a fine line between defending your position (caring what people think about us) and attacking an opposite position.  It's pretty easy to give offense when people perceive differences.

 



I meant that the staff at said store are weird, the point of their job is just to get what you want without arguing.

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#422 Old 06-05-2013, 06:26 PM
 
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Okay, I apologise for implying that some people may be vegan for selfish reasons. In retrospect, I don't think that's the case. To be honest, my primary concern is not whether we (once again, I think that the attitude of vegans towards vegetarians is just a symptom of OUR general attitude towards non-vegs in general, and the same arguments can be made about both) are compassionate or not. It is whether we are making easy for other people to label us as uncompassionate and unhappy, be it the non-vegs labeling the vegs, or the vegetarians labeling the vegans.

 

Fact is, labels do matter. Labels matter more than the moral arguments themselves. The only reason why labels might not matter is if we were content with doing what we do best, and letting the non-vegs do whatever they do best. It'd be so much easier for us that way. But no, we're supposed to try to convince the non-vegs to join our side. We'd do so much more for animals and the cause that way. I'd hate to invoke corporate language, but bad PR is the WORST way to go about doing it. This means allowing people to label us as intolerant, unhappy, too stuck up to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

 

If we want to avoid the bad labels, we need to focus more on portraying ourselves as a group of people with admirable qualities that the non-vegs lack. But upset all the time at the things they do is not one of them. Ideally, if we were to keep shoving moral arguments in their faces, they'd eventually come around to seeing our position. Realistically, it almost never works like that. They'll simply tell us we're crazy, and call it a day.

 

We can't keep making comparisons to racism and sexism either. Our movements act in the same spirit, but they are fundamentally different for one reason: The oppressed group can't fight back. We need to fight on their behalf. It is perfectly reasonable for blacks to be enraged at the white slave-owners and supremacists, for feminists to be enraged at the chauvinists who disown women for getting raped, for homosexuals to be enraged at the homophobes who cause them misery. People fighting for animals is a different matter. Others start to question why we care. After all, it's not as though we are the ones who are suffering. We start to seem like a group that just can't mind its own business. Yes, nowadays we expect all people to be anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic. But not back when those qualities were the prevailing ideology. Nobody would've taken the whites who fought for black rights seriously if the blacks had not fought for themselves, nobody would've taken the males who fought for women's rights seriously if women had not fought for themselves. Even with environmentalism, we can still try to argue that we're doing it for our children - the ones we are expected to love and care for. Not animal rights. It is the liberation movement with the hardest fight yet.

 

I think two of the ways to be an effective 'evangelist' (but we should DEFINITELY avoid that word like the plague) is to be a) more intelligent and b) more self-assured than non-vegs are. Being more intelligent means that we are more open-minded than they are. It means we demonstrate an understanding of why it's so difficult for them to care when they haven't their whole lives (just because we could make the switch doesn't mean it'd be just as easy for them to), and why it's so easy for them to perceive our differences as ideological and not moral. In this, some degree of respect would help - not because their lifestyles are deserving of that respect, but because it's just more effective overall. Of course, I'm not saying we become so respectful that we end up toothless. It's not a dichotomy. It's possible to be respectful and assertive at the same time. It's not easy, but I'm convinced that the balance is there.

 

Secondly, being more self-assured than they are means that convincing them that veg*nism is not a curse that makes you miserable all the time. It means being positive and happy. After all, most non-vegs are still waiting for something big to happen in their lives, something exciting, something meaningful, to tell them that their lives have truly began. We already have that. We're doing something exciting, something meaningful, and something that is about to become very big. When we lie on our deathbeds, we can be satisfied that we've done something good with our lives, that we didn't live them in vain. What's not to be happy about that? At the same time, we can't start to appear elitist or exclusive. We must never forget that our ultimate aim is to invite them to join our lifestyle, not to highlight the differences between us.

 

This applies to the vegetarian-vegan distinction as well. Vegetarians may very well still be struggling with the sacrifice they have made, and are simply not ready for vegans to come up to them and say 'hey, what you're doing is still not enough'. What they need is encouragement, so that once they become comfortable with their decision, they may then look towards the next step. Yet, some of them may have been vegetarian for years and years, convinced that there is no pressing moral reason for them to do any more, or that they simply 'can't'. In this case, I think we should approach them the same way as we approach non-vegs: By convincing them that being vegan is just so much more rewarding.


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#423 Old 06-06-2013, 01:17 AM
 
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http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/animal-rights-animal-welfare-and-the-slavery-analogy/

I didn't need encouragement, I needed information and to be told the flaws in believing animals have moral significance yet still using their products.
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#424 Old 06-06-2013, 07:18 AM
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I meant that the staff at said store are weird, the point of their job is just to get what you want without arguing.


You must be young.  The point of any store is to sell you what they have.

 

Customers are not supposed to know they've been manipulated, but this only works as long as one doesn't really want to know.

 

A small business especially, like health food in rural Indiana, is protective of their marketing.

 

All I'm really trying to say is that vegans have the same problems as vegetarians -- most people just don't understand us.  We are trying to figure out how to stand up for what we believe, like anybody else:  When we come across as picking on majority groups, that's why.  We feel picked on, too, and there are fewer of us.  It's funny how we end up the ones responsible for everybody's feelings.

 

@Yingchen:  I'm not miserable.  I'm not even sacrificing.  I still don't understand what is so bad about giving up milk.  People can argue that their egg layers don't suffer, so suffering birds is not a reason for them to be vegan, but this does not equal a reason to not be vegan.  Not a reason to is not the same thing as a reason not to.  I guess going vegan is just something they don't feel like doing, for whatever reason.  To me, the only thing that's hard about veganism is living with so many people who are against it.


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#425 Old 06-06-2013, 07:56 AM
 
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Agree with Mike! Great post!
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#426 Old 06-06-2013, 08:30 AM
 
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I don't think very many vegans are unhappy. But public perception is not the same as the truth. The hardest thing is that meat and cheese are comfort foods, symbols that you know how to enjoy the pleasures of life. From my experience it is incredibly difficult to convince them that veganism provides a greater pleasure than that of these foods; the pleasure that you know you're doing something good with your life.

If course, it's not about us. It should be about the morals and the animals. But most people are cowards, and will willingly conform to the herd mentality. Moral arguments will only work on the people who are already predisposed to caring about them.

The difficulty is in presenting yourself to lead a desirable lifestyle without being judgmental of them. The moment you are, they will jump at the chance to paint you as a snob so that they can tell themselves you're no longer morally superior, and that will allow them to dismiss your moral arguments without having to feel bad about themselves. Your 'superiority' has to show itself in tacit ways, and they have to reach the conclusion by themselves without you having to overtly tell them.

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#427 Old 06-06-2013, 08:38 AM
 
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But part of veganism is realising the world doesn't revolve around your own little bubble. And other beings and the world around you are affected by your behaviour and actions.

Knowing this and doing everything in my power to ensure my actions don't hurt persons, be them human or non human, and the world around me make me far far happier than a bacon sandwich or choc bar ever will!
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#428 Old 06-06-2013, 08:38 AM
 
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#429 Old 06-06-2013, 11:08 AM
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My last flock were show birds, and they were purchased from a woman who had been breeding her flock for years and also did not cull her roos and exchanged her breeding stock with other local breeders...

 

I avoid dairy, but I intend to be raising a small herd of goats by the time I'm 30, and I already have spent 6 years breeding and working with a sustainable herd for someone else...

 

Yes, keeping animals at all is wrong to some people, but I don't agree, and I do my research into where all the animals I live with (or will live with) come from. And I would probably not object to a human group being kept in decent conditions, knowing they are safe, well fed and healthy, happy, and with the only negative of not being able to leave (although really, my chickens are totally able to). But now obviously I look crazy.

 

tl;dr I don't see anything unethical about my non-vegan lifestyle. Oh noes.

 

You breed, and you are involved with/support breeders.  Maybe the animals you personally keep will be well-kept, but you cannot keep the other animals you and your friends are involved with from being killed, sold for slaughter, and not treated well.  I do think breeding animals to use their bodies/to slaughter is unethical.  


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#430 Old 06-06-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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Solidifies the commodity status of animals. They do not belong to us and are not ours to 'own'.
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#431 Old 06-07-2013, 01:19 AM
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Also, I think a lot of times when vegans come off as judgmental it can be because they are compassionate rather than because they are callous. Compassion for a perceived wrong can lead people to be judgmental and/or angry with those who are perceived as carrying out or contributing to that perceived wrong.

 

I agree with you. It is difficult to think about that when you're in that situation though and I don't think many of them realise that what they are saying can have a negative effect on the other person.

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#432 Old 06-07-2013, 01:26 AM
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Maybe we are more victims of media fabrication than we are of our own actions. I've always had a bad impression of the animal rights community until I joined it myself. I've spent hours with my friends laughing at ridiculous PETA campaigns, of which the Pokemon game was the most recent. All of these made me embarrassed to identify myself as part of the movement, even though I was growing closer and closer to it. Eventually, when I made the decision to go vegetarian, it was with the idea that I would be one on my own terms, unassociated with the larger community.

 

 

Well I still laugh at PETA and I will never join them.

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#433 Old 06-11-2013, 03:02 PM
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Vegetarians may very well still be struggling with the sacrifice they have made, and are simply not ready for vegans to come up to them and say 'hey, what you're doing is still not enough'. What they need is encouragement, so that once they become comfortable with their decision, they may then look towards the next step. Yet, some of them may have been vegetarian for years and years, convinced that there is no pressing moral reason for them to do any more, or that they simply 'can't'. In this case, I think we should approach them the same way as we approach non-vegs: By convincing them that being vegan is just so much more rewarding.

I agree that if someone is still in withdrawal from bacon, it won't go over well at all to suggest they give up cheese. Encouragement for new vegetarians is welcome. But as for the rest, no. What we vegetarians really appreciate from vegans is respect. Some kind of signal that you understand we have our own reasons for deciding how far to withdraw from animal use in our own lives. It's not for you to decide I'm a comfortable vegetarian and so it's time for me to "look toward the next step."  As a vegetarian dealing with omni friends and family, I'm highly aware of the parallels. You can present yourself as healthy and happy, and discuss your reasons for doing what you do as far as people ask questions and seem genuinely interested. But as soon as you send out the slightest tiny whiff of "...and so should you," even by implication, even by unintended implication, everything shuts down and the dead air hangs heavy and you wonder how you could possibly have mistaken a family reunion for a teachable moment.

 

Leading by example, answering questions cheerfully, pointing them toward fuller information if they ask, that's usually as far as you get to go with people, unless you have some kind of real-world leverage over them. Like they owe you money or want to work for you, then you can take it a tiny bit further unbidden. A tiny bit, as in responding to a short question with a long answer, even though they seem to be expecting a short one. I just don't think it ever works to "approach them" (us) about making a change they're (we're) not actively considering and asking about. Which, if it happened, would actually be them (us) approaching you. I would say to an uninvited vegan approacher something like what I've told persistent evangelicals: "Please stop inviting me to your church picnics and socials and workshops; I've said No four times already, and it's always going to be No. Instead of that, how about you do like Jesus (Buddha, Zoroaster) did. Make it work so well for yourself, be such a shining light, that people start following you around nagging you to tell them what your secret is." That is the way to convince anyone that being vegan is just so much more rewarding.

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#434 Old 06-11-2013, 06:33 PM
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I have birds. They are rescued battery hens that were due to be slaughtered. They lay eggs and I don't eat them. They now have a great life.

The only problem with it is I sometimes wonder if rescuing the hens is cheaper for the owner than sending them to slaughter and therefore making the industry more profitable.

I think that the monetary difference is so miniscule that it doesn't affect a particular battery owner's business decisions, much less the industry.

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#435 Old 06-11-2013, 06:34 PM
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I have birds. They are rescued battery hens that were due to be slaughtered. They lay eggs and I don't eat them. They now have a great life.

The only problem with it is I sometimes wonder if rescuing the hens is cheaper for the owner than sending them to slaughter and therefore making the industry more profitable.

I think that the monetary difference is so miniscule that it doesn't affect a particular battery owner's business decisions, much less the industry.

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#436 Old 06-11-2013, 07:07 PM
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I have been enjoying reading this thread. I really like heated/passionate discussion that does not turn into name-calling and rudeness.

 

I know this was mentioned a while back, but about the Ellen thing, where does her neighbor get the "happy hens," I wonder? Do they come from hatcheries? Because it is not exactly compassionate to support hatcheries, IMHO.

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#437 Old 06-11-2013, 07:13 PM
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Oh, and I also wanted to say that I've spent some time on a forum that is moderator-free, and allows people to say whatever they want. The thing that happened on this particular site is that an elite majority formed, the presence of which amounted to a kind of hostile, nasty, and clique-ish dictatorship. It was very unpleasant for those who disagreed with them.

 

Dunno where I'm going with that, just wanted to share it.

 

I'm gonna go work out now.

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#438 Old 06-12-2013, 04:28 PM
 
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Buying animals from factory farms is not a sustainable or effective measure long term. Already they do not mind putting animals in such horrid conditions that roughly 15 percent of their stock is guaranteed to be too diseased or maimed to make it to the end of the production line. This is the reason why conditions aren't even worse than they currently are; farms are afraid the rate of 'failure' will rise even higher, making their cost cutting negligible or unprofitable.

Animal sanctuaries that purchase these 'failed' animals provide a safety net. Not only do farms not have to worry about the cost of disposing them, they get a little money for it too. It tells these farms that they don't have to worry about being too ruthless.

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#439 Old 06-12-2013, 05:02 PM
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Buying animals from factory farms is not a sustainable or effective measure long term. Already they do not mind putting animals in such horrid conditions that roughly 15 percent of their stock is guaranteed to be too diseased or maimed to make it to the end of the production line. This is the reason why conditions aren't even worse than they currently are; farms are afraid the rate of 'failure' will rise even higher, making their cost cutting negligible or unprofitable.

Animal sanctuaries that purchase these 'failed' animals provide a safety net. Not only do farms not have to worry about the cost of disposing them, they get a little money for it too. It tells these farms that they don't have to worry about being too ruthless.

There's not an actual cost to disposing of these animals - there is a market for animal carcasses for all kinds of purposes. You might be surprised. Hog farmers, for example, just feed the carcasses of the pigs who die from disease directly to their other pigs - it reduces their food costs.

 

The number of factory farmed animals that sanctuaries and the occasional private individual can take in are so miniscule when you look at the millions of animals *processed* (i.e. slaughtered) daily that it really, truly has no effect on their business decisions.

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#440 Old 06-12-2013, 10:47 PM
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Kasandra,

I hope you come back and read this. Your last post about having read Skinny ***** and feeling that your ED is coming back worried me. I noticed that nobody responded to you and I want to tell you that if you need to talk to someone, please know that I am here. I know you don't know me, but I hear you saying that you're not in a good place and I just want to be there for you. How are you doing? Do you need to talk or share what's happening?

 

 

Secondly, I want to put in my two cents about the whole "if people want to consume eggs and dairy it's their choice" issue. I know it's been said before, but I just don't understand how these things can be looked at as isolated incidents that are simply one person's choice. Innocent beings are harmed and eventually killed to obtain the eggs and dairy, and this must be taken into account as part of a person's "choice"--complicity is something that must be acknowledged in that choice. If I make the choice to purchase Dole bananas, I must understand that my choice to do so makes me complicit in the dreadful conditions that the fruit pickers are exposed to; thus it's not an isolated incident. 

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#441 Old 11-05-2013, 05:16 PM
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I have to say I've found this thread has given me a real insight into what being vegan means, thank you to all the posters.

 

When I joined VB I thought that once all the products lurking in my kitchen that contain eggs and dairy were used up and had been replaced with alternatives that don't that would constitute being vegan. Now I know it won't and I shall just go from being one sort of vegetarian to being a different sort of vegetarian that will confuse people even more. How odd!

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#442 Old 11-06-2013, 12:48 PM
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I have to say I've found this thread has given me a real insight into what being vegan means, thank you to all the posters.

 

When I joined VB I thought that once all the products lurking in my kitchen that contain eggs and dairy were used up and had been replaced with alternatives that don't that would constitute being vegan. Now I know it won't and I shall just go from being one sort of vegetarian to being a different sort of vegetarian that will confuse people even more. How odd!

Hm.

 

Hi.  A pleasure to meet you. :)

 

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Hello everyone, just joined today. I'm probably mostly going to be here for the recipes and I see there's a UK section so maybe I'll be able to get tips on sourcing ingredients too but it looks as if there are lots of other things to read while I'm here.

 

A little about me: I've been vegetarian for 28 years but in general I haven't thought much further than if it isn't dead it's OK. However a couple of months ago I read a newspaper article about Dr Neal Barnard and since then I've been looking at the subject of low fat plant based diets online and I've started to move away from all the dairy, eggs and processed food that was previously the basis for what I was eating. There's still some to be used up but I'm aiming to come up with better alternatives rather than replacing them.

 

Years ago I always thought of vegan food as being dull and worthy but - hooray - it turns out I was very wrong! I'm really enjoying doing some proper cooking again and the internet is a wonderful thing - how annoying is it that I've been buying quorn mince and sausages for years without knowing that you could make them from a bag of bread flour lol My son (8) is pretty keen on all the new home cooked food but my daughter (6) still needs more convincing. They have always eaten vegetarian food at home so I hope to show them how good plant based foods can be so they will want to choose that path for themselves.

 

I was vegetarian for over 20 years before going vegan myself, and held a view similar to "if it isn't dead it's OK" regarding eggs and dairy (and processed foods.)  Those things are also cruel and destructive, though, in addition to being bad for your health.  I heard that on a number of different occasions during those years, I remember, but somehow I just wasn't ready to believe it, I guess.  Human nature, maybe.  All you can ask of anyone, really, is to try to keep an open mind and to genuinely stand by their own best vision.  I hear where you're coming from, I think, and while it might not precisely click in a neat category, I have to call it respectable progress.  Thanks for contributing!


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#443 Old 11-07-2013, 10:28 AM
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Thanks Mike. I have to say I've been appalled by reading about modern farming conditions since I joined VB and I won't be going back - certainly never, never to dairy now I'm aware of the total abomination that is current dairy practice. I also find it shocking that even as an intelligent, educated, middle class person I really had no conception much further than you should buy free range eggs. Of course when I decided to stop eating meat there was no internet, I didn't know any vegetarians and I didn't research anything - it was something I felt I should do so I did it. After that not eating meat was just normal and I didn't really think about it any more so if I hadn't started looking for vegan recipes I probably wouldn't have found any of this information - it isn't obvious if you're not looking for it :(

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