Is showing people how intelligent and loving animals are more effective? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-20-2015, 12:25 PM
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Is showing people how intelligent and loving animals are more effective?

So I had a thought about the sort of things people respond to when talking about Veganism.

No one likes to see animals being tortured, obviously, and people will react more negatively to an animal being tortured that they already care about. (Like the Yulin Dog festival)

So is it better to promote the positive image of farm animals than trying to get people to see the negatives of factory farming? Most people will always shout "EMOTIONAL APPEAL!" If you try to point to torture, but if they are seeing another creature being sweet or intelligent, even if it's still an "emotional appeal" they don't complain about it.

Is more positivity the key to directing other's towards veganism?
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#2 Old 06-20-2015, 01:08 PM
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It is an interesting concept, and may be effective on some people, but my guess is those are the same people who would react to a more "emotional appeal" by reducing or eliminating flesh/animal products anyways. I think a lot of omnis realize "food animals" possess some level of intelligence, form complex bonds with mates/offspring/others of it's own kind/human carers and experience emotions. It's a matter of they see it as a "justifiable sacrifice" in the name of their dinner. They 'get' that all animals are sentient beings, they just seem incapable of making a personal sacrifice (foregoing flesh/animal products) for an animal they consider "lesser". Omnis are speciesists, and similar to a racist or sexist, they make up arbitrary "definitions" of what makes one species value less than another species to justify their continued exploitation of it even if they realize logically they are all equal (i.e. a dog and a cow aren't all that different in the areas that matter, yet they'd eat and/or condone torture of a cow but not a dog).
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#3 Old 06-20-2015, 01:15 PM
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You make very good points Kiwi.
It's also interesting to note just how strongly people oppose racism and sexim.
I can see very strong feminists, very strong LGBT+ supporters, very strong human rights supporters... but these people STILL do not care for the animals.

It makes me wonder, is it easier to denounce rapists because they are not rapists? Is it easy to denounce racists because they are not racists? Is it easy to denounce homophobes because they are not homophobes? It seems like every other social justice issue most people can easily accept it because they are not "giving something up" ... well except in some feminists cases I think. I wish I better understood people.
I mean, I used to be an omni too, but when I found out the truth of what's going on I just stopped doing the things I was doing. I guess everyone has to walk their own path, but I wish that just showing the things to others that changed me could change them too.
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#4 Old 06-20-2015, 02:00 PM
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I actually dislike emotional appeals. I see veganism as a very rational decision for a species that have evolved. Humans kill off other species at a far greater rate than any other animal species--without including food.

I never cared for cows. As a kid I loved to visit my uncles dairy farm in the country, to run in the fields and climb trees. I couldn't wait for the cows to leave the places I loved to play, but never did I wish them to go to the barn for milking. It wasn't that it was large farm, I can only remember maybe 20 cows. They were very well cared for, and the people worked very hard to ensure they were clean and comfortable (as can be I guess).
What I'm saying is that even though I didn't "like" them, I never wanted less for them in terms of rights to do as they wished than for myself. If they had the field first then I either went elsewhere or played among them
I certainly don't like all people, or children, but I respect them the same as I wish to be respected.
I feel too much "oooh compassion...." can be a turn off to many who would respond better to the simple facts and logic of beign veg'n.
Better question is why do people still eat meat when they don't get nearly the excersize or adrenaline rushes as Paleo man did.
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#5 Old 06-20-2015, 02:29 PM
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Also good points. I guess different methods appeal to different people. Some would only go Vegan if they were absolutely certain it would help other humans. Some might do it purely because they love and care for animals, and some might do it for all of the benefits.

I think the biggest problem I've run into are the people who just purely do not care about anything, even if they accept and agree with all of the facts. "Yeah it's horrible what animals go through, and yeah it's killing our health and our environment, but I don't really care and I'm going to keep doing what I enjoy and not waste my time worrying"

It's kinda disheartening how truly apathetic so many people are.
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#6 Old 06-20-2015, 05:38 PM
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That's how I approach it with my family and other relatives. I highlight how intelligent and intuitive they are. However I am not sure I changed anyone's view on eating meat

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#7 Old 06-20-2015, 07:55 PM
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All i know is when I saw that famous pig, esther the wonderpig, I never could eat a pork product again. I request that family members refrain from doing so in my presence, and I dont cook it or keep it in my home.

I cant unsee that pig who is as sweet as a dog and smart as a kid.

I have less emotional pull towards chickens and fish, because they are so different from us, but I choose not to eat them for a variety of reasons.
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#8 Old 06-20-2015, 08:12 PM
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They can both be effective. What got me to go vegan (this time) was seeing that youtube video of cows unlocking doors for themselves and pumping water from wells.

That started the ball rolling and got me brave enough to watch Earthlings, which put me over the edge back to veganism.
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#9 Old 06-20-2015, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwibird08 View Post
It is an interesting concept, and may be effective on some people, but my guess is those are the same people who would react to a more "emotional appeal" by reducing or eliminating flesh/animal products anyways. I think a lot of omnis realize "food animals" possess some level of intelligence, form complex bonds with mates/offspring/others of it's own kind/human carers and experience emotions. It's a matter of they see it as a "justifiable sacrifice" in the name of their dinner. They 'get' that all animals are sentient beings, they just seem incapable of making a personal sacrifice (foregoing flesh/animal products) for an animal they consider "lesser". Omnis are speciesists, and similar to a racist or sexist, they make up arbitrary "definitions" of what makes one species value less than another species to justify their continued exploitation of it even if they realize logically they are all equal (i.e. a dog and a cow aren't all that different in the areas that matter, yet they'd eat and/or condone torture of a cow but not a dog).

this is like the best explanation ever.
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#10 Old 06-22-2015, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciBow View Post
You make very good points Kiwi.
It's also interesting to note just how strongly people oppose racism and sexim.
I can see very strong feminists, very strong LGBT+ supporters, very strong human rights supporters... but these people STILL do not care for the animals.

It makes me wonder, is it easier to denounce rapists because they are not rapists? Is it easy to denounce racists because they are not racists? Is it easy to denounce homophobes because they are not homophobes? It seems like every other social justice issue most people can easily accept it because they are not "giving something up" ... well except in some feminists cases I think. I wish I better understood people.
I mean, I used to be an omni too, but when I found out the truth of what's going on I just stopped doing the things I was doing. I guess everyone has to walk their own path, but I wish that just showing the things to others that changed me could change them too.
It's certainly easy to denounce something that you yourself are not! And it's easy to accept social change if you don't need to give anything up.

It's much harder if you have to place the scrutiny upon yourself - some people have a real problem with that. And a lot of people really don't like to be without things they like or to be inconvenienced in any way.

So I completely see where you are coming from...
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#11 Old 06-24-2015, 04:25 PM
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Great topic idea. I think about this stuff ... often, to say the least.

First, the big picture. I mention this stuff so you understand where I'm coming from, but I don't wanna threadjack, so I'll just put it out there without much justification or excessive explanation.

Our advocacy should benefit from keeping two central goals in mind: 1) strike at the root problem 2) foster empathy. So how do the approaches in the question "is it better to promote the positive image of farm animals than trying to get people to see the negatives of factory farming?" fit these goals?

Both approaches have bad and good to offer attempts to grow empathy. Promoting a positive image would seem to be the obvious way to go, but there are pitfalls. If we want people to understand real cows, we have to be talking about real cows, not anthropomorphic cliches out of a children's book. "Gee-whiz" stories about the cool things critters do can actually get in the way of forming the connections with individual critters needed to really get an empathetic relationship going.

"Showing the negatives" is necessary, but I'm afraid the way we usually try to illustrate the negatives - with a barrage of brutal images worthy of a grindhouse splatterporn movie - actually inhibits empathy. We "lose the animal" in an orgy of blood. Nobody connects with a corpse. Desensitize people to animal suffering when we ought to be appealing to the inborn sensitivity that most people share (no matter how much we try to convince each other that "they" just don't/won't care, attempting to shift the blame for our failure to the everpresent "other". I'm OK, you're morally inferior. And we wonder why we can't seem to gain traction ...)

As far as striking at the roots, neither approach really gets at the core problems. The way they are implemented often plays into the myths we tell each other. "It's moral failure on THEIR part." "THEY'RE ignorant." "THEY don't know the truth. See the common thread? "THEY" The damnable detestable "us and them" nonsense. It's at the heart of why we treat nonhumans the way we do. Putting it at the heart of our advocacy only strengthens the problem and weakens our POV.

So that's a very brief outline of an answer. Clearly it's incomplete. I could have branched off in to a more thorough discussion of a point at many places, but I wanted to stay on topic and I'm not writing a dang book.
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Last edited by Dave in MPLS; 06-24-2015 at 04:28 PM.
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#12 Old 06-24-2015, 05:36 PM
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Thank you for your insight Dave. I think you are completely right.
Perhaps studying the many reasons that people become vegan in the first place would help us to determine which methods are the most effective in helping others to reclaim their empathy for other living creatures and our planet. Maybe it would be important for all vegans to asses why they went vegan and keep those reasons close to their hearts.
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