Originally Posted by MrFalafel
Its really a personal journey, IMHO. Its also a gradual process. One cannot expect to flip a switch and turn 100% vegan overnight. Even those with the best intentions will need to learn about animal products and remove them from their lifestyles as it suits their individual situation.
Whats important is the indivual effort. I look at meat eater who decides to eat one vegetarian meal a week as someone making an effort who is to be applauded. There are also lacto-ovo vegetarians who, again, are making an effort that suits there situation. In the vegan realm there are varying grades as well. I've met seperatists who've managed to create a lifestyle that virtually elminates all animal products from their lives, but again, its a complete life change. Many vegans do what they can when they can but cannot or will not go the seperatist route.
My personal philosophy is to lead as normal a life as possibe to show omnis that a vegan lifestyle is not difficult nor is it shutting yourself away from mainstream society. Its my belief that if we can convince more people to adopt a lifestyle that limits use of animal products than things like vegan film will become a reality sooner rather than later. (actually there's a digital cinema near me where movies are shown with no film involved....).
I fully agree with the general principle you outline, and this is one I have been advocating myself for many years. But again, there are no guidelines as to specifics, which is what I am after.
For example, some animal advocates claim that simply the act of stating "I am ethically opposed to killing animals for food" scares people away, as it is too radical of a concept, and that we should instead focus exclusively on the needless suffering inflicted on animals due to our current use of factory farming.
I don't believe that this scares people away, and I believe that the opposition in principle to the killing of animals for food (and not just the way it is done) is a core principle which we should not abandon -- even while we continue to inform the public about what goes on in factory farms.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have animal advocates who believe that, both in public and in private, we must avoid all food unless we are 100% sure of the non-animal origin of every last ingredient. Now, I feel this does have the potential to scare people away. Yet, these other advocates deny this, and they insist that this too is a core principle veganism which they can not abandon. Furthermore, they would argue that veganism is about doing what is right, not doing what is popular, and that they will not water down their principles in order to attract more converts in the short term, and their strength in their convictions will attract more converts in the long term.
I don't agree, and hence my question about gelatin in movie reels, as it was directed at vegans with this type of opinion.
And back to the original question: What level of strictness is the right balance, both in advocacy, and in personal conduct?
Some people feel that avoiding a cheese pizza (a blatantly non-vegan item) in front of non-vegans is too radical, and will scare people away. Other people feel it is perfectly OK to inquire whether or not the bread at your host's home contains animal derived glycerides, and they feel that you would be hypocritical in calling yourself vegan if you did not decline the bread without inquiring.
Personally, I think avoiding cheese pizza does not scare people away, but that avoiding bread does. In fact, I am concerned that a lot of the discussion on VB
about ingredients has the potential to scare away people browsing the website. But then again, I could be wrong.