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<a href="http://www.ediblemanhattan.com/20110309/jonathan-safran-foer-on-meat-as-fashion-how-pastured-poultry-is-like-light-cigarettes-and-why-policy-can%E2%80%99t-accomplish-what-meatless-lunches-can/" target="_blank">LINK</a><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>EM: But corn subsidies prop up [factory farms, which rely on it as cheap feed]. Without them, prices of factory meat would go up and its consumption would come down. Thats not asking government to make something illegal.</i><br><br>
JSF: But its asking them to advocate a policy that is not in the interest in 99 percent of the American meat industry. Which is hard. Im not saying they shouldnt do it. But at the end of the day we need to eat a ton less meat. I have yet to meet the person who disagrees with that statement. Anthony Bourdain agrees with that statement. Can I imagine half the planet going vegetarian? Not anytime soon. Can I imagine half of the <i>meals</i> on the planet being vegetarian. I cana kind of lifestyle shift in which people might say I wont have it at lunch. And finally can I imagine the government doing anything that would bring about that level of reduction of meat consumption? Impossible. I can imagine them saying cage size should be increased by three inches, but to bring about real change, I just cant see it happening.<br><br>
But the shift in consciousness that would require half of our meals to be vegetarian doesnt seem that out of reach. Its a question of reframing the conversation toward the agreement that we need to eat less meat. The more we know about effects on the environment and on human health and on rural communities, the greater an appreciation we have for why it matters. Its not that hard to imagine things changing really dramatically, really quickly.</div>
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That's an interesting thought.<br><br>
What do you think of the idea that it's much easier to get *everyone* to halve their meat consumption vs. getting *half* the population to become vegetarian?
 

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I think that halving the meat consumption is a much more reasonable goal. Vegetarians have gotten somewhat of a bad reputation, and some people don't want to see themselves as 'one of us', and people also "NEED" their meat.<br><br>
If we can at least start with cutting down on meat, it's a step in the right direction.
 

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I think it would be much easier to get a large percentage of people to reduce their consumption than it would be to even get a fraction of that amount to give it up completely. People like to feel good about their choices while being able to keep on doing the same s*** they've always done. Selling the idea to people that they can help the planet and animals by reducing their consumption is similar to the idea of driving a hybrid car. Nothing substantially changes about their lifestyle and the world is a slightly better place for their choice. Multiply that by millions people and you've got something.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>pugwrinkles</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2840949"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think that halving the meat consumption is a much more reasonable goal. Vegetarians have gotten somewhat of a bad reputation, and some people don't want to see themselves as 'one of us', and people also "NEED" their meat.<br><br>
If we can at least start with cutting down on meat, it's a step in the right direction.</div>
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<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>dividedsky</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2841459"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think it would be much easier to get a large percentage of people to reduce their consumption than it would be to even get a fraction of that amount to give it up completely. People like to feel good about their choices while being able to keep on doing the same s*** they've always done. Selling the idea to people that they can help the planet and animals by reducing their consumption is similar to the idea of driving a hybrid car. Nothing substantially changes about their lifestyle and the world is a slightly better place for their choice. Multiply that by millions people and you've got something.</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/yes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":yes:"> I agree, I think for most people who are set in their ways the idea of cutting back is a lot more realistic than going cold tofurky.<br><br>
There are plenty of people like all the members of Veggieboards who are willing to go all the way and cut out meat entirely, and I think that's fantastic and worth pushing for too. Ideally it would be great if we could encourage people to do as much as they are willing to, every little bit helps after all. I don't think an all or nothing strategy is going to be very effective for winning the majority of people over.<br><br>
Encouraging people to go vegan is best and I think that's what I'm going to spend the majority of my time on, but if people won't do that they might be willing to go vegetarian, and if they won't do that they might at least be convinced to cut back on their consumption and do Meatless Mondays and things like that. Everyone has to start somewhere after all, and cutting back could easily be the start of a journey of discovery that leads to giving the stuff up completely. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Werewolf Girl</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2841507"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Encouraging people to go vegan is best and I think that's what I'm going to spend the majority of my time on, but if people won't do that they might be willing to go vegetarian, and if they won't do that they might at least be convinced to cut back on their consumption and do Meatless Mondays and things like that. Everyone has to start somewhere after all, and cutting back could easily be the start of a journey of discovery that leads to giving the stuff up completely. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:"></div>
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I like that approach. For me, the challenge has always been to advocate in that way while at the same time remaining true to what I believe in. So, for instance, I cannot pat people on the back for reduced consumption. I just can't. I can say things like, "The less meat you consume, the better. Do the best you can." or "You're definitely doing better than you were before." but I know that everyone's best is being vegan. I might not say that, to avoid offending, but I won't pretend that reduced meat consumption is someone's best, if they should claim that is their best.<br><br>
I've always felt that it might be best, for those of us who strongly believe that animals should not be exploited / should have legally recognized rights, etc. to consistently argue for and defend those rights. I'm not convinced that a softer approach is best, although it's possible that everyone has their own style with which they'll be most successful. I'm not a politician: I can't advocate something I don't believe in, and I'm not always the best diplomat. My own strength lies in consistency and argument, logic, etc. I think. So yeah, I try to make that clear when I'm talking to people about this stuff, that I don't think ANY exploitation is acceptable, while at the same time I try to seem understanding and sympathetic.<br><br>
To tie this back to your original topic more directly, I guess for me it comes down to the question of what's best for the animals: is this shift towards reduced consumption what's going to bring us to a vegan world sooner, or will it hamper that transition? I'm not sure. It seems to me it could go either way. It's similar to the problem of welfarism: does welfarism prime people to become serious about AR, or does it comfort people who want to continue using animals, who will now do so because the animals are being treated "well"?<br><br>
Myself, I think I do best in vegan and AR advocacy, and not so much the softer approaches. But yeah, other people might be better in those areas, and I'm not going to judge people who are trying to help animals, even if their approach is different from mine.
 

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Jonathan's approach is fully in line with the approach laid out by Matt Ball's wonderful essay <a href="http://www.veganoutreach.org/advocacy/meaningfullife.html" target="_blank">A Meaningful Life</a>, an article I'd recommend any serious ethical vegan or AR activist read at least once.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">We need everyones efforts if we are going to bring about change as quickly as possible. There is much to do: we must reach and influence those who might be willing to go vegan; reach and influence those who might be willing to go vegetarian; <b>reach and influence those who wont (now) go veg, but who might eat fewer animals or stop buying meat from factory farms</b> and support all these people as they continue to learn and grow. Outreach to each of these audiences is necessary if we are to help a large and diverse society evolve to a new ethical norm. No single tactic or message will be optimally effective for everyone. This is why Vegan Outreach produces a <a href="http://www.veganoutreach.org/advocacy/resources.html" target="_blank">range of literature</a> our advocacy booklets <i>Compassionate Choices</i> (the least graphic, with friendliest cover; useful for displays, talks, tabling, leafleting), <i>Even If You Like Meat</i> (designed primarily for leafleting colleges), and <i>Why Vegan?</i> (for situations where people wont be put off by the word vegan), as well as our informative follow-up, <i><a href="http://www.veganoutreach.org/guide/" target="_blank">Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating</a></i> (with detailed nutrition information and advocacy advice). With these tools, anyone, in any situation, can be a highly effective advocate for the animals.</div>
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<div class="quote-block">Exposing what goes on in factory farms and slaughterhouses surely isn't going to persuade everyone at this time. <b>But it is far better if 95% turn away revolted and 5% open their minds to change than if all politely nod in agreement as they continue on to McDonalds for a healthy chicken salad.</b></div>
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<div class="quote-block">Even a moderate health argument doesnt hold sway over most people especially young people. But the health argument is worse than an inefficient use of our limited resources. When we recite amazing claims, the public often hears it as dishonest propaganda. This ultimately hurts animals, because most people will then dismiss all animal advocates. Those few who do try a vegetarian diet because of its purported magical properties will likely quit if they dont <i>immediately</i> lose weight, increase their energy, etc. They will then tell <i>everyone</i> how awful they felt as a vegetarian, and how much better they feel now as a meat eater. <b>Just <i>one</i> failed vegetarian can counter the efforts of many advocates.</b></div>
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<div class="quote-block">As a reaction to what goes on in factory farms and slaughterhouses, very strong feelings, such as revulsion and outrage, are understandable and entirely justified. The question, though, isnt what is warranted, but rather, what helps animals. I have known hundreds of outraged activists who insisted, Animal liberation by any means necessary! Im willing to do anything! Yet few of these people are still active, and animal liberation remains in the future.<br>
If we truly want to have a fundamental, lasting impact on the world, we must deal with our emotions in a constructive way. We need to ask ourselves:<br><ul><li>Are we willing to direct our passion, rather than have it rule us?</li>
<li>Are we willing to put the animals interests before our personal desires?</li>
<li>Are we willing to focus seriously and systematically on effective advocacy?</li>
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It is not enough to be a vegan, or even a dedicated vegan advocate. We must remember the bottom line reducing suffering and actively be the <i>opposite</i> of the vegan stereotype. <b>Just as we need everyone to look beyond the short-term satisfaction of following habits and traditions, we need to move past our sorrow and anger to optimal advocacy. We must learn how to win friends and influence people, so that we leave everyone we meet with the impression of a joyful individual leading a fulfilling and meaningful life.</b></div>
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etc. etc.<br><br>
The underlying message is the same as Jonathan's - meeting people where they are right now rather than where we'd like them to be, and pushing for achievable change in the short term rather than screaming at the top of our lungs for people to take the last step rather than consider the first.<br><br>
When I advocate for animals, I ask them to consider eating fewer chickens and eggs first - because they suffer the worst, the birds do, and die at an exponentially higher rate than any other land animal. Nine billion birds will die in factory farms in 2011 in the U.S. alone. There are few words to adequately express that horror. But a nicely constructed and well cited booklet like <i>Compassionate Choices</i> makes the case for them very plainly, costs less than ten cents per volume to print and <a href="http://www.adoptacollege.org/" target="_blank">can be easily and legally distributed by the hundreds at public college campuses by volunteers.</a>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Werewolf Girl</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2840711"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What do you think of the idea that it's much easier to get *everyone* to halve their meat consumption vs. getting *half* the population to become vegetarian?</div>
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I certainly support that approach. A lot of people have trouble thinking about incremental change in their own lives. They just think of themselves as being a certain identity, in this case "meat-eater" or "vegan." But when they're reminded that they can choose vegan some of the time without having to claim the vegan label, they're relieved and become more likely to explore vegan food.<br><br>
That said, I think there's a time and place for being a hard-liner about it. I've met so many extremely annoying flexitarians who want me to stroke their egos because they "only eat a little chicken every now and then." No, they don't get the vegan seal of approval for being less bad than someone who eats KFC everyday. They get an eye roll and sometimes they get a reminder that chicken isn't vegan.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ElaineV</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
That said, I think there's a time and place for being a hard-liner about it. I've met so many extremely annoying flexitarians who want me to stroke their egos because they "only eat a little chicken every now and then." No, they don't get the vegan seal of approval for being less bad than someone who eats KFC everyday. They get an eye roll and sometimes they get a reminder that chicken isn't vegan.</div>
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I've encountered some of those, too. You want me to clap my hands because your lifestyle harms a handful less animals than the next guy's?
 
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