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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Although I have been a big supporter of Vegan Outreach for a long time, I have occasionally disagreed with them. And now, I think that they have just written absolute dumbest, and most horrible piece of advice anyone can possibly give in veg*n advocacy.<br><br>
The article which I am so upset at can be found in the link at:<br><br><a href="http://whyveganoutreach.blogspot.com/2011/03/question-thursday-right-wrong-and-real.html" target="_blank">http://whyveganoutreach.blogspot.com...-and-real.html</a><br><br>
Also, I have been recently debating Joe Espinosa about this issue on VO's Facebook page at<br><br><a href="http://www.facebook.com/veganoutreach#!/veganoutreach/posts/160400137350277" target="_blank">http://www.facebook.com/veganoutreac...60400137350277</a><br><br>
If you want to read through this debate, please be sure to click on "See More" at the bottom of each post, since otherwise only the first few lines of each message appear.<br><br>
-Eugene
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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It wont let me open either links <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":(">
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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Okay, finally got to the article. The point of the article is very poorly defined and hard to follow. Over all, the article is very badly written =/<br><br>
Someone who is involved in outreach, should learn how to better explain their thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>River</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2854208"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It wont let me open either links <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("></div>
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I edited my post to fix the links.<br><br>
Sorry about that.<br><br>
Thanks.
 

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What's not to agree with in the following statement?<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><span style="color:#000000;">The only people in a position to save animals in the future are people currently eating meat. So the question isn’t if we vegans think something is “right” or “wrong.”</span><br><br><br><div style="text-align:center;"><a href="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-blW-muudfuo/S9XtjetkGjI/AAAAAAAAADs/4jLc8PznQIw/s1600/pigs.jpg" target="_blank"><br></a></div>
<span style="color:#000000;">The only question is: <b>What can we do / say that will lead <a href="http://www.veganoutreach.org/enewsletter/20070627.html" target="_blank">as many meat eaters as possible</a> to start making positive changes for the animals</b></span></div>
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That seems pretty spot on to me. People who stop eating meat, especially at a young age, will likely spare as many as 2000 or more animals from being bred into a short, brutal life of extreme confinement and an ultimate fate of meeting the butcher's knife. This article is promoting effective outreach by distributing booklets to college-aged students and other good audiences for progressive social change.<br><br>
I was under the impression this was work Eugene supports. What part is it that you and Joe disagree on?<br></span>
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
<span style="font-family:Arial;"><span style="font-size:small;">I disagree with the proposition that we should never tell people that we believe that it is wrong to eat meat, even when we are specifically asked about this question.</span></span>
 

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I think that telling people straight out that it is wrong to eat meat (even thought it totally is) makes them defensive and less likely to listen to our point of view. You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. I can see where you are coming from, and there are times when I just want to scream at omnis and call them murderers, but I don't think that doing so would help the animals very much. And that is the whole point, isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No one is advocating screaming at people or calling them murderers. This is a false dichotomy, between being rude and insulting on the one hand, and never being open and honest about what we believe on the other. These are not the only two options. I think the second link I provided above, regarding my debate with Joe, summarizes this nicely.
 

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I didn't say that they were the only options.<br><br>
If someone <i>asks</i> me whether or not I think that eating animals is wrong, I will say yes. But I'm not about to go telling people who eat meat that doing so is wrong because I believe that doing so is counterproductive. Especially when dealing with people who do not believe in moral absolutes and/or the concepts of "right" and "wrong".
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sequoia</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2854273"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think that telling people straight out that it is wrong to eat meat (even thought it totally is) makes them defensive and less likely to listen to our point of view. You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. I can see where you are coming from, and there are times when I just want to scream at omnis and call them murderers, but I don't think that doing so would help the animals very much. And that is the whole point, isn't it?</div>
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Yep. telling people it's wrong when they haven't asked you for your opinion, is usually a guaranteed way to screw up a vegan advocacy opportunity.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sequoia</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2854273"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I think that telling people straight out that it is wrong to eat meat (even thought it totally is) makes them defensive and less likely to listen to our point of view. You <b>attract more flies with honey</b> than with vinegar.</div>
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(Emphasis added.)<br><br>
Attracting flies with <b>honey</b> is not vegan. I am shocked--shocked!--that you would suggest such a thing.
 

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The purpose of the AR movement is not just to present information about the conditions animals are living in, but also to present a moral message, to challenge prevalent values, to present a new way of seeing animals. Focusing exclusively on the conditions of animals (on factory farms) seems weird to me, because surely the exploitation of animals extends beyond the factory farm situation. If all that you have ever said to a person is that the living conditions on factory farms are bad, then you have given that person no moral motivation not to exploit, hurt, injure, abuse, slaughter animals in other ways.<br><br>
Really, whenever someone talks exclusively about factory farming (and I might have been guilty of this myself a few times), I think that can be interpreted as saying "support family farmers who lovingly caress the animals whose throats they're slitting" or "wait until the legislators implement welfare reform before you treat animals as commodities again".
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>stasher</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2854307"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Yep. telling people it's wrong when they haven't asked you for your opinion, is usually a guaranteed way to screw up a vegan advocacy opportunity.</div>
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As I mentioned in my debate with Joe, I sure am glad the Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi were willing to tell people that they were morally wrong, even though no one asked them their opinion.<br><br>
Also, I would point out that the article recommends that we don't tell people we think it is wrong to eat meat, even when we ARE asked for our opinion.<br><br>
The impression I get is that a number of activists have no clue about how to have a calm and civil discussion about the issue, hence they believe that this is not possible for anyone, and they therefore recommend that no one should ever talk about it at all under any conditions.
 

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I sympathise with you there Eugene. I would never, ever say, 'it is wrong to eat meat' to someone though. 'Meat' is a horrible term that delocates the animal-as-subject. If someone asked me if I thought it were wrong to eat meat I would say that, 'I think it is wrong to eat other creatures' or something to that effect. I wouldn't dwell on it or use it as a backbone to a leafleting agenda though, because it does make people defensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Kappa</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2854372"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
it does make people defensive.</div>
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It depends on how it is done. There are ways to express our true beliefs without making people defensive.
 

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Eugene, I've seen a lot of positive feedback on your videos, and of people you've leafleted before through the Adopt A College program, but at the same time I've seen just as much positive feedback and appreciation for people like Joseph and Jon who have switched to the "Even If" leaflets - people who specifically said they appreciate that VO isn't using an "all or nothing" approach.<br><br>
Don't you think if you can convince a person to reduce their meat consumption instead of illustrating the argument as vegan or nothing that you'd have a greater potential to spare animal suffering? I know you personally tell people they don't have to go all the way, but having thoroughly read and compared all the different leaflets this organization uses, and putting myself in the shoes of a skeptical person, I think I'd personally feel less threatened by the incremental booklets than the one that says "Why Vegan?" on the cover.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Eugene</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2854345"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
Also, I would point out that the article recommends that we don't tell people we think it is wrong to eat meat, even when we ARE asked for our opinion.<br><br><br></div>
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Would you mind quoting the bit where it actually says that, because the article I read doesn't mention anything about people asking us for our opinion first. It just recommends not telling them that eating meat is wrong because that attitude is stupid and harmful to animals as it doesn't get a good reaction.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">The impression I get is that a number of activists have no clue about how to have a calm and civil discussion about the issue, hence they believe that this is not possible for anyone, and they therefore recommend that no one should ever talk about it at all under any conditions.</div>
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where did you get the idea that not telling people it's wrong to eat meat is also a recommendation to never talk about it ever?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Josh James xVx</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2854406"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Don't you think if you can convince a person to reduce their meat consumption instead of illustrating the argument as vegan or nothing that you'd have a greater potential to spare animal suffering? I know you personally tell people they don't have to go all the way, but having thoroughly read and compared all the different leaflets this organization uses, and putting myself in the shoes of a skeptical person, I think I'd personally feel less threatened by the incremental booklets than the one that says "Why Vegan?" on the cover.</div>
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It's quite self-evident that someone feels "less threatened by" a moral message that requires less of them -- after all, it's easier to do less than more. By this standard, the best moral message would be one that says "I think you should replace a steak with cauliflower every 4 years". Someone could come along and say that the "eat less meat" message you're promoting is too radical and the once-in-a-4-years message is far superior because it's more easier for your audience to accept. But obviously, we don't just want to passively reflect people's convenience level, we want to actually provoke them to make significantly different choices, to shape their actions.<br><br>
Animals suffer on dairy farms and egg-laying facilities too, and when they're taken from water and killed, and when there's mulesing and so on. It is only by presenting a consistent ethical worldview, and increasing its popularity, that we can address all those problems at the same time, and most importantly, in a lasting way.<br><br>
Strike at the root, don't clip the petals.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2854414"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It's quite self-evident that someone feels "less threatened by" a moral message that requires less of them -- after all, it's easier to do less than more. By this standard, the best moral message would be one that says "I think you should replace a steak with cauliflower every 4 years". Someone could come along and say that the "eat less meat" message you're promoting is too radical and the once-in-a-4-years message is far superior because it's more easier for your audience to accept. But obviously, we don't just want to passively reflect people's convenience level, we want to actually provoke them to make significantly different choices, to shape their actions.<br><br>
Animals suffer on dairy farms and egg-laying facilities too, and when they're taken from water and killed, and when there's mulesing and so on. It is only by presenting a consistent ethical worldview, and increasing its popularity, that we can address all those problems at the same time, and most importantly, in a lasting way.<br><br>
Strike at the root, don't clip the petals.</div>
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Nick Cooney <a href="http://whyveganoutreach.blogspot.com/2011/03/nick-cooney-q3-personal-views-vs-real.html" target="_blank">addressed this pretty well</a> last week.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Leaving that internal contradiction aside, psychology and sociology research from the past fifty years makes clear that having flexibility in our advocacy - as opposed to taking a "vegan or nothing" approach - will make us more effective. For example, <b>the research is very clear that if we want people to make a large change, we'll usually be more successful by first getting them to agree to a smaller change and then later encouraging them to make the larger change</b>. This is called getting our "foot in the door," and a meta-analysis of over 900 studies found that by getting our foot in the door first with a smaller request, we'll be overall about 15% more effective at getting people to agree to our larger goal, such as going vegan.<br><br>
Communication researchers have also widely studied what they call "message discrepancy," which is how different a speaker's message is from the audience's current belief. Researchers are interested in finding out which message will create the most attitude and behavior change in an audience: a message that is only slightly different than the audience's current belief, a message that is moderately different than their current belief, or a message that is extremely different than their current belief. <b>In a nutshell, it is the moderately different messages that researchers have found create the most attitude and behavior change. Suggestions like "have a meatless meal once a week" might be too minimal, and encouragements like "you should go vegan" are too different from what the general public currently does to create a lot of behavior change. A message somewhere in the middle of these should be more effective, create more change in people's diets, and thereby help more farmed animals</b></div>
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This is based on findings in psychological research, not just opinions from some activists. Nick has really done a ton of research and compiled a wonderful book about human psychology as it relates to activism of any stripe.<br><br>
My concern as an animal activist isn't to sell a particular label or ideology but to reduce suffering tangibly - to convince more people to give less money to animal agribusiness. Wouldn't I want to propose a message that actually motivates them to make changes rather than rigidly adhering to some sort of intangible moral baseline?
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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I had a friend once who I no longer speak to (for other reasons) who said "It isn't realistic for modern culture to stop eating meat." "You are wrong. It is very realistic for everyone to stop eating meat, because it is wrong."<br><br>
Sometimes, pointing out that it is WRONG makes them get slapped in the face with the fact that it IS.
 
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