Posted as part of VeganMoFo (The Vegan Month of Food) 2014
When vegans are involved, things get a little tricky – for all of us. For non-vegans, that often looks like defensiveness or hostility due to the perception that vegans are telling them their food choices are unethical or wrong. For vegans, it often looks like self-righteousness and snobbery. So, I’m using the Vegan Month of Food – a month during which vegan blogs are celebrated and aggregated in one place – to teach non-vegans and vegans how to be nice to each other. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t say anything vegan, don’t say anything at all.”
“MEAT IS MURDER.”
Vegans and vegetarians, please stop saying this. Morrissey, you do whatever you want.
Listen, I’m not arguing that it’s untrue, but saying, “Meat is murder,” to someone who eats meat is, plainly stated, upsetting. It’s upsetting to meat eaters, because you’re expressly stating that they participate in murder, which not everyone reacts nicely to. It’s also upsetting to me, a vegan whose interest is in effective advocacy, as opposed to just being right about something (I am right about it, but that’s not the goal per se). If you’re looking to engage with people and get them to take steps in the right direction (toward veganism, duh), then you can’t accuse them of murder. And this isn’t just my opinion (although if it were, you should just trust it because, as stated previously, I am right); there are studies that show the ineffectiveness of being adversarial towards people you’re hoping to influence. So be nice. Call it murder at vegan potlucks, but put a pin in the accusatory language when you go out into the world, okay?
What are some alternatives?
- “Animal farming is cruel, and the industry is trying to hide it from us.” In other words, we’re on the same team, pal. Let’s fight this together.
- “We don’t need to kill animals for food; in fact, it’s killing us and harming the planet and animals. So, let’s not do it.”
- “Transitioning to veganism is a big step, and I want to be a trusted resource to you while you take steps in that direction, friend.”
- Don’t say anything at all.