There is something missing from the vegan movement.
Something so obvious, yet it’s not spoken about.
Something that if it was spoken about and acknowledged, has the potential to turn veganism on its ear.
Before I talk about that, I want you to think for a moment about the job that you do.
How did you get it?
Some of the people reading this may have gone to Uni for a number of years and obtained a formal qualification in a particular field. Then once you had the degree(s) in your hand, you set off out into the world to look for employment in that field. This was usually an entry level role which would allow you to work yourself up the hierarchical ladder.
Or, if you were like me, you went out and did an apprenticeship for four years, learning the finer points of your trade under the tutelage of teachers and qualified tradesmen. Then at the end of the apprenticeship you are deemed competent enough to mentor new apprentices.
Now compare this to veganism and the movement in general.
You may have initially found out about it by reading a pamphlet or looking at some information on a website.
Once you made the decision to go vegan, and fully embraced it, you think it will be easy to convince people that veganism is the way to go. You head off with your passion for it and the animals riding high.
Then you are faced with your first objection, and the line “The world won’t go vegan overnight”, and everything crumbles.
You start to doubt yourself, and your own ability to tell the world about veganism.
You then become convinced that because the world won’t go vegan overnight that you need to sell out on your own beliefs and promote incremental reform as stepping stones.
Now cast your mind back to a really big risk you took where you didn’t really have much experience. I’m not talking about some business venture or anything like that, I am talking about riding a bike.
Can you remember the joy you felt when you got your first bike? There you are, stepping up in the world, moving away from the tricycles that little kids ride. Sure this bike has four wheels instead of three, though two of them will be coming off soon.
You spend sometime riding your new bike around to get used to the feel of it and how things work. Then the big day comes where the training wheels are taken off, and you get to ride on two wheels.
The big ride starts with an adult holding on to the seat helping you get balance, and depending on how fit they are, running along side of you until your confidence builds up that you can do it on your own.
The next thing you know you have hear a few encouraging words in the distance and quickly realise that you are riding a bike on two wheels.
What happens next? Well if you had an experience anything like mine, you went crashing into a neighbors fence and skinned a few knuckles. Or maybe you just simply stopped and fell over. At which point those who were there with you to watch your first ride usually all came over to you to see if you are ok. If you were crying maybe they gave you a bit of a cuddle and told you everything was ok. Then they told you how much of a great job you had done, and made a point of showing you how far you had gone, and the next time you will be able to go further again.
[GARD]I’d be willing to bet that they didn’t pat you on the head and say to you that it’s ok, they didn’t expect you to be able to ride a bike overnight. Then telling you that what they would do now was take one training wheel off for a while until you get used to it. Then after a few days/weeks of riding like that the next step would be to ride without the training wheels, though only for 5-10 metres. At which pint the training wheels would go back on for another 10-15 metres. Because taking baby steps is the only way you will ever get to ride a bike.
I highly doubt that you would have presented the above option to your parents either. Your goal was to ride a bike, and you were going to keep trying that until you got there.
So why have we given up so easily when it comes to promoting veganism?
This brings me back to the title of this article.
The “elephant” in the room is that whilst we know our own reasons for going vegan, and why other people should go vegan, we don’t really know how to sell it to people.
And this is what we are doing every time we talk to someone about veganism.
If you are vegan and tying to sell people on the idea that happy meat is the way to go, then you are selling them a product you don’t believe in yourself. If you did, you would be eating happy meat yourself instead of being vegan.
If you believe in veganism start selling that to people, rather than trying to convince them that happy meat and incremental change is the way to stop animal use.
You at least owe that much to yourself and to the animals.