It is becoming painfully obvious that the ‘vegan message’ is stagnating and needs to adopt a new approach to get the message heard,
As painful as it may be for some to hear, I do not believe that we can continue to wheel out the banners and big band ensemble to promote the old faithful message of animal cruelty as the primary justification for adopting a vegan lifestyle.
Unless the recipients of the message have actually made the connection and decided within themselves that animals should not be used regardless, the fanfare attached to it can easily be muted by industry developing a less cruel practice to allay the public’s concerns of mistreatment.
As they have already done, and will probably continue to do.
Using the reason that it is easier to appeal to their compassionate side if they are exposed to the cruelty involved in animal agriculture, and then in turn go vegan, would not be the safest assumption to make.
If this were indeed true, there would be no long term ‘compassionate’ vegetarians. Most vegetarians, once they have gone vegan, say that they were not aware of the way that other animals are used, and if they did, they would have made the choice sooner.
Remember, this is a group of people who have made the decision to forgo the consumption of non-human animal flesh on the grounds of compassion and caring.
By the same token, I do not believe that the abolitionist approach to veganism is actually any better either.
Whilst I do agree with the theory, in principle, that non-human animals shouldn’t be treated as property, etc. it is the actual delivery of it that leaves a lot to be desired.
The Southern Hemisphere purveyors of this ideal, have the expectation of blind allegiance to it upon its first reading.
Failure to do so will result in being indelibly branded with their derogatory catchcry, “new welfarist”.
Questioning any part of this sacred text outside of narrowly defined parameters will have you expelled from one of the online groups or forums.
Whether it is ironic, hypocritical, or shows a complete lack of understanding, this group espouses the belief that veganism is non-violence, without actually defining what violence is. Some have the belief that harsh speech can be classed as an act of violence. And it is these same individuals who are demanding that the soon to be formed Vegan Australia, cease and desist from the use of the word vegan in its title, because one of the organisers is not kowtowing to their demands of locations for meetings.
Don’t get me wrong here, I am still all for the cessation of the use of non-human animals, and will continue to promote that, believing that that is the only acceptable position to take, both morally and ethically.
Using my own experience as an example, having originally Gone Vegan for health and semi ethical reasons, I was still a hunter and did not find that in conflict with veganism.
It could easily be said that I had adopted the utilitarian approach to veganism and hunting. In the way that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. And up until I had my epiphany, this was the reasoning that I followed. Whilst I was killing a sentient being that had as much right to live as I did, I wasn’t consuming their flesh giving it to others to consume, their death would ensure the continual sustainability of the species.
When I made the decision myself to look into veganism, through the book that I was reading, and not via a flyer, leaflet, handout, etc, if I had have been shown the animal rights message there is probably a high possibility that I would have resisted it, and probably the decision to go vegan too.
The more you highlight or tell people there are things that they shouldn’t do, the more they will do it. For example, how many people will see a “wet paint, do not touch” sign and actually touch the paint?
Animal agriculture is thriving because they continually reinvent themselves, developing new ways to market their product, or creating new ones.
McDonalds has a new lamb burger, following on from their Angus Burger, which was also a new item. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if in the next year or two we see a Wagyu beef burger on the drive through menu.
We, collectively, need to make veganism attractive to other people. So attractive that they will seek out the message, regardless of what their peers or society says.
As I have said before in other pieces, maybe the movement needs to adopt the adult approach to marketing. Pornography and prostitution, in areas where it is legal, is rarely advertised or promoted in full view of the public, yet it is still around.
The question now being, how do we make veganism attractive and exciting to the wider community that they will actively seek out the message?