I Have A Question, And A Message

Feeling a tad inspired after watching the Dr Who episode, A Good Man Goes To War, I thought I would borrow that line and use it for the title of this post, as it is going to be a little different from the ones I usually write.

Instead of going off in what could be called a bit of a rant, I’m going to get off my soapbox and ask some questions instead.

If you would like to answer them, please leave a comment at the end of this post.

  1. Would you like to see an end to animal use?
  2. Are you willing to do what ever it takes, legally and within reason, to achieve that goal?
  3. Do you believe that going vegan is the best thing that consumers can do to end animal use?
  4. You only have 10 minutes to talk to someone. Will you talk to them about happy meat or veganism?
  5. Are you willing to compromise your own values for a few fleeting minutes of self-gratification?
  6. If you believe that incremental reform/regulation is one more step to ending animal use, how many more steps are needed before that goal is achieved?
  7. What is incremental reform/regulation going to do for those animals that are in the feedlot today, Tuesday 23 Oct 2012, and those who will be transported in tomorrow, or even this time next week?
  8. Does the group you are in have defined goals, or do they make it up as they go along?
  9. Is the message you send to people acceptable for the animals (veganism) or the consumer (incremental change)?
  10. Does the group you are in promote veganism as its only message, or does the message vary depending on the campaign?
  11. Does your answer above contradict your answers to questions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5?

That’s the end of the questions, and in case you were wondering what the message was, it is that veganism is the only message.

5 thoughts on “I Have A Question, And A Message”

  1. You claim that “veganism is the only message”, therefore, I have a question for you. If you had 10 minutes to speak with me, and I rejected your message, absolutely, would you continue speaking with me about veganism (knowing you will only be pushing me further away from veganism, and any other message I am likely to hear in the future about living vegan) or would you change your approach and begin speaking with me about taking steps toward the end goal of veganism, and meet me where I am in my willingness to consider such changes to my life?

    • That is an interesting question Matthew, and thank you for asking it.

      Though before I can answer it, I would like to know for what reasons you would reject veganism, and what caused us to have that discussion it the first place?

  2. I really don’t understand Matthew’s position. To borrow from media sociology, we could look at this issue in terms of transmitting and receiving (encoding a message and decoding a message). It seems to me that Cameron is transmitting his “go/live vegan” message, which is in line with Donald Watson’s notion of “ripening” people to new ideas, which is a position he would defend as the best in terms of human-nonhuman relations. However, Matthew is free to decode the message any way he wants, and can “hear” “be vegetarian” instead, or “reduce your meat and dairy consumption,” or even “do nothing.”

    If Cameron had said that he thinks people should reduce their meat and dairy consumption and consider vegetarianism as a way of helping other animals, not only would he be less than honest (politician-like) but also Matthew would have likely responded, “Ah, but I know that ultimately you want a vegan world, that’s your hidden agenda, so why should I listen to you.”

  3. Cameron,

    I use different email addresses to avoid spam, I thought the one I’m using here was funny, not antagonistic. I apologise if it’s inappropriate.

    I don’t understand Roger’s position. If I reject veganism absolutely, I don’t know why I’d be more inclined not to reject it absolutely just because you keep on telling me to go vegan. I’m not a robot you can programme. I don’t know what “ripening up” means, but I don’t think it means saying the same thing over and over again to the people who disagree with you, just to wear them down, does it? If so, that’s a terrible idea, no matter who thought of it. Besides, if I’m free to decode Cameron’s messages in any way I choose, then nothing would stop me from decoding a message about making small changes as one that would mean I should become vegan. Doesn’t that make sense? Maybe it’s easier for me to decode a message that doesn’t tell me what I should do. Maybe it’s easier for me to figure things out for myself once someone gives me a little push in the right direction. Like I said, I’m not a robot.

    Anyway, I wondered about who Donald Watson was, and found out that he was a carpenter who taught woodworking all his life, except when he got older and started giving nature tours. I don’t know if being a woodworking teacher and a tour guide makes someone an expert on human psychology, but I guess anything is possible! I found an interview he gave to someone including this quote from him that sounds like he agrees with me, a little bit anyway:

    GDR: Do you have any message for vegetarians?

    DW: To vegetarians, I would say, accept, as, if you’re honest you must, that vegetarianism, whilst being a necessary stepping-stone, between meat eating and veganism, is only a stepping stone. We all use this stepping stone, I’ve not met a vegan who didn’t approach the movement by that route. There may be vegans I’ve never known, over the last sixty years, who made the change all in one leap, but I’m sure that, being a realist, I accept that vegetarianism is a necessary staging-post in the evolution of humane dietetics. All my early work was in the vegetarian movement. I ran the Leicester Vegetarian Society for many years. I organised their monthly meetings. I met virtually all the speakers at that time, who were anybody in the movement. I got a unique insight into what was then considered as far as anyone might be expected to go towards a plant-based diet, but, of course, we’ve now moved on from there and vegetarians must realise that, although they might find it inconvenient at times, to go the whole way, that is .the path that our experience shows that they must go.



What are your thoughts?