The Paradox Of Vegan Education

par·a·dox

noun \ˈper-ə-ˌdäks, ˈpa-rə-\
Definition of PARADOX
1 : a tenet contrary to received opinion
2 a : a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true
b : a self-contradictory statement that at first seems true
c : an argument that apparently derives self-contradictory conclusions by valid deduction from acceptable premises

One of the strangely amusing, paradoxical, and possibly ironic things about the vegan movement is there assertion made by a few that vegan education doesn’t work.

The irony comes from the fact that these claims are usually made by vegans themselves. Usually as justification for promoting a different agenda, failing to see that the fact that that they are vegan themselves is proof that it does work.

If vegan education didn’t work, would the likes of Bill Clinton, Venus Williams, or even yourself have gone vegan?

What Is Vegan Education?

The short answer is anything that exposes the observer to the word vegan or term veganism.

Continuing down the exposure path, vegan education can be anything from a tattoo, to a bracelet, or even the clothes that you are wearing, anything that creates an exposure to veganism.

The idea isn’t to find a way to sit down with someone and have a full on discussion with them about veganism. It is just to put the word vegan out there. If that ‘exposure’ then leads into a discussion about veganism all well and good. If not, it just means that it may fall on the next person, or the next person after that.

Shying away from using the word vegan when describing something isn’t doing vegan education or the animals any favours.

Describing some vegan cupcakes or a vegan cake you have made as cruelty free can mean different things to different people. Eggs sourced from an intensive factory farm could be seen as cruel, whereas eggs sourced from a free range factory farm may not be. Cattle killed via kosher or halal means could be seen as cruel whereas captive bolt slaughter isn’t.

It’s time to call a spade a spade and let people know that if something is vegan that it is vegan, not some other warm and fuzzy term thought up so as not to upset the poor sensitive necrovorous consumers out there.

Before someone jumps up and says that we have to be careful about how we talk to others about veganism, lest we turn them away forever, I call merda tauri!

Come on, really?

If someone is going to be turned off the vegan message forever, because of something someone said, or how it was approached, then that has more to do with the individual themselves rather than the one talking about veganism.

What can you do?

For starters, don’t be afraid of saying or using the word vegan when describing something if it is indeed vegan, or unsuitable if its not.

You could wear some sort of vegan message tshirt on weekends or where you are able to.

You could even start your own blog to talk about veganism, and that won’t cost you anything apart from a little bit of time thinking of things to write. There are a number of sites that offer free hosting if you don’t want to go down the route of hosting one yourself.

As you can see vegan education isn’t as scary or daunting as some would make it out to be, nor is it ineffective.

I’m still to have show me we can get people to go vegan without actually talking about veganism, so of until that happens, I will still believe that vegan education is the most effective thing to a) create new vegans and b) reduce the demand for animal produts.

What are you waiting for, let’s all jump on the vegan education bandwagon and get this revolution happening!

1 thought on “The Paradox Of Vegan Education”

  1. Hi Cam! You start your essay with this:

    “One of the strangely amusing, paradoxical, and possibly ironic things about the vegan movement is there assertion made by a few that vegan education doesn’t work.”

    I wonder how those who you say claim that vegan education doesn’t work would define “vegan education”. I’ve never heard an argument for that myself, other than the occasional statement from those who don’t understand “vegan education”. As you noted in the blog post, vegan education can be anything from wearing a shirt, to a peaceful protest, to an open rescue, to speaking with someone on the phone or in Skype to, well, just about anything that educates others on veganism.

    You also said:

    “If someone is going to be turned off the vegan message forever, because of something someone said, or how it was approached, then that has more to do with the individual themselves rather than the one talking about veganism.”

    I strongly disagree with you on this. There has been quite a lot of research into this by social psychologist Melanie Joy (who is also a professor of psychology and sociology), Nick Cooney and many others, that provides data that non-vegans are regularly turned off, sometimes forever, by the words we use and the ways that we might approach them.

    I believe people can easily be turned off any message that they are reluctant to accept, or even hear, quite easily, and the ways in which we approach non-vegans, if we wish to make real differences, is very important. Nick Cooney’s “foot in the door” theory is a good example of how many vegans became vegan, and an approach we should be giving serious consideration to. I urge you to listen to Nick’s recent ARZone podcast, in which he speaks at length about this. [http://arzone.ning.com/forum/topics/arzone-podcast-48-nick-cooney-change-of-heart]

    In ARZone we have interviewed around 150 advocates, and other than one person I can think of, every one of those advocates became vegan gradually, including the ARZone admins. I’ve always found it curious that vegans assume that the ways in which they became vegan themselves are an unacceptable or impoverished way to expect others to become vegan.

    If a non-vegan is turned off veganism forever because of something a vegan advocate said, and it’s that non-vegan who should be the focus of our advocacy, not how we feel about advocating ourselves, surely that in itself is reason enough to consider changing the way in which we advocate?

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What are your thoughts?