What’s Wrong With The Vegan Strategist?

Many of us regard veganism as a social justice movement.

Others regard it as an environmental or health movement.

Then there are those who think of it as nothing more than a vehicle towards fame and notoriety. Or, as some would say, “vegan world domination”.

Tobias Leenaert definitely falls into the latter category.

Rebranding as the “Vegan Strategist”, the former “VeganSapioSexual” is turning ‘veganism’ into his career.

Yet, despite his claim to want a vegan world, or “Veganville” as described in his book, his actions speak louder than his words.

(For those who don’t know, the person in the image above is Brian Kateman, Tobias hero of the reducetarian movement).

Problem #1 – No one knows what it is he stands for

Actually, I don’t think he does either.

Way back in May 2016, he is quoted in an article from The Guardian as saying “I’m a vegan for animal rights reasons”.

Then he jumped into the “effective altruism” movement.

Then he became an “animal rights reducetarian”

Then, the next thing we know, he is a “reducetarian badass”.

Problem #2 – He wants to redefine veganism

While there is nothing that says the definition of veganism can’t grow and stay relevant with the times, though that isn’t what Tobias wants to do.

While he claims to want everyone to journey up the mountain to Veganville, his redefinition of veganism will allow everyone to be vegan.

passage from Tobias’ book “How To Create A Vegan World: A Pragmatic Approach”

While we all acknowledge that people may slip up every now and then on their road to Veganville, Tobias is a little different.

Translation of an article Tobias appeared in

His gotchas, otherwise known as ‘thought experiments’, are written to promote his belief that the consumption of animal products is the only answer.

Problem #3 – He is anti-vegan

For some unknown reason he has created a false dichotomy around veganism.

He claims that the term “vegan” is off putting, and that as vegans, we shouldn’t use it.

Despite labeling himself as the “vegan strategist”, he seems intent on destroying veganism

He also doesn’t understand why people consume animal products.

While it true that “people eat meat, because people eat meat”. It isn’t as simple as that.

The reason that people consume animal flesh, wear animal skins, experiment on other animals, and more is because other animals are thought of as property.

A resource to be used.

It doesn’t matter how ‘tasty’ you make plant-based food, or how ‘clean’ you make lab grown animal flesh, until other animals are no longer considered as property, there will not be a Veganville.

In closing, I would like to share with you the image below, which actually were spoken by Tobias at an animal rights conference a few years ago

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  1. Reducetarian badass. I think the term “badass” is losing all meaning.

  2. I’d love to get some source on that last quote. Can’t find the conference video.

    • Those words come at about the 2:30 mark in this clip

      From the IARC in 2015

      • Holy moly… Thanks a lot. That was just so “hilarious” of him to say that.

  3. Have you guys ever had a conversation with Tobias? Or ever tried to understand what he is trying to do while giving him the benefit of the doubt? Do you like getting the benefit of the doubt? I’m not saying you would agree, I am honestly interested in the answers to those questions when I read an article like this.

    • Hey there,
      Yes I have had a number of conversations with Tobias.

      Unfortunately, I was one of the ones that he tested his “strategies” on.

      During those conversations, myself and other vegans, (I think they are called ethical vegans now), were ridiculed, called “crazy”, “dogmatic”, “purists”, and even the “vegan police”.

      Poor Tobias got more than a little upset when I told him that I took the name “vegan police” for this blog to stop people like him bullying others into silence, and that it had no effect on me. (It wasn’t long after that that he blocked me on facebook).

      If we didn’t play his gotchas exactly by his rules and his parameters, we didn’t understand what the gotcha was about.

      Tobias likes to misrepresent things to his own benefit, as he has done when referencing the ‘strip club’ analogy of mine some time ago.

      What else is there to understand?

      Tobias is a utilitarian/effective altruist, and as such is not able to present other animals as property. Yet his book tells us that all we need to do to get to veganville is redefine veganism and wait for the ‘reducers’ to tip things in our favour.

      Have I missed anything?

      • I would like to figure out why you have such a different experience with Tobias as I’ve had. I don’t want to discredit your experience in any way, because I believe that is genuinely how you felt it. I’m fascinated every time when I see people that I feel don’t differ much in opinion go at it like that and fight instead of cooperate. And I’m not pointing fingers or casting blame or anything. I observe and wonder.

        Have I got it right when I think you believe Tobias doesn’t want people to be vegan for ethical reasons? Or he doesn’t want people being as meticulous as possible when it comes to being vegan? Do you think Tobias has no (or not enough?) respect for people that are ethical vegans?
        What do you mean by “his own benefit” when he “misrepresents things”? What is he trying to achieve according to you? Is he in it for fame?

        I’m really interested to have your take on all this.

        Thanks a lot for enabling me to comment. Sincerely.

        • Hi Pieter,
          Glad you came back to comment.

          Tobias misrepresents people’s objections to his gotchas on the ground that the person is “dogmatic” or a “purist”, yet fails to accept or acknowledge that they way he has framed them wouldn’t work in the real world, and he has created them to push his own agenda.

          Tobias’ view is, if you are vegan for ethical reasons, you are following some sort of ancient dogma. And, that if you follow your ethics and avoid drinking wine with isinglass, or certain breads you are being too rigid and off putting.

          He has admitted that he isn’t concerned about checking the ingredients in wine, bread, and a few other items as they are “grey areas”.

          Remember, he wants to change veganism to be all about “frequency” and “intent”.

          And finally, yes I do think he is doing this for the fame.

    • Is that the best that you can do?

What are your thoughts?