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Is anyone else kind of getting tired of vegans?


robert
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Hey all y'all...many in this thread already know me, howdy to the rest. =)

 

Thought i'd pop in here (i'm a regular over at VeganFitness.net) and see what was going on, and found this thread to be of particular interest..hope you don't mind me jumping in!

I feel that the goal of the vegan movement is to create more vegans. That is as basic as it gets.

I'm not sure if this is the case....and honestly, this sounds more like the basic goal of a cult, than a worthwhile social justice movement.

 

For me, veganism's basic goal is to work towards the end the exploitation of animals (including humans.) This, at least, is how Donald Watson expressed it when he coined the term 'vegan' back in 1944, something like:

"The word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

I'd argue that *this* is the basic goal of veganism... Getting people to think about this, and act on it, is important as well, but that's not the purpose or goal of veganism...whaddya think Rob?

 

Secondly, i think it's important in communication that people are on the same page when talking about something, like veganism. Watson, i feel, spelled it out very clearly. Other groups, however, seem to have the idea that they can define veganism however they like.

 

Vegan Outreach, as an example, in their Why Vegan? booklets clearly state: "Being vegan isn’t about being perfect or pure—it’s about reducing suffering." (Pg14)

 

It's interesting to note that the definition provided by the founder of veganism, and the Vegan Society of the UK, which he founded to promote this idea, says *nothing* about suffering. Yet this is the message that a group that calls themselves Vegan Outreach choses to present....(and is an interesting topic of discussion, which doesn't necessarily fit here.)

 

There are still arguments about things like honey - is it vegan? (The "Vegan MD" Michael Gregor was trying to make a case to 'allow' honey so that veganism could be considered 'more accessible'...hopefully he's given up this foolishness.)

 

Leather and silk, and other animal products seem to be tolerated, confusing the message.

 

Veganism is often reduced to a 'diet'. It's more accurately described as a 'lifestyle' many times...but above, i think it's most accurately defined as a *philosophy*. It's an outlook, or perspective. Not unlike feminism or anti-racism. (Anti-speciesism, for those who've looked into the subject a bit more.)

 

If this were 200 years ago, those of us that chose to boycott the use of human slaves, and the things they were forced to produce, i'm doubtful we'd allow for our actions to be defined as a "lifestyle". The opposition to racism is much bigger and more holistic than that, and much more important. It would clearly be a philosophy.

 

So why is the opposition of non-human slaves not recognized this way? (Well, i'd blame groups like PETA and Vegan Outreach, but that's me.

 

The point i'm trying to make is that we all need to begin by being on the same page. What exactly *is* veganism? Once that is understood and agreed upon, we can move forward. I think a lot of the problems we find in the movement is that so many are defining it in so many ways...and sadly, i think it most often results in the reduced significance of the term.

 

Watson was first and foremost a peace activist, and viewed veganism as being a part of the social justice movement. I think that is truly revolutionary and inspiring, and i think veganism fits perfectly with the ideas of peace and respect, and social justice.

 

This is rarely presented, from what i see, but fundamentally important in our activism... Thoughts?

 

Good post sir.

 

You are a wise man.

 

Someone recently asked me to explain my "cult" statement. I was just joking and probably could have removed it. It was based on a comment my father (Peter Cheeke, quoted 3 times in Why Vegan pamphlets by Vegan Outreach) made about veganism saying that it was "cult-like" and since I run a community and have a following, that I was a cult-leader of sorts.

 

But then davidtarrfoster informed me that inside jokes are only understood by people who know the joke. Which is why I didn't last very long in stand-up comedy.

 

Anyway, ignore the cult stuff, that was just how my Dad saw the movement and while sitting with him we causually joked that I would be a cult leader of sorts.

 

In all honesty, I don't even know much about cults, or even what they are, it was just a word I was using, so I'll choose words more wisely next time.

 

Back to the theme of my post:

 

I was just getting tired of vegans being so judgemental of other people (mainly other vegans, was my concern) to the point that it was turning people off from veganism. I know that because I get told that on a regular basis. X person who is vegan turns me off from the vegan lifestyle and I don't really want to live that way if that is what a vegan is like.

 

That kind of thing.

 

So that is why the post started. I was just really getting annoyed by all the labeling, judging, etc. going on that in my opinion, was hurtful for the vegan movement.

 

Noisy,

 

I'm glad you posted the Watson comments. I had been referring to "what veganism was founded on, the principles and ethics behind it" but never shared the statements.

 

Anyway, good post.

 

I just wish most vegans would keep the big picture in mind and try not to turn people off from this lifesyle and movement. That's all.

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I always thought religion was a lifestyle choice too. Really there isn't that much separating vegans from religious people. Not all religions have a god or something to really worship. Some are mostly philosophy which is why I have a hard time even saying veganism isn't a religion. In some ways I feel that if you think Buddhism is a religion then veganism is also.

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I always thought religion was a lifestyle choice too. Really there isn't that much separating vegans from religious people..

 

Yes there is and it is called "fact".

 

Religion is based on faith. Faith is accepting a belief as true in the absence of sufficient evidence, fact.

 

In regards to veganism, facts are just a car ride away. To a factory farm to see the cruelty in living color. To a library to find mountains of evidence for the health and environmental costs. Facts.

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Some things are perceived facts...some don't see religion as faith.

 

Thing is some people can go and see all that stuff happen and they think the fact that animals aren't as smart as humans means that they don't perceive that pain the way humans would anyhow. Its all relative.

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I was just expressing some of my concerns about the future of the movement, but I don't have much else to say, so I'll stop.

 

But I did feel the need to say some things. No offense was intended and it wasn't directed toward people here, but just some thoughts as I saw things on a global level within this movement.

 

That's all.

 

Some good cooperation has been going on in Portland lately as a result of some of the issues I brought up so I'm excited to see that happening.

 

But I'm done now.

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Well, one thing all cults have incommon is the fact they deny they are a cult. By saying veganism is a cult you are proving it's not a cult.

 

A cult/religion is a group of people having the same beliefs/leader(s)/god(s). They always have sacred places.

Vegans don't have any of these incommon, you have vegans that only care about animals not environment, or the other way around, some only for their own health, other all of the above. No gods, leaders or sacred places.

 

 

As for people being turned of by vegans the way you explained Rob, it's much like people that don't smoke commenting in an unfriendly way about someone smoking. Smokers get turned of by non smokers like that.

Being unfriendly is not good, but it's not like it's a "vegan thing". Some people are maybe less friendly and tactfull.

 

I think it's a good thing that lots of different people with different viewpoints turn vegan. Vegans don't have to agree on everything, everyone should be vegan.

Also assholes

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"The word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

I'd argue that *this* is the basic goal of veganism... Getting people to think about this, and act on it, is important as well, but that's not the purpose or goal of veganism...whaddya think Rob?

 

You are correct that the definition of veganism doesn't include anything along the lines of "wants to turn as many people vegan as possible" - but I think it's a logical aim that vegans will have.

 

You're stating the obvious -- of course we want more vegans, lets focus more on how to get that to happen.

 

I am confused, as you'd initially disagreed with Rob, then you said it's obvious that vegans will share the goal of wanting more vegans. But I'm glad we all agree now.

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I wouldn't say denying you are a cult makes you a cult. Being part of a new idealogical movement makes you a cult. I really think people need to understand words and not constantly change what they mean...the way vegetarian has changes...the way cult has changed. Even feminism is a cult...nothing is wrong with it at all. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, the movement against slavery were all pretty much cults at one time.

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Some things are perceived facts...some don't see religion as faith.

 

No, facts are facts.

 

Facts have evidence and can be proven. Religious beliefs can't be proven. It has been proved that eating animals is bad for your health. It has been proved plant based diets are easier on the environment.

 

That isn't a matter of perception, it is a matter of fact.

 

Hearing animals scream and seeing them try to run away isn't a matter of perception either. It has long been proved that baby animals go through similar stages of psychological development. Animals are still used in behavioral research.

 

A rose by any other name is a rose, and a scream is a scream is a sign of fear/pain.

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It has been proved that eating animals is bad for your health.

Be careful. To be fair, this is not entirely true. All animal products are not created equal. I would never endorse the consumption of animal products, for ethical and other reasons, but not all animal products are inherently unhealthy.

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I have never really hung around with lots of vegans. I was raised vegetarian and I am just "me". I was the first person in my immediate family to take my diet one step further and go vegan and I am pleased to say my family soon followed my lead.

 

I am always happy to point people towards reading material etc if they ask the age old question "what do you do for protein, what do you eat" etc and have always had positive reactions to the way I live my life.

 

There will always be people wanting to put others down - whatever you do. That is there problem though and their insecurities coming through and I would never waste time worrying over what they say.

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"The word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

I'd argue that *this* is the basic goal of veganism... Getting people to think about this, and act on it, is important as well, but that's not the purpose or goal of veganism...whaddya think Rob?

 

You are correct that the definition of veganism doesn't include anything along the lines of "wants to turn as many people vegan as possible" - but I think it's a logical aim that vegans will have.

 

You're stating the obvious -- of course we want more vegans, lets focus more on how to get that to happen. ;)

 

:? I am confused, as you'd initially disagreed with Rob, then you said it's obvious that vegans will share the goal of wanting more vegans. But I'm glad we all agree now.

Heya Richard -- to clarify, Robert said 'basic goal of veganism', while i agree it's *a* goal to see more vegans, it's not the *basic* goal of veganism.

 

Just as i'm *a* vegan, i'm not *the* vegan. ;)

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Further to Robert's topic, i really don't see it as a 'vegan' issue.

 

There are annoying people. Some are vegan. So there are annoying vegan people....but that by no means suggests that vegans are annoying.

 

Some people aren't very personable. Doesn't matter if they're vegan or not, they're just hard to get along with.

 

But i'd make the same argument about some groups, like PETA: they're making it difficult for many to want to be vegan.

 

As an example, i was just reading a posting about PETA on a feminist blog, and they're definitely not attracting many feminists to veganism or animal advocacy. (Or serious people in general.)

 

Personally, i think this is of MUCH greater concern than the oddball vegan out there. While the oddball may put off the occasional individual, PETA is putting off huge swaths of the population. That troubles me.

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I think that what it involves to be vegan isn't the same as the goal of vegans. To be a vegan means boycotting animal exploitation etc. But the goal of a vegan is for all animal exploitation to end - the goal is that everyone is vegan. That's the way I see it - you can be a vegan without converting anyone else to veganism, certainly - that in itself isn't what veganism is, but the goal is for all suffering to end. I think that Rob's saying that people should be less introspective, and think more about how they are promoting veganism to other people, since in the larger sense, if we want more vegans, we need to make veganism look better, and more attractive to non-vegans.

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Further to Robert's topic, i really don't see it as a 'vegan' issue.

 

There are annoying people. Some are vegan. So there are annoying vegan people....but that by no means suggests that vegans are annoying.

 

Some people aren't very personable. Doesn't matter if they're vegan or not, they're just hard to get along with.

 

But i'd make the same argument about some groups, like PETA: they're making it difficult for many to want to be vegan.

 

As an example, i was just reading a posting about PETA on a feminist blog, and they're definitely not attracting many feminists to veganism or animal advocacy. (Or serious people in general.)

 

Personally, i think this is of MUCH greater concern than the oddball vegan out there. While the oddball may put off the occasional individual, PETA is putting off huge swaths of the population. That troubles me.

 

Robert wouldn't have started this thread if it were just the random, to use your own words, "oddball Vegan"

 

Actually, if you think about it... it took ALOT of guts for Robert to post a thread like this that he knew would definitely ruffle some feathers. He's remained neutral for a very long time and I really commend him for posting such a contraversial thread.

 

If it were just a once in awhile random issue he would never have started such a bold thread and risk losing friends and support from certain individuals that disagreed with him.

 

It was based on ALOT of what he had seen in his community for quite some time and had also witnessed on this board.

 

Although, you are absolutely right... that being Vegan doesen't necessarily go hand in hand with converting other Vegans, that is the driving force behind it for many of us.

 

So I agree with Robert 150% that the best way to do this is by having less of a dogmatic approach toward individuals that fall out of the extreme definition of the Vegan philosophy that has been laid out.

 

I think it's just becoming more and more crucial to have a change in attitude for the future of this Planet. It's no longer just about the animals, it's about worrying about the state that we are leaving this Planet in, for our children and their grandchildren.

 

So yes... for many of us that feel that strongly about trying to attract as many people as possible to this lifestyle... it is important to address this issue.... that being a dogmatic, in-your-face, judgemental, self-righteous type of Vegan, does more to DISCOURAGE new Vegans rather than ENCOURAGE them to stay or become Vegan

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I agree with you completely and do my best not to discourage new vegans that are vegans. Encouragement is very good and its nice to let them know they are doing the right thing. Even more importantly its important to encourage non vegans by showing them how easy it is to get non vegan things out of your life, and to show that it isn't something that takes tremendous amounts of self control as many believe.

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I agree with you completely and do my best not to discourage new vegans that are vegans. Encouragement is very good and its nice to let them know they are doing the right thing. Even more importantly its important to encourage non vegans by showing them how easy it is to get non vegan things out of your life, and to show that it isn't something that takes tremendous amounts of self control as many believe.

 

What is this.... a kinder, gentler Potter? Wow!

 

If you didn't add the "new vegans that ARE vegan" I would almost think you'd softened your stance a bit.

 

ok, now don't say something defensive back and ruin it for me... LOL

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Hiya,

it is important to address this issue.... that being a dogmatic, in-your-face, judgemental, self-righteous type of Vegan, does more to DISCOURAGE new Vegans rather than ENCOURAGE them to stay or become Vegan

I bolded one word in this quote.. Replace it with 'person'. Does your remark still hold the same meaning?

 

I think people that are this way about *anything* are unappealing.

 

I don't think this has anything to do with veganism. I believe this is more of a personality trait than anything that is inherent with veganism. Certainly there are vegans who are like this, but there are many who aren't. I know many non-vegans who are like this too (especially about eating meat) -- is it any different whether the person is vegan or not?

 

Why tie it into veganism, rather than recognizing it for what (i think at least) it really is: a personality disorder? (Or some other mental condition.)

 

What do you guys think?

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