How could I persuade my family to go vegan?

Rory17

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Hello 👋,
I’m mostly vegan. I went vegetarian at age 13, and “vegan” at 20. I am now 24.
My family eat meat every day, often twice a day. They would claim to like/love animals (we have three cats, my mum and sister are cat people and often talk about/comment on animals, and my dad is a birdwatcher and big on wildlife). However, when I express my opposition for their eating slaughtered animal flesh and muscles, they may get quite angry and defensive. Often, my mum will just let it in one ear and out the other, and not engage too much in conversation if I comment “poor cow” if they’re having beef. I’m extremely opposed to meat, and think of the practices of the meat industry as violent and upsetting animal cruelty.
If I were to raise the subject of my animal rights beliefs against their eating meat, my mum may say “that’s life” (it doesn’t have to be that way) and the opinion that, as long as the animals are killed “humanely”, it is okay (me: It is still wrong! Is it okay to humanely kill a human or a cat or dog? Vegan YouTubers: How do you humanely kill an animal that doesn’t want to die? Other vegans: There’s no such thing as “humane meat”!) They would also probably say things like “you can’t impose your views on us. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions and choices. I have my views and you have yours.” (Me: Opinions are fine either way. Violent and cruel actions and choices that support them are not. Another possible statement: Animal rights are more important than a human’s right to enjoy meat. Animals should have more right to live the best possible lives and be respected and loved and not be killed unnecessarily than you have to enjoy steak). Often, when I get into conversations with them about animal rights and meat, it leads to my getting upset and them saying sh*t.
I’m thinking of repeatedly sending them texts, emails and whatsapp’s about animal rights, animal cruelty within meat, the environment and health aspects of veganism. I could make some posters and put them around the house and share tame vegan documentaries. I might get some vegan leaflets and leave them and some vegan books about the house (e.g. leave them for Mum to read on her bed).
We will likely go to Ferne Animal Sanctuary at some point and I have asked for Mum and Dad to be veggie for that day. I could also talk about animal rights and veganism with them on that day).
What do you think 🤔? Any suggestions?
Thank you 😊.
 

Sylvain M

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I've got the same problem. For years I've been asking and showing them, but they don't want to listen and they don't want to watch. With me they don't eat meat or fish, so I save some animals, sometimes. That's how you have to think, save a animal when you can, you earn little wins. Maybe it's someone else than you or me that can make them change. Try to convince other people around you, make your vegan friends grow. And you may express yourself through art if it's not already what you do.
 
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Emma JC

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This may ruffle some feathers ... but I do not think that it is your place to evangelize veganism to anyone that is not interested or receptive. You are living in their home @Rory17, yes? you are 24 years old and so old enough to be living on your own.... if I was your family and you decided to do any of those things that you listed I would ask you to leave and live somewhere else. I have lived in a toxic atmosphere with a family member and I left so I have experience in this... you are creating a toxic atmosphere and that is not good for anyone including the animals.

Do your own thing and be kind and loving to your family, as kind as loving as you wish they would be to the animals. The only member of my and my spouse's family that is vegan is his daughter and so we have a lot of family members who are not. They know we are vegan and we only eat vegan around them and we provide food for them, which they happily eat, and when they ask questions or ask for recipes we supply them, otherwise we keep our mouths shut and live by example. I also grew up in a very religious household and do not hold to those beliefs as most of my family still do. They do not try to impose their beliefs on me (even though to them it is a matter of heaven or hell) and I do not impose my beliefs on them. They show me love and kindness and I do the same to them. Try that in your life and I believe you will get a lot better response from them.

IMHO Emma JC
 

Indian Summer

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Ask yourself this: What sort of personal accomplishment would make your family actually listen to you and truly consider your opinions? And: With the same amount of time and effort, how many people from the general population could you win over to your point of view?

See also: "No man is accepted as a prophet in their home town" :)
 

Poppy

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I have found that being a proactive and healthy example over a lengthy period of time is a remarkably powerful way of getting people to take you seriously. And when they take you seriously and see you walking the walk not just talking the talk, they will come to recognize the empowerment and happiness that comes with living your values.

So go to a protest, volunteer at a rescue or animal sanctuary, host an activist, launch a website, make a fully vegan meal for the whole family, ask for donations to an animal rights org for your birthday/Christmas, launch a food drive for a shelter, foster an animal, volunteer at a wildlife center, ask your local restaurants for more vegan options on their menus, write the corporate heads at grocery stores in your area to carry more vegan food options, write editorials in your local paper when you see issues involving animals… there are lots of ways to help animals that don't involve arguing with your parents. :)
 
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Sylvain M

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Ask yourself this: What sort of personal accomplishment would make your family actually listen to you and truly consider your opinions? And: With the same amount of time and effort, how many people from the general population could you win over to your point of view?

See also: "No man is accepted as a prophet in their home town" :)
The problem is to see and feel your family pain as they kill animal for eating. Even if you are not living with them.

They may have the right to do what they want but they don't have the right to hurt you or animals as they wish.

"No man is accepted as a prophet in their home town" may have contradictions examples.

Some children are convincing parents to go vegan, and those parents are clever because they ear the best truth for now, from younger people. It doesn't matter who gives you the information, the important is to understand it and change.

If you do nothing, and let people do what they want, it's not gone help solving problems. They will kill more. That's what happened in the past.

Personal accomplishment isn't the problem it's just a motivation to do better.
 

PTree15

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I have found that being a proactive and healthy example over a lengthy period of time is a remarkably powerful way of getting people to take you seriously. And when they take you seriously and see you walking the walk not just talking the talk, they will come to recognize the empowerment and happiness that comes with living your values.

So go to a protest, volunteer at a rescue or animal sanctuary, host an activist, launch a website, make a fully vegan meal for the whole family, ask for donations to an animal rights org for your birthday/Christmas, launch a food drive for a shelter, foster an animal, volunteer at a wildlife center, ask your local restaurants for more vegan options on their menus, write the corporate heads at grocery stores in your area to carry more vegan food options, write editorials in your local paper when you see issues involving animals… there are lots of ways to help animals that don't involve arguing with your parents. :)
I agree on being a good example. I have seen my family introduce various veg products into their diets over the years since I went vegan. I think making food for them has helped. I routinely get requests from my parents for my black bean burgers, vegan sausages, zucchini cakes, and lots of desserts. My mother now routinely tries to make her dishes vegan. She uses veggie broth all the time now for her soups. They may not share my reasons for going vegan, but they are consuming fewer animal products.
 

Forest Nymph

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Ask yourself this: What sort of personal accomplishment would make your family actually listen to you and truly consider your opinions? And: With the same amount of time and effort, how many people from the general population could you win over to your point of view?

See also: "No man is accepted as a prophet in their home town" :)

I love that quote you used. That's one of the reasons I do things like protests or tabling because I rarely see the point in trying to convert my omni family or vegetarian friends. I'll have conversations but its never the focal point of my activism.

Like I even need more drama with my classmates, roommates or acquaintances. If they don't like my animal liberation shirts, though, they know where the door is.
 
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MoreGreens

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It sounds as if your family are well aware of veganism and have chosen that it's not for them. Animal rights may have been the motivation that you needed to reject killing/exploiting for consumption, but it's not going to be effective in getting them to change their minds. By now, they know the truth and are ignoring it… or they don't care. You can't make them care, but you can take another approach.

You might make some progress using their health, mentioning statistics they know are true such as red meat increases chances of heart disease and bacon is a friend of bowel cancer. Encourage them to eat meatless a couple of days a week or a meal per day. Try to get them to compromise in a way that doesn't threaten them. If you cook, make them a meal that's vegan but they can't tell is vegan, because you only had to sub one or two things to make it cruelty free. Show them how easy it can be and that they won't be missing anything by enjoying a plant-based meal. Some people need to be coaxed into change.

As I know nothing of them, remember, the word 'vegan' is derided by certain groups, so asking them to eat more plant-based rather than becoming an all-in vegan could be helpful as well. Depending on where they're getting their news, they could believe you're swept up in some youthful radicalization and dismiss your opinions. They're your family and hopefully you love each other, taking the approach you mentioned above wouldn't be particularly kind or respectful. And, in my opinion, being respectful with this is important. You're basically asking them to respect your opinion, feelings and knowledge over what they've always known as their truth. Think about it for a moment. That's a lot to ask of someone, and there's a chance they may feel that you're marginalizing their opinions, feelings and knowledge. While we vegans aren't in the habit of catching flies at all, the old idiom remains true, you'll catch more with honey than vinegar. I hope things work out for you.
 
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David3

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When I became vegan in 1991, I tried to convince my family to do the same. I quickly learned that nobody likes being told what do - even if it's the right thing to do.

Here's a question that I had to ask myself: Did I become vegan because someone told me to, or did I become vegan because I felt personally and powerfully inspired to do so? The most lasting decisions are the ones that we make from within.

I would just continue enjoying your vegan meals, without making speeches or posting slaughterhouse photos. I guarantee you - your family and friends will secretly take note of what you're eating, and some of those dishes might make them think, "Hmm, that looks good". They may then - secretly of course - try vegan dishes when they go out with their friends. But, if you push them, you will likely sour their interest.

My sister became vegetarian nearly 20 years after I did. She was vegetarian for an entire year (but then stopped, due to friction within her family).
.
 

Flowrydabae

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Oh, don't worry about any of that. Just take over when it comes to cooking all the family meals, and replace all the meat and dairy with vegan substitutes. They won't even know the difference. I did that when I was living with my parents, and they didn't know. They actually thought I was just trying to be helpful around the house.
 

Danielle

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I wish it were easy to get people to go vegan. it’s not. it has to be a decision they make. no amount of persuading has ever worked, in my experience. sometimes they enjoy eating vegan, but they won’t go vegan
 

Mischief

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Here's a question that I had to ask myself: Did I become vegan because someone told me to, or did I become vegan because I felt personally and powerfully inspired to do so? The most lasting decisions are the ones that we make from within.

.

This. So very much this.

My sister went vegetarian about a year after I did. I stopped eating eggs and dairy about six months after she did. A former coworker of mine went vegan a couple of years after we met; in the interim, she had asked me a lot of questions.

The motivation has to come from within. What you can do is be a good example, and being pushy and obnoxious is not being a good example.
 
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PTree15

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I find that most people who are interested and dedicated to the idea don't need to be convinced.

Those that push back hard are unlikely to be convinced
This is true. I remember being told about the horrors of how chickens were treated to get to my plate by a well-meaning friend. I didn't push back, but I initially was taken aback, until I started really thinking about what she said. I credit her with helping me start on my veg*n journey. I also think I was receptive to the idea, because even as a kid, I didn't like eating hamburgers and such. I always felt bad for the cows.