Troubling encounter for new vegan

VeganEpiphany

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Disclosure....I am new to the world of Vegan living. It would be more accurate to say I am still transitioning. I have not have any meat, fish, cheese, milk in 8 months. The exceptions would be pastry/candy/muffins. I still need to find vegan alternatives for these items. The point is, I know I am not perfect.
So, to the point of my post. I recently went to local agricultural fair. At this fair there was a booth set up by a group call Bikers Against Animal Cruelty. I headed over to chat with the people running the booth. I started chatting with a women and said something to the effect of , "oh so you are vegans?". I don't recall exactly what I said. Well, a woman nearly jumped over the table in the booth. She really laid into me . She said things like, 'how dare "you people" come and question us.....you have no right to judge us.....' etc. Within seconds a biker dude (the woman's husband) is in my face. They are ******. So, I said some thing to the effect, 'hey we are on the same side here....lets talk about this. ' After the tension lessened a bit. We had a good conversation. They (the husband/wife team) said the group had vegans and non vegans. I tried to ask why they were against cruelty against domestic animals but not farms animals. It just seemed there was a glaring contradiction about what they were preaching. The couple said, taking on the industrial animal farming was a lost cause. But the work they were doing was GOOD and JUST. They said all the people in there group work hard, donating time and money to stop cruel treatment of animals (I guess they meant some animals, but not all). So, the discussion went on and we part ways in a friendly manner. So, I was left to think hard about myself, what I had said. and what to really think about their work. In their opinion, they (this Bikers Against Cruelty group) were at least doing something and they should not be judged for not being "pure vegan". So, in retrospect, I would have eased into the discussion more slowly. But, isn't their conscience that is bothering them if I ask if they are vegan and they get angry? Can I judge someone else after I ate meat/fish/eggs/cheese for 40 yrs? Is there a contradiction in the what this group is preaching? What are your thoughts?
 

Jamie in Chile

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There probably is a contradiction. Yes, you probably should have gone into the discussion more gently. However interactions like the one you have are probably, even though they might annoy people, more likely to lead to people eating less meat over time. It may be better to have an imperfect interaction that none at all.
 
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VeganEpiphany

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I learned from the experience. Maybe my tone was accusatory; I think leading people to the contradictions, helping them understand they may need to examine their position is an approach that will lead to better outcomes and clearer understanding. Youtuber Earthly Ed, (Edward Winters) has some great videos on youtube that emphasis this approach.
 

Sherry Lang

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When it comes to vegan activism, many of us can become highly, well, “passionate.” Spreading the vegan message is a great thing, however, it doesn’t have to get on people’s last nerve.

Not all activism is the same, and different ways of activism can change the way you are perceived. When you are promoting veganism, many organizations do it in all of the wrong ways. Their version of “in-your-face” activism.

Other activists may do similar things, such as vegan activist Gary Yourofsky. Gary has gotten into trouble before for his condoning of rape against meat eaters. Getting into people’s faces is often annoying.

Many vegans tend to treat meat-eaters as if they are bad people. They forget that most meat-eaters are simply ignorant to animal suffering, or just have not made a connection yet. People are more likely to reduce their contribution to animal suffering when they are presented with the facts without feeling as if they are being accused of horrible things.

there are better ways to do more effective activism. We tend to forget that for most of us, we used to eat meat. However, after going vegan, we lose touch with the fact that we were once ignorant ourselves.

Ignoring the fact that we were not all always vegan doesn’t help us to connect to meat eaters. When we connect with them on a personal level, we can get further through to them. Treating them as human beings instead of as evil people tends to work well too.

There are ways you can go about it in a much nicer way. For instance, if you wore a shirt with a vegan message, people will start to come to you and ask about it. During this time, you will be able to sit down and have a conversation about veganism. Since they initiated the conversation, they are more likely to be receptive of the information. This is because they no longer feel as if you are shoving it into their faces.