Why Being a Judgmental Vegan Doesn’t Win Hearts


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One of the most disturbing or annoying trend I see in the Vegan community is people who judge non-Vegans for not being Vegans (or Vegan enough) or falling off the wagon. I have struggled with this issue then came around that situation just tonight while surfing Facebook groups.

In substance, someone in a group said he tried to be Vegan for 30 days but was confronted by Vegans whom he felt very turned off by and he decided to go back to his pre-Vegan days. As soon as he announced it, he was then called words like “douche” and so on. As soon as I noticed what was happening, I jumped on the bandwagon and asked him to contact me so I could talk him into changing his mind. And he did!

We have to understand that not everyone is where we are. As Vegans, our mindset has been changed either recently or long ago by what we have learned about other animals, their suffering, diet, the environment. And obviously our perspective is one of bigger awareness. But not everyone is there yet.

After talking to this man, he recommitted to try Veganism for another 30 days. He comes to it from a health perspective and, obviously, Veganism not being about diet, it ruffles some feathers for some of us. But this man is obviously willing to learn and expand his awareness and he should be encouraged and not trashed because he has not reached our level of “Vegan awareness”. What good is it to turn him off? Every small step is a good step. Let’s cultivate this newly found awareness and help him expand his.

In 2011, I became a Holistic Vegan Health Coach because I realized that a lot of people looked at Veganism as a diet primarily and were scared (by all the disinformation in the media) about their health if they went Vegan. I started getting the usual questions when doing Vegan outreach like “where do you get your proteins?” and so on. In my early days of being vegan, my diet was a junk Vegan food one and I had no answers for them. I decided that it was important to reach people where they are and slowly expand on their current mindset by slowly introducing new ideas and new concepts as well as reassuring them about their health.

Some people will never get to Veganism through animal rights first. So what? It doesn’t mean they can’t get there eventually. I found this to be true for everyone I coached first from a health perspective.

When we open to people, but don’t judge them, we quickly make them feel encouraged to learn more.

Being Vegan is not about being judgmental of others. It is about expanding awareness in any way that works for the people we are trying to reach in order to get them to grow. After this man talked to me, he regained his enthusiasm for the lifestyle and started posting information about Vegan programs in his area! So anything is possible if we put our egos to the side.

We can do so much better and really walk the talk if we are who we say we are: kind, compassionate, aware and willing to grow ourselves. Veganism is indeed about other animals, but we are animals too and when we have to change too. When we do, we become better equipped to change others.

 

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Β© Copyright May 2014 – All Rights Reserved. Printing by authorization only.

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35 Responses to Why Being a Judgmental Vegan Doesn’t Win Hearts

  1. Congratulations on your new blog. I also believe that respect is key when advocating for nonhuman animals. I have just written a post about this very issue and will be publishing it this coming Monday. You may find it interesting. Many thanks,
    Anne

  2. Karen says:

    Great blog, I couldn’t agree more. I am an abolitionist and I am attacked over and over again by a small but growing group of abolitionist that holds the theory that animal welfare groups should not exist and that helping animals in any way other than veganism is immoral and are a hindrance to the goal of creating a vegan world. I do not in any way support or believe there is any such thing as humane meat. However, there is hard evidence that proves that once people make a small transition towards humane products, they start to identify with themselves as being a humane person, and once they identify themselves as humane, they will progress in that direction. Therefore I do not see this shift as a threat to our movement but a tool we can utilize to kindly and gently teach them that there is not such thing as humane meat. I really don’t care if people disagree with me but I am literally called names like delusional, ignorant, stupid, idiot, etc.for not agreeing or when I cite scientific studies. I can’t imagine, if they treat other vegans this way, how do they look at the people that actually believe in humane meat? Lovingly?

  3. Cloey Jade says:

    Vegan is vegan right? Who cares if they do it for humane or health purposes. People can be so judgmental and a LOT of vegans have this holier than thou attitude and i myself ( working into vegetarianism ) have been very turned off the idea from people like this. It doesnt help at all to attack people. It just makes people think vegans are a bunch of psychopaths. And if a person is already at the level of vegan, who cares how they got there? Theyre not eating animals are they? So shut up..

    • veronique2 says:

      Hi Cloey, although to me veganism is not a diet, I do work with people as a coach who come to me from a health perspective and help them transition to a plant based diet and towards veganism (as an ethic). You are absolutely correct that in the end, if a person doesn’t participate in animal exploitation, it doesn’t matter how they came to it in the first place. Good luck on transitioning towards vegetarianism and then veganism. I know you will succeed πŸ™‚

  4. Eric says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It can be all too easy for those of us who were not always vegans to forget where we came from and fail to consider how our message might be received by those who do not think as we do. This is a helpful reminder.

    • veronique2 says:

      Thanks I’m glad this was helpful. And it’s so true. We forget where we used to be and we have to be considerate of the fact that others have not made the leap yet.

  5. Amy Gill says:

    Respectful dialogue is the way to reach other’s hearts and minds. Nobody was ever truly won to a cause by being ridiculed, shamed and criticized. I want people to see me as someone who will treat them with dignity and to whom they can come with their fears, perceptions and denial and not be treated badly. To treat someone badly while crusading for a just cause defeats the purpose:if your true motive is to feel superior, then by all means, judge, criticize and mock away, but you will only drive potential “converts” away, perhaps forever. I try to reach people where they are, erroneous beliefs can all be addressed without being a jerk or making the other person feel like one.

  6. 17 years vegan says:

    you claim that non-judgemental veganism is the way forward, yet you class those who do not follow a vegan lifestyle for your reasons as below you in the awareness scale. it is perfectly acceptable to be vegan for whatever reason you like, be it based on animal welfare, the environment or even diet! no one reason is above the other. terribly written, patronising and completely self-defeating.

    • veronique2 says:

      I don’t claim it is ok to be vegan for any of these reasons alone but for all the reasons. Veganism is all if it and more. We forget that most of us didn’t grow as vegans and therefore by criticizing others we criticize and judge ourselves because we used to be animal exploiters as well before being vegans. Humans are animals too and they come with all sorts of wounds and traumas as well. Judging them defeats the purpose if engaging them compassionately and showing them that veganism is a benefit to not only them but all animals. Were you always vegan? I doubt it. So what makes you superior to non-vegans? Veganism is about compassionate but we can’t even extend it to humans and therefore we can’t expect them to extend it to non-humans. As Gandhi said: be the change you want to see in the world.

      • 17 years vegan says:

        veganism is indeed about compassion, but not always towards animals. it can be towards the environment or even oneself. no reason is superior and no one reason is on a higher level of awareness than any other, as you have suggested. let people be vegan for their own decisions and leave your judgemental awareness scale out of it.

      • veronique2 says:

        I agree with letting people be vegan on their own terms. We need to embrace them were they are and open them to more in a non-violent way. Thank you for your comments.

    • “it is perfectly acceptable to be vegan for whatever reason you like, be it based on animal welfare, the environment or even diet!”

      Veganism was created as a social justice movement in 1944 by a man named Donald Watson. He created it as a philosophy of nonviolence towards sentient beings, not as an environmental movement of a health movement. Simply omitting animal substances from your diet for health reasons or environmental reasons by themselves does not make one a Vegan. It merely makes one another dieter, just like all the other dieters out there.

      • veronique2 says:

        I agree with you. But I’m seeing it from the point of view of non-vegans who don’t know and don’t care about what Donald Watson said. WE know what veganism is about and we have to take people where they are and bring them where we want them to be, be it environmental, health, animals. Just so you know, before he passed away, Watson read The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle (which links all of these points together) and is quoted saying that the book is what he has tried to say all along. We can’t separate nature, humans and non-humans. It’s all connected.

      • Yes, I’m not saying that it’s not all linked. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take someone from there they already are and bring them to true Veganism. Just that if someone is eating a PDB and is not interested in the rights of nonhumans, they are not then Vegan.

        Which is why I treat them the same as I would anyone eating animal substances. I educate them.

      • veronique2 says:

        Thanks and i agree:)

  7. And yes, I did have a typo in both my posts 😦

  8. Great post and so true! We don’t think that by being pushy and judgmental vegan you can ‘convert’ people. Our goal as vegans is spreading the awareness and giving a positive example for others to follow. If you bully people around and put them down for their choices, they will only turn farther from your cause. Keep up with the great work!

  9. Debbie says:

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  10. Tess says:

    I agree that vegans can be annoying, the first vegan I met put me off changing and becoming vegan too because he also cross-examined me for 5 other things within 1 hour, also he himself looked quite unhealthy that that was a confirmation of what I thought back then: the vegan diet is poor.
    I became interested in changing again through a combination of Facebook graphic pictures on animal abuse for food (dairy and eggs were the big shock for me) and meeting a peaceful and intelligent vegan woman friend.
    It is interesting how one commenter on this page accuses you of being arrogant yet chooses his/her bashing words carefully and has chosen a name that boasts pride πŸ™‚

    My main point however is that while we have to be patient and tolerant because hardly any of us were vegan at birth, I think veganism’s true core is our relationship with animals because at the end of the day it is them who suffer and die for our pleasure. Someone who has a vegan diet but donates money to Cancer Search to torture dogs, hamsters, cats and rabbits, or who buys a leather sofa is not exactly a vegan, in my opinion. It can start with focusing on out health but hopefully it goes to realising the animal genocide taking place daily in the world. There are some vegans – that the media love to talk about – who go back to animal-eating and say the the vegan lifestyle is wrong, proof: they tried it for years. Well they were never vegan in the first place, if all it took was a battle between dieticians to prove that eggs, honey, goat milk yogurt and fish are healthy and the longest-lived people on earth eat eggs and yogurt, so there.

    • veronique2 says:

      Excellent comment. I totally agree wirh you. Also as vegans, we have to do what we have control over: how we eat, what we wear, what products we use, what kind of entertainment we get and obviously how we think. Thanks!

  11. Tess says:

    sorry I am unable to edit the post and my pc has put words that I didn’t mean to, like the repetition of “that” and also “search” instead of Cancer RESEARCH.

  12. Margo Cummings says:

    Ok, I am a non-vegan/non-veg (used to be). I often am the butt of incredibly hateful/judgmental comments about being an awful person for eating animal products. In fact, someone just commented that I enjoy killing animals for personal pleasure. I certainly do not! I literally can no longer follow a veg diet (yes, I know all the potential sources of protein). I have developed so many food allergies over the years (wheat, soy, etc.) that I literally do not have enough protein options available to me to be healthy & veg. I love animals, despise factory farming and understand the environmental consequences of large scale meat operations. I completely understand why people are veg. I am just utterly and completely sick of being trampled on for my decisions even when I am just trying to survive. I know that vegans don’t believe in humanely raised meat, but that’s what I strive for. Going to local farms where I know animals are treated well. Are we a culture obsessed with meat? Yes! Do we need to end factory farming? Yes! Does everyone need to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet? Yes! I just wanted to let you know that not everyone can follow a vegan diet. Not trying to start a debate, I just wanted to let you know another view of this that you might not know.

  13. Jennifer Culbertson says:

    I am transitioning and have been met with so much negativity that it has made me stop a few times. Because of the all on none attitude. I have now met a few positive Vegans that have made me feel better about the fact I am changing. And change is good even if it isn’t 100% all the time. I don’t ever claim to be Vegan. I do try to be Vegan. I appreciate reading a more positive approach like yours. Thanks!

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