okay this is a weird question, i guess, but stick with me.
judge me for this if you will, but i spend a lot of my life arguing with non-vegans. i don’t usually start it, but sometimes i do. it’s just par for the course that veganism is seen as weird and extreme by most people around me, and also it naturally feels like an attack on their life choices to kill and eat animals… which it is. it is an attack. so i’m usually happy to engage back with whatever line of anti-vegan rhetoric they want to throw at me whenever i politely decline their offer of cake or whatever.
but there are a few things that weigh on me.
- i can count on one hand the number of times these fights have successfully convinced someone of veganism, and even then it has only been “reduction”. there are maybe two or three people in my life who—after it’s all settled—have “reduced” their meat consumption. that’s all.
getting people to acknowledge the harm, or acknowledge the existence of a problem is usually not enough. even those who come around to the perspective will usually not give it up. they’ll resort to “i agree with you but i’m still not going to give it up because i like eating dead animals.” which is the point where you just have to disengage because you can’t really argue against selfishness.
- the same absurd and easily disprovable arguments come up again and again and again, even by the same people. i can think of so many times that i’ve talked someone into nodding along with me, agreeing with my point, saying “yeah, you’re probably right” and then the next time i see them, they’ve reverted back to their ingrained belief and arguing for it all over again. it’s like a cycle that can’t be broken out of.
too many to list here but “i could never give up cheese!” “vegan food tastes like rubber!” “vegan food is too expensive!” “what if i’m trapped on a desert island with only a cow and i have to kill it to survive!?” “what if i do a humane murder?” “but lions eat meat!” “my protein!” “i only buy ethical dead animal carcasses!” “but you murder plants!” and many other absurdist fallacies.
that’s not even touching the brain soup of “animal lovers” and “dog people” and the weird hierarchies people draw about which animals are good (not allowed to be killed) and which animals are bad (property, only exist for human consumption).
- some people have been “convinced” by other means, but not by me. usually a netflix documentary. i can argue with these people for years to no effect, then they watch one netflix documentary and say “omg, i need to stop eating fish.” and then 1% of the people who say that will actually do it.
whatever i say is obviously ineffective or just not impactful. i started asking people to watch the food sequence from samsara (https://yewtu.be/watch?v=-GKGzjxC6oE) and they would say “wow, that’s awful, i had no idea! anyway…” stuffs a dead chicken into their mouth hole.
i don’t want to give the impression that i’m out here on some kind of crusade to convert people to my life choices. i’m not out knocking on doors saying “hey, could i interest you in some veganism?” but when it comes up, people expect me to justify it, and when i do it fucking baffles me that once people have finished jumping through hoops to justify their harm, instead of changing themselves, they just shrug their shoulders and carry on.
so, carnists, what would it take?
if you honestly looked inwards, deep inside, and really reflected on the whole thing; is there anything that would convince you of veganism? is there anything that would provoke a thought of “i am committing a harm and i can choose not to”? I’m not asking this to provoke a discussion on veganism. i get that enough elsewhere.
just that one question. honestly, in your own words, is there anything that would change your mind?