Our mission is kindness

“Our mission is kindness” is the mission statement or baseline of the wonderful animal sanctuary Edgar’s Mission in Australia. Edgar’s Mission provides lifelong care and love to about 350 animals at this moment. You may have seen their wonderful videos in your Facebook stream here and there.

edgar

I think “our mission is kindness” is a wonderful mission statement, and I think it could very well be the mission statement of the whole vegan movement. Veganism is not about a definition, it’s not about rules. It’s about kindness and compassion for all sentient beings (including, of course, humans).

“Kindness is our mission” means that we’d like to achieve a kinder world, a world with more altruism, empathy, compassion. But this mission, of course, can also be a personal mission. Each and every one of us should be, I think, on a quest, looking to become a kind person themselves. Even though being vegan is something that most vegans do out of a sense of kindness and compassion, we are obviously not necessarily kind people just because we are vegan – or at least not all the time.

We should have the humility to say that we don’t just need to implement kindness in the world, but also in our own hearts. That’s twice as true since we all massively started spouting our opinions on social media, where often we are not kind, neither to people on the other side of the fence (omnivores) or towards people who are already with us but have different opinions.

So one question we could always ask before posting or speaking, could be: “is this kind?” I would suggest we don’t accept answers like “maybe not, but it’s the truth!” or “maybe not, but they aren’t kind either!”

If we want a kinder world, if kindness is our mission, we won’t get closer to it by being unkind ourselves.

I am, obviously, not excluding myself from the ones who can do better at being kind.You may tell me when, in my posts, in my comments, in my speech, I am not kind. And I will try not to bark at you 🙂

 

PS:  Of course, kindness in itself will not necessarily give us the best results for animals. Even kindhearted people may do things that turn out to have bad results, or be ineffective, or whatever. Complementary to kindness is rational thinking. It’s when the heart and the mind meet, when we use our intellect and our rationality in combination with a caring, compassionate attitude, that we achieve the best results.

 

 

 

 

Comments

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10 thoughts on “Our mission is kindness

  1. Last year, I visited Edgar’s Mission while attending the World Vegan Day festivities in Melbourne. Firstly, the folks in Melbourne put on a great festival. Secondly, I was very impressed by Edgar’s Mission. That was the first farmed animal sanctuary I had seen. It’s done so well, and used so intelligently as a vehicle to help all farmed animals via education of the human animals.

  2. Tobias:

    Non-vegan plant eater here. Hope it’s all right for me to continue commenting from time to time.

    Your writings on vegan strategy are always outstanding, but you’ve been on an amazing roll of insightful and courageous posts recently–homing in on issues that, if I may say so, vegans need so desperately to reflect on and discuss. Thank you for this latest offering.

    I especially admire your point that kindness and reason should work together for best results for the animals. Although I respect the impassioned stance that I see in so many vegans, that high emotion is not tantamount to true kindness and, in fact, often seems to morph into an alienating stridency. Thank you for your continued work to spur thought and more effective activism for the animals.

    1. thanks elisabeth, glad you find my writings useful.
      anybody is welcome here (unless they aren’t polite 🙂 )
      if you don’t mind me asking, what exactly do you mean with non vegan plant eater? i can think of several ways of interpreting that 🙂

      1. Hello, Tobias:

        So glad to know I may comment, though not a vegan. My impression is that almost everybody who posts here is a vegan. (And that’s fantastic!) I thoroughly enjoy The Vegan Strategist, as well as the other commenters’ perceptive take on the complexities of veganism and animal activism. Lots of great things going on here! 🙂

        And thank you for asking about my self-identification. I guess what I mean by “non-vegan plant eater” is that I don’t eat any animal-derived foods, nor do I buy new clothes that are from animals. (Haven’t for almost five years now.) But I’m not fully vegan in other areas, such as personal care products. (Difficult and expensive to do that 100%, in my experience!) Also–and please, please, don’t anyone slam me on this!–I do periodically wear thrift-store wool, leather, and silk. (Don’t see a big ethical problem with this, but I’m aware that many vegans object to it, and I respect their views.) In short, I don’t eat animals, and I make an effort in other areas, but I’m not fully vegan. I used to feel that I was vegan enough to identify legitimately as vegan. (I also tended to think of “vegan” as relating mainly to diet.) But I’ve since changed my mind, deciding that the “non-vegan plant eater” designation most accurately describes where I’m at. Frankly, I would prefer to call myself a “dietary vegan,” but I understand that many vegans take issue with that term, since it conflicts with the idea of veganism as a total lifestyle. If you or anyone else here has a better term, I’d greet it with open arms.

        Thank you again for your wonderful work! 🙂

        1. oh dear, to me you’re a vegan 🙂 The fact that you had the idea that behaving the way you do (using some second hand non vegan clothes) would not entitle you to comment here or not be part of our little group, is a good illustration of the effect of the attitudes of a part of the movement (long, convoluted sentence but i hope it’s clear 🙂

  3. It’s a great article and a good reminder for everyone. “We should have the humility to say that we don’t just need to implement kindness in the world, but also in our own hearts.” So true! I came veganism after recognizing that using animals was a troubling inconsistency in my own behaviour. I think we can rationally advocate for animals without resorting to unkindness.

    By the way, Tobias, I saw you mentioned in the Guardian article on veganism the other day. I had no idea you persuaded Ghent to introduce a weekly vegetarian day. That’s no small feat in any European city!

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