About

About this blog

This blog is mainly written with an audience of vegans/animal rights activists in mind. The strategies and ways of communication that I support and write about, are usually pragmatic and friendly in nature.

What I hope to do is to provide arguments why pragmatic and friendly activism and communication work. Being friendly and pragmatic is not (just) about a concern not to offend people, and it certainly is not about compromising or selling out. It is also not about being slow, or thinking that we have time to spare. It is not about not being vegan or betraying the animals. Rather, being friendly and pragmatic is a matter of strategy. It is about being effective. It is about diminishing animal suffering in the fastest possible way.

The friendly and pragmatic part of our movement needs arguments for why this approach works, lest they not be accused of not being interested in veganizing the world and just sitting around sharing recipes and eating cupcakes. I try to provide these arguments.

For the quickest way to know more about my views, check the two videos on the video page on this site.

About the author

DSC_5770My name is Tobias Leenaert. I am one of the founders of the Belgian organisation EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative), and, together with Melanie Joy, cofounder of the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy (CEVA). I think about the best ways to achieve a compassionate society. I’m a slow opinionst.

I told myself I had to be a vegan more than ten years before I actually became one. I just loved meat. At university, someone finally helped me to stop eating it. I started to read, and wrote my thesis about the human-animal relationship. By the time I graduated, there was nothing else I could imagine doing besides a job in animal rights. There were no opportunities in Belgium, so I went to the US for six months to do internships at animal rights organisations. When I got back, I cofounded EVA. I worked a normal job in education for several years, and after that was able to devote all my time to the organisation. In 2005 EVA became the first veg organisation in the world to receive structural funding from its government. In 2009 we convinced our city of Ghent to become the first city in the world to officially support a weekly vegetarian day.
EVA now has 12 paid staff. I left it recently, to be self employed and have more time and focus. I’m working on a book on vegan strategy and communication called How to veganize the world in 30 years (working title). I give talks all over the world (mainly to audiences of animal advocates), and together with Melanie Joy also give weekend trainings on effective vegan advocacy. I’m available for presentations, interviews etc.

contact info:
tobias.leenaert@gmail.com
Twitter: @tobiasleenaert
Facebook
LinkedIn

The Vegan Strategist logo pictures the road to veganism as not straight, but windy. It was developed by Thrive-Creative

Copyright: you can translate or publish whatever you want of this site, wherever you want. Just put something like: original article by Tobias Leenaert, www.veganstrategist.org.

 

 

12 thoughts on “About

  1. I wanted to thank you for this site and the guidance you offer to vegans trying to convert others. I’ve just finished transitioning to vegetarianism and have found I feel “attacked” by vegans when they find out I still consume dairy and eggs (albeit, very small amounts). It is very likely that I will end up vegan but when existing vegans make me feel bad about where I am in my journey, I end up feeling alienated and discouraged. I stop asking questions, I stop trying to learn more about veganism and I most certainly stop hanging out with those particular vegans. I really appreciate that you are advocating for a more supportive, gentle approach when its appropriate because THAT approach, is the one that will bring me to veganism instead of strict, shaming activism, which is more likely to actually drive me back to being omni.

  2. It’s good to find another vegan who thinks similarly to me in the way we try to promote veganism. I have never believed that moralising, however well intentioned or kindly done, is an effective way to encourage others to follow. Like any basic animal instinct, humans are driven primarily by their immediate needs, so we must present it in a non-threatening way that is easy to understand and follow, such that the benefits to themselves easily appear to outweigh the disadvantages (i.e. a no-brainer) – but without necessarily seeking to convert people directly. For it to work, it has to be their choice, they must own that newly found belief and be allowed to become their own advocates free from guilt and shame. When we impose, we fail! Please keep up the great work!

  3. Thank you, Tobias, for your intellectual and approachable articles! I’ve learnt a lot! Keep writing and inspiring!

    Shuman

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