Ten easy ways to alienate a meat-eater

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If you would like a vegan club rather than a vegan world, it is suprisingly easy to make sure that people don’t join the club. Here are some ways to address meat-eaters in ways that ensure they do not feel attracted to move in our direction.

how to alienate meat eaters

1. Present the solution as an all or nothing thing. People have to realize that they are either in or out!

2. If they are flexitarians, tell them that’s like a murderer killing less people. Even if they’re vegetarian, you can tell them that they basically don’t do anything good for animals.

3. If they say they love animals but eat meat, rather than working with that, just call them hypocrites. Instant separation guaranteed!

4. Assume that the way you changed is the way everyone will and should change. After all, we’re all the same, right?

5. Talk to people about the hundreds of animal-derived additives, e-numbers, aromas… that abound in our food and how important it is to avoid them.

6. When they seem to shift in our direction, make sure to tell people in time that their food should also be organic, local, seasonal, fair trade, healthy, sugarfree and palmoil-free.

7. When you think you’ve spotted another vegan, make sure that he or she has the right motivations (i.e. your motivations). Tell them they’re not really vegan if they don’t do it for the animals.

8. Explain that there is no such thing as a 99 percent vegan, and that any exception anyone makes is a violation of animals’ rights.

9. Be sure to cross-examine waiters to the tiniest details, especially when there are many people listening in. This is your chance to alienate many people at once!

10. Last but not least,  make sure that non-vegans never use the V-word when not appropriate! It’s our word, and no half-assed vegetarian should ever take it from us!

You see, it’s easy as pie to make sure vegans remain a very exclusive club!

29 thoughts on “Ten easy ways to alienate a meat-eater

  1. “When they seem to shift in our direction, make sure to tell them in time that their food should also be organic, local, seasonal, fair trade, healthy, sugarfree and palmoil-free.”

    And raw! That’ll do it.

  2. ahahahahah
    In social psychology terms, make sure that anyone who doesn’t apply your standards of veganism are the out-group and utilize every opportunity to emphasize this as well as to judge and shame them.

  3. All of those points are easily valid if they are explained in the right way. Watch Earthling Ed, he is relentless about eliminating all animal exploitation but explains it in a way which allows people to understand.

  4. Also, be sure to cross examine the waiters on every additive and then not order the dish in question, even if it “checks out.”

  5. The first 8 are totally fair, but the last two points are unfortunate. Asking people who are serving food to know what they are serving is basic and shouldn’t ever be a problem. As for the last point, using the word vegan when it’s not actually free from animals is how people get sick and even die. Being loose about the definition is dangerous and irresponsible. Please do it politely, but please don’t let people call things vegan when they are not.

    1. I think “using the word vegan” can mean different things. Obviously, products with a vegan label have to be vegan, anything else would mean misleading customers. Also, when someone claims that a concrete product is vegan, but this is actually wrong, it certainly should not be a problem when the error is pointed out (especially if this is done in a friendly way). But I think there are other areas where I find it is important not to be strict about who is allowed to use the word “vegan”. There are people who advocate mostly plant-based nutrition without being strict vegans. As long as they don’t write texts that create confusion about which products are vegan, I don’t think it would be good to attempt to prevent them from using the word “vegan”.

  6. Tobias, I adore what you have written above, but I already agree with it. I am your choir. I worry that because of the tone, which is definitely funny but a bit snarky, it might not actually have much affect on the vegan police force. Your thoughts?

    1. Not to be snarky, but sometimes, I think there is a value to helping our side laugh a bit, regardless of how the other side will react. It is wearisome to *always* be reasonable, measured, etc.
      Also, I think posts like this help counter the angry vegan narrative with the public. I’m much more concerned with the fact that the general public hates vegans, than I am with the feelings of the vegan police.
      I could be wrong!

      1. Thanks Matt, your response is helpful as I hadn’t thought of this as a post aimed at the general public, but I see now that it definitely could be. And yes, humor is always a great approach. I guess I would like to broaden our strategic advocacy club to include the people who are now part of the vegan police, rather than poke fun at them. That is especially so because I know that people new the movement are highly likely to go down that road of immense strictness, as I did about fifteen years ago, and I think there are friendly ways of coaxing them towards the bigger picture without alienating them. And yes it is exhausting to always be reasonable and measured but those are pretty high rent strictly human problems – I reckon we owe it to animals living in crates to at least try.

        1. hi karen, i would generally agree that sarcasm is not the best way to reach people, and i rarely use it. but now and then i have to have some fun 🙂 More importantly, i don’t aim at reaching the more extreme “police” fringes – i don’t think they’ll be easily swayed. i do have hopes for young vegans, and those in the middle/on the fence. and i think presenting things in this way may help realize some how absurd some of the things we are doing are… 🙂
          But again, i agree, and i like to be just calm and reasonable most of the time 🙂

  7. I absolutely love the first phrase in this post, and I plan on stealing it (with credit to Tobias, of course!).

    Every day I feel a bit more frustration with regards to points #5,7 & 8, specifically. For instance I have a great deal of difficulty coming up with a logical justification for avoiding Vitamin D that comes from sheep’s wool. Quite literally, the lanolin from a single fleece (which obviously is being sheared anyway), produces 2.8 million pills of 1000 IU each by one calculation. Of course, I’m sure this is immaterial to devoted members of the vegan club. But I can’t help but wonder why on earth we are bothering anyone about it, or most other microscopic amounts of animal ingredients that seem to be so terribly important to vegan club.

  8. Hi Tobias,

    I agree with you that it is not very effective to accuse people personally, but I don’t agree that we shouldn’t point out that dairy production may cause even more suffering than meat production, or that really loving animals is not compatible with eating them.You probably don’t mean to, but it sounds as if you’re rejecting the presentation of moral arguments against certain behaviors even if they aren’t arguments against concrete persons showing those behaviors. (I’m still reading your interesting book, so I still need to find out what your position is on this.)

    We can hate certain behaviors and tell others we do without condemning anyone at a personal level. That way, the focus is on animal suffering, rather than on the people doing things that hurt animals.
    The accompanying emotions would primarily be shock and sadness rather than anger or rage against anyone.
    We want all slaughter houses to be demolished rather than putting all the employees in jail. Why would it be counterproductive to stress this?

    Item 6 has very little to do with ethical veganism as such, and telling people that they should follow a healthy and sugarfree lifestyle is even paternalistic rather than morally inspiring. It only applies to a limited subgroup of vegans who think living a healthy vegan lifestyle is a universal moral duty.

    Item 10 seems to be merely hypothetical. I’ve never encountered any vegan who didn’t allow others to call a meal vegan. Of course, calling a non-vegan lifestyle vegan is a different matter altogether. Protecting the meaning of “veganism” so that it can’t be used as a synonym for, say, “vegetarianism”, etc. is as pragmatic as can be.


    1. some quick comments:
      – i’m definitely not suggesting to never talk about moral arguments or to say that some behavior is wrong. i’m just wary of categorically saying in all situations that eating animal products is wrong, as this kind of rethoric can very easily backfire (feeling moral reproach, which happens easily, even if you think you make the distinction between sin and sinner, is often not productive and increases distance rather than increasing connection).
      – loving animals not compatible with eating them: that seems to make sense, but still someone can say they love animals while eating them, and it’s not always (i’d say usually not) productive to doubt that in their stead, or the call them hypocrites.
      – yes, item 6 is a bit of an outlier. but i see these things all the time within the vegan community
      – re 10, i’m talking about vegans telling others they are not vegan as soon as they are not as vegan as them. check my latest talk (how to create a vegan world), on the video page, in case of interest.

  9. In what other realm do you slam people for adhering to a moral/ethical baseline? Is it okay to kill “just a few puppies” unnecessarily? Is it okay to “cut down” on the number of women you sexually assault each day? Are we “too uptight” about someone molesting “just a couple of children?” How about we ease up if a former slave owning family just decides to go back to the old ways? these type of articles really describe the debate on Plant Based eating, not veganism…no one ever asks anyone else to be ethically flexible…

    1. Kevin: Do you prefer that the situation continue as it is–i.e., with only a tiny percentage (maybe 1-5%) of the world population being vegan? Because I fear that’s where the percentage will stay if we scare, intimidate, or anger people by an insistence on purity. If we instead encourage people to reduce their consumption of animals or embark on a goal of eventual veganism by first eliminating certain groups of foods/clothing/products, there’s a real chance they’ll eventually go vegan.

  10. let me ask something. What do you guys think about movements like anonymous for the voiceless and the cube for example?

    thank you

  11. Hi, I’d like to make people be aware of animals at work. I currently have a nice printed paper with ‘friends, not food’s and some cartoony farmed animals sitting on the desk, with bananas underneath the paper. I realized this will just make them feel uncomfortable, but I’m really bad at talking… Would a more positive message be better? Let’s just say ‘Friends’ only. If not than why?
    I’m also sick and disgusted of their conversation about various animals and how they cook them, my tolerance has limits and all I do now is just cover my ears with headphones.

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