Become A Vegetarian…But Leave the Red Paint at Home

» Posted by on Sep 21, 2011 in Ethics, Why Become A Vegetarian | 0 comments

Become A Vegetarian…But Leave the Red Paint at Home

To become a vegetarian is one thing.  But some people take it beyond just what goes in their mouths.

It’s easy to become angry when you think about what goes on in the food industry.  First you have factory farms.  They’re mutilating, mistreating, hurting, and slaughtering millions and millions of animals every day.

Next, you have restaurants and manufacturers, who go to great lengths to package meat as “food,” not dead animals.  If you ever see pictures of animals on commercials for steak or chicken, they’re mostly in cartoon or other “cute” forms.

And so forth.

But wait…I’m trying to make a different point here.  Let’s back up a second.  Rewind.

Note that in talking about the animal industry, I didn’t use the word, “murder.”

And in the statement about the restaurant industry, I didn’t use the word, “brainwash.”

Does that mean either industry doesn’t do these things?  Of course not.  Animals are murdered every day and we are brainwashed every day.

Become A Vegetarian, But Leave the Anger at HomeHowever, there are some pretty radical groups out there that are working to get you to become a vegetarian, and are using some pretty inflammatory tactics to do so.  They use guilt, shame, rhetoric, and extreme language to get you to become a vegetarian.

I admire the passion and fire these people feel, because it’s the same reasoning that fueled my transition to vegetarianism six years ago.  However, I’m very careful about how I talk to other people about what were my reasons to become a vegetarian.

In my experience, people tend to listen more when they’re included…not pushed.  If I tell someone that they’re contributing to the horrors of the world if they don’t become a vegetarian, they may feel guilty.  But I don’t know that they feel encouraged or excited…both elements that lead to lasting change.

However, if I meet or talk to someone who’s open to learning more about how to become a vegetarian, I know they’re open to having a real, hard facts discussion about how to make that change.

This is a subtle distinction.  But I really do believe that extremist vegetarian groups are sometimes doing the cause of vegetarianism a disservice by pushing others into making the change.

It’s no wonder that vegetarians sometimes get a bad rap.  We don’t all badger and push.  That doesn’t change the fact that most of us who have made the change for ethical reasons do feel the same fierce anger that the world has pulled the wool over our eyes.  But I’ve noticed more people listen when I have a calm discussion with them as opposed to telling them what they’re doing wrong and how they’re harming the world.  That can be communicated subtly and without placing direct blame.

Of course, this approach works best with people who are open to learning and having rational discussions.  The people on the other side who are badgering and pushing FOR meat production are less likely to play nice.  In those cases, I find that cold, hard facts tend to work the best.  But some people aren’t willing to listen.  In that case, you sometimes just have to accept that those people are choosing to live their lives a certain way.  Or you can spray paint “murderer” on their house.  But that’s probably just going to get you thrown in jail.

In any case, if you’re wanting to change the world and get more people to become a vegetarian, the best course of action might not involve pushing.  You might be better suited to pull someone toward you and invite conversation.