Preaching or teaching: getting the balance.

I swore I wouldn’t preach. In fact, I’ve said as much on here more than once. It doesn’t achieve anything and one could argue that it does the vegan cause more harm than good.

But it’s so hard!

First and foremost, I want to do all I can to help animals and of course, encouraging others to take up a vegan lifestyle is the most effective thing any of us could do. Secondly, I know how fantastically healthy I feel now that my diet is animal free and I want to share my experience with those I love – I want them to feel as good as I do!

One of the things that helped turn me back onto the path towards veganism was a video clip I came across on Twitter. The clip showed Christmas turkeys lined up for slaughter. It was nothing I didn’t already know but the haunting images of these poor birds and the thought of the fate which awaited them was the kick up the backside I needed to act on the doubts I’d been having about my meat eating. I wish I could remember who posted the clip; I will be eternally grateful to this person for clearing my vision and my conscience!

With that experience at the forefront of my mind, I have been posting pro vegan clips and articles on my personal Facebook page. Not loads. And that’s not all I post. It’s interspersed by stories of the kids and all the other rubbish that people tend to litter their pages with. I didn’t really expect to convert anyone, at best I suppose I was hoping to at least show people what has motivated my decision to change so many things about my family’s way of life.

Perhaps naively, I was not prepared for the reaction I received after posting a pro vegan quote.

One ‘friend’ basically told me to stop posting such things as she didn’t enjoy seeing it; I was judged to be ‘intolerant’ and ‘extreme’. I told her to block my posts if she didn’t want to see it. A great debate ensued between some vegan friends and a few omnivores. Perhaps a few people took something away from it. Some may think twice before ordering a steak, for some it may indeed have been confirmation that vegans are all nutters! I don’t know.

It just goes to show what a touchy subject veganism is for people – never before have I seen anyone try to censor another person’s page in such a way. I was genuinely astounded. Let’s face it, we all have friends who post things we’d rather not see. Tales of roast dinners they have cooked, a picture of their new leather shoes, pictures of their less than attractive sunbathing partners, but I would never dream of trying to dictate to someone what they can and can’t post on their own page!

So now the dilemma. My stubborn streak has kicked in to an extent – I’m inclined to post even more vegan ‘propaganda’ just to make a point. However, in satisfying my own ego in such a way, would I be further annoying people who were previously sympathetic to vegans? Or should I just pack it in and maybe just share these articles and videos with the other vegans on my friends list? But then how will we ever encourage others to give veganism a try if we keep all of our precious information behind closed doors?

I guess this is where ‘getting the balance’ comes in. We need to educate without alienating people, we need to ensure that our friends don’t think we are perched on top of a mountain of moral superiority, looking down on our ‘less enlightened’ omnivorous pals!

With that in mind, I’m going to tone down the vegan posts, I will focus on the benefits of veganism, great recipes and articles which educate rather than patronise.

And if I feel the need for a good vegan rant – I’ll come and speak to you guys!

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4 responses to “Preaching or teaching: getting the balance.

  1. I think the friend who complained was being unreasonable – it takes a few seconds to scroll past a facebook post if you don’t want to see it! I have friends who post meat recipes, homages to celebrities I can’t stand, photos that even I (the person who had a fb avatar of her partner apparently eating her ear for months) think push the boundaries of decency, and one brave soul who sometimes writes of her love for Ipswich Town FC. I scroll past these quickly, except the last one who gets some mild-mannered piss-taking and threats to send her kids Norwich scarves. In return I expect people who really can’t stand to see vegan stuff to do the same. So far only one row has kicked off, and that was on a post that I’d have got something badly wrong with if it hadn’t generated any controversy. If you want to tone things down on your personal page feel free – you don’t have to advocate for veganism 24/7/52 after all – but don’t feel pushed into it because a few people ‘don’t enjoy’ seeing those posts.

  2. I also post things about veganism and about animal rights campaigns etc on FB and no-one has mentioned it (yet) but I suspect a few have hidden my posts. I don’t mind that at all as I have hidden quite a few friends myself – one does semi-nude modeling and I *hate* seeing the pictures! – but I would never ask them to not put the pictures up. It’s their page and they can do what they want with it. I try to keep things reasonably neautral though as I’d rather keep people looking at my posts and getting them to understand my point by degrees rather than by freaking them out which is always a risk. It’s hard to know where that line is though, so good luck and keep up the good work 🙂

  3. I have also had the same issue – with one friend (a ‘humane meat’ eater) insisting that she could be an animal lover and still eat meat, and I was being unfair to accuse her of not being compassionate towards animals (I didn’t accuse her of anything, I just posted a link about the mental disconnect between pets and ‘food’ animals for all my fb friends.) She ended up leaving facebook because of me. I also get the feeling that my posts have been blocked by a lot of my friends, who don’t want to argue, but don’t want to know about the conditions that farm animals live in either, as they realise it would present them with a dilemma.
    My solution has been to ease right off – I post the occasional pro-animal rights link now, but also post a lot of links to veggie recipes, and cute animal videos (especially of farm animals). Unfortunately, I think the harm has already been done and most of my friends won’t see my posts anyway. The ones that haven’t blocked me are already vegetarian or vegan!

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