But it’s a littttllllee relatable, isn’t it? Because we are all guilty of choosing ignorance in some aspect of our lives. We are buying products made in sweatshops, not shopping locally, not recycling enough, smoking cigarettes, buying SUVS, not keeping up with current world problems, whatever it is… none of us are perfect.
One of the most important things we can do, as compassionate and aware vegans, is to be compassionate towards those who are not yet aware. The thing is, just because someone doesn’t eat cruelty free doesn’t mean they are cruel. It just means they are not there yet. The key to motivating others to change is extremely dependant on our willingness to understand why they can’t.
It is emotionally taxing to care.
It’s a defence mechanism to feel indifferently towards the suffering of animals. It’s a lot easier to eat the bacon and enjoy the taste rather than think of where it came from. I mean, REALLY think about it. It’s sad. No one wants to feel anymore sadness or discomfort than they absolutely have to.
Change is inconvenient.
Once you open yourself up to knowing and caring, you will most likely feel obligated to make a change. This change can be hugely inconvenient, or at least seem that way at first. After years of veganism, we kind of forget about how hard it was to stop going to our favourite restaurant or to turn down our Grandma’s famous banana cream pie. A lot of us take comfort in our routines and changing things within our daily lives can seem extremely daunting.
Feeling alone is scary.
Finally, after we have made the switch to veganism, it can feel lonely to look around at all of our friends and family eating meat, without giving it a second thought. It’s isolating to be a vegan in a non vegan world, especially when surrounded by friends and family who don’t share the same concerns about animal welfare or constantly question your lifestyle choice.
How can we help?
While sharing gruesome videos, pictures, and information can be helpful in a “tough love” sort of approach, we have to acknowledge that some people do not respond to shame, guilt, or sadness. Sometimes it’s more effective to help others come to the conclusion that change can be refreshing. That by giving up Grandma’s banana cream could mean finding a dessert they enjoy even more. That even if their friends and family aren’t supportive of their decision, there’s a whole community of other vegans out there looking to share and connect. Activism can come from a place of identifying with others, in that we all have our vices, and we all, at times, choose ignorance.