Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Recently received; answered with Anger, Humor, and Advocacy and Letter to a Young Matt; passed along in case others share this frustration. 

I get the impression that you feel pretty much the way I do about the "angry vegan" situation, where they lash out, and are derogatory and very negative to non-vegans, vegetarians...basically anybody who isn't just like them.

A perfect is example of this is the recent Cecil the lion issue, where people were showing compassion for Cecil, but they were bombarded by vegans saying that they had no right to upset or angry about Cecil if they weren't vegan.

The problem with this is that these negative encounters turn people away from anything to do with being a vegan. They make vegans appear like a bunch of loony nut jobs, and people don't want anything to do with them or what they're about.

Maybe if they weren't met with this negativity, but instead were shown respect and encouragement, these are people whose compassion could have gone from a lion to cows to pigs to chickens. Maybe they would try Meatless Monday and things would snowball from there. But this doesn't happen because they are met by what appears to them to be a bunch of screaming nut jobs.

It's so frustrating, because all that opportunity is lost due to the very people who should be helping animals.

Do you have any advice on how to view this group of vegans so that it doesn't drive me crazy? I mean, the fight for factory farmed animals is such a long, long, long and hard, hard, hard struggle. I know it will go on after I'm dead. That's very hard to accept, but I can deal with that, because I know I'm helping to build the foundation for changes that will eventually come.

The problem for me is that we already dealing with such an enormous task, people like you and me and Tobias, we all are. It's more than enough to handle on its own. But throw in the angry vegans tearing down the foundation before it can even be built?! The problem for me is that it really just makes me feel like throwing in the towel. It's like the straw that broke the camel's back and I feel like, What's the use?

Anyway, I was writing to you for any ideas or thoughts on how you deal with this? Is there any way to look at it so it doesn't make me feel like it's a losing battle? How do you deal with it? I mean, it feels like a long and hard, but winnable battle. But add to that the screaming, angry vegans, and that makes it feel like an unwinnable battle. Like digging a hole in the sand, where the more you dig, the more the actions of angry vegans make the sand fall back into the hole.

Please also see Roadmap to Animal Liberation.


Turquoise said...

Hi Matt,

I think most of the people posting those rants were not vegans, but rather hunters who don't like it that people think their "sport" is barbaric, or simple trolls. There were lots of death threats, and only a very few people who identified themselves as vegans. Even subsistence hunters made comments about their disgust over Cecil's murder.

Matt Ball said...

Hi Turquoise - like the person who wrote the feedback I published, I, too, saw far too much angry and non-constructive feedback from vegans.

Jack said...

I think, at least I hope, the gist of the comments from angry vegans was directed at the frustration with the general society who get upset that people are condemning the violence against Cecil but going home to do the same violence to the same Cecils on their dinner plate. Pointing out the hypocrisy of that rather than saying it was wrong to have compassion for Cecil. But many vegans do not know how to articulate that- they get sloppy with their words and just react with words that do not help people see things clearly, at best, and at worst run counter to their message. I really haven't read enough of the posts to see where they sit along that continuum of ineffectiveness. But the I am Cecil Too movement tells me most vegans get it right. That Cecil was one too.

Christine said...

As a long time activist myaself, I feel the same frustrations a lot. Cecil is just one example...I've seen countless examples of angry and non-constructive feedback from vegans over and over again, and over many years.
I don't think there's anything at all wrong with pointing out the hypocrisy, like Jack mentions, and it's really not what you say, but how you say it.
I've seen countless times over the years where how things were said only turned people away. Nobody wants to listen to a ranting person, even if what they are speaking is the truth.