Advocating is tough work, especially when you’re advocating for something as deeply entrenched into our idea of humanity as using consuming meat and dairy. This irrational dogma prevents many people from even considering the rightness and goodness (what I call the two virtues) of a vegan lifestyle. The case for veganism is closed primarily because of the two virtues. In 2017 in the United States, there is no arguing against them and conversely, I believe there is little point in debating about them with people. That’s not to say I do not promote them as positive arguments for adopting a vegan lifestyle, but rather that I don’t get mired in debates about their legitimacy or worth. I believe the two virtues can be explained logically, ethically, and practically, and that they are amazing motivators for people to consider becoming vegan.
Logically, the rightness of veganism is soundly proven true. The facts about the consequences, damage, and suffering brought about by the animal agriculture industry are incontrovertible and sad. Furthermore, the facts about the consequences and benefits of a vegan life are equally incontrovertible and very empowering. The effects of going vegan on environmental and resource sustainability are tangible and directly counter the horrific, largely self-imposed phenomena of carbon output and resource depletion we’ve been experiencing. Similarly, the reduction in animals being slaughtered is measurable, significant, and immediate. Therefore, as a solution to the seeming helplessness we are encumbered when it comes to animal agriculture, veganism is logical, direct, and valid. No one can argue that veganism is a poor solution to the many problems caused by the industry (I personally take that further and assert that no one can argue that it is not the most optimal solution, either).
Ethically, the goodness of veganism is extensive, positive, and powerful. First and foremost, by not purchasing animal products and byproducts, one is not contributing to their suffering. Secondly, by not consuming them as well one truly adopts a lifestyle built upon compassion and principles against the industry. Further than being moral towards animals, being vegan is also moral towards the people have little choice but to work in harmful and grossly unsanitary farms and slaughterhouses by boycotting the industry that imposes those jobs on them. It is also ethical in terms of environmental care and sustainability, reducing resource abuse and preserving our planet for future generations. Therefore veganism is inarguably more moral than not being vegan.
Practically, becoming vegan is easy and becoming even easier. There is an abundance of vegan, plant-based products that one can use to replace virtually everything we think we need animals for, such as vegan cheeses, ice cream, egg replacer, pastries, etc. There are also vegan textile products like faux leather and fur, etc. and household products like cruelty-free detergents, cleaning sprays, sanitary products, etc. This all means becoming vegan and embracing its breadth is accessible and enjoyable, making the path to becoming vegan much better.
For those three reasons, I try not to debate about the two virtues. I think that we should be beyond this because, as I said earlier, the case about veganism is closed: it is a logical, direct, and tangible solution, it is more moral, and it’s easier than ever before. I believe that by doing this, I properly frame the discussion so it’s more productive and meaningful. I shift the onus on nonvegans to explore why they aren’t vegan instead of me having to explain why I am vegan, which promotes the choice of adopting a vegan lifestyle greatly. We don’t need to prove the worth of veganism anymore, its worth is proven by the myriad of sad consequences from the industry and the positive effects of being vegan. We just need to tactfully and respectfully assert the facts and try to encourage them to go vegan.
So, I never answered the question in the title of this post: What do I say to nonvegans? Most of the time, I lay out some brief argument – as brief as in this post – about why if one is interested in acting compassionately and wanting to solve many dramatic global problems, veganism is the most meritorious and enriching choice to make. I assert that at this point, the onus of acting righteously falls upon nonvegans because the harm of animal agriculture is too great in too many ways. The real debate should be about why people are not vegan and what is keeping them from changing, because the reasons to go vegan are clear and compelling.
Framing the discussion this way grants veganism the legitimacy it deserves and makes it far more appealing. If you’re a vegan, try making the point I’ve made here, see how it goes (I think you will deem it effective). If you’re not vegan, think about my arguments and consider going vegan. Let me know what you think about my approach below!