Saturday, August 23, 2014

An angry vegan?

I have written hundreds of blog posts. I always try to focus on the positive, on what we all can do to make the world a better place for all living beings, and that we all have more in common than not.

My motto is: kindness rules.

This post might not come across that way. The main point I want to get across is that any person fighting for a cause becomes a direct representative of that cause. Their actions and behaviors can have a positive or negative affect on the cause.

How fortunate am I to have a place that sells vegan milkshakes within walking distance of my office?!?!

Once in a while, on my way back to the office from an appointment or a special trip to just get out of the office and take a deep breathe, I swing by WaterCourse Foods to enjoy a delicious milkshake.

Several weeks ago I was sitting in the front waiting for my milkshake when a group of three folks walked in wearing animal rights t-shirts. The one that caught my attention was the gentleman wearing a t-shirt that had the words "F%%K MEAT" on it. Keep in mind that I'm not using the entire word, although the entire word was on the t-shirt.

The gentleman was waiting for a table. He didn't seem too friendly. He was well built, no smile. Walking around with his "F%%K MEAT" t-shirt. I'm sure he could be the friendliest guy on earth but that didn't come across.

First of all, I don't like t-shirts with that word on it. For any reason. I think that word stirs up different emotions in people. I definitely think that there are much more creative words to use. I fully admit that I use that word.

It might have made a little sense if the gentleman was walking around a steak house, rather than a vegan restaurant. I'm sure I would still not like the shirt, but wearing it in a place where there is no meat?

I also will admit that I am 48. He was in his twenties. Maybe this is an age thing and I just don't get it.

What I do get, however, is that if I am fighting for the animals that suffer every day to, in this case, become food for folks, then I have the opportunity to be a voice for them. I have the opportunity to engage with people to tell their story, to talk about their plight. I have the opportunity to leave people feeling positive about also wanting to help animals who suffer to become food or leave them feeling that I am just another angry vegan.

I am the voice for the voiceless. I wonder how those who suffer would want me to best represent them.

I have heard the term "angry vegan" often. I hadn't really thought about the term until I saw this gentleman.

Then I take a look at myself in the mirror and ask the question: Am I being a good representative for the voiceless animals who suffer so intensely?

I hope so. With so much suffering, with so many people totally clueless when it comes to animal cruelty, I firmly believe that being positive, kind and non-judgmental when being a voice for the voiceless is the way to go.

I would love to know your thoughts!

Thanks for reading.


  1. YES! You engage people rather than repel them. You are a good man, Dan!

  2. I remember speaking with Paddy Barrett, the man who ran The Donkey Sanctuary, Ireland. Asking him the "how do you do it?" In dealing with the public. "Softly, softly" was his reply. I never forgot it

    1. I love that: "Softly, softly"! I agree with you, Dan. I don't think being angry, demanding, unsympathetic advances the cause at all. I think of myself as a pragmatic vegan. If I can convince a handful of folks to choose meatless Mondays, vegan before 6:00, switch to almond milk, etc. it will save more animals than F*** Meat.

    2. Yes, while I believe you can be a powerful voice while leading by example, I also believe there are times when you have to fight.
      I was at a flea market once wearing a PeTA t-shirt, walking past a couple of men, one leans in to his buddy and says, so I can hear "thank god we were given animals to eat". I walked over to them and said, " i think I over-heard you say something that was directed at me". He quickly back pedaled and said "oh no, not at all".
      I believe young people are more 'in your face', but weren't we all when we were young and thought we were going to change the world?
      I am a 59 year old gay man who has been politically/ socially active my whole life, and while I have always tried to lead by example, I will not be anyone's patsy.
      Like Arlo sang in Alices restaurant, "if you want to end war and stuff you gotta sing loud".

  3. I'm in my twenties and I definitely wouldn't wear a shirt like that. However, anyone can be stubborn or ignorant at any age. In my opinion, I feel like he's looking to start an argument with someone in the street. He probably thought it'd be okay to wear that in a vegan place because he's trying to make a statement saying "Hey, I hate meat too!" when no one cares, whether they agree or not. I call those people (and pardon my language) "attention whores". They believe that because they're making their views obvious that it makes them more of a vegan or activist. I'm a vegetarian and even I've dealt with those people before. They make kind vegans look bad and support the assumption that every vegan is a "stuck-up know it all".

  4. In my personal experience, I find people like that are usually new 'converts' who simply don't have the energy to sustain that level of anger/passion for a long time. Sadly, this often means they burn out and start eating meat/dairy again. Sometimes, though, they mellow out, learn to pace themselves and distribute their energy wisely and effectively, and become awesome model vegans!

    I can understand the impulse- it's been a long time for many of us, but can you remember the outrage and horror when you first learned how 'food' animals are treated, and at what cost that hamburger ended up on your plate? It's a lot to take in, and anger is a completely understandable reaction to that. By no means am I defending the shirt- I feel like that's not necessarily an effective way of planting a seed in someone's mind or opening up a dialogue. But I can certainly understand the... uh, 'passion' that comes into play when donning a tee like that!