Recently, the restaurant Antler in Toronto, Ontario garnered media attention because of protests that were being held by vegans outside the restaurant.
I have a wee bit of a problem with this…
Now, I’m not saying that protests in general are unwarranted. But in my view, picking on a singular business owner isn’t the way to go about creating change. Was his move to carve a deer leg in the shop window adding fuel to the fire? Heck yes. But I do understand he felt attacked and that was his way of pushing back. I’m not saying he was right, but I can understand where his behavior came from. We are all imperfect after all and we’ve all made mistakes.
I believe that polite, positive and persistent information is the best way to create awareness and, ultimately, change. The minute we start attacking people who weren’t part of the discussion to begin with, it makes it infinitely harder for them to hear our views.
I think there’s a fine line to walk in order to give people that open door they need to explore veganism without fear of judgment. I understand that some people may never be able to go vegan for a variety of reasons (health, cultural, or otherwise) and I don’t want those people to feel ostracized. Which is why I will never shame, guilt or ridicule someone who isn’t vegan.
It wasn’t so long ago that I was an omnivore. I always think about the way I would have wanted to be treated. I probably wouldn’t have been receptive to people who were putting my livelihood in jeopardy. The very last thing I would ever want is for someone to be turned off of veganism by activists who probably had good intentions but who went about spreading the message in a less than compelling manner.
Have you ever been turned off of veganism because of the way it was represented?
The Vegan Virgin, xo