Drawing by Leslie Goldberg

This post is about acting nice. Vegans, please understand, it’s essential to stop arguing with anyone about eating animals.


You also don’t want to argue about wearing leather, wearing wool, deserted islands, going to circuses, going to rodeos, eating honey, eating animal “secretions,” medical research, hunting, fishing, global warming, bull fighting, “humane” meat, cosmetics, dolphins, soy products, polluted rivers, lakes and oceans, antibiotic use on factory farms, protein, what the cave men ate, barbecues, calcium, world hunger, heart disease, Marine World, family traditions, fast food places, cancer, tigers who kill, obesity, the meaning of Thanksgiving, essential fatty acids, what Jesus would do, Bill Clinton, what God said to Adam and Eve, olive oil, Michael Pollan, the Dalai Lama, the lives of indigenous peoples or PETA.

Each of these topics is booby-trapped. If you get hooked, both you and your adversary will dig deeper and deeper into your own side of the argument. You will actually help your debating opponent to become even more entrenched in his point of view. You might even find yourself at the family Christmas Eve dinner with another relative screaming at you: “Are you a doctor?”

Oddly, even if you ARE a doctor, they’ll still be screaming at you. Maybe it’ll be “Are you God?” or “I don’t recall you ever being MY doctor!”

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to the protest at Ringling Bros. or at KFC. I’m certainly not suggesting that you stop handing out Vegan Outreach booklets. It’s very important to go and do these things. It’s also important to smile. It’s important to listen. It’s important to be a happy vegan, even if you’re not feeling particularly happy. It’s important to laugh and it’s important to duck if someone throws a punch. It might even be important to go to jail, just leave the arguing to your lawyer.

Consider also leaving the arguing to Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society United States and Dr. John McDougall of the plant-based diet world and to the United Nations and its report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” These people are paid to argue, you are not! All of the arguers above have websites and books. Send your naysayers there if they want to yell at somebody.

OK, maybe you, Ms. Vegan agree: no arguing about animal foods. But what about a discussion? For the passionate among us, (And what vegan isn’t?) a discussion is usually like that first drink for the alcoholic. Please just one itty bitty reasonable talk and the next thing you know doors are slamming and tears are rolling. Again, send them to the internet if they want info. It’s 2014, most people know how to use the Google machine and the public library.

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