If you’ve ever tried to talk a relative into going vegan you know how bad family arguments can get. Sometimes even just preparing and serving vegan food to a relative can devolve into an unpleasantry: “I’m leaving!” “That’s fine.” “Fuck you.” Slam. Screeching tires.

Out of desperation I once offered my brother $50 to watch “Forks Over Knives.” I might as well have asked him to jump over the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle. Actually, I think he’d rather try to jump over the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle than watch “Forks Over Knives.”

Then there was my friend who picked up a Vegan Outreach (VO) pamphlet from a pile of them I’d left strategically in our bathroom. No, ultimately that didn’t work either.

I even tried to convert a whole classroom of fellow students to go vegan. Well, I’ve tried that with a few classes. Basically that didn’t work as far as I could tell, although I think I heard some mumbling about trying to go vegan from a couple of people.

Still, it is possible that I was a catalyst for someone going vegan. I’ve handed out hundreds of VO leaflets and the organization says that out of a 100 leaflets you probably convince two or three to go vegan. There’s an important difference, says Vegan Outreach, between proselytizing strangers and proselytizing friends. Strangers are strangers and can often be way more open to other strangers.

But friends and family members are generally animal rights sermon-resistant. Vegan Outreach says they’re a waste of your vegan activism time.

There is one way, however, that you might get through to a family member or a friend. It’s called “Silence.” That means you NEVER mention anything vegan. You don’t talk about the animals, you don’t talk about the environment and you definitely don’t talk about health or weight loss. I repeat: you definitely don’t talk about health or losing weight.

What if they ask? Psychologist and co-author of “The Pleasure Trap,” Doug Lisle suggests really low-keying it, saying something like, “Oh, this is just something I’m trying for a while – seeing how it goes.”

A vegan friend, David, has a niece who has recently gone vegan after seeing his quiet example. The teenager had heard about veganism and was curious. She figured it must be OK, since her respected uncle was doing it.

Yes, I know it’s frustrating to simply shut up and just be a vegan, but as author Will Potter details in his book, “Green is the New Red,” industry and some government officials see that lifestyle choice as indeed quite powerful.”

Animal experimenter and advocate for the Animal Enterprise Protection Act (a federal law that has been able to reclassify some non-violent animal rights activism as “terrorism,”) Edward J. Walsh has argued that “simple acts such as choosing not to wear fur, eat meat or attend rodeos ‘quietly, but effectively, promote the dissolution of our culture.’”

Whoa! Who knew that?

I don’t think we vegans are trying to promote the “dissolution of our culture,” unless “our culture” means animal cruelty, barbecues, fast food places, “Turkey Day,” Easter egg hunts, circuses and cheese fondue.”

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —

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