every human decision there is a process of
weighing the pro's and con's. The arguments
used are not always logical to everyone. What
you're going to have for dinner today, is
the result of a decision-making process which
is usually quick, but in the long run the
process can sometimes lead to other decisions,
f.e. to become a vegan.
In this essay we describe people's eating habits in a continuum - a scale - going from more, through less to no use of animals at all. On the one side of this continuum there are selfish considerations, such as, "meat tastes good and is healthy and it doesn't bother me that animals have to suffer for it". On the other side of the continuum there are the altruistic considerations of the vegan, who wants to make use of animals as little as possible, not even barely or indirectly, such as some vegetarians will sometimes allow. Many vegetarians still drink milk, while some vegan won't have photos printed if this is done with the animal product gelatin.
also appeared, somewhat modified, in the
winter of 2000 edition of the Dutch vegan
magazine "Gezond Idee!".
Important and less important factors in decision-making
An important drawback for vegans is the limited number
of choices in food products. An important
benefit is a clearer conscience, but this
may also be seen as a form of selfishness.
Role models can play an important role too. Famous musicians can convince their audience by the beauty of their songtexts.
You must also feel responsible for the effect your eating behavior has on animal suffering.
If you do not feel this, maybe you do see the negative
effects, but don't adapt your eating pattern.
Summarized in a model
Being aware of wrongs in industrial farming does not
always have to lead to the choice of becoming a vegan,
especially if weighing the pros and cons turns out unfavorably.
It may be that people think vegan food does not taste
good, that it's all to no avail anyway, because they
are afraid of other people's opinions, or because people
think that the authorities should do something first.
Influencing other people's decision
If you are a vegan and want to convince others, it
is important to know at what stage of the decision-making
process that person is. Has he been correctly informed?
Is his behavior on par with his convictions? If not,
then the chance of someone feeling attacked when confronted,
and counter-attacking is very real. In that case it
is more effective to have an open attitude and express
a lot of confirmations towards the other, to create
an atmosphere in which he feels safe to voice his doubts.
"Making" someone into a vegan is almost impossible. It's easier for a start (but difficult enough) to make people aware that you cannot just shamelessly use animals.
It is no use trying to convince someone to start living like a vegan if the distance to that other lifestyle is great. The vegan has to consider that he may be right, maybe he will even be put in the right, but today's society offers very little to make vegan living attractive yet. Being or remaining patient is essential.