Veganism is a compassionate lifestyle and those who follow this path already possess the heart of an activist.
To be a vegan is to be an activist – it’s true. It’s the one thing that you can do that will save countless lives without you having to, well, do anything.
Many vegans do go further and spread the word – either through direct action, campaigning or protest marches. Veganism is seen as a realisation that there is a way to live without animal exploitation and their compassionate lifestyle compels them to go further.
Veganism, for many of us, goes beyond a diet, it’s a rejection of all animal exploitation – products tested on animals, companies that test on animals, parent companies that test on animals, charities that fund animal testing, companies connected with hunting and shops that sell ethically dodgy products.
There’s a Facebook meme that jokes about vegans having to tell somebody they’re vegan at every opportunity – well, why not? If veganism is activism, then activism is spreading the word.
Of course, many vegans go out of their way to go a step further in spreading the word. London Vegan Actions show clips of the film Earthlings to commuters on the Tube – showing them exactly where their meat is coming from. Yes, the film does contain graphic images, but this is true from farm to fork stuff. This is reality, and why should we hide from reality just because it’s uncomfortable?
Simply posting pictures, articles and messages on Facebook can be seen as activism, with the advent of email, it’s easy to contact the local media and there’s always the opportunity to join in lively debates in the comments section on websites and social media – although this can be very bad for the blood pressure and can leave you banging your head against a brick wall!
There are countless marches on issues as diverse as the meat industry, hunting and animal testing. Shops which sell fur are regularly targeted as are embassies connected to countries that host infamous acts of animal exploitation.
Other vegans engage in direct action by becoming hunt saboteurs, Sea Shepherd or protesting at ports against live exports. The list seems to grow every year. Sadly, this s mainly due to there being new battles to fight every year.
The point is, that once you choose a compassionate and ethical lifestyle then it is difficult to stay silent when you witness inequality and abuse. Incidentally, this often relates to human rights issues too – many vegans are involved in anti-racism groups and campaign against homophobia, sexism and corruption in general.
The advent of social media can mean the bombardment of stories and images of injustice can get a little overwhelming at times. I know I have to take five from the internet sometimes for the sake of my sanity.
The choice is yours. As I said in the beginning, the act of being a vegan itself is an act of activism, and I think there is so much horror in this world that we should praise people who do something rather than condemn people for not doing enough.