Ending Our Veganger

We need only take a quick glance back through human history, watch any cable news network, tune into a reality TV show or read a few blogs and what becomes obvious are the ideas which divide people from one another will eventually unite them all...... in anger.

More than ever people today seem so angry, so ready to fight with one another, even when they're on the same team. Even when they share the same ideals and goals.

What is behind all of this anger? Why is there so much rage flying around everywhere?

Even in the vegan, animal rights community as well…people are so quick to attack, denounce and defame each other that it’s really quite troubling.

However, rather than focus on the obvious defects that make the species homo sapien so impossible to live with we can choose to investigate what may be at the roots of our anger in a deeper context.

We live in a very apprehensive time. On some days you can almost hear the ticking from the bombs of peoples hostility. You can read it in their eyes and detect it from the lines on their faces. Our world is simply burning up with bad tempers and free range...rage.

Anger is what people do with their fear.

It's much easier to react with anger than to admit we're afraid.

It appears that even in the insightful, mindful, compassionate, and empathy driven community of animal rights advocates it's so easy for us to translate our fears immediately into anger at one another.

Our situation is this: most of the people in the world are afraid of what they can not control.

What frightens most of us is when we lose the ability to control what happens with the most important issues and aspects of our lives. We are a species who become nearly phobic when we lose control or even the illusion of control.

It may even partially explain one of the core reasons many people want nothing to do with living vegan or gaining knowledge about animal rights issues. It might not be that they don't care, but rather they're afraid. Afraid of becoming burdened with the knowledge of so much suffering and death caused by the hands (and mouths) of other humans.

Afraid they are taking on something they cannot control.

This might also be the source of so much of the anger present among many like minded, caring, ethical vegans directed at other vegans.

The intensity of feeling and knowing there is so much at stake and no way to control or put an end to it.

Fear comes to us and is born from perceiving a danger which seen or unseen waits right around the corner. For the masses of non human life on this planet the world is without a doubt a horribly dangerous place and the small minority of humans who have a deep empathy for animals can be overwhelmed by it all. Our awareness of what happens to animals on fur farms, in research facilities or in slaughterhouses can generate an incredible sense of fear as well as a devastating anger in each of us.

There is already so much unconscious fear for most of us wrapped up in the knowledge of our own inevitable/personal deaths that it would not be the theory of some delusional mad man to suggest that for animal rights advocates there is an extra anxiety and fear caused by our awareness from so much animal misery and death. We often feel helpless because it all feels so beyond our control to do anything.

Yet we owe it to the animals of the world, the people in our lives and of course ourselves to drop the aggressiveness toward one another and attempt to be kind and remain calm. We need to be able to find those openings where understanding, empathy and cooperation can squeeze through so that we can move forward together.

It is neither in defeating each other nor in beating each other up; but through cooperation and experiencing unity where we will be able to reach our goals and achieve real victories for non humans.

Part of the solution might be in letting go of our anger at one another and looking for ways we can find solidarity.

One of the pleas we ethical vegans often make to other humans, who wrongly believe it does not matter what pain or death may be inflicted on other sentient beings, is that we humans are much more similar to non humans than we are different. Why do we forget that bright pearl of wisdom when it comes to other humans who are actually vegan for ethical reasons like we are? We have so much more in common than we have in disparity. Yet, most of the time we fail to notice our hypocritical reactions and irrational behavior regarding this point.

We're so few in numbers and so far between that it remains quite critical for us to unite rather than fight.... each other.

None of the ideas above reflect the notion that we cannot have minor or major disagreements with what might seem the best approach for achieving non human animal's rights. Nor does letting go of anger at one another mean that we should also refrain from critiquing tactics which many of us may view as producing more harm to the cause than good.

However, dropping the anger means ending the personal attacks, threats and non stop drama which seems to have become more important than saving animals lives or in educating other people about becoming vegan.

We all need to put an end to our having to be right all the time in our arguments about animal rights or in proving other vegans wrong in their ways. It's about time that we also recognize how foolish we sound when we claim we are better, bigger and bolder vegans than someone else.

We are the only voice the animals have and we are wasting it on overly dramatic, dysfunctional and useless infighting.

When we self destruct everyone loses.

If we can possibly acknowledge and wake up to the understanding that the majority of anger which is directed towards one another is merely based on our fear of what horrendous and unnecessary atrocities are being committed against animals by other humans. We all share this stress and hardship. Maybe we can attempt to be kinder and more accepting of one another. Maybe we can all learn to live together more successfully as we all live with the same thorn in our sides.

As cliche and overused as any quote might sound....

Animal rights advocates need to be the change we want to see in the world.

It's time we recognize that what allows humans to cooperate with one another is the ability to get past the tiny differences and to find those greater, more extensive similarities and to build and work from there.

There is of course no guarantee that even the most reasonable and like minded people are going to agree about everything. However, allowing fear and anger to control our interactions with one another and let it hold influence on the long struggle ahead for animal rights is certainly unreasonable.

We ethical vegans are an open minded creative group and we can surely devise better solutions for resolving conflicts than we have been of late.

The reality is that if we wish to transform our culture into one that views animals as persons whose lives deserve equal respect we need to learn to make the best use of our time spent interacting with one another.

We need to learn to be calm, cool and collective, so to speak, if we wish to have any influence on the speciesist attitudes of our fellow human beings.

Veganism is a compassionate and rational enterprise. Speciesism is not.

Living vegan is so much about empathy and the ability to feel what another being feels, and in it's more cultivated form the capacity to deeply understand another's point of view.

Dropping our anger at one another may seem low on the to do list of vegan activities, yet as proved time and again with our consideration regarding the importance of non human lives, the power of kindness is eventually what makes all the difference in the world.

Don't be vegangry...

Be a sanctuary for others.

Be vegan.

listen here Why Can't We Live Together?


  1. What a beautiful, insightful post!

  2. YES! You have no idea. Thiss a real problem and this is the first time I've read about it. I'm happy I found this blog. We need to respect other people who care about animals enough to be vegan.
    Thank you.

  3. Philip, I agree with Tracy that this is a beautiful, insightful post, and with Cynthia that respect for others who love animals is essential. (If we can't respect vegans, how can we learn to respect those who aren't yet vegan?)

    You explain the basis of the anger so accurately: it's all fear. Seems to me that as we allow even MORE unselfish love to well up within us, it will supplant that fear, remove us from our stuck state, and overcome divisions. (I recently read that one definition of "let" is "to free from.")

    We've probably all discovered that it's easier to go and stay veg than it is to love everyone unconditionally! And yet the very clarity and compassion that enabled us to commit to helping animals in this far-reaching way can also help us commit to stop regarding our fellow humans, including veggies, in harmful ways.

    When you think about it, we're all trying our best to do our highest sense of right.

    I have to work hard at not seething inside sometimes. One way to beat the anger I might be feeling toward someone, I've found, is to think of myself as that individual's parent or child, sister or spouse. Wouldn't I love my son despite his seeming deficiencies? Yes. Wouldn't I appreciate my daughter's redeeming qualities? Yes. Wouldn't I see my mom or dad or sibling as worthy of love and respect -- and as capable of being loving and respectful -- if only because all of us are born to love and be loved? Yes.

    As the song by the Hollies goes: "He ain't heavy. He's my brother."

    We can all rescue ourselves from our past failures to feel love and respect toward all, and we can at any moment adopt a new attitude, just as we adopt those sweet creatures we so love. :-)

  4. Thank you Philip, I met you 2 months ago at Animal Acres. It's changed my life... forever and definitely for the better! My husband and I are now vegan, and it is one of the best decisions that I have made in my life(along with marrying my husband). I've been a vegetarian for many years and believed that was enough and I was comfortable with that because I wanted to enjoy food. I thought being a vegan was just too radical and it would mean beans,rice and wheat with little to no taste. Wow, how I've changed!!! In the back of my mind, I always felt a hypocrisy because I could justify my food choices. That's not who I want to be. I am a loving compassionate person and my food choices did not reflect that. The day I came home from the Animal Acres open house and told my husband about the beautiful sanctuary, was the day we made our decision to become vegans. The murder, torture and suffering of any animal is unacceptable, and my heart breaks with overwhelming sadness. We are educating ourselves, learning to cook delicious new recipes, shop differently...and we're having fun along the way! It feels so good and so positive to make the change. Thank you so much Philip, you truly have made a difference. Your message of love and compassion was heard...Thank you my friend.

  5. Well said, and how true, but I'm afraid some people (hmmm) may get angry at this post! Some people will just always find something to get worked up about even if it makes sense.

  6. Philip, I just love this post and the sentiment behind it. I can't agree more with you on this issue, and I'm always disheartened when I see vegans attacking other vegans. We're better ambassadors, and better people for that matter, when we learn to just accept others as they are, and stop judging them based on our standards. Thanks so much for writing this!

  7. This post is so beautifully stated and, for me, so perfectly timed. Thank you so much for sharing it! :)

  8. This is so true! Everyone is angry, everywhere but we vegans need to get along and not attack each other. This is so well written. Thank you.

  9. As always your post is so compassionate and truthful. That you for having such wonderful thoughts and sharing them. It is important to know we are not alone. Your thoughts bind us.

  10. thank you for a wonderful post on a critical issue. allow difference and discussion without defeating anger and drama is so important if we truly want to help the animals. thank you!

  11. YES! We owe it to the animals and like you say, to ourselves. To quit the bickering about who is more vegan or who always has the right answer. Fight for the animals and not fight the other vegans!!
    Amen brother!!!