Over on my Instagram account, I often talk about how we should support people who are making progress towards living a vegan lifestyle. But I also talk about hardcore activism where we shout the truth and demand animal liberation.
It’s like, Tanja, do these two even fit together? In my opinion, they surely do.
I don’t think that to be compassionate and kind we need to pretend animal exploitation doesn’t happen. It doesn’t mean we have to deny the existence of slaughterhouses and dairy farms and pretend that people who are not yet vegan aren’t supporting animal abuse. They are.
But vegan activism goes beyond that. In my eyes, vegan activism is about having a passion for showing people the truth and then having compassion for their slow journey towards a vegan lifestyle.
I don’t think it’s wrong to show graphic footage to people on the streets as long as we don’t follow them if they refuse to look our way. I don’t think it’s wrong to comment on a photo of a hunter if we happen to see it on Instagram as long as we don’t spam their whole account.
It’s about balance. It’s about being aware that there are animals suffering but also knowing that human-animals need time to change.
For the longest, we have been living in an illusion where our decision had no visible consequences. If we didn’t see it, it wasn’t real.
When we finally see the truth and our illusion is taken away, we need time to adjust our vision. You cannot expect to release people from the dark basement and have them sunbathe the next hour. It takes time and patience.
That’s why I want our vegan activism to become a movement where we marry passion and compassion. Where we are able to stand up for the abused and stand with the abusers while they are moving towards an ethical life.
It’s damn hard and it takes a lot of heart to do that, but we ought to try! This world needs people who are willing to be vulnerable and courageous and take the hand of someone they disagree with.
Just think about it. How can we lack compassion towards those who are asking us for a little bit of patience and help? They are trying to change and you are denying them your shoulder to mourn the person they used to be!
I know it will take a lot of pain to sit down with someone who is not where you are yet, but we used to sit on the same chair they are sitting on right now. We were once the abusers, too.
And yet we changed. Now it’s on us to encourage the new generation of compassionate humans. It’s on us to be passionate and compassionate because one without the other just doesn’t work.
I want to encourage all of you to look through the eyes of the perpetrator and find enough compassion for them. I hope it helps you find space in your heart equally for those who are unwilling to change as for those who are already changing.
If you find yourself struggling, please write to me on Instagram and I will stand by your side. After all, we are all in this together, aren’t we?
It’s hard for me to look at animal abusers and recognize that they were not destined to become this person, and usually I break down in tears. Eventually, I stand up again and remind myself that they won’t change just because I am crying.
I am not advocating for respecting and loving all humans, not at all. I am advocating for being self-aware and logical enough to know that to help more abused animals we need to be healthy, and the only way to be healthy is if we take care of our bodies and, especially, our mind.
Falling asleep at night with animal abusers on mind is not something that will help us thrive long term, or save anyone.
Actually, they don’t have to change. It’s me who has to change to the point that others are inspired by that. It’s about finding the humanity in the most inhumane species to exist – Homo sapiens.