The problem is animal exploitation.  The solution is Veganism.

Step 1:  You.  Change must start with YOU.  First you go vegan.  You stop consuming animals, wearing animals, and buying products made of animals or tested on animals.  You stop going to venues using animals to entertain.  You stop accepting that animals are just commodities to use.  You start thinking about animals as individuals with their own interests. Simple.

Step 2:  NOW WHAT??  Now that you’ve changed, what do you do next?  Do you leave it at that?  Or, do you speak up and try to help effect change in others?  Remember – the point of going vegan isn’t to join a “club” that follows a strict set of “rules.”  The point is to help solve a very serious social justice problem.

Solving problems of gargantuan proportion depends on the collective effort of many.  No “group” is more oppressed than non-human animals.  For the human culture to stop conceptualizing animals as primarily “things to consume” is going to take a monumental push for change.

Definitions: “push

  • To urge forward or urge insistently; pressure:  “Push a child to study harder.”
  • To extend or enlarge:  “Push society past the frontier.”
  • To promote or sell:  “The author pushed her latest book.”

So who is pushing for change?  Vegans.  Non-vegans won’t do it.  Vegetarians won’t do it.  Vegans are the only ones advocating 100% for the rights of animals not to be used.

Passionate vegans work for the greater good.  By promoting Veganism, we “urge” others to act with fairness toward sentient beings.  We put “pressure” on the status quo.  We ask others to “enlarge” their circle of compassion to include all animals.  We “promote” non-violence.  These are good things.  Yet, passionate, active, vocal vegans are frequently called “pushy.”

Definition: “pushy

  • offensively assertive or forceful
  • marked by aggressive ambition and energy and initiative

Hmm…pushy sounds bad.  So how did we get from “push” to “pushy?”  How did we get from the words, “urge forward / extend / promote” to “offensive” and “aggressive?”

I think it has more to do with how non-vegans react to being challenged than anything else.  I don’t think it really matters what the frequency– the content– the delivery method– of the vegan message is.  The vegan message itself is considered inherently “aggressive” in a culture where animal exploitation is ubiquitous.  Where animal slaughter is condoned, those who speak in protest are considered the “offensive” ones.  All a vegan has to do is open his or her mouth to be labelled “pushy.”  No one minds a quiet vegan!

Push…pushy.  It doesn’t really matter.  The bottom line is we have a long way to go to shift the paradigm.  The animals need our help so we can’t keep quiet.  So, spreaders of the vegan message:  Keep pushing for change…you pushy, pushy vegans!

(Picture taken September 12, 2011 at the Ringling Circus protest in Everett, WA)