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STUDY: Impressions Matter – Promoting Veganism On A Personal Basis

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STUDY: While most of the participants agreed with the principles of the animal rights movement, they found that most people want to avoid things that may cause them feelings of guilt or culpability.

OWEN ROGERS: ‘Vegans and vegetarians (hereafter referred to as veg*ns) are seen by some as being overly moral, preachy, or intolerant. Regardless of how much merit such a judgment might have, it’s something many advocates take seriously. This has led to many people living a meat-free lifestyle to concern themselves with how they come across to omnivores, and prioritize conflict avoidance.

In this study, a psychology researcher asked several veg*ns to describe how they perceive and interact with non-veg*ns. All 26 participants in the study were recruited from various veg*n groups on meetup.com. The group consisted of 7 men and 19 women. 18 members were vegans, 7 were vegetarians, and one was a raw vegan. Their ages ranged from 27 to 63; 23 were white, and 19 had at least some college education…

While many vegans and vegetarians feel a need to speak out about the harms of animal agriculture, most of the interviewees found that such “preaching” is ineffective at best, and harmful at worst. Proper timing was often brought up as being important, with many participants saying they wait until someone asks them about veg*nism to broach the topic. By doing so, they avoid coming across as in-your-face or preachy.

They also emphasized discussing small steps, to avoid overwhelming people with information or scaring them away. Inclusiveness and gradualism were found to be winning strategies by the veg*ns in this study, rather than exclusive or absolutist approaches. Participants also found more success when focusing on the health benefits of veg*nism rather than moral or environmental arguments…

While most of the interviewees agreed with the principles of the animal rights movement, they found that most people want to avoid things that may cause them feelings of guilt or culpability… Though the sample is small, the consensus seems to be that, to be effective messengers, we should avoid aggressive, guilt-inducing tactics that do nothing but reinforce stereotypes and inspire defensiveness. Instead, we should be respectful, encourage small steps, and lead by example’. SOURCE…

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