“You Can’t Make Me Change”
I know this is what so many people think to themselves when they hear the vegan message, however gently it’s delivered: “you can’t make me change.”
And of course it’s true: no one can make another person change.
But animal advocates put the message out there because there is always someone who will hear that message and be willing to look within to see if they can reconcile the facts about animal exploitation and their own conscience.
The message might first be completely ignored, then dismissed, then angrily defended against, then tentatively investigated and then finally embraced.
Those who claim vegans “make them feel guilty” sometimes later realize that no one can make anyone feel anything they don’t already feel (or are trying to suppress).
I, too, when faced with the first vegetarian I ever encountered many years ago felt guilty and uncomfortable eating meat in front of him–but he was in no way responsible for my feelings–I was.
His quiet presence made me see that I wasn’t being true to myself, for in eating meat I was betraying my compassion for animals.
I thank that man for awakening the part of me that I had suppressed as I grew up.
When I was a kid I was adamant that eating animals was wrong if we were to love them and respect them, but like most people I was born into a society that kept conditioning me to ignore and reject what I knew inside was the truth.
It took an example of someone who wasn’t ignoring that inner voice to wake my own voice up.
No, vegans can’t make someone change, anymore than they can make someone care.
We can only remind others of what they might be suppressing.
It’s quite simple.
If you love animals, or even if you simply do not want to cause suffering to sentient beings, then you will reject their exploitation, which results in cruelty and death.