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Guys, extortion isn’t an effective form of vegan advocacy

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In my ongoing list of things I’d like people to stop staining veganism with, I didn’t think I’d have to write this one down.

The San Francisco Chronicle shared a classic tale of extortion between a butcher shop and the Direct Action Everywhere street-team in their neighbourhood. Every Sunday, the shop hosts ‘butchery classes’ in which students learn everything from how to properly hold a knife, how to break down dead animal body products, and of course, the age old technique of ignoring protestors. That last lesson comes care of 12-weekly protests DxE held in an effort to dissuade animal users from using animals in this one particular way.

You can accomplish a lot in three months, and in this case, the protestors accomplished bullying a butcher shop owner into hanging a decal in their window. They agreed to stop showing up every Sunday (and to limit protests to twice yearly) if the store would post a sticker that reads “Attention: Animals’ lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done.” Naturally, stickers are a lot less disruptive than hoards of angry ‘meat is murder’ screamers, so the shop agreed.

Cool, now what? Well, they haven’t stopped exploiting animals, their clientele haven’t stopped exploiting animals, and now the whole lot think vegans are ridiculous and callous. Since they couldn’t fit a picket sign worth of information on the sticker, and since any Googling of the DxE brand offers no further vegan education, it’s hard to believe anyone can call this a “victory”. The shops owner confirmed sales haven’t been hurt, classes go on, and that they’ve even garnered sympathy from those who support them. SYMPATHY!

Assuming we can extort people into respecting the lives of others makes no sense. Effective vegan advocacy comes from conversation, education, and leading by example. Yelling, bullying, and essentially annoying business owners will forever be less effective than creating even one new vegan who would never patronage their shop or any other that employs the use of animals.

Please, put down the megaphone and consider that animals need us to be helping and not hurting their cause. That means going vegan, and helping others to go vegan, non-violently.

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