Vegans can help more animals by being less ‘preachy’ and ‘more inclusive’, says leading strategist

Read Time:   |  19th October 2017

New book, lauded by Moby and Kat Von D, offers a roadmap for vegan advocacy… 

In spite of veganism being all over the media, the vegan movement has yet to make a dent in the production of animal products. With How to Create a Vegan World: a pragmatic approach, long-time activist and international speaker Tobias Leenaert offers a different approach: the impact of the vegan movement could be increased tremendously, he says, with more pragmatism and open-mindedness, and a little less anger and purity.

In his thought-provoking book, Leenaert leaves behind well-trodden animal advocacy paths, and instead offers his own innovative take on the best strategies and communication styles to grow the vegan and animal rights movement.

Pragmatic approach 

Tobias believes that as the world today is heavily reliant on the use and abuse of animals. With animal products so ingrained in society, moral arguments alone won’t change this. A pragmatic approach uses all arguments available, including health and taste.

Leenaert often advocates for reducetarianism, saying  it is not necessary that vegans demand that everyone else go vegan. His belief is that if all the meat reducers combined have a significantly bigger impact on reducing animal suffering than the small number of vegans.

Leenaert also suggests the vegan movement should not boycott or badmouth meat companies and restaurants – like McDonald’s – that are starting to explore plant-based options, but rather work together with them. It is his belief that these making great alternatives available everywhere is key to showing non-vegans how easy being vegan can be.

Controversy

Most controversially for some vegans, he suggests that they accept that veganism is not an all-or-nothing thing. In fact, he has gone so far as to ask the question: “Why would we tell a vegan who has a piece of pie at her grandmother’s once a year that she’s not a real vegan?”, a statement that many may not agree with.

ProVeg International

Leenaert is applying these principles to a major new charity he recently co-founded: ProVeg International, a food awareness organisation launched initially in four countries – the UK, Germany, Poland and Spain – with the mission to reduce global animal consumption by 50% by 2040.

Praise 

“With his refreshing call for flexibility and a focus on effectiveness, Tobias has drawn a blueprint for a brighter future for everyone except the meat industry. It’s informed our impact-driven approach and why we campaign for institutional change within the likes of governments, schools, and companies. He’s a visionary, whose book every vegan must read,” said Jimmy Pierson, Director, ProVeg UK.

To all my #vegan friends: I’m just about finished reading this book, and man! there is so much useful insight on how to best communicate the animal rights message. In my own humble opinion, I think there are a lot of well-intentioned vegans out there who, without knowing it, end up pushing people away from the cause, simply by how they communicate. I remember back when I was NOT a vegan, and how turned off I’d get by the overbearing vegan – even though I’m sure a part of what they were preaching made some sense to me. This book is really helping me understand how much more effective I could be if I took some of these ideas into consideration. Anyway, today, I’m sending EXTRA LOVE to all my #vegan animal rights activist friends as well as all of my non-vegan friends who may be considering the change. 🖤

A post shared by Kat Von D (@thekatvond) on

Celebrities like Kat von D, Moby and Joanna Lumley have already shown their love for this book:

Moby called it “such an important book”.

Kat Von D: “There is so much useful insight on how to best communicate the animal rights message. This book is really helping me understand how much more effective I could be if I took some of these ideas into consideration.”

Peter Singer, the world’s most influential living philosopher and ethics professor at Princeton, says that: “There are few people as well-qualified to talk about these issues as Leenaert is… This book will help you to take stock of how well you are doing, and suggest ways in which you can do better.”

At Vegan Food & Living we believe there’s room for all approaches when it comes to spreading the vegan message, as what works on one person will not resonate with another. What approach do you take when encouraging others to go vegan? Let us know in the comments below! 

 

How to Create a Vegan World: a Pragmatic Approach by Tobias Leenaert is published by Lantern Press (New York) and is forwarded by Peter Singer.

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Vegan Food & Living

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