Know Thy Enemy Week #5: Ourselves


Tricky, tricky! Ending with a cliché about being your own worst enemy… bet you didn’t see that coming.

For all the complaining we can do about other people, the industry, and companies with fervent anti-animal policies, we really owe it to ourselves to take a look in the mirror and critically view what we see.

I’m not necessarily talking about “us” in the collective sense, though heaven knows the movement can always use some time for introspection, but “us” in the individual sense. What is it about ourselves that is somehow not helping the animals when we could be?

For lacto-ovo vegetarians, perhaps it’s making that jump to veganism and getting rid of the dairy, eggs, leather, wool, etc. What’s holding you back? What reasoning are you using to make it OK to not be vegan? Is it the “it doesn’t kill the animal” argument? Is it the “veganism is just ‘too far'” argument? Or is it the (sigh) “I like cheese too much” excuse? Take a minute and think about it. Think about the reasoning you’ve been using and pretend you’re a vegan hearing someone else say it. How would you respond?

For vegans, perhaps it’s the honey issue. Are you the way I was when I first went vegan, saying, “Oh, honey’s not a big deal,” eating it anyway? Turn the phrase around. Say it again: “Oh, honey’s not a big deal,” but this time follow it with the phrase “to avoid.” Because it really isn’t. You’d be surprised how extending your circle of compassion this little bit encourages you to find other ways to keep extending it.

For long-time activists, have you become so enveloped in the animal rights culture that you find it hard to relate to omnis? Remember this: one of the best things you can do to save animals is to convince someone else to go vegetarian or vegan. You’ve got to be able to maintain healthy relationships with meat eaters not only to help combat the “crazy vegan” stereotype, but to be able to reach out honestly and sincerely to help show them the cruelties of meat, dairy, and egg production.

Every single one of us could be doing something more to further the cause. For me, it’s the idea of handing out literature or speaking in public to people I don’t know. These things could make a huge difference, but I’ve got to get over my own anxieties. I need to remind myself that the animals can’t speak with words, so it’s up to me to help them out.

What do you need to do to better yourself for the good of the animals? What’s making you your own worst enemy?

(I hope you’ve enjoyed this theme week. There were plenty of other “enemies” I wanted to include, but I’ll save those for another time. Thanks for reading and stick around for another theme week sometime in the near future.)

6 Responses to “Know Thy Enemy Week #5: Ourselves”

  1. Michael G. Richard

    “I hope you’ve enjoyed this theme week.”

    I did. Thank you for writing it!

  2. Karen

    I enjoyed it. Thank you for the time and effort you put into the week of posts. This last one was a good one, too.

  3. Danielle

    I loved the theme week, too. I know I’m not always as careful as I should be in restaurants, so maybe that’s my downfall. I mean, I avoid the obvious stuff, but I don’t always think to make sure the bread has no tricky ingredients. I’m trying to improve in that regard.

  4. Marcy

    on a positive note for this week’s theme, i a few weeks ago i started doing something new that i’d put off for quite some time. i started requesting specific vegan items in the health food stores i go to the most (one a small natural foods corner store/bodega, the other a large health food store) instead of just moping around because they were rarely or never carried anymore. specifically, i’d find more NON-vegan replacements with casein and such being shunted in, and it would get me down. so i finally did something about it, despite my usual avoidance of seeming demanding/slowing line down, and despite that feeling that no one will care in NYC because it’s not small town and you barely make a dent in anything from so many people going where you go.

    surprisingly, it was quite easy, they didn’t even make me do a special order. the smaller place was especially quick at stocking tons of what i’d requested. i literally, while at check-out, got scraps of paper from them and wrote out what i was trying to get re-stocked, leaving ny name and number with it in case they needed to call.

    it was easy-peesy, and great to know that this means more 100% vegan/yummy products will be easily available to others to try out and get hooked on, too. and i can have my treats! :)

    win-win all around, and way easier/faster than i would’ve guessed. i highly recommend, anywhere you live, whatever type of store.

  5. BB

    I’d like to add that we also become our own worst enemies when we hate too much on other AR folks, rather than voicing disagreements but continuing to work together on our own important goals. I just came from yet another conference at which speakers spent their time demonizing other AR groups and belittling others’ work. C’mon, folks, I know the stakes are high, but we’re trying our best to get to the same place!

    Thanks, vegblog, for the enemies series. More, more!

  6. Michael G. Richard

    Good thing you did, Marcy! I’m sure many other people are happy to see these items stocked, but they wouldn’t have asked for them themselves (which is too bad, but until that changes, we need people like you).

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