LettersLetter From Betsy About Effective Activism - 2 Jun 2009
Letters From All-Creatures.org and The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation

Letter From Betsy About Effective Activism - 2 Jun 2009

Dear Frank and Mary,

I mix up my approach in talking to people about eating animals, depending on my audience. I am not afraid of a very aggressive approach. For example, lately, I have had discussions where I have offered the following argument:

Non-vegan: "It is such an awful thing, that this woman threw her two kids off a bridge [in Portland, Oregon]. It makes me sick".

Me: "It makes me sick, too. But I also get sick over watching people eat the flesh of chickens, cows, fish, and turkey."

And I watch parents conditioning their kids to eat meat and dairy.  There is plenty of insane activity which deserves condemnation. Yet when I challenge people on eating animals, they immediately deflect the issue to be about judging them - and they say, "You do your thing, I'll do mine." It is as if we were transported back to Nazi Germany, and a person who incinerated Jews said to me, "You do your thing, I'll do mine." The ABSENT REFERENT is the Jew. The individual most involved - the one being killed, incinerated, or lynched - is not part of the discussion - even though they are the real issue, with the most at stake". I POINT TO THE ABSENT REFERENT.

I do not know yet if this approach works. But people close to me are becoming vegan - my secretary, and one of my law partners, thus far.

I think we need to be aggressive, and really call people on their decisions. And logically argue it isn't about judging them, but about the absent, most-interested individual.


Reply from Frank and Mary Hoffman

Dear Betsy:

Thank you very much. We like your aggressive approach, and to hear about the success you are having. This same type of approach could be applied to every situation involving animal exploitation.

We have found that the two most effective methods of causing people to stop exploiting animals, or consuming their body parts and secretions, is through shock therapy and embarrassment. Your approach embarrasses people into considering the animals whom they have conveniently left out of their verbal attempt at justifying their consumption of animal products.

To us, the challenge is how to most effectively present these arguments to people who visit our web sites, and who receive our handouts. In other words, how do we challenge the non-vegans to change their lifestyle, and encourage other vegans to use this approach through the printed word.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank and Mary

Return to: Letters