If we were unable to feel pain or suffering 

If we were unable to feel pain or suffering, would we feel empathy for others? Would we be compassionate? 
Empathy is a lot about knowing what pain is like, and feeling compassion when watching someone else suffer. So,  what if we felt nothing negative, ever? 
There would be nothing to relate with or understand when seeing someone else suffer, so there would be no feeling of “I need to help, I need to alleviate this person’s pain”. 


Vegan in Heart vs. Vegan in Mind

We live in a world where a dead animal is considered (to most) a piece of food. There’s a desensitization where our human brain decides to look at a piece of steak and just see it as what it is, right there on our plate, a piece of tasty food – instead of what it REALLY is and of everything that is beneath it: an animal who lived a short unhappy life it didn’t deserve. 

The truth is, many vegans were once in the same spot as many meat-eaters today: a person who honestly loves animals but fails to see the contradiction in eating meat and consuming animal by-products.

What is it, then, that separates that “animal-loving meat-eater” many vegans once were, and the vegans they now are? Is it compassion? No, the compassion was always there, which is why the change made so much sense in the first place!

Here is where my two concepts of vegans come in: vegans in heart, and vegans in mind. The former are those who have their hearts in the right place but haven’t gone through this “re-sensitising” process yet. They love and care about animals but haven’t switched on that switch in the brain that reacts as soon as it sees a piece of meat, leather or dairy,etc. and screams “Oh-uh, suffering! Nope, don’t want to take part in that!”.
The former are those who are vegans in their hearts, minds and actions. We see something that we know had to do with purposefully harming and torturing and animal, and we react to it.

Now, unfortunately there are many wandering vegans in heart that are nearly repulsed by the idea of veganism. But it isn’t the veganism itself they are against – it is the sometimes aggressive and dogmatic approach some of us vegans may have.

For the most part, what changes people is not logic, but emotion. Now you may think “clearly not, because I’ve sent my meat-eating friends tons of videos of what happens in the milk industry and they still have milk in their tea!”. Well, bare with me here:

Here, although they may get emotional with what happens in the videos, they may also focus on the fact that someone just sent them a video that made them feel bad. And so, in return they choose to blame you for showing the video, instead of accepting the pain and empathy they’re feeling and look for a way to solve it (hint: going vegan!).

So this is my message: there are many vegans in heart out there who we should definitely try to “wake up”. But it is not done through “aggressive” spamming or constantly hitting the same brick. It should be done gently. Gently teach them to flick the switch that “sees the pain behind the meat”. Show them how happy you are as a vegan, invite them to sit with you, invite them over for a vegan brunch, talk to them about other things:

show them the freedom and happiness that comes from going vegan!

People will “come to the vegan side” not by being forcefully fed information, but rather by being shown how we do, in fact, “have cookies”. And gosh are they delicious!