Social movements succeed when they’ve attracted enough support from the broader population to tip the scales of power. Creating vegan allies, who support veganism but aren’t fully vegan themselves, is one of the most impactful things we can do for the vegan movement.
A vegan ally is a person who supports veganism and vegans but isn’t fully vegan themselves. For example, they may be a journalist who uses their influence to further veganism by publishing articles that raise awareness among thousands, perhaps millions, of people. Or, they may be the parent of a vegan teenager, who makes sure their child feels supported in their values and that their needs are provided for, reducing the chances they get discouraged and go back to eating animals.
One common assumption vegans make is that someone is either vegan, and they’re part of the solution—or they’re not vegan, and they’re part of the problem. But think about it: of the nearly 8 billion people in the world today, approximately 99% are not vegan. Many are simply not ready to become fully vegan, for any number of reasons—but they do support the idea of veganism.
If we assume that the only, or most important, way for someone to help further veganism is by living a vegan lifestyle, we deny billions of people the opportunity to be a part of the solution—and the animals need all the help they can get.
Social movements like veganism don’t succeed simply because the inner circle of core advocates has grown large enough, but because they’ve attracted enough support from the broader population to tip the scales of power.
We have to realize that there are many ways to help further veganism. Some of the people who may have the largest impact—who spare the most animals—are not even vegan.
For example, a non-vegan journalist who publishes an article supporting veganism may spare more animals than a vegan does over the course of their lifetime simply by not consuming animals. As may a non-vegan philanthropist who donates money to vegan organizations which then engage in powerful vegan outreach.
How can you apply this information to your own vegan advocacy?
- First, simply appreciate that it’s possible for non-vegans to support the cause.
- Next, use the term “vegan ally”. Point out to the supportive non-vegans you encounter that they are allies. Give them an opportunity to recognize and embrace this empowering identity.
- Finally, ask for specific behaviors from those who are potential allies, including institutions. For example, ask your non-vegan Facebook friends to sign a petition supporting veganism or ask that your university cafeteria carry more vegan options or honor Meatless Mondays.
Vegan allies can save lives! The more allies we vegans attract, the more animals we can spare.