Four Key Obstacles to Effective Vegan Advocacy

What stands in the way of advocating veganism effectively? Here are four ways to achieve a more effective communication style.

Advocating veganism seems like it should be simple. After all, most people care about animals and don’t want them to suffer, and they also care about the environment and their health. Plus, vegan foods can be delicious and simple to prepare. But many people react to being asked to consider veganism as though they were asked to consider being the first person to live on Mars.

Not everyone feels like Elon Musk about Mars

So what’s getting in the way of advocating veganism effectively?

There are four key obstacles to effective vegan advocacy. Knowing what they are, and how to bypass them, is essential to communicating our message effectively.

1. Carnism: Carnism is the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals — it affects non-vegans’ psychology so that they have trouble appreciating the reasons not to eat animals and so that they feel defensive against veganism.

2. A lack of advocacy skills: Most vegan advocates have no training in advocacy and haven’t developed some of the skills that would help them advocate more effectively.

Carnism is the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals

3. Emotional reactivity: Due to the traumatization vegans have experienced, from witnessing and living in a world where violence toward animals is epidemic, vegans can sometimes be emotionally reactive.

4. A lack of information: Many vegans lack a knowledge base of the core issues connected to veganism, such as animal rights and social justice, so they struggle to discuss key concepts and may inadvertently offend others.

So what do we do with this knowledge? Apart from watching our CEVA video series, which is designed to address these issues, here’s how you can get informed to begin reducing each obstacle.

– Start learning about carnism by watching short videos such as The Secret Reason We Eat Meat or La Table Suisse;

– Dramatically improve your advocacy skills by learning effective relationship and communication skills. You can read about this in “Beyond Beliefs”, which also discusses the emotional reactivity of vegans —something also mentioned in  this talk on sustainable activism on;

Some Great Resources: Peter Singer, Aph and Syl Ko, the blog Everyday Feminism

– Develop your vegan knowledge base by reading Animal Liberation, by Peter Singer, and by learning about other forms of oppression, such as racism and sexism. Aph and Syl Ko’s book, Aphro-ism and the blog Everyday Feminism, are good places to start.

If you invest just a few hours to learn the basic information necessary to bypass these four obstacles to effective vegan advocacy, you’ll likely see a significant improvement in your advocacy.

Knowledge is power, and powerful advocates make for a powerful movement.

We're very grateful to VegFund for supporting the production of these videos.