Nonvegan Friends Who Care About Animals

Nonvegan Friends Who Care About Animals

Do you have friends who seem to care about animals but aren’t vegetarian or vegan? Do they post stories on Facebook about cruelty to pets but seem to overlook the cruelty to farmed animals like pigs, chickens, cows, and fish? Do they ask for help in finding homes for shelter dogs but do nothing to support anti-cruelty initiatives for farmed animals? Does it make you cringe when you see this, wondering to yourself why they “Love One But Eat The Other?”

Many vegans are afraid to speak up. They worry that doing so will threaten the friendship. But if you keep it civil and focus on the animal cruelty then the discussion doesn’t have to put friendships in jeopardy. Remember that all relationships involve some conflict. The problem isn’t the disagreement. The problem is the resolution. If there isn’t any resolution (where both parties feel respected and heard; where apologies are given and accepted; where there’s mutual agreement to move forward rather than linger in past hurt) that’s where the problems lie. But if you converse with respect and care, you won’t jeopardize the friendship. If you just make sure to try to understand their perspective then these conversations will be more productive. To do that, ask questions and try to remember how you thought before you went vegan.

Another technique for creating positive change in others is to acknowledge that any reduction in animal product consumption is a win for animals, the planet, and human health. Of course we want people to go all the way and go vegan. But we shouldn’t let our long-term goals cloud our interpretation of short-term successes. Many people are more receptive to learning about animal cruelty and adopting vegan eating if they don’t feel like it has to be “all or nothing.”

Lastly, choose your battles. You may not want to take every single opportunity to advocate for farmed animals. So sometimes you may want to limit the discussions to a one-on-one basis rather than with a group of nonvegans; this way the playing field is more even and you can have more of an impact. Or you may want to have the discussions in private email rather than publically on Facebook. Sometimes you’ll want to just sit back and let others do all the talking so you can better understand their perspectives and so they feel respected. Moreover, you don’t want to interfere with any actual progress they’re making on behalf of companion animal cruelty. You do want to support them in that!

Now, with the above said, here are some ideas for how to respond. When a nonvegan makes a commitment to help end cruelty to companion animals, you can take that opportunity to say…

  • “Aww that makes me so sick when people are cruel to animals. Did you know that the same kind of suffering happens everyday on factory farms?” Then you can show them the short film, Farm to Fridge and ask them what they think.
  • “Bravo to you for standing up for companion animals! Now are you ready to take the next step and stand up for farmed animals too?” You can follow up by asking them to boycott factory farmed meat or go vegetarian a few days a week. Give them a goal that feels realistic to them. Don’t ask them to change everything all at once if that’s going to feel too overwhelming to them. Instead, give them a target within their reach.
  • “All kinds of animal cruelty are wrong. I’m really glad that we have some laws that protect pets. Did you know that farmed animals like pigs and chickens don’t have any significant legal protections?” You can follow up by offering information about how to join an organization like MFA, HSUS, or ALDF so they can participate in legal campaigns to increase protections for all animals.
  • “It’s our moral obligation to prevent needless animal cruelty. That’s why I support what you’re doing to raise awareness about animal cruelty. That’s also why I’m vegan.” Here you can offer a veg starter guide or offer to loan them a vegan cookbook. This would be a good place to tell your story about how you made your transition to veg*nism.

Got other ideas for good responses? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

10 Responses to Nonvegan Friends Who Care About Animals

  1. I know sooo many people like this, but they look at me weird because i’m vegan. A bit hipocritical, don’t ya think?

  2. To eat meat is NOT the same as being cruel to animals, and the assertion that they are the same is grossly incorrect. On the contrary, the consumption of many different agribusiness crops does indeed harm many animals and may even drive species to extinction. If you are committed to eating a vegan diet for the purpose of animal welfare, and you know if you’re really accomplishing those goals, you simply must read “The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability” by Lierre Keith. Lierre is a radical feminist, food activist, and radical environmentalist. Her book is incredibly well researched and an enjoyable read.

  3. George,
    Eating animals supports a tremendous amount of cruelty to animals. This fact is well documented. See for yourself:

    Also, Keith’s book has been easily discredited because of the use of inaccurate statistics. For details see:

  4. Let me see if I can wrap my mind around the “logic” here..people are not supposed to eat animals yet animals eat animals. Hmm. So I take it in the vegan utopian fantasy there would be no carnivores right? I guess nature just got it all wrong right? Uhh, and the dog on the plate in the photo…what do you think it eats? In the absence of a human owner providing processed food for it what would it eat? Grass? Berries?..rummage around for roots and such? What about cats? Our beloved pets..cats and dogs, both carnivores. Isn’t that ironic? What about birds? They do their share of meat eating too. So do fish, whales, and our beloved dolfins. PETA and vegans are simply out of touch with reality and the natural world.

  5. Hormel, you are not a part of nature. Wild animals follow their instincts do what they have to do to survive. They do not have a choice and we are supposed to know better than them. You most likely live in a modern home with all the modern conveniences and would probably die without them. If most of us had to live in nature we would be miserable, because humans are not a part of nature anymore. I hate when meat eaters say that humans are better than animals and that is what makes it okay for us to eat them, and then they say it is okay for us to eat animals because we are all animals and animals eat other animals. I used to be a meat eater while at the same time considering myself to be someone who cared about animals but when I really looked at where meat comes from, the cruelty that goes into it, I decided to stop contributing to it by no longer eating meat and eventually cutting out other animal products. I stopped putting animals into categories of food and companion because they are all capable of suffering. I was surprised by how easy it was to quit meat. I just stopped buying it and started buying substitutes instead. I thought that I needed meat to live and be healthy before going vegitarian. There are plenty of resources that can help aspiring vegitarians. I love my vegitarian lifestyle and I think that if you really care about animals then you should at least give it a proper try.

  6. Hormel Sanders,

    Human beings are adapted to eat an assortment of foods. Hence, humans are omnivores. Cooking has increased the diversity and quantity of foods humans can eat.

    Neophobia is one reason humans have an adverse feeling toward different diets. This may feel natural and indeed some degree neophobic behaivor is exhibited by other animals. Various vegan diets are no different, people have an illogical adversion to any dietary change.

    It is not that humans are naturally inclined to eat large quantities of animal flesh any more than ice cream sandwiches, some people have just conditioned themselves to prefer certain foods. I don’t know any vegans who said they felt great on day one or even who made a firm cutoff period in their diets. (Maybe someone has become vegan in a day.)

  7. @ Ian Ray

    IMHO that is some pretty thick, distortion and wild non-logic there. you are applying a purely subjective and singular interpretation to what an omnivore is or is not, ever ignoring the ethical issues involved with eating the flesh of brutally murdered sentient non-himan animals.

    human comparative anatomy has shown otherwise.

    a plant based diet is the best choice for everyone on this planet.

  8. another logical fallacy here is that most animals don’t eat other animals to survive. in fact it is only a very small percentage, and even so most of those can also survive on grains and grasses and other non animals foods. non-starter my friend. :(

    The appeal to nature fallacy:

    N is natural.

    Therefore, N is good or right.

    U is unnatural.

    Therefore, U is bad or wrong.

  9. I know people like those you have described here. Some staff I met at the shelter are very passionate about their cause and speak out passionately against cruelty towards pets. But when I ask are they vegetarian, they would give me a kind of look and say no.

    Hormel, if you’re still reading this, we have the choice and ability to do the right thing and still thrive. If humans are higher beings that most meat-eaters assume, then why lower yourself to the level of less evolved life forms?

  10. I am going vegan for 21 days for health and spiritual purposes. I started searching for recipes and came across the video “from farm to fridge”. I had no idea the farms were so unsanitary and the animals were so nastily treated.You guys have to be realistic. People will continue their diets and these farms will stay in business. If the objection is the cruelty to these animals, then buy free range.In support of a vegan diet, I will tell you my lungs have expanded and all my cellulite is gone. If there are people out there who want to understand the vegan diet, it is very simple.Vegan consumption consists of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. You will be able to eat as much as you want and can flavor up your meals and snacks with herbs and spices.I would recommend a mulivitamin.


Please abide by the Vegan Soapbox Discussion Policy, which prohibits anti-animal and anti-human discussion, for example, no pro-meat, pro-dairy, pro-eggs, pro-hunting, racist, sexist, homophobic, ageist, abilist or otherwise hateful comments.

Please support Vegan Soapbox: