As a psychotherapist, ethical vegan, and animal advocate, I have always been aware of the emotional challenges that come with living in a world of institutionalized animal abuse. Anger, frustration, and deep despair are common feelings in those of us who care deeply about the plight of animals and want to make the world a better place for all sentient beings. I wanted to recommend books to my clients that would support them in their struggles, but was unsuccessful. And the reason I was unsuccessful was that while there was no dearth of self-help titles, books on animal activism, or on veganism, there didn’t appear to be any one book that spoke to all three areas. That’s when I decided to write my own book, a book that covers all three topics. It’s called Animal Persuasion, and is now available on Amazon. I’m posting the introduction below, so you can get a better idea of my goals for the book. Hope you enjoy it!
Living life as an ethical vegan can, at times, be challenging. I’m not talking about traveling to remote parts of this country or the world and being unable to find veg-friendly food choices, although that can be frustrating, to be sure. I’m speaking about the myriad emotions and relationships we have to grapple with on a daily basis.
Being an ethical vegan means experiencing the world in a way that non-vegans don’t always understand. We see the beauty and value in all life, not just our mirror images: animals, plants, insects, and our entire ecosystem. Every day, we make a conscious decision to live compassionately. Institutionalized animal abuse is always on our radar. We can’t help noticing the countless ways our society marginalizes and abuses animals through factory farming, vivisection, fur farming, entertainment, hunting, etc. Being conscious of and disturbed by the sights, sounds, and smells of animal cruelty is not something that will ever change. And once we are conscious of this reality, it permeates every fiber of our being.
Those who heal, rescue, and advocate for animals have their own set of challenges. Tending to the needs of the world’s abused, neglected, and forgotten is often emotionally fraught. How many brutalized animals must one see, hear, or touch before one’s dreams are invaded by these images? Sometimes, just one.
Seeing the reality of the world is usually a good thing, because we’re then better equipped to make more thoughtful choices in how we live our lives. The problem is when what we see, know, and feel overwhelms us to the point that we shut down, or shut out. A consequence of this is that our relationships with family members, friends, colleagues, and society at large are often bitter and/or fractured.
So how can we live our lives as ethical vegans and not feel marginalized? Is it possible to attend to the countless animals in need without falling into a dark abyss? How can all of us who care deeply about the plight of animals follow the path that we know to be right, and not be overcome by intense emotions? What follows is a guide meant to both assist and support ethical vegans and those that devote their lives to helping animals so that they can not only live, but actually prosper in a world that is often harsh and incomprehensible.
Additionally, throughout the book, you’ll be reading the personal stories of the people who love and respect animals enough to refrain from wearing, eating, and using them, as well as the tales of those whose lives are dedicated to aiding and advocating for animals. You’ll read about their emotional challenges, their bravery, and resiliency. And perhaps these stories will help you with your own struggles, as you learn how others have managed to persevere in spite of, or even because of, their challenges. Finally, my hope is that you will obtain some solace in the knowledge that you are not alone in feeling what you feel, thinking what you think, and doing what you do.