An Evolution of the Liberation Pledge

Eva Hamer
October 6, 2022

Fork bracelets inscribed with Liberation, photo courtesy EnvisionPositive

This blog is part of a three-part series. To learn more about the Pledge, start with Part 1.

In 2015, I told my family that I couldn’t come to Christmas dinner if they were eating an animal. This was my first act in taking the Liberation Pledge, a public oath to live vegan, refuse to sit at tables where animals are being eaten, and encourage others to do the same. Along with many others, mostly in affiliation with the grassroots animal liberation network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), I took the Pledge as an honest expression of my own integrity and believed it to be a potent strategy for social change. In hindsight, the Pledge did not have the strategic value we imagined it would, but I’m hopeful that its essence can be expressed constructively- to allow animal advocates to energize their social networks to create change. In this post, I’ll make a proposal to do just that. 

In contrast with a pledge that we promise to follow in every situation, with every person, the new Liberation Pledge is a promise to have brave conversations with people we’re close to, where a solution is found in collaboration with the other.

To this day, I don’t want to sit at tables while animals are being eaten. If I do, I face a difficult choice. I have the option to emotionally disengage from what’s happening, not to think of who is being eaten and what their presence means. If I choose this, then to some extent I disengage emotionally from the people around me. In this case, I’m not bringing my whole self to the table. In some situations, this option surely makes the most sense. 

Practitioners of the Pledge generally understood this. We might have “broken” the Pledge or simply not practiced it in certain situations. For example, while I took the Pledge around family and friends, I never made such demands at work. Instead, I chose to prioritize the work itself and engage on more of a surface level with my colleagues. 

But in other situations, I don’t want to attend and disengage. Then, to fully include myself, I need to ask others to accommodate my emotional needs by refraining from eating animals.

That's where the request comes in, our update to the second tenet of the Liberation Pledge. This is our proposed strategy to achieve the original goal of the Pledge, which was to change the norms around eating animals using the strength of our closest social relationships, while at the same time deepening those relationships.

Nonviolence ain’t easy

Of course you’re angry about what’s happening to animals. I’m angry too. It breaks my heart to know that people who know and love me continue to eat animals’ bodies. Of course we sometimes want to yell or blame or threaten that we aren’t coming to Christmas if they can’t have one goddamn vegan meal in their lives. But nonviolence asks us to accept sacrifice, for the sake of the cause, to achieve a goal. Sometimes that sacrifice looks like a glamorous photo of civil disobedience, but more often, it’s about building the discipline we need to win people over. It means dealing with our own emotions first, so that when we show up to try to do the work the world needs, we’re intentional, emotionally generous, and unflinchingly nonviolent. 

What if the most important struggle for animal activists takes place not outside factory farms or in politicians’ offices, but at their family’s dinner table? How would we approach our strongest relationships if we truly believed they were the most valuable resource we have to create social change? Our answer is the request.

Steps of the Request

Understand that conflict is a vehicle for connection. 

The request can have a political effect, but that’s not why you’re doing it. It’s about your personal comfort in connection with others, and that’s okay. When you make the request, you’re inviting someone into your world and asking to be understood. When you engage with directness and empathy about the ways that you aren’t currently meeting each other’s needs, you open a door to greater honesty and closeness.  

Let’s consider a more radical abandonment of the political framing: Your family doesn’t have to accept any part of your worldview for this to work so long as they can empathize with your experience. Here’s an extreme example. In the TV show Better Call Saul, an attorney named Chuck believed that he had a condition called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EMS), causing him to live without electricity and often wrapped in a foil blanket. While his condition is portrayed as psychosomatic, his law firm turned off everything electric so that Chuck could come to a meeting for an important case. That decision had nothing to do with the existence of EMS as a condition outside of Chuck’s mind and everything to do with their respect for the founding partner of their firm. They only needed to accept his experience of the world, not any objective truth about it, to, quite literally, meet him at the table. 

Similarly, for this request, your family only needs to accept that in your reality, animals are sentient and what’s happening to them is terrifying and heartbreaking. They don’t have to accept that this is objectively true. By explicitly putting aside who’s right, you can allow the request to live in your connection without it requiring the examination of psychological defense mechanisms around eating animals. You can talk to the person themselves, the one who cares about you and doesn’t want to cause you unnecessary suffering, without talking to the part of them that needs to defend itself. 

While the early framing of the Liberation Pledge talked about using your social capital to create a cultural stigma around eating animals, it missed the mechanism by which this can happen- empathic connection, where our loved ones feel generously enough towards us to consider our world and feel pain on our behalf. By accepting that their realities may differ from ours and not, in this conversation, asking that they feel empathic pain on behalf of animals themselves, we have a chance at making the request from a place of real connection. This is a great strategy to help them eventually empathize with animals, but it will work better if you focus on the connection, not the strategy.

Consider what level of conflict the relationship can hold at this point. 

Back to the example of EMS in Better Call Saul, it’s important to the example that Chuck was a respected partner of the firm. With such a high need for accommodations for the most basic of participation, he was generally only shown interacting with those who respected him greatly. 

Consider, who are you to the people you’re making this request of? If they asked you to accommodate them in a way that might be emotionally difficult for you, would you be likely to challenge yourself to serve the relationship? If not, it might make more sense to take care of yourself in a way that doesn’t rely on strength the relationship doesn’t have right now, and save the difficult conversation of the request for people you’re more invested in. 


A paradoxical mantra of Nonviolent Communication is that it’s hard to listen if you haven’t been heard. The paradox lies in the fact that it’s true for both parties, but only one person gets to be heard first, often leading to an emotional standoff where people in conflict talk past each other. If we, as practitioners of nonviolence, can offer to do the hearing first and frequently, we can break that vicious cycle and be more likely to have a connective conversation. 

In the first part of the conversation, be prepared to communicate the following messages, in words that are as natural to you and your relationship as possible. 

  • I hear you. I understand what you’re saying and how you’re feeling. I’ve confirmed with you that I’m getting it, and you’ve agreed that I am. I’m patient and curious to understand more. 
  • I accept you. I don’t blame you for what’s happening to animals. I understand that the problem lies in a system that’s much bigger than both of us. If you say that you care about it, I believe you, even if your behavior isn’t what I wish it were. 
  • I care about you. I want to have this conversation to deepen our relationship by letting you know what’s going on for me, not for me to win or for you to lose.
  • We’re in this together.  I want to hear what’s important to you and find a solution that meets everyone’s needs. 


The practical difference between the original Liberation Pledge and our update is that the original Pledge was delivered in a static state, “I don’t sit at tables where animals are being eaten” where the outcome of the updated Pledge is determined through conversation in collaboration with the other. “I’m thinking about Thanksgiving and feeling pretty worried about how I’ll feel with a turkey there. What’s coming up for you hearing that much? I think I understand, am I getting it? Are you open to hearing more about what’s coming up for me? How is that to hear? How would it be for you to… go without the turkey? Let me prepare a main dish instead? Have me visit after dinner? What ideas do you have for how we can work this out?”

Another difference in this proposal is to rethink our request as specific to a relationship, not a table or event. This can set us up for more realistic positive outcomes and help us invest our energy in productive ways. You might choose to attend a large family reunion where animals are being eaten and only make the request to those you most know and trust, letting their show of solidarity be a signal to others. 


The more we can accept that this conversation is pretty difficult for the people we’re talking to, and stay in it with patience, the more likely we’ll have a connecting outcome. While the framing presented here is meant to reduce defensiveness, your loved ones will likely be carrying some messages from their own discomfort with eating animals, from what they’ve heard from others, and maybe even from what they’ve heard from you in the past. 

Expect to continuously return to empathy- letting them know what you’re hearing is important to them, and checking to see if you got it right- as long as it takes. 

What about relationships that we’re willing to end over this? 

Conflict is extremely hard, and working through it in relationships usually takes much more time and energy than we expect. Practicing nonviolence doesn’t mean investing fully in every relationship or every conflict. Sometimes, you might not be willing to sit at a table or attend an event without the request being met fully and immediately, and you may not have the kind of relationship where you want to be so vulnerable as to share the pain of living in a world with the awareness of animals that you have.

In these cases, you might not decide to have a conversation about it. You might suggest a vegan restaurant or a walk in the park instead of lunch, or you might just decline an invitation. If you do decide to have a conversation, I recommend the same steps as above, with only as much investment in empathy as you’re willing to give, and with a blameless acceptance of the possibility that you might not be compatible dining companions. 

What the Original Pledge Got Right

There are certainly elements of the Pledge that we’re preserving. Firstly, the Pledge asked us to be willing to make ourselves uncomfortable to act in accordance with our values. The bravery that Pledgers developed, and their willingness to withstand social pressure for a cause, is an undeniable positive outcome, and a central tenant of the updated Liberation Pledge.

Interactions that are awkward or clunky are not a sign of failure- they’re a necessary part of developing a new skill. While this model doesn’t demand a public commitment to have a conversation at every opportunity, it does contain the request that we push ourselves to show up authentically in these conversations, even when it’s hard. In fact, a display of nervousness or anxiety around the conversation can be another way to show how much your loved ones matter to you. 

And let’s keep using the fork bracelet as a symbol, a reminder to ourselves, and a conversation starter. Like turning swords into plowshares, bend a fork that was an instrument of violence, and make it into a symbol of peace. I invite you to dust off your fork bracelet or bend a new one if you like, and wear it as a reminder to yourself to be brave, honest, and kind. Then, when someone compliments it, you have the option to offer, “Thanks. I wear it to remind myself of an intention I have- can I tell you about it?” 

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23 comments on “An Evolution of the Liberation Pledge”

  1. I want to be more conversational and less confrontational. When I first took The Pledge it was hard to talk about animals and giving them rights. So I was strict with The Pledge. I found this video and think differently about it after reading this blog. James Aspey and Wayne discuss The Liberation Pledge.

  2. You promoted this pledge, convinced me to take it and live by it in solidarity, and you NEVER EVEN DID IT?! If you had said, “I did the pledge, and I lost my job, and in the end, it wasn’t even worth it,” I could respect that opinion. But to say, “I was too cowardly to actually do it and besides it probably wouldn’t have worked anyway,” ...that is pretty upsetting!

    I took the Pledge to set firm and reasonable boundaries with people. Carnism gives people blinders and they have trouble understanding that there even is a boundary. The Pledge gave me something concrete I could point to and send people off to cope with on their own time at their own pace, instead of me having to try and coach them through it every time this common social issue comes up.

    If DxE wants to try something else, they should go right ahead. But I’m super disappointed to see that they are winding down the Pledge. That reflects poorly on me to the people I have been sending to the page. When I take a stand on something like this, I mean it.

    1. Hi Mike,

      I hear how useful the Pledge is to you for setting boundaries for yourself, how much work it is to coach them through it every time, and how important the simplicity of a boundary can be. I'm also getting how important the integrity of the Pledge is- that it doesn't become something so flexible that it's meaningless. Am I getting it?

      I want to clarify that I did take the Pledge. To this day, my family celebrates holidays with fully vegan meals despite me being the only vegan, and that's very important to me. I've seen a lot of good and bad outcomes of the Pledge, and I want to suggest a way we can talk about the Pledge that emphasizes its transformative potential. To me, while it's useful to know that I can refuse to sit anywhere I don't want to sit, the most important positive outcomes of the Pledge were the honest conversations it caused.

      I also want to clarify that this isn't DxE. The Liberation Pledge was started by people who were involved in DxE at the time, but it hasn't been a DxE project for years. Recently, its creators turned the website over to Pax Fauna. Far from winding down the Pledge, we're working on relaunching it in a way that makes the most of its potential to energize the movement through personal relationships.

      1. The problem with all of this is that the Pledge is not yours to do whatever you wish with. DxE cannot give it to you. They were merely the custodians. The Pledge belongs to everyone who dedicated themselves to it. You do not have the moral authority to try and post hoc contextualize or modify an oath that someone else took.

        You do not know the reasons why any individual took the Pledge. If you have had second thoughts, by all means, rescind your own commitment. Publish your criticism. If you think you have formulated a better approach, go ahead and pitch it. But don't call it The Liberation Pledge. That is ours.

        It is what it is. I'm glad that you are engaging in criticism and trying to learn from what you consider mistakes. Whatever the intentions were for it, and however those intentions might have been frustrated, it is a living thing now and the people that follow it have vested it with their own meaning. Please respect our Pledge and find your own thing if you don't like it.

        1. That makes sense, Mike. I agree that I don't own the Pledge, and that nobody can. I don't want to make the Pledge website reflect something that isn't close enough to be still considered the Liberation Pledge, but I do want to be a good steward of it. I thought that leaving up all the content while pointing to the blogs was a way to hold all of those needs in the time being, but I'm hearing that it didn't do it for you. I'm learning from all that there definitely are people who still practice the pledge and feel strongly about it (as opposed to people who still try to avoid tables but never encourage others to take the pledge, for example) and that leads me to think it probably does make more sense to hold the three part format mostly intact while making changes to the framing in other parts of the website.
          I'd like to understand your perspective more, and I'm willing to keep going back and forth on the comments if you prefer, but I'm thinking it might be most productive to have a call if you're willing. If you are, would you write to me at eva at paxfauna dot org so we can exchange numbers and find a time?

          1. I'm with Mike. To make the pledge conditional, sometimes we sit at these tables, sometimes we don't is to wash away any power from it.

            Why not: we never sit at these tables AND we do our best to connect empathetically?

          2. Yes, I agree that's the best outcome. My criticism is mostly a matter of framing- I think the conversations are so much more important that they should be the emphasis, and that when we do have the conversations, listening and emphasizing where we *are* flexible (I'll cook, we'll go for a walk instead, we'll have a vegan thanksgiving on Wednesday and I'll go somewhere else on Thursday, what sounds good to you?) as opposed to where we are not (I won't sit at the table while you're eating animals) will lead to more connection.

            The area where my model diverts from the original Pledge is that I think we should recognize the power of someone getting solidarity-veganism from individuals in order to attend a large event where animals are being served. In these cases, I think the table is quite arbitrary. For example, does it really count as taking the Pledge if people are snacking on hors d'vours and not sitting around a table? Am I "breaking" the Pledge if I stand far away from the table where animals' bodies are offered? What if I chat with someone who was still chewing something when they approached me, and I don't know on what (or who)? What if I arrive to the event after the food is gone, but no one knows why? The original Pledge doesn't require we make any requests in such a situation, and it can be so tempting not to.

            Or, once I went to a wedding where my partner and I had our own table, and virtually no one knew why. (Certainly no one learned about the Pledge from this outcome) We were more comfortable because animals being eaten weren't visible to us, but I don't think it did much work to stigmatize the practice. Of course, we're allowed to make decisions for our own comfort, but that's not what the Pledge is for. If we had, instead, sat at a large table surrounded by a small handful of people who ate vegan at our request, that solidarity would have been much louder than our isolation was, especially to those who don't really know us. Because of these cases, occasional as they may be, I think it makes much more sense to talk about the Pledge as relationship-by-relationship than table-by-table.
            I'm curious if this does any work to clarify my position, or if you have the same objections reading this much.

      1. Hi Tim, thanks for reading. My invitation for a phone call is open to you at well! Email eva at paxfauna dot org and we'll find a time 🙂

    2. Your second paragraph struck a chord with me. For me, if someone couldn’t respect my boundary, it was for them to deal with, not me.

  3. I wholeheartedly align with Mike on this. For another organisation to take over stewardship of the concept and unilaterally decide to water it down is triggering for me in so many ways. The proposed "evolution" is almost unrecognisable given my moral and emotional buy-in to the power the original action has. If, as an organisation, you don't want to honour the principles of the pledge in its original form then why not hand it over to someone that will? (I will take it on myself if it comes to it!) There are (and will be) many passionate activists who do not want it changed. Of course, like has already been stated, start a new initiative if you feel that will work better for you and potentially others.

    1. Hi Mark. It makes sense to have objections given the way you're seeing it- that another group is deciding to water down the Pledge. I don't want that either. The mismatch I'm seeing is that I actually think these changes strengthen the Pledge. In day-to-day life, there's no reason we'd accept different outcomes- the difference I'm proposing is completely a matter of framing. And I'll paste from my most recent comment to explain the thinking that the new pledge is stronger than the old one.

      The area where my model diverts from the original Pledge is that I think we should recognize the power of someone getting solidarity-veganism from individuals in order to attend a large event where animals are being served. In these cases, I think the table is quite arbitrary. For example, does it really count as taking the Pledge if people are snacking on hors d'vours and not sitting around a table? Am I "breaking" the Pledge if I stand far away from the table where animals' bodies are offered? What if I chat with someone who was still chewing something when they approached me, and I don't know on what (or who)? What if I arrive to the event after the food is gone, but no one knows why? The original Pledge doesn't require we make any requests in such a situation, and it can be so tempting not to.

      Or, once I went to a wedding where my partner and I had our own table, and virtually no one knew why. (Certainly no one learned about the Pledge from this outcome) We were more comfortable because animals being eaten weren't visible to us, but I don't think it did much work to stigmatize the practice. Of course, we're allowed to make decisions for our own comfort, but that's not what the Pledge is for. If we had, instead, sat at a large table surrounded by a small handful of people who ate vegan at our request, that solidarity would have been much louder than our isolation was, especially to those who don't really know us. Because of these cases, occasional as they may be, I think it makes much more sense to talk about the Pledge as relationship-by-relationship than table-by-table.
      I'm curious if this does any work to clarify my position, or if you have the same objections reading this much.

      1. Hi Eva. My objections to the change remain. While I do agree that more of an emphasis can be on the framing, a version of this can be added without taking anything else away (as I certainly do not agree with some of the framing you have detailed). You say to "focus on the connection, not the strategy". Why can’t we do both? We can indeed "focus on the connection, AND the strategy". You make so many assumptions that do not apply to everyone. You state it has “greatly backfired” and is “a bit of a disaster” before proclaiming to outline “what the movement learned” from this. Who is the movement? You? Did you consult “the movement” to gain consensus on these learnings? I know many who are advocates of the Pledge in its current form, who are angry and upset with your proposal.

        There are many statements and comments you make that disturb me but I don’t see any benefit in going through them in detail. Like I said originally, if, as an organisation, you don't want to honour the principles of the pledge in its original form then why not hand it over to someone that will?

        Your blog spends so much time advocating for mutual respect and not imposing your view/beliefs on someone else and then you propose doing this! It’s such a contradiction.

        1. Hi Mark, I replied to the objection about process on Facebook, where more people can join in the discussion, and I'll respond to the why-not-both and hypocrisy comments here.

          Strategy might have been a poor word choice, given its distinct meaning in social activism. In Nonviolent Communication, strategy refers to the thing we're asking for, which is how I meant it- the vegan table, the skipped Christmas dinner, the walk instead of lunch. Any of those would be acceptable to a Pledge taker, right? So in saying I want to focus on the connection rather than the strategy, I mean that I want to emphasize that we approach conversations in a compassionate way that cares for the connection while emphasizing some flexibility on the strategy (which Pledge takers already have, right? we're willing to skip dinner or go- if it's vegan). The alternative to this- focusing on the strategy- would be a conversation that emphasizes a demand for the vegan table so that we can act in our own integrity. I think I'm hearing that you find this objectionable also, but aren't interested in elaborating- am I getting that right? If you change your mind, I'd like to hear whether or why the dialogue-forward approach feels out of integrity with the Pledge (or is it soley the de-emphasis on vegan tables you're objecting to?) I'm also curious about your view of the edge cases I described before, and how they fit in to your understanding of the Pledge. I'm asking these questions because I suspect we're not in as much disagreement as you might think and I'm trying to figure out where our points of agreement and disagreement are.

          On the final point, I want to clarify that I'm not saying we shouldn't impose our views on other people. Killing animals is violent and wrong and we should do whatever we can to stop it. I'm arguing that the Pledge, as often practiced and as framed in the legacy Pledge site, isn't working like we hoped it would. This isn't about being soft and gentle for its own sake, it's about improving our tactics so that we can be successful.

  4. I completely disagree with the way that Pax Fauna is handling this. It strikes me as extremely arrogant to completely change a pledge that many people have taken and adhered to for years. Everyone who chose to take the Liberation pledge did so voluntarily because they agreed with its principles as originally stated. If they didn't agree, found it to be ineffective or thought they had something better they weren't in any way required to continue with it. If you feel you can create something better please introduce a different pledge so people can choose it if and only if they think it is an improvement. Imposing changes to a pledge that has existed as is for many years shows complete disrespect to all who have taken the pledge and done whatever was necessary to stay true to it.

    1. Hi Felix, I addressed some of this on Facebook, but I'll emphasize again that I'm interested in understanding in more detail where you're coming from and which parts feel in conflict or missing from the original Pledge. Happy to hear that here, on Facebook, or over the phone.

  5. I want to acknowledge that several people have expressed unhappiness with the proposed changes. I hear a strong commitment to the original model, and deep frustration that changes have been proposed without consultation. Change can be so hard, especially when it is unexpected or if it doesn't feel like one's experiences are being honored in the process.

    From my perspective, I see a lot of value in the new framing. I did the Pledge for several years. In the process, some relationships were irreparably broken. I think that's not because I have a need to honor animals, but because of the way I approached the conversation. I was so triggered about the harms my loved ones were participating in, that I couldn't see or hear their perspectives. I didn't value the relationships as much as I valued the needs of other animals. And this was felt. Most of my friends, family, or coworkers were not able to see the animals' needs or experiences--until I got more vulnerable with them. Even then, some were unwilling to go there. They couldn't get passed what they perceived as self-righteousness, judgment, and selfishness from me. I believe this has left some feeling more entrenched in their positions. I believe this is a net loss for everyone and a missed opportunity.

    I am curious to hear how the original form of the Pledge is working for your and others in your lives. Have you observed any transformative (internal) change in your friends or family? If so, could you imagine this kind of shift with the proposed reframe?

  6. I have read both blog posts (was there supposed to be three?) and written down my thoughts as I’ve gone along. Fundamentally I completely agree with the theory of non-violence as a social movement strategy that seems to underpin this revision of the pledge. On the whole I think I actually generally agree with what you’re trying to do here which is essentially, if I’ve got this right, to show your loved ones it is personal, in a non-violent manner. This is really the conclusion I’ve come to myself as to how I approach it, even though, as you’ll see, for me the political and the personal are hard to separate. I do have a few disagreements though which I’ve put below. I really respect that your reconsidering of the pledge comes from a place of concern for activists’ mental health and of course of a desire to be more effective in our activism for the benefit of our fellow non-human animals. There should always be room to think of how our activism can be improved.

    So here goes…
    I would agree with the ‘flaws’ pointed out around the pledge’s inception, if these were true, but for me the pledge was never about utilising social networks and relationships in the way described. I understood if that idea was that if all vegans took the pledge, this would unify us as a group who’d taken a stand, in order to put pressure on the non-vegans. This was the social movement element. It was not designed to create a forced entry point in to veganism at the individual level.

    That is not to say that family and social groups were not disrupted at an individual level, and yes, it was a hard thing to take on. But something I’m sure most pledge takers would figure out for themselves. I myself took on pledge for what I saw as its conceptual and tactical value, more so than for the fact that I felt uncomfortable being around dead bodies - at some level I was uncomfortable but it was tolerable (such is the depth of my desensitisation at this level, even after 14 years I do not consistently find the presence of flesh unbearable and I’m aware this may shock some people) and so I grappled a long time with how to frame it, and indeed how to enact it. The idea of the pledge did fuel anger in me

    Just as we didn’t necessarily expect people to go vegan because of our pledge, we never expected large scale events or settings to cater for us; we were willing to avoid them. That said, I remain hopeful that in less personal settings such as the workplace, for example, after the recent acceptance in Uk law of veganism as a belief system which can’t be discriminated against, UK dwellers we may start to feel confident in making demands for no meat at work events, for example. We also don’t need a fork round our wrist to do this either, although doing so could help galvanise the move. For me, the pledge is and has remained political for these reasons. Of course, to maintain any moral congruity, I can’t demand that people don’t eat flesh around me at work when I don’t make the same demands at home, or vice-versa and so the political and the social are inevitably entangled.

    In terms of not including our loved ones in the decision- I ask that, whether it’s discussed first or not, how can someone really feel included in a decision I’ve made, that they don’t like. It will always be seen as a selfish rejection. On the other hand my closest friends who support my pledge were not included on the decision either, and they are not offended by my choices. It certainly made me feel closer to these people but I question where the evidence is that such cases are in the minority. If it comes from an analysis of the comments on the Facebook support group then I would argue that people such as myself only come on there to moan about the difficulties, not the successes.

    Certainly I can relate to the feeling of sadness that come with the questions about ‘who loves the other less’ but as I said above, I don’t think this can be avoided. Pledge takers and their supporters understand that vegans will have previously put their own needs before others by sitting round a table in order to ‘keep the peace’.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the principles of non violence and that it is crucial for social
    change. I don’t agree that we can’t express our upset to someone who refuses to accept our boundaries. This is not healthy and I can’t think of another example where this should be encouraged.

    The whole part in blog 2 about picking who we try and connect with on this matter will cause more confusion and hurt . Whilst I completely understand the point being made here, unfortunately I feel a close family member may struggle to understand why you ask them to accommodate you, when you don’t ask ‘less important’ people, particularly less emotionally important people, to do the same. They may understand you not feeling you can ask at work (although ironically as I’ve said above, I actually feel that from a political and non emotional perspective, this is the perfect place to ask, certainly in the UK) But to give an example, when I explained to my step daughter that I would not make an exception on the pledge for her wedding, her response was that she fully expected that I would have done so for my son, had he asked (she was wrong) so why couldn’t I for her? You can imagine her hurt if I made an exception for an acquaintance I didn’t know well. This kind of inconsistency creates another version of the ‘who loves who more than who’ heartbreak. Even if we explained to people why it was more important to target those closest to us, and they understood it, the moral consistency remains undermined, and doesn’t work for those who in any case find the presence of dead flesh intolerable.

    Fundamentally it seems to me that this is about getting those that care about you to understand what veganism and the pledge means to you and to not eat flesh in your presence. This means you can still attend events but avoid individuals eating flesh as much as possible. This does seem a workable solution for me personally and seems much easier than not attending at all. Actually this was how I imagined my first post-pledge Xmas with my family - if it was a buffet I could dodge those with their mouth full. Had I been more secure in this approach, without going in to detail it may have been more successful than the disaster it turned out to be. I have struggled over the years to be honest to decide whether to avoid EVERYTHING, all events, or just tables? Do I include buffets? Etc etc. I still feel I’m on a journey with it in some ways and the reframing of the pledge has given me a lot to think about - thank you.

  7. I came here because I wanted to take the pledge. Now it is literally a joke. I don’t want to be associated with you and your very diluted pledge. I can truly empathise with everybody who took the pledge and feels betrayed now. Eva please why can’t you just do your thing? Everybody else lets question how one person can have such an impact on something that’s supposed to be a movement. This is why we have to question organisations and how we can truly create a collective space.

    1. Hi Sara, thanks for reading. I hear the piece about not wanting one person to be able to change something. It makes sense that'd be frustrating. To that end, I'm about to release another piece more explicitly asking for feedback on a reframe that's going to look a little bit different. Are you in the Pledge Facebook group? Otherwise, is there another way you'd like to receive it when it comes out?

      In the meantime, can you tell me what feels watered down about it? I'm asking because I actually see this as asking much more of pledge takers. I'm wondering if it's the tone that feels softer, or if there's an actual scenario you could imagine it being weaker.

  8. Hi. I'm considering taking the Pledge, so, I googled it, and I arrived till this page.
    Is the Pledge necessarily linked to any organisation that can reframe it anytime, or, Eva, your proposal is just that, a proposal that needs to be considered and accepted by the community of "pledgers"?

    Also, I would love to hear from people that took it. From their personal experiences and to know what impact they think the Pledge has on the normalisation of carnism. As I see it right now the Pledge has the potential to be a force towards the de-normalisation of carnism. I imagine it could help lead us to a world where veganism is the moral baseline. I'd like to know if for most of the people that took the Pledge, it is, effectively, this driving force, or maybe even the opposite. I just requested joining the FB support group. I hope I will find some answers there. But if anyone wants to put in their two cents I'd be grateful.

    Also, is it possible to know how many people took the Pledge si far?


    1. Hi Ester, Thanks for reading. The Pledge isn't an organization, so it doesn't have a formalized way of updating and we don't know how many people took it. It was started by people in Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) but the website hadn't been maintained for a long time when I took it over.

      Scrolling the Facebook group is a great way to hear directly from more people who took it, and I'm happy to receive more comments here if folks would like to share personal experiences.

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