3 Ways To Navigate Vegan Hate Against Spearfishing

Spearfishing is unethical, unnecessary, and is direct animal suffering…

At least, according to most vegans. 

How do I know? Sharing my catches on social media has taught me that a tribe of individuals is militant in their desire to stop any human interaction with animals. 

It’s as if no animal feels scared, suffers, or dies in the wild away from humans.

But first, what is veganism?

“Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude – as far as is possible and practicable – all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.”

Vegan Society

Looking closely at the definition, I see more commonalities between vegans and conscious hunters than differences. 

For example:

  • I’m against poorly-executed factory farming
  • I’m against needless animal suffering and experimentation
  • I’m against the unnecessary, unregulated, and over-killing of animals for profit

Philosophy isn’t truth. It’s an idea.

The people you surround yourself with dictate what’s right and wrong. 

I can walk into a group of vegans and say killing animals is wrong, and they would agree with me. I could then walk into a group of hunters and say killing animals to eat is good, and they would agree with me.

Both are “right” in the separate culture bubbles I walked into.

If you spend time reading about human behavioral psychology, you’ll know that people double down on their beliefs when challenged. You should never directly attack someone’s ideas if you want them to be open to changing their mind.

The best quote I’ve read on this is by Blair Warren in The One Sentence Persuasion Course:

“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”

One Sentence Persuasion


If you post content about spearfishing, I want to shield you from the rocks about to be thrown.

Focus their attention on another common enemy: Mass Commercial Over-Fishing.

If people were rational, I’d give you 50 reasons why eating wild meat is good for the body. Vegans would do the same by eating only plants.

But we’re not rational. We’re emotional.

Once you pick a team, it’s nearly impossible to switch. It takes true courage to change your mind and live with the downstream repercussions of your social group. Unfortunately, most people don’t have it in them to try.

Instead, let’s play within our human nature and queue up a few common enemies to cast stones, so we all feel good and get along.

Common Enemy #1: We’re against overfishing.

Excluding our friends doing small commercial fishing operations, massive harvesting of species like tuna is bad. Circling football stadium-size nets of monster schools is brutal and unsustainable. The unfortunate truth is that the ocean is big and hard to regulate, so it’s free for certain countries to harvest more fish than neighboring countries.

It’s a true Tragedy of the Commons problem. 

Common Enemy #2: We strive to kill animals with minimal suffering.

Educating vegans on how we quickly spear fish is an excellent contrast to mega commercial harvesting with nets. Even if we don’t get a kill shot, the duration from the shot to being brained is significantly shorter than suffocation in a trap.

Common Enemy #3: We do what’s best for our bodies.

Vegans who are doing it for health reasons know the challenges of a vegan diet. It’s hard, and doing it wrong can mess you up. The commonality is that we both care about our bodies. Eating wild fish we catch ourselves is essential for our health. Until there are technology meats identical to the wild-caught tissue (and not a bunch of chemicals thrown together to look and taste like real meat), the wild stuff we get ourselves will have to do.

We know spearfishing is necessary for our well-being, but others might not see it. Instead of fighting head-on, learn how to maneuver human psychology and steer potential enemies toward more significant common threats. Make them allies.

There’s always a path forward. You just have to find it.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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