The Science of Effective Vegan Advocacy

Online Course

Learn strategies to make your vegan advocacy as impactful as possible.

Scroll down to learn more about our sliding scale for fees.

Do you ever feel confused or overwhelmed when you’re trying to decide on the best way to advocate veganism?

There are so many possible approaches to vegan advocacy, or change strategies, that trying to determine which are the most effective can be extremely challenging. For example, should you:

  • point out the contradictions in a person’s attitudes and behaviors when they say they care about animals but they aren’t vegan?
  • always advocate dietary change, rather than other kinds of lifestyle changes?
  • advocate to a person with politically conservative views the same way you would to a person with progressive views?

To make matters worse, different vegan advocates and organizations sometimes strongly disagree on which approaches are the most impactful. It can be difficult to know what or who to believe.

The good news is that it is possible to make informed, impactful choices about how to approach your advocacy.

How this course can help you

This course is an engaging and immersive learning experience that will help you develop strategies for spreading the word about veganism as effectively as possible.

You’ll learn which approaches to vegan advocacy science has shown to truly be effective and which ones to avoid. You’ll develop the ability to assess the credibility of claims made by others about the approaches they recommend. And you’ll be equipped with a framework for evaluating the potential impact of any form of advocacy.

By learning the evidence-based approaches in this online course, you can significantly increase the effectiveness of your vegan advocacy.

What we’ll cover

  • How to determine the credibility of information sources—such as other vegan advocates who are promoting a particular form of advocacy—and of their claims
  • The key factors to consider when you’re trying to determine the validity of a change strategy. This part will help you make your own judgments about which change strategies are most likely to be effective.
  • The change strategies that evidence has shown to be ineffective and counterproductive, since understanding the approaches that don’t work and why they’re problematic can help you better comprehend and use the methods that are more likely to be successful
  • The change strategies that science has shown to be effective

You’ll benefit from taking this course if:

  • You are a new vegan who is passionate about the cause but need guidance on how to advocate veganism effectively
  • You are a vegan or vegan advocate who finds that your conversations about veganism aren’t as productive as you’d like them to be
  • You are an advocate with a vegan group or organization—whether you’re a leader, another team member, or a volunteer—and you want to increase your impact

Course curriculum

Developed by leaders and educators with decades of experience in vegan advocacy, this course features short, engaging videos accompanied by activities and resources to help you deepen your learning.

Getting Started

The Science of Effective Vegan Advocacy: Exercises and Resources

Video 1: Welcome [2:11]

Video 2: The Foundation of Effective Vegan Advocacy [3:03]

Part One: How to Determine the Credibility of Information Sources and Their Claims

Video 3: How to Evaluate the Potential of Change Strategies [0:57]

Video 4: Determine Whether the Source Is an Authority [1:41]

Video 5: Determine Whether the Source Is Respected [1:58]

Video 6: Determine Whether the Source Is Providing Empirical Evidence for Their Claims or Acknowledging Why They Aren’t [3:39]

Video 7: Determine Whether the Source’s Claim Is Logical [2:35]

Video 8: Determine Whether the Source Is Presenting Objective Information or Subjective Ideas [3:22]

Video 9: Determine Whether Vested Interests May Be Driving the Source’s Claims [1:24]

Part Two: How to Determine the Validity of a Change Strategy

Video 10: The Key Factors to Consider When Deciding on a Change Strategy [1:18]

Video 11: Find Out What the Science Says [7:10]

Video 12: Let Impact Be Your Guide [13:22]

Video 13: Understand the Psychological Context in which You’re Advocating [3:56]

Part Three: Change Strategies to Avoid

Video 14: The “Confrontational” Approach [4:52]

Video 15: Shaming Approaches [5:23]

Part Four: Effective, Evidence-Based Change Strategies

Video 16: Motivate (rather than Shame, Convince, or Persuade) [6:45]

Video 17: Present an Issue as Nuanced [2:51]

Video 18: Emphasize the Progress Made [2:05]

Video 19: Ask for Small Changes First [3:50]

Video 20: Vegan Incrementalism and Elimination: a Case Study [3:56]

Video 21: Cultivate Positive Identity [3:08]

Video 22: Trigger Positive, Not Negative, Self-Fulfilling Prophecies [1:44]

Video 23: Avoid Defining Other People’s Reality [3:21]

Video 24: Highlight Shared Identities [2:49]

Video 25: Use Person-Centered Language [1:56]

Video 26: Frame Your Request for Change in the Positive [1:51]

Video 27: Use Moral Reframing [4:15]

Video 28: Highlight Social Norms [2:56]

Video 29: Be Solution-Focused [1:44]

Video 30: Invite People to Consider Their Legacy [1:54]

Video 31: Next Steps and Final Reflections [1:15]

Your instructor

Dr. Melanie Joy

Dr. Melanie Joy is a psychologist, educator, and international speaker. She is the author of seven books, including the award-winning Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows; Beyond Beliefs: A Guide to Improving Relationships and Communication for Vegans, Vegetarians, and Meat Eaters; Getting Relationships Right; Strategic Action for Animals; The Vegan Matrix, and How to End Injustice Everywhere. Melanie has developed and implemented advocacy trainings for over a decade, and she specializes in strategic vegan advocacy; effective communication; resilient teams and leadership; inclusivity and diversity; relational literacy; the psychology of social transformation; and sustainable advocacy. She is the eighth recipient of the Ahimsa Award—previously given to the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela—for her work on global nonviolence, and she is the founding president of Beyond Carnism.

What people are saying about our online courses

“I’ve really enjoyed taking the Sustainable Vegan Advocacy online course. By watching the videos and doing the reflection activities, I’ve learned so much about honoring my needs and prioritizing sustainability in my advocacy. I want to be able to keep speaking up for animals for as long as they need me, and using the tips and tools in this course will help me do that.”
Genesis Butler

Youth Climate Save

“CEVA’s online courses are a fantastic resource to support vegans around the world in adopting effective, straightforward, evidence-based approaches to advocating veganism. I highly recommend these courses to anyone who wants to increase the impact of their vegan advocacy.”
Ria Rehberg

CEO, Veganuary

“[The Effective Vegan Advocacy] course is the best resource I know of for vegans who want to be effective one-to-one advocates. It is firmly rooted in psychological science but is presented in an accessible and engaging way. Dr. Joy doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, covering them with compassion, understanding, and empathy toward all animals—nonhuman and human alike. I highly recommend this course!”
Dr. Jo Anderson

Research Director, Faunalytics

Pricing Options


Fee for course

This is the full price fee for the course

At CEVA, we are committed to providing high-quality training resources for advocates around the world, no matter their circumstances. This is why we have developed an inclusive pricing structure for this course.

Discounted fee options:

  • 50% off (coupon code: HALFOFF)
  • Free (coupon code: FREE)

We encourage you to choose the fee that is affordable for you. By making a contribution, you will enable us to provide more courses like this one for more advocates.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much time will I need to dedicate to the course?

The course consists of 31 short videos, which take just over 2 hours and 45 minutes in total to watch. The time you’ll need to complete each learning activity will vary. Some activities can be completed in several minutes, while others may take up to an hour, depending on how much you’d like to engage with the material.

In order for you to get the most out of the course, we recommend that you pace yourself as you progress through the video content and allow time to fully engage with the reflection activities. The reflection activities are designed to deepen your understanding and also to help you consider what steps you might take to make your advocacy more impactful.

Throughout the course, we also recommend that you check out additional resources, so you might want to factor in some extra time for doing so.

Can I complete the course in my own time?

Yes. You can access the course anytime, anywhere, and work through it at your own pace.

Some people find that setting themselves a goal of completing the course within a certain time frame helps them stay on track, but we encourage you to pace yourself and give yourself time to fully process an exercise before moving on to the next video. This could take hours or even days.

Can I retake the course?

Yes. You will have lifetime access to the course.

Will I receive proof of having completed the course?

Yes. All participants who complete the course will receive a certificate issued by CEVA.

I’ve previously attended an in-person CEVA training. Will I still benefit from this course?

Yes. In fact, this course is newly developed, and the vast majority of the content has never been shared in an in-person CEVA training.

How is this course different from CEVA’s Effective Vegan Advocacy course?

While the objective of both courses is to support you to significantly increase the effectiveness of your vegan advocacy, each course has a distinct focus. In the Effective Vegan Advocacy course, we share practical tips and tools that you can apply to your advocacy in order to make your conversations about veganism more productive, helping you increase your impact. While the Science of Effective Vegan Advocacy course provides implementable strategies, too, it also provides you with a framework for determining the credibility of information sources so that you can make independent decisions about the validity of different approaches to advocacy. In addition, the course offers detailed explanations of the scientific research behind which interventions are most impactful, and it helps you understand which approaches are counterproductive.

What does CEVA mean by “effective”?

CEVA uses the term “effective” for two reasons. Effectiveness reflects our focus, and it informs which methods we recommend.

We focus primarily on results. This means, for instance, that we may advocate using messages other than “go vegan” if there is reason to believe that those messages will lead to swifter and more sustainable change (as long as these messages don’t reinforce other problems or forms of oppression). Furthermore, much of our focus is on process, not content. We are not simply promoting one strategy or another but rather encouraging advocates to ask questions and approach issues in a way that increases the chances that they will make effective decisions when promoting veganism—decisions that will do the most good. We seek to enhance strategic thinking, not simply to discuss which specific strategies may be most effective.

The methods we recommend are, whenever possible, based on empirical evidence, as well as on our experience as vegan advocates. Melanie Joy has extensively researched strategic methods for social change and authored books covering vegan strategy, effective communication, and social change. Furthermore, she holds a PhD in psychology and specializes in the psychology of social transformation and in relational literacy. She has consulted for vegan organizations around the world and has a strong track record of success.

How does CEVA try to ensure that its courses are appropriate for all cultures?

We recognize that our approach to advocating veganism inevitably reflects our worldviews, and we take measures to ensure that we’re not promoting methods that simply reflect our own norms or biases.

We have delivered in-person trainings around the world, working closely with members of vegan organizations in local communities who have provided us with feedback and guidance. We try to ensure that the research on which we base the methods we advocate is as culturally diverse as possible. And we have found that the vast majority of the issues we discuss and the challenges vegan advocates face are similar across cultures.

How does CEVA address inclusivity?

We are aware that systemic oppression and unexamined privilege—white, male, etc.—is a serious problem in the vegan movement and beyond, and that this problem both enables unethical practices and damages the effectiveness of the vegan movement. Melanie Joy has written a book on this issue, The Vegan Matrix: Understanding and Discussing Privilege Among Vegans to Build a More Inclusive and Empowered Movement. Furthermore, we are committed to ongoing development of our own self-awareness and education in this area, as we are aware that our own privileges influence how we perceive and relate to others.

I have another question. How can I contact you?

Get in touch at and we’ll be happy to try to answer it!