Vegans seem to have something of a bad reputation don’t they? They are often seen either as pale, undernourished, slightly weird, folk with a chip on their shoulders or militant, angry, activists. And I, as a vegan, feel that’s actually quite unfair.
I’ve seen and heard it said that vegans try to push their vegan agenda on other people and I have to say that conjures up, for me, at least, a picture of someone clasping their pearls and declaring “Rupert darling, this person thinks I should live a more compassionate life, without causing any harm to other living beings, it’s quite shocking”.
One assumption is that vegans hate all meat eaters and I can only speak for myself, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I don’t. My own family are meat eaters aside from one vegetarian and I definitely don’t hate them. I also don’t try to make them feel guilty about their choices. I believe that everyone should be able to make their own choices even if I disagree with them.
What I hate is the meat, dairy and egg industries. Also the leather and fur industry as well as the companies that use animal products, in household products and cosmetics.
I hate the fact that the idea we absolutely need to eat animal products is so deeply entrenched in society. Even as a young child in school I was taught that these were an essential part of our daily food intake. As per the food pyramid.
I hate the fact that leather is used so much in items such as shoes and handbags that it’s not given much though. It’s just normal to wear animal skins.
While we are taught that we must eat these things (which isn’t actually true) we aren’t really taught much about how these industries work and how horrific they are.
I genuinely didn’t know that male chicks are either gassed to death in bags, or put into a mincer, while still alive, until I became vegan. And I hadn’t given much, if any, thought to the life of a dairy cow, which is also horrific.
Why would we be taught about these things when the industries are so very profitable?
There’s a joke that’s wheeled out time and time again.
How do you know there’s a vegan in the room? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you, and everyone else in the room.
I’ve not told anyone in real life, aside from my children that I’ve gone vegan because it just hasn’t popped up in conversation.
When vegans do talk about it I don’t think it’s not so much because they want everyone to know or even because they believe they are better than anyone, as the fact that when you become vegan you inevitably become more aware of things and once you know, it’s very difficult not to want to tell people about the horrors of the aforementioned industries. Its very difficult not to want to speak up for animals who have no voice of their own.
I don’t think that makes vegans bad people. Passionate, yes, bad, no.
You could argue the the vast amount of advertising for meat, eggs and milk, also products containing animal by products, visible almost everywhere is them industries ramming a lifestyle choice down our throats.
Sometimes meat eaters just don’t want to hear these things, for some of them it’s quite simply because they like eating animals products, and believe that they are there for us to eat. And that because that’s what humans have always done, that’s what we should continue to do.
For others it’s because the truths are uncomfortable, they are happier just not knowing.
Personally I feel that if you’re comfortable with paying for, eating, and using , animal products you should be comfortable knowing about the industries. As I said, that’s my personal belief.
There are, of course, vegans who are just not nice people. I’ve come accross them on the internet. They are insulting towards meat eaters, and sometimes post extremely graphic photos and videos. I don’t do that because you just never know who is reading or seeing what you post and some people just cannot cope with seeing such things.
On the other hand I’ve seen a lot of meat eaters who are very insulting towards vegans, and you’ll often see someone comment with something like “yum bacon” on a vegan post.
The fact is, within any group of people there are going to be some who just aren’t very nice people.
Personally I don’t feel that being a shouty, angry person achieves anything. It’s more likely that you’ll push people away for what it is you’d like them to know more about. Personally I choose to share what I’m eating, or using, and nice pictures of animals living the life I believe they should live. If I do share vegan articles I think long and hard before I do because if I can get people curious and interested I’ve won half the battle. Further research can be carried out once they are interested.
I’m not suggesting that my way is the right way, just that for me, it’s seems the best way. In my opinion being compassionate towards other living beings is a key part of being vegan, shouting at people, and insulting them isn’t particularly compassionate and I believe lots of vegans feel the same way.
So, to answer my question, there are of course vegans who are unpleasant and sometimes they have a large audience because of their online presence but most vegans are just regular people, I’m a mum of 7 and distinctly average, I became vegan 6 months ago.
Most vegans, in my opinion, are just people who feel passionate about the vegan cause, and believe, like me, that if there is a cruelty free option available – taking into account of course, those of whom a vegan lifestyle is just not a feasible option, for whatever reason, financial or personal circumstances perhaps, – then why wouldn’t you choose the cruelty free option.