Time for a little ranting and raving from the grumpy old vegan, if you want to call me that. I was reading an article recently, I forget where, about a vegan being ‘cool’ with everyone’s choice to eat meat.
And this is just one in a long line of vegans being ‘down’ with meat eating generally. Everyone’s like ‘it’s okay dude, I don’t have a problem if you want to eat meat. That’s cool’.
To which I say, shit no, I’m not cool with meat eating. But maybe the problem is that many vegans are into veganism for diet or health reasons, which really isn’t about veganism at all. But the less meat people eat the better I think it is for the planet and especially the animals.
Look, I get that being vegan is not easy. It’s not easy because every asshole out there think they’re the first one to go ‘mmmm, bacon, don’t you miss it?’ as they chow down on their bacon sandwich or some other version of this oh so tiresome ribbing that vegans have been through.
I also know that most of us have made this choice for ourselves and for different reasons, though I hope animal ethics and animal rights have something to do with it.
But if we re-frame the question of being ‘okay’ with meat eating into some other social cause we might think differently than being ‘cool’ with people stuffing their faces full of animal carcases while we eat in quiet discomfort ‘cos we don’t want to hurt their feelings.
Let me give you some examples to jog your mind into the appropriate frame. Let’s say we’re not vegans but folks opposed to slavery. We’ve chosen not to own slaves for ethical reasons. Is it okay to be ‘cool’ with our friends who chose to own slaves and just shrug of the jibes and insults that they’ll sling at us.
I’d argue that it isn’t okay to be ‘cool’ with someone else’s stand on an issue like that. And I’d argue that it’s not okay to be ‘cool’ with people contributing to the slaughter of over 60 billion land animals alone worldwide.
These are sentient beings that experience pain. That is beyond dispute. What is in dispute, is how far along the Animalia kingdom does pain reach. I’d argue at least that pain is experienced in all vertebrate, most molluscs and perhaps others. However, this is not necessary to the main point of my contention which most profoundly affects vertebrates.
Now, I’m not suggesting that animals and humans are equivalent or interchangeable by my use of slavery as an example above. All I’m trying to do is get you thinking more carefully about why we as vegans try to bend over backwards to be ‘cool’ with meat eating.
Ethical veganism is about living as best we can according to the Golden Rule and embracing that circle of compassion beyond our own species. We are sympathetic beings for good reason. It has formed and transformed us from savages to civilized beings. At least for the most part.
I’m also not suggesting that we become combative and argumentative with the other 99% percent of people in our sphere of influence who choose to continue eating meat. We need to take the higher ground if we are to make any further advances for the cause. But we should not pretend that we’re okay with meat eating. I know I’m not.
It bothers me when I’m out with friends and they choose to eat meat. What I see is the dismembered body parts of what was a once sentient being whose life ended abysmally and violently just for palate pleasure. That doesn’t sit well with me.
But I won’t become antagonistic because I’m hoping that by my quiet and compassionate example it’ll move them slowly over to an awakening.
However, if you start on your shit about how yummy the bloody meat is or how animals were made to be eaten I’m gonna get into your face about your own fucking ignorance so much so that you’ll wish you’d rather have choked on the steak than made the mistake of being an ignorant douche about it. Because when you pull that kind of shit, I know you’re feeling bad about your meat eating. You know what you’re doing ain’t quite right and I’m gonna take that opportunity to rub it in your face so every time you choose to eat violence and death you’ll be thinking about me and the life you helped end.
If there are two things that I dislike the most, it’s ignorance and incompetence. Incompetence can be changed by knowledge and practice. Ignorance needs to be bitch slapped into reality.