I am going to go off a bit on a vegan rant, I admit. Recently, when in a vegan restaurant, I overheard one young woman ask another, “Why do vegans eat foods that look like animal products?” This is similar to a refrain we’ve all heard: “Why do vegans eat products that taste like ‘meat’?”
This way of thinking shows how shortsighted people can be and why even those who are not hostile to veganism perhaps just don’t get it. This lack of understanding is why I believe WE need to be there to explain our food choices when we hear such nonsense.
It reminds me of a meeting where a “cattle” rancher asked us vegans why we opposed castration of cows and pigs. He was shocked that it was because of the suffering! First of all, he didn’t think they suffered, and secondly, he thought we were upset that it made them less masculine!
People just seem to have a hard time accepting that many vegans work on a simple premise of not wanting to cause or participate in suffering, and that we are willing to make changes in our lives and not just talk about how eating animals truly upsets us.
Many vegans stop eating animals not because they didn’t like the taste of cows or chicken or fish, but because they feel that any suffering inflicted upon animals is wrong and the only right thing to do is to stop eating them. When a vegan eats a mock “meat,” they are able to enjoy a very similar texture and flavor—often the same spices are even used to season animal-based “meat.”
I stopped (to the best of my young abilities) eating chickens, cows, pigs, etc., after learning who I was eating, because I didn’t want to. However, I definitely loved cheese (and now I love the vegan varieties – Follow Your Heart and Sheese!).
I think vegans should be open with non-vegans if they liked “meat” or cheese, as I think it is more powerful to tell someone you gave it up because it wasn’t worth the suffering you were causing. It shows them the strength of your convictions.
And another smaller rant. Why do non-vegans sometimes call the food we eat gross? They think tofu is gross? What about eating the veins off a chicken leg? Really? That isn’t absolutely disgusting? I mean, I think we can say these things in a way that makes people think versus feel defensive.
The whole point of my wee rant is to say that we as vegans should speak up when we hear this kind of talk – in a compassionate way of course. It reminds me of the The Smiths song that says, “It takes strength to be gentle and kind.”
It really is important for others to understand that many people stop eating animals because they don’t want to take a life and contribute to more suffering, so the next time you come across someone who truly doesn’t get it, speak up – gently and kindly, of course!