These days, many conversations often go something like this:
“Oh are you vegan? That’s cool. I don’t eat much meat at all. Maybe like twice a week?”
Why? Why do some people I speak with find it necessary to explain their animal consumption to me once they find out I am vegan? I mean it goes without saying I would like everyone to become vegan and finally have all living beings treated with compassion and respect; failing this at least eat less meat and dairy, but contrary to what you see on my social media, I don’t ram veganism down everyone’s throats…. No, really, I don’t.
Yet for some reason, without prompting, many people I meet seem to feel it necessary to explain to me how LITTLE meat they eat as soon as they learn I’m vegan – and I have to wonder why.
Is it guilt? It could be guilt because they know vegans in general are against the abuse and cruel treatment of animals, and the animal agriculture industry is being exposed, more and more, as proponents of the commodification and abhorrent exploitation of domesticated animals. It could be because they know vegans are also against the fur and leather industries, animal lab experiments, and puppy mills, and these folks know definitively these industries also profit from the cruel useage and eventual death of innocent animals.
So as I sit here drinking my tea with almond milk, I THEN start to wonder if they feel this guilt, then they KNOW, or at least SUSPECT, that the consumption and commodification of living, sentient beings is unquestionably WRONG so the next question is: WHY ARE THEY STILL DOING IT?
Why is it still such a battle for us who advocate for animal rights? I mean, they already actually know or they wouldn’t be justifying themselves to me, and if they know…well….why would they want to be part of it?
If you are eating less meat and dairy, or transitioning to veganism at your own pace: good for you! I’m so happy about that! The best method to being heard is affecting these industries where it hurts: their bank accounts. Every little bit you don’t consume helps get the message across – slowly – but still. And they are not going bankrupt, peeps, don’t worry about that. They will – and are – responding by filling alternate plant-based demands which are getting more and more popular all over.
But if you are, by making this statement, acknowledging there is something wrong with the animal product industry, and yet NOT actually working towards cutting it out even a little bit, then you are a hypocrite. And I don’t actually want to hear how many times a week you don’t eat meat. Because all I hear is the how many times you still do eat the flesh of a once living, breathing, feeling creature.
That’s another thing: it’s flesh – skin, muscle, tendons, blood, bone, capillaries, nerve endings, veins, all things we have, too. That crispy coating your licking your fingers over is SKIN, with hair follicles and bruises and scars. It could be your skin – but it’s not, luckily. It’s some other creature’s skin. You know in Nazi Germany, the skin of the Jews was used to make book covers, furniture covers, and lamp shades…but I digress.
Anyway, that’s my gross thought for today. Maybe someone out there has an answer for why people explain themselves to me when they learn I’m vegan. I think it’s guilt. Guilt because they know and understand how cruelly animals are being treated for our consumption, and that makes me feel sad because if that is the case, then it’s going to take a lot more than some undercover videos of the inhumane treatment of pigs to stop people from eating bacon. If you already have the knowledge, and you do it anyway, that doesn’t bode well for humankind on this earth.