It seems in the last two years or so that veganism has become the ‘trendy’ thing. I say that in the least patronising way possible.
More and more people are trying and failing and trying to become vegan. I’m the first to admit that I have tried being vegan and failed miserably after about 5 days. It is undeniably more expensive and in all honesty was an inconvenience to cook separate meals from everyone else in my house. Maybe if I wasn’t a student and I lived alone it’d be more plausible as I’d be able to justify paying £3 for about 4 slices of vegan cheese. Even then, I still probably wouldn’t stick it out and if I did, it would be more of a ‘part-time’ thing.
I’m not belittling this movement/lifestyle/whatever you want to call it at all. I have several vegan friends and I whole-heartedly support their choices. In all honesty, I think many many years down the line that the majority of people will be vegan. The health benefits are evident and the moral argument is clear for all to see.
But it’s not for everyone and being vegan doesn’t make you better than anyone else.
I am by no means stereotyping and I do believe I am speaking about the minority of the vegan ‘community’ when I say I am sick of seeing vegans harassing and attacking others over their lifestyle choices. It would seem that a certain few think veganism is some kind of path to self-righteousness. I get it. Vegans are extremely passionate – it’s a way of life and it is not an easy lifestyle change to make. However, there’s a very fine line between passion and sanctimony.
From what I’ve seen online, through forums, websites, speeches, YouTube channels and organisations such as PETA, it’s apparent that the vegan lifestyle is very much all or nothing kind of show. The whole vegan ‘mission’ across the board seems particularly aggressive. And in all honesty, I think that is veganism’s downfall. Showing non-vegan’s graphic images and videos of slaughterhouses is meant to shock and generate guilt.
Telling non-vegans that they are eating ‘hen periods’ and drinking ‘cow tit fluids’ and eating ‘corpse flesh’ is meant to make them second guess their diet. It is easy to see why people won’t give veganism a chance – they’re being made to feel bad about something they’ve likely done for the majority of their lives. Some people just don’t give a f*ck what they’re eating or where it comes from and that is something that people need to accept. Shaming people for eating a certain way is not going to get more people on the band wagon. In fact, it is more likely to make them turn their back on the whole idea.
Without a doubt, a more helpful/informative approach would encourage more people to embrace the vegan lifestyle or at least try it out. Freelee the Banana Girl, Durian Rider or That Vegan Couple and thousands of other vegan personalities on the internet shaming people through a screen isn’t helpful. PETA sending out emails with video links of slaughterhouses isn’t helpful. Guilt tripping people is not effective. Vegans need to establish a more welcoming approach. Sharing recipes that don’t contain animal products is helpful, sharing lists of vegan and cruelty free products and listing where they’re available to be purchased is helpful, sharing stories of ‘journeys to becoming vegan’ is helpful.
Encouragement is effective. People don’t deserved to be attacked for their personal choices – choosing not to eat or use any animal products doesn’t mean you’re a good or superior person. Just the same way that choosing to eat or use animal products doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.