Amazing what you can still find on social medias these days. You can see wonderful things happening in the vegan world with people who start vegan businesses, rescue animals, create sanctuaries, help others change. And then you see all sorts of ugly comments from « vegans » who find nothing better than to bitch about the world and all humans.
So human bashing is the new vegan? apparently. I found comments like these:
« I must have missed the letter informing me that now veganism is about humans. Also the one saying that all your words will automatically count as actions. »
» Veganism isn’t about the humans. You could be the biggest asshole ever, like a full blown right wing, homophobic, sexist, racist POS and still be vegan.
And no, joking about wanting to smack a screaming kid on a plane or whatever, doesn’t make you a psychopath. You’re clearly not a psychologist or you wouldn’t throw that word around.
So in other words… Get over it. »
Ouch, really lots of anger out there in the « peaceful, compassionate » vegan world. Strange though that vegans forget that humans are animals too and that in fact, the human factor is also indicated in the definition of veganism:
« A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, PROMOTES THE DEVELOPMENT AND USE OF ANIMAL-FREE ALTERNATIVES FOR THE BENEFIT OF HUMANS, ANIMALS AND THE ENVIRONMENT. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals. » The Vegan Society
Interesting also that these « vegans » don’t get that everything is interconnected on this planet: sexism, racism and speciesism all derive from what Will Tuttle calls our « herding culture » which is about domination and oppression of not just animals but also human beings. Not getting that is seriously missing the big picture. But of course, that implies READING and learning, which more and more vegans don’t seem to do.
In my early days as a vegan (about 10 years ago), I was that angry vegan lashing out at everyone for anything. In other words, I was angry at everyone for not being vegan LIKE ME. Wow, was I ready to punch someone over their stupidity for not understanding the message.
But then several things happened to me:
- I realized that I was not converting ANYONE to veganism by just telling them what I thought of them. Mmm I wonder why….
- I was hurting the cause and reinforcing the stereotypes of the self-righteous pricks that all vegans surely were.
- In doing so, I was missing on potential « converts » and harming other animals in the process because my ego was more important than presenting my message in an intelligent way.
- I was isolating myself and not contributing a damn thing to help animals by being so negative and angry all the time.
Finally someone had the courage to tell me: « well what the fuck were you before being vegan anyway? » That one got me thinking that I had blood on my hands just like 99% of all human beings on this planet before I went vegan. In fact, I was attacking the messengers (people) instead of attacking the message (the cultural programming). What made me realize the later was Will Tuttle’s book « The World Peace Diet ».
We all go through stages as vegans. In fact I discuss this various stages in another blog I wrote a few years ago: THE VARIOUS STAGES OF TRUE VEGANISM: From Anger to Making Peace. So I won’t repeat them here. But in essence, whether we are vegans or not, we are all products of our cultural conditioning. Being angry is just a carry over, although a normal one when faced with animal cruelty, of our previous lives as pre-vegans.
Something remarkable happened when I decided to kick my anger out the door. Suddenly people were open to talk to me. I was finally creating change around me. People were expressing interest in my views because I was smiling and doing my best to be kind to them. It was the difference between « hey jerk, stop eating corpses » with responses like: « vegans are all jerks, I’ll just eat my steak » and « I know how you feel, I used to think like you » followed by « Oh, really? what made you change your mind » and opening a real conversation without judgment.
As another example, recently a nice man in a wheel chair approached me while I was participating in an anti hunting/fur/leather demo in Montpellier (southern France). Whatever you think of single issue campaigns is a debate for another day, but I learned to find them useful (I didn’t think so before) for also injecting a vegan message into conversations with people. That man told me he approached me because he had seen me before (doing other demos in the same location) and because I was always smiling and being polite to people (even when I didn’t necessarily felt like it). So he found his courage and decided to talk to me and ask me about my vision of life. We talked about veganism and animal rights for about half an hour. At the end of the conversation, he was left with a very positive vision of activists and vegans in general and a desire to change his lifestyle. What would have happened if I had talked to him circa 2008 when I just wanted to punch people and treat them like crap for not being vegans?
So dear angry vegan, all I want to say is that, yes I hear you, I understand you but frankly, it’s time to grow up and really be what you want to see in the world instead of lowering yourself to the level of those we fight against for the animals’ sake.
Not only will you feel better about yourself and life in general, but you will learn how to better address people by not shooting the messenger but counteract the message. Because, unless you were born and raised as a compassionate vegan, these people are or rather should be the former you. So you can either carry over the ugly message of the dominant culture and act like it, or show a new way of being which is truly compassionate, kind and life changing.
One final note: I really don’t care what other people think of me. I only care about what I can do to help change things for non-humans and humans alike, as well as the planet. But it seems that some are into it first for their egos (me me me me me me) more than helping others. So be it, but this will not help change the world from selfish to compassionate. So feel free to vent your anger on me if you’re one of the people I described above. I couldn’t care less. That will just prove my point.
- The World Peace Diet by Will Tuttle : Worldpeacediet.com
- The Vegan Society’s definition of veganism can be found on their website: vegansociety.com
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