I’ll cut right to the point. Some vegans are becoming our worst enemy in the vegan community. This “I am more vegan than you” shenanigans has to stop. It’s not a competition or a way to prove worthiness over another.
Let’s revisit the words of the founder of the word veganism:
From Donald Watson (02/09/1910 – 16/11/2005)
“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.”
If you are vegan you are an activist to some degree, whether by actively abstaining from animal products or street activism. One does not outweigh the other. We must be the change we want to see and not frighten others away in the process. Making this lifestyle look difficult and unobtainable turns possible open minds away and in the end hurts the animals and the home we are trying to protect.
Yes, this can be a dark, hurtful and painful subject; it seems there is no end to the way people can hurt animals. I’m sure the one thing we can agree on is we all want this to stop right now. But in reality there is no magical On / Off switch. This next major social change will take work, time, and patience. It will take unity from within and fighting for their sake. Not against each other. We can’t promote peace if we don’t have peace among each other. Can we disagree? Of course, but the hate and the intentional defaming is a real and nasty problem I witness in our community. Disagreeing with one another, thinking another vegan is not at the level you are does not make them lose their V-card.
Speaking of, we might have odd “bed fellows” as recently Tyson has announced a plan to start producing plant-based protein products and they have invested in Beyond Meat. Do we vegans have to purchase these products? No, of course not. In fact these products aren’t necessarily designed and marketed for vegans. But if this gets our “Uncle Jimbo” to try a plant based product from a brand he trusts, let him eat plant steak! It’s hard to say if these companies see the money or are doing this for the right reasons. The fact is they will produce vegan products while they contribute to animal suffering. I ask you this, is it not worth a try to help end the needless murder of billions of animals a day by making friends with the enemy? You don’t have to purchase these products but don’t discourage others from doing so or shame them if they do.
Our actions have an equal or greater reaction. We can show with our actions and our words the peace and compassion that lies at the core of veganism or we can continue to discourage others to join us in the fight. Think about who suffers more. We all have the power to make the world a kinder place. Many of us ended up here because of our kindness for animals. Let’s not forget humans in the process and helping our fellow humans find a humane life.