Tip 21: If You Can’t Say Anything Vegan: “I Could Never Be Vegan!”

veganmofoPosted as part of VeganMoFo (The Vegan Month of Food) 2014

When vegans are around, things get a little tricky – for all of us. Sometimes non-vegans get defensive or hostile because they think vegans are telling them their food choices are unethical. Sometimes vegans are! And that comes across as self-righteous and snobby.

So, I’m using the Vegan Month of Food – a month during which vegan blogs are celebrated and aggregated in one place – to provide some easy tips for non-vegans and vegans to use, so we can all get along a little better. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t say anything vegan, don’t say anything at all.”

Non-vegans, please stop saying this to vegans.

Because it makes you sound weak-willed and kind of ignorant. I’m sorry for being so blunt. I don’t mean that you are weak-willed and ignorant, but when you say, “I could never (insert anything that is an ethical choice people make for themselves),” it makes you sound that way.

Do the following sentences sound ridiculous?

  • I could never stop being racist!
  • I could never quit punching babies!
  • I could never drive sober!
  • I could never recycle!
  • I could never return a found wallet to its owner!

The answer is yes – those statements do sound ridiculous. And saying you could never be vegan does too. Nobody is vegan because they have a super power (I happen to have super powers, but they’re not the cause of my veganism). It’s just a choice we made (and make) about how we want to live. Sure, there’s a learning curve; when I first decided to try being vegan, I was shocked that certain brands of noodles contain eggs. But everyone (in industrialized nations, at least) can be vegan if that’s what they want to do. So stop using your lack of Vegan Super Powers as an excuse.

What are some alternatives?

  • “I don’t want to be vegan.”
  • “I don’t know how to be vegan, and doing so would require some learning on my part.” (This is fine to say, but it’s not a very good excuse to use for not becoming vegan, because every vegan ever would jump through hoops to help you make the transition. It’s part of our wicked hidden agenda to help animals and stuff.)
  • “I recognize that veganism is more in line with my values of compassion, but I’m not ready to do it yet.” (Best when followed up with small steps that you are ready for, like Meatless Mondays.)
  • Don’t say anything at all.

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