Tip 27: If You Can’t Say Anything Vegan: “Why Don’t You Care About Humans?”

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 and fellow vegans, please stop saying this to vegans.

You shouldn’t ask vegans why they don’t care about humans, because it’s probably a faulty premise. Caring about animals and caring about humans are not mutually exclusive; that is, you can do both at once. Being a vegan doesn’t require any more time or energy than not being a vegan. You just go to a different aisle in the grocery store. Actually, it could be argued that being vegan requires less time, because we don’t have to make sure our meat cooks thoroughly lest we get sick. We just heat things. And raw vegans don’t even do that!

Advocating for animals doesn’t contradict advocating for humans. In fact, the causes often overlap. Industrial agribusiness is pretty nasty to animals, but they’re also not doing any favors for the earth, their workers (who are often undocumented and thus fall victim to human and workers’ rights violations that they can’t exactly tattle on) or all of our medical bills.

Furthermore, you can’t say you care about “animals” without including humans under that umbrella. Humans are animals. If you care about all animals except for humans, you’d probably specify that. I do. I mean – aww, crap. Busted.

What are some alternatives?

  • “Good for you for standing up for what you believe in!”
  • “Wow, the ways in which animal rights issues intersect with human rights, health and environmental issues amaze me!”
  • “You’re an inspiration, vegan. I wonder aloud how I can get involved in a cause for which I feel passionate.”
  • Don’t say anything at all.

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