Tip 32: If You Can’t Say Anything Vegan: “Vegetarians Aren’t Helping Animals”

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

When vegans are involved, things get a little tricky – for all of us. For non-vegans, that often looks like defensiveness or hostility due to the perception that vegans are telling them their food choices are unethical or wrong. For vegans, it often looks like self-righteousness and snobbery. So, I’m using the Vegan Month of Food – a month during which vegan blogs are celebrated and aggregated in one place – to teach non-vegans and vegans how to be nice to each other. If you can’t say anything vegan, don’t say anything at all.

Vegans and non-vegans, please stop saying this.

Vegans should stop saying this because it isn’t true. A lot of vegans don’t do it overnight; they first become vegetarian for a while. Becoming vegetarian is a huge step toward veganism, so stop acting like it’s taking people in the wrong direction. Caring about animals is good. Reducing or eliminating meat consumption is good. Being vegetarian is good. We should be encouraging these steps, not treating those who take them like the enemy. Let’s start being nicer to vegetarians, and recognize who our real enemies are: raw vegans.

Non-vegetarians should also stop saying that vegetarians and vegans are not helping animals. We are. And you’re just jealous. We’re changing the world, and we’re taking you down with us.

What are some alternatives?

  • “You’re a vegetarian? That’s awesome! I’m vegan! High five!”
  • “I was a vegetarian for a few years before I went vegan. It’s a process for a lot of people, and I’m here to help if you want it!”
  • Don’t say anything at all.

6 thoughts on “Tip 32: If You Can’t Say Anything Vegan: “Vegetarians Aren’t Helping Animals”

  1. I don’t think I’ve heard people say that vegetarians AREN’T helping animals, I think the argument goes more like: “vegetarians are still contributing to animal cruelty by eating eggs and dairy, since baby male chickens are killed by the millions, “spent” dairy cattle are killed when they are no longer profitable and calves are slaughtered for veal because of the dairy industry.”

    It’s even argued that you’d save more lives eating beef than eating eggs, because you can get more calories from beef vs. the calories per life through eggs: http://measureofdoubt.com/2011/06/22/why-a-vegetarian-might-kill-more-animals-than-an-omnivore/

    I’m of the opinion that as long as vegetarianism gets to veganism in a short amount of time, then it’s acceptable. But I know many long-term vegetarians who simply purchase “free-range” eggs and dairy and call it a day. To them, those foods aren’t directly killing animals, so they’re stuck in a holding pattern indefinitely. I find it’s almost always easier to go vegan from the start.

    • I might agree if it weren’t for my own journey, which started with two years of being a vegetarian before going vegan. I think for a lot of people it’s a really important step. I didn’t become vegan until I was ready, and that’s what made it stick. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

      • Hm… I was vegetarian for 17 years before going vegan (I didn’t eat eggs though because GROSS!) because I didn’t get the connection between dairy & veal. It was after I had my own baby and breastfed him that something finally clicked.

        What did it was realizing people were grossed out by my breastfeeding him! My own mother in particular telling me that it was unnatural and weird and he should be getting formula. I thought long and hard about that — that somehow fake swill, mixed with milk, was better than what I had? And I thought, isn’t cows’ milk for baby cows? And then voila!! New vegan!!

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