Posted by: conradvisionquest | June 4, 2010

A (Vegan) Response

Ahhh, the internet.  It’s a wonderous thing.  All kinds of images and videos and opinions and blogs and articles and ways of thinking.  I thinks it’s an amazing outlet for all the folks who have things to say.

I have some things to say today.

I came across a blog post that was the manifestation of vegan stereotyping. It had all the classics, and as I read it, I thought I would address the thoughts that struck me the most.

1- Life is hard for vegans. I won’t lie.  Eating vegan isn’t always easy.  But because it may take effort at times, does that mean we should abandon it?  If it were easier to just run people over on the street than swerve out of the way, does that mean we should just start killing people with our cars?  The post said that it took hours a day to research and prepare vegan meals that would provide all the necessary nutrients.  If that were the case, I certainly wouldn’t have time for it.  Although it may take some adjusting to in the beginning, and for me it was very little, after that it’s not difficult at all.  You make new habits.  You learn better, you do better.  The main gist that I got from this read was: just do what everyone else is doing and what you have been doing all along, it’s too hard to change.  Wha?

2- Vegans aren’t sane. I wonder if the author actually knows any?  Yes, vegans can be passionate about compassion.  I don’t see how being sensitive to the suffering of others is equal to insanity. There are crazy people in all walks of life.  This type of blanket statement about any one group is stereotyping at it’s best. 

3- Animal testing is different from eating animals. That is to say, animal testing bad, eating animals good.  I wonder if the author has seen any slaughterhouse or factory farming video.  I would recommend the trailer, just the trailer, of Earthlings.  For me, I do not separate the different forms of using animals for our pleasure.

4- Animals eat other animals, therefor it’s natural for us to do it as well.  This is an invalid argument.  Animals do many things that I wouldn’t do.  Like rub themselves in feces, eat their young, and mate with members of their immediate family.  Also, although animals have the ability to suffer as we do, there are some things that differentiate us.  We have the ability to reason and choose, they act on instinct alone. 

5- Vegans are elitist, purity-driven, and self-important.  Does trying to do what you think is right make you an elitist?  Does caring about the suffering of others make you self-important?  As far as purity, I am hardly a pure vegan.  But that’s not what being vegan is about.  If you think it is, then you are missing the point.

6- You must be rich to eat a vegan diet.  I can personally attest to the fact that this is hardly the case.  I am far (and when I say far, we are talking fathoms, worlds away) from rich and I do not have a trust fund.  I choose to spend my money on what is important to me.  Because we don’t spend money on things that we don’t need, we are able to spend a little more money on better quality food.  It’s all about priorities.  And it can also depend greatly on what kinds of food you are buying.  I find if you avoid over processed foods, you get more bang for your buck.  Rice and beans and a salad, which is cheap and nutritious, hardly breaks the bank.  There are many cook books out there about eating vegan on a budget.  Like Vegan on the Cheap , Students Go Vegan, and Vegan with a Vengence.  Not to mention oodles of blogs, web sites, and articles about being a frugal vegan.  And by the way, did you know that if the beef industry were not subsidized by the government, that ground beef would cost $35 a pound?

7- It’s ok to exploit animals because we already do it to humans. It’s hard to survive without exploiting something.  This is a cop out.  I respond with my favorite quote from Colleen Patrick Goudreau… “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything.  Do something, anything!”

And the olbigatory…
8- Vegans don’t get enough PROTEIN or FAT which we need to survive. That is why we must eat animals.  In response to this I will link to this article written by a nutritionist who is not a vegan. 

I think if you are going to make such statements, they should be backed by facts instead of opinion.  I don’t think any research was done for this post, and if there was it certainly was not cited.  Unfortunately, there are many others who share these feelings that are not based on fact.  And, there are many who will read opinions like this and take it at face value.  I feel it is our responsibility to dispell these myths in an intelligent way that isn’t fueled by anger but compassion and truth. 

There was one thing I DID agree with: Vegans believe that any exploitation of animals is cruel.  And that is a bad thing?

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Responses

  1. Internet man….you can find some awesome enlightening articles and then you can find crazy, half baked conspiracy junk that makes no sense. You can even find web sites that try to tell you the Holocaust didn’t occur.

    • yeah, i know, and i try not to let some of the stuff get to me. i just had to get this stuff off my chest. thanks for commenting!
      ~w

  2. This is fantastic! Thanks for clearing up a lot of the myths. While I’m not vegan myself, I *am* vegetarian, and I get a lot of the flak that you describe here. It’s nice to have someone trying to educate the general public. 🙂

    • well, thank you! it’s a constant battle, isn’t it? appreciate you stopping by and commenting…
      ~w

  3. Hey Wendy!
    You do a great job breaking vegan stereotypes. In fact, today University of Toronto is hosting a professional debate about ethics of eating meat and vegetariansim. I was going to go to that event, until I found out one of the guys debating pro vegetariansm is a total dushebag, who doesn’t believe in vegetariansm and has no respect for others (he personally told me that on facebook), so I what’s the point watching someone argue for what they don’t believe in?

    Anyways, another great post!

    • thanks, bee!
      ~w

  4. Hi Wendy
    A great post! These stereotypes are so damaging to the vegan community and I’m sure they put potential-vegans off making that lifestyle change. You’re doing a great job of showing how easy and fun a vegan life can be!
    Katie 🙂

    • thanks, katie! hope all is well with you…
      ~w

  5. I hear a lot of those inaccurate statements a lot. One of my trainers tried to tell me I needed protein in order to gain muscle. I was gearing up for Figure competition. He tried to get me to add meat in my diet, but I wouldn’t, I still received muscle gains.

    I also pointed to the professional athletes that happened to be vegan that were doing just fine with a meatless diet, and they still managed to get their protein. *sarcasm on* shocking I know! *end sarcasm*

    Life as a vegan really isn’t hard for me, then again I’ve been practicing a Vegan lifestyle since the early 90’s, and mainly ate as a vegetarian even in the 80’s, so I imagine that plays into why I find it easy.

    As you mentioned, Government subsidies is a big reason why the price of meat is so low, and the cost of vegetables can be pricey. I forget the stats but vegetable based farms receive less than 5% of the government subsidies. Meat consumption of meat is big business.

  6. hey wendy!

    I’m glad you made your way to my old blog, if only to ask for directions (by the way, feel free to stop by the ZSG whenever you like, and comment and ask and make it a conversation).

    So we first met at Jess’s place, where we overheard something about vegans. This is at: http://olyphant.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/self-righteous-twerp/

    • thanks, juan! post referencing your comment will be up next week…
      ~w

  7. Hi Wendy! Great post! I’ll be linking to this one from my blog too.

    Looking forward to reading more!

    • thanks, Sarah!

  8. […] A great post from Wendy’s blog about Vegan myths – including some links to great resources […]


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