I am a vegan since 2012.
I have made this decision, considered extreme by many, because I refuse to participate in one of th cruelest creations of Humankind : factory farming.
We have reached such a high civilizational and technological degree that the exploitation of animals, which was the core of our evolution as human beings, is no longer justified. And even less justified is the insane level of cruelty with which we do it.
I refuse to be an accomplice in the slaughter of 360 million pigs, sheep, goats and cattle as well as several billion poultry which are killed in EU slaughterhouses alone, e v e r y y e a r. The European fur industry adds another 25 million animals to the figure. The carbon footprint and the environmental impact that derive from such habit is enormous, even higher than the one created by all all forms of motorised transport, private and public, put together.
And why do we do it?
Because we need that specific source of nutrients to live?
Because there are no alternatives?
Because that’s the cheapest way to assure our survival?
Simply because we are used to do it. We mistake habit for pleasure and we think it’s all very good and tasty but it’s actually just a matter of habit. A habit which is reinforced by traditions, assured by social pressure, and pertuated due to a dissonance that creates an imaginary but insurmountable barrier between animals to cuddle and respect and animals to kill and devour.
We do not hold ourselves accountable because the meat bought at the supermarket, which is sliced, smoked, and stuffed into sausages, does not seem to belong to an individual that once had a life of its own and which, just like us, wished to go on living, away from pain, fear and alienation. It’s proven that we share with all mammals and some of other species sentience and conscience. We know that but still we do not consider ourselves responsible for our choices. Under the cosy blanket of the majority’s prescriptions, we just reproduce what culture taught us to believe it was our “nature”.
Refusing a complicity with such a monstrous crime that goes against my ethics and my view of the world is maybe the only irrevocable choice I have ever made in my life.
However, I avoid using the word vegan to define myself. I do not have any vegan friends and I do not integrate any vegan group or association. Not anymore.
Among all the vegans I had the chance to meet personally, and they were far from being few, I was unfortunate enough not to have met more than a couple of individuals who didn’t place themselves on a superior moral stance regarding all the other people who weren’t vegans. Such moral stance, based on pure subjectivity and self-adoration, implies the use of a certain type of proselytism which can be very easily associated to a religious one.
The wildly vast majority of vegans I met ( and I am not being unfair by eventually forgetting lots of mild-mannered and reasonable vegan individuals ) opts to use a moralising speech to tell off all those who don’t integrate the vegan “woke’ cast.
Those vegans enjoy surveilling each other and keep a perennial score which aims to praise the “most vegan of them all” and punish all those regarded as being “less vegan”. This orthodoxy also reaches topics that are not directly associated to animal welfare.
Many vegans adopt anti-scientific and politically extreme positions and it is not uncommon to find among them anti-vaxxers, homeopathy and other traditional “medicines’ enthusiasts, irresponsible and hate-spweing “crunchy moms”, yogi “gurus” who combine veganism with “detox” practices, life-coaches who mix Buddhism with Hinduism and conspiracy theories and who are basically clueless about the core and implications of all those ingredients.
Therefore, I soon realised that all those vegans actually didn’t care about veganism itself, nor about the animals and the planet. They wear the concept of “vegan’ as a good behaviour medal that makes them feel special, pure and part of an esoteric masterplan, only known by the illuminated and initiated members.
Mysantropy is often their main motivation and veganism is just an identity cane like any other. It happens that, by chance, those people became vegans first but they could also have become pentecostal, neo-nazi, communist, jehova witness or hare-krishna. It was just a matter of timing and opportunity.
Unfortunately, my experience tells me that most vegans actually match the general stereotype of the “vegan”: stuck up, annoying, condescendent, and a blind follower of new age trends and blog literature to which they, arrogantly, call “research”. That’s why I hesitate to define myself as “vegan’ when I meet someone new. I would truly dislike to be mentally associated to that stereotypical vegan that inspires so many jokes.
My choice doesn’t make me better than anyone else and surely doesn’t give me the right to offend anyone’s intelligence with primitive forms of manipulation and fallacies.
So, if you ever think about crossing out animal exploitation from your menu and shopping list, I strongly advise you not to think about the vegans that you met.
Non-human sentience and conscience and the environmental toll of exploitation of non-humans are reasons enough, backed up by science. Those are facts. Not opinions nor ideologies. Not even a gospel that should be preached. Those facts are what veganism should be exclusively about and not the vegans who give it a bad name.