Or maybe not. Reports to that effect may have been exaggerated. There’s no real reason I picked the above title for this particular post, except that it may be fairly unique.
I’m writing this post, because I’ve been subjected to both sides of an ugly situation, that occurs rather too frequently for my taste, which I would like to term vegan bashing.
First, I came across this little gem. I read the register, semi-regularly, because it rather successfully (in my opinion) mixes IT-related news with humour. Granted, a large dose of their humour consists of playfully insulting people, so I shouldn’t be surprised that the comments above target veganism and vegans. What surprised me yet again (this isn’t the first such page I could link to) is the vehemence of the verbal attacks on vegans1.
So there I was wondering why on earth people would be so aggressive towards vegans and vegetarians. It’s not like our choice of diet hurts anyone, especially not random people we’ve never ever talked to. There seems to be something about veganism that attracts hate.
I didn’t have to ponder long, though. Only a few days later, an animal rights and veganism forum that I’m co-moderating on XING invited a new member who turned out to be from an aggressive vegan organization, Maqi.
The guy, who shall remain anonymous, turned out to be as unpleasant as they come.
I very much respect passion and strictness when it comes to defending the rights of animals. What really puts me off, though, is when that passion overruns into fanaticism. There’s just no way you can convince anyone of becoming vegan if you verbally abuse everyone who isn’t2.
Turns out that the guy was using pretty much the same language as the people attacking vegans on the register comments page. What irony. Whether it’s non-vegans bashing vegans, or vegans bashing everyone else, vegan bashing is the thing that gives our way of life a bad name, and I sincerely wish people wouldn’t do it.
I suppose the reason it happens so frequently is that going vegan is a fairly extreme choice to make, and extreme stances tend to attract extreme people3. Once you have extremism on one side, that breeds an extreme reaction.
Well, there’s not much point to this post other than to remind everyone who’s interested that despite appearances, it is possible to discuss the merits (and pitfalls) of a vegan lifestyle without turning aggressive or defensive. Try to keep that in mind if you do.
- I can’t say that the stupidity of most of the posts surprises me. A huge number of reactions to veganism seem to be “cool-to-be-cruel”-themed jokes, absolutely none of which are original. Trust me, I heard them all, and they’ve lost their funny long ago. Pretty much all other reactions are citing some commonly held belief about veganism and nutrition, which could relatively easily be debunked if people actually bothered to research the matter. [↩]
- Incidentally, if you’re the guy I’m talking about and reading this, your choice of words very clearly shows that what you’re calling “stating facts” are verbal attacks. It may be a fact that being vegetarian causes the death of animals, but calling vegetarians murderers, while factually similar, is so emotionally charged that it can only be called aggressive. [↩]
- Or the other way around. [↩]
- I didn’t, but at least no animals would have been harmed. [↩]