Whenever I tell someone that I’m vegan, there always seems to be a somewhat dismal reaction, which often comes in the form of something like, “Oh, you’re one of those?” The unfortunate thing about this reaction is that veganism, at its core, strives to promote the preservation and well-being of all living things. So, why do so many people have such negative reactions to veganism? Here are some observations I’ve made.
Misconception #1) Vegans look down on non-vegans. Whenever I share with someone that I’m vegan, especially if we are about to eat a meal, that person will often respond with a comment similar to this: “I bet you’re going to be thinking about how unethical I am the entire time I eat my burger.” Personally, no, I’m not. Just because I’m vegan doesn’t mean that I have been granted the authority to determine who is or is not ethical. The only thing I have decided is that practices, or the actions, implemented in the meat industry, dairy industry, and other industries that utilize animal products are not ethical. If I blame anyone for the mistreatment of animals, it is not the consumer but those who participate in one of the aforementioned industries. In contrast to what the featured image says, not everyone is entitled to my opinion. So, go ahead and eat your burger. That’s your choice, not mine.
Misconception #2) Becoming vegan is too much work. I’ve had several non-vegans express this sentiment to me, and for the non-vegans reading this, adopting a vegan lifestyle is a lot less complicated than it may seem. I just wrote a post about how you can go vegan in four easy steps, and likewise, I have written about how going vegan is a learning process. Both of these posts capitalize on the fact that going vegan is more of an educational journey than anything else. Yes, it would be hard to cut every animal product out of our lives in one fell swoop, especially because animal products have become so prevalent in our culture, but if you are willing to take a little time each day to learn about ethical products, while simultaneously cutting out unethical products here and there, I think you’ll find that it’s a much easier switch than you thought.
Misconception #3) Veganism is nothing more than a ‘trend.’ The Food Revolution Network claims there has been a 600% increase of those who identify as vegan in the United States alone, and to bolster this claim, One Green Planet stated that, in 2017, a whopping 6% of Americans identified as vegan. But why this movement towards adopting a plant-based diet? The rise in veganism is most often attributed to an increased awareness of animal activism. With the digital age, animal activists can now easily inform people about the unethical practices that occur in the meat and dairy industries, for instance. MFA (Mercy for Animals) is just one example of an animal advocacy group that has used the Internet, and other forms of mass communication, to expose of the unfortunate realities that often occur in the farming industry. While veganism has undoubtedly become fashionable, is that really a bad thing? If more people follow this trend, perhaps more animals will be saved in the process.
Are there other reasons that your non-vegan friends may react negatively to your announcement that you’ve ‘gone vegan’? In contrast, if you are a non-vegan, what turns you off to vegans? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
All images were taken from unsplash.com and were taken by the following photographers: Steve Johnson, JESHOOTS.COM, and Jerry Kiesewetter.