9.17.2011

Aren't we all on the same team?

Sometimes, it kind of feels like the vegan population is comprised of catty, hormonal teenage girls.

Now don't get me wrong; while a good 80% of the vegan community is filled with talented, open-minded and overall incredible human beings, there's that pesky 20% that ruins the fun for everyone.

You know which ones I'm talking about.

I think a large part of the vegan variety is that most individuals who follow this sort of lifestyle have three things in common: we've got a pretty defined moral perspective, we're often very crafty and we know we're right.

And while all of these traits are positive in their own way, if you veer off even slightly sometimes you wind up with someone who's more forceful than moral, more malicious than crafty and not confident, but arrogant.

Otherwise known as: a teenage girl.

For the most part, we're a supportive group. We're quick to lend a newbie a few pointers on how to get cakes to rise without eggs, we're always up for sharing recipes and we love talking about how much better we are than everyone else (haha, just kidding about that last one)!

Most of us, are semi-regular human beings who are just trying to live as cruelty-free a life as we possibly can. Some of us live in small-town atmospheres where even soy milk is hard to come by, while others live in booming metropolitans and have our pick of any vegan cupcake imaginable.

But we all have one thing in common; we're trying to do the least amount of harm we can to animals. We speak for them because they cannot. Whether we've been walking this road for 15 years or 15 days, we're all trying to accomplish the same goal, so can't we just get along already?

After reading this crazy vegan-attacking-vegans blog post yesterday, I can't help but think maybe we need to form a union. And the weird part? It was written like two years ago, but some vegan tweep of mine tweeted about it a few days ago.

Basically it was one of those vegan blog posts about how most of us vegans aren't doing a good enough job. Apparently, vegan cheese is just as inhumane as regular, straight from the cow cheese. Why, you may ask? Because apparently some of the ingredients are usually gathered from wildlife habitats (like trees, plants, etc), so by milling those things we are being cruel to animals. (Or something along those lines).

I can honestly understand the logic to an extent. It's like this limbo we vegans face, how do we be vegan in a completely nonvegan world? Most grocery stores, are not 100% vegan, in fact, I know of none in the state of Ohio that are. Even the tiny, personal food markets around here have organic, free range dairy and grass-fed beef. And the employees? They might be anything from omnivore, to flexitarian, to vegan. And what about our clothes? I highly doubt the clothing I'm wearing was made by a vegan shipped to a vegan store and then sold to me by a vegan. And my house that I live in? Probably not 100% vegan either. And unless you're able to ride a bike everywhere, I'm going to venture to say that while our automobile may be as leather-free as we can make it, but the company we bought it from probably sells cars with leather in them.

See what I mean? It's like a vicious cycle.

A debate later ensues in the comments about veganism, environmentalism and how apparently unless something is fair trade it's not vegan either, because apparently we're counting human beings as part of our 'do no harm' oath we took when we became vegan.

Look, here's the deal with this vegan thing here. It's not technically about being skinny, healthy or environmental. If we're talking just veganism, it's about doing as little harm to sentient beings as humanly possible. Are a lot of our recipes healthy by default? Sure. Is the vegan way a little more green? Definitely. But to start picking on other vegans for not being green enough or for using too much sugar, mock meat or fake cheese is just nitpicking.

I'm not trying to pick on the writer, maybe she was just having a bad day and needed to vent. Trust me, I get that.  But while I can empathize with her, I certainly can't agree.

Maybe if we spent less time bickering with each other and declaring who's the "most vegan," we'd have more time to spread our compassionate message with more people.

Maybe, just maybe, we could show a little compassion to our fellow vegans? Even the fake meat eating, fake cheese eating, car driving variety?

3 comments:

  1. Being vegan should just be a definition of food choice, not an automatic assumption of values. I try to eat mostly vegan meals, not because of animal rights, but for health and political reasons.

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  2. I know you wrote this a long while ago but I just had to say that I really like this post, and I'm glad someone finally said it. In a world where every meat eater is trying to poke holes in "how vegan" we are, we really should support our fellow veg heads, no matter how far along on the path we are. Cheers:)

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  3. Thanks for the back up Randi, it's still nice to know people can see where I'm coming from. L)

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