I suppose that is me. I am the reason people hate vegans. At least that was the response directed at me via social media from a domestic abuse activist who is only vegan due to a dairy allergy. In case you didn’t already know, I don’t consume meat, eggs, dairy, fish, poultry, or honey. I don’t eat chocolate not of the Food Empowerment List. I don’t wear leather/suede/wool clothing and shoes. I don’t use cruelty laced beauty products, preferring a few brands and/or making my own.
A few days ago, this woman cosigns with London based dietician Sophie Medlin over her ridiculous “veganism is not a healthy ‘diet'” tirade (here’s a redunk) and suggests that vegans eat pretty bad things like Oreos. Once an Oreo lover, I despise Oreo cookies now and not just because of the high fructose corn syrup content. Let’s not even mention that Oreo’s chocolate association likely isn’t fair trade friendly either. To this dairy allergy vegan, who suspiciously acts behinds her allergy and not for sympathy of animal mistreatment, I claimed that Oreos weren’t vegan. She quickly brings up an Accidentally Vegan List and a snippy, uncute “ahem.” When I mention that a company spokesperson backed my honesty, she goes, “that’s why people don’t like vegans” and unfollowed.
The words stuck with me. This notion that a vegan can turn off people even a vegan. Perhaps it is partly due to discomfort. No one wants to hear that cramped animals are militantly lined up on conveyor belts, electrocuted, and butchered apart. They are raped daily with mothers having to part with rape product babies. But it is the taste. The taste is what matters more. The look and the taste of flesh. It is especially hard to give up this taste when history is involved, this meat-and-dairy-consumed inheritance passed down generation after generation. Then, you have vegans who don’t want to hear about Oreos or anything on that list not being vegan. Again, it’s the same factor– taste.
Weeks ago, while having dinner with a friend in Chinatown, she asked me to sniff her food because it smelled like “wet cat and dog.” I rolled my eyes, finding this caring only about house pets grossly offensive. Why condemn the violence against certain nonhuman creatures and accept the malicious treatment of others? It is privileged behavior. Pigs, cows, chickens, ducks, and fish are extremely intelligent beings that deserve as much respect and compassion as treasured cats and dogs.
I refuse to be ashamed, to feel guilty for my compassion for the authenticity of my veganism. For Medlin to argue that this lifestyle is unhealthy is purely based on falsely delivered information that makes meat and dairy consumers feel less shame for the harm inflicted on animals. I will never buy that the flavor of murder is the only way my body can live and thrive on this planet.