‘HOW do you know if someone’s vegan? They’ll tell you.’ We’ve all laughed at the jokes. When someone starts a sentence with ‘As a vegan,’ we’ve all given the eye rolls. We’ve all uttered those infamous words ‘I could never be a vegan.’ But over the years these light-hearted afflictions with veganism have become more aggressive, more hurtful and more persistent.
A vegan is defined as a person who does not eat or use any animal by-products such as eggs, leather, dairy or meat. The trend is growing each year with 600,000 people in the UK identifying as vegan.
Today, the world celebrates International Vegan Day, but it is clear not everyone will be celebrating. In this age of social media it seems that users inevitably sign up to be judged. Everyone has an opinion about everything from body image, politics, and people’s diet. However, vegan’s in particular seem to come under constant scrutiny from trolls posting abusive comments.
So the question remains, why do we hate vegans so much?
Many believe that this animosity is due to a moral superiority and obnoxiousness that some vegans show towards meat eaters. Some would argue that it’s some vegan’s over-zealous attitude towards their diet. These generfications of vegans have been harmful to the stereotype and caused hostility and malice both on and off line.
Vegans would counteract these arguments by saying that meat eaters can also impress their carnivorous diet on vegans. Meat-eaters are also known to criticise and snigger at non meat-eaters with one passionate protester deciding to bring the battle to the vegans’ home turf by eating a slab of raw meat in a Vegan Festival in Amsterdam in August this year. More recently, yesterday editor of Waitrose magazine William Sitwell resigned after an onslaught of criticism towards his suggestion of publishing a series on ‘killing off vegans one by one.’
Welsh farmers have also raised concerns over the surging trend. With the growth of plant-based milks and meat and dairy free products are on the uprise. In the future farmers may need to work harder to promote their companies and ensure that their animals are treated humanely. These ties towards agricultural relationships could be the reason behind why only 12% of vegan’s come from the rural areas of Wales.
It is clear that following a vegan diet can be problematic. Therefore, eating a more rigorous, compassionate and challenging diet should be something that vegans want to shout about. Maybe the reason that vegans tell everyone that they are vegan is because they are proud of what they are doing for themselves, for the wellbeing of animals and for the environment.
A 2018 Greenpeace report stated that meat and dairy production and consumption must be cut in half by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change. If left unchecked, agriculture is projected to produce 52% of global greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, 70% of which will comes from meat and dairy industries
A study by Oxford University also found that a global move toward a vegan diet would avert approximately 8 million premature deaths per annum.
It is possible that the reason behind our infuriation with vegans is because they are making changes and doing something that we find too difficult too attempt.
Irregardless of opinions, the vegan way of life is rising each year. More and more vegan and vegetarian restaurants are opening and events celebrating the lifestyle are running up and down Wales. This Saturday, November 3rd will see the return of the Swansea Vegan Mini Market and a vegan social night will be held at Unit Nineteen in Wind St on the 10th of November offering visitors food, drinks and entertainment.
Image: By Suzette – www.suzette.nu from Arnhem, Netherlands (Vegan salad) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons