Health & Ethics
by Paul Pinfield
Vegans fall into several categories, though only two have the staying power to last beyond a matter of a year or two. The testimony of long term advocate friends tells me that long transitioners mostly revert to omnivores or vegetarians, and i think it’s safe to say a high proportion of “Wrong Reason Vegans” do also. By this term I’m referring to those who embrace veganism for financial gain, because it’s trendy, for personal status and kudos or as a result of peer pressure, and so on. The recidivism rate amongst these groups is in all probability also very high, and, if our wish is that the movement continues to expand, and eventually achieve the critical mass that turns Planet Earth predominantly, or totally, vegan, then they needn’t concern us here, as the total is likely to remain pretty stable, with near equal numbers ebbing and flowing.
Long term-ists commit for reasons weighted towards personal health (health vegans) or to reduce the suffering of Animals (ethical vegans). In most cases both elements are present, but with one being the primary motivator.
Ethical vegans come in for a lot of flak from non vegans and from health vegans for being angry, aggressive, intolerant and judgemental. (Though, given the facts related to AnimAg, quite why one might not reasonably be expected to be all these things is beyond me!). However, the goal oriented position of the omnivore and the health vegan is quite achievable and under their own control. Nobody can screw with the primary motivation of these two groups. You want to stay healthy eating a vegan diet, nobody can stop you or thwart your intention. Likewise, if you’re determined to suffer from a diet of Animal products you can do so without more ado, (so long as you give good Denial or Dissonance, of course!)
But for the Ethical vegan, whose motivation is altruistic, the situation is quite different. They, we, have no control over the realization of our intent. We are constantly facing the direct, perverse and violent thwarting of what we would like. We are repeatedly threatened with retaliatory abuse in one form or another from meat eaters especially… “Yummy ribs for dinner!” and hunters “Gonna go shoot me a fat Deer!” etc, as a direct result of our assertively stating our view or criticising others for their actions.
Is it any wonder we’re a little vociferous?
At least fellow vegans of all persuasions, but particularly health vegans, could be a tad more tolerant,.. you control what you get, but beyond our small, personal commitment to not causing pain and suffering our desire is that everyone else does the same. And that we have no control over. We can only inform, plead and persuade to achieve our end.
Give us a break, huh?