Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Response to "10 Things Never to Say to a Vegan"

Vegan Spoonful had a wonderful article entitled "Top 10 Things Never to Say to a Vegan" which I proceeded to post to my Facebook.  At work, someone came up to me and said "I saw the article you posted....and I'm fairly certain that we have all said all of those things to you at least once!"  I know people like to tease me and poke fun at me sometimes, but you have to know when you are crossing the line!  Here is my response to the top ten things to never say to a Vegan.

10.  ”If you were stranded on a desert island, and there was nothing to eat but animals, would you eat meat?”

I have heard this one a lot.  I've also heard "If I pay you X amount of dollars, would you eat a steak?" or "How much money would someone have to pay you to eat a steak?".  No, I wouldn't resort to eating animals if I were stranded on a desert island unless it became absolutely necessary, just as I wouldn't resort to cooking up and eating the friends I was stranded with unless it became absolutely necessary.  I would hope that this hypothetical island would have coconuts, berries, and other types of things on it.  I can't foresee myself becoming stranded on a desert island anytime soon, so I doubt I will have to ever face this situation.  I'm certainly not losing sleep over it!

9.  ”But where do you get your protein?”

This is probably the number one question I get asked.  People are so concerned about the amount of protein that I eat.  They don't ever consider the fact that they probably eat at least two or three times the daily required amounts of protein that they should eat, and that all of that extra protein can lead to health problems like cancer or heart disease.  There are plenty of ways for vegans and vegetarians to get their protein - whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and the list goes on.  I don't ask every meat eater that I meet - "Are you getting enough fibre?  Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables?"

8.  ”I just ate <insert name of animal body part here> for lunch, it was soooo yummy!”  and then on and on and on, describing it in great detail.

I've even had a co-worker at a past job try to sneak meat into my food.  I'm not sure if all of the yummy descriptions are supposed to make me feel bad that I'm not eating meat.  I choose not to eat it and I wish that some people would respect my decision.  While I don't agree with your decision to eat meat, you can make your own choices and choose to eat whatever you want.  Please respect my decisions as well!

7.  ”Plants have feelings too!  Don’t you care about the poor carrots?”

This is one of the more ridiculous phrases that I've heard uttered on numerous occasions.  If you can't tell the difference between a vegetable and a suffering animal, maybe you had better take a closer look.   Or, as she says on Vegan Spoonful (couldn't have said it better myself): "If you truly can’t see the difference between pulling a carrot out of the ground and slitting a chicken’s throat, why don’t you try doing both and see if you feel the same about both acts?" 

6.  ”If humans weren’t meant to eat meat, why are animals so tasty?”

Just because animals are roaming the earth and co-existing with us, it doesn't mean that they were put here to serve our needs.  They should live peacefully just as we do.  To survive, we do not need to eat animals or create way more cows/chickens/pigs/etc. in factory farms to serve our needs.  In fact, the over-abundance of these factory farmed animals is horrible for our environment and the entire planet.

5.  ”So what made you decide to become a vegan?”…asked in the middle of a big family dinner while eating a hunk of ham.

I haven't had this one...yet.  Thankfully, most people are sensitive to the fact that I don't eat meat over dinner and have even offered to prepare vegetarian meals.  I've also been fortunate enough to have friends and co-workers ask if I was okay with them eating meat around me.  That is totally fine, and I am grateful that you are considerate of my feelings and choices.

4.  ”Oh, I could never go vegan.  I love meat way too much!  And I could never live without cheese!” 

I love how cheese and dairy tastes, too!  I choose not to eat it due to my ethical concerns regarding the poor treatment of dairy cows, chickens, and farm animals.  It is no wonder that I still have soy milk with my cereal, put Daiya cheese on pizza, and eat coconut milk ice cream - I obviously love the taste of dairy but I can't justify continuing to eat it knowing how the animals are treated.

3.  ”I feel sorry for you, that you can’t eat <insert animal food here>.”

I choose not to eat <insert animal food here> and I can sleep at night better knowing that I don't eat it!

2.  ”You sure don’t look like a vegan!”

I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean and thankfully, no one has ever said this to me.  I'm not sure if someone who is vegan is supposed to look skinny, malnourished, or like a tattooed hipster.  I just look like me and I am a vegan!

1.  Why don’t you care about people?  Aren’t people more important than animals?      

Of course I care about people.  I care about animals, too.  I choose to donate to animal related charities (Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, Farm Sanctuary, Animal Welfare Association, etc.) and I choose to donate to human related charities, too (Red Cross for disaster relief, for instance).  I care about everything on this planet and I don't want harm to happen to anyone or anything.  Just because you care about animals doesn't mean that you don't care about people.  In fact, eating a vegan diet does help people - it allows us to enjoy a more sustainable planet, it helps to protect our waterways, it helps to protect against the exploitation of the workers who have to work in dangerous slaughter houses, and the list goes on.

How do you feel about this Top 10 list?  Do you have anything to add to it, any odd questions that people may ask you?  Personally, if the question doesn't come off as insulting, I don't mind answering people's questions about not eating meat or dairy.  I would rather give people some insight into my choices, provide them with some reading material or movies to watch about the topic, and maybe they might end up making similar decisions in the end.  I am always happy to answer my friends' questions, but I don't appreciate it when it comes across as an insult to my intelligence (for example, many of the above questions or retorts).

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