Brenda de Groot
Ethics

Pointing Back

From the moment we vegans decided not to be a dumping yard for the milk surplus, and in our opinion chickens can keep their eggs, beaks and brothers, we are under attack. The bullets of critique on our diet scatter around our heads. We bend in every position possible to both defend our carefully considered choice, while at the same time trying desperately to keep our beloved friends. But, dear people, time has come to switch roles. Time that we point our finger, in the other direction.

The vegan is the feminist who looks beyond his own species. The Martin Luther King two point o. True: if you lead a revolution you can expect resistance. So we end up in deep philosophical discussions with complete strangers at parties. And our friends think we became dull as we won’t longer join them binging on late-night kebabs. Throughout this all, our family will keep believing that it is ‘just a phase’ that ‘eventually will come to an end’.

But we are sick of the skepticism. We’re fed up with our carrot-nibbling reputation. And we get dead tired again and again justifying ourselves for every mosquito we killed.

Why eating vegan when on your way to the supermarket you smash hundreds of insects to your windscreen? Then you can just as easily buy some steak as well.

Black-and-white thinking appears innate to humans. We need to be strictly consistent in everything we do, or just give up entirely. I call it the ‘failing dieter’s mentality’.

Oh no, I just ate a cookie. Well, I’d better shove a liter of ice cream down my throat since my diet is now ruined anyway.

Most people agree that this is an irrational thought. The person could better just enjoy a cookie once in a while and stick to the diet for the rest of the time. Unfortunately, people don’t seem to think that way about veganism.

How to Handle Unreasonable Criticism

In my opinion, a positive approach is more sustainable for both veganism and your own psychological well-being. I rather inspire my fellow humans than pursue a somewhat hostile discussion with people I actually really like. Also, by attacking the other person, you risk losing his empathy for vegans completely. Your discussion partner leaves the conversation with the assumption that all vegans are weird extremists, and that their diets are equally weird and extreme. Now that is the exact opposite effect you wanted to achieve! A positive approach – showing other people how delicious, healthy and easy vegan food is – will leave a positive attitude towards veganism, which raises the chance of them eventually giving it a go.

There are, however, always exceptions to rules. Sometimes people do need a slap-in-the-face. I mean, how many individuals went vegan overnight just by seeing the confronting movie Earthlings? Sometimes you should bring up the inconvenient truth, and stand up for your right and those of animals. Sometimes, it is time to point back.

Pointing Back To the Criticists

I will start with a confession: I am not perfect. I often make less optimal decisions, like everyone else does too. For example, I do kill mosquitoes that fly in my room, and I sometimes buy products which have palm oil in them. I also buy non-organic vegetables and fruit. I am deeply ashamed of myself typing this, because palm oil production is the reason that every two seconds, a whole soccer field of rain forest gets destroyed. Also, pesticides are responsible for the death of billions of bees and other animals. And if mosquitoes are conscious beings, then killing them isn’t ethically correct either.

But I try my very best, just like all other vegans with me. It is unreasonable to corner a vegan and criticise every aspect of his life, while you are happily working your way through a hotdog. Vegans step out of their comfort zone by saying ‘no’ to all animal products, and a ‘bring it on’ to the social struggles that they automatically inherit. Vegans do this because the lives of animals and the well-being of our planet are higher priority than their own pleasure and comfort.

…And you?

Are you trying your best?

Are you aware of where you get your protein?

The Dark Side of Animal Protein

A bowl of yogurt for breakfast, a chicken sandwich for lunch, a piece of salmon for dinner and a whey protein shake after a workout. Consuming animal protein is considered absolutely normal to the vast majority of society. Chances are high that you too are brought up with glasses of milk and family barbecues. The colourful packages of pudding and neatly breaded chicken nuggets in the supermarkets do not give away anything about the horrors that preceded their production. But think a bit further.

Why do we eat slices of calves and horses, but not from our own dog or child? And why do we gag at the idea of still drinking human breast milk ourselves, when we are breast feeding from cows on a daily basis? And I didn’t even mention eggs yet: chicken ovulations with a peel around ithem. That, my dear omnivore, is where your protein comes from. Veganism suddenly doesn’t sound too odd, right?

Steak tartare: 21,8 grams of protein per 100 grams. 

Yes, tasty, low in fat and high in protein. But do realise that your tomorrow’s steak tartare is alive at this very moment, standing somewhere in an overcrowded transporting truck. He is awaiting the inevitable perforation of his brain by a metal plug. He doesn’t feel the wounds on this feet, caused by years of standing on a metal-framed ground, thanks to the stress he experiences at this moment in the truck. All because you buy and eat steak tartare.

Face it: all animals you will eat in the future course of your life are or will be living beings with feelings and desires. They will be born to suffer and die for your ‘free choice’ to kill them. Animals do not have the capacity to speak out what they feel and desire. We can guess, though, what a 2-meter long tuna fish experiences when he gets sliced open, has his intestines cut out while fully conscious, and continues to live for many more minutes until he dies from his injuries. Sashimi. Or what pain a chicken must go through when the ammonia of the accumulated poop that covers the stable floor burns into the open wounds on his feet. KFC. But fish can’t scream and chickens can’t cry. For those who dare to see it, the animal industry is a holocaust like you have never seen before.

It’s Your Call

So, dear omnivore, speak out, because the choice is yours:

Where will your tomorrow’s protein come from?

This post is also available in NL

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