Today, I sent this message to all of my Facebook friends. It's obviously intended for people I know personally, but I am just as happy to share it with everyone who likes this page, as you may have read some of my blogs. At the end, you'll see the challenge I faced people with. Please feel free to respond in the comments section.
It has become a source of huge disappointment to me how few of my Facebook friends chose to engage with me regarding my vegan posts. Perhaps you don’t see them? Perhaps you already have my feed blocked?
You probably don’t see the lengthy blogs I write on the subject, but even a modicum of awareness will reveal to you the hard facts about the health and environmental damage caused by eating animals; to say nothing of the horrors of the theriocide our society is willingly perpetrating.
In a nutshell, veganism is important to me because..
Raising animals for food results in:
unnecessary and damaging land use
Eating animals has now been proven to increase the risk of getting
Animal slaughter is responsible for
the death of 56 billion animals per year
the death of just under 3 trillion fish per year
wholesale animal abuse
endless, unnecessary suffering
(If you want details on any of these, just ask me and I’ll fill you in.)
We go along pretending that all is right with the world, or blithely hoping that everything will be OK, at least until after we die. We happily ignore frightening truths and turn our backs on beings that desperately need our help. We rankly abuse our position as the dominant species.
I don’t want any of this to be the case. I loathe the suffering that our food production systems perpetrate. I am sickened by the 'turn away from truth' approach adopted by the masses. It is ALL so unnecessary.
So my purpose in writing to you is simply to try to persuade you to go vegan. It’s easier than you think, a lot more fun than you’d think, and ultimately, a wholly rewarding experience at all levels.
Were we to be face-to-face, doubtless we would engage in an exchange about this and why I’m such an advocate for veganism (you might not ask, but I’d tell you anyway!). But since this is unlikely to happen and I’m getting precious little feedback from my FB postings, I have tried to imagine all of the reasons that (all) my friends might give for being unaffected by my propaganda. Of course I can’t guarantee that this list is all-inclusive, but here are my condensed responses to what I imagine may be your thoughts…
What I eat is nothing to do with you. True. But animal agriculture is costing the planet dearly and that affects me as much as it does you, so everyone’s eating habits become something to do with me.
I’m fed up with you trying to force this stuff down my throat? No apologies. Too many people are willing to turn a blind eye because it's uncomfortable to be faced with the truth. Are you really one of those people? Don’t you think it’s YOUR responsibility to do something about it?
I have freedom of choice don’t I? You do, but animals and fish don’t. Or doesn’t that matter to you? Do you realise that this same argument was used about slavery: that people had the choice about whether or not they kept slaves? How ridiculous does that seem to you now? How can it ever be right that you, as a sentient human being have the right to choose what happens to the life of another sentient being?
I don't really see why me eating anything from animals is such a big deal. You can use either your heart or your head. If you don’t feel any empathy for the helpless creatures that meet terrifying ends, don’t the facts about health and environmental damage bother you? They should.
Animals and fish don’t matter Why don’t they? They are sentient. They have lives that matter to them. They want to stay alive. Are you really so arrogant that you believe in the myth of human supremacy, justified because we’re the biggest bullies on the planet?
I’ve cut down on my meat consumption. That’s enough. No, it’s not. What about the times when you do decide to eat it? That means that sometimes it’s OK to condone animal abuse and others it’s not; that sometimes the planet matters and other times it doesn’t.
I like the taste too much to give it up. You have responsibility for your own actions. Can’t you control your own desires? Is your momentary pleasure actually worth another being’s life? Do you find that justifiable when there are so many choices you could make that would do no harm?
I can’t change my habits. You’re not an addict, are you? Do you have so little mastery over your faculties? Eating dead flesh is a choice and you can change that choice at every meal. Do you think you would ever choose to eat another creature if you hadn’t been fed it as an infant, before you ever had a choice? We have been programmed to ignore their suffering. Wake up!
I live in a culture where everyone eats meat. Are you a coward? Are you afraid to be different? Are you a mere follower? Are you afraid to stand up for something that strikes you as the right thing to do? I thought my friends had more backbone.
With my social life, I just couldn’t do it. Another ‘fitting in’ thing. So having a good time requires chomping on dead flesh, because that’s much more important than doing what you must surely know is right? Have you ever thought of trying to influence your social circle to change their ways (assuming your conscience will allow you to relate to what’s being said here)?
It’s inconvenient for me. Is your life is too busy/full/important for you to be compassionate? You’d rather be complicit in causing death to harmless creatures and indirectly responsible for innocent beings losing their lives than put yourself out? You’d rather contribute to damaging the planet and sealing everyone’s fate than try to make a difference, however small? Shame on you!
I only eat meat from ‘humane sources’. What on earth does that mean? Do you really imagine that showing a creature a bit of kindness before it gets killed makes everything alright? How can murder ever be humane? Do you need this vacuous platitude to make you feel alright about it? Have you actually researched the truth about what ‘humane farming’ really means? Do you have any idea just how much an animal’s life is shortened by, for your momentary pleasure? Do you think being well treated compensates for that? Please. Get real.
I only eat fish. That seems almost OK doesn’t it? They’re the creatures we have most difficulty empathising with, if only because they live in a different medium from us, and don’t have any physical attributes we can relate to. Apart from the fact that fish have nervous systems, feel fear, suffer pain and die under terrifying circumstances. They value their lives and they fight to hold onto them. (And by the way, did you know that for every 1lb of fish caught, an average of another 5lbs of unwanted marine species are caught and simply discarded, losing their lives for no purpose whatsoever?) How does that sit with you?
When I knew you, you ate meat, so stop being so sanctimonious. You’re right, I did. But I’m not the same person that I was XX years ago? Haven’t you changed? Haven’t you learned things that caused you to alter your beliefs, values and behaviours? Isn’t that what personal development is all about.
My partner/family wouldn’t stop eating meat, so I can’t. I was a vegetarian for 11 years whilst the rest of my family continued to eat meat. If you believe something, surely your partner would have enough respect for your beliefs to not prevent you from doing what you believe to be right? Is it easy eating different meals from those you live with? No, it’s not. But if your objective is compassion, not convenience, you’ll put up with it. And perhaps one day your family members will wake up to what’s going on with their food and eschew dead flesh and death causing, stolen animal products too.
Veganism is extreme. Dairy, eggs and honey are just by-products. Nothing dies in their production. Reality check needed. You’re very poorly informed if you believe this. The dairy industry is more ghastly than the beef industry and causes horrifying amounts of pain, suffering and death. The same goes for egg production and honey too. It’s all a nightmare. (If you want details, I’d be only to happy to fill you in, but be warned, the truth is pretty horrible.)
Going vegan is simply too hard. People who say going vegan is "too hard" are only focused on themselves. Try imagining yourself as the animal being forced to give up its life for your enjoyment and then you might get a real glimpse of 'hard'. Veganism becomes the easiest thing in the world if you focus on the victims.
Veganism is just a fad. Granted, there are people who think it’s ‘cool’ to be vegan, and only try it because they want to identify with something. But look around you. Underneath the current wave of populist hype, there’s a growing movement of people who have wised up to what mass animal consumption is really doing. Ask yourself why that is.
Vegan food is dull and tastes awful. LOL. Ignoring the fact that this statement rules out all fruit and veg as pleasant food sources, have you tried it? And I mean really tried it? Dead flesh is only as tasty as the seasonings and sauces used on it. Its texture is something we have become accustomed to and may have developed a preference for; but vegan foods encompass a vast range of both comparable and alternative textures as well as flavours, every bit as delicious as those you think you’d be giving up. If you think vegan food is dull or tastes bad, you've not been to the right restaurants, or used the right recipes yet!
I couldn’t get used to that vegan diet. Veganism is not so much a diet as a ‘do no harm’ lifestyle choice that puts compassion for other beings before personal pleasure. Yes, the food part of it does take some adjustment, because you’re changing possibly life-long eating habits, but it's worth the effort, on so many levels!
I try to be vegan most of the time/ I only eat animal products occasionally. So how do you distinguish between when it’s OK for animals to be exploited and die and those when it’s appalling and unnecessary? How do you choose the moments when you’re not vegan? Are there times when you’re feeling less caring? Are there times when it doesn’t matter and those when it does? Are you able to manage your conscience with such ease that you can turn it on and off like a light switch? Are you non-vegan when it’s not convenient for you to be so? How convenient do you think that is for the animals whose lives are being wrecked for your whim? And do you realise that “try” means you haven’t decided?
I’m nearly there. Then go all the way. What’s stopping you from voiding your life of products that are bad for you anyway? What part of you remains that still clings on to habits that are unnatural, and you weren’t born with? Understand the supply and demand model. It's great if you've come so far, but if you're still eating animals or their products, you're still part of the problem.
I don’t believe one person can make a difference. I wonder how change comes about if this is the case? Societal change doesn’t result from a sudden mass shift in consciousness. It begins with individuals who see the wrong in a situation and seek to make it right. As individuals, they try to make a difference by influencing those around them. One can change a few, a few can change many, many can change the world. YOU can make a difference.
The planet’s doomed anyway. Well, maybe that’s so. But in the meantime, why not have a shot at saving it and make a difference to the lives of as many beings as you can? If you think about it, it’s a pretty selfish perspective to decide that if everyone else is screwing things up, it’s OK for you to do the same. What about your children, or grandchildren? Shouldn't you be trying to make the world a better place for them?
I do care, but... But nothing. Animal consumption has reached such proportions that it’s ruining the planet at an exponential rate. If you don’t care about the animals themselves, perhaps you care about the environment. If you don’t care about the environment, perhaps you care about your health. Whatever you care about, there is NO TIME to prevaricate. Go vegan today.
I just don’t give a shit. That’s not you, is it? If it is, I’ve misjudged you or you’ve changed a great deal. Either way, you’ve become someone I don’t want to be friends with anymore, so please just unfriend me on FB.
I can’t make you go vegan. My postings on FB are an attempt to make you aware of the senseless killing and exploitation your eating habits are supporting. I guess how you respond to this message will depend entirely upon your character. You may choose to keep looking away and ignoring what’s happening in the world and play your tacit part in mass suffering and the devastation of the planet. My fondest hope is that you’ll recognise that it’s time for everyone to act, and decide that it’s time for you to give up animal products too.
So, let me finish with a challenge for you. Assuming that you haven’t already unfriended me (a risk I’m very willing to take for this cause), don't just ignore this letter. Write to me to let me know you’re going vegan; or tell me why you’re not. If it’s the latter, please give me your ‘good reason’ for not doing so (if you can possibly come up with one). Tell me precisely why you don’t care, or why none of what I’ve written is important.
Then we’ll discuss it. But do remember, you can never win an argument with a vegan, because it’s not them you’re arguing with.
It’s your conscience.