Hello to the people out there,
This is Garageland.
I’ve been vegan for ten years. I was vegetarian for a year before that. Needless to say, animal rights is a topic close to my heart.
When I first started to consider vegetarianism/veganism, I had a mentor. My oldest sister, Jamie, had been vegan for most of my life and vegetarian for all of it. When I started to get into the world of punk rock as an adolescent and become conscious of the world around me, I started to ask Jamie questions.
She began to tell me about the injustices surrounding the animal goods industries. This led to me educating myself the way my generation knows how to. The internet. I watched short documentaries, read articles and heard from some of my favorite musicians as to how the issue of animal rights prompted them to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet.
I gave a shit about animal cruelty. I felt compassion for the animals. I didn’t think it was morally responsible to eat meat or purchase products that existed because animals suffered.
The stereotype of a vegan in the mind of the public consciousness was a hippie who threw red paint on people wearing fur coats. The prospect of someone becoming vegan or vegetarian for any reason besides animal liberation or legitimate health reasons wasn’t something that even occurred to me.
So, what happened?
When did the stereotype switch to an overly-wealthy, overprivileged white liberal who does cross fit?
Make no mistake, veganism is growing. There have been countless studies to show that more people are vegan in the US now than ever before.
I think I’ve met more vegans in the past two years than I cumulatively had in my first eight years.
Here’s the problem. Some, not all, of these people don’t give a shit about animal rights. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met that just became vegan and “used to be paleo” or are vegan because they think it will help them maintain a hot beach bod.
There are also people becoming vegan because they are conscious of the scarcity of the meat industry. Our species is reproducing at so high a rate, that we soon won’t have enough meat to feed the people that want it.
“What’s the problem with that?” You might be asking.
Well, look. If more people are vegan, that’s great. Every animal saved is a +1 in my book. And I don’t mean for this post to come across so harsh. If you want a hot beach bod, go for it. If you do cross fit and make a ton of money, that’s great for you. Seriously. Do your thing. Live your life. I’m not nearly as judgmental as I might sound in this post. I love meeting new people from all walks of life and actually find hanging around the same type of person all the time to be boring. And if you want to be vegan purely for practical reasons, because you know that humans > meat, that’s fine too.
I don’t think I’m better than any of you. However, as someone who’s been in this fight for over a decade, I’m asking that you try to show the animals a little love while you’re at it too. Go to a protest, throw up a “meat is murder” sticker, hell, even just write some angry YouTube comments. Whatever it is.
Because animals have just as much of a right to live full lives, free from suffering, as we do. And if our entire species becomes vegan without recognizing that, will we actually have made any progress as a people?
“The truth is only known by guttersnipes.” – Joe Strummer