And probably like some vegans, I will be locked into a never ending cycle of tongue-tied incoherency and frustration.
Even when it comes to the most obvious questions like ‘Why are you vegan?’ To which I just want to yell – ‘How can you NOT be vegan?!’ – before dragging up the reams of harrowing images and footage I swipe through during my hourly Facebook scrolls.
But unfortunately that is not considered proper dinner etiquette. Exclaiming excitedly over a bloated, dead bird, slaughtered ten years prematurely with breadcrumbs and herbs stuffed up its anal cavity, is.
Below I have compiled a few answers which I passionately use to defend my moral choices (though not out loud of course).
‘Farm animals wouldn’t exist if we didn’t breed them’.
One of the most dumbfounding analogies after ‘but plants are also living beings’.
First of all, I’m sure animals are quite capable of multiplying themselves and at a more natural rate too.
And second, methane from cattle has more ‘global warming potential’, which traps up to 100 times more heat than carbon dioxide emissions from transport and industry, which means climate change is happening at an alarming rate.
And third, who would want to be born into a life of systematic misery and loss, and in many cases, abuse?
‘You have to be more careful about your diet’.
This is a misconception by people who consider themselves to have a ‘normal diet’.
Many people in later life develop all sorts of health problems, from high cholesterol and heart disease to diabetes and cancer. And diet I probably don’t need to remind anyone, is an obvious contributory factor, especially where hormones in dairy and heavily processed meat are concerned.
But don’t get me wrong, vegans are not invincible either. I myself am not exactly a healthy advert for a vegan diet. I still eat way too much processed food (and not to mention the wine)!
But that’s my point.
Vegans can be prone to bad choices for their health, as omnivores can.
But what switching to a vegan diet can do, is make you more aware of your choices, and what vitamins, minerals and fibres are needed to maintain a balanced diet. And how much processed food you eat!
‘It’s natural to eat meat’.
Who says? I’m sure most vegans know the spiel by now – no canines, only two legs, we’re not orange and stripy etcetera.
My argument (the one that immediately dissolves to verbal mush on my tongue upon interrogation) would be that you don’t watch a David Attenborough documentary and think, ‘Yeah I could have me a piece of that zebra right now!’
It’s not nature to go to a steakhouse and attack an expensive piece of cooked factory produced meat with a John Lewis cutlery set, drizzled with fermented grapes, either.
A theory I once read which lends itself to the nature argument, is that the human race is connected closely with primates, it might be that once we were ‘opportunistic hunters’. In other words, we ate bugs as they tootled on past.
If that’s true, we’re a bit buggered when the government decides mass produced insect protein is the way to save the planet (rather than going vegan)!
‘It’s just a trend’.
First, those of us who are committed vegans, we are an argument in ourselves. ‘We are vegan’, if you will.
And second, it strikes me these are often people uncomfortable with change, and slap the millenial label on at any given opportunity.
If you enjoy upcycling/ carry a coffee flask/ shop organic/ like Jeremy Corybn as it goes, you’re a millenial.
Anything which might indicate an awareness or change in collective conscience is often to the dismay of older generations or whose thoughts are grounded in traditional/ cultural upbringings.
The fact the number of vegans has risen by 260 per cent in the UK over the last ten years surely couldn’t be because of a growing awareness of healthy eating, environmental impact and heck even morality could it?
Naw, that’s just stupid.
‘Soya is unsustainable’.
According to Viva! Around 75 per cent of soya – which is mass produced globally – is for animal feed. And not only that, it takes a much larger amount of soy to produce a much smaller amount of meat.
And according to Viva! which takes its findings from the WWF, only a small fraction of soy is consumed directly by humans. This includes the ingredient lecithin which is found in a lot of processed foods.
Many manufacturers say they are committed to sourcing soy responsibly and have a no GM policy – brands include Alpro, Bute Island (vegan cheese) and Fry’s and many more!
‘Vegetables are living things’.
Where’s the wine?