Yes, I watched your video and yes I’m going to talk about it.
I admit, I saw the title and I felt dread. Oh God, what is she going to say? What more bad-press for veganism is going to be drummed up this week? Then, I watched and... my lord, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Why? Because you use nearly every argument that a meat-eater should never use in a debate against veganism.
And not because they're “rude” or “offensive”, but because they make you look really ignorant. And a little psychopathic. There are genuinely thought-provoking anti-vegan arguments out there, trust me, I've heard them.
There are none in here.
When people act the way you do in this video, (which I know is just for views and attention) pretending to have zero compassion, you look, yeah, a bit psychopathic. I believe, Nicole, that you do have feelings, you do have compassion, and if you were watching a dog getting beaten to death in the street, I think you would do something. Or… feel something.
Let me explain. You begin the video by making animal noises of “the most delicious animals”.
Great start. I can tell this is going to be full of intellectually complex, scientific, logic-driven discussion. Here’s a
reality check: most vegans (and I say “most” because I would never, unlike you, attempt to speak for an entire, complex collective of people), do NOT make the argument that meat isn’t tasty. Of course meat is fucking tasty. We aren’t aliens without taste-buds. We just happen to think that there are more important things (and quickly realise vegan food is fucking amazing). Like the future of the planet? Like the value of life being more important than a moment of pleasure? Maybe the most delicious food in the world is actually baby hearts… dipped in your best friend’s fresh tears. You aren’t going to start having that for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day ‘cause ‘it’s your right’. Are you? Delicious doesn't equal right. Fuck that shit.
Your next point is one of my personal FAVOURITES. “I eat meat because I’m an animal too and they would all eat us if we weren't eating them".
Here’s a fun head scratcher for you – humans are meant to be smarter, more evolved, more forward thinking, more intellectual than other animals. Right? That’s what makes us better, that’s what makes us humans and not lions or tigers or cows or pigs or giraffes or snails or bees.
I don’t know if you’ve heard about this thing of protecting the weak and not taking advantage of weaker beings just because we can? It's kind of a thing, yes a relatively new thing, I grant you. The reason veganism is growing by the day, is because more and more people are realising this. They are thinking that we shouldn’t just kill and beat and enslave living beings just because we can. And, hey, lightbulb – NO OTHER ANIMALS DO THAT.
Other animals do not enslave their food and fatten it up with hormones and force it to grow at twice the rate it's meant to naturally and only eat its breasts covered in barbecue sauce and throw away the rest.
You get me? You get what I’m saying? I'm trying very hard to stay calm and not play into any "angry vegan" stereotype. But the truth is Nicole, you have made it hard. Very hard. Even worse – I know that’s what you want! You want me to get angry and write this post and get you more attention. The only reason I am bending to your will, is because we need intelligent, logical vegan voices out there undoing the damage your video will do.
Do you not understand that we are in a desperate time? (Obviously not) That our planet is dying? That tens of billions of animals are being slaughtered every year so humans can have KFC and discounted chicken thighs and jam donuts and chocolate milkshakes and sushi and fucking Starbucks lattes? These opinions you splurge out of your attractive gob are doing SO much damage. Because they are WRONG. If you want to keep eating meat – fine, go for it, but do NOT, do NOT spread these lies and ignorant ideas of what vegans are like or what they represent.
There are annoying people in every group, I know. There are annoying vegans who go around pushing their opinions on others and I hate them way more than you do. They are a detriment to an important cause and I hate that. But do not paint us all with the same brush. Do not. Just as I am not going to go around saying that all blondes with great boobs are attention seeking. Or, that all meat-eaters are as uninformed as you just made them out to be.
My meat-eating friends would HATE this video. You make all meat eaters sound like they disrespect vegans and find them annoying. I can tell you, AS a vegan, my meat-eating friends love that I’m vegan. They respect it and understand it. It broadens their culinary horizons; they come over for dinner and we have intellectual, intelligent debates. There really are genuine arguments against veganism – like, hens in the backyards, what does a vegan world look like, etc, and you do not raise a SINGLE one of them. Not a single intelligent point.
What were your points again?
This is quite interesting coming from you - Nicole Arbour. One of the most universally annoying and disliked personalities on the internet. I do not want to speak badly of anyone and I'm trying to use my words carefully, but this is a fact. I honestly believe that a hate-video from you is the biggest endorsement vegans could ask for. If Nicole Arbour is anti-vegan – stick me in the vegan camp please.
This is just pure wank.
I'm sure some assholes do. Ignore them. Some men think they’re superior to women. Ignore them too.
Just – open a science book. Please. Here is just one article you can read "Humans are Meathooked, but Not Designed for Meat Eating".
I disagree with this. You know why? Because I am proud that I was able to question what I was told my entire life. Since birth I was told that eating meat was normal, healthy and expected. It’s hard to go against the grain. It’s hard to question your parents, your friends, your very existence. Anyone who CHANGES THEIR MIND and changes their life for the better should be proud. Anyone.
You do some kind of weird back-track at the end, along the lines of: “eat whatever you want, just don’t be annoying” which is confusing. It suggests you don’t really believe any of the anti-vegan crap you've said and are just saying "don't be annoying". (Alongside gaining views and controversy)
I know there are annoying vegans out there and I’m sorry. I really am. To anyone who has had a shitty conversation with a vegan, felt judged by a vegan for eating lunch, felt attached for doing what you’ve done your whole life, I’m truly sorry. That isn’t cool and should never happen. Most cool, normal, nice, logical people out there, who just happen to be vegan, would not subscribe to this behaviour. At all.
Veganism is NOT my religion. It’s a damn important movement that is trying to make the world a better place, with no factory farms, less unnecessary death, less methane gas destroying our world and better health for all those people out there who are eating bacon for breakfast, chicken for lunch and steak for dinner. There is a middle ground people – and it’s us all getting along, some vegan, some veggie, some meat-eaters, but less animal cruelty. An end to factory farming. A sustainable way forward that doesn’t rape our planet.
I could literally go all day on this, I have to stop. That will do. My fingers hurt.
As a final word - please don't paint all vegans this way. Just as we should not say that all muslims are terrorists, all feminists hate men or all atheists hate religion. It's just wrong and ignorant to paint a massive collective of people with one brush.
I'm not stupid. I understand that Nicole calls herself a 'comedian' and any day now will release some shitty press statement that one of her best friends is vegan and she doesn't hate all vegans, blah blah. But it's not about that. This isn't about YOU, Nicole. It's about creating a world that UNDERSTANDS why veganism matters. Why animals matter. Why the circle of life (which ironically, a lot of meat-eaters use in argument) matters.
We are trying to save the damn world. Even Miley Cyrus gets it!
As you can see I'm intentionally not linking to the video. You can find it if you so wish.....
So, this is the post where I come clean about my YouTube obsession.
I am obsessed with YouTube. I confess. Please don't run for the hills and begin doubting any depth you once found in my words.
YouTube, despite the often shallow content, vapid vloggers and non-stop drama, is - at the end of the day - a community. A community of different worlds, perspectives, information, cliques and, I'm gonna be honest, it's fascinating. Fascinating as all hell. I started off only being invested in the vegan community. It was helpful to me as a new vegan getting to see what people were eating, where they shopped, how veganism was discussed and received. This vast, incredible resource at my fingertips - helping me and guiding me forwards.
Then... I discovered the drama. Oh boy the YouTube drama...
Active YouTube watchers and vloggers love controversies. And even more so, they love a good old fight between two YouTubers. In the vegan world different YouTubers are constantly making response videos to each other, disagreeing, going back and forth, sending their followers to go and write mean comments on the other's channel. It's MENTAL. And... addictive.
In any world, there are kings and queens, those who reign above all others. And, like any world, it's quite a mystery how they got there.
In the vegan YouTube world, the queen is Freelee the Banana Girl. Without question. I'm sure many readers will have heard of her, or stumbled across her videos. If you haven't, I would say go and have a watch. Most of her earlier videos are great; she got to this level of stardom from making genuine, raw, inspiring videos about being a healthy, high-carb vegan, living an active lifestyle and promoting and overly positive message.
Freelee started out raw but after about five years on YouTube, made a controversial move to promoting a "Raw Till 4" diet - introducing cooked foods onto her channel and encouraging the (enormous) following, to shun the raw movement and, instead, include healthy, high-carb cooked foods like rice and potatoes.
I personally LOVED this message and it was easy to understand the change in her thinking. Raw ain't sustainable. And it's more important to have VEGANS than it is to have Raw Vegans. In fact, who cares about having raw vegans? That is a (very admirable) personal choice and one that should only be made to enable personal growth or health. In terms of the greater good and humanity - vegan is definitely good enough. Don't add more and more restrictions - get people vegan and give them a lovely long list of foods that are delicious and easy. I was over the moon that Freelee developed her message into something more accessible for the every day viewer.
But then, weirdly, everything went sour. I could sit here for hours and hours explaining the complexities of the YouTube world, which of course I will not do. So, in a nutshell, Freelee....well... she changed.
She came up with a new "strategy". And her new strategy was to target high profile celebrities (and then, high profile internet personalities) to critique their diet and, essentially, tell them to be vegan. And blame their diet habits and fluctuating weight (argh don't talk about women's weight!) on the fact they WEREN'T vegan.
These videos varied in their approach, some were okay... drawing young girls' attention to the implications of their diet choices, and how most celebrities are eating unsustainable, unhealthy, low-calorie diets. However, some were not okay. Some were, well, just AWKWARD. Freelee became a bit of a bully, for lack of a better word.
In her opinion, the animal deaths and implications of eating meat are far more severe than any "hurt feelings" or "poor old celebrity who felt attacked" and I get that thinking, I do.
But, I cannot pretend that I believe attacking people is EVER okay. I can only speak from my own experience, but any positive conversations I have had with an individual about being vegan, changing their diet or animal agriculture in general, have only been positive (even to the point where they've gone vegan!) was when the conversation itself, was positive.
If a conversation feels judgemental, unpleasant, rude, or really, ANYTHING negative, both parties are likely to respond badly. And, well, that's what's gone mental on YouTube over the last few weeks.....
The girl I had never heard of, but with that thumbnail, I just had to click. And, I've got to be honest, I feel like this girl NAILS IT. Of course, there has been Freelee backlash, and she has addressed every claim Tana makes, essentially saying none of it is true. But what she DOES NOT do, is take on board any of Tana's core message.
Which is: please just be nicer. Be more positive.
Now, I get it, veganism isn't about positivity. Veganism is a dark, complex, awful issue, with a whole load of complicated problems and things that make me so sad sometimes I can't get to sleep if I think about them for too long. I'm not saying I want Freelee to be another sunshine and daisies vlogger, going on about how perfect life is. No, I love that Freelee isn't like that.
But, what I cannot condone, and I never will, is bullying. And despite what Freelee says to defend herself, and how she feels that is not the case, I have felt uncomfortable watching her videos, because I've felt that she, at times, speaks with overwhelming disrespect.
If you want to stand up for the little guy (and who is littlier than baby chickens?) you can't really shit on everyone else to do it. Not in my opinion.
You need to embrace that overwhelming message of - we want things to be BETTER. A better place. Feminists who shit all over men, are ineffective feminists. Similarly, vegans who shit all over humans, are absolutely ineffective vegans. Do not perpetuate the stereotype that vegans care more about animals then people. That's stupid, but it's easy to see why people regurgitate that anti-vegan idea. It's because of people like Freelee.
Freelee, I know there is no way you'll ever read this, but, if you happen to - I do respect you. Some of your videos are amazing and I genuinely LOVE that you tell it how it is. You are probably now (along with Gary Yourovski) responsible for converting more people to veganism than anyone else on the planet. And for that, I will always bow down in respect. But, please, I beg of you - go back to doing it without this venom and disrespect.
You can critique and you can "tell it how it is" without shaming people.
Because really, vegans are anti-bullying. We are about speaking for those without a voice. Shunning the ultimate bullies. Any steps we take that make US the bully, are, I believe, a step in the wrong direction.
I'm a Barista. I make coffee for a living. I get it.
Years ago, it felt super cool to hate on soy milk. I remember getting the orders in for a "decaf, half shot, soy latte" and doing the eye-roll, the look to my co-workers, the whole performance that says: "one of THOSE customers, guys."
Then, I gosh-darn went out and turned vegan. What a stick-in-the-mud. I became the asshole who has the temerity to ask the Barista to use soy.
"Soy milk doesn't froth the same way," if I had a pound for every time some idiot told me that I'd be a millionaire. I'm telling you now - soy milk DOES whip the exact same way as normal milk. Of course it does. I do this every day of my life, so anyone who tries to argue, come show me in person.
When I go to cafes and I'm the person on the other side, "THAT customer", I can't help but laugh to myself. Mainly because I know what utter crap their eye rolls are based on. I'm telling you from the other side.
Your Barista Thinks -
A) You're just a bit difficult. We do deal with annoying requests every day. Stupid ones, often. So soy drinkers can get lumped in this category of just being "difficult"
B) You are a health nut. And coffee people don't always love health nuts. We like people who look after themselves, of course, and latch on to every ridiculous Guardian article proving "coffee drinkers live longer", but health nut? Who will ask about the gluten free bread, order a soy decaf flat white and then have a slab of chocolate cake for afters without a bat of the eye*? Yeah, you're hated.
C) Soy milk is just "bad". It's bad guys! It's shit. It gives men boobs and girls muscles.
D) Soy is so BAD for the environment guys. Stupid soy drinkers killing forests.
E) The big one. Soy is annoying. It's "hard to froth" and likely, I have to run to the shops to grab a carton because my employer doesn't have a stash easy to hand. He will buy three in the morning and after that, I have to go myself.
I can tell you know (and I'm the authority on all things.... har har) these are all UTTER BOLLOCKS. ABSOLUTE UTTER BOLLOCKS. I remember my judgements, I remember how i would feel about soy drinkers and treat them if they dared request I go all the way to the other fridge for a carton of health-nut milk.
Guys - I was WRONG. I was wrong and you know why? Because all of these arguments. Yes, all of them - incidentally promote milk. It's that simple. No matter what you think of soy milk - all of your anti-soy arguments (even that come from VEGANS!) are promoting the use of real milk.
Let me explain.
Nine out of ten coffee houses have milk or soy milk. And that’s only taking into account the ones with both! Some places still don’t have soy milk at all and out of the ones that stock both, I would say one in ten have a third alternative (usually Almond).
Almond milk is becoming increasingly popular, which is impressive, but it is still a rare find. In your average coffee house - there is milk or soy milk. End of story. Anyone who gives anti-soy arguments to your average person - is telling them to drink milk again. Even if that's not the intent, that will be the reality with the world we live in. All of the reasons that prompted them to give soy a try - usually because they’ve heard it’s healthier - will disappear and they will go back to milk again, which, in my eyes is a travesty. If they only have these two options and if they are not remotely interested in animal rights, all they will do is think "oh, okay, Milk is better for me, then" and give up on the dairy-free milk idea.
Milk is unsustainable, cruel, evil and abhorrent. We are in desperate times and need to get people off the stuff as fast as possible to save animals lives and save our planet. I’m not under any illusions that soy production is good guys, I’ve done my research and I know that soy production is down the crapper - but for anyone who doesn’t know WHY this is - please go to your nearest “Vegan 101” page and figure it out.
I wish there were enough vegans in the world drinking soy lattes to justify the amount of soy production. But of course, there is not. Soy is in EVERYTHING and it’s not good. It’s in our foods, its in magazine pages, it’s in drinks, it’s in cartons but mostly, it’s in animals stomachs, feeding them up with cheap shit that is not healthy for them in the slightest.
Do I think everyone in the world should be drinking soy milk? Of course not. I don’t think this is the answer at all - but I think it’s a better transition to get people off dairy. Get off dairy and find the best alternative that is farmed organically. There are PLENTY of organic, wholesome soy brands out there producing soy milk free of any nasty additives or preservatives (my pick here in Manchester is just soy beans, water and sweetened with apple juice… mmmm) and farmed sustainably.
Soy milk is like anything - there is corruption, there is shit, there are wankers, you need to DO YOUR RESEARCH and find the companies doing a good job and give them your money.
In my humble opinion, the priority needs to be getting people off milk and ending animal slavery. Everything about our food model needs work, it’s completely fucked. Soy included. But that does NOT mean we should just get back to torturing animals. NO. Fix one problem, then move on to fixing the next. In my opinion - animal slavery and torture is the biggest problem of our time and requires drastic action.
So, this morning, what inspired this post, was getting my morning coffee at 7am before embarking on my epic train journey to rehearsals. The two baristas started having a chat as she made my coffee; the girl announcing (I didn’t hear the context) “No, I don’t drink soy milk anymore.”
My heard did a little sad flop. What? What’s going on? Can I intervene? I listened intently and all I heard was muffled talk and laughter and I was imagining what they must be saying about soy milk. Memories. I felt sad; someone has almost made a brilliant change, but now, is not going to see it through. I may not be an activist who is breaking into animals cages (though I hope to one day!) but I am absolutely a day-to-day activist and if every vegan did this I think we would make some serious ripples. As she handed me my coffee a few minutes later I asked: “sorry, as a soy drinker, can I just ask why you’ve stopped drinking soy milk.” She replied: “oh, my partner has gallstones and the doctor said soy milk is a contributing factor.”
Okay, I wasn’t prepared for that.
“Really? Wow… I can’t see how that could be the case..” I fumbled, making mental notes to Google as soon as I got home. I know absolutely NOTHING about this, but my immediate thought was: “I know plenty of people who’ve had gallstones that don’t drink soy milk.” I voiced this to her and she agreed with me. We had a really nice conversation where I just expressed my confusion, as someone who ultimately believes soy to be a healthy alternative to milk and urged her to do her own research and not just take the doctors word for it.
Leaving the coffee shop, I felt a bit angry. THIS is what doctors are telling people with gallstones?? Oh my god. So now, this girl who needs to be healthier and heal, is going to start having cow milk over her cereal in the morning and milk in her coffee instead of the soy milk she’s been having. Well, awesome, that’s going to make her healthier.
I have a drastic idea for people in bad health. Are you ready? CUT THIS MILK SHIT. If soy milk doesn’t work for you - please don’t just run back to milk. A much better idea would be cutting a reliance on milk from your life. Cow milk is NEVER the answer. Yes, you heard me - NEVER. If you want a cup of tea, coffee, bowl of cereal or to bake a cake, that’s great, the vegan community have come up with many alternatives to milk, I’m sure ONE of these can work for you. You only have to like one. Soy milk seems to work well for most people and, again, if farmed organically is absolutely not going to do you any harm at all.
Let’s also remember that most of your “milk needs” - cereal, cake baking, coffee, tea - ARE NOT HEALTH FOODS. If you want to be in supreme health, you shouldn’t have any of these things in your life as it is. So, let’s not pretend soy is the only thing wrong with your morning bowl of cereal. The cereal is the problem with the cereal. Have fruit, have a smoothie if you want to be in the peak of health. If you’re not so worried about being in the peak of health; some porridge with water or dairy-free milk is great, avocado on toast is great, plenty of vegan breakfasts are great - here is a post full of them - but be realistic about what your ‘healthy choices’ are and always be logical.
Be A Day-To-Day Activist
In conclusion I want to encourage three major points:
1) Don’t feel bad ordering soy in a cafe. The Baristas are probably more educated these days, but if they roll their eyes or give you a hard time, they’re just being dicks.
2) Soy > Cow Milk every time. If in doubt, just cut them both. EASY FUCKING PEASY
3) Be a day to day activist. Always ask people questions if they’re spouting weird logic. Don’t lecture them, ask them questions. Make people think for themselves. And always look for opportunities to be a vegan activist. They are all around you.
My last piece of advice? Have a juice in a cafe. Then all problems are solved ;)
Love and Sweet Potatoes,
Listen, I get it. If any of this applies to you – trust me you’re not alone.
When I began facing the realities of the world I live in and contemplating changing my entire life (to reflect a new set of ideas in conflict to everything I'd been told my entire life) it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.
I didn't want to seem like I was judging anyone. I didn't want my friends and family to see me as some "smug vegan" looking down on them and every meal they consumed. Nothing could be further from the truth and the idea anyone could think it affected me deeply.
I’ve always been a people-pleaser. I want to make people happy, cause as little damage as possible and make others lives easier, wherever I can. The ideas of which, work both brilliantly and ironically with concepts of veganism.
Veganism embodies doing our best; trying to screw up the planet as little possible, hurt the least amount of animals and be as good to our own bodies as we can. On the flip side, veganism can also mean segregating yourself from your friends, looking like a smug asshole, being difficult at parties and saying “no” to innocent looking things like cupcakes and mini-muffins. No one wants to be the dick in the office saying “no” to Stephie’s birthday cake. Whether you’re “dieting” or politely pointing out that the cake is made of pain and torture, no one wants to be that guy. And if you do? Well, you probably are a smug vegan.
I'm convinced a lifetime of people pleasing made it easier to be a likeable vegan. I've never wanted to rock the boat, stand out in a negative way or make people feel bad about themselves. Many vegans tend to push this idea they are "right" while others are "wrong" and wonder why no one wants to discuss veganism with them ever again!
I admit; I find pushy, judgmental vegans almost as annoying as meat eaters. Surely the end goal should be encouraging this lifestyle? Saving animals? Am I right or did I get lost along the way? Is the goal saving animals and the planet? Okay great, if we can agree on that, can we also agree that being aggressive and rude and preachy is NEVER going to convert ANYONE? I've never seen a successful execution of "I yell at you, tell you you're wrong and you want to be like me".
Being a Scary Vegan
Your approach will usually dictate how people react to you. If you go at someone, guns blazing, defenses up and ready for war, that's most likely what you will get back. Many vegans, I'm sure subconsciously, go at meat-eaters in this way. I've watched kind, loving people with the best intentions act in a way that will do NOTHING for their cause.
Who would want to join a group that seem defensive, angry and miserable? That's not appealing. I want to be part of a group who seem intelligent, well-read, logical and kind. If you are receiving negative reactions, try and assess if you are being overly intense or defensive when you talk about your lifestyle.
And I promise - I GET IT.
I get the passion. I get the anger. I get the frustration. It hits me hard. But, I reserve my anger for people who are cold and arguing their point absent of any compassion. Don’t go attacking any Tom, Dick and Harry for eating meat because chances are, they are either very minimally aware or haven’t had THEIR personal light bulb moment yet.
It could even come from you.
I've been so surprised in the last four years who will come and ask questions. It has even been that same cold person convincing me "they don't care".
How To Encourage (and SEIZE) a "Light Bulb Moment"
My ethos (after the first few “scary vegan” months) has always been: positivity rules.
If someone asks “why are you vegan”, which can be a genuine question or someone trying to get a rise out of you, my response is always along the lines of: “it was the best decision I ever made” or “I did way too much research", which can prompt follow up questions depending on your delivery.
My veganism is a relatively new-found lifestyle, so I cannot and SHOULD NOT judge anyone who hasn't found the right trigger yet. Even if someone doesn't want to become a vegan, they will absolutely have a compassion trigger. Something that makes them understand, even if they don't want to commit.
You can show someone a million animal-cruelty videos and get nothing. Then, randomly, they can see a vegan cartoon or listen to a celebrity they respect and their blinders are ripped right off. I’ve heard so many examples of meat-eaters getting suddenly affected by something I never would have predicted.
We are all different. That’s the most beautiful and frustrating part of life. We are all going to care about different things. Your greatest power is that when someone has their light bulb moment, they may think of you, the closest vegan they know and make a point to talk to you. When this happens, try not to jump out of your skin in excitement, try play it cool, but it is the greatest feeling ever.
No pressure – but you are a part of something really important.
You are a part of trying to save animals, end factory farming, save the planet and get everyone a hell of a lot healthier. So, if you find yourself in a conversation with someone about veganism, whether it’s horrible and negative or whether it’s tiny amount of curiosity, try and be cool about it. Try and be as nice as possible so people don’t think they have to change their entire life or suddenly become a raging hippie to join the club.
You don’t’ have to do ANYTHING to join the club apart from buy different stuff, care about shit and not eat rotting corpses.
Sounds like a fantastic club to me.
1) Throw Vegan Dinner Parties
They work. Get friends around and cook them up a delicious, wholesome vegan feast! It doesn't need to be fancy or impressive, just yummy and abundant. Most people imagine vegan food is boring and will result in starvation. As long as you debunk those two things, you're onto a winner.
2) Show off Your Lunch Box
There's a great smug cloud that forms when your lunch looks like this while every one else is eating cold ham and cheese sandwiches..... muhahaha.
3) DON'T SHARE ANIMAL CRUELTY VIDEOS EVERY DAY
If you have the guts to post about animal cruelty in your news-feed - I salute you! Truly I do. I have my blog for that and keep my personal page pretty people-friendly. I applaud those who share important information and remind people what atrocities are happening BUT - I'm not sure about doing it every day. If you sandwich animal cruelty posts amongst a fairly normal, every-day Facebook profile (my friend Jasmine is a great example) I imagine you're more likely to impact people. You don't want to be "that friend I blocked" ;)
4) Take The Piss Now and Then
Most cool people take the piss out of themselves now and then. Vegans are cool. Vegans should take the piss out of themselves occasionally. End of story.
Overall - remember that being a VEGAN is an important, beautiful and incredible part of who you are, but it shouldn't make you feel alienated from everyone around you. Show your passion, show your brilliance, show your knowledge, but share it in a way that feels inclusive and kind.
Compassion is key. You don't want to give voice to the MOST frustrating vegan stereotype: "vegans care more about animals than people!" (even though it's kinda true sometimes...) har har.
Hey, who doesn't cry more when animals die in films than people? They're the INNOCENTS! We just have made that connection a little earlier than everyone else ;)
I started this blog, nearly four years ago because I found out something truly shocking. I was shocked by the discovery, but even more shocked that so few people seemed to know.
Animals are being tortured, abused and slaughtered by the billions.
If that doesn't mean anything to you - I strongly believe you haven't thought about it for a nano-second.
Let me say it again -
Animals are being tortured, abused and slaughtered by the billions.
And no one seems to care.
Humans have enslaved cows, pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks, fish, horses, dogs and plenty more to be used for our UNNECESSARY greed. If you want to debate whether animal products are necessary, I highly recommended this AMAZING full-debate "Animals Should Be Off The Menu" and doing as much follow-up research as you desire. Animal products are completely unnecessary for human consumption and there are plenty of walking, talking, living, breathing, THRIVING vegans out there who prove it. The American Dietetic Association even now state that vegan diets are adequate and HEALTHY for humans in ALL stages of life. The debate is over. Move with the times and get over it so we can move the fuck on. YOU DO NOT NEED ANIMAL PRODUCTS. Throw all the tantrums you want - eventually you will have to accept it, whether by force or by choice - that eating cheese on toast, or bacon and egg McMuffins or the finest caviar or fois-fucking-grois is you being an ignorant consumer with no real grasp of what you are participating in.
Am I saying vegan is the ONLY way? No. No I'm not. Am I saying you're a bad person if you're NOT a vegan? No, of course I'm not. Some of my best friends eat meat and I love them. I wish they would watch Earthlings, but I love them either way.
What am I saying? I am saying - get informed, don't be ignorant and, if you truly DON'T CARE about animal welfare then own that fact and don't dress it up in "protein". That's just fucking annoying. You're not eating a rare steak for protein, you are eating it because you like the taste. End of. I have so much more respect for someone who will say (like my beloved brother) "Hannah, I actually just don't care about animals. Sorry."
Do I believe you?
Do I respect your "honesty"? Sure. Why not.
Why don't I believe you? Because I know that if my brother saw a dog being kicked in the street - he would experience emotion and think it was wrong. If my brother was given a knife and told to slit the throat of a cow, he would not want to do it. Especially if he didn't NEED to. If I am fighting for survival, if I need to kill an animal - of course I would. I'm not a retard. I'm not going to starve myself because I put an animal's life before my own.
Veganism makes sense when applied to REALITY. Not this made-up cooky world meat-eaters are constantly referring to where we are stranded on desert islands. Do you have any idea how many times I've been asked "uuugh would you be vegan if you were stranded on a desert island??? Huuuuh Hannah?? Would you? What if you were DYING???"
Then I would eat what I could, you moron.
But guess what? I do NOT live on a desert island. I live in a fucking city, AS DO YOU. We live in a city, with supermarkets and a wealth of choice at our fingertips. We live in a world where meat is factory farmed and delivered to your local shop in MASS quantities. When you are buying meat and dairy - you are buying something that has been bred unnaturally, locked up, tortured, housed in horrific conditions you wouldn't allow your dog to inhabit for a minute, transported to a slaughterhouse, shot with a stun gun (which often misses) and finally - torn apart. Occasionally conscious. That's what you are paying for. Not to mention all the drugs in its diet you're digesting. Along with your "protein". Of course.
Oh, what's that? You get your meat from your local lovely butcher? Of course you do. What's that? Your aunty grows chickens in her backyard and you eat her eggs when you go there for Christmas? Great. Are you one of those people who uses this as an excuse to eat eggs ALL THE TIME?! Regardless of where they've come from? Do you use your local friendly butcher as an excuse to eat meat at restaurants? This is massively common and massively annoys me. The supposed "Achilles heel" people throw at vegans constantly - this ethical vision, the best case scenario, the fact they "could totally kill a chicken" as an excuse to consume animal products in ANY setting.
Obviously, it's great if you are trying genuinely to make the "ethical" choice with all your animal product consumption. That's all we can ask, really. Do your best, be informed, try and do what is right. If you are DESPERATE to eat meat - try and buy the most ethical kind you can. Research, look into it, try and feel good about it. BUT - just promise you will actually research and not just read articles that support your view point (vegans are guilty of this too. Massively.) Researching isn't looking at the butchers poster on his wall where it says "grass-fed!" That ain't research. That's marketing and propaganda and lies. It's bull-shit. Most marketing is. Of any product, not just animals. Researching means: where do these animals live? What food are they eating? And, most importantly, how are they killed?
How are they killed? This was what made me become a vegan.
I watched an animal get slaughtered and knew, with every fiber of my being that it was not okay. On any level. No part of what I was watching was normal, "natural", humane or necessary.
It represented no food-chain I wanted to be a part of.
Quite simply - it's too far. It's gone way too far. Animals are so meaningless to us now we allow machines to hack them to pieces. Machines. By the billions. And guess what? Even your organic, grass-fed bollocks is sent to a slaughterhouse. Ask your friendly neighborhood farmer if he's allowed to slaughter the meat he sells. Ask him. He isn't. He sends it to a slaughterhouse, my friend. It's a legal thing.
See how fun research is?
Just for arguments sake (because I love arguing...) let's say you found a scenario you were comfortable with. Let's say, you found a source for your meat that you felt 100% happy with. The animal was happy, the farmer is kind, he slits its throat himself once it's "time" (when would that be, by the way?? Right on the cows deathbed? When you decided? When it was at its juiciest peak?) and he chopped it up into happy, unoffensive pieces for you to store in your freezer and consume as desired.
Is that a good scenario? I don't know anymore, it all sounds so hideous. But, I'm imagining that's something most meat-eaters would think is an ethical scenario?
Even in a scenario like this - does any part of that really, truly, fundamentally seem okay to you? Does it make you seem like a carnivore? Does it seem WORTH it? Does all that time and effort and moral dilemma (assuming you had a moral dilemma to send you to the farmer in the first place) really seem worth ...... steak?
When you don't even need steak?
Because you don't.
Seems like a lot of time and energy and effort (and lives) just so you can have steak. Right?
And, if you STILL aren't convinced (you fucking dick) then let me ask you this - what about everyone else? If this is the most ethical scenario - how is everyone supposed to eat this meat? Everyone. All the people on this planet.
Supply like that: lovely ethical supply of animal carcass, will never match demand. Ever. That's how factory farms came to exist in the first place. Factory farming didn't appear overnight. Too many people want meat and animals take time and energy to grow. There ain't that much love out there.
The demand is what needs to change. The demand is the problem. With demand the way it is - animals have no chance. No chance at all and this is why vegans get upset.
Vegans get passionate and angry and emotional sometimes because we don't understand how you truly do not care. Do you really not care at all? How is a cow - an intelligent, beautiful, ALIVE cow, who has babies, experiences pain, fear, love and compassion - not worthy of life? A life where it can live without fear of death? A life without having it's baby taken away to become veal? A life of not being hooked up to milking machines three times a day and sucked dry?
And this is just one cow. One.
Ten billion animals are slaughtered every year in the US alone. Ten billion. For human consumption.
It's not okay. Why are so few people saying it's not okay?
And demand, tragically, is only increasing. For all the new vegans out there and all the awareness spreading, we still don't seem to be making a dint. Population is growing and while America is finally lowering their meat intake (um, thanks Bill Clinton and Beyonce I guess??), China is starting to demand more. And this is China, so we all may as well fuck off. It wants more McDonalds, it wants milkshakes, it wants steak, it wants animal products. China wants to do away with their amazing natural diet that has gotten them so far (China Study anyone?) and move towards an American-style, beef and cheese Diet that has left the States fat, sick and undergoing triple-bypass surgeries.
Come the fuck on, China. Aren't you super smart??
I didn't want to become a vegan. At all. I think very few people WANT to become a freakish social outcast, destined to be hated by all waiters. No one wants to be different. No one wants to be in a minority, fighting to stop what everyone loves. I fight cupcakes. Everyone fucking loves cupcakes. People pass cookies around and I say "no" because I'm vegan and everyone looks at me like I'm the fun police. Sorry guys, didn't mean to remind you that there's torture in your cookie. My bad.
But - THERE IS. And you ignoring it doesn't make it go away. Burying your head in the sand doesn't mean there isn't a war going on around you. A baby cow was taken away from its mother so that you could put butter in your cookie batter.
You should know this. You should WANT to know this. Don't let yourself be lied to.
If I could ask anyone reading this who ISN'T a vegan to do one thing for me, it would be this -
Tomorrow, when you go about your day, take notice of every animal product you encounter. Anything that contains animal products. Notice it and think about it, just for a second. If you go to a store or supermarket - look at how much milk is in the fridges. Look at it and THINK about where milk comes from. A living being is attached to that milk - an actual cow pumped that out of her udders. Look at how much is in the fridge. And now, realize you are in ONE shop. On ONE street. In ONE suburb. In ONE town. In ONE city. In ONE country. Now, think about how much milk there is in the world and how it all had to come from somewhere.
Still think those cows can be happy?
Now, go on to the cheese. How many of the sandwiches for sale contain cheese? How much cheese is in the diary aisle? Guess what cheese is made out of? Milk.
Now butter. Now cream cheese. Now cream. Now all the "buttery spreads". Now the flavored milks. Now the ham. Now the salami. Now the pastrami. Now the prosciutto. Now the lamb shanks. Now the chicken breasts. Now the chicken thighs. Now the whole chickens. Now the mince. Now the steaks. Now the fish. THE FISH. All that fish. The oysters. The mussels. The crab. All of it.
Oh, goodie - now the frozen food aisle - plenty of animal products down there. Now - confectionery aisle. Shall we? Look at alllll that dairy. Now, as you're going through the check-out, notice all the baked shit there? Yep, lots of butter and eggs in there. Allllllll the eggs in all the baked shit in your shitty store.
Okay, we've left the supermarket - now, every vending machine? How about that? Your co-workers lunches? Drinks around you? Every latte. Every fucking Starbucks cup is filled with cow-pus.
Welcome to the mind of a vegan. Welcome.
It's a fucked up world around you, isn't it?
This is your homework. I really hope you take it on.
In real life - I am a nice person. I am compassionate, amicable, easy to get along with, not judgmental... I think. I very rarely get into debates with people about meat-eating or animal rights. Mainly because I know there is no point.
But also, because I have this. My blog. My outlet. This is where I get to share and rant about all the things that make me so, so angry, knowing most people reading will understand on some level.
If you read this and didn't like it, or felt offended, remember this is a VEGAN BLOG. It is a blog about veganism and blogs about such things make up a tiny, tiny portion of the internet. You don't have to be here reading this. You are welcome to move on.
The question I get asked more than ANY is: why are you vegan? I can't begin to count how many times I've been asked this. I used to love it, then I would dread it. It overwhelmed me, consumed me, confused me.... how could I answer such a question without strapping the person down and forcing them to watch 48-hours of animal abuse videos on YouTube, then making them read Eating Animals, then the China Study and finally whipping them up a vegan dinner so they know there is life after fried chicken??
How do I answer this so simply?
Well, I can't. I can't answer something so loaded in a few short sentences.
That's why I have a blog.
And this post, right here, is as good of an answer as I can give. I'm a vegan because it's the logical choice. It makes sense. It makes me feel better on every level.
I don't want to live with my head buried in the sand. I want to know. I want to learn and grow and be the best I can be.
All these things brought me to veganism. Please try it.
Or at least - do your homework.
(That's better isn't it?)
How To Spread The Vegan Word Without Being a Preachy A***hole
10 Reasons to F**king LOVE Ricky Gervais