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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

What's the toughest part of being a vegan? Apparently keeping it to yourself.

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Admittedly this is one of those naff one liners. Not to mention a derogatory and offensive remark to of an increasingly common dietary choice. Perhaps it may even be a requirement for some, though I couldn’t pretend to be aware of medical conditions that would constitute an absence of all animal products from our diets. Here, I feel the need to clarify, that I have nothing against veganism. I think that what I am trying to get at is, the idea that I really do not feel that it is our place to overtly judge other people’s lifestyle choices.

Surely, it is far more emphatic, productive and not to mention constructive, to try and understand other people’s opinions. With this, we must be enabled to appreciate their frame of reference and how they ended-up with their trail (or lack-of as it may well initially seem) of thought. Then we must be able to learn from each other.

One of the reasons why I feel that veganism is the – arguably unfair – butt of so many jokes, must have initially related to their striking notion of being exceptional and unfortunately people are of course pack-animals. This means that can seem to love nothing more than herding-up. This sadly involves ridiculing. Along with vegetarianism, long-ago in metropolitan places, veganism is now mainstream in the UK. This cannot be any bad thing in itself, though I feel that any difficulty resides in the self-righteousness that supposedly ethical lifestyles can so often be associated. Whether this is the chicken or the egg (no pun intended) is of course questionable.

Whatever cultural of ethical reasons that may have been instrumental in having moulded the choices that we make through adulthood, I feel that it is fair to say that unless stemming for certain religious (I’m thinking certain branches of Hinduism e.g. Jainism with my limited knowledge) reasons, veganism will represent a conscious choice in itself. Given that our breast-milk is from an animal, I fail to understand how animal products can be in any way be deemed for us to as naturally unhealthy.

Admittedly there is of course our increasingly knackered poor planet to consider. Given the emissions given-off through the world’s ever increasingly intensified forms of factory farming this is a fair point. For example, quantity of methane released through the farming of cattle – beef – is obscene. Yet, as always with such arguments, I cannot help but be naturally drawn to the other side of the coin.

Okay, the production of livestock is responsible for much of the earth’s pollution. Albeit, I see potential colossal environmental consequences of veganism.

This is not just in terms of the damage that would be achieved within many communities and civilizations in changing the structure of so many societies without the correct provisions being afforded to the most vulnerable citizens. For example, veganism is for the wide-part, an incredibly middle-class practice, across the West at least.

This is no criticism of it in itself, but as with so many of the chattering classes’ habits, it is loaded with a hypocrisy that is all too often overlooked. Veganism and environmentalism will often be seen as synonymous. As worthy causes that they must be, in my experience, vegans will generally neglect to acknowledge the expense he disposable expense required to enjoy the fancy vegan delicacies obtained through the wealth of ingredients that tend to be shipped across the globe in plastic packaging. So, I’m not denying the fruit – intended – in the arguments for veganism and I like the essence of their cause, though much of the practice is surely a bit of a farce? I mean, I enjoy having many vegan meals and like this way of experimenting with veganism sometimes, although in using a buzz-slogan of the day, I fully recognise my privilege in being able to make this decision.

I applaud anybody taking the decision – for or against the grain – to do anything that does not harm or impede anybody else. Of course, this is never the most clear-cut decision and in going with the loathing of dogmatic thinking that I have expressed in former blogs, my yearning for us all to be capable of forming an opinion that is independent of what everybody else thinks.

Just doing a bit of brief research into images when I type the word “vegan” into a google image search, one of the first images is that of a pie chart of what constitutes the hardest elements of their lifestyle, where the largest part is labelled “dealing with other idiots”. Self-disclosing such a proud and superior mind-set, hardly enables much identification from everybody else. Condescendingly labelling yourself as exclusive can’t set you off to the best start. As much as I would praise elements of an animal free lifestyle, tricks such as this almost point to a desperate urge to segregate yourself from the masses and I can’t even imagine how annoying the majority of vegans must find this.

Sadly, I feel that so many of the holier than thou arguments are upheld, if not designed, purely to help overcome the inadequacies that somebody feels towards their own existence. A key instigator for me making this claim is upon me ignorantly ending up inadvertently witnessing – if not even caught-up within – a vile “COVID-19 IS a HOAX” protests. A key figure as to orchestrating demonstration was indecently none other than Piers Corbyn. Yes that is the brother of the man who unfortunately could not lead Labour to victory, but was successful in leading the party into its worst General Election defeat since 1935. The feats and flaws of Corbynism aside, I could pluck out a common theme between the two movements. That is in that, people in search of something to channel their frustrations, dissatisfactions, and disgruntlement. I mean I’m no medic by any stretch whatsoever, but I cannot see from the tragic experiences of friends along with stories across the media, denial of COVID-19 as anything short of heresy. The fact that the lunatics argument extended to launch their tirade into such varied topics Child Exploitation, 5G, Social Distancing…. Only cements their hatred of life to me, as opposed to much at all beyond. I remember being so angry to be inflicted by them, when all I was trying to do was escape from a tiring day at work. Whilst being aggressive is not something that I at all frequently find myself, “you’re scum!” were the only words that I found myself able to offer to a sanctimonious seeming lady with a posh voice, as I enquired as to what the purpose of their march was. Hindsight’s a wonderful thing and with the benefit of this, I so wish that I’d just worn my cloth facemask from the onset of being within any presence of these morons!

What I hope that I succeed is communicating here, is not at all a tirade of abuse or even dislike towards any facet of society. All that I hope that I have stressed that I do not think that there is anything intellectually or morally superior about the vast majority of decisions that we take upon how to best run the world. Toleration and ability to adapt our viewpoint to suit our needs has to be the best way forward in this little life. It is so short isn’t it and I’m always appreciative on whatever views people may harbor on anything, provided that they do not expect me to necessarily feel the same way. I hope that seems fair.

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